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Collected editorials


The knife, Richard, the knife

Late 2007 has been unfortunate for Richard. Let’s see, in October they sliced and diced my nose to remove a basal cell carcinoma (a bit of skin cancer). It turns out that they didn’t get it all and it grew back. It has to be redone in January. In the meantime I got a second skin cancer (squamous this time) on the side of my face; this one came off clean. I’ve been defaced.

Then in early December I had a root canal. For Xmas I got another bad tooth that probably will need a root canal. Nothing like making dentists rich.

In mid December Deborah and I went to Las Vegas to watch her nephews wrestle steers in the National Finals Rodeo. Naturally I got a cold two days before we flew out. The upside of this was that it gave me an excuse to stay in the hotel and rest instead of going out shopping.

Then there were the problems with the Prius. All of sudden the car started up with flashing problem lights. The manual said DO NOT DRIVE. I had it towed to a dealer. They ran it through their diagnostic machine which basically said that the battery didn’t have enough juice to run the car. They charged up the battery and said that everything was fine. This makes no sense at all; however the “repair” people don’t know how to fix anything if the computer doesn’t tell them what it is. I’m getting a new battery (they have to order it) with the hope that it fixes the problem. Ain’t technology wonderful.

In the meantime I’ve been using my little pickup. A few days before Xmas its battery went dead. This isn’t surprising – it mostly sits around waiting to be driven to the dump. I let it sit for a day and then charged it up. It’s a 1989 vintage vehicle so it can be fixed.

Then there are computer problems. For ever so many years my office machine was a 333 mhz reconditioned machine I bought back in 2000. I have another machine called bigboy that is hot (or at least it was when I bought it) that was supposed to be a replacement. For several years it sat in the livingroom on the coffee table – it was a coffee table machine. Actually it got a fair bit of use but the real working machine was old 333. Recently I decided that this was silly and moved bigboy to the office, leaving old 333 to sulk in a corner. Well, not actually in a corner – it was on a table in the middle of the room.

Fortunately I’ve taken to putting pretty much everything that matters on a portable hard drive that I carry from machine to machine and state to state. As a result it doesn’t matter much which machine I’m working on as long as it is set up with the software I use.

You know what happens next, don’t you. Of course you do. Bigboy crashed with an unrecoverable hard disk crash. Nothing could be recovered from it. Bigboy now has a brand new 250 gig hard drive and has been reincarnated without memories of what it used to be. Most of the stuff that mattered was on the portable hard drive. The music is gone but I can reload it once I get Matilda (the Prius) back – I had a big box of cd’s in the car.

We aren’t done yet. No way. Recently I purchased the office building next to the Rinehart Real Estate office building for the magnificent sum of $10,000. As you might imagine, this is not a building in pristine condition, the principle problem being a seriously leaky roof. Deb and I hired a roofing contractor to fix the roofs (her roof also had a leak). He screwed around for a month until the weather got too cold to spray on the seal they were going to use. Not a problem they said. We’ll put on a temporary seal that will last until spring when we can do it right. You may guess how well this “temporary seal” worked – it didn’t. There was a snow storm followed by a melt and puddles of water on the floor.

I had hoped to get it reconditioned and rented out this fall. It won’t happen until spring, now. Oh well, it wasn’t going to happen anyway. The handy man that I had hired to work on it fell off a ladder on another job and won’t be ready to work on it until spring anyway.

I would like to believe that 2008 must be better, but I seemed to recall that they are having national elections next year. There are approximately three hundred million Americans, some of whom were actually born here. One would think that out of that number, we could find a better set of presidential candidates. Oh well, they say that people grow in office. I hope to hell that whoever gets elected has a big supply of PGH (Presidential Growth Hormone.) There should still a good supply in the oval office; George W. Bush doesn’t seem to have used any of his.

Another moment of fame

Q: What was Richard doing at 3:00 AM Wednesday 21st November?
A: Being interviewed by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

You may well wonder what that was about and why BBC radio would be involved in any such foolishness. Well, you see, it’s like this. November 21 is the aniversary of the exposing of the Piltdown hoax. I have an elaborate web page that treats the hoax and its possible perpetrators in considerable detail. In short, as far as the web is concerned, I am an authority.

It turns out that BBC Radio Cambridgeshire has a talk show called Cambridgeshire Calling. What they do is call people all around England (or in this case the world) and chat with them about whatever is topical. In this case, the show producers thought that the Piltdown hoax would be topical. They searched the web for info on the hoax and came up with yours truly. I got an email from a very nice lady named Stacey who asked if I were willing to be interviewed. I thought to myself, self, this is yet another opportunity to catch a moment of fame. (They say that everybody gets their ten minutes of fame. I’m putting mine together minute by minute.)

But why 3:00 AM in the morning? It’s a time zone thing. Highmore SD is six time zones away from England; the program ran from 9:00 to 10:00 GMT. Anyway 3:00 in the morning comes, a call from England comes, they have me waiting for a few minutes, and then I’m on the air with the interviewer. He asks questions and I answer them as best I can at that time in the morning – I wasn’t as sharp as I hoped I would be but I said some reasonably intelligent things. The interviewer seemed to be fascinated that I was in “Dakota” – I had not previously heard Dakota pronounced with a BBC British accent.

The interview was on the BBC Cambridgeshire web site for the rest of the day. Our Lady of the Large Black Dog and sundry sisters and friends got to listen to me hold forth on matters Piltdown. They told me that I sounded quite impressive. That, after all, is what friends and relatives are for – telling you what a great job you did.

Old saws revisited

I have some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that things aren’t as bad as they could be.
The bad news is that they aren’t as good as they should be.

Our Lady doesn’t have a root canal

As usual I had to travel some distance to get my root canal done – 190 miles to Sioux Falls in this case. As it happened, the office staff at the canal scraper’s office (I don’t remember the official title) was mostly out. The only person in evidence was a very blonde young lady. I don’t recall her hair color but she was very blonde.

She gathered all the information about phone numbers and who to contact in case something horrible happened. The phone numbers were mine and the contact person was Our Lady With The Large Black Dog. We thought no more about that. My root canal was duly scraped and we went home.

Some time later, several weeks later, I got a phone call early in the morning. (Any time before 10:00 AM is early in the morning.) It was a lady from my canal scraper’s office who was looking for Deborah. The phone lady seemed to think that my phone was Deborah’s phone. She also seemed to think that Deborah had an appointment for a root canal. She was very insistent about talking to Deborah. Unfortunately it was early in the morning and I wasn’t too swift. (Much like the rest of the time, I fear.) Not knowing what to make of all of this, I gave her Deb’s phone number. Bad move. She called Deborah.

Deborah reported the phone conversation to me – it was suitably bizarre. The phone lady wanted to know whether Deborah was going to keep her root canal appointment. This was somewhat confusing because Deborah didn’t have any teeth that needed a root canal. She mentioned this to the phone lady. The phone lady didn’t care. She was certain that Deborah had an appointment for a root canal and she wanted to know if Deborah was going to keep it. She also insisted that Deborah had been referred to the root scraper by some dentist that Deborah had never heard of. It seemed likely that there was never going to be a meeting of minds so Deborah finally allowed as how she wasn’t going to keep the appointment.

Site traffic in 2007

In 2007 there were 1.6 million visitors (up 45% from 2006) and 3.6 million hits (up about 10% from 2006). If this trend continues there will be more visitors than hits in 2012.

New and different in 2008

I expect to do some major renovation in the slum city of the mind during 2008. Don’t worry, it will still have the same, ah, quality as before. As my readers may have noticed the home page has been simplified. Any and all suggestions for improvements will be treated with all of the seriousness and respect that they deserve.

Doesn’t go with iron chef

Our Lady of the Incredibly Evil Cat were sitting and watching Iron Chef. Jimmie, the incredibly evil cat, took up his customary position on my lap. All of a sudden he started making barfing noises. I picked him up and threw him off my lap. He did his thing on the rug; better the rug than me.

In case you didn’t know, cats throwing up don’t go with iron chefs – in fact cats throwing up hardly go with anything.

This page was last updated January 7, 2008.

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Collected editorials