Jesus and Mo: Facts

23 Mar 2017 /

Jesus and Mo: Facts


Why is Alexa an Improvement?

23 Mar 2017 /
Amazon Alexa

A neighbor is giving me a tour of his home improvement gadgets . . .

We walk into the living room and he says, speaking slowly and distinctly, “Alexa, turn off all the living room lights.”

After a couple of seconds, the living room lights dim and go out.

“Why is that an improvement?” I ask. “I could have turned the lights off and on 15 times by hand in the same amount of time.”

Later, I told my wife about this . . .

“Maybe you’re sitting down and you don’t want to get up to turn out the lights,” she suggested.

“You want to sit in the living room in the dark?”


The Grim Reaper Trifecta

23 Mar 2017 /

It’s interesting (to me) that Chuck Barris and Chuck Berry had very similar names and died within 3 days of each other.

Who would be a good candidate for the trifecta here? Marion Barry? Dave Barry? Rick Barry? Barry Williams? Chuck Yeager?


Chuck Barris, 1929-2017

22 Mar 2017 /
The Gong Show Chuck Barris 1976.jpg

Chuck Barris was well ahead of his time in recognizing how many Americans are willing to make an ass of themselves on television.

The quote below is from the movie based on his book Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. I don’t know if the quote is actually in the book but I include it here nonetheless . . .

When you are young, your potential is infinite. You might do anything, really. You might be Einstein. You might be DiMaggio. Then you get to an age where what you might be gives way to what you have been. You weren’t Einstein. You weren’t anything.

That’s a bad moment.

RIP Chuck Barris


Monday Night at the Chevron

20 Mar 2017 /
Chevron

I like the sodas at Chevron . . . they’re not restaurant quality, but they’re better than the flat, tasteless sodas you get at most other gas stations.

On the downside, Chevron as often as not has some donate-a-buck-to-charity shakedown going on at the register. Today the place is plastered with photos of bald children with brave smiles on their faces . . .

“Would you like to donate to St. Jude pediatric cancer research?” the clerk asks.

“I already donated two dollars last week and they haven’t cured it yet?”

 

Meanwhile, I notice another employee plucking all the hot dogs off the rotisserie with a pair of tongs and dropping them in a trash can . . .

“You have to throw those out if they sit too long?” I ask the clerk.

“Yes.”

“Do you ever pluck a couple off and eat them if you’re hungry?”

“No,” he says, with the kind of look someone would give you if you asked them to eat something inedible . . .


I don’t know how to hike out to windward or what a jib is. I have never owned evening clothes or been to a cotillion.

Posted by on 16 Mar 2017

I Almost Got Into a Fistfight With a Realtor

13 Mar 2017 /

My wife and I stopped by an open house yesterday . . . after looking around, my wife said something to the listing agent, an oily-haired Chinese guy, about the fact that we’re working with a buyer’s agent and he said, “No agent! You get a better deal with no agent.”

“So we cut our agent out of the deal and save some money,” I said. “It sounds like that’s what you’re suggesting.”

“Agents charge 2 percent. You get a better deal with no agent.”

“OK, but I like to get paid for my work. I’m sure you like to get paid for your work. Why would you suggest not paying someone for their work?”

“It’s up to you,” he said. “You can save some money.”

“How about if we just talk to the seller directly and cut you out of the deal?”

“I have a contract,” he said.

“They don’t last forever. When does it expire?”

So I don’t think we’re going to get that house, but I didn’t like it anyway . . .


I’d Like to Believe in the Existence of a Loving God . . .

11 Mar 2017 /
Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglican Church

. . . but I can’t. The quality of evidence is very poor.

Do you believe in ghosts, fortune tellers, psychics, werewolves, vampires, astrology, alien visitations . . .?

I don’t believe in any of those things, but they’re all out there and a lot of people do believe in a lot of things for which the quality of evidence is very poor.

Do you believe that a cow jumped over the moon? I remember reading about it but the quality of evidence is very poor. It seems to be just another made-up story . . .


Why Should Men (or Women) Have to Pay for Prenatal Coverage?

10 Mar 2017 /

Illinois rep asks why men should have to pay for prenatal coverageLA Times

Evidently the LAT thinks this a hopelessly stupid question, but why? ObamaCare requires that all health plans cover pregnancy and childbirth, even though pregnancy and childbirth insurance is expensive and many people (including women) don’t need or want it.

Why is a man or woman not afforded the option to buy a less expensive health plan without pregnancy and childbirth coverage? Why is that not an option?

Even though the LAT frames the issue as a stupid question asked by a stupid white male, why should women in their 50s or 60s or 70s be paying for pregnancy and childbirth insurance? Or women of any age if they don’t want it?

Why is this law restricting our options and forcing people to pay for expensive things that they don’t need or want?


The Things We Have That Go

10 Mar 2017 /
Sara Teasdale

It was a spring that never came;
But we have lived enough to know
That what we never have, remains;
It is the things we have that go.

— Sara Teasdale, St. Louis poetess, who drowned herself many years ago, circa 1933

Or as Jesus used to say, “For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.”


A Visit to LACMA: Picasso, Rivera, Modern Art, Renaissance and Reformation

9 Mar 2017 /

Here are some photos from a recent trip to LACMA . . .

We started at the Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time exhibit:

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From there, we visited a modern art exhibit — The Serial Impulse at Gemini G.E.L — a celebration of the renowned Los Angeles print workshop Gemini G.E.L founded 50 years ago in 1966.

For example, here are some black rectangles by Richard Serra:

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Josef Albers also painted a bunch of rectangles (squares, actually) but took things a step further by using different colors:

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Ellsworth Kelly really pushed the envelope by using not only different colors but different four-sided shapes (e.g., trapezoids and parallelograms).

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I had a couple of thoughts on the Gemini G.E.L. exhibit juxtaposed with Picasso and Rivera:

  1. Some people need to get serious.
  2. Some people should be ashamed of themselves.

Rather than end on that note, here are are a couple of pieces from the Renaissance and Reformation exhibit:

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Keep the Channel Open

6 Mar 2017 /
Martha Graham

Martha Graham, 1948

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it.

It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urge that motivates you.

Keep the channel open.


At the Post Office

3 Mar 2017 /
Mail truck

It’s Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 PM . . . I’m trying to overnight some documents to Reno, NV.

“They won’t get there tomorrow,” I’m informed. “It’s too late. They’ll get there on Friday before noon. So if you don’t want to spend 23 dollars for Express Mail, you can send them Priority Mail for 6 dollars.”

“Will 6 dollars guarantee that they arrive on Friday?”

“No, no guarantee.”

“OK then I have to go with the 23 dollar option. And by the way, why can’t you get documents to Reno by tomorrow? I could personally deliver them to Reno by tomorrow and it’s not even my job.”


If My Father Were Alive . . .

3 Mar 2017 /

If my father were alive he would look at you and he would say, “Well my impression is –” then he would look at you and think suddenly “What is the use?”

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Will Ferrell as USC Commencement Speaker

3 Mar 2017 /


Nothing Can Bring You Peace But Yourself

3 Mar 2017 /
Ralph Waldo Emerson

A political victory, a rise of rents, the recovery of your sick, or the return of your absent friend, or some other favorable event, raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you. Do not believe it. Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance”

AP Computer Science Revisited

6 Feb 2017 /

I got a LinkedIn invitation today from a student I taught in an AP Computer Science class a couple of years ago.

She’s now a computer science major at UCSB. Several of the kids from that class are now in college as computer science majors. Some of them would have been computer science majors anyway, without the class — they came in already having programming interest and experience — but this young lady was not in that group.

She was quiet in class but when I worked with her one on one, she asked a lot of questions. She asked them quietly but she asked. And when I told her to do something a certain way she always asked why.

She only has four connections at this time so I appreciate her thinking of me. ๐Ÿ™‚

LinkedIn


It’s Hard to Tell the Violent, Intolerant Fascists Without a Scorecard

2 Feb 2017 /

Sometimes it’s hard to remember which side the violent, intolerant fascists are on. ๐Ÿ™‚

Mario Savio is spinning in his grave (I hope) . . .


Mary Tyler Moore, 1936-2017

25 Jan 2017 /
Mary Tyler Moore

I gave up watching TV about 20 years ago when I realized that for 10 years before that, I hadn’t seen anything I enjoyed watching, just people with strained expressions on their faces saying nonsensical things to each other.

My fondest memory of television is the CBS Saturday night lineup that I watched as a kid: All in the Family, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show, and I will always have fond memories of Mary Tyler Moore.

RIP MTM

Footnote: Those shows were followed on Saturday nights by The Carol Burnett Show, which I didn’t watch because Carol Burnett was not funny.

Not to say women can’t be funny, but it seems like the women with the greatest comedic reputations — Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, for example — are never funny.

To be fair, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway were not funny either.


Learn to Code

24 Jan 2017 /

I’m a programmer . . .

Job searches for me go like this: Iโ€™m old, I have to compete with people half my age, but Iโ€™ve worked in Orange County since forever so I know some people, and I can write good code in interviews, which the majority of programmers who show up for interviews can’t.

I was out of work on January 5. It’s now January 24. I have three job offers and picked the one I like best.

Moral of the story: Learn to code, kids . . .

Thus spoke The Programmer.


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