Are you using your leap day wisely?

It only comes around every four years so are you using your leap day wisely?

Just in case you missed that day in fourth grade where they explain what the occasional February 29th is all about, here’s a quick refresher…  The smart guys who created the calendars we used could not take into account the actual speed the earth (that planet we currently live on) goes around the sun. It really takes more than 365 days. If there was no leap day summer would start to hit some time in March or maybe even January. 

To fix this they add an extra day every 4 years. But they do skip in years that end in “00”. That’s another level to the astrological complication.

So this year you get an extra day. Doesn’t it always seem that you never have enough time to get everything done. Well this year you actually get an extra day to work on your list of things you wanted to get done.

If you are paid on a monthly salary your boss gets you to work an extra day for free. Maybe you were smart and called in “sick” today so you could really put your extra day to good use. If you didn’t call in sick put it on your calendar right now for leap day 2016. You only get so many of these extra days in your lifetime. Why waste them toiling at some desk?

What about all the people born on February 29th?

No they don’t only get a birthday every four years. They would be over 80 years old before they could buy booze. What happens is when they create a birth certificate for someone born on February 29th they let the parents choose if they want February 28th or March 1st on the paperwork. This will guarantee them a birthday every year.

How did you get the most out of your extra day?



What and who really decides who gets into the best universities?

If you are a parent who has ever lived through or is about to live through the one year+ thrill ride know as college admissions then you may be watching this interesting story.

This week the Supreme Court, which twice has upheld the constitutionality of some racial preferences in university admissions, agreed to hear a challenge to the University of Texas’ use of race as one factor in a “holistic” admissions policy.

No one really knows exactly what colleges are looking for when they select those who will attend their institutions. You have to assume good grades, desire, and past accomplishments all play into the magic formula of who is in and who is out. At some top universities only 7% of the applicants get in. That’s around 14,000 kids fighting for one of the 1,000 seats at some universities. These kids have all worked their selves hard to get the best grades possible in the most challenging high school classes. And in their limited spare time they have competed in sports and heaped on hundreds of hours of community service.

But it all comes down to some committee deciding if they get into the college of their choice.

And… Oh yah… for the last 40 years if they were a member of some minority they probably received some special consideration.

When you get down to it, affirmative action for college admission is probably a good thing. Many bright, hardworking, students may not even apply to some of the best colleges if they did not get this small advantage.  In the long run that would truly be a loss for us all.

Michigan primary could end things for someone…
But who?

It seems like it could come down to next Tuesday on this Republican primary circus. This has definitely been one of the oddest primary seasons in history and whoever comes out as the winner of this process may not really be a winner. 

That person could emerge with so many scars they may not be able to do the job for their party in the general election.

Right now the media has been quoting polls that show Romney and Santorum in a dead heat. Interesting since this was a former home state for Mr. Romney.

Do you think Mr. Romney’s position that GM should not have been bailed out by the government is affecting his popularity in Michigan? Maybe he thought he was going to edge out his competitors before things got to the motor state. That would be a big whoops on someone’s part.  Sometimes I think these guys live in some alternate universe.

I’m surprized Romney is even allowed to set foot in Michigan with his position on the GM bailout. How many bazillion workers would have lost their jobs if the government would not have done the bailout?

Romney has said that the government should have let private investor groups bail out General Motors but smart people have said that no one was in line to make the save. The company, its parts suppliers and possibly the entire US auto industry could have evaporated over a weekend.

It’s easy to say it was good for the Government to bail out GM since at this point GM has either paid back most of the money or converted it to GM stock. It is looking like a three-way win for Washington.

Tuesday night all will be known.

Sometimes I think the media created these kind of “dead heat” situations to keep people interested.

 And… Why do we need more debates. This has been one of the most debated primaries of all time. I guess the good thing is that whoever comes out of this they will be ready to debate Obama.

Waiting, waiting, waiting in airports…


Guess what I’m doing?

Waiting in an airport. I wonder how much productivity is lost from people waiting in airports. My current wait time is over two hours for the flight I need to get on.

Sure there are ways to make this time productive. Like creating a blog entry. The marvels of modern technology have really helped chew up wait time. Back in the old days you could basically read the paper or read a book. Now with “tools” like the iPad I am using you can do almost anything you could do at your desk at home. I wonder if the sale in airports of trashy but entertaining novels has dropped since the use of computers and tablets has gone up?

Looking around there are still a few Luddite holdouts using laptop computers. These power hungry devices seem to drain their batteries much fast in airports. Which leads to the search and eventual wrestling matches over power sources. The particular gate I am waiting at have two plugs for the 50+ people waiting here. I have already seen one lady making serious aggressive moves on some guys staked out power receptical territory. This may not work out well for the guy since the woman is bigger than him and looks like she will not hesitate using her laptop at a weapon.

But the most fun fun is people watching. They each have there own story. Who knows what it is? But later tonight we will all have one thing in common we will all have some reason to get to the same city at the same time.

But for now we are waitings… And waiting… And waiting…



More on the perfect omelet…

This omelet stuff is serious business. Just to recap for those of you who have just joined us…  I lived in Chicago for many years and was able to enjoy omelets at a place called Lou Mitchell’s when ever the need arised. But now that I live over 750 miles from Chicago in a place where people just don’t take breakfast seriously, I am determined to duplicate the Lou Mitchell’s omelet in my own kitchen.

This perfect omelet has been eluding me for many years but I am getting closer.

A perfect Lou Mitchell’s omelet is fluffy and packed with the fillings of your choice. I usually get the broccoli and cheddar version.

I wish it was as easy to get a Lou Mitchell’s omelet as it is to get a White Castle slider. You can get White Castle’s burgers in just about any freezer case and the microwave up just fine. But it’s not so for omelets.

At this point I have tried a variety of methods to reproduce the Lou Mitchell’s omelet. Everything from trying different pans to adding pancake batter. The best method that has worked so far is whipping the whites up into a foam then folding in the yolks and finishing the omelet in the oven.

NOTE: Not of picture of me. I am invisible. You would only see the hat.

My last attempt was close except:

1) I cooked the eggs in the skillet too long because they were a little to “burned” when they came out of the oven.

2) I need to fold the yolk in more because the omelet was not uniformly fluffy. Part of the omelet was fluffy when other parts were more dense.

So for tomorrow mornings omelet experiment I will get the pan off the stove faster and instead of folding the yolks into the whipped whites I will run the mixer a few extra seconds and whip the yolks.

We’ll see how it works…

Who is that at Lou Mitchell's?

P.S. I will be earning this breakfast with a 10 Mile run bright and early Saturday morning.

P.S. #2 I will be making quick trip (In Sunday->out Monday) to Chicago but it will be nearly impossible to get to Lou’s for breakfast. I would need to wake up too early and possibly be late for my 9AM meeting. Is it worth the risk?


Could I be wrong on DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV)? Or is Warren Buffet wrong?

A few days ago I shared my thoughts on DirecTV customer service. I was not happy and thought the company was probably headed down the toilet.

Well… Since then Warren Buffet, the legendary investor, has announced that he is increasing his stake in DirecTV by five times to $1 Billion. And… The company has released some incredible earnings results.

The company posted a 16% jump in fourth quarter profits and is adding to its number of subscribers while cable operators are losing subscribers.

Sure… The company can offer some great deals to lure people away from their current cable company but can they hold onto the customers once those great rates expire and people realize how much the service really costs. And that doesn’t count the extras they might tack onto your bill and how channels you thought you were paying for disappear overnight.

I stand by my opinion about DirecTV.

Between their questionable business practices and pressure from other entertainment choices this company will probably start to feel some pain in a few years if not sooner.

So why did Warren Buffet increase his holding in DirecTV?

Even the best baseball player has a bad day.  As hundreds of thousands of DirecTV subscribers realize what they are really paying they will call their cable company and hop back over there.


The formula for the perfect Valentines card

With only minutes left before you need to head home to your spouse or significant other… Did you remember to pick up a Valentines card?

If you don’t have one yet forget it. Only the nasty ones are left on the shelves since all the people with true forethought picked their cards up at lunch time. When you get to the card shop the only ones left have messages like: “Be my Valentine!… But first would you mind getting a lice check?”

One of those left over cards will probably not do the trick for you tonight so you should make one out of stuff you can find around the office. Quickly gather up a black pen, red pen, and paper.

Your hand-made valentine card will go over much better than anything you could buy at the store. But here are five tips you can use when constructing your card.

1) Use the red pen to draw several hearts on the paper. Don’t draw anatomically correct hearts. Do a more abstract version that looks cute instead of gushy and throbbing.

2) Put a nice one liner on the card. Something like… “Roses are red, violets are blue. I made this card especially for you.”

Maybe forget the card and just bring donuts

3) be sure to include: “Be my Valentine” on the card

4) On the back in small type in the lower corner write: “(c) 2012 YOUR NAME”. This will clearly show that you made the card and it is your property.

5) If you are really generous and desperate fold up a $100 bill and tape it to the card.

Now get to work… believe me a text just will not work today.


Because DirecTV owns the skys do they think they own your living room?

Get to the fallout shelter... It's SPutnik!

The space race started back on October 4th 1957 when the Russian launched the Sputnik satellite. This 184 pound chunk of metal and electronics scared the snot out of people. The fear was that from this platform in the sky the Ruskies could launch all sorts of attacks on us.

Luckily for us that wasn’t true.

But here we are over 50 years later and we are being attacked from the sky. The real enemy is DirecTV!

But there’s hope….

If you are a DirecTV user you may have found out to your dismay that as of last Thursday there were all kinds of price hikes and channel reshuffles. Channels you got last Monday you might not have on Thursday.

Last time I checked when you sign up for something it should stay the same. If I order a McDonald’s Big Mac with two patties it’s not cool if McDonald’s decides somewhere between the grill and the paper bag to only put one patty in there.

But this is exactly what DirecTV does.

Quick hide... It's DirecTV!

I believe they don’t get it that this whole video entertainment business is collapsing in on them and this is definitely not the bes time to alienate customers with these kind of attacks.

Remember when we used to wear watches, use travel agents, and shop at an actual brick and mortar book stores?

In this age of instant, on demand, video programming for free or very low price why do we need DirecTV?  When you surf the channels most of the programming seems to be just filler. Like cheese doodles for the brain. It might look good at first but they are just empty calories.

DirecTV can cost you north of $75 a month.

Most of the good programs are probably free on Hulu or you can pay $7.99/Month for Hulu+. Along with the bazillion of movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime you probably have enough video entertainment to take up most of your waking and sleeping hours.

You say you like to watch Mad Men of the Walking Dead. You don’t need DirectTV for that. for $1.99 per episode you can get them from iTunes or Amazon the next day.

For $75 a month that is a lot of downloads of just what you want to watch when you want to watch it.

This should be a warning to DirecTV… Wake up and start treating your customers better or those satellites might all go dark when everyone decides to stop putting up with your bad behavior and get their video entertainment elsewhere.

P.S. I will be writing a letter to the bosses over at DirecTV to see if they care.



The perfect omelet saga continues…

Inside Lou Mitchell's - Where the real omelets live

Last Saturday’s omelet adventure went pretty well.  I separated the eggs and whipped the whites before folding the yolks back in then finished the omelet in the oven for about 5 minutes.

Just so we don’t lose site of the goal here… What I am trying to do is duplicate as close as possible the omelets at Lou Mitchell’s in Chicago. These are the best omelets in the world and unfortunately I live 750 miles from the windy city now.

How close did last Saturday’s omelet experiment get?

Notice the fluff... Smell the yummy aroma

Very close.  The omelet definitely had the Lou Mitchell’s fluff factor going on. Not quite as fluffy but I did not whip up the egg whites as much as I could have. Also I probably cooked the egg mixture a little long in the skillet since they got a little too dark (burnt) in the oven.

This week’s plan is to whip the egg whites more and cook the mixture for less time in the skillet. The oven will be doing most of the work.  It will be interesting to see how this works and tastes.

P.S. I only have an 8 mile run tomorrow morning since my weekday mileage was higher.


More on the giant shark… Even sadder…

Right when you think things could not get worse….

It turns out the guy in Pakistan who bought that 40-foot whale shark for $18,700 didn’t have a huge sushi party in mind. His plan was to charge people to see the shark.

That’s right he set up a closed off area where he is displaying the shark and letting people get their picture taken with the dead and smelly beast. He is charging the equivalent of 22 cents each for a few minutes of viewing and picture-taking time.

Some little kid said, “It was so huge! I wish I could take it home.” I’m not sure what his mom would say about waking up one moring to a 40-foot piece of rotting shark packed into the kid’s bedroom.

Last time I checked it is probably pretty warm in Pakistan. What’s the shelf life of a dead shark?  The word is that the smell is already over powering.

How many tickets does he need to sell to make back his initial investment anyway?

I guess the best we can hope is that the guy loses a boat load of money so no one else tries this again. Or even worse… Maybe the ghost of the whale shark starts shewing on people around town.

Now that I would pay 22 cents to see.