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,

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?