Author Archive: Paul Epps

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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.


Which Shirt Would You Be Afraid to Wear?

23 Jan 2017 /
src="//cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1427/9954/products/INAUG-No45-LS-NV_1024x1024.jpg?v=1483657349"

Putting your own politics aside, let’s say you have two T-shirts: one with a pro-Trump slogan like “Make America Great Again” and one with an anti-Trump slogan like “Not My President.”

Which one would you be more afraid to wear in public?

Or to put it another way: which shirt do you think would be more likely to draw the ire of violent sociopaths?


One Thing We Can All Agree Upon

23 Jan 2017 /

I don’t know if the Trump inauguration was the most watched in history but I know it was watched by more people than the Hillary Clinton inauguration . . .


Strong Opinions on Betsy DeVos

18 Jan 2017 /

I’m seeing on Facebook that a lot of people have strong (negative) opinions today about Betsy DeVos, who has been nominated as Secretary of Education, despite the fact that 99.9 percent of them had never heard of Betsy DeVos until about five minutes ago.

Why do people suddenly have a strong opinion about someone they’ve never heard of? How is this possible?

Because they’ve been instructed to have a strong opinion about Betsy DeVos in order to be consistent with the image that they have of themselves and the groups they want to fit in with.

BTW I have no opinion about Betsy DeVos at the moment because I had never heard of her until about five minutes ago . . .

Betsy DeVos


The Washington Post Owes Trump Opponents an Apology

15 Jan 2017 /

Citing backlash, singer Jennifer Holliday pulls out of Trump inauguration concertThe Washington Post

The Washington Post better check its facts because unlike Trump himself, his opponents are broad-minded, tolerant people . . .


Parenting Blunders Ranked

2 Jan 2017 /
American pit bull terrier

In other pit bull news, our neighbors across the street, who have a 5-year-old son, just brought home a 1-year-old pit bull from the animal shelter.

This is a terrible idea because they don’t know the background of the dog, what is its history with people, adults, children, with other dogs, etc.

Of course that’s true of rescue dogs of any breed, but the worst-case scenarios with most breeds don’t include maiming or killing a family member, probably your 5-year-old.

Even the most poorly socialized pug, golden retriever, chihuahua, etc., is not going to kill anyone.

By the way, I think pit bulls are great dogs but they need to be socialized and trained. I wouldn’t get one from an animal shelter because I don’t know the background of the dog.

As parenting blunders go, this is not quite up there with letting your child fall into a gorilla enclosure, but it’s close . . .


Don’t Put a Sweater on a Pit Bull

2 Jan 2017 /

Police in Florida say a dog named Scarface attacked a family who tried to put a sweater on it.

Tampa police say the pit bull mix bit a 52-year-old woman who was trying to dress it Friday and her husband was attacked while trying to pull the dog off her. Police say the couple’s 22-year-old son was attacked while trying to stop the dog by stabbing it in the neck and head.

The three people escaped the house and left the dog in the backyard. They ended up in the hospital.

Italian greyhound

Woman attacked when she tries to put a sweater on the dog, husband attacked when he tries to pull the dog off his wife, son attacked while trying to stab the dog in the neck and head . . . meet your average, run-of-the-mill pit bull owners.

Folks, if you feel like you really must put a sweater on your dogs and you don’t want to end up in the hospital or the morgue, the dog of choice is the Italian greyhound. Those shivery little fuckers love to wear sweaters.

Visit any dog park in the fall or winter months and you’ll see IGs prancing about in sweaters, often hand-made by the owners. It is a match made in heaven.


Why Do We Need the Sign?

1 Jan 2017 /

I saw this in the men’s room of Bright Angel Lodge at the Grand Canyon . . .

Why is that sign necessary? Were people complaining, “The toilet water in the men’s room tastes a little off“?

“Yes, that’s because it’s sewage. Man, we gotta put up a sign.”

Granted, there’s no bottled water sold in the national park (because of the plastic) but there are other options available before you resort to drinking toilet water.


To Whom it May Concern

30 Dec 2016 /

I can’t decide if you’re more fatuous than vacuous or the other way around, but you are definitely complacently inane . . .

Tags:

2016: The Year in Books

30 Dec 2016 /

These are the books I read in 2016, roughly in the order listed. I got off to a good start then had a kind of a breakdown later in the year.

The ratings are mine. They don’t represent a consensus of opinion.

Books of the Year: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera (fiction) and For the Time Being by Annie Dillard (non-fiction).


Debbie Reynolds, 1932-2016

29 Dec 2016 /
Debbie Reynolds

Did Debbie Reynolds Die of a Broken Heart?The New York Times

Debbie Reynolds died one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher. Correlation doesn’t imply causation blah blah blah but outliving a child must be an unbearable tragedy . . .

RIP Debbie Reynolds


EppsNet Investment Tips

27 Dec 2016 /

Shares of Warren Buffett’s firm Berkshire Hathaway soared 20% in 2016, helping to boost Buffett’s personal fortune by $12.3 billion – more than any other billionaire in the United States.

Forbes

Buy and hold . . . buy and hold.


Carrie Fisher, 1956-2016

27 Dec 2016 /
Carrie Fisher

She died from complications of cardiac arrest. Her mother, Debbie Reynolds, is 84 years old and still alive.

If I believed in God, I would pray to him that I do not outlive my child . . . My main, and perhaps only, contribution in life is raising a son who surpasses me on every conceivable metric, so that when I’m gone and he’s still here, the world will be a better place.

RIP Carrie Fisher

Update: Debbie Reynolds died the following day.


Relative Importance

19 Dec 2016 /

On Facebook, a mass murder in Berlin is exactly as important as a 1980s sitcom character . . .

facebook


That Was Then, This Is Now

12 Dec 2016 /

That was then:

Top Republicans must reject the ridiculous notion that a national election can be ‘rigged.’

New York Times editorial, Oct. 18, 2016

This is now:

[President-elect] Trump should be leading the call for a thorough investigation, since it would be the only way to remove this darkening cloud from his presidency. Failing to resolve the questions about Russia would feed suspicion among millions of Americans that a dominant theme of his candidacy turned out to be true: The election was indeed rigged.

New York Times editorial, Dec. 11, 2016

It Never Ends

10 Dec 2016 /

I just received an email alerting me that the Irvine Public Schools Foundation’s annual fundraising campaign ends December 31.

Let me guess, the next annual fundraising campaign starts on January 1.


John Glenn, 1921-2016

10 Dec 2016 /
John Herschel Glenn Jr.

When I was a boy, we all wanted to be astronauts . . .

RIP John Glenn


Another Reason I Don’t Believe in God

9 Dec 2016 /
Thomas Merton

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Catholic writer and Trappist monk at Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky.

His inspirational quotes turn up on Facebook and elsewhere. (I saw the above quote on Facebook this week.)

It’s a beautiful quote, I have to say that.

Do you know how Thomas Merton died? If you find Merton inspirational, it may be better not to know how he died.

He was electrocuted by an electric fan. He stepped out of a bath and was electrocuted by a fan.

I can’t help thinking about that when I read quotes like the above.

Dear Lord, I know you will lead me by the right road . . .

— Yep no problem Tom, got you covered.

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZTTTT!

— Oops, watch out for that fan.

I don’t want to ruin it for you if you like Merton . . . but if you believe in this kind of a heavenly arrangement, you’ve got to believe God is one heck of a practical joker.


Next Page »