GreenLance Communications: News • Media • Reviews

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Summer Hiatus

Greenlance is on summer hiatus until 7 September 2008, when we'll return with all new reviews and resources. Happy holidays!

How I Track the Patently Funny

Wacky Patent of the Month
Wacky Patent of the Month

I once knew a fellow who claimed to have invented an automobile engine that could operate without fuel.

"Yeah? What happened?" I'd ask.

"Well the government didn't want me to be successful, so they..."

From there, the story would always get a bit fuzzy. Darned Patent and Trademark Office, always putting the kibosh on clever ideas.

I wish I'd known, then, about Wacky Patents, the site that proves once and for all that "the gummit" will let you you patent just about anything. Every month, for years now, Wacky Patents has featured such cunning ideas as this month's "Anti Eating Mask," a muzzle for fat people. Or the Animated Amusement Device featured in March of 2002, that had a swastika on an axle designed, apparently, to inflict pain on the nether parts of Nazis.

Did the government rob you of a great idea? Tell me all about it. I guarantee I won't tell a soul. Just click the Comments link below, and share.

Monday, July 21, 2008

How I Feed a Raw Need

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="139" caption="We Like It Raw"][/caption]

Nummy, nummy in my tummy...

I've been living the raw-food life -- with an ocassional moment of cheating -- since the first day of this blog.

Over the past two-and-a-half months, I've lost a considerable amount of weight, and have felt much, much healthier.

The investment was minimal: A $30 dehydrator off Craigslist, a blender, and a knife. But the food sometimes gets a bit repetitive. We Like It Raw solves that problems with amazing recipes and beautiful photography that inspires me, all over again, to stay healthy.

I intend to live a very, very long time. Eating raw vegan is the only way to get there with my health intact.

Tell me about other raw food and vegan resources you love by clicking that Comments link below.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

How I Gas Up

Looking to drive traffic to your web site? Here's the secret, guaranteed.

Just make sure the topic of your web site is "Cheap Gasoline Locations." Then get OPEC to double the price of oil. See how easy?

Well it works for Gas Buddy -- the site that tracks the price of gasoline in your town, and in every town in your geographic area. Hey, we can fight back! Buddy up! Tell the neighbors what your nearest station is charging today, and they'll return the favor.

Have other ideas for pressuring price gougers? Share by clicking that Comments link below.

Friday, July 18, 2008

How I Soothe the Savage Beast

All day today, I've been listening to Pandora -- internet radio for the technologically inept.

Honestly, the whole Kazaa and ripping CDs and illegal downloads thing just baffles me. I don't even wanna know.

But Pandora has music coming out my computer speakers for the first time in -- well, ever. Today, it's playing stations dedicated to my boys Earth, Wind and Fire, my Beach Boys and my Five for Fighting. Ahhhh. What a wonderful world. Hey! I think I hear Louis calling!

Click that Comments link below and bring me into the 21st century. I'm embarrassing my kids. What tunes should I really be listening to?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

How I Get Inspired

Welcome back to Smart Thursdays. Today's installment: The Best Thinking from the Best Thinkers.

TED is an annual summit on -- well, any subject that fascinates. It originally featured speeches by fascinating people from the worlds of Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Now it's much more. Click the TEDTalks link on the left column of the web page to watch broadcasts of the "talk of a lifetime" from interesting writers, academics, scientists and artists.

Warning: TEDTalks may cause brain pain. Listen slowly. It hurts to be brilliant.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How I Listen to Literature

We love, love, love our local bibliothèque, and in particular, we love our books on tape.

But sometimes, getting to the library is a chore, and sometimes we just need to listen to something other than radio pop. So we turn to our good friend LibriVox.

LibriVox is home to hundreds and hundreds of books -- classic, mostly -- in audio form. Listen to podcasts, subscribe in iTunes, or hear them using the media player on your computer.

It's a good time to be alive. Found any other amazing uses of technology on the Web? Share by clicking that Comments link, below.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How I Get Happy

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="98" caption="Louis Armstrong"]Louis Armstrong[/caption]

Ever have a really awful, terrible, no-good day? I did. Yesterday. But only for about a minute, because whenever I'm down, nobody gets me happy again like my guy Satchmo.

My boyfriend Louis Armstrong and I have been an item since, oh, about 1963. Watching him smile, or hearing him sing Hello Dolly, or Mack the Knife, or What A Wonderful World is absolutely guaranteed to make anybody feel happy all over again. He's jazz's answer to Prozac.

Got a YouTube favorite of your own? Convince me to break it off with the Satch by clicking that Comments link below.

Monday, July 14, 2008

How I Charge My Life

Some financial planners advise against credit cards. I say, balony. Credit cards are awesome. At least, one credit card is awesome. That's the one I found on Bankrate. It gives me a cut of every dollar I spend. I get 3 percent back for my biggest expenditures -- including my cell phone, utilities and other bills. Hey, why should Visa get all the profit?

Bankrate surveys credit card offers from all the biggies and lets you apply directly from the site for the card that fits your needs. I have two. One for all my domestic spending  -- and that 3 percent cash back -- and the other for overseas travel, so I don't get charged an exchange fee.

Credit cards are safer than cash, allow me to rent a car, track all my spending, and help me stick to a budget. Since I pay off the full balance every month, why wouldn't I use them?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

How I Teach My Baby to Type

It's another birthday. L'il One turns 10 today, and in her honor, Greenlance presents one of the basic life skills a ten-year-old needs to master: Keyboarding.

The BBC's Dance Mat features animated characters such as a Scottish goat and an Italian octopus that teach typing skills to the younger set -- and to adults who still watch their fingers when they type. (Yes, Grandpa, we're talking to you.)

Share your own resources for teaching information literacy by clicking that Comments link below.

Friday, July 11, 2008

How I am Amused

Audrey Hepburn as Madonna. Brad Pitt as a panda. Jive critters -- including a flamenco horse and dogs doing the salsa. Worth 1000 is an online contest for graphic designers, multimedia artists and amateur Photoshop-ists.

It's a fun and freaky respite from your Friday. I mean, seriously. How great is this?

Jive Critters at Worth 1000
Jive Critters at Worth 1000

Thursday, July 10, 2008

How I Get Schooled

I'm too old for school. But I'm never too old to learn. See, I figure that so long as I keep my brain engaged, I'll never become a doddering old fool.

That's why, beginning today, Greenlance will sponsor Smart Thursdays, wherein we feature a great resource for adult education.

Today's featured site: Stanford on iTunes University. This is the one that finally motivated me to install iTunes. It's free audio and video broadcasts of Stanford University lectures covering a wide variety of subjects. It's like auditing college classes without paying tuition. Such a deal.

Have other suggestions for Smart Thursdays? Share your ideas by clicking that Comments link, below.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How I Get 60mpg

Still driving an SUV? Not me. I just scored myself a '92 Geo Metro. Fifty mpg without even trying hard. But I can do better than that. I've learned extreme drivng -- the cheapskate's way to get super-high gas mileage.

Want to join me? Episode 49 (produced back in April, when gas was still sub-four-bucks a gallon) at Systm will teach you how to drive like a hyper-miler.

Have more ideas for improving the bottom line? Share! Click that Comment link, below.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How I Sing a Song

Mondays are for family night. Last evening we were joined by another family, and spent the time eating too much food and singing along with Guitar Man. Unfortunately, it turns out, we're all a little elderly about remembering song lyrics and guitar chords.

No problem. Seems our computer has an excellent memory -- because it knows how to find Chordie, a massive collection of guitar tabs, guitar chords and song lyrics, most of which are submitted by users.  Bad Moon Rising, Kokomo, Desperado, Country Roads, Puff, ...are we showing our age?

Should we give it up and learn some Lil Wayne or Three 6 Mafia? Add Jonas Brothers and Rihanna to our play list? Click the Comments link below and suggest your own favorite family night resource.

Monday, July 7, 2008

How I Stay Married

It's tough, this business of making two lives one. Even though my better half is a good guy -- and he is -- marriage is hard work.

Lovegevity makes marriage just a little bit easier, with expert advice on improving communication, being grateful, and resolving problems. Yes, it's totally a chick site -- though there is a section entitled Husband. But you just know it doesn't see a lot of traffic.

Have any suggestions for relationship resources that actually would appeal to men? Do tell!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

How I Observe the '-ites

Did you know that Wicca is on track to be the US' third-largest religion by 2012? Or that of the ten largest religious groups in the United States, only Catholicism is older than Mormonism? That's right. Southern Baptists were organized fifteen years after the LDS church, and two years before the Lutheran's Missouri Synod. None of the other top ten were organized until 1897 or later.

How do I know? is a compilation of some 43,000 records documenting the membership of more than 4,200 religious faiths. It's fascinating stuff, and will shatter some of your long-held assumptions about who believes what.

Tell me about your own favorite religion resource, won't you? Just click that Comments link, below.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

How I See Dead People

Been looking for your great-grandparents? Relax. They're buried in a granite vault in Utah.

For the past several decades, the world's largest repository of family records has been cataloguing and filming every available record of human existence: more than three billion pages of census records, births, christenings, marriages, deaths...if anyone recorded it, the genealogists at the Vault have probably copied it. 

And here's the best part: You can take a look! makes genealogical records available to anyone who's curious, or who wants to research their own genealogy. Just click the How Do I Get Started link and follow the six steps to creating your family tree. 

Have a good family history story to tell? Just tap that Comments link to start sharing your memories!

Friday, July 4, 2008

How I Get Compus Mentis

Law LibraryIs it weird that I enjoy reading court cases? Naaah. Gossip about crime and civil suits is infinitely more amusing than the alternative: Gossip about celebrity misbehavior and impregnations.

If you, too, prefer Judge Judy to TMZ, you'll relish JRank's Law Library -- an encyclopedia of quick-reading articles about virtually every important legal decision in US history.

Got a better hobby? Time for assentio mentium!  Click that Comments link and share!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

How I Get Clipped

Free Clip ArtSometimes I fancy myself a bit of an artist. Then I look at what actual artists do, and blush.

One of my favorite unsung pop artists is an obscure school teacher and graphic artist named Phillip Martin. I've been stalking his web sites for months now, just gazing at his whimsical drawings. So that you, too, might marvel, I present: Free Clip Art by Phillip Martin. It collects in one place artwork related to all sorts of academic disciplines, holidays, the Bible, and occupations -- as well as random ideas such as rainbows, floods, bathtime, seasick, and folding chairs (which I threw in just in case you thought I was working up a water theme, there.)

There are frillions and morillions of artwork collections out on the infonetwebs. Tell me about your favorite by clicking that Comments link.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How I Trend to Learn

Google TrendsMuskrat. Capuchin. Goleta. All words I had to look up this past week, because Google Trends assured me they were suddenly popular as search terms.

Turns out muskrats were the proximate cause of some of the flooding in the Midwest. A zoo in Mississippi has a new baby monkey. And Goleta is a town near Santa Barbara battling a massive forest fire. See how smart I got, just wondering why lots of people were suddenly searching for odd words?

Have a favorite place for reading the news? I'm all ears.