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Archive for March, 2011

The results from Fontana, NASCAR’s fifth race of the season, are in and this is how the two drivers – both of whom are connected to the number 36 in one way or another – are doing.

Dave Blaney, driver of the number 36 car, finished the race on March 27 in 37th place. Having an engine go out on you probably doesn’t help things. He earned 7 points for the day giving hima season-total of 58 and placing him in 35th place in the standings.

Jeff Burton – who finished 36th at Daytona – did much better as he came in 15th place earning 29 points and giving him a season-total of 103 points. This jumped him up to 25th place overall and he extends his lead over Blaney.

Next up – Martinsville.

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Today is Thursday, the day I take the recyclables out to the curb, which is as good a day as any to bring up this topic of mine.

I have been a subscriber of GAMES magazine for over a year and while I enjoy their puzzles, I have had the sneaking suspicion for some time that some of their brain-teasers are…shall we say…stale.

Recycled…taken from past issues…not fresh.

Whatever phrase you want to use, I don’t like paying my subscription fee for puzzles that are older than my children. Now, I have no problem with GAMES magazine putting a note on one of their puzzles that says “From the GAMES Library”. Then, at least I know what I’m getting into.

My hypothesis was confirmed with the May 2011 issue in the puzzle What Four? by Dan Reichert.

The puzzle had this question…Name the four Presidents whose last name ends with a vowel.

The answers are…according to GAMES…James Monroe, Franklin Pierce, Millard Fillmore, and Calvin Coolidge.

Now I know this is an old puzzle because there are actually five Presidents with the fifth answer being THE CURRENT OCCUPANT OF THE WHITE HOUSE.

Really, GAMES, you can shell out the money and find some puzzles that at least come from the 21st century.

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There is an iconic moment in the film The Princess Bride when after the nth time of a character uttering “Inconceivable” when an event happens, the character played by Andre the Giant leans over and says, “I don’t think you know what word means.”

Such a linguistic lesson is needed for ESPN’s commentator Jay Bilas who has become famous for uttering the word “indefensible” when this year’s selection for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament included Virgina Commonwealth University.

With the Rams defeating the Kansas Jayhawks to make it into the Final Four…I think someone owes the NCAA Selection Committee an apology.

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Driving home from work yesterday, I was following a car that had the following bumper sticker:

It showed the face of former President George W. Bush with the text “I enjoyed protecting you for eight years.

The car also had a license plate commemorating the attacks of September 11, 2001…

…which happened during the presidency of George W. Bush

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After the fourth race of the Sprint Cup for NASCAR, here is the update on the standings for the two drivers I am following based on their connection to the number 36.

Kurt Busch won the Jeff Byrd 500 in Bristol, Tennessee, but the driver of the number 36 car, Dave Blaney, wound up in 25th place earning 19 points for the day and giving him a total of 51 points for the season and placing him in 34th place in the standings for the young season.

However, Jeff Burton (who came in 36th at Daytona at the start of the racing season), finished Bristol in 20th place and picked up 24 points. This gives Burton 74 points for the season (extending his lead over Blaney to 23 points) and moves him up to 29th place.

See you next Sunday at Martinsville.

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Congratulations to Barack Obama!

In addition to being the first African-American to become President of the United States…

…he also now has the distinction of being the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize to be head of a country simultaneously engaged in battles in three different countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya).

That’s change to believe in.

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The Countdown Begins

Today is Countdown Day…March 21…3/21….three…two…one (get it?)

It is extremely appropriate that the countdown starts today as it is T-minus 133 days for the family and my myself.

The wife and I just learned that she has been accepted for a wonderful opportunity that will use her bi-lingual skills and her PhD degree at an amazing not-for-proft company.

(Quick aside – and cheap joke: I am curious to know if her outfit is “not-for-profit” by choice or because of poor management.)

That’s the good news.

The anxiety-filled news part is that the job opportunity is in Paris, France and it starts August 1st….of this year.

So, with 133 days to go (technically, 132 1/2 days), you will excuse me if I do not post as often as I have because we will be preparing to move our entire family unit across the Atlantic.

Mon Dieu!

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Perhaps there is something in the wind during this third month of the year…

Perhaps there is something to the fact that the first three letters of this month is shared with the Roman god of war

Perhaps there is some other reason, but I wish I could understand why this is the month my country and its allies like to launch wars.

There was the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia that began this month in 1999…
There was the United States invasion of Iraq (the second one) that started this month in 2003…
And there is the current US-led coalition bombing of Libya that started a few days ago.

In a semi-related note, given the war-like nature of this month it was odd that the United States House of Representative decided last month to eliminate all funding (all $42 million of it) for the United State Institute of Peace.

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T-Minus 2 Months Clearance Sale

As a public service for all of those who firmly believe that Judgement Day is two months away, let me make the following proposal.

Since you won’t need all of your material goods once you are called up to the Hosts of Hosts, why don’t you donate all of your possessions right now to somebody needy who truly will be able to appreciate that bounty.

Just a thought.

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Today’s Number: 4.10

The news came out today courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.5 percent in Feburary of 2011. This rise comes on the heels of the BLS announcing that the Producer Price Index (PPI) rose 1.6 percent last month.

Now the CPI tracks the cost to the consumer (like you and me) of a basket of goods while the PPI tracks what it costs the producer to make those items.

Geek that I am, I have been tracking the ups and downs of the CPI and PPI since November of 2007, which is a month before the last recssion officially started.

For almost the first year (November 2007 to October 2008), PPI outpaced CPI so that producers were paying more to produce their items than it was costing us to buy the items. For example, if both PPI and CPI were 100 in November 2007, in October 2008 PPI was at 102.96 and CPI was at 102.93 while the high point for both figures was July 2008 (PPI = 106.67, CPI = 103.96).

Starting in November of 2008, the trend was reversed and CPI outstripped PPI so that it was costing us more to buy that mythical basket of goods than it was to produce it. That trend continued until January of 2010 when PPI was more than CPI (PPI = 104.18, CPI = 103.42) and continues to Feburary of 2011.

As it stands for last month, PPI is 109.60 and CPI is 105.50, a difference of 4.10 (there’s your number for the day). This is the highest difference between what producers pay and what we as customers pay.

Not sure what it means…just thought I would share.

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