Monthly Archives: March 2012

Old Songs

I saw a TV commercial (I forget the product) that had a very old-fashioned sounding group singing something about “whispering grass” and I remembered hearing something that sounded similar to it in another commercial. A little bit of searching and I quickly discovered the Ink Spots. The other song I heard was I Don’t Want to Set the World On Fire. Here is a song by the Ink Spots that I did not hear in a TV commercial.

Once upon a time there was romance in the world.

Quotes From Here and There

I suppose in light of the amounts of heavy cream and chocolate used this week, it hasn’t been exactly cheap content…here

Slang rarely has staying power. That is part of its charm; the young create it, and discard it as soon as it becomes too common. Slang is a subset of in-group language, and once that gets taken up by the out-group, it’s time for the in-crowd to come up with something new.there

No matter how peculiar a “teknohippy” looks on her own, her outfit, when placed amid others with similarly neon hair and wildly patterned clothing, becomes as unoriginal as any style that’s more old-fashioned.here

I actually saved the trimmings from my tiny half square triangles and am looking for a glass jar to store them in. Wow, are we crazy or what eh?”there

Just a Thought

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not against the mentally challenged having jobs but don’t you think that certain kinds of jobs – like delivering packages for UPS – should have the requirement that the people doing that job not be f*cking retards? (Which, just to be clear, is not the same thing as mentally challenged)

If there were three

I’m in the middle of Iain M. Banks’ Player of Games. I might post more about the book in general after I’ve finished it but there’s something in it that started me thinking and I wanted to go ahead and throw it out there for (hopefully) discussion.

There is a race of humanoids in this book that has three sexes. In every story I’ve read in which there is a three-sexed race one of the sexes is merely an incubator and makes no genetic contribution of their own. My question for science fiction fans: Have you noticed this and have you ever read (or seen) a science fiction story about a three-sexed race in which each of the three makes a genetic contribution? Also, either way, how scientifically plausible is this arrangement?

Random Linkage

Legend of the Praying Hands – A beautiful, sad story

Travel poster – I like that. “The fastest way to tomorrow…”

Details – Best article I’ve read about the Trayvon Martin shooting (actually, I haven’t read very many)

Vintage Matchbox Labels – Packaging used to be so much more interesting.

Designer wallpaper – real wallpaper, the kind for your walls not for your computer (roll over images to see color)

Cuppow – Plastic lid converts any Mason jar into a travel mug. Write your own redneck jokes.

Robotic Hand – Today the long distance handshake, tomorrow the long distance kiss?

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New Old Music

I had never heard, or heard of, Danish composer Friedrich Kuhlau until a few days ago when I was listening to one of DirecTV’s music channels. There’s always something new to discover in 200 year old music.

This ‘n’ That

I do not need these but they keep calling to me. (I’m not getting them. I have never paid more than $100 for a pair of shoes but if they ever have a half off sale on them I might not be able to resist temptation.)

Tilly and the Buttons is a nice sewing blog. This One Week One Pattern challenge is sort of interesting. I don’t think that would be a challenge for me at all. I have a few favorite patterns that I use over and over again and I think I have enough versions of my big shirt to get through at least five days. Seven I’m not sure about. If we had several cold days and several warm days in the same week then I definitely could because I’ve made both short sleeved lightweight shirts and long sleeved flannel shirts from the same pattern. I’m trying to get away from the big shirt in my new sewing though. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve realized that trying to conceal my imperfections beneath long loose tops just makes me look big and shapeless. I’m still keeping the big shirts though because I love the fabrics. I’m going to have to add a room-sized closet onto the house soon though.

A couple of WTF? items about which I don’t have anything to say beyond, “WTF?” Job seekers asked for Facebook passwords and Law firm fires people for wearing orange

and a few more quick links

Israel hearts Iran

Albert Einstein quotes, including some that I hadn’t seen before. I disagree with many of these. Just because he was a genius doesn’t mean he always knew what he was talking about. (IF he actually said all of them.)

Awkward Stock Photos. A few are NSFW but most are PG-rated “What were they thinking” type of shots.

Sad About Football

If you pay attention to NFL football at all, and probably even if you don’t, you’ve heard that Peyton Manning is now a Denver Bronco. Once you’ve seen Brett Favre in a Vikings uniform nothing in football is really surprising anymore so, no, this doesn’t feel particularly odd to me, but I am a little bit disappointed.

None of the teams that were “courting” Manning are favorite teams of mine so I wasn’t really rooting for one of them in particular to get him but I am disappointed that he chose the Broncos. To me, the Broncos have always been one of “those other teams” – neither loved nor hated. Just recently though, I have developed a strong contempt for John Elway. His dislike of Tim Tebow seems rather bizarre. I’m not particularly a Tebow fan either but he is a good young quarterback and the fans love him. Okay, so maybe he’s not the “right” quarterback for Denver. I wouldn’t know; I don’t coach football. But Elway… oh what can I say? I don’t know. Every time I see his face I think it would be satisfying to see someone punch it.

I’ve always liked Peyton Manning because he’s fun to watch. I hope he does well at Denver and continues to be fun to watch for a few more years (not to win a Superbowl but just to put on a good show) and then I want to see Tim Tebow really embarrass the hell out of the Broncos – let’s say, something like 35-3 – and I want to see the look on John Elway’s face when it happens. That’ll be way better than a punch.

* * * * *

The bounty scandal makes me sad. Football is a violent sport. We like the violence. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to us because the players usually bounce right back just like in the cartoons or at least that’s the way it seems. The biggest hits make it into the highlights and players like that. To those involved and those who knew about it and did nothing, the bounty system probably seemed only a “little bit” unethical – not a big deal. It was just part of the culture.

But paying a person to injure another person is wrong. It always has been. If you are not a football player and someone offers you money to hurt someone, you accept and you both get caught what happens then? If convicted you both go to prison, right? Maybe you think football players are being payed to hurt each other anyway – millions of dollars to get out there on the field and slam into each other really hard – but that is not the right way to look at it. Violence is part of the game but it is not the point of the game.

A message had to be sent. An example had to be made. I am sad that the Saints had to be the example. I’m sure there are other teams who have been doing the same thing. When they get caught they will be punished also but they will not get the same amount of attention as the Saints are getting. The stain on their reputations won’t be as huge. The Saints will be the ones who are remembered for the bounty scandal.

Quotes From Here and There

…the great thing about music is that it doesn’t have to map precisely to exact emotions to be of comfort.here

This is deeply disappointing to a generation that viewed the Jetsons and the Six Million Dollar Man as reasonable prognosticators of things to come. In place of robot helpers and super-fast bionic legs, we have a loosely optimistic promise that our Buicks may one day run on algae.there (This one’s great!)

I can’t be all that and a bag of chips. I just can’t. And you know what, that is ok. I am not Super Mom and Master of The Universe wrapped all into one. I am a woman with kids, a business, a house and a garden. That is damn impressive enough.here

…things that really are “completely legal” generally don’t have to tell you so.there

Finding Forrester

Last night we watched Finding Forrester, a 2000 movie starring Sean Connery and Rob Brown. I think it might be my new favorite Sean Connery movie. (Of course my favorite Sean Connery movie usually is the last one I watched.)

The movie begins with a group of black teenage boys playing basketball and talking about the mysterious old white man (Connery) who watches them with binoculars from a window. One of the boys, Jamal (Rob Brown) accepts a dare to break into the man’s apartment and steal something. Strangely, this incident leads to an odd, secret friendship between the two.

Jamal, a C student in high school (“enough to get by but not enough to stand out”) is given a scholarship to a private school after he scores high on an annual evaluation test. He soon discovers that a book assigned to his class was written by his mysterious friend (whose real name, William Forrester, he hadn’t known) who was famous for having written that one highly acclaimed novel and then disappearing.

Finding Forrester is a wonderful movie, refreshingly free of the usual ghetto clichés. Jamal remains friends with the boys in his neighborhood and they do not give him a bad time and, for the most part, he fits in at the new school, though there is conflict with one teacher. (F. Murray Abraham, probably best known for his portrayal of Antonio Salieri in Amadeus)

Sean Connery is one of those actors who always plays himself, no matter the name of his character, but that is why he is so delightful in movie after movie. I already want to watch this one again.

Skinny Model Ban

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.

Reading

I finished reading China Mieville’s Embassytown yesterday. This one is science fiction but it’s only slightly less weird than his fantasy novels. It’s a very fascinating story that deals with the connection between language and thought. Embassytown is a human community inside a bubble of Earth-type atmosphere, surrounded by the natives’ city. The natives, the Ariekei, have two mouths and their language consists of pairs of sounds spoken simultaneously. And they are incapable of saying anything that is not the literal truth. They cannot even use metaphors. The only humans who can speak to them are pairs of linked clones. Things get really interesting when the human government sends an ambassador pair who are not clones and their imperfectly linked speech has a strange effect on the Ariekei.

I’m not telling this very well but, trust me, it’s a unique and fascinating story.

I have started Player of Games by Iain M. Banks. It’s starting out very good. I want to go live on an orbital. I also recently downloaded two Kindle books: The Giant Book of Poetry by William Roetzheim and Your Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings by Gary Wenk. I’ve already read some of the poetry. It starts with a poem from around 4000 BC! And I’m very interested in getting into Your Brain on Food. Brains are such fascinating things.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that China Mieville has a new book coming out this summer, titled Railsea. I might not be able to wait for the paperback.

“It’s So Noisy, Mommy!”

Cats are such amusing little creatures. Whenever we have a thunderstorm our two freak out and demand to be let outside. Of course, if we give in and let them out, as soon as they discover that it is even noisier outside, they desperately want back in. The really funny thing is that they never learn from this experience. Once inside again, after running around the house for a few minutes trying to find a quiet, non-scary place to hide, they go back to the door and beg to get out again. This provides us with entertainment during those times when the power is out or the weather interferes with our satellite connections.

Time to Board the Ark?

We have had over 4 inches of rain since yesterday morning and it’s still raining. Our power has been off three times. I am amazed that I am still connected to the Internet. That’s usually the first thing to go and now that I’ve typed that it will probably cut out any second now. The road to the highway is probably flooded but right now I don’t have anywhere I need to go today.

We did need the rain and I’m glad it has cooled off some. I was enjoying the nice warm weather but 80° in March is just wrong and 54°, the temperature right now, still isn’t bad.

A Few Quick Links

I won’t be trying this. It sounds stupid. And it proves that if you ban everything potentially dangerous people will still manage to find something crazy to do.

Milkshake recipes – I did not need these. Also, why is it that I had a blender for 30 years and never used it but after I finally decided to toss it I keep finding things for which a blender would come in handy?

Albatros Bookmark – Interesting. I just use whatever little strip of paper I can find – usually the little thin cardboard tags that are attached to new clothes, which I save for this purpose.

Spud City – Oh the amazing things you can do with simple potatoes.

St Patrick’s Day

I’ve probably told this story before. When I was six years old my mother forgot about St. Patrick’s Day and I went to school wearing a red plaid dress. I had a lovely green dress with tiny pink rosebuds that I could have worn if I had known. Almost right away a boy in my class pinched me. I don’t know if people still do that but it used to be that if you didn’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day people were supposed to pinch you. At the time I had no idea what it was all about. I just thought this kid pinched me for no reason at all. And by the way, he wasn’t wearing green either. He was wearing a white shirt with beige stripes.

That might be why it is still rather important to me to wear green on St. Patrick’s day but I really don’t think that’s it because it didn’t upset me that much at the time. I know the day has a history that I don’t really have any connection with (though some of my ancestors were Irish) and to some people it’s all about going to an Irish themed bar and getting drunk on green beer, but what it means to me is a day to welcome spring. It’s a few days before official spring but it’s already beginning to look like it and wearing green or decorating with green seems perfectly appropriate. It seems to me that it’s just a simple day with no pressure or obligation, just an opportunity to have a some fun.

I feel just a bit of amused contempt toward people who wear only a tiny bit of green or an off-green just so they can say they’re wearing green. I say wear it loud and proud or don’t bother. It’s not a big, important holiday. Participation is optional. It’s just fun that’s all so either have fun with it or just ignore it.

I couldn’t find a St. Patrick’s themed picture that I liked so here’s just a nice spring picture with a lot of green.

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Random Linkage

CSS rulers – a sort of nifty “because we can” thing

Men’s fashion – The pants are a little short but other than that…

Neuroscience and Nostalgia – Go ahead and reminisce. It’s good for you.

Cell phones and Alzheimers – Surprise! Talking on your cell phone might be good for you too.

Don’t try this at home – I’m getting some mixed messages – “Don’t try this at home”, “here’s how to try it at home”… Maybe I should just try talking on my cell phone more.

Surrogate mother cat – Awwww… what an adorable kitten. I guess they probably wouldn’t let me have one.

We Rule the Internet – Lots of cute and funny animal photos and videos, mostly dogs and cats. Great site.

Spider silk violin strings – Wow

What to do with that old 1960′s TV – Nifty.

3 2 1 Cake – Cake for one

Scary warning signs – I like the third one, “Trespassers will be shot, stomped, violated…”

Unusual Churches – another one from Oddee. Some of these are very cool.

Geeky Cross Stitch Patterns (via)

Base pair friendship necklaces

Generation Disconnect, Part II

Part I

Referring to the web kids essay quoted and linked by Grinding, I have to say a little something about these paragraphs:

We are used to our bills being paid automatically, as long as our account balance allows for it; we know that starting a bank account or changing the mobile network is just the question of filling in a single form online and signing an agreement delivered by a courier; that even a trip to the other side of Europe with a short sightseeing of another city on the way can be organised in two hours. Consequently, being the users of the state, we are increasingly annoyed by its archaic interface. We do not understand why tax act takes several forms to complete, the main of which has more than a hundred questions. We do not understand why we are required to formally confirm moving out of one permanent address to move in to another, as if councils could not communicate with each other without our intervention (not to mention that the necessity to have a permanent address is itself absurd enough.)

There is not a trace in us of that humble acceptance displayed by our parents, who were convinced that administrative issues were of utmost importance and who considered interaction with the state as something to be celebrated. We do not feel that respect, rooted in the distance between the lonely citizen and the majestic heights where the ruling class reside, barely visible through the clouds. Our view of the social structure is different from yours: society is a network, not a hierarchy. We are used to being able to start a dialogue with anyone, be it a professor or a pop star, and we do not need any special qualifications related to social status. The success of the interaction depends solely on whether the content of our message will be regarded as important and worthy of reply. And if, thanks to cooperation, continuous dispute, defending our arguments against critique, we have a feeling that our opinions on many matters are simply better, why would we not expect a serious dialogue with the government?

Oh how little they know of their parents and grandparents! Do they really think they invented being annoyed and frustrated by bureaucracy? Do they think they are the only generation who ever said, “We are not going to put up with the crap our parents put up with”? This is just more evidence that the “Web generation” or whatever you want to call it is essentially no different from any generation that came before them.

I wish them luck in their dreams of a better world. They’re the same dreams we had, that we were once sure we could make come true. But I also long to say to them: Seriously? Get over yourselves!

On Being Grown-up

I like the quote in this image and wanted to post it here so I googled it so I could just copy and paste and found there’s just a little bit more to it.

“Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” — C.S. Lewis

This is so true but most of us don’t see it, and by “us” I mean me too. It’s hard. No one wants to be seen as being childish so we “put away childish things,” even if we still like those things. Furthermore, we are quick to see childishness in others where there is really a more confident kind of maturity.

A list!

There’s a list of 50 Most Hated Movies so of course I have to post it also and add my comments. The ones I’ve seen are in bold. I had no idea some of these movies were hated but I’m not surprised. It seems like there are an awful lot of people out there who love to hate fun things. On the other hand, most of these are just not my kind of movie. I would probably hate them if I saw them but I usually don’t waste my time watching movies I think I’m going to hate. Anyway, here we go…

50. Daredevil (update) I just remembered – I did see this one. Don’t remember much about it.

49. Superman Returns

48. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

47. Terminator: Salvation – It was okay. No hate but no love either.

46. Exorcist II: The Heretic

45. Halloween (2007)

44. Fantastic Four (2005) – It was fun. I almost always like movies based on comic books.

43. Resident Evil

42. Jersey Girl (2004)

41. Constantine – I remember liking it but now I can’t remember much about it so I suppose it couldn’t have been that good.

40. Swept Away (2002)

39. Epic Movie

38. Clash of the Titans (2010)

37. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

36. The Matrix Reloaded/The Matrix Revolutions – I saw Reloaded. I was confused for the entire movie but it was artful confusion. I’m not sorry I watched it.

35. Godzilla (1998)

34. Van Helsing

33. The Spirit

32. Crash (2005)

31. Sucker Punch

30. Alien Resurrection – Hated it. I love the original Alien and it should have been left to stand alone.

29. Spider-Man 3

28. Sex and the City 2

27. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – All of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are so great I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite. People who don’t like these movies just don’t like to have fun.

26. Planet of the Apes (2001) – It was okay. I have never been a huge fan of the Planet of the Apes movies but for some reason I can’t resist watching them.

25. The Avengers

24. Pearl Harbor

23. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – People hate this? Really? Again, some people just don’t like to have fun.

22. Battlefield Earth

21. The Wicker Man (2006)

20. X-Men: The Last Stand – I’ve seen two or three of the X-Men movies but I can’t remember if this was one of them.

19. Aliens vs Predator – I’m ashamed to admit it but, yes, I’ve seen it. Sometimes curiosity can be a terrible thing.

18. Highlander 2: The Quickening

17. Love Actually

16. Hulk

15. Catwoman – They mean the one with Halle Berry? I liked it. Like I said, I almost always like comic book movies.

14. Avatar – Liked it; wish I had seen it in 3-D. Yeah, it was just Fern Gully on steroids and both movies were primarily “Green” propaganda but they were still fun movies.

13. Lady in the Water

12. The Happening

11. The Last Airbender

I do want to see those last three. I still don’t hate Shyamalan movies even though it’s true that nothing else he’s done has measured up to his best, Sixth Sense and Unbreakable.

10. Die Another Day

9. House of the Dead

8. Titanic (1997)

7. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) – Can’t remember. I’ve seen at least one Transformers movie and it wasn’t horrible but I’m not interested in seeing any more.

6. Batman and Robin

5. Psycho (1998)

4. Twilight

3. Forrest Gump – I’ve seen parts of it. For some reason I just can’t make myself sit and watch all of it. It makes my skin crawl a little bit.

2. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace – I liked it. Nothing can ever come close to the original trilogy. I didn’t expect it to, but it’s still a good movie. It’s just fun and I liked getting to see the backstory to the originals.

1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – I liked it. I have to admit I was skeptical and maybe that’s what it takes to like a sequel: Don’t have high expectations. Raiders of the Lost Ark was by far my favorite of the Indiana Jones movies. The others are all good and I would have a hard time ranking them.

This ‘n’ That

Yay Daylight Saving Time! I know a lot of people hate it but I like I it and this year I’m going to try really hard to avoid reading any DST hate.

It feels like spring. I know at this time of year there’s still a possibility of really bad cold weather – snow, ice etc. – but for now I’m just going to enjoy it though I will resist the urge to plant stuff that might be killed by cold. Today and tomorrow it’s supposed to be near 80°F.

I have an appointment at the eye doctor this afternoon. Unfortunately it will be a week or two before I get new glasses but, Yay! I get to pick out new glasses! I hope the next ones are better than these. A big part of the problem is that when I try on frames they sit higher up on my nose than the actual glasses will and when they measure them for the bifocal lenses they end up just a little bit off and since these are larger frames than the two previous pair they’re worse.

I have another blouse finished except for the buttonholes and buttons. I’m going to try to do that this morning and wear it this afternoon. I might start something else tomorrow but I really need to force myself to go back to working on the quilt top at least a little every day.

A few links: iPad apps for your cat and very pretty wallpaper and (Beware! Politics) Are Women People?

Quotes From Here and There

…it’s a funny thing about editorials: they never seem to have actual editors. — here

The question will always be “What went before?” But, for the time being, we must resign ourselves to ignorance. We sit down in the concert hall, open our programs, and — BOOM — we are knocked out of our seats.there

Generation Disconnect

Whenever I read something like this quote my first instinct is to scoff. Every generation believes that they are different and special and the greatest, most intelligent generation ever. Just wait, kids, someday your children and grandchildren will tell you that they are smarter than you. It’s been going on like that for thousands of years. But then I think, today’s kids are different. Their life experience is vastly different from that of any generation before them. They might be different but not in the way they are thinking.

Don’t think that because I’m over 50 I don’t understand the Internet. Some people my age don’t; some younger people don’t. But I totally grok the Internet even though I didn’t grow up with it. In fact, I might understand it even better because I didn’t grow up with it. I not only understand the Internet; I understand quite a few things that today’s kid’s can’t.

When I was a kid there was no Internet, no video games, no DVDs or VCR, and, until the time I was 13, we got only one TV channel. I’m sure the kids would just roll their eyes at this. What value can there possibly be in such deprivation? Why would anyone actually be proud of that? Stupid old people. Okay fine. I can’t explain it to them in a way they would understand. Don’t get me wrong; I love the Internet. I love my cell phone and I love texting. I think it would have been great to have had all that when I was a kid, but I think having experienced a time when those things didn’t exist enables me to appreciate them more and also put them in their proper place. They’re tools. To live online is like living in a shopping mall. It’s a great place to hang out and you can probably get everything you need there to sustain life but if you don’t ever leave it you miss a lot.

I do not believe the current generation of young people “think differently”, as the article claims. They have better tools but underneath, it’s all the same. My generation had an “external memory” too. We called it a library, a notebook, and a pencil. We even had “texting” in the form of notes written on tiny pieces of paper and secretly passed hand to hand during class. Young people now can do things faster and with people who are farther away but they’re still basically doing the same things kids have always done.

I think the big thing that today’s kids are missing and do not understand is freedom. When I was a kid freedom is what you got when school let out for the weekend or the summer. It meant not having any claims against your time. This freedom wasn’t absolute. We had to be home by dark, obey our parents, and most of us had at least a few chores, but we also had a lot of time and few gadgets with which to fill it. It’s wonderful what your mind can come up with all on its own when you set it free.

Today, to many people, freedom means something entirely different. It means being able to get online and say anything you want to anyone you want to say it to, to the whole world, to bully anyone, stalk anyone, slander anyone, annoy anyone, to reveal any or all secrets, and never have to suffer the natural consequences of such actions. But consequences have a way of catching up with you no matter what you do. The failure of people to regulate their own actions results in regulations that spoil things for the innocent as well as the guilty.

I know… I get it. I really do. I’ve always felt that there are a whole lot of people out there who really need a piece of my mind. And yes, I have experienced the desire to get even, to punish someone. But in the real world actions, and words, have consequences and one learns discretion. On the Internet distance and anonymity give one the illusion that actions have no consequences and there’s often shock and outrage when someone learns the hard way that even online there are consequences.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not down on young people, and I do not make the mistake of thinking they are all alike. Just like my generation, they will learn, they will gain understanding and come to respect the value of the different experiences of earlier generations and, as in every generation, a few of them will do great things. I do think they are somewhat deprived of experiences and that it will be harder for them to learn some of the really important things but past generations have overcome many hardships so I will try to maintain hope that at least some members of the next generation can overcome an excess of convenience.

.

(UPDATE: I’m thinking about a Part II to this.)