Saturday, June 05, 2010

2979 Typecast Again!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

"Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum."
(I think that I think, therefore I think that I am.)
--Ambrose Bierce--


I just got Hal's Sirius radio info package in the US mail. The BMW salesman initialized the free subscription by cell phone while we were in the car, giving them my name, address, phone number, and email address. I wondered why Sirius didn't just email the packet.

The email id I gave BMW was "SilkenAir".

The email id shown in the package is "SiliconPair".

Snork! They're REAL!!!!

Friday, June 04, 2010

2978 Update

Friday, June 4, 2010

" ... the use of our intelligence quite properly gives us pleasure.
In this respect the brain is like a muscle. When we think well, we feel good.
Understanding is a kind of ecstasy."

--Carl Sagan--


Update: The young man from the previous post (he's from Manhattan), who spent 4.5 days waiting to be found after a car accident, has told the police that he swerved to avoid a deer and lost control. Ok, about what I figured was possible on that road. But he still went awfully far into the woods for 55 mph.

My annoyance stands.

2977 Ramdom Thoughts #459 or so, with indignation

Friday, June 4, 2010

The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words.
If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use them.
--Philip K. Dick--


There's a story on the news now about a young man who was driving on the Taconic Parkway when his car "went airborne" into the woods, rolled four times, and ended up hidden from the road. He suffered back and internal injuries, tried to crawl to the road, and was out there unfound for 4.5 days. He was located by his cell phone signal, and taken to Albany Med, where he is expected to recover. Altogether unthinkable. Horrible experience.

But, here's what bothers me: He was driving a BMW. Those things grab the road and hold it. The speed limit on the Taconic is 55 mph even though it's four lane divided because it's actually a localish road with many crossing roads and no traffic lights. It is NOT a limited access road, not a throughway. Local folks get very angry at fools who whip down the Taconic like it's some kind of freeway - it's not! Not one news report over the past two days, and there have been many, have mentioned what caused the one-car accident. It could have been a deer, I suppose, which is another reason the speed limit is 55. (Rolled four times, in the woods, after losing control at 55?)

I have my suspicions, and I suspect he may have reaped what he sowed.


I guess I'm into blaming people for their own screwups today.

I read an article a few days ago about education loan debt. The author of the article seemed to think that it was the fault of the college financial offices that graduates were leaving school saddled with enormous debt, that the schools are not advising them correctly. The example used was a young woman who, with her widowed mother, and no savings for college, and no big academic scholarships, decided that even so she needed to get degrees from the most prestigious of schools to assure her future. The best of the NY state schools (and there are some good ones, including a very good FREE school in NYC) would not do.

She kept borrowing money, and ended up with a masters' degree and $97,000 debt - and she can't find a job that offers more than a hair over minimum wage. Since the loans were from several sources, the payments are concurrent, and she can't afford to pay them. Declaring bankruptcy won't work, because educational loans cannot be discharged by bankruptcy. She's in a bad place.

Now, we're supposed to feel sorry for her, and agree that she got some bad advice, and the fault lies with the school financial office.

Sorry. I don't think so. She made some very bad decisions, and I suspect she ignored some very good advice that wasn't what she and her mother wanted to hear.

The absolute kicker came finally in the last paragraph. It was so bad it made me swear out loud. Can you guess what her super expensive degrees, the degrees that absolutely had to come from prestigious schools and were to assure her a comfortable future in her choice of assured high-paying jobs, are in? Some technical, financial, professional, or scientific discipline, right?


The answer is at the butt end of this post. Wait for it. Don't jump ahead. It'll spoil your mood for an hour. You'll want to kick her, and the author of the article, around the block.


NYS's budget is in deep do-do. The governor wants to add a new tax on sugared carbonated drinks, "juices" with less than something like 10% real juice, and other crap in a bottle.

This proposal has been countered by a barrage of commercials with a young mother unloading grocery bags, and pointing out that the tax will raise her monthly grocery bill by some outrageous amount, and in this economy, she can barely feed her family, so please Governor Patterson, don't take money out of my family's mouths.

The commercials piss me off. Look, lady, if you need money to feed your family, why are you spending so much of that budget on crap in a bottle anyway? The people putting out those commercials don't care about you, your budget, or your kids. They're just worried that you might buy less of their crap.

I guess I really am in a bad mood today....


Ok. Change of pace. Here's a video. It's 6.5 minutes long, and one of the scariest things I've ever seen. If you have a serious problem with heights or edges, don't watch it. If you do watch it, think about what it must have taken to build that path. (I do, and I did, and I lived. Didn't even throw up once, although I did discover that I can still hold my breath for 2 full minutes.)

"This walkway now serves as an approach to Makinodromo, the famous climbing sector of El Chorro in Spain's Andalucia. And it is the hairiest path. The area of El Chorro situated in the south of Spain is renowned amongst travelers and mountain hikers for its stunning scenery and climbs, yet this is not the main attraction on offer, El Chorro is host to one of the most dangerous walkways in the world, built by workers to transport materials between the Chorro and Gaitanejo Falls."
I always thought climbers had to be a little crazy.


The answer: The young woman's degrees are in religious and women's studies. Even typing that now, especially when she and the journalist are trying to assign the blame anywhere but on the poor decisions made by her and her mother, pisses me off.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

2976 Oh, about the sick....

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Naturally, the common people don't want war, but after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.
--Hermann Goering--


I feel better today. Whatever it was seems to be over. Of course I still feel a little weak, but that's not surprising.

I went to the deli early this evening to buy some diet tea, soda, juice, anything to encourage me to drink a lot, and I mentioned the horrible sweating and the need to rehydrate to the gal at the counter (she was surprised because I rarely buy anything in bottles), and it turns out she'd had something similar about two weeks ago - severe weakness, fever, heavy sweating, but no other symptoms. Hers lasted about three days. Then Daughter said this evening that she had something similar a month ago, including the fainting. Hers lasted somewhere between one and three days (she's not sure because her back had gone out, and she was in bed with that). Mine was four days, but I'm a good 30 years older than either of those two and I'm not as resilient.

So, whatever it was seems to be going around, and probably is not systemic or metabolic in me, which was my greatest concern.

Daughter and I both had our backs go out shortly before the onset. That's interesting. Next trip to the deli I'll have to ask about the third case. Whether we'd been using a high SPF sunblock would be interesting, too. If poison is in your belly, you purge from either end. Maybe when poison is in your skin, you sweat copiously. Seems reasonable to me.

2975 Bits bouncing around for the past two weeks

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 (Oh Good Grief! June already?)

Where would Christianity be if Jesus got eight to fifteen years with time off for good behavior?
--New York State Senator James Donovan, speaking in support of capital punishment--


The Bible, the Mayan calendar, and various philosophers have decided the end of the world occurs in 2012. This has been echoed and reinforced in movies. One person whose intellect I respect firmly believes it. There's a lot to argue there - the simple fact that the references are obscure, and it's fallible humans doing the interpreting, but believers tend to use the recent natural worldwide disasters as proof. Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, storms, volcanoes - so very many recent ones.

Well, there really haven't been more than ever before. It's just that now we hear about them. They've been going on for thousands of years. We just weren't aware of what was going on in the rest of the world until recently.

What does worry me is that some religion that teaches that theory will feel a responsibility to take it upon themselves to set it off. It would take a religion to so thoroughly banish common sense.


The sunscreen the friend recommended arrived today (The Naked Bee). I tried it on my arms, and it was fine, no heavy feeling, no white deposit in creases, didn't paste the hairs down. Then I tried it on my face. My nose did not break out in beads of sweat. We may have a winner.


Investment advice: The FAA has ruled that all aircraft must have on-board GPS by 2020. That's a lot of devices, and probably not cheap ones. Some GPS manufacturer(s) will make out like bandits, and because they are mandated, there will be no incentive to compete on prices. Unfortunately, who knows which companies will reap the gold?


Trial lawyers are complaining of the "CSI effect". Jurors expect to see all kinds of swoopy evidence. They don't seem to realize that much (most!) of what they see on the TV show simply does not exist as a technology, and secondly, for what advanced technology does exist, there are very few labs, and third, those labs are very slow and not famous for reliability. Not to mention that most local police departments are not well trained in evidence collection.

So juries are letting otherwise "clearly guilty" defendants off because they didn't see evidence that in their minds, should have been there. They figure that the police must have found it, but it didn't support their theory, so they chose not to present it?

If you expect ever to be on a criminal court jury, you should read


This is my own theory. Men and women have vastly different concepts of what constitutes a lie.

Men seem to believe that you have to tell something that is no way true, ever, for it to be a lie. However, a statement or answer that is in some way, some special context, true, is true enough, and is not a lie.

Jay and Obie were both the most honest and moral men I've ever known (both lovers, both deceased), but even they seemed to believe this. For example, if I asked Jay, "Did you pay the electric bill?", he'd quite honestly, honest in his mind anyway, answer, "Yes." If I asked, "Did you pay this month's electric bill?", he'd quite honestly answer, "No, not yet. I'll pay it tomorrow." Note the difference in the questions. He has often paid the bill, so "Yes, I paid the bill" is true, where "Yes, I paid this month's bill" is not.

Most men will avoid conflict at all costs, and they figure what you don't know won't hurt you. They seem to feel that if they leave things out, and you believe things that are not literally true, well, that's your own fault, not theirs. They didn't lie.

Women, on the other hand, consider being misled, being allowed to believe untruths without correction, is exactly the same as being lied to. Women have a much lower line. If you know that I think you paid this month's bill based on your statement, and you don't correct that impression, then you have allowed me to believe a lie.

It's the facts not the words that matter, guys.

Monday, May 31, 2010

2974 Scary Sick

Monday, May 31, 2010

Drugs have taught an entire generation of American kids the metric system.
--P.J. O'Rourke--


I am sick. Now it's feeling like an ordinary virus, but during Saturday night into Sunday morning, it was very scary. It's odd, but it seems like I have become more susceptible to viruses or whatever since I've been "eating right".

I've already mentioned being weak Saturday at the antiques fair. I went to bed fairly early Saturday night, and dreamed many annoying dreams, aware I was dreaming. At 4 AM I woke very thirsty, so I went to the kitchen for a drink of water. I'd no sooner swallowed the first tepid mouthful when I started sweating, and my legs started weakening. I've never sweat like that before. I headed straight for the bed. It's about 35 feet from the kitchen sink to my bed, and by the time I rounded the corner into the bedroom, the sweat was literally pouring off me in big drops. I remember that my legs were no longer working at all by then, I leaned against the side of the bed, and then nothing.

I came to on the floor. My head was pillowed on a laundry pile, and I was quite comfortable, so much so at first I thought I was in bed. I was still sweating sopping dripping sheets of water. I tried to get up, and passed out again.

I have no idea how much time passed, but when I woke again the sweating had stopped, and I felt, if not ok, at least functional.

Gotta give me credit. I went to the master bath where there are only the little disposable 1-oz cups, and tried sipping an ounce. The sweating immediately started again. It seems to start as soon as water hits my mouth.

I crawled back into bed, thinking about what it could be. Kidney failure? Diabetic coma? (Which? Would I need protein or sugar?) I thought about calling 911, and then either passed out or fell asleep. I'm not sure. I did definitely think about how long it would be before my body was found.

Sunday I sprouted a fever, 101.2 (normal for me is 97.8), and the body aches, both of which continue into today, so I'm pretty sure it's a virus. Today, Monday, I am finally able to think clearly (relatively), and I'm remembering that the last time I got downed by a virus, I had visited the Cunneen Hackett theater, and had to leave because the scent of mold in the old building was overwhelming. The virus hit two days later.


Thursday, I went to a movie at the old theater in Woodstock. Again, the scent of mold was strong, but I stayed, figuring I would leave if I started to cough. Two days later, pow.

I guess I can't handle mold.

Update, Monday 9:30 pm - 102.6, but I don't feel so very bad.
Update two - so much for feeling better. I dated this entry Saturday.


Comment from "Joey", on an article about women not wanting to work with other women in law offices, in the WSJ law blog:
"Several years ago, I dated a woman who was assistant principal at a junior high school. I’ll always remember her description of the genders: ‘Managing boys is like fighting World War II. You see them coming, they fight, they tell you to f–k off, you lay down the law, and things are fine until the next battle.’

On the other hand: ‘Managing girls is like fighting Al Qaeda. You always know something is coming, but you’re never sure what until it hits. They’ll strike alliances with anyone and then break them when it’s convenient, they are ingenious at finding new ways to hurt their enemies, and when the battle *does* erupt, innocent people can get hurt.’

That always struck me as one of the best insights into human nature, and I think it still resonates in adult, professional settings."