Month: March 2018

Electrical Safety Tips

I’m no electrician, but I once learned about electrons and protons in high school science. I’ve also had a bit of “hands-on” experience with electricity, and learned a few rather shocking lessons. My concern for humanity has overcome my embarrassment, and leads me to warn others not make the same mistakes I’ve made. So here are a few safety tips concerning electricity. Please read them carefully. They could just save your ass:

  1. Always use a wood-handled knife when making toast.
  2. “Ground” isn’t just dirt, it’s also water. And it even includes your bare feet standing in the water.
  3. Never clean your breaker box with a garden hose.
  4. Aluminum conducts electricity. Who would’ve thought? Never set your soda can on top of exposed wires.
  5. Never, I repeat, never, use copper wire for kite string.
  6. Always drain the swimming pool before trying to change a burned-out pool light.
  7. When taking a bath, always set the Boom Box on the floor and not on the tub ledge.
  8. You can’t escape lightning by climbing a tree.
  9. If a toddler shoves a nail into an electrical outlet, put on a leather glove before pulling it out.
  10. Some house wire insulation is colored black. This denotes power. It also symbolizes loss of consciousness.

BE AWARE & BE SAFE!

Bonus Tip: If you hire an electrician, don’t try to assist him while he’s out on his lunch break.

The World Is Flat!

“Mad” Mike’s rocketship. If you can’t prove the world is flat with this contraption, perhaps you can at least catch a roadrunner.

Breaking News: The world was proven flat on Saturday, March 25, 2018, when intrepid daredevil, “Mad” Mike Hughes launched himself 1,875 feet into the troposphere (yes, the TROPOSPHERE, I say!), in his homemade steam-powered rocketship.

You first heard about “Mad” Mike Hughes on this very blog (unless you heard elsewhere). That’s when I scooped the entire journalistic world, except the journalists who made me aware of this story, and told you about “Mad” Mike’s ambition. I even met his helper and saw the madman not more than 50 feet away. He ignored me. But I did take some snapshots of his crazy spaceship.

Here are the links to my earlier blog posts:
Mad Mike and His Steam-Powered Rocketship
Science

Yep, I like to keep you abreast of the cutting edge of science. And nonscience. And even, nonsense.

“Mad” Mike Hughes believes the world is as flat as a frisbee. But he doesn’t want you to take his word for it, he wants to prove it. So he built a steam-powered rocketship, which he has used several times now to penetrate the troposphere, and gaze upon this frisbee from on high. I guess there’s nothing like getting a birds-eye view of something, so you can tell exactly how it’s shaped.

“Mad” Mike’s first launch, several years ago, delivered him to heights of 1,500 feet. However this latest launch shattered his old record, bursting the 1,800 foot mark. This time he used two parachutes instead of one, and managed to avoid breaking both of his ankles again. But he does claim to have a sore back.

Actually, some of the above was fake news. I’m sorry. I hate to burst your bubble, but “Mad” Mike did not really prove the world is flat. All his launch did was raise our awareness of his flat earth cause. He claims he’ll have to launch himself some 68 miles up into the air before he can provide evidence of our planet’s flatness.

But he does plan to do this, in a fancy-fangled device called a “Rockoon”. This is a hybrid of a rocketship and balloon, that “Mad” Mike intends to invent.

We’re looking forward to it, “Mad” Mike, but we sincerely hope you will survive. We’re glad you returned to earth safely on Saturday, and we hope you always keep safety foremost in mind. Never deny the scientifically-proven fact that gravity can be very dangerous.

I now return you to your regular blog programming . . .

Contractor Language

How did this get so complicated? All we wanted was a contractor to run a gas line to our kitchen, so we could replace the electric range with a gas range. But I suspect that’s how many home remodels begin.

A home remodel is like cancer. It starts out tiny, just one little thing, then spreads to every nook and corner of your humble abode. Now we’ve remodeled the kitchen, the den, the hallway, and a bathroom, and it’s starting to metastasize into another bathroom, the bedrooms, and our living room.

Maybe I could have stopped this if only I knew from the start, how to understand contractor language. I’m learning though. The more I deal with this class of business person, the more I find myself picking up their patois.

I wrote this post to protect you from what has happened to me. I want you to learn their language, too, so that you can effectively deal with the next unintelligible contractor who shows up at your door.

What follows are ten common phrases spoken in contractor language, followed by a translation in layman’s language. If you let this be your Rosetta Stone, you could save a truckload of money:

Contractor: I don’t like written contracts.
Translation: I prefer to argue over who has the best memory.

Contractor: I thought that’s what we agreed on.
Translation: You should have insisted on a written contract.

Contractor: I’ve been doing this for many years now.
Translation: But I can’t say the same for those I hire.

Contractor: As long as you’re doing this much, you may as well spend a little extra and do that, too.
Translation: As long as I’m making a little money on this, I may as well be making a lot more on that.

Contractor: It won’t cost much more if you do it like this.
Translation: Just multiply by 2 or 3.

Contractor: This is a rough estimate.
Translation: Expect to pay no less than this.

Contractor: I have some bad news.
Translation: I have great news for my wallet!

Contractor: You don’t have to pay me now.
Translation: We’ll put your house back together some other day.

Contractor: We should be finished by next week.
Translation: We won’t be, though.

Contractor: This should last forever.
Translation: I’m pretty sure in a year or two you’ll be sick of it, and asking for another remodel.

And now for a slide show. Here’s some of what my unintelligible contractor has been up to . . .

Our den before the remodel. Perfectly nice den, right?

According to my contractor, this den is much better.

We thought the only major thing wrong with this kitchen was the electric cooktop and tiny oven.

Somehow our contractor convinced us that our kitchen needed to look like this. Do you agree, or have we needlessly enriched this bastard, with his hammer and saw?

Why I’ll Never Be Published

Apparently, writers must have a target audience.


Sometimes in moments of reverie, I sprawl supine upon my bed and daydream about becoming a published author. Wouldn’t it be cool, says my ego, if I, Tippy Gnu, got a book published?

But it will never happen. Problem is, I’ve got no book sense. Nor am I disciplined. And I sure as heck don’t know what to say, to convince any publisher to memorialize my scrivenings into the great American novel.

If I ever did meet with a publisher, manuscript in hand, here’s how I imagine the interview would go:

PUBLISHER: Who’s your target audience?

TIPPY GNU: Anyone I manage to hit.

PUBLISHER: I mean, who is this book intended for?

TIPPY GNU: Whoever wants to read it. Do you want to read it?

PUBLISHER: Maybe.

TIPPY GNU: Then maybe this book is intended for you.

PUBLISHER: Well, what is your demographic?

TIPPY GNU: I’m neither a Demographic nor a Repugnantan. I vote Independent.

PUBLISHER: Let’s just talk about the genre. This is a romance, isn’t it?

TIPPY GNU: (backing off) Look Buster, just because I’m talking to you, it doesn’t mean I’m in to you. Besides, we’re both men, and I don’t swing that way.

PUBLISHER: Just describe the plot, would you please?

TIPPY GNU: Oh, it goes kind of like this: Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl get in a big fight. Time passes, until it seems they’re going to hate each other for the rest of their lives. But suddenly boy and girl make up and get married. The end.

PUBLISHER: And where did you get the idea for this plot?

TIPPY GNU: I’m very imaginative.

PUBLISHER: Sir, we get an awful lot of manuscript submissions like this. Why would we want to publish your manuscript over anyone else’s?

TIPPY GNU: Because mine’s the best! Because I’m so unique! Because I poured my heart and soul into this! Because I’m willing to travel all over the country and promote this book on radio and TV! I’ll blog about it! I’ll do book signings!

PUBLISHER: N-no, I’m sorry.

TIPPY GNU: (falling on the floor and groveling) PLEEEASE, PLEEEASE! Publish my boooook! I’ll do anything! Anything at all! Hey, maybe I really do swing that way–I’m willing to give it a try! Just publish my book! PLEEEASE!

PUBLISHER: Sir, let go of my leg.

After security drags me out the door and boots me into the street, I’ll have the confirmation to support my conviction: I can never be published.

But there is one thing I know I can do.

I can sure lie in bed and daydream about being published. For hours and hours upon hours. And that’s way better than writing any book.