Jeffrey Coleman Carlyle

The Ruler of Earth

The Unusual and Absurd

Last updated on 17-Aug-2009 9:58AM CDT. was inspired by Jeffrey Carlyle's college roommate Ryan Dillman. In college, Dillman was fond of euphemistically referring to Hell as "the bad place." Today, Ryan is a bit more laid back, and serves as a chronicle of things that Jeff Carlyle finds unusual and absurd.

Posted: 17-Aug-2009 9:58AM CDT
Topics: [The Unusual and Absurd] was founded in 1999 by Jeffrey Carlyle, the Ruler of Earth, in honor of his friend Ryan Dillman. Mr. Dillman often mentions "the bad place" as a destination. During Jeff's junior year of college, he was inspired to check the availability of the domain name, and low and behold, no one had registered the domain. Jeff immediately registered the domain; however, he could never decided just what to put there. In August of 2003, Jeff decided that would become his personal journal on the web. Six years later in August of 2009, and after not updating in over two years, Jeff decided the site would be a chronicle of unusual and absurd things that he encounters in the course of his life.

Aside from Ryan, another instrumental person in the founding of is Kris Slaten. Upon finding out that Jeff had registered the domain, Kris promptly asked to be mentioned there: so Kris Slaten is a bad person.

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Christmas and Now a New Year
[L&N Railroad Logo]
Posted: 19-Jan-2005 5:11AM CST
Topics: [JeffCenter] [Model Railroading] [The Unusual and Absurd]

Well my giant bow made it through the Christmas season. When I returned from Thanksgiving Break, I found it lying in front of a vent along the sidewalk outside of my apartment. At first, I thought it had been ripped down by a person, but further investigation lead me to believe it had been ripped down by the wind. I re-attached the bow—this time more securely, and it survived until I took down my decorations on January 9.

I love Christmas lights, and take great delight in putting up them up at my house every year. I’ve posted some photos from this years 2004 Carlyle Family Christmas Lights Spectacular.

I’ve been a model railroad kick since Christmas. I purchased an N gauge model of L&N #777 (an E6A locomotive) and have setup an oval track in my apartment. You can usually see this on my webcam. I’ll be adding more to my model railroad as time and money become available.

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Christmas Bow Experiment
Posted: 16-Nov-2004 2:14AM CST
Topics: [JeffCenter] [The Unusual and Absurd]
Jeff's Front Door

Back in October of 2001, just two months after I moved into my apartment, my vacuum cleaner died while I was attempting to clean my apartment before my friend David came up from Bowling Green for the ACMís Reflections|Projections conference. The vacuum didnít catch fire, but it did smoke. In order to avoid having to live with the smell of the burnt out vacuum, I decided to sit it outside, against the building, in front of my car. When I woke up the next morning the vacuum cleaner was gone.

Now as far as I was concerned the vacuum cleaner was worthless; however, I have always wondered if perhaps the thief would plug in the vacuum and have it catch on fire. Wouldnít that be justice? Since that time Iíve been convinced that anything set outside my apartment is destined to be quickly stolen. I have decided to test this hypothesis by attaching a large red bow to my door. I installed the bow just before 6:45pm today November 15, 2004. I will report back here when it is stolen.

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I-57 Train Derailment
[Kentucky's New License Plate]
Posted: 10-Jul-2004 7:17PM CDT
Topics: [JeffCenter] [Jeff's Road Trips] [The Unusual and Absurd]

On July 9, 2004, a Union Pacific unit coal train with three locomotives and a consist of 136 cars derailed on an overpass over Interstate 57 near mile marker 71 between the towns of Benton and West City in Illinois. The train, on its way between East St. Louis, Illinois and Paducah, Kentucky was using Canadian National/Illinois Central track and many news outlets have erroneously reported that it was a CN/IC train. The derailment dumped eight train cars carrying a total of 800 tons of coal onto I-57. Though the falling rail cars and coal narrowly missed several vehicles below, reports are that there was only one relatively minor injury. The accident closed the highway in both directions between Benton and West Frankfort—about six miles to the south.

I found out about the incident late in the morning and decided I that I needed to travel the 160 miles south to Benton from Urbana to check out this accident. Variable message signs along the highway beginning at exit 96 on I-57 warned of the highways closure. I decided it would be best not to contribute to the traffic along the detour route (and who wants to sit in a traffic jam anyway), so I planned a course I thought would avoid the diverted traffic. I planned to exit onto Illinois 154 at exit 77 and take Illinois 37 and then local back roads to a railroad crossing just to the west of the railroad overpass; however, just south of exit 83 I began to encounter stopped traffic. So I turned around on the interstate—there was almost no northbound traffic at this point—and exited the highway at exit 83.

It turned out that southbound traffic was being diverted from the I-57 at exit 77—one exit north of the interchange nearest interchange to the accident. From exit 83, I made my way over to Illinois 37 and took back roads through the northern extremes of Benton and West City over to the railroad as I had originally planned. Despite the fact that traffic was being diverted from I-57 to part of Illinois 37, I encountered only very light traffic—aside from the tail end of a massive traffic jam leading into downtown Benton.

I had spotted the railroad crossing nearest the overpass on a map of the area. When I arrived at the crossing, I found it to be located in a rail yard storing hundreds of empty coal carrying rail cars. A Union Pacific locomotive was also in the yard; it appeared to be pulling cars from the tail end of the train that had derailed. The overpass over I-57, along with several derailed cars, was clearly visible from the crossing. Dozens of CN/IC employees and several pieces of heavy equipment were operating in the area. I spoke briefly to a local teenager who had ridden his bicycle to the crossing; we walked along the rails about a quarter of the way to the overpass before deciding we’d better not go much further.

View of the accident scene from a railroad crossing just to the west of the overpass. View of the accident scene from a railroad crossing just to the west of the overpass.

After spending a few minutes at this crossing, I traveled to a street overpass over I-57 that was about a quarter of a mile north of the railroad overpass. The bridge was crowded with onlookers watching work on the highway below. Crews were working to remove the coal from the highway and load it on to waiting coal trucks. Vans from several television stations were parked on the highway along with a number of emergency vehicles and various other vehicles. From the bridge, I walked down a local street along the interstate to get closer to the bridge.

I-57 railroad overpass viewed from Webster St. overpass. Eastern end of the railroad overpass. Derailed car just to the east of the overpass. A railroad employee surveys the coal that has been dumped onto I-57. A derailed car on the west end of the overpass. Work underneath the I-57 overpass. Work underneath the I-57 overpass. A derailed car on the west end of the overpass. UP 6076 and UP 6619 had been at the lead of the train.

After awhile, I returned to the crossing that had been my original destination. By this time, a truck carrying two forty foot sections of railroad track had arrived. I found the driver and spoke to him for sometime. He had brought the load in from a yard in St. Louis. It was now nearly 7:00pm; he said that the railroad had asked him to be there by 6:00pm and now he was getting paid overtime.

This truck brought in two forty foot sections of track from St. Louis. This truck brought in two forty foot sections of track from St. Louis. View of the accident scene from a railroad crossing just to the west of the overpass. I-57 railroad overpass viewed from Webster St. overpass. I-57 railroad overpass viewed from Webster St. overpass.

I stayed in the area of the overpass for a few more hours waiting to see how the track was to be removed from this flatbed truck. In the meantime, CN/IC worked had positioned two derailed cars back onto the track, and the Union Pacific locomotive that had been in the yard pulled those and several other cars out of the area, clearing the main track into the area. Finally, around 9:30pm a railroad crane pulling a flat car and a short equipment train entered the area. There were some complications—power lines blocked the area the crane operator had originally planned to use and the truck driver had some trouble finding a way to position his trailer on the tracks; however, by 10:15pm the crane had lifted the two track sections onto it flat car.

After this, I left for Urbana. I figured that operation was probably the most interesting operation I could see up close. At exit 71, I found the local police still blocking the south bound entrance to the I-57; however, the northbound ramps were open. I-57 between exits 71 and 77 was a dark and desolate highway. The southbound lanes were still closed at exit 77, so the only cars I encountered were two northbound vehicles. Traffic that had been diverted along Illinois 37 re-entered the northbound lanes at exit 77. The local news had been reporting that the intent was to reopen the highway by midnight.

99,999 miles. 100,000 miles.

On the way back to Urbana, a large thunderstorm far to the north of I-70 provided a spectacular late show. I finally encountered the rain associated with this storm at exit 190; however, I had been seeing the lightning from the storm ever since I left Benton—120 highway miles to the south. Another somewhat momentous event occurred on the drive back: just short of the northbound rest area on I-57 at mile marker 166, my car reached 100,000 miles. When I took possession of the car back on April 21, 2001 it had a mere 120 miles on it. I am planning on it lasting at least another 100,000 miles.

More information on the derailment:

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This Is Unacceptable
Posted: 13-Aug-2003 1:40AM CDT
Topics: [JeffCenter] [The Unusual and Absurd]

Trash Piling up Outside of Jeff's Apartment (August 12, 2003)   Trash Piling up Outside of Jeff's Apartment (August 12, 2003)

Well the trash problem has gotten worse. Now a bicycle has appeared amongst the ever-growing heap of trash.

I know most of this trash is coming from people in 1010 West Stoughton; however, the 1010 West Stoughton dumpsters are nearly completely empty!

I can only hope trash day comes soon.

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My Favorite Time of the Semester, My Web Site, Ryan's Wedding, and Stop Taking Out the Garbage
[US 150]
Posted: 11-Aug-2003 3:34PM CDT
Topics: [JeffCenter] [The Unusual and Absurd]

Well it's my favorite time of the semester again: the time where I get to spend hours on end grading exams! After having to spend two hours watching students take an exam on Saturday afternoon, I spent hours over the next day and a half grading, and I'm still not done. Fun, fun, fun!

I took a short break this morning to finish the project of adding all of my websites into my new website management software. and are now completely integrated into my new software tool. I've also updated the design of the 200B website. I decided to play around with CSS some more; specifically, I've tried out the float attribute. It's behavior seems a little funky, but I used to make the navigation menu on the 200B website.

Speaking of 200B, Ryan will be getting married this coming Saturday. I'm gonna make the trip to Paoli on US 150. I live two blocks from US 150 here in Urbana, Paoli is on US 150, and Louisville, the location of the reception, is on US 150. I should see some nice Indiana back roads.

Trash Piles up Outside Jeff's Apartment

The residents of the surrounding apartment who are moving in and out have managed to overflow the dumpster that is ten feet from the door to my apartment. The dumpster is intended to be used by only the resident's of my building; however, many residents of the neighboring (and much larger) building use it, and this is what happens. You can see in the background of this picture that the building next door's dumpsters aren't nearly as full. The garbage collectors will never pick up all of the trash here, and it will lie around the area for months to come. Oh well, college towns are cesspools.

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The Smurfs Shrooms Connection
Posted: 7-Aug-1997 2:00PM CDT
Topics: [The Smurfs Shrooms Connection] [The Unusual and Absurd]

Important Note: This is a serious look at how the word Smurfs could easily be an anagram of the American-English slang term "Shrooms". There are no pictures of Smurfs on this page!

If you want serious information on the Smurfs try the Smurf's Official Website.

This connection between smurfs and shrooms was discovered Thursday, August 7, 1997.

The Connection

Remember the television show the Smurfs? We all grew up watching them; however, my friends and I were alarmed to discover that there is the possibility that the word "Smurfs" may simply be an anagram of the common Americanized English slang term "Shrooms!" The term "Shrooms" is used to refer to hallucenigenic mushrooms used as drugs. See the evidence for yourself:

  1. Reverse the spelling of Smurfs and you get SFRUMS.
  2. Remove the top line off of the F and place it to the right of the letter. (SHRUMS)
  3. Now, pronounce the U as a long U (like the U sounds in the word prune), This is the same sound as the OO sound in words like broom: SHROOMS

It seems obvious now doesn't it? The word "SMURFS" is simply the word "SHROOMS" spelled backwards. If you consider the fact that the Smurfs lived in mushrooms it makes even more sense!

This connection was discovered by Jeff along with his friends Brian Raabe and David Raney on a late summer afternoon in 1997.

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