Thursday, February 24, 2011


Well, it seems that Uncle Skip has given me an award, for being a 'Versatile Blogger', or somesuch as that.

Well, gosh-all-fishhooks. Thank you, Skip! I am truly honored. And flattered. And whatever-elsed one is supposed to be when one is given an award by a fellow-blogger.

In pronouncing me worthy of the august award (that's small-'a' 'august'; I know it's February), Skip (who just became my favorite uncle) said:

". . . because he used to be Desmond and he's a Michigander and I have an affinity for them. . . mostly because two of my brothers-in-law are Michiganders."

OK, it's true - I did used-to be Desmond, complete with wife Molly and all those kids running in the yard (get it?) But - being a Michgander makes me 'versatile'? I mean, a guy can only live in one state at a time, am I right? But hey, if living in Michigan has taught me anything, it's that, when someone wants to give you something, you accept it. And gratefully! (But hey, while I'm thinking of it, kudos to Skip's sisters for marrying classy guys) (or are we talkin' about his wife's brothers? I'm so confused!)

(OK, when I pressed him on it, he mentioned something about the Ernie Harwell piece I posted last spring; and Ernie Harwell is one of the very best people ever to be associated with this Great State, so if Skip wants to link me up with Ernie Harwell, I'm triply honored; and flattered; and, you know, whatever-elsed.)


OK, so the 'Terms and Conditions' of the award are as follows, per my new favoritest uncle:

- Curse Suldog and whoever sent it to him, under your breath (this rule is optional but may be repeated as often as desired) (for those of you who don't know Suldog, he routinely curses roasts those who give him bloggity awards; and so, Uncle Skip detects the faintest hint of, um, irony in the fact that Suldog sent the award to him) (and, while I'm thinking of it: those of you who don't know Suldog - why the heck not? Hie your fanny over to his place posthaste, and make his acquaintance at your earliest opportunity!) (and, while I'm thinking of it: curse you, Suldog!) (check mark for one optional requirement fulfilled)

- Thank me (ie, Uncle Skip) and link back to this post (thanking me is optional) (See above re the 'thanking' part; you know I'm all about the optional requirements) (and, Oh, look! the link is done, too!)

- Tell us a little about yourself (make stuff up) (*sigh*; see below)

- Impose on six others to do the same thing to somebody else (heck, these days, I don't think I've even got six readers of this li'l ol' blog; how 'bout I take the cop-out route and say, if you really want to do this, feel free; just remember to mention my name)


So, OK - About Me (and those of you who know me, know how much I LOVE to talk about myself like this). . .

- I've been married to my wife Jen for just over 30 years.

- I love her, madly and passionately.

- We have eight children (which might possibly have something to do with the aforementioned).

- My favorite sports teams are the Detroit Tigers (hence the business over Ernie Harwell which seems to have gotten me into my present predicament), and anything from my Alma Mater, Michigan State University.

- I was at MSU at the same time as Magic Johnson (and I have always thought that the local sportswriter who initially gifted young Earvin with the nickname 'Magic', gave him one of the great pickup lines of all time - "Wanna find out why they call me 'Magic Johnson'?") (and, just for the sake of sayin' so - if you've read his autobiography, he seems to have taken it to heart; or, you know, whatever)

- I was adopted, and have met both my birth-parents (one of whom shares a state with Uncle Skip).

- I have a patent to my name. And possibly, a mathematical formula.

- And I won a prize at a chili cook-off, once.

- But I've never won an Oscar. Or a Nobel Prize.

- I have never been to Antarctica. Much as I would love to.

- Nor have I ever been to Mars. Much as I would love to (well, OK, that's not quite true - I've been to Mars, IL; but not, you know, the planet Mars)

- I have been to California, though. . .

- And OK, I'm curious (but NOT yellow) - if Skip is 'Uncle', how come his wife is 'Grandma'?

Well, that's about all the self-revelation I've got in me, for the time being (unless you want to go back here; but that was five years ago). If you want to know more, I guess you'll just have to come back around. Not that there's anything wrong with that. . .


  1. V word = nophican

    It too bad James Fenimore Cooper didn't write about them, too.

    Where was I?
    My sisters are married to truly classy men. However, the brothers-in-law are Grandma Skip's brothers. They, too, are classy, but UofM fans. Also they're musicians, as are their sons, even to the point where they can be called professional.
    As for the story of Grandma Skip, that's for her to tell.

  2. A patent AND a mathematical formula? That is uber-cool in my book!

  3. Very cool, and patents/formula? Wayyy cool!

  4. Well now, Craig, even I - a poor, benighted Englishman - know that Detroit is near Canada. I even know one travels south from Detroit to cross the border - and I've done it as well!

  5. Skip - Thanks again for the award. And thanks for dropping by!

    Your wife's brothers are (*shudder*) UofM guys?


    (I'm kidding!) (mostly)

    And say 'Hi' to Natty Bumppo for me. . . ;)

    Bijoux and Sailor - Believe me when I tell you that, cool as they are, neither of them is nearly as impressive as they sound. But hey - you takes yer cool stuff where you can get it. . . ;)

    BP - Thanks for stopping by! And congratulations on your award!

    And God bless you for having been to Detroit - there are lots of Michiganders who've never done that (and others who wish they never had). . .

    But really, my little 'Canada' comment at your place was just a little aside on the linguistic usage of 'eh' (I promise you, I do not think of Englishmen as 'benighted'). . . 'Cuz you know how they spell 'Canada', right?

    C-eh-N-eh-D-eh. . .

    (OK, I'm done now. . .)

  6. Well, Craig, for some reason or another - possibly I've had a stroke - I feel that I owe you some thanks. It appears to my feeble mind that you praised me and sent people to read my stuff. Wonders never cease and ceases never wonder, or so they say in Antarctica (which you'd know if you had ever been there, you poor rube.)

    I would also thank Uncle Skip, but he might mistake it for an award and tear me another one. I already have five, and that's enough.

  7. ok, i want to know more about the patent and the possible formula (even though it's unlikely i'll understand it) can ya put it in layman's terms?

    and may i thank you profusely for not specifically tagging me because i've done a version of this too many times. if i had to reveal anymore new facts about myself i'd have to require a ring and a blood test from the readers of that post.

  8. Suldog - But Skip said I have to curse you, and I tried really hard. . .

    And listen, when it comes to assholes, it's better to have one than to be one (or at least, so I've always thought). . . When it comes to having more than one, tho, I'm not so sure. . .

    Lime - Are you sure you really want me to tell those stories? (*sigh*) OK, but only because you asked. . .

    The Patent. I did some work on a project that was a bit of an unusual project, for a customer that usually worked closely with one of our competitors. I didn't really do anything terribly exotic, but our company, because our product mix is a bit different than the competitor's, had a knowledge base that wasn't immediately obvious to them.

    So, in order to protect our 'intellectual property', our execs decided to apply for a patent, to keep the customer from taking our work and giving it to our competitor. And, since I had done some work on the project, I got my name on the patent. As far as I knew, I was just doing my job, and then a year later, somebody is asking me to help fill out a patent app. . .

    The Formula. OK this is math; if your eyes start to glaze over, you can stop at any time. ;)

    It's a little hard to explain, but in order to do some work that we needed to do, I needed a way to compute a circle that best fits a set of points, and I couldn't easily find one in any of the books I had (I even went to the Math Library at the University, and they couldn't easily point me to one, either), so, over the course of six months or so, I worked out the formula I needed, and programmed it into our computers, and we routinely used it after that. I never gave it much thought after that; I just figured that someone had derived the formula already, and I just hadn't been clever enough to track it down.

    So 15 years (!) later, a guy I know who runs a 'Math' column in a little engineering journal asked me if I could write an article for his column, so I wrote up the 'best-fit-circle' formula, figuring it might be interesting/useful, and knowing the trouble I'd had in trying to track something down. Once the article was published, I started getting emails from some pretty high-powered guys, thanking me for the article, and asking me where I'd gotten it from. When I told them I'd worked it out myself, and I didn't know where it was published, they wrote back, saying they really liked it, and congratulating me for deriving a really useful formula. I never asked if it was really original to me, or whether I could properly hang my name on it (I still can't quite really believe that it is), but the implication of our correspondence was that it might very well be. So that's why I say 'possibly'. . .

    Now, aren't you glad you asked?

  9. I'm quite glad Lime asked! As a late-in-life math lover, that is just really amazing to me!

  10. actually i am. that's pretty groovy. thanks! and congrats!

  11. Aw, shucks. . .

    Thanks, ladies. . .

  12. And, uh, Suldog. . .

    When I go back and re-read what I said, I think I called you a hypocrite. So, you know, you can take some consolation from that. . .


  13. Well, I can say that I have been to Mars, PA.

    But ya got me on the patent and the mathematical formula. One summer, how ever, I came up with the genius idea of plugging butter into an old, (and very well-washed) deoderant stick holder. It was perfect for corn on the cob!! Alas, the very next summer saw that product on the shelves.

    And to think the path my life could have taken me with that patent? I could be the deoderant butter lady. :P

  14. Flutter - Hey, good to see ya!

    How far is Mars, PA from Hershey? (You know, the whole, 'candy bar' thing. . .)

    And hey - congrats on almost inventing the deodorant-stick-butter thing. Or almost getting credit for it. Or something. . .

    I remember, back in the 80s, thinking that someone ought to put a VCR and a TV in the same box. Which got me just as much as your butter thingy got you. . .