Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mr. Peanut

Somebody asked me just now if I'd gone to weigh myself. I said, "Are you crazy? I'm carrying at least 5 pounds of cashew weight!"

Friday, December 30, 2011

I'm Starting To Have Feelings For This Guy

Go here
Then here.

Like Pasteur Testing A Vaccine On Himself

So, I've always said that I don't like candy that much, and especially chocolate mixed with peanut butter so I never eat Reese's pieces. Until I did. Last night I ate one, then two and then a bag of Reese's pieces. Today, I thought I should learn more about this candy stuff so I bought a bunch of different kinds of candy bars and brought them home for a taste test. Well, I say taste test but I didn't write anything down, and I didn't eat just one bite, I ate all of the candy at one sitting. More research might be in order, but first I'm going to need a lab coat, or possibly a muumuu.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Last Friday I Jumped On The Scale

At least,  it was a scale, it showed me at my goal weight, but I've eaten so much since then, that it might as well have been a trampoline.

Friday, December 09, 2011

I Believe In Persistence

I believe in persistence like the Christian comedian believed in infant baptism, "Believe in it? Hell, I've seen it!"
I had big plans last night. I went to bed right after getting home from work. Well, I went to bed right after getting home from work, eating, watching a little tv, and eating some more. The plan was to go to bed early, and then, since I'm off today, to sleep late. But at 2 am, someone called my cell phone. I didn't answer in case it was the post office, but they called right back so I picked up. The person asked for Ashley. I told them they had the wrong number. They said, "Who is this?" I told them, "It's the wrong ----ing number." Actually I didn't say, "----ing" since I didn't know how to pronounce the dashes, so I used a word I did know how to say. When they called back, I declined to answer, so they texted me, "Why won't you pick up?" I texted back an explanation, and they called and were declined eleven more times. I can see why Ashley gave him the wrong number.
I was tired when I got home from work because I worked 12 hours. One of my customers asked if my truck had broken down. I explained that not only was my route really long now, but that for some reason we were still starting later than we used to. She speculated about their motivations regarding overtime or something. "I guess they're robbing Peter to pay Paul," she said. "No," I said, "they're robbing Peter because they're sociopaths."

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Headline: Pot Calls Kettle Black

Fox News has a story titled, "iPhone's Siri: Psychological Poison?"
The sad thing is though, even though it's Fox News, it still might be true; kettles really are black.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Some Of You Won't Even Care

but I just saw Elijah Wood on TV last night. He said that he has a part in the upcoming Hobbit movie even though "chronologically," Frodo wasn't alive during the period covered by the book.  Well, for heavens sake, if you're just going to add characters to make the movie appeal to a wider demographic, why not write Harry Potter in as well and Spiderman? Especially since Elijah Wood and Tobey Maguire might as well be the same person.
In other news, I got a new light bulb that only draws 6 watts. It puts out much more light than keeping your eyes closed.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

I'm Typing This Without Benefit Of Enough Coffee

So, it may not even be true, but as far as I know, there is no word in Chinese for supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and yet we trust these people to make our Mary Poppins dolls. According to another scary Atlantic article that I haven't finished reading (click here for the last one), the fate of the planet now rests with the alliance of the Chinese and Wal-mart.
And, in another example of scientists taking their cues from dystopian sci-fi, I may have heard a podcast yesterday that said that by recording the neural impulses of mice learning a task, and then replaying those impulses, memories can be directly implanted.Wouldn't it be funny if we hadn't really lived our lives but just thought we did? How could we tell the difference? More importantly, who do we see about getting a refund?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Being Grateful Always

Someone asked me today if I was going off my diet for Thanksgiving. Way ahead of you.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Um, The Post Office May Think I'm Too Dumb To Dress Myself

Well, to be fair, I was quite a late dresser, but still I could even wear tie shoes by the time  I went to work at the PO. Anyway, that's not the point, the point is that apparently Amazon sees something in me that casual acquaintances might miss: in my personal recommendations was a book by Umberto Eco and one by Haruki Murakami.  Uh huh, in your face postal Louis L'amour readers!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Strutting And Fretting

So, I haven't posted much lately, or shoveled snow, or anything much really, except work, eat, and doze on the couch. I've been working a lot of overtime lately because the route adjustments they made this summer were so poorly thought out. At a recent service talk, our manager said, (without singling me out for once) that if our customers asked why we're working so late, we cannot say, "Because I work for idiots." I was surprised she didn't single me out since that is a word for word quote of what I've been saying. We're supposed to say, that if they have questions, they should call the post office, well, not the local post office because she doesn't want to talk to a bunch of crybabies about why they're getting their mail long after dark ("it scares my kids"), but the toll free number where the operators will have no idea what the customers are talking about. There they'll receive a tale of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Meanwhile, I'll "creep in my petty pace from day to day."
As Thanksgiving approaches, though, we do have some things to be grateful for. Costco, for example, has a coupon for Wheat Thins.  Later today, we'll  check out their holiday Doritos collection. We've already laid in a supply of Stove Top Stuffing. Lots of people will tell you that they can make better stuffing than Stove Top. These are the same people that will tell you that their fruitcake is different, and they're wrong. Stove Top has the ingredients you want, without adding the things that you don't. Honestly, if gizzards were meant to be eaten, they wouldn't be called gizzards, would they?

Monday, November 07, 2011

Our Living Room Was Designed By Temple Grandin

At least one pundit says that Americans have been distracted from their increasing powerlessness by shiny new toys. I don't know if that's true, but my iPhone 4s is now also a universal remote for our TV and DVR.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

How Many Pinheads Can Dance On An Angel?

I liked that title when I thought of it. I wish I could have thought of a post to go with it, but economists will tell you, "You can't have everything."
As I understand last Friday's Planet Money Podcast, the twin pillars of modern economics are Maynard Keynes, a brilliant but dissipated scholar and bon vivant, and Friedrich von Hayek, a Nobel prize winning Austrian. Keynes believed that targeted government spending could make up for falling consumer demand to prop up the economy during a recession. Hayek believed that the best thing government could do was to stay out of the way of a self-correcting free market. Obviously, a case can be made for both approaches, since their acolytes have been debating since the 1930's.
What is so infuriating about the current crop of "conservative" Republicans, is that while claiming to be followers of Hayek, they are practicing targeted spending and tax cuts to the richest people in America. If low tax rates for the rich and financial deregulation are so effective, then why have they lead to disaster?

Friday, October 28, 2011

And Eventually It'd Be A Blog

I had a question today for a customer of mine. She said, "Well, it's a long story." Then she stopped.
I told her, "Wait, that's your answer? If I had a long story, I'd tell it, and then I'd tell another one."

I will honor Halloween in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.

All of our neighbors have put up ghosts and pumpkins to scare the little children, but we've just left a plastic shopping bag hanging on our fence for the last few months. I think the neighbor's are starting to be terrified that we'll never get around to cleaning up and that we'll continue to drive their property values down.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Walking Dead

According to an expert (it's a sign of the times, that the word expert always seems to carry an implied, "so called," in front of it) human decomposition begins within 4 minutes of biological death. Doesn't that seem like a razor thin margin? Aren't you going to worry the next time you have trouble waking up, or you get an infected cut, that your body knows something you don't? On the other hand, if you really have trouble waking up, hit the snooze button. Given another ten minutes, you may not have to go to work.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Another Jewel In The Diadem of Democracy

Apparently, I can't quote S.J. Perleman enough:
(Reuters) - Libyan forces guarding Muammar Gaddafi's body in a cold storage room let in members of the public to view the deposed leader for a second day on Saturday

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Know You Don't Listen To Me, But Do You Even Listen To Yourself?

I delivered a package the other day to a firearms dealer who was wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with this quote, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;"

On Monday, one of the managers responsible for our route adjustments this fall gave us a lecture about customer service and meeting delivery standards. She said that during the summer we were customer service all-stars, but lately we're doing a terrible job meeting customer commitments. "What changed?" she asked.

I just read an article from the Anchorage Times from 1985. In it, carriers were saying that they had been ordered to curtail mail for the previous six weeks, and the managers interviewed said that there had been a storm in Seattle that had delayed mail one day and the carriers probably just didn't understand. The whole of human experience, and certainly this blog, could be, something stupid, followed by an infinite series of ditto marks.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

That Man, That Man, That Man I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways

I don't often take requests for specific topics to write about because I don't often get them. But today someone asked if I could mention the managers that were brought in to figure out why overtime has gone up so dramatically at our station. They walked around all morning carrying clipboards.  It would have been so much more effective if they had walked around carrying mirrors.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Ants Go In, The Ants Go Out

In ant societies, the elderly and infirm go out to do the most difficult and dangerous missions. In the cold calculus of the cold blooded, they are the most expendable. I've been feeling awful this week, and I wanted a clean bathroom. It seemed like a perfect time to put the formidable Formicidae family paradigm into practice, but try as I might, there were no ants to be found.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Sure Our Thumbs Are Opposable, But Do They Have To Oppose Everything?

I was just explaining to Sarah about the changes at the post office:
I don't know if Congress can save the service from itself.You know those monkeys typing away to recreate Shakespeare? Their rough drafts are our business plan.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Reading Past The End

Recently, in her blog, my daughter was trying to decide if she could stretch her shoes enough to be comfortable, or if it was  a"false hope." I didn't want to tell her, but all hope is false. People like stories with happy endings, but stories with happy endings, stop before the end.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

All Dogs Go To Heaven. That's Because They Can't Afford To Go To The Vet

"On Thursday, I'm going here," I said the other day, which in case you didn't click on the link was a retirement seminar. The presenters told us that a good way to determine your readiness to retire, was to practice living on the amount you'd be collecting in retirement.
Coincidentally, on the same day, Ellie went here, and, now we know that pets and retirement don't mix.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Some people are predicting the end of the post office next week. The nostalgic look here, while critics of the service's managers go here.
On Thursday, I'm going here.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Take Two Grains Of Salt And Call Me In The Morning

From an analysis of 100 best practices put together by committees in internal medicine, Groopman and Hartzband discovered that 14 percent were contradicted within a year. Within two years, a quarter of the best practices were contradicted, and by five years, almost half of the rules were overturned.

This was going to be a screed about the post office's one size fits nobody policies, but when I tested that link up above, I saw an amazing video, and now I want to share it with you. Hint, he's saying, "bah."
And even though, you aren't seeing what you think you are, scientists can still look over your shoulder  and see what you think you're seeing.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Contagion

Congress has had the franking privilege longer than we've had a constitution, and look at them. Netflix has been primarily a mail order company for about ten years, and look at them. They're splitting their offerings into two web sites (one with a silly name), raising their prices, and soon they'll be offering fewer movies to stream. So we'll be paying more to get less and working twice as hard to get it. A business plan that only a Congressman could love.

A Graphic To Convey How Backwards My New Line Of Travel Is

A picture is worth a thousand words. Most of the words I've been using  lately to describe my route average four letters, so that's about four thousand letters, which, coincidentally, is how many letters they expect me to carry at a time on these new gargantuan swings.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Watching The Hallmark Channel

Don't you hate it when someone says, "I'm not a bad person," when they mean "I'm a bad actress."?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Feel Like Ginger Rogers' Mailman

I recently watched a video about fake blueberries. If you can't trust blueberries, how can you possibly believe in red berries that aren't even pretending to be real? Well, you can't. But you can fight back against the man, because now,  there's an app for that.

Today, one of my new customers was looking in her mailbox as I was still walking up her driveway. She said, "Oh, I thought I saw you go by already."
"Besides all the other changes to my route," I said, "they have me running it backwards."

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Push

Stress counselors recommend taking ten deep breaths to relieve tension. Our station is starting to sound like a Lamaze class.
I talked to my insurance company. Apparently, they're willing to buy Rich and me new bikes. I went to three shops today. My Novara bike is still made, and it's a lot cheaper than what I paid for mine four years ago. Probably because this year's color is a dispiriting gun metal gray.  The choices remain  overwhelming. When one saleslady tried to close, I told her I needed a little more time to go home and sulk  for awhile. And I did.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

With Music By The Moody Blues

Even in my wildest dream (the one where my desk tried to eat me) I could never have imagined how poorly thought out and implemented our recent route adjustments have been. And by the way, I bet whoever steered the Titanic into the iceberg didn't blame the people down in the engine room.

Monday, September 05, 2011

booklamp.org Home

Here's a site that claims to be the Pandora of books: booklamp.org Home, an ambiguous claim, since Pandora is almost always exactly not quite right. Still, it offered Swamplandia as a match for Cloud Atlas, and I just bought (and lost) Swamplandia, plus it allowed me to use the "Blog This" button in Chrome for the first time.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Just To Let You Know, I Spelled Poignant Without Spell-Check

In prospect, the ride to the fair was a fun way to say goodbye to summer. In retrospect, it's even more poignant,  not just the last ride of summer, but the last ride, since Rich's and my bikes were all stolen from our garage.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

LIfe Is Like A Ferris Wheel: There Are Ups And Downs, And What Goes Around Comes Around

Saturday was the first day we ran our newly adjusted routes. The day began with our station manager telling us that we would be able to make changes in the next few days, but she'd also told us that we'd be able to make changes in the last few days, so I didn't totally expect it to happen. I also didn't expect that at the end of the meeting I would called into the office to be told that I had a bad attitude. And worse, I was sarcastic and condescending. As if!  I didn't really respond because I didn't think she would understand.

The line of travel was set by managers in the thrall of their new computer. It was like running a brand new route. In those circumstances, carriers "follow the mail," to find out where they're going. I did that, but apparently the mail was drunk. The bad news is that the route is much longer and laid out inefficiently, but the very good news is that I get paid by the hour.

Sunday was forecast to be rainy, but the day dawned sunny and warm. This was especially gratifying as my friend, Rich, and I had planned to bicycle to the state fair in Palmer and meet Karen and Leah there. As you can clearly see from these photos that I clearly didn't take, riding across the  Eklutna Flats, and the Knik River bridge was beautiful. That's inadequate, and Roget himself didn't do much better, maybe magnificent? Anyway, it was nice. But just past the bridge, Rich got a flat tire. He fixed it, we got back on our bikes, rode about twelve feet, and my tire popped.  We fixed it, and just then, Leah called. She was about a quarter mile ahead of us, and wondered if we'd like to ride in the car the rest of the way. We did, but traffic was so backed up that we would have gotten there faster on our bikes. This had consequences because I had hoped to arrive at the fair early enough that we could eat, look at cows, get hungry, eat, then go see Garrison Keillor (who sang this song), eat and go home. As it was, we arrived just in time for the show, which was three hours long(!), so we had to eat all those meals in one short frenzy on the way out to the gate. We managed it, but I felt like I might have missed some things that I would have tried if I'd had a little more time. Because Karen was in a wheelchair, we were able to see the show from the handicapped accessible area near the front, but they didn't provide chairs for caregivers, so Rich and I ended up standing for the entire show, which was much more tiring than the bike ride. When we got home, there was an email from the fair organization to tell us that because of the show's length, they had relaxed their restrictions on chairs brought from home.
Then other stuff happened, and now here we are.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Don't Tap On The Glass

I'm about halfway through an article entitled Saving The Middle Class.  I haven't gotten to the prescriptive part of it yet, but based on the descriptive part, it might involve putting us in museums and zoos.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Don't Put Anything In Your Ears That's Smaller Than Your Elbow.

Postal officials stopped by this morning to tell us that the final labels and documents regarding our route adjustments would be dropped off this afternoon. They told us that they appreciated how much time we'd spent making notes and suggestions to guide them through the process.
Sure enough, the labels and documents were there this afternoon. Apparently, they wadded up the notes we'd made, and put them in their ears so they wouldn't have to listen our suggestions.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sausages, Politics, And Now, Computer Repair

We've long known that watching sausages or laws being made will take away your trust in the process. Now we need to add computer repair.
I took my computer to the Alaska Mac Store* today to fix a little problem caused by someone (I'm someone) putting an SD card in the CD slot. It took them about thirty seconds. I asked them how they did it, and they said, "Oh, we just turned it on its side and shook it." I guess it worked, you're reading this blog post right now that I typed on it.

By the way, thanks for listening to me talk about my route adjustments. They're crazy stupid, but when I try to talk to other carriers about them, they act like my adjustments were done by Nobel-prize-winning cartographers. I know they're right, but mine still are stupid.

*Because even though Apple opened a store here a couple of weeks ago, I appreciate that the Alaska Mac Store opened here almost fifteen years ago, when Apple wasn't the biggest most popular company in the world.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Nation Should Turn Its Lonely Eyes To Us

 In his new book, A First Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness, Ghaemi lays out the argument that leaders with some mental illnesses are often better in times of crisis.
Based on the route adjustments taking effect next week at our station, the Post Office is being run by delusional madmen;  want proof,  here's the final map.
Vote for us, we're even crazier than your candidate.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Old Joke. Man: When I Drink Soup I Get A Pain In My Eye. Dr: Take The Spoon Out of The Bowl.

We've come to a fork in the road with our route adjustments, and like always at the PO, whenever we see a fork, we pick it up and stab it in our eye.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Value Of Golda (Meier) Has Never Been Higher

To totally paraphrase a Golda Meier quote out of context:
The congressional super committee will make progress when Republicans love America more than they hate the president.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

If The Communists Ran The Post Office, And They Were Having A Race, Would They Start It By Saying, "On Your Marx"?

I'm just asking because we're about to adjust all the routes in the station in two weeks, including abolishing two routes, and they still haven't decided who gets what.
So, we're not communists, but it's like we say, "Get ready, go, get set."

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Do You Hate Your Doctor Fifteen Percent Less?

Doctor's training has begun to include listening skills and it's starting to pay off. Doctors on average now wait about 15% percent longer before interrupting their patients. This means that they are willing to wait a full 21 seconds before stopping that incessant buzzing noise that they hear when they're not the ones talking.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Check Out Our Money Gone Guarantee

The stock market dropped about 600 points today, which is the same as putting stocks on sale. It's too bad they don't have a policy so that just like when you buy something from Best Buy and you find it cheaper some place else you can return it and get your money back, but when you buy Best Buy, you're just out of luck.

Friday, August 05, 2011

A Pendulum Tires Of Sedately Swinging

Over the fifteen years I've had my route, the boundaries have shifted slightly to the west (to take streets from an incompetent and slow carrier who went on to become a station manager) and then to the  east (same carrier, same reason), but the core of the route has remain unchanged. For fifteen years. Now, the Postal Service, has a computer, and they're using it to define the routes. Inexplicably, my route is shifting east and west simultaneously, while the middle is being given to other carriers. So, I'll be driving past the customers I've had for fifteen years to get from one end of  my route to the other. I'll be driving past the entrance to the school I've delivered to for ten years, but someone else will have to drive through the street that shows on the computer's map, but that was closed about seven years ago, to actually deliver their mail, perhaps with a catapult.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Inside Baseball

I think I hit for the cycle punctuating the last post.

Bill O'Reilly Wouldn't Tell You This Even If It Was True

I think my last post was pretty good, especially the part about Fox News, but I report; you can decide how clever I am: for the first half of the day I had my rain pants on backwards.

Monday, August 01, 2011

This Just In, Or Out

So, normally, the President doesn't negotiate with terrorists, but apparently an exception can be made for the Tea Party. In announcing these developments, Fox News reported that black is white. For balance, they added, up is down.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

“This deal does not even attempt to strike a balance between more cuts for the working people of America and a fairer contribution from millionaires and corporations..."

This deal is the difference between going into a bank to take money from your account and going into a bank to take hostages. There was no debt ceiling crisis; the debt ceiling has always been raised since it was created in 1917 to allow the government to spend the money as allocated by Congress. The crisis is that Tea Party members want to balance the budget without paying for it

Friday, July 29, 2011

Straight Out Of Middle Earth

John McCain quoted the Wall Street Journal the other day, calling some recalcitrant members of Congress, "Tea Party hobbits." I didn't read the article, so I can't be sure what that means, but I have read the Lord of the Rings a few times, and I'm pretty sure that Tea Party members aren't that much like hobbits. More like jerks.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Have The Slogan, But Do Even I Want The Job?

If I ever decided to run for Congress, I've got the perfect slogan: "Vote for me, how much worse could I do?"

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Below Zero

I'm on google+ and my computer is upgraded to Lion. I haven't felt this cool since I was the only person I knew that was reading "I Robot" in 1966, or ever, for that matter. Uh huh, that cool!

Tobacco Shop Owner Still Expects Mail Delivery

Tobacco shop owner in Southern California still expects mail delivery even though his dog is completely unrestrained.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fluid Dynamics

I listened to a podcast today about "Brain Bugs".  The author being interviewed said that our brains are good at living on the African savannah, but not really well adapted for the modern world we've created. I thought I had more to say about that, maybe finishing up with how hard it is to write permanent memories when our brains are 78% water. As you can see, my brain isn't even well adapted for this blog I've created. A few minutes ago, someone offered me royal jelly, in case I wanted to pretend that I was a queen bee. "I don't have to pretend," I said.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I've Been Meaning To Tell You

Last week we took a chocolate tour of Anchorage. Our tour guide started out by telling us that she'd lived in Anchorage for years, but that she'd grown up in Wasilla. I asked her if she knew Sarah Palin. She hesitated, then told us that Sarah Palin was her sister. Since Sarah (my Sarah, not Sarah Palin; Sarah Palin grew up in Wasilla) and I had both grown up in Anchorage, the tour was probably a little different than it would have been, since we spent a lot of time talking about things we'd done and seen, and eaten.  I told her that Sarah had provided Reese's Cups as an option instead of Hershey Bars for her s'mores, and how at least one person couldn't believe that nobody had thought of that before. I showed her a picture of Sarah's flag cake, and the picture I took of the signs in front of our house. She liked that one, and I sent it to her so she could share it with Sarah (Palin).
The tour included Modern Dwellers. For those of you in Anchorage, or coming to Anchorage, I can tell you it had delicious chocolate.  I bought a mocha. It was delicious, but it was also eight dollars, so I'm not sure I could afford to do that every day. Especially considering that I'm already wearing the largest uniform pants I own.  They're in the size known as clown pants.

Celebrate Freedom

I haven't actually looked at a calendar, but I believe today is Bastille Day, the day the French people stormed the Bastille, setting prisoners free and demanding liberty, equality and something else that I forget. Also, in an ironic twist, it's my first day back after vacation.
I had thought that I could jump back on my diet and exercise program today, too. Unfortunately, I ended up driving to work instead of biking because it took so long to find a pair of pants that I could fit into.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Waiting In Soldotna

Sarah and Sean are on a halibut charter from Ninilchick right now. I'm waiting in Soldotna to drive them home to Anchorage. I just had a waffle and I'm getting ready to go across the street to a bakery. I can only hope that while I'm out of the room they can get the intervention set up.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sarah Palin's Sister Is Still The Next Post. In This Post, We Live And Don't Learn

Quick update, I don't have time to tell you everything I've eaten this month, or how it makes me feel, but you can search this blog for Doritos, grease, and self-loathing to get some idea.
In other news, The Washington Post, is not above using our Community Service Patrol as a subtle, unspoken, metaphor for Congressional blind-leading-the-blind-off-a-cliff.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I Don't Have A Title For This Post, But The Next One Might Be Called Riding In A Car With Sarah Palin's Sister

Sarah and Sean  had their reception as planned on the 3rd of July. There was a lovely mix of friends, relatives, food and pleasant weather. There was no cheesecake, but there was a cake made out of cheese, and a flag made out of cake.
More about the next few days in the next few days, but can you believe this, I'm in Google+, are you? Want to be?

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

TrendSpotting

I think wearing pith helmets to weddings is really catching on. I just wore mine to a second wedding just this year.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Vacation

My vacation started today and I didn't have to wait for the alarm to go off. Actually, I never have to wait for the alarm to go off because the dogs are always going off. Bernie, the Pomeranian, is often startled by things that flit by, or rather, through, his mind.
So, I'm up early to contemplate how much work remains to be done before the reception this Sunday. I suppose it would be more effective to stop contemplating, and blogging about contemplating, and just do the work.
Oh, work, that reminds me, I've cajoled a very nice, and very competent woman into running my route while I'm gone. What a pity for my customers that my vacation is only two weeks.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Extra, Don't Read All About It

I'm not saying we don't do yard work, what I'm saying is that when I started pulling out weeds in the front yard, I found six newspapers spread over the last two years and the lawn.  Oh, and a shoe. That's still there. I didn't want to get too close in case there was a paperboy next to it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Leaving Money On The Table

According to Planet Money, Americans tip about 40 billion dollars a year. That's a lot of money that's not going to our oligarchs. It won't be long now before the new etiquette is to tip for bailouts.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"Putting The Chart Before The Course"

I love you Indexed, but I'm seeing someone else tonight.

Here's A Perfect Place For A Good Title; I Wish I'd Thought Of One. Of Course, I Am Sleepy

Sometimes falling asleep is like catching a bus. There's a moment when you could fall asleep, but the moment passes while you read or watch TV*, and then the moment's gone, and you have to wait for it to come around again. To ride this metaphor a little further, when the chance does come around, it might not be the express ride to morning you hoped for, but a local with a lot of stops along the way. And maybe a dog riding next to you that doesn't like to share the seat.

*Jim Gaffigan:It is amazing how much more amazing sleep is in the morning. You wake up and you're like... "I stayed up to do what?! Watch Growing Pains? What was I thinking!?"

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Tree Falls In The Forest And One Hand Claps

Popular Science magazine has an article this month that asks how we would transition from fossil fuels to clean sustainable energy if engineers made the decisions instead of politicians and businessmen. But is it science to talk about a fantasy world?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Baby (Einsteins) Got Back?

I listened to a Scientific American podcast explaining how the laws of physics impose physical limits on human intelligence. The talk involved neurons, axons and ion channels, mice and cows.  One way to increase intelligence, the speaker said, would be to have fatter axons, but that would require consuming more calories. If all it took to be smart was eating too much and having a fat axon, I should be a genius.
But, no. Do you remember a while ago we bought some tie-downs for dummies? We went to the dump again this week, and since we couldn't find them, we had to buy new tie-downs.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not Exactly The Center For Science In The Public Interest

Neuro-marketers are using fMRI's to monitor brain's reactions as "patients" watch commercials in order to make ads that are completely irresistible. It's as if small pox went to medical school.
Last night there was a show on The Science Channel about quantum loops and what came before the big bang. Here's the weird part; it was a rerun.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Did You Hear The One About Elizabeth Taylor?

If so, you must have been standing in my head when I made it up this morning. I said she'd been married so many times they were telling her age by counting the rings. Although, I'm not sure I didn't hear it somewhere else first. And it might not have been about Elizabeth Taylor when I made it up, if I did make it up.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Feedback request

This blog was recently optimized for mobile devices. Did it make any difference? Do I have any mobile users, or does my readership skew older? How many of you still read it on your typewriter?

You Always Can't Get What You Want

My yard is starting to be like a banana, and not because it's an assimilated Asian (it hates being called Oriental) but because, as Charley Weaver said, once you peel a banana and throw away the bone, there's nothing left. So, I had professionals (well, lawn professionals, they weren't wearing lab coats and ties) come in and dethatch my lawn and treat it for weeds. Now the moss and dandelions are gone, all the flowers we planted were killed, and, it turns out, our lawn never did have any actual grass. I've never really understood T.S. Eliot, but man, I know a wasteland when I see one.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Nothing Daunted

No surprise, two Smith College girls tame the frontier and get rave reviews.
But as someone once said here, "Then again, it's not like we had a lot of competition, I mean, seriously, Mt. Holyoke, what a joke."

Oddly Enough

Does it strike you as odd that Mitt Romney can ignore the ignorant and irrational part of his party to believe in global warming while still believing the Book of Mormon? Or that he calls himself Mitt?

Saturday, June 04, 2011

What Kind Of A Person

What kind of a person would complain about a volunteer reading a free audiobook that was obtained via a free app? I think we all know the answer to that. So, while acknowledging the pettiness of this, can I just say that I thought I was listening to one of those text-to-voice programs until it started yawning.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Report A Problem

I just went to Netflix to rate Harry Potter 7. There is an option to "Report A Problem". I'm tempted to tell them, "Yeah, there's a problem, the movie's nothing like the book!"

A Rose By Any Other Name Would Be As Dead

What's in a name? Well, looking over my yard full of dead flowers, I'm thinking it might have been a mistake to hire a company  called Just Lawns.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

HP & The Deathly Hallows

I'm watching Harry Potter 7.1.
It makes The Lord of the Rings movie look like a transcript of the book.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Words Of The Prophet Are Written On Facebook Walls

Our philosophers are seven year olds on youtube.  And does anybody really know what time it is? Because apparently the world's most precise clock is about to reveal that the whole universe is just a hologram. That could explain why the only recent comment I got on this blog was referring to something from my so-called real life.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Long Time Readers Will See This Coming

A customer told me today that she was treated so rudely at the post office that she decided she wanted to work there so she could be rude too.
"We're not rude," I told her, "Shut up!"

I want to tie up a couple of loose ends from conversations I've had recently.

A book about wicked plants.

A book about wicked cooks.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cracking The Code or, Do You Think It's A Coincidence That Tom Hanks Hosted The Last Super Show

I've been listening to some of the fawning flattery being heaped on Oprah as she prepares to transition to her own network. Sample: "You have enlightened us, you have empowered us and you have taught us how to be."
Just as light can be bent by gravity,  I think perhaps Harold Camping's calculations of doomsday were thrown off by the gravitas surrounding Oprah's ascension.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Good News For My Daughters

I'm reading the Psychopath Test, a book that is, unsurprisingly, about psychopaths, or, really, psychopathology.  Here's a passage from the book that contains an e-mail exchange between a psychiatrist and the author:
 "But Bob Hare and us have always agreed that psychopaths are born that way and not created by controlling mummies and weak fathers."
"That's lucky," I e-mailed back, "as I am a weak father and my wife is a controlling mummy."
The bad news for everyone else is that psychiatrists claim that since psychopaths love power, the ones that don't end up in prison, end up at the top of society. Finally, an explanation for Donald Trump, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Gates and Dominique Strauss-Kahn that makes sense.
Especially useful now that economist, Simon Johnson says that we are living in a classic oligarchy.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's Google's Planet, We're Just Along For The Ride

Google maps said we were embarking on a bike ride, six miles out and six miles back. It was more like 11.1 miles each way, which  is why this is so laden with emotional resonance, although a little racier than I remember it.

Roll On

Yesterday, after I handed a couple their parcel, while they looked through the crushed box to see if anything had survived, and before they even had a chance to ask,  I told them all about my podcast playlist, and about listening to WBUR on my iPhone. After I finished up with a brief plug for Podrunner, I said, "My work here is done," and walked off with their mail.

Now,  I'm supposed to be getting ready for a bike ride. Since I've been doing push-ups three times a week, my tight fitting bike clothes really show off my well defined rolls of fat. Even sadder, these bike clothes aren't supposed to be tight.

Monday, May 16, 2011

This Post Inspired By A Wadded Up Piece Of Mail

I read an article that said that people who are flexible often have more flexible arteries so that yoga can lead to improved cardiac health which is why it's kind of depressing that although I can wrinkle I can't bend.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

His Friends Call Him Gordy

My dad used to say, "If you want to do something, you have to something else first."
 Today we were planning on taking a couple of loads of trash to the dump. We filled the truck for the first load and then tried to use our ratcheting tie-downs to secure the load. The thing is though, I like having ratcheting tie-downs because just saying it makes me feel manly, but the truth is, I can never get them to ratchet, and if I do, then I can never get them loose. Today I could only find one, probably because I've had to cut them off at the dump or something. I, as usual, couldn't get the hang of the ratchet, so I tied a trucker's knot. Well, it was a trucker's knot, if the the trucker was named Gordias.
Just as we were leaving, I noticed that the tags on the truck had expired, and it seemed like before we went to a municipal facility, we should get that resolved, so took our truck and trash to an Xpress Lube for a quick IM and new tags, but after the test, their computer couldn't connect with DMV. So we braved a trip to the dump, and then stopped by Home Depot for some non-ratcheting tie downs, tie downs for dummies, as it were.
Then, on to DMV. The mechanic at Xpress Lube had mentioned that the VIN on the registration didn't match the one on the truck. We mentioned it to the clerk at DMV, who reacted as if we'd said that Xpress Lube had said our truck was switched at birth, or on a milk carton, "Have you seen this truck?" Anyway, to make a long story longer, it only required a trip home for more documents and back to DMV, but by then it was too late for me to go, or for another trip to the dump because I had to take Karen for a doctor's appointment.
Well, not really, because we had to wait for over an hour for the doctor, who took a phone call and a text message while he was with us. His summary, "I think she's going to have swollen legs for the rest of her life."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Newt Gingrich Announces For The Presidency

He's been flirting with running for president for a long time. I guess that's better than flirting with his mistresses like he usually is.

Drug cartels in Mexico have killed 35,000 people in the last five years. Western Union and major US banks have been implicated in helping them launder as much as $30 billion a year. The ATF watched hundreds of guns being smuggled into Mexico, but lost track of them after they crossed the border and never notified the Mexican government. One of the guns was used to kill an American border patrol officer. The money flow to the cartels would dry up almost completely if drugs were decriminalized in America. Should we be talking about this? Probably.
The lead story on all the networks on Monday? Arnold and Maria have split up. I think Newt's got a chance.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Marine Mammals Say Semper Fi

We watched the pilot for the Dick Van Dyke show last week. The amazing thing; Dick Van Dyke wasn't even in it. In fact, the only person we'd ever even seen before was Carl Reiner, and he was playing Rob Petrie.
Karen celebrated Mother's Day today by going to my favorite restaurant, iHop. I went along, too. Among other things, we split a chicken fried steak. That's a meal that's unhealthy and spicy enough to be fair food. Looking around, I realized that even though this week everyone in America wants to be a SEAL, we look more like walruses.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Like A Phage Out Of Water

Do you know that there is a virus that eats half the bacteria in the ocean every day? That must be one huge virus.  It's like I've got a twin.
The other day, Karen thought she could walk without a walker or a cart;  she toppled right over and hit her head on a concrete curb. We called her doctors, who helpfully told us, "If it's an emergency, go to the emergency room." We've had some experience with that, so we thought we'd eat first, and that was so much fun, we never did get to the emergency room, even though after two full bags of Doritos, I could have used a little stomach pumping. I checked on Karen every couple of hours all through that night, and she didn't seem any more concussed than normal, so today I went back to work, if not on my diet. In fact, as I'm typing this, my fingers are stained orange with the Dorito badge of shame.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Ye Shall Not Eat Of It...Lest Ye Die. And The Serpent Said Unto The Woman, Ye Shall Not Surely Die...

I am so close to my goal weight that I can taste it. It's like Popeye's deeply fried chicken. Or two mounds of vanilla ice cream just beginning to soften; glistening chocolate sauce melting into them and then flowing silkily down their sides. And waffles with syrup bulging at the top of each square before overflowing onto the dish to be reabsorbed in a continuous cycle of delicious renewal. Which is why this is probably as close as I'll ever get.

Ah well, I'm in good company, as Solomon said, "All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled."

Sunday, May 01, 2011

I Know It Was Judgmental, But I Didn't Think My Former Tenant's Children Would Even Go To College. Apparently, I Was Wrong.

The Associated Press

Published: April 30th, 2011 09:13 PM
Last Modified: April 30th, 2011 09:13 PM

FAIRBANKS -- The sewer system at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Fine Arts Complex has suffered $15,000 in damage, and campus maintenance workers think they've found the culprit: Children's socks.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported the socks have been flushed down toilets in the facility's lower level since December.
When campus officials posted signs requesting the sock-flusher or flushers to stop, 40 socks were flushed down the toilets in one week.
Maintenance superintendent Bill Cox said campus officials are powerless to stop the sock assault.
The socks are making it through the toilets, but are getting caught in a series of pump motors at a lift station.
The maintenance staff has a 30-gallon bucket nearly full of socks retrieved from the sewer system.

Read more: http://www.adn.com/2011/04/30/1838457/childrens-socks-found-clogging.html#ixzz1L7oXkN7j

Friday, April 29, 2011

Adults Can Be So Cruel

Here in Anchorage, we have an organization, The Arc, that helps children with special needs. Their arc-like logo is a rainbow. When I was a pigeon-toed child, I used to go there, but in those days they weren't trying to make us feel like our needs were "special" and so they just called themselves  Alaska Retarded and Crippled Children's Association which acronym became ARCA and then The Arc.   A couple on my route told me today that they were giving a donation to them, and I told them about its former name. The man looked at me for a second and then said, "You don't limp, you must be retarded."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

In The First Paragraph, Imagine I'm Waving My Arms A Little. In The Second Paragraph, Imagine A Concerned Look On My Face.

I gave the same lecture twice today to different customers on my route. Somehow, the topic of letter carrier start times had come up. I was explaining that our function is to deliver mail, not to sort mail, or process mail, or pass mail out, but to just deliver it. That being so, start times should be set to facilitate mail delivery not to accomodate the clerks that sort, process, shred or anything else that might be done to mail on its way.  It was a really good speech, and I went into a lot of detail. Eventually it kind of dawned on us that one thing that would really facilitate mail delivery would be for me to deliver some.

Did you know that twice as many Americans die from suicide as homicide? So, when you're locking your door at night, you're trapping yourself with the person most likely to kill you.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Time Flies Coach

The Babysitter's Here
Words and music by Dar Williams 
Tonight was just great, she taught us the sign for peace 
Now she's made us some popcorn, we've turned out the lights 
And we're watching movies 
I don't understand and she tries to explain 
How a spaceship is riding through somebody's brain 
And there's blood and guts and . . . 
She's the best one that we've ever had

Assuming the putative singer of that song was born about 1990, she'd be be just finishing college now. It's amazing that it's taken me until last night to watch Fantastic Voyage, the movie she's singing about, since it came out when I was twelve, and I had read the story when it was first published six months earlier. In the movie, a submarine is shrunk to microscopic size and injected into a man needing delicate surgery that can only be performed from inside the brain. They have just one hour to perform the surgery and get out before returning to full size. 
At the end of the movie, the crew swims out to the eye, and are removed at the last possible second before they would have expanded, killing the patient. Except they leave the submarine behind, which presumably poses at least as much of a threat. It's like the laws of physics mean nothing to them

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oh Rats

The other day we watched The King's Speech. Good movie, but I couldn't understand why Peter Pettigrew was scuttling around the king all the time.

Eagles In Amber

They tell us that a college education confers tangible benefits over the course of a lifetime, and it's true. A co-worker's car was crushed by a garbage truck, and the insurance adjuster offered him top value. The insurance adjuster my co-worker met before he dropped out of college.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Second Most Embarrassing Thing That Happened

By now I'm sure you're all familiar with the Bernice Ingersoll incident in the eighth grade. I was going to move on to the second most embarrassing thing since it was practically reprised last month.  It's not the time I was playing Santa in the kindergarten Christmas pageant and while skipping around the stage  my white beard fell half off and then dangled from one ear for the rest of the night; that's number three. I stayed in character, indeed, I didn't even realize it had happened until later. I had no idea why a skipping Santa was provoking gales of laughter.
Oh, look at the time. No time for number two.
But, by the way, I know this should be in a post somewhere, but I don't understand it well enough to make fun of it.  I mean "eigenvalues" what does that even mean?

For Tokyo's Sake, And A Glass For My Friend

So, Trump is running for president? I don't think the right choice is a guy who's idea of foreign aid is overtipping at Benihana.

Monday, April 18, 2011

To flesh out that last post a little, you know those people we hate because they can eat and eat without gaining weight? They do it by fidgeting, so besides being hateful, they're also annoying.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Me And Luther Burbank

I helped a lady carry a heavy bag up her driveway today. I told her I could because of my push-up regimen. "You do push-ups? Why?" she asked.
"Are you kidding?" I said. "I've got a core like an apple!"

Where Have I Heard This Before?

Today our station manager said, "We're trending in the right direction," which is what lemmings always say.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

For Immediate Release; What A Great Idea


My state representative, Les Gara wrote me (and approximately everybody else) an e-mail that was a news item he put out "For Immediate Release" about securing access to streams in Alaska. I wrote him back, and because I'm too lazy to do that, and write a blog post, you can peek over his shoulder:
Dear Mr. Gara
I appreciate your work to protect Alaskan's access to streams, and even more, your work to make sure that if we give something to the oil companies, they should make some commitments to us. Here's something to think about for when you have a little time between sessions.
The NAACP and Americans for Tax Reform, two organizations with almost nothing in common have come together to work to shift spending on prisons to spending on education and drug rehab. Education and rehab have benefits for society, prisons generally only benefit the prison workers and the private companies that employ them.
The recently deceased Harvard Law professor, William Stuntz, according to his obituary in the New York Times  "looked at criminal law as a "collection of “pathologies,” beginning with the Supreme Court's decisions to give greater protections to people charged with crimes. State legislatures responded to those rulings with laws that toughened sentencing and defined crime more broadly, leading to more jail time and more arrests, disproportionately affecting the poor and minorities." He has a book being published soon called The Collapse of American Criminal Justice which explores these ideas more fully.
A shocking consequence of our drug laws (and to a large degree prisons are filled with drug users, not violent criminals) discussed in The New Jim Crow  is that there are now more black men in American prisons than were enslaved in 1850
This can't possibly what we think of when we imagine our perfect America or Alaska. 
Thank you for your work in the public service,
david

Monday, April 11, 2011

Did You Know That Serutan Is Natures Spelled Backwards?

I have been so tired and listless lately that I've started to think about going to a doctor. On Saturday, I dragged myself to work and was immediately told we were overstaffed.  I would have jumped at the chance to go home, but I was so tired that I could barely even run to my bike and out the door. Maybe it's not just me, maybe it's the whole American work ethic that's shot. With the time off, Karen and I went shopping and saw a homeless guy sitting in a lawn chair asking for money. Hey, I don't know many Puritans, but I bet their beggars at least stand up.
Since I stopped typing awhile ago (because I thought I'd posted this) I did some stuff, (mostly watched Rich finish fixing my bikes) and then noticed on my calendar that the appointment I'd made for Karen wasn't until the 13th of April. I called the doctor's office and was all, "Hey, I thought we were trying to get Karen in this week!"
The lady said, "Your appointment is on the day after tomorrow, isn't that what you asked for?"
I really should think about seeing a doctor.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Floating In The Dry

Buoyed by the success (and not hot water flowing through the kitchen) of installing the heater under the sink, I am about to attempt to summer-ize my bikes.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

There Are Limits

Putting in the replacement hot water heater took about five minutes, and it's working fine.
So far.
While we wait for it to leak, or explode, I wanted to link to a clip of John Wayne saying, "It's quiet, too quiet," and to that end I watched about twenty minutes of The Lucky Texan which someone on the web thought might be the origin of that quote. That was all I could watch. If I didn't know it was almost 80 years old, I would have thought that they had distilled every Western trope into one movie, but actually it's more like the Ur Western, every subsequent movie with a horse owes a debt to it. Anyway, I found this, which is more accurate anyway.

People Say The Darndest Things

I've told you before that people will say anything. I've just come from Home Depot, where I purchased an instant hot water heater to install under the kitchen sink. As I was leaving, the cashier said, "Have a nice day." I said, "You can see I'm going to be doing plumbing, right?"
"It could be worse," he said.
"I'm sure it will be when I'm done," I said.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

What Did I Tell You?

Wars of Immaculate Intervention
 by Stratfor

Get Out And Don't Vote

I've mentioned before that we have a lot of elections up here; so, no surprise we're having another one today. I've found a new way to pick candidates to vote against without having to do any thinking: a yard sign for a candidate in a yard that formerly held a Joe Miller sign.

Friday, April 01, 2011

I'd Feel Better

I'd feel like we had a pretty good idea of what to expect in Libya if the official White House Final Four Bracket had any teams in it that are in the Final Four. I mean is the NCAA even more inscrutable than tribal politics in North Africa?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

If It's Good Enough For History

Over night we've had a light dusting of snow preceded by hysterical pronouncements of blizzard conditions. Still, tomorrow is the first of April, and like I've said, April forecasts should not include the word, "accumulation". I'm sorry to mention that since I try not to repeat myself on this blog. I should say, I try not to repeat myself word for word; the whole blog is one long torrent of self pity.
Anyway, I don't know why I should strive for originality when history repeats itself like an OCD patient counting steps. Really, we're going to arm mujahedin  to overthrow a cruel dictator? Once he's gone, who do you think they'll be shooting at?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We Deliver

My son in law sent a link to an article about a letter that was delivered in Massachusetts last week after a 66 year trip from New York. Oddly enough, that's almost three times longer than a message in a bottle from Germany took to be found in Russia that was also mentioned at Boston.com
Granted, 66 years is a long time, but to keep it in perspective, after the first 20 years, there's almost no  incentive to hurry.

Mill Work

So, I don't have any real experience with grinding poverty, but after getting my unexpectedly hugeVisa bill, and then going to pick up Karen's expectedly expensive prescriptions, I can tell you that grinding middle class is no picnic.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Crucio Difference

Say what you will about Severus Snape, and believe me, I've heard it all, you have to admire the panache he brings to fashion. I've always wanted to be able to wear a cloak or a cape, but no matter what you call it, when I put it on, it's a shawl.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Blog: Millennial Edition

I finally got a comment this morning, sort of. It was a self-referential, meta-comment really. It was a comment about a comment that was never made, and like  millennium-before-last hi-tech, it was written on paper.

Leah was telling me recently that we shouldn't use Teflon because of the risk of cancer. Clearly, she's never washed a cast iron pan with burnt on eggs. Then, last week, she was a little freaked about the possibility of radiation from Japan drifting over us. I was pretty unimpressed. When I was a kid, back in the Twentieth Century, they used to blow up atomic bombs. We had actual fallout drifting around, not this namby-pamby, is it or isn't it, "minuscule leak" stuff."

Oh, oh, I published this before I remembered I wanted to quote Steve Earle. He was talking about a pistol, but it could just as easily apply to a bomber, "It can get you into trouble, but it can't get you out."

And then, just after I published that, the phone rang and I was polled about our upcoming election. They asked if I was varying degrees of conservative or liberal. I asked if there wasn't a choice to be moderate. They said there was, but that they weren't supposed to read it. "Well, I'm extremely moderate," I told them. Then they asked if I was married or single. "I'm extremely married," I said.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

This Is Obvious Enough To Not Be Worth Mentioning

According to Freedom House, there are plenty of obvious targets if we want to launch cruise missiles at countries that abuse their citizens. We could start at home if we want to pick the country that imprisons the most citizens per capita. Or Ivory Coast if we want to choose a country that shoots citizens marching in protests.  But no, apparently Big Chocolate  isn't as big a threat to world peace as Big Oil.

Quick Responders Can Be So Cruel


I heard that all the cool kids with their cool sites had QR codes; those odd square barcode-y things that allow people with their smart phones to get more information quickly, hence the name.  The quick response I've gotten so far is a pitying smile.

Of course, what I wanted was a comment on this blog. I told a customer yesterday that blogging without comments was like standing in my backyard talking to myself.  She seemed to think that was a pretty good idea because if I was in my backyard, talking to myself, I wouldn't be in her driveway talking to her when all she wanted was her mail. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's Not A Healthy Choice

I just ate six more Healthy Choice ice cream bars. Did you hear anything about Ivory Coast? Anything at all?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's Been A Big Couple Of Weeks Up Here (Yawn)

It's been reported recently that we're about to get an Apple Store and service from Verizon. That's all well and good, but where's our Olive Garden?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fwd: Family Photographer


Begin forwarded message:

I sent you an email ages ago about a deal my photographer friend Emily was running for family photo sessions in AK. Ticket prices have skyrocketed this year and since Emily planned to bring her whole family to AK she's afraid she can't afford it. I said I thought some people were interested in sessions, and that I'd email again to ask.Please let me know if you, or someone you know might be interested in this. 

As a reminder, I asked if she'd give us a deal and she said for mini-shoots in Alaska she'd be willing to do the session for $100 and include a cd of all the photos she took (look around, I think this is a GREAT deal). 

Here's Emily's main website: http://emilybwilson.com/?load=flash and here's her blog: http://emilybwilsonblog.com/  (you can contact her through her website).

She's done a lot of children/family photography and in the last year or so has branched out into wedding and engagement shoots (I love this engagement shoot: http://emilybwilsonblog.com/weddings/brett-elyse-engaged-nj-wedding-photographer/ ) She's also done some great mulit-generational photo shoots for family reunions. 

I definitely think you should consider booking her if you're going to be in Alaska around July 3rd, 2011. Even if you decide you don't need photographs of you and your loved ones (and why you wouldn't is beyond me ;)), would you please consider passing this information on to your friends and family who will be in Alaska?

Sarah


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sure, They're Rich, But So Were We And We Needed Help

Donate to help the Japanese recover.
Incidentally, I think we're all a little relieved that Pat Robertson hasn't explained the origins of this latest tragedy. Nor the one last week in Christchurch. Maybe he thinks that only poor people cause their own disasters.

Piling Up Charges And Boxes

I was kind of expecting a comment on this blog since I pretty much demanded one of my customers read it. I was a little like Scheherazade from the Arabian Nights. I don't mean because I am an imaginary Persian woman. I'm not! But because I started my tale of jury duty, and then told her she'd have to read the conclusion online. 
By the way, I looked online at that defendant's criminal record the other day. The mystery isn't why the state brought the case, but why he was out of jail in the first (or second, or 42nd, place actually).

In other news, we received three boxes unexpectedly yesterday. They remain in the hall for the time being, until we can shift the camera crew from Hoarders into another room.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

A Correction and Two Confessions

The six chocolate ice cream bars I ate yesterday were Healthy Choice, not Lean Cuisine. And although I ate them in a frenzy, that had nothing to do with Ivory Coast.
Someone sent me a link to a story about millions of dead anchovies washing up in Los Angeles and I'm embarrassed to tell you that I wrote back, "Maybe it was some kind of pizza disaster; sort of a Domino's effect."

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Rich Dark Liquid That Powers The World Threatened

The folks at Stratfor will tell you that Libya is a sideshow. The real story is that Iran's influence in Bahrain will give them control over both sides of the Strait of Hormuz.
Oil will only flow if Iran wants it to, and at the price Iran demands. 
Well, yay, that stuff is pure evil. On the other hand, the brutal regime fighting for its life in Ivory Coast has just seized forty percent of the world's cocoa supply. I ate six Lean Cuisine Chocolate Ice Cream Bars today in a frenzy before I read that it's not expected to have any impact. Well, it's already had a little impact.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Everybody Knows You Can't Roll A Seven Five Split

So we never did come to an agreement. Yesterday we were split 7-5, and then 6-6, so it looked like we were progressing towards a verdict, but today we were back to 7-5 and that's where we finished up. After we were dismissed the judge allowed as how he wasn't sure how he would have voted either; it was hard to tell based on the evidence.
Hard to tell based on the evidence we were allowed to see. Had we known that the reason the state was prosecuting such a ridiculously petty crime with the same vehemence normally reserved for cases where the victim was rich and attractive was because the defendant had so many priors that he was sort of a career three strikes criminal, we probably would have found him guilty on the first day of deliberations, but then I would have had to go to work today, and it's still really cold and windy. So, it's an ill wind that blows no good, after all.
By now, of course, this is no longer an inexpensive bike at all. Paying the judge, the two attorneys, their assistants, a court clerk, a bailiff, a guard,  twenty five dollars a head per diem to the jurors, parking for the jurors (except for the smugly superior juror that biked) two days worth of lunches for the jury, and flying the victim up from Seattle where he now lives; this bike has probably cost more than my car. Well, I don't really have much of a car, but it probably cost more than your car.
After the prosecution wrapped up, last Thursday I thought that it would take a pretty bad defense case to make me think the defendant was guilty. They must have thought so too, since they didn't put any on defense at all.
Since the entire case rested on an illegible scrawl on a pawn ticket, I couldn't say that I was convinced "beyond a reasonable doubt". I was sort of convinced, but given that my handwriting was the despair of Mrs. Gwinn, my first grade teacher, and that it isn't much better than that now, I couldn't really vote, "Guilty". Apparently half of us could, though. The standard of proof in a criminal case is even higher than in a custody case, so I asked one young lady, "Would you be willing to give up your children?" based on this evidence. It would have been really compelling, except that she didn't have children.
So back we go tomorrow.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain

Oops, I thought I would be cute and let the blog post itself this week while I was finishing up on jury duty. Which is what happened except for the finishing up. So, if you got any court system posts please ignore them until at least tomorrow when I'll be finishing up on jury duty.

What a Coincidence, I Think Have One Of Those

We had to fill out a survey when we reported for jury duty. Under likes, I mentioned biking, reading and a good sense of humor.
During voir dire (literally, dire voir) I was asked about my bike. Under the pressure of holding a mike, and an audience, I froze momentarily, and couldn't remember what kind of bike I had. I finally stuttered out, "An REI Express,"
"A Novara?," the prosecutor asked.
"Yes," I said, and then under interrogation said I could recognize it, which even I thought was sort of implausible since I could barely remember its name. The defense counsel asked me some more questions about how I might be able to tell my bike from other similarly dressed bikes, and I had to tell about falling off it and getting hit by a car, and how that  had changed its looks.
Our case is about a stolen Novara bike! During cross examination, the defense counsel got the owner of the bike in question (if it is the bike in question) to say that his bike had never fallen and had no scratches. I know we're not supposed to form an opinion until we've heard all the evidence, but so far, I don't like him and his superior attitude.

The Child Is The Father Of The Man

I'm on jury duty this week, so I won't be able to tell you this till next week.  I wasn't a bit surprised to see Robert ------- in the courtroom. Fifty years ago when we were in grade school, he was a bully and a thug. He once hit me in the head with a chunk of ice that was  as big as my head. I was surprised that he wasn't the defendant, but was on the jury.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Was Right About One Thing: There Was Another Blog Post Right There.


I got an e-mail last night from a friend who told me that he couldn't find any of my blog posts subsequent to January 5th and asking what was new. Here's my response:
Not counting the two that can't post until next week, I count 32 posts since January 5th. Having said that, there isn't that much new here, and what is new, isn't really new, it's just this year's manifestation of the same old thing.  Today was the first day of the Fur Rendezvous, and like you might expect, the skies cleared to an implacable blue and the wind began to howl. I assume it was howling because it was so cold. I know I was. 
Oh, a couple of days ago, I got my new voter registration card. For the first time since the seventies I'm not a Republican. I was proud to be in the party of Lincoln, but seriously, Joe Miller, Don Young, Sarah Palin? And blaming school teachers and janitors for the financial crash, denying them the pensions they were promised while the bankers continue to smoke hand rolled hundred dollars bills?
Wow, there's another blog post right there.

Oh, by the way, I'll probably be at Costco today. See you there.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

T-t-talkin' Bout My Generation. You Were At Woodstock‽

I guess the Woodstock of my generation was Woodstock. Sometimes I think I was there, although I probably wasn't since I was just coming out of the 9th grade in 1969, and  not only didn't have a draft card to burn, I just barely had a learner's permit.. I'm pretty sure that some people that claim they were there now weren't even allowed to cross the street by themselves back then.  I did see the movie a lot.  Although, if that counted for anything, I also invaded Normandy and was killed by soldiers in Bolivia.
As I say, the Woodstock of my generation was Woodstock. I think it must be Costco now. Since I said that I was avoiding eye contact with people there one Sunday, more people have told me that they were there that day than the fire marshall would have allowed. And one of them told me she was avoiding eye contact with me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stand By For A New Post

or maybe more than one. I'm on jury duty, which I may blog about, but I won't be able to post till next week.  I wasn't sure I was qualified to be a juror since it took about twenty minutes this morning to find my way out of the parking garage. When I say "my way" out of the parking garage, that does sort of imply that I "found" a way out, rather than being led out by the hand and then being pointed across the street to the courthouse.  My normal method of navigating in Anchorage (mountains on the east side, water on the west) was worthless two stories underground, so I had to rely on my backup method (shuffle my feet and look helpless until a nice lady comes along).

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Don't Mean To Complain. Really, Then Why Do You Even Have A Blog?

Last month I went to a podiatrist for a pain in my feet. I mean, I already had the pain, I wanted him to make it go away. As part of his treatment, he recommended custom orthotics; spendy, but covered by my insurance. "Covered by my insurance," sounded pretty good, so I jumped on them, or I would have if my feet hadn't hurt.
Now let me tell you that last December, as in most Decembers, we had long since gone into our catastrophic coverage, which means that we have already spent a catastrophic amount on health care, but we don't have to pay any more that calendar year. Oh, and most years, I only go to the doctor never, so I rarely pay a deductible, because Karen has met the family deductible single-handedly. By December, we're all, "Sure I'll have a colonoscopy and give me the change in prostate exams." By the way, that's just for illustrative purposes. I have never personally said anything even remotely like that. Anyway, I went and got the custom orthotics today and was charged the full price of several hundred dollars towards my deductible. Ouch.
The young lady at the front counter said to wear them sparingly at first, to get used to them and that if I developed new pain in my knees or back to let them know so they could make adjustments to the orthotics. Apparently she didn't realize that at my age, all I do is develop new pains in my knees and back.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

It Starts With Losing Your Keys

 I haven't seen my car keys since Christmas and a while ago I had new copies made, so that's alright. I've been meaning to tell you that I may not know much about much ("I don't know nothin' bout nothin' at all"), but at least I can tell the difference between the moon and a Burger King sign, but this morning on the way to work the moon was so large, and so low, that for a second I thought it was a Burger King sign, but then I thought, "Why would Burger King open a restaurant in my back yard?" but they must have asked themselves the same question I guess, because they hadn't, it was just the moon.
You may be surprised to hear that I was going to work at all, what with the holiday, and so was my supervisor, especially since I had signed up for Tuesday off, which I hadn't remembered at all, even though it kind of made sense since it would have given me a five day weekend, except for going to work today.
I listened to a story the other day, The Swimmer, by John Cheever. I'd never read it before. It can be taken as a metaphor for aging and loss, although since aging and loss are so universally inevitable, I'm not sure we require a metaphor for them so much as a way to avoid them. A story I read a long time ago, Take Five, by D. Keith Mano, was a lot less obliquely metaphorical, and for me summed up life with one of the best lines in all of literature, "Just what the proctologist ordered."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

So The Bible Says, And It Still Is News

From today's paper:

Them that's got shall get:
Irked that Goldman Sachs appears to have reaped a $2.9 billion taxpayer-aided windfall on an investment of a mere $20 million, some experts and watchdogs say the Wall Street giant should return the money to the U.S. Treasury.

Them that's not shall lose:
The White House will also seek to cut in half... a program that helps poor families and the elderly pay their winter heating and summer cooling bills.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Existential Commuter

I almost didn't get to work yesterday. I have a new bell on my bicycle that has started jingling whenever I ride over a bump. I kept pulling over to let myself go by.

Friday, February 11, 2011

They're Calling It 18 Days That Changed The World and The Jasmine Revolution

I guess getting the iPhone on Verizon is a really big deal.
By the way, if you were at Costco Sunday, it wasn't you I was trying to avoid eye contact with.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

You Can't Handle The Truth, Or, We Want Democracy To Survive For All Generations To Come, Not To Become The Insolvent Phantom Of Tomorrow.

In the hustle and bustle of ignoring Leah's birthday last month, we completely overlooked the fiftieth anniversary of President Eisenhower's prescient farewell speech.  So, if anyone is interested in the speech, you can click here, and people interested in how much worse it is than even he predicted (hint, we spend more on "defense" than all the rest of the nations combined), can click here.
For the rest of you, here's a story that just killed when I was in junior high school:
 A guy goes into a coma in 1959. He spends ten years unaware of anything. Then, in 1969 he wakes up, looks out his window and asks the nurse, "Why is the flag at half staff?" "President Eisenhower just died," she says.  "Oh no, that means that awful Nixon is president!"

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

You Can't Handle The Truth

Our new station manager told me today that I'm not showing her enough respect. I didn't mean to hurt her feelings when I said she meant nothing to me because our managers are like buses, wait a little while and a different one will come along. I respected her enough to tell her the truth. 
Oh well, she'll get over it next month when she's moving to a different station.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Clinging to Power, Then, No Matter How Hard I Try, I Can't Make The Last Bit Tie In To The First Part

So, here's an interesting comparison: Hosni Mubarak has been in power for almost thirty years and doesn't brook opposition. Don Young, Congressman for all Alaska, has been in power almost forty years, and here's a description of the last time he was challenged, "Parnell had not tipped off Young. The congressman was fuming when he took his turn at the microphone."Sean, congratulations. I beat your dad and I'm going to beat you," Young said, referring to the 1980 race in which he trounced Pat Parnell, who ran as a Democrat. Young's demeanor resonated with Prax and other party loyalists.
"He had the opportunity to be gracious, and didn't take it," Prax said. "The tone of voice, the arrogance of that speech, was just more than I could take." Coose (past chairman of the GOP) said many in the Alaska GOP are calling for change without considering the consequences. He too would like change -- in the federal system.
Read more here.

When we were in Costco today, I avoided making eye contact with three different people I didn't want to talk to. Tell me again, why do people join Facebook?

Friday, February 04, 2011

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Do You Want To Know Something Funny?

Me too!
But for now, I know something irritating. Karen was asking her doctor yesterday if there wasn't something he could do for the pain in her leg she's had since the test she had back in August. I assumed he'd say, "No," because if there was something he could do, he'd be kind of a monster if he hadn't done it already.
What he did say was even more surprising; he wouldn't have ordered the test in the first place. Since they already knew she had an infection, and they were treating it, there was no change they would have made to the therapy.
So, remember last summer when I wrote, "Ha ha, the test they did to find out where her pain is coming from, is where her pain is coming from."? That test was meaningless.
In news on the technology front, I called Karen from work today. She not only heard the phone, and recognized that sound as a ringtone, she answered the phone successfully, and when we were done talking, she was able to hang up.
To paraphrase Caesar, audivit , is refero , is ieiunium sursum.*

*She heard, she answered, she hung up.



Passive? Active? Nope, Just Annoying Voice

Someone at work today said that something was one of their pet peeves. I said, as I always do, "You shouldn't keep your peeves around long enough for them to become pets," but then I realized that feral peeves probably aren't much better.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I May Come Off As A Little Testy Because In Just Two Office Visits And One Visit To A Pharmacy, We Used Up All Of This Year's FSA And Then Way More

I spent a lot of time today in doctor's and dentists offices with Karen for routine explorations of our ability to spend money with them. While Karen was having cavities filled in her mouth, and created in our bank accounts, I finished reading Stephen Hawking's Grand Design. Hawking says that the universe arose from nothing...wait a second, why should I try and paraphrase the smartest man in (this version of) the universe, when I can just copy and paste?

In The Grand Design we explain why, according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence, or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously... We discuss how the laws of our particular universe are extraordinarily finely tuned so as to allow for our existence, and show why quantum theory predicts the multiverse--the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature....As we promise in our opening chapter, unlike the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life given in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the answer we provide in The Grand Design is not, simply, "42."
So yeah, there are an infinite number of universes, and I happen to live in the only one without a single-payer  health care system.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

"I've Got Bright's Disease, And He's Got Mine"

Newsweek says that "Rage Has Gone Viral", and I think I might have caught it.  This morning, somebody said that hedge fund manager John Paulson had "earned" $5 billion  this year. It kind of put my day in perspective; I had been pleased because I'd found a quarter.
The Atlantic says we aren't angry enough:
In theory, no one should be angrier at wasteful, clumsy government than Democrats, since it undermines their political principles and appeal. In practice, since the 1960s, Democrats’ defensiveness about government, driven partly by fealty to public-service-employees unions, has turned them into the party of bureaucracy, rather than of effective government, just as Republicans’ fealty to incumbent interests has turned them into the party of Big Business rather than of free markets and innovation.

Voters get it. Most Americans except the very rich saw their incomes stagnate under George W. Bush, even as their expenses for health care and education shot up. But cheap credit and rising home prices—not to mention cool, affordable smart phones and flat-screen TVs—masked the dismal reality. That mask was ripped away by the Great Recession, and so Americans have been feeling 10 years’ worth of pain concentrated into a two-year span
Along the lines of masking the pain, though, the price of iPhone 3GS's has come down enough that we got Karen one the other day. Heretofore, her interest in technology had peaked with the advent of running water, and it may not be a perfect fit for her. I came into the room and found her staring at the phone, waiting for it to do something. She finally must have made it do something because I got a three and a half minute message from the radio in the kitchen.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Post 1000. I Know, I Hoped It Would Be Better, Too. It's Kind Of Disappointing, But What Isn't?

We have a new bungie boss at our station. She told me she was disappointed by my cynicism. Get in line, lady. I've got a wife I've been disappointing for years. She took over from my parents, and now my children ("You're a sad little man") are continuing the tradition. For that matter, I'm disappointed in myself. So, just wait, you think you're disappointed now? Give it a chance.
But, as far as cynicism goes, I'm not any more cynical than the next man (especially if the next man is Ambrose Bierce or somebody); I've earned my cynicism. I've lost track of how many people I've worked with, and then for, whose main qualification is that they fulfill a diversity quota or just happen to be related to another manager, or maybe they bring the cocaine to the office party. Seriously, does that sound cynical?

I was talking to a friend today about my birthday plans for next August. That's the day I'll be eligible to upgrade my iPhone, and by then, rumor has it, the iPhone 5 will be out, and it will allow the phone to be used as a payment device. I'm off that day, and I plan on being at the store when they open.
"You won't be eligible until after 5pm sir," "That's okay, I'll wait,"
My friend said that having a phone that was also a payment device might not be safe if the phone was inadvertently left somewhere. That's probably why we'll eventually have our devices implanted. In just a year we'll have gone from the Kinect's implementation of 1984, all the way to the 23rd Century and the borg. In Orwell's world, though, I don't think they camped out overnight to get the latest TV to watch them watching it. This might revolutionize preventive health care in this country, "Time for your colonoscopy and phone upgrade."