Friday, August 29, 2008

Meyer's First Homework Assignment

See it here.

Meyer Gets Makes His Driver's License

McCain's About to Pick Palin

CNN has just reported that a) a private plane from Alaska just landed in Dayton and that b) Tim Pawlenty is still in Minnesota. Draw your own conclusions. I decided a couple days ago that, even though running mates generally don't have much effect on the outcome of an election, for McCain to have a real shot to win in November, he'd need to choose Sarah Palin as his running mate. She breaks the Republican mold without surrendering her conservative credentials. The other supposed frontrunners would represent either business as usual or a concession to moderates and Democrats.

Still, Palin or no, the Republicans still aren't capable of delivering something as goosebump-inducing as what the Democrats put together last night. They also don't seem to have a plan to deal with healthcare or help people afford the rising cost of a college education—two issues that are especially important to me as a voter. Of course, I lean left and live in a state that always votes Republican anyway, so the McCain-Palin campaign can't be too concerned about getting my vote.

Update: Apparently, Sarah Palin is still in Alaska, so you may want to forget everything I just said.

Update: I was right after all.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More on Waterless Urinals

The Waterless No-Flush people have responded to the Falcon Watefree people. Awesome.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Best Urinal Makers Read Scrambies

Yesterday, I wrote about my experience with a waterless urinal and included a picture of the one I'd used and a link to a waterless urinal manufacturer. As it were, the company I linked to didn't make the urinal in the picture, and the company that did make the urinal let me know about it. Here is a link to the company that made the waterless toilet that you're looking at right now, Falcon Waterfree Technologies.

Two to the Fifth

My age in years as of today.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I've Seen the Future, and It Is Waterless

I used a waterless urinal for the first time the other day. I'm not quite sure how it worked, but it did, and I took a picture (right).

I'm glad that the waterless urinal worked so well, because a quick Google search tells me that a standard urinal uses one gallon of water per flush; and another quick Google search tells me that one gallon of water will provide the daily fluid needs of two small-in-stature adult humans. I know for a fact that a) hundreds of thousands of urinals flush dozens of times each day and that b) hundreds of thousands of people are suffering from dehydration and/or a lack of clean drinking water. Thus waterless urinals are instruments of compassion and justice. Think about that the next time the automatic flusher goes off.

If you'd like to learn more about waterless urinals, drop by

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Overheard at the Tinley House

Robert Smith: (on the iPod) Boys don't cry; boys don't cry . . .

Meyer: Yes they do.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You Shouldn't "Eww" Michael Phelps; and You Shouldn't Refer to Amanda Beard as a "Nude Pin-Up Swimmer"

You may have heard that two-time swimming gold medalist Amanda Beard denied rumors linking her to Michael Phelps, saying, "Ew!" and "I have really good taste. He's not my type." I'm not sure why she reacted so strongly. Phelps is a good looking guy, seems like a nice dude, and has the whole American hero thing going for him. Maybe she knows something I don't, but this probably isn't the best time to say mean things about Michael Phelps. Whatever.

More disturbing than Beard's comments was CNN's healine about the story (pictured): "Nude Pin-Up Swimmer Disses Phelps, 'Eww!' " The headline alludes to Beard's 2007 Playboy pictoral and her posing nude in a PETA ad campaign. While questioning Beard's decision-making is fair, referring to her as a "Nude Pin-Up" instead of as an "Olympic Swimmer" or "Seven-Time Medalist" is not. Had she not won two golds, four silvers, and a bronze, Playboy and PETA never would have come calling. That's my take.

For what it's worth, Phelps is now being linked to Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice, who won three golds in Beijing and holds the world record in the 200 and 400 IM. And Beard has apologized for her comments.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Children With Aquatic Life

That's Troublesome

I was just reading through The United Methodist Church's recent State of the Church Report and noticed that less than half of UMs surveyed believe that it is extremely important for the church to address health issues such as AIDS and malaria. Am I missing something?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lest You Big Ten Fans Get a Big Head

SEC pride is possibly the strangest phenomenon I've encountered since moving to Tennessee from Indiana eight years ago. I've met several devoted SEC football evangelists here in the south: people who will go to any lengths to demonstrate that SEC football is superior to the football played in other major college athletic conferences, particularly the Big Ten and Pac Ten. These SEC apologists abhor the notion that anyone would think differently.

This guy takes SEC pride to another level, setting his SEC-is-better-than-the-Big-Ten rant to music (with accompanying video). I lived among Big Ten fans for the first twenty-four years of my life, and they really don't do this sort of thing.

Hat tip: Deadspin

Monday, August 18, 2008

Slave Chocolate Is Not Pure Chocolate

You may have noticed Hershey's new ad campaign in which the company boasts of the purity of its chocolate. The centerpiece of the marketing blitz are commercials featuring chocolate that takes the form of good-looking people living a carefree, idyllic life. These 30-second spots, set to the tune of a cover of Modern English's "I Melt With You," repeatedly describe Hershey's chocolate as "pure" ("pure happiness," "pure delicious," etc.).

Here's the problem: Hershey's, like most major chocolate manufacturers, buys much of its cocoa from West Africa and particularly Côte d'Ivoire; hundreds of thousands of cocoa industry workers in West Africa are children; several thousand of the children picking cocoa beans in Côte d'Ivoire may be victims of human trafficking. Though Congress passed legislation back in 2001 mandating that chocolateers must "wean themselves from child labor, then certify that they had done so," an article earlier this year in Fortune magazine suggests that little progress has been made:

Researchers found that while industry and governments in West Africa have made initial steps, such as establishing task forces on child labor, conditions on the ground remain bad: Children still work in cocoa production, regularly miss school, perform dangerous tasks and suffer injury and sickness. The report criticized the governments of Ivory Coast and Ghana for lack of transparency. And it said the industry's certification process "contains no standards."

Hershey's, like Nestle, Cadbury, and others, needs to do more to ensure that its chocolate is as pure as these new commercials say it is. In the meantime, I'll need to figure out what to do with the bag of Rolos® already in my cupboard. Do I throw them away in protest, or do I eat them, so as not to dishonor the hard work of the children responsible for the cultivation of the candies' primary ingredient?

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Other People in the Pool

ESPN's Pat Forde took a break from his worship of Michael Phelps in his latest column to give some much deserved love to other members of the U.S. swim team:

You can't help but feel for Natalie Coughlin, who won her 10th career Olympic medal Friday morning. Nobody noticed because Phelps was busy winning his sixth of these Games and setting his sixth world record in the 200 individual medley.

Or for Ryan Lochte, who won his first individual gold in the 200 backstroke and then finished third in that 200 IM 30 minutes later -- an amazing display of endurance and toughness. Lochte's double was relegated to the "In Other News" department.

Or for Rebecca Soni, who earned America's most surprising swimming gold so far with her upset over Australian Leisel Jones in the 200 breaststroke. Jones had held the world record in the event until Friday, when Soni shattered it and won easily.

I was delighted to see Lochte take gold in the 200 backstroke last night. He'd long played the George Harrison to Phelps and Aaron Peirsol's Lennon and McCartney. I also enjoyed watching Natalie Coughlin win the 100 back a few days back despite her seeming inability to swim the stroke in a straight line. As much as I've set my clock by Phelps this week, all of the swimmers on the U.S. team have, together, made for a wonderful primetime viewing experience.

Update: ESPN's Jim Caple has another great article on this subject that looks at some of the great non-American swimming stories. He writes about twelve-year-old Antoinette Joyce Guedia Mouf from Cameroon; Pamela Girimbabazi who has survived genocide, poverty, and disease in her native Rwanda to compete in the games; and Zakia Nassar of the Palestinian Territories, who won a heat of the 50 freestyle despite not being allowed to train in a nearby Olympic pool in Israel and having to practice in a 12-meter pool in Bethlehem.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Re: Praying for Rain

I came across this video from Focus on the Family a couple days ago. In it, FotF's Stuard Shepard wonders aloud several dozen times whether it would be wrong to pray for "abundant, torrential" rain during Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention later this month. (Obama will make his speech outdoors at Denver's Invesco Field.) To Focus on the Family's credit, they pulled the video after one day, but it's still easy to come by on YouTube.

My answer to Shepard's question: Yes, it would be wrong. The rain you'd be praying for could be put to much better use in drought-stricken nations of East Africa, where famine seems imminent. Praying for rain to disrupt Obama's speech is akin to a church using a box of donated toiletries to vandalize a rival church instead of giving them to a women's shelter or food bank.

But maybe this misstep by Focus on the Family presents an opportunity for Christians and others to take more seriously the plight of those who suffer from drought or a lack of clean water. Maybe this video is a reminder that we should pray for rain to bring relief to another part of the world.

And while I'm thinking about it, this is a great chance for me to lift up an organization called Dry Tears. Dry Tears fights dehydration in parts of the world where water is scarce by building wells. Five Atlanta-area teenagers started the organization after one learned that dehydration in some African nations was so severe that the children cried "dry tears." Learn more at Dry

Note: As of this writing, I have not donated anything to Dry Tears. So, as of this writing, I have not practiced what I am preaching.

I Like This Plan; I'm Excited to Be a Part of It

Guess what I'm doing tonight: I'm using a blacklight to discover where my cats have marked their territory. Then I'm cleaning up what I find with a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, peroxide, and dish soap. You're jealous, aren't you?

Where's Spitz?

Deadspin has a great piece on the IOC's neglecting to invite Mark Spitz to Beijing, where his record of seven gold medals and seven world records in one Olympics likely will be matched or surpassed by Michael Phelps later this week. (Last night Phelps broke Spitz's record of nine all-time gold medals.) Though Bob Costas and others say the name "Mark Spitz" several times in every broadcast, NBC has done very little to remember and celebrate the greatness of what Spitz did in Munich in 1972. From Deadspin:

People tend to forget that in the early '70's Spitz was considered by many the greatest athlete in history . . . . Not only did he win seven golds in Munich, but they came against the backdrop of one of sports' darkest chapters, the Munich Massacre, in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed by Palestinian terrorists. The first Olympics in Germany since Hitler's 1936 Games was not mankind's finest hour; a fact not lost on Spitz, who is Jewish. He didn't get to stick around for the closing ceremonies; being whisked away by police due to fears that he would be a target.

Spitz's absence in Beijing is both sad and strange.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wall Arch Collapses

I was sad to learn today that Wall Arch, one of my favorite attractions at Utah's Arches National Park, collapsed last week. No one has reported being present when it happened. I had a framed photo of Wall Arch in my room as a child, and I never imagined that something like this would happen. I figured Landscape Arch would go first.

If You Don't Understand Why Last Night's 4 x 100 Freestyle Relay Was So Incredible . . .

Read Pat Forde's retelling of the race on

You can also watch the race at if you have the proper plug-ins. (Unfortunately, NBC's videos are not embeddable; and NBC is quickly removing all video of the race from YouTube.)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Regarding the Olympics

First, I sympathize with those who have decided not to watch this year's games in protest of the IOC's decision to put the Olympics in China, a nation with a dismal record on human rights. These concerns are important, but I am nonetheless watching the games for two reasons: 1) I don't want to penalize the athletes, and this year's field of competitors is one of the best ever. 2) More importantly, China's hosting the Olympics has drawn attention to important issues (the aforementioned human rights concerns) that many people would have ignored or been unaware of were China not hosting the games. The Olympics have become an occasion for calling China to task.

That said, here are a few thoughts on the actual competition:

  • I noticed that Michael Phelps is one of the few elite swimmers who uses a flip turn in the transition from backstroke to breaststroke in the individual medley. It's the little things that make him so great.

  • I'm not sure whether to be impressed or concerned by the number of world records that have been broken in swimming so far.

  • Whenever I watch volleyball at an elite level, I wonder why it isn't more popular as a spectator sport either in the U.S. or elsewhere. It's fast-paced yet easy to follow; it has no shortage of spectacular plays and translates well on television. Yet the U.S. has no indoor professional league and the pro beach volleyball circuit doesn't even have a page on Curious.

  • The most exciting non-swimming event so far, in my opinion, was the men's cycling road race. Watching made me wish I'd paid more attention to this year's Tour de France.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Resha Kate Is Frightened . . .

. . . by the Furniture Warehouse guy. (I won't tell her that we bought our couches from the "Home of the $399 Sofa.")

110-Year-Old Tuatara Becomes a Father

Here's a little something to brighten your Friday:

(CNN) -- At well over 100 years old and showing no interest in sex for over four decades, Henry is on his way to becoming a dad.

Henry, the oldest tuatara to mate at Southland Museum, enjoys a cold shower in his home in New Zealand.

Henry is a tuatara, a rare lizard-like creature that descended from dinosaurs. The tuatara has been endangered since the 1890s, and it's only found on a handful of New Zealand's offshore islands.

Regarding the title of the article, a tuatara is not a lizard.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

"The Most Overrated Position in Sports"

Jeff Caple's ESPN Page 2 article on the inflated value of the closer is one of the best articles on any subject that I've read in several months.

We Need to Work on the TV Thing

Meyer to Resha Kate: "Turn yourself down. I'm trying to watch TV."

On Comparing Apples and Oranges

People often use the phrase "apples and oranges" or "comparing apples and oranges" to describe an inadequate or invalid comparison. For example, "You can't compare the value of a pitcher to the value of a position player. It's apples and oranges." Or, "The circumstances surrounding our continued presence in Iraq are entirely different than those surrounding the rebuilding of Germany after World War II. Comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges."

But I don't think the idiom works. Apples and oranges are easy to compare. Consider:

  • Apples and oranges are both fruits.

  • Apples and oranges are roughly the same size.

  • Both apples and oranges grow on trees.

  • Both fruits are common in children's snacks and lunches, often in wedge form.

  • Both are common in fruit salads and in the types of salads only served at picnics and pitch-ins.

I could go on. The point is that apples and oranges are similar in form and function and that the idiom, as it is commonly used, makes no sense. A more apt expression would be, "like comparing apples and tomatoes." Apples and tomatoes look similar on the surface (same color and size) but are substantially different: Apples grow on trees, tomatoes on vines; one would never put applesauce on spaghetti; one would never dip a tomato in caramel and eat it on a stick.

As it were, I'm not the first (or even the fourteen thousand, eight hundred sixty-first) person to object to the apples and oranges analogy. Wikipedia has a summary.

Monday, August 04, 2008

New Music From the Tinleys: "Everybody Sing, Everybody Play Bass"

Saturday morning, while Ashlee was at work, Meyer asked me to come up with a song so that he could sing and play his drum. I played a little piano riff, and he and Resha Kate joined in. Within a few minutes, we'd put together (I hestitate to say "wrote" or "composed") a fun little tune.

Then Meyer asked if we could listen to our new song on the iPod. My initial response was, "It doesn't work like that, Meyer." Then it hit me: This isn't 1995. We totally can listen to our song on the iPod. And a couple hours later we did.

So here's our song. The kids decided to call it "Everybody Sing, Everybody Play Bass."

"Everybody Sing, Everybody Play Bass" (mp3)

Music: Josh Tinley
"Lyrics": Meyer and Resha Kate Tinley

Meyer Tinley: Vocals, rack tom*
Resha Kate Tinley: Vocals
Josh Tinley: Piano, bass

(Our Yamaha keyboard is responsible for the drums)

* "Rack tom" is probably the most accurate description for the drum that came with Meyer's First Act™ percussion set.