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Archive for June, 2011

A Handey Quotation

Lately several people have joined in my sentiment that we are writing to the wrong audiences and dumbing things down too much.

Case in point, textbooks, which are written more for the regurgitation of pap and making another buck on recycled information that is strangely devoid of substantial content.  I’m reminded of C.S. Lewis’  The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe –

“It is dull, Son of Adam, to drink without eating,” said the Queen presently. “What would you like best to eat?”

 “Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty,” said Edmund.

 The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on to the snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk ribbon, which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the very centre and Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious. He was quite warm now, and very comfortable.

But Edmund was eating only snow, devoid of even sweetness, much less nutrients, and thinking it was good.

To quote Curtal Friar‘s comment from a few days ago:

Books used to be packed with information, and you could actually use them to learn and get good at something.

Just look at the old Boy Scout manuals. Hell, look at books they used to publish for boys to learn how to build and fix things. All kinds of useful info. Nowadays it’s all a bunch of crap you have to wade through to find anything useful.

Look at Modern Mechanix and see how it was once done.

They didn’t dumb the science down back then.  Now someone would quash such articles for being “beyond the reach of ordinary people”.  The idea being that it would scare off readership to present topics that are too complex.

Now let’s quote Jack Handey.

It makes me mad when I go to all the trouble of having Martha cook up about a hundred drumsticks, then the guy at the Marine land says, ‘You can’t throw chicken to the dolphins. They eat fish.’

Sure they eat fish, if that’s all you give them. Man, wise up.

The Great Philosopher Jack Handey

Well sure kids won’t read complex stuff if all you feed them is crap.  Why must publishers always assume kids have the IQ of lovable ol’ Goofy?

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Sent to me by One Who Wishes to Remain Anonymous

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On Drudge, there was a link to an article at NationalJournal.com –

Nerves Show on Team Obama

Recent scrambling by the president’s political advisers indicates they’re very worried about his reelection chances.

He has good reason to be worried.  The piece, written by Josh Kraushaar had a very tell-tale bias in it.

But there are telltale signs that the grassroots army that propelled him is in a much less giving mood. It’s not a huge surprise; the bad economy has hit Obama’s small donors too. When you’re having trouble paying the bills, you’re not exactly pining to pitch in hard-earned money to help a powerful president.

By no stretch of the imagination could Obama be viewed as “a powerful president”.  It’s asinine.  One could only say such a thing if one once believed in Obama’s belief that He Himself could walk on water.

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And from near my home town, where the newspaper is known by my father as The Red Guard (The Register Guard)… how the (local) intelligentsia make patriotism sound worse than pedophilia.

I’m kind of stymied as to how something that was meant to pull people together could be so vilified by people incapable of tending to facts without twisting them.  It’s something like a personal record-breaker for Eugene’s Mayor.

Mayor Kitty Piercy called the Pledge of Allegiance divisive. “If there’s one thing the flag stands for,” Piercy says, “it’s that people don’t have to be compelled to say the Pledge of Allegiance or anything else.”

Compelled?  What?  A person who truly values what this country is and stands for would never see the Pledge of Allegiance as something that they were compelled to recite.

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Ok, the raw link:

http://www2.turnto10.com/news/2011/jun/29/17/unconscious-woman-found-fall-river-pool-ar-572606/

Uh… she was dead for two days.  How can the link say “unconscious-woman-found”?

I was a lifeguard for years and I’m wondering if it was staffed by students from the School for the Blind.

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Delivering the graduation speech in spanish?  Oh, it’s only going to happen more and more as the invasion intensifies.  Because we’re letting it happen.

And no, it doesn’t matter one stinkin’ bit that it was done in english, too.  This is America.  Don’t know how much longer that’ll be the case though.

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We had guests this last week.  It was the first time my dad (Sparky) ever came to Michigan and he brought my stepmom (AngelHeart), with him.  Now, AngelHeart is quite possibly one of the ten most kind people I know.  At first I could not believe that she was for real and in the last year to year and a half I have come to realize that she is truly that kind.

So they came and we visited.

We had a blast.

We BBQ’ed, we went to Henry Ford Museum (Greenfield Village), we got pizza (which dad said was the best pizza he’s had in his entire 80 years of existence), we raided an estate sale, we took walks down the bike path nearby, we caught fireflies (you should have seen my 80 year old stepmom outside running after fireflies),  we took them out for their first coney island grub, we talked, we laughed, and then we parted ways.  I dropped them off at the airport around 1pm today, which was kind of hard because we know that they’ll never be able to come this way again and they do, too.  There’s even a possibility that I might never see him again but then again we may be able to – we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

The kids absolutely adored AngelHeart and Sparky.  They were showing them things, chattering at them, saying all kinds of silly things, and whenever I told them to stop playing video games, watch tv, or get off the computer because they really ought to go hang out with their grandma and granddad they simply said “OK” and did it.  No hassle or complaints at all.

My dad assured me that my liberal stepmom was slowly but surely becoming conservative after a year of living with him – and I rejoiced.  Sparky did worry me a bit last night when he said he didn’t like Sean Hannity so very much and they asked to surf down to the CNN channel where we got to see Beyonce.  I said “Oh yeah, right – like you want to watch this.”

Then AngelHeart says “we’ve seen her on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and like we like her”.  And they were content to leave the channel there.  Yes, she said “we like her”.  No, I’m not sure if it was DwtS, but it was either that or something of similar ilk.

Honestly I would not know Beyonce if she walked up and gnawed on my butt – I couldn’t even pronounce her name correctly – but the show and format immediately told me that it just isn’t the type of entertainment that I have the patience for (I prefer less ‘I’m a superstar lookit me’ kind of fare).

As I got up in confusion after plummeting to the ground after this world-rocking news my stepmom said “Your brother loves American Idol… he really loves J-Lo”.

In deepest distress I said to Cruel Wife “Yeahbut J-Lo has this HUGE a…. … … nevermind.”   I was shocked.  My brother, SuperTrooper, likes American Idol.  My vision contracted to a point and there was a dull roaring sound in my ears.  I couldn’t feel my extremities and I began to gag on my tongue.  My father likes Beyonce and my brother likes American Idol.

What next?  Mary Poppins becomes a porn star?   Dr. Lector goes vegan?  Cotton candy is made with Splenda™?  Cats become humble?

They saw I was becoming quite agitated and switched the TV back to Hannity.

I will write more later on this post but for now, I’ll end it by saying:

The last four days have been the best present I’ve gotten since Cruel Wife and I were married – when I got a blow-up sheep, the “I Luv Ewe”, at my bachelor party.

I just added the “Luv Ewe” thing to get your attention.  And no, “best present” does not include my kids because they weren’t given to us by a person.  Yes, having my dad come and visit trumped material goods by far.

Yes, I did get an “I Luv Ewe” from my buddies at my bachelor party – the sickos.  It had lipstick, even.  It was revolting.

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Yet again, someone takes humor meant for adults and manages to totally miss the context and humor because she’s too preoccupied with herself.

Subtitled “Wherein I Prove that I Need to Get Laid and Chill the F*** Out”.  (Hopefully Samuel L. Jackson can do a reading of another book addressing her issues.

Author Adam Mansbach is undoubtedly the kind of father who heaps love, affection and attention upon his daughter.  [I don’t think she believes that for a second.  – LK]  (He reportedly had the idea to write the book because of his exasperation with her at bedtime.) But sadly, his book accurately portrays the hostile environment in which too many children grow up.

For far too many kids, the obscenities found in Mansbach’s book are a common, everyday household language. Swearing is how parents across the social, educational and economic strata express their disappointments or anxieties, their frustrations and outright anger at their children. Sometimes the biggest bully in the neighborhood lives in the same house you do. Sometimes it’s your parent.

I’m having a hard time seeing how “Go the **** to Sleep” even remotely comes near the ills of child abuse.

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If you missed the awesome tempura food pic over at Soylent Green you should run right over there now and catch it.

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My father and stepmom flew out this last Thursday.  It’s the first time he’s been to Michigan.

Today we went to an estate sale (I got books and a cane, more on that later) and then to our favorite coffee shop to visit with Spaced Diode and his wife and son.  I was finally able to prove to my dad, as I put it to him:  “See Dad, I do have friends!  Gosh darn it, people like me!”

He said “Yep.  At least one.”

In my family dry sarcastic humor is an art form.

Then we came home and I continued to watch over the ribs I had put in the smoker this morning around 10AM.  We let them go until 6pm and I pulled them and the smoked chicken legs out and we all stuffed ourselves silly on ribs, legs, macaroni salad, and awesome bread from Zingerman’s deli (yes, the world-famous Zingerman’s that we visited on Friday).

Tonight I introduced my dad to the joys of lightning bugs.  Picture an 80 year old man with his forty-something son and eight and five year old grandkids, all out catching fireflies in the fading daylight.  Gosh it was fun.   Spent a bunch of time doing long-exposure photographs to cat lightning bug streaks.  I’ve also got roughly 30-40 mosquito bites so if West Hemorrhagic Listeria Nile Pox is a real phenomenon then we’re going to find out.

Tomorrow, we go to the Henry Ford Museum/Greenfield Village.  We’ll visit the Wright Brother’s shop and Edison’s laboratory among other places.

The cane… no, I don’t need it to walk but after a while if I’m walking or standing it is nice to lean on it, straight-arm it, and lean my head on my shoulder to take a load off of my neck.  Yes, I know it makes me look crippled, but in a sense I am when the neck goes “tits up” on me.  It was funny but I saw it and did that w/o thinking and suddenly realized that it actually helped to do it so I willingly threw four bucks down on the table for it.

Plus now I can whack people with it.

The books… Statistical Methods in Engineering, Mechanisms, Electromagnetic Theory for Students, Marco Polo, The Heart of Darkness, Black Beauty, etc.   All with that musty old book smell, all hardcover, all of them with the woodcut graphics and illustrations, and all of them for $1 apiece.  The nice thing about the Mechanisms and EM Theory books was that when they were written, authors didn’t write it just to publish a book, they made the book to teach people who wanted to learn.  They didn’t set out under the premise that people knew Thing X and Principle Y just so they could get to Cool New Thing Z… they taught you Thing X, Principle Y, and gave you enough bedrock information so you could understand Cool New Thing Z on your own.   There is a vast difference between the mindset of stuff published before the mid-1950’s and stuff published now.   I draw the analogy that science and engineering “back then” is more like factual news reporting (minimum of bullshit) and science and engineering now is more like watching CNN/Time/Warner “news” – which is meant to puff itself up and provide puff-pastries rather than a basic diet.

Then  it was a relationship between teacher and student with the goal that the student should attain mastery alongside the teacher and hopefully surpass the teacher.  Now it is a relationship that seeks to dress the information up so it looks interesting and if a student learns the information it is really a secondary goal.   Before you had to already have the interest and then work to understand the principles before you could see the beauty, and now it is a matter of trying to present something that is visually interesting and maybe the student will want to work harder.

It has the effect of pulling more students in but also students who love the idea of where they think they want to go rather than students who want to go there for it’s own sake.  Engineering and science requires a burning need to understand, in my not-so-humble opinion.

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Cruel Wife Update

Ok, so she burned her hand last night with molten sugar.

No big deal, right?  Other than finally falling asleep at 3am with her hand in a glass of ice water in the pulled-out drawer of her nightstand, no, no big deal.

This morning her paw was feeling pretty good sort of decent so she decided to put on makeup for work.

She sharpened the eye-liner so it’d be easier to put on with the burned right hand.

And promptly slipped and stabbed herself in the eye.

I swear, we’re going to have to put a padded helmet on her, protective eyewear, oven mitts, and corks on the tines of her forks to protect her from herself.  She’s not allowed to call me a klutz anymore.

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All she’s said for about five minutes is “Ew.  Ew.  Ewwww.   Ewwwww!”

I read her this article to take her mind off of her pain.

Women flock to take horse-semen shots

Yes, that is a very real title.

(she just said “Ew” about sixteen more times)

Green Man Pub chef, Jason Varley, said the drink was proving most popular with women.

“Ladies thought it was great  a couple were going to go home and get their husbands to eat grass,” he said.

I don’t want to know what that means but I have a suspicion.

Oh, what happened to Cruel Wife, you ask?

She bought the kids an after-dinner treat called “Hissee Fits” which are giant gummy snakes (which I promptly warned the kids not to throw in the house).

Girlhead whined about the toughness of the snake and wondered how old it was.  I asked her to hold it up so I could see how long it was.  I reckoned that it was about three weeks old and opined that it has probably dined well on gummy bugs (Cruel Wife suggested gummy worms).  We then wondered if they could swallow a whole gummy bear and Girlhead was of the opinion that they would have to be mini gummy bears.

Whining continued and finally Cruel Wife says “Ok, would you like me to soften it up in the microwave?”

Girlhead said “Yes, please!”

So CW nuked it for 15 seconds, no more, no less.  She reached in without looking and suddenly I heard “Oh!  Ow OW OWOWOWOWOWOWOW!” and things flying across the floor as she dashed for the sink.  I pointed out that purposely sticking her fingers in molten sugar was probably not her finest hour.  It immediately 2nd degree burned her middle finger, smeared across all four fingers, and flipped up on top of 2-1/2 fingers.   She’s had her hand in a glass of ice water and packed in WaterGel for four hours now.  I am thinking that her risk of needing an escharotomy is much reduced.   And here I’d put a bitchin’ edge on a razor blade in preparation.

I’ve been reading Fark to her for hours now to keep her smiling and laughing.  Not sure if the horse semen thing helped or not.

But they also linked The Bloggess, who had a story about giant chickens and chicken envy.  And towels.

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As part of the “Tools that Must not be Suffered to Live” theme, Curtal Friar has some awful duct tape on display.  To view it, it tears off little strips of my soul and leaves them stuck everyplace.

I forgot to ask him if they were real or p-shop.  I think I forgot.  If I didn’t forget I forgot that.

It’s been an awful day.  The kind of work day that makes you wish you could be killed in a 3-way collision with an elephant and a flaming blimp before you get back to work tomorrow.  The kind of day that makes you feel like you got gnawed on by sharks with frickin’ lasers on their heads.

More on this post later tonight when I unwiiiiiiiiiind.

Here’s a cute Dino Egg thing my daughter got me as a boy’s present for Father’s Day.  It cracks out of it’s shell over a period of days.

Sweet, huh?  She picked good.

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I couldn’t resist… on Fark… Amish Sexter sends loads of explicit stuff to 12 year old girl, drives horse and buggy to Indiana for meeting, arrested and photographed.

You couldn’t make it up IF YOU TRIED.

Yoder’s contact with the [pre-menstrual minor] began with a random text sent to her phone. When the  parents learned of their daughter’s contact with Yoder, they took control of her phone and continued communicating with Yoder, who sent about 600 texts, as well as [unclothed] photos and [naughty] videos to the her.

Is dragging a perv to death behind a horse and buggy a legal punishment?

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Cruel Wife has sucked away all my time by asking about playsets for kids.   Sooooo, no relaxation for me and I’ll post another Fark link for your convenience:   Woman steals mink coat in her underwear.

Great Caesar’s Ghost!  How big do you have to be to steal a mink coat in your underwear???   This big, apparently.

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Great Father’s Day

Well, my daughter couldn’t sleep and she came out when Cruel Wife and I were watching The Brothers Bloom.  I hit pause on the movie and she sat on my lap with a blanket for half an hour or so.  Best Father’s Day present a guy could get.

The family, knowing my love of fountain pens, got me a Schrade Tactical Fountain Pen.  It is a kubotan that can write purty stuff.  (Let’s see a machete do that, hmmm?)

It is heavy – really heavy.  1.6 oz may not sound like a lot but it is noticeable – compare that to 0.2 oz for a normal pencil.  It is heavy enough that posting it may take some getting used to (it’s my normal habit) but I see even odds of not being able to write without thinking with the extra mass there.

You could incapacitate a rabid badger with that thing.  The pointy-tip end opposite the nib is a chunk of solid aluminum and it will dent the hell out of what it hits.  I’m thinking that this is not going to be a carry-on pen when I go on travel for work.  The TSA is obviously so unable to discriminate between real risks and legitimate travelers that I don’t want to chance losing it.

Love that copper color.

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