If I Had A Million Dollars…

If I had a million dollars

I would want a million more

(why not two million more?)

Good point… wait, what are you getting at?

(I think you are missing the point of the song.)

Oh, all right, let me start over.

If I had a million dollars

I’d buy us some time.

(that’s better)

But only good times.

(I think that goes without saying)

If I had a million dollars

We wouldn’t have to sleep on the floor.

If I had a million dollars

We’d buy a bed cause it costs more

If I had a million dollars

I’d buy us a brand new game of “Life”

And I would let you be the travel agent

(but I don’t think the new version has that job anymore)

So if I had a million dollars,

I’d go online and buy a vintage version of “Life”

And let you be the travel agent

If I had a million dollars

I’d buy you a real Bob Ross painting

(With happy trees?)

Extra happy trees!

If I had a million dollars

I’d buy the top tier of cable TV

Then cancel it since we’d have so much to go out and see

If I had a million dollars I’d buy your love

(Or at least your lust. I’m not sure how much your love goes for these days)

If I had a million dollars

I’d buy you a Model X

(But not a red one cause that’s crude)

If I had a million dollars

I’d buy you the world… Read the rest

2020 Christmas Letter

After writing 25 years worth of these letters, I realized that I always just dive straight in without taking time to introduce myself. My name is Omar Lutfey, and in some dimension of your life, you know who I am. I could be one of your top 5 favorite UPS drivers you see every day at the mall. Perhaps I live in your neighborhood. Who knows– you might even be an AI robot from the future tasked with extracting the last valuable information before the planet is destroyed to make way for a new inter-galactic bypass. Whatever your motives, sit back and enjoy as I detail all of the quirks and features of my latest trip around the sun.

To place things in their proper historical context for future generations, I can’t, with any clear conscience, start this letter with anything but the most polarizing issue of the year: What are all the prime factors of 2020? Despite being completely obvious, in the interests of mathematical rigor I’ll start by pointing out the fact that even my dog could tell me that 101 is the largest prime factor. That, of course leaves 20 to be factored as 225. So there we have it. And, to head off the avalanche of questions in the comment section, the next prime year will be 2027. [NOTE TO READER: if this document hasn’t been wirelessly transmitted into your cerebral cortex and you happen to be uploading this data visually from paper or similar antique medium, please send all comments, along with a self addressed stamped envelope, to the address below.] [NOTE TO AI ROBOT FROM THE FUTURE: In all likelihood the United States Post Office no longer exists, so please disregard.

We started the year off by adopting a whole food plant based diet. (AKA we went vegan.) I honestly think more people would switch to this lifestyle if someone could come up with a better name. The weight I’ve lost and my improved healthification overrule the times I miss the taste of bacon and doughnuts. I don’t generally bring it up in causal conversation because nobody wants to listen to me lecture about what things they should and shouldn’t shove in their own mouth hole. My best guess is that it is like unplugging from the matrix– you will just know when you are ready. Also, on some level, people want to believe they will die a heroic and honorable death involving space lasers, rescuing a large group of people from certain death, and, of course, getting the girl.… Read the rest

2019 Christmas Letter

Welcome to my 2019 experience! A lot of “things” and “stuff” happened to me this year, and this is my attempt to project said events through the lens of my hopefully witty banter.

Emotionally speaking, I invested a large portion of my year applying for a contest to build a more efficient air conditioner. To be honest, a lot of people ask me why I’m trying to build a new type of heat pump. In either a dream or field trip to an alternate vertex of the multiverse I experienced a world where we sucked energy directly from the ground and oceans to power our society. I know, I know—I’m more than just a little bit crazy.

Ok, back to the Global Cooling Challenge. While it didn’t receive much attention in the main stream media Sir Richard Branson made a promotional Youtube video on the subject, and he was on The Simpsons, so it must be legit. I filed a provisional US patent and did my best to complete the application.

So did I win? The quantum goggles I am wearing say that both happened. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, was made aware of my idea, immediately flew to northern Colorado, confidently walked into the UPS center before all the drivers left for the morning, and carried me off just like Richard Gere retrieved Debra Winger in “An Officer and a Gentelman.”

Also, nobody seemed to care about my idea and I went back to cobbling together cheap Walmart mini-splits and one hundred gallon horse troughs in a continued attempt to show the world how we can save the planet.

Side note– explaining these events following a more Newtonian physics interpretation of cause and effect, I did not win the competition. This branch has been pruned from the time line tree and my eventual encounter with Elon will happen at an alternate set of time/space coordinates.

In less nerdy news, we spent a week this summer to go on a road trip through Colorado. With so much cool stuff in the world to see it can be hard to remember that we have an amazing backyard. By that I mean the state of Colorado– OUR backyard isn’t really anywhere you would want to spend an entire week. We mapped out our path on Google and it turned out to be exactly the same shape as the piece of the dolphin toy that we pulled out of our dog’s mouth before she could swallow it.… Read the rest

2018 Christmas Letter

My name is Teaky, and this year I became the proud cat-owner of the Lutfey family. My modest kingdom consists of big-male-human named Omar, big-female-human named Katherine, two small-female-humans named Isabel and Samantha, one big-male-dog named Maury, and one small-male-fish that I call a tasty snack when the opportunity arises. While the big-humans understand the proper protocol for addressing cat-royalty, the small-humans feel it is completely appropriate to touch me or try to pick me up when I’m preoccupied with critical tasks such as hunting dust particles in the living room. I’ve looked into replacing the small-humans, but apparently there is an enormous amount of paper work needed to be filed with the Human-aine Society. The big-male-dog doesn’t pose any challenge to my authority as he seems to focus on pretending to be asleep 20 hours a day only to pounce on the chance to eat human food left momentarily unprotected.

It has been brought to my attention that an annual event summarization must be filed with the proper authorities. While in the past this task has fallen to big-male-human, my arrival in the household has clearly altered the structure of authority. Hence I will now be in charge of the annual Christmas letter.

Big-male-human continues with his daily ritual of dressing up in brown clothes, driving away, and returning later in the day smelling of sweat, diesel fuel, and various random dog-units. On days when he stays home he likes to stay in his bedroom well past the completely appropriate wake up time of 7 am. When this happens I have to jump on the bed and stick my nose in his ear to make sure he is still alive. Sometimes he accidentally closes the bedroom door and I have to sit in the hallway and meow to revive him. Fortunately I’ve never been unsuccessful in reviving big-male-human. In a related note, he doesn’t seem to appreciate everything I do to make his life better such as clearly announcing that the sun will be rising in two hours.

My attempts to expand my domain proved unsuccessful when I acquired a small-baby-bunny and deposited him in the office near my litter box. This resulted in much commotion among the big-human units that included significant yelling, texting, and rearranging of furniture. Fortunately small-baby-bunny was quite adept at playing hide and seek, so he was able to avoid capture for more than a day.… Read the rest

2017 Christmas Letter

EXCITING CHRISTMAS LETTER ADMINISTRATIVE NEWS BREAK! I’m not allowed to hand out my Christmas letter to my UPS customers anymore. Allegedly someone called the center and complained about the 2016 letter, so now this document is purely an online publication. Happy Holidays!

I know that is pretty lame, but I’m not going to let it ruin my year in review. After considering a few novel approaches for this year’s summary, I decided to write about some random details of my life in extra detail- electron microscope detail. I could start off with my job (still at UPS) my family (we are plus one feline) or my water heater project (still working on it), but I really feel like those stories have been fully flushed out. So hold onto your hats for an in depth look into some rather inconsequential aspects of my life.

Speaking of hats– my UPS Elmer Fudd hat is missing. It looks just like my UPS baseball cap, but it comes lined with a furry material and the ear flaps fold down when it gets snot-freezing cold outside. I think I wore it one day in October, but now it is nowhere to be found. So now I’m faced with the moral dilemma of doing nothing and hope it magically appears in a random place in my house or ordering a new hat and admitting defeat. Anyone who has never lived with a six and seven year old might think the first approach is crazy, but that hat could be in a million unthinkable places in my house.

This spring I installed a new ceiling fan in our family room. Since we moved into the house seven years ago we have been slowly replacing fixtures from the random/cheap motif the previous owners seemed to have wholeheartedly embraced. We started with the low hanging fruit, and quickly agreed the fan on the vaulted ceiling was the crown peach of the project. OK, so my knowledge of fruit harvesting is a bit thin. I guess the fixtures in the bedrooms were the strawberries since they grow on the ground– you can’t get lower than that. But I’m digressing here. So I came home one day and noticed a fancy new box-o-fan on the front porch. Installing it was pretty straightforward. I followed the instructions and had it working in an afternoon. The only complaint I had– and I seem to see this a lot in my life– is that whoever wrote the instructions had never actually installed the fan.… Read the rest

Tesla News

When asked how he balances work and family life, SpaceX founder Elon Musk explained how he makes an effort to find common ground. “For example, I spent the last forth of July with my children and we all put our heads together and came up with a system for reusable fireworks.”… Read the rest

Adventures In Europe

The first step in planning a trip to Europe is deciding where to visit. My first idea was to map out an itinerary that faithfully recreated Matt Daemon’s adventures in the first three Borne movies. After closer examination, however, this plan requires travel to four separate continents and would probably not be suitable for small children. Also, to be honest, I don’t think Katherine would be willing play the part of Marie who ends up getting shot and driving a jeep off a bridge in India. Similar logistical issues arose when I considered other movies such as National Lampoon’s European Vacation and Taken.

The scaled down version of our trip took us to Frankfurt, Paris, and Amsterdam which form a equilateral-ish triangle served well by high speed trains.

Since a trip to Europe is more involved than, say, just about any other place I’m ever going to visit, carefully planning what to bring is crucial. While a cooler full of soda and crunchy potato chips might provide a refreshing snack, such an approach might not prove to be cost effective given the current state of airline baggage fees.

After deciding what clothes to bring, I told Katherine to make sure everything was washed and would fit into the designated luggage. Our washing machine, sensing the importance of getting our clothes clean, decided to rebel. “The washing machine is broken” is not the text I wanted to receive at work the day before our big vacation. But what fun would that be?

A little home appliance side note here– all I needed to do to fix the washer was to clean out the drain trap. However, the way Whirlpool designed the machine I had to unstack the washer and dryer, tip the washer up, and remove screws on the bottom of the machine just to reach the trap. Thanks Whirlpool for adding several hours to what should have been a ten minute project. Also, I called customer service to have someone come out and help me lift the dryer back on top of the washer but they informed me that… OK, I didn’t actually call, but I fantasized about it. Obviously the entire design is a result of the small appliance repair mafia.

You might not believe what happened on the nonstop flight from Denver to Frankfurt– nothing. We all just sat in our seats and watched a bunch of movies. Being on a plane for 10 hours and crossing 8 time zones did take a toll on us when we arrived.… Read the rest

Fixing The Leak

Depending on the outcome of the upcoming Ecuadorian Presidential election, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange may need to find a new place to live. Assange has been living in the Ecuador Embassy in London since 2012 to avoid facing sexual assault charges in Sweden and the possibility extradition the the United States to answer to espionage charges. Guillermo Lasso, a conservative banker has gone on record to evict Assange while government-backed leftist candidate Lenin Moreno vows to let Assange stay.

This explains the flyers appearing near the perimeter of the embassy encouraging everyone to come celebrate the election results with a Guinness World record breaking   “Julian Assange look-alike contest.”… Read the rest

2016 Christmas Letter

Countless people– well, OK, maybe three or four– have been asking about what happened to my 2015 Christmas Letter. Was I abducted by aliens who erased my memories? Perhaps, but I have no way of knowing. Was I too lazy to spend 0.03% of the time I’m on my computer to stop playing Candy Crush and just get it done? That does sound like something I would do. Have I been spending way too much time playing mad scientist in the basement? Highly likely. While the entire population of the universe could spend the rest of the life of cosmos speculating on this mystery, I will now set the record straight.

While Occam’s Razor states that the simple explanation is usually the correct one, Omar’s Razor cuts in the opposite direction and claims that everything that I’ve ever read or been told by someone else is automatically assumed to be a highly questionable source and the only way to really solve a problem to disassemble it and examine every single nut and bolt in the highest possible detail. After repeating the process at least seven times I will consider the problem answered subject to my general finite knowledge and limited physical resources.

So here is what happened: Some time in the future I signed up for an online file storage service called the “Infinity Cloud.” While current cloud services store existing files on external servers to help manage valuable work, the Infinity Clould stores every sinlge file you will ever create during your lifetime. So this is the point where you ask “doesn’t that violate the concept of free will, like telling your high school self not to take Stephanie to the Prom because the whole night will be awkward and disappointing?” While I didn’t directly find an answer to this question, I suspect the problem was resolved by including a “you aren’t allowed to tell your younger self to go kill Hitler” clause in the Terms of Service agreement that nobody reads.

So sometime during my lifetime I misfiled some of my Christmas Letters. I’m not sure when 2015 is going to show up, but an interesting side effect from this error is that I have been able to access my 2039 files, or, as I call it, “The Ghost of Christmas Letter Future.”

After writing these crazy letters since 1995 I finally get to write “Woohoo I’m officially retired!”… Read the rest

Team Infinities

Welcome to the post-race wrap-up for the 37th annual Longmont Kinetics Race! I’m the team captain of team Infinities, but to keep things simple you can call me Infini-tease. I’m the one with the pink hair and the fishnet stockings. The other members of my team include Infini Tea, Infini T, and Infini Tee. The differences, being obvious to everyone, will not be elaborated upon.

Here is the junior team member examining the competitor “We Like Turtles.”

The race starts out with a confusion-inducing loop around the wood sculpture close to the beach.

The water portion of the race really separates the [INSERT DOMINANT NOUN OF CHOICE] from the [INSERT CORRESPONDING SUBMISSIVE NOUN HERE].  Here I am during one of the longer water portions of the race.

With the help of my support team I crossed the finish line in 6th place (out of the 14 teams which started the race). For this accomplishment I ranked first place for a solo team.

On the trip back home I realized I was feeling the burn. In addition to my support for Bernie Sanders, I also forgot to apply sunscreen over my fishnet stockings.… Read the rest

Mission Possible

So I’m sitting here in my home on a quiet Saturday morning before anyone else has woken up thinking about things I want to accomplish in my lifetime. Here are a few randomly selected items on my list:

Make a complete list of everything I want to accomplish in my lifetime (so I will know when to stop).
Find a polynomial time algorithm that solves the Travelling Salesman Problem.
Figure out how to rearrange the molecules of our planet into a vessel capable of safely transporting intelligent life out of the solar system before the sun explodes.
Get my daughters to clean their rooms before the sun explodes.

Obviously one of these problems is truly impossible.

So why do I even bother with a list like this in the first place? Or how about I set the bar a bit lower and make my list “stay alive”? The obvious answer is that I like puzzles.

Well, at least it is obvious to me. What makes a good puzzle anyway?… Read the rest

2014 Christmas Letter

I believe it was JP Morgan who once said “You don’t rise to the top by jumping in the kiddie pool.” That, or I just made it up a few moments ago. Fact checking isn’t a strong point in my Christmas Letters. Where am I going with this? Well, this year I decided to bring to reality one of the numerous crazy ideas that are constantly percolating in my head at any given moment.

Anyone who has followed me on Facebook knows how I’m always yammering on about “The Lutfey Loop.” It started earlier in the year when I filed a patent that moves heat from places you don’t want/need it such as your attic and basement to places where it will be more useful like your hot water heater. I made arrangements with a lawyer to write the patent. The process started out by writing him a check for a considerable amount of money while my wife looked at me like I’m crazy. Fortunately I’ve learned that when Katherine thinks I’m nuts I’m doing something right.

While trying to read through the entire patent may cause one’s entire body to melt away much like the Nazis who opened the Ark of the Covenant, there are two basic concepts. The first is to install radiant floor heating on the ceiling of an attic to remove unwanted heat. The second idea is to extract geothermal heat from the floor of a basement to efficiently warm up water.

Since the second part involves less destruction of our house I’ve spent the last few months building a ground source heat pump in my basement. The current incarnation involves two 100 gallon horse troughs, the innards of an air conditioner, and several sheets of Styrofoam insulation. If everything works like I want it to (which has been known to happen from time to time) it should cost less than an electric water heater and be as efficient as a geothermal pump. When I’m not working, being an active member of my family, or sleeping I head down into the basement to overcome technical issues such as I don’t know anything about HVAC and none of the parts are being used for anything close to their original purposes. If anyone does attempt to duplicate my efforts I have one warning– buying an air conditioner, taking out the heat pump and radiators, placing a cinder block in the middle, and taking it back to Home Depot for a full refund is not cool.… Read the rest

Lawyer Who

As a new season of Doctor Who is upon us, producers of the show are being tight lipped about episode story lines. Despite the increased security around this topic, the two part season finale will center around the Dalek invading the United States in an attempt to destroy the economy by simultaneously filing 100 million American with Disabilities Act lawsuits to every business which contains structures that are inaccessible to hostile invading alien species unable to go up a few stairs on their own.… Read the rest

Lego My Eggo

It was a good year for team Lego My Eggo. We finished 6th out of 14 teams which means we even exceed our goal of getting the “median award.”

To the best of my knowledge, this was the first year that someone recorded our presentation and posted it on youtube. I still think our Doctor Who Covered Wagon Rap Song was our best all time skit.

From a design perspective the craft did quite well. It had good balance in the water and held together with the exception of the rear bicycle wheel. Next year I’m going to replace the wood frame that connects the frame to the wheel with a metal structure.  Live and learn.

So now our team is spending the next 10 months trying to think of a new theme for the 2015 race. Until then check out the LongmontKinetics.com website for information on the next race.… Read the rest

Stock Up On AOL

In a recent press release, AOL announced their latest plan to turn the company around. “We have come a long way since we revolutionized dial-up service in the 1990’s. Customers take their 4G enabled cell phones and call a local number that connects them directly to an AOL phone line. Once the connection is established, they carefully place the cell phone next to a land line headset connected to a 9 volt battery and a 56k modem (separate purchase required). Now customers can enjoy all the benefits of the Internet without any wires. Our marketing department is very excited about Dial Up 2.0!… Read the rest

Santa Fe

I packed up the family last week and drove down to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Here are some interesting and possibly true and/or false facts about this city.

Santa Fe was founded, according to my daughter Isabel, during the time of dinosaurs. Apparently this was a very busy time that also covered various events such as the creation of the cosmos up until sometime after the time I was born. This claim is supported by the fact that the roads were constructed before the discovery of Euclidean geometry that defined the concept of straight lines. During the initial road building the construction crews ingested liberal quantities of peyote and followed the direction of their spirit guides. This process has led to a series of city streets that curve around randomly, perform loopy-loops, and pass through dimensions that modern day scientists have been unable to recreate. Warning– using Google Maps on your cell phone may very well cause your device to catch on fire.

The city was a pretty quiet place until the arrival of the stucco mafia in the late 1800’s. The city experienced several decades of turmoil until the great drywall massacre of 1847 when the stucco mafia formed an alliance with the wind-catcher union and the trendy restaurant federation. The effects of this epic battle can still be seen today as Santa Fe is best known for endless stucco buildings, people selling wind-catchers for large sums of money built from materials scavenged from the local dump, and a barrage of food establishments which sell strange food on tiny plates that for some reason have to cost way more than seems reasonable.

Well, that about sums up everything I learned last week on vacation. Stay tuned for my next vacation trip blog tentatively titled, “Crap I found in the basement and argue with my wife about if we should throw it away.” I’ll be working on a better title for that between now and August.… Read the rest

Cosmic Error

After reading the dozen tweets from Neil deGrasse Tyson regarding the accuracy of the movie Gravity, I would like to point out a glaring inaccuracy in the title sequence of the television series Cosmos. Even if you could travel faster than the speed of light through the cosmos the stars wouldn’t appear to move relative to one another.  At most you would be able to see one star in the center fly at you as you passed next to it as the rest of the cosmos appeared static. Star Wars and Star Trek are also guilty of this mistake, but I have been unable to reach George Lucas and J.J. Abrams to rectify the problem. Also, they are fictional stories.

Despite this slight issue with the show I would like compliment Mr. Tyson on doing a great job promoting scientific principles to the world at large.… Read the rest