Jun 28, 2008

A new kind of housing cycle in Colorado

The best bargain in real estate might just be how you find your house.

One innovative Boulder, Colorado real estate company takes clients to a neighborhood where they park the SUV, remove bicycles from the bike rack and show homes to clients by bicycle tour.

In fact, the entire business, Pedal To Properties, is built around the idea of bicycling to see homes.

For the past several months Matt Kolb and co-owner Chris Sweeney have been putting together this innovative service.

The company bought a small fleet of high-end bikes that are easily transported on the back of their SUVs.

When Kolb or Sweeney take clients out to look at properties, if the client is interested and the terrain is bike-friendly, they pedal around. “These are fun cruiser bikes – a very comfortable ride.

Clients see more of the homes and neighborhoods where they want to live. The service appeals to many different types of people – athletic, environmentally conscious, and the young at heart,” Kolb says.


Jun 27, 2008

Swiss Army knife on steroids

Pictured below is the knife selected by the Guinness Book of world Records as the world's "Most Multifunctional Penknife.”

The knife features 87 tools and 115 functions, is 8.75 inches by 3.25 inches and weighs 3 pounds.

This ‘penknife on steroids’ was made by Wenger in DelĂ©mont, Switzerland and is called their Swiss Army knife version XXL.

At a cost of $1,200 you will need deep pockets to pay for it and a large pocket to put it in.


Balloon man brings cheer to nursing home

(click on picture above to see video)

Democrat Convention in Denver to be greenest show on earth

When Denver gears up to host the Democratic National Convention in August, it will be a political spectacle.

It may also be politically correct but it won’t be easy.

From organic fanny packs to 'pure' trash, Democrat planners will face a logistical nightmare!

Consider the fanny packs.

The host committee for the Democratic National Convention wanted 15,000 fanny packs for volunteers. But they had to be made of organic cotton. By unionized labor. In the USA.

Official merchandiser Bob DeMasse scoured the country. His weary conclusion: "That just doesn't exist."

It was the same with baseball caps. They found caps with USA union labels but none were organic.

Much of the hand-wringing can be blamed on Denver's Democratic mayor, John Hickenlooper (upper picture), who challenged his party and his city to "make this the greenest convention in the history of the planet."

Convention organizers hired the first-ever Director of Greening, longtime environmental activist Andrea Robinson. Her response to the mayor's challenge: "That terrifies me!"

Andrea Robinson hired an Official Carbon Adviser, who will measure the greenhouse-gas emissions of every placard, every plane trip, every appetizer prepared and every coffee cup tossed.

She also aims to reuse, recycle or compost at least 85% of all waste generated during the convention.

To test whether celebratory balloons advertised as biodegradable actually will decompose, Ms. Robinson buried samples in a steaming compost heap.

Catering guidelines specify no fried food. And, on the theory that nutritious food is more vibrant, each meal should include "at least three of the following colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple, and white." (Garnishes don't count.)

The lower picture shows a Wisconsin delegate eating a cheeseburger at the 2004 Democratic convention in Boston.

He won’t find one at the Denver convention unless he leaves the Pepsi Center and looks up a bistro in LoDo (lower downtown Denver).

At least 70% of ingredients should be organic or grown locally, to minimize emissions from fuel burned during transportation.

Thanks to mayor Hickenlooper the whole affair will indeed be a nightmare and promises to be fodder for pundits who will say that the potential convention disaster will be a preview of a nation led by anyone emerging from the “greenest show on earth.”


Live LA gridlock video on your cell phone

If you’re stuck in LA traffic there is a new service that will let you see videos of worse LA traffic.

From fender benders to construction delays, you'll stay ahead of it all with the "NBC Los Angeles Traffic Cam"

No matter where you're going (in the Los Angeles area), you'll have real-time traffic video right in the palm of your hand, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

People with the right phones can download the application, then click and pick from more than 270 cameras aimed at the city's streets and highways to view.

By "right phones," by the way, we don't mean the iPhone. That version is coming this summer, 3rd Dimension spokesman Rob Manfredo said.

Some of the cameras will show still pictures and update them often, while others will show live video, Manfredo said. But all have the potential to inform, inspire and enrage.


Jun 26, 2008

How long will you live? Life longevity game

Click on this link for a fun and interesting age tabulator. As you answer various questions about health, diet, etc. your own personal life expectancy keeps changing in a window in the upper right corner of the computer screen.

See how your lifestyle could affect you in the years to come. You can also enter incorrect information to see how you your longevity would be affected if you made changes in your lifestyle.

Even if this is not real accurate it is a fun game.

Charming old RV trailers used as Motel rooms

If you are in Bisbee, Arizona and need a Hotel room you can rent a charming old RV trailer for the night at a place called the Shady Dell.

On their web site they show nine trailers, an old bus and even a Chris Craft yacht.


Wikipedia inaccuracies blamed for falling exam scores

Long-time readers of this web site are aware of our low opinion of Wikipedia. It is the largest online encyclopedia and surely the most inaccurate research site on the Internet.

We even created a separate “Wikipedia” category to store several entries about Wikipedia -- all of them uncomplimentary.

Here are some of the things about Wikipedia we have written about:

Inaccurate editing
Failure to check facts
Personal political agendas
Questionable sources
Lack of objectivity
Material that is completely fabricated

Now comes another Wikipedia exposé from the UK as reported in the Scotsman (see link below).

The Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC) said pupils are turning to websites and internet resources that contain inaccurate or deliberately misleading information before passing it off as their own work.

The group singled out online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which allows entries to be logged or updated by anyone and is not verified by researchers, as the main source of information.


Jun 25, 2008

Dutch pedal taxi and other Amsterdam bikes

Pedal taxi on the streets of Amsterdam.

Holland claims the Bicycle Capital of the World title. The photo below may help convince skeptics.

Below is a photo of one of the more unique bicycles seen in Amsterdam.

Not easy giving the kids a ride wearing heels and a tight skirt!

Will the Carter legacy help elect John McCain?

“Welcome back Carter” may be the slogan that will really captivate voters in 2008. The slogan will resonate well with voters old enough to remember the less-than-stellar years of the Carter presidency.

The Iranians are salivating at the thought of Barack Obama in the White House because he reminds them of Jimmy Carter (upper picture).

The Iranians fondly remember Carter because they played him like a drum. Obama will be their new drum.

Younger voters don’t realize that Carter helped Ayatollah Khomeini’s return from exile.

Younger voters also have no idea what it is like to negotiate 20% interest and the highest inflation this country has seen since the late 1940’s.

Right now, all younger voters know is that the media keeps treating Barack Obama (lower picture) like a rock star.

The goal of John McCain is to:

Link Barack Obama to Carter, another Democratic newcomer elected on the promise of hope and change but whose presidency was marred by economic turmoil, high energy costs and a foreign policy widely derided as weak.


He didn’t neglect the kids

Golfers quotes …

“One day I’ll go out and slice the ball, shank the ball, hit into all the traps and miss every green. The next time I’ll go out and for no reason at all my golf game will be really terrible.”

“How do I do on the golf course? Well, I play in the low 80s. If it's any hotter than that, I won't play.”

“The best wood in my golf bag is a pencil.”

“The greatest sound on the golf course is the woosh, woosh, woosh of my opponent's club as he hurls it across the fairway.”

Jun 24, 2008

Motor homes may be latest gas price casualty

Winnebago Industries CEO Bob Olson said the motor home market has changed significantly in the past year, with dramatic declines in the past few months. He expects no improvement in the industry for the rest of 2008.

Winnebago profit was down 73 percent in the third quarter of 2007.

The company sells motor homes under the Winnebago, Itasca and ERA brand names.

CEO Bob Olson said that dealers are cutting their inventories, a trend he expects to continue, which further reduces sales.

Winnebago is forced to offer discounts because of competitors pricing.

The industry has seen a decrease in motor home sales of more than 26 percent for the first four months of this year and a decline of more than 30 percent in both March and April, typically strong sales months.

The company has cut employment by 830 workers, or 26 percent, through layoffs and attrition since the beginning of its fiscal year.


Deconstructing a Twinkie

A man reverse engineered a Twinkie and wrote a book about it. He must have been terribly bored.

Actually, it’s not reverse engineering when it comes to analyzing the exact ingredients in a food product. Deconstructing is the better term which is why Steve Ettlinger called his book, Twinkie, Deconstructed.

It all began when Steve Ettlinger’s daughter asked, “Daddy, what’s polysorbate 60?” while eating ice cream at the beach on a hot summer day. He was at a loss but was determined to find out.

This lead to a pop-science journey into the surprising ingredients found in dozens of common packaged foods, using the Twinkie label as a guide

The book contains some disturbing revelations. "It can be unsettling to learn just how closely the basic ingredients in processed foods resemble industrial materials," a reviewer of the book writes. "Corn dextrin, a common thickener, is also the glue on postage stamps and envelopes. Ferrous sulfate, the iron supplement in enriched flour and vitamin pills, is used as a disinfectant and weedkiller."

In his book, Steve Ettlinger explains the processes:

… by which raw materials are crushed, baked, fermented, refined and/or reacted into a totally unrecgoizable goo or powder with a strange name thich then appears on a label full of other incomprehensible and barley pronounceable ingredients.

Makes you want to rush right out and buy a 10-pack of Twinkies.

Hostess, which refused to cooperate with the book, says it bakes 500 million Twinkies a year.

Twinkies have been attacked by health conscious people for years but that doesn’t slow down the production of Twinkies. Hostess sells more and more of them each year.

Will this book slow down Twinkie sales? Probably not.

Will I stop eating Twinkies? Probably not.

I must say, Hostess made the chemicals in Twinkies really quite tasty.


Toilet paper wedding dress contest

This was the fourth year of the annual toilet paper wedding dress competition. The winner this year is pictured.

The six fashionable white wedding dresses displayed at Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum in New York's Times Square. They were all fashioned entirely of toilet paper.

Judges were from Ripley's Believe it or Not!, Charmin and Cheap-Chic-Weddings.com.


Jun 23, 2008

Some are teachers - some are educators

A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick at a private school. They would apply the lipstick in the restroom. After they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of lip prints. The custodian would remove lip marks from the mirror each night. The girls would put them back the next day.

Finally the principal decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls to the girls restroom and met them there with the custodian. The principal explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night.

To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the custodian to show the girls how much effort was required. He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and used it to clean the mirror.

Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.

Bumper stickers warn of aggressive drivers

A professor at Colorado State University in Fort Collins has found a behavioral link between bumper stickers and aggressive drivers.

Three horrors await Americans who get behind the wheel of a car for a family road trip this summer: the spiraling price of gas, the usual choruses of "are-we-there-yet?" -- and the road rage of fellow drivers.

Divine intervention might be needed for the first two problems, but science has discovered a solution for the third.

Watch out for cars with bumper stickers.

That's the surprising conclusion of a recent study by Colorado State University social psychologist William Szlemko.

Drivers of cars with bumper stickers, window decals, personalized license plates and other "territorial markers" not only get mad when someone cuts in their lane or is slow to respond to a changed traffic light, but they are far more likely than those who do not personalize their cars to use their vehicles to express rage -- by honking, tailgating and other aggressive behavior.

More of the story here.

Parolee drove stolen car to parole office

Marcus George complied with the law when he reported to a parole officer in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, shortly after his release from prison.

Problem was, he drove to the meeting in a stolen car.

George, 20, was released on parole last week after serving time on burglary and theft convictions.

Prosecutor Nicole Pugh said George and a friend went to a Pine Bluff dealership, where they took a Toyota on a test drive and didn't return it.

The pair also reportedly stole a Dodge Charger from a dealership in Sherwood, the car George was driving when he showed up to meet with his parole officer in Pine Bluff.

George was arrested at the parole office on suspicion of theft by receiving and theft of property.

The public defender's office was appointed to represent George.


Jun 22, 2008

Italian soccer fans

Italy fans smile before their Group C Euro 2008 soccer match against Romania at the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich, June 13, 2008.

Black Hawk helicopters rattle windows in downtown Denver

Denver residents were at first alarmed, then puzzled by the Black Hawk helicopters that rattled windows in downtown Denver on recent nights.

Helicopters with U.S. Special Operations Command continued to fly low over downtown Denver on Tuesday night on the second of five consecutive training nights.

The training exercises are designed to improve special operations forces' abilities to work within populated areas.

"Their doors were open and people were hanging out and appeared to be looking down," said downtown resident John Daley.

"It was eerie. You had a sense something was up," said Daley. "It was a bit unsettling."

Lt. Steve Ruh, U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman, said the training is related to the continued fight against terrorism, but he declined to give any specifics.


Trip down Memory Lane with Democrat leaders

(click on picture to see and hear their trip down “memory lane”)