Worms Of The Earth, And Garage

Richard has an interesting story in the Chicago Tribune about vermiculture:  that is, worm composting.  I’m all in favor of composting and reducing our waste footprint, and using the lowly worm to accomplish that important goal seems like a good idea to me.

As always, I learned something from reading Richard’s story.  For example:

Worms eat about a third of their body weight a day, and great compost packed with nutrients comes out the other end.

Charles Darwin was a big fan of worms, and wrote that he doubted “there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world.”

Worms are temperamental, and one lazy worm can turn an entire worm colony into a bunch of malingerers.

Worms apparently will eat just about anything, including burlap and scrap paper.

Remember the useful aspects of our worm friends, and be sure to sweep them off the driveway after the next big rainstorm rather than pulverizing them into the asphalt!

Odd Hotel Signage

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You’re staying in a strange hotel, and as you pass the registration desk you notice a cheap sign that says “Confessional.”

What the? “Confessional”? In a hotel? Perhaps the lodging establishment is hosting a super-heated trade conference where spouses routinely stray, and therefore the hotel offers a soul-cleansing confessional as a necessary service?

Or, more likely, is the strange hotel the site of tryouts for some new, idiotic reality show , and “confessional” refers to the one-on-one camera time where a participant bares his soul about his goals and speaks earnestly about how he views Celeste as his principal competition?

Either way, it’s unsettling for the boring business traveler. And, I must confess, it makes me look with some skepticism on the other people in the elevator. Business travelers who need a “confessional” are not to be trifled with.

Fake Wireless Network Names

If you’ve got the wireless function activated on your smartphone, occasionally you’re going to get pop-up information boxes asking if you want to link to some random wireless networks that happen to be operating in the vicinity.  Usually the network names are generic and instantly forgettable, like “mywireless” or “Millerguest.”

Recently, however, my cell phone listed a wireless network name that stopped me in my tracks:  “FBI Surveillance.”

For all I know, it really was a network for FBI agents who were checking things out nearby, but I’m guessing it was a razz by a fellow American who is tired of the government snooping on our every activity and thought such a wireless name might cause the rest of us to develop  enhanced awareness of threats to our liberty.  If so, it worked.  It also got me to thinking:  what are some other fake wireless network names that might give the random cell phone user whose wireless search function is on a bit of a jolt?  Here are some suggestions:

mobileebolatestinglab

123KGBSleeperCell

Satan666

joebidensexden

DronePilotNet

HackMyNeighb0r!

KochBrothers$$$$

Your suggestions are welcome.  C’mon, America — let’s call an end to lame wireless network names!

The Penny Chronicles

My name is Penny.

The Leader has been gone the last few days, which means we’re stuck with the old boring guy,  That means no snuggling, no kisses, and no treats thrown to us when the Leader leaves the house.  The old boring guy doesn’t do any of that good stuff.

IMG_3064Kasey and I sure do miss the Leader!

When the old boring guy is in charge, we know he’s going to take for a long morning walk.  And when I say long, I mean long!  It takes forever!

But there is one good thing about it.  The old boring guy always walks by one of my favorite places and let’s me stop and have a good sniff around.  I love that little stretch of fence and patch of ground.  I’m not sure why.  I’ve been stopping there since I first joined the pack, smelling the smell and leaving my own sign for any dogs that might follow.

And in the morning, like this morning, when it is cool and dark and peaceful, this little patch of grass and fence is a wonderful place.  When I come home and lie down on the kitchen floor, sometimes I think about it.  And then, eventually, I get hungry.

Cows Are Hot, Cows Are Cool

Cows are pretty cool right now.  The Chick-Fil-A TV commercials prominently feature our bovine friends, who can’t spell very well but can climb onto billboards, scale water towers, and turn up just as somebody is getting ready to bite into a cheeseburger.  There’s even a Cow Appreciation Day.

Now we know that cows are hot, because they’ve got their own webcam.  In fact, the Modern Farmer Cow Cam offers you the choice of two cow cams, both of which are at the Never Rest Dairy in Watertown, Wisconsin.

The settings are different, but either way, you get to watch cows, live, doing what cows do — which is really nothing at all except eating their feed, drinking lots of water, chewing their cuds, and maintaining a placid expression at all costs. Oh, and producing other cows, milk, and the best darned fertilizer known to mankind.

It’s pretty mesmerizing, really.  And perhaps we could all learn something from the Holstein’s unsurprised acceptance of the vicissitudes of life.

The Wonder Of The Wienermobile

IMG_3041Today my inner 10-year-old boy got the thrill of a lifetime.  I was having lunch outside with the Red Sox Fan when the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile drove by, gliding right down Third Street through the heart of downtown Columbus.  The Wienermobile!  Here!

What 10-year-old boy didn’t think the Wienermobile was cool?  Sure, the Batmobile was cooler, but who wouldn’t want to ride in a car that was tricked out like a hot dog in a bun, singing the “Oh I wish I were an Oscar Meyer wiener” song at the top of your little kid lungs as you turned heads in every town from sea to shining sea?

When the Wienermobile drove by, I’d be willing to bet that every male in the vicinity looked at the car, felt like a kid again, and thought with a chuckle and a fond recollection of the humor of a 10-year-old:  “Heh.  Wiener.”  And that’s the wonder of the Wienermobile.

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The Pseudo Science Of Self-Weighing

When you’re trying to lose weight, how often should you weigh yourself?  It’s a timeless question that every dieting person wrestles with.  You want to track how you’re doing, but you view stepping on to the scales with a mixture of anticipation and dread.  Will you receive news of happy progress, or crushing disappointment?

IMG_3037The experts give no clear answer.  The two choices seem to be daily weighing and weekly weighing.  Some say you should weigh yourself every day and then, at the end of the week, average your daily weight and track your progress on a weekly basis; others say weekly weighing, on the same day and at the same time, is the best way to go.  Either way, the expert guidance is full of hedging comments, like noting that your weight naturally fluctuates during the day and observing that your weight might not be the best evidence of dietary success, because you could be replacing jiggling flab with weighty muscle.

Dieter, know thyself!  Discouragement seems to be the greatest enemy of a person who is trying to lose weight.  Dieting isn’t easy; you’re trying to change ingrained habits and not eating what you would like.  If you’ve stuck to your diet but didn’t see any weight loss on the scales yesterday or today, are you going to say what the hell and indulge in a hot fudge sundae? If you’re easily discouraged, why expose yourself to the daily possibility that you’ll be disappointed?

I suppose there are some overweight nerds who would love nothing more than to create spreadsheets with their daily weights and weekly averages, but for normally constituted people weekly weighing seems like the best idea.  Let the accumulated work and sacrifice of seven days show weight loss progress and provide the positive reinforcement that you need to keep going.

And while you’re at it, why not give yourself a break and pick a time when you’re most likely to get happy news from that bathroom scale?  When I started the low-carb approach I resolved to weigh myself once a week, after I played golf on Sunday morning.  Sure, the results reflected water weight loss from lugging my golf bag around on a hot summer day, but what the heck?  It made me feel like I was really making progress, and as long as I was consistent in when I weighed myself, what’s the harm?