Things I Know

I like to take pictures. Sometimes, I take good ones, like the one at the top of this blog. I took that. I’m trying to learn Photoshop Elements 11. I have the software and I have a book. I’ve looked up tutorials on too, but I’d like to find a tutorial that would take you through the program while beginning at a place that will allow you to start editing photos right away. That way, you don’t forget the first thing you learned while picking up the seventh. I’m open to suggestions.

By the way, the biggest step you can take to gain a reputation as a good photographer is to not show anyone your bad pictures.

If you live on the west coast, the nearest Dunkin Donuts store is not in Missouri anymore. It’s in Salt Lake City Utah.

If I ever open a funeral home, I’ll call it Mammoth—that’s Mammoth Undertaking.

I didn’t watch the Discovery Channel while Nik Walenda was wire-walking across the Grand Canyon. It was a risk-reward thing for me, as it was for Mr. Walenda. Of course, for him, the potential for both risk and reward were much greater. I would have hated to see him die on live TV, but I would have been only mildly pleased to watch him succeed, so I didn’t watch. But one thing I did like: during the crossing, someone tweeted that not only did the video remind him he was afraid of heights, it also reminded him that he was afraid of widths.

I don’t follow professional hockey at all, but congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks on their Stanley Cup victory. The NHL has the coolest sports trophy tradition ever, though. Each player on the winning team gets custody of the cup for a while. They can take it home, or take it out to parties, just to show it to their friends. I imagine you could score a free beer or two if you showed up at the local sports bar with the Stanley Cup.

There’s an old joke among IT workers that if you search Google for the search term “Google” something awful will happen. You’ll break the Internet or send Google into a programming loop from which it cannot exit, or get a screen of death in some color other than blue. None of those things will happen, but you will get over 10 billion hits, so don’t do it unless you’re looking for something to read for several lifetimes to come.

Speaking of the dreaded blue screen of death, it’s been about a year-and-a-half since I looked for the t-shirt on and progress has been made. You can now buy on etsy, and maybe elsewhere too, “Blue Screen of Death” T-shirts in 18 colors (it used to be 14) but still only three (it used to be three) are shades of blue.

And, it’s been a lot more than 18 months since I’ve seen a real blue screen of death in its native habitat. Do you think they are extinct?

Remember when M&M candies advertised that they melt in your mouth, not in your hands? Well, now Hershey’s has a product called Air Delight and Hershey’s advertises that it melts fast while you’re eating it. I wish somebody would make up their mind.

Things I Know

If you think you can get a carpet cleaned, ripping one up after it’s been on the floor for years and years will convince you otherwise. Last one I ripped up had at least enough dirt under it to fill a good-sized flower pot.

I was looking at car rentals on, a company that could stand to update its website. According to Priceline, examples of a premium or luxury car in my neighborhood include Mercury Marquis, Lincoln Town Car and the ubiquitous “Or Similar.” Fine, except I can’t think of any other large, rear-wheel drive, American-made cars that haven’t been manufactured in two (Town Car) or three (Marquis) years.

So it has been proclaimed throughout the land that Kim Kardasian’s daughter is named North West. At least the child won’t grow up directionless. It has also been proclaimed that her nickname will be Nori. Perhaps that will be reconsidered since Nori is Japanese seaweed.

My wife, Saint Karen, who has to be a saint to put up with me, can blink, but she can’t wink. She can stick out her tongue too, but she can’t roll it.

I’ve seen Home Depot stores all over the country. Most of them have overhangs at the front of the store. Generally, the stores keep shopping carts and hand trucks under the overhang. Not the one where I usually shop. They keep gas grills, plants, sheds, etc., under there and they take up dozens of parking spaces in the lot storing the carts. They use enough of the parking spaces this way that it’s getting to be a hassle to shop there.

Flickr was recently revamped. I’d like to suggest another improvement. You can drag and drop pictures from your computer to your browser to upload them to Flickr. I’d love it if you could drag and drop pictures within Flickr to rearrange them both in your photo stream and in your sets.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

If I were in charge of Microsoft Excel, I’d make the height and width of the cells in the spreadsheets in the same units. Then, if the column width was 6 and the column height was 6, each cell would be square. It’s so logical I wonder why Microsoft doesn’t do that.

Shouldn’t we say “mathematic” (no “s”)? I mean we use the word as singular, not plural.

Here’s a question for car companies. You’ve already designed the hook that’s over the back window so it won’t accept a coat hanger. Why don’t you just eliminate the hook on both sides of the car and make yourselves maybe an extra dime of profit? I know you wouldn’t make the car a dime cheaper, so I didn’t bother to suggest that.

Do you like to stick your head out the window of a moving car? Neither do I, so why does your dog like it so much?

If I can find and buy a race horse named “Nobody,” can I clean up on stud fees when nobody wins the Triple Crown?

When toddlers try on a new (for them) curse word for the first time, they always pronounce the word clearly and use it in the correct context. I wonder where they get it from, don’t you?

Why is it you can modify some Facebook posts, but only delete others?

Where did I leave my car keys? No, really. Exactly where? I know they’re in the woods somewhere near Stony Point NY and I know I’ll never find them, but those car keys and those remote key fobs are mad expensive—more than a subsidized smart phone.

Things I Know

If you net $370.8 Million in the Powerball lottery the way Gloria MacKenzie did, I imagine it would be pretty hard to squander that much money. However, if you’re 84, as Gloria MacKenzie is, I think you should try hard to do so. Mrs. MacKenzie lives, or maybe used to live in Zephyrhills, FL, which is near Tampa. Her son is from Jacksonville, which isn’t near Tampa. Her new attorneys are also from Jacksonville. That leads me to speculate that she is probably relying at least in part on her son to help her plan for the money. I say more good luck to her and to anyone she chooses to be generous to as well.

When my wife heard that the winner is 84, she said, “I hope she has a lot of relatives.” I said, if she didn’t before, she probably does now.”

My daughter deserves to win the big prize in a lottery because she has a good answer to the news conference question, “What are you going to do with the money?” She says she’d reply, “Well, I was thinking about getting a pizza.”

News that the current director of the FBI is retiring soon lead me to wonder how much the FBI director earns. He is a public official, so his salary must be a public record, but in the few minutes I’ve spent looking for it, I couldn’t find it.

“Anyways” isn’t a word.

I get more and more junk mail, or if you prefer direct marketing mailers, that are too thick to put through even a pretty good shredder without opening them. I even got one recently that had two paper clips in it to prevent me from shredding it. Okay direct marketers, you win. I’ll open your junk mail before I shred it, but you still can’t make me read it.

I emailed Linked In, the business networking website, with a suggestion for change. I got two responses, one quickly and the other 13 days later. Neither one was anything more than generic and neither one gave me any confidence that the website will adopt my suggestion.

A guy came up to me in the library the other day and said hi. I had no idea who he was. I may have mentioned that I have a terrible memory for names. My wife tells me I learned her name the third time we met. Turns out the guy who said hi is the man I sold my old Chevy to something like 25 years ago. The car served him well until he wrecked it four years later. So, he didn’t remember me for doing something awful to him. I was flattered and said so.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

Yanira Maldonado, a 42-year-old Mexican-born American citizen, was released from jail in Mexico on Friday. She was charged with smuggling drugs after 12 pounds of marijuana was found under the seat where she was sitting on a bus. Her release came after surveillance video of the bus station showed she wasn’t carrying a package when she boarded the bus. That’s fine, but why did it take a week to look at the video?

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is running for reelection. Have you seen his campaign commercials? If you’re the incumbent and if you’re ahead in the polls, isn’t it unusual to attack your opponent by name, especially six months before the election? Doesn’t that contribute to her name recognition and put her on a more equal footing with the governor in the mind of the public?

Have you ever named your car? My sister used to call our old Jeep “Jeepy Girl.” Not sure why. I have only named one car, a clapped out Plymouth we called “Blue Cloud.” The car was red, but it burned A LOT of oil.

If you sign up for a cell phone contract and get a new phone, the cost of the phone is subsidized, right? So how come if you let the contract expire and don’t renew or get another phone your monthly bill doesn’t go down once the subsidy for your old phone is paid off?

How do Linked-In and Facebook decide who they suggest I might know? I haven’t shared my contacts with either one. Both thought I might know the woman I took to my senior prom. That was a long time ago and while I’m grateful that she’s one of the people who introduced me to my wife, I really only see her at my wife’s class reunions. Linked-In recently told me I might know David Einhorn, the billionaire hedge fund guy who is probably most famous in this area for trying to buy into the NY Mets. I was in a group of 20-25 people introduced to him at a ball game, but I wouldn’t say I know him and I’m a thousand percent sure he wouldn’t say he knows me.