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!