Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Something I was watching said that not so long ago many astronomers felt it was possible that we would *never* discover planets around other stars, since it was doubtful telescopes could see them and doubtful that the kind of space travel needed to get closer would ever really be possible.  

Perhaps before the Kepler telescope was put into orbit that notion had been disabused, and certainly is disabused now. Yet the way Kepler does it seems simple now. I guess there was doubt that it could really do this at some point. Finding earth size planets is in the news again. This image from has a good explanation of how Kepler does it. The URL is Or with a PC anyway you can right-click on the image and select "open in new window".

Friday, December 16, 2011

Egg Adventures

This week was the week for the egg it seems. Two separate events.

While hunting in Caroline County VA I was going down a road seldom traveled and saw a new sign for "fresh eggs". It was a "why not" moment and I was able to get half a dozen, touted as maybe laid two days prior. Next morning Sue and I dined on some.  It is my opinion that the fresher the egg the better it tastes when over easy, sunny side up, or soft boiled. We both tried some over easy.  "Middle runny, white not" we used to joke in my youth, and I did indeed cook it no more than necessary to get all the white solidified. When served, we were rewarded with an astonishingly orange yolk that was very rich. I had to try a third egg for me which I did sunny side up, using the technique of sending some of the hot grease over the egg to cook the white enough. This was outstanding indeed as it increased the bacon flavor somewhat too. Yeah, I know, nobody is going to give us the award for avoiding fat and cholesterol. With home fries and biscuits and butter, we might have been at risk for the police breaking down the door to arrest us. Actually we forgot we had some cooked bacon we could have reheated, and just as well as I was not hungry again for a long time and almost didnt develop an appetite for dinner.

Honestly, by paying through the nose we have recently been some really good eggs at the store, that seem pretty fresh too. Supposed to be free range blah blah blah, I have my doubts but they *are* good. I have unhesitatingly cooked those over easy as well. These farm eggs were better tasting,  I'd say not to the degree you felt it was a different species or that type of thing, although if compared to cheap-not-so-fresh eggs you might conclude that. Certainly they were different tasting, the richness was palpable. The shells were thicker! and no yokes broke, a problem we can have with these other good eggs we get [of course there could be sampling error with half a dozen]. For sure very cool to be able to get them at all! Those chickens get to scratch the dirt and eat bugs, you know, a key factor IMO for better eggs and chicken too [if I get to know the farmer maybe the discussion can turn to getting some chicken as well].

Event #2: The prices for these premium eggs vary quite a bit, and it's up there. $3 per dozen is not unusual, and some are over $5, which we don't want to pay even though both of us eat eggs for breakfast less often than once a week [Sue maybe once a month at best]. Of course they are used in cooking. Doing more of the shopping myself lately, I decided one day to try to figure out exactly what we have been paying, getting convinced that the Harris Teeter we shop at hadn't clearly priced them for some time. I got aggravated about that and actually took two different cartons to the cashier and asked her to price them. Sure enough, one was over $5 and it was not clearly marked so. Next visit I collared the manager, who has been seen a lot lately, and told him I had to have the cashier do that, since the department is so poorly tagged with prices. He said it would be fixed and thanked me. Well, next week I checked it out and if anything had been done, still the problem of the incorrectly marked eggs had persisted. To be exact, the tag said $3.19 per HD, and the smaller unit price was $3.19 per HD, even though IMO that is not proper unit pricing [what has been going on with unit pricing in all these stores is a disgrace, but I won't get into that here]. At the time I couldn't even figure out what it meant; 3.19 per hundred? Certainly not! Sue figured out it meant "half dozen" even though the sign was placed at the full carton area. But she wanted me to chill. Apparently she believes in my secret life I spend quite a bit of time tangling with security and police [I shouldn't have told her about Officer Owens I guess . If you have followed this blog you'll know about him and the traffic ticket]. I spotted the manager again, though, so there was no stopping me. I insisted we visit the egg department, and politely pointed out what was bothering me. He agreed that it was a mess as far as tagging and in fact gave us a free dozen of the $5 variety!

I guess our arteries are somewhat harder now but overall there is no denying that in the matter of eggs we have done quite well this week!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Most Interesting

I finally looked these things up. The Most Interesting Man in the World. And Who in the Hell is the Lee Jeans Guy?  You're welcome.

For some reason I like the former and the latter bugs the s**t out of me. 

PS: Not clear from the preview the hyperlinking is working like it is supposed to. Or will look right. Grrrrrr. Here are the URLs,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Two Day Bulb Change

Who was the first guy to make an owner's manual that was not just for your model but a bunch of different models? Of course he got to keep his job for another 10 minutes while the bean counters explained to the bigshots how much money 3 cents per model adds up to when one owner's manual can be used for a bunch of different models. Never mind that this screws up the usefulness of them. If that guy is not burning in the hottest bottom ring of Hell I am going to be sorely disappointed.

What happens in the best scenario is for you to check on a certain problem, then discover you have to know your model number to see if the answer you found applies. But another unfortunate way this can be handled is that certain information is just left out altogether because it is too difficult to put all the variant this and that in the booklet. Recently this last caused me problems with my Honda and turned changing a bulb into a comedy of errors.

Changing bulbs in the Honda is a pain anyway. Get a load of this: to change the headlamp, the instructions say to turn the front wheel sharply and remove a panel in the wheel well. No kidding. When I had to change one I couldnt find this panel even using a flashlight. I gave up and took it to the mechanic, figuring he would have an easier time taking the wheel off. Instead one of them has a skinny hand and gets it changed without going through all that. Geez. 

I should have learned my lesson from that, but in this latest fiasco we needed to get a brake light working. Since I don't need to go through the wheel well to do it, I figure, hey I can do this one. So a day off rolls around and I find the manual doesnt show where the brake lights are, but gives general location for all the rear bulbs. The problem with that is just how many bulbs there are back there in the modern car, a real jungle of bulbs and wires! I need Sue to help me locate exactly where this burned out bulb is, and she says we ought to wait till the Sun isnt shining [no garage]. But since the parts stores are only open at certain times, I just want to get it done. Turns out, though, the Sun shining on that glass makes it really hard to tell what bulbs are working. I find one bulb that isnt working and figure it is the brake light, since we eliminate it being the tail-light or the turn signal. At this point I don't even remember why the confusion got worse, but I realized *that* was wrong and changed a different bulb and started going crazy trying to figure out what bulb this is, pulled out into the trunk wires and all now, that won't light up for anything! I have about given up pressing on the brake or turn signal or the headlamp/tail-light switch when Sue finally says "try putting it into reverse." Bingo! The back up light is what it is, indeed. By this time so much confusion reigns that Sue and I agree I fixed the bad brake light. We go out that night and when I park, something tells me to check again now the Sun isnt interfering. Alas the brake light is *not* fixed, and my head hits the steering wheel with a thump.

Another day off comes around and Sue and I this time have located that damn brake light. This time I somehow spend a hunk of time fuming about how hard it is to get the bulb fixture in and out of where it goes, something that gave me no trouble before; meanwhile I have to figure out which one of two bulbs it is and also make sure it is working. By now I have learned you just leave them dangling inside the trunk so you can make sure they work before putting them in. But I take out the key bulb fixture and there is no bulb there! What?! Now I can tell you for sure I could get confused enough to have taken a bulb out and not replaced it, but there is no way in Hell I could have put back the bulb fixture with no bulb in it. There is just no way I would not notice there is no bulb! So I am 100% convinced there was no bulb all along. I had just had the car inspected, so I think what happened is one mechanic told the other a bulb was needed they didnt have, and they intended to tell me to go get one and they would put it in. [I love them for how they will pass your car anyway and get that over with]. This time, though, they forgot to tell me. It's the only thing I can figure!  Finally though the bulb finally got replaced and after putting them back in the wrong slots and having to switch them back around, everything is working back there, I think. I am afraid to look. 

Well, the whole story is actually funny, but if you know "them Williams boys" you know just how much the air turned blue while this nonsense was going on. I have to again ponder just how much easier this job would have been, though, if the owners manual had a schematic showing what bulbs go where! Surely if there is a Just God in Heaven the first guy to start screwing with those manuals is indeed burning in the hottest pit of Hell. I just have to believe so. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cars of Yesteryear

Just had a conversation with someone about cars and the "old" days [not really so long ago] and thought I would share this while I remember. Pretty soon no one will even remember all this. 

*Cars are much easier to start now. Used to be, you could have a darn good car the envy of everyone, but fact is you never knew if you were going to get it started or not. Today you turn the key without stepping on the gas and it's *varoom* no sweat. That was never the case with the cars of yesteryear, you always had to crank them, with just the right amount of gas and the choke set just so too. That engine would turn several times before it caught, and if it was cold or something maybe you couldn't get it started. The engine might flood, and if someone who was inexperienced tried to start the car it was touch and go. [Aggggh! You flooded the engine! Now you wore the battery down too!]

*As a matter of fact, back then you had better know what to do if the engine flooded. Either that or wait hours while it dried out. 

*The way cars start so quickly now, that actually can be a different problem. With the old cars cranking away you got a test of the battery every time. If the battery was getting weak, the tail end of the cranking would clue you in. Now the cars just start instantly and you don't get warned the battery is going. One day you go out to start the car and you just hear a click from the dead battery, which gave up the ghost, no warning at all. This has happened to me a couple of times. 

*Everything is easier about operating cars now. It isn't just convenience to have power steering and automatic transmission, it makes the difference for some people whether they would ever learn to drive or not. Dealing with manual transmission and unassisted steering meant, if you go back far enough, less women learned how to drive. The difference in the physical demand of it meant women who did learn would be pretty proud of themselves. 

*Power brakes are better brakes, believe me. 

*Cars run better now on this unleaded gas too. When it first came out, the engines were experimental or something, and a lot of the cars would be "pinging" all the time. You could get "dieseling" gas engines too, that got too hot and even when you shut off the engine it still ran! If you had manual transmission you killed it by putting it into gear, but if you had automatic and just put it into park this running of the engine could go on for a minute or so!

*There's probably some other things I've even forgotten. Power windows standard now makes a difference. In our '94 Dodge Truck the previous owner opted for roll down windows and that's OK until you need to roll down the window on the other side and you are the only one in the vehicle.

Just thought I'd share.   

Monday, June 6, 2011

How Is a Tarantula Like an Elephant?

In case anyone else would like to guess first, which you should do at Louise's blog [not here] [also do not click to open up this post] the answer is in the comments.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Photon Torpedo Hit Is My Guess

PS: sorry, blogger dot com has turned me into an idiot, can't seem to hyperlink right anymore. However, copy and paste should work.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Plenty of places in VA must overmatch GPS

Just catching up on this myself
Walker approached county supervisors armed with photos of a truck jack-knifed, another in a ditch, another forced to back out onto busy South King's Highway, as well as pictures of broken trees, mangled fences and rutted lawns.

Virginia is the worst for having the name of a street or even main route having one name on one side of the intersection and another name on the other side. Guess which one you always pick up when you are unfamiliar with the area? And don't even get me started about Arlington Va.

edit: the below is a link in case it is hard to tell. But I am starting to think it is blogger dot com that screwed this business up.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Two to Check Out and Feel Humble

Not sure hyperlink is working and other issues, but check it out.

PS: one is a video. Some scientists say we ain't seen nothing yet. Some day some flares may be bad enough to wipe out the power grid so bad it can't really be fixed fast enough to avoid some real devastation. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I missed this!

This is one of the most delicious stories I have run into in a long time. Probably most of us saw these commercials. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Answer to Trivia Question

obviously, don't look if you are still trying to guess.

The answer has been said to be this. Seems believable, but I guess I can't absolutely validate it. From Wikipedia.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

World Population Trivia

trivia question going around: what event in 1960 causes the shocking dip around 1960 at this census bureau chart?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Stuck in Traffic

During the Great DC Area Snow Nightmare it did indeed take me 6 and a half hours to get home. I felt better about it once I heard some folks took as much as 13 hours to get home!

For what I was able to observe myself, the problem was 100% the people who were out there who had no business trying to drive in the snow. The conditions weren't that bad! It was snow, not freezing rain, in fact it was above freezing the whole time. Snow has sort of a grainy consistency, so in some ways it is like driving in sand. Once cars have driven on the snow, it packs down into an somewhat of an ice-like quality, but it is not ice, it still has a certain graininess. Yet even before there was much accumulation, cars ahead were stopping traffic because their tires would only spin on that. These people simply had cars or tires that were unequal to this mild challenge. This would usually be on a slight grade, but sometimes on no grade at all! Desperate to keep going, they would wind up in the middle of the road stopping traffic. I did not see one accident. Outside of sheer congestion, of course, there just seemed to be this one problem!

To tell you the truth, I didn't know you could even buy tires today that are so useless in the snow that even front-wheel drive vehicles would get stuck like that. 

One can only hope these drivers now know and will all stay home next time.