Archive for May, 2014

Diagnosing Air Conditioning

Our central air wasn’t working, so I had to fix it.

The furnace and thermostat were working fine, because warm air was blowing throughout the house. After a couple of minutes and it still wasn’t blowing cold air, I started looking around.

First step, walk outside and see if the fan was running.

image of the outside unit of a central air conditioning system

It was not.

Second step, look up “central air outside fan not working” on the internet. Also, “how to check air conditioner” and “troubleshoot central air”.

New Golf Clubs

I don’t golf, but if I did, I’d get this golf equipment:

image of a golf bag with the slogan I Can't Believe It's Not Putter

His speech was smoother than butter, But his heart was war; His words were softer than oil, Yet they were drawn swords.

Psalm 55:21

The Alphabet

Encouraged by a comment from Ricky, I made an effort to write a children’s book. Here is my first attempt. It is in the form of an extended sonnet, keeping more or less with iambic pentameter (more pentameter, less iambic).

I noticed that a lot of children’s books are the ABCs of something. Most of the “something”s have already been used, except for that which is most important to the children of today – websites.

The Alphabet Book of URLs

A is for Amazon, they sell goods and bads

B is for Blogspot, opinions and tales

C is for Craigslist, all classified ads

D is for Dropbox, don’t clog up emails

E is for Ebay, the price might be right

F is for Facebook, waster of time

G is for Google, main search engine site

H is for Homestar Runner, cartoon sublime

I is for Instragram, ruin photos with filt’ring

J is for Jameco, electronics supplier

K is for Kickstarter, more funds it wilt bring

L is for Lycos, search engine old-timer

M is for Moniker, buy a domain name

N is for Netflix, watch films and shows

O is for Opera, browsers are not the same

P is for Priceline, solves travelling woes

Q is for QQ, who knows what they do?

R is for Reddit, vote on your favorite

S is for Snopes, if a story is true

T is for Twitter, short insights you’ll get

U is for Urban Spoon, meal option reducer

V is for Vimeo, simple film hosters

W is for WordPress, a blogging producer

X is for XKCD, web comics and posters

Y is for Yahoo, search, email, and news

Z is for Zillow, a new home you can choose

Now I know my TLDs,
Next time won’t you browse with me?

for I do not wish to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters.

2 Corinthians 10:9

Gas Cleaning

Due to a small mishap, I ended up with gasoline on my hands for a few minutes before I could clean them. Since I didn’t want to handle anything lest I contaminate it, my wife looked up “how to clean gasoline off hands” on her phone while I did whatever steps she read off. Those steps are listed here, in order.

  • Wash with soap and warm water. So that’s what I did. And scrub, it said. So I did. Helped a little, but not much.
  • Lemon juice. And scrub. Not much effect.
  • White vinegar. Just added a slight vinegar smell to my skin, which soon went away (the vinegar smell, not my skin).

That was it for the official suggestions, so we starting ad-libbing it here.

  • More soap and water. Still no effect.
  • Thieves oil, which my wife loves to use for a variety of things. This one had the most noticeable effect. After the thieves oil, my hands smelled like cloves and gasoline for a while.
  • A little while later, I took a shower before going to bed. In the shower, I scrubbed my hands with shampoo. Just in case.
  • Right after my shower, I shaved. So I figured “why not?” and scrubbed my hands with shaving cream.

I forgot to smell my hands before going to sleep. But in the morning, the gasoline smell was gone. So I don’t know which step did it, but if I ever spill gasoline on my hands again I’ll start with shaving cream and work my way backwards through the list.

If I should wash myself with snow And cleanse my hands with lye,

Job 9:30

True Fiction

What’s wrong with this book?

image of the book cover for Rump: the true story of Rumpelstiltskin

My son checked this out of the library. He said his teacher was reading it to them; I assume he was just impatient with that slow pace.

I saw the cover as he was reading it and asked him to show me the spine of the book.

Sure. Why?
I want to see how the library categorizes the book.
They incorrectly put it in Fiction. As the sub-title clearly states, this is a true story. So it should be in the Non-Fiction section.
No, dad, that’s just what they call it. They also have the true story of the Three Little Bears and other things.
Well then, those people must not know what the word true means.

There are other sub-titles that would have conveyed what I think they meant:

  • The untold story of Rumpelstiltskin
  • The life story of Rumpelstiltskin
  • The whole story of Rumpelstiltskin

Why did they choose to dilute the word true?

I doubt their goal was to promote moral relativism in impressionable children, to muddy the meaning of truth for the next generation. That may be the effect, but I doubt that was their goal.

I assume their goal was to create an interesting phrase – “this one is catchy because it makes people stop and think, how can we have a true version of a fairy tale?” That works for the author’s generation because they know what truth is. But a catchy sub-title becomes popular, and before long, applying the word true to various things that aren’t true becomes commonplace, and then people get confused.

No, I don’t think this one book is going to cause the downfall of Western civilization. But it is somewhat telling of the mindset of people these days. Do people care what words mean anymore?

Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.”

John 18:38

Baby Names 2013

Subtitle: in which I improve the government’s records

Allow me to introduce to you the 2013 SFS List of Baby Names that Combine Similar Pronunciations. That baby name list is the place to go in case you are wondering what are the most popular baby names in 2013 regardless of how they are spelled. The Social Security baby name list does not adjust the rankings based on alternate spellings (like Catherine/Katherine), but SFS does.

It’s was just Mother’s Day, so the SSA released the name rankings for 2013. For yet another year, Aiden is the most popular boy’s name in the US. Rather, the name that is pronounced the same as Aiden is the most popular boy’s name in 2013. No controversy for the girls – it’s Sophia again.

Some Stats

  • The top 4 names for the boys are the same as 2012, even in the same order except (what the government said was the most popular name was actually fifth).
  • The top 6 names for the girls are the same as 2012, it’s just Isabella dropped 2 spots (the government got the first 5 places correct).
  • Noah is the highest-ranked boy’s name that has no spelling variations, passing Ethan, which fell behind William from last year. Either there’s a resurgence in reruns of ER, or else that Russell Crowe movie is more popular than I thought.
  • Girl names still have more spelling variations than boy names (300/1000 vs. 207/1000 alternates)
  • The boys still have the name with the highest number of alternate spellings (Aiden with 9 vs. Liliana and Carly with 7 each)
  • There are so many Sophias, it’s not even a contest any more. There are about 50% more Sophias than the next most popular name. It’s like the name Linda in the late 1940s, particularly 1947.

2013 Improved Baby Name List

Click on the link above and peruse to your heart’s content!

Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.

Genesis 21:3

VBS for Adults

Kids – do you want a fun, safe place for your parents to play and learn more about God?
Are you concerned about what your parents will do during their vacation days this summer?

Well, your prayers have been answered! We are proud – no, humbled – to introduce to you our church’s Adult VBS Program.

For one week this summer, you can drop your adults off in the morning for hours of songs, snacks, games, and lessons. You will need to pick up your adults by noon (lunch not provided).

No, our church doesn’t really run a vacation Bible school for parents. Sorry to disappoint you. But don’t be too discouraged, because there are places that do. They just don’t call it that.

Every summer, our family spends a week at a place that bills itself as a Bible conference center. That’s a boring title. I decided they should market themselves as “VBS for Adults”. Maybe there should be exclamation points involved somehow. Adults don’t have attention spans like they used to, so extra punctuation helps keep them focused.

The conference center has kids programs – it’s like a cross between summer camp and VBS. And the same applies to adults too. They have tennis courts and shuffleboard and a pool and a beach on a lake. There are contests and activities and crafts for all ages. And services with singing and an offering and a Bible lesson.

My main disappointment is that the adults do not have an offering contest. They need to split up, like boys versus girls. Take the offering in pennies and weigh it and see who wins. But nooooo, they just do dull stuff like checks and receipts for tax deductions.

Another thing I’m going to suggest is that they have off-brand, watered-down coffee for snack time. Each adult gets a small paper cup filled only halfway with coffee. I suggest that only because I don’t drink coffee. Other people might not be as amused by that as I would be.

And golf. I don’t know what the equivalent would be in a child’s VBS program, but they have to involve golf if they want to attract adults these days.

Of course, it wouldn’t be VBS without a theme. Right now it looks like the two most popular are the 401k theme (“God has a wonderful retirement plan for your life”) and the crime drama theme (picture of the empty tomb with the phrase “Crucifixion Scene Investigation” stamped on it).

What other ideas do you have for VBS for adults?

This was a guest post I wrote, intending it for SCL. I think I never actually submitted it, so you got to read it here instead.

The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

2 Timothy 2:2