Friday, October 21, 2005

Wilma or Wilma Not? That's the question.

The sky is gray and I need a blue sky with white clouds to function properly, so this looks like a BAD day for me!

I hate gray skies!

With tons of things I need to do and way behind in all fronts, this does not look so good. What's worse is what is looming. And what is looming is Wilma. She, and I think she is a girl, looks menacing. Unbelievably, this gray sky is a part of Wilma while she is still enjoying stirring up the waters off Cozumel and Cancun all the way down in Mexico. Lat night, all weather persons were busy displaying their expertise in interpreting the news coming from the National Hurricane Center, who is in the know, but is more mum. However uncertain, everyone is in agreement: it does not look good for Florida, and Florida is my favorite corner of the earth under the heaven where blue sky and white cumulus clouds are the norm. Do I miss these puffy cotton balls floating in the sky today. Last night, we had a precursor of things to come when an uproaring episode of thunder rolling in the distant night told me that bad days are knocking at the door. The supercells must have developed from cumulonimbus clouds to generate the loud series of thunderclaps. Good bye cumulus, and welcome Wilma.

Here she comes!

Before getting into a panic mode, I know that all this hysteria must be cooly confirmed by scientific analysis, so I called on Google Earth for help. Help! Following the model predictions of where Wilma will venture in the next few days, it does look grim! If you fly North-East originating from Cozumel-Cancun, do you know where you will end up? You end up in the South Florida peninsula! OK. That is what everyone and his cousin are saying, that is where Wilma is heading and there is no doubt. She will head NorthEast after flirting with the fashionable Mexican resorts. The writing's on the wall. Stay calm! This is not the end of the world! It's only a cane, for crying out loud! OK, OK. Be rational, they say she is BIG, and DANGEROUS, but you know better. Put this thing in a proper perspective, she is tiny when compared to the entire earth. See? It's nothing. OK. Worry about it tomorrow or in a couple of days and keep your fingers crossed. Not that it will help! And please stop biting your finger nails!

There are good reasons, many good reasons I should panic because this scenario with the word disaster written all over it that is about to unfold has the potential to engender countless chores that are best left undisturbed. My house has hurricane shutters that costed several arms and several legs, and that was years ago. These shutters were deployed perhaps once in their lifetime, and I still shudder thinking about repeating that feat. The shutters I have are the top of the line and in principle, it requires no effort to deploy them. But that is not true. The last and only time I deployed them for no less than the notorious "Andrew" cane of years gone by, I had to scrape away several wasp nests and evict a family of tree frogs that made one of the window sills their home. And let me tell you, if you plan to scrape off wasp nests from your shutter rails, that is not a job for the faint of heart. You need goggles (no, not google, you nitwit,) heavy gloves, sharp and strong tools and a LOT of time on your hand. I have none of these tools nor the time so when Sunday rolls around, it will be very interesting. Now, I still remember vividly the struggle I had to evict that tree frog family from the shutter. I could just try to ignore their sad eyes and lock them in, but I have a heart, and cruelty is not a part of it. So with a small wooden stick, I tried to gently incite what looked like the head of the household to please move forward and out. Instead, the head of household remained flat as a green pancake, clinging with dear life to the rails deep in the most recessed corner and refused to budge. Giving up is not my nature either so I finally got all three members, the breadwinner, the house keeper and the baby green tree frog family to reluctantly jump out of the window and left. It was not easy, but not as hard as when I had to evict a family of coons living in my roof's crawl space. But that story is for another day less traumatic than this moment in my life.

You are evicted!

You are now going to read something more pleasant. One day last month when I was going through my chaotic filing system (non system is more descriptive of what it is) I stumbled on the invoice of my now deceased Dell 15 GB jukebox. You may remember a former traumatic blog in which I recounted the encounter with the service person that felt my service call. The record I found clearly indicated that contrary to what I was told, my MP3 player was still under warranty! I would not let such an opportunity go unnoticed, so I contacted Dell again. One week later, they sent me a replacement unit as it was called for in the original invoice. Great. Now I have two MP3 players and I am trying to figure out what to do with the newly refurbished 20 GB jukebox. The moral of this happy tidbit of news? You begin to see the light if you rumble through your chaotic desk once in a while because you never can tell what you will find at the bottom of the pile.

OK. Battery? Checked! One here. Water? Checked! 2 bottles here! Candles? Checked! Half a dozen here! BBQ? Checked! Arrgghhh. need to scrub all the grease from Katrina times! Charcoal? Charcoal? Oh no!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

When Hell freezes over!

Inescapably, famous composers such as Monteverdi, Telemann, Krenek , Stravinsky, Pergolesi and many other authors wrote music about Orpheus who was love stricken and heart broken when he lost his love Euridice. Determined to look for her .... who was, of course, in hell; and armed with his lyre, he went there trying to rescue her ... according to the well known fable.

Now, to me, that was very odd: Why Euridice did not qualify to go to heaven istead of being sent to hell? She must have been a BAD girl! But that is not the subject I want to fuss over today. Today's is the fulfilment of a promise I made to myself for a long time: the subject of predicting when hell will freeze over.

You can easily find that this subject is not new by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, there are numerous discussions about the temperature of hell, whether it is hotter or cooler than heaven, whether hell is endo or exo thermic, etc... To me, these discussions lack rigorous scientific support and that prompted me to throw down the gauntlet and enter the ring. Of course, please do not get me wrong, and please do not think for a minute what you read here cannot be but a complete fabrication on my part.

But first thing first! When I was in school, I had an old and wise professor of applied mathematics, who taught me a lot of odd things, including this: before you want to find the solution to a problem or a question, such as the attempt to calculate this proverbial time when hell freezes over, you may want to make sure that the solution does exist, and if you find that the solution does exist, investigate to see if it is unique. Worse, to me, being an overly cautious person, I think we need to step back even further, adding another level of complexity to this problem: does hell exist? This must be answered even before finding out when it will freeze over, and then whether it will freeze over only once.

So, there we are. Does hell exist? Once we find the answer, we may be able to proceed further. Do you know that there exists a list of Entrance to Hell in and around the UK? It is at:

[The link above is not active for some unknown reason. You will need to manually copy the URL address to your browser. Check it out.]

and this list is updated constantly. So, to these folks, they are certain that hell does exist, and according to this list, it is evident that hell is a manifold structure according to their view. If I had peaked your curiosity, and you can't stand the suspense any longer, here is a photo of one such entrance, aptly named Badadada tatatata.

Hell this way, enter Badadada tatatata at own's risk!

The Bible says hell does exist, and if you do not carefully follow instructions given to you, you will get to go there where you will be tormented and burned by the flames in this furnace. This furnace is said to be in the heart of the earth as it is underground. Now, I think that is going too far and too deep! Physically, that is not possible! Because Satan is believed to live there, it cannot be as deep as all the way to the inner core of the earth because the temperature there is about 10,000 degrees Farenheit! At that depth, even Satan must exist in liquid or vapor form and according to popular belief, he looks like this:

It's closer than you think, and it's HOT!

so that cannot be!

But I am digressing! None of this provides any shred of evidence that hell does exist. So, how does one proceed? Let's be scientific about it, tongue in cheekly! Although it is believed that most statistics are invented spontaneously, let me assert to you that 76% of Americans believe in heaven and 71% believe in hell. I am not sure I trust these two figures as I think they should be the same, but the discrepancy may be in the error in sampling of about 3%. To this crowd, it is perfectly coherent to discuss the time that hell will freeze over as they may be interested to know if that time may coincide with the time they will be sent there because the chance of them getting burned may be lessened. For the remaining other population of the world, I have no idea how many believe hell exists. One of these days, I may find time to learn about that spontaneous statistics, but not today.

It is now apparent that the foregoing mumbling was not totally useless. It has established the fact that the subject of interest here: "When hell freezes over" only has limited appeal if it is kept strictly to the literal meaning of hell as it is usually understood: the bad place where bad boys and bad girls are sent when they don't follow instructions well. To broaden the appeal of this blog, let's make a leap of faith, suspend disbelief and declare that hell is nothing but the places on earth that are really hot and smell of sulfur. Eruptions of volcanoes immediately come to mind when lava is spewed from the vast reservoir underneath. Now you have it, hell is now the place one finds the hot liquid iron lying just under the earth's rocky mantle. So hell is now well defined. It affects everyone in the world equally because molten lava is under all of us. Now that hell is well established, it is conceivable that the specter of it one day "freezing over" is quite real. OK. When will that day arrive? You can be assured that it will not be tomorrow, or Sunday. Let's see how one can proceed from here.

About five billion years ago, earth was just a ball of molten rock. It was just a ball of hell, and hell was everywhere. Slowly, by cooling, the upper 35 - 70 kilometer layer of earth became the crust that eventually supports the homo sapiens for their homes and the highways for their cars. The mantle occupies the next 3,000 kilometer or so, intermingling the crust with hell below, which includes the 10,000 degree Farenheit core, the ultimate hell. You may be surprised to learn that hell is also highly radioactive which is really the reason for the intense heat used to burn souls "eternally." This eternal notion can easily be explained by disclosing that most of the heat comes from Uranium-238 that can burn for 4.47 billion years before losing half of its activity. Now you know where the 5 billion year comes from.

Orpheus in Hell!

It may take another 5 billion years before the half life decay law turns off this radioactivity allowing hell to cool down for good. Then eventually, it will freeze over. Who knows when so I am venturing a lower bound guess: hell will freeze over at least 5 billion years from today, in the year 5,000,002,005 AC or sometime after that date. That will be a cold day in hell. So the solution does exist and I think it is unique as it is not clear how hell will be awaken again to freeze over a second or more times.

May be we should not underestimate Satan as he may know how to do that!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Katrina Euphoria

Longana Euphoria
It was inevitable. I have blogger's block! This is my third attempt to blog something not trashy, but there is no guarantee whatsoever that this will see the end of day. Let's hope it will make it, and if you are reading this, it made it! For weeks in August, I was dreaded of an annual ritual that I must endure: harvesting the fruits off my fruit trees to get the highly sought after longana euphoria. If you are one of those whose tropical fruit tree horizon does not extend beyond the bananas, longana euphoria is the fancy name for longans. Phonetically, it conveys the exotic name of "long nhan" literally meaning "dragon's eye!" You must remember your disgusting reaction when watching one Indiana Jones movie in which Dr. Jones was offered the eyeball soup. Well, these longana euphoria look the same disgusting way, but it turns out that this exotic fruit is highly sought after, and it commands exorbitant prices in New York and other American cities harboring a China town where reportedly male Chinese elderly would kill for these fruits that they eat by the kilos. Come to think, their counterparts, the female Chinese elderly also love them. Recollecting from the childhood tales I heard, these fruits deliver doses of aphrodisiac like there is no tomorrow. This was confirmed by my savant friends living in France years ago. These dragon's eye balls are not labeled "euphoria" for nothing.

A quick astute research will tell you that there is not always agreement upon what foods or fruits are actually aphrodisiacs or anaphrodisiacs. The ancient list includes anise, basil, carrot, salvia, gladiolus root, orchid bulbs, pistachio nuts, rocket (arugula), sage, sea fennel, turnips, skunk flesh (a type of lizard) and river snails... The ancients suggested you steer clear of dill, lentil, lettuce, watercress, rue, and water lily... Of course, it is because the latter belong to the "ana" group. And who would want that? I can tell you that if you get a hold of two handfuls of these longana euphoria and eat them, you may feel the same way I usually do: falling asleep. So this fruit may belong to the "ana" group, but it is sought after because it is believed otherwise. You pick!

Now that is the long story. The short story is that my annual job is to get these fruits off the trees, box some of them and ship them to the best friends of my wife and their families. I also can tell you that is a chore I abhor. So, in this year as in many previous ones, I procrastinate to the last minutes of the last days to harvest them. Then Katrina came our way. Out of the blue. By now, all of you must have heard of Katrina, the killer hurricane that devastated my favorite Jazzland, the city of New Orleans in the US of A. However, by this time, at this latitude and longitude where we live, she was only a budding baby storm and was ignored by most of us hard like nail habitant of tropical paradise. Eventually it became painfully clear to me that I must take action NOW before these valuable fruits are blown to be lost forever by potential hurricane force wind of Katrina. As a trained person with learned skills to predict hurricane behavior during my graduate school days (I am kidding, of course. It is more accurate to say that as graduate students at our world renowned oceanographic institute, we used to attend brown bag seminars to discuss modeled tracks of threatening hurricanes and if memory serves me well, I remember that none of any of the digital tracks would agree with any of the others,) I was certain Katrina will go North of us and would not arrive until tomorrow in the afternoon. So I gave myself until tomorrow morning to carry out the forced labor. Unfortunately, by the time the ladder was deployed at 9am of the fateful day, Katrina's rain bands were already HERE! So soon? Hey, this is a good omen, because after revising my calculations, there may be no need to climb up the trees after all. Not with all this wind around. There will be carpets of longana euphoria to collect leisurely, at fingertips' reach. Piece of cake. Thank you Katrina!

After a furious night of hurricane force wind in my yards, front and back and all around, I learned days later when the power returned that Katrina went right through US, and not North of us. So much for acquired skills in forecasting cane's routes. Sure enough, there were carpets of longana euphoria all right, huge carpets. These aphrodisiac eye balls were everywhere. The net result was that I still have lower back pain from picking them up one by one. But I did finish the chore asked of me and sent out a few of these boxes.

Fractal downed tree

The subsequent obligatory clean up job was no fun either. Fractal branches were everywhere, and they really were fractal so the number of snips to cut them down to manageable sizes increased not quite exponentially, but enough to give me nightmares for a few nights. Also, I can tell you that every night, the humid air temperature peaked to its highest marks between 1:30 and 2:00 am. If you ever sleep in a house without any electricity in the midst of summer nights after a hurricane passes through your area, I can guarantee you will wake up starting precisely at 1:30 am. It was HOT. So, as a corollary to my yet to do future blog: hell can never freeze over between 1:30 and 2:00 am. That's good information to have.

Fractal Branches

Was there any silver lining from such an odyssey? Look what I found blooming in my yard the day after: my precious ten thousand mile vine. And she was blooming! Actually, this sentimental vine is not that long, but that is its name: ten thousand mile flowering vine. I will leave you the task of finding out what this vine is. It is fragrant and its leaves are perfectly heart shaped.


Nobody knows the trouble I've seen! Nobody knows but Jesus!
Nobody knows the trouble I've seen! Glory, Hallelujah!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Lizard Walk and fractal furniture...

I am happy I am not a lizard, or should I not be?

On the way to my office, everytime I have to get there, and thankfully, it is not a ritual I need to do every day, I walk along what I name the "Lizard Walk." This is where I witness the kamikaze dashes of the lizards that live around my office surroundings, from the grassy lawn to the planter bushes. I must be mindful so I do not accidentally step on one of them, especially the younger and thus tiny ones. These creatures can run fast, and by sheer randomness, I am fearful that one of these mornings, our paths will collide and will prove to be fatal for one unfortunate lizard. Since they dash as fast as the Dash boy in the Incredibles (have you seen that movie? Incredible!) it is unlikely that I can step on one by pure coincidence, but you never know, the probability is there.

Lizard Crossings... Please Slow Down...

Common lizards can have a number of different colors, ranging from brown or yellow-brown to almost green, with a pattern of darker spots, flecks or stripes. Males have an orange belly flecked with black spots, while females usually have a plain yellowish belly. Adults generally grow to around 14 cm long and have a long slender tail. Common lizards can be mistaken for newts but are more alert and move quickly if disturbed. Well, I do not know how these lizard scholars learned about all these facts, but I can tell you that at the speed with which they move, it will be a cold day down there that I can tell the gender or the color of any of them ( when hell freezes over will be a good subject that I may blog sometime in the future, not too distant, I hope.)

The food habits of the lizard species are not well studied, but scientists do know that they are omnivorous. Studies document the lizards feed on small insects, such as ants and bees, along with leaves, buds, or seeds from native plants. Most lizards can run, climb, and cling. A few can swim. I am sure the ones living around my office can do all these chores very well.

People often see lizards dart over logs and rocks. They run quickly across the ground. However, some lizards have small, weak legs so they move slowly. Yeah right, I got to see that to believe. Knowing that birds do include lizards in their diet, I am sure that the colony of very vocal blue parrots loitering around my office buildings is very interested in catching these sprinting lizards.

So, who would want to be a lizard? I thought that I may not want to be one, but I was wrong. Today, I need to do household chores, and let me tell you, that is not a task lizards need to do, so I am rethinking that philosophy. I, once in a blue moon, to help out, participate in cleaning the house. I use this opportunity to catch up on listening to my music. This morning, my plan is to tend to my maid duty for about 90 minutes. I have not listened to Beethoven for quite a while so his Emperor concerto and his 1806 violin concerto that he wrote for his buddy violinist Clement add up nicely to about the time I need. Dusting around, I muse to myself that this is a losing battle that one must constantly fight, once in a while in my case. All dust has to do is nonchalently gathering around, helped by its friend gravity, depositing layers after layers of itself everywhere. Once a layer is wiped away, more will come the next microsecond. This futile battle is identical to that of trimming down tree branches and bushes, which I do not particularly like to do no matter what for the simple reason that the minute a limb is cut, an invisible message is sent to the root structure that rouses up the army of tentacles deep down in the earth that furiously fuels the relentless marching of photosynthesis they do so well into new growth that would defeat the most hardy human spirit of trimming bushes or tree branches.

My dusting chore is vastly more complicated than necessary because in her infinite wisdom, my wife always collects fractal furniture. We do not have flat uncomplicated furniture in the vein of the run of the mill that you find in furniture stores in America's malls where everything is flat and smooth. Instead, I must dust around all the fractal surfaces that are everywhere... In case your mathematical brain cells have forgotten, fractal surface areas hide the nasty fact that the area that dust covers your furniture is A LOT wider than meet the eyes. So my dust feather has to travel to distances far larger and cover areas far more extended than what it appears to be. Trust me. I have made a rough calculation using fractal geometry, and the area increase may be as much as 6.31.

Areas are bigger than appeared!

Well, I am coming to the second movement of the violin concerto, and it is time to turn on the vacuum cleaner. I need to find my noise canceling head phones. Boy, life sure is complicated. May be being a lizard is not too bad after all. The pluses are: I can jump higher than 10 times my height, I can dash as fast as Dash boy and I can detach my tail in case of danger lurking. On the other hand, the minus are: being omnivorous. Yuk!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Dear padirsenis WinFixer...

I am in a foul mood today, and someone has to pay the price! Sure enough, Murphy was kind as usual and he sent me the dream target: a shameless internet marketer: The WinFixer guys, whoever they are! Actually, these guys seem to be pretty good and it shows! You see, I am somehow targeted and they think I should buy their ware. So, on a beautiful Sunday morning, while I was struggling with browser caches, the new offering installed itself on my laptop. This must have been a third time this month, so it gets to be quite boring. The novelty about WinFixer (that's what these guys call themselves) is that it always finds its way into my laptop. The interface is quite nice so I do not mind to bear the short time needed uninstalling it. Except that before it goes away, as parting gift, WInFixer imposes a "feedback" screen that must be sent to their, I hope, headquarter. This is a new height in shameless solicitation and that ticked my funny bones. So, they got some mild but well placed and subtle profanities the first time. The second time was a bit more spicy. This morning, I hope they love my "feedback" because it came from my beloved "Alternative Dictionaries" that is reserved just for such occasion. I think these guys are smart, and they should have no problem to decipher every word that was sent.

Warning! The academy of motion picture has rated the following wordings "NC17" which is a notch above the rating "R." Please use caution when you attempt to decipher my message to WinFixer. You may be offended in which case, I am happy because it may have served its purpose to the intended targets.

... fok jou; jou ma se poes; Sit jou kop is die koei se kont en wag tot die bul jou kom holnaai; anavy sikim; da"ma"k; ganjykh; it balasy / ku"chu"k; emagaldu; kabroi; блядзь; Ves a parir mones; gama stavros sou; verdammter Schweinehund; Inahl Rabak Ars Ya Choosharmuta; Ya khatikhat khara; Lekh teda; az isten bassza meg a bu"do"s ru"csko"s kurva anya'dat; caccati in mano e prenditi a schiaffi; padirsenis; padirsenis; padirsenis!

Oh! That feels so good!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

You talking to me?

Today is your lucky day, because I feel great. So here we go...

Since prevaricating can be minacious to some, they may feel gybed so when you prevaricate, be sure you are not diaphanous. Your reaction after being yourself prevaricated may be "Balderdash!" However puerile you may wish it were, you can't just hope to inspissate away such offense you may consider odoriferous. It will be pure fossicking on your part. You may gainsay all you want, this phantasmagoria cannot easily be dismissed. An effective antidote is to lilt, even to expiate and reduce it to a synecdoche. Be warned, it may metamorphose itself into an effluvium! By preponing, you may gain needed perspicacity and may even consider eleemosynary intervention. If you practice hard to become prescient, you may be able to mollycoddle yourself but avoid the danger of becoming rubefacient.

Your thirty day trial period has expired, please register...

OK, your luck has run out, and I really need to go get a new pair of sneakers because the rain has not abated. Where is all this water coming from?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Losing battle? Not a chance!

On a soaking wet fourth day in a row, ordinary people may feel depressed. But not me! The rain and the deluge will stop, eventually. They cannot last forever, except now, I have an urgent incentive to get myself a new pair of comfortable sneakers because mine is, to my amazement, not water proof. This great pair of sneakers had the great inovative design that sports numerous tiny "breathing" holes to let my feet breath. Clearly the guys or gals who designed it only had dry weather in mind. Need to find time to get a new pair, but who knows, the weather may improve and get dry again. OK, deal with this later.

The Russians are getting more and more vocal and their incomprehensible messages keep coming everyday, comingled with the usual Viagra and Cialis calls, and the Nigerian barristers trying to get inventive. I do not know why other people get annoyed receiving these because they are very amusing and constitute a source of free distraction. But, yesterday, I had an intense time of anxiety when my one month old (and may no longer under warranty) 30 GB MP3 player locked up. What? Only a few drops of water on the side of it? This cannot be! The specter of spending another 3 days to refill another player with about 25GB of MP3 was daunting. Luckily, level head prevailed. I figured out that this is the behavior of the player when its battery comes to an unacceptably low level. Instead of just shutting itself off when exhausted, this one refuses to be turned off, locks itself up and stubbornly keeps playing the tracks under its grip. Great design, don't you think? Nothing a good recharge won't fix. That was a close call.

The longer one deals with modern life, the more one learns. I was reminded again this morning when I was trying to track a missing shipment from Of the three separate shipments they sent me on June 2nd, two arrived the first week of June while the third one went AWOL, and now, the first day of Summer is arriving today. It is now June 21st and my third package is somewhere in neverland. After a few patient tracking inquiries, the package seemed to be stuck at the FedEx cyber place. To be in the know, FedEx now has a great voice service to solve all the problems their customers may encounter. This one seems to be a problem so it came to the rescue. Everything went great until it came to communicating the tracking number to this great lady robot with quite a limited vocabulary and restricted sentences. Obviously, FedEx is trying to impress the world's population with their monopoly of delivering every and all packages, so it uses tracking numbers that contain as many digits as the US' national deficit. Now, there is a slight glitch in their system because the ever so patient robot lady at FedEx keeps interrupting my reading of the digits when it came to about 4 or 5 more digits to go. But I know what to do! Overriding a lady robot is my specialty as I was trained for many years, so I tried: Help! Stop it, please! Help! Help! Help! Oh, please stop repeating your menu. Help! Help! Let me speak to a human being, please! Help! Help! Eventually, she understood and connected me to a real person, who was not as nice as the robot lady who left abruptly without saying good bye. But this new lady person was able to comprehend all the digits, and told me that my problem is with Amazon. Now, that's typical, don't you think? According to this lady, now has the "damaged" package.

Did you ever try to contact Amazon for a missing package? Try to see if you can handle that stressful situation. They have all options, except one that you can use to report that "Help! My package was never delivered. Help!" I managed to send an email message and an electronic promise was given (in writing) that somehow an answer will be given within 24 hours. I can wait, no problems.

OK. May be has water proof sneakers. OK. Let's go see.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Russians are coming...

I do not know about yours, but my email is getting more and more hits from messages that look mightily like MOCKBA type of characters. Since I have no idea what they say, I cannot even guess what they are about. No problems, I save all of them in a separate folder and will go back to study them after I learn the Russian language. Why Russian? Because I think that is what they are, in Russian. I may be wrong, but I will find out after I master the language, at which time, if I am wrong, I will try a different language. Eventually, I will learn what they are trying to tell me. Just because they have the courtesy to spend the time writing me these seemingly elaborate emails, that's the least I can do for them. It's too bad that they do not at this time have any beautiful graphics that I can use for my own needs, but I guess they will learn how to do that in due time.

You see, I am desperate to find the solution to my current seemingly insurmountable problem: there is something not flowing, or if it flows, it does not flow right. So I am hoping that some reliefs may come from these miraculous emails, because all my friends told me that may be so.

My neighbor, an expert astrologer has given me stern warnings over a year ago that I must watch out for my own well being, since I no doubt am suffering from a "Saturn return," and that is a three year affair! She's got to be kidding! Right? At first, I am skeptical about what she told me, so I went away to perform an arduous and lengthy calculation about the relative positions of the planets, using Newton's laws of physics. I figured that she may be wrong, because according to my calculations, carried out to 12 decimal places, there is not a chance in the universe that Saturn ever will return close enough to me to cause measurable discomfort or harm. But you never know, so I am taking her advice in stride.

To start out, I sought advice from another expert, a woman friend who knows all about flowing things. The trouble is that now, I must also learn Chinese, because what she told me sounds wonderfully strange. Something sounding like the sharp teeth of wild beasts.

This expert asked me: where do you work? I told her that I work everywhere, at home, in my office, in my car, during my sleep etc... At her insistance, although this is diametrically opposite to my instinct, I took a digital picture of one of my work places and gave it to her, having no idea what she wants to do with it.

Sounds Chinese to me!

Well, I now regret that I did something without knowing its potentially dangerous consequences. The photo almost gave her a heart attack. Of course, I received plenty of admonition and the order of the day was to clean up my work space so that whatever it is she told me that I could not understand can flow more freely. I don't think so! Everything is perfect the way it is, just like that.

After much reflection on my own without any interference from outside experts, it became obvious to me that what does not flow well is my playing of my saxophone. Since I am behind in my practice, way behind, the music I play does not flow well at all. That, I know how to fix. That's easy! May be that is the solution to my insurmountable problem. Yeah! That's it. Blow, Gabriel, blow, like Cole Porter used to say.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

How low can you go?

IQ scores reflect one's general capacity for performing intellectual tasks, such as trying to figure out the origin of the universe... To simplify matters, complications such as the "g" factor, chronometric, "Flynn effect" etc... are deliberately left out of this page.

Whether you believe in it or not, the average IQ score is 100. The standard deviation of IQ scores is 15. So, this means:

· 50% of people have IQ scores between 90 and 110
· 2.5% of people are very superior in intelligence (over 130)
· 2.5% of people are deficient (under 70)
· 0.5% of people are near genius or genius (over 140)

Disclaimer: (Do not trust these numbers, do your own calculation or consult with members of one of many of the "High IQ societies.")

How low can you go?

As a benchmark of measurement, Einstein was clocked at 160+, but that did not prevent his high school teachers to say that he was a "lazy dog" and did not think highly of him. That may give you a hint on where they themselves ranked on the scale.

Here is a suggested rating... to bust the "bell curve" as it is customarily said...

People with IQs of 1:

Spammers requesting a receipt acknowledgement of their spams.

Nigerians offering multi million dollars windfalls.
Nigerians disguised as English solicitors looking for trusty partners to disburse 40% of their multi million dollars.
Nigerians disguised as rich deposed African dictators' spouses needing help to smuggle multi million dollar fortunes out of their local treasure chests.
Nigerians disguised as Arab sheiks attempting to share their deepest wells...

People believing the ones above.

I often wonder if single digit scores like such for people otherwise classified as "normal" can put them in limbo in life, and please, that is not a reference to a dance...

Can one go lower? One wonders!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

My music died today...

As if it were a premonition, I read a few days ago somewhere a column of someone marveling about the new and forever smaller and smaller gadgets that the modern homo heidelbergensis (if you cannot understand this fancy word, here's help: homo sapiens. Feeling better?) cannot live without. He went on to jokingly say that he has all his music in this wonderfully little device. ALL OF HIS MUSIC! Then he jokingly said that when his device crashes... You know what he meant!

He's dead too!

I must always have the most modern gadgets that come out first. I cannot live without any of them. Really! I have a 1GB super fast memory card in my first ever 5GB digital camera. I carry all my "must be backed up" codes I write in my spare time in this tiny 1GB USB device that always dangles in my key chain. Of course, I have ALL MY MUSIC converted into MP3 in the first ever "fit in your shirt pocket" digital MP3 player.

Well today is the fateful day of all days. While driving, my favorite public radio station has the infinite wisdom to broadcast the political wrangling of the local school board so I turned to my trusted MP3 player. You know what I am leading to... Read the paragraph at the top that said the dreaded word "premonition."

Below is the confirmation that just came in my email of my most recent on line chat...

'TLMainDB=001-445-653'Dell Chat-Interaction

The session has been accepted.

{Lan Nghiem-Phu 8:33:43 PM} My Dell DJ 15 GB hard drive is dead. What can I do?
{Kumar 8:34:04 PM} Thank you for contacting Dell Technical Chat Support. My name is Sushil.
May I have the service tag of the DJ?
{Lan Nghiem-Phu 8:34:30 PM} 9cnbd31
{Kumar 8:34:39 PM} Please give me a minute to pull up the account information. In the mean time, may I have the full name on the account and the initial shipping address please?
{Lan Nghiem-Phu 8:34:52 PM} Lan Nghiem-Phu
{Lan Nghiem-Phu 8:34:57 PM} ...censored...
{Lan Nghiem-Phu 8:35:03 PM} Miami, Florida
{Kumar 8:35:54 PM} Thank you
{Kumar 8:36:13 PM} May I call you Lan?
{Lan Nghiem-Phu 8:36:21 PM} Sure.
{Kumar 8:36:31 PM} Thank you
{Kumar 8:37:06 PM} How the harddrive is damaged?
{Lan Nghiem-Phu 8:37:59 PM} It just quits today. It has been working fine. I tried to reboot but cannot. I tried to reformat. It says hard disk is bad and quits.
{Lan Nghiem-Phu 8:38:33 PM} I tried to reboot many times. The drive makes strange noise.
{Kumar 8:39:00 PM} What error is displayed on the screen?
{Lan Nghiem-Phu 8:39:58 PM} It goes into the 4 choices: Cleanup (does nothing); Reboot (does nothing); Firmware reboot (does nothing); Reformat (It says hard disk is bad.)
{Kumar 8:40:31 PM} ok
{Kumar 8:41:20 PM} Lan, as I see the account details, the warranty of this DJ is expired.
{Lan Nghiem-Phu 8:42:13 PM} Great. Anything I can do except buy a new one?
{Kumar 8:42:27 PM} Therefore you need to purchase a new DJ.
{Kumar 8:42:55 PM} You may contact Dell sales at 800-915-3355.
{Lan Nghiem-Phu 8:43:07 PM} Wonderful. Thank you for your help. Can I ask why I had to answer all the questions before you told me I need to buy a new one?
{Kumar 8:44:33 PM} I collected the information for the privacy and security of your account.
{Kumar 8:44:53 PM} Is there any other technical issue I may assist you with, today?
{Lan Nghiem-Phu 8:45:21 PM} Great. No. Thank you for your time. Have a wonderful day. Bye.
{Kumar 8:45:56 PM} Thank you for contacting Dell Technical Chat Support. Have a great day
The visitor has ended the chat session.

There you have it! I am not sure how long I can survive... Well... the 15GB was all filled up anyway... I need more room... iPod or not iPod? That is the question! Nah! Let's help Kumar keep her job and go for the 30GB. Sushil Kumar, here I come!!!!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Art of War

One wakes up everyday to find pleasant and not so pleasant events greeting at the doorstep. An effective way to greet them cheerfully into one's life is to sort and guide them to two bins. The pleasant bin on one side and the unpleasant one on the opposite side. It goes without saying that the likable bin is one's oasis in the desert, while the dark one has the power to guide one's soul directly into the abyss. If you feel that you must be in a fighting mood, read the following quote from one of the innumerable sites on the internet. Since it is not possible to credit the quote correctly and accurately, reference is not cited. For the curious readers, you all know how to Google... This may not be the words of wisdom for everyone, but a French quotation that appears at the top of this blog is repeated here as a reminder:


A quote from a translation of SUN TZU ON THE ART OF WAR:

“…To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength;
to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight;
to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear.

What the ancients called a clever fighter is
one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.

Hence his victories bring him neither reputation
for wisdom nor credit for courage.

He wins his battles by making no mistakes.
Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty
of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is
already defeated.

Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into
a position which makes defeat impossible, and does
not miss the moment for defeating the enemy.

Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist
only seeks battle after the victory has been won,
whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights
and afterwards looks for victory.

The consummate leader cultivates the moral law,
and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is
in his power to control success….”

Yes! Indeed!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Gems are hard to find...

If you were to ask turkeys and eagles to participate in a contest to be determined by the contestants, the eagles would suggest a contest on how high one can soar, and the turkeys will immediately agree.
The Meleagris gallopavo species is from the Greek name standing for guinea fowl, meleagris. The species name gallopavo is from the Latin words gallus(cock) and pavo (peacock).

Its classification is:
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae

Turkeys exist in the millions in population and have a life expectancy of 1.3 to 1.6 years. The longest time a turkey ever lived was 13 years.

In contrast, the Aquila pelagica (Pallas) species, also Haliaeetus Leucocephalus, Aquila Chrysaetos, Haliaeetus pelagicus, Haliaetus pelagicus, Haliaetos pelagica, Faico leucopterus, Faico imperator, Thalassaetus pelagicus, Thalassaetus macrurus, Haliaeetus macrurus, Thallasoaetus pelagicus, Harpia harpyja, Terathopius ecaudatus...

Concentrating on the Haliaeetus leucocephalus, its life span is about 40 years. Recovering from the 500 or so pairs in the 60s, eagle population now numbers only in the tens of thousands.

Indeed, it's much easier to find turkeys in life... Turkeys are no gems!

No copyright, no intellectual property, use at your own risk...

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Secrets, Treasure, Trash and Trends...

The title of this could have been "To Blog or not to Blog?" Someone has said that "blogs will be the rage in the near future..." Perhaps the near future is already here. Remember the days that diaries and black books abounded? And that they contained secrets to be guarded by fire breathing dragons? Even Princess Fiona kept her own "Dear Diary" book that was indiscretely read by Shrek. Now, all one has to do is to "Google" the word "blogger" to find in 0.07 second the 9,440,000 web pages where the hearts and souls of bloggers are wide open to the world. Readers, beware! Read and believe at your own perils... Enjoy and have a good day!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Guess where this comes from...

The memory of a certain image is but the regret of a certain moment; and the houses, the roads, the avenues are all fugitives, alas, like the years...