Meme Time: 50 Random Questions About Me.

Via ***Dave:

1. What time did you get up this morning?
6:00 a.m. That’s standard for the Monday through Friday grind until August 17th when I’ll be switching to afternoon shift. Then it’s a crap shoot.

2. How do you like your steak?
I’m sure I’m going to appall a lot of people with this answer, but I like mine medium-well. Of course when you ask for it to be medium-well there’s only about a 50/50 chance of it actually being medium-well.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

4. What is your favorite TV show?
Currently my favorite is Better Off Ted, but you could also say The Big Bang Theory and Doctor Who. There are very few shows I make a point of watching.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Tokyo might be fun for awhile, but I’m pretty happy with Michigan overall. My reluctance to move out of state is probably why I’m not earning as much as I have in the past.

6. What did you have for breakfast?
Haven’t had it yet, but will be grabbing a bowl of Raisin Bran and some orange juice courtesy of my employer in a moment.

7. What is your favorite cuisine?
I don’t really have a favorite. It depends on my mood.

8. What foods do you dislike?
Raw tomatoes, Asparagus, anything overly spicy.

9. Favorite Place to Eat?
I’m a big fan of Red Robin burgers, but there’s also this little Mom and Pop Italian place here in Ann Arbor called Bella Italia which I highly recommend to anyone in the area. I love their Alfredo Chicken.

10. Favorite dressing?
Ranch mostly, though I used to be really fond of Thousand Island. I like a good Italian every now and then too.

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive?
2000 Pontiac Grand Prix or a 2004 Honda Civic.

12. What are your favorite clothes?
Jeans and Hawaiian shirts or t-shirts. I’m not a snappy dresser.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?
England, Japan, Hawaii, the Bahamas. All sorts of places. Alas I don’t get vacations very often and don’t have the cash it would take.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?
Neither. It’s half a cup.

15. Where would you want to retire?
Hadn’t thought about it. Considering my piss-poor planning I probably won’t be able to retire.

16. Favorite time of day?
Don’t really have one. Or I should say that it varies.

17. Where were you born?
Detroit, Michigan. Which is odd as I’ve never lived in Detroit itself.

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?
Not a sports guy. I was born without the Male Sports Gene.

19. Who do you think will not tag you back?
No one will tag me back because I don’t plan on tagging anyone.

20. Person you expect to tag you back first?
See #19

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?
No one in particular.

22. Bird watcher?
Not really.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?
I’m definitely a night owl. I have a hard time getting to bed before midnight. Which is a pain when you get up at 6AM.

24. Do you have any pets?
Two black cats. Melvin and Beanie. Neither of whom get along with the other.

25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share?
Nothing I’ve not already blogged about.

26. What did you want to be when you were little?
Santa Claus. Thought it was the coolest job ever. Barring that I wanted to be an actor or a stunt man.

27. What is your best childhood memory?
Most of what I remember from my childhood are fragments and impressions of events. Just about any Christmas morning will do along with any number of moments from summer or winter playing outdoors.

28. Are you a cat or dog person?
**Dave’s response is pretty much what I would say: I enjoy dogs, but don’t want to take pack responsibility. So definitely cats.

29. Are you married?
Yes. Well into our ninth year now.

30. Always wear your seat belt?
Without fail. I’m one of those assholes who insist you do so as well if you’re riding with me.

31. Been in a car accident?
A couple. Broke my neck in one of them (not as bad as it sounds).

32. Any pet peeves?
A few. I tend to do repetitive things by routines and I always get annoyed when the routines are interrupted by something silly. This is mostly something that occurs in my job.

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings?
Pepperoni, mushroom, ham, sausage, pretty much any meat short of anchovies. I’m a fan of Hawaiian and Mediterranean Chicken pizzas.

34. Favorite Flower?
Never thought about it. Not much for flowers myself.

35. Favorite ice cream?
Cookie Dough, Rocky Road, Moose Tracks, though sometimes I’m quite partial to a simple but rich Vanilla.

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?
I love me some Arby’s, but it’s too expensive to eat there often.

37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test?
Passed it on the first try.

38. From whom did you get your last email?
Coworker. It was notes on how her shift went last night.

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?, but I don’t have any credit cards.

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?
Freaked out over my daughter’s decision to not come home in the fall. That was pretty spontaneous in that I hadn’t planned on it.

41. Like your job?
It’s OK. Doesn’t pay as well as I’d like (or am used to) and is far less technical than I’d prefer. In this economy, though, it’s better than a lot of stuff I could be doing.

42. Broccoli?
Sure. I particularly like it raw with ranch dressing to dip it in. Though a good steaming with butter is always nice. Maybe some cheddar poured over top.

43. What was your favorite vacation?
Disney World back when I was a teenager. Been meaning to get back there ever since.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?
My wife, Anne. We ate at Red Robbin.

45. What are you listening to right now?
The gentle woosh of the A/C here at work. Don’t tend to listen to music much outside of the car.

46. What is your favorite color?

47. How many tattoos do you have?
None. Not that I haven’t thought about it, but I can’t decide what I’d like to have done.

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz?
None. I don’t tend to tag people with memes.

49. What time did you finish this quiz?
8:29 am

50. Coffee Drinker?
Yes, though not habitually. Mainly on the weekends at this point.

Meme Time: Are you a hardcore atheist?

You’ve seen this sort of meme before. A list of things/items/places that you’ve done/own/visited where you boldface the ones you’ve done/owned/been to see how cool/nerdy/hardcore you are. This one is on atheism from the Friendly Atheist. I’ve added my notes where I thought they’d be insightful.

  1. Participated in the Blasphemy Challenge. – I haven’t done this, though I’ve thought about it. Truth is I’ve already done so much blasphemy in my time that this wouldn’t really amount to much for me.
  2. Met at least one of the “Four Horsemen” (Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris) in person. – I haven’t yet, but I’d like to. I don’t think any of them read my blog.
  3. Created an atheist blog.It’s not solely about atheism, but I think I cover it enough for it to count.
  4. Used the Flying Spaghetti Monster in a religious debate with someone.
  5. Gotten offended when someone called you an agnostic.Not so much offended as annoyed.
  6. Been unable to watch Growing Pains reruns because of Kirk Cameron.Though that was true before he became an insufferable Christian snot.
  7. Own more Bibles than most Christians you know.Though most of them are packed away someplace at the moment.
  8. Have at least one Bible with your personal annotations regarding contradictions, disturbing parts, etc.I have one, but don’t know where it is at the moment.
  9. Have come out as an atheist to your family.
  10. Attended a campus or off-campus atheist gathering.
  11. Are a member of an organized atheist/Humanist/etc. organization.
  12. Had a Humanist wedding ceremony. – We had a non-religious wedding, but I don’t know if it was Humanist or not. Even so the Justice of the Peace still put a prayer into the middle of it. That annoyed me somewhat.
  13. Donated money to an atheist organization.
  14. Have a bookshelf dedicated solely to Richard Dawkins.
  15. Lost the friendship of someone you know because of your non-theism.
  16. Tried to argue or have a discussion with someone who stopped you on the street to proselytize.
  17. Hid your atheist beliefs on a first date because you didn’t want to scare him/her away.Didn’t so much hide it as not mention it. Which could be considered the same thing, though it’s hard to know me for any amount of time and not know that I’m an atheist.
  18. Own a stockpile of atheist paraphernalia (bumper stickers, buttons, shirts, etc).
  19. Attended a protest that involved religion.
  20. Attended an atheist conference.
  21. Subscribe to Pat Condell’s YouTube channel.
  22. Started an atheist group in your area or school.
  23. Successfully “de-converted” someone to atheism.Though not intentionally. I never engage with that as the intent, but I have had people tell me they deconverted in part because of talking to me.
  24. Have already made plans to donate your body to science after you die. – Haven’t yet, but been thinking about it seriously. Saves a lot of cost on a funeral.
  25. Told someone you’re an atheist only because you wanted to see the person’s reaction.
  26. Had to think twice before screaming “Oh God!” during sex.  Or you said something else in its place.
  27. Lost a job because of your atheism.
  28. Formed a bond with someone specifically because of your mutual atheism (meeting this person at a local gathering or conference doesn’t count).
  29. Have crossed “In God We Trust” off of — or put a pro-church-state-separation stamp on — dollar bills.I don’t make a habit of it, but I’ve done it a few times.
  30. Refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
  31. Said “Gesundheit!” (or nothing at all) after someone sneezed because you didn’t want to say “Bless you!”It’s not that I have a problem with saying bless you, but religious folks never fail to point out that I’m saying it despite being an atheist and then claiming it shows I really believe. So I don’t say it just to avoid the hassle.
  32. Have ever chosen not to clasp your hands together out of fear someone might think you’re praying.
  33. Have turned on Christian TV because you need something entertaining to watch.Don’t do it often, but every now and then when the mood is right it’s good for a laugh.
  34. Are a 2nd or 3rd (or more) generation atheist.
  35. Have “atheism” listed on your Facebook or dating profile — and not a euphemistic variant.
  36. Attended an atheist’s funeral (i.e. a non-religious service).
  37. Subscribe to an freethought magazine (e.g. Free Inquiry, Skeptic)
  38. Have been interviewed by a reporter because of your atheism. – Not yet at least.
  39. Written a letter-to-the-editor about an issue related to your non-belief in God.
  40. Gave a friend or acquaintance a New Atheist book as a gift.
  41. Wear pro-atheist clothing in public.
  42. Have invited Mormons/Jehovah’s Witnesses into your house specifically because you wanted to argue with them.
  43. Have been physically threatened (or beaten up) because you didn’t believe in God.
  44. Receive Google Alerts on “atheism” (or variants).
  45. Received fewer Christmas presents than expected because people assumed you didn’t celebrate it.
  46. Visited The Creation Museum or saw Ben Stein’s Expelled just so you could keep tabs on the “enemy.”
  47. Refuse to tell anyone what your “sign” is… because it doesn’t matter at all.
  48. Are on a mailing list for a Christian organization just so you can see what they’re up to…I’m on several including the AFA’s list.
  49. Have kept your eyes open while you watched others around you pray.All the time. I don’t bow my head or close my eyes or recite anything. I will stand up and I will hold hands if asked, but otherwise I’m silent and respectful until they’re finished.
  50. Avoid even Unitarian churches because they’re too close to religion for you.

So about 26 out of 50. Not too shabby, but I suppose that means I’m not all that hardcore after all.

Let’s do a meme: Your “other” names.

Saw this on ***Dave’s blog and though it looked like fun:

1. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names):
Jay Bell

2. NASCAR NAME: (first name of your mother’s dad, father’s dad):
Clement… uh… it just occurred to me that I don’t know the names of either my paternal grandfather (he’s been dead for decades) or my step-dad’s father. How weird is that?

3. STAR WARS NAME: (the first 2 letters of your last name, first 4 letters of your first name):

4. DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal):
Blue Otter (I think this would make a better Super Hero name myself)

5. SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you live):
Troy Ann Arbor (that one doesn’t really work well at all)

6. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite alcoholic drink, optionally add “THE” to the beginning):
Red Long Island Iced Tea

7. FLY NAME: (first 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name):

8. GANGSTA NAME: (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite cookie):
Cookie Dough Sugar

9. ROCK STAR NAME: (current pet’s name, current street name):
Melvin Chelsea Circle (that one doesn’t really work either)

10. PORN NAME: (1st pet, street you grew up on):
Tiger Meadowlawn

Someone at the Statesman Journal is an Internet geek.

Just look at the headline they used for Obama’s victory:

Click to embiggen!

It’s always amusing to see Internet memes show up in mainstream institutions.

Found over at Neatorama where they have images of Obama wins headlines from a bunch of different papers.


Time for a Quiz: What Breed of Liberal Are You?

This, of course, comes as a surprise to no one:

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.

Take the quiz at

Pretentious List Time: 18 Things A Grown Man Should Never Have

I am a bit of a non-conformist by nature so articles like this one from Men’s Health that attempt to speak with authority on what some class of people—in this case Grown Men—should or shouldn’t have used to get my hackles up. I say “used to” because I’m finding that as I get older and more comfortable with the person that I am I have fewer insecurities that would make an article like this one threatening enough to make me angry. If anything I find them amusing. So let’s take a moment and see what I shouldn’t have now that I’m definitely a grown man and how well I stack up to the list:

1. A black eye. Unless the rim hits your face mid-dunk, your peepers should remain unblemished. You’re smart enough to talk your way out of any fight you’re going to lose.

I vaguely recall my last black eye occurring sometime in my 20’s and not from any kind of a fist fight. I’ve never been much for fisticuffs to begin with, all the fights I got into in my school years were started by someone else who wouldn’t let me walk away, so this one is easy for me. There’s been a couple of close calls over the years where it looked like I might have to defend myself, but most folks don’t tend to mess with me because they mistakenly think I’m a bad ass thanks to my beard.

2. A witty e-mail signature. Quotes and song lyrics should be heard during toasts and karaoke performances, respectively. Don’t let your electronic correspondence become the digital version of a motivational poster.

I don’t currently have a witty email signature, but only because I’ve not gotten around to it. Not sure I see a problem with this myself. Witty signatures have been part of email since it was first invented. I do keep a witty signature on my blog comments. Does that count against me?

3. An empty refrigerator. Your larder should be amply stocked, your pantry provisioned. Always aim to be ready to create an on-the-fly, three-course dinner for her…along with breakfast in bed.

I’m guessing this article is aimed at Single Grown Men and not Married Grown Men like me. Truth is Anne handles most of this task in terms of figuring out what to buy and when. My contribution consists of earning the money and going along on a semi-regular basis to provide moral support, push the cart, and ooh and ahh over the goodies we really shouldn’t be buying. Every now and then she’ll send me out solo with a list, but generally she keeps our pantry and larder as full as possible given the restrictions of our budget. If there ever was a reason that I had to take on the task full time I’m sure I’d adapt in short order, but I don’t know if I’d ever be as efficient at it as Anne is.

4. PlayStation thumb. When they’re relaxing, grown men can behave like children. But if you devolve long enough to cause calluses or button-shaped bruises, you’re assuredly missing out on life.

I play a good amount of video games myself, but I don’t have any callouses from it. I have had sore legs from sitting too long at a LAN party though. This is one of those annoying subjective statements that always bug me. If someone is happy with what they’re doing then how can you claim they’re missing out on life? It’s entirely possible they may not enjoy any of the activities that the author, Steve Calechman, thinks would make for a more fulfilling life. I always find it difficult to tell people who are happy that they aren’t living life to the fullest. Miserable people are a different story.

5. A key chain with a bottle opener. This bauble is both a gauche reminder of your college days and proof that you don’t know how to apply leverage using available, impromptu bottle openers: a lighter, the back end of a fork.

Not being a beer drinker I’ve not held a bottle that needed a bottle opener in probably 25 years and that’s the only reason I don’t have a bottle opener on my key chain. As for using impromptu bottle openers as a sign of being a “grown man”, I’ve always thought that was for people who didn’t have the brains to have a bottle opener handy when they needed one.

6. A lucky shirt. Every shirt is lucky when worn by a man who knows that the harder he works the luckier he’ll be.

That’s sure to be a motivational poster in the near future. I’ve never had a “lucky shirt” as I’ve never been particularly superstitious, but I’ve had shirts that I wore the living hell out of because they were the most comfortable ones in my wardrobe. Of all the superstitions one could have, this one is arguably rather harmless.

7. An unstamped passport.

Oh my. I’m in deep trouble. I don’t even own a passport. The only foreign country I’ve ever been to is Canada and in most Michigander’s books that doesn’t really count. I’ve not been since the laws changed that now you need a passport to go to Canada and that may eventually make me get one, but seeing as I don’t anticipate having the time or money to take a proper vacation to someplace outside the country anytime soon it’ll probably be awhile before I can be considered a True Grown Man.

8. Olympic dreams. Exceptions: curling and archery.

I’m way ahead of the game on this one. I’ve never had Olympic dreams.

9. Less than $20 in his wallet. Fiduciary nudity is negligence. A real man should always carry a business card and enough dough to pick up coffee, bagels, and the Sunday paper without whipping out the plastic.

I find this one funny for a couple of reasons. First, I rarely have any cash money in my wallet. I carry it in my front right pocket. I don’t carry money in my wallet for the same reason I don’t make my bed. I’m just going to pull it back out (mess it up) again in short order so what’s the point. My wallet carries my IDs and my plastic money (debit card) and a few random bits and bobs like insurance cards.

Secondly, since the advent of the debit card it’s actually somewhat rare that I have any cash money on me at all. At my last job I’d pull out $20 at the start of the week for use on vending machines (snacks, drinks, etc.) and that’s only because Michigan doesn’t seem to have any of those cool vending machines that’ll accept debit cards that other states have. At my current job the snacks and drinks are provided gratis so I’ve got even less reason to have cash on hand. At the moment I have $53 in my pocket because over the last weekend we renewed our membership at CostCo and my mother-in-law, who has a card based off our membership, paid me back combined with a few of the bucks left over from when I was paying for snacks at the old job some three weeks ago.

Lastly I don’t have any business cards. The last couple of jobs I’ve held, including this one, don’t provide any.

10. A name for his penis. Even if it’s a really clever name.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a name for my penis. I’ve jokingly referred to it using common euphemisms everyone knows such as “Big Jim and the Twins” or “One Eyed Willy”, but I’ve never taken the time to give it an official name. Unless you count “Dick”, though I always say that word using a small “d” so it’s not really a proper name.

11. Any beer that costs less than $20 a case. And no exception for the grand-slam 30-pack that crosses that price threshold.

I don’t drink beer at all. Where’s that put me?

12. The need to quote The Big Lebowski/ Caddyshack/Superbad. Reciting someone else’s lines reminds people that you haven’t the wit to write your own.

Sorry, but you can have my beloved movie quotes when you can pry them from my cold, dead mouth. If being grownup means I’m not allowed to toss out an appropriate movie reference on a whim then I’ll stay a Toys Backwards-R Us kid.

13. A futon. Sure, beds are for sleeping. But such a meager, slouchy spread has never, in the history of sex, inspired a woman to say, “Take me on your futon.”

I have a futon, but it is used as a couch that can be made into a bed for guests because I have a bed. Though to be honest I’ve never heard a woman say, “Take me on your bed” or any other piece of furniture I had on hand at the time. I don’t think most women are turned on by the idea of having sex on a particular type of furniture. I’m sure a good portion of them would prefer a comfy bed over a futon for sex, but in the heat of the moment quite often any old place you can manage the act will do.

14. Code words for ugly women. Actually, code words for anything.

I’m trying to think if I’ve ever had code words for anything. Short of playing Secret Agent Man when I was 12, I can’t think of a time when I used code words for anything.

15. A Nerf hoop in his living room. Keep the adolescent accoutrements where they belong: in the rec room or above the wastebasket in someone else’s office.

I’ve never had a Nerf hoop, but then I’ve never considered myself much of a basketball player. I did have anime wall scrolls in my living room for awhile in the apartment in Canton. I’ll assume that’s just as bad as a Nerf hoop.

16. A secret handshake.

Those men at the Elk’s Club are going to be pissed. This is something else I’ve never taken the time to invent or learn.

17. Drinking glasses with logos. Especially those kitschy McDonald’s Hamburglar ones.

If it holds liquid refreshment I’m not particularly choosy about what is on the glass. I grew up with a decor that my mother referred to as “early orange crate” and perhaps it’s a sign of my redneck heritage, but I’ve never had a problem with that. Matching glasses are nice and all and I try to have a set on hand for special occasions, but for day to day living I’m just fine with those kitschy McDonald’s Hamburglar glasses.

18. A recent story with the phrase “So I said to the cop…”

Another thing I’ve never had. My brushes with the law are few and very far between. They consist of the occasional auto accident—most of them someone else’s fault—and less than four speeding tickets in my entire driving career. I’ve never been arrested for anything. Probably because I’ve been too busy playing video games. No doubt Mr. Calechman would point to my lack of police interaction as a sign that I have no life.

So there you have it. Based on this scale I probably should turn in my Grown Man Club Card. Now if I can just remember where I put it.

KPG says: “We are freaks.” And I concur.

There’s a very good entry over at SEB regular KPatrickGlover’s blog titled We Are Freaks. It’s about how those of us who spend way more time than we probably should on the Internet have all these inside jokes and memes we’ve been exposed to that the vast majority of people in the world haven’t:

Try this little experiment. Pick a public place, a grocery store, a bar, maybe a mall. Stand there with a clip board and ask random strangers what their favorite lolcat is. Ask them if they know that longcat is looonnnggg. See if they know who Anonymous is locked in battle against.

We have this weird disconnect with the world these days. The internet has provided us with such a detailed method of social interaction and we have formed amazing communities around it. Places where we interact with hundreds, even thousands of people. We spend so much time there, that it’s easy to forget that most of the people around us in real life, well, don’t.

And when we start saying things like “Jesus Christ, it’s a lion, get in the car”, they just sort of stare at us blankly. It’s a situation I’ve become adjusted to and even enjoy. I like those blank stares. I like being in on the joke, no matter how stupid the joke may be.

I’d never really sat down and thought about this before, but it’s definitely true because I’m often trying to explain to other people why something stupid I just said is actually really, really funny. Often it’s my Mom who has the typical reaction of shaking her head at me and deciding it’s not worth asking for a better explanation. My wife, while not as well versed as I am, is immersed enough in Internet and gaming culture because of her association with me that she’ll often toss out a meme or joke just as readily only to have me be the only person in the room who picks up on it. At which point we try explaining it, usually to my Mom, who shakes her head at both of us and tries to be satisfied that at least we’re a happy, if somewhat deranged, couple. Even so my mom and, oddly enough, my dad are both immersed enough to at least know what LOLCats are. Hell, my dad actually reads Cute Overload regularly and shares what he finds with me.

There’s so much of that stuff on the Net, though, that it can be difficult keeping up. In the examples given above by KPG I was already familiar with LOLCats, Long Cats, and who the hell Anonymous are (is?), but I wasn’t particularly familiar with “Jesus Christ, it’s a lion, get in the car!” So I did what I do when I need to edumacate myself and Googled it. Turns out its likely origins is with a LOLCat picture, one that I’ve actually seen before and forgot about. It’s also said that it’s what is known as a Rogue Punchline, which is a form of humor I’ve practiced for years without ever even realizing it. I ended up spending a half hour going through various Wikipedia and Uncyclopedia articles learning about the various types of memes and jokes to be found on the Net. Many I am already familiar with, but there were more than a few I wasn’t.

The appeal, for me anyway, is the subversive nature of that kind of humor. The first time you use it around someone they’ll look at you like you’re an idiot, but if you continue to use it repeatedly around said person they’ll slowly start to understand it and find it actually funny. One of the people I worked with at the job I just quit was a fellow by the name of Nate who is a walking treasure trove of memes and jokes of this sort. I knew I had found a fellow Internet Geek when one day he tossed out the classic: My Pokemons, let me show you them, which is easily modified to “My X, let me show you them” where you replace X with whatever the hell you want to show someone.  He would use these jokes with wild abandon in his conversations and half the time I was the only person giggling his ass off over them. Which just goes back to what KPG was saying in his entry. It was kind of fun being one of the few people in the group to know what the hell Nate was prattling on about and I reciprocated in kind probably just as often.

Having gotten this far into this entry I suddenly realize that I don’t really have a point to all of this other than to give KPG some link-loving for helping me with another paradigm shift. Chalk it up to having gotten up way too early this morning without actually firing up the brain first.

My score on Popular Mechanics list of “25 Skills Every Man Should Know”.

The guys over at Popular Mechanics are worried that today’s men aren’t manly enough so they’ve come up with a manly list of 25 manly things a manly man should be able to do if he wants to be considered a man.  I figured I’d list them off and figure out how manly of a man I am:

The List: How to…

  1. Patch a radiator hose – I have no fucking clue and no real desire to learn. I’ll change a flat tire and I’ll replace blown fuses and bulbs, but anything more involved than that and I pay someone else to do it. -1
  2. Protect your computer – This I can do. Wouldn’t be much of an IT professional if I couldn’t. From viruses to spyware to firewalls. +1
  3. Rescue a boater who as capsized – I could probably do this though I rarely have the opportunity to do so as I’m not often on a boat or at the beach. I’ve had enough water safety courses in my time, though, that I could probably manage this.+1
  4. Frame a wall – I’m not even sure what that means. -1
  5. Retouch digital photos – I can definitely do this as my mother will attest to as she often calls on me for help. +1
  6. Back up a trailer – I’ve only ever had to try this a handful of times, but I seem to be able to pull this one off. Would probably require more time to do it than someone who does it often, but I can manage it. +1
  7. Build a campfire – No problem. Unless they mean by rubbing two sticks together. My boyscout troop didn’t last long enough to get us to that lesson. +1
  8. Fix a dead outlet – Not sure on this one. I’ve never actually had to do this and, while I understand the basic ideas behind home electrical wiring, I’ve not studied it at great length. I know enough to turn off the power at the circuit breaker before even attempting it so I’m going to say I could do this with a little reference material to read up on. +1
  9. Navigate with a map and compass – I tend to be able to navigate pretty well without a map or a compass, but I did just buy a compass for the dash of my car to assist in determining which direction I’m headed. This is a depends one for me. I can definitely do it with, say, a simple compass and a road map, but if you’re talking say a hiker’s map in the middle of a national forest then I’d probably have a little more trouble. I’m going to assume the former and say yes. +1
  10. Use a torque wrench – Again, no problem. I’m familiar with their use. +1
  11. Sharpen a knife – I don’t do it often, but I have done it and using a sharpening stone with oil as opposed to just the sharpener on the back of a electric can opener. +1
  12. Perform CPR – I’ve never had it put to the test, but I have taken and passed a course in CPR in the past. +1
  13. Fillet a fish – Much like number 1, I have no clue how to fillet a fish and no desire to find out. I’m not a huge fan of fish as food anyway. -1
  14. Maneuver a car out of a skid – Absolutely. Saved my ass more than once with that knowledge. +1
  15. Get a car unstuck – Ditto. +1
  16. Back up data – Can do. Don’t do as often as I should on my own stuff, but can do and in fact do do as a regular part of my job. +1
  17. Paint a room – Can do, but would rather not do if I can avoid it. +1
  18. Mix concrete – Never tried and I’ll go ahead and assume that I can’t without some instruction from someone who actually knows what he’s doing. Another thing I’d rather let someone else do. -1
  19. Clean a bolt-action rifle – Never owned one, never learned how to clean one. No can do. -1
  20. Change oil and filter – I can do this, but I don’t because I hate doing it. The $20 the local shop charges is well worth not having to fuck with it myself. +1
  21. Hook up an HDTV – I’ve never owned an HDTV so I can’t say with certainty, but I tend to be able to handle any electronic gadget you throw at me so I’m going to say I could do this. +1
  22. Bleed brakes – Done it, but like oil changes I’d rather leave it to someone else. +1
  23. Paddle a canoe – Surprisingly enough, for someone who isn’t a big outdoors man these days, I can do this. In my youth I went on a number of canoing trips and can handle a canoe solo quite well. +1
  24. Fix a bike flat – No problem. Tinkering with bikes as a kid was the closest I ever got to being a mechanic. Flat tires are easy peasy. +1
  25. Extend your wireless network – Done this enough times in my career to say it’s something I’m familiar with. +1

Out of 25 skills I can do 20 of them. Does that mean I qualify as only 80% of a manly man? How about you? How many of these manly man skills can you do?

Meme Time: Which ancient language are you?

I have no real idea what, if anything, this says about me, but what the hell…


Your Score: Linear B


You scored



    You are Linear B. Even those who can follow you think you’re all Greek to them. Which, after all, is true – Linear B being the first known text for written Greek. To most people, you’re incomprehensible. But what do you care? You’re tough, hard, long-enduring and have greater nobility than most. Naturally, you don’t admit to borrowing extensively from your brother Linear A.

Link: The Which Ancient Language Are You Test written by imipak on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Found via my buddy Hairboy.

Five favorite (and not so favorite) politicians.

DOF dropped me a note the other day about a pseudo-meme he’s developed wherein he lists off his five favorite politicians, and five not-so-favorite and has invited others, including yours truly, to do the same:

Make a similar list on your own blog and send me a link to it.  Choose your 5 favorite and 5 least favorite American politicians dating back through your parents’ generation.  Give a short explanation – about three sentences – for each one.  The politicians need not be well-known.  If you’re really an incurable political junkie, you can go 10 and 10 with the same limitation on explanation length.  I’ll probably go with 5 and 5.

When you get your post ready, email me, or leave a link back to it in the comments this post.  I’m looking forward to reading what everyone comes up with!  Hope several people will decide to participate.

So I’ve been mulling this over in my head and it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be because I have to admit to the fact that I only really started paying attention to politics during the Clinton years. Most of what I know about previous administrations, including the ones I lived through in my youth, come from history books and documentaries. Having said that, here’s my stab at this meme:


  1. Bill Clinton – Looking back I feel that overall Bill Clinton did a pretty good job as President. The whole Monica Lewinsky affair aside, Clinton seemed to be able to handle both domestic and foreign issues quite well given that for a good portion of his presidency he was up against a hostile Congress. He wasn’t afraid to use his veto pen when he felt it was necessary and he helped to usher in the first budget surplus I can remember. It doesn’t hurt that I personally, and the country as a whole, seemed to prosper pretty well during Clinton’s time in office.
  2. Carl Levin – A Michigan Democratic Senator, Levin has been in office for as long as I can remember. He was elected in 1978, I was 11 years old at the time, and he’s managed to hold onto his job ever since. He’s probably the politician I know best and his work on government transparency — he has pushed to have many documents declassified — and his votes against sending troops to Iraq and to have a timetable for withdrawal declared are just some of the reasons he’s a favorite. There’s very few issues on which he and I disagree.
  3. Al Gore – This one might seem obvious considering I made Bill Clinton my top choice, but the truth is that I only voted for Al when he ran for president because he wasn’t George W. Bush. My appreciation for Al Gore didn’t come about until after he lost the election and started touring the world as a public speaker. Several of his speeches since then along with his documentary An Inconvenient Truth made it clear to me just how much we lost out on by not having him as President.
  4. John Edwards – Not because of any particular policies he has, but because of how he handles himself. Perhaps it’s just an act, but he’s one of the few politicians who, to me, seems to actually be sincere when he speaks. I thought he was an excellent choice for VP when John Kerry made his bid for the White House and I voted for Kerry as much because Edwards was on the ticket as I did because, again, they weren’t George W. Bush.
  5. Dwight Eisenhower – Mostly for his vision in building the Interstate Highway System. I-75 here in Michigan played a big part in my youth as we traveled it often going up north to visit grandparents and cousins and down south to North Carolina to visit relatives there. His work on Civil Rights, though criticized by some liberals as weak, was a good start for the time.


  1. George W. Bush – This one was easy. Arguably the worst President this country has seen for reasons ranging from his efforts to increase the power of the Executive branch at the cost of the other two branches, to civil rights, willingness to ignore the law, the war in Iraq, squandering of the budget surplus, and on and on and on. Most of my complaints are in the archives so there’s no need to go into greater detail.
  2. Joe Lieberman – Joe initially came to my attention because of his crusade against video games and the fact that he didn’t become Vice President when Al Gore lost is the one good thing to come out of that election. While there are a few issues I agree with him on by and large we are of differing opinions on most of the bills that cross his desk.
  3. Sam Brownback – He’s an Evangelical Christian who claims former Senator Jesse Helms as his role model. Enough said.
  4. Tom DeLay – There’s so much about Tom DeLay to rant about that it’s hard to know where to start, but a good place would probably be the Terri Schiavo fiasco. From there we can jump to Jack Abramoff and from there to a seemingly endless parade of ethics violations and fund raising scandals. When DeLay resigned on June 9th, 2006 I did a little happy dance.
  5. Trent Lott – From his part in the impeachment of Bill Clinton to his love of pork spending there is a lot to dislike about Lott. His opposition to a number of civil rights bills is my biggest problem with him.

Not surprisingly coming up with the list of non-favorites was a lot easier than coming up with the favorites. I don’t often know what I like, but I always seem to have a good idea of what I don’t like. It’s probably telling that one of the greatest achievements a politician can hope for with me is to avoid my attention altogether as more often than not if they catch it it ends up being negative.