Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sound Familiar?

The shots fired by the Bosnian Serb on 28 June 1914 sucked Europe's great powers into four years of warfare. 
Sarajevo marks 100 years since Archduke Franz Ferdinand shooting - BBC News
The shot heard around the world - 100 years ago today.

Spelling Doesn't Count

Good thing because the food here is excellent. Try numbers 34 and 35. 

I have to admit, though, you have to be pretty paranoid if you think the kiddos are capable of all that. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

WSJ Offers Work Avoidance Advice

3. Need the time off from your job to watch the game? Simply cut this story out of the print edition of today's newspaper with a pair of scissors—or, if you don't know what the print edition of a newspaper is, pull it up to your smartphone or tablet. Show it to your boss, and the boss must reward you with Thursday off. Trust me on this. It's the law. 
World Cup: How to Skip Work to Watch U.S. vs. Germany - WSJ

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Once Upon a Very Long Time Ago

We attended the wedding of my youngest niece over the weekend. She is twenty years old (I'm pretty sure). Just six months shy of her twenty-first birthday.

Exactly the same age I was when I got married.

The first time.

I'm no expert in marriage having been in only two so far, yet I want to tell her so much. Like, don't, for example. Not yet, anyway.

I don't actually know her very well and I admit I'm speaking from my own perspective but it's rare to find a twenty-year-old woman who even knows who she is yet. My future mother-in-law said the very same thing before I was married to my future ex-husband.

She was right. Not only did I not know who I was, I didn't know who I was marrying. It was all just so romantic and nothing else mattered. If I had been older, I might have made different choices. I definitely would have made better ones.

I wasn't much older when I got married for a second time, just five years later, having been divorced for about a year. I was still making bad choices but this time it worked out. But not because I was any smarter. I just got lucky.

This time it's lasted twenty-five years. So far. And, you know? It hasn't all been magic. It's been hard. Pretty rough in places, in fact. Scary at times, too. Really scary. But you don't make it to twenty-five years without some pretty good things going on, too. It's the good stuff that'll get you through the bad stuff, if you're lucky.

Remember, dear niece, that changing your name, as magical as it seems, is not magic. Nothing happens after your wedding day that's any different from whatever happened before. Remember that he loves you for who you are so figure out who that is real soon. Remember that he just wants to be your hero. I know you can do it yourself but he likes to be asked. Don't nag. He'll do anything for you if he thinks he's your knight in shining armor. When he does what you bid him to do, praise him, scratch him behind the ear, and give him a treat.

They're pretty simple, really, men.

Remember to keep your side of the street clean. It takes two to argue so be quick to apologize for your part in it. And when you do, don't use the word "but" because any apology that includes "but" negates the apology.

You will grow and change. He will, too. Biology alone will take care of that. How you handle that, my dear, will be the telling of the tale.

Finally, don't try to change him. If he wasn't what you wanted when you married him, just give up now.

Best of luck, my dear. Along the way, you'll need some of that as well.
10 famous fictional companies - MSN
"Other things make the world go round as well -- love, principally, and coffee. . . ."
Amen, brother.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Large-scale tests with self-driving cars to hit Dutch roads

The consortium wants to develop a driving system for autonomous trucks within the next five years and plans to sell it to logistics companies for use on public roads.

That would sure make my commute a lot easier. Not to mention No One Wants To Drive A Truck Anymore.

Looking for Nothing

We haven’t had a weekend off since March 22:

Mar 22 - Vintage Hotel Portland
Mar 29-30 - grandkids
Apr 5-6 - Tax season
April 12-13 - Tax season
Apr 19 -grandkids
Apr 26 - doctor's appointment and family dinner
May 3 - Opening Day
May 10 - personal services
May 11 - Mother’s Day
May 17 - bridal shower and opera
May 24-26 - Memorial Day
May 30 - Happy Hour
May 31 - Thank You Party
Jun 7 - Change of Watch
Jun 8 - Family breakfast
Jun 14 - Porgy & Bess
Jun 15 - Father's Day
Jun 21 - Wedding
Jun 28 - NOTHING

I’m suggesting we don’t plan anything for June 28 and keeping my fingers crossed for good weather!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pop Quiz

Could you be taxed on compensation that you'll never receive?
a) Yep.
b) Nope.
c) It depends.
Let's say you have a 401(k) plan. When you retire, you would pay FICA tax on the present value calculation of your retirement benefits. But, then you get the money, right? Not if your employer goes bankrupt before you get it.

That happened to this guy, a retired pilot for United. He retired in 2004, two years after United entered bankruptcy proceedings. In 2010, United made final payments required under its reorganization plan. In all, the pilot collected about 22% of the benefits due him before United stopped paying. But he paid 100% of the FICA tax when he retired in 2004.

He sued for a refund of the taxes on that portion of the benefits he would not be receiving.

He lost.

Class dismissed.

Old School

A Learning Secret: Don’t Take Notes with a Laptop

. . . [T]hose who wrote out their notes by hand had a stronger conceptual understanding and were more successful in applying and integrating the material than those who used took notes with their laptops.

Another case for paper.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pop Quiz

What happens when a cemetery becomes full?
a) The owners go bankrupt and your soul becomes the possession of the mortgagee.
b) The oldest graves get reused.
c) Grave prices become astronomical.
d) The owner sells the cemetery which becomes a parking lot and the property gets paved over.
I can't tell you what happens in all instances, but this was a question that popped into my little head and I was curious. From my brief research I learned there are (at least) two types of cemeteries: endowed and non-endowed. Endowed cemeteries are regulated by state law, as far as I can surmise (actually, I could surmise more but I didn't spend that much time on it) which means the regulation varies from state to state.

In Ohio, a new cemetery must deposit $50,000 into an endowment care fund. Thereafter, 10% of all sales are also deposited to the fund. The interest generated by the fund is used to pay for operating and maintenance expenses in perpetuity.

The owner could still go out of business, or sell. In the case of the former, Ohio would pick up the tab for continued maintenance. In the latter case, the owner would be responsible to relocate all inhabitants and grave markers. There are various contingencies on the theme but the link previously referenced gives a pretty good summary of what could happen.

Nevada does it a little differently but the basic idea is the same. Payments into the endowment care fund are based on a dollar amount per square foot of the space used, in addition to an initial deposit. Cemeteries that are not subject to the state law (for whatever reason) may set up a voluntary endowment care fund. I don't know what happens if they don't. I imagine there are laws about dis-interring and moving bodies because someone wants to build a shopping mall but that topic will have to appear in a different Pop Quiz.

What happens when a quarry runs out of rock?
a) Quarries never run out of rock.
b) All that's left is a big hole in the ground.
c) All that's left if a big hole in the ground that fills up with water.
d) The exposed earth erodes and the people who built their houses around the quarry for the exceptionally good view watch their homes tumble into the hole during an incredible thunderstorm.
I guess any of these things could be true but this question popped into my little head on the way home from the grocery store today. This errand takes me right through a quarry in Camas, Washington, and I noticed that there are habitat reclamation areas set aside between the quarry and the grocery store. Then I noticed there were areas of the quarry that had grasses, trees, and bushes. I wondered if these two things were related. Was the quarry actively pursuing some sort of restoration of the ecosystem?

I don't know about the Camas quarry but I learned that such a thing is possible. According to Wikipedia, in fact, "One of the more effective and famous examples of successful quarry restoration is Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC, Canada." If you've ever been there, you will agree as to the success of the restoration.
In 1904, [the Butcharts] established their home near his quarry on Tod Inlet at the base of the Saanich Peninsula on Vancouver Island. . . .
In 1909, when the limestone quarry was exhausted, Jennie [Butchart] set about turning it into the Sunken Garden, which was completed in 1921.

Butchart gardens.JPG
"Butchart gardens" by Marcus - user:NorwegianMarcus. Licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

A+ for everyone. Class dismissed.

That's Not What They Meant by Freedom of Religion

Busted: Utah man sets up church where everyone is a minister, no one pays income tax 

At the time of the proceedings below, the church had approximately fifty active ministers1. To become a minister, an individual is required to take a vow of obedience and a vow of poverty. Upon taking the vow of poverty, ministers transfer title to all of their property to the church. They also assign to the church all income that is earned as part of their normal employment, either endorsing their employment checks in favor of the church or directing their employers to deposit their earnings directly into various church accounts. The ministers’ homes, now owned by the church, are designated as parsonages, and their mortgages and other expenses are paid for with church funds.
1It is not clear from the record whether the church has any lay members.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Oregon School Shooting: 14-Year-Old Student Killed; Suspect Dead

This, just across the river from us. We were on the way to work this morning and there were emergency vehicles coming from every direction, all heading south. Some had Washington plates but we noticed a lot with Oregon plates on the Washington side of the river and we wondered what was going on. It wasn't until we got to work before we found out.

The day before, this happened. The people involved in this shooting are related to someone Hubby works with. Tragic.

Both are tragic. 

I just hope tomorrow is blissfully uneventful.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Friday, June 6, 2014

Million Dollar Jeans

I'm finally getting to wear my "new" jean skirt which fits me, well, like a pair of well worn jeans.

Price tag:
Original pair of jeans, purchased circa 2004 (just guessing) - $74
Professional ass-patching when said ass of jeans wore out, circa 2009 - $50
More ass patching, and conversion to skirt, 2013 - $80 (I made all these prices up.)
Comfy skirt made of the softest denim ever - priceless.

Okay, so it's not a million bucks but it's definitely folly. These were my first pair of jeans that cost more than $25. They were Sevens but Costco was selling them at the time. (I don't really know how much I paid for them. (I don't know how much milk costs either.))

Some time later, I wore through the bottom so I sent them to get patched. To New York. To a place called Denim Therapy. (They're still in business, btw, so if you have a favorite pair of jeans that you can't live without - wait, who says that? - I highly recommend this outfit - wait, was that a pun?) Even though the bottom was patched, the hems and waistband were frayed.

A few years later, my derrière busted through again in another spot and I thought that was the end of the line. I didn't think it was worth sending them to New York again not to mention the inquiries from the postal service as to why my pants would need psychiatric help. So I patched them myself with an iron-on patch.

It wasn't long, however, before I busted out the knees. At this point the front pockets were frayed and the back pockets were nearly dissolving. What prompted me to save the pants from certain death can only be described as love.

(Okay, maybe 'tis I who need therapy, not my jeans.)

But save them I did by reincarnating them into a skirt. (Rather, by paying someone else to do it.) By the time the job was completed it was too cold to wear the skirt (seeing as I don't live below the 40th parallel). But now, it's warm enough (finally!) and I get to wear my soft-as-worn-denim-"new"-skirt. (With red shoes, if anyone is asking.)

If I bust through the ass again, I'm going to have to
a) reduce the size of my ass, or
b) reinforce the skirt with kevlar.
Oooh, yes.

(I got a good deal on parentheses on Ebay.)

Two, Four, Six, Eight, Who Do You Depreciate?

I'm going to let Hubby answer that question.

(This is what you call a tease.)

Back to you, Jim.

Here's Some History For You

John Wayne's Lasting Legacy in Washington State
The Wayne family still owns 150 acres in Sequim, where “John Wayne’s Waterfront Resort,” located steps from the Marina, invites visitors to enjoy getaways or extended stays in cabins or the RV Park.
If you want to come by RV, we'll come by boat and meet you there.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


If you need something to watch on TV, try The Newsroom. I'm not sure that you can watch it online but I got season one from the library which is working out fine. If you liked West Wing, you might like this. Anyway, we do, so what else do you need to know?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Clouds In My Coffee

Although the official opening day of boating season in Seattle was May 3rd, it wasn't until May 31st before we:

a) were in town
b) on a weekend when
c) the weather was good, and
d) we didn't have something planned.

The boating gods were clearly with us.

The last time we were on the boat was September. I wouldn’t have imagined it had been over eight months since we’d been on the water but I checked our log and it’s true. The Captain’s log also reports that it was 93 degrees that day. I thought there must be some mistake but I checked historical records and it really was that hot.

We had a lot of work done on the boat over the winter so we were anxious to get the boat out and see how everything worked. We had a canvas repair, a new VHF antennae installed, new outdoor carpets made, new clutches, engines were serviced, and the zincs were replaced.

Everything seemed to work okay, even if we felt a little out of practice. We rounded the north side of Mercer Island and cut the engines just south of I-90 and got to work cleaning the boat while we floated on the lake. There were spiders and dusty cobwebs everywhere - and the boat had just been cleaned! (At least, that’s what our credit cards statement reported.) Still, moorage under cover can produce spiders at an alarming rate. You can brush them all away one night and find the boat covered again the next morning. I’m told this may be seasonal and the spider problem is worse now because they’re reproducing - or hatching, or whatever.

At some point over the winter the boat was without power and something went bad in the galley refrigerator. It reeked and was coated with mold. So while Hubby dealt with the spiders up above, I dealt with the mold down below, throwing away everything that was in there.

This was about the time I realized that I forgot to pack coffee for the weekend. Imagine! I ground fresh coffee at home but never transferred it from the grinder to the boat bag. Talk about out of practice! The only coffee we had was the leftover package I just threw away from our moldy refrigerator. It was that or nothing.

So it was that.

The coffee was stored in it’s original container which was inside a large Ziploc bag. How bad could it be? I opened it and took a sniff.

It was going to be bad.

We should have motored back. There’s a Starbucks within walking distance from the dock. (Of course.) But, we didn’t.

The first cup tasted surprisingly like coffee. I was was either desperate or hung over - or both - but I couldn’t get a second cup past my lips. I dumped it out.

Okay, that might have seemed like a logical decision, given the circumstances, but have you met me?

Everything else went okay, for the most part. We had an overhead speaker fall out of the radar arch, the screws having come loose. That was easy enough to fix but the bigger problem was the stereo didn't work. It went on the fritz during our last cruise and we forgot about it over the winter so we'll have to add that to the list. Along with:
  • Apply decals:
    • Coast Guard Inspection
    • Parks Department Pass
    • Registration

Here's the Only Weather Almanac You'll Need This Year

What are the odds it'll rain on any given day (in Seattle)?

This chart will show how many times it has rained on any given day over the past 120 years (Jan. 1, 1893 - Dec. 31, 2012)

Good information if you're planning a wedding. Or a cruise.