Saturday, February 05, 2011

3251 Free clothes, unfettered police, and a semi-HOTW

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
-- George Bernard Shaw --


A few weeks ago I mentioned how I had used a sale, a preferred customer discount, and earned coupons to get a jacket, sweater, jeans, and slacks, over $200 retail, from my favorite online boutique for just $9, the shipping cost.

Today I got an envelope in the mail. They have promoted me to "Elite customer". I still get the purchase points toward coupons and all the other goodies, but now I also get an automatic additional 5% off all purchases (no minimum, applies to the outlet, too, and can be used with other discounts and coupons), and free shipping on all purchases.

That last "purchase" would have been not only free, but they'd have owed me money!

Really, people. I buy only from the outlet and never pay more than 20% of their original retail price. I have a Visa card through them, and I get points toward coupons no matter what I use that card for. Pretty soon, they'll be just sending me free clothes.


This is weird. At least three states, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Oregon, have passed eavesdropping laws that make it a crime to audio-record a conversation without the consent of all parties involved. You can go to jail for doing it.

As a contrast, in New York and a few other states, for example, only one party to the recording has to be aware, which means you can record an interaction you are having with someone, but you cannot tape/film/record something happening between other unaware people. The big difference, however, is that although the "illegal" recording cannot be used in court, you won't go to jail for doing it.

Here's what it means (from the Switched story at the link): "In Chicago, the law is drawing significant attention because, there, recording interactions with law enforcement officials constitutes a class one felony that can carry a sentence of up to 15 years in jail, even if the conversation happens in public. The New York Times has reported on two cases that are due to go before a judge this spring, and could result in serious jail time." (Recording someone other than law enforcement officials is a lesser felony and can get you no more than five years. They're serious about protecting police, prosecutors, and so on.)

The ACLU has brought federal suits challenging the law, but the suits have been dismissed by Illinois judges.

From the NY Times article, "Mark Donahue, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said his organization “absolutely supports” the eavesdropping act as is and was relieved that the challenge had failed. Mr. Donahue added that allowing the audio recording of police officers while performing their duty “can affect how an officer does his job on the street.”"

No shit. Is he really saying that the police would be hindered by allowing people to see/hear what they do/say in their interactions with the public? I could spend 15 years in jail for recording an officer attempting to coerce sexual favors from me during a traffic stop, even if the recording proves his guilt? Am I the only person frightened by the suppressive effects of that law, and by Mr. Donahue's implication?


DeSean Jackson sure is pretty. I'd feel like a child molester if I made him Honey of the Week, but I do like looking at him. Such pretty eyes, cheekbones, smile, arms. And he's not big and bulky like most of his teammates. He's smooth and tight. If he were twenty years older, he'd definitely be a HOTW. Click on the link for the pix.

3250 Power Play

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Some people are like a Slinky, not really good for anything,
but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.


Becs mentioned yesterday that someone in a meeting raised her arms several times. I was reminded of meetings with the lawyers at corporate headquarters, back when I did that sort of stuff. The attorneys, even when they're working for the same company, seem to always be in competition with each other. Scoring points.

I had noticed that when meetings were tense, and when one seemed to feel that he had just made an important point, or when someone else had made a contentious point, he would "assume the position". He'd lean back, link his fingers behind his head and swing his head and elbows back, and gaze thoughtfully at the top of the opposite wall, or tilt his head sideways to look at others at the table as they speak.

Try it. It's actually very relaxing. Loosens any tension in the upper back and neck.

There's actually several things going on: 1) It's relaxing when the tension has built up and can help you to think. 2) It's a power position. It demonstrates, "I'm not worried. I am relaxed and in control and I'm carefully considering what the rest of you peons have to say, but you can't affect me. My position is secure." 3) It reveals that you were tense, which sort of negates the second effect.

But I doubt that others at the table analyze it that deeply. Mostly it just comes across as an unconscious power position. You look at him, you are tense, he is obviously relaxed, therefore he's one up on you.

One day I was in a meeting at The Company headquarters in White Plains. There were five attorneys at the table - and little peon non-attorney me. At one point, I brought up something worrisome that none of them had considered before, and that no one had an answer for. No one spoke in response, but all five of them assumed the position. I looked around the table, five men in identical position, leaning back with elbows in the air, staring off into space, then I slowly leaned back, linked my fingers behind my head, flexed my elbows back, and stared at the wall --- and the whole table cracked up.

They treated me more like an equal after that. At least, for the duration of that meeting.

Friday, February 04, 2011

3249 I've been reading.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.


Pardon my wandering away this week. Yesterday I accompanied Daughter for a three-hour glucose tolerance test, and then drove a hour and forty-five minutes north to join the old Mensa group for dinner at Gasho.

In between other stuff, I've been reading a lot and listening to the radio, all about Egypt.

If you want the REAL skinny, follow The Sandmonkey.

An excerpt:
... In the meantime, State-owned and affiliated TV channels were showing coverage of Peaceful Mubarak Protests all over Egypt and showing recorded footage of Tahrir Square protest from the night before and claiming it's the situation there at the moment. Hundreds of calls by public figures and actors started calling the channels saying that they are with Mubarak, and that he is our Father and we should support him on the road to democracy. A veiled girl with a blurred face went on Mehwer TV claiming to have received funding by Americans to go to the US and took courses on how to bring down the Egyptian government through protests which were taught by Jews. She claimed that AlJazeera is lying, and that the only people in Tahrir square now were Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. State TV started issuing statements on how the people arrested Israelis all over Cairo engaged in creating mayhem and causing chaos. For those of you who are counting this is an American-Israeli-Qatari-Muslim Brotherhood-Iranian-Hamas conspiracy. Imagine that. And MANY PEOPLE BOUGHT IT. I recall telling a friend of mine that the only good thing about what happened today was that it made clear to us who were the idiots amongst our friends. Now we know.
In that post, he mentions delivering medical supplies. This is what happened to him (Mahmoud) and his friends on that mission.


Here in the US, we know about Wikileaks, but we don't know (or care?) a whole lot about what was leaked. The rest of the world is going crazy with it. In fact, Wikileaks may have had a lot to do with energizing the recent revolts throughout the golden crescent. Read Sandmonkey's Nov. 29 posts.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

3248 Retribution

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"My theory is that all of Scottish cuisine is based on a dare."
-- Mike Meyers --


I hear groundhog tastes like chicken.

Monday, January 31, 2011

3247 Cold pressed

Monday, January 31, 2011

“While you may be very careful about what you pay for with your money, you are probably less careful about what you pay for with your attention. In the long run, how you spend your attention affects your life far more profoundly than how you spend your money.
Attention is energy. Whatever you feed it to will grow.”
-- Alan Cohen (Why Your Life Sucks, Page 70) --


Jasper plays a lot, but I don't get to watch him play unless I happen to be on the other end of the toy. I hear balls rolling, or catnip pillows being "killed", or hanging bells being jingled, but if I look over at him, he stops, leaves the toy, and comes over to me. I hear him chasing something from one end of the house to the other upstairs, but no matter how quietly I sneak to the stairs, when I get to the bottom, he's sitting on the top step looking down at me. I don't know what's going on up there.

He sits on the window sills when I'm not in a room. I see him in the living room window watching me when I'm on the front porch, and I've seen tiny paw prints on almost all the sills. But I've never seen him get up there. I don't know how he gets past/around/under/through the curtains.

The only way I can watch him do anything, including eating, is to cover my face with my hands and peek through my fingers, so he can't see my eyes. Even then I have to turn my face aside and look sideways, or he's not fooled.

I've never seen him drink water.

I don't know why he keeps all these secrets. It's not like he's afraid he's doing something wrong. About the only times he's ever had to be told "No!" is about getting on the kitchen counters or getting too close to an outside door. Otherwise we've never had any arguments.

I've never even seen him use the litter box.

Hmmmm. Jasper and The Man have a lot in common.


I'm beginning to think that maybe I'm not sensitive to temperature - that's just what it feels like. Evening to evening in this house, as long as it's not windy, the temperature is fairly steady. Most evenings I'm fine. But some evenings, I freeze.

I am freezing this evening. I'm sitting here wrapped in a knit cape topped by a new rust red tan brown crochet shawl with only my fingers and head exposed, and I'm freezing. I'm thinking about going to bed, just to get warm.

And then I realized that every evening that snow or precipitation was predicted overnight, I've gone to bed especially early.

I wonder if I'm actually sensitive to drops in atmospheric pressure, and it registers as feeling cold.

Is that possible?


Know how you can't buy wintery stuff in the winter? I had a telescoping snow-pusher-offer thingy. Brand new in December. Last week, after the last snow, Daughter turned the pusher-thingy head without pressing the release button, and it broke. So now I need a new snow-pusher-offer thingy, and it needs to be telescoping because I'm so short and the roof of the minivan is so high and wide.

I went to three stores this evening, and none of them - including a huge auto parts store - had any, and none expect to get any more.

Yeah, I have one at the old house, and also a push broom that works if one doesn't mind marks on the edge of the roof, but Fred the van and I are here, not there. And if I bring them here, that leaves nothing to use there.

Why do they stop stocking winter stuff when there's two more months of winter to go? Do they really think nothing ever breaks or gets lost? Doesn't the fact that what they had sold out quickly, and people are still asking, tell them anything? Is anyone really buying lawn mowers right now?

3246 Anthem, guns.

Monday, January 31, 2011

" And above all things, never think that you're not good enough yourself. A [person] should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning."
-- Isaac Asimov --


Field's topic Saturday involved renditions of the national anthem, and he touched on Marvin Gaye's and Whitney Houston's. He said, "Whitney wasn't bad, but Marvin's version was transcending."

Now, I dearly love me some Marvin, but I'd never heard him sing the anthem. I do remember hearing Whitney in real time, though. I didn't have the faintest idea who she was then, and I don't watch sports, so I caught it by accident, but I was blown away. I cried.

So I had to go listen to both versions. Yeah, Marvin was good. Marvin is always good. Do love me some Marvin. But once again, Whitney's killed me. I cried again.


Someone on TV said recently that people who want to carry guns all the time feel threatened all the time.

I had to think about that for a while. Based on next to no information, no facts, no studies, I think I believe it. It's been my experience, anyway, limited as it is.

I've known a few people who had permits to carry concealed weapons, and they did strike me as people who always felt threatened. Even walking the same streets as I, shopping in the same stores, dealing with the same people, they saw threat everywhere. I didn't. I don't. I certainly didn't feel any safer with them. I wonder whether carrying a gun made them more conscious of the possibilities, or seeing possibilities everywhere made them want to carry the gun. Chicken or egg. I don't know.

Maybe it has to do with past experiences, their own or something that happened to someone they knew. A kind of civilian post-traumatic stress.

I know someone now who sees the threat of violence everywhere, resulting in a constant alertness, vigilance, and if you knew the stories, you'd understand why. In his case a side effect is not a desire to carry a gun, but to an intense hatred of guns and all those who carry them.

Or maybe it's the political climate. We are being taught by the media that we should fear. To fear "the other", anyone not like us, and that should the unthinkable happen, you're on your own. Nothing has happened to make people feel threatened as individuals - not yet anyway - but "it's right around the corner".

I consider this a political thing because one way to control people is to make them afraid, then convince them that only you can be depended on to protect them.

Theories, anyone?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

3245 Tiny Ant

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I was depressed last night so I called Lifeline.
Got a call center in Pakistan, and told them I was suicidal.
They got all excited and asked if I could fly a plane.


I said the ants were tiny. This is the tip of my index finger, flattened on the scanner plate. That's a tiny ant flattened on the tip of my finger. The squished end of my finger is 5/8" across. That's a tiny ant!


Later: They're Pharaoh ants (sometimes misspelled Farrow ants), and the little ant bait traps you put on the floor seem to be working.