Friday, January 30, 2009

Pet Peeve Friday - And your Point is?

In today's Pet Peeve Friday I'm going to talk about making your point. Of course your point has to be able to be made, in other words it has to be able to say something and be able to understand other points so as to have a debate. Now here is my pet peeve. Some people think that when the point is no longer relevant it is "mute". I've got news for you. If the point is "mute" it's not able to say anything nor is it able to hear anything. In other words it doesn't exist! Mute is defined as:

  • silent; refraining from speech or utterance.
  • not emitting or having sound of any kind.
  • incapable of speech; dumb.
  • (of letters) silent; not pronounced.
  • Law. (of a person who has been arraigned) making no plea or giving an irrelevant response when arraigned, or refusing to stand trial (used chiefly in the phrase to stand mute).
  • Fox Hunting. (of a hound) hunting a line without giving tongue or cry.

- noun
  • a person incapable of speech.
  • an actor whose part is confined to dumb show.
  • Law. a person who stands mute when arraigned.
  • Also called sordino. a mechanical device of various shapes and materials for muffling the tone of a musical instrument.
  • Phonetics. a stop.
  • British Obsolete. a hired mourner at a funeral; a professional mourner.

- verb (used with object)
  • to deaden or muffle the sound of.
  • to reduce the intensity of (a color) by the addition of another color.

Now the correct way to label a point as no longer being relevant is to call the point "moot". This means that the point is no longer is in play as something else has either taken its place or has rendered it irrelevant. The definition of moot is:

- adjective
  • open to discussion or debate; debatable; doubtful: a moot point.
  • of little or no practical value or meaning; purely academic.
  • Chiefly Law. not actual; theoretical; hypothetical.

- verb (used with object)
  • to present or introduce (any point, subject, project, etc.) for discussion.
  • to reduce or remove the practical significance of; make purely theoretical or academic.
  • Archaic. to argue (a case), esp. in a mock court.

- noun
  • an assembly of the people in early England exercising political, administrative, and judicial powers.
  • an argument or discussion, esp. of a hypothetical legal case.
  • Obsolete. a debate, argument, or discussion.

So the next time you hear someone state that a point is "mute" please ask them if it is able to speak and hear. I guarantee you will get funny looks. Also please make sure to correct the person as we wouldn't want people who are intelligent to look silly. That or you can quote Will Smith in I Robot:

You are the dumbest smart person I know

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

U2 Favorites

I was in a debate the other day about which musical group was better U2 or REM. For me it was an easy answer: U2. So here are my favorite songs from each U2 album:

  • Boy: Twilight
  • October: Gloria
  • War: Drowning Man
  • Under a Blood Red Sky: 40
  • Unforgettable Fire: A Sort of Homecoming
  • The Joshua Tree: One Tree Hill
  • Rattle and Hum: All I Want Is You
  • Achtung Baby: One
  • Zooropa: Stay (Faraway, So Close)
  • Pop: Please
  • The Best Of 1980 - 1990: Sweetest Thing (The Single Mix)
  • All That You Can't Leave Behind: Peace on Earth
  • The Best Of 1990 - 2000: Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
  • How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb: City of Blinding Lights
  • U218 Singles: Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own

For me U2's music has spoken to me throughout my life. It's a great thing when music can speak to you so to those who chose REM I completely understand. For those of you who haven't had music speak to you, listen to
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - The Joshua Tree

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pet Peeve Friday - You don't have Bleu Cheese?

Today is another edition of Pet Peeve Friday. Today's edition is what you put on Chicken Wings. A little background first. I grew up in the small town of Wales, NY. It is adjacent to East Aurora, NY home of Fisher-Price toys. East Aurora in turn is a suburb (loosely defined) of Buffalo, NY.

Growing up I was introduced early on to Chicken Wings. I was also introduced to the only thing that Buffalo Chicken Wings should ever be dipped in - Bleu Cheese. So today's pet peeve is about other dips that have been introduced as a substitute for the correct dip.

My first interaction with this issue was on a business trip shortly after I graduated from college. We were in a restaurant and I noticed they had Chicken Wings on the menu. So of course I ordered some and expected to get Bleu Cheese with them. To my shock and horror not only did they not bring me Bleu Cheese, they told me they didn't have any in the restaurant and instead said they could bring me barbecue sauce. BARBECUE SAUCE! What kind of heresy is this? Well needless to say this was the first in many a Chicken Wing letdown.

Today's trend seems to be to substitute Bleu Cheese with Ranch dressing. It is just so wrong that I can't even fathom why anyone would want to desecrate the sacredness of Chicken Wings with Ranch dressing. It just amazes me that I have to ask to substitute the offered Ranch with Bleu Cheese.

It's so bad I'm thinking about getting President Obama to issue an executive order that states all Chicken Wings MUST be served with Bleu Cheese. It may be the only way to ensure that this injustice is stopped and that all Chicken Wings will have the privilege of being dipped in the one true dip - Bleu Cheese.

Re-purposing (with a purpose)

Yesterday I was jogging with the dog when I took one misstep and rolled my ankle. After a visit to X-Ray and finding nothing broken I spent the rest of the day with my foot elevated, ice off and on and Motrin. Needless to say it wasn't the best day that I've had.

When it was time for bed I went upstairs and saw a card that my son had gotten for his birthday from his grandparents. I thought it was the same card but I was wrong. A lot of the card had been scribbled out and instead there were new words.

To Dad from Ellie and Sam

Inside the card was the following message:

Win [when] will you get better. We wont [want] you to get better soon. Love Ellie and Sam

Ellie is 6 and Sam is 5. I was downstairs when they did this and was wondering what all the noise was. Now I know. It was one of the most touching things they have ever done.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

An Open Letter

Dear President Obama,

In terms of full disclosure I want you to know that I didn't vote for you. I disagree with most of the policies you campaigned with. That said I do hope you will be able to move the country forward.

As I watched your inauguration yesterday I was impressed with the class and dignity that you showed President Bush. There are many who would have treated him with disdain, you set an example that I think all of us should follow.

I listened to your inaugural speech and have since re-read it. I think you addressed a lot of things and it will take a lot of work to accomplish them. Know that even though we may disagree I will do my part to help this country move forward. I think you have set an example that you are willing to listen to all ideas and take the best of them. I hope this continues.

The opening of your speech was great. I enjoyed your humility and could tell that you are going to take this job with all the seriousness it requires. I believe the job ahead of you is one of (if not) the toughest any president of our nation has faced. It is going to take the combined skill and work of not only your administration but also that of our legislative branch. There are lofty goals to be reached, problems to be solved and healing to enact. I believe that it can be done because America has done it before.

Even though I voted against you, I am pulling for you to help lead America out of the current crises. I hope that you will listen to the best ideas and fight for them. I know that there will be opposition and at times I may oppose you as well. I hope that you will get the help you need from other elected leaders in order to do what is right for this country.

I know the world is watching and I can only hope and pray that you are guided in your efforts, that you will listen to the best ideas and that roadblocks to the best ideas will be removed from your path. This is not an easy task you are undertaking but know that you will not be alone and that for the ideas that are right for the country you will have all the support you need.

America is the greatest nation in the world. It will not fall if we continue to work together. It will rise as we work together to find the best solutions to the problems we face.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Prelude to History

Today is Martin Luther King Jr Day. It is also the day before an historic inauguration for President-Elect Barack Obama. I did not vote for the President-Elect, but nonetheless the significance of this event is not lost on me. If you have read my blog you know that all of our children are adopted. The fourth child is an African-American girl we named Grace.

As I think about today and the extraordinary things that Martin Luther King did in his life I know that the world is a better place for my daughter. As I look at the accomplishments of Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Barack Obama and even Hillary Clinton, I know that my daughter has the opportunity to do anything.

We all have Pioneers in our history that have made this world better for us. The significance of this day shows that those Pioneers of the Civil Rights movement have achieved some (if not all) of their goals. The world is always made better because of those who are willing to sacrifice and work hard to make it so.

Grace is only two years old. She will not likely remember today or tomorrow. Therefore it is my job to ensure that she understands the significance of what is happening during these two days. My wife and I have already made the commitment to teach Grace about her background and culture. These two days will be included in that instruction. I look forward to helping her understand what great things people such as Martin Luther King Jr have done. I also look forward to helping her become the best that she can.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pet Peeve Friday

I've decided that I'm going to do a weekly feature on my blog. I'm calling it Pet Peeve Friday. Each Friday I am going to blog about one of my pet peeves. This week I've decide to blog on one of my traveling pet peeves.

The pet peeve goes like this. You are in the airport waiting for your flight and the announcement is made that boarding is going to start. Now each airline does things a little differently but the basic annoyance still occurs. In my case this week the airline I was traveling on boards by zone with the zone being located on your boarding pass. Everyone knows that the airline will board starting with Zone 1 and ending with Zone 6.

So here's what happens, the gate agent makes the announcement for pre-boarding and what do you see? People who are to board in zones higher than one start cramming toward the jet way. It's almost comical until you realize that because they are crowding the jet way and can't get on that it takes longer for the plane to load. It also hampers people who are supposed to be boarding right then and also causes the gate agent to remind people that they are boarding only certain zones at that time. I don't know what it is that compels these people to crowd the jetway. Do they think that because they are standing there the agent will hurry up and call their zone? Do they think that the agent will fold and cave in to them because they are standing right there? I've never seen it happen and yet people continue to think that waiting their turn is for others.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Time To Celebrate

As the “BCS National Championship” game is played tonight, I’m going to celebrate another championship. I’m going to celebrate the last non-BCS school to win a National Championship: The BYU Cougars. In today’s world there is no way a “non-BCS” school will ever win a National Championship. The system is designed to prevent this. That means there are 54 teams in the FBS who have no shot at winning a National Championship. Each year Duke has a better chance of making a BCS bowl game than all 54 of the non-BCS teams combined. Sure a non-BCS team can go to a BCS bowl game (e.g. Utah this year) but a non-BCS team will NEVER go to the National Championship game.

If this was 1984, Utah would be the National Champions of college football. Was the old system perfect? No, but at least it gave all teams a chance to win the title.

So tonight while I root on Florida (preference between the two), I will also raise a glass of soda to the BYU Cougars, the last non-BCS team to ever win a National Championship in college football.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Window Seat

We have been slowly working on our home office (study) and I have been working on the Window Seat. Well over the holidays I finally finished it.

If you look closely you'll see that there are several parts to the window seat. Each of these parts was built separately and in this order:

  1. Base (2X4s)
  2. 2 Boxes (3/4" plywood with two separators)
  3. Inner molding (helps keep the separators secure)
  4. Outer molding (makes things look linked together)

Here is a closer look at each of the two boxes that make up the window seat:

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience creating this window seat. I am extremely glad to be done with it too. Of course it is not yet completed as it needs to be painted and also decorated with cushions and other things. Of course that's going to be done by Cheryl as my artistic expression isn't very good.