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The Kitchens' Sink - January 2010 Archives

Everything you did and did not want to know about what I see and think.

Posted Friday, January 15th, 2010 by James Kitchens

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
--- Albert Einstein

I'm curious at what age the repeated use of the word "again" stops being a favorite command to immediately re-live a much-anticipated action or joke or other fantastic childhood event. I ask because our daughter (who is 5 years old) made me repeat the same joke for approximately 2 hours on our drive to Ohio recently. OK, maybe it wasn't two hours, but I think it was the whole way from Lafayette, IN to well past Indianapolis. So an hour?

I certainly didn't mind the repeated telling of this joke. On the contrary, I took great joy in seeing her crack up like crazy at the same exact joke over and over and over and.... I was actually tempted to see how long she might be able to go on laughing hysterically at this silly joke. But I suspect she would have far outlasted me on that front. Actually, I'm really sure she would have.

So what was this fantastic joke that Claire had to hear over and over all the way through Central Indiana? It's a classic. It's incredibly funny. It's.....well childish. Good thing she and I are both children. Otherwise, the silly joke would have worn out its welcome much more quickly.

The joke in question:

Me: "Knock, knock"

Claire: "Who's there?"

Me: "Impatient cow."

Claire: "Impatien......."


So there you have it. The funniest joke in the world to my daughter for about an hour or so during a 5+ hour trip in the car from Chicago to Ohio. She actually tried to tell a couple people in Columbus that joke, but ended up just cracking herself up when she tried. It still never got old for me to see her laughing that hysterically over such a simple and ridiculous joke. I hope I never forget that sight.



Don't Tread On Me
Posted Thursday, November 19th, 2009 by James Kitchens

I was dropping Claire off at school this morning and I noticed a sign. It said (says), "To protect the habitat, please stay on the path". Ordinarily, I wouldn't think much of this. But this time, I actually looked at the "habitat". I remember a time way back yonder (Bakes can back me up on this) when we used to call the "habitat" something like "bushes". Eventually, the "bushes" evolved into "landscaping". Now it's called "habitat". Seriously, the "habitat" is probably 10-20 decent sized bushes, some low groundcover, and a path with mulch going through it.

I guess I need to ask, "When did we evolve from 'bushes' to 'landscaping' to 'habitat'?" I never saw that coming.


2005, A Phone Odyssey
Posted Sunday, November 15th, 2009 by James Kitchens

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
--- Arthur C. Clarke


Magic indeed. As of last night, I have finally entered the mobile online world with some sort of Samsung inertnet capable phone. Re-reading that statement makes me sound a lot like Bakes. I can imagine myself saying, "Stay off my lawn, you damn whippersnappers!" Or shooting the neighborhood kids' football and throwing it back over the fence. Pretty sure Bakes does all that stuff. And more. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to mark my passage into the year 2005. Yes, I've finally caught up with the middle of this decade in terms of my phone. In other areas (my clothes, my haircut, my favorite sayings, etc.) I am woefully stuck in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Although, by that standard, I'm clearly about 60 years ahead of Bakes. Sorry, Brian, but it's true. However, with this new toy, my phone odyssey begins.

The trip began last night on our way out to dinner. We parked near a Radio Shack in Evanston, IL on our way to the FlatTop Grill, and had about 20-30 minutes to kill. So we stopped in to look at phones. My wife needed a new phone, and had a "free" upgrade coming. We all know these aren't really "free", since they stick you with a new obligation to pay them for a period of years. Anyway....

We started looking at the phones, not intending to do anything. She saw a few she liked, and the guy mentioned that for her needs, she wouldn't want a PDA phone (Blackberry, etc.). In the meantime, the wife was liking the new Samsung inertnet phone. So we actually decided to get her one. At the same time, they needed to look up the account to make sure we had the data plan for it (we didn't, but switched to an unlimited data plan that cost the same as our previous plan). We also found out that I was due a "free" upgrade too. Turns out they picked up all the re-activation fees and a few other things like the first month of the data plan (normal for a 3rd party seller I assume). So that's the story of how our new phone osyssey started. A seemingly innocent trip to Radio Shack before dinner.

Sadly, they only had the same model and color phones left in stock, so we both got the exact same phone. I'm considering how I can differentiate our phones. Maybe I'll paint mine with same racing stripes and flames or something. Or put a pink stripe on hers. She hates pink.....

As for my phone inertnet usage, let's just say I've used the inertnet connection on my previous phone with limited shock and awe. Plus I was always afraid of overages on the data plan. No such fear now! I've even posted my first mobile phone post on TBS this morning. So, as you can clearly see, my antiquated days are coming to an end. At least in terms of my phone and the inertnet. As for my clothes and haircut, maybe I'll just have to consult with Bakes for that.



Posted Sunday, May 31st, 2009 by James Kitchens

"You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, `My God, you're RIGHT! I NEVER would've thought of that!'"

- Dave Barry


As most of you know, we got two puppies about 5 weeks ago.They have been doing incredibly well since then. But as well as those five weeks have gone, the next two will be the true test. That's because for those two weeks, they will be in McHenry, IL at a place called 1st Place Dog Training getting an accelerated version of training. Sure, I could have probably taught them enough. Or we could have taken them to a nearby place once or twice a week. But with two of them, and not enough time right now, I figured a quick "boot camp" might be in order to get them trained for the basics and a bit more.

Don't misunderstand, they've done nothing wrong. In fact, they have been great. But I know from past experience that a dog that can stay on command or come to you on command is a worthy goal. In fact, it can save their life one day if they ever get into a tough situation or escape the house or yard or any number of other situations.

I can not tell you how many times we have been driving and seen stray dogs with tags. We have always pulled over for them and found their home. One time the dog had wandered literally 8 miles through the Chicago North Shore suburbs (from Glencoe to Wilmette). We have also found no less than 9 of our neighbor's dogs out roaming around. No clue why our nearby dogs get out so much.

I have to admit, though, that I am already missing the furry friends. Not Furley, the dogs. Although, I guess I do miss Furley too. Claire has already had one bout of tears when she once again figured out that they were not coming home tonight. Try explaining the concept of "two weeks" to a 5 year old. Talk about a foreign concept. It's worse than trying to get Gator to spell correctly. Or apparently getting Mrs. Bakes to use commas, colons and other punctuation.

We also managed to time the training for our trip to Ohio next weekend. So that was nice. For the merely curious, we are going to Troy, OH for the Strawberry Festival and Carey will be running the 10k race they have on Sunday morning. Me being the lazy and "suddenly" out of shape bastard that I am......will not be running the race. Good thing I'm not 38 years old or anything. Otherwise it would be hard to get in shape. Or so I'm told.

So that's the Pupdate. They're doing great. They're at training now for two weeks. We're going to Ohio for a weekend. And Claire is sad that Lila and Milo won't be back for some unclear length of time. Well, so am I even if I do know how long two weeks actually is on the calendar.


It's Too Early For Math
Posted Saturday, May 9th, 2009 by James Kitchens

“I don't believe in mathematics.”
--- Albert Einstein

As many of you know, one of my many peeves (note the spelling, Gatore) is the way weekday drivers drive here in Northern Illinois. But I'm not here to talk about that in this blogpost. I know........shocking. I'm not going to talk about how slow the old people drive, or how many people can not obey the "Stop here on red light" signs because they are too important since they are talking on their iPhone. Nope, not gonna talk about that.

Today, I am going to talk about math. To understand the forthcoming story, you have to understand that I like math. I really do. Math is good. Math is our friend. Math is the international language of love. Or maybe that's music, I forget. Regardless, I do like math.

Now, there is one caveat in all this "MathLove". It involves our alarm clock. And the fact that my wife sets the damn clock 8 minutes fast. I assume that the theory is that you are fooling yourself into getting up earlier. But in reality, what you end up with is a needless series of basic addition and subtraction equations at some ungodly early morning hour. And did I mention that she hits the snooze at least twice anyway? So while I do love math in general, I do not love math at 3:04am when I have to remember whether the clock is set ahead 8 minutes or 9 minutes or 10 minutes or.... Because then I have to guess what the time is. Ultimately, I just get frustrated enough to not be able to fall back asleep.

To be sure, there is another school of thought on this subject --- "It really doesn't matter what time it is at 3am. The real time is 'Time to go back to sleep'." And that's true. But when I look at the clocks in the house, I find that ALL OF THEM are set to different times. That's right, no two of our clocks have the same time in this house.

No matter how many times I fail to go back to sleep. Or look at different clocks in the same room that have different times. Or how many times I am forced to do needless addition and subtraction during the early morning hours. Or..... No matter how many of these things I have to do, I will never ever understand the utility behind this practice. If you want to fool yourself into getting up on time by fooling yourself into thinking it's 8 minutes later than it really is, then how about this idea --- get up at the time you want and skip the early morning math test. But maybe I'm alone in this thought that a pop math quiz at 3:04am is senseless.