Archive for March, 2009

No Hot Air Please

I was going to write a post about how annoying the hot-air hand dryers in public bathrooms are, and how I wish every restroom offered paper towels as an option at least. But, as is often the case with the internet, someone has already written about it.

If you don’t want to leave Some Blog Site, here are my sentiments: hot-air dryers are bad, paper towels are good, and continuous-roll towels are scary.

If a bathroom has only hot-air dryers, how can you wipe up a spill? Especially if the spill is on the edge of the sink and if you lean against the sink it will soak right into your clothes at sink level and make you look incompetent (okay, that’s the right word) at using a bathroom.

If a bathroom does not have paper towels, what are you going to use to grab the door handle and remain clean of hand? Especially with small children who insist on beating you to the door and touching as much of it as they can before you get there and tell them “Do NOT touch the door. Let me open it. Slow down. No… don’t…I will get the door!

The other option is to stand by the door and wait for someone else to open it as he enters the bathroom so you can slip out before the door closes or at least get your foot in there so you can kick it open the rest of the way.  And hope no one else is watching.

No, I was not this concerned about germs and public places before I got married. I was happily oblivious to the dangers that are out there.

“I shall wash my hands in innocence, And I will go about Your altar, O LORD,”
– Psalm 26:6

Tax Time 2009

Why does it take so long for me to do my taxes? Why am I so unmotivated? It’s not like I don’t have any incentive, as I’m getting a decent refund.

Normally, if someone would say to me “Fill out this form and get these numbers to agree and I’ll give you $500”, I would get that done fairly quickly. I suppose to make the analogy more complete, that person first would have taken $5,000 from me.

I don’t like getting a refund in that it means I gave the government too much money. Every year that I get a refund, I increase my exemption by one. This year, I bumped it up by two since we added a child to the family.

It always made sense to have the exemptions correct so that I don’t give the government an interest-free loan. But now it makes even more sense, what with various states refusing to pay people their refunds. Why give the government an interest-free loan that they might not repay? Why give them more money than you need to, when you might not even get it back?

Another item from tax season: be very careful when buying individual stocks that you do not buy shares of a partnership unless that’s what you really want. Because if you buy shares of a partnership, such as Calumet Specialty Products Partners, then you get a Schedule K and have yet another form to complete for your taxes. So if there is an LP or LLP after the company name when you are looking at ticker symbols, then beware.

Or maybe you like filling out extra forms for your taxes. I, though, was unpleasantly surprised when the K-1 arrived in the mail.

“But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.”
– Matthew 18:25

Chocolate for Breakfast

This is Some Blog Site’s review of chocolate cereals.  Not the traditional chocolate cereals, aimed at children or certain younger siblings, but the newer varieties: normal cereals that have added a chocolate (or chocolatey) twist.

picture of Special K box

picture of Honey Bunches of Oats box

picture of Chex box

Special K Chocolately Delight (SKCD)

Honey Bunches of Oats with real chocolate clusters (HBOwrcc)

Chocolate Chex (CChex)

My results, in order of recommendedness (the first cereal is the most recommended):

  1. HBOwrcc – it has medium taste with the best nutrition
  2. CChex – it has the best taste with the worst nutrition
  3. SKCD – it has the worst taste with the worst nutrition

The descriptive phrase on the Special K box is “chocolatey pieces”: not real chocolate, but some chocolate-like substance.  I tried a piece of chocolatey just by itself, and it didn’t have that much flavor.  The worst part was that it left a waxy coating in my mouth.  It was very disconcerting.  The waxy feeling is not so noticeable while I’m eating the cereal normally (flakes, chocolatey pieces, and milk), but it’s at least in the back of my mind.

HBOwrcc has the
best nutrition

  • 2g of fat
  • 0g sat. fat
  • 150 mg sodium
  • 2g of fiber
  • 7g of sugar
  • 120 calories

CChex has the
worst nutrition

  • 2.5g of fat
  • 0.5g sat. fat
  • 240 mg sodium
  • <1g of fiber
  • 8g of sugar
  • 130 calories

SKCD has the
worst nutrition

  • 2g of fat
  • 2g sat. fat
  • 180 mg sodium
  • 1g of fiber
  • 9g of sugar
  • 120 calories

How can I give two cereals the worst nutrition?  Chex has more sodium and more calories, but Special K has more saturated fat and more sugar.  Which one is worse depends on what your nutrition needs are.  But either one is worse than Honey Bunches of Oats. Note: all nutrition information is based on 3/4 cup for a serving.

The key?  Special K has high fructose corn syrup, whereas Honey Bunches of Oats has just the regular corn syrup.  And Chex has just corn syrup colids but no high fructoseness.  Syrup solids?  Aren’t those mutually exclusive?

He said to me, ‘Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you.’ Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.

Ezekiel 3:3

Special Racers

Our junior-kindergartner participates in the Awana club at our church. He is in the Sparkies group, so last week when the older kids were racing their pinewood cars (AKA Awana Grand Prix), he got to race the Sparkies cars. Since they’re considered too young to be sanding and painting their own cars, the Sparkies bring in a Matchbox- or Hot Wheels-type car of their own choosing.

They race them down a track and it’s an actual competition setup as something like a double-elimination tournament. But they race four cars at a time so it’s a little trickier than that. He got second place in each race. But since he never won a race, he didn’t make it to the finals and was not in the running for a trophy.

Later that week, someone (an uncle, a grandparent, I forget who exactly) was asking him about the race and how he did. The conversation went a little like this:
“How did you do in the race?”
I got second every time, but I didn’t get a trophy.
“Did you get a ribbon or anything?”
Yes, but everyone got a ribbon.
“Well that was nice.”
Even last place got a ribbon.

The tone of his voice for that last statement left no doubt that he was not impressed with the participation ribbon. I wouldn’t expect them to get rid of the participation ribbons, as there may be some other children who cherish theirs.

Our son might not understand the concept of single- or double-elimination tournaments, but he knows that if everyone is special then no one is special.

“And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last.”
– Luke 13:30

Why Not Sell Leno Tickets?

Leno’s free tickets are going for $800 on eBay.

Some people are either lamenting that this person is selling them, and other some other people are ridiculing him – various forms of protest against his actions.

“These tickets were free,” they say, “and were meant for laid-off or unemployed people.  How dare this guy get these tickets, taking these spots away from some honest guy, and sell them!”

The assumption underlying those sentiments is that this seller is some employed person who is living comfortably, has connections to get the tickets, and just wants a quick profit so he can buy himself a second iPod or something.

But let’s allow some benefit of the doubt for this guy.  What if he is laid-off, and he is asking for $800 for these tickets so that he can make his mortgage payment this month?  What if the $800 goes to keep his car from being repossessed and to put food on the table for his kids to eat?

Wasn’t Leno’s purpose to help the needy and discouraged in Detroit?  What better way to help the needy than by letting them possibly profit from it?  Of course, I have no idea if the seller fits that description of needy.

On the other hand, you had to know that some people would take advantage of the free tickets.  Leno’s show did not put any restrictions on who could ask for or get tickets, so they should not be surprised that someone played the system.  If they didn’t want that to happen, they could have put safeguards or restrictions in place so that only those who demonstrated need got tickets, or the tickets were keyed to the person who got them, or etc.

Leno doesn’t lose anything by letting this guy sell the tickets, and the guy is better off too.  The only people who lose are those that would have otherwise gotten the tickets free, but it’s impossible to know who that would have been.  Plus they lost out on seeing a comedy show.  It’s not like they would be hurting without the show and saved with the show.  Sure, a comedy show can help your spirits temporarily, but you need deeper roots than that.  On the other hand, $800 can go a long way.

Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.

Philippians 4:17


You don’t need to use GoDaddy for a website.  In my experience, is

  • cheaper,
  • faster loading, and
  • much less morally objectionable

than GoDaddy. Why would you not transfer your domains to Moniker?

Back when I started setting up websites, I went with GoDaddy because that’s what everyone else was using.  It is by far the most popular registrar, so all the how-do-I-get-started helpful websites referenced it.  I kept it because I had everything automatically renew and so I never really thought about it.  Plus I wasn’t really aware that switching registrars was an option.

After the 2009 Super Bowl, people started complaining about the GoDaddy ads, and I realized that I was contributing to the problem.  I decided to contribute to the solution (or at least stop giving money to help fund the offending ads) by switching registrars.  Switching registrars, by the way, is easy to do.

I first looked at a list of the most popular registrars.  I thought about Tucows, because they started in Flint, MI.  But they are now located in Canada.  I know that the Canadian government frowns, and sometimes yells, at people or publishers who might offend someone else.  I didn’t want Canada to take legal action against me and have Tucows shut down my websites just because someone didn’t like what I said.  So I decided to use a registrar based here in the USA, where the concept and practice of free speech is still respected.

So I decided to look at  But their prices were at least triple what GoDaddy’s prices were.  I began to see why GoDaddy was the most popular registrar.  I then looked at, but you had to pay a steep setup fee in order to get comparable prices.

I noticed that some hosting companies offer to register domains for you.  I transferred one domain to Host Gator, which goes through Registry Rocket, which is a service of  That was $15 per year instead of $10 at GoDaddy – a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Then I tried to transfer a second domain, and the user interface was horrible.  The Registry Rocket account is for the domain name, not for the user.  So I would have had to transfer each of my 20 or so domains separately, typing in my contact information each time.  And paying separately each time.  And maintaining each one separately each year.  I quickly saw that would be a nightmare and decided to try another registrar.

Somehow, I found  I also tried to use, but the pages would never load.  Being on dial-up, I have an appreciation for fast-loading websites.  GoDaddy is not one of them.  It has too much overhead for what you need to do.  The last time I logged out of GoDaddy, it took about 30 seconds for the log-out.  And the log-in is even worse.  In comparison, Moniker takes about 5 seconds for the log-out.  Anyway, Moniker loaded and Dotster did not, so I went with Moniker.

I looked at Moniker, and I could have one account and manage multiple domains.  I could transfer multiple domains in one shot.  Being a little hesitant from the last transfer, I transferred just one domain to make sure it worked and I was happy with the service before I did the rest.  After a couple of days (Moniker and GoDaddy had to send information back and forth and I had to approve a couple of things on each side), the first transfer was successful.  Ahh, I could then transfer the rest of my sites.  As an added bonus, the domains were $10 to renew at GoDaddy or $8 to transfer to Moniker.

You can transfer registrars just like you can transfer your car insurance – at any time.  At first I was worried that I wouldn’t get credited for time remaining on the domain name.  Domains expire (and therefore must be renewed) annually.  I had some domains that were not near their renewal time.  But the domain name and its expiration date both transfer, so nothing is wasted and you lose none of your money by transferring.

Now I am 100% GoDaddy-free.  Well, I suppose that since I mention them a few times in this post, I am not 100% free.  But at least now my money does not go toward supporting their ad campaigns.  I do find it interesting that GoDaddy will terminate your service if you are found to be doing anything “morally objectionable”, yet they have no problems sending out “morally objectionable” content themselves.  See for their Terms Of Service.

I’m not planning on starting a boycott, but if you don’t have a website yourself and want to do something, then you could bug people who do have websites.  If you know someone with a website, or you have some favorite websites or blogs, just use the Whois service to see who the registrar is.  If it is GoDaddy, then call, email, or write that person and tell him your objections.  When using a Whois service, type in the domain name and TLD (e.g., not or

And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.

1 Corinthians 8:12

You Be The Driving Judge

What you would do in the following situation?

diagram of freeway incident

You are driving home from work one Friday afternoon, and you are about halfway there.

  1. You are behind someone going 65 mph in a 70 mph zone, on the freeway.  You don’t pass him because you want to exit very soon.
  2. Your exit lane begins, so you signal and change lanes, while the other vehicle (a minivan) stays in what had been the right lane.
  3. It is a long exit lane with a straightaway followed by a gentle curve. It is not really an exit but a transition to another freeway, so it is meant for a vehicle to be able to maintain the posted speed along the whole path. You speed up to 70 mph and therefore begin passing the other vehicle.
  4. Once you are alongside the other vehicle, its driver decides to exit too. He does not signal but steers into the exit lane anyway. You notice this and know that if you don’t do something, you will be run off the road.

What do you do?

  • A. Maintain your lane, but honk and gesture so the other guy knows you’re already there
  • B. Slam on the brakes to avoid the impending collision
  • C. Step on the gas, swerving slightly onto the shoulder in the process until your tail is clear of the other vehicle.

Before you answer the question, remember that you are in a car, not a minivan, and there are no kids with you in the car. Also remember that this is a long exit lane and the other vehicle has been going under the speed limit for no apparent reason, so if you stay behind him your trip will be even longer.

In case you can’t tell, I chose C.  And no, I did not honk or gesture.

As I watched the minivan grow smaller and smaller in my rearview mirror, I wondered if he was going even slower in order to put a safe distance between himself and me.  If he didn’t know what he had done, he just might think that I was some maniacal driver who was weaving in and out of traffic.  Or maybe he did know what he had done and was too embarrassed to let me see who he was.  Or, worse yet, maybe he had no clue anything had just happened and was just going slower because it was a curve.

The next day, I remembered that my license plate expired the week before and I never put the new sticker on the car. I had renewed the plate, but didn’t put the sticker on the car at the time because of bad weather. The sticker is on now, so I’m good.

Let me pass through your land, I will travel only on the highway; I will not turn aside to the right or to the left.

Deuteronomy 2:27