Penguins – Humor

Ok, here’s another pun-tastic joke.  It’s not from Velma, it’s from a friend of mine up North, Scott.

Seeing that I use Linux on a daily basis, he sends me jokes once in a while about Penguins.  Why Penguins?  Well they’re the mascot of the operating system Linux.  Why are they the Mascot?  To make outsiders scratch their head and ask why, of course!


Did you ever wonder why there are no dead penguins on the ice in Antarctica – where do they go?
Wonder no more ! ! !

It is a known fact that the penguin is a very ritualistic bird which lives an extremely ordered and complex life.

The penguin is very committed to its family and will mate for life, as well as maintaining a form of compassionate contact with its offspring throughout its life.

If a penguin is found dead on the ice surface, other members of the family and social circle have been known to dig holes in the ice, using their vestigial wings and beaks, until the hole is deep enough for the dead bird to be rolled into and buried.

The male penguins then gather in a circle around the fresh grave and sing:

“Freeze a jolly good fellow”
“Freeze a jolly good fellow.”

“Then they kick him in the ice hole.”
You really didn’t believe that I know anything about penguins, did you?
It’s so easy to fool people.
I am sorry, the devil made me do it!!!
I fell for it too.

Would You Bend Down for a Quarter?

The tricks your mind plays on you before sunrise…

I was out with the dog walking around town when on the ground I spotted a flash of light. I got closer, and it was a nice shiny quarter. One of those State Quarters we have these days from Georgia with a picture of a peach on the back of it. I still think it looks like a butt, but then again I’ve been through Georgia and there’s a certain amount of truth to that.

Snide comments aside, I looked at it and wondered just how much change would have to be on the ground before someone would bend down to pick it up. Excluding the extreme cases like people with mobility problems, or kids who will pick up everything, I realized that there’s a certain wealth floor.

Pennies are pretty much worthless these days. The Canadians are going to “cancel the penny” like many other nations. We’ve inflated the Penny into uselessness. It costs the Canadian Mint 1.6 cents to make a Canadian Penny.

The British have a saying of something being “Not Worth A Farthing“, which is applicable as well.  It basically is the US equivalent of someone saying “It’s not worth a plug nickel”.

The US Penny is similar, and now it isn’t even copper. It’s a zinc slug that is wrapped in copper foil and has been since the early 1980s.

If you see penny candy these days, it is usually a nickel or more. Gas went up by a factor of 10 since the good old days of before the first Oil Shock of 1973.

Having an active mind, I wondered just exactly what that shiny new quarter was worth back then. In other words, lets journey back in time to just before the Oil Shock and figure out how much you would pick up on the ground to have the same amount of purchasing power.

Yeah, another exercise in Pedantic Math, right? Someone has been playing with the Consumer Price Index calculator again. You can too, since here are two different links.

The Inflation Calculator.


The US Inflation Calculator.

Basically what it tells you is that since 1973, the year the economy changed for good, the prices have increased by a factor of 5.  A Nickel in 1973 is what a Quarter in 2012 is worth now.

Kind of sad isn’t it?

If you look at the flip side of that, if you invested that Nickel in a bond in 1973 how much would it be worth today?

Oddly enough it would be worth more than the quarter.

I found a “Future Value” Calculator.  “Back Then” in 1973, a good rate of interest would have been 5 percent.  In other words, I’m saying that for a rule of thumb you would have been able to shop around for a 5 percent return on your investment for a long term.  In 1973, the prime rate for borrowers was 6.25 percent so that isn’t out of the question.  

Ok so you go and buy a long term bond that pays 5 percent per year for 39 years from that point.  At the end of that time, a 100 dollar bond would be worth 670.48.  

I used this Future Value Calculator.

Back in 1973, if you put that $.05 in the bank at 5 percent interest you would be the proud owner of $.34.

Keep in mind, longer terms of investment tend to have lower interest rates, so more likely a 4 percent loand would have only returned $.23.

So what is the moral of the story?  Invest if you really have spare change and the interest rate is higher than you expect to have taken away by inflation.  Otherwise keep it in your pocket and spend it instead of littering the ground with Zinc Slugs called pennies.

They’re just going to print more money anyway and it’s all losing value due to that or incompetent management.

Pinche Taqueria Grand Opening In Wilton Manors

Last night was a fiesta in Wilton Manors.

Pinche Taqueria had opened a few weeks back quietly after turning an old storefront into something that would not be out of place at any beach town.  The front was pushed back, the old school windows were removed, and big green “garage doors” were installed. 

How better to enjoy the Florida Breezes than to sit at a table, enjoy your food and drinks, and watch the entertainment of the crowd or the TVs on the wall?

They had said that they didn’t want to have their grand opening “until it was perfect”.

They are now there, last night’s food was perfect – even with the size of the crowd that were there to celebrate the event.

I had been there within a week of their opening, and then again two weeks later, and each time the food was noticeably better.  Last night it was incredible.

The place was packed with many local notables that I have seen from the City of Wilton Manors, as well as some of the neighboring cities.  Many more of the locals were there enjoying the scene. 

I got to see City Commissioner Scott Newton and his wife Cindy, Celeste Ellich, and others that I recognized from many other places.  It was the place to be last night.

Of course this being a Mexican Taqueria, they had a Mariachi Band there, and the band was a blast!  The musicians had a lot of personality, and were serenading us as we got our food and rubbed shoulders with the folks at the next table.

Yes, it was a very busy night, as you might expect.

The food was excellent, we will definitely be back.  I’ve gone on the weekend for lunch, mainly.  The food is quite authentic Classic Mexican fare as their history bares out.  I was told that it started as a taqueria in Tijuana Mexico.  They took the place, Lock, Stock, and Barrel to New York City where it was a success.  Some of the most discerning customers in the world live there, and if you can make it there like the song says, you can make it anywhere – but only if you’re doing it right.

They did it right, they grew past their first restaurant into a second and began to look for another place to open and chose Wilton Manors. 

Many cuisines when brought to the United States end up being a bit of a split personality.  We’ve all heard that Chinese Restaurants will have a “Secret Menu” that “only the locals” will get, but that is the best food and the most authentic. 

With Pinche Taqueria we’re all locals, getting only the best.

I have a strong preference for Carnitas, savory pork that isn’t “too spicy” served on a soft Taco or a Tostada.  They have one of the best that I have ever had.  Last night I had their signature Crab Taco with Mango Salsa.  It was simply put, amazing. 

If you’re looking for something to wash it all down, skip the bottled stuff, and get a Mojito.  A Mojito is typically a syrupy sweet Lime and Mint beverage with alcohol.  When they make it, you get a crisp and clear Lime drink with a little minty sweetness – but it’s not tooth achingly sweet.  It’s the best Mojito I have ever had, and I was never really a fan of the drink until I had it there because of that sweetness.  You can actually taste the lime and the mint. 

So definitely I will be back, and as demanding as I am, I can fully recommend a stop in for the Carnitas Taco, some chips and a Mojito.   I may even get their signature dish again, that Crab was amazing!

It’s a great place to sit back and enjoy some time with some amazing food and drink.  Right across from City Hall in Wilton Manors at 2020 Wilton Drive, in the heart of the Arts and Entertainment District here. 

Herding the Smartphone Addicts

You know who you are.
We see you, and we shake our collective heads.
You travel thousands of miles to reach our Island, park yourself, and immediately go into your own little electronic cocoon.

Yes, you are a Smartphone Addict.

I live close enough to a rather excellent Coffee Shop, Java Boys, in Wilton Manors, that I walk past the place roughly twice a day.  When you live close to a shopping center, you end up walking through it.  My neighborhood tends to funnel everyone who wants a long walk past the place on one side of Wilton Drive or the other. 

Plus it’s just fun to point and watch people.

There was a walk the other day that I was on my own.  Just Mrs Dog and I.  It was the Dinner Hour, so I expected a host of people milling about, but when I approached the place, I had noticed that everyone there had Joined The Herd.

They became Zombies, attached to their little smartphones.  Every one of them outside was head down, concentrating on their games, or their web pages, or their Apps trying to meet someone new.  The other hand was typically hooked up with another addiction since it was the outside smoking zone. 

Smoking in 2012?  Really?  Enjoy being a social outcast and ruining your health?   Ahh ok.   Well soldier on Mc Duff!

Weaving through the scattered detritus of the castaway smokers, I looked into the shop.  Up on the TVs was a program of music, so it predictably didn’t require too much attention.  That was a good thing because nobody was watching the TVs anyway, they were all focused, yes, you guessed it, on their smartphones or laptops.

I guess you really don’t want to interact with others do you?  After all, they’re big and scary!

I will admit I am a contrarian when it comes to this smartphone “thing”.  I didn’t get my first cell phone until 2003 and even then it was to make sure I could have one with a Florida Area Code to make life easier when I moved later.  I just got my own smartphone, and it is nice to have access if I need it.  I’m still getting used to having Joanna Lumley say from my pocket “You’ve Got Post!” in the middle of the walk when it is still dark and someone writes to my professional account. 

On the other hand, I usually have a smile on the inside when I see one of the Smartphone Zombies walking along weaving around on the sidewalk, texting to someone miles away and heading right at me.  That would be when I put on my strongest most projecting voice and say a loud “Hello!”.  I have just saved another Zombie from certain demise as they would wander into another immovable object, me, instead of off the curb and into traffic.

Worse, you really don’t want to step on the dog.  Trust me, you don’t.

So when you’re on vacation, take a little vacation from the whole texting thing.   After all, you spent all that money to get here, enjoy it.  Or just save the money and text from the couch.  Much easier that way.

My Yard, Their Salad

Trying to escape the din of the bread machine mixing up a batch of Italian Seasoned Bread dough this weekend, I walked out into the yard.

I realized that I’m stuck.  My yard has guests, and my yard has pests.

Earlier we had turned on the hot tub and sat out under the stars.  Watching the airplanes scud overhead, between the gaps of their droning, we heard complaints.  They aren’t quite used to our using the yard for the intended purpose of relaxation, and they were there watching us.  I heard the “niknikniknik” of the squirrels.  At least I think it was a squirrel or three.  It could have been an opossum or just as easily a raccoon.  They tend to wash their food in my pool, a fact I’m not completely comfortable with.

The next day, wandering out to inspect my flowers and pick up after the evening under the stars, I looked closely at my prized plants.   I have a number of imprisoned fruit trees.  Some like being pot bound more than others and they are the ones that are thriving.  Others mope along and really look like they’re crying out to be stuck in the ground where they belong.

One day I’ll just move that sad yellow hibiscus out to the front yard and be done with it.  Really, I will, I’m telling you!

On the other hand my Mango tree seems to like being in that maroon pot.  It’s taller than I am, and even subtracting the height of the pot it may still be taller.  But it’s gotten hit by those annoying exotic whitefly.  Frowning, I walked down the line to look at the other plants.  Mango with Whitefly, sticky weeds in my Meyer Lemon, and the Mexican Milkweed had Monarchs.

I’m perfectly happy with Monarchs in my Milkweed, that is why I plant the things where I do.  The plants hadn’t recovered successfully from the last time the Monarchs were “in season” so I think that one or two of the little caterpillars may not reach chrysalis.

The Monarchs are why I don’t spray my plants.   I can’t blame them for the weeds in my lemon trees.  That’s just being lazy, but I don’t want to harm my little black and yellow friends.  I get more entertainment than most out of watching them.

The Swallowtail butterflies that use my orange tree are a different story.   Their bird poop looking caterpillars aren’t my favorite especially since that orange isn’t doing quite as well as I would like.   Threaten the bird poop with removal and they start to stink.  Fairly effective at scaring birds, and I don’t care to handle them either.

I have a feeling I’m going to be paying a visit to the big box store for some insecticidal soap.  For now, the lady bugs are taking care of the whitefly and keeping them to a dull roar on my Mango, but those Swallowtail caterpillars had better watch out.  They’re just not pretty!

Vanda Orchids ate my Batteries – Picture

This is the Other Vanda Orchid.  I had the yellow one open up and bloom for me the other week, and it is still in bloom. 

When this one opened up three days ago, I spent the time waiting just for the right sun angle.  It was either too high or too low.  Too much cloud or I wasn’t able to get out there.

Finally when I go to take the picture, I look out set this shot up, squeeze the trigger and get it. 

Oh bright idea, lets reposition and get it in on an angle and catch the yellow one. 

The camera refuses and goes dark. 

You see all those false starts over the last couple days ate the last pair of batteries that were in the house.  This beautiful flower ate my AA batteries.

That’s the nice thing about being in the Dry Season.  You learn what you need in preparation for Hurricane Season.  Well that and you’re not ducking flying coconuts and palm fronds of death.

So no more pictures until I charge up the batteries that I have for emergencies. 

As for the camera, it’s an old 8MP camera.  When it uses up the batteries, they still have enough power left for radios or clocks to run for quite a while.  I have a jar full of these semi used batteries with a black stripe on them so I know they’re used. 

Back in the early days of digital photography, the cameras used a lot more power.  They would eat batteries much faster.  As a result there were some interesting work arounds. 

My first camera was a 1MP camera.  It was also a tank of a machine.  Built very solid, but very hungry since the electronics haven’t been optimized.   One of the tricks some enterprising geek did was to get some wire and a battery brick of D cells and wire four of them together so he could use his camera to do long exposure pictures. 

He then painted his girlfriend with red laser light.  Beautiful picture, she looked like she was made of rubies.  I’ll have to try that sometime, maybe when I get those batteries.

Only in Britain – Complaints to Councils – Humour

In Britain, the City Goverment is run by a Council.  The local Councils have homes and apartments that people live in.  Some wonderfully batty people who sometimes have complaints.  I suppose it helps to understand British slang, so don’t get your knickers in a twist.

Thanks, Kevin!

Only in Britain – Complaints to Councils
Extracts from letters written by council tenants:

1. It’s the dogs mess that I find hard to swallow.

2. I want some repairs done to my cooker as it has backfired and burnt my knob off.

3. I wish to complain that my father twisted his ankle very badly when he put his foot in the hole in his back passage.

4. Their 18 year old son is continually banging his balls against my fence.

5. I wish to report that tiles are missing from the outside toilet roof. I think it was bad wind the other day that blew them off.

6. My lavatory seat is cracked, where do I stand?

7. I am writing on behalf of my sink, which is coming away from the wall.

8. Will you please send someone to mend the garden path. My wife tripped and fell on it yesterday and now she is pregnant.

9. I request permission to remove my drawers in the kitchen.

10. 50% of the walls are damp, 50% have crumbling plaster, and 50% are just plain filthy.

11. The next door neighbour has got this huge tool that vibrates the whole house and I just can’t take it anymore.

12. The toilet is blocked and we cannot bath the children until it is cleared.

13. Will you please send a man to look at my water, it is a funny colour and not fit to drink.

14. Our lavatory seat is broken in half and now is in three pieces.

15. I want to complain about the farmer across the road. Every morning at 6am his cock wakes me up and it’s now getting too much for me.

16. The man next door has a large erection in the back garden, which is unsightly and dangerous.

17. Our kitchen floor is damp. We have two children and would like a third, so please send someone round to do something about it.

18. I am a single woman living in a downstairs flat and would you please do something about the noise made by the man on top of me every night.

19. Please send a man with the right tool to finish the job and satisfy my wife.

20. I have had the clerk of works down on the floor six times but I still have no satisfaction.

21. This is to let you know that our lavatory seat is broke and we can’t get BBC2.

22. My bush is really overgrown round the front and my back passage has fungus growing in it.

Vern’s Funeral – Humor

Velma sent me this one a while back.  Seems this guy Vern had a birthday and …


Vern works hard at the Phone Company but spends two nights each week bowling, and plays golf every Saturday.

His wife thinks he’s pushing himself too hard, so for his birthday she takes him to a local Strip club.

The doorman at the club greets them and says, “Hey, Vern! How ya doin?”

His wife is puzzled and asks if he’s been to this club before.

“Oh no,” says Vern. “He’s in my bowling league .”

When they are seated, a waitress asks Vern if he’d like his usual and brings over a Budweiser.

His wife is becoming increasingly uncomfortable and says, “How did she know that you drink Budweiser?”

“I recognize her, she’s the waitress from the golf club.  I always have a Bud at the end of the 1st nine, honey.”

A stripper then comes over to their table, throws her arms around Vern, starts to rub herself all
Over him and says… “Hi Vern. Want your usual table dance, big boy?”

Vern’s wife, now furious,

Grabs her purse and Storms out of the club.

Vern follows and spots her getting into a cab. Before she can slam the door, he jumps in beside her.

Vern tries desperately to explain how the stripper must have mistaken him for someone else, but his wife is having none of it

She is screaming at him at the top of her lungs, calling him every 4 letter word in the book..

The cabby turns around and says,

‘Geez Vern, you picked up a real bitch this time.’


Yummy, Dummy, or Middy, how about a Date?

I have a habit of reading international press.  Through the day I will see articles written in various countries, and all of them have their own way of doing things.  One of the things they all seem to get wrong are dates.

No, not those sweet things growing on a tree on the corner of Wilton Drive and NE 21st Court.  I’m talking about “Today’s Date”.

You see, I have more years writing computer programs than I care to count.  I’ve written more reports, displays, screens and web pages full of data that if you show me something, count to 30 and ask, I’ll tell you what has been done wrong or if it’s right. 

Sure, that’s a lot to say right there but really am I full of myself or do I have a point?

Most of the time these reports are nothing more than a long tedious list of numbers and words.   The trick is getting them all in the right order.  Something will be listed in the main order, then there may or may not be a secondary order, and that can be crucial to the person using the report or web page.

In the United States and many countries, we use what we call a Middy Date.  At least we did when I was learning programming.  Month Day Year is the order.  MMDDYY or Middy. 

It doesn’t work. 

Take a long list of dates and sort them in order and you find yourself trying to make sense of “this year” or “last year”.  Sure, last year should show first but if you are just looking at the date as 06/01/11, it will come before 07/02/12 but after 05/03/13.   You have to take the year into account.

Europeans with their Dummy Dates aren’t any better.  Day Month Year is rubbish when you are looking at a list of dates that are before the 13th of the month.  You won’t know until you find a later day in the month, say the 21st that you are looking at a report displaying in DDMMYY fashion. 

Most reporting tools will look at a setting on your computer and check to see if your date string is Middy or Dummy, and display things in that fashion.  The truth is that most data is kept in a database and that is even another weird format based on second since the epoch – January 1 1970 is one number that comes to mind.  The computer will add up all those seconds, do calculations and spit out a date based on where your setting is.

When I was writing programs in old school COBOL, I had to consider these things.  COBOL did not have that built in, and you were constantly fiddling around with dates to get them in the right order.  We settled on a third solution – Yummy Dates.   Store your dates in Year Month Day Order or YYMMDD.   The problem is that outside of programming, nobody uses those dates naturally.

Or do they? 

Actually if you’re trying to keep long lists of files and dates are important, Windows can be tricked to use those Yummy dates in the file names.   Sure you can sort the files in Date Order, but then you find yourself having to check the status bar for when that file was created. 

Where I use this heavily is in anything financial.  I have a directory, er, Folder that has a printout of each transaction I have done.  The printouts are all PDF files so I can see exactly what the web page looked like so many years back.  The first few characters of the files are the Yummy Date.

For Example, a bank transfer to checking done on March 19th, 2012 was called “2012-03-19 Transfer To Checking.PDF” and sits in that bank’s folder.   Makes things quite tidy.

That reminds me… instead of writing about it, I’ve got another transfer to checking to do and time to pay the Charge Card. 

Hope that’s all clear and not like mud!

Use Explosively Good Caramel for Icing

After you end up with yesterday’s recipe for a can of caramel, what do you do with the stuff?

In my case, it gave me an excuse to pull a box of pound cake mix out of the back of the pantry.  I found the world’s easiest cake mix, and “Just Add Water” until it was smooth, then poured it out into the little paper cups.

For some reason, even an experienced cook can botch a recipe in an oven that has no real hope of maintaining an accurate temperature. 

You see, there’s a trick that was taught to me way back when.  When you want to know if a bread, cake or similar item is baked through, stick a toothpick in it.  Pound cake is a moist but dense texture.  I forgot that.  So I kept sticking that toothpick in, and seeing that come out with crumbs instead of “clean” I left it in there.  

The cupcakes eventually came out dry and strangely like a cookie.

The moisture of the caramel soaked into the crusty cupcakes and made it all chewy.  I’ll have to remember that.  Really nice texture that partially made up for the slightly dry cakes.

The icing on the top of the cake was lumpy.  I could have waited for it to warm more, but I got anxious.

To ice something with caramel, it needs to be warm and smooth to get it the right semi-runny consistency like thick honey.  When it cools, it will tighten up and remain on top enough to serve as icing.  At least with the explosive caramel recipe it all came together like that.

I warmed the caramel in a bath of water.  Place the open can of caramel in a dry sauce pan, fill the pan up to near the top of the can, and bring the water to a simmer.   Stir until smooth.

I forgot that part.  When it cooled it was all the same texture and so good that the four that I made and iced were gone between two people in one sitting.


Moral of the story is to learn your recipe, but even if you make a mistake, you can sometimes “recover” from it.  Besides, I still have a half of a can of caramel in the refrigerator to enjoy.