Friday Happy Hour: 3 Seashells

Friday Happy Hour: 3 Seashells

Sitting around on Friday afternoon I actually noticed Mental_Floss’s Friday Happy Hour post, and so here I am actually updating my blog with their questions.

zune (1)

1. Were you a staunch supporter of the HD-DVD format? A Zune evangelist? Big into Second Life? Google Wave? What now-defunct products and technologies of the last 20-30 years were you a big fan of?

They nailed it on their post. For me it was the Zune. It was a close comparison to the iPod at the time, but the 1st generation Zune was a better device than the available iPod. I still stand by that. Plus the translucent brown was so sexy.


2. There’s been a lot of talk this year already about 2015 being the year they visit in Back to the Future II. If you could live in any movie’s vision of the future, what would you choose?

Demolition Man, of course. Who wouldn’t want to live in a world in which Taco Bell controls everything? Plus I’d finally get to learn how the 3 seashells work.


3. Important question: Favorite cereal?

Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs.



Friday Happy Hour: Flying Cars?

Friday Happy Hour: Flying Cars?

These questions, as always, come from Mental_Floss. They don’t always stay consistent about posting them, and I don’t always catch when they do. So here’s my first “weekly” Happy Hour post since July

capture1. If you could trade one of your current strengths or skills for a different one, what would it be and what would you trade?

Being really good at not hitting my head on things is kind of an overrated trait. I’d trade it for being a foot taller any day. Does that count?

2. If you opened your own restaurant and had a penchant for giving cutesy names to things, what would you call your signature dish?

“The neighbor’s dog.”  It can be a signature hot dog or something. I just want to see how many people question if we’re really serving dog meat. Obviously my restaurant is going to have to be a dive.

3. If apparition were real and you could live anywhere in the world and still get to work on time, where would you live? 

First off, I don’t know about this whole Harry Potter thing… but if I could do that, I don’t think it matters at all where I live, right? Because I can just go wherever I want whenever I want. So I’ll stay here.

4. When you were younger, what invention were you certain we’d have by now that we currently don’t? 

It has to be the flying car. Or really anything from the Jetsons. The self cleaning home would be far better than the flying car.

5. What’s the silliest thing that has ever startled you? 

Tiny dogs (see #2).

6. If you could Freaky Friday with one person, who would it be? 

My first inclination would be to say Bill Snyder. But I’d hate to think that I might make a stupid decision and cost K-State a game. So instead I’ll go with Wyatt Thompson, and call the game. Clearly this is going to have to be Freaky Friday on a Saturday.

FHH: Dark Side Early

FHH: Dark Side Early

At various times I’ve done a more or less consistent job of participating in Mental Floss’ Friday Happy Hour, and then cross posting it to my blog. I haven’t done it in a really long time, but perhaps I should restart it. Afterall, I did redesign the site, I may as well actually use it.

So as per usual… the questions are theirs, the responses are mine. Feel free to jump in here or on their site:

capture1. I’m going to test your memory here: What was your favorite toy or show or movie or song when you were six?

I was all about the Star Wars toys. Not sure of the exact chronological timeline, but I think the Imperial Shuttle was probably my favorite of the Star Wars toys. I gave into the dark side early.  I think Dukes of Hazzard was probably my favorite show.


2. What event of the last decade would you be most excited to watch a movie about in 2030?

It’s funny… you don’t really wait decades to see a film about an event anymore. But something about the decisions leading to the wars in the Middle East would be fascinating after a longer view back on the history.


3. If you were teaching someone who’d never been online how to use the internet, what sites would you show them first?

You have to start with Google. Once you get search, you can get whatever you want. Also demonstrating communication… so the obvious ones: GMail, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Friday Happy Hour:  Definitely Donuts

Friday Happy Hour: Definitely Donuts

Every time I start a Friday Happy Hour post I start with ” It’s been awhile since I’ve done this…”  which is true again.  But as always, the questions are from Mental Floss, the answers are mine. 

Donut.1. Everyone has a good story about a terrible job. But today let’s focus on the single thing you hated most. What was the worst part of your worst job?

Working as a plumber my for a summer on K-State’s campus I had to rod out the sewage lines in the Jardine Apartments. All you can really do is pretend you have no idea what’s coming out of that line, and that it’s not nearly as bad as the reality.


2. My daughter Charlotte (4) informed me that she “hates Nemo” for limiting our mobility. The Weather Channel wins. What other things should we start naming?

Donuts. Definitely donuts.


3. We want to add a bunch of kitchen gadgets to the mental_floss store. We need some suggestions! What perhaps-lesser-known kitchen items have made a big impact on your cooking and eating life? They could be made by big corporations or tiny companies still looking for a break.

My hot chocolate maker. Seriously.  I can make all sorts of drinks that essentially fake coffee shop fancy drinks. At least better than a gas station machine does.


4. The floor is yours. If you’ve got a question for your fellow _flossers, ask away!

Ok, this one makes no sense when I move it over to my blog… so how about this… you ask me a question in the comments if you want, and I’ll answer.


Friday Happy Hour: Big Bird

Friday Happy Hour: Big Bird

It’s been a long time since I’ve taken part in a Friday Happy Hour, but why not? As always the questions come from the Mental_Floss blog, the answers come from my demented psyche.

1. For years, we described the less tech-savvy among us as being unable to set the clock on a VCR. It’s time we unplug that expression and come up with something more relevant. In 2012, what’s a better way to say you’re not so hot with all this newfangled computer stuff?

“I’ve never twittered.”


2. If my baby book is to be believed, my first Halloween costume was a pumpkin, which I followed up in subsequent years with Big Bird and a purple Honker. What was your first Halloween costume?

Had to enlist the help of my mom on this question:

Big Bird – it was a big bird hat and your winter coat – you just went across the street, but it was your first official trick or treat.

So take that Mitt.  If only there were pictures.


3. Growing up in North Jersey, we had our share of memorable field trips—The Land of Make Believe, Turtle Back Zoo, Waterloo Village, Hershey Park, various museums in New York—but my clearest memory is about a trip that wasn’t taken. After the bombing of Pan-Am Flight 103, our scheduled field trip to Newark Airport was canceled. When a classmate asked our teacher what one thing had to do with the other, she said, “You might get kidnapped by terrorists.” It’s a wonder any of us ever flew again. What was your best, worst or most memorable field trip?

Chicago. 3 hour drive from where I grew up, but in 5th grade we went to the Museum of Science and Industry. I always loved that place as a kid.

Friday Happy Hour: No, Don’t Tell Me!

Time for another edition of Mental Floss’ Friday Happy Hour. Questions theirs, answers mine.

1. I have two young daughters, and each time my wife and I didn’t know the sex until a little girl popped out to meet us. If I have any more kids, I would do the same thing. It was such a wonderful and bizarre feeling not knowing until the last second. But the obsessive planner in me completely understands why people find out. Did you (or would you) find out what you were having?

First, this is probably a question I’m not going to have to answer.  Second, even if I do someday find myself in this situation, is it ever really up to the dude?  But that being said, I would much rather wait. I’ve always thought that’s the way to go.
2. Think back to high school. What class or teacher had the most impact on the rest of your life?

D.O. AKA, Mr. Ortman. I looked up to him a ton, and used a lot of what he taught me when I was a teacher. His huge focus was about learning how to think, not just how to do the problems, and that has always stuck with me in a variety of areas.


3. One day back in 2006, I checked my voicemail and heard this:

One new message is in your mailbox. First message…

Hi, it’s me Joe Piscopo! Yes it’s me, Joe Piscopo!

I’m sorry to come into your home like this. I just wanted to make sure that all my friends get out and vote on election day. You know I’m a Democrat but I’m going to vote for Tom Kean.

Always be proud to be from the state of New Jersey. And get out and vote!

Have you gotten any robocalls from ’80s celebrities this (or any) election cycle?

Nope. But I do get robocalls from Bill Snyder and Frank Martin from time to time.


4. Time for another edition of ‘what are you reading? (Do you recommend it?)’

The Know-It-All by AJ Jacobs. No question about it. It’s rare that I literally laugh out loud at a book, and this one gets me frequently.  Jacobs has a way of writing that draws you in, makes you care about a pointless quest, and entertains you the entire time.

Friday Happy Hour: Dream Maker

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Friday Happy Hour. I keep busier in my current job than I did in my old one, so I can’t find the time in the same way. Come to think of it, it’s been a long time since I’ve done anything on my blog. Maybe I should start it up again, eh?  At any rate, as usual, the questions are from Mental Floss, the answers are mine…

1. We had our company holiday party last night. Nobody embarrassed themselves too much — or if they did, they hid it — and everyone was in at a good time this morning. So I’m going to have to look to you guys for stories. What’s your best (or worst) office holiday party experience?

I haven’t worked many jobs that have actually had holiday parties. I’ll have to go with the holiday party plan in my last job, where it meant they’d give us lunch, we’d do a white elephant, but all while staying at our desks working… because God forbid there ever be a moment where someone stopped working.


2. If, for reasons not entirely clear, you had to listen to one Christmas song on repeat all December, what would it be?

I can’t think of one that would make me not go insane, so I’d go for the most wonderfully insane possible and do Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.  You can say there’s no such thing as santa, but as for me and Grandpa, we believe.


3. “Margaritaville” has a “lost verse” that Jimmy Buffett sometimes adds back in. (He found it, apparently.)

Old men in tank tops,
Cruisin’ the gift shops,
Checkin’ out chiquitas, down by the shore
They dream about weight loss,
Wish they could be their own boss
Those three-day vacations can be (or “become”) such a bore 

What other lost verses do you know? Either stuff legitimately cut from a song early on, or extra verses occasionally added in.

I always think of the Garth Brooks ones. Everyone knows the extra verse for Friends in Low Places, but I also dig the extra one for The Thunder Rolls. Even if I am a pacifist.


4. If you could rename one kitchen utensil, what would it be? What would you call it?

The cork screw. It is now known as the dream maker.


5. Do you know of any unique charities that deserve more attention? Either unique in how they raise money or in what that money’s for.

I’m a fan of Laundry Love.  Look it up in your area.

Friday Happy Hour: The Edge

I haven’t done one of these in a few weeks. Sitting around on a beautiful day off, turned rainy-haily, turned thunder-sunny, I should probably do a Friday Happy Hour.  The questions, as always, come from Mental Floss’ great blog… the answers, as always, come from Mike Tufano’s great mind.

1. On Monday, September 10, 2001, I started a job with Duke University’s Office of Student Development. I was paid $9.68/hour to answer the phones and greet visitors and, on my second day, try to convince panic-stricken parents all over the world that Durham, North Carolina, was not under attack (as far as I knew). What were you doing that Tuesday morning?

I was teaching high school that morning. I didn’t find out until first period ended.  I spent the rest of the day watching coverage with my classes and answering what questions I could for them.  Clearly this was more important than a day of high school math.  I made the call to cancel the volleyball match I was supposed to coach that evening, and finally made it home where I could deal with the emotion myself.

2. By now most new college students are settled into their dorms and getting into a routine, but still feeling a little overwhelmed. If you could go back and give your one-month-into-college self any advice, what would it be?

GO TO CLASS!  You can’t coast through this and ace everything like high school.  STUDY!

3. There’s a good chance some of you have added children to your lives since the last time I asked this question: what children’s books do you recommend? New ones, classics, whatever you like.

No question… Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic,1 and Falling Up by Shel Silverstein.  (And soon to be Every Thing On It)

  1. My aunt Patti gave me these two books for two Christmas gifts.  I still have my original copies and still pull them out to read them.  I’m now working on getting them for my nephews as birthday gifts []

Friday Happy Hour: San Dimas High School football Rules!

Ok, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted this, or anything, so we’re back to a little Friday Happy Hour time.  Questions ripped from the pages of one of my favorite blog/magazines out there:  Mental Floss.

1. Under Colin’s post about items you shouldn’t microwave, regular _flosser Bert left this comment:

“My brothers once tried to make a candle by using crayons as a base (they were about 10). After a large microwave fire resulted, we knew not to try that again.”

That seems like an interesting topic, so let’s co-opt it here: what are some things you learned the hard way?

It doesn’t matter how good of a swimmer you are.  If you want to keep all your teeth, don’t dive in the shallow end of the pool.


2. What’s the oldest food product currently in your house?

I recently found a box of jello mix.  Naturally it was store brand… and the store was one that I shopped at the last time I lived in Kansas City, which means I’ve had that box of jello mix since at least 2001.  But it may come in handy someday.  Guess I don’t eat a lot of jello.


3. We had some fun this week with Back to the Future co-creator Bob Gale, who responded to a question posted here about Marty and Doc. If you could ask any plot question to any other famous screenwriters or directors, what would you ask?

I want to know why Yoda & Obi-Wan disappear when they die, but other Jedi’s don’t.  I have an idea that was sort of answered, but confirmation would be nice.1


4. Hundreds of movies and TV shows have been set predominantly at high schools. West Beverly, Bayside, Ridgemont, Shermer and on and on. If you had to go back and attend one fictional high school in the time period it was featured, where would you enroll?

San Dimas High School, of course.  Because San Dimas High School football rules!


  1. Yoda tells Obi-Wan that Qui-Gon learned a new way to communicate from beyond the grave… so I’m guessing that he teaches Yoda & Obi-Wan while still alive, which causes the disappearance.  I’m a nerd. []

Friday Happy Hour: Defenestration


As always, the questions come from Mental Floss, and the answers are mine…

1. According to a study by Twentysomething, Inc. that appeared in Time, 85% of college grads move back in with mom and dad. What was your first move after college? If you’re still in school, what’s your plan?

My parents had left the state in an effort to escape me, so I had no home to go back to after college.  I did move back to the same zip code in Overland Park, Kansas into a nice JoCo style apartment complex.  Years later I did find where my parents went.


2. On The Today Show earlier this week, New York Times enigmatologist Will Shortz said his favorite word is ucalegon—it means “a neighbor whose house is on fire.” Do you have any favorite obscure words you’d like to share?

Defenstration – to throw someone or something out of the window.


3. While you were in college, who was the most impressive speaker or musical act to come to your campus? I don’t necessarily mean the biggest name. Could just be someone who inspired you.

The one that comes to mind was a dude who came and lectured on having the scientific proof of the existence of God. His claim was that God existed because someday we would all be cloned, which means we would be resurrected.  Clearly not impressive in a meaningful way, but instead as a demonstration of just how crazy people could get, and still somehow be able to lecture and attempt to hold an influence on people.


4. If a cable network were to green-light a mental_floss game show, who should be the host?

Me.  No doubt.  They ended up letting Drew Carey take over The Price is Right instead of me, but I think it’s time I’m given the big shot… Or prepare to be defenestrated.

Friday Happy Hour: The sea was angry that day, my friends…

It’s Friday again.  Questions from Mental Floss, answers from my sick demented mind…

1. Growing up, whenever we flagged down the ice cream truck, my regular order was a Bubble O’Bill. My sister preferred the Fat Frog. If the ice cream truck from your childhood showed up in front of your house tonight (you know, through time travel), what old favorite would you order? (I don’t think the Bubble O’Bill still exists in the U.S., but some half-baked research tells me it’s huge in Australia. Can any Aussies confirm?)

I don’t remember ever being too into the character ones, but I was a sucker for the strawberry shortcake bars.  Something about the cake crumbs surrounding the ice cream.  Yum.

2. Like most people, I live near lots of places where video stores used to be. What ubiquitous retail establishments do you predict will disappear in the next 20 years?

Right along with the video stores, music/video game/dvd stores are on their way out as everything becomes more digitally stored.

3. Do you still read a newspaper? I mean a real, inky newspaper. On paper.

It’s been about a year since I let my subscription to the KC Star go.  I love reading it on paper, but they doubled the price on me.

4. We were just talking about doing a series of super-focused quizzes on our favorite TV episodes. If you had to pick one single episode to be quizzed on, what would it be?

“The Marine Biologist” on Seinfeld.  No question. The sea was angry that day, my friends.

Friday Happy Hour: And you’re all dummies…

Yet another Friday Happy Hour, ripped from the pages of Mental Floss (Follow that blog, it’s great for trivia nerds).  As always, questions are theirs, answers are mine.


1. Agatha Christie said she came up with most of her book plots while sitting in her bathtub, eating apples. Do you have a special place you go when you really need to concentrate? Where do you do your best work? Any old study tips you want to share?

It’s not a place I go to anymore, but when I lived in Salina, Kansas there was a spot at a park I used to love.  Secluded table overlooking the Smoky Hill “river.”  Used to go there frequently.


2. Congratulations! You’ve been hired as a consultant by the For Dummies people. You’ll be assigned to one book, on a topic you know a lot about. What new For Dummies book would you want to work on?

How to Avoid Pissing Me Off for Dummies (Subtitled:  And you’re all dummies).  It’s a niche market.

3. Whether it was intentional or not, what’s the strangest place you’ve ever slept?

I’m not much of a sleeper when it comes to strange places, so I’d have to say sleeping in a cave.

4. What’s on your summer reading list?

I’m currently reading The Orthodox Heretic by Peter Rollins, Look at the Birdie by Kurt Vonnegut, and Zeitoun by Dave Eggers.  I don’t normally read more than one book at a time, but this Rollins book is best read one chapter at a time (and they’re only a few pages), and the Vonnegut is a collection of short stories, so I’m doing one at a time there, too.  The Girl who Played with Fire is up next once I finish those.

Friday Happy Hour: Committed

Haven’t done one of these in awhile, but here’s a post ripped from The Mental Floss blog.  Their questions, my answers…

1. Last week, we discussed things everybody liked except you. How about the opposite? What short-lived TV series, style of clothing, book, day of the week, vacation destination (or whatever) are you seemingly alone in liking?

There was a show called Committed that I totally loved.  It didn’t even make through an entire season, and as far as I know has never made it to DVD. I don’t know of anyone else who watched it.

2. Like Larry David, I was a history major. (“You never know when you might run into a discussion of the Franco-Prussian War,” he’s joked.)What was/is your college major? If you’re out of school, have you been able to put it to use? If you could do it all over again, would you choose something else?

Math Education.  I’ve used it a few years here and there, and now that I’d like to use it again the economy has collapsed and schools have cut all their teachers.  Do it all over again, I would have done stright math and become an actuary and make some actual money.


3. Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller’s Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN comes out next week. It’s an oral history that lasts 784 pages from the guys who brought us the excellent oral history ofSaturday Night Live. Let’s say Shales and Miller came to you looking for advice on their next project. What topic would hold your attention for 800 pages of interviews?

I would love to read one with all sorts of inside goings on at the White House.


4. We’re not due for another “What are you reading?” question until next week, but let’s use a variation of that question—what’s a great website you only recently discovered?  It’s freaking awesome if you’re an obsessive compulsive tv watcher.

Friday Happy Hour: Pizza and Beer

Every week Mental Floss does their Friday Happy Hour.  Sometimes I steal it… This is one of those weeks.  Questions theirs, answers mine.

1. “1-877-KARS-4-KIDS. K-A-R-S KARS-4-KIDS. 1-877-KARS-4-KIDS, donate your car today.” I find myself humming this radio jingle at least once a day. What jingles have been lodged in your head for years?

Anyone who went to K-State has the same answer for this… “At 776-5577 call us now at Pizza Shuttle.  For fast and friendly, delivery… pizza the way it’s supposed to be.  Give us a call and you’ll agree… it’s Pizza Shuttle Pizza for me! Call 776-5577… call us now at Pizza Shuttle!”

2. Fast forward 10 years. How will you get your local news in 2021? Do you think something like the AOL Patch model can be sustainable? Will independent newspapers/websites be able to generate enough revenue to employ professional journalists? Should we bring the town crier back?

I feel like we’re nearing a sustainable model consisting of online text and video.  I’m not sure how much local tv news will hold on in their current form.  I see news as a whole as being an on demand thing.

3. Last week, Cole Gamble told us about four upcoming questionable toy-to-movie adaptations (includingBattleship). We can do better. What’s something you think should be made into a movie? Could be a moment in history, someone’s life story, a book, TV show or, if you like, a toy or game.

Remember the “We like the moon” spongemonkeys that eventually did the Quiznos commercial? How has that not become a feature length film yet?  I’d go see it.

4. Can I get you a drink? (I can’t really. Stay with me.) But pretend I could get you a drink. Any drink. Coffee, soda, beer, wine, tea, juice, flavored water, or your choice of spirit, served any way you wish. What would you order?

Probably just because it’s not possible anymore, and barely was attainable when it was possible, I’d have you get me pitcher of Boulevard’s Chocolate Ale.  The draft version (they were different). And since I can have it served in any way, I’ll just go ahead and take the whole keg.


Friday Happy Hour: Crocodile Bob

I don’t do it every Friday, but when I do… well… I do it.  Ripped from the headlines of the Mental Floss Blog:

1. School names generally fall into five categories: Geography (Valleyview, West Morris); Famous Historical Figures (Dr. Sally K. Ride Elementary, Polk High); Not Famous Historical Figures (Amos W. Harrison Elementary); Numbers (PS 31); and Feel-Good Words (Liberty High, Rolling Hills School). But you’ve just been appointed to a school-renaming committee, and the task is simple—rename your school for a favorite teacher. Could be a high school, middle school, elementary school, daycare, whatever. What did he or she do to deserve this honor?

A few teachers come to mind, but I’m going to go back to my undergrad at K-State and choose “Crocodile” Bob Linder.  Just for fun, as an elective, I took History of Baseball and History of Christianity from him.  He knew how to teach, how to peak your interest in a subject, and has lived an amazing life (the nickname comes from having wrestled a crocodile).  I definitely owe a large portion of my love of baseball and appreciation of history to him.  When I was in seminary I was reading my History of Christianity text and noticed an article in it by him.  I flipped back to the front and it turned out he was the general editor of the book.


2. Many enjoyable magazines have folded in recent years. If you could see one magazine revived, which one would you choose?

Magazines… not ringing a bell.  Can I get that for my Nook?


3. What’s the best movie you’ve seen so far this year? It need not be a 2011 release.

Exit Through the Gift Shop.  Absolutely loved that film.  The next night I was at an event at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and listened to someone explain their version of the point of the film… that anyone can be an artist if they just try.  Wow, sort of missed that one, eh?