ouch

The chair just snapped, landing me on the floor with a scraped arm. Other than that, no damage done. Lisby did her canine duty and came at sat by me. Lain did good, too, not echoing the F-word after I said it.

Preschool!

Lain is officially enrolled in preschool! After much perseveration about what we want in a pre school and trying to figure out what our options are, we basically discovered that there was only one viable option, the Episcopal Church’s school in a nearby college town. Which works for me! The limiting factors are that Lain will not be three until October, and that she is still in diapers.

After this year, we will have at least a couple other options. Clancy is a fan of Montessori and so that’s highly possible. There’s also a rigid academic problem where we can choose between math and science or the arts. Which seems silly for a 3 year old, but welcome to modern parenting I guess.

Doggie!

candidatedogI found a dog that we may (repeat may) be interested in adding to the family. The most immediate downside is that it’s up in Maine. It’s also younger (1.5 yrs) and larger (35lbs) than we would prefer, but options seem to be rather limited when you have a small child around. It seems like 3/4 of the postings I see recommend no small children.

It’s not a sure thing we’re getting another dog any time soon, or at all. We wanted to get two when we got Lisby, but the rental agreement only allowed for one. I regret not having pushed harder then for a second. One of the reasons we wanted to was so that we wouldn’t be leaving one behind. That’s less of an issue now since I am at home all day. On the other hand, I have less attention to devote to the dog and it would be good if she had a playmate. Back on the first hand, two dogs mean even less attention to devote to Lisby. Not sure of the tradeoffs.

Either way, it would be mostly a selfless decision on my part to get another dog. I’m not itching for more than one. Selfishly, when Lisby goes I would not like to be dogless and depending on when that is there may be a gap for when we get another one. Also, I would prefer Lain not go dogless.

Dead Mouse!

I had a rash of mouse intrusions, which after toying around with a humane trap lead me to get a lethal one. I thought there were a number of mice, but after one was killed there was suddenly nothing, suggesting that the nightly catches were indeed of the same mouse. I did leave the trap out expecting not to catch another one. A month later, we did. By that point I had stopped checking every morning for dead mice. So we had a very, very smelly drawer for a mouse that had probably been in there for two days.

Petty Annoyance!

I have three Motorola Sliver II earpieces. The little band that goes around the part that goes into the ear comes off. I lost one, leaving me with two bands for three earpieces. Today one of the Slivers broke (not sure how it happened) and thought to myself “At least now I have two bands for two earpieces.

And literally moments later I dropped the damn thing, and it’s gone. So I have two earpieces and one band.


Category: Home

ronaldshead

Sonny Bunch blames the rise of Donald Trump on pop culture and professional wrestling.

In Ferguson, some Oath Keepers decided to arm black protesters in solidarity.

Vice asks the very Vicey question: What are things going to be like for Jared Fogle behind bars?

When more than half of the stadium was empty, I thought that might register with media depiction of the event, but the media keeps letting him pretend the stadium was full.

Contrary to the claims of Trump and other lefty weirdos, Jeb Bush’s PAC did not actually photoshop him on to a black guy, and it was kind of a weird theory to begin with.

In the tenth anniversary of Katrina, Owen Courreges wishes that people would stop calling New Orleans better after the disaster.

I’m on board with re-evaluating the Confederate Flag and other things, but this is silly.

A bear poking its head through a doggie door? I’m going with scary.

A millionaire in the UK is fined after recycling gravestones for his patio.

South Carolina passed some rigid laws to prevent pesky calls, but a recent court decision has placed it in jeopardy.

George Orwell recently turned 110, and a Dutch Artist celebrated by putting party hats in surveillance cameras.

Even if they’ve made the long transition from scourge to the cute mascot of anti-global warming efforts, maybe you should hunt polar bears because polar bears will hunt you.

A couple that was getting it on fell in a moat and died.

You have maybe seen the videos of the bears playing in the pool. Uncle Steve makes a good point, which is that while it may be an exotic novelty to most, it’s probably a common plague to them.


Category: Newsroom

Yet another model has taken to blasting the fashion/modeling industry for body image & type concerns.  Given all the negative publicity & press with regard to how the fashion industry drives unhealthy & unrealistic female (& male!) body images, I have to wonder what the motivation is?  Do they not care?  Are they so insular/insulated that the criticism just rolls off?  Or is it a case of despite all the negative press, they still make truckloads of money & fame & why mess with something that works?


Category: Elsewhere

Tim Harford on chain proliferation:

But an alternative explanation is that large companies [like Starbucks] deliberately open too many stores, or launch too many products, because they wish to pre-empt competitors. Firms could always slash prices instead to keep the competition away but that may not be quite as effective — a competitor might reasonably expect any price war to be temporary. It is less easy to un-launch a new product or shut down a brand-new outlet. A saturated market is likely to stay saturated for a while, then, and that should make proliferation a more credible and effective deterrent than low prices.

A recent paper by two economists from Yale, Mitsuru Igami and Nathan Yang, studies this question in the market for fast-food burgers. Igami and Yang used old telephone directories to track the expansion of the big burger chains into local markets across Canada from 1970 to 2005. After performing some fancy analysis, they concluded that big burger chains did seem to be trying to pre-empt competition. If Igami and Yang’s model is to be believed, McDonald’s was opening more outlets, more quickly than would otherwise have been profitable.

And here I thought Starbucks was trying to bring about the end of the universe.

I can’t say that I dispute the findings of the paper, but I will say that there is a difference between having a Starbucks across the street from somewhere, and down the street. especially in populous areas, crossing the street is a pain in the arse! And it actually can be the difference between my choosing to stop off for coffee, or my choosing not to. It was better for me if the Starbucks was across the street, and therefore required a much-dreaded lefthand turn, but that would have been bad for Starbucks.

I miss the west. So few coffee places out here. But enough about coffee.

I still can’t believe that there are only two McDonald’s in Stone County (pop 30k). Especially given how ridiculously busy one of them is. If nothing else, having another McDonald’s – even one across the street or even just down the street – could help handle the overflow.

In other franchise/chain-related observations, an auto shop with a Popeye’s within walking distance is the best kind of auto shop.


Category: Market

sunburnLibertarianism, mapped.

Alia Wong looks at the history of Sesame Street, and what we did and didn’t learn from it.

As someone for whom DSL is the only broadband option available, reports of the demise of DSL are disturbing.

Women are less likely to be exonerated of their crimes. Why? Sometimes, there was no crime.

The Yakuza has an age problem.

Wolf-Coyote Hybrids are migrating to cities.

School districts are scrambling to hire teachers.

“About fifty-four per cent of [liberal arts] graduate students report feeling so depressed they have “a hard time functioning, as opposed to ten per cent of the general population.”

Evidently, your cell phone battery can be used to track you.

Aww, Canada, we 2/3 like you, too! Philippines! And Germany, you break my heart.

An… enterprising individual figured out how to use 23andme’s website to allow webmasters to block people from websites on the basis of their ancestry.

Vox has some interesting energy maps.

Unleash the power of your brain using brain drumps.

Good news! Colonizing the moon may be easier than expected!


Category: Newsroom

Could 2016 finally be the year of the brokered convention?! Mike Hunt Ray Rice thinks it might be, but Hanley is skeptical:

That scenario assumes the candidate isn’t determined prior to the convention. While the sheer number of candidates increases that probability, let’s remember that 1) it hasn’t happened in the modern primary era, and 2) we’re still a year away from the convention, and 5-6 months away from the first primaries (god willing and the states don’t go crazy). Candidates are going to start disappearing from any real consideration before that first convention, and then money will stop flowing to those who show poorly early on and redirect to the candidate the money likes, most likely producing a winner before the last primaries (unless all the states suddenly compress them so tightly there’s no time for that process to take place).

While recognizing the mathematical possibility of a brokered convention, I’d wager against it.

So would I. But I’d wager against it just a little bit less than usual, if Trump sticks around. Which I would also bet against, but things are not going According To Plan. And Trump has the potential – albeit a very unlikely one – to keep all of the oxygen out of the room until Iowa. He can keep the frontrunner seat warm, with little danger of other candidates being intimidated.

The most important thing is that Trump will not get the air of inevitability a leader would, if he is on top. That will encourage more candidates to try to stick around because the writing won’t be as clearly on the wall. Fundraising will push some candidates out almost immediately, but it’s easy to imagine an unusual number saying “Hold on until Super Tuesday, then I’ll show them!” and nobody will know what to do because of the Trump factor. So even if we wins Iowa and New Hampshire, you’re probably looking at at least three other candidates and maybe more. (There were four enduring candidates in 2012, including Ron Paul.)

The second most important thing is that the natural nominee is somebody that almost nobody has confidence in. There was definitely a dearth of confidence in Mitt Romney, but (a) not this much and (b) there were no other viable candidates. If Bush can’t convince people that he is Their Guy – which I think is possible – there is no other logical successor.

This is especially true given the oddity of the schedule. Won’t everyone coalesce around the most popular not-Trump? That assumes any sort of consistency, and the early schedule has one state that plays to the strengths of other candidates. Scott Walker is in a good position to be the top NTC in Iowa, Jeb or Kasich in New Hampshire, Cruz in South Carolina, and Rubio in Nevada. After that all hell breaks loose on Super Tuesday with a lot of delegates proportionally assigned. This is also where Trump is likely to struggle if his campaign has been going well up to this point.

Now, most likely Super Tuesday will declare the top NTC. In 2012, it sort of set up Santorum as the primary anti-Romney, but Gingrich still hung in there. Things could drag on. Especially if it’s one of those things where Jeb kinda does well enough to hang around but not well enough to inspire confidence, leaving hope for Kasich, Walker, or Rubio boosters. And since Trump does have the air of invincibility, he can be leading and have it still be considered a wide open race. (If somebody else is leading, it’s over.) If there’s much more dithering after that, and Trump does not have a majority…

All of this is very unlikely, of course. But short of the death of a frontrunner, this is the closest to a plausible scenario I have ever been able to really imagine. The combination of Trump and Jeb with potentially low ceilings make everything more complicated. So, too, may the proliferation of candidates, but I don’t expect that to last.

And even more glorious than anything? We could go into a brokered convention having no idea at all knowing who is going to win.

My money would be on Mitt Romney.


Category: Statehouse

A little girl gets a new 3D-printed arm.


Category: Elsewhere

Some study somewhere argues that women bosses get less respect from male subordinates than men bosses do. That’s probably not the first such study and it probably won’t be the last. The study, or at least the news account that summarizes the study, reflects my own experience fairly well, but perhaps for reasons different from what the study suggestions.

For most jobs I’ve had, my immediate supervisors have been mostly women. In the private sector jobs, as you moved up the food chain to middle management and upper middle management, the demographics grew increasingly male while in academia, I’ve noticed that women tend to predominate more higher up on the food chain. But in most cases, my supervisors in most jobs have been women.

I’ve noticed that I probably do treat them differently than I would male bosses. It’s not necessarily that I don’t show them respect, or that I show them less respect. I think I do show them respect (although I’m open to considering whether that’s just a self-imposed illusion). But I act differently. I’m probably more….confident? assertive?….when dealing with female superiors than I likely would be if dealing with male superiors. Something that from a male boss I’d probably interpret as an order, from a female boss I’m probably more likely to interpret as a suggestion.

I believe–but I have no real evidence, just my impressions–that I still enjoy special consideration as a male employee, even though my current workplace is dominated by women at all levels. At meetings, for example, I’ve noticed that my (by a large majority female) coworkers tend to be much more quiet and attentive when I speak. I’ve also noticed an unfortunate tendency on my part to choose to interrupt people. Therefore, I try not to speak that much.

I’ve also noticed that library patrons sometimes heed what I say more than they do what my female colleagues say, even though I don’t outrank them. I can be jovial and lackadaisical with the patrons and they take me seriously, whereas my female colleagues sometimes have to act much more sternly and come off as (…well you know the word…) in order to get the same respect.

With very few exceptions, I don’t run into anything that makes me self-conscious about “being a man in a woman’s environment.” The exception is the sometimes sexist language or jokes I’ll occasionally hear from people in authority against men. I’m not arguing that that type of banter is “just as bad as” misogynistic language. In fact, it happens rarely, much more rarely than I imagine what women in some/most workplaces have to experience. (In fact, I’m thinking only of one instance in particular.) But it bothers me nonetheless.

The study I linked to above, or at least the description of the study, posits something it calls “precarious manhood theory,” or the notion that

manhood is ‘elusive’ and ‘tenuous’. In other words, manhood is not something that is guaranteed to be achieved with age, nor is it guaranteed to remain. Instead, men must continuously prove their manhood.

I won’t discount that, but it doesn’t seem to be my personal experience. And I think that explanation neglects another, plausible explanation. Namely, supervisor/employee relationships are inherently conflictive. Apparent disrespect is often the employee staking his or her own advantage against their bosses. When the supervisor is female and the employee is male, gender privilege undoubtedly works as one of the tools the employee can use. That’s probably sexism–and misogynistic sexism–at work, but it seems more complicated than these studies, or at least popular summaries of such studies, acknowledge.

Don’t get me wrong. Even though I think there’s more at work here than sexism and even though in some cases I might be less inclined to rush to judge the worker than others might be, I’m no longer the knee-jerk, Marxist-leaning laborite I used to see myself as. I no longer believe that the worker is right just because he/she is a worker, and I believe showing less respect to female bosses just because they’re female is wrong.


Category: Market

Just over two years ago, I smoked my last cigarette. I still dream of smoking from time to time, but that’s the only sense in which I miss it. I’ve been working a long game to reduce the nicotine in the ecigarettes. Which is taking a while, but I started at 18mg/ml and am now hovering around 6. Progress! The health benefits of less nicotine are unknown, but I’m hoping to get down to zero mostly so that I am not tethered to the need for nicotine. A recent study suggests that it’s not more dangerous than caffeine. I’m not sure about that, but it’s a hell of a lot more addictive.

—-

Clancy got some hair clips from Lain as part of our effort to avoid public gender confusion.

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Ordered a new mattress from Amazon. It’s set up and looks pretty good, except the lingering smell of the blood and tears of the Amazon logicians who figured out how to get it to me in a day and a half. Because Brandon Berg was curious last time, I took a video of its unravelling (if you want to skip ahead, go to about 35 secondsish):

It got cut off, which is fine because who wants to watch grass grow, but after the end it just gradually poofed up to this:

poof

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The other thing that happened is that a ceiling fell on my head and shoulder. I was shopping at the grocery store, it was pouring rain outside, and the ceiling came down.

ceiling1

My shoulder got the brunt of it. The brunt of it not being that light material, but the splash from the water build-up that came down with it. Which it’s good that I got the brunt of it, because Lain was two feet away. She would have been fine, I suspect, but I would have been a lot more angry. Below are two more pictures, one taken where you can see off in the side where the panel had come down as well as where a panel looks like it’s struggling. The second picture shows two empty panels and you can probably guess what happened.

ceiling2 ceiling3

I couldn’t take the pictures from the same place because they were replacing closing the aisles as the panels came down. There was a third sick panel, but it was still standing by the time I left.


Category: Home

A friend of mine just adopted a dog, they’ve named him Leeroy Jenkins.

She intends to pronounce his name properly when calling for him to come.


Category: Elsewhere

Queenland

Greetings from Stonebridge a fictitious city in a fictitious state located in a tri-state area in the interior Mid-Atlantic region. We're in western Queenland, which is really a state unto itself, and not to be confused with Queensland in Australia.

Nothing written on this site should be taken as strictly true, though if the author were making it all up rest assured the main character and his life would be a lot less unremarkable.


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