Monthly Archives: June 2008

Don’t Proctor & Gamble with your floor!

About eighteen months ago, we had a hardwood floor put in. It was an engineered Laminated product, and when completed it looked beautiful. I remember putting on a pair of clean white socks and “skating” on it.

Recently, however, it has started looking decidedly faded, and seems to stain easily. Whether you are wearing shoes, socks or are barefoot, it leaves unsightly marks, and your shoes/socks/feet “stick” the the floor.

We had been using a wet Swiffer on it once a week to keep it clean – the product is advertised as being “suitable for Hardwood Floors”, but when I did a little googling I came across several websites that all said “Do not use a wet swiffer”.

Now they tell me.

I also found a lot of recommendations to use this product, from a Swedish company called Bona (which sounds rude if you pronounce it carelessly). A mopping kit cost $35, and I was able to pick one up from a local Hardware Store.

Last night I tried it out for the first time. The verdict: “We have a winner!”. While the results were not perfect, they were a major improvement – it will take a good few applications to remove the accumulated gunk of a year and a half of Swiffer debris, but already the floor is a little less sticky in the area I tested.

I’ll follow up with subsequent comments on this one.

Now reading: How to think like Leonardo Da Vinci

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The Force is strong with this one…

Review of Eragon

Long ago, in a galaxy land far far away…

It is a period of civil war tyranny. The galaxy land of Alagaesia has been taken over by a Sith Lord Dragon Rider.

Once the Jedi Knights Dragon Riders were the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy land of Alagaesia, but they were betrayed from within a rogue Jedi Dragon Rider who betrayed and murdered the rest.

Meanwhile, out in the middle of nowhere, a farm boy named Luke Skywalker Eragon finds himself caught up in his events he cannot control. He finds his Father’s Light Saber a Dragon Egg, and reluctantly at first, embraces the way of the Jedi Dragon Riders.

He is aided and mentored by Obi-Wan Kenobi Brom (played by the highly-acclaimed British Actor Sir Alec Guinness Jeremy Irons), an old Jedi Master Dragon Rider, who dies in battle saving Luke’s Eragon’s life about two thirds of the way through the film.

In the climactic scene, Luke Eragon confronts a the rogue Jedi Dragon Rider named Darth Vader Galbatorix, who has become a dark lord of the Sith King of Alagaesia.

Guided by a recording vision of a Princess named Leia Aria he ventures forth to rescue her. In the climactic battle scene, Luke Eragon takes out the Death Star Durza, the King’s Sorcerer with a well-placed pair of proton Torpedoes Sword Thrust right in the Thermal Exhaust Port, right below the main port heart. In so doing, he fulfills his destiny as the last Jedi Dragon Rider.

In spite of the numerous Star Wars comparisons, I found this to be a highly enjoyable film, though Ed Speleers (who plays Eragon) is a little wooden at the beginning. He plays the Heroic Dragon Rider far better than the callow farm boy.

Perhaps the best accolades go to the Dragon, Saphira, beautifully voiced by Rachel Weisz who conveys just the right mixture of emotion and feral power (Dragons choose their riders – their bond is so close that if a rider dies, so does the dragon, though the converse is not true) (the moment when she first breathes fire is one of the most triumphant of the entire film.

In the Sequel, the Empire King will surely strike back.

Now Reading: On Intelligence, by Jeff Hawkins

We, the people…

…are getting tired of being gang-raped by the oil companies. We are sick of sudden spikes, one-penny-difference “competition” and continual “Prices are going up!” gloom-and-doom on the news, presumably circulated by the oil companies. We hold the following truths to be self-evident.

  • The Oil Companies will continue to maximize their profits at the expense of the rest of us.
  • Most consumers have no effective choice when it comes to transportation.
  • The Petrol industry is NOT operating according to free-market principles. The small number of Oil companies has led to an oligopoly.
  • The Oil companies will suppress anything that threatens that oligopoly, including alternative technology that threatens their business model.
  • The Oil Companies have acquired and buried patents and technologies that would have resulted in significant lowering of Petrol consumption.

We the people therefore recommend the following remedies.

  • All Gas stations will be prohibited from changing their price more than once per day
  • That daily change will be limited to five cents.
  • Those who break this law will be required to refund ALL customers who purchased on that day, on request.
  • Credit-card companies will be required to assist in providing said refunds.
  • Oil companies will be given the choice of investing in new refineries and drilling for oil within the US, or paying a windfall tax to be set by Congress.
  • This tax, alone with 25% of the taxes that are currently coming from Petrol, will be used to finance academic research into alternative fuels.
  • The results of that research will be made freely available to all except the Oil companies, who will be prohibited from investing in or owning any alternative-fuel businesses, due to the inherent conflict of interest.
  • Tax breaks will be made available to businesses offering alternative fuels and technologies.
  • The building of new clean-burn coal-fired and/or Nuclear electric power stations.
  • Research and investment into a viable inter-city and inter-state Public Railway system.

Well… that’s the best I can manage at short notice. The question is: do you have a better idea?

Now Reading: The Testament, by John Grisham

Buh-bye Hillary…

Last night I broke a longstanding rule and watched politics on TV. Senator Obama had received enough votes to clinch the Democratic Nomination.

If you had tuned in without being aware of this fact it would have been easy to assume that Senator Clinton was giving a victory speech instead of conceding defeat. It was certainly long enough…

“For the past seven years, so many people in this country have felt invisible, like your president didn’t even really see you. I have seen the shuttered factories, the jobs shipped overseas, the families struggling to afford gas and groceries, but I’ve also seen unions retraining workers to build energy efficient buildings, innovators designing cars that run on fuel cells and bio-fuels and electricity, cars that get more miles per gallon than ever before, cars that will cut the cost of driving, reduce our reliance on foreign oil and fight global warming.”

What exactly are you trying to say here? The president is far from perfect, but this looks like you are trying to blame him for the bad things while taking credit for the good ones.

“Now the question is, where do we go from here, and given how far we’ve come and where we need to go as a party, it’s a question I don’t take lightly. This has been a long campaign, and I will be making no decisions tonight.”

Decision? What Decision? As best I can tell the “decision” is out of your hands. It has been made for you.

It is my opinion that Senator Clinton should have done this several months ago instead of dragging party and country through this wringer. In my opinion her inability to admit defeat has made the Democratic party into a laughingstock and caused much amusement.

As one wag put it: “Quitters never win, Winners never quit. But those who never win and never quit are idiots“.

I also watched the Victory speech by Senator Obama. He was far more gracious and statesmanlike than his opponent, and while I don’t agree with his “FedGov-can-fix-everything” politics, I respect his position and achievements.

That a black man an African-American (literally – his Father was African and his mother was American) could be nominated to run for President is the best proof of the greatness of America that I have seen in a long time.