How To Safely Watch the Solar Eclipse Using a Shoe Box

The Friend Tiers

Terry and I were talking about friendship.  How do you categorize friends? Aren’t friends just friends?   I say no. I think that friends are divided up into tiers.  There’s tier one friends and then everything else drips down from there.  Allow me to explain:

Tier One Friends: These are your closest friends. In fact, they are your most hated of friends. These are the friends that you have to deal with.  If they screw up, you are there to hold back their hair while they puke or lie to the cops.  You carry their baggage. You live their lies.  You are there when they need you and there when they do not want you there.  You forgive them.  You forgive them again. You help them into rehab.  You help them back into rehab.  You loan them money and never expect to get it back.  They make mistakes and you yell at them for messing up again. You diss all your other tiered friends because they need you.  You love them and you hate them. But best of all, they are there for you when you are throwing up or getting arrested or coming down off a black tar heroin binge. You cannot get rid of them and they cannot get rid of you.

Tier Two Friends: These are the best friends.  You can hang with them.  You can listen to their woes without getting involved.  You help them when they need a hand and if you’ve got some other pressing issue, they understand. They are there for you when you have a flat, but you would never expect them to do more than call AAA.  They loan you money and expect you will pay them back.  They know when to walk away. They know when to leave you alone. Tier Two friends sometimes make it to be Tier One friends, but you hope they don’t. These are the people that help you move when you buy a new house.

Tier Three Friends:  These are your Tier Two friends’ friends. You see them at the grocery and you only talk about the common friend.  They are the work friends that will someday be Tier Two friends, but not today. They wave and say hello, but don’t ask you about anything more than the local baseball team or work related issues.  They will bring you back lunch if it isn’t an inconvenience.  Sometimes they think of themselves at Tier Two friends and you listen to them patiently and then promptly shove them into the Tier Four Friend category.

Tier Four Friend: These are the people you have to be friends with.  Your neighbor who keeps harping on your mowing technique. The parent of your kid’s friend who does not share the same basic set of interpersonal communication skills. All religious leaders. Most real estate agents. At night you secretly dream of killing them.

Tier Five Friend: Anyone on Facebook who does not fall into any of the above category.  They are idiots and you have no clue why you even still interact with them except that they were born in the same year as you and you graduated at the same time.

Palmerfest: Then and Now - A comparison of the 1991 and 2017 Ohio University street party

You can be in a place and understand it, but once you move on and see it from a distance through time, you begin to see it through the filter of all the memories between now and then, and it becomes something else.

 On April 20th, 1991, the very first Palmerfest occurred*.  Palmerfest is a yearly event at Ohio University where residents of Palmer Street in Athens, Ohio hold house parties and the yards and porches up and down the street are flooded with people drinking and celebrating. While the event was initially held in April, it was moved back to May because we were all sick of possible cold weather.  I have a feeling that Ohio University switched from quarters to semesters so that Palmerfest would have to be pushed back into April and cold weather might dampen the insanity.

(*Actually, it was the 2nd Palmerfest.  The first one happened six months earlier in October.  But we learned our lesson and moved the party to what we thought would be a warmer part of the calendar.)

I lived in the Lakeview Apartments in the spring of 1991, but Joe, Paul, Amy, Betce and Squirrel lived at 19 Palmer.  Most of us had lived together the year before in Martzolff House and so I was very good friends with them.  Due to the party we had the previous October, there was a desire to have another street party when it was warmer.  The day before, Chris and I searched the surrounding area for the shared “stage” that the bands would play on.  It consisted to two sections, both made from 4’x8’ sheets of plywood and 4”x4” legs. I don’t think the stage belonged to anyone, but it floated from party to party as needed.

On the day of Palmerfest, the drinking started at around 1pm when the beer trailer was opened with an astounding 17 kegs of beer.  People that lived on Palmer had each thrown in $10 or so towards the beer, though some threw in more and several did not throw in any at all, which led to future Palmerfests where houses bought their own kegs. Though it was cold, the turnout was sizable and the beer truck ran out sooner than expected. Partiers walked down to the corner stores and emptied the coolers of beer cans and bottles.  Four bands played throughout the day and there were very few issues outside of a bottle thrown at a house, an impromptu bonfire, thousands of cans and bottles strewn through the yards and a huge freaking water bill from people using the 19 Palmer bathroom.  The police shut the party down at 10pm due to noise and people dispersed to pass out or to head uptown.

In the  1991-92 school year, I moved into 19 Palmer.  This year the party was moved to May and houses held their own parties.  We made t-shirts this year.  It was warm enough that we were able to play wiffle ball and volleyball before things go too busy.  We set the stage up again and bands played throughout the day.  I thought it would be a great idea to turn off the water to the bathroom so people wouldn’t use the toilet.  People still used the toilet.  I was shooting bottle rockets out of my large beer cup and didn’t seemed concerned that I was drinking sulfur and ash.  I wish I could remember the girl who offhandedly named the drink, “firecracker juice.”  This year seemed busier than the year before.  More people were coming in from out of town to attend. I was unavailable for consciousness when the police shut down Palmerfest in ’92.  The next morning, I woke up and picked up the cans out of the back yard for about an hour and wondered why my mouth tasted like brimstone.

A still surviving 1992 Palmerfest t-shirt

I went to the 1993 Palmerfest as a guest, though I was involved with the minority faction of people that tried to get the date moved.  I forget why changing the date was important at the time.  This was the year I took the following horrible panoramic photo.  Still fun. Still didn’t get closed down until late.

I then took the next  15 years off.

In 2009, I got a call from The Post looking for an interview about the original Palmerfest.  I spoke to them about what I remembered and I thought about attending, but did not.  2009 was the first year of the “near riots” on Palmer. The 2009 – 2011 Palmerfests were some of the most chaotic, as people escaped the confines of the yards and flooded the streets with thrown bottles, fires and massive arrests. Police patrols had been increasing over the years as well as the arrests.  The Athens Police department purchased what they called a “communications vehicle” that they specially modified so officers could stand on the top and monitor the street. To me it looked like some kind of armored military vehicle.  Parties were beginning to get shut down earlier and earlier. After the incidents in 2009, the City of Athens created the “Nuisance Party” law.

2017 rolled around; it would be the 27th Annual Palmerfest. In some text exchanges with my niece, I discovered she would be attending Palmerfest and my brother would be coming down as well.   I decided to make this an educational /historical trip and I sent a letter to the residents of 19 Palmer. Actually to the residents of 19 Palmer A and 19 Palmer B because the house had been turned into a duplex.   Here’s the letter.

Both sides of 19 Palmer actually responded and invited me to attend. When I asked about what time I should come down and suggested 11am, they both replied that might be a bit late, things would be kicking off around 7am and that I shouldn’t delay.  What happened to sleeping in until noon?

So at 7:30 am on Saturday, April 8th, 2017, I jumped in the family van with an Ohio University shirt, a  note pad, and a sleeping bag in case things got too crazy, and drove to Athens, Ohio. 

I parked on Hocking Street, which is one parallel street over from Palmer. At 8:30 am, things were already started, even on the ancillary streets.  I wandered through the back yards to the front of 19 Palmer Street.

19 Palmer Street 2017
This is where I stop and correct myself when I said, “back yards.”  When I was at Ohio University, the back yards of 19, 21, 23, 25 and 27 Palmer Street were grassy expanses.  We played volleyball, wiffle ball, laid out blankets, kept ducks and passed out in the soft embrace of the grass.  Around 2004, the owners of those properties added a second house to the back of the original houses and paved the rest of the area to make parking spaces.  It’s a cold, concrete expanse where volleyball would be painful and passing out leads to concussions.  I’ll be bringing up this point later and it will be on the quiz.
21 Palmer Street on the left going down to 27 on the right

When I came around to the front of 19 Palmer, a girl (Ellen) took one look at me and said, “Are you Doug?” I was.  She said they were expecting me.  She got the other Ellen, who I had been in communication with, and they gave me a beer and a tour of the house.  Outside of there being another house strapped to the back of it, 19 Palmer has not changed much in 27 years.  They turned most of the back porch into a 2nd bathroom and used the leftover bits to widen the kitchen.  There were some new windows and all the windows that used to face the backyard were now half windows that faced the addition in back.  Ellen, Ellen, Katie, Kristie and Allie were all super nice and allowed me in their bedrooms which was different from 1991 when I couldn’t get in any girl’s bedroom.  The bedrooms were almost exactly the same with the additions of a few coats of paint.  Same wood floor and trim and plaster walls with old light fixtures.  The kitchen was wider than ours with counters on either side.  They had my letter up on the refrigerator, which made be a little bit proud. 

After sharing some stories about the original Palmerfest, I headed to 19 Palmer B.  Kristen welcomed me and introduced me to (sorry if I get a name wrong) Alexis, Emma, Monica, Emily and Toni.  Their place looked completely updated, even if it was built in 2004.  My letter was on their refrigerator, too. They had a DJ on their porch and a large amount of vodka. 

As I waited for my brother and niece to arrive, I bounced between the front and back of 19 Palmer, observing, taking notes and photos. I think people thought I was a cop. As it got closer to 10:00 am, things were really picking up.  The front yards were filling up and even the concrete desolation in the back started to fill with people drinking, throwing Frisbees and a football. I guess some things don’t change.

Steve and Sydney showed up around 11:00 am. Sydney is the same age I was when the first Palmerfest happened. We drank from the three cases of Miller Lite that Steve brought. We hung out at 19 Palmer for a bit, wandered down to 23 Palmer before heading over to Palmer Place.

Steve, Sydney and HolyJuan

A number of curious people were brave enough to walk up to me and ask me what the hell I was doing there. I got to tell them that I was one of the original people that started Palmerfest. They were interested in listening to grandpa tell his stories.  At one point as I was walking from 19 Palmer to 23 Palmer, a guy standing in a circle of dudes yelled out, “Hey, Dad! What are you doing here?” I do not think he expected me to turn around and confront him and his group with, “Listen here, you mother fucking punk kids. I started this fucking mess and you need to show me some respect.”  With that, we all laughed and I told them about what it was like before electricity.

In the end, we finished drinking around 2:00 pm and I walked past 19 Palmer to see them being cleared out.  We went to my brother’s illegally parked RV and rested for a few hours before heading Uptown to eat dinner.  By 8:00 pm, I was done.  I walked back to Hocking Street, got into the van and drove down the mostly empty Palmer Street and headed back to Columbus.

The difference between the 1991 Palmerfest and 2017 Palmer Fest are many, but luckily there are some things that don’t change. I interviewed both 19A and 19B Palmer and this is what I discovered about Palmerfest now.

Back in the 90s, we chose (and sometimes fought about) what date Palmerfest would occur on. At some point, once semesters were instituted, Palmerfest became locked in to the school calendar. There is a drumbeat of weekends that happen after Spring Break: Mill Fest/Congo Fest, High Fest, Mom’s Weekend (MILF Fest – ha!) and Palmerfest (with Palmer Place Fest happening the day before.) In speaking with people, they didn’t even think that you could have ever even created a date for Palmerfest… it just happens.

Tons of cases of Natty Light, just like the original Palmerfest. Some things never change.  Also saw a few brown bags with 40ozers which brought back memories.

People are still wearing dumb shit. I did notice there were less bras.

There are a lot less bands and more DJs. I saw four DJs as I roamed about. Some of the DJs are sponsored. I didn’t there there was going to be any bands, but one pulled up around 11:00am, played and then got out of there by 2pm.  My understanding is that in the mid-90s, the bands got bigger with larger stages, lighting and sound boards. That all stopped when the back yards went away.

This is a biggie.  As I mentioned before, back in 1991, the houses had back yards and the party was contained to the individual houses and the large back yard area. The only reason to be in a front yard was to cross the street.  When the duplexes were built to the backs of the houses, this pushed people from one big open space to the front yards.  This created more opportunities for drunk people to interact with the sidewalks and street where cops are allowed to patrol. While the number of people I saw at this year’s Palmerfest would have overflowed the backyards, containing the party to that area might have kept the pressure off people creeping on to the sidewalks.   FUN OBSERVATION: almost everyone I saw crossing the street with a cup held it upside down to show it was empty.

1994 Satellite photo of Palmer Street. You can see the space behind the five houses in a row.
The five houses with duplexes and parking lots.
Full credit goes to the Athens City Police on containing this madness in a calm and orderly chaos.

Here’s their system:
A few weeks before “Fest Season” starts, the City of Athens sends out a mailer with the rules and regulations about parking, open containers, fires, temporary fences, stages, Port-a-Potties, etc. A few days before the specific party weekend, police will go door to door to talk with the people that live at the house and make sure they are aware of the Nuisance Parties City Code and that they will be held responsible for any person on the property who is breaking the ordnance. They also remind houses that any they will be fined for any trash in their yard that is still there at 9:00 am the following day.

This was from the Mill Street Fest, but you get the idea.

At the original Palmerfest, the Athens City Police showed up.  I assume that in the following years that the Sheriff’s Department might have joined the fun. In 2017, I saw the following:

·         Athens City
·         Athens County Sheriffs
·         Glouster Police
·         Logan City Police
·         Lancaster City Police
·         Dublin City Police
·         Ohio State Highway Patrol

The most obvious police were the ones on horseback.  There were at least eight of them that I saw throughout the day.

This horse has a PBR horseshoe.

The police moved up and down the street, keeping a watch on things.  I saw them stop one girl who had an open container that she thought was closed because the wine bottle had a cork in it. They checked her ID, made her dump it out and dispose of the glass bottle, as glass containers are forbidden. The next guy the stopped was on the sidewalk with a can of beer. He “didn’t have” his ID on him, admitted he was underage and got a citation or summons.

As things got crazier, the girls at 19A Palmer maintained order in the front yard. Anyone too close to the sidewalk was told to scoot back. Too much wild behavior would capture the attention of the cops. Early in the day, the cops would warn homeowners if their “guests” were getting out of control. You wanted to party, but not attract too much attention.

At some point around 1pm, the police made their move. They selected a house that was beginning to get out of control.  The eight horsemen of the partypocalypse brought their horses and lined up in front of the selected house. The police on foot would then find the hosts and tell them that they were in violation of the Nuisance Parties code and that they needed to make everyone leave.  At that point, the residents turned off the music and kicked everyone out of the house and yard, front and back.  It is a crazy sight to see three houses in a row, with the yards filled with people on either side of an empty yard.  Two police are left in the front yard to hold the line and ensure a party doesn’t spontaneously combust.  Then the police continue to roam up and down the street,  waiting for the next party to get too crazy. You can probably see what happens here: when the guests of one house party get shut down, they go to another house and that party begins to overflow, thus attracting the attention of the cops. The police did something counter-intuitive which seemed to work: they didn’t start at one end of the street and work their way down, forcing people into a cluster and creating a wall of drunk people. They picked apart the mass, house by house, dividing and conquering the crowd without creating a mass of people in one area. As a student, I would have been pissed about this, but as an adult, I thought it was genius.

19 Palmer made it until about 2:40 pm and by 4:00 pm, Palmerfest was shut down. Parties that were shut down too early secreted their kegs to other streets to continue the party.  Our group went to Palmer Place, an apartment complex across the street from 19 Palmer, and continued there.

Obviously the size difference is massive. We didn't have social media or anyone sponsoring parties or DJs. The police presence was big and residents were never expected to take responsibility for their guests. The party getting shut down by 4:00pm was a disappointment because we all know that guys like me have a much better chance of hooking up under the cover of darkness.

Drinking games, though we had beer bongs, they have flip cup and beer pong; there was still beer shot gunning. People still have dogs.  Doors to houses were open and no one was dumb enough to shut the water off to their bathroom. People were nice. People were fun. People were drunk. People let me tell my stories.


Palmerfest has grown to be an event that seems to have perpetual motion. While there have been riot like bumps in the road, the street party continues to lumber forward. For it's own good, local authorities seem to have contained the insanity without sanctioning the event and turning it into a street carnival and sucking the life out of it. The Palmerfest originators could never predicted where the party is today and many of the people today were unaware of its meager beginnings. Overall, the original reason for Palmerfest was to throw a large, kickass party.


From top left clockwise: wiffle ball, the old garage from 19 Palmer, Steve on the back roof of 19 Palmer, the old narrow kitchen of 19 Palmer 

1992 Palmerfest shower beer

I stowed my cup in the bushes, a 1991 party tactic

These sisters saw me taking photos and just asked if I would take their photo too.

Palmer Street 2017 around 11:30am

The back of 19 Palmer around noon

Steve and Sydney

This seems to be a permanent sign on Palmer Street

Not the topless partygoer I wanted to see

Palmer Place around 2:00pm as people were being kicked out of Palmer Street

"I Love Me. Who Do You Love?" available on Amazon

Thanks to a number of friends and fans, I was able to publish a collection of stories and posts from  That book is now available on Amazon (I Love Me. Who Do You Love?)

If you go to the link, you can preview a bit of it with the "Look Inside" feature.  You will note that there are full sentences and some instances of proper grammar.  It is available in hard copy and for Kindle.

Thanks to those of you that contributed and you other fucking slackers who have been enjoying HolyJuan for FREE over the past 11 years need to pony up and buy a stinking copy.  If you are completely down on your luck, I do have a number of .mobi copies that I can give away for free. Email me at if you would like a copy for your device.

Blackheart Dinosaur - Unpopular Rock

My buddy's band enter in the RPM challenge to make a record in a month or less.  I'm not sure how well the player is going to appear on this site, but you can use the link below to get there.

blackheartdino's player:

Update Your Laminated List Day

I think everyone is aware that February 25th is the Annual Update Your Laminated List Day.

As you all know, a Laminated List is the three famous people with whom your spouse/significant other will allow you to have sex with if ever the opportunity presents itself. If you happen to run into one of your three famous people and they are drunk enough to let you jump in the sack / couch / Uber with you, then you have permission to have guilt free sex with any one of the three people on that list.

My list has only changed slightly with the removal of Kat Dennings (I’m starting to think I can trick Miss Sally into putting Kat on her list) and the addition of Cara Delevingne.

1. Christina Ricci (Still number one after all these years)
2. Milana Vayntrub (She’s the AT&T girl and my crushy crush)
3. Cara Delevingne (I don’t know what it is… but she makes my heart hurt)

Let’s hear what your three picks are!


My KickStarter was funded!  Thank you to everyone who donated and still might want to donate.  I'm getting some numbers together to see about creating an audio book.  Yes, an audio book.

There is still time to donate and get in on some of the awesome rewards!

KickStarter for a HolyJuan book

Hello friends of;

I have created a KickStarter to fund publishing my first book.  Please take a look at the link below and help me to get this off the ground.

Thanks to all of you who have stuck around all these years.  I did this for me, but really is was for you. (It was really just for me.)

Strange Disappearances

My loyal readers may note that some of my articles are going to missing links.  I hate to say that I ran afoul of some bad hombres and they kidnapped some of my best articles and are holding them digitally hostage for ransom.

I'm sorry for the inconvenience and hope to be able to get those articles back out in public as soon as possible.  There are still plenty of other horribly written items to read.

John Glenn’s Space Peaches

I met John Glenn.  It was during the 1992 election when Clinton was running against the senior George Bush. I was working for Lyon Video and they had a satellite uplink.  Glenn was a Senator in Ohio and was campaigning for Clinton.  He was going to be interviewed by some cable channel. I put his mic on.  It’s the closest to orbit I will ever get. 

A few years later, I was working for COSI, a science museum in Columbus.  We built a display case for John Glenn’s artifacts in an exhibit about space.  Due to poor planning, the artifacts were lit with incandescent MR16 bulbs.  The small spaces they were displayed in turned into Easy Bake Ovens and the artifacts were cooked.  One of those artifacts was an aluminum toothpaste tube of peaches.  I knew they were peaches because there was a typewriter written label on the tube that said, “PEACHES.”  There was also a plastic tube that would screw into the top of the aluminum tube that would break the seal and allow those sweet, sweet peaches to go into John’s gullet.  The heat from the light caused the peaches to expand and blow out the bottom of the toothpaste tube.  When we were alerted to the problem (challenge) we cut power, extracted the artifacts from the case and sent it out to get fiber optic lighting.  Because the peaches were homeless, I decided to give them a home in my work desk drawer.

Time passes.

At some point, that display case was upgraded to fiber optic lighting.  The artifacts were replaced and all was well. Except the peaches remained in my office drawer. Mostly to the back, but not so much so that I didn’t see them at least once a week.  The tiny squirt of space peaches sneaking out the bottom was frozen in physics, sneakily within the recesses of my drawer. I knew they were there, but no one asked about them and I wasn’t about to say anything.

About a year later, I got a call, “Do you have John Glenn’s peaches?”


“Do you?”

“Yes. They are right here.”
“Could we have them back?”
Of course you can. Of course. I returned them and they were placed back into the display.

And that was the end...

How dare you! How dare you ask if I tasted the peaches? The peaches that had broken the surly bonds of earth. The peaches that survived space but didn’t survive a week in a poorly designed, overheated cabinet. How dare you!

They were sweet, my friend. They were sweet.

Thank you, John Glenn. Thank you.

Before and After

What is your best before and after memory? A memory of a time where you did not have a thing or maybe you had an expectations of a thing and then the thing happened and then there was the after.  Right now, I assume there are many Trump fans who had a very deep desire to have him elected and then there was the election and then there is the after.  The Before and After.

I’m going to immediately negate marriage and having children because those memories are the greatest ever and they can never be outdone and blah blah blah happiness. Blah. Blah. Blah. Happiness.

What is a something that you had great expectations of, and then it happened, all your expectations were met and then now you live with the memory of how great they were?

Mine is U2’s The Joshua Tree.

In 1987, I was a seventeen years old boy. I knew very little about music.  I listened to the local pop station on the radio.  Our family did not have cable, so I didn’t have access to MTV, which by this time was starting to tap into the Alternative Music market.  I think I owned an El DeBarge 45 of ‘Rhythm of the Night’ and a cassette of Men at Work’s ‘Business as Usual.’ Again, I admit that I knew very little about music.

But not Dave and Doug.  The twins from my class seemed to have excellent taste in alternative music.  They’d talk about The Dead Milkmen and Morrissey and U2 and XTC and New Order.  They would debate song lyrics and I would pretend like I had heard them and make up my own analysis. I had no idea.

In 1987 Doug and Dave were absolutely fucking on edge (on Edge?) about this new U2 album, The Joshua Tree.  They had copies of Rolling Stone with articles about the release.   They drew images of the Joshua Tree on their book covers.  They counted down to its release. They waited.

I was excited for them.  I was familiar with U2 and I’m sure I had heard their music somewhere.  Right?

And then the album was released. Fucking Dave and Doug were absolutely blown away. So was I. I didn’t know anything about music and I think I only remember liking about half of the album when it came out. Thinking that some of it was really good. Thinking some of it was just OK.

Time passes.

You might be a naysayer, but I think The Joshua Tree is one of the Top 10 Albums of all time.  I’d stick it in the top 3 because not much changes, and, like I said, I still really don’t know much about music. It’s a great album.  I can stick it in the CD player or put it on repeat on iTunes and listen to it for 30 hours straight.  It’s very good. Just ask Doug or Dave.

And here I am. An observer of the time before The Joshua Tree and of the time after.  There was a time in my life where “Where the Streets Have No Name” did not exist. And then it did. It’s my before and after. What is your before and after?

Sick of Political Ads? New device can block commercials.

Columbus (FD) - By now you are probably fatigued from all the political commercial bombardment. A company out of Columbus, OH has a revolutionary idea for television viewers who are tired of the constant barrage of political commercials, especially after they have voted. Political Subtract is a scanner from that can read the barcode on an absentee ballot or early voting ballot and get rid of those crappy commercials in a snap.

YouSkanTech Company President, Eric Stands explains the product, “Many of us are patriotic voters and watch the initial political ads with a keen interest. But after you have voted, the commercials are just a waste of time and quite frankly a bit fucking annoying. Political Subtract allows you to scan the barcode from your absentee ballot and any future political commercial on your television will be replaced by the programming of your choice.”

The technology is very simple. Viewers purchase the Political Subtract scanner and connect it to their existing cable box. Once their ballot is scanned, they are given a choice of what programming they would like to be shown in place of the political ads. Viewers can choose from a varity of programming such as sports, comedy or bunny.

And there are other alternative programming choices as well.

Mr. Stands has big plans for the half hour Trump commercial which is scheduled to air later this month, “We are going to loop the Seinfeld/Green Day ‘Time of Your Life’ video montage and the ‘Mr. Hooper is dead’ ending from Sesame Street. Those both really choke me up.”

Cost for the unit is $250 and it is good through the 2020 elections when Rick Santorum will be running again. Mr. Stands added, “Or for $10,000 you can just buy the unit with a hack that allows you to skip the commercials outright without having to vote.”

So far they have sold 134 million units.

Airline Requires Passengers to Use the Restroom Before Boarding Plane to Reduce Weight

CHICAGO (FD) - American Airlines announced a cost savings measure today that has passengers up in arms and they are literally not taking it sitting down. Airlines have been cutting fuel costs by reducing weight on planes through baggage restrictions and cutting back on provided amenities such as food and blankets. Hawaiian Airlines is currently under investigation for forcing passengers to be weighed and made to change seats to distribute weight. Courts have struck down attempts to charge passengers by the pound so a different route was required.  

In a drastic effort to cut down on plane weight, American Airlines is requiring that all passengers use the bathroom before boarding the plane. Special porta-potties are being brought into Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for a trial run of the elimination requirement.
Passengers are instructed on how to use the porta potty measuring device

Passengers were not at all pleased with the new requirement. “I’m not ten years old,” remarked an anonymous passenger. Steven Bosch, 32, of Evansville, IN stated, “I just used the facilities before I went through security. Now I have to try to go again?”

American Airlines spokeswoman, Jeannette Spencer, attempted to quell much of the concerned public. “This is in the best interest for all our customers. Not only does it reduce fuel usage and lower costs, but it also reduces the lines for the bathroom on the plane at the gate and once it is in the air. We estimate that each year, 10,374 hours are wasted at the gate while our customers use the on-plane lavatory causing takeoff delays. This will ensure that everyone has already gone before the flight departs.”

Passengers must use the facilities at least twenty minutes prior to leaving and will not be allowed to board unless they have “tried to go” at least twice. Receipts are provided at the facilities for proof of deposit.

As a bonus, passengers who eliminate more than two pounds of waste will receive a refund for every additional six ounces deposited. Mark Crawler of Byhalia, Mississippi has taken full advantage of the situation, “I ate like a champ last night and made sure I had bran flakes and a bunch of coffee this morning and wah-la, $25 in poop-ons”.

Ms. Spencer commented, “We don’t officially call them poop-ons, but rather certificates of deposit.”

The test program will continue though the end of this year.

reddit: Writing Prompt - 4th Grade Cult Status

(Author's Note: the website reddit has a subreddit called Writing Prompts. Users suggest a topic and writers write.  I decided to try it.  The prompt for this story was:  
 I realize now that I didn't fully read the prompt or fully remember it. Doesn't matter, I wrote this below.

4th Grade Cult Status

I wasn't trying to avoid the six work emails I had to write. But I was finding other things to keep my mind off not thinking about thinking about it. So the bills were paid. Desktop clean. Computer desktop clean. Fuzz from mouse removed. Into the bin. Trash bin emptied. Computer trash can emptied. Email maintenance! Delete and sort. Sort and delete. Hey... the junk email folder. I don't think I've ever cleaned that out. Open.

1,500 emails. Hours of work avoidance!

The junk emails seemed to be from many of the same websites, so sorting by FROM made it easy to get rid of 85% of them. For a moment, I almost clicked on DELETE ALL, but I didn't and kept sorting through. I found an email with a code for a game I hadn't played in months. No expiration date... move to INBOX. Already this was worth it.


That email looked important. I'm not sure why my junk folder swallowed it. It was dated from eight years ago! Scanning, my eye caught the word "tits" in the username "TitsMcG33." My computer sees tits and it goes right in the junk folder.

The email said that my account on some website had not been used in four years and my account would be frozen. I did not recognize the website, though I do remember that TitsMcG33 or some variation of it was my go to username when I was younger. I did the math in my head. And then I did it again. Twelve years ago? I would have been in 4th grade? That seems awfully young to be using the word tits. Now I was curious.

I clicked the link and it failed to open. I went directly to the website and it was like seeing a 90s movie version of a website. Three colors. Lots of text. No images...

And then it hit me... fourth grade. That would have been when moved to the new house. Mom and dad were gone for work a lot then and grandma watched us, or didn't watch us, as we had free rein all over the internet. My brother got busted downloading music and the computers were locked down with parental software after that. That might be why I didn't log back into this site.

On a whim, I searched for "titsmcg33" in the area that had the only photo on the site, a magnifying glass.

Three million results. Three million plus results for the word titsmcg33.

I clicked the first one: "I'm not sure what I would have done without him."
Further down the page: "Hero doesn't even begin to describe him. 
What guidance will he provide next week?"
Later: "The answers were hidden right in front of me, but he made me see them."

Result after result. Hero. Genius. Savior? Some dated from ten years ago. Some from last week. Each one praising me. Idolizing me. After reading through some of the comments, I noticed they were referring to me as TMG33, probably to hide the tits part. When I searched for TMG33 on the site, there were eight million more results.

This was insane.

It finally hit me to sort by date, and in the oldest results I found my posts. There were five of them. A list of words in each one. They all went something like this:

Reading them now, the words seemed like some cryptic poetry. Each set of words, some kind of secret roadmap to happiness. I re-read the words and did start to feel their hidden meaning. That maybe things weren't so bad. That I could be a better person if only I tried harder. There was some kind of greater good in the world!

Panthers. Panthers? What deep meaning did this word have with all the others?

And then I remembered. Panthers was our grade school mascot. And in grade school, in fourth grade, when I didn't know any better and didn't have really anything to say on the internet, I posted my spelling words on a website. And without an explanation, people created their own meaning.

And I became a god.

HOLEYBOARD RULES (Columbus Version 1.5)

HoleyBoard is a extremely competitive and fun game of skill and luck. These rules have been updated as of 8/2016 and are the Columbus 1.5 version of the rules. 

Object of the Game
Two competitors or two, two person teams can play Holeyboard at one time. The object of Holeyboard is to score exactly 21 points before your opponent does and hope they don’t cancel your win and score 21 points for their win.

HoleyBoard Mantra
You can only win on your own third throw.

Unofficial HoleyBoard Manta
Cocky wins.


The Holeyboards should be measured 8' 4" apart or two end-over-end board lengths.  Competitors throw from the same side and alternate sides between rounds.  During a doubles match, teammates spilt up to either side and do not switch sides between rounds.  Challengers always go first. Standing anywhere on top of the board, each competitor has three washers that he/she pitches towards the holes of the other Holeyboard.  The first Player up throws all three of their washers, one at a time, before the second Player throws their washers. The Player that scores last, cancels a score or knocks in an opponent’s washer goes first the next round. 

Example: Player A throws all three of their washers.  Then Player B throws. During their turn, Player B knocks Player A’s washer in a hole. Player A receives the points, but Player B has to throw first the next round.

It is best if one set of 3 washers look different from the other 3.  Sometimes there is a lot of bouncing and easily determining whose washers are whose will reduce argument time.

Scoring Points

Points are scored when a washer goes in, stays in a hole and is not canceled.  Each hole has a point value: the first hole closest to the person pitching the washers is worth 1 point, the second/middle hole is worth 3, and the third hole farthest away is worth 5 points.  You score points if you throw your washer in, knock your own washer resting on the top of the board in, or have your opponent knock one of your washers in.

Competitors can cancel each other out, but only during the same turn. 

Example: If Player A pitches a 5, then Player B can cancel those points by also pitching a 5, not a 3 and two 1’s. If Player B would hit a 3 and two 1’s, then the score would be 5 – 5.

Winning the Game

You must score 21 points to win and you must win on your third throw by either getting exactly 21 with the third throw or by Sticking the Victory with the third washer.  You can only win with your own third throw.

If a Player has successfully scores exactly 21 points and still has two washer left, they must throw must “throw off” the second washer and the last washer he/she pitches has to stick and stay on top of the board without falling off or landing in a hole (otherwise known as STICKING THE VIC). If a Player has successfully scored exactly 21 points and only has one washer left, that washer must stick the vic. If he/she is unsuccessful in their attempt, then they go back to the score they had at the beginning of the round or if they have gone over 21 points, they go back from their starting score the number of points scored that round.  (See “Going Over 21” below)

A competitor can win without sticking the last washer is if he/she reaches 21 on the third throw or causes another washer to fall in giving the thrower exactly 21.  Players may use their 3rd washer to knock in another washer for the win.  In this case, the thrown washer does not need to stick.

Example: Player B goes second and has 18 points On the second throw he/she lands the washer very close to the 3 point hole.  With the third throw, the third washer knocks the second washer in the 3 point hole and then the third washer goes flying off the board.  Player B has 21 and wins the game because the third washer caused the win.

A canceling throw does not count as a Stick the Vic. 

A competitor cannot win if an opponent knocks in their washer giving them exactly 21 points.  A player who is given 21 points (either by knocking points in or by being cancelled backwards to 21 points) will have their score returned to what it was at the beginning of the round.

Example:  Player A goes first with 18 points.  Player A lands his first washer near the 3 point hole and misses his/her last two throws.   Player B knocks Player A’s washer in the 3 point hole.  Player A would go back to 18 points.  It is possible to knock your opponent’s washers in and have them go over 21.

Canceling a Win

A player can void an opponent’s win in one of thee ways: canceling points, knocking in opponent’s washers causing them to go over or by knocking their Stick the Vic off the board.

Skunking your Opponent for the Win
11- 0 is a skunk.  The Player must stick the last washer to win or score exactly 11 on the third throw.

Example: Player A has 11 and sticks last washer.  Player B misses all three throws and Player A wins the game.

Example: Player A has 11 but does not stick the last washer; he/she still has 11 and must play to 21.

Example: If Player A does not stick last washer but Player B cancels the 1, then Player A has 10 and still has a chance to skunk.

A skunk is over as soon as the opponent scores any points by the end of the round.
Example: Player A throws a five and two threes during the first round for a possible skunk.  Player B throws a one and avoids the skunk.  The score is now 11-1.

Going Over Twenty-One

If you go over 21, your score is determined by taking the total number of points scored that round and subtracting that from your score at the beginning of the round.
Example: Player A has 15 points.  Player A throws two 3’s and accidentally throws a 1 while trying for the Stick the Vic.  Player A’s score starting score (15) would be reduced by 7 (3+3+1=7) giving them a score of 8 (15-7=8.) 

If Player B were to then cancel out any of Player A’s points and reduce the score of Player A below 21 then Player A receives the new, under 21 score.  If Player B cancels out points and leaves Player A with exactly 21, then Player A’s score will return to the points they had at the beginning of the round.

Example: Player A has 15 points.  Player A throws two 3’s and accidentally throws a 1 while trying for the Stick the Vic.  Player B throws a 3 and cancels Player A’s 3.  Player A’s score would be 19 (22-3=19.)

Example: Player A has 15 points.  Player A throws two 3’s and accidentally throws a 1 while trying for the Stick the Vic.  Player B throws a 1 and cancels Player A’s 1 giving them a score of 21.  Player A would go back to his original score from that round (15), as if he had attempted to win and missed.

If you go over with the first washer, each throw after that continues to push your score backwards.

Example: Player A has 20 and hits a 5, he/she will drop to 15. He/she continues to throw on that same turn and hits another 5, knocking them back five more points to 10.  In other words, once a Player goes over 21 they cannot score positive points on that same turn.

Can There Be a Tie?

Are you kidding?  There are no ties.  You must cancel the opponent’s win first before attempting your own win.  If Player A scores 21 on third throw or Sticks the Vic, Player B must terminate the win by canceling Players A’s points or by knocking off the Stick the Vic washer before claiming their own win.

Example 1: Player A has 18 points; he throws in three 1s for the possible win.  Player B has 15 points and throws a 1; canceling A’s victory and follows it up with two 3’s for the win.

Example 2: Player A has 18 points; he throws a 3 and then Sticks the Vic for the possible win.  Player B has 15 points and throws a brilliant shot knocking off player 1’s VIC, canceling A’s victory and follows it up with two 3’s for the win.

NOTE: You cannot win on a cancelled throw.
Example: Player A has 18 points: he throws three 1s for the possible win.  Player B has 15 points; he throws two 3s for 21 and then throws a 1, canceling player A’s win.  Player B’s score goes back to 15.  Player A’s score goes to 20.

There is no score until all washers are thrown.

Rules of Note: (Some of these occur rarely but need to be addressed.)

No overhand throws.

Players can stand anywhere on the board in any stance, but can not leave board surface (i.e. stepping off board during throw or  jumping towards other board.)

Any throw that hits the floor first and bounces on the board does not count and should be removed from the hole or playing surface.  Any action caused by a bounced washer should be reset to its original position.

The throwing of two or three washers at the same time is not allowed.  Throwing two or three washers at once is only allowed when throwing off and the washers must not be thrown at the board, but instead off to the side.

It is a very good idea to mark both sets of washers with identifying marks before playing.   Both sets should be marked with the same medium to ensure an even match.  (i.e. both marked with Sharpie or both painted with same type, but different color of spray paint.)

This is a gentleperson’s game and any washer accidentally dropped is allowed to be picked up and thrown.  Any miss-throw (i.e. any washer toss while arm is in motion) does count.  Tough luck.

Vocabulary Time! 
THROWING OFF is defined as when a Player intentionally throws one, two, or all three washers to the ground as to not score any points or to set themselves up for a final throw win.  If you have 20 points and only need a one to win, you can THROW OFF the first two washers and aim the third for the one hole, avoiding the need for Sticking the Vic.  You can also THROW OFF in strategic situations to avoid canceling an opponent’s points if they have gone over 21 or to avoid knocking in an opponent’s washer that is about fall in a hole that might give them points.

A FIRST ROUND SKUNK happens when a Player gets an 11-0 score in the first round without it being cancelled by the other Player.  This is a very desirable win cause for great celebration.

iPhone 6s Stuck on Connect to iTunes Screen

Here is my solution if your iPhone 6s is stuck on the “connect to iTunes” screen.

Here’s what happened to me on or around July 30th, 2016:

Need to dump vacation photos from wife’s iPhone

Updated iTunes

Connect phone

iTunes says phone has update, would I like to download. (yes)

The update downloads (took a long time)

iTunes says “extracting update”

iTunes says “installing update”

After a while, iTunes says “install unsuccessful”

Phone screen shows “connect to iTunes”


iTunes says, “Something is wrong. You need to update or do a factory reset.” (shivers)

Phone will not update.

Eject phone.

Hold Home button and Wake button for 10 seconds until Apple logo appears.  After 2 seconds, the logo is replaced by the “connect to iTunes” screen.

Got on Apple chat support. We were disconnected after 20 minutes. New person didn’t have past 20 minutes of conversations. Hung up.

Search internet for “iPhone 6s photo recovery” and get “Wondershare – Dr.Fone for iPhone 6”
Wondershare – Dr.Fone for iPhone 6 is software that is free to download.  It will connect to your phone and let you know if the data is recoverable. If you want to recover it, you have to pay something like $50 for the partial version of the program and more for additional recovery options.
I just wanted to see if the data was recoverable so I download the software.

When I run the software and plug in the phone, the software says something along the lines of, “Your phone is not in a readable mode. Would you like to restart.” I click yes.


I upload all the photos to the cloud. Save all contacts and backup passwords.

From the phone, I use the update function.

The phone updates.

I plug it into iTunes and it works fine.


I hope this helps you.