My sister likes to use “Skype” to talk to her daughters, one of them has a new baby* so I guess it’s reasonable that using one of those newfangled picture-phones would be a good way to coo and be all grandmotherly without actually having to change diapers.

She thinks I should get with the program and use Skype, but I am perfectly happy just using the phone. Why would she want to look at me? When we were kids, we would build elaborate cereal-box partitions so we could look at the martian on the Quisp box, Captain Crunch, Tony the Tiger (rarely), The corn flakes rooster (usually). But not each other. It was fun to peek over the top of the wall and make her say “MOM! John’s LOOKING at me!!!”

* From an old Mad magazine; “New baby? What happened to the old baby? My God! It’s the Pampers that are supposed to be disposable!”… I still think this is hilarious.

Take ducks for instance.

  • ME: “Ooh, look at the pretty ducky with the green head! I think they are called mallards, maybe they originated in Ballard?”

  • SMART PEOPLE: The phylogeny of this genus is one of the most confounded ones of all living birds. Research is hampered by the fact the radiation of the two major groups of Anas – the teals and mallard groups – took place in a very short time and fairly recently, roughly in the mid-late Pleistocene. Furthermore, hybridization may have long played a major role in Anas evolution, with within-subgenus hybrids regularly and between-subgenus hybrids not infrequently being fully fertile.[1] The relationships between species are much obscured by this fact, and mtDNA sequence data is of dubious value in resolving their relationships;[2] on the other hand, nuclear DNA sequences evolve too slowly to resolve the phylogeny of the subgenus Anas for example. Some major clades can be discerned. For example, that the traditional subgenus Anas, the mallard group, forms a monophyletic (in the loose sense, i.e. non-holophyletic) group has never been seriously questioned by modern science and is as good as confirmed (but see below). On the other hand, the phylogeny of the teals is very confusing. For these reasons, the dabbling duck lineages more distantly related to mallard group (which includes the type species of Anas) than the wigeons should arguably be separated in their own genera. These would include the Baikal Teal, the Garganey, the spotted black-capped Punanetta group, and the shovelers and other blue-winged species. Whether the wigeons, which are very distinct in morphology[3] and behavior,[4] but much less so in mtDNA cytochrome b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 sequences,[5] should also be considered a distinct genus Mareca (including the Gadwall and Falcated Duck) is essentially the one remaining point of dispute as regards the question which taxa should remain in this genus and which ones should not.

Soda Pop creature We went to find a few geocaches today, the “swag” turned out to be this fly and a little posable rubber hand, seen here as a little man climbing the far side of my soda can.

We have got to find a wholesale supplier of these little hands! Sure, we have life-sized rubber hands but the little ones I find to be infinitely creepier.

There is a guy that sits at a computer opposite me at work, at lunchtime he goes to various websites and finds things that seem to amuse him, so he chuckles.

My question is this, is the chuckling supposed to be an invitation to ask what is so funny? I would have to get up and walk around some other desks to look at it. Maybe I need to bring my noise-cancelling headphones to work?

Let's go garden!
What is wrong with kids today? I can’t get anyone interested in going anywhere today, just because of a little sleet and rain… Just look at this 50’s family, marching out to garden at the first opportunity, despite everyone having lost their feet in a horrible push mower accident the previous year.

Toastmaster Toaster for Christmas

I never know what to get Teresa for Christmas unless it’s “on the list”. She often asks for kitchen stuff, but she doesn’t mean it. Even in this old toastmaster ad, they had to stuff the toaster with some high-end baubles from Ben Bridge to get the reaction they were looking for.

It’s all very mystifying to me, we were at the mall but I didn’t see anything good there. They did have remote control Army tanks that fire “airsoft pellets”, I was thinking I could get a regular green one, and get her one and paint it pink…

Panel Comic from 1946 no longer makes sense

I was taking a nap while the dryer was running, and dreamed up a device to muffle the sound of a dog leash banging around in there. It would fit snugly over the clip, and there would be an extension of hook-and-loop fastener to secure it to the leash.

Unfortunately, I woke up before solving the problem of material, as regular foam wouldn’t hold up to the heat in the dryer.

If I was a tube of Anti-Itch Cream, I would much prefer to be called “Itch Relief Cream”. After all, if it wasn’t for the itch, I would be out of a job.

Compression nut is too far back I am attempting to install a dishwasher and of course it has become a project on the scale of building the Hoover Dam. I got the cupboard stuff off and out of the dishwasher’s assigned space, and the drain, water supply, and electrical are all there, so that’s good. When I took the bread sack that had been rubber-banded over the drain hose off, it began to ooze with some bright blue goop, just in case it was clogged I ran a snake through it. This caused more disgustingness, and the delicate aroma reminded me that the septic tank had backed up a few years ago. Yuk! But I got the drain hooked up to the dishwasher, and I reckon that running the dishwasher will make the pipes all lemony-fresh again, as we now have a fully functioning septic system.

Cat supervises plumbing operation Unfortunately, I have run into a problem hooking up the water supply. There is a 1/2″ copper tube supplying the water, with a compression nut and ring scenario, as you see here. I have an adapter that takes the 3/8″ dishwasher line and brings it up to 1/2″, but the copper pipe will not fit inside the fitting. I know it’s 1/2″ because I had a 1/2″ plastic pipe with outside threads that went on there OK, except for a thread mismatch. But the brass adapter will not allow the copper pipe inside at all, hence the nut can’t reach the fitting. I guess I could knock the ferrule ring off and install another set closer to the end of the copper, but that doesn’t seem to be an ideal solution. My cat was supervising the whole operation, but had no comment.

I asked Teresa, “When’s the last time we went to that cool thrift store on Camano Island?”

She replied, “It’s been a while.” “They might have some new crap,” I surmised. Teresa enthusiastically responded, “I could use some crap! I got rid of some stuff yesterday!”

Apparently the goal is to get rid of stuff and acquire crap. Are we doing it wrong?