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    ChicagoBoyz Waiting Room Series: 25

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 1st July 2019 (All posts by )

    Posted in Waiting Rooms | 2 Comments »

    Dr. Kennedy, Paging Dr. Kennedy…

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 27th June 2019 (All posts by )

    What is going on with Angela Merkel? Seen again shaking today. That is all I have for today, please and thank you.

    Posted in Current Events, Germany | 6 Comments »

    ChicagoBoyz Waiting Room Series: 24

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 11th May 2019 (All posts by )

    Posted in Waiting Rooms | 7 Comments »

    ChicagoBoyz Waiting Room Series: 22

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 10th February 2019 (All posts by )

    Posted in Waiting Rooms | 2 Comments »

    ChicagoBoyz Waiting Room Series: 21

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 25th January 2019 (All posts by )

    Posted in Waiting Rooms | 6 Comments »

    ChicagoBoyz Waiting Room Series 19

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 13th December 2018 (All posts by )

    Posted in Waiting Rooms | 8 Comments »

    ChicagoBoyz Waiting Room Series 18

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 11th December 2018 (All posts by )

    Posted in Waiting Rooms | 5 Comments »

    ChicagoBoyz Waiting Room Series 17

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 27th November 2018 (All posts by )

    Posted in Waiting Rooms | 4 Comments »

    ChicagoBoyz Waiting Room Series 16

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 13th November 2018 (All posts by )

    Posted in Waiting Rooms | 2 Comments »

    ChicagoBoyz Waiting Room Series 15

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 30th October 2018 (All posts by )

    Song Selections on the PA during my short wait:
    “Where Are You Going?” – Dave Matthews Band
    “Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone” – Glass Tiger
    “Roll To Me” – Del Amitri

    Posted in Waiting Rooms | 13 Comments »

    ChicagoBoyz Waiting Room Series 14

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 19th October 2018 (All posts by )

    What lies beyond the portal?

    Posted in Waiting Rooms | 8 Comments »

    Women Are All Precious Flowers Now

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 28th September 2018 (All posts by )

    I always like to get my wife’s take on things, as she is smart, good looking and, frankly, I way outkicked my coverage, so to say, in my choice of spouses.

    In watching some of the Kavanaugh hearings yesterday I asked her opinion on the whole deal. She says that pretty much every female she knows (herself included) got groped at some time in their lives but all have moved on from things that happened oh so long ago. She also says that this circus will severely damage any claims by, well, pretty much any female that may have been actually sexually abused in the past. “What happened to strong women? Are we all precious flowers now that must be so delicately handled?”

    My wife also doesn’t think that Kavanaugh actually did said groping – but that even if he did, it was in high school some 3.5 decades ago so, well, bfd.

    Her social media feeds have exploded with vitriol. I am glad I deleted my facebook account some time ago. I am sure it is awful.

    That is one strong woman’s viewpoint – I would love to hear from some of our other what I would consider strong women contributors here on their take of the situation.

    Posted in Current Events | 73 Comments »

    ChicagoBoyz Waiting Room Series 13 – Improved With Music Selections!

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 24th September 2018 (All posts by )

    The Waiting Room DJ was not kind to me – songs on PA while I waited:

    Sharp Dressed Man – ZZ Top
    Love Rollercoaster – Ohio Players
    Waterloo – ABBA
    Hold Me – Fleetwood Mac
    Baby Blue – Badfinger
    Conga – Miami Sound Machine

    Mercifully, I only made it halfway through “Conga” and it was my turn.

    Posted in Photos, Waiting Rooms | 11 Comments »

    Fake Sailing News

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 28th October 2017 (All posts by )

    I am calling b.s. on the recent story about the two women with their two dogs that got “lost” at sea for 5 months. There are just SO many questions that I have.

    I have read a lot of books about sailing, boats and navigation, (although I don’t sail myself) and think that if faced with a life or death situation that a captain and one crew member could make something work and at least get one sail up on that boat (that looked in decent shape in photos and video) and hit some land just by sailing east or west (depending on the situation) with the sun as your only navigational guide in far less time than five months. Thoughts? Dr. Kennedy, paging Dr. Kennedy! (who I believe has sailed the Pacific).

    Posted in Current Events | 12 Comments »

    Oh No, Not This Again

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 12th August 2017 (All posts by )

    A funny thing happened to me last week. My two daughters and one of their boyfriends asked me what I thought about the recent menacing words being traded by the Most Esteemed Great Leader (or whatever he is being called these days) of North Korea, and President Trump. Honestly I had been out of the loop, helping deal with a death in the family. After doing a little catching up online on the situation I just said to them “oh no, not this again”. They looked a little, well, questioning at old pops. I just said – “Ugh – I have been hearing about the fiery end of the United States from some idiot in North Korea for the last 40 years. It gets tiring. He won’t do anything. We should sink the Pueblo next time he spouts off”.

    That got them thinking. For a bit, anyways.

    Posted in Korea, Personal Narrative | 29 Comments »

    Where’s The Lane?

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 28th January 2017 (All posts by )

    I recently traded in my old Acura MDX for a new one. What a long, long way we have come in the 7 years since I purchased a new vehicle. I now have an air conditioned seat, something I am looking forward to using this Spring and Summer. I also have a heated steering wheel now, which is great during Winter. Quite the creature comfort.

    It also has a feature called Auto-Idle Stop that you can enable and disable that shuts the car off at a stop to save gas. The Acura dealer says that is will save a mile a gallon. At first I didn’t like it, but now I am used to it. I remembered it from when I was in a Prius cab once. When you take your foot off the brake, the car fires up and off you go. While you are stopped, all of the climate control and audio/whatever else you have on is still functional. It automatically turns back on after around a minute sitting there if you haven’t moved. I have no clue how this actually saves you gas but if they say it does, I guess they can’t really lie about it.

    Outside of all of the comfort things, the new vehicle is a technological powerhouse. I have had it for almost a month now and am still figuring out all of the features and tech stuff. It has 16 gig of memory to store music onboard. I don’t use that much since I love my XM, but there it is if you want it.

    Of the greatest interest to me are the next steps auto manufacturers have made to get everyone used to the idea of the inevitable autonomous vehicle. Three things work in concert on my vehicle. They are Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW). At first I turned all of this stuff off, but decided to one day read the manual (I know) to understand how it all works. It is interesting to say the least.

    ACC is basically “smart” cruise control. You set your cruise and it will keep the speed, but will also compensate for cars in front of you. You can set the distance that you prefer between your car and the car in front of you (there are four distances to choose from). In the city, I choose the closest distance so as not to clog traffic. The car will actually go all the way down to zero, braking at a light, and will start moving again when the car in front moves forward. There is a bit of a delay when you re-start, so you may look like you have no idea what you are doing, but to heck with everyone else, you don’t have to accelerate or brake and they do. Oh yes, the Auto-Idle Stop feature works with this as well, but you have to hit the accelerator to resume again if you are Auto-Idle Stopped with the ACC in charge.

    LDW is, from what I have figured out, just a warning system. It wiggles the steering wheel and shows a display when it feels you are out of the lane.

    LKAS is where the rubber really hits the road. When you enable this along with the ACC, the car literally drives itself. LKAS keeps you centered in the lane at whatever speed you are going. I have taken my hands off the wheel, but there are apparently sensors in the wheel because after a few seconds, the car says “you have to drive” and shuts down the auto systems. So just a light pressure on the wheel is all you need and you can let the car do the work. Sometimes the delay takes a bit and it would seem to the car behind you that you are drunk driving since you are weaving back and forth a bit in the lane. This typically happens when you are on a curved road. It isn’t perfect, but when the road is straight, it works very well.

    But.

    The cameras for all of this are only as good as the ROAD MARKINGS. We had a snow storm recently and my car was caked with snow and ice and the car just said on the display “cameras blocked” and you are on your own. In addition, I live in rural Wisconsin, just outside of Madison. In the city, there are much better lane markings. In the country, the roads have NONE. No smart driving for you in the country, although the ACC always works wherever you are as long as the camera isn’t blocked by snow. Even in the city, the lane markings deviate and/or are in bad shape in areas, and the car will beep and tell you that “tough stuff, you have to drive”, we can’t see the lane. This means that you have to pay attention because at times, you can see the lane markings, but the cameras can’t. There is a part of the display that lets you know if the camera can see the lane markings. I haven’t been on the interstate with it yet, but will soon and look forward to seeing what the car can do in that venue. I assume it will work great.

    All in all, when I figure out everything, this new vehicle will make my hour plus a day in the car a much more pleasant experience. Without proper lane markings, however, or unless and until we have lightning speeds with GPS, I don’t see fully autonomous vehicles coming for a bit. Which gets me to thinking I should probably look into investing in companies that manufacture lane marking equipment and paint, but that is certainly grist for another post.

    Cross posted at LITGM.

    Posted in Product Reviews/Endorsements, Tech, Transportation | 71 Comments »

    Christmas Spirit

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 15th December 2016 (All posts by )

    Jameson has it.
    santa-dog

    Posted in Jameson, Photos | 5 Comments »

    Are the Police a Purely Reactive Force?

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 15th July 2016 (All posts by )

    Another day, another tragedy.

    Driving to work there was a massive speed trap set up on one of the roads I take.

    Is that all they are good for? Revenue? How many times are we to witness this carnage? Shouldn’t the police be doing the hard work of, well, policing? Maybe I am over reacting. Enlighten me in the comments.

    Posted in Current Events, Terrorism | 10 Comments »

    The Art of the Remake, XVIII

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 7th April 2016 (All posts by )

    Remember the standard:
    “If you are going to cover a song, rip it apart a bit and make it your own.”
    Changes, by David Bowie:

    And a remake by Lewis and Clarke:

    I saw this one while perusing Jeff Carter’s excellent blog, Points and Figures, which you should take a look at every day. It particularly struck me today as I am going through some big changes in my life right now. Some good, some bad, but in the end, as my daughter keeps telling me, “everything will be just fine”.

    Posted in Music, Video | 3 Comments »

    ChicagoBoyz Waiting Room Series

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 2nd April 2016 (All posts by )

    IMG_20160402_121303
    Diagnosis: rhinitis medicamentosa.

    Posted in Personal Finance, Photos, Waiting Rooms | 4 Comments »

    Always Dancing

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 26th March 2016 (All posts by )

    kid-horse

    Posted in Photos | 2 Comments »

    Christmas Spirit

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 30th November 2015 (All posts by )

    Jameson has it.
    JAMO

    Posted in Holidays, Jameson | 8 Comments »

    The Republican Debate

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 29th October 2015 (All posts by )

    I actually watched the Republican “debate” last night. What follows are my thoughts. Before we get to that, you should know that I generally don’t pay too much attention to politics and really don’t know what I am talking about in this arena. Which probably makes me an equal to most of the talking heads. My impressions.

    “Winners” – before we get to my list of “winners”, maybe I should explain why I put it in quotes. By “winning”, I mean to define someone who I actually remember today that they said something instructive or constructive last night. Or they looked or acted sincere.

    My big winner was Ted Cruz. He seemed passionate and sincere – a true believer. I loved the way he blasted the moderators for what were, at the least, obtuse questions. They were obviously trying to stir up the hornet’s nest and were also trying to damage the candidates for the future. Cruz saw through it and called it out. Bravo.

    Another winner was Carly. She answered each and every question very succinctly and came up with some very intelligent, thoughtful answers very quickly. She adeptly brushed off the “you tanked HP” crap from the moderators.

    I also liked, but didn’t love, Rubio. Another person who I feel is a true believer. Very well spoken and put Jeb in his place when attacked. Quick on his feet.

    Didn’t win, but didn’t lose category:

    John Kasich – I have followed Kasich for a while now and he has a lot of great ideas, but he is clearly uncomfortable in a suit. He always looks awkward. I think he would be great in an administration, but I don’t know if his goofy persona will play in a general election.

    Huckabee – I think Huckabee is a good and honest person, but I can’t really remember anything specifically he said last night. I do remember that he is eloquent and speaks clearly and slowly and methodically. I would love to have him as an uncle.

    Ben Carson – I am not really feeling the almost asleep method of how he speaks, but when he does speak, it is pretty intelligent. No clue how he is topping the polls in Iowa. I think he would be a fine president, but I just don’t really get it at this point.

    Losers:

    Rand Paul – While the Libertarian in me likes what Rand Paul has said in the past and said last night, he totally fell flat. I get why he doesn’t want to get into the scrum, but I feel like he sort of mailed it in. Probably the next exit from the race.

    Chris Christie – You might disagree with me, but I don’t like the east coast asshole schtick. I am from the Midwest and I deal with my share of East Coast people, and many of them are rude and want to steamroll me and I hate that. He said some great things, don’t get me wrong, but I just don’t like the delivery.

    Jeb – You could tell he was desperate from the get go. He said nothing witty or remarkable. Probably time for him to pack it in as well.

    Trump – same ol same ol. He’s just a blowhard. Says some good things about taxes and actually does a good job answering the questions. But I have always hated him so I probably am not giving him a fair shake.

    Well, there you go, a totally amateurish take on the debate last night. Let me have it in the comments.

    Posted in Politics | 34 Comments »

    Celiac Disease and the “Worried Well”

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 23rd October 2015 (All posts by )

    My oldest daughter just got diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Maybe it really isn’t called that, but she had a strong reaction on the test. She was feeling sore in her joints and they decided to give her the test. We will be having her re-tested to be sure, but are already taking appropriate steps with her diet.

    I have had a discussion over the years with my better half that the whole celiac thing is overblown and that most of it is b.s. So this is a funny diagnosis in a goofy sort of way. My wife and I pretty much eat anything and everything and had passed that along to our kids. There are literally only four or five things I don’t like to eat and my wife is the same way. Protein, starch, vegetables, fruit, all in moderation. A balanced diet. Seems to work for us.

    A friend of mine on Facebook posted something interesting about some research that is proving that most people when they are lied to about what they are eating and given placebos, feel “better” or “worse” depending on what they THINK they are eating. I completely believe this. One doctor (or so he said he was one) provided this comment, that to me, became the quote of the day:

    In my practice I frequently see people who have NOTHING WRONG WITH THEM but who have a strong need to assume the role of a patient with some kind of diagnosis. I encourage them to go see “alternative medicine” practitioners. Indeed, the great benefit of alternative medicine is to provide the “worried well” with a pantomime theater of treatment.

    While my daughter’s diagnosis could be true, I still believe that the vast majority of people who are going “gluten free” are doing so out of misinformation or wanting to be part of a fad. Just for kicks, my wife and I are getting tested as well. We hear that it is hereditary. But we both feel fine. Maybe we need to get our chakras in order and everything will be OK.

    Posted in Medicine, Personal Narrative | 19 Comments »

    Learning On My Time

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 30th September 2015 (All posts by )

    Recently I have been to the south of France four times to enjoy cycling vacations. The people there are super friendly and happy to have our tourist Euros. The food is outstanding.

    I took French in high school and for a couple years in college, but dropped it. I have recently picked it back up and am learning every day – literally.

    I have been using a free app called DuoLingo. It was pretty cool to see what I remembered after twenty something years.

    I set a goal to do some French every day. The app rewards you for hitting your daily goal. I made it realistic – equivalent to about 20 to 30 minutes a day. I am on a 92 day streak as of this writing. I am competitive with everything, especially myself.

    It is amazing how far I have come already. Now that I have knocked down most of the basic vocabulary and tenses, it is getting more difficult – but I am learning quickly. The app works you over in several ways. It says something that you have to write, or shows something that you have to translate (English to French and French to English) or shows you something that you are supposed to say into the voice recognition.

    While the app isn’t perfect, it is very, very good. I feel at this point if I could get someone to slow down while speaking that I would have a pretty good chance of getting around, ordering in a restaurant, reading basic travel information, etc. Someday I want to buy a little place in France so obviously learning the language is key – not to mention fun (to me anyways). I would recommend DuoLingo if you are interested in refreshing your language skills – it works on all of your platforms, and if you are in a place where you can’t speak, you can simply turn off that function.

    DuoLingo isn’t perfect – at a certain point down the road I will likely have to find a new app or hire a private tutor to perfect my conversational French, but for these basic building blocks, it is fantastic.

    But this particular post isn’t necessarily about DuoLingo – it is about learning on my time. In the past, something like this would be unimaginable. You would have to hire a private tutor or go to community college. My life isn’t structured that way. I am a business owner with kids all over the place so I need to approach learning French when I have 20 minutes here or there. I recently looked at the local community college for French courses and they only offered it at 6pm to 8.30pm on Tuesday and Thursday night. Not gonna happen.

    With DuoLingo, I hit it when and where I want to. Waiting for a kid to get out of dance class? DuoLingo. Someone is late for an appointment or maybe I am early? Same thing. I don’t have 2.5 hours to sit in a chair twice a week, away from my house or work.

    There are a lot of apps out there, and like with the first inning of the game, Khan Academy, I am excited to see how these new learning methods and interfaces come to fruition in the future.

    We aren’t there yet, but I think eventually kids graduating high school will be able to say “why college?” – and I think that is a great thing.

    Adults who want to simply further themselves no longer need to sit around at the local community college.

    Posted in Education, Internet, Tech | 11 Comments »