Bars I Used To Go To

Bars I used to go to when I lived in in Columbus, Ohio in the 1970's.

  1. Alrosa Villa
  2. Zacharia's Redeye Saloon
  3. Positively Fourth Street
  4. Moonshine Co-Op (yes, a co-op bar!)
  5. Ruby Tuesday's (this was way before the restaurant chain)
  6. Dick's Den
  7. Char Bar
  8. The Agora
  9. Rick's Cafe Americain
  10. Mary Mo's Stop 40 Lounge


Common Side Effects of Zoloft

From the "Commonly Asked Questions About Zoloft" section of www.zoloft.com. Remember, taking Zoloft is supposed to make you feel better.

  1. upset stomach
  2. trouble sleeping
  3. diarrhea
  4. dry mouth
  5. sexual side effects
  6. feeling unusually sleepy or tired
  7. tremor
  8. indigestion
  9. increase of sweating
  10. feeling agitated
  11. decreased appetite

Rather-Saddam Interview

I watched the robot Dan Rather interview Saddam Hussein last night.

Beforehand I thought, "How interesting and informative it would be to hear the words come directly from the evil dictators mouth". It was less than informative and somewhat disappointing.

Saddam sounded like an uneducated, second-rate city councilman who's found religion.

When asked a direct question he was evasive in that annoying "politician" way. You know, his mouth was moving, and words were coming out but he wasn't saying anything useful.

Saddam knew his image would be seen by people in his neighboring countries so he invoked the name of Allah on several occasions to explain away his lack of real answers. "... it's in the hands of Allah..." blah, blah, blah. He was speaking to like-minded people, fellow uneducated religious fanatics in a language they could understand.

I suppose Rather did an adequate job. He tried to ask the questions he thought typical Americans would. He wasn't exactly an attack dog, but he was working in a difficult position. He tried to stay in the background and not make himself part of the story, but wasn't completely successful.

The interview confirmed what I already felt about Saddam. He is a lying, criminal, killer who rose to power, not through wit, but through ruthless slaughter. The sooner he and his sick family are exploded, the better.


Bleach Burnout

When I was a kid in high school I worked at Colonel Sanders' Kentucky Fried Chicken. This was long before it was known as KFC and before it was owned by Pepsi. It was owned by a 1970's business conglomerate called Heublein. I mean, Colonel Harlan Sanders was still alive. He didn't own it but he still made personal appearances for the company.

We had an assistant manager called Ernie Biggs. Ernie was a couple of years older than me, which means he was still only about 17 or 18 years old. Ernie was a pretty cool guy. He was about 6 feet tall and smiled a lot. He had a face like a clown with a big nose, a big mouth, and a big head of curly hair that stuck out from under his paper hat. He wasn't mean, he didn't yell, and he would work as hard as us kitchen slaves would.

Ernie had a beautiful, blue 1968 Dodge Charger. It had front bucket seats and a center console. I think it had the Chrysler 383 cubic inch engine, which would have made it less powerful and sexy than the 440. It was still plenty powerful though. The only drawback was it had an automatic transmission. Real hot rods all had stick shifts (four on the floor).

Friday and Saturday nights at "the Colonel" were particularly fun. Usually, there were two or three guys in the kitchen, frying chicken, making mashed potatoes and trying to keep things clean. There would be two or three girls working the front, packing chicken and running the cash register. The manager or assistant manager would help out wherever they were needed. We were open until 9pm Friday and Saturday nights which means we didn't get the place cleaned up and closed until about 10 or 10:30. Back then staying out until 10:30 was a big deal to someone who was only 15 years old.

Because keeping the store clean was important we always had plenty of bleach and detergent around. In fact, our store won an award for being the cleanest in our district. I won a duffel bag. I was surprised to win a prize for doing what should be done anyway.

It was a hot summer night, Friday or Saturday, after all the work was done. The girls had gone home and a few of us guys were hanging around the back of the store talking. Ernie Biggs got the big idea that he wanted to do a bleach burnout with his Charger, just like at the dragstrip.

He gets in his car, starts it up, and pulls around the back of the store. One of the guys takes a bottle of bleach and liberally pours it under the front of both back tires. Ernie brake-jacks the Charger, holds the brake while working the accelerator to get the back tires spinning. The torque of the engine causes the car to lift up and to the right a little bit. The engine strains and emits a low roar while the brakes hold the car from lurching forward. The back tires begin spinning faster and faster.

Great, billowing clouds of white smoke fill the rear wheel wells and flow from the back of the car. It looks just like cars at the strip. The smoke fills the whole area. It slowly rises up and fills the air at the back of the store. We all laugh and clap and cheer.

No one called the cops. No one got in trouble. We just had a good time. A little later we all went home.


Bad for Business

Could news get any worse for investors and small businesses?

Today we have a report that consumer confidence is at it's lowest point in ten years. Of course, that touched off a flurry of selling on Wall Street. (Although, as of 2:00 pm EST the Dow was only down by 30 points.) Fears of war are also making the markets jittery.

Oil prices are nearing a two-year high. That's not good news going into the Spring and Summer travel seasons.

It seems a though unemployment has leveled off, but the economy isn't creating new jobs either. A lot of unemployed people have exhausted their benefits and have given up looking for work.

Many state and local governments are in the red and some economists say the president's tax plan won't do enough to get the nation's economy moving again.

I'm sure there's a silver lining here somewhere. The only thing I can think of is this:

The US economy was a roaring engine in the late 1990's. All that talent and infrastructure is still here in the US. This is just part of a cycle of boom and bust that is inherent to the economy.

Happy days and full employment may not be right around the corner, but this economic slump can't last forever. There's pent up demand and excess production capacity that will break out sooner or later.

It's just a matter of time.


I Am a Hologram. Damn Proud, Too!


I've been called many things in my life ... but never a hologram. A good friend of mine implied that I may be a hologram ... and that we all may be mere holograms. He sent me a link to a physics paper called: The Holographic Principle and M-theory.

Back in the 60's or 70's being called a hologram is what we thought an insult would sound like in the 21st century. But now that it IS the 21st century, it turns out to be a compliment.

What I found particularly interesting was this quote:
The Yang-Mills theory has gauge group SU(N), where N is very large, and it is said to be `supersymmetric' because it has a symmetry which allows you to exchange bosons and fermions.
Those physicists are an absolute laugh riot! I mean, really! Exchanging bosons and fermions! The next thing you know they will be telling us that the physics behind rocket propulsion are just the farts of God.

Physics can be really big fun. A very creative bunch. The coolest theory I ever heard was called Oogenesis. Oogenesis states that the entire universe, all the matter seen and unseen, was created in an instant ... out of nothing. In the minutes and hours before the Big Bang there was such an abundance of sheer nothing, that there suddenly had to be something.

Think about that for a while.


The Daytona 500 Explained

I just read a fascinating article called Fortune 500, Meet Daytona 500: What NASCAR can teach us about business  in Slate that points out the similarities between NASCAR racing and game theory.

It explains how the complexity between competition and cooperation makes winners in both big business and the superspeedway races of NASCAR. Here's a quote from the article.
Drafting raises all sorts of delightful game theory possibilities. As long as two racers stay in a partnership, they can catch up with or pass other cars that are not drafting. Partnering doesn't bring home the trophy, though. To win, a racer must defect and pass his opponents, but as David Ronfeldt, the author of the Rand paper explains, when "a racer in a line wants to break out and get ahead he needs at least one partner. If he swings out alone, he is bound to lose momentum" and lose the race, leading to the NASCAR axiom that "it takes two to pass one." So, cars engage in a delicate dance of game theory and false allegiances, forming partnerships at 190 mph to overtake the leader until a betrayal or defection leaves one car falling back while the other partners with a new rival.
For years I have been a fan of the more esoteric, European forms of racing: Formula One, GT cars, Rally but I was never a fan of the NASCAR.

I knew that cars had to draft one another to get to the front and anyone who left the draft would lose places. I never knew about the subtle alliances that were made and broken during the course of a race and how important those alliances are. Kind of like Survivor! This article showed a hidden, very appealing aspect of NASCAR I had not known. It hasn't , however, tuned me into a rabid NASCAR fan.

Very good. Go read the whole article.


I Like It!

I really like this blog template. I mean really. I had to darken up the text color. Now I can fill it out with links and some other stuff.

And of course, posts. Thanks to blogstyles.com.

Hey, what happens when I type some text in this "Extended Entry" window?

What You Know About

They say write what you know about so I should write about car stereo installation, radio news reporting, frying chicken, bicycle riding, and copy machine operation.

How about some interesting vignettes?

Like the time I was at a party and I saw a guy walk through the middle of the living room with no pants on. He had his t-shirt, shoes, and socks on. He was carrying his drink ... wearing the goofiest smile. But no pants.

And the strangest thing was no one was startled or really seemed to notice. There was a lot of smoking, drinking, and talking going on ... the music was blaring, but not one head turned when this guy, known for doing outrageous things, walked through with his dong hanging out.


Database Down

My database was down last night, so I lost a great entry about the top five Yahoo most emailed stories. It took quite a few minutes to put together. The post had urls in it. I hope this database problem doesn't become a regular thing.

I Hate My Look!

I'm busy studying the Movable Type doc pages so I can change this ugly template!

Thank You.

That is all.

Poor strategy ... perhaps

You can argue about the numbers, but it's certain that there were quite a few antiwar protesters in the streets over the weekend. Some nations, like France and Germany, are arguing to give UN weapons inspectors more time. Let's suppose we give inspections more time. Weapons are found and destroyed and Iraq is disarmed peacefully. This still leaves Saddam Hussein in power.

I'm pretty sure that the Bush administration wants Saddam out. However, the administration framed the whole confrontation in terms of disarming Iraq and Saddam. Would the administration have had a stronger argument now had they originally framed it as an attempt to oust a ruthless dictator?

For sure Saddam's an evil man and needs to be removed. The administration was counting on lack of cooperation from Saddam as the excuse to take him out. That is, I think, the real reason for going to war in Iraq. Not disarmament but removal of Saddam.

So if Saddam grudgingly complies, we'll have a disarmed Iraq (maybe), but we're still stuck with an evil man in power.

A Pleasant Surprise

This is my first day back to work after a week off. I was very tired and sluggish this morning. However, the traffic was light on the way to work. It was not the usual stress filled battle. Then I remembered that today is President's Day. Many government offices are closed today. That explains the light traffic.


It's Sunday

It looks like George W. has gotten himself into a tight spot. Opposition to a war in Iraq is growing. Far from weak, it looks like the UN is strong in it's opposition. The antiwar protests this weekend got a lot of exposure in the media.

It will be interesting to see how this drama plays out in the next few weeks.


I'm Still Not Happy...

Although I like the new css called "Gettysburg".  I'm still not completely happy with the look and style of The Howell Report.

I will be tweaking it over the next few days (weeks).

Here's a test URL: CNN.

I want this entry to show up!

I hope this entry shows up on my weblog. This is the second entry I've typed but I haven't seen any text yet.

First Post

This is the first post to the all new Howell Report.