Monday, May 30, 2011

A line of idiots

Often what some see as a wonderful panacea or convenience becomes an irritant to others. A boon that many gravitate to just leaves others scratching their heads. I have one such pet peeve, the drive-thru.

No matter where I go, someone has thought that putting a drive-thru into their business model makes good sense. I respectively disagree (while I laugh at you). I might agree there are some limited versions of drive-thrus that may make sense. There are many beverage drive-thrus in my area. It is convenient simply because there are few lines to wait in. However this trick has been bastardized to the absurd.

If no one is waiting in line or you are the next car in the procession, slipping into the parade at McDonald's I think is generally okay. Where I draw the line is being too lazy to slide into a parking spot and walk into the restaurant. Is is really okay to sit in a line of ten to fifteen cars just because you don't want to walk twenty feet to the door? I often play the game of seeing how many cars I beat going into the restaurant. More often than not I am back out before many of those in the car line. It seems what was likely a secondary line has turned into the primary line.

The most absurd drive-up I know of isn't even a drive-up. There is a national chain grocery store near my work that has a walk-up pharmacy phone and delivery tube. The sidewalk is so wide the tube can not be approached by car. Who thought this was a good idea. The customer stands next to the building outside, picks up the phone and deposits their request in the delivery tube, no windows or anything looking into the building. Guess what? On the other side of the block wall is the pharmacy. I just wonder who thinks this is such a boon to their personal time that they would rather do business this way than walk into the building and up to the counter? Likely those who use it are so busy chain-smoking they can't put down the butt to go inside.

I can't wait until I go to Home Depot to see if they can help me with twenty bags of mulch through a drive-thru window. I just know it's coming!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's all in the delivery

Many times what you like or dislike is predicated not only on what you know but often how the material is delivered. We are inundated on a daily, weekly basis with messages from all over. Many of them are corporate driven such as advertisements for products and services. Why do you remember some but not others. It's all in the delivery.

Then there are those things on a more personal level. Perhaps it is religion and faith. Perhaps it is work related. Religion is a funny thing. I likely remember more religious teachings from the nuns and lay-teachers at my Catholic high school than I do from all the priests rolled together. Those of us who have had numerous chiefs at work or in the corporate world likely perform better under some than others. Maybe it is the dedication of some verses the demeanor of another. Some just deliver a better message.

A case in point happened for me several months ago. It was close to St. Patrick's Day and I was thinking about doing something that I shall not currently disclose, as it could happen at a later time. I was scouting around for Irish music when I came across the lyrics for "Danny Boy". It is a beloved tune that has become the anthem of Ireland. For me, I have often thought it was completely over hyped and though I have some green blood, it never pulled on the heart-strings.

Then it happened. I stumbled across that song sung by a group I have only heard in name. They are Celtic Woman. They have several versions and each one makes me go jumpy. In the past, I have only heard this sung by male Irish tenors. To be honest, they pale in comparison to the sounds of Celtic Woman. I sat there for nearly half-an-hour replaying the song from YouTube. I couldn't get away from it. Now most know I am not a musical person by nature but I know what I like. Celtic Woman evokes a different meaning from within the same lyrics I have heard all my life.

So, at some time if you ever think there is a deeper message than the one you are getting, perhaps listen to a different source. Sometimes it's all in the delivery.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Many years ago when I was just a young lad endeavoring to test myself on the athletic fields, one of the many rules was...not to drink water during practice. Yep, kiddies. That's right. Take salt tablets to retain water but no water to replenish your lost stores. That was the way of things. Some sports were not as dramatic but in football, that was the rule.

Now, in this day and age there has been an entirely new turn on how we water ourselves. We drag bottles of water all over God's creation. We take it shopping, driving, walking and virtually everywhere we go. You can't walk down the street without watching half the population chugging bottles of water. There are also an assortment of sports drinks and energy drinks to keep us from terminal dehydration. My question is, why?

Why do we drag all this water around? Are we afraid of spontaneous dehydration? Will we crumble and dry into a powdery residue if we don't have our pint bottle of hydro? Since when can we not walk four blocks or drive to the grocery store without a gallon of hydration? How many times have you come across someone who believes they ran the equivalent of a marathon by just walking across a parking lot? They take a deep breath, wipe the sweat off their brow and down the dew. The time has come to poke a hole in our bottles or leave them behind all together.

For some reason I can't imagine Beloved Father slurping on a water bottle all day long. A nip at a flask perhaps. It's time to free ourselves from the curse of dihydro-monoxide and regain the use of both hands.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Unofficially Official

In marked contrast to Robert T's thoughtful posting of yesterday concerning the heavens and the cosmos, I am delving into something a bit more local.

If perception is reality, and if there is a kernel of truth in every stereotype, should you ever decide to relocate from your current residence to another of the numerous suburbs around Columbus, please note the following guide to the Unofficially Official Slogans for many of the various communities as an aide to help you take your decision. Some of these communities have more than one UOS.

Blacklick: You need a map to find us! (OR) We're nowhere near Blacklick Woods!

Bexley: We are Old Money.

Brice: Watch your speed!

Canal Winchester: Hey! Don't forget about us down here!

Dublin: We're Dublin. You're not.

Gahanna: Gateway to New Albany!

Galloway: Home to perennially losing sports teams!

Grandview Heights: More and wealthier gays than German Village!

Grove City: Grovetucky

Groveport: Grovetucky East, with less money and more double-wides!

Hilliard: We're right next to Dublin! (OR) You can see Dublin from here!

Marble Cliff: Highest percentage of wealthy single people around!

New Albany: Les Wexner lives here. You can't afford to.

Obetz: Who thought up that name?

Pataskala: Grovetucky Farther East!

Pickerington: Where high school sports rule!

Powell: Newer money than Dublin! And less snooty!

Reynoldsburg: Birthplace of the tomato! (Seriously, that is their actual slogan.)

Riverlea: We're not part of Worthington! (yet)

Upper Arlington: We're New Money. (depending upon your point of view) Uppity Arlington (OR) Up Your Arlington

Whitehall: We used to be better! (OR) Where did everybody go?

West Jefferson: Our football team is good again!

Worthington: We're almost Upper Arlington!

Westerville: You can finally get a drink here!

In addition to the above, there are a number of other, very small communities that are considered suburbs of Columbus, but none of them are distinctive enough to merit their own slogan.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A brief moment in time

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Okay, and then what? Physicist Stephen Hawking recently gave an interview in which he believes there is no afterlife. Heaven is nothing more than a fairy tale for people who are afraid of the dark. (Not a direct quote but close enough.)

He bases his thoughts on the philosophy that science is the end-all, be-all, so to speak. In the end science will win out. How can we expect an afterlife as we are such an insignificant speck in the cosmos. Everything must be proved by science. Science has taught us a great deal from when we as a species looked up at the stars and wondered. The earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old. That is a difficult number for most of us to wrap our brains around. 4.5 billion. But it does give us a quantifiable number. The universe is 13.6 billion years old. Another number hard to define but it is in perspective due to the 4.5.

But what came before that? What was around 20 billion, 50 billion or 100 billion years ago? Is this the only universe that has ever taken hold? Has the universe constantly expanded and collapsed again upon itself to expand once again? At some point there was a trigger to start it all. In essence, that trigger was the first heartbeat for us all. It is the spark of life as we know it. It is no different than the spark which started our own hearts; creation is life.

I am a scientific being as well, however I do not hold myself up as such an intellect as he. I believe science is a way to prove the existence of ourselves. But much of what we believe has no proof, it only has hypotheses from which we draw logical conclusions. We believe in dark matter yet we have no specific proof. We believe in the 'big bang' but that theory is based on observation of our physical surroundings. Stellar background radiation is a remnant but it is only a clue. The rest is theory, hypothesis and conjecture.

I do not begrudge him his opinion. I just don't share it. We are an insignificant speck but we are the only speck we know of. At some point in our time I believe we will find other life in the heavens. Perhaps that will be the heaven some seek but it is a heaven never-the-less. Then maybe we can see what heaven thinks of us. As Jack Ryan said, God started it all. Somewhere along the line he put a soul in man and at some point he will end it.

Perhaps He is the trigger for the big bang. Why not? Science will get us closer to the answers but even science can't explain everything.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Primer for Graybeard

Since Graybeard has entered the brave new world of the internet, at his advanced age, I thought I would provide a brief primer for this blog to enable him to get up to speed.

After he takes his morning dose of Geritol.

First of all, this is a place of civil discourse (see his first comment on the previous post). Typing in all caps is the web equivalent of shouting. If you cannot hear yourself or others talk, either learn to read lips or get a better hearing aid.

You will see references to various people in this blog, each of whom has a nom de web, as supplied by either myself or Robert T.

As the eldest of the clan, and since it is a matching physical description, you are Graybeard. Your first younger brother is The Stache, I am North of 50, next in line is the aforementioned Robert T, followed by Baby Sis. A newer addition to the family is Brother 5. I will leave it to you to decipher that one.

Beloved Father and Sainted Mother are our parents (primers are ever so pedantic at times).

Robert T has his Beloved; I have Mrs North (among other appellations), along with Wonderful Daughter, her husband Eric the Tall, and their children World's Greatest Grandson #1, World's Greatest Granddaughter #1 (and soon to appear: WGGD #2!). There is also Handsome Son, and Dearest Kelley.

Baby Sis is married to Mr Krinkles, and they have together birthed Miracle Baby, Bigfoot, MegaByte, and Princess Drama Queen, and reside in the Land of Fruits and Nuts, appropriately.

Robert T's grandson is Ragin' Cage, and he also spends time with his great nephews, a pair of twin boys who look as if they are descended from WWII-era Soviet generals, although I cannot recall their Russian names. And I still cannot tell them apart, despite seeing them often.

Others have made appearances in these hallowed web pages, and undoubtedly new characters will appear as well.

Happy to have you aboard, Eldest Brother.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Truth be damned

Every once in awhile a photograph that captures a national moment is destined to become iconic. Recently released was the photo of the president and advisers watching and awaiting the outcome of Seal Team 6's assault on bin laden's compound. The visual is a classic reminiscent of photos from the past often seen in Life magazine. (Life has always been one of my favorites.)

Unfortunately one news organization that published the photo decided to change it. The Hasidic newspaper Der Tzitung decided to edit the image of Hillary Clinton out of the picture as well as another woman due to their religious beliefs. Apparently seeing the image of any woman causes them to have uncontrollable thoughts of infidelity. I applaud them for sticking to their beliefs, however that in itself causes more controversy.

Any newspaper no matter their politics or beliefs can not be alter anything of substance they publish. Der Tzitung has in effect lied to their readers by altering the truth. Well, it's just a photo you say. It is more than that. What else have they altered due to their beliefs? And it's not just this paper. I would have a hard time believing any news organization who 'doctors' news output based on their beliefs. I understand, all news is slanted to some degree depending on who is doing the telling of the tale, so to speak.

In some respects CNN, MSNBC, Fox and all the rest teeter on the brink in what they offer to the public. However in most cases they are mid-stream reporters who stick to the facts and offer a type of interpretation. To go out of your way to photoshop out people in a photograph not only crosses the line but calls into question the credibility of the news organization.

for whatever reason, religious publications always seem to be the most flagrant violators of truth. Likely because they only want their truth to be told, not anyone else's.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The End of the World

(research project for MegaByte: Skeeter Davis)

Why does the sun go on shining?
Why does the sea rush to shore?
Don't they know it's the end of the world?

Graybeard got the internet!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Off the tee

With my schedule at work I tend to lead a very busy life with little time to indulge myself with other activities not directly related to My Beloved and the upkeep of home and hearth. Yesterday however, I was able to take advantage of a day away and enjoy the ultimate man vs self sport of golf. I was able to have this experience with several noted players, North, Handsome Son and Eric the Tall. With the weather in this part of the world it was notably a sloppy mess.

Golf in and of itself is a fun time. I don't take it too seriously because I stink at it. I have not shot a true round of golf, keeping score and everything in nearly five years. I do play once a year at a benefit tourney with Graybeard and it is the only opportunity I get onto a course. That however is a scramble and you don't really keep score. It's a group score. So much the better for me.

As I have played and studied the game there are several rules that I have learned. They are as follows:
The distance the sphere will travel is inversely proportional to the amount of intended force applied.
The slope of a putting green can not be gauged by the normal processes of human optics.
The arc of a perfect pendulum swing produces a spin on the orbital mass resulting in a 45 degree vector from the intended path.
I will lose more balls than I will find.
I'm a nature guy. I enjoy a good walk in the woods.
The cart path is seventy-five yards away from where my ball landed.

All of these are axioms I have discovered while enjoying this game. I am quite sure others have experienced the same and other wonders of this magnificent sport. My ultimate goal is to one day play the left side of a golf course. Until then, keep your putter dry and an eye peeled for the beer cart.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A collective sigh

I hadn't actually planned to write about this subject today. I had something else on my mind, but the world can change quickly and sometimes irreparably.

Late in the night the president told the nation the news of bin laden's death. As the news traveled quickly it was obvious that many were filled with joy and the celebration began. I turned the news off and rolled over and went to sleep. Tomorrow would be another day.

Although I am removed from the direct results of 911 (anywhere near ground zero, the pentagon or PA) I am not immune to its effects. I take pride in this country and what we as a people have achieved. No, we're not perfect and will never be. I do not begrudge those who celebrated in the news, especially those directly affected. What I live with are the incidentals of the aftereffects. I took no comfort in his death.

Many will say it is a good day. Others will say it will only inspire the radicals to do more harm to the U.S. I say, it will cause no more danger than we previously faced. Radical elements are just that and will use any excuse to do harm to others. I don't think our situation will change in the least with bin laden's death. What may happen is those elements may splinter more but that doesn't mean they will be any less dangerous. Only time and stable governments in the Middle East will lead to those groups demise. That is something I don't see happening in the near future.

To those who celebrated I say enjoy yourself. A menace has been removed from the world and that in itself is something to be thankful about.