Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tiburon belt routing

For those interested in serpentine belt routing. This is a diagram of a 2004 V6 Tiburon. It is a bit crude but you get the idea nonetheless.

Monday, December 1, 2008

long time

Sorry it has been so long. I will try to do better. Story of my life huh?

Well anyway, does anyone here know what the term vestibular-neuropathy means? Don't be shy raise your hand right up.

OOOKKKK. Basically it means that your inner ear balance systems barely work (or not all all). Mine comes from having inner ear disease since 1981.

In technical terms, you have to use your vision and touch to make up for having no gyro thingy in your head.

And there is a big trade-off. Concentration and short term memory suffer a great deal. It is very easy to get exhausted and worn out.
You trip and run into things a lot.

When you go to the store you always push a cart, so you won't have to use your cane. But that is just the way it is.

The emotional toll that chronic inner ear disturbances take are almost unseen. For many years most people think you are crazy or lazy. Friends and family stop coming around. Your hearing deteriorates slowly and the buzzing (24/7) gets louder every year.

Somedays you feel prety good and others you feel terrible, but you look ok.

Others are jealous of you because you are on disability and do not have to work. If they only knew....I would love to be back at my well paying job at Certainteed.

So you are kind of isolated. But that is just the way it is. You keep on going and still try your best to be Patriarch of your family (wife and 4 grown kids).

And you do a pretty good job also. Besides, very few people even know that you exist, nor do they care about what happens to you.

So what is my point???? Not sure, just needed to vent a little I guess. :)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

240 volt circuits

Here is where 220-240 volts starts:

The buss bars in the breaker box are set up to where every other position is a different phase. This means that there are two separate 120 volt power sources coming from the 240 volt breaker.

The small breakers with only one hot lead are called single pole breakers. The ones with two hot leads are double pole breakers.

In a 240 volt circuit is referred to as ungrounded. What that means is, there is no neutral conductor involved. Here is a simple 240 volt circuit:

This diagram shows only the circuit and switches for a 240 volt motor. Only 2 wires of 120 volts are needed. The power comes in through both wires and is neutralized within the motor. Power does not have to travel back through a neutral conductor.

Shown is a perpendicular 240 volt outlet. In reality the motor would be plugged into the outlet with a matching plug. There are several kinds of 220-240 volt outlets and plugs. Here are some.

The 20 amp can be found on some room air conditioners. The 30 amp can be found on clothes dryers. The 40 can be found on some electric ranges.

In some instances the grounding conductor is used as a neutral. I am not sure exactly how this works, but it is allowed. Here is a demonstration:

This is a 220-240 volt clothes dryer. The motor and heat element are 220 volts. The motor control circuit (including the timer) is 120 volts. In some cases there is a 4 wire plug and outlet that utilizes a neutral wire.

This diagram is not correct as shown, but only for demonstration purposes. In reality, there would be switches and the motor control circuit operating the unit.

Each chapter in this series is to give you general information. It is my hope that it will encourage you to learn more about electricity as it can be a most fascinating thing.

The last chapter is a review of the series. I hope you have enjoyed. :)

Parallel Circuits

The wiring in your house is in parallel circuits. Here is another view of the 2 flashlight batteries wired in parallel (discussed earlier):

Let’s start with a description of a duplex outlet receptacle, commonly found in homes:

The neutral screws will be silver colored and the hot screws will be darker (sometimes gold). The grounding screw is green. On a quick-connect, use the holes that are just behind the slots.

Three outlets wired in parallel could look something like this:

Power enters on the black (hot) wire and leaves on the neutral (white) wire. It is important to keep the black (hot) wires to the hot (smaller slot) side of the outlets.

There are two screws on each terminal. They are joined by a tab, as long as the tab is intact; it makes no difference which screw you use on that side. If you break the tab, then the connection between the upper and lower “plug in” will be broken.

You will see why that can be useful a little later. Now let’s talk about switches. For simplicity, I will only mention single pole switches. I will devote a later discussion to other types of switches:

Here is basically what happens in a single pole switch. The two screws are connected
in the “ON” position. The connection is broken in the “OFF” position. The purpose of the single pole switch is to break the connection of the hot conductor. This interrupts the circuit and kills the power.

There are several ways to wire a switch in a 120 volt parallel circuit:

Power going to a switch is called the “feed”. Power going from the switch to a light, outlet, fan, etc. is called the “switch leg”. In this diagram, a switch controls a light. I have not used the ground conductors to keep it simple.

This same switch could just as easily control an outlet. This is often done at room entrances. A lamp can be turned on to light a dark room, upon entry.

The common screw (darker) will stay hot all the time. This is important so, power can be run to something else. If you ran additional things like outlets, from the switch leg side, everything in the circuit would be dead when the switch was “off”.

In this diagram, the light and outlet A are off. Outlet B is live.

In this diagram the switch operates the top plug of the outlet. The bottom remains hot all the time. Notice the tab broken. That separates power from the top and bottom.

At present, the top is dead and the bottom is live. To do this, you must run an extra hot wire. But in some cases, the switch and outlet are in the same box (double gang), so the extra wire need only be a few inches long.

When using switches, the neutral wires will need to be spliced together. The best thing to use is a spring loaded wire nut. They thread on the wires and work very well.

They come in many sizes. There is just the right size for the job you need. If splicing only 2 wires, there is no need to twist them together. Just strip about ½ inch of insulation.

If twisting the wires, you will need to strip quite a bit of insulation, then snip it off even. Make sure you snip enough so bare wire will not be showing, after you have threaded the wire nut on tight.

The green wire nut is for ground connections and no need to worry about bare wire showing.

Next is 240 volt circuits.


First we will talk about 120 volt branch circuits in your house, and why they must be grounded. Here is where a circuit originates:

Notice that the neutral wire and grounding wire are connected to the same buss bar.
Let’s follow the power to show you why.

The power comes from the breaker box to a receptacle as shown. When you plug in something like a clock or television, the power goes in through the hot wire, through the appliance and leaves on the neutral wire.

The grounding wire does not normally carry current. But it is needed when you plug in a metal chassis appliance. This could be a computer, refrigerator, or such. The grounding conductor is used to ground appliances for safety. Here is a demonstration:

This is a standard grounding plug with the third “prong”. This prong connects to the metal chassis. This connects the entire appliance to the neutral buss bar, (which connects to the ground) when plugged into a receptacle.

If something goes wrong (like a broken or bare wire) and the power makes it to the chassis, it (or anyone touching it) will become a conductor, unless the chassis is grounded.

If the circuit was not grounded here is the scenario: The electricity enters the black wire and to the chassis (bare wire touching chassis). Instead of going to the motor it now goes to you if you touch the appliance.

You could be injured or killed, depending on your connection to the ground. Here is what happens if the appliance is grounded:

The power enters from the black wire and to the chassis. However, the appliance is grounded by the grounding wire (green). A short circuit will result. Have you ever seen what happens when a live wire is touched to a grounded wire?

There is a loud pop and a great deal of current is used. The current now flows through the green wire and back to the breaker. This huge current rush will trip the breaker and turn off the power to the appliance.

Do you see why it is not a good idea to use one of those 3 prong to 2 prong adapters to plug in a metal appliance? If you do, your appliance will not be grounded.

You may live in an older house without grounded outlets. There are 2 ways to correct that. You can run a ground wire and use a new outlet. Or you can install a GFCI receptacle. The GFCI stands for “ground fault circuit interrupter”. They are also called “shock savers”.

Shock savers monitor the electric current coming and going. If there is a slight difference it will kill the power in a fraction of a second. Your outlet may be grounded, but if you are wet and in a situation to trip the breaker, it may be too late.

It may take the breaker, a second or so to trip. Electricity travels close to the speed of light. It could pass through you many times in one second. The GFCI can be a lifesaver.

GFCI outlets are important to have in bathrooms and kitchens. You should use one anytime there is an outlet within six feet of a water source. They should always be used outside, too.

At a later date I will write a section on installing GFCI outlets. Next is series number 8 "Parallel Circuits".

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Electric boxes

There are many type of boxes available. First we will mention outlet boxes. These boxes are rectangular and house receptacles and switches. However, they come in different sizes and makeup.

Single boxes are made of plastic or metal. There are construction types that nail to a stud. These are installed before the wallboard. And there is the cut-in type that you can install afterwards. These will be used if you are installing a new switch or receptacle where there was none before.

And there are ones made specifically for outdoor use. Here are a few examples:

Single wall construction plastic box

Double gang box similar to above

plastic cut-in box (notice the tabs)

Ceiling boxes are made to fasten to the ceiling joists. They also make them in cut-in type, but are not recommended for heavy things like ceiling fans.

Typical ceiling box.

In most simple projects you will not be installing a new box. But knowing what is there will help you to better understand what you are doing.

Now it is time to talk about the importance of grounding. And you will discover what that bare wire is doing in those electric boxes.

Friday, January 25, 2008


You will be dealing with wires in your electrical projects. The black, white, and bare wires will be in a flat cable, often referred to as “Romex”. It got the name Romex because of the company that used to be the primary manufacturer of house wiring.

The cable may be different colors, but they are labeled by the wire size and whether there is a ground conductor. I use 12/2 W Ground. This means that there are 2 number 12 conductors (black and white) and a number 12 ground conductor that is bare.

In many cases it is OK to use 14/2 with ground. But you cannot use this for anything other than a 15 amp circuit. The best all around wiring (120 volts) to use is number 12, as it is safer and will handle a 20 amp circuit.

Typical cable with white, black, and bare copper in the middle.

When you are replacing outlets or switches you will encounter wire in cables. In some cases, it may be necessary to strip more insulation from the cable.

This is a simple cable stripper. You place the wire inside and a tab slices the cable.

These are simple wire strippers. Inexpensive and very effective. If you need to strip wires to wrap around a screw terminal, there are a few things to remember.

1. Strip the wire so there is about an inch of conductor showing.
2. Always bend it to the right as shown.
3. Wrap it around the screw
4. Continue as shown and tighten screw as show:

When you wrap the wire to the right the screw will pull it tight. This is due to the right hand threads. Wrap it to the left and the screw will try to pull the wire off of it.

Sometimes you will need to remove wires from a quick connect receptacle or switch. It is quite easy as shown with the back of a receptacle:

There’s really not much to it. If you are replacing a screw terminal outlet with a quick-connect, snip the wire and re-strip about ¼ inch of copper. Many quick-connect outlets show you how much to strip on the back.

If there is not enough wire to snip it, then you will need to straighten out the wire and snip it off till it is about ¼ inch showing.

You will notice that outlets and switches are in boxes. That is the next subject.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

From the Meter (Breakers)

Now we will discuss the power as it comes from your electric meter. From the meter it goes into a breaker box, as shown:

The power comes to the breaker box in three wires. Two of the wires are hot with 120 volts. The other wire is neutral and goes to the ground. I have named the phases A (blue) and B (red). This is for demonstration purposes only.

The main breaker will cut off the power to all the other breakers, manually. It will also cut off power if the total amount of current is greater than its value (usually 100 or 200 amps)

Each individual breaker will cut power to each circuit manually. It will cut power when its current value is exceeded. They range from 15 amps to 30 amps usually.

Your 120 volt circuits will only require 1 black wire (hot 120 volt), One neutral wire (white) and one ground wire (usually bare copper).

You may hear of household voltage as 110 volts. That is because the voltage will vary a little from house to house. Most voltage is between 110 and 120 volts.

Your 240 volt circuits (stoves, air conditioners, clothes dryers) will require an extra 120 volt wire (usually red).

These cicuits may be referred to as 220 volts. This is also due to voltage variations.

But let's talk more about breakers. It is important to understand how and why they function. They perform a vital task in protecting you and your loved ones.

The main breaker in your house is either 100 or 200 amp rating. What this means is, if all the circuits in your house are using more than 100 or 200 amps of electric current, the breaker will shut the power off to your house.

Breakers work in a similar fashion to fuses, except they can be reused many times. A fuse has a metal element that can only withstand the heat of so much electricity. If there is too much, the element will melt and break and the power cannot flow through the fuse. Then you must throw away the fuse and get a new one.

Many circuit breakers work on the principle of electromagnetism. The more current that flows through it, the stronger the magnet becomes. At some point there will be enough electricity to trip a very stiff switch. And the power is cut off.

A 30 amp breaker will have a switch twice as hard to trip, than a 15 amp.

Some breakers use two strips of metal that bend under electric current. At some point they will bend enough to throw a switch. The basic principle is the same.

Here are actual pictures of my breaker box:

whole view

main breaker

110-120 volt circuits

220-240 volt circuits

Next we will talk about conductor (wires).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

negative and positive

As we discuss the power that gets to your house, it is important to mention polarity. If you look at any flashlight battery you will see a (+) on one end and a (-) on the other.
What exactly does that mean?

In batteries, electricity is made from a chemical reaction. Electricity always flows from
(-) negative to (+) positive. In a flashlight the current flows from the negative terminal and into the positive terminal where it is neutralized. This is how the “juice” in a battery is depleted.

But have you noticed that most flashlights take 2 batteries and they have to be installed in just the right direction? Why is that? In order to understand that, we need to mention parallel and series circuits.

I have used flashlight batteries for our illustrations. They are 1.5 volts, and I am assuming they have one amp of current available for demonstration purposes. The batteries in a flashlight are configured into a series circuit. Notice the configuration:

In a DC (direct current) series circuit, the power is wired negative to positive and positive to negative. In this way, the voltage is doubled and the amount of current (from the batteries) remains the same.

The current goes from the negative end of the bottom battery and through the element of the light bulb. Then from the bulb it goes into the positive terminal of the top battery as it is used.

This series circuit makes one 3 volt, 1 amp battery, from the two 1.5 volt, 1 amp batteries.

We won’t go into AC (alternating current) series circuits, as you will not be encountering them in simple home projects.

Next we have a parallel circuit below:

In a DC (direct current) parallel circuit, the negatives are wired to each other as are the positives. The voltage stays the same, but the available current is doubled.

The current flows from the blue and through the bulb element. Then from the bulb it goes to the red, where it is neutralized.

This series circuit makes one 1.5 volt, 2 amp battery, from the two 1.5 volt, 1 amp batteries.

Here is an illustration of what happens inside the bulb as the
current flows:

You will be encountering AC (alternating current) parallel circuits in your home. There is no true negative or positive as the current continually alternates, but the idea is the same.

You keep the black (hot) wires together. Wire the white (neutral) wires together. And keep the (bare or green) ground wires together. But you must never assume that black wires are always hot as well as the others.

If someone accidentally used the wrong colored wire, you could be in trouble. This usually does not happen. But if you live in an old house it would be worth checking them first. We will cover, checking power a little later.

Next we need to get to the power that is entering your house from the electric meter.

from the power plant to your house

Your local power plant generates a great deal of electricity. It has to travel a very long distance to get to your house. If the electricity left the plant at 240 volts it would not make it.

They generate it at thousands of volts and they do something else. They generated it as alternating current.

You have probably heard of AC and DC current. But do you really know the difference?
First let’s mention DC or direct current. This is current like that from a battery. It flows in one direction and one direction only. The current goes direct to the source.

AC or alternating current does just that. The current changes direction 60 times a second.
This gives it a pulse like action and makes it better for long distance travel. This is done by an AC generator (alternator). Without getting too technical, let’s just say that it is set up to alternate the current as it spins.

Let’s say that the AC power leaves the plant at 14 thousand volts. Most times it will pass through a relay station to boost the power. When it gets to your house it is still 14,000 volts. So now we have to change it to 120 volts house current. This is accomplished by transformers. They transform the electricity either lower or higher.

Here is the basic principle of transformers. Take two coils of wire in close proximity.
One coil has 100 turns of wire and the other 50. If the electric current is passing through the 100 turn coil it will transfer itself to the 50 turn coil and when it comes out the pressure or voltage will be half of what it was.

And this works in reverse also. If the above situation was reversed the voltage would be doubled. Transformers can either lower (buck) or raise (boost) the voltage.

On the electric pole near your house is a transformer. They usually feed about three houses. The electricity from the transformer comes to you in two 120 volt wires (black) and one neutral wire(bare). This service wire is also called a triplex for that reason.

Power comes from the transformer to the rain head and then to the meter can, where the electric meter is located. It travels from the meter to your main breaker box. Some residences, like mobile homes, have a main box outside with a 100 or 200 amp breaker and another main box inside.

In this way, power can be shut off and the mobile home moved safely.

We have followed the power from the plant to your house.

Electric power for your home is AC current because it travels better than DC. The basic principle of transformers is wrapped up in the number of turns in a coil of wire. Buck transformers lower the voltage and boost transformer raise it.

Your power comes to you (from your transformer) in the form of a triplex with two 120 volt wires and one neutral wire. Mobile homes usually have a main breaker box outside as well as inside. This is to disconnect power to move the home safely.

Next we will talk about what happens when the power gets to you.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fundamental Electricity

Many people attempt simple home electric repairs every year and end up injured, killed, or causing an unsafe situation. I think that much of that could be avoided if they possessed a fundamental knowledge of electricity.

Of course, just about all of that would be avoided if people hired a professional. But not everyone is going to do that for various reasons.

The best place to get basic electrical knowledge is to take a course at your local community college. And there are many good books on the subject.

The purpose of this series is to help those (that wish to do simple home electric repairs) understand the basic principles. I am not a master electrician but I have training in basic electricity, electric motor control and in the National Electrical Code. And I feel qualified to write on simple electric matters.

This is not designed to be a course nor should it be considered expert advice. This is only an aid that should be used in conjunction with other things, like books or courses.

I have not gone into any formulas or quantum physics in this work. I have tried to keep it as simple and easy to understand as possible and yet convey the principles to you.

However, this work comes with a warning label that you should read first:

Electricity can be very dangerous. It is nothing to take lightly. If you remove a switch or outlet cover and are not completely familiar with what you see, do not attempt to fix it.

And under no circumstances should any electrical job be done with power going to the work. All wires should be dead and double checked beforehand.

Never guess. Always be sure or do not proceed. Get expert advice or hire a professional rather than do anything that you are not familiar with.

Anytime you finish an electrical project, check, double check and triple check, your work, before restoring power. Mistakes can cause serious repercussions.

If you do not live alone, tape a note to the breaker box, telling everyone that you are working on the electricity and not to touch anything. You don’t want someone coming behind you and flipping on a breaker while you have bare wires in your hand.

If you are working on a light or ceiling fan, don’t just turn off the switch. Kill the power from the breaker to be safe.

Thank you for reading the warning label. Now let’s proceed:
Here are a few projects that can be done by homeowners, with a basic knowledge of electricity.

1. replace a light switch
2. replace an electric outlet.
3. install a ceiling fan
4. replace a ceiling light
5. fix an electric plug
6. fix a lamp

But it is important to have a fundamental understanding of electricity. So let’s get started.

Fundamental Electricity

At your local power plant there are many big generators. They spin and churn out electric current through the principle of magnetism. Here is how it works:

You probably already know that if you attach a coil of wire to each end of a battery, it will make an electro-magnet. Did you know that it works in reverse also? If you spin magnets over coils, it will produce electricity.

Electricity refers to an electron in each atom jumping from one atom to another. This is a chain reaction and the electrons keep jumping until they reach the ground. The ground rebalances them.

When you rub your feet on a rug, you are unbalancing the electrons and when you touch something that is in contact with the ground, there is a zap as the electrons are rebalanced or neutralized.

Let’s think of electricity as water, and the wires as a garden hose. Water flows through a hose at a certain rate. This rate is called the current.

Electric current is the amount of electricity that is flowing through the wires at a given time. The current is measured in amps.

The water in a hose is at a certain pressure (psi). The pressure that electric current flows is called voltage.

The size of the hose offers resistance to water flow. The smaller the hose, the harder it will flow. The smaller the wire, (conductor) the greater the flow of electricity, due to resistance. Electric resistance is measured in ohms.

Let’s use the garden hose again. If you have water flowing through a 1 inch diameter hose and hook in to a ½ inch hose what will happen? The water flow will double. This happens because the ½ inch hose has twice the resistance to the water, forcing the water to flow faster.

Now let’s take that to electricity. You have 120 volts of electricity flowing through a wire that is rated at .25 ohms. And you splice it to a smaller wire that is rated at .50 ohms. What is going to happen and why? Just like the water, the current will double from 30 amps to 60 amps.

The excess resistance and increased flow will cause a great deal of friction, which will generate a lot of heat and possibly burn up the wire and perhaps cause a fire. So it is very important to use wires that are big enough for the job. And this applies to extension chords too.

Wires are sized by gauge...the smaller the gauge, the larger the wire. For 15 amp circuits you can use number 14 wire or bigger. If you are not sure what a circuit is, we’ll cover it in a later part.

For 20 amp circuits, use number 12 wire or bigger. For 30 amp circuits, use number 10 wire or bigger.

Let’s review. Electricity is caused by a chain reaction of imbalanced electrons. The flow of electricity can be compared to water. If you use a smaller hose (wire), the flow(amps) will increase due to increased resistance.

A wire that is too small for your use will get hot due to friction from greater resistance. This may cause a fire. It is imperative to use wires that are big enough for the job.

Next, we will talk about electricity as it leaves the power plant and gets to your house.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Barfly (1987)

Henry Chinaski is very satisfied being an alcoholic and has no other aspirations. He states, “It takes a special talent to be a drunk. It takes endurance. Endurance is more important than truth.”

This 30ish man spends his time in bars and getting into fights with a bar tender named Eddie, (which he hates). He also likes to write prose with paper and pencil. His writing captures the attention of a pretty young girl named Tully Sorenson (Alice Krige). She is the publisher of an upscale magazine.

Tulley is determined to get closer to Henry (battered face and all). She sends a private detective to spy on him and report what he sees. At one point, the detective takes pictures of Henry’s papers while he is out of his ratty apartment.

But Henry finds love with a barfly named Wanda, (Faye Dunaway). This 40ish woman is slowly losing her beauty to alcohol and the ravages of time. When they first meet, Henry asks her what she does. She replies, “I drink!”

Wanda informs Henry that she does not want to fall in love (again). And Henry responds, “Don’t worry, nobody’s ever loved me yet.” So there is love but yet there isn’t.

She also tells Henry, “"If a man came by with a fifth of whiskey, I’m afraid I'd go with him". Henry says nothing. So there is attachment but yet there isn’t.

And when Henry leaves Wanda in the bar to look for a job, that is what happens. And to make it worse, she leaves with Eddie. Then enter Tulley.

This story is very entertaining, not so much as to what happens, but what doesn’t. And because of all the little things that happen along the way.

You will probably be taken with this movie or hate it. I was quite taken.

“And as my hands drop the last desperate pen, in some cheap room, they will find me there and never know my name, my meaning, nor the treasure of my escape.” Henry Chinaski.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Back to the Future (1985)

This is the first of a three part series about a California high school student, Marty McFly (portrayed brilliantly by Michael J. Fox).

Marty’s life (with his parents and siblings) is dull and frustrating. His music career is going nowhere. He takes solace in hanging out with his good friend, crackpot scientist/inventor Emmet Brown (Christopher Lloyd).

Late one night Marty gets a call from Doc to meet him at the mall. Marty agrees. At the mall he sees that Doc has invented a workable time machine from a DeLorean automobile.

Doc explained that the time mechanism is powered by a flux capacitor which runs on plutonium (that he received from Libyan Nationalists to construct an atomic bomb).

Instead, he gave them a contraption filled with used pinball parts and plans on escaping to the past before they find out.

Doc and Marty are documenting his journey to the past, when the Libyans show up. Doc is shot and Marty must flee in the Delorean. During the mad chase scene, Marty gets the car up to 88 miles per hour and the flux capacitor kicks in, sending him back to 1955.

While there, Marty realizes that the rest of the plutonium is at the mall in 1985. And he has no way to get home. So he turns to the only one that can help him, a much younger Doc Brown.

Marty has to convince the 1955 Doc that he is from the future. Then, they have to figure out a way to make the flux capacitor work without plutonium, so Marty can get back.

The plot thickens when Marty encounters his parents (then high school students). He accidentally interferes with their meeting. So now he must get them together or he will endanger his very existence. The comedy of errors that ensue is truly remarkable.

Back to the Future is one of my favorite movies. The time travel sequences are futuristic yet believable. The story is sci-fi and at the same time very funny. The entire cast is superb and you will want to watch it more than once.

Friday, January 18, 2008


The movie, “Harvey” (1950) is an all time classic in my opinion. It is the inspiration for the title of my blog. The movie is in black and white, but like any good movie, you really don’t notice after a few minutes.

The main character is Elwood P. Dowd (played by James Stewart). Elwood is a 42 year old man that has wrestled with reality for a long time and claimed to have finally won out.

Dowd lives in the post WWII American Midwest. He must have a very big inheritance from his mother, as he does not have to work. He can also afford to have his sister and her daughter living with him.

Elwood is as easy going as can be. He enjoys conversations with others and always has something nice to say about everyone. He has a wonderful time, wherever he is.

His philosophy is, “ must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” He admits to trying “smart” for quite a while and as a result, he recommends “pleasant”.

Elwood likes to spend his time in bars about the city and his favorite hangout is Charley’s Place. Some of the people Elwood encounters (in the establishments) are of questionable character, but he treats everyone with the same pleasant respect.

Now for the extraordinary thing about Elwood...his best friend is a pooka.

According to the movie, a pooka is... “From old Celtic mythology. A fairy spirit in animal form. The pooka appears here and there, now and then, to this one and that one at his own caprice. A wise, but mischievous creature. Very fond of rum-pots, crack pots...”

Some people may think of a pooka as an imaginary friend or playmate. And they might not be far off. This pooka’s name is Harvey, a rabbit that is six foot three and a half feet tall. He is protective of Elwood and would do anything for him. And he has some amazing powers.

Harvey can stop a clock for you. Then you are free to go wherever you wish and when you return, not one second will have ticked off. He also seems to be able to foretell certain future events.

Elwood is not shy about introducing his friend to anyone he meets. And he gets mixed results, as no one else can see Harvey, but Elwood.

His sister, Vita (Josephine Hull) and niece, Myrtle Mae (Victoria Horne) are tired of Elwood embarrassing them in social situations and decide to have him committed to an insane asylum. But Harvey has other plans. What follows is a story to remember.

Josephine Hull received an academy award for her performance. The entire cast is very good and Mr. Wilson (Jesse White) and Dr. Chumley (Cecil Kellaway) give memorable performances in this movie.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


It is like walking a wooded path in the cool gentle breeze. I look up and there are birds in the trees singing harmoniously.

I pass a small cabin with smoke coming from the chimney. A woman opens the door and waves to me as I pass.

Next, I come across a small park with children at play. They are running and jumping rope in a manner that could be 1908 or 2008, it makes little distinction. The only difference is the clothing.

Suddenly the heavens open up to a magnificent rainbow, and it feels like a new world and a new day.

I feel a little closer to humanity, yet at the same time removed from it. I was feeling disheartened, but I feel like I can cope with things just a little better, now.

Thank you for your music Nina. It really is a bold new world, since you passed this way.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

When good computers go bad

Have you ever got frustrated with something and just went off? Most likely, the answer is yes. Well I think the same thing may just happen to our personal computers.

Maybe we expect too much from them and after a while they just can’t take it? Let me cite a few possible examples:

You have been waiting for what seems like an eternity for a webpage to load and all of a sudden, the browser crashes. What actually happened? Without getting technical, I can tell you that the computer probably got tired of waiting and put a stop to the non-sense.

And sometimes I think computers get a great deal of pleasure by messing with our heads. After all, what else have they to do with their spare time? Let me site some examples:

You have just booted up your computer and you notice that the desktop is different. The arrangement of the shortcuts has changed. You didn’t change them, so who did? And why?

Just yesterday I was online and all the text in my browser (Netscape 7.2) menus turned blue. They are normally black. For a moment I had to ask myself, “Blue is not right is it?”

Then I shut down the browser and reopened it and the text was back to black. Yikes!

And how come when you go to a webpage, the browser can’t find it, but ten seconds later it can? Oh sure, you can blame it on the Internet or a glitch of some kind, but I know better. That machine is alive!

And why does the mouse sometimes double click, when I know I only single clicked. I open my browser and there are two windows open to the same web page. What gives?

So remember be good to your computer, cause it knows all about you and may be watching you as you sleep. Sure it looks like you turned it off, but can you be sure?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Everday Illusions - Cold

Every Day Illusions – Cold

Did you know there are things that we take for granted, that are not really there? For example, there is cold. You may think that cold is an actual thing that you can see and feel, but not exaaactly.

In reality, cold is the absence of heat. It is merely a comparison. But you may ask what about refrigerators and air conditioners? Don’t they make cold air?

And my answer is once again, not exaaactly. Let me demonstrate:

The basic principle of refrigeration is evaporating gas cools. When you stand in front of a fan, wet, you feel much cooler. So what has happened?

The air from the fan causes the moisture on you to evaporate. And the evaporating gas takes the heat from you (along with it) as it escapes into the atmosphere.

Let’s take a look at what happens in your refrigerator or air conditioner. There are a few basic components to the system. (Please excuse the crudity of my diagram.)
1. There is a line or tubing.
2. There are two coils within the tubing.
a. evaporator coil
b. condenser coil
3. A pump (called a compressor)
4. fans at each coil
5. refrigerant (fluid that has a low boiling point)

Here is what basically happens:
1. The compressor pumps the refrigerant through the tubing.
2. As it is pumped through the system, the refrigerant is compressed.
3. This compression causes friction which produces heat.
4. Within a while the heated refrigerant begins to boil and turn into a gas
5. The gas reaches the evaporator coils and attracts heat from the surrounding area.
6. The heated gas reaches the condenser coils.
7. The fins of the coils act as a cooling system and the heated refrigerant is cooled down. The fan blows the cooled air into the cooling area.
8. As it cools it condenses and becomes a liquid and the heat is dissipated through the coils with the help of a fan. The heat escapes to the outside area.
9. The cooled liquid reaches the compressor and the cycle begins again.

So in essence, in refrigeration, the heat is removed from the air. The less heat there is, the cooler it becomes. The cold air you feel from it is air with less heat in it.

So you see there really is no such thing as cold, sorta speak. :)

My example is an oversimplified explanation. For better information on refrigeration, you can go to websites like:

Or you can just go to any good search engine and type in “refrigeration principles”.

Monday, January 14, 2008

doctor visits

Things to do when visiting the doctor

While visiting the doctor, there is a good chance that you will be sitting and waiting for some time. So what do you do, besides twiddling your thumbs? Here are ten things that you might consider:

1. Bring your own reading material, and here is why:

a. Most of the magazines are well-handled, with pages missing.
b. Unless you are very interested what happened in 1996, there won’t be too much to hold your attention.
c. You don’t know who has handled them. And you know that just about everyone there has something wrong with them.
d. If you bring something that is interesting, you will be less tempted not to look around the room. (And you know how uncomfortable that staring and fake smile routine can be.)

2. Try pocket size reading material:

a. It is easier to carry.
b. You can bring it with you into the examination room.
c. You may be there longer than you were in the waiting room.

3. Sit as close to the receptionist as possible, because:

a. Most receptionists have soft voices and you may not be able to hear them.
b. If you don’t hear them, they may pass you by and you may be there until your next appointment.
c. Many receptionists are nice looking, and if you are male, it will make passing the time, more pleasurable.

4. Wear short sleeves. There are several reasons for this:

a. It is usually quite warm in the waiting room. If it is cold weather you can bring a sweater with you, and wear it over the shirt or blouse.
b. When we are at the doctor’s, most of us are somewhat apprehensive and with short sleeves, you will be less likely to sweat.
c. It will be much easier when they take your blood pressure. A rolled sleeve restricting your arm may not give an accurate reading.
d. It will be better if you need some type of injection in the arm. A rolled up sleeve can be a distraction and you do not want anyone that is jabbing a needle in you to be unfocused.

5. Do not bring small children with you, and here is why:

a. Do you remember the last time someone brought a little one with them and they started crying?
b. It wasn’t fun was it?
c. And not only that, the child might catch something from someone. Then you will have a problem.
d. If you are visiting a pediatrician...........good luck!

6. Don’t wear a real short skirt, as:

a. It may cause distractions
b. You might get too cold.
c. Disregard this one if you have really nice legs.
d. I am talking about the females!

7. Dress like you are poor but proud, for these reasons:

a. You don’t want them to think that you are rich.
b. They may charge you accordingly.
c. You may get free sample prescriptions.
d. They may not ask you to pay upfront.
e. Then you can send them payments.

8. Bring the doctor a very nice poster:

a. He(She) may appreciate a nice gift.
b. Maybe they will put it in one of the examination rooms.
c. Then you won’t have to stare at those boring medical charts on the wall as you are waiting.

9. Try to get to your appointment as early as you can:

a. Get there at least a half hour beforehand.
b. Someone may cancel and you may get in sooner.
c. They may take pity on you and let you in ahead of others.
d. Don’t count on number “c”.

10. I have never tried this, but have heard about it:

a. Dress in a nice suit and shoes
b. Bring a briefcase and hold it while you sign in.
c. They may let you in early (thinking you are a drug rep)
d. If not, you may get some really cool samples from all the other drug reps in the room.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

winters in Kansas City

Growing up in Kansas City, Kansas in the 60s was something special. And winters were a pleasant part of it.

We lived on 5 acres in what you could call rural Wyandotte County. Some years we got very little snow and others we got a lot. So when everything was blanketed in white, we took full advantage of it.

The temperature decided what we would do that day. If it was warmer (and thus a wet snow), we would make a snowman or have snowball fights.

If it was colder, we would go sledding or just tromp around in it. I remember all the red smiling faces as we played in the snow. I can still see the puffs of steam from the mouths of boisterous kids as they went about their business of having fun.

If we had a really good cold spell, we would go sliding around on the next door neighbor’s frozen pond.

Afterwards, it was just about as much fun when we came inside. We took our wet gloves off and put them on the big heat register in the living room.

I can still hear the sizzle as they slowly dripped into the hot furnace. We had an old gravity furnace in the basement and one big square heat register in the living room. And there were a few cold air return registers in other parts of the house.

The furnace was an old coal furnace that had been converted to natural gas. It still had the automatic coal stoker next to it for many years.

Often times we (me, my brother and sometimes younger sister and maybe the boy next door) would pull up chairs and sit with our stocking feet over the heat. And we would make hot chocolate and talk about all kinds of grand stuff. We might talk about what we had done, or the great things that we planned on doing in the future.

As I write about this, the aroma (of singed brown jersey gloves) surrounds me. And it reminds me of all those nice times in winter, in the 1960s.

There were winter rituals for the cars too. Some people used snow tires, but most people used chains when it got bad. I remember my dad outside putting the tire chains on. He would lay the chains in the snow and drive up on them. That way, he didn’t have to jack the car up.

Jacking the car up in the cold and in the snow was not something you did unless you had to. Sometimes he would have a hard time getting the chains on. We would try to assist, although there wasn’t too much we could do. But after a time (and a few choice words) he would finish.

Tire chains worked quite well on packed snow or ice. Where we lived, the snow plows didn’t make it out for a few days. So chains were just about a necessity.

I can remember riding in the back seat of our 1958 Buick, with my older brother, Larry. The chains would make a most distinctive ringing noise as we plodded down the road. If it was a very long ride we would make up silly little songs.

I can remember a 1960 presidential election song we used to sing. “Nixon, Nixon, he’s our man. Throw Kennedy in the garbage can!”

My Dad was strongly for Nixon and my mom was for Kennedy. For some reason, we sided with our dad. I guess he had more political influence on us then.

My dad has been gone for 25 years now, and if I could talk to him today, I would thank him for moving us to KCK in 1957. It was such a great place and time to grow up.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Enough already with the metric system!

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” That old adage says it all, when talking about understanding the metric system.

I think the so called, “metric conversion” has failed. And it was destined to do that in the United States.

When someone tells me that something is so many kilometers away, I still have no idea what they are talking about.

And I am completely lost when it comes to Celsius. To me, 100 degrees is not hot enough to boil water. And zero degrees should be way way below freezing. I just cannot relate and here is an explanation:

Deepak Chopra mentioned some Harvard researchers that raised kittens. There were two groups. One group was only exposed to a vertical world. And the others were only exposed to a horizontal world from birth. As the kittens matured, the vertical ones could not experience anything that was horizontal and vice versa.

When the brains were examined they found that the horizontal group did not have the physical brain cells to recognize vertical and the vertical group was conversely affected.

So it is not our fault. We are not stupid or incapable of learning. It is just too late at this point.

I don’t get it! I will never get it! And I wish that TV producers would understand that! If you are making a show from another country and it is going to be shown here (U.S), make it so we can understand it, please!

So stop the milligrams and centimeters, now. Keep that stuff in the countries that have used it from the beginning. And besides, not everything is meant to be converted to metric.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. How silly would it be to say .0022 grams of prevention is worth 1.1 kilograms of cure? And by the way, the reference may not be mathematically correct but that just demonstrates what I am talking about (conversion charts and such).

A cup of kindness is not the same as 0.237 liter of kindness, now is it? And which makes sense, “walk a mile in my shoes,” or “walk 1.6093 kilometers in my shoes”? And by the way if those shoes were size 10 metric they would not fit, either.

And how much better would it be to visit God’s half acre than God’s 0.20235 hectare?
And if you give them 2.54 centimeters (an inch) and they’ll take 1.609344 kilometers (a mile), some meaning is lost.

And how would the Byrds song, “Eight miles high”, sound as “12.874752 kilometers high”? It just does not sound right. So try to go the extra 1609.344 meters (mile) and say no to metric.

Friday, January 11, 2008

from the mouths of babes

During the course of raising kids I have been privileged to a lot of grammatical inventions. Let me list a few and give an explanation:

1. Ducky Duck – this is the Disney Duck that we all know and love.
2. Ford Wheel Drive – a vehicle that has power to the front and the back wheels.
3. Henny Bill – the former British television star (you may know him as Benny Hill)
4. Long One – the surprise that is sometimes left in diapers.
5. Minnie Meat – the famous Disney mouse.
6. Muck – the white liquid that we pour on cereal
7. Nema – the yellow fruit that has appeal.
8. Punchin – the sweet science of pugilism.
9. Pussgetti – The long pasta, commonly served with sauce (this may have already been invented, but it was used extensively, none the less.)
10. Sixdriver – this is what you are, if you purchase a year or so of a magazine or newspaper. (Actually was invented while playing the Nintendo video game Paper Boy)
11. Stoolette – the apparatus in all bathrooms. Was most likely a cross between “stool” and “toilet”.
12. Yate – to despise or really not like.
13. Yereal – this is what you pour muck on and eat for breakfast.
14. Yotgun – a gun with no rifling and shoots pellets. (As you can see, one of the kids was very fond of the letter “y”.)
15. Siglee – means “Look!” or “See!” (I was told that I invented that back in the early 50s.)

And now I shall attempt to write a story, using all of these great words and phrases:

I went into the kitchen to make my breakfast. I got out a box of yereal and retrieved a nema from the fruit bowl. Then I peered inside the fridge. There, behind the bowl of leftover pussgetti was what I was looking for. It was a gallon of muck.

Then I heard a noise outside. Walking over to the window I saw a Ford Wheel Drive truck pull into the driveway.

I didn’t like the looks of the people inside the truck so I went to the closet to get my yotgun (just in case). On the way there, I just about tripped over a stuffed Minnie Meat and Ducky Duck that someone had left on the living room floor.

Then I saw the strangest sight. My little rat terrier, Chip, was on the couch flipping through the TV channels. He was watching punchin, and then he turned to the Henny Bill Show by laying his foot on the remote (that had been left on the couch). Then he shook his head and jumped off the couch.

After that, he went to the front door and scratched. “I’ll take you out in just a minute, little fella,” I told him.

And if that wasn’t strange enough, I heard the stoolette flush in the guest bathroom. The door opened and our other dog Baby, walked out. “Maybe this is a dream,” I told myself.

I almost got to the door when the phone rang. Some woman (that could barely speak English) wanted to know if I was a sixdriver of their magazine. I told her yes and then hung up the phone.

Next thing I knew, the truck was leaving. I guess they had the wrong address. So I went into the bedroom and told my wife about these amazing incidents and she rolled over and glanced at me.

“Don’t be silly,” she chuckled. Chip can’t watch TV. You know he’s blind and can’t siglee anything.

“What was it I was going to do? Well, it’ll come to me eventually,” I thought. So I decided to go back into the kitchen for a much needed breakfast.

Walking through the living room I heard a “squish”. I looked down and my memory was refreshed. There on the rug, were the remnants of a long one (that Chip had left). Boy do I yate it when that happens!

I decided to wash my foot in the shower, clean the rug and then go back to bed. Maybe yereal, muck, and a nema were not in the cards for today.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Have you ever heard of the supplement COQ10? It is something that is prevalent in our bodies. It helps break down food and turn it into energy somehow.

I understand that it is very important for muscle function and especially the heart. In fact, it would appear that other countries have been using it as a treatment for congestive heart failure for years.

I can tell you from personal experience that there is something to it:

A few years ago we had a Great Dane named Daisy. She was getting old and was having a lot of trouble with her back legs shaking. She finally got to where she could hardly walk and didn’t want to eat.

The vet did not have any real solutions for us. I was researching on the Internet and came across COQ10. Much of the data I found mentioned that many chronic diseases and conditions may also include a lack of ubiquinone (COQ10).

Desperate to help her, I got some COQ10 at Wal-Mart. I gave her 100mg with a little bit of bread and bacon grease. It appears that COQ10 is fat soluble and works much better if administered with some type of fat.

Later that day I went to the kitchen and opened the fridge. I looked up and there was Daisy, wagging her tail and looking much better. I gave her something to eat and she ate it and seemed just fine.

I also noticed that her back legs were barely shaking. They were probably 80% better and some days, she didn’t shake at all. I continued to give her the COQ10, along with fish oil and brewers yeast and she lived for another two years. And her quality of life was very good up until the end.

In summation, COQ10 may be worth looking into for you as well as your pet. Just be sure and check with a medical professional if you (or your pet) are taking medications.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

wake up

A good alarm clock

Have you ever asked yourself, “What is the ideal alarm clock?” Well I have asked myself that many times (and maybe some of you have too). So just in case, here is my idea of a first-rate alarm clock:

1. A horrifying, unbearable noise - this should be comparable to fingernails on a blackboard. Nothing short of a piercing shriek (that will blast you out of bed in the morning) will do.

2. PM/AM interlock - should have a warning in case you accidentally set the thing to “PM” instead of “AM”. How would it know this? (Hey, I can’t do it with me a bit.)

3. Inexpensive - I am not claiming to be cheap. It is just that I cannot afford to be anything else. So if could get something for $20 or under that would be really great!

4. Pleasant to look at - this is going to be a fixture that we will be gazing upon every day on numerous occasions. It would be nice to have something lovely to look at as opposed to a hideous monstrosity that makes you cringe.

5. Split personality - and why not? Most of us do, whether we admit to it or not. It will be nice one minute and then an ogre when it goes off. (Does that sound like anyone you know?)

6. A two foot electrical chord attached to it - you don’t want anything wireless or you will be temped to place it next to the bed. If you have to get up to turn the infernal device off, you are less likely to hit the snooze and lie back down. I know this from personal experience.

7. Very durable. This feature will allow it to accept the occasional glancing blow of things being thrown at it. And it will survive a fall to the floor. (This is where the short chord helps. That way it can’t fall too far.)

8. An electrical plug that will not accept an extension chord – not sure how this would work. But there must be a way. The reason goes back to idea number 6.

9. The time clearly visible with large LED numbers - LED numbers are the ones that light up on a dark background. And why large numbers? That is for us soon to be geriatrics that require reading glasses. (There are a lot of us, you know?)

10. And finally, it would be nice if it had a place to put your prescription bottles. This could be kind of like an auto cup holder or such. Why this feature? (See reason number 9 above)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

to the point

Brevity by Sam Lemon

Why should I tell you in a thousand words,
what I could easily tell you in five?
Or with a look,
why should I say anything at all?

Mark twain summed it up when he said, “I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead."

Life would be much simpler, if we remembered five little words. Just get to the point.

Monday, January 7, 2008

microwave ovens

Microwaves do’s and don’ts

Where would we be without the microwave oven? The luxury of 30 years ago has become a necessity that we depend on daily. From baking potatoes to making popcorn, there are a great many uses for this little appliance. And let’s not forget heating up leftovers and defrosting things.

And of course, most of us cannot enjoy a good cup of tea without the convenience of the microwave.

Because of the widespread usage, you would think that everyone knows just what to do with this handy oven. Not exaaaaactly!

We must accept the fact that the gift of intelligence (and common sense) is not distributed evenly within the population. So for those of you that are intelligent and brimming with common sense, please print this out or pass on the url to those less fortunate.

Uses not intended for microwaves

1. Entertainment Center – Gathering around the microwave or staring at the little spinning table for long periods of time may not be the best of things to do.

2. Scientific Experiments – One should not use the microwave to see, “what happens to this if it is microwaved” or “how long does it take for an egg to explode”.

3. Towel substitute - Do not insert any living creature into the microwave – this should be common sense, but once again, not all of us possess it.

4. Pest extermination – Even though it will work, the messiness would outweigh any possible convenience.

5. Anything (that is uncovered) with spaghetti sauce all over it. Take my word for it, if you don't mind sleeping on the couch tonight, then go ahead and do it.

6. No cheeses of any kind please! If you are the one that cleans the oven, you know exactly what I am talking about.

7. No metal pans or bowls or utensils! Once again, you would think that it should be common knowledge, but I have seen it many times in the cafeteria at work. And those same people have the nerve to complain the oven is not working.

8. Do not use the oven without the door (by-passing it). Not a good idea if you plan on reproducing or living to a ripe old age.

9. Learning center – This is not the place to learn how electricity works by taking this thing apart. There is a high voltage transformer and some radioactive things in there, so please leave it alone.

10. If it blows a fuse, have someone that knows what they are doing, take it apart and change it. Or at least un-plug it before taking the back off. And make sure you use the same rated fuse as the old one.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

come back

Reternity by Sam Lemon

Shades of laughter fade into the sunrise.
Misty morning eyes gaze though time and space.
And it is now as I slowly un-die,
That I begin to re-enter the race.

No my love you must not know,
That which is or was upon the skein of time.
Nor can I let show,
That which was yours and mine.

Have you ever felt a familiarity with a strange place? .....and also with someone that you first met?

There is basically one reason to feel familiar with something or someone. And that is because you were previously exposed to them.

It makes sense that all life is recycled. After all, just about everything in nature is. Winter leads to spring, and then to summer, fall and back to winter again. Which season came first? Obviously, the answer is that it makes little difference.

It is like joining a race on an elliptical track. After a while you would not remember where you got on. And what would it matter?

Someone comes into your life and there is an immediate attraction. You know it is not coincidence. You can feel something with certain people that you do not with others.

Brain science may sight various reasons like pheromones and neurotransmitters, but the answer may be much simpler.

We are just remembering on a different level. Of course I cannot prove any of this. But the next time you feel at home somewhere, and you have no idea why, you’ll know I am right (probably).

A good lower sugar oatmeal breakfast

Imagine oatmeal with no added sugar? Does not sound too appealing huh? Well think again. Here is what to do:


½ cup Quaker one minute oatmeal
one medium apple (I prefer peeled)
1 cup water
approx 2 tsp of Coffeemate liquid creamer (I use the French Vanilla)
approx 1/8 tsp cinnamon

Put water in saucepan. Cut up apple into fairly small pieces. Put apples and cinnamon in water. Bring to boil and simmer for about six minutes (or until apple is soft). Bring back to boil and add oatmeal.

Cook for one minute and let pan stand (off the heat) for about five minutes. Put into bowl and add the coffee creamer.

oatmeal 150
apple 80
creamer 20
total 230

Saturday, January 5, 2008


I appreciate everyone that reads this blog. Whether you know me personally by my real name or the pen name of Sam Lemon, you are welcome here. I plan to write on a variety of subjects.

There will be a lot of “what to do” or “here is what I do” type of things. I hold two degrees in education. They are from the school of Hard Knocks and the University of Life Experience.

In other words, I am just an ordinary person in cyber space with no real qualifications to speak of, so please don’t try to sue me for several reasons:

1. You can’t get blood from a turnip.
2. My writing is only opinion and not expert advice.
3. It would be a waste of time (in my opinion)
4. Just because I sayso does not make it true (just ask my kids)
5. I have a team of powerful attorneys that would take you to the cleaners (well..... it’s possible)
6. Hasn’t anyone ever told you not to believe everything you read online?
7. Any moron can get a blog and start writing (as you can see)
8. Surely you must have better things to do
9. Courtv tried to sue me and I made them change their name ( could have happened)
10. You will have 7 years of bad luck (every time you break a mirror)

And if that doesn’t scare you, I have a big dog. And she will jump on you and lick you in the face and give you fleas. And she will whack you with her tail. (And that can cause a rather nasty whelp sometimes)

Sorry I had to get tough but sometimes it is necessary.

Friday, January 4, 2008

good from the dark side

  As a general rule, I think that pessimists are happier than most of us.

When things go wrong, it is just as expected. And when good things happen, it is a pleasant surprise. There is never any real disappointment to have to deal with. It is hard to be disillusioned in something that you were anticipating.

An optimist has to deal with one frustration after another. Not only that, they must lie to themselves and say that everything is fine, when it really isn’t. And in some cases all that pent up regret may build up to a point of no return and erupt into senseless violence or at least something very negative.

So what is the answer? Perhaps let yourself be pessimistic every now and then? You may avoid pent up frustration that sits around causing you unconscious mental or physical health problems.

Optimism certainly has its place. But it also has its limits. For example, have you ever felt that your life is basically, a failure? You don’t have your dream house and you are not financially independent.

You are not married to a saint that looks like a movie star and worships the ground you trip on. Things have just not turned out like you expected.

So what to do? Accept the fact that you may never have all the things you desire. We all can’t be at the top. Yes that is somewhat pessimistic, but consider this:

I know that I may never have all the things I want in life. So today I will try to find something that is good in my life and enjoy it. It’s not hard to find good things if you stop reaching for the stars and look under your feet.

Tomorrow I may look to the heavens and go for it all. But today I will just appreciate what I have and see what happens.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hot idea

   This is what you may call a "thought for the day", or  something to consider" blog. Here is an example of what you may expect:

  Today I would like to mention the noble chili pepper. From jalapenos to habaneros, they contain a lot of good things in them.

  The ingredient capsaicin is responsible for their hotness. I can tell you firsthand that capsaicin is good for headaches and nasal polyps.

  If you do a web search you will find a lot of very good uses for hot peppers. So why not spice up your life a bit today?