Friday, December 29, 2006

Thought of the Day

If you can't laugh at yourself... might as well laugh at someone else.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Take Time To Enjoy The Finer Things... Like Lunch

"My, you are a slow eater" Said Grandma.

"I'm not slow" said Hannah "I just like to savor each bite."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Thought of the Day

If you want to be cremated, you are bound to make an ash of yourself.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Baby, That Ain't Your Concern

Take it for what it's worth... $240 worth of pudding.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Proud To Be Orange

Every once and a while you read about a professional athlete making the news for something other than what they do on the field of play. Too often those news stories are about athletes who have used poor judgment and got into trouble with the law. Today when I read my monthly Orangebytes Newsletter from Syracuse University I learned about something Carmelo Anthony has done "off the court". Carmelo, as you may or may not recall, helped lead the Orange to the NCAA Basketball National Championship in 2003. He had some impressive stats that year. I pulled these from the SU Athletics web site:
  • He led Syracuse to a 30-5 overall record and the National Championship.
  • He was named second team All-America by the Associated Press and was a consensus pick for National Freshman of the Year.
  • He was a unanimous selection for BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Year and was first-team all-league as well.
  • He was BIG EAST Conference Rookie of the Week a record 10 times during the course of the campaign.
  • He averaged 22.2 points (16th in NCAA Division I, 4th in Big East) and 10.0 rebounds (19th in NCAA Division I, 3rd in Big East).
  • He posted 22 double-doubles and led the Orange in scoring in 24 of 35 games.
  • He led the team in scoring, rebounding, minutes played (36.4 mpg), field goals made and attempted and free throws made and attempted.
  • Anthony was second on the club to fellow freshman Gerry McNamara in assists (2.2 apg) and steals (1.57 spg) and in three-pointers made and attempted.
But the stats that I now think are the most impressive are these:
  • He only played on year of college basketball at Syracuse, and
  • He has committed to donating $3 million back to the school
He's giving $3 million dollars to the school. He was only there for his freshman year before being drafted into the NBA by the Denver Nuggets. One year. One National Championship. $3 Million back to say thanks. $3 million to help the school that helped him out. I'm sure other athletes have given money to their schools, but I don't ever remember hearing someone give this much back. It is impressive to me.

I am used to hearing about business owners who have achieved financial success giving huge donations and having buildings named after them, but cannot remember a donation of this size from someone who made their success as an athlete.

I cannot say enough about my years at Syracuse. It was an invaluable experience for me. I am proud to say I have my BFA in Advertising Design from the College of Visual & Performing Arts at SU. And I am thrilled to be able to share this news about a Syracuse University athlete giving back.

Keep up the good work Carmelo and Go Orange!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Do As I Say, Not As I Karate Kick

Hannah and I had a little father to daughter chat today about manners. I decided we needed to discuss the polite way to ask for something after she shouted at me "Dad, get that and give it to me". There were two issues to discuss. First, she shouted at me. I don't like to be shouted at. Second, she forgot to say please.

I stopped what I was doing and paused to think for a second about how to handle this situation. Instead of scolding her, I decided that this would be a good chance to calmly remind her to use polite manners. I thought that if I shared with her that I sometimes forget to say please that we might bond over our omission of manners and the point would sink in. I told her "Hannah, aside from yelling at me, you also forgot to say 'please'. If you want some help, all you have to do is say please and I'm sure I'd be happy to help you with whatever it is you need."

And then I added "You know, sometimes even I forget to say please. I'll make a deal with you. If you will work on trying to say please, I will too. We can work on improving our manners together. Sound good?"

But instead of answering "Yes Daddy. I will work on my manners", she switched topics. The next thing she said was "You know Dad, Gracie and I wouldn't fight so much, but we see you and Mommy fighting all the time, so we learn from you."

What? Where did that come from? I started to chuckle as I thought about this. Hannah, based on our conversation about manners, grasped that I suggested that kids learn from watching their parents. I admitted as much when I told her that I don't always say "please" and told her that we should work on it together. As part of an effort to bond with her I intoned that maybe her forgetting to say "please" was due to my lack of manners. I was only trying to bond after all. But the fighting? I thought she went a little to far with that one. I told her so.

"Hannah, you and Gracie don't fight because you see me and Mommy fighting. Mommy and I don't fight, and we certainly don't bite each other or give each other karate kicks like you gave Gracie this morning, do we?"

That stumped her. "Okay Daddy, but you and your sister and brothers must have had fights when you were a kid."

And that caused me to think. Did I have lots of fights with my siblings growing up? Maybe we did, but I couldn't really recall any. My sister was in high school when I was born and I know we never duked it out. Brother Brian is about ten years older than me and if we had fought he would have had a seriously unfair advantage, so I don't think that happened. Rod is five years older and I know we used to wrestle in the living room, but that was more for me to show off and prove that I could pin him to the floor (a fact that he denies to this day) and my brother Kevin who is three years older was one of my best friends to play with.

Mary has remarked about me and my siblings being odd. To clarify she's said it's odd that we get along so well. She asked if there was any sibling rivalries growing up. I couldn't remember any. Maybe that's due to being the youngest, but we all seemed to get along fairly well. That would be odd. Five kids and no rivalries? I may need to give Ma a call and get the scoop. We're all over thirty now, so I should be able to get the scoop from her without her feeling like she would be hurting anyone's feelings.

And the talk with Hannah? I got her to admit that Mommy and I don't pull each others hair or steal barbies from one another.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Writers Block of Cheese

I wanted to write a post tonight, but could not think of a thing to say. But then I got an IM from Scott. He asked if I had read his latest post. I had. It was a good one. I told him so and that he ought to write more often. From that point our IM exchange went like this:

scottmonkeyboy77 9:46 pm: i have bdd

danthemanimal 9:48 pm: bdd?

9:48 pm: blogger deficit disorder. find it hard to write stuff everyday.

9:48 pm: agree

9:49 pm: you come up with killer posts all the time.

9:49 pm: nah. but thanks
9:49 pm: I've hit a bit of a block lately

9:49 pm: guess you can always write about cheese

9:50 pm: good idea. it's a challenge. Tonight I write about cheese.

9:51 pm: block of cheese. turning writers block into gourmet cheese
9:51 pm: and the style is cheesy of course

9:51 pm: writers block of cheese

9:51 pm: sounds tasty

And then as usual our conversation flipped to a totally different subject. Absolutely no segue. It is important to note however, that we are both "fathers of daughters" with three girls each.

scottmonkeyboy77 9:53 pm: you gonna try again for a son

9:55: that would require lots of debate... I think we're done... for now

9:56 pm: yup.

9:56 pm: you going for boy?

9:57 pm: i don't think so.

9:58 pm: get a dog

9:58 pm: or a penguin
9:59 pm: go write the cheese report

So there you go. A post about an IM chat between to guys talking about cheese, babies and penguins... The Cheese Report. Was it any gouda?

In fairness to Scott I have changed his IM name here to keep him from getting unsolicited IM's. I'll let you guess if mine is real or not.


Monday, November 27, 2006

What The Fleck???

I found this site while surfing around from link to link today on a couple of sites I frequent to get my geek fix in. I've played around with it a little bit and think this could possibly be a very cool tool to help share thoughts on web sites without having to take screen grabs, dump them into a Powerpoint deck and then make notes and arrows to point out what you want to talk about or share. There are a few bugs still to be worked out, like being able to make notes within a flash component of a site, lock the notes in place to a site like a blog (they stay in same location on the screen, but if new content is added and the notes refer to specific content they will be out of place). Overall, though I like the idea and think its pretty neat.

Here's what they builders of Fleck have to say about what they've created: wants to add a new layer of interactivity to the web. Fleck is inspired on a story written in 1945 by Vannevar Bush and an article titled 'We Are The Web' by Kevin Kelly.

Vannevar Bush predicted a machine called the Memex that would allow people to surf from one information page to another. Some people say that Hypertext and the World Wide Web are based on or at least inspired by the Memex.

One thing that the Memex had and the web doesn't is the ability to add new content to every page it contained. After reading the Wired article by Kevin Kelly we decided to try to add a new level to the web by adding new tools that would allow its users to add information rather than just consuming it.

Fleck allows you to interact with pages on the web just as if it were pages in a magazine. You can save your annotated page for yourself, send it to friends or colleagues or use it in your blog.

I gave it a try here. I made a few notes on this blog layout, look and feel, etc... to show how it works. You need to view the link via Firefox or you will not be able to see my notes. There is not a version for other browsers yet, though the site indicates they are working on one for IE.

Try it out. Fleck my page and send me your thoughts on the layout of this blog. I'm looking to revamp the look and feel and welcome comments.

Wikipedia Brown

We just finished reading an Encyclopedia Brown book with Hannah a week ago. It was a kick to read it with her as I had read the entire series when I was a kid. The series was published sometime around the late sixties/early seventies.

When we visited my sister she gave us a few more Encyclopedia Brown books that her boys, now in high school, were willing to part with. These were two of the books I had in my collection that now made their way back to our home. Books are meant to be shared, so it was fun to now have them back to share with the newest reader in the family.

So with Encyclopedia Brown as the book series du jour at our house, it was only fitting that I should come across this modern day take on Encyclopedia Brown.

Way to go Encyclopedia... I mean Wikipedia... I mean Colt Brown!


We have returned from a successful trip to Chicago for Thanksgiving with my side of the family. The girls had a wonderful time seeing their Gram and Da, hanging out with Aunts, Uncles and of course the people they most wanted to see, their cousins.

A few things that I confirmed I should be thankful for from the trip:

  • Putting new tires on the car less than a month ago
  • Getting new brakes the day before leaving for our trip.
  • Stopping to wash out my left contact lense when we were only two minutes north of downtown KC.
  • Continuing a family tradition of always saying a Hail Mary prayer as we left the driveway at the beginning of our trip.
  • Working seatbelts.
  • Not hitting the 8 point buck as it darted out across the highway while I was driving 70 MPH, in the dark, with the kids and Mary asleep in the back.
  • Safe travel to and from our home this past week to see loved ones.


Sunday, November 19, 2006


Leaves crunch under feet.
My breath becomes visible.
Earth takes time to rest.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I'm Weird... Not Boring.

I read my post again from last night. Those things weren't really weird. I think I failed to deliver. Here are some weird things about me to make up for the boring/slightly odd stuff I shared. I mean two diplomas? That's not weird. Just trivia. Not anything like what Andy shared. Not even close. So here we go...

1. I am right handed. When I was in high school I taught myself how to throw a baseball left handed. Now, that's not really weird, but I did it just in case I somehow got in a nasty accident, maybe on the farm with a combine involved or something and lost my right arm. Apparently during my high school years there was a rash of incidents like this going on. I figured I should do this so that I could one day play catch with a son if I had one. And though I didn't grow up on or anywhere near a farm and don't have a son, I continue to work on my delivery just in case. I've also rationalized that if one of our girls turns out to be lefty that I'll be able to teach them to throw in a way that's natural to them... as a lefty.

2. When I was little my mom used to buy Hershey's syrup in a can. From time to time I would sneak into the kitchen when no one was around, crab the can opener and punctured two holes in the top so that one could let air in while I drank the syrup from the other. One time I drained a whole can. And I'd probably do it again today if I could find one of those cans. Do they still make them?

How's that for a make good? Oh, here's another one...

3. When realize I did something half baked it drives me nuts and I go back again and again and again to fix it until I am 100% satisfied and then realize that it is something that no one really gives a hoot about. And that bugs me.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I'm Weird - A Meme...

Okay, so Jenne got tagged by Wendy and now I got tagged by Jenne. This is totally seventh grade girl stuff, but since team player I've decided to go with it. I didn't send any dish towels to Jenne, but I'm thinking of sending her some puffy stickers.

Here are the rules: List 5 weird things about yourself or your pets. Tag 5 friends and list them. Then, those people need to write on their blogs about 5 weird things, and state the rules, and tag 5 more people. Don't forget to let the people you tag know by posting a comment on their blog!

1. I've broken my collarbones six times. Yup, six. First one was as a toddler falling down a flight of stairs, second was as a toddler a short time after getting the brace off for the first break - a different set of stairs this time. Third break was in third grade playing a vicious game of "Smear The Queer" - totally politically incorrect game, and just so we're clear I was the tackler, not the "Queer". Fourth time was a flip over the handle bars of my ten speed as I was racing home with two friends after a trip to Old Orchard Theatre to see Back to the Future. Fifth was playing hockey. And the sixth occured on my twenty first birthday. Let's just say that a particular Hosipital in the Bronx named "Our Lady Of Mercy" - wasn't.

2. I will not finish a painting until I have started another one.

3. My right arm hangs an inch and a quarter lower than my left arm. See #1 for the reason. It prevents me from buying off the rack. That is a pain.

4. If I am ever feeling down or stressed all I need to do is look in the mirror for the main reason. I need a haircut.

5. I have two high school diplomas.

There you go! Now I'm off to tag Geoff, Aaron, Mariah, Rod and Scott.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Beck: Musician & Artist


Give It A Sling!

This game is mindless and yet so addicting. I guess the two kind of go together, don't they? Check it out at

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Quote Of The Day

"You know the thing about baby's breath? When it's not barfy it's smells really sweet."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Arresting Politics?

A few posts back I took suggestions for titles that I would then write a story to fit. Jenne suggested "My First Arrest". Since I wrote that post I've recalled a few incidents with various police departments during my stint as a Hotdogger that, while not ending in actual arrests, came close a few times. One of those incidents took place in Boston, Massachusetts on Tuesday November 8, 1994. It was Election Day and we were out for media coverage.

We had not planned out how to get coverage for the Wienermobile prior to that day, but being the adventurous types we decided to skip putting a real plan in place and instead headed into the heart of Beantown to see what we could do to get some good press. We almost got a doozy of a story. Almost.

Now, for those who have been to Boston on Election Day and have driven a commercial vehicle shaped like a hot dog there are a few things you surely know:

1. If you drive on Storrow Drive be sure to let some air out of the tires, and
2. Police who work the streets near Faneuil Hall on election day don't have a sense of humor, nor do they care to debate what actually constitutes a commercial vs. non commercial vehicle.

Right. So, what happened was this... Jeanne and I had a few hours to kill before we needed to hit the road and head to an event in Detroit. We decided to take a quick jaunt into downtown Boston to see if we could get interviewed or at least get a photo of the big dog in the paper. Boston media outlets have large circulations, so we'd rack up the impressions if we got a mention somewhere.

We drove around town for a while looking for crowds gathering or camera crews out on the street filming. We finally found some near Faneuil Hall. As we got close we scouted for a location to pull over and park, a nearly impossible task for a hot dog car in Boston. We saw a street right next to Faneuil Hall that looked perfect.

It was a two block stretch of road on the South side of Faneuil Hall. It was a one way street which happened to have a sign that said "Commercial Vehicles Only". We didn't have commercial tags and we really wanted to go down this street since there were tons of folks marching around, holding signs and shouting out for their candidate. Surely there would be some cameras around. And since we lived by the creed "better to ask for forgiveness than permission" we decided commercial tags or not that we'd take a quick spin down the street. It was only two blocks long after all.

As soon as we pulled on to the street, we ran into an issue. Ahead of us was an ambulance stopped in the middle of the street. We hadn't seen that. With nowhere to go I put the car in park until we had space to move. Taking advantage of our lack of movement, Jeanne grabbed a bunch of wiener whistles and hopped out of the dog to hand them out.

Since I was the driver on this day I stayed behind the wheel, ready to roll at a moments notice. People on the street began flocking to the driver's side window and asking me for whistles. After just a few minutes we had a huge crowd around us. I looked outside the passenger side window and saw Jeanne asking someone if she could carry their candidate sign for a photo op. Things were looking promising. But when I looked back to the driver's side window I saw a cop.

And he was angry.
He told me to move it.

The conversation went like this:

COP: "Move this vehicle now."

DD: "Okay, I'll just exit to the left down that side street then."

COP: "No. Pull over to the right."

Before I could do that the ambulance began to back up. I couldn't move while the ambulance was moving, there was a van behind me and no where to go. So I just sat there waiting for room to move. Apparently oblivious to the fact that I had zero options to move right then, the police officer got angry again. He must have thought I was not moving just to bug him. You could see the blood pressure building.

COP: "I said move."

DD" "Officer, I cannot move. There's no place..."

COP: "That's enough! Pull over!"

DD" "I understand, but the ambulance is right in front of me. I cannot move."

COP: "Drive around it and park on the left." he said through clenched teeth.

At that time Jeanne had seen what was happening and opened the Wienermobile's gull wing door to get in. (The gull wing door is one of the unique features of the big dog, much like the door on a Delorean, or even more so like the wing of a seagull, the door opens up and down vs. out and to the side like a normal car - a distinction which will be important to know in a bit).

COP: "I told you to move!"

DD: "I will, I will. My partner just opened the door and..." he didn't let me finish.


DD: "But I can't. The door is still open and she's not in yet!"

COP: "I've had it. MOVE NOW!"

Jeanne had just closed the door and quickly took a seat.

Jeanne: "Dude! What's going on?"

DD: "Hang on, gotta move. This guy is having a bad day and taking it out on me right now."

I should mention that all this time a crowd has been gathering and watching this go down. Some of the crowd ignored the cop and shouted at us through the passenger window to toss out some wiener whistles. Jeanne obliged as we slowly pulled around the ambulance and pulled over to where the police officer pointed.

COP: "Show me your license and registration!"

DD: "Am I getting a ticket?"

No answer.
I handed over the requested info.
People were still asking for whistles. Apparently the police officer did not want this so he slid my window shut. (The front windows on the '88's slid open to the side.)

I did not like him shutting the window on me so I slid it back open. Before he could turn back to his car to look up my info he came back to the driver's side window and told me I needed a permit. Jeanne piped up from the front passenger seat.

Jeanne: "Excuse me sir. What type of permit do we need, and for what? Who do we need to speak with to get one?" She said it very sweetly.

This time he did not respond. He simply shut my window again on both of us this time.

When he returned he had a citation for me.

COP: "I need your signature here."

DD: "Can you explain this to me before I sign it?"

He ignored my question which in turn caused me to start to get really irritated with him. I was slightly irritated before, but now I was really irritated.

DD: "Well then can I at least get your supervisor's name?"

No answer, just a glare.

DD: "Can I get your name and badge number please?"

COP: "It's on the citation!"

DD: "And your Supervisor name is?"

And that seemed to finally push him over the edge.


DD to Jeanne: "Jeanne! Grab the Bacon's guide and start calling the media. I'm getting arrested!" This was going to be great. Who could arrest a Wienermobile driver? We'd get tons of sympathy coverage!

I hopped out of the front seat and made my way to the door. As I opened the door and looked around I saw the huge crowd gathered around. The cop was there. He stepped toward me. Steam was coming out of his ears.

So I extended my wrists to him for him to slap the cuffs on me. A few laughs came from the crowd. He was silent and then, through clenched teeth sputtered out "leave now". I wasn't going to be arrested after all. He was letting me go. "Oh well", I thought, "That probably wouldn't have gone over too well with Russ anyway".

So as the cop gave up on arresting me I too gave up on the idea that getting arrested in a Wienermobile would be a good media story. I turned away from the cop and the crowd and reached back with one hand to grab the handle of the door and pull it down shut. And then I heard two sounds:

"Thunk!" and "Ooooooh!"

Something had prevented the door from closing.

The "Thunk!" came from the door slamming down on the cop's head. For some reason he had not moved out of the way of the door as I pulled it shut. The "ooooh!" was from the crowd. Turning slowly I met the cop face to face and his was as red as a beet. Veins were bulging from his neck. He did not say a word. He merely pointed at me to get back into the vehicle and drive away.

And I did.

I did not get arrested. We did not get any media coverage. That was the good news. The bad news was that we were now behind schedule for leaving for Detroit, and that meant taking a shortcut through Canada. As it turns out that was another bad decision... one that Russ would hear about.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Leaning Tower of Boston

I was doing a little searching on Google Maps this evening and zoomed in on dowtown Boston. Check out the image I found of a part of downtown near Faneuil Hall. Doesn't it look like one of the buildings is falling over? I cannot figure this out. Why does this look so odd? It looks like a photo of one building was taken at a different angle and then plopped into this image. Anyone have an explanation?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

If The Shoe Fits...

I work at an advertising agency. Now, for those who don't know, advertising agencies, in general, are much more lax about dress codes than, say, a bank. Some agencies require pants while other are okay with shorts from time to time. As a standard rule agency representatives dress up when meeting with clients. We generally strive to wear the appropriate level of attire to match what the client wears. Ties are tough to get any agency folk to wear, especially creatives. There has to be some wiggle room right? Banks on the other hand are notoriously tight on what is acceptable dress code

Earlier this week I had a meeting with a client. I skipped the jeans and wore slacks and dress shirt to match their corporate casual dress code. All was good. I was at their attire level and clothing differences were negated.

One the way back to the agency I noticed that my socks did not match. I had on one dark blue sock and one black sock. They were of the same pattern and because they both were very dark I was likely the only one to notice my error. I hope.

My mother once made an error like that, except it was with her shoes. The difference between what I did and what she did was that it was quite obvious that she was wearing two different colored shoes. While one was dark blue and one was black, you could easily tell that they were different colors. The other difference between what she did with her shoes and what I did with my socks was that while mine was accidental, hers was not.

It's not that she did it on purpose. Actually, she didn't do it all all. I did.

One day while home from college for the summer I noticed a pair of my mother's dress shoes on the stairs going up to her bedroom. I also noticed that inside each shoe was a circular dayglo yellow sticker. When I asked her what that was all about she told me that because it's so dark in the morning when she gets dressed that she decided to put stickers in her shoes to tell them apart from another pair that looked very similar, but was a different color. She had two pairs of shoes that were the same style and pattern. One was dark blue and one was black. She put the stickers in the blue pair.

Now, this seemed to be to be a very logical thing to do. After all, when you are getting dressed in the dark it can be hard to tell the difference between dark blue and black. You wouldn't want to make that mistake. Not with shoes. That would be dreadfully embarrassing. So naturally my first thought was that it would be hysterically funny to take one of the stickers out of the marked blue shoes and put it in the corresponding black shoe. So I did. I then set them together in her closet.

The next day she got dressed and went into work. I don't remember if she called home that afternoon from the office or if it was when she got home after work, but I sure did get an earful. I think what she said to me went something like "oooh! urrrgh! You! I, I, I'm gonna get you for this! Oooh! watch out mister! Paybacks! Oooh!" or something like that. In between the sounds of fury coming out of my mom were giggles and laughter. She seemed to alternate between laughing and thinking about ringing my neck. Mission accomplished.

Now, mom, if you are reading this, just know that I meant it all in good fun. And if you do try to get paybacks like you said you would at the time, just remember that if you leave this world before me I can always have the funeral home dress you in one blue shoe and one black one! There, that ought to make you think twice about paybacks!

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Karmamobile

Jenne posted tonight on Karma. Her post was about changes. It was about life, learning and menopause. When she was a teenager and her mom was going through it, she didn't get it. She didn't think it was THAT big a deal. She couldn't sympathize. Not really. Not then. Now that she's going through it early - thanks to chemo, she's feelin' the karma. She now knows what it's like. Sorry Jenne!

Well, the karma train stopped at our house tonight. But not really a train. No, upon reflecting for thirty minutes since I wrote that (I had to get the baby ready for bed and make some finger puppets for the girls to take to school tomorrow) a train seems too big. More like... a karma scooter.

While Mary and I sat in bed watching TV and making finger puppets, the babe alerted us that she needed changing. It was my turn to do it.

So, undoing the diaper I got the all clear sign. No poops. Ha! This was my luck. Mary's at home all day, running errands, picking up the girls from school and changing diapers all the time, most of them poopy. What do I get for the one diaper change I've had today? Nothin. Nada. Zip. Zero. Nothin' but a wet diaper...and that's a good thing.

And then...

"Mary! Help! Quick! I need help!"

I think I even said "stat"! It's always good to throw in "stat" to emphasize the need for immediate help. Mary used to watch ER and now watches Grey's Anatomy. Heck, she's doc herself, so you think "stat" would have some meaning to her. Nope. She just sat there making finger puppets. I shot her an incredulous glare.

"Mary! What are you doing? I said I need help. She's pooping and it's getting all over everything. It's coming out like a water through a fire hose! I cannot control this!"

While my left hand held the baby's legs up in the air, much like you might hold a chicken while on the way home from the market (and didn't have any bag to carry it in and if you lived a long time ago when you could buy chickens from the store with their feet still on and you just did this because somehow I have in my head that that is how people carried chickens way back when, though I grew up in the suburbs and my only time on the farm was on school trips, but somehow I still have this idea that this is how you would carry a chicken), my right hand was occupied keeping stuff off my side of the bed. I didn't have a third hand to grab more wipes. And yes, I know, I should have thought twice about changing the baby on the bed. I know. Bad move to begin with.

And Mary just sat there.

"Why aren't you helping me? It's now all over my hand and it feels gross!" I was a big baby.

She answered "It's not that big a deal. I change diapers all day long and it get on my hand too sometimes. When it does I deal with it. You can too."

"Yeah, but it's on MY hand right now! And it's going to get on MY side of the bed!"

And that's when it hit me. She changes diapers all day, gets spit up on far more often than I do and really deserves a break. The karma scooter delivered a little something to me today to remind me that I shouldn't complain.

But still... I think I said "stat"!

Friday, October 27, 2006


Earlier today Aaron accused me of being infatuated with bathrooms. Seriously? How could he think such a thing? I've only posted about bathrooms and related issues a few times here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Okay and here too.

Hmmmmm... Maybe he's on to something here. Maybe.

I did a little research and I think I know where this might be coming from and why. If you have a copy check out Uncle John's Bathroom Reader #8, page 64.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign

This morning as I was walking from the bedroom to the kitchen I passed by the hall bathroom and saw this sign:

I heard Hannah in the kitchen and called for her to come join me over by the bathroom door. She complied quickly.

"What's up?" She said.

"Not much. What's this sign all about?" I inquired.

"That? That's for Gracie. It's a sign I made."

"Can you tell me what it says?"

"Sure. Well, first of all that is a potty. I put the letter 'P' on it so you could tell. And those are hair clippies and bows. At the top is an arrow pointing down toward the potty. And that is a red line going diagonally across everything. That means no putting hair clippies or bows in the toilet. And that is meant for Grace."

"Right. Got it. No clippies or bows in the toilet. That's a good sign. I'll make sure that one stays up. Now scoot on back to the kitchen table and finish your breakfast."

What cracked me up most about that exchange is that "The Crumpler" made the sign about not clogging the toilet. I guess you could always dissolve toilet paper with some industrial strength Drano. Clippies and bows might be a bit trickier.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Go Belt Someone Today

As I was driving home Friday afternoon and stopped at a red light, glanced over to my right and saw two women sitting in their car. What I noticed first about these women was that both of them were smoking. What I noticed next was that neither one was wearing a seat belt. I guess if you don't care about what smoking can do to you the flipside of that is that you likely wouldn't care what a seat belt can do for you either.

I took a quick look around. I checked the cars in my rear view mirror, looked to my left and looked up ahead. Two other people were driving without their seat belts on. I was a bit surprised to see four people not wearing their seat belts. That was weird. I was just about a mile from the house and decided to play a counting game to see how many people would I find were driving without their seat belts on. I anticipated that I would see one, maybe two other people maximum driving without seat belts. I was only about a mile from home after all.

The rules were simple. If could not see a belt drawn over the driver's left shoulder I would count that as one. I did not count passengers nor did I count when it was questionable. It had to be clear that the driver was not wearing a seat belt. Thankfully (?) those not wearing a seat belt were frequently hunched over the steering wheel while driving, thus making it easier to spot. I didn't count the passenger of the first car I saw, so the game began with three.

So how many did I count within a mile of the house? Twelve. I counted twelve people who were clearly not wearing seat belts. I would guess there were more, but I had to pay attention to my own driving and could only count when I was at a stop.

I've often heard that most accidents happen within a mile of home. I've also heard terrible accounts of lives lost that all have a simple connection... no seat belt. My roommate at prep school had been in a coma for several months due to an accident he was in. He wasn't wearing a seat belt and survived. He was lucky. His passenger, also not wearing a seat belt, was not as fortunate.

Here are some statistics I dug up from James Madison University:
  • one out of every five drivers will be involved in a traffic crash this year.
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among people age 44 and younger and the number one cause of head and spinal cord injury.
  • Approximately 35,000 people die in motor vehicle crashes each year. About 50 percent (17,000) of these people could be saved if they wore their safety belts.
  • More than 90 percent of all motorists believe safety belts are good idea, but less than 14 percent actually use them.
  • For every one percent increase in safety belt use, 172 lives and close to $100 million in annual injury and death costs could be saved.
  • Safety belts when used properly reduce the number of serious traffic injuries by 50 percent and fatalities by 60-70 percent.

Go here if you want to read some more surprising stats.

I guess my point to this post is that you can educate people all you want, but they'll still do whatever they want even if they know it might cause harm to themselves. Here's a thought for preventing people from making a wrong choice for themselves when they get behind the wheel... why not make it impossible for a car to start without having the seat belt engaged? On second thought that would cause an uproar that the government is taking away freedom of choice and I'm sure someone would figure out a way around it anyway.

And the title? Back in the seventies there were some PSA's encouraging everyone to start wearing their seat belts. It had a very memorable, sing songy jingle "go belt someone today!" at the end of the spot as a friendly reminder that you can help each other remember to buckle up. I remember Kevin and Rod using it as an excuse to punch me in the arm. Two for flinching.

I never leave the driveway without my seat belt buckled. It may be annoying but I make sure my passengers do the same. If you don't wear a seat belt now, it's not too late to get into the habit. Go belt someone today.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bathroom Tip Of the Day #5

Always bring a writing utensil with you to the bathroom. The bathroom is where some of the greatest ideas are born. You're kidding yourself if you think you can remember those great ideas without writing them down. Heck, that's how I remembered the idea I had for BTOTD!

Bathroom Tip Of The Day #4

If you do not see matches or a candle in the bathroom you MUST courtesy flush. Your family, friends, guests... next person in line, will thank you.

Bathroom Tip Of The Day #3

If you want privacy you must lock the door. Telling a toddler you want privacy is like asking them to grow three feet taller in one day. It ain't gonna happen.

Bathroom Tip Of The Day #2 (tee hee)

If you have a choice of stalls and one has the seat flipped up...pick that one.

Bathroom Tip Of The Day

The toilets in our house have been clogged three times in the past week and this last one was a doozy. I arrive home this evening after picking up Hannah from school only to walk into the house, make a made dash to the nearest bathroom to hear Mary call out "No, no, no! Don't use that one. It's clogged!" Aarrrgh!

Now, since we've had three clogged toilets recently and I know who clogged the other two, out of pure curiosity I asked Mary who the responsible party was this time. She did not know, or at least feigned a lack of knowledge. I think she's protecting the guilty party. They are only six, four and three weeks old after all. What a good mom.

It really didn't matter who did it. I was the one who had to unclog it. And while doing so I began pondering bathroom etiquette. Bathrooms are really a great place for thinking and brainstorming you know. And what I came up with was this: If Anu Garg could build a huge following with A Word A Day otherwise referred to as AWAD, then why not do something similar with bathroom tips? And thus "Bathroom Tip Of The Day" was born.

Here's how it works, or at least how it will be tested out here. I will be posting a BTOTD (Bathroom Tip Of The Day) here each day until I run out of them or you tell me to stop. If it gains momentum we'll create an entry for it on Wikipedia, build a website for it to live, sit back and watch while millions start posting their own bathroom tips to share with everyone and then within a year sell it to Google for 1.4 billion. Sound good?

Here's the first BTOTD based on our recent clogging experiences:

BTOTD #1: "Crumplers clog while folders flow".

Learn it. Live it. Love it!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Life Happens

It's been a busy life for us since baby #3 joined the family. I've been lax in updating the blog. So here's a brief recap of a few things that happened the past two weeks:
  • Ran out of wipes tonight (this should never happen!)
  • Ate asparagus four times
  • Girls to dance class and library on Saturdays (Mary and I take turns taking them)
  • Painted baby's room (lovely shade of pink)
  • Gram came to visit (thank you, thank you, thank you!)
  • Cat escaped the house multiple times
  • Dinner with friends who joined us on the trip to France
  • KU Med Annual Dinner
  • Attended one six year old birthday party
  • New carpeting installed
  • Marveled at the belly button falling off
  • Cleaned litter boxes every other day
  • Changed x number of diapers (I have no idea how many - just that Mary changed more)
  • Three trips to Costco
  • Attended one parent/teacher conference
  • Cleaned the house
  • Got the house dirty
  • Installed bunk beds, dresser and side table in girls room
  • Woke up each morning with the three girls in our bed and me in the middle getting kicked, scraped and pushed around. Mary says not to complain, but I am not a morning person.
  • Took 247 photos of our new daughter with her sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, coworkers and the doctor who gave Mary the epidural.
I'm sure I've left a few things out, but even so that's nothing compared to what Mary has been doing!

Friday, October 13, 2006

KC's New Slogan...

"Kansas City - We Make It Easy For You To Get The #&!! Out Of Town!"

Read all about it here.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Boris The Spider!

Look, he's crawling up my wall
Black and hairy, very small
Now he's up above my head
Hanging by a little thread

Boris the spider
Boris the spider

Now he's dropped on to the floor
Heading for the bedroom door
Maybe he's as scared as me
Where's he gone now, I can't see

Boris the spider
Boris the spider

Creepy, crawly
Creepy, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly

There he is wrapped in a ball
Doesn't seem to move at all
Perhaps he's dead, I'll just make sure
Pick this book up off the floor

Boris the spider
Boris the spider

Creepy, crawly
Creepy, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly
Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly

He's come to a sticky end
Don't think he will ever mend
Never more will he crawl 'round
He's embedded in the ground

Boris the spider
Boris the spider
-The Who

Found this guy in the laundry room. Scared the $#!+ out of me to see him there! Alas, after quickly running around to get a plastic cup and piece of paper to trap him I soon learned the that he was no more. Something else must have scared him to one of the cats maybe, because he was dead.

Still...I don't know what kind of spider it is, but it makes me chuckle to think how such little creatures can make us big folk jump and run.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Here's an idea for the next evolution of search engines.


Concept: A search engine that serves up content based on your personality type... based on your noodle (had to find something to rhyme with google).

I was reading a book on Carl Jung when I came up with this one. Jung's typing of personalities into four primary modes of experiencing the world: two rational functions (thinking and feeling), and two perceptive functions (sensation and intuition) is the foundation from which Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers developed their Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) during WW II. The types the MBTI sorts for, known as dichotomies, are extroversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling and judging/perceiving. Participants are given one of 16 four-letter acronyms, such as ESTJ or INFP, indicating what their preferences are. I have not heard this for certain, but it's my best guess that this is why there are 16 people on Survivor. I'm not sure they're still sticking with this approach, however I think the first Survivor may have been comprised of one of each type.

The point of MBTI and other personality typing instruments is that there are distinct personality traits that influence how people interact, think and approach life. It follows logic and experience to say that not everyone goes about solving problems the same way. Why not build a search engine that serves up results based on how your personality type thinks? An ESTJ (Extrovert, Sensor, Thinker Judger) and an INFP (Introvert, iNtuitive, Feeler and Perceiver) will, no doubt, go about solving a problem different ways.

So how would it work? If you know which one of the 16 types you are, all you'd have to do is to click your type and start searching. If you didn't know your type you could take a brief type survey and then have at it. Of course there might need to be a little bit of time spent building some kind of algorithm to actually be able to do this, and it would have to learn how the types search to be able to serve up relevant results. I'll leave it to a team at Yahoo! or Google or someplace else to figure out those details.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Squidoo Lens Rising!

Good news! Lot's of folks are visiting my Squidoo Lens on the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, which means I'm getting closer to my goal of being in the top 100 lenses on Squidoo. Currently my Wienermobile Lens is ranked #847 out of 43,937 total lenses. Soon I'll be up there with Rachael Ray and Elmo TMX.

We'll have a cookout at our place when it gets into the top 100! All I can say is... franks a lot!

Actually you all know I can say a lot more hot dog puns, but frankly I think you'd find them hard to stomach. Find that hard to swallow? Chew on this for a bit... I haven't even told you my wurst puns yet. See how I link them together... that's a sign of a good punster. And you know what they say about great puns when they are told? It's a rare medium done well. Okay, well that's enough for now. Ketchup with ya later.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Getting Cheeky With Amtrak

Got plans yet for July 14, 2007?
If not, and you are looking for a little silliness you might want to plan a trip to Laguna Niguel, (Orange County) California. On July 14th of next year a few silly people will be participating in the 28th Annual Mooning of passing Amtrak trains.

How did this come to be? The official web site of the event shares this background:
"To best answer the story of the birth of the Mooning tradition, refer to the Sunday July 11, 1999 edition of The Orange County (California) Register newspaper, and the article headlined as, "Full moon over Amtrak keeps Laguna Niguel tradition alive", as follows: Twenty years ago (1979), at The Mugs Away Saloon, a K.T.Smith told his buddies he'd buy a drink for all who would run outside to the rail road tracks and "moon" the next train, which many did. The mooning tradition has prevailed, but there is no longer a volunteer to buy free drinks for thousands of "Mooners". "
I'm thinking about suggesting a trip out to California to Mary as a way to celebrate our 10th Anniversary next year. Gotta keep a little romance going right?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Door Dings

Wouldn't it be nice if all automobile manufacturers agreed on how to build car doors so that they all hit other cars at the same height? That way every car would have that little rubber strip in just the right place and we'd have no more door dings.

There should be an international standard set. Just a thought.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Gadzooks! It's The MIT Massive Vortex Generator!

Have you seen an Airzooka? The manufacture describes it as "a fun gun that launches harmless rings of air up to 40 feet. You will be amazed when you are able to mess up a persons hair or knock down targets from over 40 feet away. Requiring no batteries, and shoots air, you will never run out of ammo. Because it shoots air, it is safe at any distance." The technical name for an Airzooka is actually a vortex generator. I got a bit geeked out learning that.

I'm thinking someone should build a huge Airzooka and takes it out at half time of college football games. It could be rolled up and down the sidelines blasting massive rings of air into the stands. Add a little theatrical smoke and you could have some giant smoke rings from it too. Tired of the half time band? Just turn the Massive Airzooka on em! The only band members left standing would be the tuba players.

I'm actually quite surprised that a school with an engineering program hasn't done this yet. The question should be which school will be the first? MIT, RPI, Purdue, Stanford, U of Illinois, UC Berkley?

Monday, October 02, 2006

You Get What You Pay For

Hindsight vs. Insight.

For a client and an agency it's like going to the moon. Which would you rather do - be one hundred thousand miles off track and then look at what happened and figure out how to right the course - or get the right trajectory in place and launch in the right direction.

Hindsight vs. Insight? I'd go with insight.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Question of the Day:

Is it possible to be passionate about something and have balance in your life?

Post #101

I just realized I hit the 100 post mark without saying anything about it. There's something special about making 100 posts. A lot of people make a note of it. Sam, just hit his last week (and he started blogging after me!).

I think my 100th post is a pretty good one as it is. I'll make plans to celebrate #200.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Hugs and Kisses

The day after Maggie was born, Hannah wrote a book about her. Her teacher stapled the pages but Hannah wrote it all by herself without any prompting. It made my heart melt when I read it. Here it is:

By my count Maggie got 20 "kisses", 17 "hugs" and 6 "loves" from Hannah. That's a pretty good first day if you ask me.

Confessions Of A Dangerous Crumpler

"Daaaaad" she said. "Daddy, daddy, daddy, daaaaaaddddy! Look at me. Aren't I doing a nice job of folding my toilet paper?"

"Yes Grace" I said. "You are doing a great job folding your toilet paper. Who taught you to do that?"

"Emma taught me. I used to be a crumpler. It wasted a LOT of toilet paper before. Now I am a folder."

"That's great Gracie. Keep up the good work. Do you think you could teach Hannah?"

"Nope. Hannah's on her own. Gotta go! See ya!"

"Wait a minute! Get back in here. You've still got to wash your hands."

"okey doke!"

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

She Huffed And She Puffed And...

she signed an eviction notice. Apparently that wasn't enough so the landlord, Mary Duff, called in the elite squads of Epi and Dural to complete the job. Together they calmed things down enough so that the two parties could work out an agreement.

After a twenty hour stand-off that started Tuesday evening Baby Duff #3 was ousted forcibly from her home Wednesday evening at 5:25 PM. A little worn out from the confrontation the baby's first words were "waaa!"

The squatter was later officially identified as one Margaret Ellen Duff, aka Maggie Duff. Weighing in at 7.6 lbs and a mere 18.9 inches, the landlord was please at the ease and quickness of the enforcement of the eviction once papers were officially served.

Big sisters Hannah and Grace have met Maggie and agree that she is "cute" and "little" and have invited Maggie to live with them until she is old enough to attend college or they fight over Barbie dolls. That will occur soon, but for now Ms. Duff is in custody at a local Medical Center for physical and psychological examination after her ordeal. She is slated to be released with the next 24 hours if all things check out okay.

Mary Duff stunned her real estate investment partner Dan Duff by announcing that given the right circumstances she might consider renting the space again. Dan Duff did not immediately respond, but later issued a statement stating that "while my wife has good intentions, we are going to wait until the medication wears off before making any further decisions on renting to new tenants".

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Smash Therapy

I've been thinking about this one for several years now. It's solid and given the right location could be a money maker.

Name: Smash Therapy

Concept: A place where you can go and break stuff

Holden Caulfield inspired this idea. He smashed out the windows in the family garage the night his brother died. Peter Finch did too with the scene in Network when he announced on a broad cast "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore" and then promptly urging everyone to toss their TV sets out the window. Heck, David Lettermen does it all the time when he drops stuff off the side of the Ed Sullivan Theatre.

Whether you're frustrated, angry, want to vent or just like to break stuff Smash Therapy is a place for you. You can bring your own items to break or destroy. Like that picture of your cheating ex and that stuff teddy bear they gave you. Why not post the photo on the target wall and tagged it with a paint ball gun, then put the bear in the industrial size shredder. Or just break some beer bottles against a brick wall (we're into recycling here). Or line up for the bowling ball smasher where you can pick a ceramic item, set it up on a pedestal and fling a bowling bowl attached to a chain (mounted on to the ceiling) and smash the object to pieces.

Still need to vent? Why not sign up for a minute in the sound proof yell room? Before you go in be sure to write what your angry about on the chalk board. A sound meter will rate your decibel level. Highest decibel gets a gift certificate. The options for destroying items is endless and constantly being updated. Bring your friends. Make it a party. Have a theme night (Raider Hater night in KC would be a hit). HR departments could include gift certificates with pink slips.

It's not entirely just about breaking stuff. It's a safe outlet for getting out aggression. Smash Therapy also provides information on real therapists and access to help lines. Scented candles, soothing oils, books, tapes, you name it are also available. The goal of Smash Therapy is to bring in angry customers and send them away knowing they were able to go to a place to safely vent their frustrations.

All this can be yours should you choose to implement it for the low, low, price of: give credit to Dan and the 1%/1% deal stated in earlier posts (to be referred to from this point as the "One for me/One for charity" arrangement).

Oh, some possible tag lines "Go Break Something Today", "Da, da, da, ta, da...I'm breaking it!", "Get Smashed", "Smashing Baby. Simply Smashing!"

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Another Biz Idea!

This one comes from my brother. He said it was cool to share as long as he gets credit.

Name: Saved By The No Bell

Concept: An on/off switch for the doorbell

Someone must have thought of this one before, haven't they? Kevin emailed me to tell me about a conversation he and his wife had while at dinner a few nights ago at the home of some close friends. They all have kids ranging from teens to tots. Here's what he said:

"It came out of a conversation we had with friends over dinner last weekend in which we were kvetching over solicitors and zealots ringing the bell when babies are napping. I'll bet almost all parents have experienced this concern, which is what makes it an attractive idea."

So there you go... an idea for someone to implement.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Free Business Opportunity Idea

I have lots of ideas. Lots. And quite a few are for new business opportunities. I know that there is no way I'll ever implement some of these, so instead of just letting them sit in the back of my head collecting dust, I've decided to share them. I am sharing them with anyone who will put these ideas into action. All I ask is that if you end up using one of these ideas and have any success, that you simply send me 1% of the gross revenue and give 1% of gross revenue to a charity. Hey... I gotta make a living somehow right? The charity can be anyone of your choosing. In the interest of all I'd like to know which one you choose. Deal? Okay, here's my first of many free new business ideas:

Name: Funny Gram's

Concept: Singing telegram's delivered by retired Grannies.

I got the idea while traveling back to Kansas City from Chicago via Amtrak. While sitting in the viewing car I did some people watching and noticed a group of what I could only describe as cute, little, old granny types, sitting at a table playing cards. It dawned on me that as Baby Boomers get older, more and more will be hitting retirement age and might like a fun way to earn a little "mad money". All they need is to have reliable transportation to get to assignments on time and be willing to sing a song that would be written for the occasion. They could do it how ever they wanted. The more creative grannies would of course earn bigger tips. Wouldn't that be a hoot?

All orders could be taken via web site and then farmed out to various grannies who have signed up throughout the U.S. Heck, this could be global!

So, there you have it. A business idea cooked up on the train in about three minutes.

Let me know if you give it a shot!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Troops Vs. Soldiers

Somebody help me understand this please. Why do media outlets report "4 U.S. Troops Killed In Iraq" vs. "4 U.S. Soldiers Killed In Iraq"? I don't get it. Troops is plural. Troops is supposed to refer to a group of soldiers or a military unit. Referring to a soldier as a troop makes me feel like we are distancing ourselves from the individual. It seems more like an anonymous drone that is being referred to, rather than an individual who is performing a very specific, often dangerous role at the direction and discretion of our military and government leaders. I'd much rather know that an individual gave their life for our country than hear that a "troop" had been killed. I'd really rather hear that no one was killed, but troops seems too distant and we need to be closer and real and understand that those who are really at risk have a name and a face and are individuals. Okay...short rant, but this really bugs me.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Consider Creative Commons

I first read about Creative Commons about four or five months ago. I wanted to learn more and so I did some poking around at the site and learned that it's a pretty cool thing. There are a wide variety of types of Creative Commons Licenses that you can put on your site. What they do is let visitors to your site know how you feel about people using your creative property. Your creative property can be anything from photography, music, lyrics, short stories, articles, artwork... anything you create. And it's free.

I decided that with all the surfing going around, sharing of links and at the off-chance that a visitor to my site might possibly like what I have posted and want to use it that I had better get a Creative Commons License on the site. Heck, what if someone wanted to use my stuff and couldn't find me to ask for permission? A license on the site tells them right away how I feel about using my stuff.

And that's just what happened. Rod Taylor at CoActive Marketing was doing some research on an article he was writing for Promo Magazine and came across this blog. He liked several of my posts and wanted to use excerpts in his article. I found out later that he tried to reach me to talk about this before he submitted the article, but silly me did not have my email address on my blogger profile (I do now). But because I had the license on the site he knew what my comfort level was with repurposing my stuff. The license I chose basically says that as long as you give me credit and do not alter it without my permission you can use it however you want. And thus he did.

Oh, and the article? What was it about you ask? What else but the Wienermobile. If you are interested you can read the article here.

I emailed Rod after I read the article to give some props for a great piece and that's when I found out he tried to contact me but couldn't. I don't have actual confirmation that the license on the site gave him peace of mind to know that he could use it without actually having to speak with me about it. But he used it the right way.

When I started writing this blog I did not think that someone would use my posts as content for an article or really anything else. Signing up for Creative Commons license was just a lark... you know just on the off chance that it might happen. Looks like that happened sooner than expected. And that is fun.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Do You Squidoo?

Seth Godin is at it again. He's started something new. Something called Squidoo. Here's a brief description from the site itself:

"We have built a new online platform and community that makes it easy for anyone to build a single page--called a lens--on a topic, idea, product or cause he is passionate about. These lenses in turn help finders get unique, human perspectives instead of computer-selected and often irrelevant search results. Not only can Lensmasters spread their ideas, get recognized for their knowledge, and send more traffic to their Web sites and blogs—they could also earn royalties..."

Well, that was all I needed to read...spread my ideas, get recognized for my knowledge and send more traffic to my blog. Oh, and earn royalties?!?!? I'm in!

It took about an hour and a half to build my lens and get it up and running. All without a clue as to how to write HTML or anything like it. And just what lens did I create? What do I dare to think I'm an expert on? The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile of course. Okay, I may not have all the info on the big dog, but I did drive it for a year, visit well over a thousand grocery stores, hospitals and schools. Not to mention handing out all those wiener whistles, going to the SuperBowl, All-Star game, getting on the Today Show and getting quoted in every major newspaper in the country. There's also the time it was towed, driving without a heater in Buffalo in the dead of winter, hanging with Little Oscar and that little run in with the Canadian government we don't talk about... enough experience for me to feel comfy saying I have a bit more knowledge than the average bear on the subject.

So, check it out:

There you can find links to all things Wienermobile related. Photo sets on Flickr, recent posts on blogs from technorati, auction items on ebay, books and movies about the dog at as well as a whole list of links I've supplied to various sites on the web with info on the vehicle, it's history and how to become a Hotdogger.

Now that I've got an official site on the subject I think Mary just might let me take the boxes and boxes of Wienermobilia I've collected out of the office closet and put it up around the house. You'd think she'd be open to it. After all, if it wasn't for the Wienermobile and my Hotdogger-in-crime Jeanne, Mary and I would have never met.

Oh and while your there please leave a comment or ask a question. I'll be updating the lens all the time. And please share the link to my lens with everyone you know. My goal is to get in the top 100 of lenses. Right now I'm lens #4,765 out of 37,000+ lenses.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Things That Amaze Me, Volume 1

  • Asparagus Pee
  • Breathing
  • Love
  • Watching Our Children Grow
  • How funny farts are
  • How much Mary hates the word fart
  • People who can play the piano
  • That the while the West Coast has Leno and the East Coast has Letterman & Conan, that the Midwest has no one.
  • David Byrne
  • The concept of time
  • Memories
  • The beauty of a well written Haiku
  • That even when I was able to fit 43 grapes into my mouth, Kevin was able to get 50+ in his.
  • Snarfing a piece of Eli's Cheesecake
  • The debate: Toe Cheese vs. Toe Jam
  • That people still smoke
  • The popularity of
  • Dick Hoyt
  • That Pluto is no longer a planet, but Uranus is because Uranus is bigger.
  • That thing under there
  • That I just made you say underwear
  • That just because you get older most people think that means that you have to grow up


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

No Go for OK Go At "Don't Go" Party

After I quipped that I should invite my favorite new band to our "Don't Go Into Labor" Day Party, Jeff suggested doing it for real. He said "Do. Invite them to your party. I think that's a very cool idea and one that you could leverage in your own 'power of social media' story."

So I did.

I sent an evite to the band OK Go. I invited them to come chill with us in the backyard for a few hours. Maybe play some badminton, hang in the hammock, listen to the End of Summer mix I made on iTunes, have a tall cold one. You know...just chill and raise a glass to the end of summer.

Alas, they cannot make it. But at least they were kind enough to reply. Here's what they wrote:

"Thanks for the invite Mary & Dan. Wish we could make it, but OK Go is going to be in CA this weekend. See you next time in KS! Damian, Dan, Tim, Andy"

Gotta give these guys some props for actually responding to the evite. After checking out their web site, blog, message board, myspace page, flickr group, podcast, newsletter, videogame, YouTube group and some of the fan based interactivities they have in place it's clear these guys get it. They are authentic and their using every arrow in their cyber quiver to get people on the OK Go bus. The best part of all of this, is that it is working. They're talking to fans and fans are talking back. There is no wall between the band and the fans.

Check out the YouTube OK Go dance group. They've challenged fans to video tape themselves doing one of the bands' dances. They've got 154 entries so far.

And the Fan Correspondent idea. Brilliant. Here's how they describe it:

Here's how it works: We'll pick one Fan Correspondent for each show and give them a ten minute interview with one or more band members plus free reign to document the show on video in any way you want--you can interview fans, fight the merch guy, or just set up the camera and let it roll. It's all up to you.

There are only three rules:
1) The band interview will be no more than 10 minutes
2) You have to use your own video camera
3) You have to edit and upload your footage to our YouTube group within a few days of the show

I'll definitely invite them next year, but with more than a weeks notice so they can plan accordingly.

Monday, August 28, 2006

My Emmy Award Awaits...

Okay...indulge me for a second here...I came up with a new TV show idea.

It's about a guy who built web sites for the sole intention of collecting email addresses that he could sell to spammers...he was a real dirt bag. Then one day he won the lottery. Things looked good up until the time he walked out of the 7-eleven with his winning ticket, got hit by a car and the ticket blew away in the wind. No longer a lottery winner, this guy decides it's time to make up for all the pain he caused selling email addresses to spammers. One by one he seeks out everyone whose email address he sold and tries to make it up to them. Name of the show?

My Name Is URL.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

My Favorite New Band

I cannot stop watching this video. It is simply brilliant. Makes me want to do two things... go to iTunes and buy some of their music and... dance on a treadmill.

I want to meet these guys... I'm gonna invite them to our labor day party. Seriously.

Friday, August 25, 2006

It Really Is The World Wide Web

Who knew I'd be known world wide? Certainly not me. Certainly not anyone who knows me. But apparently I've started developing some international attention. In the past few weeks I started tracking where visitors to this blog were coming from. While 95% were coming from the states (thanks for all the traffic mom!), 5% were from overseas.

In the past month I've had international visitors from:
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Phillipines
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Canada
  • Malaysia
  • Netherlands
  • Israel
  • Czech Republic
  • Syria
  • Jordan
  • United Arab Emerates
Okay, technically speaking Canada is not overseas. I know that. But seriously, Canadian's reading my blog? No way. Totally unexpected. Had to make the list.

And just why are they coming? To read this. Amazing isn't it. It is to me. Quite surprising really. So, I started thinking... A dangerous pastime - I know! But if people from all over the globe are interested I think I'll write a few more posts about life with the big dog. I've got a whole years worth of stories from life on the road to share. Question is, what should I write about next? Here are a few potential topics I've been thinking about:
  • Celebrity Encounters
  • Traffic Court
  • Getting Arrested
  • Lost in Montauk
  • Candid Camera
  • Goodwill Hunting
  • Hotel Tips
  • Road Safety
  • Long Distance Dating
  • How to get on TV
  • Hot Dog High
  • Paul Simon's Driveway
  • 4th of July
  • Super Bowl
  • All-Star Game
  • Late Night With David Letterman
  • Miss America Pageant
  • Howdy Doody Festival
Any other ideas? Requests? Fire 'em my way. This could be a whole new direction for the blog... who knows?

So to my international fans (ha!) I say: Thanks. Merci. Dank u. ありがとう. Danke. Σας ευχαριστούμε. !ךל הדות, הדות. dekujeme Vam. terima kasih!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Some Assembly Required

Last week I purchased a very nice bookcase from Costco. It came in a great big box with lot's of pieces and needed to be assembled. I have put together lot's of furniture that needs assembly. Chairs, desks, small bookshelves, a kid size bed. Sometimes I have read the instructions, other times not. This time I did and it made my day.

Check out the tools required:

The instruction booklet outlines thirty steps necessary to assemble the bookshelf. A friend is required to help with ten of them. A friend is needed to help you position and hold the base upright, lift and install the right side into the base, lift and install the left side into the base, install the fixed shelf into the holes of the partition and left side panel, install the fixed shelf into the holes of the partition and right side panel, slide the apron under the left side, partition and right side, elevate the top of the unit approximately 3 1/2" off the floor and place foam under it, and of course to carefully set the unit to its upright position and move to the desired location.

The particular evening I chose to put the bookshelf together I did not have a friend handy. It was late at night and Mary and the girls were fast asleep. So I chose to go it alone. I managed okay, but could not help but think while I was assembling the bookcase that I would have had more fun had I had a friend with me.

As I finished cleaning up I read one last part of the instruction manual. It read:

"We sincerely hope that you have enjoyed assembling your bookcase and that you will make good use of it."

That sounded like something a grandpa or favorite uncle would say while giving a gentle pat on the head... "Well, that's a mighty fine looking bookshelf isn't it? As long as you took the time to assemble it you might as well make good use of it. But before you run off and play, what say we take a seat on these here rocking chairs on the front porch and enjoy a tall, cool, glass of lemonade? Ah, yup. Building a bookcase. That's a good days work. Makes you feel like you got somethin' done. Good job son."

So, thank you Plycraft Industries Incorporated. And a big thank you to the Plycraft Industries Inc. copywriter who took what could have been a very boring job of writing out instructions and instead made it fun and memorable. I will look for more of your products in the future because you put a smile on my face.

Thank you my friend. Thank you.

"The thing about bathtubs is...

... you never want to get in the bath, but once you do you never want to get back out."

-Hannah Duff, Age 5

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Cat Tales

We had a cat a few years ago. We called him Thomas. His full name was Thomas J. J. Duff. The "J.J." stood for "Jumpin' Jehosaphat." Mary named him. Despite a few hard nibbles on an occasional passing ankle, and bringing live (and sometimes not live) bunnies into the house, Thomas was a good cat.

One day Thomas did not come home from his daily prowl around the neighborhood. Two days went past and he still was not to be found. I cruised the streets calling out his name, called the pound and local animal shelters, let the neighbors know he was missing and left food out for him. After three days it was becoming more and more likely that he was not coming home.

I wasn't sure how to break the news to the girls. I thought it might be good to get them used to the idea that he might not return, but not say it was definite. I wanted to ease them into the realization that he was gone. So on the fourth day I said to Hannah "Have you seen Thomas around?"

I thought this was a good way to start the conversation. I did not want her to panic if I said he was lost. She responded with "No. Do you think he ran into the street, got hit by a car and died?"

I was floored.

"Um, yeah, well, that may have happened. All we know is that he hasn't come home for four days and I wanted you to know that I've looked real hard for him. I don't think he'll be coming back."

"Okay. Can we get another cat then?"

Clearly she was okay with him being gone... As long as we got a replacement.

We did not pursue getting a new cat for several months. Then a woman who worked at Mary's office sent an email note out that she had found a stray that was litter box trained. She said she did not want to keep it because they already had two cats. She dropped of "Casey" at our house on a Saturday afternoon. We had asked her to bring the cat by so that we could see how he got along with the girls. It was our intention to check this guy out thoroughly before we decided to keep him or not. The woman who brought him left our house before we really made a decision. She just kinda said "Well, he's all yours. Good luck." And then took off.

We kept Casey in the basement for a while to make sure he got acclimated to his new surroundings and we were sure he learned where the litter box was located. Slowly he began to explore the rest of the house. But Casey had a problem. He had anger management issues. His idea of exploring was to go straight to the girls bedroom and pee all over the walls. He would even leave nice brown packages for us to find.

After a month of trying everything we could... save getting a kitty psychologist involved, we took Casey to a shelter. He would not get along with the girls. Looking back on it, the woman who brought him by the house must have experienced the same thing. Though he was a gorgeous cat, he crapped all over the place. I was more upset with that woman than the cat. She had to have known.

And yet, the girls still wanted to have a cat as pet.

It took several months before Mary and I were ready to try again. This time we went to a shelter to seek out a cat of our own. In Kansas City there is a great animal shelter called Wayside Waifs. They do a tremendous job taking care of stays and neglected animals. Thomas was from a shelter and we had always said we would get our next pet from a shelter.

We took the girls to Wayside Waifs so that they could help pick out our new cat. I was thinking the girls would pick out a kitten, but when Mary pointed out these two handsome adult cats, the girls fell in love. They were Maine Coon cats. They were five years old and they were brothers. They had been in the shelter for a month and a half and no one had yet adopted them.

Mary had said she'd consider getting two cats so that they could keep each other company during the day. As our luck would have it, the day we went to the shelter was a buy one get one free day. Plus, since these guys had been there for several weeks, they were available at a reduced rate. Mary is always looking for a bargain, so we got em!

The shelter had given them the names Lance & Roy. I wanted to name them Hank & Frank. Hannah and Grace won out and they now go by the names Fluffy & Furball.

And they are the nicest cats in the world.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Crack Cookies

"Hi. My name is Dan. I am addicted to Lofthouse Frosted Sugar Cookies."

Yesterday I bought some cookies from the store as a treat for the girls for behaving exceptionally well while their mom was out of town. I consider it bribery after the fact. It's the least I could do, right?

When Mary came home today she saw only one cookie left. She took a bite and said "I cannot resist these cookies. They are like crack to me."

So I went back to the store and bought another batch. I ate one while one the way home. We only live four blocks from the store. I think Mary is right. If crack came in cookie form, Lofthouse would my dealer.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Scintillate, Scintillate Globule Vivific

Scintillate, scintillate
Globule vivific
Fain would I fathom
Thy nature specific
Loftily perched
In the ether capacious
Strongly resembling
A gem carbonaceous
Scintillate, scintillate
Globule vivific
Fain would I fathom
Thy nature specific

-Author Unknown

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

For Jenne

Okay, so maybe it's not quite the same as going through chemo, but I too once lost all my hair - and not on purpose. I haven't shared this photo in public since they shaved my head as part of my rookie inititation to the Fordham hockey team. I was not proud of the look.

So there you go Jenne. I thought I'd share to give a smile. I look like a moog, don't I?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Turn, Turn, Turn... To Flickr

It appeared in the Bible first. Pete Seeger put it to music. And the Byrds made it a hit.

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose, under heaven

I've gotten sidetracked from this blog. The last few posts have been about my artwork. While I do want you to enjoy those images, I am ready to get back to writing on the blog. As such I am going to post all future images of my paintings and illustrations over on Flickr. It's a great format for images and I'm going to use it as such. Check out the slide show... It's great.

I have posted a permanent (as if anything on the web is permanent, right?) link to my Flickr page over on the right hand side column under "Links". Appropriate, eh?

Please feel free to pass along the link to anyone who might be interested. I always welcome feedback/criticism. Thanks!

You can go straight to my Flickr page here.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Forbidden Alley

Colored Pencil, Marker, Airbrush. Copyright 2006 by Dan Duff.

Forbidden Lion

Colored Pencil, Airbrush. Copyright 2006 by Dan Duff.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hands Of Color

Colored Pencil, Airbrush, Marker. Copyright 2006 by Dan Duff.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Stars & Stripes

Airbrush & Pen. Copyright 2006 by Dan Duff.

Art Is Power

Acrylic on canvas. Copyright 2006 by Dan Duff.

Harder Than I Thought

Okay, my idea about having you guys suggest titles for future posts is proving to be a lot harder than I thought. So far I've only really been able to deliver on one solid post - My First Arrest. I am not counting Take Your Finger Out Of There and Lost In Translation because I took the easy route with those and found a video and an image to plug in. That video still makes me crack up.

I've got the list printed out and taped next the the computer. I am keeping it there as a reminder to try to use them whenever possible. I've got to admit I have no idea right now how I will use some of them. I promise I will find a way to write a post with the headlines "There's No Dignity In Plastic" and "Fuzzy Shoulders". My muse has not spoken to me about those yet.

But since I did get a couple emails asking if the painting posted in Lost In Translation was mine and if I had others to share, I am going to talk about art for a while. And yes, that was one of my paintings. I do have prints available of some of these if you are interested. Just let me know.

So, stay tuned as we change the focus of this blog for a few days to a more cultured and sophisticated one... the art of Dan Duff. Yeah right, cultured and sophisticated? I'll let you be the judge.

Art posts coming soon. I hope you enjoy - and let me know what you think. Thanks!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Lost In Translation

Title suggested by Steve.