July 3, 2008

Four For Friday - The Early Edition

Note From Mikal: Given that tomorrow is a holiday and today feels like Friday, I'm posting this week's Four For Friday meme today rather than tomorrow. Enjoy and have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Q1 - Holiday Travel: Retail gas prices rose overnight to a record high for the fourth day in a row, ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend -- one of the nation's busiest weekends for travel. The national average price for a gallon of regular gas rose to an all-time high of $4.098 from $4.092 the day before, a daily survey by motorist group AAA showed. Here in Orange County, Calif., our average prices are $4.559 for a gallon of Regular, $4.853 for a gallon of Mid, $4.933 for a gallon of Premium, and $5.098 for a gallon of Diesel. Have you changed your July Fourth plans because of rising gas prices?

Q2 - Neighbors: On the afternoon of November 14, 2007, 61-year-old Joe Horn shot and killed two men burglarizing his Vietnamese-American neighbor's home in Pasadena, Texas. Published recordings of Horn's exchange with 911 emergency dispatch indicate that he was asked repeatedly not to interfere with the burglary, because the police would soon be on hand. Here's a brief snippet of Horn's 911 conversation:

  • 911 Operator: Mr. Horn, do not go out the house.
  • Joe Horn: I'm sorry. This ain't right, buddy.
  • Operator: You're going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with that gun. I don't care what you think. Stay in the house.
  • Horn: You wanna make a bet? I'm gonna kill 'em.

On the 911 tape, Horn can be heard confronting the suspects, saying, "Move, and you're dead", immediately followed by the sound of a shotgun blast, followed by two more. Following the shootings, Horn told the 911 operator, "They came in the front yard with me, man, I had no choice." The two men Horn shot, Diego Ortiz and Hernando Riascos Torres, happened to be illegal aliens from Columbia, and autopsy results revealed both were fatally shot in the back.

To wrap this question up, after hearing two weeks of testimony from witnesses, earlier this week a Houston grand jury chose not to indict Horn for any wrongdoing. Despite how you feel about Horn's actions, would you choose to defend your neighbor's home in the same way? Would you exit your own home in broad-daylight brandishing a weapon in an attempt to stop burglars or suspected thieves?

Q3 - Gobble Up: Now that the European Large Hadron Collider is completed and ready to fire up in August, a slew of articles have popped up on the Internet and in newspapers around the world quoting doomsayers. An AP article from last weekend was the most recent example of critics warning that the 17-mile, $5.8 billion supercollider--which will slam protons together in an attempt to learn more about the building blocks of the universe--will inadvertently create a black hole that will gobble up planet Earth. Are you worried?

Q4 - You Choose: We all know that there only 12 months in a year. But what if I gave you the ability to add a 13th month to the calendar! What would you call this 13th month and where in the calendar would you place it?

Posted by Mikal at July 3, 2008 8:13 AM | TrackBack


1. Luckly we are planning on staying town this fourth of july, but if we were planning on traveling I dont think I would still be going.

2. I think I would do the same thing iF I had a weapon. However for that same reason I dont have any weapons in the house. I think I might shoot someone

3. UMMMM.....Yes! Why would you try to create somehitng that we have no way of knowing how to controll?

4. I would place in after july and call it jillember, so I could tell people my wife has a month named after her. :)

Posted by: Vince at July 3, 2008 8:22 AM

Q1: I didn't have any travel plans made for the 4th, so the rising gas prices haven't changed anything for me this weekend.

Q2: It would depend on if I knew my neighbors were home at the time. If they were I would definitely want to help them. I'm not going to run out with a gun, but I would do what I could. If no one was home at the time, I would call the police, but stay inside my house.

Q3: Honestly, I have no idea what this is. So no, I am not worried.

Q4: The month would be named Meagen, obviously, and it would sit happily between July and August.

Posted by: Meagen at July 3, 2008 8:23 AM

Q1 - Holiday Travel: My plans were to drive to the local Burger King and get me a Whopper combo. But now, I'm not so sure I can afford the gas to do so :(

Q2 - Neighbors: Would I defend my neighbor's property the same way? Well, if I were in Texas (where it's legal to lethally defend property) and assuming I didn't hate my neighbor (in which case I'd probably join in on the burglarizing), yes I would. In Utah, the laws make it much more difficult to defend yourself (much less your property or your neighbor's property), so there's no way I would. Hey, Texas being Texas, I figure if you try to rob a man's house you better be expecting to get shot.

Q3 - Gobble Up: A black hole? I've always wanted to see one of those things close up! Actually, I'm more distressed over Schrodinger's cat. Where's the Humane Society when you need them?! I'm pretty sure it'll take more than a couple of protons colliding to create a black hole. And if it does... man, what a way to go!!!

Q4 - You Choose: I would call the month "Stusmember" and make it the first month of the year. It would be the AWESOMEST month EVER... every year!

Posted by: Stu the Super Wise at July 3, 2008 8:35 AM

Q1 - Holiday Travel: Nope, still planning on going to the lake to get in some wake boarding. But, I'll be filling up the boat with my in-laws credit card!

Q2 - Neighbors: If the neighbors where not home, then there's no way I would take the law into my own hands. That's what home owners insurance is for anyway. But, if the neighbors were home, I would probably go over in case they needed protection.

Q3 - Gobble Up: I haven't heard anything about it until now. Thanks for ruining my perfectly good holiday weekend Mikal!!!!

Q4 - You Choose: It would come before January, and it would be called Transitionary because the whole purpose of the month would be helping people transition from the big holiday break in December back into real life of working, school, etc. People would only be required to work half of the month of Transitionary.

Posted by: Steve Nye at July 3, 2008 8:38 AM

Q1 - Holiday Travel: I haven't. We weren't going to travel anyway. But I have changed other pieces of my life for sure, like deciding not to sell my MINI since it gets over 30 mpg.

Q2 - Neighbors: If I were certain no one was home, I wouldn't do it. If I thought my neighbors might be there, you bet your ass I'd do anything I could to protect them, and that would include shooting the bad guys if necessary.

Q3 - Gobble Up: Not at all, it's complete bunk. It's just science. People have been talking about man causing the end of the world since the beginning of time. Hasn't happened yet, so I like the odds.

Q4 - You Choose: I'd add it right between September and October because Fall is the greatest time of the year hands down, and those are my 2 favorite months. Since the months September, October, November, and December all come from Latin and mean the Seventh month, the Eighth month, and the Ninth month, and the Tenth month respectively (original calendar only had 10 months, Jan and Feb were added later) I'd go with the Thirteenth month. 13 in Latin is tredecim. So my glorious new month to extend Fall would be: Tredecimber

Posted by: Jeremy at July 3, 2008 8:40 AM

Q1 - Holiday Travel: No. I bought $100 worth of fireworks to blow up the street, and my family is still still planning to travel to Lake Tahoe (in our mini-van) and chill all week.

I am planning to change my vehicle purchasing plans, and I am currently focusing on the Hydrogen Car (Zero Emission) and the Capacity Car (150 MPG); I will likely make a change in the next 2-3 years. This problem has surpassed any short term solutions, and we need to be thinking of a 5+ year solution ... and I beleive we have hit the Tipping Point (for those who read the book), once we hit $4 a gallon. Here are a few options to bring down fuel costs:
1. Pump A LOT MORE oil into the pipeline to drive-up supply (e.g. TDP would create 40B barrels of oil a year from trash and sewage)
2. Add more alternative fuel consumers to the American vehicle pool to drive down demand of oil.(e.g. Capacity Car at 150 MPG)
3. Stop trading barrels of oil in the American dollar. Everytime the dollar falls as our economy suffers, the price of a barrel rises in response, and the future price of gas rises, which causes the price of gas to wrongly rise at the pump immediately ... this inflates the cost of living and our economy takes another hit. I recommend we trade in Euro's, which is spread across all of Europe, and we move to another fuel source as fast as possible.

Who let our economy go to pot?!?!

Q2 - Neighbors: You bet! I would hope my neighbors would do the same for my home and family. What if they had gone into the house and killed someone inside; how would that make you feel if you just stood by and watched. I would hope we would give the burglars plenty of opportunity to leave first, and then taking action if their intentions did not change. But hey ... I'm a Texan too.

Q3 - Gobble Up: I am not worried. The black hole theory really has little merit in my book. I would bank more on an atomic explosion that would make the $5.8B a sunk cost on someones P&L. We may just learn a little something about our Atom that we didn't already know.

Q4 - You Choose: I would name it "Jenny", after my most lovely wife. I think I would put it just before August to give us one more month of Summer. The month of "Jenny" would have the extremely hot temperatures, like August does today, which is appropriate since my wife is FREAKIN' HOT. And then the month of my birth, August, would experience cooler temperatures, which I would enjoy more for my b-day celebration.

Posted by: Keith Hester at July 3, 2008 8:54 AM

1. I didn't really have any plans for this weekend. But if I did, I'd make sure I could get to them on my Scooter.

2. Unless my neighbors were in the house, I would probably just let the police handle it. I don't own a gun. If I did, I might consider trying to stop the crooks, but I most definitely wouldn't kill them. Perhaps a shot to the kneecap if absolutely necessary, but I can't imagine killing someone over burglary.

3. Nope. I've got to much to worry about already and this is something I really couldn't do anything to prepare for even if I did think it would happen--which I don't.

4. I would call it Dreamember, and I would place it intermittently in the limbo state between being awake and asleep.

Posted by: Clark at July 3, 2008 12:12 PM

1) Seeing I have no 4th plans, I didn't change them. I don't drive that much to begin with, even so, it now costs $20 to go 100 miles here in oregon. That's pretty sobering.

2) The whole reason law exists is to allow reason to rise above passion. That was one of the founding pricniples of this great experiment known as America. This is why we have law. When you reduce it down to vigilantism, society cannot stand --- even IF the criminals deserved it -- even IF we'd like to blast a burgler.

3) I am more worried about what I am having for lunch.

4) Between July and August and it would simply be called "Jerry"

Posted by: Jerry c. at July 3, 2008 12:59 PM

1. No, but I should have. I'm driving from Salt Lake to Denver for a vacation that I can't afford...

2. I probably would defend my neighbor's property if I felt the intruders were going to get away before the police showed up... However, there is hardly ever a good reason to shoot someone in the back.

3. Wow. I hadn't heard about his yet either, but maybe the blackhole will take us back in time where we can meet up with the "other" earth and fix some of the massive screwups that we have caused.

4. I would put MEGAtober right after February and it would have 32 days and all those February lovers would be all "hey how come your month gets 32 days and ours only has 28. You could give us two days and we would both have an ample number of days". Then I would say "No way man, this is my month and its better than yours!" Also every Monday in MEGAtober would be a federal holiday and all businesses would be required to close. Also it would be warm.

Posted by: DLay at July 3, 2008 2:16 PM

1. No we haven't changed out plans and it includes a drive out from Utah to Lake Tahoe, then on to Bed and Breakfast Belicove, then Disneyland, Sea World, and Universal Studios then up through Las Vegas. In all, I will be driving over 2000 miles. If my Tahoe gets 15 miles a gallon, I will spend over $500 in gas at $4 a gallon, but since California seams to be closer to $4.50 it could break $600 before its all said and done. OUCH! but I haven't changed our plans.

2. No I would have acted as he did. I believe he made up his mind that he wanted to shoot them before he went outside, further evidenced by the fact that he shot them in the back. I would have convicted him if I had been on the Jury.

3. No

4. Between April and May and I would call it CalvinHobbs

Posted by: Jared at July 3, 2008 4:42 PM

Hey Mike & fellow FBs!

Q1. No, have not changed plans for the 4th of July. My husband and I plan to drive to a nearby port and watch the fireworks. Maybe taking more friends in our car versus meeting there...

Q2. Yes and yes. If you are going to have a gun, you have to be trained and prepared to use it. That is why we don't have one in our house. But, if we did and we saw a neighbor in distress, no question. The jerk-off is going is down.

Q3. Honestly, I have not heard of or thought about what you are talking about with this blackhole latest news. We have more pressing issues right in front of our faces, don't you think? If this planet is doomed, well, kiss your family and your butt goodbye and hope you have lived your life to the high standards you have set for yourself.

Q4. No interest in an extra calendar month... Just want 3 day weekends and 4 day work weeks!

Posted by: Flower at July 3, 2008 4:45 PM

Q1: No, I haven't changed my plans, but I have changed the way I drive. I now drive the speed limit instead of 5-10 miles over, and I'm slow to accelerate and coast to stop.

Q2: No, I would not defend my neighbor's home in the same way. As much as I like my neighbors I wouldn't risk my life for their property. No, I wouldn't brandish a gun because I wouldn't have one. I'm sorry, but I'm dumbfounded as to why the jury didn't indict Horn.

Q3: No

Q4: I'd call it "shoptember" and place it between November and December so we could have a peaceful Thanksgiving weekend that didn't involve shopping frenzies.

Posted by: John Wenck at July 3, 2008 7:38 PM

Check out this article on Biofuels. The rest of the world is aligning around the fact that using a food source to create alternative fuels is bad ... it will drive up the price of food and ultimately hurt the economy. Imagine that!!!


Posted by: Keith Hester at July 4, 2008 8:03 AM

Q1: No, but only because we were planning on taking it easy and not going anywhere in the first place.

Q2: If I owned a weapon I would hope I would be brave enough to defend my neighbor's home no matter the circumstances.

Q3: About as worried as I am about global warming...not at all.

Q4: Actually, if you are Jewish...I've never really thought about messing with the calendar this way. It sounds like it would take longer to get to your next birthday. My #3 child is already bothering me about when the next is. I certainly don't want to tell the kid the wait will be an extra thirty days. ;-)

Posted by: CoG at July 4, 2008 9:30 AM

1. I try and drive as little as possible these days. Most of the time other people want to drive anyway, so I let them. The price of gas has not effected my 4th of July plans.

2. Hell no. I would stay in my house and call the police, they are the qualified professionals in this situation. I'm sorry my neighbor's house may be in danger, but I wouldn't never put my life at risk for material possessions. I'll call 911 and let them handle it from there.

3. Well now that you've pointed this out...it is a bit scary, but what can I do about it? I hope it doesn't happen.

4. Siesta. Right between January and February. Everyone would get the entire month off from work and take a holiday, do something fun, without concern for losing their job.

Posted by: Vera at July 4, 2008 11:52 AM

For all of you people who are are utterly confused about why Mr. Horn got off, go back and read my answer to the question. What he did was perfectly legal. Like the man said, "This ain't right..." I'd love to have Mr. Horn as my neighbor. Reason #5,769 of why things are better in Texas (you're welcome Keith!)

Posted by: Stu the Super Wise at July 4, 2008 10:31 PM

1. Nope, still drove 400 miles each way. Family is worth it.

2. Can't say that I'd be likely to act that way even for my own home.

3. Not even a little bit.

4. I like spring, so probably get another one in there between April and May and schedule holidays for every Monday and Friday during the month.

Posted by: Greg at July 7, 2008 8:12 AM

1. Nope, still drove 400 miles each way.

2. I would be unlikely to even defend my own home that way.

3. Not even a little bit.

4. Between April and May for more spring, and make all the Mondays and Fridays holidays.

Posted by: at July 7, 2008 8:25 AM

1. Our plans were to stay around town anyway. If you saw the Pleasant Grove, Utah fireworks, you understand!

2. I would hope my husband were home to protect us, because, as most of you know, he is a Ninja. I doubt he would have to kill anyone - Ninjas are more imaginative than that.

3. Being sucked up by a black hole may be just what this planet needs...

4. I would spread it out evenly throughout the year. There would be a 4 day weekend at the end of each month designated as Family & Friends Weekends - PARTY!

Posted by: Amanda at July 7, 2008 11:14 AM

1. Yeah, I'm late and yes I did travel for the fourth. That was fuggin' expensive. It hurt, maybe I will think differently next time, but blood is thicker than...er.my bank account..that doesn't make sense. I saw family is what I meant to say, so it was worth it.

2. No I'd just jot down all the info I had on them (what they looked like, plates etc) and let the men in blue suits fight it out. I will not lose my life stopping someone from stealing my neighbors wal mart stylized shit..if there was human life at stake and I was packin an iron, I might go for it. Words are different than reality though, that's for sure.

3. Oh man I'm tired of conspiracy, my step dad thinks that our country is run by devil worshipping free masons. Ugg damn you internet for polluting this simple man's mind. No black hole dude, c'mon it takes a star bigger than ours, that dies and implodes upon itself in the course of millions of years to create one of those. Silly stuff.

4. hmm Leap Month maybe? Put it in the Fall, my favorite season. Just knowing that winter is another month away is placebo to help me feel less cold.

Posted by: Aaron V at July 9, 2008 2:31 PM

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