Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Comics 2010

A few that amused me this year:

XKCD Incident Report


Christmas Videos: My Favorites!

These, my current favorite Christmas videos, may tell you more than you want to know 'bout me. Enjoy!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Capping Air Vent: Easy Home Project

Mission Accomplished!
(But now it's obvious
the pipe needs painting. Next job!)
Our oil tank's air vent (when oil goes out to the burner, air has to come in to fill the vaccuum) is a simple pipe that runs up the side of the house, with an open top for the rain and pine needles to fall in. There must have been a cap on it when first built, but that was back in the 1940s - who knows what happened to it. I could of course spent a little money for an official cap, but the requirements are simple: air-permiable, rain-resistent, and possessed of character.

A busted flagpole supplied me with an eagle topper that fit the pipe nicely, but I wasn't absolutely certain about the passage of air. I drilled a horizontal shaft back to front (this will be invisible when mounted since the ornament is above eye level) and then a vertical shaft from the base up. An air test (blowing through the bottom) showed that the vertical shaft debris clogged the junction but it was easy to ream out.

In progress ...
...a simple mod

In place it looks fine: a little bit idiosyncratic, but isn't that the point? One dollar saved, one item kept out of the land fill, and one minor task accomplished!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Electron Boy: Now in Comics!

Electron Boy
Electron Boy in real life
Here's a creative use of comics:

13-year-old Erik Martin was turned into a super-hero ("Electron Boy") for a day, as part of a Make-A-Wish program (he's got a rare cancer). This did some good for him, personally, and generated a great news story: "Local boy with cancer turns into a superhero for a day".

Electron Boy
Electron Boy in Comics
Artists inspired by his story, and his desire to be in a comic book, developed the Electron Boy comic, which can be viewed online for free, or ordered through CCP Comics for $5, at (donations go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.)

Other developments:

Vietnam Veterans of America v. Dod: the "Personality Disorder Discharge" lawsuit

From Vietnam Veterans of America:
"Vietnam Veterans of America has filed a lawsuit responding to Department of Defense's wrongful discharge of nearly 26,000 veterans.

The Department of Defense (DoD) has violated the law by failing to release records showing that it has wrongfully discharged nearly 26,000 service members on the basis of so-called "Personality Disorder." This Personality Disorder designation has prevented disabled veterans from receiving the disability compensation and other benefits they have earned. Vietnam Veterans of America and its counsel, the Veterans Legal Services Clinic of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School, hope that the records they obtain through this lawsuit will convince Congress to mandate a systemic review of these discharges and compel DoD to repair the harm it has caused.
The complaint, press release and other documents are accessible at

Monday, December 20, 2010

Reflect on this year’s accomplishments: Tip of the Week

My internet friend Irene Thorton's Law Practice Tip of the Week could apply to anybody:
"Reflect on this year’s accomplishments

Before making goals for next year, stop and appreciate the many things you accomplished this year. Give yourself the satisfaction of savoring or relishing what went well this year. You’ll feel good for doing so and likely identify some ideas for next year’s goals.

How quickly can you come up with a 100 accomplishments?"

A quiet holiday moment
as enforced by Mother Nature,
Seattle, Dec 21, 2008

This might be a fun thing to do in a quiet holiday moment. Of course, I might have to find a quiet holiday moment first.

My chiropractor friend Dr. Huck once told me that the moderate benefits to health accruing from having one beer a day could be attributed, not to simple biochemical factors, but to the act of stopping and taking time to enenjoy a beer. Perhaps, likewise, one big benefit of stopping and taking time to think of 100 accomplishments for the year would be just taking the time.

I'll try it. I promise. Just as soon as I find a moment!

Bible Verses Predicting Wikileaks

Compare and contrast:
Luke 12:3
"What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs."

Ecclesiastes 10:20
"Do not revile the king even in your thoughts,
or curse the rich in your bedroom,
because a bird in the sky may carry your words,
and a bird on the wing may report what you say."

Let us hope we are tending toward more of the former, and less of the latter!

(Citations courtesy of Rob on Contrary Brin. Thanks!)