White chocolate and red liquorice are just wrong

These are wrong

Did you know that there’s no such thing as “white chocolate” or “red liquorice”? No, really …

Maybe sure you’re thinking, “But I’ve had white chocolate, and I’ve had red liquorice. What do you mean there’s no such thing?” What I really mean is: these names are misnomers.

“White chocolate” isn’t really chocolate. “Red liquorice” contains no liquorice.

Of course, these foods probably got their names because it was easier to refer to them by these names than something more accurate. Or, perhaps it was a clever act of marketing. Still, I’m doing my part by spreading the word about these inaccuracies.

Know of any common misnomers, things that people call by a certain name, which is actually technically inaccurate? Let me know by leaving a comment. Thanks!

A fine Dungeon Master in the making

I came downstairs this morning and noticed that someone, most likely Charlie, was playing with the LEGO table. What do most kids build out of LEGOs? Little vehicles? Maybe a pet shop? Or spaceships? And what do my kids make … ?

The beginnings of a LEGO dungeon.

Yeah, that’s right — it’s a LEGO dungeon. With a secret, hidden treasure room, an altar that looks like a diving board, and its own red dragon guardian and giant serpent.

Every day, I wonder if today’s the right day to try and introduce D&D to her … I have a feeling we’ve got a fine Dungeon Master in the making, here.

And this is how I get to start my day, today. I think it’s going to be a great one.

J.K. Rowling throws down “gay wizard” and “epic fail” at Harvard 2008

One of my fetishes is to read commencement speeches. They’re usually full of the lulz and J.K. Rowling’s commencement address at Harvard 2008 is no exception.

Early on she breaks the ice with some humor about gay wizards. You might think if you were giving a speech at Harvard you’d stick to the straight and narrow, but some people play to win, not just to avoid losing. This sets the tone for her speech right away: as long as it may be, it’s going to be worth it.

The faux apologetic tone for the content of the speech in the beginning is cute. Who would possibly believe that someone who can turn out seven Harry Potter books would have any difficulty choosing how to address an audience of Harvard graduates?

To be totally honest, I’m probably one of the few hold-outs who still hasn’t read the Harry Potter series. The notion of a Messianic child wizard engaged in battles of good and evil are a yawner: if I wanted to read that story, I’d go read the Bible–it’s got more whores, violence and all that begetting and it’s been on the best-seller list for a lot longer. However, after Rowling drops the “epic fail” in her speech–“I had failed on an epic scale”–I might just have to skim the books to see if they’re as good as her speech was. It’s clear she’s made of win today.

The second half of her speech talks of the value and power of imagination. Just reading her message brought actual tears to my eyes that kept running down my cheeks for minutes after I’d finished reading. I’m going to quote the money shot paragraph, because to elide any of it would be criminal:

“If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”


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A Buzz Lightyear … dildo?

My wife went to a swap meet tonight, where folks bring things they want to get rid of and exchange it for stuff that others are trying to dump. As a goof, she saw this and knew I’d want to blog a picture of it:

Buzz Lightyear dildo

Yeah, seriously, WTF is that? Is that really a Buzz Lightyear dildo? I don’t think this is what Buzz meant when he said, “To infinity, and beyond!” Hell, look at his crossed arms and disinterested look as he tries not to look downward.

Of course, this is one of those stupid “turn it on and the top spins around with lights” toys, but if you flick the switch and hold the top, the shaft rotates … hello?! Even my 8 year old daughter asked me, “Daddy, what’s the green thing at the bottom do?” All I could do was shake my head sadly and say, “Nothing, honey. Now go upstairs and brush your teeth and go to bed.”

You just can’t make this stuff up.

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Kiek in de Kök, not what you might think

One of the many blogs I read belongs to Trading Goddess, who seems to find some of the best pictures to use with her blog entries, like this one:

Kiek in de Kok street sign

Being an American who only speaks English and has a juvenile sense of humor to boot, I got a good chuckle out of this picture. Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to find out what this actually meant (it couldn’t really mean what I thought it meant, could it?) and Wikipedia comes to the rescue. It turns out, “Kiek in de Kök” is “an old German language nickname for towers, mainly those which were parts of town fortifications.”

So, the next time you ask someone, “what’s cooking,” you might just be asking them for a Kiek in de Kök. Watch out. :-)

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Can someone at at&t please fire whoever broke data services?

mock of new at&t logo with Death Star from Return of the Jedi

“Wish you weren’t paying $40/mo. for unlimited cellular data services that aren’t working? With at&t, you will.”

Yes, at&t’s cellular data services have been unavailable since January 31. You know, the service I pay $40/mo. for each Treo 650 and I have two on my account. It’s been unavailable since the outage started, and it’s still not working today, February 2. This also includes SMS text messaging.

I don’t know how many people are affected, but it seems this was widespread enough to make it a newsworthy outage. It’d be interesting to see if there’s any estimate as to how many customers are being affected by this.

Do the math real quick and you’ll see that this service is costing me close to $80/mo.–that’s roughly $2.60 a day. Is at&t going to give me a service credit for this outage? I doubt it. The best you’ll probably get is a “oh, we’re sorry” and basically screw the customers. But, if I “forget” to pay my bill on the due date, they’ll cut the service off until payment is made! WTF?

Is this a large enough outage to create a class-action lawsuit? If they fix the service by tomorrow, that’ll be 3 days of outage, or $7.80. I don’t know how much your data portion of your monthly bill is, but I imagine this is at least a few million dollars of revenue that at&t is collecting but hasn’t provided the service for. It’s plain old theft, if you ask me. Telcos should be federally mandated to return monies paid for services that weren’t delivered–customers shouldn’t have to wait for hours in hold queues to get refunds that weren’t their fault to begin with.

Did this outage affect you? Is it still affecting you? If you want to join the angry mob, drop a note in the comments. Lets see how widespread this is: share your city and state so we can see. I’d also like to know what data plan you’re paying for, to get an idea of how much this outage is costing us all.

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Alas, I’m still obese!

Even though I’ve lost a net of 5 pounds since last year, I’m apparently still obese. Losing 5 pounds doesn’t seem like a lot, but sometime during the year I peaked at 215 pounds (!) … so making it all the way back down to 185 lbs feels great.

I also measured myself and it appears that I’m 5’4″, not 5’3″ like I thought. It’s not a big deal, but it makes a difference to these calculators, I guess.

It seems that I need to get down to 174 lbs in order to reduce my BMI to 29.9, which would put me at the top of the “overweight” category instead of in the “obese” category which starts at 30.0 and up. Getting down to 160 lbs would get me to a BMI of 27.5, right in the middle of the overweight range. To get into the optimal range, I’d have to get down to 145 lbs for a BMI of 24.9.

So, since I’ve managed to shed those 30 (!) pounds going from 215 down to 185, I think I can manage to lose another 15 to get down to 170. I’d like to try and do that by the summer of 2008. Then, maybe I’ll try for another 15 to get down to 155 in 2009.

I can’t even imagine what I’d look like–much less feel like–if I weighed 155 lbs again!

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Jo Lupo says: There’s plenty of backdoor access for everyone!

During last night’s Eureka episode, “A Night at Global Dynamics,” a priceless line was spoken by Jo’s character: “Boys, there’s plenty of backdoor access for everyone!” I couldn’t believe the script writers got away with it! I tip my hat to you guys, I’m still laughing and smiling at that scene. To preserve this gem of television magic, I ripped it off the TiVo and uploaded it:

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Arrr! Blymy, I’m a Pirate … err, Puppet!

Ahoy, me hearties! In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day today, I wanted to point out the great work of my friend David, who has gotten into puppeteering.

Here is his Rocky Horror Puppet Show, performing to the tune of Blymy the Pirate A Halo Called Fred - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Blymy the Pirate by A Halo Called Fred:

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Google Reader (finally) gets search-within-subscriptions

Back in April 2007, when I decided to switch over from Bloglines to Google Reader for my RSS reading pleasure, I made a point to complain about the fact that Google Reader had no easy way to search for entries within your subscriptions. The good news is apparently that all changed, yesterday: Google Reader now has a search box!

Google Reader gets a Search box!

This is good news, since that was pretty much the only feature I’d actually missed when I gave up Bloglines. It’s good timing on Google’s part, since the latest Bloglines beta UI improvements have really closed the gap–although I’m not happy enough with them to consider switching back, yet.

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