Showing posts from 2002
Curious Signs
Some signs just strike me as odd. Long ago I saw a sign on a restaurant that read


Gee...if I were to take a short woman out on a date, would I go there? I think not!

More recently, signs on rest rooms are showing up that say


"Dear, we always wanted a girl...let's take little Bobby to the baby changing station!" (What's even worse is that the picture on one of the signs shows a baby elephant in diapers. You'd think Jeremy Rifkin would be protesting...)
So, is conclusion-jumping aerobic?
Some years back--back when the intercom in the complex worked--I called out for a pizza, and then went back to reading or whatever I was doing at the time.

About a half hour later, the heart-stopping shriek of the intercom made me jump. I followed the posted protocol: I hit the "talk" button and said "Hello?" No reply, save for the shriek of the intercom signal. I hit the "talk" button again and said "Hello?" No reply...and then another insanely loud beep.

I thought some joker was trying to be funny. I hit the "talk" button and said "Look, whoever you are; this isn't funny. Hit that button again and I'm calling the police." A few seconds and sure enough, it BEEEPed again.

Enraged, indignant, and not bothering to think that anyone who would harass someone might not draw the line there, and could be waiting for me with utensils of destruction, I stomped up the stairs and opened the door…
What Was It Like?

Remember the Great Folk Music Scare back in the 60s? That [stuff] almost caught on. --Martin Mull

I was five or six back then; the scare faded out in the early 60s in the face of early rock and surf music, and the British Invasion killed it stone dead, partly, ironically enough, with British groups feeding us back our own folk songs electrified.

I do still remember the stray Kingston Trio, Burl Ives, and New Christy Minstrels song, and Glenn Yarbrough singing "Baby, The Rain Must Fall" through my parents' Pepto-Bismol pink AC-DC tube radio, from back when even Top 40 radio had a vastly more eclectic mix than the focus group and demographics-driven sewer of today's commercial radio. I wasn't old enough to notice the irony of clean-cut college types raking in the dough via faux solidarity with migrant farm workers and coal miners. I just enjoyed it as music, and was blissfully ignorant of any message or emotion therein in my five or six year old w…
lettinme be mice elf agin...
OK, I'll bite. What the bleep do I have to be thankful for? It's now over a year since I was laid off, and I'm now living off savings that were intended for my retirement while the places I apply for work either ignore me or send me little "thank you for playing" postcards.

Well...there are a few things. I'm not hospitalized with cellulitis the way I was last year, nor am I wearing a humongous leg wrap or on a continuous antibiotic IV drip. I still have a place to live... for now, anyway... and now I'm married to a wonderful, talented woman who loves me. (It's still a little hard to believe, even after a month an a half.) Could be worse. Enjoy your turkey, or tofu if you're vegetarian.
Didja Ever Notice How Irritating Andy Rooney Is?
As the holiday season approaches, so does one of my pet peeves. Not the "Let's start prodding people to Christmas shop on Labor Day" routine, though goodness knows I'm sick of that. No, this is one that comes up most fiercely around Easter, because there isn't quite as much shameless marketing as for Christmas, but I saw an ad yesterday that set me off.

The pet peeve is this: it's not "spiral sliced ham," dagnabit, it's HELICALLY sliced ham! If it were spiral sliced, it would unroll like a carpet. I know it's a hopeless cause...people still say "spiral staircase" after all these years...but I'll continue to fight the good fight.
Cable of Tomorrow...Like Yesterday's, but More Obnoxious
Digital cable sucks, for various reasons:
It's yet another box requiring yet another outlet and another piece of coax and remote.
It gives you all the joys of lossily compressed MPEG video.
It returns you to the thrilling days before "cable ready" TVs and VCRs, and all the inconvenience of not being able to watch one show and tape another. You say you bought yourself a spiffy picture-in-picture TV? Too bad; it's worthless with digital cable.
It's yet another thing you get billed for.
When I Was Your Age, Sonny, I Wound the Film Myself...
We're a little out of sequence here; apologies.

I was at the Iowa State Fair doing volunteer work-- photography for VSA Iowa. VSA Arts (a name created by the Dept. of Redundancy Dept., I guess, as VSA stands for "Very Special Arts") is an organization that promotes artists with disabilities. My fiancée (well, for the next month-- nervous? me?) schleps and rides VSA performers around the hilly and crowded terrain of the fairgrounds on a golf cart each year. They needed a photographer, and I was interested and [insert deity of choice] knows I have the time... sigh.

The photography was fun and educational; I was lent a camera and lens for the job-- actually the lens first, and the camera when it turned out not to work with my SLR. The educational part? The camera was a very non-automatic Pentax, with me lazy and used to my very automatic Minolta Maxxum 450si. I reviewed the definition of f-stop, and discussions of depth…
No, That's Not Where They Keep Ted Williams's Head...
Had the fun of introducing someone to Nitro Ice Cream yesterday...These folks started out at Iowa State University with the realization that if they froze ice cream very quickly (using liquid nitrogen) they could make a maximally smooth product, avoiding ice crystals and such. For a few years they've been at the Iowa State Fair selling their product (vanilla only there) to fairgoers, but now they've set up shop in Ankeny, Iowa under the name "Blue Sky Creamery." There they have multiple flavors (yesterday there was vanilla, chocolate, cherry, and green apple), and just as at the fair, the ice cream is made while you watch, with the shiny aluminum device emitting clouds as it sits there.

Should you ever be in central Iowa, by all means go there. I've tried the chocolate, but still think the vanilla is best. (For a chocoholic to prefer the vanilla says something...) Check out their web site and nudge some…
Sic Transit...
It's a day after the second Gnomedex, and I'm of a couple of minds about it. Part of it's personal--somewhere around eighteen years ago, I was at the very same location, in a group of at least the same size and enthusiasm, all excited about and working on OS-9, the operating system that I managed to devote over a third of my life to until I was laid off last November. The excitement has gone elsewhere; I will but say here that I think it could have been otherwise.

OTOH, the speakers were excellent, especially Doc and Steve and Leo (that's last names falling out of short-term memory rather than faux familiarity and name dropping), and if the enthusiasm has to be elsewhere, I'm glad it's with Linux and blogging and fighting the media conglomerates.
What Better Reason to Do Something?

You and I have Justin Raimondo to thank, or blame, for this blog. I've heard of weblogs, but didn't know about until I saw a rant of his about bloggers who have the temerity to disagree with him about the "war on terrorism." In passing, he also manages to put down bloggers in general as people who think their "meandering expostulations, mini-essays, and Internet links" are "infinitely fascinating"--like essayists such as Raimondo himself, I suppose.

We'll see how this works out. is wise to make blogs easy to edit and extend, but even with that I can't help thinking that the attrition rate is significant.