Monday, July 25, 2011

"How is a 90 MPH fastball like God?"

This is a good one. It's not all that funny or whitty but it might make you say hummm.

Yale physicist named Robert Adair did a study on the possibility of hitting a 90 mile an hour fastball and here's what he found (Bear with me to the end).

It takes 0.4 or 4 tenths of a second for a baseball to travel the distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate.

It takes 0.05 or 5 hundredths of a second for the batter to decide whether or not to swing at the pitch.

It takes 0.2 or 2 tenths of a second for the batter to decide where the ball is going and how to swing the bat.

It takes 0.2 or 2 tenths of a second for the batter to swing and hit the ball.

If you're doing your math, you'll see that it takes a batter 0.05 or 5 hundredths of a second longer to swing at a fastball than it does for the ball to pass the plate.

In fact, professor Adair found that the margin for error is so small, the batter could actually close his eyes after the first 5 hundredths of a second, and have the exact same chance of hitting the ball.

His conclusion? Hitting a 90mph fast pitch is physically impossible.

It's funny how much faith we put in science and statistics, taking them as absolute and faultless truth.

We trust science to tell us what’s real and what constitutes truth, yet time and time again we see science failing to live up to its own standards. We can all turn on a TV and see a batter hit a 90 or even a 100 mph pitch, but science tells us it's impossible. Science says there is no such thing as God, but I see the results of his labor every day. Should I lose faith just because science says so? Should every major league batter quit hitting fastballs because physics says it’s impossible? I don't think so.

I know this theory doesn't prove there's a God, nothing can do that but faith. But it does prove that science can be wrong, and for the record I don’t think God has made a mistake yet. Open your eyes and believe what you see. Use logic, use faith, and use your heart; you will find the truth.

Thanks for letting me stand on my soapbox for a few minutes. I hope to be back to wearing it on my head again next week. Have a great day!

Thanks to pastor Matt Manning for the idea and the inspiration.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

“Never trust a dog to watch your food”

Well I’m a bit late this week coming up with a blog, and admittedly I had some trouble coming up with a subject to write about. I just sat in front of my computer, staring at the screen, then it hit me. I don’t mean an idea popped into my head like some sort of fairy tale epiphany. No it was a tail of a completely different sort. It was my dog’s tail. The tail of my 100 lb. lab/newfoundland mix, right across my shins. Her name is Daisy and she is my Nemesis.

Now don’t get me wrong I’m not some sort of dog hater. I like dogs. In fact we have two other dogs that I love. They have little behavioral issues, but they are basically good dogs and they didn’t grow to the size of a cave troll before they were one.

Daisy, on the other hand, has several little quirks that make her a bit less than endearing. She sheds hair in chunks the size of a small rat, and her breath is only marginally better that the issues emanating from her other end. She sounds like an air raid siren every time we let her outside, thanks to separation anxiety, and when I let her in, she shows her joy by skidding through the house like a bull, knocking over chairs, trash cans and small children in the process.

Yes, Daisy is a little bundle of joy, but all these things do not compare to her real problem; Daisy likes to eat things.

She eats big things, little things, messy things, and weird things. I wonder if she was a goat in another life. She eats my daughter’s toys and seems particularly partial to her crayons, making poop day quite festive. She once ate a five pound bag of raw potatoes. Poop day that week was not quite so festive. She ate two pounds of skittles, then threw them up on our carpet in an all new rainbow of colors. She once managed to empty an industrial container of taco seasoning on the upstairs landing, making it forever resemble the sight of a mass murder. All these were great fun but my favorite was her most recent snack, a large canvas apron.

One day while we were gone she worked her way into one of the child/dog proof cabinets and pulled out our old BBQ apron. It was about four feet long and wide enough to cover a blimp so eating it was no small feat. She must have seen it as some sort of extreme food challenge, but she would have lost because the only thing she couldn’t finish was the patch right in the middle that said “Tabasco”. Must have been too spicy for her.

We were all a bit baffled when we came home and saw this remnant sitting on the kitchen floor. None of us wanted to believe she could have eaten the whole thing, but the lack of any other evidence told us she had indeed achieved the impossible.

When my wife left for the vet I explained that we really couldn’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars saving this dog. So two nights in the pet hospital and thousands of dollars later, I get my dog back, rearing to go, with an all new gut and an appetite to match. She’s home now, healthy as ever and I would like to say she has learned her lesson, but I doubt it. I can’t wait to see what she will eat next. Maybe a case of Easter egg dye, or perhaps an entire lazy-boy chair, I don’t know. Whatever it is I’m sure it will be an adventure and I will be back here to tell you the tale.

Monday, July 11, 2011

“Beware Of Computer Programmers That Carry Screwdrivers Part 2”

For those of you that are reading this blog for the first time, you might want to go back in the history and catch the first edition to this story. It will make part two a bit more relevant. For those of you that have read part one, or just want to start now, here is another great chronicle in the life of my departments tech support.

So my boss comes to me this morning with dreadful news; his computer stopped working. I suppose the news that his computer was shot wasn’t all that bad, but it meant I would have to deal with tech support, and that could always make a bad seem day longer.

After trying a few quick fixes myself, I decided I’d better just unhook it and take it over to the tech office personally. Anything would be better than listening to another rendition of “I Write the Songs.” by our old friend Barry.

When I got there I was met by a kid looking to be about the age of 12.

When I say met, I mean he looked at me, then at the computer, then back at me. Then he pushed a trouble ticket across the counter, tossing a pen in behind it for good measure. I asked the jovial little fellow if I should fill it out, and he nodded with a grunt then disappeared around the corner.

It took me about a minute to fill out my name, address, and issue, as described in the instructions, then I got to wait about fifteen minutes for the kid to come back. I would have been irate but I was in luck. The wait came with a show and it was so good I had to share it with all of you.

While I waited, I watched two other technicians work in the area behind the counter. The phone rang and one of the technicians picked it up. He listed to the caller for a few seconds then gave the standard answer we all know from part one; say it with me…

“Ummmm hold on a second.”

I got a little chuckle from the answer then I waited eagerly to see what was going to happen next. As soon as Techie 1 hit the hold button, he leaned over to Techie 2 to ask her for another technician’s extension. Well call him Tom.

Techie 2 rattled off the extension then went back whatever she was doing. Techie 1 got back on the phone, transferred the call then hung up. Less than a second later a phone rang in the next cubicle. Techie 2 stands up, walks over to the empty cubicle and answers…

“Tech support, this is Tom’s office can I help you”

I could not help but laugh out loud. They had just transferred a call to a desk three feet away then answered it themselves. You would think this would be the end of the idiocy but there’s more.

Techie 2 listens to what is undoubtedly the same thing Techie 1 just heard 5 seconds earlier, then gave him the standard…

“Ummmm Hold on a second.”

Techie 2 puts the caller on hold and peeks out from behind the cubicle.

“Do you know where Tom is?” She says.

“No, I think he’s coming in late”

Techie 2 gets back on the phone, pretends to take a message, then hangs up. She walks back to her desk, goes back to work and neither of them say another word.

About this time, my technician drug himself around the corner to collect my computer, and I left astounded that neither of the other technicians found their actions strange. I still don’t know if they performed the ritual on purpose, or it they had no clue of what they’d done. Either way I went back to my office laughing, hardly able to wait for evening to come so I could write this blog.

Have a great week and happy computing!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

“It’s All Fun And Games Until It Catches On Fire, Then It’s Just Fun”

Funny thing that just about all firemen (and pyromaniacs) have in common, we all love fire. You would think a firefighter would hate it, after all we have dedicated our lives to fighting the beast, but love it we do. As crazy as it seems, to us, there’s nothing more fun than running into a burning building to fight a fire.

The fascination seems to start early in life and unfortunately; most of us began the love affair with a match of our own. Almost every firefighter I know has a childhood tale about that day he accidentally lit the (fill in the blank here) on fire. For my dad it was the living room sofa; apparently he thought the best way to put out a burning newspaper was to shove it under the couch. For my friend it was his father’s garage (OUCH!). For me it was my neighbor’s clubhouse.

We had the best intentions in mind on that cold Colorado day, but as we all know, good intentions and teenage boys don’t always add up to the best of ideas. We worked away inside our freshly constructed clubhouse, slathering the walls with a fresh coat of beige, and we noticed that it was a bit too chilly for the paint to dry. We put our heads together, made a quick trip to the barn and before you knew it, we had ourselves a nifty little stove built out of a coffee can and PVC pipe.

O.K., in hindsight using PVC for a chimney wasn’t the best choice, but not to worry, the place burned down long before it ever became a problem.

Anyway, we filled the can with leaves and branches, careful to keep the extra kindling away from the potential flame, then we struck a match and threw it in. One match after another went into the tiny opening we’d fashioned, but we could not seem to produce anything more than a candle sized flame.

After a few moments, frustration set in, and we both decided our stove needed a little boost. Another quick trip to the barn and we had just what we needed. As I neared the clubhouse, I slowed to steady the paper cup full of gasoline, (after all I did want to be safe!) but despite my best efforts, I bumped the cup when I ducked in the door, and that was all it took.

I can still remember the trail of flame flashing to the foam rubber and kindling we had so “carefully” stacked in the opposite corner. We both tried to stomp out the growing fire but it was no use. It spread across the floor then crawled up the wall. We both looked at each other then burst out the tiny door to make our escape.

Now there is some good news, we lived in the country, which meant the closest building was about fifty yards away. Unfortunately no close buildings meant no close water, so the race was on to put the fire out before it could reach the cottonwood trees looming high above.

I went for the hose. I yanked it from its hook on the house and sprinted for the flames, but before I closed half the distance, it jerked me from my feet like a dog reaching the end of its leash. I scrambled to my feet and tried to arc the stream over, but it fell short, barely touching the fifteen foot flames. All hope was lost. Then my friend rounded the corner carrying his horses feed bucket and hope recharged my panic once again. We filled it up and he raced to the fire. Water trailed his every step and by the time he made it to the inferno he managed to throw about a teaspoon onto the flames. Apparently the bucket, riddled with holes, was more fit to hold grain than water.

It was our last shot. He dropped the bucket and backed to where I stood, watching in awe as the flames grew ever higher. It licked at the treetops, teasing us with the possible catastrophe, but in the end, they were little more than singed and only the birds were the wiser.

Despite having firefighters for fathers, neither of us thought to call the fire department, so we were lucky it burned itself out before it did any real damage. We worked like dogs for the rest of the day, wetting the pile down (with a less leaky bucket this time) and getting rid of the evidence.

We hid the half burned plywood in the shed and buried the blackened remnants under the trees we almost destroyed. I don’t know if his parents ever got wise to what happened, but I mentioned it to mine many maaaannny years later, and they said they never had a clue.

So while you’re out there watching your kids (or the great BIG kid) this fourth of July, pay attention. Be careful. Keep them and everyone around them safe. My friend and I got away with our little adventure uninjured, but many do not. Keep a sharp eye, you just might have a fireman in the making, and if you do, keep them away from the matches and gasoline.