Saturday, April 30, 2005
A Skimpy Change in a Local Ordinance
My experience has been that, as a first approximation, those most inclined to wear the least are those we'd prefer wear more.
And yet, hope springs eternal: "I haven't been to the beach in years, but now I'm thinking I'll go down there this year,'' said Joann Quinn, of North Cape May. "The beach ought to be interesting this year.''
Friday, April 29, 2005
Laura Ingraham's Battle With Breast Cancer
The reaction of many individuals to Laura Ingraham's battle against breast cancer has unfortunately bolstered my overall world view. It appears that some people who disagree with her politics have been saying things like:
"She probably gave it to herself."or the very eloquent
"I don't pray for Nazis or other Totalitarian Scum."
"I hope she goes into remission and fucking chokes to death."To you "commentators", I have one question: Were you people raised by actual humans?
Sensible News From NASA
It seems like NASA is delaying the flight of the shuttle a bit longer. This may seem like bad news but I think it reflects a growing awareness within the organization that having the shuttle disintegrate on its next flight would be bad.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Trouble in Northern Europe
Crows are pecking out their livers and causing the problem. Frank Mutschmann, a Berlin veterinarian reports that "The crows are clever...They learn quickly from watching other crows how to get the livers." Does this mean that crows have experienced what Thomas Kuhn referred to as a "paradigm shift" (the sine qua non of a scientific revolution)? If so, I wonder what other discoveries that initial liver-pecking crow has been able to unearth.
This theory also raises the possibility that this new information (technology) has apparently been independently validated perhaps by a crow peer review committee. Thus established as mainstream, it is now being taught to other crows.
The second theory to explain the exploding toad phenomenon must be considered, at best, speculative: "the toads are taking the selfless way out — sacrificing themselves by suicide to save others from overpopulation." The link above doesn't cite the name of this idea's ingenious proponent.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Ann Coulter and Rosie O'Donnell
Few people would characterize Rosie O'Donnell as anything but liberal. However, I'd check out this photo accompanying a Yahoo article on her tribulations with the Late Night with David Letterman show.
O'Donnell's budding career as a Hollywood ingenue is off to a rocky start.
Little Sympathy for French Angst
We seem unprepared to shed even a single tear as they confront the domination of American creativity exhibited in the exportation of such cultural icons as Big Macs, Survival reruns and football (the American version where they use steroids). I'm not confident that the emotional upheaval our European ally must be experiencing will be assuaged by another cafe au lait.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
The French get slammed again
The take-home point is that Americans will no longer have to come to France and brave the legendary snootiness and sense of self-importance of the parisians to have their scales calibrated.
Yet, pity the French. They've had preeminence of language, the culinary arts, fashion and class wrested from their tobacco-stained, Brie-smeared fingers. Now, they're poised to lose that special prestige that can only arise from being the repository of a unit of measurement.
I'm going to drown my sorrows in a glass of Cabernet (Napa Valley of course).
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Looking on the bright side...
Friday, April 22, 2005
Be nicer, tread lightly, don't be a dufus.
She's got valid points although I think her hospital needs to offer a better vacation package.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
A Granddaddy of Dubious Notions
This is one way of getting the shuttle off the ground. My concern is that it might come back too quickly. Maybe the astronauts are smarter than their handlers and will take some vacation time rather than fly.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Taking your work home gets a bad name
Although the UC Davis Medical Center isn't too happy with his job performance, I understand that Wendy's has expressed interest in hiring him after his release.
Monday, April 18, 2005
Good Safety Tip
This is a rule I've followed for several years and one which I feel should be more widely adopted.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Legislation hits the "Irish disease"
I've never been to Ireland but I'm told that alcohol consumption is their national pastime analogous to our sport of baseball. To me, the Irish attitude towards drinking is best characterized by the following anonymous aphorism:
"An Irishman is not drunk so long as he can reach down, take hold of a blade of grass and not fall off the face of the earth."Certainly the essence of romantic imagery.
As a side note, the Irish are noted to be among the heaviest of European drinkers consuming an average of 4.5 gallons of pure alcohol per year. I found this statistic to be quite startling (and worthy of admiration) until I calculated that that corresponds to a paltry 2.63 standard 1.5 ounces of drinks of hard alcohol per day (see calculations below). Terribly disappointing.
For those wishing further enlightenment regarding the joys and perils of alcoholism, I refer you to this public service website.
40% (80 proof) alcohol for average distilled spirit
1.5 oz distilled spirit/drink = 0.6 oz alcohol/drink
4.5 gallons/yr = 576 oz/yr
576 oz/yr = 960 1.5 oz drinks/yr
960 1.5 oz drinks/yr = 2.63 (1.5 oz) drinks/day (assuming 365.25 days/yr. After all, drinking rarely stops on leap years)
(I cannot vouch for the accuracy of these calculations due to my above average alcohol consumption last night)
Friday, April 15, 2005
A less than happy surgical outcome
If the surgery had been more successful, he probably would have been a true mover and shaker.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
A new labor-saving device courtesy of those wacky MIT kids!
Stribling describes one of the motivations for their program in his website:
"One useful purpose for such a program is to auto-generate submissions to "fake" conferences; that is, conferences with no quality standards, which exist only to make money."
Of several such papers submitted to one such conference, one entitled Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy was accepted. The team is currently attempting to raise funds so they can travel and formally present their computer-generated findings at the WMSCI 2005 meeting.
Stribling maintains a website whereby readers can generate their own scholarly papers for fun and profit.
Perhaps minimal modifications to his program can extend its usefulness to mainstream journalism?
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Risk-Takers and the Women Who Love Them
With every survey, one has to ask, are the respondents answering how they truly think or how they think they should think? Whenever I see a racecar driver get out of his vehicle after a meet, I've not noticed a lack of female attention on the part of his fans.
I have no data to support this but I suspect that for the majority of women, the most desirable man is a risk-taker with lots of life insurance.
Salmon Rushdie feels we're insensitive to the concerns of other lands
I understand that Rushdie is writing a new novel about Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In it, he characterizes their sexual proclivities and closet pork-eating. My suggestion: in an effort to reach out to their cultures, he should send them complimentary advance copies and his home address so they can get together and "dialogue".
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
The Oldest Profession Meets Robinson's-May
I imagine the ladies will plant themselves next to a Starbuck's where they'll be able to have a cup of joe with their john.
Dubious Notions' prediction: business drop-off at the Victoria's Secret outlet.
Things you don't see everyday
Cut him some slack. I have that problem when I'm driving in Boston.
Monday, April 11, 2005
Weight Control Advertising
Dubious Notions' prediction: after graduation, government contract jobs all around.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Muddy thinking and the space shuttle
On the other hand, I see a big problems with NASA's handling of the mechanical issues leading to the last shuttle disaster:
- Solutions seemed to focus on fixing problems associated with the fuel tank and its foam insulation. The previous failure occurred because a piece of foam broke off the fueltank assembly and damaged the tiles making up the shuttle's heat shield. Let's summarize: a piece of foam struck the heat shield fatally crippling the spacecraft. At the risk of oversimplification, I want my car windshield to survive an impact of foam insulation let alone the shuttle. Am I missing something here? Fix the heat shield!
- Apparently NASA finds it easier to facilitate the intra-flight repair process rather than fix the underlying problem. They've spent a great deal of effort making it easier to identify damage to the outside of the shuttle and arrange for such damage to be fixed in-flight. Again, I think it's great that when my car's brakes fail, the vehicle is so well-designed that my mechanic can fix it easily. Neat.
- NASA has developed a procedure whereby the crew can escape to the international space station in case of a catastrophe. This has to be a concept brought to fruition by NASA's public relations department as opposed to their safety committees. Again, Neat.
- What I find most disturbing is that shuttle commander Eileen Collins expressed her confidence in the shuttle's safety. Yet mission specialist Charlie Camarda feels sufficiently nervous to comment to the press: "I do not have the confidence and the maturity in the systems we have right now to put my crew or another crew to get back on the vehicle and come back." Maybe not the greatest English but this is not some NASA janitor with misgivings. This is one of commander Collins' own crew members. Doesn't instill faith. Doesn't reflect well on her command or her sensitivity to her crew's fears. This isn't combat. This is an elective mission.
A smile, a handshake and an international incident
As a non-Catholic who's occasionally attended mass I've always found quaint the "sign of peace" custom whereby adjacent congregants are invited to shake hands. One wonders whether Israeli president Moshe Katsav, Iranian president Mohammed Khatami and Syrian president Bashar Assad anticipated this tradition when they noticed how close they were seated at the funeral.
Though Katsav and Assad have fessed up to actually shaking hands, Khatami has denied that he made any such contact with Katsav. Heaven forefend that top Iranian and Israeli officials should ever show any signs of reconciliation for one another. One can only imagine if, in an attempt to modernize the liturgy, these men were required to high five.
Actually, I found somewhat more odious, the specter of Prince Charles shaking hands with Robert Mugabe, the notoriously corrupt, newly "elected" president of the morally bankrupt Zimbabwean government. Vatican City is not a E.U. member state and is one of the few countries of the region in which he's allowed to travel. The U.S. and European Union have forbid him entry because of his human rights violations as well as his inability to curb his Zimbabwe "expense account" spending.
Of course he could have chosen to visit Turkey but the shopping isn't as good.
Saturday, April 09, 2005
The Village Idiot of Story, Indiana
Mr. Carmichael had been a strong contender all year but sawing through a live wire and wrecking his truck hours after purchasing it put him over the top.
I have to confess that after reviewing the efforts of some of this year's competitors, I'm concerned that his selection may have been an injustice. It seems that this past year, not one but two of Story's citizens knocked themselves unconscious while opening their car doors. At a minimum, an honorable mention for both of them was in order.
So what's next for Mr. Carmichael? Perhaps he'll be able to parlay his win into a career in politics.
One other point: the bylaws of the contest specify that the winner receives a $100 bar tab at a local tavern. Good idea?
The Royal Wedding
Friday, April 08, 2005
For when your cranium runneth over...
I understand it works well in your radiator too.
Where's the smart money in the choice for a new pope?
Big-Time Funeral for a Big-Time Pope
Seems a little impersonal or a little ghoulish depending on your point of view. I also thought his outfit was a bit too festive for the occasion.
I'm not a sophisticated guy. But when I go, I don't want a bunch of news people milling around me as start the long, arduous process of decomposition. How will I be able to ensure that the photogs get my optimal profile shots.
Secondly, what's with the cheap casket?
You'd think that with an audience of two billion, they'd want to pull out all the stops and splurge. Again, there's a lot I don't understand about the process and I may be missing most of it.
And the pallbearers look like they just got out of an Exxon board meeting.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Trouble in the Wheelchair Pageant Circuit
One of those repercussions was the resignation of Jen Onsum, coodinator of the sister pageant in Minnesoda. Ms. Onsum stepped down from her job to "stand up for Janeal Lee." To me this seems a hollow gesture since Ms. Lee appears perfectly capable of standing up for herself.
Personally, I don't think this will hurt Lee's career. I suspect that with their nose for controversy, Playboy will be calling shortly.
Fox-Blocker! Promoting the Great Dialogue
Who can rationally deny that blocking access to a particular viewpoint is a good thing and will do much to further awareness of potentially novel ideas?
I'm not one of those crazies who feels such a voluntary device is an affront to free speech. The constitution is silent on private attempts to limit viewpoints. But guys...what are ya thinking? It's certainly not a Christian thing to do and I understand that that doesn't concern you, but is it the liberal thing to do?
Stifling alternative viewpoints has a rich and noble tradition among Americans on all sides of the political spectrum. I don't anticipate any earthshaking consequences here but it's doubtful that any Thomas Paine awards will come of it either.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
An elegant end to an elegant life
"Hunter S. Thompson's ashes will be blasted from a cannon mounted inside a 53-foot-high sculpture of the journalist's "gonzo fist" emblem, his wife said Tuesday."Though perhaps not as understated as his writings and his temperance, such an end will no doubt provide a contemplative calm with which to reflect on his life.
Monday, April 04, 2005
The Border Blues
Obviously, this is troublesome for the government. They have no choice but to investigate every such alarm in case it was triggered by true illegal aliens...so they can zoom into action and do absolutely nothing. To me, this irritation seems a bit disingenuous. At least now, when the Border Patrol officers do absolutely nothing, the bright green glow of the mainstream media's night vision goggles will be cast on their inactivity.
Other than the specter of a group of federal agents constantly having to jump up in the middle of Temptation Island reruns, to me it's typical of federal underachievement. Perhaps this is the sort of Head Start program the Border Patrol could use.
Sunday, April 03, 2005
The "new" editorial policy
Of course my wife found this particularly amusing.
Obviously the company has hired a young, new, take-charge kind of copywriter.
A Proud Endorsement of the Weekly World News
This article is typical of the high journalistic standards I've come to know and trust. It seems that a Brandy Sue Schimmel is suing her parents because she's so...repulsive-looking. Her theory is that since her parents are themselves "ugly as sin", they had a legal duty to not procreate.
Brandy doesn't intend to stop there. "After I win this case, I'll sue my parents again -- this time because I'm stupid." They must be very proud of her social activism.
Please do me a favor and fight the urge to question this story's veracity. With apologies to Plato, sometimes the unquestioned life has its pleasures.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
What do high heels and AIDS relief have in common?
The project will be called Four Inches.
This is my kind of charity. The article I've linked above discusses the project in some detail. I particularly appreciated the psychosexual analysis of the empowering effect high heels have on women.
"Wearing high heels is a mood-altering experience. Your posture changes, your confidence changes, the way you walk and hold yourself changes."That and your calves don't look so fat.
The analysis continues:
"Heels are a woman's semaphore system: they send out the message that "I only stand for canapes, and I certainly don't run for buses".I'm not exactly sure what a canape is but that part about the buses is sure true.
On the darker side, there has been some speculation that the American Board of Podiatric Surgery helped initiate the idea.
I'd suggest another, somewhat different, project directed at men to help them confront the inadequacy they will feel being around all those empowered, canape-eating women. That book can also be called Four Inches.
The Impending Sorrow of a Tiny Nation
There is no question that Rainier's funeral promises to be the event of the year. I wonder if Senator Clinton will allow her husband to attend stag?
Friday, April 01, 2005
Trouble Brewing in Zimbabwe
Could any of the thinly veiled mistrust of Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe have to do with some of the shopping "irregularities" of him and his fetching wife? Mugabe and Gucci Grace, as she is affectionately referred to by her countrymen, have had to find alternative outlets for their shopping needs. The European Union and the U.S. instituted sanctions when they noted a bit of a discordance between their profligate spending and Zimbabwe's grave poverty and human rights violations. Fortunately China, Serbia, Malaysia and South Africa have dug in and picked up some of the slack.
Imagine my relief.