What's davintosh? Mostly just the random ramblings of a hopelessly distractible… Hey, what's that?

Do Your Parents Know What You’re Reading?

Filed under: About This Site — dave @ 11:09 pm 2007/06/28

According to Mingle, this site is rated PG — Parental Guidance Suggested. And all because of four instances of two words; C-R-A-C-K and D-E-A-T-H (had to add the dashes so as to not throw in more of that nasty stuff!)

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The First Dread Word comes up in some text I copied from another site telling about what happened to a boat when it flew off a trailer (it cracked), and the others from references to one of my favorite blogs, Say No To Crack. (Oops; I think I just added ‘crack’ to my site two more times! Dang; make that three! I’ll be at NC-17 before you know it.) The Second Dread Word comes from the post I wrote about Tsakhiagiyn Elbegdorj following his visit to Sioux Falls. Is it a bad thing to say someone was rescued from jail?

Sheesh; I’m gonna have to watch it!

Hillbilly Horseshoes

Filed under: Fun! — dave @ 9:24 am 2007/06/24

Apparently this game goes by many names — Blongo-Ball, BoloToss, Cowboy Golf, Redneck Golf, Hillbilly Golf, Hillbilly Horseshoes, The Snake Game, Snake Toss, Ladder Ball, Ladder Golf, Slither, Snakes & Ladders, Flingy Ball, Norwegian Golf, Swedish Golf, Polish Horshoes, Bolo Ball, Montana Golf, Australian Horseshoes, Ladder Game, Monkey Balls, Monkey Bar Golf, Rattlerail Toss, Spin It, Golfball Horseshoes, Arizona Golf Balls, & Ball Dangle… We learned about it in 2003 while on vacation in Michigan. A retired guy at Gunn Lake had built one and was playing outside Rick & Heather’s cabin. He called it Hillbilly Horseshoes, and that’s what it is for our family.

Update: We went to make another set of Hillbilly Horseshoes racks for Grandma & Grandpa last Saturday using the instruction sheet I had made, and in the process discovered a couple of glitches in the measurements and in the parts list. I had originally specified about half the pipe that was needed — less than enough to make one rack! So, I updated the instruction sheet, and am taking the opportunity to bump this post back to the top of the stack. Click on the icon below to download the plans.

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It’s horribly simple to build and play; basically two “ladders” made from PVC pipe and fittings, plus six game pieces made from two golf balls each strung together with about a 1-foot length of rope. The ladders are placed about this far apart (yeah, exactly that far!) and the players stand together & take turns tossing their balls toward the far ladder, trying to hang them on one of the rungs. An underhand toss seems to work best. Caleb has tried overhand, and it usually ends up in the neighbor’s garage roof gutter.

Different sites that talk about this game have different scoring rules, but this is what works for us; hanging one on the top rung is worth one point, on the bottom is worth two points, and three in the middle. In our experience, hanging it on the middle rung is the most difficult, so that’s worth more. If you hang one on a rung and your opponent knocks it off, too bad for you.

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It’s Five O-Clock Somewhere!

Filed under: Cars! — dave @ 10:59 am 2007/06/22

The boys & I went to the AutoMania car show downtown last night, and while there were lots of impressive machines there, one rig that was a real standout was this 1954 Ford Delivery Wagon pulling a camper. But not just any camper; it had a boat for a roof!

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Gary and Joyce Bortscheller of Elk Point are the owners of this rig. Gary runs a body shop in South Sioux City, NE; he must’ve spent a goodly amount of time on the Ford and the trailer. The finish was gorgeous. It didn’t appear that the boat had spent much time in the water. There wasn’t much room inside the camper; the whole thing stood only five feet or so tall, so with the boat on top there was less than 4 feet of headroom. Definitely made only for sleeping inside. The back has a small fridge and storage cubbies, along with a fold-down working surface.

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A New Twist On Calvin & Hobbes

Filed under: Fun!,Personal Growth — dave @ 9:20 pm 2007/06/17

Saw this over on Say No To Crack; a parody of the Calvin & Hobbes comic strip using images of & quotes from John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes. (Click on the comic to check out the Uncyclopedia entry for Calvin & Hobbes.)

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John Calvin is an ecclesiastical reformist and psychic detective who can see into the future because everything is “predestined by God.” He nominally attempts to solve mysteries, but usually ends up being sidetracked by getting into fights with Catholics or Arminians, whom he always eventually challenges to a game of Calvinball. His strict adherence to predestination means that he gives up pretty easily in everything he was doing, and simply says that God predestined him to give up and it was out of his control. This allows Calvin to generally be a lazy douche. While typically a devout Christian, when he is angry Calvin occasionally threatens God that he may become an atheist (see right). God usually has no comment but allows the parent in Hobbes to speak.

In contrast to Calvin, Hobbes is far more cynical about human nature. The two usually get into philosophical debates and crack big cases together. Interestingly, whenever someone other than Calvin looks at Hobbes, they simply see a stuffed tiger. When Calvin gets sidetracked, Hobbes reminds him that they should either solve the most important philosophical questions facing a weary mankind, or else go back to solving the current mystery – usually via some clever method of investigation that involves tossing water balloons at Calvin’s neighbor, Susie, from their tree house to get her to go to a wet tshirt contest.

I’ve often wondered if Watterson named the characters after the philosophers (if Wikipedia is correct, he did), but I would never have thought to replace the dialog in some of the strips with quotes from the writings of the philosophers, nor the faces with images of them.

Too bad they didn’t go any farther with this concept. Maybe something to do in my spare time. Yeah, right! I really crack myself up sometimes!

Where’s My 100mpg SUV?

Filed under: Cars! — dave @ 9:49 am 2007/06/12

I was just listening to Laura Ingraham’s radio show, and she was in the middle of interviewing Clint Wilder, co-author of The Clean Tech Revolution: The Next Big Growth and Investment Opportunity. They were discussing ways that we can be better stewards of what we have, and take better care of the earth. While I was listening, they took a call from a guy with a great question; he said if his 1994 Honda Civic can get 45mpg, why hasn’t 13 years of automotive technological development improved gas mileage any more than it has?

I think that’s an excellent question. Emily drives a 1995 Civic with 120,000 miles on it, and I have personally seen it get 50mpg on the road. Heck, I once owned a 1981 Mazda GLC Sport, and that thing would get close to 50mpg on the highway. So why are the EPA mileage estimates on the most fuel efficient car in America — the Toyota Prius — only 60/51mpg? (and the dirty little secret is that in real-world driving, the Prius is hard pressed to pull that off.) The next best is the Honda Civic Hybrid, which is rated at 49/51mpg.

That’s pretty pathetic when the top fuel mileage ratings for new cars is nearly matched by real-world mileage on decade-old machines. Too bad I don’t still have that GLC; it’d be interesting to see if that’d still be capable of making 50mpg. The new cars get better mileage only by using hybrid gas/electric motors. The standard Civic has an EPA rating of 30/40mpg; it’d be interesting to see how that compares to the EPA rating for the 1995 model year, but can’t find that on the durned intarwebs tonight.

So what I’d like to know is why in the same amount of time, advances in technology have taken us from Apple computers like the 9500 that run at 132MHz and cost $5,000, to the mighty Mac Pro, which runs two dual-core Intel processors at 2.66GHz, and costs half what the 9500 did. If the same progress had been made on the automotive front, I’d be driving a new Honda Civic that could go across the state of South Dakota on a gallon of gas, and would’ve cost me about $5,000. Or better yet, I’d be driving a Chevy Suburban that moves & handles like a Corvette, costs $10,000 and gets over 100mpg. That’s the future I’ve been waiting for.

Fast Food Dissonance

Filed under: Fun! — dave @ 3:36 am

One of the things that always amazes me is how good food in advertisements can look. When I worked at CCL, we did a lot of labels for food products, and it seemed like those jobs only came up just before lunch (at least the more memorable ones did!) Always made me hungry(er!)

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But another thing that produces a similar amazement is when you go to a fast food restaurant and order the food you’ve seen in the ads, and how little resemblance it bears to what you’ve seen advertised. The image above shows a Big Mac from a McDonald’s ad compared to a real one from a real McDonald’s. Well, turns out I’m not the only one noticing the discrepancy; Jeff Kay of the West Virginia Surf Report* has a page chronicling that phenomenon here. Keep up the great work, Jeff (and thanks for the photos!)
* hey, wait a minute; wouldn’t that be the same as the South Dakota Surf Report? Where do you surf in WV?

One exception that I can recall was a Big Mac that I purchased at a McDonald’s in York, UK, when visiting there in 1984. I remember being dumbfounded that the thing was so perfect; both all-beef patties visible from the side, a little bit of special sauce dribbling down the patties onto the bun, a proper amount of lettuce beneath the patties, the cheese slices readily visible; all melty and delicious looking, a pickle or two & some onion sticking out from the perfectly toasted sesame seed bun… It was truly a work of art. I concluded that that was where they did all the photo shoots for their advertising.

WeirdTruck.com

Filed under: Cars! — dave @ 12:54 am 2007/06/11

Now this is weird. Really weird. Straight from weirdtruck.com!

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Remember the Push-Me-Pull-You (or is it Pushmi-Pullyu?) from Dr. Doolittle?

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It’s A Mac, not a MAC!

Filed under: Computers — dave @ 9:05 pm 2007/06/10

One of my pet peeves is when people refer to Macintosh computers, or Mac OS computers, or anything else Apple- or Macintosh-related as “MAC”. It happens way, way too often, most often with people who ought to know better.A good example is found on Sioux Falls’ own KELO.com website, where they make use of an inline video player that uses .wmv video files. Out-of-the-box, the Mac OS doesn’t play .wmv files; since .wmv is a Microsoft format, that’s really no surprise. To acknowledge that, most KELO pages you pull up on a Mac OS computer show a disclaimer like this;

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The in-line video player is currently disabled for MAC users.

Why do they capitalize MAC? Typically, in computer jargon, MAC is the acronym for Media Access Control, the quasi-unique identifier for network interface cards. A Mac has a MAC address, but most PC’s also have a MAC address. Then again, a Mac is also a PC (Personal Computer), but that’s another discussion for another time.They do have a reference there to Flip4Mac, so I must give them credit for that, but I just think it’s screwy for people to use all caps when referring to a Mac. Especially for the people who maintain the KELO website. A geek ought to know better!

Erik Mongrain

Filed under: Just Stuff,Music — dave @ 10:23 am 2007/06/09

Emily just told me about this guy tonight, and he’s pretty amazing. Erik uses a very unconventional method to play guitar, and ends up with a very unique sound… Kind of a mix between a guitar, a hammered dulcimer, and a drum. Yet much more than that. Watch the videos linked below & see what you think.

AirTap
PercussienFa

Or you can check him out on YouTube.

Remember D-Day

Filed under: The Deep,Travel — dave @ 10:38 am 2007/06/06

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Today, June 6, is the 63rd anniversary of D-Day; the Battle of Normandy Beach. I’m not a military history buff by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know what June 6 means, and can’t think of the sacrifice made by so many men without getting choked up. Almost 1.5 million Allied forces involved in the invasion, against 380,000 Nazi soldiers at Normandy. Over 57,000 Allied soldiers killed, another 180,000 injured or missing. All in one single military operation. Makes the four years in Iraq look like a drop in the bucket.

I won’t try to summarize what happened that day, but if you’re interested in learning something about it, here are a couple of good sources: Go to Normandy1944.info and click on Veteran Stories; some fascinating tales there. Also, PBS has a nice American Experience section on D-Day. There’s a tourist-oriented site operated by the French; NormandieMemoire.com, and don’t forget the ever informative Wikipedia.

Here is something interesting; the audio of the prayer broadcast by Franklin D. Roosevelt on that fateful day. Incredible words (a transcript of FDR’s speech can be found here.)

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