Dec 212011

At this time of Christmas the “reason for the season” can get lost. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has produced a series of short videos to help us regain our focus. It seems to me that this would make a great activity for families to do together on Christmas Eve, but some of us don’t want to huddle around the computer screen. If you follow my directions you will end up with a DVD of the videos that you can watch on your big screen. I’ll try to make this a simple as possible, and I think you should be able to get it all done.

1 – Install the Free Movie maker from Microsoft by clicking here. You can either click “Run” or save the installer to your hard drive and then execute it from there. When you run the installer it will offer to install about 8 different programs. For this exercise you only need the Movie Maker, but you can install anything you want. If you already have the latest movie maker installed you can skip this step.

2 – Download all the videos from by clicking here. You will see six video links. Click each one and then look for the “Download” link on the right below the video player. Right click each link, choose “Save target” (or similar) and save them all to the same folder on your computer. Pick one you can find later.

3- Start Windows Live Movie Maker. In the upper left corner you will see a link called “Add Videos and Photos.” Click it and navigate to the folder where you saved your downloaded videos. Hold the control key and click all six of them and then click open. This should add all six to the project and the video player should now show 00:00:00/21:45:00 in the lower left hand corner.

4 – Click “Project” in the tool bar and choose widescreen.

5 – Put a blank disc in the drive. You can use a DVD or a CD, but I would use a DVD if you have one as they will work in more devices.

6 – Back in Movie Maker you will see a little icon just the right of the Home tab that looks like a menu with an arrow pointing down. When you click it the menu should expand. You will see an option that says “Save Movie” with an arrow pointing the the right. When you hover your mouse above that you will see “Burn DVD.” Movie Maker will then prompt you to save the move (doesn’t matter what it is called or where you save it) and then save the movie to your hard drive.

7 – Once the movie has been saved you will see a program called Windows DVD Maker. You should click “Next” and the “Burn” so that it will do the actual burning of the DVD.

8 – Put the disc in your DVD player and see if it worked. 🙂

Let me know if you have questions. I think this will work for most of you, but there may be some tweaks needed.

Good luck and Merry Christmas!

 Posted by at 2:42 pm
Dec 182011

Here in Utah we use cannons to get the snow to come off the mountain. Seems like these guys have found a different way… You will want to turn the sound down before the end — and there really isn’t much to hear anyways.

 Posted by at 11:40 pm
Dec 152011

These are undeniably true and chock full of wisdom. Enjoy. 🙂

The Law of Volunteering: If you dance with a grizzly bear, you had better let him lead.

The Law of Avoiding Oversell: When putting cheese in a mousetrap, always leave room for the mouse.

The Law of Common Sense: Never accept a drink from a urologist.

The Law of Reality: Never get into fights with ugly people; they have nothing to lose.

The Law of Self Sacrifice: When you starve with a tiger, the tiger starves last.

The Law of Motivation: Creativity is great, but plagiarism is faster.

Boob’s Law: You always find what you’re looking for in the last place you look.

Weiler’s Law: Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.

Law of Probable Dispersal: Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.

Law of Volunteer Labor: People are always available for work in the past tense.

Conway’s Law: In any organization there is one person who knows what is going on; That person must be fired.

Iron Law of Distribution: Them that has, gets.

Law of Cybernetic Entomology: There is always one more bug.

Heller’s Law: The first myth of management is that it exists.

Osborne’s Law: Variables won’t; constants aren’t.

Main’s Law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.

Weinberg’s Second Law: If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs  the first woodpecker that came along would have destroyed civilization.

Law of Drunkenness: You can’t fall off the floor.

 Posted by at 10:34 am
Dec 082011

I don’t remember where I saw the reference to this book, but I think it may have been Business Week. I thought it looked interesting, and have recommitted to the idea that my daily commute should be more useful than just 60 minutes of rock radio, so I grabbed the book on tape and listened to it.

You should too.

The author, Charles Mann writes in an easy, accessible style and as far as I can tell try very hard to tell both sides of every story. In the book we learn that there is some question as to how many people lived in the New World before Columbus “Discovered” it and he spent a lot of time quoting leaders from all points of view. In the end he makes it pretty clear that he is in the camp of those who think there were lots and lots and lots of people here when Columbus landed and makes a strong enough case that I too am convinced. The image we have of a lightly populated country prior to 1492 is just wrong.

In addition to the bigger questions like that the books also delves into the personal. We learn the back story to “Squanto” — enough to know that he was a much more tragic figure than what you were taught in school. We also hear about Haiawatha, founder with Deganawida of the Iroquois confederacy lead by the “Grand Council.” The council still meets today and is only eclipsed in age by the Icelandic “Althing.” The founding story is covered and really resonated with me.

We spend time talking about other pre-columbus cultures and learn many things that we aren’t taught in school. Did you know why the Incans had stairs in their highways? Did you know what a few escaped pigs could do in a new world, and why? Did you know that there are reports of villages along the Amazon River that spanned a hundred miles of shore line? That, and many other ideas are considered.

As I finished the book I found myself full of admiration for the people and cultures that were forever lost when Columbus arrived. I would love to be able to take a ride in a time machine and meet the people who were here, but short of that this book is the next best thing.

I’m now working on 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, I’ll let you know if I enjoy that one as much as I did this one.

Happy reading.

 Posted by at 9:35 pm
Dec 062011

In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says, ‘The Lord thy God is one,’ but I think He must be a lot older than that.

Anyway, God said, ‘Give me a light!’ and someone did.

Then God made the world.

He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren’t embarrassed because mirrors hadn’t been invented yet.

Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden…..Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn’t have cars.

Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel.

Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.

One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.
After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.

Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh’s people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable.

God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include: don’t lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor’s stuff.

Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother.

One of Moses’ best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town.

After Joshua came David.. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn’t sound very wise to me.

After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore.

There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don’t have to worry about them.

After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of The New Testament.. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying to me, ‘Close the door! Were you born in a barn?’ It would be nice to say, ‘As a matter of fact, I was.’)

During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Republicans.

Jesus also had twelve opossums.The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.

Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount.

But the Republicans and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn’t stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.

Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.

 Posted by at 4:10 pm
Dec 062011

… and the genie said he would grant me one wish.

“I want to live forever,” I said.

“Sorry,” said the genie, “I’m not allowed to grant wishes like that!”

“Fine,” I said, “then I want to die after Congress gets their heads out of their butts!”

“You crafty *^%@,” said the genie.

 Posted by at 11:35 am
Dec 052011

Ally suggested we have soup for Sunday Dinner. I know that there are those of you who think I never eat vegetables (vegetables are what food eats, right?) so I hereby present photographic proof that sometimes, “I do eat my veggies.*”













* Of course, I did feel compelled to use a pound of bacon, half a pound of butter and a quart of half and half to balance out the veggies. Oh yeah, don’t forget the sour cream and oh-so-good sharp cheddar as well. It was yummy.

 Posted by at 8:25 pm