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Showing posts from 2009

Peanuts and Legacies

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Then (1994) ...

Now...
When I was a kid, I'd sometimes fly with my dad on his routes around the country. During my college years, this was a particularly fun time, and my freshman year I spent many weekends flying all over the country with him, doing my homework in flight and helping out as a volunteer flight attendant. Things got to the point where I even had a uniform shirt and was accepted as one of the crew. It was a great time in my life. It was a great time for my dad and I to grow closer, and I enjoyed the fast pace in my first year away from home. It wasn't uncommon to fly to the Northeast and back to the west coast again in a single weekend.
To date, my kids haven't exactly shared in the fly-wherever-you-want lifestyle. A few weeks ago, however, when we went to see my parents in PDX, they got a taste of what it was like for me. It was a great time to pass on a bit of the Peanut Legacy to them.

On our return flight from PDX, I noticed that the flight attendant w…

Scout Ski Day

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A couple years ago, Jo and I decided to take the two older girls skiing for scout ski days. It's not the kind of thing we typically do, for lots of reasons. The day didn't go so well. It was super-de-dooper cold and the kids didn't eat anything good before we started. After one try down the hill, they were done, and so was our day.

Last weekend I decided to try my luck once more, but learned from my previous mistakes, maybe. It was again Scout Ski Day, where you can get a lift pass and free lunch for $25. How can you pass on that when it can easily cost triple on a normal day? To boot, Amy is in fifth grade and gets a free pass from the ski people. Double bonus. So we had to go.

First, it was just Amy and Misha with Dad this time. A little quality bonding time. Jo doesn't have any love affair with snow. My coworker was kind enough to let us stay at her condo so we could avoid the morning drive and enjoy a more leisurely morning. We wanted to leave by 5, an…

Smoking Christmas Light Deal

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If you live near me and have United Power, they have a smoking deal right now for buying LED Christmas Lights (notice how I said Christmas Lights and not holiday lights!) You can get up to $4 per strand rebated to you, with no limit. So if you buy LED lights on sale (I got a bunch for $7.99 each yesterday at Ace), you can get half the price rebated and then the rest will pay for itself in one season with the 90%-lower power consumption of LED's. That's a nice deal.

Rebate Info

For those in other regions, your utility might do the same thing. It's a nice way to switch to the newer technology.

Blogging

Maybe blogging is losing its appeal for me, because I just can't seem to make myself post anything amusing or ranting any more. It's strange. I even have three or four 90%-completed drafts (mostly of rants) that I just can't manage to publish. Wonder why.

Things That Bug...

Daylight Savings. Really, it's 2009. Can't we do it differently? Changing clocks is so 1985! Not knowing if Arizona is the same time as me or not is just plain stupid. Now I'm all depressed because it's dark before I even finish work. It's nice to be light earlier in the morning, but I think we should stop playing like we control the light.

833!

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That's right, the answer is 833!

I took my new GPS trainer on a mtn. bike ride today and now I know the answers to many of life's deepest questions.
How tall WAS that hill?
1200 feet, baby, but with two loops at the top, it was 1700 feet vertical!
How many calories did that hill burn?
Yep, 833! I like that number. Now I can eat garbage the rest of the day and feel good about it!
Was I really about to have a coronary?
Yes. With an avg heart rate of 155 (including at rest), and peak at 176, I really was about to blow a gasket!Did I look ridiculous at my pathetically slow speed, getting passed by all whole came after me?
The GPS was hazy on that one, but I have a hunch...
Isn't it good to know? Of course. And now you know too.

Seriously, this mountain bike stuff is SOOOO good. Coming down that hill (at 23.2 mph, since you asked) is adrenaline like nothing else. If you live in CO, you must go ride Hall Ranch. It truly is wonderful.

Thanks for the bday present, Dad.

How Much Does Paint Cost?

So for the last couple months, I've asked this question nearly every time I drive to Denver. Turns out the answer in this case is ONLY $200K!

This is because CDOT has has a fairly robust restriping process going on. I was amazed when I saw that they removed the fogline stripes only to put new ones a foot away. Then, a few weeks later, I saw double stripes, followed by a removal of the new one. I figured this was typical government insanity.

In case you live local and care where our tax dollars are going, here's the official response from my inquiry to CDOT. (Yes, none of you is surprised that I actually contacted CDOT about it, I'm sure!)

The project in question is a striping project that is scheduled to be complete in the next couple of weeks. While we did remove and replace the stripes a couple of times, it was due to the fact that we removed the original striping, replaced it with temporary striping and then came back and put down the permanent striping. We have to …

Jiffy Pop!

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You all probably heard about the goofy family that built their own airship balloon and whose little boy reportedly went for a trip in it. Now that he's safe, I can share my opinion.

It looks like one of those Jiffy Pop things floating around in the sky!


I bet The Onion could make a great headline out of this event.

Remembering 9/11

My sister posted this on her blog, and I liked it enough to repost. Cool story.

Returning with Honor

So as to not sound like I'm just ranting all the time, I'll depart from recent topics for this episode.

As Jolayne mentioned, we took the kids to the Air Force Academy last weekend. Whenever visiting a base or seeing a display, I'm in awe at the power of the US military. It's not because of the size of the guns they carry; it's because of what they teach. They teach lessons that much of America seems to have forgotten. There's much wrong in the military, as everywhere. But there's still some things they teach that are spot on. At the academies especially, they teach you to become better than you are.

While at the visitors center, we came upon a display about the Honor Code. It's a simple code: We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.

For some reason, it was a powerful thing for me to read. It reminded me of the honor code while I was at BYU. At the time, I often resented certain implications of the big-brother natu…

Things That Bug...

Recycled Napkins. Have you ever noticed that they're more like plastic than paper and that all they really do is squish the goo you're trying to wipe all over? Are we really saving mother earth by using them? Since nearly all paper is grown from trees specifically grown for that purpose, I have trouble understanding how we're barreling towards certain Al-Goreian destruction by using real napkins.

Educate me, please.

Dogs

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It's been a month and if I'm really honest I haven't had many useful ideas to share with the entire Internet recently. Alas, spending the last few weeks among the masses of America has solved that problem.

Let me start by stating clearly that I like dogs. I really do. I had dogs growing up and I loved them dearly. I just don't like YOUR DOG IN PUBLIC. Now let me explain. Over the last couple weeks I've witnessed people doing some really strange things with their dogs in public. It's been so weird that it's time I spoke up (you know, as part of that whole be-a-good-citizen-thing.)

First, last week a guy brought his two HUGE mastiffs (think Turner and Hooch) into the small office at the local Jiffy Lube while I was waiting to get my oil changed. To begin with, this was socially unacceptable. These dogs were huge and they drool like it's totally in style. The guy (a twenty something frat-boy looking type) kinda smiles at me with a "yeah-I'm…

Things that Bug...

Continuous-feed toilet paper. Are we such a shoddy society now that we can't even pony up for two-ply perforated squares? Nearly every single commercial establishment has now succumbed to that continuous-feed post-consumer recyclopaper. I bet we give our terrorists better stuff in prison.

Things that Bug...

Voice-prompted phone trees. They NEVER understand me. Ever. They took an obnoxious IVR concept and made it even worse, if that was possible. And most places are adopting them. Can those darn things understand anyone who speaks English? Today it was Fedex. Yesterday it was the travel agent. They sound so chipper and happy, even when they don't understand a single word I reply with.

What's Old is New

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We were sitting looking at old pictures when Jolayne looked at this one and said, "Look, you're wearing the same shorts today."

Today's shorts:


Feel the love.

Mountain Biking in BC

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One of the highlights of my recent family vacation to Canada was taking a day to go downhill mountain biking at the Sun Peaks resort in BC. The place is only about 6 miles from my aunt's ranch where we were staying, so it was a must do. I went with my brother Kevin, my brother in law Kyle, and some-family-relation-that-I-don't-care-to-figure-out Rylee (we'll say cousinephew).

This was serious downhill, unlike anything I've done before. It's a groomed, sculpted set of trails for bikes; curves are built up to make them faster, etc. They also had a terrain park with lots of jumps. The biggest of them looked like this:





In case you can't see it, the sign pretty much says "you can die if you're stupid enough to go down here!". That wooden jump would take you up about 10-12 feet off the ground, followed by several other large jumps behind it. Needless to say, I went the other way.

The day I took these pictures (during the cattle drive) was warm and s…

Cattle Drive

I watched my first real cattle drive yesterday (watched is the operative word, as I would have been completely useless to help). It was pretty cool. It ran for about 4 hours and went 16km along the paved highway from my Aunt and Uncle's ranch in rural British Columbia up to the Sun Peaks ski resort where we then pushed them another 2-3km up the slopes to their summer grazing areas. There were over 75 cows total, including two bulls (rest were split between calves and their mamas).

I posted a bunch of pictures on my facebook page, so I won't put them up here. Go see. It's pretty entertaining.

Cell Phone Karma

There's a bit of truth to this.

Stiff and Sore, But Worth It

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Went biking again today. It was great. I still huffed and puffed all the way up the hill, but felt like it was slightly less puffing than on previous trips, so we'll count that as progress. We did about 10 miles at Hall Ranch and the weather was perfect; overcast and cool, but no rain. I can think of fewer things more fun than riding down the hill almost out of control (but not quite, unless your name is Adam!)
I've come to the conclusion that the ride down is more fun after you've suffered and labored through the ride up. If you take the lift to the top (or that equivalent), it's surely fun, but a little less rewarding since you didn't work for it. Today, we took two circles at the Nelson Loop at the top of the trail to rewards ourselves for all our pumping uphill. The loop runs for a couple miles and is mostly smooth single track with a few jumps and such, and on a great incline such that you can get going pretty fast. Today, my friend Adam was over 30mph…

Peel Your Grapes, too?

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Went for the first bike ride of the season with Amy and Kristen tonight. Amy did 5 miles, which I was proud of. The rain nearly got us, but at least no tornado warnings for the first time in a couple weeks. Kristen, of course, was all too happy to be pulled in her chariot. She was yelling at me "faster dad, faster" and "beat Amy". I wouldn't let her get out and play at the park, though, until she finished her flour tortilla that was her unfinished dinner. So she sat in the trailer for another 15 min to finish the darn thing while I said "faster, Kristen, faster." Payback, baby.
I'm glad this is the last year of the pulling-a-trailer thing. So not cool for my tough-man biking image.

Only in Utah

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Took this a couple months ago in Utah. Oxymoron!?
For those who can't read the small print, it says "Luxury Dental Spa."

One of these is not like the other

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See if you can spot the subtle difference between these two days:





















The first one was at a work event in Omaha last week. The second one was taken in March at another work (golf) event in Tucson. Hm, they're almost the same!

Winter Quarters

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So I was lucky enough to find myself in Omaha last week. Wow, lots to do (BTW, anyone who knows of anything fun to do in those parts, let me know. I get to go back for a full week soon, and boy I'm excited.) During my stay, I stopped over at the LDS Church's Winter Quartersmemorial, a site that commemorates the thousands of Mormon pioneers who stayed the winter while awaiting better weather waiting to go to Utah. They walked 1,200 miles and were kicked out of their homes on multiple occasions. The site, though small, was very well kept and very peaceful. It's the first LDS history site I've been able to visit, so was fun.






My Kids

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Yeah, I'm proud.

PDF: Pretty Dang Funny

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In comment to my recent Wolf Shirt posting, my friend Ryan alerted me to another awesome Amazon product that you really need to purchase:Playmobil Security Check Point
REVIEW:
I was a little disappointed when I first bought this item, because the functionality is limited. My 5 year old son pointed out that the passenger's shoes cannot be removed. Then, we placed a deadly fingernail file underneath the passenger's scarf, and neither the detector doorway nor the security wand picked it up. My son said "that's the worst security ever!". But it turned out to be okay, because when the passenger got on the Playmobil B757 and tried to hijack it, she was mobbed by a couple of other heroic passengers, who only sustained minor injuries in the scuffle, which were treated at the Playmobil Hospital.
The best thing about this product is that it teaches kids about the realities of living in a high-surveillence society. My son said he wants the Playmobil Neighborhood Surveillence S…

Reply To None

I have a new pet peeve.  Actually, I have about 20 of them, and according to my wife, I'm nothing but a petty complainer, but nevermind that.  Read about the peeve.  I think we need to start a petition that we can send to ALL email-software vendors to request that they remove the REPLY TO ALL button from their software.  Never was a worse feature added to a program, really.  That REPLY TO ALL button is far worse than the DUH button a friend gave me for my keyboard years ago, because it actually works.  The reason it's so bad is because people are magnetically drawn to it for absolutely no sane reason.  My coworkers seem to think that if replying to the sender with schedule information or other relatively useless detail is appropriate, then it must be 20x more appropriate to cheerfully include the other 20 people on the message.  This happens all day, every day, to the point that my email box is brimming with threads such as the following (all REPLIED TO ALL).
SENDER: We need to…

Dig the Wolf Shirt

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So there's been quite a bit of noise lately about a certain "Wolf" tshirt on Amazon.  It's one of the funniest things I've read in a very long time.  You have to read the reviews, because, as in one reviewer's words, "this is why they invented the Internet."  This thing made me laugh out loud for minutes, literally!  Read it.

More Tales from the Road

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Was actually taken in town, not on the road, but surprisingly, I've seen more than one of these since then in my travels. I guess it's not as original as I 'd thought.

Tales from the Road

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Strange Moment At Macy's

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Jolayne and I went on a date the other night. Wahoo. As part of our date, we were in the lingerie section at Macy's (yeah sure, I'm expecting the jokes to roll on that one!) and saw the following picture. This is real stuff, not made up. That's what makes it so dang funny.


I've just never even conceived that a lady on oxygen might be my special helper in the underwear section of the department store! Jo and I both laughed quite a bit at that one.

Snowplows and Transplants: Very Cool News Story

I was reading the paper this morning when I came across a short but very cool story about someone doing the right thing. I suppose it makes all the more difference based upon the experience Jo and I had last year with snowplows, where we followed a congo-line of plows home from Denver in heavy snow in a surreal experience that had many gospel metaphors.

Story pasted below:

Snowplow convoy clears way for transplant patient 1 day agoCASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Chuck Forbes has battled liver disease for half of his 59 years. When the time finally came for a transplant, a blizzard blocked his route to the hospital — until a corps of snowplow drivers saved the day.Forbes was recovering after undergoing transplant surgery Sunday at the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver. He and his wife, Ruth, made it there from their home in northwest Wyoming despite the storm that closed roads Saturday in the southeastern part of the state."I hope those WYDOT (Wyoming Department of Transportation) guys…

A Moment of Silence...

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You should all pause from your busy days to take a moment of silence for...

MY DVR!

It's about to croak. Very sad. Makes me want to cry. Take drugs. Valium.

Seriously, can you think of a better invention in the last 20 years? No way. It's wonderful. It's like sticking it to all those networks and their commercials every time I turn something on.

We bought this unit a number of years ago second-hand on eBay to avoid charges from Dish Network. It was the last model that didn't come with the monthly "access" crap fee. It's served us well for years.

Now, it freezes up and does all sorts of indigestion things at least weekly, but usually every couple days.

So I've been out shopping for new services lately. I've long been opposed to cable. I think Comcast is anything but Comcastic. Sadistic might be a better word. Just for kicks I went to their site this week to see what they'd want to charge me to switch to them. Didn't take me long to …

Pocahontas

Just now, the kids were sitting down to a spring-break breakfast and turned on Pocahontas. I told them it came out in my late teens, and Amy immediately asked if it was in color back then.

Nice.

Boundaries

Growing pains.  Today at church our ward (geographical congregation) was reorganized with new boundaries.  They did a 3-for-2 split because we'd grown so large that the primary (kids group) was over 200 and was breaking fire code.  While growing up, I can't recall more than perhaps one such boundary realignment.  Yet since I've lived here, this is my third one.  Guess that's both good and bad.
Ever since word got out last week that things were changing this week, there's been a buzz of speculation on what the new boundaries would be.  You see, a ward for LDS folks is very much like a surrogate family.  Therefore, messing with the boundary lines can be quite tramatic.  We knew that since a division was about to happen (as someone said today, like cells multiplying) we would undoubtedly lose some friends on the other side of the new lines.  When the new maps were released this afternoon and we saw what was to happen, it quickly became apparently that while we're k…

Togetherness

Wow, the month has flown by.  I have had very few witty things to share with the world.  Mostly, it's because I've been playing Mr Mom for most of the last two weeks.  Jo had some surgery.  Let me tell you, HARD STUFF!  Anyone want to watch my kids for the next 5 days?!  It's spring break week, and ain't I excited...  They're good girls, but last week was not our best week.  It seemed that all I did was go through the house, pick up crap, and yell "didn't I tell you to do {something}" statements, only to do it all over again.
I know, this is the part where both the women who read my blog laugh confidently with a "serves you right, you out-of-touch male!"  However, I've been through this before, and I honestly think this has been the hardest bout.  Jo had multi-day recoveries in the hospital with all of our kids, and so I'm no stranger to the Mr. Mom routine.  It's just that now they're bigger and tend to make messes and troubl…

Suburban Stupidity

Today while driving down the street, I found the perfect blogging topic.  Small towns tend to do things their own way, and though I really enjoy the town I live in, it has its quirks, too.
First, a few years ago the town was growing very quickly.  Growth was so malignant that you'd have to camp out (literally) the night before a builder released new lots for sale in order to get a chance at a good one.  (We had our realtor do that for us since we were still living out of state in 2001.)  At that time, when all the streets were first plotted, some genius figured it would be a great idea to use only a handful of street names.  Where streets ended in cul-de-sacs and such, and then continued at approximately the same position further down, they decided to use the same names.  Thus, there are about 4-5 different neighborhoods in our town where the same street name can be found.   Hello, people!  Who came up with that one?!  
So if you don't know which neighborhood you should be looki…

Tagging

Warning, this is a rant.

So the new fad on Facebook is for people to "tag" one another, asking us to fill in various and sundry questionnaires about the super-interesting parts of our lives. In the last month, I must have received 20+ such tagging requests.

My plea: Stop the madness!

I hardly have time to keep up with the blogs that I follow, write a sarcastic entry of my own every now and then, and watch my friends' facebook status. Now I'm supposed to tell people 2543 interesting never-before-revealed facts about my life, along with the last 1932 books I've read (with full reviews on each), and what I loved best 15 years ago about high school!

No offense to any of you who have sent those, but I'm not completing them. No time, no interest.

In case you hadn't noticed, it's just a new vehicle for the lovely chain emails that we all love to receive. "If you don't complete and forward this message to 20 of your friends, you'll have five yea…

Get The Door, It's Domino's

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It's Friday night, and we've got RedBox waiting for us, so I just called for pizza for dinner.  We've long enjoyed the economical 5-5-5 deal where you get 3 pizzas for 5 bucks each.  A while back, it went up to 5.55, so the deal became 555-555-555; a mouthful. 
Tonight, I called for the first time in a month or two, and of course due to the crummy economy, the prices have increased yet again (and I'm now noting that the pricese are up 20% in under a year while inflation isn't exactly at 20%; hmmmm).  
I digress...
The lady tonight tells me that the pizzas are now six bucks each.  I guess that makes it the 6-6-6 deal.  I then told her I'd like to order a Satan Special and laughed at my extreme wittiness.  I'm not so sure she found it as funny as I did.  Do you think sales on this new deal will go down by chance?!   Ha.

Sad Reality

Did you know that a Mounds bar has 100% of the RDA for saturated fat. My whole world is getting ruined by this be-fit thing.

Useless Drivel

Why do I have nothing useful to say lately? Seriously, I'm having a tough time coming up with anything but useless drivel. My life is apparently pretty boring right now, and my wife has written about all the good stuff. How's that for a pathetic excuse?! Maybe it's just a mid-winter funk.

So here's some randomness:
Congrats to my brother, Kevin, and his wife Candace (who obviously did all the work). They had their fourth child, Joseph, tonight.Why does President Obama have to come to Denver to sign the stimulus bill into law? If you're spending billions to try and help the economy, why is it so important to spend hundreds of thousands more just to go somewhere special and sign a bill? Oxymoron? Just seems that money could be used better elsewhere, like bailing out the auto industry since that's working so well. Yeah.
I'm so stinking tired of wind and brown, dead landscape. I can't wait for spring and green grass once more. I can live with the br…

Stupidest Commercial Ever

Not too long ago, I was absolutely shocked at a commercial I saw. You may have seen it, too. It's an oatmeal commercial that shows a bunch of kids in the back of a van happily eating their oatmeal in bowls.

The Horror!

See it for yourself.



Is this not the most ridiculous thing advertisers have come up with in a very long time? The commercial ends with "Every day should be this good." Do you really think that it's gonna be a good day when kids are spooning warm oatmeal all over your car, rubbing it into the carpets, making designs on the windows, and using it as ammo against their siblings?!

These high-paid Manhattan metro-ites obviously a) have no kids, and b) have never taken care of a child for more than 30 seconds. Fire them all!

I can imagine how the conversation in our van might go with oatmeal:

Amy: Misha, watch this!

~~Amy takes spoon of oatmeal and sticks it to the window to watch it glue~~

Misha: Wow, cool! Let me try.

Kristen: I like oatmeal!

~~fingers in bowl,…

The Bet

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I'm in need of some encouragement. You see, Jolayne convinced me to take a bet. Actually, I'm not sure "bet" is really the right word. It's more of a challenge. For those who don't know Jo, she's extremely diligent about regular exercise (so much so that she often does two workouts a day, with the first one starting before 5:30am most days). I admire her greatly for that. I'm nowhere near that, and I've long been content that way. I really want to be fit, and I take pretty good care of myself. I'm no slob, but I just don't have the motivation to work out religiously like some folks. Over the last couple of years, I've put on a few pounds. Nothing serious that would land me on a primetime TV show, but pounds nonetheless.

Winter has always been a tough time of year for me to stay fit. It's usually cold and/or windy outside, and I'm not really an inside-exercise person. I'd much rather go do some miles on my mtn bik…

Bargaining with the IRS

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I got this silly mail from my Dad yesterday and it just made me laugh over and over. Now I understand how he deals with IRS audits.

The IRS decides to audit Grandpa, and summons him to the IRS office.

The IRS auditor was not surprised when Grandpa showed up with his attorney.

The auditor said, 'Well, sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full-time employment, which you explain by saying that you win money gambling. I'm not sure the IRS finds that believable.'

I'm a great gambler, and I can prove it,' says Grandpa. 'How about a demonstration?'

The auditor thinks for a moment and said, 'Okay. Go ahead.'

Grandpa says, 'I'll bet you a thousand dollars that I can bite my own eye.'

The auditor thinks a moment and says, 'It's a bet.'

Grandpa removes his glass eye and bites it.

The auditor's jaw drops.

Grandpa says, 'Now, I'll bet you two thousand dollars that I can bite my other eye.'

Now the auditor can tell Grandpa i…

Compromising Positions

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Jo said she was going to post this one, so I figured I had to beat her to the punch. The faucet on our kitchen sink continually comes loose (due to a lovely design that makes it impossible to get a wrench on the fittings properly.) So every so often I get to lay under the sink and tighten things up as best I can. Jo's dad was working on it last week while visiting, but I felt bad for him and jumped in when Jo snapped these shots.


You could certainly enter your own captions here. Jo's was "new way to do pilates" since I had to keep raising my butt up.

Do You Deal?

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It's come to my attention that my friends consider me the "deal king." I can think of better nicknames, but I can also think of a few worse ones, so ok. I got to thinking about all the places that Jo and I find deals, and thought I'd share a few. In truth, I think she finds way more deals than I do. The toughest part of deal finding is what I call the "Costco Effect." The Costco Effect explains the phenomenon where you walk into a place like Costco (or a web site) and see all sorts of stuff on good deals that you didn't know until right then that you couldn't live without. You know what I'm talking about: the stainless-steel 22 piece barbeque tool set, the 5-pack of flash memory cards, or a 3-pack of 24" summer sausage! We've all fallen victim to those deals.

On the net, here's a short rundown of my favorite deal sites:Spoofee. I like deal sites that a) show me a picture of the item and b) don't have so many deals that I…