Indiana: Home of the world's tallest women

And some people say that Indiana is a boring place to live.

I had no idea that Shelbyville, Indiana, was the home of the world’s tallest woman. Or I guess I should say was the home of the world’s tallest woman because she just died.

Isn’t that just how life is? You learn that where you live is much more interesting than you thought, just after it becomes less interesting.

I wonder if the world’s former second tallest woman (now the first tallest) was glad to hear the news….

Read More >
Add a comment

Adventures of an Engaged Consumer: Why Patagonia Rocks

An inquiry I directed to Patagonia’s customer service via their online form:

I’m about to place an order from your sale, but would like to know where
the items I’ll be purchasing are from. Could you tell me where the
following items were made:

1. Fezzman shirt
2. Go-fer Tee
3. Men’s all-wear cargo shorts



Less than an hour later their response:

Hi Kelsey,

The M’S FEZZMAN SHIRT, M’S GO-FER SHIRT, and M’S ALL-WEAR CARGO SHORTS are made in Thailand. Please let us know if you have any questions.
Have a great day!

Kelly Customer Service

After learning that they were made in Thailand, I visited their Footprint Chronicles feature and viewed a video of the factory they came from.

As an engaged consumer, that’s a company I can support….

Read More >
Add a comment

Dave Barry at the Olympics

Michael Phelps is impressive, sure, but, in my eyes, the most talented American in China is Dave Barry.

Apparently, he’s picked his column back up for the summer Olympics.

For you my very special friend, a sample of his most recent performance:

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys shopping and lying, you would love the Beijing Silk Market.

He goes on to talk about what happens if you show any interest in the products the vendors at the Silk Market are selling:

If you respond by displaying any interest at all — and by ”displaying any interest,” I mean ”not walking briskly away” — the salesperson will thrust a merchandise item into your hands and make the following points:

1. The item is totally legitimate. If it’s supposed to be a…

Read More >
Add a comment

With thanks to my dog and cat…

My mom wanted me to thank my childhood dog Sammy, a dog that has survived coon dog paralysis and whose tail never stops wagging, in my acknowledgments.

Annie wanted me to thank Oreo, the cat who own me, hogs my chair, and sprawls out across my notes.

I thanked neither.

After reading an article titled “With Thanks to My Cat” in London’s Guardian, I’m glad I chose to reserve my thanks for two-legged creatures. I found the article while Googling for tips on writing acknowledgments. The article features many of the clichés included in acknowledgements in quotes, including “my cat,” “incomparable editor,” “ceaseless attention,” “tireless encouragement,” etc.

I tried to avoid many of them, but at least one “without whom this book would not have been possible” snuck through….

Read More >
Add a comment

Congratulations to John Scalzi

I first started reading the works and blog of writer John Scalzi after reading about him in the local paper. He lives in a small town next to the small town which is next to my small town.

“Really,” I thought, “a science fiction writer in Darke County?”

Scalzi is much more than a science fiction writer. He’s written about poverty in America, visiting a creationism museum in Kentucky, and he, perhaps most famously, has taped bacon to a cat.

This weekend he won a Hugo award. This validates all the time I’ve spent reading his blog and all of his books. Go me.

I haven’t won any award since my Best Mental Attitude Kung Fu award in 2001, so I have to…

Read More >
Add a comment
Read More >
Add a comment

The Olympics

Why I’m excited –

The US Men’s Basketball team, “The Redeem Team,” is going to put the USA back where it belongs in international basketball competition.

My mom is close friends with the owner of DeVeau’s School of Gymnastics in Indianapolis, the home gym of Samantha Peszek. I’m not too manly to admit that I watch the women’s gymnastics. This year I’ll be watching a little more closely and following her progress on the school’s blog.

Why I’m nervous –

If the U.S. Men’s Basketball team ,“The Redeem Team,” loses, it will solidify our position of mediocrity in international basketball competition.

As of today, my book is pretty much set in stone. About 1/5th of the book takes place in China. I’m worried that over the next 10-days…

Read More >
Add a comment

Mr T. says, “Get some nuts”

A recent Snickers commercial has been banned because critics are claiming that it’s anti-homosexual.

Anti-gay? I don’t think so.

Anti-speedwalker? Yes.

Pro-funny? Definitely.

Decide for youself:

Inferring that all speed walkers are gay is like saying all guys that where excessive amounts of gold chains around their necks and earrings are gay. And even though Mr. T. is probably about 70, I pity the fool that questions his sexuality.

And in a somewhat related issue, here’s a drawing of Mr. T kissing Chuck Norris….

Read More >
Add a comment

Activist to Bono: Retire!

Bono seeing red

A fella from Chicago is demanding that Bono retire:

“Bono’s philanthropy efforts are self-righteous, ineffective, & counter-productive;… The grassroots leaders of the global fight against AIDS didn’t ask for Bono to be their frontman. Its time for Bono to step down. We’ll all pledge donations to the Global Fund, but no pledges are collected until Bono retires from public life.”

So far this campaign has raised $1,002, which is nearly equal to the amount of money Bono raises scratching his butt. Although, the money will not actually be donated unless Bono does retire. Go ahead and donate a Gazillion-bazillion dollars because chances are you’ll never have to pay.

The main target of the campaign is not Bono, it’s the RED campaign. Bono…

Read More >
Add a comment

Can Creative Capitalism Save the World?

Bill Gates thinks so.

Gates in the pages of Time magazine:

As I see it, there are two great forces of human nature: self-interest and caring for others. Capitalism harnesses self-interest in a helpful and sustainable way but only on behalf of those who can pay. Government aid and philanthropy channel our caring for those who can’t pay. And the world will make lasting progress on the big inequities that remain — problems like AIDS, poverty and education — only if governments and nonprofits do their part by giving more aid and more effective aid. But the improvements will happen faster and last longer if we can channel market forces, including innovation that’s tailored to the needs of the poorest, to complement what governments and nonprofits do. We need a…

Read More >
Add a comment