You would never know it

tv-homePhilo Farnsworth was the inventor of the TV. I saw his house last week. The most incredible thing about the home was how average it was. It is on an ordinary corner in an ordinary suburban neighborhood in an ordinary midwestern town.

Times have changed. If he were alive today, his third home would be on Seventeen Mile Drive in Pebble Beach.

As a boy, Farnsworth saw television in the parallel furrows of his father’s potato field. His epiphany: Images could be scanned line by line.” (That’s from a Wired story.)

Moral of the story? Next time you’re viewing a field (or a forest, or a cityscape), look more closely. Your next great idea might be there.

I grabbed the photo from a video by Becky.


Who responds?

spam-namesThese lovely names are the supposed senders of spam that appeared recently in my gmail spam folder.

They have these characteristics:
— They are not normal spellings of English names.
— They are all female.
— Often the last name is a first name.

What does this tell me about spam?
— Those who respond are usually male.
— Those who respond might speak English as poorly as the spam authors.
— It’s fun to read these bizarre names.

More on spam.


Retire online

retire-onlineI thought that this headline represented an unusual choice. I chalk it up to marketing innocence — or ignorance.

My thoughts were several: does this mean that I can retire if I start an online business? That Patty Duke has already retired online, except for her promising modeling career? That this website (not prominently featured) would help me to learn how to retire? That as an internet user, I am encouraged to help an older person who does not know how to use the internet?

Takeaway: Writers, let’s think a little more carefully before we publish those headlines.


Questionable lunchbox

lunchboxWhat kid in 1965 would be caught dead bringing this lunchbox to school? Maybe it was used by a pilot’s son who had no social awareness.

The wear and tear leads me to believe that whoever used it did so more than once. Maybe a pilot used it! But then, what pilot would be caught dead bringing a kids’ lunchbox to work in the morning?

Update: See the comments for some really valid points about this.

Again, from the Fort Wayne Air Museum.


Cool backpack

cool-backpackThis baby was from World War II, Japan.

I do have this theory that Japan has more cool stuff than just about anywhere else in the world, except maybe Italy. This backpack is actually a parachute — from the Fort Wayne Air Museum.



Let’s focus

ft-wayne-air-museumSo I went on a business trip last week. My itinerary included three airports. The Fort Wayne airport had a museum devoted to airplanes and flying. It was small, but I enjoyed my visit.

My only critical comment was that there was absolutely no focus. As you can tell from these photos, the display ranged from Leonardo da Vinci and Lego fighter jets to a large section on Art Smith, a local pioneer in the realm of flying.

Takeaway: How can you bring focus to what you are doing? (And many may point that finger at me — how can I bring focus to this blog? I have thought about that — but I enjoy being able to cover a wide range of topics. I’m seriously pondering a separate site where I do focus more. This site will most likely remain my sandbox to play in.)


At what point do we become a bad influence?

amer-girl-storeRachel went to the new American Girl Doll store near Denver a few weeks back. After she came home, I asked, “What did you think?” Her first reply: “It was too expensive.”

I was a proud dad.

I did not join her for that excursion. When I happened to be near the store a week later, I had to drop in to see it for myself. That’s when my reflections started. I do agree with her that nearly everything in the store is not priced for ordinary folks. The lower pic is a hair salon — for your doll — at something like $20 a pop. Mind you, it’s hard for me to think of spending $20 to style the hair of a doll when I know that that same $20 could feed a hungry family in Kenya for several days.

But the other side of the coin was thinking that I have colored my kids so much to be always thinking about what things cost that they are warped that way. For good and bad, our kids reflect us.