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Beware the Ides of April


picture of sign

One occasionally hears "Beware the Ides of March!" but you rarely hear anything about the "Ides of April," and I don't quite know why not! (For those of you not living in the US, April 15th is "Tax Day" here in our country.) For you taxpaying Americans out there, I would like to graciously say that my tax forms went out in the mail this morning, with almost 15 hours to spare!

In honor of Tax Day I'm posting several tax-related items.

1040 EZiest TAX FORM
___________________

1. How much money did you make? $____________

2. Send it to us.

U.S. Gov't. Form 8765309

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There was a man who computed his taxes and discovered that he owed $3407. He packaged up his payment and included the following letter:

Dear IRS:

Enclosed are my tax return and payment. Please take note of the attached article from the USA Today newspaper. In the article, you will see that the Pentagon is paying $171.50 for hammers and NASA has paid $600.00 for a toilet seat.

Please find enclosed four toilet seats (value $2400) and six hammers (value $1029). This brings my total payment to $3429.00. Please note the overpayment of $22.00 - feel free to apply it to the "Presidential Election Fund," as noted on my return. Or, since it's not an election year (phew!) I might suggest that you the apply the $22 to purchase a "1.5 inch Phillips head screw." (See attached article...HUD paid $22.00 for a 1.5 inch Phillips head screw.)

It has been a pleasure to pay my tax bill this year, and I look forward to paying it again next year.

Sincerely,

A satisfied taxpayer

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Now for a totally different look at such things.

A tax assessor came one day to a poor pastor to determine the amount of taxes the pastor would have to pay. The following conversation took place:

"What property do you possess?" asked the assessor.

"I am a very wealthy man," replied the minister.

"List your possessions, please," the assessor instructed.

"First , I have everlasting life, see John 3:16.

"Second, I have a mansion in heaven, see John 14:2.

"Third, I have peace that passes understanding, see Philippians 4:7.

"Fourth, I have inexpressible joy, see 1 Peter 1:8.

"Fifth, I have divine love which never fails, see 1 Corinthians 13:8.

"Sixth, I have a faithful, precious wife, see Proverbs 31:10.

"Seventh, I have healthy, happy, obedient children, see Exodus 20:12.

"Eighth, I have true, loyal friends, see Proverbs 18:24.

"Ninth, I have songs in the night, see Psalms 42:8.

"Tenth, I have a Crown of Life, see James 1:12."

The tax assessor closed his book and said, "You are indeed a very rich man ... but your wealth is not subject to taxation."

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This is AACS competition week on campus, and traditionally Wednesday of that week is an official "day of rest." Since we were free today, we took a short trip up the road to Carl Sandburg's home in Flat Rock, NC, since they normally have baby goats by now. Here's a picture of Drew enjoying the two-day-old baby goats.

picture of Drew and baby goats

Did any of you cut it as close as I did on filing your taxes? I have to admit that one year a friend and I drove to the downtown post office in Detroit after 11:00 pm to get our taxes sent before the midnight filing deadline. We sat in a long line of cars of others who were handing their stamped envelopes to post office employees outside. So I did better this year than I have other years! 🙂

quotation...

"Thank goodness I won't live to see the day when the government takes half our income in taxes. I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to Congress." - anonymous in the year 1950

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

By the time you make ends meet, they move the ends.

I'll end this post with a picture I received recently from a subscriber.

picture of Obama logic

Rules of the Air


picture of landing

Do you like airports and flying? Flying is a wonderfully fast way to get from point A to point B, but it can definitely include some frustrations and even some scary moments. The picture on the right is of an airplane approaching the Kai Tak Airport, which was the international airport of Hong Kong until their new airport opened in 1998. My wife and I flew in and out of its replacement, the Hong Kong International Airport, in the summer of 2005. It has been repeatedly voted World's Best Airport, and we agree that it is without a doubt the nicest airport we've ever been in. And we're very glad our plane didn't have to maneuver through buildings as the planes had to to get to the old airport!

Some of the rules in the list below are for passengers and some are for pilots.

Rules of the Air

Flights never leave from Gate #1 at any terminal in the world.

No flight ever leaves on time, unless you are running late and need the delay to make your connecting flight.

If you are running late for a flight, it will depart from the farthest gate in the terminal.

If you arrive very early for a flight, it will inevitably be delayed.

If you must work on your flight, you will experience turbulence as soon as you touch pen to paper or when you start to drink your coffee.

If you are assigned a middle seat, you can determine who has the seats on the aisle and the window while you are still in the boarding area. Just find the two largest passengers.

Only passengers seated in window seats ever have to get up to go to the lavatory.

The crying baby on board your flight is always seated near you.

The less carry-on luggage space available on an aircraft, the more carry-on luggage passengers will bring aboard.

It's always better to be down here wishing you were up there than up there wishing you were down here.

Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory.

The probability of survival is inversely proportional to the angle of arrival. Large angle of arrival, small probability of survival and vice versa.

If all you can see out of the window is ground that's going round and round and all you can hear is commotion coming from the passenger compartment, things are not at all as they should be.

Stay out of clouds. The silver lining everyone keeps talking about might be another airplane going in the opposite direction. Reliable sources also report that mountains have been known to hide out in clouds.

Always try to keep the number of landings you make equal to the number of take offs you've made.

In the ongoing battle between objects made of aluminum going hundreds of miles per hour and the ground going zero miles per hour, the ground has yet to lose.

The three most useless things to a pilot are the altitude above you, runway behind you, and a tenth of a second ago.

There are three simple rules for making a smooth landing. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

It's always a good idea to keep the pointy end going forward as much as possible.

Flying isn't dangerous. It's crashing that's dangerous.

Helicopters can't fly; they're just so ugly the earth repels them.

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This post about flying came to mind since our daughter and grandson flew into Atlanta this past Saturday evening and will fly out again next weekend. Since Becka and I were going to Atlanta, two of our "campus sons" Tim and Andy who live near Atlanta arranged a little reunion. We all met at Tim's house that afternoon. It was great to catch up with them and it was hard to believe that they were our campus sons 24 years ago! We are hoping to get together here in Greenville this summer.

Here's a picture of Tim and Alice and their family.

picture of Tim's family

Here's a picture of Andy and Carol and their family.

picture of Andy's family

After a nice visit we headed for the airport to pick up Megan and Drew. Here's a picture Megan took of Drew in the airplane.

picture of Drew reading on the plane

Sunday it was nice to have our daughters Megan and Nora and our son Mark and daughter-in-law Katie and our grandson Drew around the table for lunch. After lunch we had an Easter egg hunt in our front yard. Drew didn't like the prickly grass, and so we had to move the eggs onto the sidewalk. Here he is picking up the eggs.

picture of Drew and Easter eggs

Later in the day he took a tumble off the neighbor boy's tricycle. Here he is with his skinned up face.

picture of Drew scraped up

I'll share more pictures later this week as our adventures (and hopefully no more misadventures!) unfold.

Do any of these rules ring true from your flying experiences? I'm sure some of you could share some great stories of flights and airports!

By the way, if you notice anything missing as you click around on my blog (pictures, video, etc.), could you please let me know through the contact link? One person has written me about one set of pictures in a post, and I really appreciate it. I don't have time to look at all 60 pages, especially this week.

quotation...

"This is God's world, and He has the right to make the rules and ask us to obey." - Dr. Jim Deuink

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Remember, gravity is not just a good idea. It's the law. And it's not subject to repeal.

Work Slogans


picture of conference room

Do you like slappy slogans? Today's corporate world often weds a slogan to their eye-catching logos to keep their brand in the minds of those targeted by their advertising. Some are mere hype, almost like motivational posters, while others really are successful at capturing the essence of the company and its services or products.

Our laptop that was recently assailed by spyware/worms/Trojan horses/whatever is an HP Pavilion that we've had for two years. Hewlett-Packard's advertising slogan is "HP Invent." It's concise and sounds kind of neat, but I'm not sure what it is supposed to tell the consumer concerning HP's products. When I ordered the CD's to restore our laptop, HP mailed them to me through FedEx, which I understand is a sister company of HP. I had to pay $14.95 for shipping and handling. When I saw from the tracking that the CD's were picked up in Greenville SC, shipped to Charlotte NC, and then back to where we live in Greenville SC, I labeled it "shipping and mishandling." FedEx's slogan is "Relax, it's FedEx." It's not that I wasn't relaxing, but it was puzzling to watch the tracking, wondering where else my CDs's would go before I got them. And believe it or not, they arrived the day after I ordered them! But I could have driven to pick them up more cheaply than the cost of shipping and mishandling....

I looked in my files to see if I had anything along this line and found some "work slogans." I think that some must be the slogans of the employees rather than the employers.

Slogans at the Work Place

We put the "K" in "Kwality"

Artificial Intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity

Doing a job RIGHT the first time gets the job done. Doing the job WRONG fourteen times gives you job security

Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings – they did it by killing all those who opposed them

A person who smiles in the face of adversity ... probably has a scapegoat

Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether

TEAMWORK ... means never having to take all the blame yourself

Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups

If you can stay calm, while all around you is chaos ... then you probably haven't completely understood the situation

We waste time, so you don't have to

Hang in there, retirement is only thirty years away!

When the going gets tough, the tough take a coffee break

INDECISION is the key to FLEXIBILITY

Succeed in spite of management

Aim Low, Reach Your Goals, Avoid Disappointment

We waste more time by 8:00 in the morning than other companies do all day

The beatings will continue until morale improves

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For those who receive the e-mail versions of my blog posts, I'm sorry for the double mailing. It was just part of getting everything back into place when I uploaded the older, uninfected database. I hope I'm on the "far side" of the worm debacle now! A word to the wise (and anyone else reading this) – if you go to a website and get a message that you need to click on something to update your Flash/Shockwave player, don't do it! Go to the Adobe site to do that update! I think that may be how the rootkit got installed on our system.

Today, tomorrow, and Saturday is the annual Living Gallery on campus. If you live close to Greenville to, you really should consider attending one of the identical presentations. There are still seats available.

This Saturday our daughter Megan and grandson Drew will be arriving to spend a week with us. Brace yourself for pictures and stories next week. 😀

Do you have a favorite company slogan? Can you share one that either makes no sense or is just plain wrong?

quotation...

"Every time you sin, you're worshiping the devil." - David Hosaflook

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.

Worms – Friends or Foes?


picture of worms

What comes to your mind when you hear the word worms? In the past several days I've had some experiences with good worms and with bad worms. I'll start off with good worms – the kind that work for us in our yards and gardens. For years my wife and I have been composting as a means of adding organic material to fertilize our garden. I have a row of hedges in the back corner of our yard that is perfect for hiding my compost heap. This past Saturday I moved blocks around to make the compost area longer and more narrow. In the process, I saw hundreds of earthworms that were happily munching away at the goodies put in the heap every couple of days. Here's a picture of a corner of our compost bin. You can see the rich dark dirt in it.

picture of compost heap

The project I mentioned above was one I've been planning to do for a while, but on Saturda it was a diversion to go outside and away from our laptop. At the end of last week it became evident that, in spite of our firewall and anti-virus program, our computer had a worm. To tell the truth, I don't really know which one we had. I kept rescanning the computer, each time turning up a worm or Trojan horse with a different name. The virus program and also the anti-spyware programs both declared each one either "healed" or removed, but if I scanned again, they would turn up more worms or Trojans as a threat. They finally incapacitated my updating my virus projection or going to the company website.

By Friday evening I began to suspect that my wife's blog had been hacked. I e-mailed my web host who wrote back to confirm my suspicions – her blog was saying its source was in China, which is where the various worms were from also. Related? I'll spare you the details, but I basically had to blow away her blog, reinstall WordPress and upload the most recent, safe backup of her database. She lost a few comments, but that's all. Shortly after I finished that, I received an e-mail saying that visiting my blog had set off this person's antivirus alarm. So I had to do the same with my blog. I lost the database that stores the polls, and so all that info is gone.

This whole time I was fighting that so that I wasn't causing problems for my visitors, I still hadn't fixed our laptop. The solution was to do a "destructive restore" which formatted the C: drive and then restored the laptop to the way it was when we bought it two years ago. So since then, I've been trying to "rebuild my kingdom" by reinstalling our various programs and trying to get things back the way we like them. What a nightmare! I told my wife Becka that a Mac is looking better and better when it comes time to replace this computer, which I was ready to burn at one point this weekend!

Just as I was putting the finishing touches on this post on our laptop, the virus program popped up an alert saying there were two threats on our laptop. But HOW?! 😯 It moved the one file to the virus vault, but it said it could not heal or remove the other one. Big help! So I fear that all the hours that I've spent the last few days are for naught. Apparently the worm has crawled into the D: drive where the restore program is?

Added Tuesday evening, April 7: I've ordered restore disks from HP and will redo my computer sometime.... First, though, I had to rebuild my blog for the second time in several days.

As happy as I am to have hundreds of worms in our compost heap, the word worm currently causes great disgust in me! I had decided that it would be appropriately inappropriate to post some puns about worms, just to try to laugh a little about an otherwise dreary situation, and I'm going to go ahead with this post. (Never fear – I'm posting this from my school computer.) 🙂

On to the levity....

What do you call it when worms take over the world?
Global Worming

How can you tell which end of a worm is which?
Tickle it in the middle and see which end laughs!

Why was the glow worm unhappy?
Because her children weren't all that bright.

What kind of worm do you use for math?
An inch worm

What was the worm doing in the cornfield?
He was going in one ear and out the other.

What do worms leave round their bathtubs?
The scum of the earth

What is worse than biting into an apple and finding a worm?
Biting into an apple and finding a half of a worm!

What do you get if you cross a worm and an elephant?
Very big worm holes in your garden!

Why did the worm cross the playground?
To get to the other slide.

What did the woodworm say to the chair?
It's been nice gnawing you!

What is life like for a wood worm ?
Boring !

Why are glow worms good to carry in your bag?
They can lighten your load!

What do you get if you cross a glow worm with a python?
A 15 foot strip light that can strangle you to death!

What did the worm say to the other worm when he was late coming home?
Where in the earth have you been!

What is the best advice to give a worm?
Sleep late!

quotation...

"I just swallowed an earthworm," said Tom with bated breath.

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

The early bird still has to eat worms.

Signs of Spring


picture of crocus

Ah, Springtime! Such a wonderful and miserable time of year! Here in South Carolina some of our spring flowers are already gone by – crocuses, hyacinths, and some types of daffodil – while other daffodils are blooming, along with forsythia bushes, tulips, and creeping phlox. Many trees are pollinating big-time, a fact of which we allergy sufferers are well aware. The temps are a roller coaster, and we're enjoying much-needed rain. We're getting so much rain lately that it's almost as if the Lord is saying, "Drought, schmought."

Thinking about these signs of spring got me thinking about a dozen assorted signs for your amusement.

One of the dangers of spring's warmer weather is the thinning of the ice, but only if you are not thin yourself, according to this sign.

picture of sign

This sign is almost illegible, the tree has grown over it so much. I wonder how many hit this bad curve way too fast....

picture of sign

This picture of a sign was taken at a Burger King in the Detroit area.

picture of sign

These three signs leave me scratching my head.

picture of sign

picture of sign

picture of sign

People seem to delight in disregarding some signs.

picture of sign

Some signs let you know you are not being disregarded.

picture of sign

picture of sign

This sign conjures up all kinds of weird scenarios in my mind.

picture of sign

Spring shoppers see some interesting warning signs.

picture of sign

picture of sign

If you see a funny sign, please take a picture of it and send it my way! Also, if you have an idea for a poll for my readers, please write me about it.

quotation...

"As a slave of God, you can be free from everything else." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Official sign near door: Door alarmed

Hand-printed sign nearby: Window frightened