Friday, July 30, 2010

Cake Wreck?

We have some strange traditions in the Huber family. One of which is the recognition (and subsequent celebration) of 1,000th days. These days call special attention to every 1,000 days we have been alive (a much rarer occurence than the annual birthday, as my father likes to say).

Today is Noel's 13,000th day on this planet. To mark the occasion I ordered a cake with (what I believe) was a high degree of specificity concerning the lettering which was to adorn said cake.

I just wanted it to say, "Happy 13,000th Day".

What I got was a bit different.

13,000th Day Cake

You can see much more egregious versions of cakes like this here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Massachusetts and the Electoral College

According to, The Mass. legislature has voted 28-9 to bypass the Electoral College.

Under the law, which was enacted by the House last week, all 12 of the state's electoral votes would be awarded to the candidate who receives the most votes nationally.
Sounds reasonable, right? Well, not if you are the founding fathers who (by my guess) were better at this than the current slate of state senators in one of the original 13 colonies.

Because the law of unintended consequences strikes swiftest and decisively in politics, imagine this scenario.

In 2012, the people of Massachusetts vote in the majority to re-elect Barack Obama. If the Republican challenger were to win the popular vote, not one of the electoral votes from the Bay State would go to our current president. The will of the people would have been thwarted completely.

I can only hope that their governor has the sense to not sign this bill into law.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Yesterday, I had the opportunity to spend time with three great guys that I used to serve with at Fort Hood, Texas back in 2002-2005 (but seems like much longer ago).

Tim Love volunteered his house to have a this mini-reunion but he is in the process of moving so his wife's parents were gracious enough to host. We had wonderful food, taught the foreigners (those from outside the Midwest) how to play euchre and got a chance to catch up. We talked and laughed for hours; sharing stories of 'where are they now', 'remember when' and 'oh-my-god I can't believe I forgot about ...'.

It was great remembering the higher points of my Fort Hood experience with some fantastic officers with whom I was lucky to serve.
It was also a pleasure meeting James' new wife (congrats again to you both!).

A big thank you to Michelle Love and her parents (the Pontikos family) for hosting such a wonderful reunion.

Tim Love, Me, Josh Ishibashi and James Mijares

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Twittersphere

In news that most people won't care about ... I got a Twitter account today. You can follow me by clicking the cool new button to the left on my blog or at @huber57.

Its a brave, new world.

Monday, July 19, 2010

To Mothers Everywhere

A tribute to mothers ... we love you very much.

(Please click here to watch the video for those that get the email feed).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Scarlet T

Transparency became a big word in the 2008 presidential election. President Obama wielded the word like a scarlet letter, implying that those who don't espouse 'transparency' must not have any.

This last week, in the midst of Apple's iPhone 4 antenna debacle, Senator (D-NY) Chuck Schumer weighed in with a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs (because all of the country's problems are fixed, apparently) with this:
I write to express concern regarding the reception problem with the Apple iPhone 4. While I commend Apple’s innovative approach to mobile technology and I appreciate its service to millions of iPhone users nationwide, I believe it is incumbent upon Apple to address this flaw in a transparent manner.
(You can read the entire letter here.) And there you have it. Since Sen. Schumer demands transparency, there must not be any. Never mind that Apple was probably still evaluating the issue (and has since taken steps to assist customers with the problem).

What a great political weapon to be the one to so nobly call for transparency while implying that there is none.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Evaluating Text with an IF() Statement Using Microsoft Excel


Earlier today I got a question from a classmate:


How would you program your IF statement in excel based from Figure 13.60 from our textbook? I know how to do it if it is just a number, but the Q1-XX format is throwing me off and I can't make my table look like the one in the figure.
Here is the answer:

In order to evaluate some of a text string, you have to use one of three functions.

In this case we will use =LEFT().

The =LEFT() function has two arguments:

=LEFT(text,number of characters)

So, point to the cell (text) that you want to evalate and return the number of characters starting at the LEFT.
If Cell A2 has Q1-92 and you type in =LEFT(A2,2), the formula will return "Q1", because it returns the first two characters starting at the left of the text string.

The same holds true for =RIGHT(), it just works the other way (from the right, oddly enough).

=MID() works a bit differently.

=MID(text,start number, number of characters).

In this function, you point to the text, then tell it at what character you want to start evaluating and then the numer of characters.

So, lets say you want the decade from the text.

=MID(A2,4,1). This will return "9". It looks at the text string, counts over 4 from the left and returns 1 character.

So, how does this help me with the IF statement? I hear you asking.

You combine the IF() and the LEFT().

It looks like this:

It reads like this ... If the first two characters in cell A2 are equal to "Q1", then return a 1, otherwise return a 0.

Hope that helps everyone!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Skipping Rocks Along the Olentangy

Yesterday, we made a trip to Columbus, Ohio. Mason and Mallory got to hang out with their cousins, Henry and Baxter. We all piled in a couple of cars and drove up to Highbanks Park, just north of Columbus, on Route 23.

The kids skipped rocks, searched for tadpoles, frogs (toads?), crayfish and whatever else was swimming in the Olentangy River.

All of this play reminded me of when I was Mason's age; skipping rocks into the same river when I would visit with my Grandparents almost 30 years ago (I sound old as I type that...). My uncles Jeff and Randy would walk down the bike path with me and we would spend (what seemed like hours) just skipping rocks into the calm water as it flowed south toward campus.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Wonderful Website for Parents (and Wouldbe Parents)

To all parents, and (more importantly) prospective parents, please view this wonderful website.


LeBron to Miami

In case you woke up from a coma this afternoon, LeBron James is going to play for the Miami Heat. Now everyone can go about their business.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Last year on the 4th, I wrote about my opinion of fireworks. Not much has changed as I hear them echo throughout the neighborhood. Listening to the loud snaps bounce off the houses still reminds me of the familiar sound of gunfire as it would rattle through downtown Baghdad. The stacatto cracks, random and violent, stop just as soon as they start.

Its not the ones that our good neighbors fire off the night of the 4th so much as the fireworks left over. The noises are out of place, even 18 hours after the previous evening's celebration.

This afternoon, I looked out the window to see where the noise was coming from. Watching the fireworks made the experience much different and diffused some of the emotion and reaction that they invoke when I am just listening.

There were four or five kids in the driveway across the street. They were lighting strands of firecrackers and bottle rockets. They seemed blissfully unaware of the power of these explosives and were jumping around, celebrating the day off of school and the power housed in these little cardboard tubes.

What was most satisfying, as I watched them play, was that they had no idea what the sounds of war are, let alone that they were re-creating them in their driveway. Hollering, jumping and laughing, they were enjoying their afternoon.

It reminded me of a quote from one of our Founders, John Adams:

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.

Let us all pray that the only 'gunfire' our sons and daughters hear are that of M-80s and firecrackers.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The White House Staff

On Friday, the White House released a list of its staff and their wages (you can view it here). The yearly salary totals over $38,000,000. Yes, that is with an M. This is not an indictment of the Obama White House but more of the White House or government structure in toto. The First Lady has a staff of over a dozen people with a combined salary of nearly $1.2 million.

Obama has 12 members of his staff that are advising him on economic policy (okay, this may be an indictment of the Obama staff ...). Their combined salary is over $1.4 million per year. Feel like you are getting your money's worth there?

It is no secret that government staffs at all levels become bloated over time. This is just a stark example of it.

FairTax TV Spot

Tomorrow (July 4th) there is a half-hour spot airing on the Fox Business Network about the FairTax. I urge everyone to tune in and listen to the idea.

It airs at 1:30 EDT.

Let me know what you think.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Checking IDs

As of yesterday, anyone who sells alcohol in the state of Indiana must check the customer's ID to see if they are old enough to buy alcohol. Regardless of age or hairline, clerks will now be forced to make a septuagenarian pull out their driver's license and present it.

It seems that we already have a law against selling alcohol to minors. I think this law is a bit of overkill. I am sure cigarettes are next. Maybe movie theater tickets for movies with an R-rating or lottery tickets.

Let's see what the Indiana legislature comes up with next!