Beware of telephone call credit card scam!

Dee’s inbox has this scary report of a new credit card scam, done over the phone:

“The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him.

After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he’ll say, ‘That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card.”

The perfect putting stroke

Developing the perfect putting stroke is not trivial!

Any coach who can take two sedate, overweight, arthritic folks and turn us into competitive golfers is a remarkable teacher, and these are my notes on developing the perfect putting stroke. Janet and I are very lucky to have a PGA Master for your coach (Brad Clayton, author of the book Puzzleduck Golf and 2009 PGA Instructor of the Year for the Carolinas).

People travel from all over the world to take lessons from Brad Clayton, and for good reason. Janet and I play daily, and Brad has allowed us to get glimpses of what it;s like to be a scratch golfer. Even Janet shot a birdie last week on a long par-5 hole!

Make no mistake, golf is the world’s second hardest sport, and it requires constant practice, rain or shine, sun or snow:

Aim Small, Miss Small

When practicing putting it’s important to aim to win. Beginners often imagine the cup as being five feet wide, and that great for getting into the neighborhood, but not so good for consistent two-putting.

Don’t visualize a large cup – Aim small!

The aim-small, miss-small is also great advice for sharpshooters, and it really works in putting too. In addition to the putting tops below, Brad stresses that you must practice until you can putt like a machine, consistently and without any variation.

Here are my swing thoughts on the perfect putting stoke:

Examine the breaks – Like Ben Dover says, get down there and see where your breaks are.

Set-up in a uniform fashion – Make sure that your eyes are directly over the ball and that your elbows are open to facilitate a machine-like stroke.

Drill the line – Walk an imaginary ball backwards from the cup to the club head, and back again. When putting uphill, resist the temptation to come-in “jot” with less break. Plan the arch at the highest point.

Set the stroke distance – While you always aim small, you want your second putt to be a tap-in, so you gauge the amount of swing to use to get you where you need to be.

Last minute checklist – Just before initiating the putt, remember to follow through exactly the same distance that you draw-back, accelerating into the ball, and remind yourself to keep you head down until the ball is well underway.

This last point is especially important. If you commonly miss to the left, it may be that you are “peeking”, watching the ball leave the putter face. It takes practice to keep your eyes stationary, but it’s worth it!

See my full notes here on mastering the perfect putting stroke.

Evaluating written language levels

For years, schoolteachers have used formulas to determine the “reading level” of text, using factors such as the required vocabulary for words, grammar, sentence length and structure.

This technique has been proven to be statistically valid for printed material, and it’s interesting to see that the technique is now being applied to the web.

Check out this web readability evaluation tool

It does not disclose the decision rules, but in my limited testing it seems to be quite accurate.

In my tests it rated web sites and blogs as “junior high school”, “high school”, “college level”, “graduate level” and “genius”. It liked my web site:

It also seems to have uncanny insights into the value of some blogs:

Will Obama start another golf craze?

Will Obama start another golf craze?

Ike was a 5-star golf addict, and he played wherever he could, even in combat areas:

Golfers Like Ike

When Eisenhower ruled the free world, all of America want golf-crazy with him. New courses popped-up everywhere, and virtually every military officer took up golf. Golf was part-and-parcel of American life and everything revolved around golf.

Celebrities (Bob Hope), crooners (Bing Crosby), and everybody who was anybody looked forward to dressing-up like clown and heading out to the golf course.

We all remember the day when Eisenhower suffered a mild heart attack whole golfing and the stock market plunged!

The last 5 presidents have been really lame golfers, but a charismatic president with athletic ability might be just what we need to re-start the golf craze. Obama knows how to dress on the golf course:

Tall and lean, ideal for the perfect swing

I love his saddle oxfords, just like I wear:

Chatting with Obama

Obama does not disclose how good he is at golf, but some say that he has a 16 handicap, but there is lots of speculation. Our son, who knows everything (by virtue of being a young grad student!), said that he thinks that Obama was built right to pound a ball 300 yards.

I could not let that one go by, and I challenged him!

Andy casually said “Yeah, I’ve met Obama. I chatted with him backstage for quite awhile”.

As our jaws dropped, Andy flipped-out his phone as showed us this picture:

Evidently, the boy was backstage manager when he spoke at ECU.

I’m impressed. The closest I ever got to a charismatic president was watching John F. Kennedy roll by in his motorcade, riding in the same open-top Cadillac that he was assassinated in a few years later . . .

The Uniform of the surgeon general

It’s funny, there are some appointed political positions that come with generals uniforms! In many states, the governor appoints a crony to be in-charge of the state national guard, and they become instant 2-star generals!

These “appointed generals” are the object of much ridicule in the Pentagon, I’m told . .

Traditionally, some Surgeon General’s like Koop wore a ridiculous uniform, I assume because a “general is a general”.

The uniform of the surgeon general

It’s stupid, the surgeon general IS NOT a general officer! It would be like the Secretary of Defense dressing-up as a secretary:

Should the secretary of defense dress like a secretary?

Evidently, the Surgeon General has lots of latitude when choosing their uniform. I wonder what type of uniform someone named Sanjay would choose?

Something traditional?

Since the presidential appointments appear to be based on popular news media people, there are all sorts of possibilities:

Attorney General – I’m a big Judge Judy fan, and I’m hoping that Judge Judy gets nominated to be Attorney General!

Secretary of Defense – Get the terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger!

The Assumption Song!

This assumption song is very clever, somebody with a good sense of humor.

Very Bob Dylan sounding:

And there’s more:

And yet another one, not as good, by some foreigners who talk funny:

The best soil for growing carrots

Carrots like light, sandy loam that’s fine in texture and rich in organic matter. They need a soil that is loose and free of rocks to grow straight roots. Rocky soil or too much nitrogen can cause forked roots. The ideal soil pH is 6.5 to 6.8, but 5.5 to 7.5 is acceptable. Dig in several inches of compost and some sand if you have heavy soil. Loosen the soil with a spading fork as deep as the length of the carrot variety you intend to grow.

Carrots do best in sandy soil but few of us have sandy soil. So even if your soil is healthy loam and contains lots of organic matter, if you mix a few handfuls of builder’s sand in every square foot of the soil where the carrots will be planted, you will have fewer problems with misshapen roots.

Soak seeds in warm water overnight before planting and cover seeds with sandy loam.


Make sure soil is well-draining and has a pH of around 6.5

Giant Pumpkins:

Pumpkins like nitrogen-rich soil. Start with a pH test in fall and adjust your pH to between 6.5 and 6.8 by adding sulfur to lower the pH or lime to raise it. Apply three to five yards of composted manure per 30-foot-diameter circle where you expect to plant next spring. Plant a cover crop of winter rye in fall to be turned under in early spring, broadcasting one to two pounds per 1,000-square-foot area.

Is Bill Gates Autistic?

I found this query “Bill Gates is” to be enticing:

The notation that caught my eye was “Is Bill Gates Autistic”.

This TIME Magazine article makes a convincing case that Bill Gates is indeed autistic.

Maybe he’s not gay after all, just retarded? Nah:

Bill Gates, looking Gay

Bill used to work less than a mile from my childhood home, I even met him once:

Bill Gates in Albuquerque, 1977

Autistic, Hmm . . . That would explain a lot . . .