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Mergers and Marriages

picture of a merger

This past Sunday my son told me he had heard that YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook were planning to merge. I was thinking about what a powerhouse that would be until he dropped the punchline. He added, "They're going to call it YouTwitFace!" This started me thinking about mergers (takeovers?) in the news lately, like GM and the US Federal Government. So does GM now stand for Government Motors?

Then this week's news delivered the story of the possibly soon culmination of the Chrysler/Fiat deal. I read in this morning's news that the new Chrysler will be owned 20% by Fiat, together with the U.S. and Canadian governments (who are financing the sale with $2 billion), while over 67% will be controlled by the United Auto Workers. Hmm, it should be well run after that "reorganization"....

In the wake of such unlikely mergers, here are others that would be interesting if they ever took place, or at least more humorous than the current administration's "remaking" of our auto industry. I'm not even sure some of these companies are still in business, but they're names most people would still recognize.

If Yahoo and Netscape merged, they'd be Net 'n Yahoo, with their headquarters located in Tel Aviv.

If J.C. Penney merged with Aunt Jemina, they'd be Penney Aunty.

If Fairchild Electronics merged with Honeywell, would the new company be Fairwell Honeychild?

If Wurlitzer merged with Xerox, would they specialize in the cloning of organs?

How about Polygraph Records, Warner Brothers, and Zesta Crackers?
It could be called Poly-Warner-Cracker.

3M and Goodyear?
M-M-M Good

John Deere and Abitibi-Price?
Deere Abi

Crabtree & Evelyn and Apple Computer?
Crab Apple

Swissair & Cheseborough-Ponds?
Swiss Cheese

If 3M, J.C. Penney, and Canadian Opera Company merged?
3 Penney Opera

Zippo Manufacturing, Audi, Dofasco, and Dakota Mining?
Zip Audi Do Da

Luvs Diapers, Hertz Rent-a-Car, and Krispy Kreme?
Luv Hertz, Donut?

If Knott's Berry Farm and the National Organization of Women merged?
Knott NOW

If FEDEX and UPS merged? They'd call it FED UP.

Honeywell, Imasco and Home Oil would become "Honey, I'm Home."

Denison Mines and Alliance and Metal Mining merge and would become "Mine, All Mine."

If Allegheny Airlines merged with Braniff, they'd be All-Bran, the world's most regular airline.

If Grace Chemical bought the Fuller Brush Co. and Mary Kay Cosmetics, and then merged with Hale Business Systems, would this new conglomerate be known as "Hale Mary Fuller Grace?"


In this month of wedding, let's look at the results of some possible and improbable marriages and remarriages. Some of the names below remind me of names like Mary Baker Glover Patterson Eddy (founder of Christian Science) or Liz Taylor if she had retained all her married names — Liz Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky. Phew! Anyway, here goes....

picture of a couple

If Yoko Ono had married Sonny Bono, she would have been Yoko Ono Bono.

If Julie London married Bo Bridges and fell down the church steps after the wedding, she'd be Julie London Bridges falling down.

If Olivia Newton-John married Wayne Newton, then later married Elton John, she'd be Olivia Newton-John Newton John.

If Oprah Winfrey married Deepak Chopra, she'd be Oprah Chopra.

If Sondra Locke married Elliott Ness, then later married Herman Munster, she'd become Sondra Locke Ness Munster.

If Tuesday Weld married Frederick March II, she'd be Tuesday March II.

If Dolly Parton married Salvador Dali, she'd be Dolly Dali.

If Bea Arthur married Sting, she'd be Bea Sting.

If Liv Ullman married Judge Lance Ito, then later married Jerry Mathers, she'd be Liv Ito Beaver.

If Nog (Quark's nephew having no other name on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine") used his name twice when getting a marriage license, took the name of his bride, and married a girl whose last name was Hughes, and then later married Pamela Dare, he'd be Nog Nog Hughes Dare.

If Ivana Trump married, in succession, Orson Bean (actor), King Oscar (of Norway), Louis B. Mayer (of MGM), and Norbert Wiener (mathematician), she would then be Ivana Bean Oscar Mayer Wiener.

Do you have any thoughts on mergers, real or fictitious?


"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini

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Bumper sticker seen in California — Honk if you've been married to Liz!

Rules for Father’s Day Gifts

picture of ratchet set

With Father's Day less than two weeks away, I thought I'd help out those who need gift ideas for the men in their lives. Buying gifts for men is not nearly as complicated as women would think. The helpful insights provided below will show you that it's actually easier than it is for us guys to shop for women. If you follow these rules, you should have no problems.

Rule #1:
When in doubt, buy him a cordless drill. It does not matter if he already has one. One man owns 17 and he has yet to complain. As a man, you can never have too many cordless drills. For that matter any power tool is a good choice. He may not need it or know what it does, but it will look good hanging on the peg board in the garage. No one knows why.

Rule #2:
If you cannot afford a cordless drill, buy him anything with the word "ratchet" or "socket" in it. Men love saying those two words. "Hey George, can I borrow your ratchet?" "OK. By the way, are you done with my 3/8-inch socket yet?" Again, no one knows why.

Rule #3:
If you are really, really broke, buy him anything for his car. A 99-cent ice scraper, a small bottle of de-icer, or something to hang from his rear view mirror would be just perfect. Men love gifts for their cars.

Rule #4:
Do not buy men socks. Do not buy men ties. And never buy men bathrobes. It has been said that if God had wanted men to wear bathrobes, He wouldn't have allowed someone to invent Jockey shorts.

Rule #5:
You can buy men new remote controls to replace the ones they have worn out. If you have a lot of money buy him a big-screen TV with the little picture in the corner. Watch him go wild as he flips, and flips, and flips. Forget the program — your entertainment will be watching him have fun!

Rule #6:
Buy men label makers. Almost as good as cordless drills. Within a couple of weeks there will be labels absolutely everywhere. Socks. Shorts. Cups. Saucers. Door. Lock. Sink. You get the idea. Again, no one knows why.

Rule #7:
Do not buy any man industrial-sized canisters of aftershave or deodorant. Men do not stink — they are earthy.

Rule #8:
Never buy a man anything whose packaging contains the phrases "some assembly required" or "read the enclosed instructions". It will ruin his special day, and he will always have parts left over.

Rule #9:
Good places to shop for men include Northwest Iron Works, Parr Lumber, Home Depot, John Deere, Valley RV Center, and Les Schwab Tire. NAPA Auto Parts and Sear's Clearance Centers are also excellent men's stores. It doesn't matter that he doesn't know what the gift is. "From NAPA Auto, eh? Must be something I need. Hey! Isn't this a starter for a '68 Ford Fairlane? Wow! Thanks!"

Rule #10:
Men enjoy danger. That's why they will barbecue. Get a man a monster barbecue with a 100-pound propane tank. Tell him the gas line leaks. "Oh, the thrill! The challenge! Anyone want a hamburger?"

Rule #11:
Tickets to a professional sporting event (any team within 300 miles) are a smart gift. However, he will not appreciate tickets to "A Retrospective on 19th Century Porcelain Dolls."

Rule #12:
It's hard to beat a really good wheelbarrow or an aluminum extension ladder. Don't settle for just a step ladder — what he really wants is an extension ladder.

Rule #13:
Men love chain saws. Never, ever, buy a man you love a chain saw. If you don't know why, please refer to Rule #6. (Remember what happens when he gets a label maker?)

Rule #14:
Rope. Men love rope. It takes us back to our cowboy origins, or at least the Boy Scouts. Nothing says love like a hundred feet of 3/8-inch manilla rope.

Rule #15:
Buy your man duct tape. This is a man's most universal repair tool. All men know, if you can't fix it, duct tape it!


I don't know who wrote those rules originally. Some of them are spot-on, and others I don't agree with. I tweaked them, but I didn't alter them enough to obscure the original thoughts.

A reader sent me something the other day that I thought would be the perfect way to end this post. I'm posting it just as it came in the e-mail.

picture of Dewalt Nail Gun

If you can find one of those (other than in Photoshop, maybe), wouldn't it make a great gift?! Added on June 9: A commenter sent a link that shows that this is not a product of Photoshop — http://www.likecool.com/DeWalt-16_Nail_Gun--Tools--Gear.html

That nail gun would have been of no help in a home improvement project we did this past Saturday. Ever since we moved to this house five years ago, Becka has been wanting a free-standing gas stove in the kitchen instead of the little drop-in electric range that came with the house. Fortunately for me, we have a young friend still in college who has been working with his dad all through his teen years doing home renovations. They have every tool known to mankind (although he hadn't seen the one above.) But in addition to having the right tools, he knows how to do everything necessary for the project we did. The job was completed in five hours and looks great! You can read more about it and see pictures on my wife's blog. The post is called Now I'm cooking with gas!

Do any of you have any ideas for great gifts for Father's Day?


"Temptation always lies to us. It promises sweetness, but it turns bitter in our mouths." - Drew Conley

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"A father is a guy who has snapshots in his wallet where his money used to be." unknown

Summer Upgrades … and Some Aren’t

picture of upgrade

June is traditionally the month when there are lots of weddings. This month we have several here in town that we'll be attending and several out of state that we cannot attend. This summer I'm working again at IT ServiceDesk on campus, "improving life, one computer at a time." One of our summer tasks is upgrading software and even some hardware. For today's iv, I'm going to "wed" those two ideas into the theme for the iv - comparing marriage to upgrades of computer programs.

What you're about to read is two fictitious e-mail exchanges between newlyweds and tech support. They are similar in many ways, and yet very different so as to reflect the differences between the genders.

Tech Support Request

Dear Tech Support,
Last year I upgraded Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0 and found that it's a memory hog leaving very few system resources for other applications. After a few months I noticed that the new program began unexpected child processing that is taking up a lot of space and further valuable resources. No mention of this phenomenon was included in the product brochure, though other users have informed me that this is to be expected due to the nature of the application.

In addition, Wife 1.0 installs itself into all other programs, launches during system initialization, and monitors all other system activity. Applications such as Football 5.0, Hunting and Fishing 7.5, and Racing 3.6 no longer run, crashing the system whenever selected. I can't seem to keep Wife 1.0 in the background while attempting to run my favorite applications, and I can't seem to keep Wife 1.0 from taking over my system. It's too late to uninstall and go back to the Girlfriend 7.0 program. Can you please help me?

Troubled User



Dear Troubled User:
This is a very common problem men complain about, but it's mostly due to a primary misconception. Many men upgrade from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0 with the idea that Wife 1.0 is merely a "Utilities and Entertainment" program.

Wife 1.0 is an operating system and designed to run everything. WARNING – do not try to uninstall, delete, or purge the program from the system once installed! Trying to uninstall or remove Wife 1.0 will destroy valuable system resources. You're right – you cannot go back to Girlfriend 7.0 because Wife 1.0 is not designed to do this.

Some have tried to install Girlfriend 7.3 or Wife 2.0 but end up with more problems than the original system. Look in your manual under "Warnings: Alimony/Child Support." I recommend that you keep Wife1.0 and work on improving the situation. I suggest installing the background application "Yes Dear" to alleviate software augmentation. Do not even think of trying to run Girlfriend 7.0 or 7.3 in the background. Eventually Wife 1.0 detects the other program running in the background and a system conflict occurs, this can lead to a non-recoverable system crash.

Having Wife 1.0 installed myself, I might also suggest you read the entire section regarding General Protection Faults (GPF's). You must assume all responsibility for faults and problems that might occur. The best course of action is to enter the command C:\I_APOLOGIZE because ultimately you will have to give the APOLOGIZE command before the system will return to normal anyway. The best course of action will be to push the apologize button then the reset button as soon as a lock-up occurs. System will run smooth as long as you take the blame for all GPF's.

Wife 1.0 is a great program but is very high maintenance. Wife 1.0 comes with several support programs, such as Clean and Sweep 3.0, Cook It 1.5, and Do Bills 4.2. However, be very careful how you use these programs. Improper use will cause the system to launch the program NagNag 9.5. Once this happens, the only way to improve the performance of Wife 1.0 is to purchase additional software. I recommend Flowers 2.1 and Diamonds 5.0.

Suggestions for improved operation of Wife 1.0
-Monthly use of utilities such as TLC and FTD
-Frequently use Communication 5.0

Wishing you the best!
Tech Support


Dear Tech Support,
Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed that the new program began making unexpected changes to the accounting modules, severely limiting access to wardrobe, flower, and jewelry applications that operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0. No mention of this phenomenon was included before the upgrade.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalls many other valuable programs such as RomanticMovies 7.5, OceansideWalks 3.9, SappyLoveNotes 2.2, and OperaNight 6.1, and it installs new, undesirable programs such as BasketballNight 1.3, SaturdayFootball 5.0, Golf 2.4, and ClutterEverywhere 4.5. Whenever I try to run Communication 5.0, it invariably crashes the system. Under no circumstances will it run Cooking 14.1 or HouseCleaning 2.6. I've tried running NagNag 9.5 to fix Husband 1.0, but this all-purpose utility is of limited effectiveness. Can you help, please?




Dear Desperate,
This is a very common problem women complain about, but it is mostly due to a primary misunderstanding. Many women upgrade from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 with no idea that Boyfriend 5.0 is merely an entertainment program while Husband 1.0 is an operating system that, incidentally, was designed to run as few applications as possible. Furthermore, you cannot purge Husband 1.0 and return to Boyfriend 5.0, because Husband 1.0 is not designed to do this. Hidden operating files within your system would cause Boyfriend 5.0 eventually to emulate Husband 1.0, so nothing is gained. It is impossible to uninstall, delete, or purge the program files from the system, once installed. Any new program files can be installed only once per year, since Husband 1.0 has severely limited memory. Error messages are common, just a normal part of Husband 1.0.

In desperation to play some of their favorite old applications or to get new applications to work, some women have tried to install Boyfriend 6.0, or Husband 2.0. However, these women end up with more problems than encountered with Husband 1.0. Look in your manual under "Warnings: Divorce/Child Support." You will notice that this program runs very poorly and comes bundled with Heartbreak 1.3. I recommend you keep Husband 1.0 and just learn the quirks of this strange and illogical operating system.

Having Husband 1.0 installed myself, I might also suggest you read the entire section regarding General Partnership Faults (GPF's). This is a wonderful feature of Husband 1.0, secretly installed by the parent company as an integral part of the operating system. Husband 1.0 must assume ALL responsibility for ALL faults and problems, regardless of root cause. To activate this great feature, enter the command: C:\I_THOUGHT_YOU_LOVED_ME. You will find that sometimes Tears 6.2 must be run simultaneously while entering the command. Husband 1.0 should then run the applications Apologize 12.3 and Flowers/Chocolates 7.8.

TECH TIP: Avoid excessive use of this feature. Overuse can create additional and more serious GPF's, and ultimately it may be YOU who has to give a C:\I_APOLOGIZE command before the system will return to normal operations. Overuse can also cause Husband 1.0 to default to GrumpySilence 2.5 or Workaholic 6.9.

Just remember! The system will run smoothly and take the blame for all GPF's, but because of this fine feature, it can only intermittently run all applications that Boyfriend 5.0 ran. Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly, not being very intuitive.

Consider buying additional software to improve performance. I personally recommend HotMeals 3.0, Cheerfulness 5.3, LovingPatience 10.1, and Listening 2. Used in combination, these utilities can really help keep Husband 1.0 running smoothly. After several years of use, you will become more familiar with Husband 1.0 and you will find many valuable embedded features such as FixBrokenThings 2.1, Snuggling 4.2, and BestFriend 7.6.

A final word of caution. Do NOT, under any circumstances, install MotherInLaw 1.0. This is not a supported application and will cause selective shutdown of the operating system. Husband 1.0 might run only Fishing 9.4 and Hunting 5.2 until MotherInLaw 1.0 is uninstalled.

I hope these notes have helped. Thank you for choosing to install Husband 1.0, and we here at Tech Support wish you the best in coming years. We trust you will learn to fully enjoy this wonderful product.

Your friends at Tech Support


Any comments on those exchanges? :-D


"Does your planning take priority over your praying? What do you do first, and what do you do most?" - Dr. Chris Barney

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"June weddings are the perfect opportunity to sweat in an ugly bridesmaid's dress." - Maxine

Forgive Us Our Trespasses

picture of no trespassing sign

Have you ever seen a no trespassing sign that made you laugh out loud? Most no trespassing signs are pretty straightforward and standard, but some communicate with great creativity the owner's preference that unauthorized parties not set foot on his property — an act that could lead to grave consequences. With that in mind, I take on various aspects of ownership in today's post.

I'll start off with a couple of signs that are straightforward – one commercially done and the other more homespun.

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

Here's one that is simple and made me smile.

picture of no trespassing sign

Here are some signs that explicitly spell out the risks of trespassing on that property.

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

Some signs leave you wondering what you are supposed to do or not supposed to do.

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

picture of no trespassing sign

Of course the whole concept of trespassing is based on the principle of ownership of property, something our founding fathers firmly believed to be one of our basic rights as citizens. Here is a quotation from John Adams.

The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free. - John Adams

John Adams didn't shy away from the Ten Commandments. Stealing and coveting imply the existence of personal property rights. God says it is wrong to covet or to steal what is someone else's private property.

The concept of ownership is innate. One of the first words a toddler masters is "mine." Just let another child try to play with his toys! 1 Timothy 6:7 tells us "For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world." Once we're born, we spend their lives accumulating stuff. That verse reminds us that no matter how much we acquire, we can't take it with us. And is it actually our stuff since it will be someone else's after we've departed this world? Believers know that everything belongs to God and that we are merely stewards for a short time.

A few years ago I planted blueberries, blackberries, and red raspberries behind our house. The bushes are getting established well enough that we're hoping for a nice little harvest this year. Now I just have to convince the birds that those berries are ours, not theirs! I have put up the only kind of "no trespassing sign" that the birds can read – nylon netting. Below are several pictures of our berry bushes covered with netting.

picture of netting on berry bushes

picture of netting on berry bushes

We'll see the net results in the weeks to come. (Pun intended.) :-D

I look forward to reading your thoughts about anything mentioned in this post. Have you seen any funny no trespassing signs that you could share?


"God has assigned an area for each of us to tend." - Dr. Drew Conley

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On the grounds of a Nairobi private school: No trespassing without permission.

Well, It Said So in the Newspaper!

picture of front page

I've done several posts lately on newspapers - here, here, and here. The comments to those posts were interesting and funny. I saw something while browsing that made me think of what I'm posting today. Later in this post I'll show you what I saw online that triggered this post.

Do you read any newspaper regularly, either the printed version or online? Below is a list of descriptions of the usual readers of certain well-known newspapers. The picture above is today's front page from the Detroit News, which was our mainstay when we lived in Detroit.

Who reads what newspaper?

The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

The New York Times is read by people who think they run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles..

The Washington Post is read by people who think they ought to run the country.

USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't understand the New York Times or the Washington Post. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.

The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country, if they could spare the time, and if they didn't have to leave Southern California to do it.

The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country - and they did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country, and they don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country, as long as they do something scandalous.

The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country, or that anyone is running it. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are minority feminist atheists who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy, provided, of course, that they are not Republicans.

The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.

The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

The Houston Chronicle is read by … well, not too many people these days.

The Weekly World News is read by Bigfoot, Elvis, and the space aliens who, the readership is sure, really are running the country!

picture of divider

Here's what I saw online that made me think of the preceding.

picture of headlines

I wanted to post that this week since June was supposed to begin this next Monday. Those of you with plans for the month of June, particularly weddings, need to make other plans. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Just don't kill the messenger, please. :-D

I've poked fun at various aspects of newspapers and their readers, but I am also appreciative of our freedom of the press.

Some of you might enjoy checking out the site newseum.org where you can see the front pages of many papers worldwide. You might also enjoy the following resource for online versions of newspapers all over the world in many different languages at The Internet Public Library.

I look forward to more of your thoughts on newspapers and news media in general. For me it's great and overwhelming to have so much information available so readily. Do you trust what's in most newspapers? To you, if the newspaper says it, is it so?


"Our sin always drags others into the vortex of its power." - Dr. Drew Conley

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There cannot be a crisis this week; my schedule is already full.