Tonight Is The Last Late Show with David Letterman's Christmas Special

If you're a long-time fan of David Letterman then you probably already know about the yearly Christmas special that they've been doing for over 20 years. This year's special was recorded yesterday and airs tonight at 11:30 for the last time. Below is a compilation of many of the times Darlene Love has been on over the years singing "Baby Please Come Home".

This is a yearly tradition of mine to watch this show. Don't miss the last one.

Antique Starr "X" Bottle Opener


I'm not a huge fan of antiques in general, but there are times when certain items do catch my interest. After my wife and I moved into our new house, I decided that I wanted to mount a stationary bottle opener somewhere in our kitchen.

After researching these for a while, I remembered all of the old, classic Coca Cola bottle openers that I used to see mounted in stores near the coolers --- I remember them from the 1980s while growing up and would see in a store whenever I would get a glass coke bottle to drink. Maybe this is a southern thing -- I have no idea if this was prevelant elsewhere. Anyway, I decided I wanted one.

Having done a little research, I came across this post at Coca Cola Collectors, a blog about what you think it's about.

An original Coca-Cola bottle opener would have the “STARR X” logo with “Brown Co” written on the front. According to Brown Manufacturing Company, producers of the bottle openers, the first ‘Drink Coca-Cola’ STARR “X” bottle openers started to appear around 1929. Around this time, the ‘Coca-Cola’ STARR bottle opener evolved to the Starr “X” design.

Thomas C. Hamilton, a citizen of Boston, Massachusetts, filed for a patent on September 18, 1924 for a Bottle Cap Puller. The patent, 1,534,211, was issued on April 21, 1925. In 1943, certain modifications were made to the patent allowing a new patent for #2,333,088 to be issued to Raymond Brown, the owner of Brown Mfg. Company. Prior to the early 1970’s, all bottle openers were cast in various foundries throughout the USA. Since then and until December 31, 2006, all ‘Drink Coca-Cola’ STARR “X” bottle openers have been cast at the Brown foundry in Germany.

The site goes on to say there are two versions of this opener. Both versions look like this on the front:


All Starr "X" openers look like this on the front, with the only difference being the patent number it lists. All openers made after 1943 will have the newer patent number.

The other difference is on the back. Any opener made between 1929 - the early 1970s would say "Made in the USA". This meant it was molded at any of the foundries throughout the USA that the Brown Co. used. Starting in the 70's, the Brown Manufacturing Company shifted their foundry to West Germany. Any openers made from the early 1970s - 1991 say "Made in W. Germany". Finally, any that say "Made in Germany" were built from 1991 - 2006.

As best I can tell, the Brown Manufacturing Company stopped making these bottle openers in-house in 2006 and now outsources their construction to various other companies, mostly in China. From online reviews, their quality doesn't compare to the vintage openers.

After scouring Ebay for a few days last Novemeber, I managed to win an auction for a vintage Starr "X" opener that was made in West Germany (so in between 1970 - 1991) still in the original box with the original screws. Tonight I finally decided where in our kitchen I wanted to mount it and did so. I'm quite happy with how well it mounted -- it feels very sturdy.

Below are a few more pictures of the box and the opener, mounted.

Year In Cities 2013

It is my fifth year of keeping track of which cities I've slept in over the past year. I've done this for 2009, 2010,2011, and 2012. Credit for this idea goes to Jason Kottke who I noticed doing this first and liked it, so I decided to do it too.

The rules: One or more nights were spent in each place. Those cities marked with an * were visited multiple times on non-consecutive days

Alexandria, VA*
Warrenton, VA*
Wirtz, VA*
New York City, NY
Philadelphia, PA

I fell from a total of 7 last year back down to 5 this year. Less travel because of building & moving into the house.

House Status: Pre-closing walk through edition.

We did our final walk-through of the house today prior to closing. We went around and inspected every inch of every wall, floor, ceiling & surface to point out things that need to be touched up, fixed, etc. It took about 2 hours to do, and overall we're very happy with the progress. You'll notice all of the blue painter's tape marks throughout - that's part of what we did today on the walk-through. Steffanie had a lot of fun picking out things with the tape she wanted them to touch-up or fix. If you ever want your house covered in blue painters tape, go buy a roll and she'll be glad to come do it. (Really, she very much enjoyed this.)

Nest 'Nestifies' A Smoke Detecter

I had read news that Nest was probably going to release something in this segment of the market. Given that we are mere weeks away from moving into our new home, and I'm planning two install two Nest Thermostats as it is, the announcement from Nest this morning has me very excited.

Nest Protect

A few points that I found interesting:

  • They have both battery and wired versions
  • If you also have Nest Thermostats, the Nest Protects will share information with them.
  • Information shared can do things like turn off the furnace if it detects CO2, or motion data to assist with Nests learning.
  • Sends data to its iOS application
  • You can wave your hand near the Protect to signal for it to turn off in the event the smoke is from a source you're aware of.
  • At night, it can emit low light based on its motion sensor to help light the room in the event the lights are out (presumably so you don't trip over things on your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night without having to wake up your spouse.).