December 20, 2015 by Phil Houtz

Psychoanalyzing Scrooge

What exactly trigger’s Ebenezer Scrooge’s big transformation in A Christmas Carol? I always thought Scrooge’s change of heart came about when the spirit of Christmas-yet-to-come pointed a boney finger to Ebenezer’s grave. I may have been influenced in that respect by the Mr. Magoo version. Re-reading A Christmas Carol this year I noticed that the spirits themselves have little to do with Uncle Ebenezer’s big…

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December 15, 2015 by Phil Houtz

You’re a F*cking Genius…Why the F-Bomb is a Sign of Intelligence

So it seems that people tend to believe that foul language is a signal that a person may be intellectually challenged. But that’s not what research shows. In fact, if a person can deftly wield the f-bomb (yes, I’m looking at you, Adrian McKinty) it probably means that they have generally superior verbal skills overall. You see it’s…

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Laser Light Show

December 14, 2015 by Phil Houtz

Why Your Christmas Lights Might Bring Down an Airliner

I was talking with a friend yesterday who said that he was impressed by the Christmas lights he saw flying into Burbank Bob Hope Airport. But on some of the houses the displays weren’t just bright, they were blinding. Turns out that laser Christmas lights, all the rage this season, may be creating a public nuisance….

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The True Face of Jesus

December 13, 2015 by Phil Houtz

Scientists Reveal True Face of Jesus…and He Had a Mullet

At last scientists have discovered the real face of Jesus. Broad features, dark skin and an expression that says “really? This is what you guys have spent the last five years studying?” The clincher is the hair. Leviticus says that ye shall not round the corners of your head. And the Apostle Paul says men…

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Bates Motel

December 12, 2015 by Phil Houtz

The 5 Worst Places to Stay in America

Who plans a crummy vacation? If you’re like most people you check out the travel guides, Google the internets and browse through the Pinterests looking for the best places to vacation. That kind of thinking is only going to leave you disappointed. Instead I say shoot for the worst travel destinations and if they turn…

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December 10, 2015 by Phil Houtz

The Best Places to See Nature in Every State

If yesterday’s post was too California-centric for you, Business Insider has a run-down of all 50 states with The Most Breathtaking Natural Wonders in Every State. Some of the suggestions are obvious – in Colorado you go to Pike’s Peak of course. But some of the recommendations are a bit provocative. When in Delaware go…

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Wild Willy's Hot Spring | Photo by Greg Balkin

December 9, 2015 by Phil Houtz

Top 20 Best Places to Camp in California

The Huffington Post lists their picks for must-do adventures in California. There are some great spots on the list, even if it is a little heavy on campsites and hot springs. I’m a little surprised to see Two Harbors on the list – I think I’d opt for camping on Anacapa Island instead. That said,…

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Photo by Joshua Earle

October 9, 2015 by Phil Houtz

”Human Beings Are Wired to Find Peace in Nature” and Other Profound Horsecrap

I pretty much take it as fact that human beings have not evolved to run on concrete. It kinda makes sense that scrambling over boulders and swinging from trees are better exercise for micro-muscles than are gym machines. And I can mostly accept that our digestive systems have not evolved to handle processed foods. But…

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Image courtesy of Guodong Guo

October 2, 2015 by Phil Houtz

Improve Your Situational Awareness: the Secret Art of Sideview Mirrors

If you spend any time on the 101 freeway through Los Angeles you know that “situational awareness” is your key to survival. And your sideview mirrors are the key to knowing what is going on around you at all times as you drive. But most people don’t have their sideview mirrors adjusted correctly. The technique I learned…

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Photo: public domain

September 22, 2015 by Phil Houtz

The Two Types of Clutter: Misplaced Stuff and Logjams

As I’m working on clearing off my desk and clearing out my office I’m starting to realize that this time around the clutter I’m dealing with is of a different quality than your garden variety crap-fest. Use the Two-Minute Rule to Banish Vulture Vomit Forever That was the term Stanley, our colorful across-the-street neighbor, used…

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messy desk

September 20, 2015 by Phil Houtz

It’s All Turned to Crap – Again. How to Declutter for 70th Time…

Let’s get this out of the way first – that’s an iced coffee on my desk, not an iced Guinness. Next, I am drowning in clutter. It doesn’t seem to matter how much time and effort I spend on trying to get my life organized, there is just no free space anywhere to put anything….

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Photo by Noah Kuhn

September 10, 2015 by Phil Houtz

Back Home to Patch My Bones – Three Lessons from Our Last Trip

Our recent trip to Colorado was…well it got off to a bumpy start. Hertz rent-a-car was short 200 cars, there was a 3 hour wait – during which time NO HERTZ EMPLOYEE ACKNOWLEDGED THE SITUATION OR SPOKE TO CUSTOMERS IN LINE, when we finally talked to an agent we discovered we had booked our reservation…

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Photo by Luke Pamer via Unsplash

September 2, 2015 by Phil Houtz

Spooky Pageviews at a Distance

I’ve been working pretty hard to promote our eCommerce site, Open Door. And we’re slowly and surely getting traffic. But something weird is happening. I’m seeing quantum effects of all this promotion. I’m posting and promoting Open Door but I’m seeing most of the growth here on Wild Rye. What the heck? Is this evidence…

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August 25, 2015 by Phil Houtz

How to Start Over When You Don’t Know Where to Start

I just had a setback. It might not seem like a big deal to you but my office that I’ve been struggling to get organized and keep organized just got turned into a junk room. After four months of work in my spare time I’m back to square one. Maybe even square minus-one. How do…

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February 13, 2015 by Phil Houtz

On the Road with Jucy Lucy – Our Experiment with Low Cost RV Rental

I’ve always wanted to rent an RV but every time I looked into the deets I found them crazy expensive to rent. Well, the ones I looked into a required a huge ($2500) deposit. Granted there are better deals if you take some time to look into the best rates for rv rentals, but I…

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