Saturday, March 16, 2013

3704 Worthless gleanings from around the web

Saturday, March 14, 2013

Chinese Proverb: "We are fools whether or not we dance, so we might as well dance."


This post is bits and pieces of things I've found.


Have you heard about the Iowa female dental assistant who was fired because the dentist's wife thought she was too attractive?  The dentist had said some inappropriate things to her, mild sexual harassment, and the two had engaged in some innocent texting outside office hours, but I don't think the (married) assistant had any idea what was going on in the dentist's head.  The wife did.  I suspect the dentist mentioned her too often at home, and that worried the wife, so she insisted that he get rid of the assistant.  The dentist went to his pastor, who advised him to get rid of her, so he did.

The dentist's attitude is, "I sexually harassed you, therefore I have to terminate your job to stop sexually harassing you. You will be missed."

The assistant sued for sexual discrimination in her firing, and the Iowa supreme court found for the dentist!  Story at


Effects of digital connectivity:

Anomie -  social instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values; personal unrest, alienation, and uncertainty that comes from a lack of purpose or ideals.

Nihilism - a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless; a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths; a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility.


Regarding that rape story out of Steubenville, Ohio, I am shocked and saddened that so many people believe that "digitally raped" means the guy penetrated her with his cell phone.


You know how when you make an online purchase you can opt in or out of getting email updates or the store newsletter?  I always look for that, and I always check NO.

I always still get the damn things.  That's gotta be illegal.  Who would I report it to?


People who brag that they've never had any psychological counseling annoy me.   It's like people with a mouthful of rotting stumps bragging that they've never been to a dentist.


This is pretty cool.

Hasidic rap:



Funny cringe-worthy item on  Read the customer reviews.


This is the Weeping Prophet's dating video.



I am ashamed to pass this little item along.  Because then you know I watched it.  Several times.  On the other hand, how can I not share it?  There's no way to describe it.  On YouTube it says, "No description available." Sums it up nicely.

The following is a selection of comments on the thing, from YouTube and  Read these comments before you watch the video.    Um, absolutely not safe for work (even muted- the sound is necessary), or for children or square fogies in the vicinity.  Everybody but the Queen should watch it in privacy.  (The Queen probably won't care if her reputation is destroyed.)  The song is catchy, and there's a danger that it will become an earworm if you are prone to that, and you must must must resist.

This is a few guns short of being the most American thing on the internet.

The bassist seems to be thinking, "Oh god, this is going on the internet, isn't it? Yep, this is going on the internet."

I say we let Texas secede

Ahhhh.... What a love song! What lyrical prose! The official love song of the crystal meth generation!

My IQ hurts after watching this. I may be screwed up, but the first thing I thought was "Why ain't there a guitar player?"

A Tomahawk missile would have been a perfect finish. Just blow them all up.

Where the f**k was this when I was looking for wedding procession songs?

I've listened to this song about 10 times now. I can feel myself just falling down the the ladder of success. I also can't get this thong off that magically grew on me.
It's at  If you've already seen Captain America in a thong singing "Quack Like a Duck" and it scarred you forever, you might not want to go there.

IF YOU ACTUALLY WATCHED THAT LAST VIDEO, yeah, that one just above, the one that asks your age before allowing you through, CONFESS IN A COMMENT!


3703 The demise of communication

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The major difference between a thing that might go wrong
and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when
a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong 
it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair. 
-- Douglas Adams --


There's a guy running around loose out there who has been advocating for decades (predating texting and tweeting) that we do away with "correct" spelling, that instead, all spelling should be phonetic, and furthermore that there be no "correct" phonetic spelling, but that everyone should spell a word exactly as they pronounce it.

Gah!  Despite his years of advocacy I don't think he has thought it through.  What about regional accents?   How would you look up the meaning of an unfamiliar word?   Assuming that you could figure out the word anyway?  Could a Bostonian understand a note from Arkansas?

I found the article by him a few weeks ago, and of course now I can't find it again.  When I searched for it today I found several articles about schools that no longer teach spelling.  The theory is that kids will naturally absorb spelling in their reading materials.

Yeah, sure.  Bull poopy.

Phonics is essential to learning to read and to pronunciation.  Often it helps with "correct" spelling.  But given the way people routinely mispronounce even simple words (library/liberry, athletics/altheletics/atletics, etc.) if you allow people to spell words the way they (themselves, individually) pronounce them (libry? liebree? lybree? libery?  lybreree?), we won't be able to fully understand anything anyone writes.  If the spelling of a word isn't standardized, it would be so much work to read the written word that eventually people would give up reading.

And yes, the guy really does mean individually invented spelling - no standard phonetic combination of letters for a particular phoneme, which would result in "correct" spelling of a word again, which he doesn't want..


From Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll:
'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. 'They've a temper, some of them — particularly verbs: they're the proudest — adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs — however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'

'Would you tell me please,' said Alice, 'what that means?'

'Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. 'I meant by "impenetrability" that we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'

'That's a great deal to make one word mean,' Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

'When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'I always pay it extra.' 
I am distressed by the large number of professional writers, educators, and presenters who seem to think Humpty had something there - that a word can mean whatever you mean it to mean.  Unfortunately, that leaves the folks who do know what the word is supposed to mean wondering what the user means.  If you know what I mean.

At this rate, no one will be able to understand what anyone else really means, ever.

3702 How short am I?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

In a democracy, people get the government they deserve.
-- Adlai Stevenson --


The Sunday of the Oscars, "Sunday Morning" did a segment on Linda Hunt (  They had a lot of clips from her movies and TV shows, and wow, she's short!  She's really short!

Then they gave her stats.  She and I are five months apart in age, and we are exactly the same height!


I don't understand.

I know I'm short, but I guess I never realized how short I am.  I'm taller than my mother and grandmother were, so I never felt short, if you know what I mean.  I've always come up to mid-chest on the guys I've dated and worked with, and that felt right (except Roman.  I came to just under his chin). I've seen myself in photos in groups, and I've always been the shortest in the photos.  I suspect that if I had seen stills of Ms. Hunt with her costars, she wouldn't have seemed so very short.  But seeing her move, walk with, look up at and gesture to others, she looked ... SHORT!  (If you don't know her, watch "NCIS: Los Angeles".)

I've never seen me in a video with other people.  Always alone, or with other people but not moving.

Even more, she has almost no neck.  I have a relatively long neck.  That means my shoulders are lower than hers.  So technically, I would give a shorter impression because her body mass is higher.


I must be tiny.  (Well, height-wise, anyway.  Anyone in a 38DD bra with matching rear counterweight can't be considered tiny.)


Everybody has a cold.  The same cold.  All over the northeast coast and in some spots on the west coast and between.  Everyone describes it pretty much the same, as starting with sniffles, then sinuses and throat, then to chest.  Some of us have had it since before Christmas - it goes away then comes back.

One explanation is that during Hurricane Sandy, sea birds got relocated.  Gull and tern poop is full of viruses and germs, and they poop on the wing.  We have antibodies against our own local birds' offerings, but the hurricane redistributed the shore's avian populations, and we have no resistance to the new ones.  The outbreaks in the rest of the country may have been carried by visitors from the east coast.

There's a more ominous theory.  Maybe someone's running a biological experiment/attack on us, tracking distribution patterns.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

3701 The Nugget at 23 months

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I often think it's a pity that Noah and his party didn't miss the boat.
-- Mark Twain --


Suck it up!  I don't brag about my Nugget very often!

At school

The Nugget is growing up and becoming even more interesting.  She notices everything, and one of her favorite sentences, many times a day, is, "What's that?"  Well, actually, it comes out, "Whada?"

She's very strong, and her Daddy plays with her very roughly, which is a bit of a problem.  She bowls over other children greeting them, and she considers hitting to be a great game.  On the other hand, she's very much a girl.  She's a good mommy to her dolls, and that seems to have come naturally.  She and her mommy went clothes shopping, and Daughter allowed her to choose one outfit herself.  She chose a dress with a foofy pink ballerina tutu skirt, and insisted in sleeping in it that night.  She loves Elmo, and when she comes over to my house, she walks up to the laptop, points, and says, "Eh mo!"  And we have to watch Elmo videos.

She had been afraid of her mommy's huge upright vacuum cleaner. (Frankly, so am I.)  I bought her a plastic vacuum cleaner with lights and a vroom noise that wasn't too scary, and a few weeks ago she graduated to my little battery-powered Eureka!electric broom, that looks and sounds like a midget vacuum cleaner.  When Daughter saw her happily vacuuming my kitchen, she got her monster out and parked it in their living room.

I guess last week the Nugget worked up enough courage to touch it. She's so proud of her new friend that when anyone comes in the house they are introduced to the "Bah boom", and shown how brave she is.   A few times a day she takes a dolly or a stuffed animal, holds their hand or paw out to touch the monster - see?  It's ok.  "Bah boom. Bah boom."   Nothing to be afraid of.

She talks a lot, and she mostly has the right number of syllables, and consonants in the right places, but they are rarely the  correct consonants, so only Mommy, Daddy, and Gramma (she calls me Mamma, Daughter is Mommy) can understand her.  "Juice" is "douche", which can be a bit awkward when she requests it in a diner.  It sounds like she's giving the waitress an impolite order.  "Bottle" is "bobby".  "Jasper" is "Bapper".  "Cheese" is "sheesh".  On the other hand, "up", "apple", "pee-pee", "potty", "baby", "eat", "NO!" and a lot of other words are quite clear.

Almost Heaven

I am anxious for sentences, and for her to start expressing thoughts.  I'd love to know what she thinks.

3700 Stupid programs

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds.
-- Einstein --


Some people are worried at the evidence that "someone" out there is watching over our shoulders, whatever we do on the internet, and then targeting our "interests".

"They" know where I am.  The info is used in side-column car insurance and mortgage ads which claim to be specific to my state or my town. They are annoying and look painfully obsequious.

I bought a toddler pedal car for Nugget's 2nd birthday (next month) on Amazon.  Now every time I turn around, I'm getting ads from toy stores for toddler pedal cars.  How many of them do they think I'm likely to buy?  They are pissing me off more than attracting me.

Youtube keeps track of what I watch, and then when they make recommendations of what I might like, the list consists mostly of videos I've already watched.  That is obviously stupid.  They've managed to put together a list I'm pretty much guaranteed NOT to be interested in seeing.  (Watch out for the Eastern Europe trap.  Once I watched a Russian video, and for the next week all the recommendations were Russian!  I didn't even know what they were about!)

EBay likes to take something you bought, then make recommendations of other similar things you might like.  That might be useful to your shopping, but the execution is very annoying.  You just bought a unique handmade item, and eBay informs you that "Others who bought this [photo of your unique item] also bought this, this, and this [photos of other unique items that are still for sale]." It's obviously a lie!  No "others" bought any of those items!

Ok, maybe computers are getting smarter, but programmers are getting stupider.  I don't think we need be worried.

3699 My foundations are shaken

Sunday, March 10, 2013

He who controls the present controls the past.
He who controls the past controls the future.
-- Orwell --


When I was in Morocco, at almost all the the spice, vegetable, and fruit stalls in the bazaars and medinas there would be a vat of yellowish black shiny gloppy goop that looked like new motor grease.  I finally asked the guide, and he said it was the famous Moroccan Black Soap*.  It's made from olives, argan oil, maybe a little eucalyptus globulus oil, and sometimes other minerals, and you get it in a jar.  It's traditionally used in the Moroccan steam baths, there's a particular way to use it, and it's supposedly wonderful for the skin.

I decided to look it up online and buy some.  The least expensive of the same brand names were found on eBay.

The experience has left me shaken.  I asked a seller a question, and now I am no longer sure of my mental abilities.  (Not a difficult task these days.  Lately I can't remember anything, and I'm not sure of anything.)

She had listed the soap as:  "Moroccan Black Soap ( 250kg Jar)"

I don't know metric all that well, but 250 kg seems wrong????

So I sent her a note:
The title says 250 kg.

Being American, I am confused. According to my conversion chart, that's 8,818.49 ounces, or 551 pounds - over a quarter of a ton (a quarter of a tonne**). That doesn't seem right.

Can I assume it's actually about 8 ounces, or .25 kg?

This is her response:
The jar weighs 11.4 oz. 250kg = 8.8 oz. The comma is really a decimal point. So you are getting a bit more than 250 kg. Hope this helps

Ok, who's nuts.  Me or her?  (She or I?  And where did she get that 11.4?))  Isn't 1 kg equal to 2.2 lb?  Did I do something wrong?  It's certainly possible.  When I was buying beads, sizes of beads are listed as mm or cm, and I have diligently translated it to inches using conversion factors, and have often been surprised by the size of the beads I get. 

I did not buy her soap - it was one of the most expensive listings.  It would be fun to buy her soap, save the emails and then complain to eBay when she sends me less than a quarter ton. Or even less than 11.4 ounces.

Please reassure me I'm right.  I'm serious.  She really knocked me for a loop for several minutes.  I mean she should KNOW!   And I've been so "off" lately....  She actually scared me.


*....which is not at all the same as African Black Soap, which is made from palm oil, comes as a bar rather than goop, and has different good qualities.

** A tonne is 1000 kg, or 2200 lb.

If you would like to educate her, the listing is here:

I bought this one:   Note that it's 250 gm, which is 8.8 oz.