I’m finally participating in online banking. I pay bills online and save the cost of postage. A side benefit is the ability to schedule the date of payment and coordinate when it will be deducted from my checking account. I no longer receive paper statements, instead opting for online statement delivery. It’s pretty slick; except when the web site is down and I can’t access my account. Admittedly, this is a rare occurrence, but when it does occur, and it does from time to time; it’s very annoying.

A couple of weeks ago, I needed to rent a pickup truck. So on a Thursday morning I went to U-Haul’s web site, put in my information including the fact that I wanted to pick the truck up two days later on Saturday morning. I received an immediate reservation email which said someone would call me back within an hour to confirm, and someone did. I went in Saturday to pick the truck up and as they were completing the paperwork and getting the key, another individual came in to ask about renting a truck. They were all booked up and didn’t have any available. I commented to the U-Haul employee that I reserved my rental through the web and got a call back to confirm; that it was nice and I appreciated the convenience. His reply was, “Yeah, it’s pretty slick when it works.” I didn’t realize, not being in the habit of doing of lot of renting, that it would not work.

I have a Flickr photo sharing account and ordered some prints this weekend, designating the local Target store as the place where I would like to pick them up. The web site said the photo department at Target opens at 9:00 and that the photos would be ready in one hour. I had some errands to do and arrived at Target three hours later to pick up my photos. Unfortunately, their photo processor was out for the day and my pictures would not be ready until the following day. I remembered the U-Haul rep’s comment, “It’s pretty slick when it works.” The problem is, people are involved, not just computers. Computers can do their bit, but then people have to carry out their part to make it look “slick”.

The U-Haul rep’s comment is applicable to many things about the online age, and it also a warning. Whether it’s Internet Explorer, Windows Vista, wireless networking, cell phones, cd’s you burned, online banking, online reservations, etc. It’s pretty slick, when it works. The warning being the fact that you should always have a back up plan, and don’t be overly surprised if the online processes don’t work like you expect.

It even applies to my blogging software, which I have been through several frustrations with. It’s pretty slick, when it works.




Many countries celebrate Mother’s Day. In the United States, the holiday was imported from Britain by Julia Ward Howe, composer of the song ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’, and was intended to unite women against war. She wrote in 1870 the Mother’s Day Proclamation calling for peace and disarmament.

Though she failed, Howe inspired Ann Jarvis to work for reconciliation between Union and Confederate soldiers. Her daughter Anna Jarvis began the crusade for a memorial day for women after her mother died in 1907.

In 1914, President Wilson declared the first national Mother’s Day, as a day for Americans to honor those mothers whose sons had died in war.

Mother’s Day is the most popular day of the year to dine out.

Tom Rickard writes the comic strip Brewster Rocket. Below is today’s Mother’s Day themed, science fiction themed, (no that’s not an error) comic strip. I thought it was very funny.


Primaries are scheduled in Indiana and North Carolina on May 6. Senator Obama is generally considered the stronger candidate in North Carolina. Therefore, Indiana, which as of right now appears to be a dead heat, will be decisive for Senator Obama. If he wins there, the game is over. If Senator Clinton wins there, then we continue in extra innings. Senator Obama is focusing on Indiana at this moment.

Time for some levity.

Gary, Indiana!
What a wonderful name,
Named for Elbert Gary of judiciary fame.
Gary, Indiana, as a Shakespeare would say,
Trips along softly on the tongue this way–
Gary, Indiana, Gary Indiana, Gary, Indiana,
Let me say it once again.
Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana,

I think Senator Obama would be great as Professor Harold Hill in the Music Man.

Seventy six delegates led the big rally With a hundred and ten electors close at hand They were followed by rows and rows of the finest politicos; the cream of every math tally.

Sorry, the last rhyme was a little weak.

Senator Clinton should adopt the mantra of Dorothy when meeting the Good Witch of the East for the last time; wear red patent leather shoes, click your heals and repeat over and over in a last ditch effort to pick up votes.

“There’s no place like Indiana. There’s no place like Indiana. There’s no place like Indiana.”

Perhaps when she awakens, she’ll be in bed with her husband Bill by her side, along with Chelsea. They’ll tell her that she dreamed of being President and of running for election in Oz. Now she’s awake and George Bush has just been elected for a third term, with Vice-President Arnold Swartzenegger. Hillary – you’ve been having a nightmare. No, Hillary says – you all are having the nightmare!

Terry McAuliffe, Senator Clinton’s campaign manager, said that this will all be over by June 15, as he told David Corn, per Corn’s blog post of April 28.

It’ll be over by June 15, then we’ll wrap this baby up.

Yeah, right.




Supernova is a British television comedy series that ran in 2005 for 6 episodes and in 2006 for another 6 episodes in the U.K. and in Australia. As the name implies, the action is set around a fictional observatory located at Broken Hill, in New South Wales, Australia; and the subject matter is related to the science of astronomy. supernova1

I enjoy British comedies and also am interested in astronomy, so this series was a win-win for me when one of my local PBS stations, WILL-TV, began running the series a few weeks ago, much to the chagrin of my wife who thinks it’s a bit too geeky for her tastes.

The station has a long history of running British sit-com’s as do many local PBS stations. I really enjoy the more subtle, eclectic humor of Supernova.

For example, Paul, the main character is hanging his wet laundry out to dry on a clothes line in the hot Australian outback where the stories take place; as he gets the last piece of laundry hung out to dry he moves back to the other side of the clothes line and begins to take the laundry down he just hung up seconds before, as it is already dry.

Not a big belly laugh there, but funny – silly in a fun way, without being stupid, and that’s the way of the show. Wikipedia describes it as “following Dr Paul Hamilton, a British astronomer, who leaves a dull academic post and disliked girlfriend for a new job at the Royal Australian Observatory, deep in the Australian outback and centering around his difficulties adjusting to life there and among his eccentric fellow astronomers.”

Below is a list of episode titles:

1. The Black Holes
2. God, Are You Out There?
3. When You Wish Upon a Star
4. Venus Rising
5. Unity
6. Where Men Are Men
7. Wild Oats
8. How’s Your Father?
9. Big Red
10. Perseverance
11. Something Wicked This Way Comes
12. May the Best man Win


More information on the cast and episode descriptions can be found at The British Sitcom Guide and at the Internet Movie Database. I searched for DVD’s of the series and could not find where they had been released in the U.S. I did find a site in the U.K. that was advertising series 1 for sale. I just wanted to put in a plug for the show. It’s a bit quirky, but funny, and it’s not often one gets to see a comedy show where the topic of astronomy is a background theme. Look for it on your local PBS station.



My son told me of this humor blog that has a post entitled “Top 10 Trek Annoyances” and “Borg”. I selected two of the ten annoyances to post. A portion of the Borg post follows. You can read the other eight annoyances at the Frogstar blog. The Annoyances link is below.

8. Reversing the Polarity.
For cripes sake Giordi, stop reversing the polarity of everything! It might work once in a while, but usually it just screws things up. I have it on good authority that the technicians at Starbase 12 HATE that. Every time the Enterprise comes in for its 10,000 hour checkup, they’ve gotta go through the whole damned ship fixing stuff. “What happened to the toilet in Stateroom 3?”

“Well, the plumbing backed up, and Giordi thought he could fix it by reversing the polarity.”

2. The Holodeck.
I mean, it’s cool and all. But do you really believe that people would use it to re-create Sherlock Holmes mysteries and old-west saloons? Come on, we all know what the holodeck would be used for. And we also know what the worst job on the Enterprise would be: Having to squeegie the holodeck clean.

The next one I thought was also pretty funny. I’ll post a few sentences and then you can read the remainder at his blog.

Borg Humor 

“Star Trek Lost Episodes” transcript:

“Mr. LaForge, have you had any success with your attempts at
finding a weakness in the Borg? And Mr. Data, have you been able to access
their command pathways?”

“Yes, Captain. In fact, we found the answer by searching through
our archives on late Twentieth-century computing technology.”

“What the hell is ‘Microsoft’?”

“Allow me to explain. We will send this program, for some reason called ‘Windows’,
through the Borg command pathways. Once inside their root command unit,
it will begin consuming system resources at an unstoppable rate.”

“But the Borg have the ability to adapt. Won’t they alter their
processing systems to increase their storage capacity?”

“Yes, Captain. But when ‘Windows’ detects this, it creates a new
version of itself known as an ‘upgrade’. The use of resources increases
exponentially with each iteration. The Borg will not be able to adapt
quickly enough. Eventually all of their processing ability will be taken
over and none will be available for their normal operational functions.”

For the remainder of the post, see this link:

Just so I make proper credit here, the Frogstar blog appears to be the creation of a guy named Jeff Goebel. He has other funny links and posts on his blog, only a geek could love.

I’ll always remember that line from the Hudson & Landry comedy routine, “Ajax Liquor Store”, which thirty-seven years ago was played extensively on AM radio. In fact I heard it often on my first radio of which I wrote about on January 22. Bob Hudson & Ron Landry were radio disc jockey’s who did some comedy on radio as well as television.

The routine can be found on You Tube here:

Listening to it is a nice break before having to go back tomorrow on Monday.

Here are a couple of other of their routines:

Ajax Airlines

Ajax Pet Store

I have a confession to make. I am addicted to espresso drinks, specifically the cafe mocha’s sold at the Barnes & Noble cafes. I have also been known to drink Borders mocha’s as well. One day while at lunch in a Borders store, I held in my hand a large cafe mocha just purchased a few minutes earlier. Either the top wasn’t secured onto the cup or I bumped my elbow (it all happened so fast); anyway, I ended up with about 12 ounces of the 20 ounce drink on my nicely pressed white shirt. As a side note, Barnes & Noble’s large mocha espresso drink is called a venti, which is Italian for twenty.

I quit wearing ties at the time and just wore dress shirts with the collar open. Still, I had a problem, not the least of which was exiting the Borders store without anyone seeing the large chocolate splash on my chest. I was so embarrassed that I quickly left in a straight line for the door and got into my car. If I went back to work like this, the guys would literally tease me to death. It would not be forgotten.

Fortunately, I had dry cleaning to pick up and it was sort of on the way back to work. I get there and Vince, the owner, says hello. I tell him that I want to pick up my dry cleaning, use his office around the corner to change into a clean shirt and then drop off my mocha stained shirt for cleaning. He agrees! No problem, help yourself he says. I change in his office while he is out waiting on customers. The only shirt I have in my pick up is a Ralph Lauren solid blue shirt with a Polo logo on it. I thank Vince excitedly and head back to work.

I get to work and say nothing. But no one notices. My subordinate sitting outside my office says nothing. My boss in the office next to me says nothing. My former boss and good friend says nothing. Even one of the women in my work team who likes to tease me for the smallest thing, says nothing. No one noticed I had a white shirt on in the a.m. and a blue shirt on in the p.m. So I had to do no explaining at all!

It was about this time that I figured it was time to look for another job, closer to home. I was glad no one noticed my white shirt change into a blue shirt (could have been a brown shirt!); on the other hand, I was also a little disappointed. I really liked the job I had then and the people I worked with, however, I like my current position much more and the sixty minute commute is only seven and a half minutes now. It’s not the first nor the last time I had a cafe mocha ‘adverse experience’, but it was the record for the most embarrassing. Hopefully a record that won’t be broken, but I’ll keep trying.

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