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Tuesday, 11 October, 2011

Large Fiddle

Not very practical, but it's big:

Permalink | Posted in Music @4:27pm | Comments (4)

Car Appreciates In Value

And it doesn't even have a music system: Oldest running car sells for $4.6M.

RM Auctions has sold the world's oldest running car for $4.62 million.

The 1884 De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout was auctioned off in Hershey, Pa. on Friday.

According to a media release, the price more than doubled a pre-sale estimate and represents a new world record for an early motor car sold at auction. The figure includes the 10% buyers' premium.

The car was commissioned by French entrepreneur Count de Dion and named "La Marquise" after his mother.


Permalink | Posted in General @4:07pm | Comments (3)

My Exit Interview: Part 1

Here are my responses to some of the reader-submitted questions.

Good morning, Mr. Walkenbach. Please have a seat and we'll begin the interview.

Thank you.

Why are you ending this blog?

I was hoping to make it last exactly 10 years, but then I realized that I was getting kind of bored with it. I always said that when it was no longer fun, I'd end it. So I chopped off the final year. When this blog ends, it will be nine years exactly.

How do you think the J-Walk Blog changed the world?

For nine years, it provided people with some amusement. And maybe, exposure to some controversial topics that they may not have been exposed to otherwise. It also gave Google about 49,000 additional pages for the index.

Plus, it provided a way for people to meet others. I think there are quite a few readers who have actually met in person.

inhawaii Do you happen to have a photo of you striking a stupid pose in front of a volcanic rock wall in Hawaii.

As a matter of fact, I do.

Did you have an agenda in mind when choosing topics for postings?

Not really. I just posted item that I found amusing, interesting, or absurd. Often, I posted items just to see how people would respond.

From the time you started this blog, have you changed your mind on any major issues?

Politics. I used to be completely apathetic about politics. Then I got excited about the 2008 election, and actually voted. Now I'm apathetic again.

Do you still find sites that strike you as being too weird, or have you become jaded by all the craziness?

There is no end to interesting site on the Web. When I think I've seen them all, I find more.

Have you run the numbers? Take all of the income from this blog, and subtract the expenses. Are you in the black?

As long as you don't count personnel expenses, I think I might be about a $1,000 in the black. Over the course of nine years, that works out to about $9.25 per month.

Will you ever reconsider blogging here (or similar)?

Unlikely. I think the popularity of blogs is on the decline. Or maybe it's just this one.

Why did you decide to move to the desert?

Because San Diego was too crowded and too congested. And the value of the two properties we owned were at the their peak. So we took the California real estate money and ran to a nearby place, Tucson.

Any urge to live somewhere else ? Do something else?

Sure. I can work anywhere, but I'm finding the pursuit of my main hobby somewhat limiting in Tucson. So I wouldn't mind living in a place that has an active old time music scene. Portland would be my choice, I think. But Pamn hates the weather there, so we'll probably stay in Arizona.

How did you get from your attained college degree to being an Excel book author?

It was a complete accident. I was always interested in computers, and I wrote lots of software reviews. One day, my editor at InfoWorld asked if I would consider writing a book. I was hesitant, but I did it. That book was a completely flop, but it didn't stop me from writing about 50 more.

If you were just now graduating from High School, what path would you take?

I haven't a clue. My entire career path has been an accident, so I'd probably just do the same I did.

How will you now fill the long, gaping, empty hours of the day when you are not plucking your banjo or engaging in those intense, brief spurts of Excel tome authoring?

I'll probably do what I already do, but maybe with a bit more banjo. The only difference is that I won't take the time to make blog posts. I should really spend that extra time trying to learn to play the fiddle. I might even update my Excel site.

Who are some of your favorite fiddler players, well-known or not?

In no particular order: Rayna Gellert, Wilson Douglas, Dan Levenson, Anna Roberts Gevalt, Chance McCoy, Alan Jabbour, Art Stamper, Clare Milliner, Erynn Marshall, Mary Jane Epps, Chirps Smith, and many more that don't come to mind immediately.

When did you first realize you had become a crotchety old coot?

I think it dawned on me about three years ago. I've now accepted it, and live with it on a daily basis.

Would you like to take a break and continue this interview later?

Yes, please.

(To be continued)

Permalink | Posted in Site News @9:47am | Comments (41)


Murals by John Cerney.

He's the guy who made the "big baby" visible from I-10 in Goodyear, Arizona.

giant baby

Permalink | Posted in Visual Arts @8:03am | Comments (2)

Four Years

Age 14-18, annotated.

Permalink | Posted in Visual Arts @7:47am | Comments (4)

Monday, 10 October, 2011

Breaking Bad

I tend to avoid TV because I can't stand the commercials. But I recently discovered that there are some very good TV series -- and you can watch them without commercials, as long as you don't mind being behind the times.

My current treadmill/Netflix show is Breaking Bad. I've only watched the first four, but it promises to be a good series. Pamn told me that the main character was the father in Malcolm in the Middle. After she said that, I recognize him.

breaking bad

Permalink | Posted in Movies & TV @6:46pm | Comments (30)

Recent Books

And now, the final installment of Books I've Read…

  • touch Touch - Gayleen Froese
    In her first novel (of a trilogy) Froese introduces Anna. She's a bit of a psychic, and she uses her abilities to solve a crime (but not too much). She and her sidekick Collie have lots of adventures. But the best part of this book is the wonderfully amusing and witty writing style. I really enjoyed this one, and laughed out loud more than once. I thank Gayleen for sending me an otherwise unavailable digital copy. I'm probably the only person in the world who has read this on a Kindle (after spending 20 minutes reformatting the text).
  • House of Holes - Nicholson Baker
    Baker is my favorite author, but this "sex comedy" is not one of his best. It's just pure (very weird) smut, well-written. I give three stars just because he's one of the best living writers. Whitey will like this, if I ever remember to give it to him.
  • The Help - Kathryn Stockett
    A very popular novel. As I discovered after the fact, it's because it's also a movie. It's a story about an author who writes a book about black maids in Mississippi. Highly recommended. There's no way the movie can be better than this.
  • The Penal Colony - Richard Herley
    I'm only 21% of the way through this novel, but it's a good one. About life on an island where they put hard-core prisoners. Currently free for Kindle owners.

Permalink | Posted in Books I've Read @6:24pm | Comments (16)

Sluggo’s House

Sluggo Saturday is back, and here's the current entry:


He needs his hat. It flew off his head and he couldn't find it.

Permalink | Posted in Nancy @4:58pm | Comments (1)

Dead Psychic Mourned

The world will have to survive without a famous psychic crime fighter: Marinus B. Dykshoorn, Psychic, Is Mourned in Bronx.

clarivoyant “He cured my brain tumor,” one woman said, gazing at the pictures atop the coffin of Marinus B. Dykshoorn, the Dutch immigrant and longtime Bronx resident who claimed to be clairvoyant. “He made me promise not to tell anyone.”

“It’s O.K.,” Mr. Dykshoorn’s daughter, Helga, said from her seat in the front row. “Now’s a good time.”

He had assisted in law enforcement cases the world over, his daughter said, helping investigators locate murder weapons, identify suspects and discover victims’ remains years after they were reported missing.

He had even performed medical miracles, guests were told. One man spoke of the creaky knee that Mr. Dykshoorn had remedied. Then there was the woman with the brain tumor, given 10 years to live, she said, but still plodding along 35 years later. After a visit with Mr. Dykshoorn, she recalled, she returned to her doctors, who were perplexed to learn that the tumor had virtually disappeared.

At one point, as the Roman Catholic priest cited Mr. Dykshoorn’s abilities, Helga Dykshoorn, 56, was moved to chime in. “He had five senses paranormal; all five,” she said, as friends nodded beside her. “Very rare.”

Passports don't lie.

Permalink | Posted in General @4:56pm | Comments (3)

Pure Fear!

Some haunted house takes photos of their customers, and posts them: Nightmares Fear Factory's Photostream.

Supposedly, it's pitch dark and then all of a sudden a car appears to be heading right towards the Fear Factory visitors. Then the photo is taken. They look fake, but I think they are real.


Permalink | Posted in General @4:44pm | Comments (5)

Today Is Columbus Day

It's another one of those quasi-holidays that causes people to as questions such as:

  • Is my bank open today? Probably not.
  • Do kids have to go to school? Yes.
  • Will the Post Office deliver mail? Nope.
  • Does UPS deliver? Yes.
  • Will my trash be picked up? Don't ask me.
  • Is the stock market closed? No.
  • What about government offices? Probably closed.
  • Do bloggers update their sites? Who knows?

That reminds me...

Q. How did Christopher Columbus finance his trip to America? A. With the Discover Card.

Q. What did George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Christopher Columbus all have in common? A. They were all born on holidays.

Some things never change.

Permalink | Posted in General @8:31am | Comments (24)

Preacher Hates False Religions

In Texas, there is only one true religion, by god. Jeffress assails 'false religions'.

It's not just about Mormonism anymore.

Robert Jeffress, the Texas pastor and Rick Perry endorser who described Mormonism as a "cult," told his congregation Sunday that he plans to keep speaking out against "false religions" in the 2012 race.

"Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Mormonism are all false religions and I stand by those statements," Jeffress said from the pulpit, according to WFAA.

"I feel like I ought to use, personally, whatever influence I might have to try to elect a godly leader and place him in the White House," Jeffress said. "It is important for us to elect Christian leaders who embrace biblical principles."


Permalink | Posted in Religion @8:27am | Comments (17)

Sunday, 09 October, 2011

Best Cooking Smell

We're taking nominations for the best aroma that comes from the kitchen. I think #1 is the winner, but here are my three nominations:

  1. Garlic cooking in oil (shown here)
  2. Basmati rice
  3. Turkey on Thanksgiving day


Permalink | Posted in Food & Drink @5:42pm | Comments (50)


This is from last weekend's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco. Click through and watch it full screen in HD.

Permalink | Posted in Banjo @4:58pm | Comments (4)

Forced To Listen To Rush

In Texas: Woman sues PD for forcing her to listen to Rush Limbaugh.

Not only did Bridgett Nickerson Boyd's car break down on her way to work, but when she pulled over to the side of the freeway, a sheriff's deputy named Mark Goad pulled behind her, wrote her a ticket for driving on the shoulder, decided to arrest her, followed her to the hospital when her suddenly racing heart prompted a call to paramedics, then took her into custody again after she was treated by doctors and finally drove her to jail.

To make matters worse, Boyd claims in a lawsuit that the handcuffs were put on her wrists painfully tight - she claims she explained to the officer she had just had surgery on her hand - and that she was forced to listen to Rush Limbaugh "make derogatory comments about black people" all the way to the jail. Boyd is African-American.


Permalink | Posted in General @3:23pm | Comments (7)

Upgrading A Cat’s Life

At Lifehacker: Top 10 Ways to Upgrade Your Cat's Life.

Of the 10, only one is worth mentioning: Teach your cat to shake hands. Every cat should be able to shake hands, wear a tie, and carry a briefcase.

cat shaking hands

Permalink | Posted in General @3:17pm | Comments (5)

Church Buys Ghost Town

It's an abandoned town called Scenic, South Dakota: Ghost town bought — by Philippines church

scenic The town of Scenic — once a popular stop for people traveling to Rapid City from the badlands to the east or Pine Ridge Reservation to the south — was recently purchased by an unusual buyer for less than $800,000. The Iglesia ni Cristo church, established in the Philippines in 1914, bought the town and surrounding acreage from longtime resident and area rodeo legend Twila Merrill, who had gathered the land bit by bit over several decades.

The church, which translates in the language Tagalog to Church of Christ, has been steadily spreading west since it was founded in the Philippines by Felix Manalo, a former minister of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church who experienced what he claimed to be a call similar to those of ancient prophets. He died in 1963.

Often described as one of the fastest-spreading international religions, its foothold in the Philippines grew from about 1.4 million followers in 1990 to 1.7 million in 2000, according to the 2011 figures released by the National Statistics Office in Manila.

Iglesia ni Cristo rejects the Christian doctrine of trinity and believes Christ is one of several prophets. The church is focused on the end times, believes Manalo is a prophet and considers the Catholic Church apostate.

I checked it on on Google Street View. Seems like a nice little town.

And that religion is fascinating. I'm pretty sure it's the one true religion. Finally.

Permalink | Posted in Religion @9:03am | Comments (2)

Watch A Fight

Try it.

free fight

Permalink | Posted in General @8:58am | Comments (4)

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