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Posts from ‘May, 2008’

Unusual Vehicles

I've had a blog post about unusual vehicles and unusual vehicular situations simmering for a while. When we got the pictures today, I moved the post to the front burner to serve up now.

Here are some pictures of unique vehicles. For those who haven't seen what the famous smart car looks like (the car that is going to save the planet!), here's one in Germany....

a smart car in Germany

The other extreme is a stretch Hummer...

a stretch Hummer

And here's a stretch motorcycle...

a stretch motorcycle

Here's what seems like the perfect car for most politicians...

politicians can now go both ways behind the wheel

Here's a great vehicle for seniors in retirement communities...

perfect vehicle for seniors

Now for some creative uses of vehicles....

You don't need a truck to haul big loads...

you too can haul loads

Many are opting for motorcycles since gas prices are so high. Try to find the third passenger below...

try to find the small child

It's a shame to see passenger space wasted as it is in the picture below (empty seat at the end of the yellow arrow)...

wasted passenger space

Some wealthy people still opt for large cars with chauffeurs. I strongly suspect that this picture has been Photoshopped....

surely this is Photoshopped

If People Bought Cars Like They Buy Computers...

Automotive companies don't have help lines for people who don't know how to drive, because people don't buy cars like they buy computers. But what if they did?

HelpLine: "Automotive HelpLine, how can I help you?"

Customer: "I got in my car and closed the door and nothing happened"

HelpLine: "Did you put the key in the ignition slot and turn it?"

Customer: "What's an ignition?"

HelpLine: "It's a starter motor that draws current from your battery and turns over the engine."

Customer: "Ignition? Motor? Battery? Engine? How come I have to know all these technical terms just to use my car?"


HelpLine: "Automotive HelpLine, how can I help you?"

Customer: "My car ran fine for a week and now it won't go anywhere"

HelpLine: "Is the gas tank empty?"

Customer: "Huh? How do I know?"

HelpLine: "There's a little gauge on the front panel with a needle and markings from 'E' to 'F'. Where is the needle pointing?"

Customer: "It's pointing to 'E'. What does that mean?"

HelpLine: "It means you have to visit a gasoline vendor and purchase some more gasoline. You can install it yourself or pay the vendor to install it for you."

Customer: "What? I paid $12,000 for this car! Now you tell me that I have to keep buying more components? I want a car that comes with everything built in!"


HelpLine: "Automotive HelpLine, how can I help you?"

Customer: "Hi, I just bought my first car, and I chose your car because it has automatic transmission, cruise control, power steering, power brakes and power door locks."

HelpLine: "Thanks for buying our car. How can I help you?"

Customer: "How do I work it?"

HelpLine: "Do you know how to drive?"

Customer: "Do I know how to what?"

HelpLine: "Do you know how to drive?"

Customer: "I'm not a technical person, I just want to go places in my car!"


I thought of what I posted today when we got some cute pictures today by e-mail. Our daughter Megan and son-in-law Jim have been looking for a pick-up truck for our grandson Drew for a while. They were able to get one for a good price on e-Bay. Here's a picture of our little trucker...

Drew in his pick-up truck


"Revival is obedience." - Dr. Les Olila

=^..^= =^..^=

Q: What goes clip, clop, clip, clop **bang-bang** clip, clop, clip, clop?
A: An Amish drive-by shooting.

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It’s for the Birds!

house wren update...

There are now six eggs in the house wren nest in our bird house. That number has not changed since Saturday, and so I think the female is done laying eggs. Here's a picture of the six little tan eggs....

six little wren eggs

I found a picture online of a house wren....

house wren

One great thing is to hear the wrens singing at all hours of the day. If you'd like to hear the song of a house wren, click here.

I realize that some people who read my blog are not bird enthusiasts, but there are probably as many readers who are bird enthusiasts. You non-enthusiasts can scroll on down to today's iv....

Here's a picture of our bird house - the prime real estate in our subdivision! The lid is on hinges, allowing me to take the pictures I post on my blog.

our bird house that sits in our red raspberry patch

Below is a picture of the bay window in our kitchen. If you look carefully, you can see the hummingbird feeder on the left, the bird feeder in the middle, and the bird house off in the distance.

the window where we watch birds

Here's a picture from the outside....

our birdfeeders

Here's a close-up of the main bird feeder....

our main bird feeder

After squirrels have destroyed two "squirrel-proof" feeders from Lowe's, I decided that we should just spring for the top-of-the-line "Eliminator Squirrel Proof Birdfeeder" from Wild Birds Unlimited. Since it comes with a lifetime guarantee, at the rate we were going, this one will pay for itself in no time.

A former student who lives in Tennessee has sent me several pictures that he's taken recently of some woodpeckers nesting in a dead tree. He's been looking for this nest for over a month. He said the nests are easier to find once the red heads start poking out.

Here's a picture of two babies being fed through the hole in the tree...

two woodpecker babies

He wrote today to say that the last baby fledged. Here's a picture right before the last baby left the nest....

the last woodpecker to fledge

He said that in the same tree, a different type of woodpecker is nesting at the top. He went on to say, "There was a lot of drumming going on in that tree. Each variety of woodpecker has a different rythym. It seemed to be an annoyance to one variety when the other one was pecking."

Here's a picture of the other woodpecker nesting in the same tree....

another kind of woodpecker nesting in the same tree

Last week another reader sent me a link to a neat story about a very smart parrot. You can read it by clicking here.

There are all sorts of things that people say are "for the birds." One of those things that some would say is for the birds is housecleaning. The piece below even mentions birds in the first item....

Philosophy Of Housecleaning
author - an unknown, but witty woman

1. I don't do windows because ... I love birds and wouldn't want one to run into a clean window and get hurt. (I am compassionate.)

2. I don't wax floors because ... I am terrified that guests will slip, hurt themselves, and then I'll feel terrible - and they may sue me! (I am careful and poor.)

3. I don't mind the dust bunnies because ... they are very good company, I have named most of them, and they agree with everything I say. (I am imaginative.)

4. I don't disturb cobwebs because ... I want all creatures to have a home of their own, and my family loves spiders. (I am kind.)

5. I don't do "Spring Cleaning" because ... I love all the seasons and don't want the others to get jealous. (I am fair minded.)

6. I don't do yard work because ... I don't want to get in God's way - He is an excellent designer. (I am courteous.)

7. I don't put things away because ... my family will never be able to find them again. (I am considerate.)

8. I don't do gourmet meals when I entertain because .... I don't want my guests to stress out over what to make when they invite me over for dinner. (I am thoughtful of others' fears.)

9. I don't iron because ... I choose to believe them when they say "Permanent Press". (I am trusting.)

10. I don't stress much over anything because ... "Type A" personalities die young, and I want to stick around and become a wrinkled up crusty ol' woman!!! (I am very practical.)


This is Rob again ... several bits of irony in our own lives - just this evening while I was watering flowers out front, I hear a huge thud on the neighbor's house. When I looked over, I saw a brown thrasher falling to the ground below the neighbor's big picture window. The poor bird's neck was broken and it died. The irony is that the window is not very clean. Another irony is that in our house, we think that spiders are for the birds! I just killed two black widow spiders in our attached garage when I was sweeping it out this past Saturday! YIKES! I had killed another one a few weeks ago. Being very glad that those black widow spiders are now dead, I do not think that housecleaning is for the birds! How about you? ๐Ÿ™‚


"You cannot keep a bird from landing on your head, but you can keep it from building a nest there!" - Dr. Bob Jones Sr.

=^..^= =^..^=

When your pet bird sees you reading the newspaper, does he wonder why you're just sitting there, staring at carpeting?

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The Chair

Today's iv is something I ran across in my files as I began to look for material for upcoming Father's Day posts. This was so nice, I couldn't resist sharing it now.

a caned rocking chair

A man's daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her father. When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat beside his bed. The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit.

"I guess you were expecting me," he said.

"No, who are you?" said the father.

"I'm the new minister at your church," he replied. "When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up."

"Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the door?"

Puzzled, the minister shut the door. "I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head." "I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, 'Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest: Sit down in a chair. Place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he promised He would always be with us. Then just speak to him in the same way you're doing with me right now.'"

"So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm."

The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him and returned to the church.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her daddy had died that afternoon.

"Did he die in peace?" he asked.

"Yes, when I left the house about two o' clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead.

"But there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?"

The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, "I wish we could all go like that."

2 Corinthians 5:7 reminds us that "we walk by faith, not by sight."


"Today you and I are walking billboards, declaring either that the gospel is powerful and true or that it is weak and false. ... Am I really part of what Jesus does in people's lives, or am I part of some kind of culture?" - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

Do you ever feel like you're diagonally parked in a parallel universe?

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Dangerous Hike and Freebies

Recently I received an e-mail with the subject line: Free lunch! Want to go? All our Thursday freebies and our thoughts about China that you'll read about below in our personal update made me take a second look at the e-mail. It was a series of outrageous pictures of a climb up a mountain in China, claiming that anyone who reached the top would eat a free lunch at a restaurant at the top. I checked with Snopes and found nothing to confirm or deny this claim. However, as I did other web searches, I found that there is quite a bit out there about the extremely dangerous hikes people can and do take on Mt. Huashan. Here are some of the pictures from the e-mail and from websites I found. I love to go hiking in the mountains, but I'm not sure this hike is my cup of green tea....

Here's a map to show where Mt. Huashan is located....

map with Mt. Huashan

Part of the climb is a pleasant ride in a gondola....

gondola ride on Mt. Huashan

Some of the sites I found stressed that the climb up Mt. Huashan is mountain hiking, not mountain climbing, which involves special equipment and knowledge. They also stressed that this particular hike is not for people not in shape, and Americans are surprised that the public is even allowed to do this - it's so dangerous!

Here are some pictures of what different parts of the "hiking trail" look like....

stairs cut into the rock

a walkway that seems to just float on the rock

Anyone care to go up this ladder...?

up a ladder

No one can say they don't warn the climbers....

standard disclaimers

Talk about walking the plank!

walking the plank

Watch your step! That's quite a drop!

girl walking the plank

guys walking the plank

I mean it - that's a really serious drop!

serious drop

Part of the climb is footholds cut into the rock and chains thoughtfully provided to hold on to....

footholds and chains

footholds and chains

footholds and chains

Be sure to stay on the staircase and hold on to the chains!

staircase to heaven

Since some parts of the trail make it difficult to pass people coming back down, someone has thought of providing two staircases - one for climbing and one for descending....

up and down stairs

As hard as this hike would be in nice weather, some people even take this hike in the winter, believe it or not!

climbing Mt. Huashan in winter

climbing Mt. Huashan in winter

Those who make it to the top of the five peaks are rewarded with some breath-taking views (as if they could still breathe once they got there!)....

The South Peak...

the South Peak

The West Peak (called the Playing Chess Pavilion)...

the West Peak

For those who can't get enough of this stuff, here's a website with stories from people who have done this hike (I'm not responsible for everything said on that site) - http://www.ssqq.com/ARCHIVE/vinlin27d.htm

So, anyone going to add this hike to your future travel and vacation plans?


Last Thursday we took advantage of several freebies or almost-freebies. First, we went to McDonald's for lunch. They were giving to each customer a free Southern style chicken sandwich with the purchase of a medium or large soft drink. We had eaten some vegetables before leaving the house to help round out our lunch. After lunch we took off for Costco - they were offering for several days the opportunity for non-members to get in for free. What I hadn't reckoned on was that the time of our shopping coincided very nicely with all the free samples of all kinds of things that further helped round out our lunch.

That evening after dinner at home, we made the mistake of taking Dunkin Donuts up on their offer for a free iced coffee. Dunkin Donuts coffee is one of my very favorite coffees, but their iced coffee was worth every penny I paid for it. The girls took only a couple of sips of theirs, but after doctoring mine up to the point it was palatable, I finished it off. After all, it was FREE, right?! I regretted it as I thought about that semi-wretched iced coffee off and on until 1:30 a.m. Did I mention that they weren't offering decaf iced coffee?

Did anyone else take advantage of any of these freebies last week?

Many have been asking if Becka and are going to China this summer to teach English again. Earlier this school year we rattled two different door knobs, thinking the Lord might open at least one of the doors. But that did not happen, so we know that He wants us here this summer. The dean at the university where we've taught two summers before said that they would love to have us come teach in 2009. So we will plan that way.

If you're new to my blog, you might want to check out some of our adventures from the summers of 2005 and 2006 that I chronicled on the blog. You can get to those posts by clicking on the China link in the tag cloud in the sidebar. There are many pages of posts to explore about our time over there.

People have been asking me for an update on the wren's nest in our bird house. Below is a shot I took this evening. You can see several little eggs in there.

house wren eggs in our bird house


"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book." - Ronald Reagan

=^..^= =^..^=

Sign on high school bulletin board - "Free: every Monday through Friday. Knowledge. Bring your own container."

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E-mail Promises

E-mail can certainly be a blessing or a bane, can't it? A lot of my readers enjoy reading my blog posts by e-mail - which I hope is a blessing most of the time. One of the banes of that for me, though, is that most of those readers rarely, if ever, visit the blog itself.

When I first started posting my iv's to the blog instead of sending them out by e-mail, I still sent an e-mail reminding people that I had posted something new. That little blessing became a bane to me when I started receivning literally hundreds of bounces each time I sent the reminders. Those who actually received the e-mails, would visit the blog, and would make frequent comments to the blog posts. That was great fun for me and for the other readers.

When I learned that FeedBurner had the capability of sending the entire blog post by e-mail, it was a great option, with no bounces to deal with - but the comments have nearly dried up! I'd like to remind those of you who receive the e-mail version that there are several links in the e-mail itself that will take you right to the blog or the blog post. The words "latest post to ivman's blague" in the body of the e-mail are a link to the blog. Clicking on the title of the post (in this case - "e-mail promises") will take you the post itself ... and the comment section is right at the bottom of the post, just waiting for you to add yours! ๐Ÿ˜€ Also in the footer of the e-mail is a link to the blog - just be careful not to click on the link to unsubscribe yourself.

Sorry to whine, but I'd like to get some fun feedback from this whole iv thing. Anyway, on to today's iv - a 12-step program for compulsive e-mail forwarders....

THE FORWARDER'S 12-STEP PROGRAM (feel free to pass this on to needy friends...)

OK, everyone say the following with me...

1. I will NOT get bad luck, lose my friends, or lose my mailing lists if I don't forward an e-mail.

2. I will NOT hear any music or see a dancing dog, if I do forward an e-mail.

3. Bill Gates is NOT going to send me money and Victoria's Secret doesn't know anything about a gift certificate they're supposed to send me, if I do forward an e-mail.

4. Ford will NOT give me a 50% discount, even if I forward my e-mail to more than 50 people.

5. I will NEVER receive gift certificates, coupons, or freebies from Coca Cola, Cracker Barrel, or anyone else if I send an e-mail to 10 people.

6. I will NEVER see a pop-up window if I forward an e-mail ... NEVER ... EVER!

7. There is NO SUCH THING as an e-mail tracking program, and I am not dumb enough to think that someone will send me $100 for forwarding an e-mail to 10 or more people!

8. There is NO kid with cancer through the Make-a-Wish program in England collecting anything! He did when he was 7 years old. He is now cancer free and 35 years old and DOESN'T WANT ANY MORE POST CARDS or GET-WELL CARDS.

9. The government does not have a bill in Congress called 901B (or whatever the e-mail creator named it this week) that, if passed, will enable them to charge us 5 cents for every e-mail we send.

10. There will be NO cool dancing, singing, waving, colourful flowers, characters, or program that I will receive immediately after I forward an e-mail. NONE, ZIP, ZERO, NADA!

11. The American Red Cross will NOT donate 50 cents to a certain individual dying of some never-heard-of disease for every e-mail address I send this to. The American Red Cross RECEIVES donations.

12. And finally, I will NOT let others guilt me into forwarding e-mails by telling me that if I don't forward their e-mail, I am not their friend, that I don't care about people, or that I don't really love the Lord!

but you promised....

Is that a picture of Rob the ivman waiting for comments to the blog?) ๐Ÿ™‚

Having our daughter Megan and grandson Drew here this week has been a lot of fun, but as always happens - the week seems to have evaporated! And what a week for our digital camera to go haywire!!! Never fear ... Megan brought hers and is a scrapbooker, and some will recall that we lovingly call our daughter Nora the "baby paparazzi." So we've been anything but deprived of digital images! ๐Ÿ˜€

I'll describe briefly some of the highlights of the week. One evening we went strawberry picking. Here are a few shots from that.

Our personal favorite for berry picking is Sandy Flat Berry Patch...

we *love* Sandy Flat

Nora got this picture of the rest of us, posing nicely...

berry pickers

Drew looks like he's wild about strawberries, which is not at all the case...

our little guy is indeed the berries

We think he's the berries, though!

We enjoyed a nice afternoon at the Greenville Zoo on Tuesday. Nora brought the three pre-schoolers she nannies, and we all had a nice time with pleasant weather.

Here are a few pictures from that adventure...

Megan and Drew by the zoo sign

Here's a shot of Nora and her charges...

Nora and kids

Drew wasn't sure he wanted to sit on the bear's back, and tears started to well up in his eyes...

he could hardly bear it


"You can't live both devoted to sin and wanting deliverance from it." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

Some people don't get even. They just get odder.

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