Archive for November, 2010

The Never-Ending Blog

This is the blog that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friends. Some people starting writing it not knowing what it was. And now they keep on writing it forever just because

This is the blog that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friends. Some people starting writing it not knowing what it was. And now they keep on writing it forever just because

This is the blog that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friends. Some people starting writing it not knowing what it was. And now they keep on writing it forever just because


Driving Tip: Intersection Order

There’s a four-way stop on our way to church. Most of the time, the people who go through that intersection are familiar with it and know how to handle a 4-way stop – taking turns and all that.

But last week, there were some people who did not quite understand when they could go. In the interest of the public good, I am writing this blog post to educate drivers who may be wondering about when to drive through the intersection.

Everyone knows how the 4-way stop should work – a person goes in the order he arrived at the intersection. First one there has the right of way. If two people get there at the same time, the more aggressive driver gets to go first.

But aggressiveness was not the problem we had that night. People were not smart. They weren’t bad, just very inefficient.

Here’s a diagram of the set of cars just before it was my turn:

diagram of 3 cars going through an intersection

Car #1 was supposed to go first, which he did.
Car #2 was supposed to go second, which he did.
Car #3 was supposed to go third, which he did but that doesn’t matter for this.

The problem was that Car #2 waited until Car #1 had gone completely through the intersection. You’re both going straight through; your paths will not cross – start driving as soon as you can.

I probably wouldn’t have thought much about it, but then it was my turn. I’m Car #1:

diagram of 3 cars going through an intersection

We were turning left, and the guy to our left was turning right. We should be able to both go at the same time without any conflict. I was before him, so I went. He was next after me, but he waited until I had finished my turn before he started driving.

While that’s technically correct, it is also technically annoying. Sometimes there are 15-20 cars in line. If everyone waits until the other car has gone completely through the intersection, the guy at the end of the line could be idling for twice as long as he should be.

Take advantage of your blocking, people.

If I were Car #2, I would have made my turn as soon as Car #1 started turning. If I were Car #2 and the order was really 1-3-2, I still would have gone as soon as Car #1 started turning. Some people might think that is cutting, but he can’t go until Car #1 gets out of his way. Keep the pipeline full. Out-of-order execution makes microprocessors run more efficiently; the same concept can make intersections better.

My wife and I agree that it should be made into a roundabout. That way, we wouldn’t have to stop much of the time.

When He acts on the left, I cannot behold Him;He turns on the right, I cannot see Him.

Job 23:9

Watch Your Step

A Grand Entrance

We went out to eat this past weekend. Nothing fancy, just a coney island – a step above a greasy spoon. Near the end of the meal Beta had to use the facilities, so we walked to the restroom area.

Beta is on the small side. So when he has to open doors, he really puts some effort into it. He put his weight into it and shoved the door.

The only problem was that someone was leaving the restroom at that exact moment, so Beta went flying headfirst onto the bathroom floor.

Of all places to be lying on the floor, the bathroom is one of the last ones I would want.

But we washed our hands thoroughly and everything was fine.

A Blaring Misstep

This one is several months old, but I think that doesn’t matter.

We used to have the baby’s changing table near the foot of our bed. That was back when Gamma was higher maintenance and his crib was in our room.

One morning, he woke early. I figured I’d change his diaper and take him downstairs so my wife could keep sleeping. So I grabbed him and made the 5- or 6-step walk from his crib to the changing table.

Little did I know that Elmo was lurking in the shadows.

Chicken-dance Elmo, to be specific.

His hand, the one with the On switch, was right where my foot landed the step before the changing table.

Elmo took that as his cue to start blaring the chicken dance song, in the dark wee hours of the morning. Not only did he play the chicken dance, but he laughed at me.

He laughs at everything, it seems, but this was not funny to me. My wife needs her sleep, especially during those days of having an infant.

Notice I said Elmo’s hand has an On switch. Not an On-Off switch – just an On switch. It’s loud and I can’t stop it. My wife wakes up and wants to know what’s going on. I tell her just to go back to sleep and I take Gamma and Elmo out of the room.

Elmo has since been banished. He is not allowed in our room anymore. But I think he’s been scheming with the telephone because it seems to ring every time my wife wants to nap.

for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

1 Corinthians 16:9

Decades of Baby Names

Some of you may be wondering what I did with that extra hour last week when we moved our clocks back.

Wonder no longer.

Remember how I went through all the baby names from 2009 and combined the various spellings together to get the real counts?

No? Well, your loss…

Anyway, last week I went through the names for the last 109 years (1900-2008) and re-counted each year’s names. Now you can see that alternate spelling are not new. Sure, there are a bunch of ways to spell names now, but that’s no different from how names were 60 years ago. The names have changed, but the variety is still there.

Go check out 1950. But in case you don’t, here is a snippet:
2009: 10 ways to spell Jayden and Aiden.
1950: 7 ways to spell Gerald and Darrell.
2009: 9 ways to spell Carly and 8 ways to spell Hailey.
1950: 9 ways to spell Catherine and 7 ways to spell Karen.

Go visit Some Fun Site for baby names since 1900.

But David did not count those twenty years of age and under, because the LORD had said He would multiply Israel as the stars of heaven.

1 Chronicles 27:23

October Schoolwork

Here’s another update from the schoolwork files of Alpha:


a child's drawing of Columbus' voyage

I guess that Columbus Day holiday is good for something. Alpha seems to have learned the major points about Columbus’ voyage – asking the queen for two ships, that he had crosses on the sails, etc.


a child's drawing of troublesome raccoons

He knows the truth about raccoons. They are not cute and fun. They are pests. And what do they do? They eat garbage. Or “garbeg” if you’re still learning how to spell, which Alpha is.

All who handle the oar, The sailors and all the pilots of the sea Will come down from their ships; They will stand on the land,

Ezekiel 27:29

A Near Infection

After several years of parenting, we finally have our first ear infection.

Gamma had what we thought was just a cold, or maybe some more teething. One morning, he touched his ear and said what my wife thought was “Ow“. She called me and we debated whether to take him to the doctor. We decided to wait a bit and see what happened, and he was fine the rest of the day so she didn’t take him in.

The next day, after no problems during the night, and no more complaints from Gamma, my wife happened to look at his ear.

It looked like this:

picture of a bloody ear

And here’s another view:

picture of an ear bleeding due to an infection

She called me at work to tell me she was on her way to the doctor.

“It’s an ear infection,” they said at the office, “It popped, but it sealed itself so it should be okay. Here is a prescription for some antibiotics and some ear drops.”

The ear drops say to put the drops in the ear with the ear facing up so the liquid can go into the ear.
No problem.

But then we need to keep the ear facing up for 5-10 minutes. What?! Keep a toddler down for that long? Twice a day?

We settled on the twice a day being during naptime and during the night. Of course he doesn’t cooperate, preferring to sleep on the bad ear so that we have to move his head, and therefore awaken him, to put in the drops. And then once he’s awake, he keeps his head up. I have to hold him down, but we’re getting through it.

At least he likes the taste of Amoxicillin.

Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward.

Jeremiah 7:24

Daylight Saving Progression

As we are nearing the end of the first week back on normal time, I thought I would analyze the progression of Daylight Saving Time.

Since they keep increasing the number of weeks spent on DST, I wondered how long it would take before there was only DST and no more standard time. I think a lot of people would be happy if they didn’t have to change their clocks twice a year, especially these people.

Here is a history of DST in the US, starting with the beginning of the USA in 1776 (approximately).

chart of the history of daylight saving time in the US

Fig. 1Number of Weeks in DST versus Year A.D.

As you can see, there was no DST for a while, then it started, then it increased, then it increased again.

If it keeps increasing linearly, it might look like this:

chart of the history of daylight saving time in the US

Fig. 2Number of Weeks in DST versus Year A.D. with line

From that, I estimate that there will be only DST starting in the year 2147.

But you may have noticed that the increases are increasing in frequency, which suggests an exponential relationship rather than linear.

chart of the history of daylight saving time in the US

Fig. 3Number of Weeks in DST versus Year A.D. with curve

That estimate is 2033, which means only 23 more years of switching clocks.

I will not miss that hassle at all.

“It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord GOD,”That I will make the sun go down at noonAnd make the earth dark in broad daylight.”

Amos 8:9