Daily Reading List — December 4th

A standing desk for $22 – To be completed before year's end.

5 Race-Day Mistakes Every Runner Should Avoid – I think I've done each one of these. But none of them this past Sunday!

The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself Today – What is your favorite pain?

5 Classic Holiday Cocktails and Drinks to Warm Your Spirit – Prediction: I will get sick on Peppermint Alexanders.

Creating a Reading Christmas Tradition

Ana and I were discussing how cool the idea of a Book on Every Bed idea is last night, and came up with another idea. Now, we come up with all kinds of crazy ideas–some pan out, and some don’t–but this is one we hope we are able to establish in our family.

We will definitely be doing Book on Every Bed while our kids are small, but we hope we are able to continue a variation of that idea long after our children are grown. We’re going to start this year with one another. Here’s the idea:

Give every member of your family a book at Christmas. This isn’t their Christmas gift(s), just a little added something. It can be a book that you’ve read over the past year and enjoyed, a book you think they’d like, a book you want to read at the same time they read it so you can discuss…whatever reason you want. And it doesn’t have to be a freshly purchased book from the bookstore. Buy a used book. Give them a book you’ve finished. You can even check out books for them at the library. When you’re living in the same house together, you can just pull one right off the bookshelf and wrap it up!

Sure, it’s for the kids, right? Well, yeah. But I also want to learn the things they are learning as they grow up, and I want to continue to glean knowledge off of them when they are adults. So while they will definitely benefit, I really want to start this tradition for completely selfish reasons! 😛

Hosting a Kid’s Christmas Party? Include a Book Swap!

If you are hosting or attending a Christmas party geared towards kids this year, consider having them do a book exchange as gifts. You can set a limit on the cost of the books, or even make it a “used only” swap that let’s the kids exchange books they’ve either read the requisite 1,000,000 times or haven’t been that interested in. You can do this with several variations.

For mixed ages, you can do a name draw beforehand and let them exchange books “Secret Santa” style, making sure each child gets an age appropriate book they’ll be interested in. If all the kids are older (i.e. mature enough to handle it) you can even do a White Elephant gift exchange, allowing gifts to be stolen as the game progresses.

If you’re having a party for pre-schoolers, have each child bring a wrapped book to the party and attach letters to the packages with post-it notes as they arrive. When it’s time for the gifts to be opened, let each child draw a letter from a hat and match it to their gift. Opening all of the books at the same time instead of individually may help you avoid some meltdowns since they’ll more than likely be focused on their own book and not on what someone else has.

For a twist, have each child bring two books to the party–one for their friends and another to be donated to a local library, book drive, or other charitable organization.

A Book On Every Bed

Here’s a great idea–make sure a book is the first thing your children unwrap on Christmas morning!

The easiest way to do that is to make sure Santa leaves the book at the foot of their bed. I can’t imagine even the most anxious kid being able to pass up the opportunity to unwrap the first gift they see on Christmas morning.

Start a tradition: My hope is that other families will enjoy a tradition that revolves around reading together. I further hope that librarians, teachers, bookstore owners and literacy advocates spread this idea as far and wide as it will go, making it possible for any family that wants a child to receive a book to get one.

Stuff You Should See — 23:14

Man Gives His Tattoo Breast Implants – Wha?! I guess the economy isn’t bad for everybody, huh?

Hacked STOP Signs – The best one is “Collaborate and Listen”.

Instapundit on Saving and Budgeting – I have to throw in a “yeah but…” here. I always did things pretty much the way he describes, but since my money has become OUR money, we’ve been more diligent about the budget, and it seems to work well for us. It’s even happened that we’ve been able to save more than planned on occasion.

Jersey Shore Nickname Generator – Nice to meet you. I am S-Train, and I’ll be your tanning host for the evening

Send text messages to mobile phones from the web – I was having some problems receiving texts on my mobile phone. I used this site built by my buddy Michael Wender to test things out while I was trying to resolve it. Very handy!!!

Delicious Link Dump– November 17th through November 29th

FIX: “Violation of Primary Key Constraint” – I usually don’t link out to stuff like this. But if I have to stay up all night Saturday night reading this stuff, you should at least have to acknowledge the link.

The Most Influential Websites in the World – I’m actually happy my blog isn’t listed there. Gives me something to shoot for in aught 10!

Time to postpone Copenhagen – I would agree, but the whole thing is nothing but (bad) theater anyway. The show must go on.

Google Maps Navigation now available for Android 1.6 – And of course…I’m stuck at 1.5

Price Matching on Black Friday – HT Silence

WP Get Post Image – Latest plugin from my boy, my haw, Michael Wender.

Psychoanalysis and Cold Cold Beer – I suffer from split personality disorder

Union troubled by Eagle Scout project in Allentown – How dare you do something for free that these guys won’t do for less than $15/hour!

Veterans Day, Slightly Recycled

Before my grandfather passed on, he took the time to write down some of the stories and experiences of his life. What a great gift to our family! My favorite stories are the ones from his time serving in Pacific with the Army during World War II. This one, which I posted elsewhere last year, is one of my favorites and is worth recycling.

Even though it’s a very short snippet, when you read it you immediately understand the conditions these guys were in. It was brutally hot. They were hungry enough that a snack seemed like a feast to them, even when writing about it decades later.

But there isn’t even a hint of complaint. I mean, this is a story he chose to document because he looked back on it as a fond experience. You can tell by the tone–“yeah, it was hot and we were hungry, but man…what a feast!”

It was a one-day trip from Finch Haven to Saidor and we got a 1 day supply of “C” rations. As usual we didn’t leave Finch Haven until the next day and our food supply was gone. When we reached Saidor a little after night, the Japs had bombed a fuel (gas) supple and the place was lit up like midday. They ordered us back out sea so we wouldn’t be a lit up target for the Japs to bomb. We spent the night out at sea and came in the next day to land. We sure were a hungry bunch.

While on the boat, I saw a fellow lying on the aft deck under a workbench to shade him from the sun. He was lying on his back and had a can of corned beef setting on the deck right at the top of his head. I was starved which helped put my military strategy ticking. I got down on my stomach, crawled up there, got that can of beef, crawled backwards to where he wouldn’t see me get up and I sat down and had a feast.

When I got off the ship and grabbed a duffel bag and took off, every way I turned that bag something would be resting on my shoulder.We went about 1-½ miles up through the Mott river bottoms grown up in Cuni grass about 12 to 15 fee high. The sun was bearing down 100+. When we got to a stopping place, I took my knife and cut the duffel bag open. It had a lock on it. There were 6 cans (2-½ size) of peaches in that bag. Where he got them I don’t know. Where they went he never knew, but me and five of my buddies had a feast.

The guys who had their corned beef and peaches turn up missing may be complaining to this day. I guess that’s a possibility, but I doubt it. Because when I think back on all the people I’ve known throughout the years who have served in the armed forces, I can’t recall ever hearing any of them complain either. Pretty admirable for a group of people who put themselves in harms way so the rest of us can be safe.

Thank you all!

What Happens When You Cross Rugby With Guy Fawkes Day?

guy_fawkes

Next to nothing.

A rugby club is set to celebrate Guy Fawkes night round a large TV after health and safety forced organisers to use footage of a bonfire rather than the real thing.

Organisers at Ilfracombe Rugby Club in Devon say they were put off having a real fire by the ”mountain” of paperwork and regulations set by council chiefs.

With a few exceptions, rugby players aren’t generally known for our ability to deal with mountains of paperwork. Or any other kind of work for that matter.

This is sad, yet ironically fitting.

Delicious Link Dump– October 16th through October 20th

Homes: About to get much cheaper? – Hmmm….time to sit in an apartment and wait?

MediaMonkey – Looking for the best way to sync an Android phone for music. Nothing out there like iTunes yet, but this is good.

Remember Why We Have a Department of Energy? – Oh, but it will be different with banking and health care. Right?

The Most Inappropriate Halloween Costumes Possible – Two of my favorite things–inappropriateness and Halloween.

Newscoma Sums UP BarCamp Nashville and Blogging – "Blogging is one of those things that folks either get or they don’t, but it has been a gift to me since the first time I opened up one of these silly things and realized that it was a lot of fun."

Free Trigonometry Tutorials and Problems – You got that? FREE PROBLEMS!!!! One of the many things on my nerd checklist is that I did ALL the problems in the trig book…not just the ones that were assigned. I would do them in all my other classes. I even had a set of colored pencils I used to draw the vectors in different shades. Yeah, you wish YOU'D thought of that.

Clean Your Computer Screen From The Inside – It really works!!!

Paranormal Activity –Don’t Need To See It – I'm a scary-movie-wimp. I hate them. I'd rather just read spoilers (like this one) and know that it would scare me if I saw it.

Best Thanksgiving List Ever

I’m not going to even begin to bore anyone with the old cliche’d things I’m thankful for. Family, health, friends, etc.–anyone can think of those. Besides, I wrote a nice Thanksgiving post last year. Nope, I’m going to get real. I’m thankful for a lot of things most people probably aren’t, so why not list those and make my Thanksgiving post a little different? Ok then, I will.

  • Nice ladies with coffee–I like nice ladies, and I like coffee, but when you put the two together you get magic! Nice ladies with coffee just give it away sometimes (I’m still talking about coffee). Other times, they will break the rule that says “you can’t get $.59 refills in Styrofoam cups” and let you do it anyway. This is especially helpful if you are driving to the ATL and are stopping for your 2nd or 3rd cup of the day.
  • Muscle memory–It’s frustrating to get older and not be able to the things you used to do as well or as fast as you could when you were younger. On the other hand, it’s nice to still be able to do them period.
  • La Gallina Turuleca and ZoboomafooLa Gallina Turuleca has been viewed 11.5 million times. I think I’m responsible for about 9 million of those.  It stops the screaming. Zoboomafoo, while popular with the kid is actually a pretty decent show.  I was just saying last night while flipping through channels that Zoboomafoo is better than most of the other stuff on TV. Which brings me to…
  • Rock of Love Charm School–I’m thankful for this show because it makes me thankful for so many other things. First, it makes me thankful for Rock of Love, without which this show would not be possible. Secondly, it makes me thankful for every ex-girlfriend ever. Yeah, even “that one” wasn’t anything like these chicks. And all those ex-girlfiends make me thankful for my current girlfriend. Sure, technically we’re married, but since we still like each other so much it’s more like dating, which I’m very thankful for.
  • WordPress–Not just WordPress (which is free), but all the free WordPress plugins and WordPress themes as well. What a great, easily extendable platform! I’m thankful more people are catching on to how flexible and easy it is for people to get things done on the web with WordPress. The more people are empowered, the easier it is for them to get information out, and we all win.
  • Free speech–I’m really greatful that we’re able to sit behind our keyboards and cry “Socialism!” when we see it closing in on us. I’m really not sure why we’re still allowed to do so. It’s probably because big government isn’t efficient enough to stop us yet–they’ll have to spend a few years doing a study, creating a department, hiring a huge staff, and creating some regulation first. Oh, and taxing the shit out of us to pay for it all. Of course, it’s entirely possible that they really don’t know that all this stuff they’re doing is socialism. I never considered that possibility until this week.
  • Space…Fight!–This is quite possibly the greatest Facebook app ever produced. It’s a game that has no apparent purpose and cannot be won. What’s the point? I believe the point is to see how long you can stand to play this game. Can you stand to play it longer than your friends? Out of spite, I believe I can. However, I’m getting some stiff competition from one Space…Fight!er who just won’t give up.
  • “Change”–This word has given me so many opportunities to laugh this year, and the hits just keep on coming.  Only in America can more of the same be marketed as change and be bought by so many. It reminds me of Mick Foley rasslin as Cactus Jack, Dude Love, and Mankind. He wore different costumes as each character, but once the bell rung you just had a crazy sumbitch dishing out pain, no matter the getup. That’s change I can believe in.
  • People Who Subscribe to My Blog(s)–thank you, thank you, thank you!
Have a great, safe, and happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving Post Trumps Them All

Earlier today I started on a post about Thanksgiving, how it is my favorite holiday, a truly American holiday, etc. Then my aunt forwarded this little excerpt about Thanksgiving that my grandfather wrote a few years before he died. Boy did my post look stupid.

I’ll stop writing now. His words are much better than mine.

In 1944 as a soldier in the U.S. Army, we left San Francisco, California in February headed for somewhere in the Pacific Islands to do our bit as Air Borne Engineers to rid the islands of invading Japanese.

It was a sad sight as we stood on deck looking back toward the U.S. to see the Golden Gate Bridge sink slowly out of sight as the Pacific Ocean water raised in the horizon. I think our thoughts were unanimous that we may never see The Golden Gate again.

After 22 months of service in New Guinea and the Philippine Island, we had finally liberated the islands and the Japanese had surrendered and the Army began demobilizing.

On November 5th, I boarded the USS General Collins in Manila Bay to start the long journey home. We took the Northern route which according to the curvature of the earth was the shortest route. Somewhere around the Aleutian Islands, we hit a typhoon. Reports were that waves of 50 foot engulfed the ship and we were hold bound for a long period of time. This was the longest period of scare that I went through. Most scares were short lived. Here I was headed home but can we make it? Thank God, we did. It took us 16 days to get back to the United States.

The last day of our 16 day journey we were in the chow line for our Thanksgiving Day dinner with turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, a regular Thanksgiving meal feast. It was Thanksgiving Day, Thursday November 22, 1945. A call came down from the watchman in the crows nest that the Golden Gate was coming into view. The chow line disappeared. Remembering the time involved watching it sink, I knew I had time to eat so I went straight to the serving counter and had my choice fill.

I went out on deck after I had lunch and the Golden Gate was slowly rising out of the water. The closer we got to it, the higher it rose from the water. As I watched and my heart beat became faster and I became happier. It dawned on me that the majestic portals under the canopy of heaven which we must pass through was the reward of peace that we had victoriously won as victors of the “War to End all Wars, WWII.”

Dinah Shore was on the deck of the tug boat which met us to help with the docking. She sang and welcomed us back to the state side. We debarked on to a ferry which carried us to Pittsburgh, Ca. There, we were picked up by trucks and carried to Camp Stoneman.

For the dinner that night, we had steak fried to order with all the trimmings and all the fresh milk we could drink and all the ice cream we could eat. Quit a treat after 22 months in the tropics.

Thanksgiving has a lot of special meanings to me. A lot to be thankful for. I love to be with friends and family. I love to eat, hunt, relax and be selfish when I boast that Thanksgiving means more to me than any one else in the world!

This time of year is a very sentimental time for me. November 5th leaving Manila headed home, November 11, Veterans Day, November 22nd, landing in the USA. Every Thanksgiving is November 22nd for me. December 5th, I was discharged from the Army, December 7th reached home. Remember Pearl Harbor.

I really should post more of what he wrote in the future. This one little piece says a lot about him.

Remembering the time involved watching it sink, I knew I had time to eat so I went straight to the serving counter and had my choice fill.

If I’m lucky I’ll one day develop the patience and common sense that he had.