Vancouver has banned doorknobs. What the…? What? Apparently they’re more difficult for elderly and arthritic persons to open. I should be more sympathetic I guess but I really hope this idea doesn’t take off in the U.S. Every time I see one of those lever-style door handles I think, “I bet my cat could open that.” In fact my cat sometimes reaches for the doorknob. I actually sort of doubt he could successfully perform the entire pulling the lever and opening the door operation, but I’m pretty sure there are some dogs that could. I don’t know… I suppose some people might want their dogs to be able to open doors but I like having a little control. The ability to open doors is the one power I have over my cats.
Of course the real issue is that the levers look too modern no matter how antique-brassy they are and it’s nobody’s business what kind of hardware I have on my doors.
There has recently been some controversy over the name of a street in Tulsa – Brady Street. Some people wanted it renamed because Tate Brady, whom it was named for, was a Klan member. But people like their street names and hate change, and besides, it would cost money to change all the signs. So, last night Tulsa city councilors voted to “rename” Brady Street for civil war photographer Matthew Brady. If one wanted to be snarky one could say they could just as well have “renamed” it after Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch, but I like it. Rarely in politics has there ever been such a handy solution to a problem.
Wow. Preach it, sister. This absolutely wonderful screed has already gone viral but I just have to say this is awesome. This is exactly the kind of thing I’m always saying or thinking only she said it better. There is so much there that is quoteable but I especially like this bit:
The fact that I’m not fixating on the perfect purity of my food and not doing it to those around me means I have a pretty good quality of life.
I’m fortunate that I don’t often run into people who bother me about my food choices but if I did I think I would be tempted to print out copies of this and pass them out to the busybodies.
Do you ever, a few days after a major news event, find yourself wishing that something else Big and Important would happen just so the media would move on already? I mean… it doesn’t have to be anything really tragic, just, say, something like a group of Republican congressmen from the bible belt hire a bunch of prostitutes and have a drunken orgy. Could we maybe make that happen?
The recent two minute stock market crash, due to a hoax Tweet, has to be one of the top ten idiotic news events of all time. Seriously? Now our economy is controlled by Twitter? I hope everyone involved feels properly embarrassed. It’s true I don’t know anything about the stock market but I’m not stupid. I understand that people who are responsible for huge amounts of money need to do what is necessary to protect that money but it is obvious that panic causes exactly what they are afraid of.
I know how to fix the stock market. It needs to run like an older version of Windows. Every time someone buys or sells, after a 30 second delay they are asked, “Are you sure?” Then, if they choose “Yes”, there’s another 30 second delay before anything happens. And any time the stock market drops more than 100 points it blue screens. But, lacking that, if you’re in the financial industry, STOP READING TWITTER AT WORK!
The IRS says that making a Star Trek parody “training video” was “a mistake.” The only thing about it that I see as a “mistake” is that they spent $60,000 on it. Well, on that and another short parody video. How can you spend that much money making a six minute video? There are thousands of videos on Youtube that cost little or nothing to make and many of them are, no doubt, better than IRS’s expensive attempt to entertain their employees.
Samples sold as snapper and tuna had the highest mislabeling rates (87 and 59 percent, respectively), with the majority of the samples identified by DNA analysis as something other than what was found on the label. Only seven of the 120 samples of red snapper purchased nationwide were actually red snapper. The other 113 samples were another fish. Halibut, grouper, cod and Chilean sea bass were also mislabeled between 19 and 38 percent of the time, while salmon was mislabeled 7 percent of the time.
“Our study identified strong national trends in seafood mislabeling levels among retail types, with sushi venues ranking the highest (74 percent), followed by restaurants (38 percent) and then grocery stores (18 percent). These same trends among retail outlets were generally observed at the regional level,” Oceana said in their summary report.
And it’s not just seafood that might not be what it seems:
But what about honey? Or extra virgin olive oil?
These are products most of us believe we could spot as fraud. However, most of the honey sold in American chain stores does not meet international quality standards.
Testing done for Food Safety News found that most store honey isn’t honey, with ultra-filtering techniques removing pollen and hiding the honey’s origins.
“More than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t exactly what the bees produce.
I knew about most honey being excessively processed, if not outright fake. I try to always buy honey produced in Oklahoma. There’s not a huge difference in taste and I can’t tell if it’s less processed than other honey available in the grocery store. We have a beehive in our back yard but haven’t been very successful at beekeeping. We got honey from them only one year.
I’m going to get a little bit political here. This is not really about the politics but I have to mention the politics to get where I’m really going. Every time there is a major tragedy involving guns we start having the gun control debate again. The pro-gun people say that more restrictions on guns will not stop anyone from killing people. The anti-gun people say, “If it saves just one life we have to do it.”
I will not debate the merits of either of these arguments but I have an idea that might “save just one life” and you don’t even have to write to your congressman. It’s simple: befriend the quiet loner at your school or workplace. Just as the vast majority of gun owners will never shoot anyone, the vast majority of quiet loners will never hurt anyone. But what if the quiet loner that you work with or go to school with is the one? Would having a friend and not feeling “always left out” make a difference? Maybe, or maybe not. But what if it would? What if you could be the one to make a difference?
Many loners are just relatively normal folks who really just want to be left alone. Many others are socially awkward, don’t know how to talk to people, and desperately want to fit in. A few become paranoid and think everyone hates them and is out to get them. Either way, would it hurt you to smile and say “Hi, how are you?” Would it hurt you to invite that person to sit with you at lunch? Would it hurt you to ask, “How’s the family?” – “What are your hobbies?” – “What kind of music do you like?” – “Did you see last night’s episode of Castle?” Maybe you don’t feel comfortable approaching someone you don’t know well. Maybe the guy’s weird and creeps you out a little bit. Get over it. If it saves one life won’t it be worth it? Not even that – if you just make someone’s day, won’t that be worth it? And once you start talking to him (or her) you might find out he’s not so weird after all. Or that weird isn’t always a bad thing.
I live in the reddest state in America. My vote in the presidential election won’t count. But I’m voting anyway. It’s my statement – a tiny, insignificant statement, it’s true, but still my statement. I am proud to be one of the 34.35%. (Interesting they have the colors backward in this graphic)
Think about what that number means. It means that in a state that prides itself on being conservative, a little over one third of voters disagree with the majority. Each of our votes is a tiny, personal statement but together they make a larger statement. Not enough of a statement to change Oklahoma’s seven electoral votes but still an important statement – a statement to my fellow Oklahomans that their beloved conservatism is not nearly as universal as they would like to believe.
And what if everyone who is planning to stay home because their vote “won’t count anyway” decided to vote tomorrow? There is still no chance it would be enough to turn Oklahoma blue but maybe that 34+% might go up to 35% or even 37%. Dare we dream of 38%? That’s starting to look a bit more significant isn’t it? We’re more than just a handful of weirdos. Will the majority pay any more attention to us? No, they won’t. But the higher that number goes the harder it will be to deny that we exist. And maybe someday… who knows?
So anyway, whether you’re a blue person in a red state or a red person in a blue state, go out and make your statement tomorrow.
The election is just two weeks and a day away now. I know who I’m voting for and if you’re voting I’m sure you know who you’re voting for too. I’m not going to try to change anyone’s mind because I know it would be impossible, just as it would be impossible for anyone to change my mind. I am a little nervous and worried and if my candidate doesn’t win I will be very disappointed, and still worried. But I try to keep reminding myself of something that I have said to other people: Everything will be okay. That’s not to say it doesn’t matter who wins. Of course it matters. A president can make things better or worse. But no matter which candidate wins, America is not going to turn into another North Korea or another Saudi Arabia. America will be okay. Life will go on. Get a grip.
I really hate the way so many people act like politics is a team sport and can never admit it when the “other team” has done something good or when “their team” has done something not good. It’s always “Ra ra! Yay, our team; boo your team!” And yes, I know, “good” means different things to different people but even when “the other team” does something that they have already been saying should be done people will find a way to deny it or dismiss it. As to that, I would like to tell the whole world to just stop it! Grow up! But of course no one would listen to me even if I could talk to the whole world.
Well, there in front of my TV, that is, but some events give you such a feeling of thereness even if you are not really there. You know what I mean? The last time I was “there” for a historic scientific event was many years ago. I was lucky to have caught this latest one. Of course I had heard about the upcoming sky dive from the edge of space, but I didn’t know when it was to be and I expected that I would hear about its success or failure as one of those fifteen second gee-whiz tidbits on the news. But Sunday morning I got up, made my cup of tea and turned on the TV as usual. After an hour of HGTV I started channel surfing and found on the Discovery Channel a several hours long program labeled “Space Jump Live”.
It had very much the same feel as the NASA broadcasts I saw as a child – a view of a mission control room alternating with a view of a space-suited person in a tiny capsule and exterior shots of the craft and surrounding landscape. The TV commentators spoke in quiet, almost reverent voices, explaining what was happening, and sometimes there were long silences. They didn’t try to fill up every minute with talk. The thing that was different was that instead of “NASA” we saw the Red Bull logo everywhere.
We watched the balloon ascend, with the altitude and speed displayed on the screen. Finally, via cameras on the capsule, over 24 miles above Earth, we saw Felix Baumgartner step out of the capsule. Infrared cameras on the ground showed a tiny, white, human-shaped speck rapidly tumbling through the sky. After nearly four and a half minutes the parachute opened. They briefly cut to a scene of Baumgartner’s family cheering and hugging each other, then back to the tiny parachuted figure.
I expected a hard landing but he landed gently on his feet, took a couple of steps and sat down. I thought, “The parachute maker is a hero too.” Everything went so smoothly one might almost think that it was easy but of course it wasn’t. This was not at the same level as the moon landing but this was a significant scientific achievement, not merely an elaborate stunt. Think of some place that is 24 miles from where you are now. Now imagine falling that distance, faster than the speed of sound at one point. And landing safely.
The involvement of Red Bull seemed at once both cool/futuristic and a little bit wrong. But mostly cool. Profit is neither a dirty word nor a sacred one. Many atrocities have been committed for profit but the hope of profit also provides incentive to do stuff like this. There are two main forces that drive progress: war and the desire to make money. I know which one I prefer.
UPDATE: I see that the video has been removed. [dirty words... lots of really bad, highly imaginative profanity and curses] Maybe you can find it at the link above. I don’t know; I haven’t looked today.
UPDATE II: Okay, found another video. Let’s see how long this one lasts. It’s a little bit shorter than the one that was here originally and maybe not quite as good but it still shows the entire jump.
I’ve been wondering… If politicians and the media stopped telling us that the economy is bad, how many people would know? If you have investments and you’re losing money on them you probably pay attention to such things so you would know. If you own a business and your profits are down you might suspect that the economy is not doing so well. If you are unemployed you might blame the economy if you even think in those terms.
But if you are an ordinary employed person, would you think anything is seriously wrong with the economy if you weren’t being reminded of it every day? I’m quite certain all those people waiting in line for the latest iPhone wouldn’t notice.
Now I’m not saying that the economy is A-OK and that we should just ignore it. And I’m certainly not saying that we should ignore all those unemployed people. All I’m saying is, is it bad enough that most people would notice even if nobody told them?
Of course, I live in a state where unemployment is just over 5% so what would I know?
I have no idea what the problem is with the referees – my heart tells me to blame the NFL – but, as with most such situations, I think all parties involved in the negotiations should be locked in a room with no food, nothing to drink except tap water, only metal folding chairs to sit on, and NO modern facilities, and forced to stay there until they come to an agreement. That’s just my opinion, of course, but I happen to be right.
Dammit! Drug Warehouse is closing. Now I hate Walgreen’s even more. Drug Warehouse is nice, big, but not too big, and spacious. Walgreen’s is cramped, crowded and confusing. The Drug Warehouse parking lot is easy to park in and easy to get in and out of. The Walgreen’s parking lot is narrow and very difficult to get in and out of.
I would like to say that I am going to boycott Walgreen’s but I know sooner or later I will have to shop there. I will probably go there to get my flu shot next month, like I did last year. There’s another drug store in town that I’ve never been in. I could try that one. And of course there’s always Walmart.* But Drug Warehouse was so convenient. I’m going to miss it. I’m considering writing a nastygram to Walgreen’s, not that it would do any good.
*I could even get a flu shot at Walmart but something about that creeps me out a little bit. I know it’s the same flu shot as anywhere else and it’s administered by professionals, not the regular Walmart employees, but… but… getting a flu shot at Walmart! [shudder]
Why should I care that an old geezer got up on stage at the Republican convention and talked to a chair? I will still vote for the candidate I’ve been planning to vote for all along. I will still go see the old geezer’s movies because I usually enjoy them. Was this an embarrassment to the Republican party that will sway some people to vote for President Obama? Would be nice to think so but probably not. The Republicans have been doing worse things than that. I want more people to remember those things and forget about the old geezer.
By the way, I haven’t even watched the video yet. Maybe I will if I get really bored this weekend.
I know this may piss off the pathologically PC (I can only hope) so I apologize to those who come here for the peace and quiet but I must say this. A sentence I would very much like to never have to hear or read again is, “You wouldn’t ask a man that question.”
News flash: men and women are different. Always will be. Get over it. Yes, women are just as capable as men of performing well in positions of power and responsibility. Women are also just as capable as men of being wiseass jerks. You want to talk about equality? There it is. You can’t own the positive without also owning the negative.
And you know something else? You never hear a man say, “You wouldn’t ask a woman that question.” I’ve heard interviewers ask the President about sports. I’ve never heard him respond, “You wouldn’t ask a woman that question.” You want to be treated the same as a man in your position would be, then don’t act like such a “typical woman.” Be professional.
I’m not saying you should necessarily answer every question. Reporters are notorious for asking inappropriate, irrelevant and just plain lame questions but people are interested in the personal lives of our leaders and since men and women are different that means different questions for men and women. If you don’t feel that it’s an appropriate time for a particular question the better response would be to say, “I would rather talk about the issues,” or “I would rather talk about [a specific issue]“. That’s how a man – or a truly professional woman – would handle the situation.
Top 10 States Most at Risk Of Disaster – Oklahoma is on the list. I suppose that’s no surprise considering the tornadoes and winter storms but I’ve never thought of Oklahoma as unusually disaster-prone. I expected California to be on the list (earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires) but it’s not.
Israel has just passed a law that requires models to have a BMI of at least 18.5 or a doctor’s note saying that they are not underweight. That sounds likes a step in the right direction. The only concern I have is the doctor’s note loophole. I’m sure it won’t be all that hard to find a doctor unethical enough to provide the required piece of paper to anyone for a fee. However, the law also bans models who “look underweight”. Hmmmm… Well, anyway. It should make for some entertaining court cases.
As we were sitting down to watch TV last night I commented to The Husband that either Rick Santorum or Ron Paul would win the Oklahoma Republican Primary because they are the looniest of the candidates that are still getting media attention, and that it would probably be Santorum. Well, if I had said that here I could say, “I told you so.”
I know, I know… I shouldn’t call someone “looney” just because I disagree with them. Well, I’m not. I’m calling them looney because they are looney. I disagree with Mitt Romney and I’m not calling him looney.
I’m not as bothered by lunatic candidates though as I am by the numbers of supporters they have – that there are that many people who think 1, that the things that these candidates are saying are actually good ideas and 2, that if elected they have any chance of accomplishing even half of their wild promises. There’s a very good reason why it’s a bad idea to talk about politics with people you like or have to see regularly. You might not want to know what goes on inside their heads.
I already know who I’m voting for this November, and at least some of you can probably guess, but whoever we end up with as President, I’ll be neither worried nor excited. Things could get a little better or a little worse but our government is organized in such a way that nothing significant, either catastrophic or excellent, can ever happen. And, since we all have different wants and needs, that’s for the best.
Most people would probably say I’ve watched way too many re-runs of Star Trek (not to mention all those sci-fi novels) but I really don’t have a serious problem with this. (I first saw this article on Facebook but I had to search for one that’s a little less “OMG! We’re all gonna die!”) Yeah, it is kind creepy but if we actually thought about where meat comes from and visualized all the steps involved in getting it from the hoof to the grocery store every time we take a bite of a hamburger a lot more people would be vegetarians. Many of those who are already vegetarians would like to see this happen but I’m sorry, I like meat. My ancestors ate meat, I eat meat, and one way or another my descendents many generations hence will eat meat. Put on your big kid pants and deal with it.
There would be actual benefits from artificially grown meat, aside from the high-tech coolness factor. Fewer cow farts = less global warming. And more land would be available for purposes other than cattle farming. Right now producing “test tube meat” is horribly expensive but there’s a possibility that it could someday be made more affordable than the real thing and more meat could be made available to more people. But I fear the professional panic inciters will prevent any of this from happening. The people crying the loudest about global warming, hunger, etc. don’t really want these problems to be solved because then they’d have to find or invent something else to protest against.
I am starting to get a bit annoyed at Harry’s Law. (NBC) I like the characters and enjoy watching them interact and the stories are often interesting but lately the crusade episodes are coming more and more often – episodes in which they use the criminal trial of the week to highlight some social “evil”.
It’s probably been like that from the beginning but I first noticed it earlier this season when they had a teenage girl on trial for manslaughter because something she wrote on her blog instigated the harassment of a fellow student who then committed suicide. Can a person be held responsible for another person’s suicide? I don’t know. There should be some punishment for bullying but the charge of manslaughter seems a bit harsh. But what bothered me about this episode was that the defense attorneys argued, basically, that the defendant was innocent because everybody else is doing it.
Last night’s episode was a two-fer. In separate cases they took on banks and football. I agree with everything they said about banks but I do not agree that getting screwed by a bank is an excuse to rob that bank. In a real case they might have tried a temporary insanity plea but this was television and they had a point to make so instead they argued that the defendant was not guilty because the bank had no right to treat her so unfairly.
In the football case a couple whose son had died from a head injury was suing the school, not because they had acted irresponsibly but because they had a football program. This case was an excuse for Harry and her witnesses to preach about the dangers and the evils of football and while some of their arguments were based in fact it was all way overblown. They made it sound like most kids who play football are going to end up either dead or brain damaged. Personally I think that, while schools should have sports programs, too much emphasis, and money, is given to sports at the expense of other things like arts education but the anti-football agenda in last night’s Harry’s Law was just too over the top.
Harry’s Law is certainly not the first show to take on social issues and I’m not totally against that sort of thing but whether I agree with the point they’re trying to make or not I would like to see a little more subtlety. Subtlety, in fact, would be better for making their point than in-your-face crusades against “evil”. And being somewhat realistic would be helpful too.
The name of a new Ben & Jerry’s flavor is making a lot of people uncomfortable. I don’t even look at the Ben & Jerry section so I might never have known about this flavor if not for humorless prudes, God bless them. But now, I’m really tempted to see if I can find it (Probably not; This is Oklahoma after all.) not because of the name but because ice cream with “chocolate covered rum balls” sounds like something I might like. Oh who am I kidding? It’s rare that I find an ice cream that I don’t like.
Ben & Jerry’s is famous for silly flavor names. I really don’t care what they call it. When I first “discovered” B&J’s I got a kick out of some of the names but I quickly got over it. Now I’m neither impressed nor offended and only very rarely amused by such silliness in marketing. But if I was offended I hope I’d have sense enough to keep my mouth shut about it because, as everyone with more than two functioning brain cells knows, protesting against something just increases demand for that item.
I have to say something about the Occupy Wall Street protests. Sorry but I just have to. I am sympathetic to their cause. Actually, it’s not so much a cause as an expression of frustration but anyway I’m sympathetic. I’m not so much bothered by the fact that wealthy people and corporations get tax breaks that I don’t get. Well, that does bother me but it’s not the biggest thing. The thing that really bothers me is that when a corporation wants a law passed (or wants a law to not pass) they generally get what they want. This is why movies, books and other works whose creators have been dead for decades are still not in the public domain. It’s why the cable companies will eventually get away with killing the Internet as we know it. And it’s why instead of a decent health care program we got what is mainly a gift to insurance companies. Another big thing that bothers me, and that is more relevant to the current topic, I suspect that some companies that could afford to hire people have decided that they don’t have a reason to because they’ve discovered they can make do with fewer people.
I think that some of the comments I’ve been reading online – that the occupiers are just spoiled and lazy – are not true of the majority of protesters and are grossly unfair. However, I think the occupiers are making several huge mistakes. One, if they expect to have any success at all they do need a unified message and a list of specific demands. There’s nothing wrong with telling the world that you’re angry and you’re not going to take it anymore but if you can’t say what it would take to make you not angry then there’s not much chance that anything will change.
On a personal level, there’s one very important thing that the protesters are overlooking: Protesting against evil, greedy corporations is probably not going to win them any points in their next job interview at one of those evil, greedy corporations. I know it feels good to show the whole world how frustrated you are but doing so usually does you more harm than good.
I honestly don’t think corporations are evil. They might be “Big Brother” but they make our way of life possible so I guess you could say that I do “love Big Brother.” Corporations, or the people who run them, are greedy. So am I. So are you. Greed is why we have an economy at all. And Wall Street? I really fracking hate that the entire economy is so deeply affected by the daily panic attacks of a handful of wealthy investors. But that’s just the way it is and I don’t know what can be done about it. Neither do the Occupy Wall Street protesters and that’s why they’re wasting their time. You really want to make an effective statement? Go home and write to your congressman and tell him that you’re not going to vote for him unless the unemployment rate drops below 6% by election time. And then follow through on your threat.
: DC is like Lucy and we’re like Charlie Brown. DC keeps yanking the football away and we keep yelling Aaugh! and landing hard. They’re very sure we’ll keep coming back and try to kick the ball again. And, knowing some of the perps fairly well, I can assure you they’re pretty smug about it. …
Isn’t that the truth?! The faces change but they all keep making the same promises and we keep believing them and voting for candidates who make the same promises that the last guy didn’t keep… But wait. He’s not talking about Washington DC. He’s talking about DC Comics. Oops. A natural mistake to make, no?
(I left a comment at Byzantium’s Shores but Google is being uncooperative this morning and I don’t know if it saved it.)