Friday, December 28, 2018

Final Week of Pac-12 Bowl Games

There are five Pac-12 Bowl Games in the coming week!

Today the WSU Cougars will take on Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl. The game is 6:00 PM PST on ESPN. The Cougars are slight favorites. Go Cyclones!

On Monday, December 31st, there are three games:

At 11:00 AM PST, Stanford takes on Pitt in the Sun Bowl. It will be on CBS. Stanford is favored to win.

At 12:00 Noon, PST, Oregon takes on Michigan State in the RedBox Bowl. That game will be on Fox. Oregon is favored in this game. Go Michigan State Spartans!

And at 4:00 PM PST, #17 Utah will play #22 Northwestern in the Holiday Bowl. The game will be on FS1. Utah is also favored in this game.

On Tuesday, January 1st, 2019, #9 Washington (Go Huskies!) plays #6 Ohio State in the 105th Rose Bowl. The game is at 2:00 PM PST and will be on ESPN. The Huskies are the huge underdogs in this contest. Go Dawgs!

Update: WSU beat Iowa State, 28-26.

Update2: Staford beat Pitt 14-13. Oregon beat Michigan State 6-7. Utah was beaten by Northwestern in an upset by a score of 31-20. And finally, Washington lost to Ohio State 23-28.

Thursday, December 27, 2018


Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is simply "Rest."

What the heck does that mean?

It's almost the end of the year. My next blog post will likely be in 2019! Back when I worked in the corporate world, I would take the time between Christmas and New Years off to rest, recharge, and relax. Last week we talked about rising. But before you can rise, and after you rise, you need to rest to ensure your personal battery is fully charge.

Now that I am a writer, I rest more. In fact, I tend to take naps almost every afternoon. One thing that I don't like is I tend to start feeling very sleepy at 9:00 P.M. I call it "pumpkin time" (from "turning into a pumpkin" from Cinderella where the stage coach turned back into a pumpkin). Used to be I'd wake up around 5:00 AM every morning. Lately it's more like 7:00 AM. And I try to stay up later and maybe sleep 11:00 PM to 8:00 AM. But I just can't seem to do it. I either fall asleep or wake up at 7:00 AM anyway.

Rest is important. How do you rest and recharge. Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Two Pac-12 Bowl Games Next Week

On Wednesday, December 26th, there is a Pac-12 bowl game, TCU versus California in the Cheez-it Bowl. It will be at 6:00 PM PST on ESPN. California is a slight underdog in this contest.

And on Friday, December 28th, the WSU Cougars will take on Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl. The game is 6:00 PM PST on ESPN. Again, the Cougars are slightly favored. Go Cyclones!
UPDATE: California Lost to TCU, 10-7.
UPDATE 2: WSU beat Iowa State, 28-26.

Thursday, December 20, 2018


Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is simply, "Rise."

Makes me think of "Rise and Shine."

You know, life gives us a lot of challenges that we have to rise to. We have to push ourselves and to better to achieve what we need or want to achieve. You can choose not to rise, but then you'll be stuck in the same place. You won't rise, you'll sink. If you aren't going forward you're going backward.

It's almost the new year (jeez, already?) and this is a good time to think about what you want to rise to in the new year. Or do you want to keep being the same old lump you were before? So Rise and Shine and make your life better.

How do you plan to rise? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, December 14, 2018

One Pac-12 Bowl Game This Weekend

This weekend, there's one Pac-12 bowl game. That's Arizona State vs. Fresno State in the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl. The game starts Saturday at 12:30 PDT and is on ABC.

Fresno State is ranked at #21 and ASU is not ranked at all. So the Sun Devils are going in as the underdogs.

UPDATE: Arizona State lost 20-31.

Thursday, December 13, 2018


Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "New." A couple of weeks ago I talked about "old and new."

So...what's new, pussycat?

There's not much new in my world. Same ol' same ol'. I'm seriously thinking about getting a new computer but the hassle of switching everything over is dissuading me.

I do have a new iPhone Xs. I love it. And Apple made it very easy to switch everything over. The only thing I had trouble with was music (I have a lot of music on my phone). I finally found that the "sync music" setting had been deselected somehow. When I selected it, my music loaded onto my new phone just fine. And speaking of music, when you don't use earbuds or any other kind of headphones, the music coming just from the phone is amazing in how good it sounds.

The biggest problem I have with the iPhone Xs is sometimes the facial recognition (Face ID) doesn't want to work the first time. To unlock the phone (which has no "home" button), you swipe up. Then the Face ID is supposed to unlock it. When it works, it works great. But sometimes it doesn't, especially in low-light conditions. I have, at times, just given up and typed in my password.

I think for the XI (or whatever they call their next generation iPhone), there should be an low-power IR emitter on the front so the Face ID works in low or no-light conditions.

What's new in your life? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, December 6, 2018


Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "My biggest fear." Well, I pretty much covered that here.

So what's the next one? "Spring." Which is ironic to write about as we're now sliding into winter. The Vernal Equinox will be March 20, 2019 at 12:58 P.M. Pacific Standard Time (3:58 P.M. Eastern Standard Time). That is the day when there should be about 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night (I assume that's why it's called an "equinox").

Spring has good and bad. The good: the roads clear up and I can take my snow tires off and drive my car like it's meant to be driven. It gets warmer so don't have to wear a coat anymore, nor get snow and slush all over your shoes. Trips to Seattle aren't marathons of snowy driving anymore.

The bad? Allergies. My allergies aren't as bad now as before I did seven  years of allergy shots. But some times the pollen just overwhelms and I sneeze and itch and sneeze some more. One time before allergy shots (BAS), someone told me if you sneeze ten times in a row, you'll die. I proceeded to sneeze eleven times in a row. I didn't die.

Or maybe the prompt has to do with bouncy springs? I don't know.

What do you dread or look forward in spring? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Huskies Are #9!

Today the AP top 25 college football poll came out early. And in that poll, the University of Washington Huskies moved up one to #9, putting them in the top ten in the final regular season poll.

Utah, who they beat in the Pac-12 Championship, dropped to #20 from #17. And Washington State University stayed the same at #12.

But the AP poll isn't what matters these days. It's the CFP committee rankings. The top six were announced at 9:30 AM PST. Those are #1 Alabama, #2 Clemson, #3 Notre Dame, and #4 Oklahoma. No surprises there. They also announced #5 Georgia and #6 Ohio State.

And in the CFP rankings, the Huskies are also #9 WSU is #13 which leaves them out of the six New Years bowls. Utah is #17. Both WSU and Utah should get good bowls, but not a New Years one.

The Huskies will likely play #6 Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. We'll be the underdogs in that game. The "New Year Six" will be announced at noon PST so we won't know for sure until then.

UPDATE: Yes, it's confirmed: the Huskies will play Ohio State in the Rose Bowl on New Years Day. The game is at 2;00 PM PST (5:00 PM EST) on ESPN.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Huskies are 10-3 and Pac-12 Champions

The University of Washington Huskies beat the University of Utah Utes last night in the Pac-12 Championship game. The game was played in Santa Clara, California.

When the top two defenses in the Pac-12 meet,  you expect a low-scoring game. And last night was a very low scoring game, finishing at 10-3 for the Huskies. The only touchdown was a pick 6 interception that the defense ran in for six points. All other points were field goals.

The Huskies could move the ball slightly better than the Utes, but still had trouble getting into the red zone let alone the end zone. Often they would go for it on fourth down and only made it once, if I remember right. The Utes held Myles Gaskin to only 71 yards of rushing. It's unusual for him to have less than 100 yards in a game.

But the Huskies did the same to the Utes, holding them to one field goal in the third quarter. It was a defensive grind of a game and Utah's multiple turnovers made the difference, including the one ran in for a touchdown.

The crowd seemed to be mostly Utah fans and they were rude. They booed loudly when the Huskies ran onto the field. They booed during the trophy presentation ceremony. They shouted and booed if they didn't like a call by the officials.

What's Next:

The Huskies will play in the Rose Bowl on New Years Day for the first time since 2000. They would have played there in 2016 except they went to the CFP bowl game. They will play the winner of tonight's Big-10 Championship game between Ohio State (heavily favored) and Northwestern. So they will likely play a very tough Ohio State, unless by some miracle Ohio State goes to the CFP. For that to happen, someone like undefeated Alabama would have to lose their game today.

However, #1 Alabama plays #4 Georgia. One of them has to lose. But Ohio State is #6 so it's unlikely they would move up enough to go to the CFP.

The Polls:

The AP top 25 college football poll comes out at 11:00 AM PST tomorrow. The final CFP committee rankings will come out at noon PST tomorrow.


So far, the only coach in the Pac-12 that has been fired is Colorado's Mike MacIntyre. The Athletic Director at USC said they aren't going to fire their coach despite a losing season.  I'm always nervous this time of year that someone is going to try to lure Husky coach Chris Petersen away.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Old and New

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Old + New." I don't know if that's supposed to be "Old plus New" or "Old and New." In any case...

I like old stuff sometimes. I like old cars (except having to repair and maintain them). But then again, I just like cars.

I like old music. In fact, any music released past about 1992 I'm really not interested in. Seems the music has gone downhill since then.

But I like new. I used to be an "early adopter." I've had a computer of some kind since 1982. I got my first cell phone in 1993 (and it only made phone calls). Back then cell phone usage was around $1.00 per minute plus long distance (if any). Quite the contrast with today with unlimited minutes and no long distance charges. And there was this thing called "roaming" were if you left your home area (If I remember right, that was your area code) the costs went up even more.

I'm not a fan of antiques, but I do like the classical look when it comes to furniture.

Of course, "old" music is pre-1990. Old cars are pre-1970. Old cell phones are pre-2015. So what's old depends on what you're talking about.

So do you prefer old or new stuff? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Huskies are #11 in CFP

Yesterday the College Football Playoff (CFP) committee rankings came out. I expected the University of Washington Huskies to move up after defeating Washington State in the snowy Apple Cup. I was hoping that, like the AP poll, they would move into the top ten. But they are #11, now, in the CFP. But, the good news is that the top twelve teams go to the big six college football bowls normally held on New Years Eve/New Years Day (three will be played on Saturday December 30th this year so as not to conflict with NFL games on Sunday the 31st).

The Washington State Cougars fell from #8 to #13, just missing the big six bowls.

Now Washington has to beat Utah in the Pac-12 Championship game. That game is Friday at 5:00 PM PST (8:00 PM EST) on Fox. We already beat Utah early in the regular season but the Utes have a different quarterback and teams tend to improve during the season. So I expect this to be a tough, hard fought game.

Assuming the Huskies win the Pac-12 Championship, they will probably play in the Rose Bowl. If the Utes win, they will likely play in the Rose Bowl.

The final CFP rankings come out at noon Pacific Time Sunday. So we'll know more then.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Huskies are #10!

Today at 2:00 PM EST, 11:00 AM PST, the AP Top 25 college football poll came out. And the University of Washington Huskies are #10 after their defeat of Washington State in the Apple Cup on Friday.

This puts the Huskies back in the top ten of the AP poll, where they haven't been since week 7 of the season (this is week 14). We were even unranked week 10.

The WSU Cougars dropped to #12 from #7.

The College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings will come out Tuesday. Can only hope that they, too, move the Huskies up into the top ten. We probably have no chance of making the CFP top four (that go to the playoffs) with so many undefeated teams: Alabama, Clemson, and Notre Dame, especially with the Huskies having three losses. But it's nice to get national recognition by being ranked high in the polls and CFP rankings.

The Huskies play next in the Pac-12 Championship game against #17 Utah. That game will be at 5:00 PM PST (8:00 PM EST) on Fox.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Huskies are 9-3 and the Pac-12 North Champions.

The University of Washington Huskies beat the Washington State University Cougars last night in the Apple Cup. The final score was 28-15. It was an interesting game. But first, a little history...

The Snow Bowl

In 1992, at the end of the season, the Huskies were #5 in the AP Top 25 poll (the CFP didn't exist then). They were, the year before, the national champions. So they went into the Apple Cup pretty confident to beat the unranked Cougars.

But it was snowing. Snowing hard. And the wind chill was -18F (-28C). The Cougars managed to pull off a win by a score of 42-23. The game was forever dubbed the "Snow Bowl" by both Husky and Cougar fans. And it's one of the reason why we say "anything can happen at the Apple Cup."

Snow Bowl 2

Going into the game, the Cougars were favored with their 10-1 overall record (the Huskies were 8-3 overall). The only team they lost to was USC. However, USC is not very good this year and have a 5-6 overall record as of this morning. They play undefeated Notre Dame later today.

Last night it started snowing just before the game. And the wind was blowing. It snowed through out the game, depositing perhaps two inches of the white stuff. I dubbed it "Snow Bowl 2."

As the game when on (and the field got more covered in snow), the players moved slower and slower to compensate for the bad grip they had on the field. But the Huskies scored first and never looked back. They led the whole game. There were a lot of turnovers probably due to a wet football and cold hands. But also some interceptions. Running back Myles Gaskin ran a lot and scored a lot. Salvon Ahmed, the younger running back, also ran for a lot of yards.

The Cougars' one surprise play was a blocked point after attempt that went right into the hands of a Cougar who ran it in for a 2-point conversion.

The Cougars' much-vaunted quarterback is from Mississippi and I wondered if he'd ever seen snow before. He had trouble throwing the ball probably due to the low visibility. Husky quarterback Jake Browning didn't throw much either, but hit his target more often.

Going into last night's game, the Cougars were ranked #8 in the College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings. The Huskies were #16. In the AP poll, the Cougars were #6 and the Huskies were #16, also.

So the Huskies are 7-2 in conference and 9-3 overall. The Cougars are also 7-2 in conference and 10-2 overall. With a tied in-conference record, and the Huskies beating the Cougars, the Huskies are the Pac-12 North Champions. Next week they play Utah for the Pac-12 championship. If they win, they will likely play in the Rose Bowl.

The Polls

The AP poll doesn't come out until Sunday morning Pacific Time. The CFP rankings will come out Tuesday. You can bet the Cougars will move down and the Huskies will move up in each poll.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Black Friday Deal: Treasure of the Black Hole

Today and through the weekend, Treasure of the Black Hole Kindle edition is on a Black Friday sale for just 99 cents. This is the book that started the "Treasures of Space" series. Get it now while you can! Just go here.

The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of . . .

When private detective Rick Bailey is hired by the exotically beautiful and outrageously wealthy Princess Nora, he thinks it'll be easy money. Escaping from her rebellion-torn kingdom, the princess has lost her handmaiden, Lores: the only person who knows how to find the hidden royal jewels.

But when his search for the equally lovely Lores turns deadly, Bailey realizes that there is more to this case than it first seemed. When someone tries to kill him, he discovers that the roots of evil run deep.

With his own set of values and sense of honor, Bailey must keep one step ahead of murderous mobsters, secret government operatives, and a genetically enhanced Lores as he races across the galaxy in search of the truth. The only things he knows he can trust are his eight-foot-tall ladybug-like girl Friday and a powerful weapon that responds to his thoughts.

Will Bailey find the treasure of the black hole in time and will he survive long enough to discover why it is something worth killing for?

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

If you're in America, Happy Thanksgiving.

And be tolerant of your uncle. He hasn't had this much fun since Joe McCarthy was chasing Commies out of the State Department. Well, less fun since the election, but still.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Huskies are 8-3

Yesterday the University of Washington Huskies played the Oregon State Beavers. The final score was 23-42. This was not a surprise as Oregon State was 2-8 going into yesterday's game, and in last place in the Pac-12 North. The Huskies jumped out to a lead so fast that the score was 28-3 at the end of the first quarter. It was 35-16 at the half. About the middle of the third quarter, Husky coach Chris Petersen started rotating out his starters and putting back-up players.

This makes the Huskies 6-2 in conference and 8-3 overall. More on that later.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

Also last night, the Washington State University Cougars destroyed the Arizona Wildcats 28-69. At
halftime the Cougars had scored 55 points to Arizona's 14. I stopped watching at that time. It was getting late, I wanted to go to bed. This brings the Cougars to 7-1 in conference and 10-1 overall. That this was such a blowout was surprising because Arizona is in second place in the Pac-12 South with a 4-4 in conference record and a 5-6 overall. But the Pac-12 South is full of teams with bad records.

Speaking of the Pac-12 South. Utah beat Colorado 30-7 yesterday in the "Rumble in the Rockies." That brings Utah to 6-3 in conference and 8-3 overall. Utah plays BYU in a non-conference game next week, so it pretty much has the Pac-12 South Championship wrapped up.

And, this just in (in about 30 minutes ago on the @AP_Top25 twitter), Colorado fired their coach today, before the end of the season! Colorado plays California next week. An interim coach will be appointed. They had better not go after Chris Petersen!

Also in the Pac-12 South, UCLA beat USC. That makes USC 4-5 in conference and 5-6 overall. Next week USC plays undefeated Nortre Dame. So it's likely USC won't even be bowl eligible this year. I am betting they fire their coach at the end of the season. They'd better not go after Chris Petersen!

The Apple Cup

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, Washington plays Washington State in the "Apple Cup" cross-state rivalry game. This will be for the Pac-12 North Championship. Whichever team wins, wins the championship. I'm not quite sure how that works with the Cougars having a better over-all record, but I'm not complaining. If the Huskies win the Apple Cup, they will be 7-2 in conference and the Cougars will be 7-2 in conference.

The Polls:

Last Tuesday, the College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings came out. Washington State was still #8. But they are up against a bunch of very good teams. This is why we need an eight-team playoff. Washington was #18, up from #25. And Utah was at #19.

In the AP Top 25 Poll that came out this morning at 11:00 AM PST (2:00 PM EST), Washington State moved up one to #7 after that demolishing of Arizona.

Washington moved up one to #16. And Utah moved up three to #18. And that's it for the Pac-12.

Thursday, November 15, 2018


Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Travel."

Thanks to my health, I can't travel as much as I want. There's lots of places I'd love to go: Europe, Asia, Australia. But with my health issues, I can't. I discussed places I'd like to go in this old blog post from November, 2016. It hasn't changed since then.

I might add that I'd like to see the fjords of Norway. I once saw what would be a great trip. It was a mail boat that went from Oslo up the coast of Norway, stopping at all the towns on the way. But it was $20,000 for two people (probably more, now). My wife is half Swedish and half Norwegian and has relatives in Norway. (I probably have relatives in the UK, but I don't know anything about them).

Where would you like to travel? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Cougars Still Lead Pac-12 North

Since my beloved University of Washington Huskies didn't play yesterday, I just had to keep an eye on the rest of the Pac-12.

The good news is, the Utah Utes beat Oregon, taking the Ducks out of any contention for the Pac-12 North Championship.

The bad news is that the Washington State Cougars beat Colorado and are therefore still on top of the Pac-12 North with a 6-1 in conference and 9-1 overall record.

This may be Wazzu's year. Especially if they win the Apple Cup against Washington.

In the Pac-12 South, Utah's win over Oregon puts them back on top with a 5-3 in conference record and 7-3 overall. But Arizona is nipping at their heels with a 4-3 in-conference record and a 5-5 overall record. And Arizona State also has a 4-3 in-conference record and 6-4 overall record. So those three teams are still in the running.

In the Pac-12 North, five of the six teams are bowl eligible. Only Oregon State with a 2-8 overall record isn't.

In the Pac-12 South, only Utah and Arizona State are bowl eligible at this point with 10 games of the regular season played. Yes, USC is not, yet, bowl eligible. I'm wondering if their coach is going to get fired at the end of the season. Or sooner. They lost to rival California yesterday.

There's just two more weeks left in the regular schedule. Then we'll see how things shake out.

Next week Washington plays Oregon State and they had better win. The Cougars play Arizona in Pullman. I'll be rooting for the Wildcats.

In the Polls:

The College Football Playoff (CFP) selection committee rankings don't come out until Tuesday. Right now they have Washington State at #8 and Washington at #25.  The AP poll last week had WSU at #10 and Washington at #20.

This week, the AP poll has Washington State at #8 to agree with the CFP poll. And even though they didn't play this week, Washington moved up three to #17 in the AP poll. And Utah is back in the poll at #21.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Pac-12 Football this Weekend

The University of Washington Huskies have a bye this weekend and don't play. This will give them a chance to heal and get ready for a tough game against Washington State in two weeks (Black Friday). In the meantime they play Oregon State at home, a game they damn well better win. The OSU Beavers are 1-5 in conference, 2-7 over all. The Beavers did stun, well, everybody, by beating Colorado a couple of weeks ago.

But the team us Washington Husky fans are most concerned about is Washington State. Right now the Cougars are at 5-1 in conference and 8-1 overall. The Huskies are 5-2 in conference and 7-3 overall.  If the Huskies are going to have any hope of winning the Pac-12 North championship, two things have to happen:

1) They have to beat the Cougars in the Apple Cup on Black Friday.
2) The Cougars have to lose to someone else.

The two teams they play before the Apple Cup are Colorado this weekend and Arizona next weekend. As the Beavers showed, it's possible for any team to beat any other team. Both Colorado and Arizona are not going to be push-overs. They are better teams than their records indicate. Colorado is 2-4 in conference and 5-4 over all. Arizona is 4-3 in conference and 5-5 over all. Arizona is still in the running for the Pac-12 South championship. A win over Wazzu would help them.

So, I think I'll be watching my DVDs from this weekend.

Still might be Wazzu's year.

P.S: when the College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings came out on Tuesday, WSU was still #8 and Washington was #25. They are the only Pac-12 teams ranked in the CFP.

Thursday, November 8, 2018


Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Success."

What is success? Some people think it means having a high-paying job or owning a very profitable business. But is that success? I think I'm successful. I don't have a high-paying job and I don't own a very profitable business (last year my writing business lost money). But I am doing what I love: writing. Yes, I wish I could have a best-selling novel (as in New York Times best selling, not just briefly best selling) and maybe a movie or three based on my writing. But even without that, I feel successful, simply because I'm doing what I want to do. And I've sold over 1,500 books. Not bad.

What's your definition of success? Are you successful? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Huskies are 7-3

Last night in a kind of late game (started at 6:00 PM PDT), the University of Washington Huskies hung on to beat the Stanford Cardinal (it's a color) by a score of 23-27. This keeps the Huskies' hopes of winning the Pac-12 North alive (but it is on life support).

The game was at home in Husky Stadium and keeps the Huskies' home winning streak alive. I believe it's 19.

The Dawgs looked great in the first half, both offense and defense. Stanford never managed to score in the first half. So the score was 21-0 going into halftime. Jake Browning was hitting his marks and Myles Gaskin was back and making good runs again. The defense even manged to get two interceptions.

Then something happened at halftime. The Cardinal came out to play. They scored 23 points in the second half while the Huskies only got two field goals for 6 points. Suddenly our defense could barely hold them and our offense couldn't do much. Thankfully, kicker Payton Henry hit every field goal (unlike the Oregon game). Stanford's kicker missed a PAT so that put the Cardinal 4 points behind. Which meant a field goal wouldn't tie it. They needed a touchdown. It came down, literally, to the last second of the game when the Stanford quarterback threw a hail Mary into the endzone and it was intercepted by Husky Taylor Rapp.

The Huskies are now 5-2 in conference, 7-3 over all. They have a bye next week, then on November 17th play Oregon State (a game they had better win) at home. They time and network have yet to be announced (probably next Sunday it will be). I suspect it'll be on the Pac-12 Network unless Washington is ranked when the CFP rankings come out on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

Also last night the Washington State Cougars beat the California Bears. This keeps the Cougars at 5-1
in conference, 8-1 overall. Their one loss was to USC in their first in-conference game. But that record keeps them on top of the Pac-12 North.

If the Huskies win the Apple Cup against WSU, and WSU loses to somebody else in the meantime (they play Colorado next week, then Arizona the week after that, then comes the Apple Cup), they the Huskies' Pac-12 North Championship hopes are still alive. If WSU doesn't lose to Colorado or Arizona, then the Apple Cup will only be for bragging rights and the Cougars will be the Pac-12 North Champions and probably play in the Rose Bowl.

The Utah Utes are still on top of the Pac-12 South, barely, after losing to Arizona State yesterday. They are 4-3 in conference and 6-3 overall. USC and Arizona are also 4-3 in conference but USC is 5-4 over all and Arizona is 5-5 overall. So the Pac-12 South is in contention, still.

Bowl Eligibility

To be "bowl eligible" (to go to a post-season bowl game) a team needs to win six games. This is, to me, kind of ridiculous because that's a .500 record (the regular season is usually 12 games). But there are so many bowls so they need lots of teams.

In the Pac-12 North, only Washington, Washington State, and Oregon are now bowl eligible.

But in the Pac-12 South, which is sort of like a bucket of crabs (one starts to crawl out and the others pull it back down), only Utah is bowl eligible (sorry USC). Most teams have three more games to play unless they have a bye in the next three weeks (like Washington). So there should be more bowl eligibility by the end of the season.

The Polls

When the CFP section committee announced their rankings last Tuesday, WSU was at #8 (but at #10 in the AP poll). Washington wasn't in the top 25 (same as the AP poll; they were #26, actually, in the AP poll). With this win (and #3 LSU losing to #1 Alabama), will WSU move up in the polls? We'll have to wait until Tuesday to find out about the CFP. But in the AP poll, WSU stays at #10 (LSU drops to #9).

The only other Pac-12 team in the AP top 25 is...Washington. They are #20!

Thursday, November 1, 2018


(Wow, November already!)

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is simply "Make." (For this blog title I turned it into a gerund).

I don't make things. I'm not handy with my hands. I don't have the patience to measure twice and cut once. Or to work with wood, metal, plastic, etc. When I was a kid, I made wonderful things out of Legos, however.

Now, as an adult, I make books. So far I've written thirteen books and published ten. You can check them out on my website. That's what I make. Well, that and freelance stories. It's not as "hands on" as making a physical object, but it takes patience and precision and spell checking.

What do you make? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Huskies are 6-3

Maybe this is Wazzu's year.

And the Huskies will be lucky to still be ranked.

This was supposed to be the year that Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin got us back into the College Football Playoffs (CFP). We'll be lucky now to end up in a good bowl game.

Yesterday the University of Washington Huskies played the California Golden Bears. This was a game I was not worried about. I was worried about next week when we play Stanford.

I should have worried.

Myles Gaskin was still out with a shoulder injury. That probably didn't help. Salvon Ahmed and the other running backs did their best but it obviously wasn't enough. Jake Browning was having problems. In fact, late in the third quarter, Coach Chris Petersen pulled Browning and put in the back up quarterback Jake Heaner. This proved to be a mistake because Heaner threw an interception that turned into a touchdown for the Bears. He put Browning back in after that. I'm sure a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacks will be questioning that decision.

The Huskies got an early touchdown but never reached the end zone again, having to be satisfied with field goals. At least they all hit. But it wasn't enough. We lost 12-10. Okay, a close game, but a lose is still a loss. That brings us to 4-2 in conference and 6-3 over all. And also puts Washington State (who beat Stanford yesterday) on top of the Pac-12 North.

Oregon also lost to Arizona knocking them out of contention for the Pac-12 North.

If the Huskies win the rest of their three games, including Stanford next week (6:00 PM on the Pac-12 Network) and the Apple Cup against WSU in Pullman, then we might still be Pac-12 North Champions. But I doubt it. Washington State is 4-1 in conference, 7-1 overall, the best record in the Pac-12.

The Polls:

The CFP committee comes out with their rankings Tuesday at 7:00 PM EDT on ESPN. Probably a moot point for the Huskies.

And in the AP top 25 poll, WSU is #10. Utah moved up to #16. And that's it for the Pac-12. UW is out of the top 25 for the first time in about three years.

Like I said, might be Wazzu's year.

Friday, October 26, 2018

College Football Preview for this Weekend

Right now the Pac-12 North standings look like this:

Washington: 4-1 in conference (6-2 overall)
Washington State: 3-1 (6-1)
Stanford: 3-1 (5-2)
Oregon: 2-2 (5-2)
California: 1-3 (4-3)
Oregon State: 0-4 (1-6)

Washington is on top only because they have the most in-conference wins (because they haven't had a bye week, yet). Washington State has the best overall record at 6-1.

Now last week I was hoping for Washington State to beat Oregon. And they did, badly. That pretty much eliminates the evil Ducks from the Pac-12 North championship with the record noted above.

So the Pac-12 Championship comes down to Washington, Washington State, and Stanford (all teams with one in-conference loss).

This weekend the Washington Huskies play California in Berkeley. They had better win that game.

But the big game is Washington State playing Stanford in Palo Alto. The best outcome there (for the
Huskies) is that one of those teams loses. So pretty much, it's a win-win for Washington. It's slightly better if WSU wins, because that'll really push Stanford out of the running for the Pac-12 North Championship. But it's okay if Stanford wins.

But it'll all be moot if Washington doesn't beat Stanford on November 3rd and then beat Washington State in the Apple Cup, in Pullman, on November 23rd (5:30 PM on Fox). To have a shot at the Pac-12 North Championship, the Huskies have to win every game they have left. Two of those should be pretty easy (California and Oregon State), but Stanford and WSU will be tough. At least the Dawgs play Stanford at home.

So, as usual, Go Dawgs!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Stretch Yourself

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Stretch Yourself."

A lot of people might think that means physically stretch yourself. Run farther, lift more, or other such physical achievements. But I stretch myself in writing.

I try to stretch myself in everything I write. I suppose I could just "phone it in," write the same ol' same ol'. But even if I'm writing in the same genres I usually do (science fiction and fantasy) I try to push myself to do things I haven't done before. For an anthology on libraries I wrote a literary story about an illiterate boy wanting to learn about stars. When I first changed careers, I tried to write a (so far unpublished) literary novel. I once tried to write a romance (it, too, is unpublished).

And my freelance work often causes me to stretch myself. The easiest stories to write are when I interview someone and then write about them. But sometimes I have to interview several people with different points of view. That's a challenge.

How do you stretch yourself. Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Huskies are 6-2

The University of Washington Huskies are now 6-2 (and bowl eligible!) after defeating Colorado yesterday at Husky Stadium.

The Colorado Buffaloes were 5-1 going into this game and 2-1 in conference after a tough loss to USC last week. The Huskies were 5-2 overall and 3-1 in conference after losing to the Oregon Ducks last week.

At first the game looked as if it might be competitive. More so because Husky star running back Myles Gaskin was out with a shoulder injury.

Colorado scored first with a touchdown. The Huskies then got a touchdown. But Colorado intercepted Husky quarterback Jake Browning but only got a field goal off of it. The Huskies then made a field goal. Going into the halftime, the score was 13-14 with Washington head.

But in the second half, the Buffaloes didn't bother to show up. They never scored and allowed Washington to score 13 more points. The final score was 13-27.

Winning this game slightly keeps Washington's hopes of being the Pac-12 champs alive (more on that later). We are 6-2 over all but 4-1 in conference.

Next week, Washington travels to Berkeley to take on the California Bears. The Bears are 4-3 overall but just 1-3 in conference. The game will be at 3:30 PM on FS1.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

The hated Oregon Ducks traveled to Pullman to play the Washington State University Cougars. And
they lost 20-34. This makes the Ducks 5-2 over all and 2-2 in conference, pretty much eliminating them from the Pac-12 North Championship, The reason why we care is that if the Huskies win the rest of their games (including the Apple Cup against the Cougars), they have a shot at being the Pac-12 North champions. The Cougars are now 6-1 over all and 3-1 in conference. That's the best record in the Pac-12 North. So we have to beat the Cougars on Black Friday.

The other team to worry about is Stanford. They are 5-2 over all and 3-1 in conference. We play Stanford on November 3rd at home. Another must-win game (as are all the Huskies' games from here on out).

Of all the teams in the Pac-12 (well, 12 of them), only the Huskies and the Cougars are now bowl eligible.

The AP Poll

Last week there were three Pac-12 teams in the AP poll: Washington, Oregon, and WSU.

This week there are five. Unfortunately, WSU is now #14 which the Huskies stay at #15. That means Cougar fans are going to be insufferable.

Also ranked are Oregon at #19, Utah at #23 (first time in the poll this year after demolishing USC yesterday), and Stanford is back in the poll at 24.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Ducks versus Cougars

This weekend the University of Oregon Ducks travel to Pullman to take on the Washington State University Cougars. Sunday I said "Go Cougs" about that game. Then I looked at the standings.  In the Pac-12 North the standings are:

Washington: 3-1 in conference (5-2 overall)
Oregon: 2-1 in conference (5-1 overall)
Stanford: 2-1 in conference (4-2 overall)
WSU: 2-1 in conference (5-1 overall)

With Washington and Stanford both with two losses, the Pac-12 North could come down to Oregon or WSU. Depends on who wins the game this Saturday.

So I've decided to stick by my "Go Cougs" original thought. Here's why:

1) If Oregon wins, they will likely be the Pac-12 North champion.
2) if WSU wins, we still have a chance to beat them in the Apple Cup on Black Friday. We've already lost to Oregon.
3) If Washington doesn't lose any more games, and Oregon loses to WSU, Washington still has a chance to be the Pac-12 North champion. A chance.

So, Go Cougs!

The Oregon-WSU game will be Saturday at 4:30 PM PDT on Fox.

And Washington plays Colorado at home at 12:30 PM PDT also on Fox.

Thursday, October 18, 2018


Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Fear."

That could cover a lot of things, including a video game I once played regularly.

I don't do horror. I don't like horror movies or television shows or books. I call it the Lassie Effect. In the show Lassie, you always knew something bad was going to happen. And the anticipation of that just drives me nuts, especially the more they foreshadow it (which horror loves to do). Some people like that and that's fine. It's just not for me.

I also have no use for torture porn such as the Saw movies.

What am I afraid of? Big spiders, venomous snakes (and spiders), and EMPs.

EMP? Electromagnetic pulse. A rouge nation launches a nuclear weapon, but instead of exploding it a few thousand feet over Washington D.C., they explode it high in the atmosphere over middle America. This causes an electromagnetic pulse that burns out anything electronic, including the power grid. We'd be back in the stone age in a millisecond. And since my health problems require technology to keep me alive, I'd probably be one of the first to die. And if I managed to stay alive, the anarchy that follows such an event where people would be literally killing each other for food would probably kill me pretty quickly, too.

So what do you fear? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Huskies are 5-2

There goes any hope of being in a College Football Playoff (CFP) spot. And there likely goes any hope of being Pac-12 Champions.

The University of Washington Huskies lost, in overtime, to the reviled University of Oregon Ducks. That makes the Huskies 5-2 over all and 3-1 in Conference. The Ducks are 5-1 overall and 2-1 in conference which pretty much ties them with Washington. But since the beat Washington, they would be the champs.

It was a tight, hard-fought game from the beginning. The score was tied most of the game. The Ducks would pull ahead, then the Dawgs would tie it. The Dawgs would pull ahead, then the Ducks would tie it. It all came down to a field goal with the score tied 24-24 with three seconds left. Husky kicker Payton Henry tried to win the game for the Dawgs, but missed (on his third kick because the Ducks kept "icing" the kicker by calling time out). So the game went into overtime. The Dawgs got a field goal but the Ducks got a touchdown, winning the game 30-27.

The thing is, Coach Chris Petersen had a choice at the end. Trust Jake Browning to get the ball into the end zone of a 4th and goal, or trust his not-very-reliable kicker. He should have trusted Browning.

The Ducks had every advantage. They were coming off a bye week and were playing at home. The Dawgs played a lot of the game without star running back Myles Gaskin due to injury. When rising start Salvon Ahmed went out, too, our running game was in trouble.

Even if the Huskies win the rest of their games, unless the Duck lose again, the Ducks will be Pac-12 North Champions. So we have to root for whoever the Ducks are playing. Next week they play WSU in Pullman. Go Cougs!

Next week we face the Colorado Buffaloes at home. Colorado was undefeated until last night when USC defeated them. That's Homecoming, too, for the Dawgs.

UCLA got their first win of the season defeating Cal yesterday.

A lot of Pac-12 teams had byes this week (I think four teams), including WSU.

Elsewhere in College Football

Number-two ranked Georgia was defeated this weekend by #13 LSU. And #6 West Virginia lost to an unranked team. That'll move all of them down some. That would have been good news if Washington had won. Might have moved them up in the rankings.

And #8 Penn State lost to unranked Michigan State. That will ding them in the polls.

The AP Poll

Washington was at #7 and Oregon was at #17 before this game. Colorado was at #19 before they lost to unranked USC.

Now Washington is #15 (not as bad a drop as I thought it would be) and Oregon is #12. Colorado is no longer ranked. But look who, on a bye week, is suddenly in the top 25: Washington State at #25.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Huskies versus Ducks

Tomorrow at 12:30 PM PDT, the University of Washington Huskies take on the University of Oregon Ducks. This is one of the biggest games of the year because the Huskies hate the Ducks, and the Ducks loath the Huskies. It's either going to be on ABC or ESPN2 or ESPNU. Check your local listings (I hope they make up their minds before game time). You'd think a top-10 team playing a ranked opponent could get on ABC or ESPN.

This is one of the biggest football rivalries in the Pac-12.

The Huskies are ranked #7 in the AP top 25 college football poll. The Ducks are #17.

It's going to be a hard-fought game. The Ducks are coming off a bye weeks so should be well-rested and ready to play. The Huskies played UCLA last week and won, but it wasn't the blow-out I was hoping for with the 5-0 Bruins. And we play in Eugene in front of 54,000 angry Duck fans. Angry, because last time we played in Autzen Stadium, we won 70-21.

And, to have a shot at the College Football Playoffs (CFP), the Huskies have to win every game left in the season, especially this one against a ranked team. To win the Pac-12 North we can lose one game as long as we beat Stanford later in the year.

UPDATE: I didn't think of this until a sportscaster said it, but the winner of this came could likely be the Pac-12 North Champion with Stanford out of the running. So now it's even a more important game.

Should be a good game. Go Dawgs!

Thursday, October 11, 2018


Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is: "Health."

I'm not a very healthy person. Some of that is my fault (overweight leading to type-2 diabetes) and some isn't (COPD from industrial exposure leading to pulmonary hypertension and edema). My health problems are such that I'm not sure I'll be alive in ten years.

I'm trying to lose weight (which I am about 50% of the time) but there's nothing I can do about the COPD and its accompanying problems. Because of the edema, I'm on diuretics and that limits my ability to travel because I have to urinate every 20 minutes. Either that or I don't take the diuretics and the edema gets a lot worse. So far it's mostly in my legs, but some in my arms and hands.

Because of my COPD, I'm on nighttime oxygen. I'm wondering how long until I'm on 24-hour oxygen.

I'd love to do more travelling but my health prevents it.

It I could lose weight, it would help a lot, but we all know how hard it is to lose weight.

How healthy are you? Are you happy with your health? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Huskies are 5-1, On Top of the Pac-12 North

After beating UCLA yesterday (who are now 0-5), the University of Washington Huskies are now 5-1 over all and 3-0 in conference. This puts them alone at the top of the Pac-12 North (more on that later).

Going into last night's game, I was hoping for a blow-out. Something like a 48-3 victory. But UCLA wasn't having it and it was a hard-fought battle that ended with a score of 31-24. The Huskies led all of the game and had some brilliant plays. But the Bruins played better than their 0-5 record indicates. I was a bit worried the Huskies went in over-confident. And that may have happened. That and UCLA is improving, apparently. Next week UCLA plays Cal and that should be a close game.

It was a fast game because UCLA didn't throw the ball much so the game clock kept running. It was also kind of a boring game because UCLA didn't throw the ball much. UW quarterback Jake Browning played well and Myles Gaskin did his usually 100+ yards performance. Salvon Ahmed, a sophomore, also played well. Next year he's going to have to take over the starting running back position from Gaskin.

Next week we travel to Oregon to take on the Ducks. The Nike Quackers are coming off a bye so they will be well-rested. And we're playing on their territory in Eugene. That should be a tough game. It's at 12:30 PM PDT on ABC or ESPN 2. Check  your local listings.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

There was one upset yesterday in the Pac-12. Unranked Utah beat #14 Stanford soundly with a score of 40-21.
In Palo Alto! That's why the Huskies are now on top of the Pac-12 North. Stanford has a record of 4-2 overall and 2-1 in conference. That is the Utah Ute's first in-conference win.

So, again, that puts the Huskies firmly on top of the Pac-12 North. Gives us some breathing room if we want to be Pac-12 Champions. But not if we want to go to the College Football Playoffs (CFP). To do that we'll have to win every game from here on out.

The only other 5-1 overall team is the Washington State Cougars who are 2-1 in conference so they are not a threat to Washington unless Washington loses an in-conference game.

We are now six weeks through college football's 13-week regular season. Things are starting to firm up in the Pac-12.

In the Pac-12 South, Colorado is still undefeated at 5-0 overall and 2-0 in conference. It's looking more and more as if the Pac-12 Championship game will be Washington and Colorado like it was in 2016. The Huskies also play Colorado in the regular season on October 20th. That should be a good game.

Elsewhere in College Football.

There were three big upsets in the AP top 10. #5 LSU lost to #22 Florida. And #7 Oklahoma lost to #19 Texas. Finally, #8 Auburn lost to unranked Mississippi State. The only reason we care is because if LSU, Oklahoma, and Auburn drop out of the top ten, this could move #10 Washington up.

The AP Top 25 Football Poll

The AP poll comes out at 2:00 PM each Sunday (except Labor Day weekend when it comes out on Tuesday. That's 11:00 AM PDT (my time zone). So I'm always waiting for it in order to finish this post.

Washington moved up to #7 making them the highest ranked team with a loss (all the rest are 5-0 or 6-0). Stanford is no longer ranked (that surprises me). The Ducks moved up to #17. And the undefeated Colorado Buffaloes are up two to #19.

Thursday, October 4, 2018


(Wow, October already!)

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Honor" (although they spell it "honour").

What is honor? That's something I haven't thought a lot about. So I looked it up in the dictionary. And found it has a lot of meanings, including "the center point of the upper half of an armorial escutcheon."

You "honor" someone by speaking well of them, or giving them recognition. Or an "honor" could be a privilege ("I have the honor of memorializing the deceased").

Back when I was in the Army they talked of "Duty, Honor, Country." I think the use of "honor" they meant was "a keen sense of ethical conduct, integrity."

Someone once said that integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. I always think back to my days working in customer service, doing lab tests until ten at night or later (once until three in the morning). It would have been  easy to dry lab (make up and fill in the numbers) the tests. But I wanted to maintain my honor, so I did all the tests, even if I were there past midnight. And I usually got there between 7:00 and 8:00 A.M. So that made for a 16-hour day.

So I keep my honor as well as I can. What do you do to be honorable? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Huskies are 4-1

And to think I was a little bit worried.

Last night on Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium in Seattle, the University of Washington Huskies played the Brigham Young University Cougars. The Cougars were ranked at #20 and the Huskies were ranked at #11 going into this game. This was the second time the Huskies played a ranked opponent, the first time being their loss to Auburn. But this game was one mistake away from being a shutout for the Huskies.

One the first two plays of the game, the Huskies showed brilliance. Then they had to punt. The Cougars made it to the red zone and had to try a field goal. They didn't get it. In fact, there were three field goal attempts in this game, one by the Cougars, two by the Huskies, and all three missed. That was the last time the Cougars would make it past the 50-yard line on their own.

Then the Huskies just kept scoring. The score was 21-0 at halftime. And still the Cougars could not even make it past mid-field.

With just a few minutes left in the game, the score 35-0, the Cougars punted (as they did so many times). It was raining and Chico McClatcher signaled for the fair catch but then he dropped the ball. The Cougars jumped on it and suddenly they were in the red zone. I think Husky coach Chris Petersen had put in back up players for defense because I didn't recognize any of the names. Still, it took the Cougars to 4th and goal to score in the final moments of the game.

Still, the Huskies looked amazing. Running back Salvon Ahmed made two running touchdowns and he's just a sophomore. He has so much potential. Senior quarterback Jake Browning made all but two of this pass attempts (and there were a lot). He surpassed the all-time Husky record for passing yards by a quarterback last night. Myles Gaskin was his usual amazing self.

The only part of the Huskies' game that needs improvement is the kicking game. Out kicker is a true freshman and he's done fine in other games, but here he missed two. Not that it mattered in the end. The final score was 35-7.

This is the end of non-conference play for the Huskies. They are 4-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play. Next week we face a hapless UCLA team that is 0-4 overall. There is a slight danger of over-confidence playing a win-less team. But I think Coach Petersen is good and tamping down on that. We play that game in Pasadena so it's an away game for the Huskies.

That game will be at 4:30 PM Pacific Daylight time on Fox. I'm a bit surprised a major network is carrying it with UCLA being as bad as they are. I thought the game might end up on the Pac-12 Network.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

Stanford (ranked at #7 took on the #8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. And lost. This helps the Huskies
because now Washington and Stanford are both 4-1 overall and 2-0 in conference and tied for the Pac-12 North championship. It may all come down to when the two teams play at Husky Stadium on November 3rd.

Oregon, ranked at #19, beat #24 California so the Ducks are also 4-1 overall, but only 1-1 in conference. I suspect when the poll comes out, California will drop off. I wasn't sure why they were ranked, having a bye the week before they showed up on the poll.

Washington State beat Utah, ending Utah's chances of winning the Pac-12 South. Colorado at 4-0 over all and 1-0 in-conference are on top of the Pac-12 South right now. USC is second at 3-2 over all and 1-1 in conference.

Washington State is also 4-1 overall but 1-1 in conference (lost to USC last week).

The AP Poll

The AP Top 25 college football poll comes out at 2:00 PM EDT. That's 11:00 AM my time. So I'm always waiting for it to come out so I can finish this blog post. And then today it was delayed until 11:30. So I was quite annoyed.

But I was happy to see the Washington Huskies move up to #10. Stanford dropped to #14 after their loss. Oregon climbed to #14 from #19. Colorado got into the top 25 at #21. And after losing to Oregon, California dropped back off after one week in the top 25.

Washington is now the highest-ranked Pac-12 team.

And, finally, BYU also dropped out of the top 25 after losing to Washington.

The Future

The Huskies have to win every game from now on, including Stanford on November 3rd. That is the only way they can be Pac-12 North Champions (unless Stanford looses an in-conference game other than to the Huskies). Then they have to win the Pac-12 Championship game to be Pac-12 Champions. Right now it's starting to look as if we might play Colorado again in that game. Then the Huskies might get invited back to the College Football Playoffs (CFP). I hope we don't play those cheaters, Alabama, again in our first CFP game. But that's a long ways away.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Paper Straws

Paper Straw
I know this is a political hot potato right now, but I'd like to add my two-cents on paper straws versus plastic straws.

I HATE paper straws.

When I was in Maryland last weekend (more here), I was served a drink (water) with a paper straw. At another place, they also had only paper straws so I went without.

A little background. When I was a kid, 50 to 45 years ago about, there were only paper straws. We didn't know any better. I remember one specific incident when I was drinking a milkshake and the straw collapsed in on itself, cutting off any ability to drink the shake through the straw.

Then plastic straws came out and the world got better.

In Maryland, this is what I re-learned about paper straws: they dissolve in liquid. The part that goes into your mouth gets mushy fast. The part that sits in the drink, gets mushy just as rapidly. My straw started bending at the air-liquid interface. If you don't drink your drink quickly, your straw becomes nearly useless. Plus, I swear there was a taste to the paper straw as it fell apart. It has to be held together with some sort of glue. I hope the glue isn't toxic. (Probably to make a paper straw not dissolve in water, you'd have to use a powerful yet toxic glue, I'm guessing.)

There's this stuff called "wet strength" that papermakers put in cardboard to make it survive contact with water. But I bet it's not FDA approved for putting in paper straws, and probably for good reason. If we're going to all switch to paper straws, we need an FDA-approved wet strength agent.

And when I got more water, I got another paper straw. It did the same as the first.

So I hate paper straws. I hope this anti-plastic-straw fad goes away soon or someone invents a better paper straw.

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. This week's prompt is "Living." Which means I'm supposed to write about what, exactly? No clue is provided.

I saw this thing online some where. It said, "It's not the breaths you take, but how often your breath is taken away." In other words, don't be hung up on being safe and sacrifice enjoyment. I know of people who refuse to enjoy life to its fullest because it might decrease their life expectancy a few moments. Or slightly increase their chance of dying. They tend to be joyless, colorless people anyway.

This is why I drive fast (when I can) because it takes my breath away. Is it dangerous? Yes, but not as dangerous as the safety Nazis would lead you to believe (if you do it right). I've driven multiple times 155 mph (249 km/h) on the racetrack. And it took my breath away. And, yes, it was a bit dangerous. And I'll plead the fifth if asked how fast I've driven on public roads. But, believe me, I picked those places for their safety (and lack of cops).

(Ironically, the safest roads--road wise--to drive fast on, the interstates, are the heaviest patrolled. They are safe when not crowded, not when busy and now days it's hard to find an empty stretch of interstate. Maybe in Wyoming.)

So I suggest living, not worrying about dying.

Do you live? How? Tell me in the comments below.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Car Review: 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T

Yes, it has a HEMI
(The car might have been a 2019 model. It only had around 3,500 miles on it.)

Last weekend I traveled to Maryland for a family wedding. When I was arranging this trip, I decided to have a little fun and reserve a Dodge Challenger for my rental car (we paid for the airline tickets with miles, so we had extra in the travel budget). I assumed I'd get one with the V-6 engine. That has 306 horsepower which is good but not a whole lot. Plus, after renting a Mustang V-6 a few years ago that was supposed to have about 300 horsepower, it didn't feel as if it had 300 horsepower, so I assumed rental car companies "de-tuned" engines to produce less power.

So I was surprised when I walked to the car and there was a "HEMI" designation on the front fender. The HEMI is a V-8 engine known for making power, in this case 372 horsepower (with an automatic transmission; with a manual it makes 375). The color was unique, I thought, a very pretty burgundy except in sunlight it looked more red. My wife determined through Google that it was called "Octane Red."

If this car was de-tuned, it wasn't de-tuned much. It had a large amount of power. I didn't get to
5.7 L HEMI V-8
explore that power much because of traffic (lots and lots of traffic). But I did once in rural Maryland "floor it" and the car accelerated nicely. And I once accidentally chirped the rear tires.

The interior was comfortable for two. But if more than that, it was difficult to put adults in the back seat (in a nor'easter downpour no less). But the sound of the car was melodious. Even at idle the exhaust sound was lovely. When accelerating, it was orgasmic.

The engine is the same 5.7 liter V-8 that was in my old Chrysler 300C. But with this car, it had less mass to move (even though the Challenger is built on the same frame as the old 300C). The interior gauges were both modern and retro. It had one thing I like in cars, an indicator that your headlights are on while driving.

But there are some downsides. The aforementioned worthless backseat for adults is one. To put things in the trunk, you have to lift them very high. And one of our suitcases was big and heavy.

The eight-speed transmission was good most of the time, but when you were cruising, it went to 8th gear to save fuel (I assume). If you pushed on the gas to accelerate, it would lug the engine before it would downshift. This was disconcerting in traffic when you needed to respond quickly. And thanks to the wide C-pillar (there were no B-pillars), there was a horrible blind spot. I felt as if I were taking my life into my hands nearly every time I changed lanes.

But, over all, I enjoyed driving the Challenger R/T. It was fun. And that exhaust note was so bewitching.

About driving in Maryland. On roads with more than one lane in each direction, Maryland drivers tend to do about 70 mph no matter the speed limit, and I saw 55 and 65 mph speed limits. The one exception was on the 50 mph speed limited Bay Bridge where they tended to do about 60.

In rural, eastern Maryland (the "Eastern Shore") on two-lane roads, locals tended to go 5 mph under the speed limit or, at best the actual limit.