Archive for the ‘Not So Funny Stuff’ Category

20
Mar

Excitement

   Posted by: John

Wet Plants

Of course, what we got on this first day of Spring was this:

Yuck!

And note the predicted high temperature of 50, when in reality we will be lucky to get to 40 before the sun sets. 

Earlier, the road to Ontario was mostly white, 25 mph wind, and the snow was going sideways.

16
Mar

Erasers

   Posted by: John

I was out at a client this week and there were these erasers for sale in the school library.  I couldn’t help it…had to get some of them.

Money Erasers

It occurred to me that the pResident and the congress are the biggest money erasers in the history of the world.  Thanks a lot you worthless pukes!

26
Feb

A History Lesson and More

   Posted by: John

The Russian Northern coast is a vast territory that goes for several thousand miles, all inside the Polar Circle. Long polar winters mean no daylight at all for 100 days per year.  The days change without any sign of the sun rising above the horizon.

The Northern coast was always the short way for cargo boats to travel from the Eastern part of Russia to the West. These days this trip can be made fairly easily by use of satellite navigation equipment like GPS, but during the Soviet Era they had none of this.

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union decided to build a chain of lighthouses to guide ships in the dark polar night across the uninhabited shores of the Soviet Russian Empire. So a series of such lighthouses was erected. They had to be fully autonomous because they were situated hundreds and hundreds miles aways from any populated areas. After reviewing different ideas on how to make them work for years without service and any external power, Soviet engineers decided to implement atomic energy to power the structures. Special lightweight small atomic reactors were produced in limited series, delivered to the Polar Circle lands and installed in the lighthouses. Those small reactors could work in independent mode for years and didn’t require any human interference. It was a kind of robot-lighthouse which counted the time of the year and the length of the daylight, turned on its lights when it was needed and sent radio signals to near by ships to warn them on their journey. 

After the collapse of the Soviet Union the unattended automatic lighthouses did the job for some time, but eventually they collapsed too. Looters started stealing the metals from lighthouses. They didn’t care or maybe didn’t know the meaning of the “Radioactive Danger” signs and ignored them, breaking in and destroying the equipment. It sounds creepy but they broke into the reactors too causing many of the structures to become radioactively polluted.

These photos are from a trip to the one such structure, the most close to the populated areas of the Russian far east. 

Lighthouse

Lone Outpost

Looking up the tower

Lighthouse Tower

Radiation Warning

Now I probably would not have thought much about these normally, but I happen to be reading a book called “Dead Or Alive”, by Tom Clancy and Grant Blackwood. If you are familiar with the Jack Ryan series, you know that the series about Ryan felt like it ended when he was President of the United States. The book “Teeth of the Tiger” (followed by “Dead or Alive”) removes the focus from Jack Ryan and shifts it to Jack Ryan Junior and two cousins, Brian and Dominic Caruso. The novels deal largely with terrorism and counter-terrorism.

In “Dead or Alive”, muslim terrorists are collecting pieces to build a nuclear device.  One place a group goes to is a derelict Russian automatic lighthouse, like the one in the pictures above, to retrieve the reactor.  What’s funny is that I never knew these lighthouses had existed before. Clancy’s novels are nearly always true to life and largely believable, right down to historical people and events. I find it interesting that I would read about these lighthouses in a novel and not 24 hours later stumble onto a link that features them. 

And, if you read the book…Ryan’s successor in the White House…Clancy paints an amazing picture of an inept and failed president, one who has surrounded himself with yes-men (and women), has no back-bone, and whose entire administration, including himself, are in over their heads but don’t realize it.  Kind of sounds like our current administration.  I think Clancy has outdone himself when it comes to indicting Obama and his cronies in these 2 books.  A modern Mark Twain if I have ever read one.

18
Feb

Pay More, Get Less

   Posted by: John

Anyone who says there is no inflation is smoking crack.  I think it was Paul Harvey who I remember saying “If you pay the same amount but get less, it is still inflation”.

So, I was at a Fred Meyer today, doing some work. After I was done, I wandered to the back of the store to get some fuses for the car because the one for the power point blew.  I saw a friend in the paint department, so we started talking. I looked over at the paint containers he was looking at…and was amazed. I knew this was happening to groceries, but this is the first time I have ever seen it in paint.

There are virutally no gallons or quarts any more. I found only 1 gallon.  This one.

The Lone Gallon

Every other container was something like these.  Even the standard metal cans.

Not A Gallon

Not A Gallon Either

Still Not A Gallon

Gallons Are A Thing Of The Past

Well, you would think that a smaller amount like a quart still exists right? You would be wrong.

No Quart For You

Not Here Either

Here Quart Quart Quart...

No Quarts, Just 1 and 61/64 Pints

How pathetic.

12
Feb

Things Don’t Last As Long As They Used To

   Posted by: John

RIP

Today, we bury the WhirlPool fridge, only 10 years old.  It was not old enough to qualify for senior status, reached when it makes 20 years.  I guess I expect fridges to last 20 years or more.  I guess I am a little old fashioned for thinking things should last longer than they do any more.

29
Jan

Warning To All Boys

   Posted by: John

So Beware

28
Jan

Fired

   Posted by: John

Well, today was the day I had enough.  After nearly 7 years I fired Sprint.  In the middle of a contract period even.

We have had 4 phone lines with them.  3 of them were these spiffy HTC Evo Shift Android phones.  They were sure promoted as these fantastic things, upgrade price of only $200 each when we got them.  And they were nice for a while.  Mine has seemed to hold up well for quite a while.  Karen and Crystal had to have theirs replaced last December because within 2 weeks, the screens quit working, and they started doing stupid things.  So they got replacements, what looked like nice new ones.  Naturally, they are refurbished.  A month or so later, Crystal’s quit working.  She took it in, can’t fix it, have to get another one.  11 days later, no phone yet…it’s on backorder.  This week, Karen’s went stupid to the point where it would not even turn 0n. (At least Crystal’s will let her make a phone call, but the touchscreen does not work at all.)  She took it in.  Can’t fix it, have to replace it.  Oh, it’s on backorder, don’t know when it will come in.

Getting the picture?  Two of four phone lines nearly unusable because the phones do not work.

So, I call Sprint.  They can’t won’t do anything.  I go to the store.  They can’t won’t do anything, but they will give me the number for customer retention.  I spent an hour on the phone with “Customer Retention” and made it to tier 4.  They can’t won’t do anything.  I wanted to have them change the two offending phones to a different phone.  They would not do ANYTHING in regards to price or swap, or refund, or even credit for not being able to use the phone lines because the phones would not work.  Oh, and yes the replacements on backorder and they don’t know when they are going to get them.

Hello T-Mobile!  4 new phones later, we have 3 Samsung Galaxys and a Samsung Gravity for Ashley.  Unlimited everything for me and Karen.  500 minutes each, lots of data and unlimited text for Crystal and Ashley.  Even including the phone financing the way they do it, we will be paying less per month, and when the phones are paid off, we will have better service for nearly half of what Sprint was charging.  And I am going to fight Sprint on the early termination fees.  I have had issues with them before about a variety of things, and this was the final straw. 

Not quite how I planned on spending the day, but I think it turned out all right.

10
Sep

Economic Promised Land

   Posted by: John

40 years...