The Simple Solution for Gay Rights

As Gays everywhere cheer on the state of Massachusetts for suing the United States government over the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, I have to wonder in amazement that no one has yet uncovered the unmistakably simple solution to this conflict.

Use a different term than “marriage”. Call it anything – like a “Civil Partnership”. That’s it? Yep. That’s it. That will do the job.

The problem in today’s culture is NOT an unwillingness to allow homosexual couples the same government sanctioned benefits as heterosexual couples, but an unwillingness to change the meaning of a word with thousands of years of tradition and faith behind it.

Two groups of people have conflicting interest, and thus far it would seem that the government has taken the side of Christians / traditionalists. The solution is not to go to the other extreme and say that Christians (and others, I know) can no longer claim that a marriage is between one man and one woman, but to find a balance and meet in the middle.

Now, I agree, if Christians want to keep their word “marriage”, and our government is supposed to be separated from ‘church’, then it should get rid of the word “marriage” and replace it with an all-inclusive word, like “Civil-Partnership”.

Then anyone can call it whatever the hell they want off the record.


Blind Beer Tasting – Surprising Results

Last night our family and friends got together at my aunt and uncle’s house for a beer tasting. Each person / couple brought 2-3 kinds of beer and all and total we ended up with 19 different varieties.

After brats & chips we got started. My mom and aunt were the bar tenders and poured 3 samples each for all of us in rounds while we were waiting in another room. Once we grabbed our first 3 samples we started filling in our charts with our guesses as to what beer it was, whether it was a light, medium, or dark beer and also our personal rating and comments.

It was a blast.

There were 2 particular beers whose ratings surprised everyone, especially myself.

#1 Corona Extra

Corona Logo

I’ve always loved Corona Extra. Especially with a lime. I’ve always thought of it as a quality, crisp, refreshing beer – perfect for summer. Last night I learned that those thoughts were a media fabrication and far from the truth.

I was the one who brought the Corona and I “knew” I’d be able to pick it out with no problems. The problems was, the bar tenders had us taste it twice in two different rounds, and not only did I get wrong both times, but I rated it first ‘POOR’ and then ‘GOOD’ (at least in my comments area I said it had a ‘limeish after taste’).

Here’s the reality of the beer – We all tasted a dozen beers of the same color and make, and none of us picked it out. Most of us rated it poorly and could not distinguish it from other beers that were much cheaper, including Bud Select.

Corona Extra does not live up to the media hype, or the price.

#2 Stroh’s Beer


Stroh’s beer took all by surprise and was rated ‘Outstanding’ by more than a few people, including myself. Actually, it was the only beer that I gave an ‘Outstanding’ rating. Personally I’d never had Stroh’s and my thoughts about it were that it was a cheap, probably nasty beer. My first words after tasting my sample were, “this is not a cheap beer”. It had a distinctive taste, like some of the more expensive craft beers I’ve had. Some of the beers we sampled had distinctive flavours, but they tasted like they were all added in to enhance a nasty brew. Not Stroh’s, its distinctive taste came from something in the beer itself – crispy, but not too crispy, full bodied, but not too heavy.

Here’s a full list of all of the beers we sampled:

Natural Light
Coors Light
Bud Select
Stella Artois
Old English
Molson XXX
St. Peters Organic
Yingling Black & Tan
Red Stripe
Labatt Blue
Mich. Amber Bock
Yingling Lager
Dos Equis Lager

Local Advertising at its Best

I normally don’t like to use blog posts as a soap-box, but an extraordinary opportunity like this is just too great to pass up.

We got our Valpak in the mail today and I always love to flip through them to see what sort of wacky wares & services are being advertised.  

This one caught my eye:

valpack-frontcroppedImmediately you have to wonder what kind of sick, masochistic services these jolly folks have to offer. I mean, look how excited they are about you being in pain. Not only that, but try to imagine what had to go through their marketing team’s noodles when they decided that the words, “IN PAIN?” should be bright red, capitalized and in a font that looks like bloody knife wounds.


If you are like me, then it is no surprise that this is a dental service ad. (Even their logo is in the bloody-knife-wound script font!).

Here’s the back for more viewing enjoyment:


I like how they make use of an advertising technique in which you emphasize key words by making them larger or bolder than the rest. Usually you would pick positive words that reinforce the emotional impact you want to leave with the viewer. I really have to wonder what their marketing team was thinking when they choose the words, “FEAR, TIME and MONEY”. 

The text below that is actually the best text they have on the ad (and also the smallest and hardest to read). It explains how they can make you more comfortable by using air abrasion instead of anesthetic and drills (“FEAR”), how they have convenient appointment times for your busy schedule (“TIME”), and how they offer payment programs with interest free terms (“MONEY”).

Dino Love

Last week one of my managers, Ken McCaw, and I took a trip down to the big production company in Columbus, Ohio, Mills James, to work on a 3D trailer that will be shown at the NCTA’s The Cable Show in D.C. at the beginning of April. The production world can be a hectic one, and I always appreciate a good sense of humor. Plus dinosaurs are awesome. This informative natural history exhibit was on display in our video editor’s studio office.


Yes, that’s a fish tank with no water in it 🙂

Blue Light

This is what happens when I find an amazingly lit scene and have only my beer to use as a subject. Labatt Blue Light is an excellent beer by the way – and not a bad price at all (shameless insert, done!).  FYI – this was taken in a window of the barn in the pigeons post.



This last weekend my wife and I went out to her parents farm near Cambridge, Ohio. They raise beef cattle primarily. On their property is a barn that was built around the 1900s that is still used today and is about 60-70 ft. tall. It’s still in good enough condition to hold a tractor on the second floor (it’s built into a hill-side, so the second floor is ground-level on one side).


The weekend’s project with my father-in-law was to repair the two cupolas on the top of the barn. Years ago the shiplap siding on the cupolas had worn so much that the slats were sliding down on each other, creating large gaps where birds could get in. Since then a whole flock of pigeons had taken up residence in the barn rafters and thoroughly covered everything in fowl defecation.


Before putting the new siding on the cupolas, my father-in-law decided to scare the the pigeons out of the barn. My job was to wait for them outside with a shotgun.

To some, that may seem wicked, but if you had any idea how many pigeons where in there (and are in the world) and how much damage they’ve caused, I think you might understand. I can’t say I didn’t have a blast though.

I nailed 3 pigeons, grounded two, and 3 or 4 got away. I was especially pleased with the last one I got, which fell perfectly into the open dumpster. Their German Shepherd, Mollie, helped us collect the KIA & wounded birds.

How To Fix Your Squeaking/Screeching GM Blower Motor

This article is based off of and references Mike Pieronek’s article, “1999 Buick Regal Heater Blower Motor Replacement”. Click here to open the article in a new window.

How To Fix Your Squeaking/Screeching GM Blower Motor (instead of replacing it)


Squealing and screeching sounds coming from beneath the passenger-side dash when the A/C, heat / blower motor is on. The sounds happen in cold or humid weather, and especially when hitting bumps in the road or slamming on the brakes. The sounds happen less when blower is on higher settings and all the time on lower speeds. When shutting off the blower, the screeching sound slowly dies away.

Short Answer & Good News:

In my case the problem was that the motor housing bearing had become so dried out that it seized up on the motor shaft. The good news is that this is a problem that can in most cases be fixed without having to purchase a new blower motor. The screeching noise was happening because the shaft and bearing were spinning together inside the motor mount. At slower speeds it was easier for the bearing to spin in the mount than it was for the shaft to spin in the bearing, explaining why I could avoid the noise by turning the blower up.

This photo shows the bearing (which is supposed to be mounted in the motor housing cap) stuck to the motor shaft.

Fixing the GM Screeching Blower Motor on a 1998 Buick Century

1. Remove the passenger side kick panel. Follow the steps on page one of the replacement instructions to remove the passenger-side kick panel.
Note: I used the nail puller on a very small hammer to remove the 3 plastic push-in clips and it worked pretty well.

2. First try spraying WD-40 in through the bottom hole of the motor mount.

You can see the end of the motor shaft just inside the raised ‘nipple’ on the motor housing. Inside that nipple is a bearing that the shaft is spinning inside of and those are the two parts that seized up from drying out. By spraying WD-40 in there you may be able to free them up without having to remove the blower motor.

And Here is a closer view:

3. If that doesn’t work, follow the steps on page one of the instructions to completely remove the blower motor. Note: use a 5.5mm socket to remove the three screws. Note 2: Remove the rubber air tube by pinching and pulling out.

Once the motor is free, hold it fan-side-up as it was mounted and insert the WD-40 spray tube in through the hole where the air intake tube used to be. CAUTION: only spray a very little amount of WD-40 – you don’t want to douse the motor wires. Spin the fan half a turn and spray a little more WD-40 to get the other side. Give it a few minutes to work in while spinning the fan a few times.

Now you should be able to spin the fan without the motor making any noise.

If the screeching noise is still happening from your blower motor, either the noise is coming from a different part of the motor, in which case I’m little help, or you just haven’t gotten the bearing loosened from the motor shaft. If the later is the case, read on. If not, you may want to get yourself a new blower motor.

Here Is What I did To Figure Out The Steps Above:

I decided to pull the top cap off the motor. Since I didn’t know there was a bearing in there yet, I had not sprayed any WD-40 in there like I recommended in steps 2 and 3 to loosen the shaft in the bearing. As a result, the bearing ripped out of the motor housing, still attached to the motor shaft.

Once I realized what had happened I had to re-set the bearing into the motor housing.

To do that I needed to pry back the metal retaining clip teeth that normally hold the bearing in place in the motor housing. Since there are large magnets on either side of the motor housing extra caution needed to be taken when using metal tools in there since the magnets chip easily. To help protect the magnets I wrapped a strip of rag around my needle nose pliers before using them to pry the teeth back.

After I got the bearing back into the housing I used a rag wrapped flat-head screw driver to jam the teeth back down to hold the bearing in place.

Before replacing the cap and newly lubed-up bearing on the motor, I used WD-40 on a rag to gently clean and protect the motor parts. Over the years a lot of metal shavings have accumulated inside the motor as well as a bit of rust on the motor wire fixtures. Be careful not to douse the motor wires in WD-40.

Replacing the cap took a couple tries because the magnets on the sides make it difficult to get the motor shaft lined up and into the bearing hole. Once you get it though you’re pretty much there.

I used a hammer and flat-head screwdriver to pound the metal tabs back into place. Just follow the instructions in reverse to replace the motor.