Saturday, August 01, 2015

4081 Conversation with my heir apparent

Sunday, August 1, 2015

Only after the last tree has been cut down.
Only after the last river has been poisoned.
Only after the last fish has been caught.
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.
--Cree Prophecy--


Bombing down the highway in the BMW convertible, top down, wind in our hair, sun on our faces.  We pull into my driveway and stop, and then there's a 4-year-old voice from the toddler seat in the back:



When you die...


Can I have this car?

Yeah. You can have all my jewelry, too.

OK.  But don't die until I can reach the pedals.

Friday, July 31, 2015

4080 I don't know what to say

Friday, July 31, 2015

"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."
--George Orwell--


I wrote a while ago about the guy who wants to do away with spelling altogether, who advocates that everyone should spell words phonetically exactly the way they pronounce them, with no such thing as correct spelling.  I see that leading to massive failures in written communication and the demise of reading.  That post is here: 

Well just a few minutes ago I came across this gem:  a woman wrote that such-and-such a possibility is "the best casonario."

I had several reactions in rapid succession, well, pretty much all at the same time.
  1. I understood exactly what she meant.
  2. I laughed.
  3. I was horrified that this is where education is heading.
  4. I was horrified that although she knew what she wanted to convey, she didn't know what words she was saying, she was just reproducing the sounds.
  5.  I was grateful that she could at least pronounce it correctly.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

4079 Thrifty, not stingy or miserly, though.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Henry Louis Mencken, on Shakespeare: "After all, all he did was
string together a lot of old, well-known quotations."


I know I'm thrifty.  Daughter rolls her eyes when I wash and reuse zip-lock bags.  (That, by the way, is not just thrift, it's also environmental consciousness.)

I didn't really realize how downright cheap I am until my bath this morning.

Yesterday I decided to take a shower in the front bathroom (the shower in my bathroom is broken and I wanted to wash my hair).  That room is set up for the Nugget, so there's baby shampoo, baby wash, and her washcloths and towels, so I gathered up some supplies from the bathroom I usually use.  I was digging around in my soap stash in the cabinet for extra soap and shampoo.  I buy stuff like Dove, Cashmere Bouquet, Casswell-Massey florals, but I never get to use them because Daughter is always giving me gifts of handmade craft soaps, and fragrant oil soaps from India, which I use because she'd be disappointed if she didn't see them out and smell them on me, and she thinks I love them.

I grabbed a Cashmere Bouquet to take to the other bathroom, and had a very happy luxurious-smelling creamy-lathered shower.

So, this morning, bath in my usual bathroom.  The soap dish contained an oatmeal-infused block of craft soap Daughter had given me more than a year ago, and an unidentified French-milled scentless blue oval.  I groaned and used the craft soap, and for the thousandth time thought about throwing it away and opening a Dove.  I wish that stuff would hurry up and get used up, but it lasts forever!  

Yeah, I simply cannot throw out a bar of soap until it's so small it falls apart.

Yeah, I am cheap!  I just can't do it.

I guess.

After my bath I had a wonderful idea.  I'm going to let those bars dry thoroughly, then wrap them in Saran, put them in the stash, and break out a Dove, or a Casswell-Massey.  After I'm dead, Daughter will merrily throw them out, so I don't have to feel guilty.

Oh, and sometime soon I'm going to have to tell her that I don't like "fancy" soaps, so please stop buying them for me.  That might take a lot more courage than I have.


The phrase "until it's so small it falls apart" reminded me of something that was a general practice when I was young.  Everyone, everyone I knew, anyway, used up every bit of a bar of soap in one of two ways:
  • You'd put the worn-down slivers in a jar, and when the jar was 2/3 full you'd pour in boiling water to cover the bits of soap, and they'd melt down and make a liquid soap you could use as a body wash, or to wash lingerie, or your hair, or anything else.  For some unknown reason it stayed nice for ages, no mold, no sour.
  • Or, you'd knit or crochet or sew a small flat bag, put the chips in it, and use it as an already-soapy washcloth, until the chips were used up, then you'd refill it.
Maybe this was all left over from the days before commercial soaps, when you had to make your own, and it wasn't easy to make it or cheap to buy it, so the habit of soap-thrift got passed down grandmother to granddaughter

Good theory, but it doesn't explain the zip-lock bags, or washing and reusing aluminum foil, or using both sides of every sheet of paper and making shopping lists on the backs of envelopes bills came in.

I'm thrifty.

Monday, July 27, 2015

4078 Righty tighty

Monday, July 27, 2015

The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times 
the same good things for the first time.
--Friedrich Nietzsche--
I have never understood the popularity of "Righty tighty, lefty loosey."  It makes no sense to me.
I often look at the direction of the screw cuts (or whatever those things are called) on screws, bolts, nuts, lightbulbs, everything, before attempting to screw them in.  Loosening and tightening if I can't see the cuts is not as easy.  When I used to express confusion about which way to turn things, other people (Daughter in particular, she's downright nasty about it) roll their eyes and say "righty tighty, lefty loosey", like it solves the whole problem.

It doesn't.

Imagine yourself looking at a bolt sticking up vertically out of a machine, with a nut on it.  You pick up a wrench, fit it to the bolt and now you tighten it.  Righty tighty, right?  Which direction does your hand move?  Your hand moves to the left.  The wrench handle moves to the left, all the way down the wrench to the center of the bolt.  The far TIP of the wrench moves right.  The nut itself moves clockwise, technically neither left nor right, or both left and right.

Now stick that bolt down out of the ceiling.  In that position, which way does your hand move, or the wrench?  Which way is right or left?  The only thing that always moves the same way is the nut.  It always moves clockwise.

How do the hands on a clock move?  Left or right?

See the confusion?  
That old "Righty tighty, lefty loosey" saw is not helpful, and can actually be confusing to a lot of people. It's popular because it's catchy.  People seem to prefer catchy to clear.  
I propose that we change it to "Clockwise tight, counterclockwise loose."  Not as catchy, but it no longer depends on your orientation and it always works.  It's clear.

Next time you tighten or loosen something, ask yourself if you are really thinking in terms of left and right, even as you're repeating the saw in your head, or if you are actually thinking  about a clock face.

I'm willing to bet you're thinking about a clock.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

4077 Something else to worry about

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Interesting fact: A day on Venus is longer than a year on Venus.


An 18-year-old college student has posted a video on YouTube that has had by now a few million views.  It shows a quadcopter-drone with a mounted semi-automatic pistol, that fires at targets.

I'm not surprised.  Mounting guns on drones is not new.  What's new is that this is the small drone that anyone can buy and fly.

You thought cameras on drones were a possible threat?

If you haven't heard of it yet, go to and search for "drone gun".  (I'm not including a link because any iterations I link might be taken down.)