Where the Heebie-Jeebies come from

Billy DeBeck coined the term in his hugely popular 1920s comic strip, Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, about a community of backwoods hillbillies and moonshiners. It first appeared in a 1923 strip where Barney tells someone to “get that stupid look offa your pan. You gimme the heeby jeebys!” It meant “a feeling of discomfort.”

Other phrases coined by DeBeck: “horsefeathers,” “hotsie-totsie,” and “googly-eyed” (after Barney Google, who had huge, bulbous eyes). The strip also gave us the nickname “Sparky,” from the name of Barney’s horse, Sparkplug. (Many young comic-strip fans were given the name “Sparky,” among them, Peanuts creator Charles Schulz.)

via Comic Origins of Phrases – Neatorama.

re: Michael Jackson


The death of Michael Jackson is moving. I’ve loved his music for as long as I can remember knowing about him. Like most, that attention span happened during Thriller. But going back to Off The Wall and the stuff the Jackson 5 put out – it’s rare I find something I don’t like (except the song Bad). He was the best musical entertainer in his prime. I still listen to his music all the time and love the mashups that DJs make of MJ music.

But there was a deeper side to MJ. I used to joke “His music is awesome, but he’s a freak”. I take that back. He wasn’t a freak. I feel more sympathy for him now…especially as I was reminded of his life in these great posts below.

The Daily Dish – Thinking about Michael

Crocker Chronicle – Michael Jackson Dead at 50

Now I realize just how much of a performer he really was.

Hurricanes Have a Dusty Butterfly Effect

Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? Perhaps. But did you know the rainfall in a section of an African desert can effect the chance of a hurricane?

The Sahara Desert in Africa is the major source for African dust (or Mineral Dust) floating across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and South America each summer. I’ve been in Puerto Rico during one of those summer “dust clouds”. The sky is hazy but more reddish than grey.

However, it’s the north-western end of the sub-saharan Sahel Belt in Africa that can be a factor in Atlantic Ocean temperatures. The Sahel’s rainfall is a variable compared to the Sahara so if there’s more rain, there is less dust blowing from the African coast.

NW Sahel Desert influences hurricanes

How does this effect the formation of hurricanes? Dr. Jeff Masters reports that when there is more dust, the water temperatures can fall by a full degree Celsius. Hurricanes need warm water to form, so more dust means cooler water temps.

Therefore the amount of rain in NW Sahel effects the amount of dust that blows over the Atlantic which effects the water temperatures which effects hurricane formation.

Got all that?

So what does it look like this year? There has been more rain in NW Sahel so there’s less dust so the water temps should be warmer so the likelihood of hurricane formation increases. But here’s the good news: the dust level won’t be as low as it was in 2005. You remember the 2005 Hurricane season, don’t you? Do the names Wilma, Rita, and Katrina ring a bell?

Also see Dust from Subsaharan May Affect Frequency of Hurricanes. Originally tipped off from the FriendFeed Hurricane Room.

Fermented Things

One day a while back I was bored and curious and on Wikipedia. You never know where that’s going to lead.

For some reason I ended up learning about fermentation. There’s some complexity to fermentation, but I think I got it boiled down to this formula/process:

Carbohydrates + Yeast + Time = Alcohol
Overcoming alcohol addiction in style

I found it interesting that if you add yeast to almost any carb and give it time, you’ll get alcohol.  Check out this real basic list of what kind of alcohol you can end up with when you start with different carbs (or read this list like this: “when you ferment this carb it can yield this alcohol”):

  • Apple yields Hard Cider
  • Barley yields Beer
  • Corn yields Whiskey
  • Grape yields Wine
  • Potato yields Vodka
  • Rice yields  Sake
  • Soy Beans yields Soy Sauce
  • Sugar yields Rum

Of course there are different kinds of alcohols for each carb because depending on the variety of the carb (ex: different kinds of grapes) plus variations in the fermentation process yeilds different alcohols.

I dunno, just found it interesting.

Our trip to the Florida Keys

I’ve had a running list for a long time of things I want to do I call “local to me” before I move to another place.  One that has been lingering for almost 10 years of living here was finally accomplished last week when Patricia and I took off for the Florida Keys.

We needed the trip. I needed a reboot. It’s been a tough, crazy, stressful bit of time lately and we just needed to get away. So we found a cheap hotel in the Keys and went for it (we booked it on Hotwire so didn’t know the reviews were so bad – it was about as reviewed!).


The “Upper Keys” start with Key Largo and they are about 300 miles from our house. The “Lower Keys” end with Key West and it’s about 400 miles from here. So even though they are close, they aren’t a day trip there and back. We decided to stay in the “Upper Keys” in Islamorada for 2 nights so our drive there wasn’t too bad and that gave us a full day trip to Key West and back.

I have some observations and highlights for you.


The Florida Keys are awesome, but it depends on what you want to do. If you’re big into fishing and diving, it may be the best in the country. But it’s a long way to go for beautiful beaches and drives. Central Florida offers great alternatives: the causeways and bridges in Tampa are just as beautiful, the beaches in the Sarasota area (like Siesta Key) are perhaps even better than the Keys, and the Cape Canaveral National Seashore offers similar and closer land and marsh.

The Keys offer isolation and that can be good or bad depending on what you’re looking for.

Going down we took I-95 all the way to the end then merged onto US-1 the rest of the way. Although it’s not that far from the end of 95 to the Keys (about 40 miles), there are A LOT of stop lights! Coming home we bypassed it on the Florida Turnpike! But I wouldn’t have it any other way for it makes getting to Mile 0 that much more fulfilling.

I know Key West is known for Jimmy Buffet stuff, but I barley noticed any Parrotheading.

I don’t care what the books and reviews say, the Keys are hot.

The end of US 1 at Mile 0 was kind of anti-climatic. It just ended at a regular intersection. Cool nonetheless.


I had 4 goals to accomplish:

  1. Make it to Mile 0 – the end of US 1 that runs along the entire East Coast
    Mile 0 y0
  2. Have great Key Lime Pie in Key West
    Best Key Lime Meringue Pie Ever
  3. Have good Conch Fritters
    Key Largo Conch House Resturant and Coffee Shop
  4. See some Key Deer
    Key Deer Buck spotted me

Other highlights included driving over the 7-mile Bridge, miles and miles of scenery, actually petting a wild deer, and going to the southern-most point in the US (barring Hawaii).
Southernmost Point in the US

There’s more photos with a few stories from our short trip on my photo blog.

But the best highlight of all was experiencing all of this with my beautiful wife by my side.

Why we need hurricanes


During the summer months, the Earth heats up very unevenly. Down toward the equator becomes much hotter than the poles creating a huge heat imbalance.  The Earth does everything it can to keep in balance, and hurricanes are natures way of creating a balancing act. Without getting to technical, The atmosphere attempts to remove this excessive amount of heat energy through latent heat release. A hurricane is essentially a massive heat engine that transfers the high oceanic heat content into the atmosphere by releasing that stored heat via condensation.

However, I can probably speak for most of us and say, “just not here, mmk?”

source: MyFoxHurricane.com blog via the FriendFeed Hurricane Room and Hurricanes Happen

Hey! It’s Jacob and What’s His Name

Jacob and the other guy

Hey look!  It’s Jacob and ol’ what’s his name! So what is his name? The show didn’t tell us, but the fans have come up with a lot of names for him.  Here’s some I’ve found. What names am I missing? Leave a comment…

  • Jacob’s enemy
  • Jacob’s nemesis
  • Not-Jacob
  • Un-Jacob
  • Anti-Jacob or AJ
  • Not-Locke
  • Un-Locke
  • Fake Locke or Flocke
  • Mystery Man or MM
  • Esau (as in Jacob and Easu)
  • Samuel (casting call name used)
  • Man in black (Johnny Cash? Heh heh!)
  • The god in black (my name for him)