Archive for May, 2011

Things Not to Say to a Toddler

The title should explain everything you need to know for this post.

“That ink stamp looks yummy!”

picture of a tongue stained by an ink stamp

“What’s inside your nose?”

picture of a finger in a nose

“Here’s some markers and some paper. I’ll be back later.”

picture of marker scribbles on a hand and a knee

For man is born for trouble, As sparks fly upward.

Job 5:7

Run/Walk for the Cure

My family participated in a cancer walk last weekend. It was more like an anti-cancer walk, since that’s the goal of the deal – to raise money for curing cancer. My mother-in-law has had cancer longer than my wife and I have been married. That’s a lot of chemo over the last 10 years.

She was interviewed earlier in the week by a TV station. People are normally interested in her story because she shouldn’t be doing as well as she is, at least according to conventional wisdom. But the interviewer didn’t ask about that and kept to a list of questions that you would politely ask any stranger whom you’ve just met.

The morning of the event, the station scheduled a follow-up interview.

Live TV.

The goal was to be there in time for the interview (8:00). We woke everyone up at 6:30 and left the house before 7:00. At 7:30, we were a mile away from the stadium. At 7:55, we were a quarter mile from the stadium. At 8:00, we were still a quarter mile from the stadium.

But we texted my sister, so she watched on TV for us. At 8:10, we had parked and met up with everyone else. So close, and yet so far.

Okay, that’s enough of the details. Now here’s some random tidbits of the day.


Let’s start with the venue. The starting line (and finish line) was in front of the local baseball stadium

picture of Race for the Cure at Comerica Park


Taking Stock

Today’s post will be rather boring for many people, so feel free to skip it if you want. I’ll understand.

I don’t gamble in casinos, but I make up for it by playing the stock market. Any day now, I’ll pick the right stock and be able to retire early.

I’m not a day trader – more like a week or month trader. And it’s not much of a gamble, because I’m not risking a lot on it. I play with about 5% of my retirement money. And since a normal retirement would be 30 years away, I have some time for playing.

I created a stock screener at my online brokerage. Normally, I would sift through those results and see if any stocks looked interesting enough to buy. But then I got a different idea:

What if the number of stocks returned by the screener meant something?

and not necessarily the stocks themselves.

I guess I was hoping that my screener was inadvertently a leading indicator. So I graphed the number of stocks from my screener against various indices, in order to see if I could find some correlation between the market and my screener.

For the last year (actually March 2010 to March 2011), I ran that screener near the end of each trading day. I missed a few days, but got most of them. You can certainly see a trend:

graph of stock screener results compared to stock index prices

Unfortunately, all it does is mirror the index price. The number of stocks approved by the screen goes down as the stock market goes up, and vice-versa. While interesting, it doesn’t tell me anything I couldn’t know by looking at the market data without my screener.

Also unfortunately, it doesn’t tell me what the market is going to do.

Maybe I’ll fiddle with the screener and keep up this hobby of mine. There’s not much of a net loss (or gain), so I suppose it’s harmless.

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 5:10

Spring Flower Photos

Not a very catchy title, I know, but I was going for accuracy rather than cleverness.

This post doesn’t need much in the way of introduction, other than to say we visited some friends for dinner and these photos are from their yard.

Apple Tree

picture of an apple tree in bloom with white flowers

Apple Blossoms

close-up picture of a apple tree blossoms


What’s in a Name

There is one college football program against which I always root.
The coach of that team has an interesting name.
Not that his name is particularly unique – rather, each name sounds like another noun.

I’m going to have some fun with that today.

First off, here is a picture of a gymnasium:

picture of a gymnasium

And here is a train trestle:

picture of a train trestle


Handling a Two-Year-Old

Here are some things that might be helpful for those of you who have or will have a 2YO.

  • You can always brush a 2-year-old’s teeth.

    If he likes the toothbrushing process, then you’re good because he cooperates.

    If he doesn’t like the toothbrushing process, then he cries. And when he cries, he opens his mouth and you are free to brush his teeth.

    Now when he turns 3, he might learn to clamp his mouth shut to thwart the attempt at hygiene… But don’t tell him that yet, please.

  • Don’t pour as much into a cup as you think he can drink.

    Rather, pour as much into the cup as you want to clean off the floor.

  • Don’t try to argue with him.

    He will be more persistent than you.
    2YO: Where bumblebee go?
    Parent: It’s not a bumblebee – it’s a fly.
    2YO: Where bumblebee go?
    Parent: It’s not a bumblebee – it’s a fly.
    2YO: Where bumblebee go?
    Parent: He flew out the window. Look there’s a fly over there!

    The goal is to redirect his attention.

    Or outlast him until his nap time.

Yet they did not listen or incline their ears, but stiffened their necks in order not to listen or take correction.

Jeremiah 17:23

Helpful Pet

Some of you may recall that my wife and I like things that are no- or low-maintenance. That’s why I sold my lawn mower and pay the neighbor to mow my lawn.

There is an easier solution: have someone else do all the maintenance work.

Normally, that would entail hiring a handyman or some service. But it turns out that’s not necessary. There is a special breed of pet (a cat of course, because cats are better than dogs) that will handle all the work for you.

And you can get this pet at Costco.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a picture I took at our Costco:

picture of a bag of maintenance cat

It clearly says “Maintenance Cat”.

It also says “Super Premium”. Maybe the normal variety of maintenance cat is somewhat lazy and does sloppy work.

Just don’t view the full-size version to see the context.

then hear in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.

1 Kings 8:45