Like Virgil

23 Jul 2017 /

Like Virgil, I recognize that I may have falsified reality in my attempt to create beauty . . .


Bravery, not perfection.

Posted by on 22 Jul 2017

I Paid My Debt to Society

19 Jul 2017 /
Jury

I paid my debt to society by reporting in for jury duty today. Jury duty is worse than losing a limb. In my experience, if you pick 12 Americans at random, you get nine good, clear-thinking citizens and three people who are like, “Well, anything’s possible.”

For example, the last time I served on a jury, the case involved a defendant who was driving drunk and crashed a car with passengers into a tree. There were photos taken after the crash showing the defendant pinned behind the steering wheel of the car.

His defense? He wasn’t the person driving the car. He didn’t testify himself but that was the defense presented by his attorney. And three of the jurors were like, “Yeah, that’s possible.” Hung jury.

 

Today I survived three rounds of random juror calls in the morning and by lunchtime they started calling names of people to go home, including mine.

The people still left in the jury assembly room didn’t appreciate my exuberant fist pumps on my way out.

In the hallway, I crossed paths with some actual jurors on their way to the cafeteria.

“Let justice be done though the heavens fall!” I exclaimed. They didn’t appreciate me either.


More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

17 Jul 2017 /
Infant

Acquisitive yuppies who, instead of holding their infant, wear the child in a harness on their chest, thus keeping their hands free for grabbing more stuff . . .


Mistaken Identity

16 Jul 2017 /

I’m walking through the parking lot at Kohl’s when all of a sudden, the rear hatch on an SUV pops open next to me, even though there’s no one in or around the vehicle.

Then I notice several cars further down is a similar-looking SUV and a woman with an armful of parcels trying to figure out why it won’t open.

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EppsNet at the Movies: Baby Driver

16 Jul 2017 /

The dialogue is awful and the characters are trite — the criminal mastermind in his secret lair, the beautiful but deadly femme fatale, the trigger-happy psychopath, etc. — but once they stop talking and the action kicks in, it’s terrific!

Also: great soundtrack!

Rating: 4-stars

Baby Driver

After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

Director: Edgar Wright
Cast: Ansel Elgort Baby
Jon Bernthal Griff
Jon Hamm Buddy
Eiza González Darling

IMDb rating: 8.2 (62,929 votes)


The Victimized Media

16 Jul 2017 /

In the age of Trump, it’s acceptable for reporters to claim they “never wanted to be part of the story,” while waiting in a green room to go on TV and talk about themselves.

Joe and Mika


A Couple of Questions About Commerce

14 Jul 2017 /

Receipt with batteries

  1. Why are store receipts so damn big? I bought a couple of 3V batteries at Office Depot and got a receipt as long as my arm. (The receipt is shown upside down to discourage you from stealing my identity.)
  2. Why do chip readers have to honk at you when your transaction is approved? I get that they’re reminding me to remove my card but why not remind me via a pleasant jingle?
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Woman Knocks Over $200K Artwork Trying to Take a Selfie

14 Jul 2017 /


Our Town

13 Jul 2017 /


And I can see the sun settin’ fast
And just like they say nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye but hold on to your lover
‘Cause your heart’s bound to die
Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town
Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town
Goodnight


Privilege

12 Jul 2017 /
Theodore Roosevelt

There can be no grosser example of privilege than that set before us as an ideal by certain socialistic writers the ideal that . . . the man who is vicious, foolish, a drag on the whole community, who contributes less than his share to the common good, should take out what is not his, what he has not earned; that he shall rob his neighbor of what that neighbor has earned. This particular socialistic ideal would be to enthrone privilege in one of its grossest, crudest, most dishonest, most harmful and most unjust forms.

— Theodore Roosevelt, 1908

10 Reasons Why Failure is Good, Except When It’s Bad

11 Jul 2017 /
 Sharon Christa McAuliffe,  Gregory Jarvis, Judith A. Resnik, Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, Ronald E. McNair, Mike J. Smith, Ellison S. Onizuka. Image credit: NASA

Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith A. Resnik, Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, Ronald E. McNair, Mike J. Smith, Ellison S. Onizuka. Image credit: NASA

Once upon a time there was a startup, and the president of this startup, like a lot of people in the early part of the 21st century, celebrated failure — as a learning tool and as a precursor to success.

He encouraged employees to celebrate failures on the company Slack channel, using the hashtag #fail.

Legend has it that the president called one employee on the carpet for suggesting on the Slack channel that it doesn’t make sense to celebrate failure without factoring in the cost of failure.

That is simply a truism, is it not? Obviously the value of failure can be swamped out by the cost, e.g.,

Blew up 7 astronauts but learned that O-rings don’t function in sub-freezing temperatures. #fail

You can think of other examples yourself. You can probably also think of people and/or companies for whom failure was merely a precursor to more failure.

Working for startups is risky, but the president of this startup told all the employees that he would give them a six-month heads-up if the company were ever on track to run out of money.

Then one day, due to the failure to retain a key client, the staff was cut to around 15 people (there were close to 100 at one time) with zero notice and a one week’s severance check.

You could make a case that the “six-month” promise didn’t apply because the company didn’t actually “run out of money,” but most people felt that the spirit of the promise, if not the letter, had been violated.

Was this a failure to be celebrated? It probably depends from which side of the exit door you’re looking at it. Sometimes a pivot looks a lot like an implosion.

Was it celebrated with a #fail hashtag in the company Slack channel? I don’t know.

Lost our key client. Laid off all developers but kept the company chef. #fail

This is a fable and like all fables it has a moral: Failure is good, except when it’s bad.

Resemblance to persons or companies living or dead would be a coincidence.

Thus spoke The Programmer.


“I’m Not Pointing Any Fingers . . .”

10 Jul 2017 /

. . . I say to the only other person who lives in my house, “but SOMEone plucked the toppings off the leftover pizza.”

Pizza

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Today Would Have Been a Good Day

10 Jul 2017 /

I’ve always been tempted to short Abercrombie & Fitch stock based on the abysmal quality of people I see wearing their merchandise.

Today would have been a good day to actually do it, as a deal to sell the company fell through

(If you’re not familiar with stock charts, today’s activity is reflected in the vertical purple bar plummeting toward the bottom right of the chart.)


Sounds Like a Plan

9 Jul 2017 /

Sounds like a plan


More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

7 Jul 2017 /

People who say “What does this button do?” and immediately press the button without waiting for an answer . . .


Amber Alerts

7 Jul 2017 /

I got an Amber Alert on my phone last night. The same Amber Alert is posted today on those lighted freeway billboards.

How did we decide that child abduction is the one activity that merits a notification to the entire country?

In this case, the woman in the photo, Kandice Johnson, stole a car at gunpoint with a 16-year-old boy in the back seat.

I’m going to feel ridiculously bad if this ends poorly, but for a 16-year-old boy, being kidnapped by a femme fatale like Kandice Johnson is maybe not the worst way to spend a few hours of your life . . .


A Tolerance Dilemma

7 Jul 2017 /

Malaysia, Indonesia Muslim groups call for Starbucks boycottChicago Tribune

The problem is Starbucks’ support for LGBT rights.

Sodomy is illegal in Malaysia and punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia but a case before the Constitutional Court is seeking to criminalize gay sex and sex outside of marriage.

What do you do if you want to embrace both Group A and Group B but Group A wants to put Group B in prison for 20 years and hit them with sticks?


One Thing I Can’t Tolerate is Intolerance: Yelp at Yale Edition

4 Jul 2017 /

According to the New York Times, June Chu, dean of Pierson College at Yale, lost her job after calling people “white trash” in Yelp reviews.

Here are some of (former) Dean Chu’s hot Yelp takes:

Regarding a Japanese restaurant: “If you are white trash, this is the perfect night out for you. . . . Side note: employees are Chinese, not Japanese.”

On a local movie theater: “So what they have is barely educated morons trying to manage snack orders for the obese and also try to add $7 plus $7.”

A mochi establishment: “Remember: I am Asian. I know mochi. . . . To be honest, you’d be better off getting mochi ice cream at Trader Joe’s! I guess if you were a white person who has no clue what mochi is, this would be fine for you.”

Remember: I am white. I know racism. This is not racism unless you are a lightweight, amateur racist. I’ve seen better racism at Trader Joe’s.

Really, those are perfectly fine Yelp reviews. Granted that some people are more easily offended than others, I would say that anyone offended by Chu’s posts should stay off Yelp, stay off the internet in general, and probably just stay in bed every morning and not leave their house.

P.S. I like Trader Joe’s mochi.

Anyway, Stephen Davis, head of Pierson College, which is evidently better than being the dean, said in announcing Chu’s departure:

“Let me be clear. No one, especially those in trusted positions of educating young people, should denigrate or stereotype others, and that extends to any form of discrimination based on class, race, religion, age, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”

I’m not sure how the movie theater review violates those guidelines, unless an inability to add $7 plus $7 qualifies as a disability.

Davis went on to say:

“Yale unequivocally values respect for all. . . . what holds us together is our collective effort to ensure that every single person in our midst is valued beyond measure.”

As long as they think the right way, act the right way and speak the right way, and don’t write snarky Yelp reviews that reflect the way people actually talk in real life.


Great Moments in Socialized Medicine: Charlie Gard

4 Jul 2017 /

If I’m understanding this correctly, socialized medicine really does mean that the government decides if you will live or die, and if your children will be allowed to live or die.

I’m glad to see that the current president of the United States is not on board with the idea of a government being able to decide on the life or death of a baby, and to deny the parents of the baby the ability to counter that decree.

This is a good reminder — since there are people who think that “single payer,” i.e., socialized medicine, i.e., the government runs the healthcare system, would be a good thing to have in the United States — that the government, if you’re very old and/or very sick, is not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years or months or days of your life to keep you going.

It’s too expensive, so they are going to let you die.


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