Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Men? Happier?

(This is old stuff, been around the horn a few times, but some of them still make me smile.)

Men Are Just Happier People

What do you expect from such simple creatures?

Your last name stays put.
The garage is all yours.
Wedding plans take care of themselves.
Chocolate is just another snack.
You can be President.
You can never be pregnant.
You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.
You can wear NO shirt to a water park.
Car mechanics tell you the truth.
You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.
You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
Same work, more pay.
Wrinkles add character.
Graying hair adds attraction.
Wedding dress~$5000. Tux rental~$100.
People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them.
The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected.
New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
One mood all the time.
Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
You know stuff about tanks.
A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
You can open all your own jars.
You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.
Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
You almost never have strap problems in public.
You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
Everything on your face stays its original color.
The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
You only have to shave your face and neck.
You can play with toys all your life.
Your belly usually hides your big hips.
One wallet and one pair of shoes one color for all seasons.
You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.
You can 'do' your nails with a pocket knife.
You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.
You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.

No wonder men are happier.

(Maybe they still make me smile because there's so much truth in some stereotypes...)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Can you stand one more carved cake?

Here's what the artist says about it:

"I won't bore you with the laundry list of problems I had with this cake, but I will say it was a definite rush job. It took three rectangular cakes, two circle cakes, and two speheres. I stacked them all together, and carved the "turkey" shape... I should say "turkey-ish." I carved a cake a couple of weeks ago, but, pardon the pun, this one really takes the cake. It was much, much more difficult. Maybe next time (assuming there is a next time!) it will look more like a turkey."

My response? "The only way the next one could possibly look more like a turkey is if it were to take off and fly around the barnyard!"

I can just imagine slicing into that thing expecting white meat, and getting cake!

(I think I'd be disappointed.)


Friday, November 16, 2007

Pilot talk

One of my old (literally) navy flying buddies forwarded me this in an email that's making the rounds. You may have seen it.

But if you're not a pilot, much of it will be meaningless. As a former F-4 phantom pilot, the first one has special significance to me.


AIRSPEED - Speed of an airplane. (Deduct 25% when listening to a retired fighter pilot.)

BANK - The folks who hold the lien on most pilots' cars.

CARBURETOR ICING - A phenomenon reported to the FAA by pilots immediately after they run out of gas.

CONE OF CONFUSION - An area about the size of New Jersey located near the final approach beacon at an airport.

CRAB - A VFR Instructor's attitude on an IFR day.

DEAD RECKONING - You reckon correctly, or you are.

DESTINATION - Geographical location 30 minutes beyond the pilot's bladder saturation point.

ENGINE FAILURE - A condition that occurs when all fuel tanks mysteriously become filled with low-octane air.

FIREWALL - Section of the aircraft specifically designed to funnel heat and smoke into the cockpit.

FLIGHT FOLLOWING - Formation flying.

GLIDE DISTANCE - Half the distance from an airplane to the nearest emergency landing field.

HOBBS - An instrument which creates an emergency situation should it fail during dual instruction.

HYDROPLANE - An airplane designed to land long on a short and wet runway.

IFR - A method of flying by needle and horoscope.

LEAN MIXTURE - Nonalcoholic beer.

MINI MAG LITE - Device designed to support the AA battery industry.

NANOSECOND - Time delay between the Low Fuel Warning light and the onset of carburetor icing.

PARACHUTES - The two chutes in a Stearman.

PARASITIC DRAG - A pilot who bums a ride and complains about the service.

RANGE - Usually about 3 miles short of the destination.

RICH MIXTURE - What you order at another pilot's promotion party.

ROGER - Used when you're not sure what else to say.

SECTIONAL CHART - Any chart that ends 25 NM short of your destination.

SERVICE CEILING - Altitude at which cabin crew can serve drinks.

SPOILERS - FAA Inspectors.

STALL - Technique used to explain to the bank why your car payment is late.

STEEP BANKS - Banks that charge pilots more than 10% interest.

TURN & BANK INDICATOR - An instrument largely ignored by pilots.

USEFUL LOAD - Volumetric capacity of the aircraft, disregarding weight.

VOR - Radio navigation aid, named after the VORtex effect on pilots trying to home in on it.

WAC CHART - Directions to the Army female barracks.

YANKEE - Any pilot who has to ask New Orleans tower to "Say again".

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Since you asked...

Several readers wondered how long that Slumber Party cake (below) took to make.

Here's what the maker wrote me:

"I baked the cakes (three of them) on Thursday, and started work on filling and decorating at 7:30 Friday morning. I called it quits around 4:00 Friday afternoon! I made the girl, the bunny slippers, and overnight bag Wednesday night, and it's a good thing I did. The party started at 6:00 Friday evening, and was 45 minutes away!"

(Just thought you'd like to know.)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A carved cake?

Remember the pictures of the cake with the FBI Academy emblem on it?

You know...THIS one.

Well, that cake's creator has now delved into the realm of carved cakes. She sent me pictures of the one she did this week for a six-year-old's slumber party. You've gotta see this cake!

So, here it is:

Yes, that's a cake! I know it looks like a girl sleeping, but this was for a SLUMBER party, remember?

Here's a closer look at some details. First the bunny slippers and the popcorn:

Then, from the other side of the bed comes the overnight bag:

And finally, a closer look at the sleeper's face. Don't you love the details? Can't you hear the snores?

I told the cake's creator that I found it quite ironic that her masterpiece depicted the ONE activity least likely to ever take place at a slumber party.

She told me that the kids thought it was okay... but the parents all loved it!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A week late for Halloween, but . . .

How'd you like to meet this guy in a dark alley?

We found him scooting across the 17th green on a golf course. This is not your standard hazard, like a sand bunker or pond.

Don't ask what that big fat hairy body is for. I assume it's to store up all the poison he uses to bite and kill people.

Carol, a lot braver than her husband, got down to look him eye to eye.

But when he got really close, she took up her putter and exited towards the next tee. Sorta high-steppin', she was.

Blame her?

Friday, November 02, 2007

That’s my daughter!

I have two, actually. I’m extremely proud of both, but I’m going to write about just one of them today.

Both of my girls are extremely smart, capable, attractive, and productive members of society. All of those attributes they got from their mother. However, both have also acquired over the years some of their father’s sense of humor (??) and willingness to attempt pretty much anything on the off chance that they might pull it off. Sometimes they succeed.

A few weeks ago, daughter Christina related in her blog the story of her exploding toilet. (I am NOT making this up. You can read about it HERE.)

What she didn’t relate was her repair job.

Before doing anything she called me to ask for advice. We discussed calling a plumber: what that would cost, how long it might take, and so on. I told her she could do the repair herself! I could even talk her through it long distance.

Emboldened, she went to her local home improvement store and bought the entire innards for the top tank. (Note: "innards" is a technical term, but most home improvement store employees do recognize it.)

She called me and said, "Okay, where do I start?"

We determined that the water was shut off. I had her disconnect the supply line from the tank fitting. She was able to get her adjustable pliers on the nut that holds the water intake valve and float mechanism, and loosen it. Once it was off, all the innards came out with no problem.

Her new innards came with instructions and pictures, so she hung up the phone to have both hands free for the installation.

Here's the reason for my pride: the only other call I received was her question about adjusting the water level after everything was put back together!

She told me it didn't even leak!

They ALWAYS leak!

I don't know if it's just pride, or if there isn't a little jealousy mixed in.

Way to go, Christina!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Yet another work rant

For the past 24 years the plant where I work has required that all workers on our plant site be able to speak, understand and read English.

Yes, that's legal. We don't have an "English only" rule that everyone must speak English all the time, or anything like that. It's just that all of our safety signs, policies and procedures are written in English. If this refinery-type plant were to have a release of chlorine (the worst-case event at our site) we have to be able to communicate quickly and understandably the location and quantity of the release, the wind direction, and whether workers should evacuate or shelter in place.

Many (actually most) of our employees speak at least a little Spanish (or what we locally call "Tex-Mex," a colloquial idiomatic Spanish "dialect."). Even I understand enough to know when I'm being referred to as an asshole (culero, pronounced "cool arrow") or worse. Yeah, it happens. Some even call me that in English when I do or say something unpopular.

Whatever. Sticks and stones, y'know?

But now, in 2007, we may no longer be able to require English proficiency.

Why not? Because we're starting some construction projects staffed by employees of contract firms, and although those firms used to be able to provide English-proficient employees, they now tell us they no longer can do so. In this area, people skilled in bricklaying, scaffolding, welding, and other trades are predominantly Hispanic. And many do not speak or read English.

There just aren't enough English-proficient people around with the skills we need.

So in order to allow them to work on projects in the plant we must either provide a full-time bilingual "escort," OR we must provide signage, instructions and training in Spanish. It's not a legal issue; it's being forced on us by the marketplace.

Seems to me that ought to be some kind of commentary on our times, or our system, or our education, or something . . . but I'm not sure exactly what.