Sunday, May 06, 2012

Since I object to Google's privacy practices...

...I'm moving this blog to And I'll start putting stuff on there again -- I don't think I've done a blog entry since Google's objectionable unprivacy settings went into effect. See you there.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Unexpectedly Relevant Old Movie Line of the Day

From the Jon Lovitz / Terri Garr / Jeffrey Jones silly-sci-fi vehicle Mom and Dad Save the World, comes a line that surprised me by its applicability to a large swath of the population of real life:

"It's true that our plans are really stupid, but we make up for it with really good intentions."

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Must-read of the day

You simply must read Jourdan Anderson's letter to his old master (dictated, as of course the old ex-slave was illiterate). Some excerpts (but you must read the whole thing, in order fully to relish the manner in which Mr. Anderson calculates the back wages Colonel Anderson owes his family):

Dayton, Ohio,

August 7, 1865

To My Old Master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, Big Spring, Tennessee

Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin's to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.

...I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well. The teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday school, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated. Sometimes we overhear others saying, "Them colored people were slaves" down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks; but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Colonel Anderson. Many darkeys would have been proud, as I used to be, to call you master.


In answering this letter, please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up, and both good-looking girls. You know how it was with poor Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve—and die, if it come to that—than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood. The great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.

Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.

From your old servant,

Jourdon Anderson.

Read the whole thing. I say again, read the whole thing.

By the way, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson -- I think the old gentleman's desire to have his wife addressed respectfully ought to be honored -- lived to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary. And his children learned to read and write.

I have a political observation to make here, but I think I'll refrain, as admiration of Mr. Anderson ought to transcend any and every political agenda.

HT: Ace's sidebar (no link because it's already gone, sorry).

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Look, The Specs Weren't Clearly Defined Dept

"Hey, you know those new diesel fuel tankers I'm buying from you guys for my trucking operations in Saudia Arabia?"

"Yeah, sure, what about 'em?"

"Can you please be sure that they are clearly labeled 'Diesel Fuel' and 'No Smoking' in Arabic?"

"Not a problem, dude, gotcha covered."

Monday, January 16, 2012

A new record in Non-Self-Awareness

It is, quite simply, psychologically impossible for Froma Harrod to imagine the possibility that her own behavior might be inappropriate. I have rarely seen anything that amused me this much. Of course, I have a special interest in the psychology of self-deception; so maybe this won't be as funny to my General Readers as it is to me. But I think it ought to be pretty funny to just about anybody other than Froma Harrop. Or her hypothetical sister.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Civil Disservice
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Link to the original here. Hat tip: Ace (standard warning: Ace, while frequently funny, is also frequently unsuitable for family gatherings, and is always bitterly anti-liberal).

Merry exercises tact

So the kids and I are in the car as I take the girls back to Katy for today's custody swap, and the Josh Groban version of "You Lift Me Up" is rolling along through the minivan's sound system. He swings into the high notes of the chorus, and I start singing along. And after about one phrase of the duet, Merry observes, "I just love Josh Groban's voice..."

Finagled a sort of extra day with the kids

I'm not working in the office today, even though MLK Day is not an official BG holiday. That's because I was able to finagle an extra day off of school for Merry and Sally. It was pretty east to talk the school into excusing them for MLK Day, after all -- I just convinced the school that Merry and Sally are African-American. They bought it straight away for Merry, but I had a heckuva time convincing them that Sally isn't Mexican...

Advice for Americans about to attempt driving in the U.K.

I have to go to London next week on business, which will be my first time to visit the BG Group offices in Reading. Naturally I'm renting a car, which means that I will spend a week making full use of the UK's "roundabouts," which are a very highly efficient way to process as many drivers as possible through an intersection without having anybody have to slow down very much, without traffic lights, without stop signs -- just an outstanding bit of design. Of course this means that when I get back home I will spend the next six months feeling a strong urge to use VERY bad language every time I get to a four-way stop sign.

At any rate, having driven a lot in the U.K., I try to point out to Americans who are heading over there the two biggest adjustments for American drivers. Driving on the left, by the way, is not one of those two, because every American knows about that already.

#1. When you're coming up on roundabouts, it's absolutely critical to look at the sign that has the schematic diagram and decide where you're going to exit the roundabout. British drivers can always tell American drivers because they're the ones who have already made three complete circles around the roundabout and show no signs of exiting before completing a fourth. Once you are actually in the roundabout there are often NO SIGNS to tell you how to get out because they told you how to get out before you got in.

#2. There's no point in knowing whether you're going north, south, east or west, because there's no such thing as a sign saying "North M-1" or "East A-25". Instead, Britain's signpainters assume that you always know which small town is the next town you expect to go through, and that's what they put on the sign. Thus if you are driving through Wales and you are trying to get to the town of Llwwedatgyfa, which is ten miles from the roundabout you're about to enter and has a population of 20,000, but two miles before you get to Llwwedatgyfa there is a village called Wm in which there are three houses inhabited by five persons, six sheep and a cat, the sign will refer to Wm and not Llwwedatgyfa.

I remember having to make a different adjustment when I first started driving in Australia, down around Melbourne and the Snowy River country. I kept getting lost there because I would look on the map, and it would say I was supposed to head north on highway #51...but there were never any signs telling me which way to go for highway #51. Eventually with the help of the hotel concierge I realized that, on the map, highway #51 and its peers all also had names, such as, say, "Prince Edward Highway." And the signs all referred to the names, not the numbers. Once I knew that, suddenly it was easy to find my way.

Now that we have iPhones and GPS's, of course, all of this may be moot anyway...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Criminal Mastermind of the Day Month Year -- oh, heck, the new all-time champ

If one is engaged in the act of robbing of a bank, and one is about to hand over the swag bag to the teller so that said teller can put money in it, then it is best to remember which hand is holding the swag bag and which hand is holding the gun.

And you know what's even stupider? The clerk let him have it back!

And then, having gotten his gun back...the robber fled empty-handed, speeding away in his getaway car...oh, no, wait, he forgot to provide himself with a getaway car. So he sped away on one of the bank employees' bicycles.

And how -- I hear you cry -- did he pick the bike lock so fast? Well, apparently the employee hadn't locked his bike up.

England: Land of Genius.

HT: Mr. Barry. (Warning: the comments there can be thought-provoking but are not necessarily family-friendly.)

Criminal Defendant Mastermind of the Day

So what do you think you, Gentle Reader, would choose to wear to your trial on charges of drug trafficking?

As Dave (or in this case actually Judi) put it, "He probably came straight from work."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Now THAT's a touchdown.

Of course you've seen this by now, but another 100 times won't hurt...

Like a Boss

From VeryDemotivational, but be careful in visiting as that is a frequently non-family-safe, NSFW site. (Yes, I know that I just made some of my Gentle Readers triple-click...)