Saturday, May 23, 2015

4042 Sorry, Seinfeld fans....

Saturday, May 23, 2015

"Seinfeld" has been off the air for 17 years.  Let it go, folks!  I'm still hearing/reading about it, and I'm done.

I hated the show when it was on.  I didn't find it in the least bit funny (with the exception of Kramer, I guess).  I despised the characters, especially Elaine, who needed a good slapping.  They were simply not nice people, and I hated the thought that there were viewers who thought that what they did was amusing and deserving of emulation.  Like when George was so happy with his hairpiece, and she snatched it and threw it out the window.  How was that funny?  She had no right to do that.  If I were George, I'd have beat the crap out of her - and there was a lot of crap in her to beat out. 

Seinfeld himself wasn't to be emulated either.  In his middle 30s in real life he was dating a 17-year-old.  After 4 years he dumped her for a woman who had been married only three weeks.  She got a divorce and they got married.  I figure she was a very accomplished gold-digger, and I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, so you know I must have some strong feelings here.

I really didn't like that show.  I really don't like Jerry, even though I have to give him some credit - his act is one of the cleaner ones in a world of foul-mouthed "comedians".

Is my age showing?

4041 Swamp cooler

Saturday, May 23, 2015

I'm going to have the heat pump a/c at the country house replaced with a standard compressor-type a/c system.  Piper is trying to talk me into choosing an evaporative system instead (also known as a "swamp cooler", not because they are used in swamps, but because they can smell like one).  They are less expensive to install and less expensive to run, especially given the cost of electricity in the Mid-Hudson Valley.

However, the freakin' things don't work in high humidity!  Yeah, they're great in Texas, or Arizona, and they've been used for centuries in the Middle East, but they simply don't work in areas where the humidity gets above 50%, maximum.  Because, uh, duh, they depend on evaporation, which doesn't work well when the dew-point is 70 degrees. It's not often that high in the Mid-Hudson Valley - only on very hot days, which is exactly when it matters.  Sheesh.

I've given up arguing with him.  He tends to fall for every sales pitch.  I've warned him over and over that you don't get information on which to base buying decisions from the guys selling things - you get information from actual users or disinterested parties.  But he doesn't use the internet at all, except to follow "cookbook" directions for email, so he doesn't research things.

He says it's not the same thing as a swamp cooler at all, and he's sending me some brochures, and I've promised to look at them, but ....


4040 Final bird entry

Saturday, May 23, 2015

I found the baby bird dead Wednesday morning.  I think there was something wrong with him all along.  He never made the fecal sacs that chicks his age are supposed to make, and his cloaca looked prolapsed.  It may have happened when he fell from the nest, or it may have been that way all along so he'd been kicked out of the nest.  We'll never know.

I called Daughter, and she was sad.  She told Nugget, and Nugget was excited, wanted to see the bird right away.
 "Aren't you sad?"
"No.  I like to see dead bodies!"

Oh, my.  Not sure what's going on with that kid.

Well, Daughter has a lot of anatomy books, has even participated in a human dissection, maybe that explains it?

Hercules, Daughter, and Nugget left Thursday for a five-day trip to West Virginia (some kind of caching shindig) and Pennsylvania (Hercules' family), so there wasn't time for a proper funeral.  So the bird is in a box in a freezer bag in my freezer.  Daughter said I could go ahead and bury him while they were away, but I don't want to --- mainly because I am incapable of digging a hole these days, and putting him out with the garbage is distasteful.  On the other hand, given Nugget's ghoulish fascination with "dead bodies", maybe it's a good idea if she doesn't know where he's buried.


More chain-jerks:
  • Weary and wary are different words.
  • We are all frustrated by "I could care less" (meaning "I couldn't care less").  Believe it or not, in the past few days I have seen at least three examples in three different places, of  "I could careless."  Don't people think about what they say (write) anymore?
  • Exacerbate and exasperate are different words.
  • Disorientate is not a word.  Yes, disorientation is the noun, but the verb is simply disorient.  Same with orientate/orientation/orient. 
  • This one drives me crazy:  "calm, cool, and collective."  That one I hear as well as read.  How does one be collective?
  • Sew and sow are different words.  You can't sew the seeds of discord.
  • Invite is a verb.  It is not a noun. 
  • Ask is a verb.  You don't have an ask of someone.  You have a request or a question.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

4039 Pill Bugs and Horseshoe Crabs

Sunday, May 17, 2015

I read a lot.  Most of the day, in fact.  But even though I keep buying books, most of them are in the "to read" stack.  Most of my reading is on the internet.  I start with something, and start following links, and next thing I know hours have passed.

Earlier today Daughter asked if we could feed the baby bird pill bugs.  I started looking, and ended up fascinated.  Did you know that pill bugs (a.k.a. roly-poly, sowbug, wood louse) aren't insects at all?  They are crustaceans, descended from trilobites, and directly related to horseshoe crabs.  They breathe with gills. That's why they need to stay in moist areas.  They, along with the horseshoe crabs, evolved many eons ago, when there was more copper in the oceans than iron, so their blood is copper-based, not iron-based, and so their blood is blue, not red.

Birds do love to eat them, but rarely find them because they stay in dark places, and are active at night.

However, pill bugs suffer from a parasite that warps their minds.  The parasite eggs are in bird poop.  When the pill bugs eat the bird poop, the eggs hatch inside them and take over their brains, causing them to go out in the open in daylight, where birds find them and eat them.  The parasite grows in the birds from the larval stage to the adult stage, mate, lay eggs in the birds' digestive tract, and then the eggs are pooped out, to be eaten by more pill bugs.

So yes, we can feed the baby bird pill bugs, but only those captured in dark places.  None found out in the open.

Cool, huh?

(Earthworms have the same parasite, with the same life cycle, but it doesn't take over their brains.  The parasite is dangerous for baby birds because the first stage of the parasite is spent in the bird's trachea, where they grow into wormy things, and then when it gets to adult stage it moves to the esophagus, and if there is a large infestation, it can impede the bird's breathing.  So it's not a good idea to feed baby birds worms.  Which I don't understand, because parent birds feed chicks worms all the time.  Another interesting note - chickens won't touch a pill bug.)

4038 Stuff

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The baby bird in the bathroom is getting feistier.  He sits and opens up if he's hungry, but if he's full he runs away and hides.  That's good, I guess.

If your feelings about modern art are anything like mine, you'll like the following video.  Seems like today, art is not about craft, or talent, or uplifting beauty, or leading us to see more than a simple picture, it's all about marketing.  About convincing people that this "creation" is art.  Usta be art was obvious, something extraordinary, something I couldn't do.  Well, I don't have the words.  This guy does:


Would you like to commit a murder and get away with it?  Even if there are witnesses?  Even if you confess?  See  That article is very short, and has all the info you need, but it contains a link to an analysis by a law scholar that's quite a bit longer, but well worth reading if you happen to be, like me, a law wonk.

And now a list of my latest peeves:

  • It's not free reign.  It's free rein.  Like a horse that's allowed to go where it wants.
  • It's a necklace, not a neckless.  Sheesh!  I'm seeing this one more and more lately.
  • It's a mock turtleneck, not a mock neck.
  • To obey the rules is to toe the line, not to tow the line, unless you happen to be a mule on a canal towpath.
  • Wander and wonder are different words.  Even my SIL Hercules screws this one up.
  • You don't wreck havoc; you wreak havoc.
  • Massive means having great mass.  It is NOT a synonym for huge.  A rock can be massive.  A large balloon is probably not.  And a spat is definitely not massive, no matter how angry anyone got.
It's Mensa election time, and I'm getting emails with candidate campaign statements.  A lot of people have been unhappy with the direction Mensa has been taking, so many of the candidates are promising to change things.  One woman's proposals sounded really good to me, I was ready for go out and campaign for her, and then she screwed it up royally, turned me off completely.  She started a paragraph at the end with the sentence, "If you have a complaint with no potential solution, then stop."  She doesn't mean that if there is no solution, then shut up.  The remaining paragraph made it clear that if you see a problem, don't bother bringing it to her attention unless you already know how, and have the means to know how, to fix it.  Provide a solution, or don't mention it at all.

I HATE that attitude.  Ran into it several times with managers in IBM. 

Sometimes you are in a position to see that a certain course of action is guaranteed to run into disaster, but you are not in a position to do anything about it.  You can see the danger, but you don't have all the pieces to figure it out what to do about it. The solution requires that several disciplines work together to figure it out.  Like engineering, financial, and legal, who each have their own view of the situation, their own goals.  No, you are not allowed to raise a red flag with someone who can take it up the line, pull multiple divisions together.  Nope.  If you can't tell them what to do to fix it, then you are supposed to just sit there and watch the train run off the tracks.  In parts of IBM, bringing up a problem without also supplying the complete ideal solution is known as "Eek-a-mouse".

I really really hate that.

I especially hated it when in the end, the train ran off the tracks, as predicted.