Month: February 2005

Captain 11.

“Wave one hand. Wave both hands. Wave both hands and one foot. Wave both hands and both feet!”

Dave Dedrick, Captain 11, was the first voice heard on television in South Dakota, in 1953. He worked as a news announcer, weatherman, and host of a children’s show, “Captain 11!”

You can’t hear the echoes in my head, so you’ll have to imagine them.

The show would start with the following mantra: “One man in each century is given the power to control time. The man chosen to receive this power is carefully selected. He must be kind. He must be fair. He must be brave. You have fulfilled these requirements; and, we of the Outer Galaxies designate to you the wisdom of Solomon and the strength of Atlas. YOU are CAPTAIN 11!”

4 o’clock would find me, my brother, and at least a pint of Schwann’s ice cream in front of the TV every weekday. Captain 11 ran from 1955 to 1996. And no, Dave Dedrick isn’t dead, as far as I know. I was just thinking.

For more information…

Bittersweet.

Here is the story of my boss’s adoption trip to the Ukraine.

He and his wife adopted two children, a boy and a girl, two years ago, and decided to return for two of the girl’s friends this year. They left just after the recent re-election in Ukraine.

They’re returning with one of the girls, Leeza, and her brother Zhenya — and leaving the other girl, Katya, behind because of a paperwork issue. They’re going to return for Katya as soon as they can. They have to wait a year.

There have been days when I’d read the updates and cheer — and days when I’d sit in front of the computer at work and try not to cry.

Last week we were telling Leeza and Katya that we wanted to adopt them, but that we had some paperwork problems and Katya couldn’t come home with us now and it would have to be later. Katya became upset and Leeza said to Katya ” you go, I will stay”. This is coming from a girl that wants a family more than breath. They are too good.

Leeza is now like the kid in the back seat on the way to Disneyland that keeps saying, “are we there yet?” She wants to know when we are going to America. It is really hard to be excited for Leeza and so depressed about Katya at the same time. Katya is doing much better than we are. She has a Mama and Papa now and she can’t hide her excitement about that, although we are sure there is some fear inside her that we won’t come back. Living your life without a family, and especially a Mom or Dad would probably create doubt like that no matter what we did. Zhenya has his own profile on Papa’s windows XP on the family laptop now and you would think that he just won the lottery. The techie Papa has already learned some things about his computer that he never knew before. Zhenya is still attending his Physics and Math classes at the University this weekend despite knowing he is going to America in a week. He is one driven kid. He said that it doesn’t matter if he is leaving in a week. He says Physics and Mathematics are the same in Ukraine and America. He could skip the class and play with Papa’s laptop all day, but he would rather take a bus across town and sit in a class. We are so proud 🙂

The Five Irregular Men.

My cousin Heather taught me this song. Her parents gave her THE LOOK and said it was INAPPROPRIATE.

CHORUS: *

There were five, five constipated men in the Bible, in the Bible.
There were five, five constipated men In the holy books of Moses.

Oh, the first, first constipated man Was Cain, he was not able.
Oh, the first, first constipated man Was Cain, he was not able.

Oh, the next, next constipated man Was Moses, he took two tablets.
Oh, the next, next constipated man Was Moses, he took two tablets.

Oh, the third, third constipated man Was Solomon, he sat for forty years.
Oh, the third, third constipated man Was Solomon, he sat for forty years.

Oh, the fourth, fourth constipated man Was Balam, he couldn’t move his ass.
Oh, the fourth, fourth constipated man Was Balam, he couldn’t move his ass.

Oh, the last, last constipated man
Was Sampson, he brought the house down…

via ScoutsCan.Com.

Victory!

I have completed Ulysses, by James Joyce.

Dude.

Plot: A day in the life of Leopold Bloom, in such detail as to make you realize — with as many things that he must have done, said, or thought, or things that affected his actions, thoughts, or words, in addition to the material included in the nearly 1000-page book — as to make one realize that every day is just as much a miraculous journey as Ulysses’s original fictional voyage.

Opinion: As literature, bemusing but amazing. The more I understand the more I’m impressed. It’s more than something to read, it’s an experience (some might say TORTURE and they wouldn’t be half wrong). I might read it again if I ever find an annotated version, just to find out what U.P.: UP means.

Caveat: I didn’t get most of it. Took me much longer than 24 hours of reading time.

Da Law.

I happened to look up Murphy’s Law the other day. Interesting stuff. Here’s the origin of Murphy’s Laws:

[Murphy’s Law] was named after Capt. Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on Air Force Project MX981, designed to see how much sudden deceleration a person can stand in a crash.

This website has a complete listing of Murphy’s Laws. My favorite is #6:

If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.

And… if you scroll down the site, you will find other laws. For example:

Allen’s Axiom
When all else fails, follow instructions.

Barrett’s Laws of Driving:
You can get ANYWHERE in ten minutes if you go fast enough.
Speed bumps are of negligible effect when the vehicle exceeds triple the desired restraining speed.
The vehicle in front of you is traveling slower than you are.
This lane ends in 500 feet.

Cohn’s Law:
The more time you spend in reporting on what you are doing, the less time you have to do anything. Stability is achieved when you spend all your time doing nothing but reporting on the nothing you are doing.

Fett’s Law of the Lab:
Never replicate a successful experiment.

Ginsberg’s Theorem (Generalized Laws of Thermodynamics):
You can’t win.
You can’t break even.
You can’t even quit the game.

Herblock’s Law:
If it’s good, they’ll stop making it.
***The Testerman Corollary: …but not until after you’ve started watching the first season.

Issawi’s Law of Frustration:
One cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs — but it is amazing how many eggs one can break without making a decent omelette.

Laura’s Law
No child throws up in the bathroom.

Lawyer’s Rule
When the law is against you, argue the facts. When the facts are against you, argue the law. When both are against you, call the other lawyer names.

Martha’s Maxim (and see Olum’s Observation and Farrow’s Finding):
If God had meant for us to travel tourist class, He would have made us narrower.

Margaret Mead’s Law of Human Migration:
At least fifty percent of the human race doesn’t want their mother-in-law within walking distance.

Ozian Option:
I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.

Let me try some:

If the milk has gone bad, someone will ask you to taste it to make sure.

Rules of Colorado Driving:
1. It’s always a good time to change lanes.
1a. Use as many lanes as necessary.
2. It’s not running a red light if you gun your engine first.
3. If one lane is full of cars and the other is empty, take the full one.
3a. See Rule 1.

Black History Month

February is Black History Month. At work this month, we’ve been getting daily emails about great black inventors:

Those Who Dared

Friday, February 11

Lonnie Johnson – Mechanical and Nuclear Engineer

Company Profile:

“We at Johnson Research & Development Company, Inc. (Johnson Research)
specialize in the proprietary development of high technology environmental
and energy related products in the areas of:

Thermodynamics
Heat Transfer
Fluid Dynamics
Thermal Hydraulics
Energy and Power Generation
Mechanics of Materials
Fatigue Analysis
Digital Circuit Design
Microprocessors
Control Systems.”

From Johnson Research and Development website.

Lonnie Johnson tinkered with appliances when he was just a kid. At 18, as
a senior in high school, he won first place in a national competition. All
the tinkering he did when he was younger allowed him to build a
remote-controlled robot he named “Linex.”

After high school, Lonnie went on to Tuskeegee University in Alabama on a
mathematics scholarship. While there, he earned a Bachelor of Science in
Mechanical Engineering in 1972. Two years later, he earned a Master of
Science in Nuclear Engineering. After finishing his M.S., Lonnie became a
captain in the US Air Force, serving as an Advanced Space Systems
Requirements Officer at Strategic Air Command in Omaha, Nebraska. From
there, he moved on to work with NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in
California. While with NASA, Lonnie worked on the Galileo Jupiter probe
and the Mars Observer project. The Johnson Tube, a CFC-free refrigeration
system, was invented while he worked with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
his seventh patent.

Happiest when he was tinkering, Lonnie continued creating things on his
own time. One of his over 40 patents included the Super Soaker ®, patented
in 1991.

Lonnie started his company in 1985, now named Johnson Research and
Development. The company provides services to government and private
industries, and even improving the Super Soaker ®.

Visit here for more stories about contemporary Black scientists and
inventors.

Johnson Research and Development

Lemelson-MIT Program Inventor of the Week

Tuskeegee University

Researched and written by Lisa-Marie Jones

Cute.

Ray got a bobbed haircut* yesterday. You know the way she flings her head from side to side all the time? Now it’s flippy.

…And last weekend we went to the ARC and stocked up on dresses.

And we got a little plastic tiara with clippy earrings.

That’s my daughter, I think.

*Think little flapper girl, or Dora with the ends turned under instead of sticking out.

Chess.

Postcard Chess.

This is a free chess website that allows you to email chess moves back and forth. I’ve been playing with a few people and can attest that it works very well — even a space to type comments and kibitz.

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