Ken's Project Blog

February 21, 2011

Playable Angry Birds Birthday Cake

Filed under: Personal — Ken @ 10:59 am

What a great birthday cake – wonder what he’ll do next year for his son’s seventh birthday… Might I suggest a playable Fruit Ninja cake?


YouTube video: Playable Angry Birds birthday cake

Fruit Ninja website


February 3, 2011

2010 National Scout Jamboree

Filed under: Human Interest,Personal — Ken @ 10:17 am

This morning I had occasion to plug my Flip HD camera into my computer (to charge the battery), and I found I had about 9 minutes of video from the 2010 National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill. There is nothing special about the video, but it helps you get a sense of the enormity of the event.

This film shows just random scenes, either shot from the a curb watching some activities or from the window of a bus. I rode on the passenger side of the bus, so my film shows the outside edges of the campgrounds, there were literally tens of thousands more scouts on the other side of the bus in the main camping areas.

I understand there were over 40,000 scouts in attendance (including my son), and it really was an amazing sight to behold. My son’s Jamboree troop had been meeting, planning and preparing for the Jamboree for almost two years, but one of the things that struck me was The Shomer Shabbat Contingent, consisted of Orthodox Jewish scouts from the U.S., Canada and Israel that did all their planning virtually – the first time they met was a week before the Jamboree in, of all places, the Catskills. You can see their campsite at about 6:10 mark in the film (they have a large front gateway with flags from the countries the scouts in the troop are from).

You’ll also see a large tent with a long line of people waiting to enter – that was ONE of the two souvenir stores at the Jamboree, and the line was pretty constant all day long.

You’ll also see some medical tents, A LOT of porta-johns, and lots and lots of scouts, doing all manner of activities including rappelling, archery, shooting rifles, riding BMX bikes, etc. I regretfully failed to capture one of the most prominent activities at the Jamboree – patch trading. I’m not sure how I missed it, but in some parts of the campground you couldn’t go 10 feet without coming across yet another scout with a blanket spread out, with all manner of patches spread out on display for trade. Scouting doesn’t allow the boys to “sell” their patches, but they are allowed to trade for them – and trade they do! My son was able to get a complete “Star Wars” set, and everyone seemed to be looking for the elusive “HALO” Set of patches (on the right).

Attending Jamboree is, for most scouts, a once in a lifetime opportunity – they are typically held every four years, a scout must have achieved the rank of First Class to attend, and no scouts can attend after their 18th birthday, except as an adult leader or staff member at the event. Happily, the next Jamboree is in three years (they held back on this Jamboree so it could coincide with the 100th Anniversary of Scouting in America), and my son has every intention of attending the 2013 Jamboree at The Summit Bechtel Family National Scouting Reserve in West Virginia.

Mike Rowe, host of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, gave a wonderful speech about his scouting experience (after making a GRAND ENTRANCE in the bucket of a massive front end loader):

Many folks complained about President Obama not attending the Jamboree in-person, but I’ll be honest, I can’t imagine a better speaker than Mike Rowe on that night, for those boys. A politician – any politician – would have polarized the audience, Mike Rowe, as they say, knocked it out of the park that night.


YouTube Videos: Scenes from the 2010 National Scout Jamboree and Mike Rowe at BSA 2010 Jamboree The Sun Sets on the 2010 National Scout Jamboree National Scout jamboree (Boy Scouts of America) and Borscht Belt entries

The Jewish Week: Be Prepared … And Keep The Sabbath Memo to Media: Obama is not “the first sitting president to appear on a daytime talk show”

February 2, 2011

One of my Favorite Words

Filed under: Personal — Ken @ 2:45 pm

I just finished reading a really good book “The Reagan I Knew,” the last book published by William F. Buckley, Jr., and I noticed two passages (and one word!) that I wanted to share with you, and I will, each in their own posting this morning – this is the last of the three postings.

And finally – The Word:

I first heard this word a long, long time ago, but I never knew how to spell it – querencia.

According to the website Wiktionary the definition is:

the area of the bull-ring where the bull makes its stand

I spotted the word on page 207 of the book.

It is a great word, and one you should consider adding to your quiver – especially if you like to spice up your comments with a little spanish lingo!

Sources: cuerencia entry Bill O’Reilly – Nancy Pelosi’s favorite word is “The Word”

January 23, 2011

Decoding Credit Card Numbers

Filed under: Personal — Ken @ 9:32 am

OK, this has nothing to do with anything other than being interesting to me, so I posted it here more as a holding place for this info. While I personally don’t need to verify credit card numbers, I think it’s interesting to see how they included a confirmation mechanism in the numbers themselves so that without a resource-intensive database lookup a retailer can reject invalid number…


January 15, 2011

Stay Puft T-Shirt

Filed under: Personal — Ken @ 7:10 pm

I really like this shirt, it’s historical, it’s 80’s, and it looks good too!

Available at:

January 4, 2011

Huckleberry Finn

Filed under: Personal — Ken @ 11:16 pm

I was over on twitter earlier today, and I noticed that Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” was “trending.” I didn’t have time to look it up at the time, but later, when I got a chance to investigate it seems that some publisher decided they would edit out the “I” word, since it was offensive to Native Americans.

As one Twain expert commented:

Their position is understandable: Twain’s book has been one of the most often misunderstood novels of all time, continuously being accused of perpetuating the prejudiced attitudes it is criticizing, and it’s a little disheartening to see a cave-in to those who would ban a book simply because it requires context.

Source: (from

While some would apparently argue that it’s better to make such an “accommodation” to expand the audience, I would argue what that “expanded audience” reads is not Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn”, it is instead a book co-written by Mark Twain and a modern-day publisher that really, really resembles Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” – but isn’t. Once you change something, it isn’t the same thing.

In other news, the publisher also announced they would be editing out the “N” word, whatever that is.

If you would like to read the original book by Mark Twain, I’ve placed a copy of it here.

January 3, 2011

How do I get a job when I have no relevant experience?

Filed under: Personal — Ken @ 7:48 pm

Here’s an interesting (and somewhat timely) article on securing employment in a field you have no background in. I’m currently in the process of trying to accomplish exactly that very thing, and find myself following several of the ideas listed (work on your own, internship, try to secure in-person interview).

So if your New Year’s resolutions include a hoped-for career change, take a look at this article and see if you can’t find some ideas to help you accomplish your goals.

Source: article

December 24, 2010

New York by Radio Control Plane

Filed under: Personal — Ken @ 10:10 am

New York City, as seen from a radio controlled model airplane

Follow this link to see an impressive video (with a distracting sound soundtrack) shot from a radio controlled model airplane. It really is amazing to watch, and the linked-to page includes links to the construction of the plane and other details.

At about 2:00 into the video, the plane buzzes the Statue of Liberty.

December 23, 2010

A Very Web 2.0 Nativity

Filed under: Personal — Ken @ 4:12 pm

With over 5 million hits, you most likely have already seen this, but in case you haven’t, here’s a mash-up of web 2.0 and the story of the Nativity. Enjoy!

Half-day of School

Filed under: Personal — Ken @ 12:14 pm

This morning, as my daughter was eating breakfast I asked her if she was looking forward to at school today, a half-day with the requisite holiday party?


“What?” I asked.

“I don’t have to think today.”

Sometimes I miss being seven years old…

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