Joe’s Race Parts Website is Back Up

Your friendly neighborhood race parts dealer is back online after a short maintenance period! Joe’s Race Parts has the best deals anywhere on race parts. And, best of all, shipping is usually free (and if it’s not, Joe will work with you to get it as affordable as possible). He’ll even ship internationally. I believe in Joe so much, I’m willing to give him the Jerry Travis guarantee!

King-Sized Comforter on a Queen-Sized Bed

Beck recently put a king-sized comforter on our queen-sized bed. I’ve enjoyed it greatly because now we no longer fight for the covers as there is plenty of the cheerful, pastel-colored material to go around. It occurred to me a few minutes ago that if we both could lose a few pounds (*cough* 30 or so is a few) then we could use our other comforters comfortably. It takes a heck of a lot more material to cover us than it should.

We have started walking/jogging on our treadmill. Beck’s doing a lot better than I am, though. Today, I walked at 3 mph and nearly had a stroke…It’s pathetic to be so out of shape. But I guess, my stroke-inducing steps tonight are as good a start as any toward not being so pathetic.

I’ve decided to do something rather drastic: Tomorrow morning, I’m going to weigh myself and post the results on here, and continue to do the same once I week.  Maybe public scrutiny and the fear of ridicule may motivate my fat ass to take action…Who knows, I may actually start feeling better about myself along the way, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

On a final note, I apologize to the world for letting this blog become a fat blog. But, as I’ve said a million times, the Internet is a big place and I’m sure you can avoid it if you really want ;)

A Follow-Up on Obama’s Speech to America’s Students

Now that the speech has happened, I’ll post my follow-up to my issue with the attack on President Obama for addressing the nation’s students. I didn’t get to watch the speech (since I’m at home with no choice but dial-up) but I did read the transcript.

My final thoughts are much what I said in my initial post: President Obama is doing a great thing by telling our kids that they are ultimately responsible for their own futures.

The speech, in my opinion, was pretty straight laced and to the point. I’m sure opponents will say it was too multicultural, but there’s not much anybody can say to refute these (paraphrased) points made in the speech:

  • Being successful takes hard work, which often times isn’t easy.
  • You won’t love everything you learn or study in school.
  • Most of us won’t be a pro athlete or reality TV star.
  • People in far worse circumstances than yourself have refused to give up and ultimately succeeded in life.
  • At the end of the day, what you make out of your circumstances depends on the choices you make.

I may criticize the President for numerous other things, but his telling our kids to wake up and get educated is not one of them!

Obama’s Addressing Students on September 8…What’s the Big Deal?

I found out a few days ago that President Obama is going to address the students of the United States on September 8. The Yahoo story I was looking at when I found out the news quoted several people who are outraged. Among other things, they are accusing Obama of trying to brainwash the youth of the nation for some twisted purposes.

I think this attack on the President for trying to tell American students to stay in school and take every advantage they can in getting their education is ridiculous. I’m not a fan of President Obama. For the most part, he’s a snake oil salesman who’s good at giving speeches and making promises. But, in the interest of fairness, I think it’s a good thing he’s actually trying to get our kids to do better in school. I teach high school students, and I really, really worry about this country’s education system. From my daily observations, it’s pretty clear that functional literacy is on the decline. Furthermore, the liberal arts educational ideas popularized in the 1920s that aim to make every educated person have some awareness in several subjects have all but disappeared. My students see no point in knowledge they feel they will never use, and as a result, most have no zeal for knowledge. This lack of zeal is what’s wrong with the country: Too many people want to take the easy route while too few are pushing the envelope in newfangled noble pursuits.

I have reviewed both the lesson plans for the pre-K to 6 grade students and the 7 to 12 grade students which have been released by the US Department of Education.  The verdict: I find no attempt to brainwash students. The only real bias I found was in two pre-speech critical thinking questions in the 7-12 grade plans:

  • How will he inspire us?
  • How will he challenge us?

This is biased because it should pose the questions, “Will [the President] inspire us? How or not?” and “Will [the President] challenge us? How or not?” That being said, it is clear that these plans are just a resource and teachers are encouraged to use and tweak them as they see fit. Aside from the biases above, the plans are solid from an educational standpoint and encourage students to recall and reflect on what the President says in the speech.

My entire opinion may change after the President gives his speech. If he goes off on some liberal tangent and tries to influence children about issues like gay marriage and abortion, then I’ll probably be really upset. I seriously doubt he’ll do this: That would be political suicide, especially considering the honeymoon is over and his approval ratings continue on a path of slow and steady decline.

As it stands right now, though, opponents of this address to students are barking up the wrong tree. I applaud any public figure with some influence who is willing to challenge our students to do something great. If someone doesn’t wake our youth up soon, there may well be no greatness left.

Here, Kitty Kitty

So, I just installed OS X 10.6, aka Snow Leopard. So far, I feel about like everybody else: There are some neat new UI features, but it’s mostly more of the same, only a little faster.

So far, I like the icon resizing slider in the Icon view. Unlike a lot of reviews I’ve read, I think I’ll use this feature a lot. When I’m searching through a folder of pictures, I think this will make me pretty happy, since I like to be able to make the preview icons bigger without having to use Quick Look (which I’m not really a fan of….I know. Everybody else on the planet is, but not me.) Also, the new Expose view that pops up when you click and hold on something in the Dock is absolutely awesome. I never really used Expose much, since I prefer to click and hold on the icon of the program I’m really interested in to see multiple instances. Now that Expose is a function of doing this, I think it will have much more utility for me.

The reports that iLife apps run faster under 10.6 are correct as far as I’m concerned. Granted, the improvements aren’t that noticeable, but some of the pauses that were present before are gone. I’m pretty sure Apple has tweaked the Color LCD color profile. The colors on my October 2007 MacBook seem more vibrant. This could just be me, though. No one else I know has mentioned this. I stand corrected: Straight from Apple, the default gamma settings have been tweaked by +0.4, so the colors are brighter.

How to Fix Image Resizing Problem in the Arthemia WordPress Theme

I downloaded the Free Arthemia WordPress theme the other day to use with my students’ FBLA site. I really like how the theme looks like a professional newspaper like the New York Times as wells as how easy it is to add Headline and Featured stories just by assigning a category to them.

One thing I could get working was the images that show up with the Headline and Featured stories when you add the Image custom field to an article. The images would just show up as a red x. When I tried to view them in Firefox, I got the following error:

finfo_open(): Failed to load magic database at ‘/usr/share/misc/magic’.

After poking around on the Internet for a minute, I found that there are some files that PECL finfo uses to sniff out the MIME type of files. Apparently, the files are some sort of flat file database that holds, well, MIME types.  Luckily, I extrapolated a solution after seeing a workaround on a forum. If you’re using Arthemia Free Version 2 and are having the same problem getting your images to load, here’s all you must do.

Replace lines 216-220 of the /wp-content/themes/arthemia/scripts/timthumb.php with the following code:

$file_cmd = "file -ib  \"$file\"";
exec ($file_cmd, $exec_output);
$mime_type =  $exec_output[0];

That’s it! The only other thing you have to make sure to do to get your images to resize and show up properly is to put the absolute path to the images without your domain. So, in my case, I have an image whose full path is:

To make it work, the value for the Image custom field has to be set to:


After changing those lines of code and then putting the right file path in the Custom Field, Arthemia is resizing and displaying images in Headlines and Featured Stories without issue.  I hope this helps somebody!

For Whatever Reason, I Now Eat Lots of White Rice

Anybody that’s known me for awhile knows I’m not a fan of vegetables, other than potatoes. But for whatever reason, I have been addicted to eating white rice for the last few weeks. Beck and I went to Peking’s in Hazard and I had sweet and sour chicken (which was great). It came with a side order of steamed white rice. I ate some…I really enjoyed it. Since then, I have eaten two boxes of instance rice. Beck says rice looks like maggots, and I’m inclined to agree. Dad always said my taste buds would change as I got older, but who knew it would be toward the end of the spectrum where rice lives.

I Guess the CIA Should Start Putting Out a Newsletter

Dick Cheney is under fire for not disclosing a secret plan to kill Al’Queida leaders at close range to Congress. At what point does Congress need to know military secrets? These are the same people that can’t even conceal their kinky affairs or charges that they have sexually harassed staff. I think we should make our elected officials feel good about themselves by filling them in on extraneous details. Military matters that need to be kept secret, however, are beyond these people. I wish matters were different, but with the way things stand right now, the more we keep these people in the dark, the less they’re going to screw things up.

WordPress Meta junkies: Use Headspace2

I haven’t been a WordPress user very long, but I have found one plugin that eased a big issue with me: Good meta descriptions in WordPress posts, categories, and archives. Out of the box, WordPress isn’t really equipped o use Excerpts as the Meta Description for a post. Enter Headspace2, which allows WP authors to edit Meta Descriptions to their heart’s content.