Full Course Dinner on the Beach

Man is this ever a romantic idea. The Lovely One and I were at the Ocean Club (site of the James Bond film Casino Royale). We saw the waiters setting up a full course meal replete with linens, table cloths, silverware, candlelight and complete service.

It struck me that this was a marvellously romantic idea -- eating en plein air with the lullaby of the surf and lit by candles and torches. It seaside dining at its finest, and it is an idea that I wish that I had thought of. I am reserving this idea for Valentines or something special like that.

Cabbage Paw -- Mystery Solved

I got an email from an acquaintance solving the mystery of Cabbage Paw. See the entry below on how people are googling the term, and there is no results on google.
Cabbage Paw is known more commonly by it's Chinese name -- Paw Tsay. In Korean, it is known as pang kimchi. It is a fermented food.

Chinese cabbage is wilted in brine -- the whole thing. Then the leaves are pulled back and a ground vegetable mixture is put between the leaves. Sometimes this is supplemented with ground fish or other protein substances. Then the whole thing is tied up, and fermented much like sauerkraut in brine.

Korean pang kimchi also may have nuts added.

The picture above is what a Cabbage Paw, or Paw Tsay looks like. It can also be chopped up and put in a pickle jar with brine or vinegar.

Mystery solved.

Frog In House, Omens and Cabbage Paw

Sunrise. A new dawn. A new day. This morning, I was sipping on my coffee and I hear a scream from the Lovely One. Thinking that somehow a cockroach or something got into the house, I went to the ensuite bathroom where she was. A frog had gotten into the house. I got a plastic bag, trapped the frog and released him outside.

The Lovely One is superstitious. I looked up what omens frogs bring and I was pleasantly surprised. Here is a gleaning of what I got from my friend Google:

  • Frogs represent transformation of the positive kind
  • a positive omen in all ways
  • Whether you saw them, held them, heard them, or ate them, they signify happiness, success in your profession, and true friends
  • Frogs represent good luck
  • Frogs represent forward movement, since they cannot move backward
I know that it is bad luck to be superstitious, but finding a frog in the house was certainly something out of the ordinary.
Things out of the ordinary fascinate me. One of those is weird search engine results that bring visitors to my blog. One of the enigmatic terms that brings visitors to the blog is "cabbage paw". The reason that this is interesting is that apparently there is no such thing, or record of such a thing on the internet, and yet people from all over the world google the term.
When you enter the term into Google, my blog comes up as the most relevant search. It is the story about the cat paws on the walls where they boost themselves up on the Beamer. I don't think that this is what they meant. I am intrigued when in all of the billions of pages on the internet, there is no information on a search term that comes to my blog from North America and Europe.
I decided to investigate. Unfortunately my prime investigative tool is Google, and Google has no information on it. My imagination ran wild. At first I thought that it was a veterinary complaint. An animal would get a disease of the paw, and the paw would deform into a cabbage shape. This would indeed be a rare complaint, and documented, but this was not the case.
I got my first inkling of what it might be, when I tried my favourite Google trick to enhance search results. I changed it from singular to plural. I googled "cabbage paws" and got two entries. One was a total loss, and the other was an expired web page. Although I couldn't access the page, it seemed to give a recipe for corned beef and rice stuffed into cabbage leaves, called "cabbage paws". This was presumably because they are shaped like an animal paw after stuffing.
This is the closest that I can get to solving the mystery of the Cabbage Paw. Anyone else with alternate theories or information is invited to leave a comment.
Update: I have solved the cabbage paw mystery. Please click here:

Here's a godd news! omen:  I found a way to tap the creative powers of the mind and to make money and get rich.  It is using the Law of Attraction, but in a way that has never been explained before.  I learned the Last Secret of the Law of Attraction and you can too.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NP5519C

The Next Level -- Happy Thanksgiving

I take street scene pics with my camera as I am driving. At the time they are mundane, but they becomes raw material for my blog. The "rise up to the next level" caught my eye, because that is my feeling today.

Today is American Thanksgiving, and we are going to dinner tonight. We are celebrating with the president of my company and his family. Our friends are here from up north, and this tropical place is starting to feel like home for perhaps the first time.

So we perhaps are moving to the next level -- whatever that is.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. I am sure that all of us have something to be thankful for today.

Razor Wire Math

Razor wire is ubiquitous in this country. Just like the Victorian houses and fences had gingerbread decoration, here in this tropical paradise, we have razor wire.

They recently cut down all of the yellow elder trees near the office and put up razor wire. It took them a week to put the razor wire up. Just recently, I stuck my camera inside the razor wire and took a pic.

When the pics came out, I saw the spiral, and once again I wondered if the spiral was a Fibonacci series like I hoped the woven basket would be in an earlier blog entry. You will recall, I had hoped to get a PhD in basketweaving with my discovery. In another blog article, I had shown that the Fibonacci series did occur in the leaves of a young poinciana tree.

So once again, I put the razor wire to the test to see if razor wire spiral is mystically linked to the universe by mathematics and the Golden Mean.

I chopped the pics and measured the pixels. The first diameter I measured was 147 pixels.

The next diameter was 181 pixels.

The third diameter was 248 pixels.

I had to fix the outside diameter of the shot, because my picture taking cut it off.

I drew it in, and this pic is 417 pixels. The ratio between the big pic and the next spiral is 1.68 which is close to the Golden Mean of 1.608 and change. However the next ratio drops to 1.37 and the last ratio creeps even further away to 1.23. So another discovery of sorts -- razor wire does not exhibit a Fibonacci series in its coils.

However, I do have other discoveries. These are technical discoveries. If you are a Java programmer, programming JSPs and you change versions of Apache Tomcat, you will get the following errors:

The value for the useBean class attribute ... is invalid

com.mysql.jdbc.exceptions.jdbc4.MySQLSyntaxErrorException: Unknown database

and the Google answers do not work for you, I may have a simple solution. My eclipse workspace was not set to the root directory of Tomcat. That cost me several several hours.

So all in all, it has been a day of discoveries. Unfortunately, most of them are of no import to the world. That happens to be the story of my life.

Potcake Says IV

Today our intrepid itinerant street philosopher known as Potcake has a new message.

  • "Potcake says: Who gat you broke?"

Interesting question. He naturally presumes that someone else is responsible for your state of penury. I was talking to the security guard in the shopping center next door, and he says that Potcake comes from a well-off family. Apparently he should know better than to be on the streets.

Without further ado, here is the collected epigrams of Potcake:

  • "Potcake says: Alcohal made from Love and War (Sex and Fight)."

  • "Potcake says: Smart People Feed Dumb People"

  • "Potcake says: You were made by Sweet-talk."

  • "Potcake says: Cheap People work you for nothing."

  • "Potcake says: Who is your daddy?"

  • "Potcake says: The debil is here!"

  • "Potcake Says: I Am Mad as Hell and Not going to take it".

Office Corner

As Chief Technology Officer, I have a corner office. This is funny to anyone who has seen my office. It is a converted house, and I have a very small office up front where I can shut the door and blast the tunes when I program. In a small startup, I still have to roll up my sleeves and splooge code.

When I got this office the walls were bare. I needed something to look at. One morning while coming to work, I dropped off some garbage and noticed that someone threw out a large Chile Poster. I took it to work and put it on the wall for some colour.

When Bob and Derek came from up north to write some code for me, Bob brought a boogie board. He left it in my office along with a US Divers snorkelling mask. It still stands in my office corner reminding me that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So the corner office has an office corner where there is nothing to do with technology.

On other fronts, the BMW has been in the shop since Saturday. The Lovely One was driving downtown and steam issued forth from under the hood. On Saturday I had it towed to the shop. They had to remove the intake manifolds to get to the part where the coolant hose was blown. This morning when I was returning a rental car, I stopped in to see how the work on the Beamer was progressing. I arrived just in time to witness another steam explosion. Apparently the cooling fan is not coming on, and the pressure builds up and blows off the hose. It is beginning to look like an expensive repair.

Keystone Cops

Tourists love this scene. Here we have a cop standing on the street directing traffic. He is under his sun umbrella in his tropical pith helmet. Tourists snap pics by the hundreds.

The real story behind this is much less romantic. The cop is on a homemade wooden box. It is crudely painted (ironically in the same motif as the prison suits). He is standing at an intersection that has stop lights, but the traffic lights have not been working to close to a year. A good percentage of traffic lights are non-functional in this tropical paradise because a foreign company had the contract for traffic light maintenance and the contract expired. The government has not get gotten around to renewing the contract.

But there is a darker side to the cops in this tropical paradise. There is a fine balance of corruption and ineptitude. The bungling is comical. The cops are told to watch out for foreigners entering the country illegally, so they go to the Chinese restaurant and round up the Chinese cooks because they look foreign. It turns out that they were all legal immigrants.

The darker side is corruption. A cop shoots a person in a bar fight and the the file disappears. Stuff like that. Justice is for sale in this Caribbean Island, and everyone seems to accept that as a part of life. But never mind that -- look at the pretty picture of the cop directing traffic in his quaint tropical uniform.

Potcake Says III

Today's "Potcake Says" is both ironic and somewhat cryptic. Potcake is the street philosopher who posts epigrams on his mobile business (shopping cart) in this tropical paradise.

The irony of the scene is the direction to "Paradise Island". The last thing that you see before turning off to Paradise is Potcake.

The message today is somewhat cryptic. It says:

  • Potcake Says: Alcohal made from Love and War (Sex and Fight).

I think that what he is trying to say is that alcohol has the essence of both sex and fighting, love and war within it. Drink and one of the two comes out.

Here is the canonical list of previous Potcake Says epigrams:

  • "Potcake says: Smart People Feed Dumb People"
  • "Potcake says: You were made by Sweet-talk."
  • "Potcake says Cheap People work you for nothing."
  • "Potcake Says: I Am Mad as Hell and Not going to take it".
Simon and Garfunkel said that the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls. In this town, they are written on the stolen shopping carts.

Cosmological Cabbage Coleslaw

I get a little flattered at the foreign visitors that I get. I recently saw this translated page from my blog done by a visitor from Germany.

It is interesting to note that I am Kosmologischen Kohl. My tagline in English is:

"All things offbeat and interesting ... with a Caribbean flavour. These are the memes of my life on this island in the sun".

Just for fun, I plugged the German version into an online translator, and this is what I got:

"all things failed and interesting with Caribbean taste that are mem of my life on this island in suns "

Maybe the "all things failed" is more appropriate or a harbinger of things to come. I don't believe in harbingers, and besides, it is bad luck to be superstitious.

And then we come to the Chinese translated pages.

This again was flattering until I came to the realisation that the Chinese were just translating my technical pages. I didn't think that this was particularly sinister until I looked the logs of our ftp server and saw that we were under constant hack attack for 48 hours. It was a mechanized or scripted attack, carefully timed so as not to be a denial of service attack. When I traced back the IP address, it was to the Chinese Meteorlogical Center at a University. This could only mean one thing -- state-sponsored hackers.

And then we come to search engine terms. Ask Jeeves used to be a search engine that re-branded itself to jus ASK.com. Jeeves the butler must have died, but I can't figure out whether it was from overwork or underwork. I am getting a lot of hits on the search term "things found in the ocean", and when one came in from Ask Jeeves, I went to that search engine to see how I ranked. This is a screen capture of the result:

It was cool to be ranked second on a search engine. However when I looked at the related searches, I was amazed at the last search term --Richard Nixon. Holy Cow, the ex-Watergate president is now at the bottom of the ocean? Did the CIA do this? Is this a state secret inadvertently revealed? Is this wishful thinking? I think that I will go and Ask Jeeves.

Bus Squashes and Kills Thief

This tropical island is in economic turmoil. Tourism is the number one industry, and forms 75% of the economy here. Ninety-five percent of the tourists come from the United States. With the United States in economic recession, tourism is down here. There are mass layoffs numbering over a thousand people. For a population of just 325,000, this is a big percentage. Crime has spiked.

Yesterday a 55 year old bus driver with seven kids was driving his bus. His nickname is "Slowpoke". It was near the end of the route and there was just one passenger left on the bus, a twenty year old man. Typically at the end of the route, the driver will jump out for some refreshment. In this case, it was a Wendy's fast food outlet.

When the driver returned to his bus, he found the passenger fishing coins out of the farebox. The passenger fled and the driver pursued him with the bus. The driver lined up the running passenger and smashed him against a wall, killing him instantly. You can see the mangled corpse sticking out below the bus in the enlargement below:

Notice the force of the bus broke the cement wall. It is evident that the driver ran him down.
The driver is in police custody. I am not sure who my sympathies lie in this case.
There is trouble in paradise, and people are dying violently.

More Fibonacci

I get a lot of hits on my blog entry about getting a PhD in Basketweaving, by seeing if the spiral of the basket is a Fibonacci series. Recall that a Fibonacci series was devised by some Italian dude in the 1600's to model the reproduction rate of bunnies. As it turns out, the Fibonacci series is rife in nature. It can be observed in sunflower seeds, cabbage growth, uncurling of a fern and many other things.

If you need a short refresher, a Fibonacci series is calculated by adding the previous terms. It goes like this: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 etc. The higher up that you get, the more the ratio of consecutive Fibonacci numbers converge on the Golden Mean, which happens to be a very pleasing ratio to human beings. The Ancient Greek Parthenon was built on the Golden Ratio.

Well, I had my camera out walking yesterday, and I came upon a poinciana seedling in this tropical paradise. The poinciana tree flowers throughout the summer in flame red with orchid like flowers. Then it grows a big bean that dries out. The tourists collect these and use them as rattles.

I saw two consecutive branches on the poinciana seedling, and idly wondered if they would be consecutive Fibonacci numbers. The first stem has 8 pairs of leaves and the next one below it has 13. As it turns out, they were. I snapped the pic, and photoshopped away the rest of the distracting background.

As I gleefully snapped the picture, it dawned on me how nerdy I had become. I am now counting leaf pairs. Man, I need to get a life. ..... ..... Wait a minute, I already have one, and it is here in the tropics.

Potcake Says II

I'm thinking that "Potcake Says" will become a regular feature on this blog. If you will recall, I have featured Potcake before. He is a homeless itinerant vendor who sells found hubcaps from a shopping cart. He also owns a cell phone. And when the mood strikes him, he takes a piece of cardboard and posts pithy sayings on the back of his mobile business ... er shopping cart. He is pictured above.

His name is Tommy, and he is 55 years old. The reason that I know this is that on his birthday, he was begging for cash birthday presents. His birthday was in the September time frame.

Today I was driving back from the supermarket and I snapped this pic of Potcake, idly spinning a spinner hubcap, trying to sell it to the passing motorists. Not only does he have a current saying, but he just pasted over his last epigram.

Today his saying was:

"Potcake says: Smart People Feed Dumb People"

The one underneath said:
"Potcake says: You were made by Sweet-talk."

The first time that I featured Potcake, his epigram was:
"Potcake says Cheap People work you for nothing."

When I first saw Potcake a year ago, he had a sign saying:
"Potcake Says: I Am Mad as Hell and Not going to take it".

I was a bit intimidated, and thought that he was the vanguard of social revolution. It turns out that he is just editorialising.

I must admit publicly, that I am quietly experimenting with Potcake. I know that he makes his living by peddling stuff that he finds. For some reason or another, one of my software engineers when he departed for up north, he left a ratty powder blue suit at the office. It was a used suit, and he was going to hang it on the fence with a note saying "Free Suit".

I took the suit and hang it on a tree near where Potcake frequents. A day later the suit was gone. I was waiting for it to appear on his cart, but so far no dice. I am going to try and leave a bag of used golf balls for him to find, and see what he charges for them.

Surefire Cockroach Trap

OK, I have discovered a surefire cockroach trap. Up north we never had cockroaches. Here they live outside. Thank God that they haven't gotten into the house yet -- the Lovely One would freak out, pack her bags and move back home within the hour.

But the roaches do hang out on the patio. When I get the hose out to water my garbage garden, including my new pineapple plants, the roaches scurry from the water deluge. Once I threw a guy's BBQ party for our company, and after the food was eaten, we sat around chewing the fat and the cockroaches appeared. We started a stomp-a-thon. It wasn't a pretty sight.

The cockroaches are drawn by the catfood that we leave out for the feral cats. We used to leave the bowl out, and the ants would invade the food. We put the food bowl in another bowl of water, and this helped somewhat. But the clever ants would drag up debris and build bridges. I got the bright idea of squirting in a generous amount of dish soap. This would break up the surface tension and the bridges that ants would build would fly apart when they stepped on them. It worked like a charm.

The secret is the generous (and I mean generous) squirt of dish soap. It keeps the ants out, but it also is the perfect cockroach killer. The roaches are attracted by scent of the food. Under normal circumstances, the moat of water wouldn't pose a threat either. They would just swim across to the food. However the soap causes them to sink, and die within a few seconds. It is amazing at how fast it works. Without the soap, they just leisurely swim over.

I could race you to the patent office on this one. I think that I could commercialize the design that I have. However, on second thought, I will leave it published here, and that will be my gift to humanity. This invention, I will call the Cosmological Cabbage Sure-fire Roach trap. It is yours for free. You are welcome.

Update: To See all of my posts on Roach Trapping, please click here:


Some sun for Molly in Boston

Here you go Molly. Here is some sun for you in cold Boston. I wish that I had your imagination.

Internet Usage Factoids

I photoshopped the above pic of the Royal Police Force Band. Dr. Seuss would have invented a new instrument for them, and it would look like the above. I think that he would call it the grappleworter or something like that. It would be an ideal instrument to trumpet my internet usage figures.

This blog is a small labratory of useful internet usage data, and I am an open source kind of guy. So here is my data. First of all, the operating systems by web surfers -- almost 77% still used Windows XP vs Windows Vista or Windows 2000.

Mac users only number 5%, while Windows 2000 is at 3% and Linux is at 1%. This would suggest, at least to me, that Vista is not the hit that Microsoft wants it to be worldwide.

Let's get on to the other usage facts. The busiest day on the internet is Monday. Here is the list of busiest days of the week on the internet. It is listed from busiest to least busy:

  • Monday
  • Wednesday
  • Saturday
  • Thursday
  • Sunday
  • Tuesday
  • Friday

The busiest time of day on the internet is 1:00 PM in the afternoon by far. The ironic bit is that 12:00 noon is spectacularly unbusy. Here is the 24 hour listing of the busiest to the unbusiest times on the internet:

  • 1:00 PM
-the next three are tied
  • 9:00AM
  • 2:00 PM
  • 9:00 PM
-followed by another group at:
  • 11:00 AM
  • 3:00 PM
  • 6:00 PM
  • 8:00 PM

-then we have

  • 8:00 AM
  • 4:00 PM
  • 10:00 AM
  • 5:00 PM
  • 12:00 NOON
  • 12:00 Midnight
  • 7:00AM
  • 10:00PM
  • 5:00AM
  • 6:00AM
  • 7:00PM
  • 1:00AM
  • 4:00AM
  • 2:00AM
  • 3:00AM
As far as search engines go, Google is beating out it's nearest competitor Yahoo, by 10:1. Google is ten times more popular than Yahoo, and a hundred times more popular than anything else out there. I guess that Google can put that in their grappleworter and blow it. Unfortunately, because it is Friday, no one will be around to hear it on the internet.

Bird Peppers, UFOs, Surrealism

Man, you couldn't stage a more surreal photo if you tried. The Caribbean equivalent of the squeegee punk is the bird pepper seller. In the north, the squeegee punks stand at intersections and try to get a buck or two from you in exchange for cleaning your window with a squeegee. Nobody here cares whether their window is dirty or clean, so a quick way to make some money without a large capital outlay is to sell bird peppers.

Bird Peppers are incredibly hot to the taste. They are on the same scale as habanero peppers. But birds cannot taste the capsicum responsible for the heat. They can taste the sugar in the pepper however. So they eat peppers, seeds and all. When the seeds emerge from the other end, complete with its own capsule of fertiliser, you have wild hot peppers growing all over the place. The pepper sellers gather these up and sell them on the street corners.

They try to peddle their wares at stoplights, where cars must stop. However most stoplights on this tropical island have stopped working since the maintenance contract expired and the government did not renew it. You will notice that the stoplights are non-functional. It is a free-for-all at intersections, and some online commentators have suggested that this in fact speeds up the traffic. Some jerks do not even slow down entering the intersection, so you always take your life into your hands.

So not only do you have the non-working stoplights, and the pepper seller, but a pedestrian entered the scene as well. This pic also has another element: UFOs. As I was preparing the pic for publishing on the blog, I noticed two spots in the sky. I blew them up large. They are definite part of the picture. It is something in the sky. It is not lens flare. I first thought that it might be a plane, but the enlargement shows two spots that have blue sky in between them. It cannot be two planes, because they would not be flying so close together.

This is a little eerie. Of course we are in the Bermuda triangle and weird stuff happens in the Bermuda Triangle. This is my first ever UFO pic of mine personally. Surreal for sure -- all of it.

More Celebrities that I have met

I have met an impressive list of celebrities here in the tropical island playground of the rich and the famous. Guys like Mike Jenkins of the Atlanta Falcons, I met standing in the casino. Others I met by being an official scorer at an ESPN event on the golf course at Golf Ball beach. I have met others by caddying at the Celebrity Pro Am. One of the nicest guys that I have met is Joe Morgan (below):

He is a baseball Hall of Famer, and an ESPN commentator. Another nice guy is the quarterback of the New Orleans Saints Drew Brees (pictured below in the background).

I have detailed my encounters with Kid Rock and Michael Jordan. What I present today, is a partial listing of the celebrities that I have encountered while here in the tropics:

  • Vince Coleman -- Cardinals ex-Baseballer
  • Mike Jenkins - Falcons Wide Receiver
  • Dan Jansen - Gold Medal US Speedskater
  • Ahmad Rashad - Sportscaster
  • Jimmy Rollins - Shortstop Phillies
  • Ozzie Smith - Baseball Hall of Famer
  • Charles Oakley - Basketball player with Bulls, Knicks, Raptors, Wizards and Rockets
  • Julius Irving -- Doctor J - Hall of Fame Basketballer
  • James Pickens Jr. - actor X-Files
  • Richard Dent - ex-defensive end Chicago Bears
  • Paul O'Neill - ex-Baseballer Yankees, and broadcaster
  • Albert Pujols - Baseballer Cardinals
  • John McEnroe - Tennis bad boy
  • Flex Alexander - actor comedian
  • Lawrence Taylor - Hall of Fame Footballer
  • Mike Piazza - catcher Oakland A's
  • Barry Sanders -ex running back Detroit Lions
  • Eric Dickerson - one of the greatest running backs in NFL history
  • Grant Show - Melrose Place actor
  • Phil Gordon - Champion Poker Player
  • Marcus Allen - ex Champion Footballer, Raiders and Chiefs
  • Ken Griffey Jr. - Major League center fielder
  • Mario Lemieux - NHL Hockey Legend Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Kenny Lofton - Major League Baseball outfielder
  • Stuart Scott - ESPN Sportscaster
  • Jason Taylor - Defensive End -- Redskins
  • Angie Everhart - Gorgeous super model and actress
  • Dennis Haysbert - film and television actor, the voice of Allstate
  • Adrian Young --drummer for the rock band No Doubt
  • Stone Phillips - NBC Television personality
  • Dre Bly -Cornerback for the Denver Broncos
  • Andruw Jones - centerfielder Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Boris Kodjoe - Supermodel and actor
  • Chris Dolman - Martial Arts Champion

My Accidental Discovery

History is rife with accidental discoveries. My favourite accidental discovery is gun cotton or nitrocellulose, an explosive. Christian Friedrich Schönbein, a German-Swiss chemist, was working in the kitchen of his home in Basle, he spilled a bottle of nitric acid on the kitchen table. He reached for his wife's apron to mop it up. He hung the apron on the stove door to dry, and as soon as it was dry, it exploded.

Similarly Charles Dunlop invented rubber vulcanization when he accidentally dropped rubber on a hot stove. Sir Alexander Fleming invented penicillin when he left some bacteria cultures on a window sill. Microwave ovens were invented when Percy LeBaron walked past a radar tube, and the chocolate bar in his pocket melted. Telfon was invented by Roy Plunkett when he was trying to make a new refrigerant.

Chocolate chip cookies were invented by a Mrs. Wakefield who ran out of cocoa for chocolate cookies, and dumped in chocolate pieces, thinking that it would melt in the batter. Viagra was discovered when a company was testing a new heart drug that didn't work. However when the tests were over, the men were not giving the medication back.

Well, I have my own accidental discovery over the weekend. It is not on the scale of vulcanized rubber or Viagra or penicillin. However it could rank right up there with chocolate chip cookies if I sold the "secret" to Starbucks.

Saturday morning, I made coffee and was still not awake. I decided to toast up some buns that were in the freezer and have toast and jam. Our friends from England brought us some lemon curd or lemon creme. It is a particularly powerful intense lemon flavour spread that is much better than jam. It looks like semi-solid honey, but tastes lemony and sweet. Lemon Creme is lemon curd with butter and/or creme.

In my half asleep state, I took the coffee pot and started pouring. I then realised that I was pouring coffee into the lemon creme jar. I quickly poured it into my cup, and filled my cup with coffee. Then I scooped a generous amount of lemon curd out of the jar to eliminate the coffee flavour. I dumped the scoop of lemon curd into my cup of coffee and gingerly tasted it. Voila, I discovered Lemon Creme Coffee. It was wonderful. It is this recipe that Starbucks could use to turn a $2 cup of coffee into a $7 cup of coffee.

I am now waiting for someone from Starbucks to read this blog and come down to the islands to throw a big pile of cash at me for my invention. Remember, you read it here first -- Lemon Creme Coffee.

The Dark Side of Paradise

There is a dark side to living in Paradise. A very dark side. In many ways, this country is a banana republic and a very unenlightened country. For example, many believe that homosexuality is a choice, and there are public demonstrations against homosexuality. This is in spite of the fact that of the two political parties, one of them is very popular and the majority of power brokers in the party are either homosexual or bisexual men.

But the darkest side of this tropical island is the criminal justice system and the archaic penal system. Amnesty International regularly castigates this country and it's leadership for man's inhumanity to man in this country. I have dealt in a small way with this topic before. In the September 2008 topics, I have a story called the Prison Bus: http://cosmologicalcabbage.blogspot.com/2008/09/prison-bus.html

And I have another story called Day in Court: http://cosmologicalcabbage.blogspot.com/2008/09/day-in-court.html

Both of these touch on the human misery of the justice system. For example, this country still has flogging and the cat of nine tails -- a medieval inhumane whip that takes flesh off the back with each stroke. The country believes in the shaming of prisoners. They dress them in prison stripes and make them wash the cars of police and officials in public. There are no toilets in the maximum security wing. Prisoners must use and carry slop buckets.

But the most disturbing part, is the overt violation of human rights. I warn you that the picture below is disturbing. Several prisoners escaped. A guard died in the escape. When they were captured, the prisoners were viciously beaten to within an inch of their lives. These are two such of those prisoners:

And yet, believe it or not, these are the lucky ones. The prisoner that was considered the ring leader was taken to the back of the bus, and calmly had his head blown off. The bullet also took out the back window of the bus. There was a big show of capturing the guard who did this extra-judicial killing, and then he was quietly released.

There is another side to the prison story as well. Illegal refugees end up in prison here. This country attracts Cubans escaping the regime of Fidel Castro. The Cubans are treated as a nuisance and are thrown in prison. Oftentimes, a whole group are tossed into a cell designed for two people. Their only hope is that a relative can come and bribe the guards to let them "escape". This happens on a regular basis.

The denizens of this country really and truly believe that punishment should be brutal, de-humanizing and cruel. They still hang people in the gallows here. However this dark side of paradise speaks loud and clear about how these methods work. Per capita, this country had the fourth highest murder rate in the world, and crime is out of control in certain districts. Business loss due to employee pilferage is stratospheric compared to other countries.

The dark side of paradise is effectively hidden from the millions of tourists who stop here for sun, sand and sea.

My Celebrity Pictures

These tropical islands are the playground of the rich and famous. Here are some of my amateur paparazzi shots:

The above shot is of Michael Jordan playing golf and driving his own cart.

The next pic is soccer star Brandi Chastain playing golf:

This is quite an attractive woman. Here is the photo that made her famous around the world when she played soccer for the US women's team. (This photo is not mine).

As a matter of fact she wrote a book called "It's not about the bra!"

Having seen both celebs up close and personal, I would have to say that Brandi Chastain is a much nicer person than Mike Jordan.

Hurricane Paloma

Crap !!! Here we go again. I just polished off all of the hurricane supplies in the cupboard, and along comes Paloma. I thought for sure that after Faye, Gustave, Ike, and Hanna that we were all through with this crap. The old geezers say that this is a Cape Verde Hurricane. Hurricane Michelle was a similar storm a few years back and it was a bad one. It formed off the Yucatan peninsula.

Grand Cayman looks like it is in the sights of Paloma, and after Cuba, we are next. After Ike had hit Grand Turk, and then there was no significant storm activity, I figured that we were done for the season. I was a bit hungry and looking for a snack, and I realised that there was all sorts of granola bars in our hurricane supplies. A couple of days later, there were no granola bars left. I then wiped out the Ramen noodles next. Since the Lovely One is away up north, I haven't been doing cooking or shopping, so the canned goods went next.

If Paloma turns out to be a hurricane, and the electricity and water goes off for a few days or a week in this tropical paradise, I am screwed. I would hate to buy all new supplies and have them sit for a year, so I am kind of torn on this one. If the storm strengthens, I might chicken out and replenish the supplies. They always come in handy when you have the munchies and are looking for ready snacks.

The economic depression around these parts is bad enough, but when you add a tropical depression to the mix as well, it really blows.

Numb3rs -- How to calculate future hits on your website or blog

Rough, Smooth or Woven Palm Tree Trunks

I don't know why people Google the terms that they do. However the fourth most popular Google search term on this blog has to do with rough versus smooth and/or woven palm tree trunks. I don't why. This little factoid came as a result me being bored at the airport. Let me explain.

I was looking for something to read on my return from a business trip to this archipelago in the sun. I don't like reading fiction any more, so I chose a book called Super Crunchers by Ian Ayres. This author has had almost as much impact on me as Ray Kurzweil and his writings on Artificial Intelligence. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down.

Ayres contends that today, data is the name of the game. Data mining and statistical analysis has suddenly become cool. I have decided to become a super cruncher myself, and the data set at hand, is this blog. I am fortunate enough to have had a page view explosion of hits, largely due to posting pictures of a ghetto wedding reception at McDonalds here in the islands. There were other factors as well, including some links to my blog in the days before the jump that contributed to the rise.

According to Technorati, 7.4 million blogs were updated in the past 120 days. Before I had the explosion of hits, I was ranked at 2,631,291. I was in the top 35% of the blogsphere. However, within days, I had jumped 29,858 spaces and now I rank at 2,601,433 and climbing with a bullet. I had decided to crunch the numbers, and do some regression analysis.

The purpose was to come up with a formula to calculate the number of hits one could reasonably expect on a day to day basis if they came up with a popular blog or website. This would be for a 20 day basis that would describe the hits pattern as the word got out on the Internet.

This formula could be immensely valuable if one is doing a business plan and wants to predict pro forma advertizing revenue for a website based on the number of page views. Recently we went through a business plan exercise and wished that we had some way of predicting some of the data on which we had to base revenue projections. Or this formula could be used just for fun.

This would be a valuable contribution to internet mathematics and prediction, because this is a brand new idea and a brand new field. When you google "internet hits calculator" or "page view calculator" you get nothing relevant. This is exciting for me -- breaking new ground. Maybe this will become The Cosmological Cabbage Constant, or The Cosmological Cabbage Hits Theorem, or something famous like Fermat's Last Theorem. Einstein had his e = mc^2 and I have my y = m * 0.6787 * x^1.87972 .

So without further ado, let's get on with the math and prove that my university statistics courses were not a complete waste of time and money. The first step was to see what kind of graph my initial data set made. Plotting the data points looked something like this.

It was obvious that it was not a straight line, or linear. It was more exponential, so I had to use exponential regression analysis. Actually the exponential phase went on for about twenty days (which is about double the half life of interesting pages on the internet), so this formula is only good for twenty consecutive days. I could and will do a quartic regression to show the levelling off curve once I get enough data points, but for now, my formula is just a predictor for where you will get in page hits after 20 days. So x(max) = 20. After that point the hits will start levelling off and might even start to drop. That will be the topic of a later blog article.

I won't bore you with the math, but I did come up with a regression formula after super crunching the data set. The formula looks like this:

y = the resultant calculated number of hits per day,

m = the average number of hits per day that you had before the explosion

x is an element of the set {1,2,3, ....20} where 20 represents the twentieth day after a blockbuster web page or hit blog article went on the internet.

You don't need a scientific calculator if you have Exel or Open Office Calc. Simply open a sheet. The first column is the X or day number. In this case, we want to calculate what the hits will be on the 14th day. M is the average number of hits that you were getting. For the example, it is 250 hits per day. The cell A4 was put in formula form so that you could change the number 14 and see different calculations.

After you have entered the formula, hit return and you will have your answer. In this case, if you start with an average of 250 hits a day, and all of a sudden you become very popular because folks are coming to your web page via email, Facebook, Google, AOL, other website links, then you should see your page views go to around 24,211.

How good are the numbers. The correlation coefficient, r = 0.942378 which defines how good the predicted value is.

The whole premise of Super Crunchers is that exercises like this are relatively accurate in predicting complex phenomena based on the data. Even though the hits do come from Facebook, email, search engines and a plethora of other sources, I do believe that the behaviour of website hit creep on the internet can be modeled by my formula. I am waiting for the Stockholm Committee to come calling to give me my prize in Internet Matheology -- the topology of Internet Hits. It is a brave new world out there.

Pounding the Biblical Chicken

We went around visiting the KFCs around the island. Kentucky Fried Chicken is going to be a merchant for our money card. We were looking at the set up to see where our equipment would be installed.

I made an amazing discovery in these tropical islands. First and foremost, for every person standing in line, there were three at the drive thru. How does a mother call her children to dinner in these tropical islands? She shouts "OK kids, get in the car!".

The second thing that I found at the drive thru, was the ubiquitous Bible (see pictured above). A busy drive thru was the last place that I would expect to find a Bible. Maybe it increases sales -- lots of prophet?

I wonder if it makes the chicken more heavenly? Does it make it more finger-licking good? They could do the same by cooking the hell out of it!

Does she ask the customer "Do you want a side of fries cooked in psalm oil with that?" Or maybe it makes the 11 secret herbs and spices taste more heavenly? Do they serve wings only to the righteous? No thighs or breasts? Do they give out extra Lot's wife with the fries -- a pillar of salt? (Actually when someone hits the post at the drive thru, they call it a Lot's wife as well -- a pillar assault!).

Of course, it had to be at the drive-thru because in the Bible, it says that the apostles were all in one Accord -- a Honda Accord. And Adam and Eve show up regularly as well. In between telling their kids Cain and Abel in the back seat to shut up, Adam is still grumbling that Eve ate them out of house and home. King David also frequents the drive-thru on his motorcycle. His Triumph is heard throughout the land.

But chicken wasn't the first meat mentioned in the Bible. It says that Noah took Ham into the ark before the chickens. And you have the ancient biblical law that you cannot eat any meat without cabbage. It was a religious law handed down by the ancient Celtish king and became known as Cole's Law.

I swear that this is all true, and I will swear it on a stack of Bibles, ....... and a bucket of chicken.

President Barack Obama

This tropical paradise has over 325,000 people and 90% of them are Black. The election of Barack Obama as 44th President of the United States has profoundly affected Black people in a significant way. Barack Obama is the hope incarnate of the dreams and schemes of Black people, and the final proof of racial equality after so many years.

The most popular online forum in this tropical country has been buzzing for weeks. The pic above is a screen shot of what the postings looked like, right after Obama's speech. People in this country were nervous as election day approached. They were fearful that perhaps somehow, their role model and hero would not be elected president. Almost every top thread tonight is about the election.

The "Yes We Can" thread is a poorly spelled testimony of personal inspiration. "Poor Hillery", bad spelling and all, laments how Hillary Clinton will never be president. The November 04 thread defines the proper etiquette of not rubbing McCain supporter's noses in the dirt. Another thread speculates on what the main message of Tomorrow's News will be. Will the focus be Black Man elected? Histerostisty is what some broadcast preacher named TD Jakes accidentally coined this night in an ironic Bushism. The No More Excuses thread states that Blacks no longer have excuses. If a Black Man can rise to the presidency, then any Black can rise to any occasion.

Tonight was a milestone moment in the history of the United States of America. My only regret is that I missed out on a chance to take a flight in a private jet to Florida to attend Obama's last big rally before the election. That would have been something to tell the grand kids about.

Boys And Their Toys

I was sitting at Starbucks at the marina, enjoying my morning cup of coffee, and I had a show going on. The yacht pictured above is named "Milk and Honey". She is registered out of George Town, Cayman Islands. The crew were bringing in the tender with a crane, and loading it on the second storey of the yacht.

The tender was a zodiac (inflatable raft gunwales) with a fiberglass bottom. Back home, I would have owned this boat alone without the mega yacht as a runabout in our lakes. It would have been sufficient as my main boat. Here it had the status of being merely a scooter to zip around the harbour.

The yacht had a crane to lift the zodiac tender aboard. It took four of the crew members twenty minutes to do this. I was fascinated with watching the crew. One of them was a female. We have private yacht crew living behind us, and they are never home. Somehow, I do not think that being a private yacht crew member is all that glamorous after the first week. I sometimes get island fever or cabin fever on this island, and I would imagine that it would be a lot worse confined to a yacht, no matter how large it is.

However the mechanical aspects of lifting the tender appealed to the little boy in me. I couldn't stop watching. It was like watching someone play with a real big Tonka toy. And I wasn't the only one who felt that way. This crew had a whole bunch of tourists (mostly men) watching and taking pictures. Boys and their toys.

The Starbucks Sparrow -- aka One-Legged Starbucks Sparrow

The Lovely One is up north again. I woke up this fine Sunday in Paradise and decided that I needed coffee. The can of Red Bull that I had for breakfast satisfied the caffeine urge, but I wanted a real morning coffee. So I walked down to Marina Village and had a Starbucks coffee.

The ambiance was superb. I sat at the cafe table in the shade of the palm trees looking over the marina with the super yachts, watching a crew put a tender about the second story of the yacht (tomorrow's blog entry). The muzak was playing a steel drums instrumental of "No Woman No Cry" and my world was wonderful and unfolding as it should. It was great to be alive and in Paradise.

Then I noticed the sparrows. They were eating the muffin crumbs and such from the early morning diners at Starbucks. They were bold as brass and cute. One of them caught my eye. He had only one leg. I had see this phenomenon in sea gulls, but never in sparrows. There are so many seagulls with one leg, that at one time, I considered a career in bird prosthetics.

This sparrow was amazing. He alighted on my table and looked me over. Then with a "By your Leave", he hopped aroung the table. I saw some fascinating behaviour. There were grains of sugar spilled on the surface of the table. This sparrow went and ate them all, one by one. I had just seen my first sparrow sugar addict. He was a one-legged sugar addict at that. There was also a rim of water from a glass, and he took a drink of the water, and perched on the chair back next to me, where I snapped this pic of him.

Now I'm thinking that if I were Starbucks, I would make this one legged bird the official mascot of Starbucks. It would be just like that fat guy Jared becoming the mascot of Subway sandwiches. And just like any celebrity, this bird would have to go into rehab to get himself cured of his sugar addiction.