Sunday, February 04, 2007

Roman Numerals

Roman Numerals.

This afternoon I had the TV on the channel for the Super Bowl football game. The official title for the game was "Super Bowl XLI".

"XLI" - - That means: 41. I got to wondering about roman numerals so I went to my computer and brought up the Wikipedia article for Roman Numerals. Wow, what an interesting article. Not only does the article indicate how the character symbols are supposed to be used but it mentions how the symbols have changed their usage through the centuries.

Again, I found the article very interesting. If you would like to read it you can find it at:

Near the end of the article is a link to an article titled "Roman arithmetic". That, too, I found interesting since I've always wondered how you could do math using roman numerals.

What is the roman numeral for the number 4?
Most commonly it is IV. But in times past IIII was also used.

Even today it is very common for clocks using roman numerals to use IIII for the four o'clock hour instead if IV. Why? The above article offers some interesting explanations.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Son Pilots Jet

My oldest son, John, recently had a thrilling experience. He got to fly in the co-pilot's seat on a jet aircraft, a Cessna Citation CJ3.

The flight was a reward for special work he had done at his college, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona.

John flew in the co-pilot's seat, the front right seat. In the pilot seat (left front seat) was Phil Boyer, the president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).

John got to pilot the jet aircraft enroute from the Prescott airport to the Winslow, Arizona, airport. Then John got to land the jet airplane himself at Winslow.

John is now in his fourth year of college at Embry-Riddle in the professional pilot program. Next May he will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science.

I also have a private pilot's license and I thoroughly enjoy flying airplanes. I don't fly very often because it is quite expensive. Fortunately, John has had wonderful opportunities in aviation. He attended a high school with an aviation focus and got his private pilot license (paid for by the school system) a few weeks before he got his high school diploma. He also got to attend two summer camps at Embry-Riddle before applying for admission.

I also belong to an organization named the National Association of Priest Pilots (NAPP). We have priest members who do all kinds of things in aviation. There are priests in Africa flying planes to support medical missions, priests in New Mexico who fly medical supplies into Mexico, priests who are certified flight instuctors (and train some of those medical missionaries), we even have priests who are commercial airline transport pilots, and priests in Alaska who weekly fly to small towns for church services.

Here is the priest pilots web site:

Here is a picture of the priest pilots annual meeting at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association headquarters building in 2005 (can you find me?):
Flying Padres visit AOPA

I am really proud of my son John (and somewhat jealous!).

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Misspelled Words

Today I came accross a list of the top ten most misspelled city names (apparently only U.S. cities are on this list). Of course, my city is on the list.

1. Pittsburgh
2. Tucson
3. Cincinnati
4. Albuquerque
5. Culpeper
6. Asheville
7. Worcester
8. Manhattan
9. Phoenix
10. Niagara Falls

(I note which cities of some of my readers are NOT on that list: Ottawa, Merced, Vancouver, Richmond, San Francisco.)

So then I looked for lists of regular (American) English language words that are commonly misspelled. I found a lot of such lists. Here are two lists.

One list:
1. minuscule
2. millennium
3. embarrassment
4. occurrence
5. accommodate
6. perseverance
7. supersede
8. noticeable
9. harass
10. inoculate

Another list:
1. independent
2. accommodation
3. definitely
4. receive
5. opportunities
6. their
7. occurred
8. information
9. official
10. activities

This site produced the first list and has a lot of interesting comments:

Other common misspellings that I run across as I read blogs are really errors where people don't know the proper usage of certain words.
than vs. then
their vs. there vs. they're
it's vs. its vs. it is
your vs. you're vs. you are
were vs. where
I vs. me
to vs. too
are vs. our

Now for the gender-specific vs. politically correct (!):
policeman vs. police officer
fireman vs. fire fighter
mailman vs. letter carrier
actress vs. actor

This could go on and on (and I am sure some commenters will add their favorite spelling gripes - - please do! Canadians and UK'ers are excused!!!!)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Kid, heat, car keys - DANGER

A friend of mine who works at a daycare center e-mailed me with an interesting account of something that happened there yesterday. I told her that I would post it on my blog for the "whole world" to read as a public service announcement.

Today at work, a woman came and picked up her sixteen-month-old, carried the child (holding her car keys) to the car, strapped her into her carseat, and, hoping to avoid a tantrum until the last possible second, let the child continue holding the car keys while she got herself into the car, intending to reach back and retrieve them after sitting down and buckling her own seatbelt.

In the split second between the mother shutting the back door and opening the front door, the child pushed the "lock" button on the remote. The heat index here today was something like 110 deg F. (43 deg. C.).

The mother at first tried to get the child to unlock the door, but the little girl laughed and threw the keys onto the floor. The mom ran back to the building, and we called 911. It took five minutes for the police to respond, and then they said that due to some kind of civil-liberties b.s. from our buddy Dubya, they were not allowed to have "Slim Jims" anymore. They didn't want to break the window except as a last resort, because they were afraid of injuring the baby with flying glass. They wanted to wait for the fire department to arrive; apparently the fire department still has "Slim Jims." It took another five minutes for the fire department to get there. They tried the "Slim Jim." No luck. They tried a very long, fluorescent plastic thingy, which didn't work either. The director of the center ran inside to look for a hammer, because we were all starting to think about those ads that say how your dog can die in a hot car in something like fifteen minutes, even WITH the window cracked (the windows of the car in question were fully closed; fortunately the woman had parked in the shade, but it was still f#@*%+# HOT). I have a rescue hammer in my minivan, and mentioned that, and we were just on our way to get it when, after nearly ten minutes of trying, the fire department guys were able to pop the lock on one of the doors and get the baby (who was sweating profusely and not all that happy, but fully alert and apparently none the worse for wear) out of the vehicle. Fortunately, our staff R.N. and L.P.N., and a parent who is a doctor were all standing by; they took the child inside and put ice packs under her armpits, and gave her a bottle of Pedialyte. Everybody neglected the front desk and swarmed into the nursing center sniffling and cursing the useless police and our idiot president, and assuring the distraught mother that we had all, countless times, done pretty much the same thing.

Never again. My kids aren't touching my car keys until they are old enough to drive. Maybe not even then. And don't you let yours, either.


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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Life Experiences Meme

Life Experiences Meme

Bold the ones you've done..

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink (I counted heads first!)
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain (The "hill" had "Mountain" as part of its name -- Phoenix North Mountain.)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said 'I love you' and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise (Too many times!)
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne.
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can (for fun, of course)
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking (every time I've ever danced)
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment (much more than just a moment)
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love (Mary P.'s comment: THAN! It's "THAN", you idiot who wrote this, not "THEN". Sheesh.)
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your cds
57. Pretended to be a superhero (my kids were young, to them Dad was always a hero!)
58. Sung karaoke ("Sung" is debatable)
59. Lounged around in bed all day (being unemployed has its benefits)
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced (So, so, sad.)
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert" (Ask me about "what"!)
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children.
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived.
105. Wrote articles for a large publication (It says "wrote" not "published"!)
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane (My favorite hobby - - but expensive.)
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild (Be sure to have an expert along so that you don't eat poison ones.)
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours (Pneumonia can be a real downer.)
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts (Many, many.)
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident (Technically, not my fault!)
150: Saved someone's life (Yes, it was my job, but what a feeling.)

I am adding some to the list:
151. Been present for the birth of your own child (The most moving moment of my life.)
152. Officially retired from a job
153. Been lifted by a cable and winch up into a rescue helicopter (I used to be the instructor demonstrating it.)
154. Driven an emergency vehicle with flashing lights and siren
155. Eaten rattlesnake (When you live in Arizona...)

Mary P. started this meme.

Wow, there is a story behind every one of those, even the ones not in BOLD.

If you ask I will tell the story(ies).

- - Jerry

Friday, June 30, 2006

Congrats to pre 1980's children

My sister (born 1965) sent me the following:



First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while
they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't
get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored
lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and
when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks
we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE
actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with
sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because...... WE WERE ALWAYS

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were
back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day.
And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride
down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into
the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at
all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound,
no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat
rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no
lawsuits from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from
dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks
and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not
put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or
rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who
didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.
They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem
solvers and inventors ever!
The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW
And YOU are one of them!


(Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Back home

A week of visiting and traveling has come to an end.

Before this past school year began, my ex-wife moved across the country to Virginia. She took my youngest son, Jason, with her. This was his last year of high school (12th grade).

On Wednesday, June 7th, Jason's high school had their graduation ceremony (in Richmond, Virginia, USA). I was really glad to be there. His mother and I cheered him from the crowd.

Jason turned 18 years old two months ago. Being legally an adult, he decided that after graduation he wanted to move back to my house in Arizona. He has acquired too much stuff to just hop on an airplane, so we rented a U-Haul truck and spent all day Thursday loading up his furniture, TV, computers, and many boxes of other stuff.

On Friday, June 9th, we climbed into the U-Haul truck and headed out.

The phone call.
On Saturday, June 10th, my cell phone rang and it indicated that the call was coming from my home in Phoenix. Had my other son visited my house? No, it was a Phoenix Police officer. He said that my neighbor had found my house's front door kicked in and the door was open. The police officer said that they had searched the house and no one was there. He said that the place looked a bit ransacked. I told him that was really my fault since the house was really a mess when I left. I asked him if any police officers were injured climbing over all of the messy stuff that I had everywhere. He laughed and said, "No."

I called my oldest son, John, in Prescott, Arizona, where he is going to college and where he is staying for the summer sessions. John immediately headed for Phoenix (about two hours away). When John got to the house he reported that he did not see anything stolen - - TV's, stereo, and several computers were all in place. I called my insurance company and they sent a contractor over to patch up the front door. After that, John loaded the more important computers into his car and went back to Prescott.

Since we were then anxious to get home and see the "mess" at my house, Jason and I drove longer days in order to get home sooner. We did not really have much of a travel plan but since I rarely travel across the country I had hoped to be able to make several stops along the way. Instead we concentrated on distance each day.

Yesterday, June 13th, we arrived back in Arizona. First we stopped in Prescott to pick up the computers from my oldest son. Then we arrived at home. After going through the patched up door we saw that the house looked mostly like I had left it - - a mess. But there was added mess in the bedrooms where all of the dresser drawers had been emptied out. (Looking for hidden money or jewelry? - - No, not in my house!)

We still have not discovered anything taken during the break-in, except, I would swear that there were two 2 Liter bottles of Dr. Pepper in the refrigerator when I left (because that is Jason's favorite drink), but we only found one bottle in the refrigerator when we got here. So I am declaring that the only property taken by the thieves was a bottle of Dr. Pepper. (I actually told that to the insurance claims adjuster this morning. Along with the front door replacement that should be under my $500 insurance deductible.)

The big project for today is to unload the U-Haul truck. Next project: clean up the house!!!!!