Friday, October 30, 2009

How to remove shells from hardboiled eggs

Sometimes WikiHow has some interesting tips. Some are useless, others pretty handy. Judge for yourself on this one on how to remove shells from hardboiled eggs.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Facts and Myths about swine flu

Here is a very useful article in New Scientist about the swine flu. The bottom line is get the vaccine when available for your risk group.

The New Scientist is well worth bookmarking on your browser.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My excellent halloween costume

It occurred to me as I was assembling this costume that the costume is at its best when considered abstractly. When considering how it looks in the real world, it loses some of its cachet, a lot of it in fact. I should have just left you with a mental image of my costume, and leave it at that.

Recall its components: bald wig, Bearcats shirt, Military intelligence patch, dress pants, barefoot running shoes, fingerless gloves. For the party, I also brought along some sweet and sour chicken and non alcoholic beer, with plastic silverware (not pictured).

As for the party itself, no one took one look at me and said "you oxymoron, you". Only upon explaining that the elements function independently of another, and not to try to figure out what kind of costume the ensemble looks like, did some people, not all, get it. Even after they figured out what I was, they didn't understand what I had on my head. I didn't go through the trouble of trying to make it look authentic by using putty to 'blend' it into my forehead, and so people thought I was wearing some sort of latex hat, not a bald wig.

I have actually tried the barefoot running shoes a couple of times. Once walking in the woods over some bumpy terrain, and once running on a treadmill. The jury is still out on that.

This concludes the blog. Thank you for your suggestions and to Lona for the fingerless gloves.


Massive Sewage Dump in Accokeek

Beware people of Accokeek, the Prince George's County Water and Sanitary Sewer Commission has advised that there was an estimated 130,000 gallon discharge of untreated domestic sewage into Piscataway Creek this morning for about four hours. They are advising down river folks to refrain from the consumption of fish caught in the surrounding waters for four weeks.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Drones and Pirates

Here is a link to the use of drones to combat Somali pirates. It is a good article, but fails to mention that a limited number of drones have also been deployed that are capable of accurately shooting the powerful .338 Lapua cartridge. These are typically shot by snipers for especially long range sniping, but putting them aboard a drone provides a significant capability not previously available.

It is sometimes claimed by the pirates that they are forced to take revenge for foreign fishing in their waters. That claim, believed only by gullible westerners, is both false and specious. The pirates are not the people harmed, the ransom money goes to wealthy patrons. Further, the foreign victims of piracy are innocent and are almost never fisherman nor dumpers of pollution. The entire claim is just an excuse for greed by the wealthy patrons. The low level pirates are indeed unemployed otherwise, but so are many people who don't engage in crime.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

One tough fellow

Here is a link to an article about Sam Carlson who I had to honor to meet at Quick's house a few years back. We all hope you come back safely from Afghanistan Sam.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Creepy Shoes Club Critique

I got the exact same shoes in the mail today! How cool is that? After finding my size in the store I found some used vibram fivefingers classics on ebay for $50 with no signs of wear. I just got back from my first run in them and thought I'd share my review.

They remind me of rubber palmed work gloves for your feet and their construction is essentially the same with a bit more structure. So like gloves, they can be squished or rolled up which is a bonus when you want a light and compact shoe for packing. I ran a an 8:52min mile on the treadmill with them. What I liked about them is it was like running barefoot, which encourages you to keep off your heels. They felt springier than when I run in socks. I also have the problem with socks where the soles will get hot from friction against the treadmill belt. This was not a problem with the fivefingers which I suspect will save me blisters.

Now for the bad:
My first complaint is more of a personal problem. I am only 5'1" and thus my pants are often too long. I count on my shoes for the lift to keep my pants off the ground and dry. My pants were a soggy mess from walking in the wet parking lot though the shoes themselves stayed dry. My other complaint is after the run I noticed uncomfortable rubbing on my left inner heel cause by stitches. This would have become a blister had I worn them longer. There is a thread end I'll try to snip out or if that doesn't work, a fabric bandaid applied to the inner heel has always fixed this.

Other things to consider are the fit of the shoe. They literally need to fit like a glove. This is a minor issue for me since they don't make a size small enough to be snug on me in the bottom on the heel. Fivefingers must be tried on in person to find your size as their sizing does not reliably convert into your standard shoe size. Also abnormality in your toe shape can cause discomfort. Brian probably doesn't want me spreading this on the Internet, but two of his toes are webbed halfway up his foot. The shoe construction puts a lot of pressure on his mutant toe web.

All in all, I think it's a very exciting innovation in footwear which will no doubt lead to better foot health. I used to have to wear orthotics before I started barefoot running. I can remember having pain in my unusually high left arch ever since I learned to walk. Now I've beat my foot issues into submission by training on a treadmill. My hope is that these shoes will let me transfer that success into trail running.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My excellent Halloween costume

Progress report:

I have finally made a financial commitment to this endeavor. Over the weekend, I bought a military intelligence patch and a University of Cincinnati Bearcat T shirt. It was over the internet, so they haven't arrived yet. Today I went to a real store to buy some Barefoot Running Shoes/Foot Gloves (this item is a twofer oxymoron), the vibram five finger shoes. I didn't realize it until I went to the store, but these things have quite a following. It made me more confident in my $85 investment. I chose a modest black pair. They do have some that were more outlandish looking, really looking like the foot equivalent of those "Mule" work gloves, gray with green trim. I thought that would make more of an impact on my Halloween costume, but I also figured that on November 1, I'd be happy to have the pair that I think look better.

I need to get the bald wig soon. The "dress pants" I have. Dottie suggested "fingerless gloves", I always associate them with the Fagin character in Oliver Twist, and I do think that is worth looking into. Sweet and sour chicken w plastic silverware, what else? I think the costume is complete enough that unless it's just too good to pass up, I will forego spending anything more than a nominal amount of money for anything else.

One more thing: the wearer of the cardboard belt. Did someone get that and I missed it? It was Zero Mostel, playing Max Bialystok in the original movie "The Producers" with Gene Wilder. Which brings me to another question, far afield now from clothes or oxymora: what was Gene Wilder's film debut?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Climate change

Anyone who thinks there is a consensus on global warming should read this BBC article. Also interesting is that says that on 78% of the days this year the sun has been free of sunspots. That is not exactly a resounding endorsement of a resumption of the standard solar cycle. As I've been saying all along: I don't know what is going to happen.

Friday, October 9, 2009

UV fluorescent ripe bananas

It is often surprising how many easy-to-make observations there are that no one tried. The recent discovery that ripe bananas fluoresce blue under ultraviolet light is an example.

It is easy to do just by shining a UV light on them, but apparently no one who had tried, if there was anyone, had previously reported it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My excellent Halloween costume #5

I am aware of the dangers of overexposure, and I can't help but notice that the commenters chatter has died down. But I did want to get all my preliminary discussion out of the way, because this weekend, I will start to assemble this. Remember, the party is a whole week before Halloween.

I think I have it all now except for the accessories. When I think of accessories, I think of the cardboard belt (trolling for comments, new trivia: tell me 'who was that who wore a cardboard belt?')

Much as I would like it to be, I can't make that out to be an oxymoron. So what I have is:

This being a party, I should be bring some food, as previously suggested "sweet and sour chicken" served with plastic silverware. I was also considering wearing plastic sunglasses.

And my last thing is a play on the classic oxymoron "military intelligence". On the internet authentic military intelligence patches can be found, but usually they don't say that. I can find "Air Force Intelligence" as the next best thing.

So this weekend, I think I am going to try to find a place to buy some of those "barefoot running shoes". If I like them, I will buy them and use them. For most of the rest, I will start scoping out what's available online. I probably won't be buying sweet and sour chicken online, although I am sure it can be done.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


A new finding just published indicates that a pregnant woman eating licorice in excess of 100 grams per day has an increased chance of bearing a child with low intelligence and also health problems.

An older finding is that adults who eat too much of it sometimes develop cardiovascular problems and high blood pressure. Too bad, I like the stuff, but I'm don't eat too much.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My excellent Halloween costume #4

Shirt and pants

One of the cleverest oxymorons I came across, and so easy come by was "dress pants" - I preferred the idea of wearing that to wearing "tight slacks". Now it may not be so easy to recognize as an oxymoron, but certainly can be explained in two words.

What I really wanted for my top half was a sweatshirt or t-shirt for the Guilford College (or University of Pennsylvania, or some other schools) Fighting Quakers. I have yet to locate one that actually says "Fighting Quakers", and if I would just wear one that says "Guilford College" that would involve too much explanation.

So if I can't get one of those, a back up is a sweatshirt or t shirt of the University of Cincinnati BearKats. I haven't seen that on any sanctioned list of oxymora, but since a bear can't be a cat (or even a Kat ) it counts in my book.

So there is some room for alternatives to make the costume if anyone can think of any.

My plan is to have one more post on accessories before the week is out, and this weekend decide on a plan and then start acquiring these things

Thanks for all of your comments so far.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Excellent Halloween Costume 3

Oxymoron Halloween costume

I was at the beach this weekend, so a couple of valuable days have gone by, and by now it's even too late for much of a post. Today's topic is headwear, and a discussion about "crisp"

I said previously that the oxymorons for the costume should be crisp, and here is what I was thinking. I am actually going to wear these for a party - that's the plan - and I could imagine this happening: me coming in with some random looking effects , and eventually people would discern the unifying theme. "You're an oxymoron". Anyway, having gone through that and having to explain the oxymora, one by one, multiplied by a dozen times, would pretty much suck all the enjoyment out of the party. So if the oxymoron is clever enough, one or two obscure ones would be OK, but you wouldn't want a whole ensemble like that.

So my headware choice is a very good exemplification of "crisp" A bald wig. It speaks for itself, there is nothing I can add to it. It's oxymoronic nature is crystal clear.

Now a bald wig doesn't preclude a hat of some sort, if you have any suggestions, please chime in.

I noticed my pictures didn't come through on my last post. I will try to fix that tomorrow.

Finally, I got a remark about these Vibram Five Finger shoes being actually comfortable and functional. If that is so, maybe I will get some. After Halloween I can wear them with my cooling vest.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Caturday News of the Adorable Update

Mr. Bumble, a British Skunk has grown to an obese 14 lbs due to overindulgence in bacon. The tame skunk was turned over to the SPCA where he's been placed on a vegetarian diet.

In heart wrenching news, a lost Rottweiller gathers clues to find the family she was separated from in a car wreck. The story is worth reading here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My excellent Halloween costume -2 footwear

I was delighted to see that when I googled "Excellent Halloween Costume" Oxymoron, my entry came up first, which suggests I am on the right track, and am quickly establishing this blog as ground zero for excellent Halloween costumes about oxymora.

I said I would get to my footwear today, and I even got a couple of suggestions from the commentators. I recalled Lona's entry in this blog about running barefoot, and so the first idea I got was

something called "barefoot running shoes" that a company called Vibram has started to make now

They apparently don't really call them barefoot running shoes, but that's what they're for.

How do they stack up as costume material?
Pros: They certainly look odd enough so you could build a costume around them.
Cons: Since they don't really call them Barefoot running shoes, you have to explain what they are and what makes them an oxymoron. I'd prefer something a little more crisp.
Major con: They cost about $70

Candidate number two :Foot Gloves
Not to be confused with Toe Socks, this was a yoga product sold in Amazon dot com

ref=dp_image_x_0.jpg They weren't exactly inexpensive, around $15, but since September 19, when I originally identified them, and now, they are no longer for sale at any price on And no wonder. Only one star out of five.

So with neither of the first two candidates viable, I am pleased that my readership has already chipped in a couple of suggestions.

Lona suggested unshoes, which I need to look into. She says they look like you are wearing shoes, but you are really barefoot, confounding those "no shoes no service" people. But so far when I looked for unshoes on the internet, I found these

theshot.gif.jpg which don't fit the descriptions, so I need to do some more research. Tara suggested "Loud Sneakers" which was pretty cute, 'cept I originally thought she said "Loud speakers". Contemplating wearing those, I thought of this trivia question: Whose sandals were "herring boxes without topses"?

So the footwear category is wide open. So keep those suggestions coming in, and also think ahead to the next category, which will be HEADWARE.

Since when do books have trailers?