Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Physics Lesson

Took my first fall this morning. No damage to me or (more importantly) my bike other than fine-grit sand everywhere. The northwest portion of Michigan's lower peninsula is infamous for its talcum-powder sand that can swallow an entire bicycle and rider whole without even a belch. This morning I discovered they have that stuff down here, too. My first mistake was a wrong turn down a dead-end while trying to enlarge my route a tad. The second was leaving the blacktop while setting up for a quick U-turn. The bicycle stopped dead and I... well.... Let's just say that while airborne, I heard my high school physics teacher's voice in my head: "A body in motion tends to stay in motion until it meets an opposing force." Like the ground.

Anyway. The only casualty was my dignity. We'll see how I feel in the morning, but so far no bruises or twinges.

Speaking of being outside, today is the summer solstice. Our low temperature at six o'clock this morning was 79 degrees. Yea, it's summer all right. In Florida, dripping with sweat is not metaphorical.

Here's a question: when I was a kid and the phone book was the only way to find someone, we got one phone book every two years. We've lived here for less than a year and I just tripped over the fifth phone book we've had dropped on our doorstep. I don't know about anyone else, but I haven't cracked a phone book in a decade. When our congresscritters are so concerned with the environment that they make incandescent light bulbs illegal, why is someone (or someones) dropping a forest of flat dead trees on my doorstep every couple months that I never asked for and have no need for? If Al Gore would like something useful to work on, have him give me a call.

Flash mobs are discovered by the criminal class. I'm sure this will end well:

The same technologies that for years have brought together the mostly benign and goofy "flash mobs," in which groups suddenly break into dance at a mall or stumble around like zombies at train stations, is being used to plan and execute bold robberies.

I don't know that "bold" is the correct adjective to describe a bunch of kids mobbing a party store to steal chips and beer. Maybe when a flash mob robs Tiffany's or Saks. Or a bank.

The Misery Index (inflation added to unemployment) is back up where it was when I was a college freshman 28 years ago. But the stock market is up!

It's not just children who believe in Santa Claus:

A restructuring of Greece's 340 billion euro ($481.5 billion) debt is not on the agenda and would damage the country's credibility on bond markets, the European Union's internal markets commissioner said on Saturday.

So no restructuring or write-down on a debt that can never be repaid. OK. Hope Santa has a big frackin' bag of Euros to stuff down someone's chimney.

I'm not a scientist, but I'm pretty sure that making up your data is frowned upon. Oh wait! Not when you're a climate scientist. My bad.

Opportunity has passed 19 miles and is a bit under two miles from Endeavour crater. It should get there later this year. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that it has something left once it arrives. It would suck if it got there so broken down it can only snap a few pictures.

A man self-immolated in our old stomping grounds up in Keene, New Hampshire. Yet another man persecuted beyond his endurance by our government. I trust everyone understands that when the pendulum swings back, it will be beyond ugly.

Parenting advice from Cracked magazine:

7 Things 'Good Parents' Do (That Screw Up Kids for Life)
5 Horrific Ways Bad Parents Turn Their Kids into Good Money
5 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Make Kids Smarter

None of which are safe for work unless your employer isn't a prude about the Seven Dirty Words. Funny thing is, the advice is a good deal less goofy than most of what one finds in "serious" parenting magazines.

And that should do it for the day. Off to make some dinner; baked beans and kielbasa with added brown sugar and barbeque sauce, all bubbling away in the slow cooker for a couple hours. Mmmmm!

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