Friday, April 18, 2014

Google Is A Jealous Supreme Being

So, I've been nagging and trolling for comments on this blog, but I almost never get any. Part of the problem might have been a misunderstanding of what Google meant by "Enable Google+ commenting." In Google-speak, that means, "Dis-able commenting by any other means including skywriting or whispering it directly in my ear."
So, now I've disabled Google+ commenting, but I'm not sure if that means I've allowed other commenting.
I'll keep my eyes open over the next few days and see if anything appears here on the blog or in the sky, or wherever.


I Admit, The Crack About Fox News Viewers Was Too Harsh

After oil was discovered on the North Slope of the Brooks Range in Alaska, there were two competing views of what to do. Environmentalists wanted to ignore it, and developers angered by the Outside protests had bumper stickers printed that read, "Let The Bastards Freeze In The Dark."
An environmentalist (and here Google let me down, so I don't know which environmentalist, but it might have been a former Secretary of the Interior) began calling developers the "Rape, ruin and run boys."
But that was all a long time ago. As this news release points out, Sean Parnell has become the rape, ruin and run for office, governor of our state.

As long as I'm on a political rant, what is it with the Republicans and the Affordable Care Act? They, or their Koch surrogates, say Obamacare as if it's a given that it's a disaster when it's their own (disowned for going out with a black man) plan. Incidentally, that is an actual example of begging the  question, if questions were still allowed to be begged. They've been doing it so long now, that Fox News viewers have an almost Pavlov's dog response to it (that is, they drool). But Pavlov's dogs, or Pavlov for that matter, weren't allowed to vote here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Asking For A Friend

So, this has nothing to do with me, or with me making a mistake at work, but when does mild cognitive impairment become moderate cognitive impairment?
In a work related observation, I observed this a couple of days ago:
They may well look ruminative, since in fact they were ruminating.

Friday, April 11, 2014

I Didn't Expect The Koch Brothers To Show Up In A Post About Gender Reassignment, But I Probably Should Have. Tee Hee, Koch Brothers

Like a broken record (one of Sheryl Crow's) I used to always say, "Happiness isn't getting what you want, it's wanting what you get. Apparently, for this week at least, I can only be happy if I want to walk on barely melting ice in bitter cold.
Still, at least I don't have to contend with gender dysphoria. I heard recently that some insurance companies explicitly deny coverage for gender reassignment surgery. I think that's unnecessarily harsh. I mean, say no if you have to, but do you really think it's right to show people pictures of the genitals they can't have?
Speaking of health insurance and people who are euphemistically known as Kochs, the disingenuous and unscrupulous Koch brothers are funding more ads targeting our Senator, Mark Begich and his support for the Affordable Care Act by implying that it enriches insurance companies.  If he had supported a single payer plan that would have generated outraged complaints from them as a socialist extirpation of insurance companies.  What can you do to make the Koch's happy? Why would you want to?

Monday, April 07, 2014

I Assume Marilyn Vos Savant Is In Ravenclaw

Now that I have come out against using the phrase, "begging the question," ever again, so has Marilyn Vos Savant, the smartest woman in the world. She says if you mean, "raises the question," you should just say that. So far the only comment on her dictum* is from rakheemukherji who says that for irony, begging the question "sounds more effective than 'raises the question'." Ironically, I think that means that he still doesn't understand the phrase, and the most important aspect of its usage, which is, don't. 
So, I've only really got one thing left on my bucket list; dying peacefully in my sleep. Today, I went to my cardiologist, who told me that with the advances they've made, I might live another thirty years. Which not only means a long delayed gratification, but plays havoc with my retirement plan of not living past my money. Although, even at its most detailed, the plan could always have been summarized as, " Gee, I hope I don't outlive my money." My generation had a plan, it just didn't work out for some of us.

*I'm pretty sure that when I use dictum (the singular of dicta) it means, "Look at me, aren't I clever?" With an implied addendum**, "Don't answer that."

**See note above

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I'm Not Saying I'm Smart, But I Did Sort Of Guess This

I took the test at Pottermore last night. I thought I was too timid for Gryffindor, too lazy for Hufflepuff, and not ambitious enough for Slytherin. So, I thought I would be sorted into Ravenclaw, and I was right, like a Ravenclaw would be.
Although why a sixty year old is taking quizzes on Pottermore and not AARP is a question that even I can't answer.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

When Will They Ever Learn?

I've been hearing a lot of unfounded speculation about causes of MH 370's disappearance that don't involve aliens or Bond villains.

And So It Begins "For Now"

There has been a programming error at the PO in our scanner software. Some items requiring a signature have been deliverable without obtaining a signature to scan. A refresh was pushed out last week, but for now our supervisor tells us, "Just do whatever the scanner tells you to."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Who Can You Believe?

Nothing new here; Karen saw a doctor last week that wanted to cut her feet off, but today we saw a podiatrist and she didn't want to cut them off. Of course, a podiatrist couldn't bill after that, so maybe she's biased.

Bankers

I gave blood this morning, and the phlebotomist was a talker. He told me stories about his life, my life, other people's lives, even though I wasn't really all that interested, or confident that he knew what he was talking about. It made me feel so sorry for my customers.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Do Immigrants Take American Jobs?

Probably not.
And I'm not just saying that because my father was an undocumented alien. He would have been a Dream Act beneficiary if they'd had such a thing back when he was a kid (or now, for that matter) but instead he got drafted to fight in World War II. Since he wasn't naturalized until 27 years after I was born (in a territory, not a state) I'm not quite sure of my own immigrant status, but if I get deported to Canada, I guess it won't be the worst thing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Somebody Had To Go First

Oh sure, the day after I stood up to the Kochs, the New York Times does. If you're interested in what they had to say, click here.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Good Authors Too, Who Once Knew Better Words, Now Only Use Four Letter Words. Writing Prose, Anything Goes.

So Cole Porter said, and so I meant to say as the title of my last post where it would have made some sense. So imagine it's there, and here the title is, Changing The Channel.
The Koch brothers are funding a TV and telephone ad campaign up here. It's surprising because we think of ourselves as an out of the way place where you really can see Russia, although not from Sarah Palin's house (which to be fairer to her than she is to anybody else, she never said). You would think that billionaires wishing to return the country to sound moral and economic principles would be able to marshall the facts and then hire creative talent to cogently explain their ideas and convince the polity of their correctness. Instead, they repeat half-truths, lies and distortions, and, being billionaires, they repeat them a lot. It's almost as if they think a new truth can be created if they just repeat it often enough.
I'm still plowing through The Bully Pulpit (or, if I haven't mentioned it, I'm plowing through The Bully Pulpit). It's interesting, and not hard to read, or at least not hard to comprehend, but sort of depressing that a century ago, the Republican party took on rapacious companies that were exploiting monopolies to the detriment of farmers, small businesses, workers, and even the government. Laws were passed, attitudes changed, the citizenry were aroused, then grateful, and then maybe complacent. After a century, it's probably time to revisit the idea of corporate responsibility to the society that underpins them.  Instead of trying to channel Ronald Reagan, maybe the Republicans should reach even farther back and try and to assume the mantle of Teddy Roosevelt.
Now, here's a story that takes place in La Crosse, WI. La Crosse is notable for at least two things; I've been there, and, probably completely coincidentally,  ninety six percent of the residents have an advance directive explaining how they'd like to be cared for at the end of their lives. That's more than three times the rate in the rest of the nation. This came about because an ethicist at a local hospital hated the excruciating conversations families had to have at what was already a difficult time. He trained nurses and others to ask people what they wanted, and eventually the idea spread through the community. The story is available here, and is worth listening to if you'd like to hear it explained more fully. Most of the people don't want to live on and on and on kept not quite dead by machines. This turned out to be a money saver for Medicare which pays for most of those machines. It's a money loser for the hospitals since the almost dead are a huge profit center for them, but the hospitals think it's worth it to fund the program since it makes their patients lives so much better. Since it is so much better for families to make these decisions in advance, and to have the patients affected by the decisions make the decisions, the people writing the Affordable Care Act tried to include funding for similar programs nationally. These are what Sarah Palin called Death Panels. I was excited to tell Karen about this because she grew up near La Crosse and even recognized the name of the medical facility there. When we got to the part about the Death Panels, she agreed it was unfortunate that that's how they were portrayed, but she said, that's what the media told us. But really, it wasn't the media, it was Fox News; the same organization that had Karen crying last fall because Leah was going to have to pay $500 or even $1000 a month for health insurance. You won't even have to go to factcheck.org to find out that Leah has health insurance now and pays far, far less than Fox would have had her believe.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Nothing About Vegans In This Post

So, about six weeks ago, I was saying that I was surrendering in the grammar/word usage wars. I specifically mentioned that if most people think "begs the question," means "invites the question," then it does.* Today, Grammar Girl took up "begs the question" in her podcast. She searched google and found thousands of incorrect usages, but no correct ones. It's over; ** it means invites the question. But, we don't have to just grudgingly accept the decline of our language into grunts and gestures. Well, we do, but instead of thinking of it as decline, we can feel privileged to get to watch the language change right before our eyes.
Another source of confusion has been around which of our dogs is the cutest. I don't want to decide for you, but look at this face:


*In addition, according to a reader, I used nine commas in one sentence. I never went back to count, but I suppose she's right. I'm fond of commas, and I scatter them like birdseed.
**I also have an unhealthy attachment to semicolons.

Monday, March 03, 2014

I woke up yesterday morning at my usual time. When I realized I was off, I was so thrilled about being able to sleep in that I almost couldn't fall back to sleep, but then I did!
I think this graphic from QuizUp illustrates how that fits into the overall arc of my life:
that is, some small achievements and no friends. And doesn't this give the lie to the whole "Work hard and you'll be rewarded," credo. You can't imagine how many hours I had to put in to get to "General of Knowledge" in QuizUp and I really don't have anything to show for it. Well, except for this graphic that I'm humble bragging about.

In other news, John McCain is saying that the Russians invading the Crimea shows that the world doesn't respect us anymore. But how many countries do we have to bomb to get their respect? We just left Iraq, we're still in Afghanistan after more than twelve years, we're sending drones into Pakistan and it's only been three years since we were bombing Libya. And do any of those countries seem better off for our intervention? Furthermore, does that ever work? John McCain himself had already been shot down while bombing North Vietnam and was a prisoner of war when the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia. They invaded Hungary barely two years after the end of the Korean war. The Korean war itself started less than five years after we had dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. I think if people were going to respect us for being willing to be bad asses, World War II should have done the trick.
Finally, our usual shout out to dog and vegan lovers.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Coincidence That The States That Make It Hardest To Unionize Are The Same Ones That Didn’t Want To End Slavery?

Hah, fooled you, this post doesn't have anything to do with unions, unless you think of the borg as a union in a non right to work state. Which I didn't think of till after I typed that so this post is full of surprises, mostly for me.
I don't have very many strong beliefs anymore, but I do think that Facebook is pretty evil. Much worse than say, the borg, because I can totally understand how they happened: who wouldn't want their tech devices implanted, and then who would be surprised when one thing led to another? Oh my gosh, as I typed this, I just realized that the "another" (being a total mind meld and the loss of privacy) in the last sentence was the logical outcome of Facebook's over-sharing and misuse of people's data. So, yeah, the borg are what would happen if Facebook, Google and Microsoft merged to distribute Apple products. All of which is a long way to go to mention that I'll be closing my What'sApp account (if that's even possible) now that they have been assimilated into the Facebook collective.
Yesterday was Love Your Pet Day, and so to honor two pets I loved, and in a shout-out to both vegans and cat lovers:
The fact that pets always break your heart has taught me that you shouldn't have pets, but sadly, the rest of the people in the house have learned the exact opposite lesson, i.e., if pets are going to die and break your heart, you need to stock up.

Friday, February 14, 2014

I came home from work tired recently. Karen wanted me to talk to my doctor about why I get so tired. I told her it might be because I'd just walked 7.5 miles on glare ice with a temperature of 0℉ (air temperature; she'd have a point if that was my temperature). I think my health is fine (even though I just got an appointment reminder letter from my cardiologist) I'm just too old for my job.
We could probably retire if we sold our house, but Karen doesn't want to completely abandon Anchorage, and as you can imagine, we can't afford to buy a house somewhere else and keep an Alaskan house. Plus, my daughter still lives here and I don't know what would happen to her if we left. Actually, a friend of both our daughters used to rent here, but after a year, Karen told her it was time to go, so she did, but then awhile ago, she spent the night, and then the next, and now she lives here too, she just doesn't pay rent.
Plus, vegans, here's your dog picture:


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Talk About Your Family Drama, Queen Victoria Was The Kaiser's Grandmother.

Today I heard Speaker Boehner say that the Affordable Care Act should be modified to eliminate the individual mandate to buy insurance even though they know that there is no way to fund universal health care without the individual mandate. And we know the Republicans know that because it was their idea in the first place in order to avoid the socialist* universal care option. So, given their hostility to the poor, their idolization of the rich, and their hypocrisy, do they most resemble the Pharisee party or the Sadducee party?
I've been listening to The War That Ended Peace about the causes of the First World War. It's all very sad and could have been avoided, but one of the things that shocked me was the realization that when I was fourteen and my parent's friends told me that my favorite corduroy coat made me look Edwardian, they meant, fat.
After my post about the OED, I heard from a reader that I should not give up the fight to preserve our language. But even though I'm now a Know-It-All, and a Wordmaticion in QuizUp, I agree with this:


although it would be even better if I had friends.
And finally, Leah says that if I want to increase my readership I need to mention vegans and have a picture of a cute dog like our very own Ellie.

*(we need a punctuation mark for air quotes)

Friday, February 07, 2014

My Father Said, "No Man Should Ever Eat Dinner Alone," But Are You Ever Really Alone If You Have An iPhone?

Wednesday I presented myself to the court system for jury duty again. This time my name wasn't drawn out of the hat, and so I left again with slightly hurt feelings. Since then, I've been playing QuizUp on Ken Jennings recommendation.  I began as a novice, but by this morning, I had achieved the rank of Smarty Pants, and at dinner tonight, I became a Moonwalking Astronaut. For an acknowledged Smarty Pants,  deciding a simple DUI would have been a snap.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

No Apology Necessary

If you kill a bicyclist in Anchorage, there is literally, no apology necessary. According to the Alaska Dispatch, police treat running red lights and killing bicyclists as a misdemeanor, even if the driver has been smoking marijuana.
I've been saying, "Drivers mock me when they see I've still got Christmas lights on my bike, but at least they see me." Now I realize that probably just makes me a better target.

I'm dropping this picture here because it doesn't seem to warrant a post, or even much of a comment beyond, "Another day on the job for both of us."

Monday, January 27, 2014

They Don't Report, You Decide

Tonight, NBC news is reporting that Republicans are planning on attacking Hillary Clinton if she runs for president because four people were killed in Libya while she was Secretary of State. Oddly, they didn't report that Republicans are going to attack the NRA even though 32 people are shot to death in this country, every day.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Impenetrability!

The author of the The Professor and the Madman, Simon Winchester, must have done a lot of research that didn't make it into the first book about the origin of the OED, because he has written a follow-up book, The Meaning of Everything. This appears to be a modus operandi, because in finding a link for those two books, I see that he has written other books that are followed by similar books. Waste not, want not, I guess. I'm not one to cavil, especially since I'm enjoying the book and the price was right, free, for an audio version through Overdrive.
One of the things that makes the OED different from some dictionaries is that it's descriptive as opposed to prescriptive. That is, they describe how people use and have used words instead of telling them how they should use them. That's a characteristic of the language itself, unlike say, French where the Academie Francaise specifies what is French and what is merely American or gibberish. So, in that spirit, although I used to cavil, I'm going to try and let it go. If enough people think that "begging the question," means "inviting the question," then it does. If people want to use, "me," and "myself," interchangeably let them. And adverbs, why do we even need them? Slow children at play can look out for themselves. If I'm my own Boswell, having to tell you myself every little bon mot I think of, then we've all become our own Humpty Dumptys:
 "I don't know what you mean by 'glory,' " Alice said.
    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't—till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!' "
    "But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument'," Alice objected.
    "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."
    "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
    "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."
    Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. "They've a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they're the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That's what I say!"
So, that. In other news, the media are filled with stories of the Polar Vortex, but here it has been ridiculously warm. I suppose the fact that the news is making such a big deal of winter weather, in the winter, is a sign that climate change is really happening. If it was always cold in the winter, like it used to be, it wouldn't be news.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Zombie Apocalypse Is Like Charity: It Starts At Home

Today, as I was helping Karen get dressed, she said, "When you retire, we should write a book about living with RSD to help other people." I told her that I didn't really have any good advice, but maybe I do.
I recently read an article from NPR, and an e-book from a New York Times health reporter called A World of  Hurt. Here's an excerpt from the book,
"Instead of helping patients resume active lives, the widespread use of these drugs, experts say, has created a nationwide legion of listless, narcotized zombies. Recent findings have tied the long-term use of narcotic painkillers, particularly at high doses, to addiction, psychological dependence, reduced sexual drive, extreme lethargy and sleep apnea as well as increased falls and fractures in the elderly." 
So, yeah, my advice would be, if you're in pain, take two aspirin and don't call your doctor in the morning.

Monday, January 13, 2014

You're Doing It Wrong

I'm posting this link here so I'll know where it is. If you think you're doing anything right, you're welcome to watch these  videos and find out just how wrong you are.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

"The Logical Outcome Of Republican Policies Is To Turn Us Into North Korea, Another Country With An Entitled 1%," Is An Example Of What I'm Talking About

The following tweet started out life as a blog post, but it became so overwrought that it had to be forced into 140 characters to see if it could calm down.