Thursday, August 30, 2007

Toll Workers of the World

When I was driving back from a recent business trip I was coming down I-80, Ohio's lone toll road. While I was on it I gave half a thought to the idea that Ohio might be able to change all the highways to toll and get rid of the odious income tax (a'la Florida). Of course, I eventually came to the toll booth and was cleansed of that thought.

Would it be possible, ever, for toll booth workers (in Ohio at least) to pretend that they don't hate their decent paying, lifetime employment job for the combined 2 minutes I have to deal with them every year? I know they're probably upset about having a job that's basically a screw-over for everyone on the road*, but I don't think they have to be bitter about it!

Anyway, for at least the toll booth workers in Ohio, and probably elsewhere, a special summer time message from the Sandmich:

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*Despite being the lone toll road in the state, I-80 is in just as much a deplorable state as the other highways and with just as many (if not more) cops.

Friday, August 24, 2007

It Came from the Camera Phone

My mother-in-law is old school and still keeps excess lard for cooking purposes:

More power to her; the one time I tried doing that the stuff went rancid within minutes so I don't quite have the skills to pull it off.

On our trip to Mammoth Cave, we stopped by one of the many depressing souvenir stores. I remember going to those as a kid and marveling at the huge 'cave gems' they had, until my dad casually pointed out that they were glass. That doesn't stop them from selling stuff like the bubble-laden-cave-gem / recycled-sprite-bottles below for $100 or more.



I spied this over a gas pump at a local service station that's run by a regional grocery concern:


Shows the market penetration of sushi; or I should say, 'sushi' since these fake-crab filled rolls are clearly pressed out by a machine that may (or may not) be located in the same time zone. Still, it can provide a quick fix for junkies like me who might be looking to eat some sushi but need something to fill the void until the real deal can be obtained.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Courteous European

I had sent in an abuse complaint to an ISP in Belgium and got this (edited for time) automated reply:
Dear Sir,
This message was automatically sent to you because you (or someone using your email-address) sent a message to abuse@telenet.be The content of this message possibly doesn't apply to the message that you sent us. We would still appreciate it if you could find the time to read this.

If possible kindly copy-paste the headers or log to the body of your message. If you would prefer to attach a file to your complaint, then kindly only use plain-text files.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.
We would also want to thank you for your efforts in making the Internet livable.

Yours Faithfully,
Telenet Internet Abuse Department

This contrasts sharply with typical American ISP replies that are along the lines of "thanks, but no thanks; we may have time to get to your complaint, but we probably won't". And that's if you even get one. Last month I even got a personal e-mail from a (different) Belgium hosting company apologizing for the fact that they may not be able to track down the abuse, but to keep them informed if such an event happens again.

Chinese Miner

Over the weekend I joked that if someone in China read that only six miners were killed that day, that they would consider that a GOOD day. I guess though, it wasn't a joke! From here:
A Cabinet minister sought Wednesday to portray a mining accident that left 181[!] miners trapped and presumed dead as a natural disaster, deflecting criticism that more could have been done to save the workers.
...
China's coal mine industry is the most dangerous in the world. Coal feeds most of China's energy needs, but accidents kill an average of 13 miners a day.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Latin Doggy

Please humor me if you would for another pet obit...

Our dog Sylva died recently and it's amazing how much one can come to depend on a larger, ornery dog to keep you stuff in line. Sylva was one of the smartest dogs I've seen, with the familial protection instincts of a Golden Retriever and the orneriness of a Chow.
Regular ES readers will recognize Sylva from various winter pics when she would take advantage of the snow and twenty degree weather to cool down.
We named her after a Latin word that I picked up in high school. Meaning 'forest' or 'woods', I had the intention of naming a future daughter Sylva, but opted to use it with the dog when I determined it too obscure to curse a child with (though, the name Sylvia is a direct derivative of the Latin 'sylva').

Anyway, after more than thirteen years of companionship and spoiling us with her protective instincts, she will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

H-2-OH-NO

We've had a bit of a drought going on in the area, but no more! Check out the road in fron of my place of work:



UPDATE:
This is what the same spot looked like about four hours later:

And the humidity, OMG the humidity! I was melting right out the door.

The Return of RTCW

OMG OMG OMG OMG
Return to Castle Wolfenstein, my favoritist game of all time, is coming to Steam!
http://www.gamespot.com/news/6176191.html
At least the multiplayer is my fav, the single player was a bit of a let down. They're also supposed to be making a Wolf movie, let's hope they get it right and they have Hitler in a giant mech suit!. id also appears to be publishing their entire back catalog as well which is good since I could never get the original Wolf to run right on XP.

They're also coming out with a 'Quake Wars' game which is supposed to be RTCW on 'roids.

Looks like it's time for some upgrades to my box!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Local News

Another unfortunate soul is taken by some high speed criminals. From here:
DiGiorgio died at MetroHealth Medical Center shortly after being hit by a stolen car driven by 13-year-old Dontez D. Hairston, as she and her husband were crossing Prospect Avenue on their way to see "The Lion King."
...
Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland police union, said nothing, he said, is more tragic than an innocent bystander losing her life. He added, "This is the unfortunate reality of police work."
I've commented on this elsewhere, but it's worth mentioning again: how is the general public served by restraining police in car chases? Is the criminal that is speeding through an urban environment any less of a threat than a criminal that is running down the street with a firearm threatening people? But police can shoot at one and not the other? My guess would be that there would be far fewer of these car chases if the criminals knew that the police were permitted to shoot them up for doing so.

In other news, the illustrious commissioners for Cuyahoga county decided on their own to boost the county sales tax a quarter of a point to 7.25% for a serving of corporate welfare:
The extra tax collection will begin in October unless opponents collect more than 45,000 valid signatures in 30 days. In that case, the issue probably would land on the March 2008 ballot.

Those supporting a referendum include some local Libertarian and Green Party members, several Cleveland City Council members - including Democrats Zack Reed and Brian Cummins - and a Republican Lakewood councilman.

"I'm disappointed my colleagues would . . . threaten a referendum," Dimora said after Reed and Cummins spoke at the hearing. "It's your community that's the main beneficiary of this.

"What other opportunity is out there?" he said. "There is nothing."
That pretty well sums up Dimora's arrogance and lack of imagination on this issue. I heard him on a local radio show and his point was basically along the lines of "I know we need this because I'm so smart and the public should just let this pass (without a vote of course) because they're too dumb to understand the nuances of the issue". I'd say this would give the area the largest sales tax in the state, but unfortunately that's already the case even without the boost.

On another tax related note, Mrs. Sandmich told me this morning that local senior citizens are going to get a reduction on their property taxes. There's so much wrong with that, that I don't know where to start. It'd be one thing (barely) if it was rated according to income, but it's not. It would appear to be a just a ploy to get senior citizens to vote for property tax increases in the future that won't affect them. The joke will be on them though when the first financial crisis hits and the benefit is waved off!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fortune Cookie

Here's a picture of an actual fortune that Mr. Kendall pulled out of a fortune cookie at a local Chinese buffet:


In other Asian restaurant news, I made stop by for an impulse sushi purchase at a local Asian themed restaurant (Wild Ginger). While there, I noticed a bottle of Zen Green Tea liqueur up on the shelf. Intrigued, we asked the lady who was serving as bartender what it was all about. She said that they were having issues developing mixed drinks with it; which is understandable since I would think green tea wouldn't lend itself well to mixed drinks. Or so I thought.

She let us (me) try a couple jiggers (it tasted like a children’s cough syrup) and I then bounced the idea of actual green tea+soda water+the liqueur might make a pretty respectable drink. I figured she'd play with it later but she brewed some tea up on the spot, mixed it up and gave me the drink (at this point I already had two beers in me, so it wound up being a bit of a challenge to walk right out to the car*). Tasted pretty good. It was like a green tea with attitude.

Anyway, she said I could name it since I came up with the recipe, but since my first name the 'Kancho Kooler' was rejected I kinda lost interest :)

*At one point while I was drinking the mixed drink I told Mrs. Sandmich that it didn't have that much alcohol in it, at which point the bartender got a puzzled look and double checked to see how much she put in. At that point I knew I was screwed since it wasn't that it didn't have that much alcohol, but that I couldn't taste it.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Pants Man!

With nearly a million views, this is old news, but it's new to me! From the country where the phrase TMI has no meaning: