Archive for April, 2010

According to the May 2010 issue of National Geographic (and on page 24 for those who want to follow along), the average American (as of 2008) consumes 529 12-ounce servings of cola (both regular and low-calorie varieties) per year.

Doing a bit of math reveals that the average citizen of the USA downs 6,348 (there’s your number for the day) ounces of the carbonated fizziness known as soda (or pop depending on your geographic location).

I call these folk rank amateurs!

When I am at work, to keep myself going, I consume, on average, 2 2-liter bottles of soda a day. Each bottle contains roughly 64 ounces of soda so I imbibe 128 ounces of the brown sugary goodness each day.

Assuming I work five days a week for fifty weeks out of the year (the other two weeks are my vacation time), that means I am at work for 250 days.

128 ounces multiplied by 250 days means I drink 32,000 ounces of cola per year, which is just a shade over five times the national average.

Woo-Hoo! I am finally way above average in something.

Of course this also means that there are four Americans out there who drink absolutely no soda so as to make up for my average-busting consumption. I’m sure there are such people, but they’re all in day care right now.

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So the news came out that Northrop Grumman is moving its headquarters from Los Angeles, California to somewhere in northern Virginia.

As I posted earlier, when news broke that Northrop Grumman was planning on moving to either VA, Maryland, or the District of Columbia, I had given some advice to those Californians who would be making to the move to this area.

As a native of the Golden State who has been living in the Old Dominion now for over a decade, please allow me to expand on that list and details some of the similarities and differences between CA and VA.

The Same (which should make you feel at home):
–Both governors have accents.
–Both area’s local news are dominated by death, shootings, fires, destruction, and mayhem.
–Natural disasters (although VA does not have earthquakes, we do have the occassional blizzard, tornado, hurricane, and if the rumors are true, even tsunamis)

And now the differences:
–This area has football
–This area may not have the ability to go from skiing to surfing in a day, but you can see the leaves turn brilliant colors down Skyline Drive.
–History. While CA history seems to start with the missions, you can’t fall down around this area without hitting a colonial landmark, a Revolutionary meeting house, or a Civil War battlefield.
–The Smithsonian. A number of glorious museums and they are all free.

Welcome and enjoy!

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Because the number 36 continues to by my Muse, here is an update on the athletes I have chosen to follow because they are associated with that number

The NFL draft is over and with the 4th pick in the 2nd round (that would be the 36th pick overall), the Kanas City Chiefs selected Mississippi running back Dexter McCluster.

Washington Nationals relief pitcher has been in 9 games and has a 3-0 record while has he has fanned 19 and only walked five. Plus, his ERA is an amazing 0.61. In his column of April 26, Thomas Boswell of The Washington Post wrote of Clippard’s one-inning work in the Nationals 1-0 win over the Dodgers that “…emerging set-up man Tyler Clippard…was immaculate again”.


Finally, over at NASCAR, my driver for the season, Mike Bliss, had his best finish ever as he came in 10th at Talladega on April 25. Now, for some reason, his car number has changed from 36 (the reason I am following him this year) to 37. No matter, I’m sticking with Bliss.

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Amid all the furor over Arizona’s new immigration law came this thought.

If one of the items in the new law is that any folk stopped by the state or local police must have ID showing proof of resident status or citizenship, my follow-up question is this:

How does a citizen of the United States show proof they are a citizen?


Imagine you are driving in Yuma and are stopped by a police officer. Now for whatever reason, this officer believes you are in this country illegally. When you, a U.S. citizen insist to the officer that you are in fact a citizen, how do you prove it?

Do you whip out your driver’s license? No, that’s not proof.
Do you whip out your Social Security card? No, that’s not proof.
Do you (if you have served) whip out your military ID card. No, even that is not proof as non-citizens can serve.

It’s not as if we are going to go around and carry our birth certificate and/or passport around with us now so I am serious in asking again how do you as a U.S. citizen prove you are a citizen?

Hmmm…maybe this is just what supporters of the National ID card needed.

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In honor of the 446th birthday of The Bard, William Shakespeare, I offer for your reading pleasure, his Sonnet 36:

Let me confess that we two must be twain,
Although our undivided loves are one:
So shall those blots that do with me remain
Without thy help by me be borne alone.
In our two loves there is but one respect,
Though in our lives a separable spite,
Which though it alter not love’s sole effect,
Yet doth it steal sweet hours from love’s delight.
I may not evermore acknowledge thee,
Lest my bewailed guilt should do thee shame,
Nor thou with public kindness honour me,
Unless thou take that honour from thy name:
But do not so; I love thee in such sort
As, thou being mine, mine is thy good report.

Such a happy little ditty.

Happy Birthday anyway, Mr. Bill.

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Whenever I listen to or read the news (courtesy of the fine folks either at the BBC, NPR, or The Washington Post), I am amused when I hear folk from a former dictatorship wax nostalgic about the goold ol’ days under the tyrant. Whether it’s folks in Russia reminiscing about Joseph Stalin or Afghanis viewing the Taliban through rose-colored glasses, the theme that these people share is the thought they would rather have security and security over freedom.

Surely, I ask, such a ludicrous proposition could not be shared by the liberty-loving people of the United States of America?

And because I have asked the question and written an introduction like I have above, you know the answer is “Of course, we can.”

Just ask the District of Columbia delegate to the House of Representatives, Eleanor Holmes Norton, who removed her support from a House bill that would have given voting rights to the residents of DC. She withdrew her support after the Senate attached an amendment to the bill that would have gutted the District’s gun laws.

So the elected delgate of the District sides with safety over freedom. The concept of having a voice is trumped by law-and-order.

Yes, it can happen here.

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In the world of Dinotopia, writer and artist James Gurney has ornithomimid dinosaurs act as scribes. These fleet-footed dinosaurs write down in sandboxes what other dinosaurs are saying by using their feet as stamps.

When I first read this, I found this odd. I wondered what type of culture endures when the items that are written down can be so quickly discarded. When the writings from any collection of individuals can be wiped away in an instant and therfore becomes unrecoverable by those who come after, what type of history and culture is shared by the next generation.

It was an interesting thought experiment to mull over when I first read Gurney’s work in 1998, but nothing more of it crossed my mind until recently.

Since the advent of email and Twitter, we do now live in an age of Gurney’s dinosaurs where the thoughts, feelings, and general musings of a whole collection of individuals can be discarded rather quickly. While those electronic ramblings may have been stored on servers and recoverable at one point, we are now in the age of Vanish, a software program that will make even those fleeting bits and bytes of recorded knowledge unobtainable by those who come after.

While my projected future above may not come true and we indeed do not become a culture writing in sand, I can forsee a future where the archivists, librarians, and historians of a later time will not have the thrill of discovery that this team had because there will be nothing to find.

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