As some of you may recall, I’m kind of a tall guy. I’m not quite as tall as a couple of my friends, who have me by an inch or two, but I’m not used to people being particularly taller than I am. It’s kind of intimidating in its unusualness. People taller than I am are freaks.

Today at the post office, I was in line with a guy who was very, very tall. In between us was a woman who was not short who said that she couldn’t remember the last time she felt so short. She asked the freakishly tall guy how tall he was. 6’11”, it turned out. I was glad that she asked, because I was kind of curious myself. But I wasn’t going to ask. I wanted to comment about how unusual it is to be the short guy. To look up at other guys. And get to make a joke about the weather being up there.

But I didn’t.

I suspect he’s heard those jokes before.


Category: Downtown

We have all of the parts for six concurrent bottles of milk. For quite a while, though, we’ve been down to the materials for five. Five, six, not that big of a deal. But five can become four can become three the same way that six became five.

So the good news is that after it disappeared a few months ago, we found the sixth bottle.

The bad news is that we found a bottle that hasn’t been touched in six months.

With dregs of milk in it.


Category: Home

StarWarsCriticism

This corresponds with my experience: Employees of small and locally owned businesses tend to display more loyalty.

Church attendance can effect commitment to one’s job. Interestingly, it seems to suggest that perhaps prosperity gospel is actually kind of a good thing.

Yes, yes, there’s no such thing as free shipping. The thing is, free shipping isn’t about getting something for nothing as it is about price transparency and reliability.

What if some people tried to racist-bait a controversy and nobody showed up?

How Appalachians and ruralians became the new noble savages.

Megan Garber writes a eulogy for clip-art.

According to Alana Semuels, women are increasingly finding men they know to be sperm donors, instead of going the anonymous route.

Remember, if you oppose fracking, you ride with Putin.

New research into why our men and women of the uniform marry young.

Hurricane Katrina may have been a disaster, but the migration it caused was beneficial.

The title of this article (Non-Nerds Would Rather Bomb Their SATs Than Look Uncool) is actually a tad deceptive. More like, non-nerds will turn down help if they think it will make them look uncool… or like they need help.

Second jobs and part-time work won’t help you get a mortgage. That may make sense when it comes to people like Jeff Banks, but I find it really odd that it applies to a family willing to make a 20% down-payment.

It’s important to remember that zoning is about increasing livability, and has nothing to do with economic and racial segregation.

Apple deleted unauthorized music from your iPod? I didn’t kow that. Uncool.


Category: Newsroom

I’ve mentioned before that Lain is a bit behind in her benchmarks. She seems to be developing, just persistently behind the curve. She has a tendency to advance right after the wellcheck report card. We honestly don’t know if the issue is that she truly isn’t developing well, or she is simply intransigent. We’ve commented a lot in the past that she “doesn’t do command performances”, which is to say that if we ask her to point to something or ask about something that we are pointing to, she won’t do what we’re asking her to do. Even though she will, three minutes later, point and say “Bird!”

Our pediatrician referred us to a state agency after her last wellcheck. There is apparently a program within the Department of Education and Childhood Development for parents with children like ours. The process involved a couple of experts coming to our house and assessing our child through observation and question-answer with us.

It’s been a dispiriting process. The first person was the coordinator, and her off-the-cuff assessment left us with the impression that she thought we were kind of delusionally optimistic. Perhaps exaggerating what we say she can and cannot do. She observed that most of the time she was there, she didn’t say any words (even though we estimate she knows closer to 100 than 0).

We were then visited by a Development Psychologist and a Speech Therapist (speech being the primary area of difficulty. Lain had a particularly good day with the DP and she seemed to agree with us that the neurons were firing but that she was just not communicating. The ST actually caught her on a bad day (she had woken up earlier and/but hadn’t completely woken up). We thought this was the area where she would get low marks. But the ST actually seemed to get it, with regard to what we’re talking about. That Lain seems to know a lot more than she is letting on, in terms of vocabulary.

We got the DevPsych report, which was honestly hard to read. It basically outlined just about everything that we, as parents, hadn’t been able to accomplish. We’ve had difficulty setting up routines. We clearly have not been pushing her hard enough on some of the things that are benchmarks (putting away toys, putting on clothes, etc.). The biggest issues we’ve had have involved bed times and eat times. We have been relying far too much on milk, which in turn has her unwilling to eat anything she doesn’t want to eat.

The good news is that following the report, we’ve made good progress on a few fronts. She is learning to put things away and such. We’ve dramatically cut back on the milk, and she seems to be eating more. On the one hand, it’s great that we’ve had such advances in such a short period of time. On the other, its demonstrative of things that we haven’t been doing right. The sleeping situation has, unfortunately, gotten worse.

This whole process is full of emotional contradictions. We don’t want to hear that there is a problem, but if there is a problem than she qualifies for (free) assistance in getting caught up and excelling. If there is a problem, we don’t want to be to blame for it, and yet it is parental error that is the easiest to correct.

We suspect that she will qualify. We think that she is in the gray area and maybe they will actually tell us that the numbers are maybe a little malleable, if we want the help. We’re inclined to take the help. If nothing else, we need all the help we can get on routines and sleeping schedules.


Category: Elsewhere

Click on the below cartoons to get the whole thing. If you only read one, read the second.

Here is Joe Sacco, explaining why satire needs to be more sensitive:

satire

And here is JJ McCullough, explaining why modern satire stinks:

racistcartoon


Category: Newsroom

taxiJoe Carter gives nine things you should know about adoption.

OpenBorders writes about Argentina, which has made migration a fundamental human right (almost).

Most of these redesigned license plates look a lot better than the real ones (though at least a couple might impair a license plate’s core functionality).

Eurozone membership isn’t free.

This is a pet peeve of mine. Legos are for experimentation, not following instructions. On the other hand, I know that a lot of the legos I had were originally from sets, and after a while it all blends together as instruction manuals get lost.

Here’s a 90-minute BBC movie about Texas.

Portugal is having difficulty enforcing its immigration law, with visas essentially being sold to wealthy foreigners.

Arthur Books argues that the Mormons have figured out the trick to being virtuous.

Demons exist!

Thailand may be banning commercial surrogacy.

Kenneth Warner and Harold Pollack come up with a comprehensive gameplan to virtually end tobacco addiction, using just about every tool they can find. I disagree with some of it (smoking bans should not be an effort to get people to quit), but actually find myself agreeing with a lot of it and fascinated by other parts of it (the pH levels).

What’s up with the electrical field outside Google’s London office?

It turns out, men on a sexual hookup site behave quite superficially. I’m not sure what this has to do with men and dating in general, though.

Proof that the surveillance state sees as as a bunch of monsters.


Category: Newsroom

AaronRodgers

In the exciting (or so I hear) game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, Aaron Rodgers through a pivotal interception on what he thought was a free play:

What does it say for the game even though you had two INTs: “The defense played great. Felt like we might have had an offsides on the first interception. Corey snapped it early — I figured it was a free play — and Davante’s was the only route that was going in the end zone. Sherm made a good play. The second one, just miscommunication between Cobb and I.”

Why think it was a free play?: “I saw the end jump; he must not have been in the zone.”

I can’t remember when, but there was a bowl game where a supposedly free play turned out to be costly when the flag was flown for something other than defensive off-sides and an interception occurred.

I remember several seasons back when Southern Tech was playing against the Atlantic State Panthers in a game that was going to determine the conference championship. ASU had thirteen players on the field, and so our quarterback thought he had a free play. For those that don’t know, a “free play” is when the defense commits a penalty and so if things turn out badly you can take the penalty and the yards, but if it goes well you can decline the penalty and take more yards. Free plays lead quarterbacks to just kind of throw the ball up there and if your guy catches it then great but if their guy catches it then no harm.

Which is all fine and good, if the flag is what you think it’s for. In the case of Sotech, it wasn’t. There wasn’t irrefutable evidence that the two State players had not gotten off the field (though it was pretty obvious). The Panthers intercepted the ball in the endzone. The entire tide of the game shifted, and we lost a game we were favored to win by a touchdown.

Ever since then I’ve taken note of when “free plays” backfire and it seems to happen quite a bit. Sometimes, as in this case with Rodgers, it works out. But I wonder what the ratio is between great plays and backfires. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the latter outnumbered the former.


Category: Theater

spongebobZoroastrians feed their exalted dead to vultures.

Overeating is contagious! Quick, let’s to tell the fatties that they have to stop overeating for the public good.

How employers are attempting to influence their employees’ vote.

Wind turbines negatively affect housing prices. Seems to me that means we should put them in the costlier locations, perhaps applying some housing price equilibrium. Right?

Renting outfits like Rent-a-Center are helping people pay three times cost so that they can have nice things. The thing that sucks about markets is people.

Generous loan terms are being used to entice customers to buy more expensive cars. The thing that sucks about markets is people.

Bloomberg News thinks that China’s megacities just aren’t big enough.

Ever wondered about the Mormons’ “magic underwear“? Well, they explain it in a new video.

I’m not sure that these 1920 Soviet oil paintings featuring mechs are actually authentic.

These diagrams of co-sleeping positions and these captions on these stock photos are hilarious.


Category: Newsroom

The Economist writes about the rise of the web comic:

In 2012 he is finally getting his way. As the newspaper industry continues its decline, the funnies pages have decoupled from print. Instead of working for huge syndicates, or for censored newspapers with touchy editors, cartoonists are now free to create whatever they want. Whether it is cutting satire about Chinese politics, or a simple joke about being a dog, everything can win an audience on the internet.

This burst of new life comes as cartoons seemed to be in terminal decline. Punch, once a fierce political satire magazine whose cartoons feature in almost every British history textbook, finally closed its doors in 2002. The edgier Viz magazine, which sold a million copies an issue in the early 1990s, now sells 65,000. In the United States, of the sprawling EC Comics stable, only Mad magazine remains, its circulation down from 2.1m in 1974 to 180,000. Meanwhile, the American newspaper industry, home of the cartoon strip, now makes less in advertising revenue than at any time since the 1950s.

sp12212002It tracks the rise and fall of the newspaper strip, to the rise of the web comic. It has all the trappings of an unconvincing web-bang-bam piece, but is actually a quite good article and makes a good case that the web truly does provide a better outlet for cartoonists rather than just acting as a farm system (as blogging often does).

I don’t read any comics, web or otherwise, on a daily basis. The only one I’ve read thoroughly is Something Positive, and at times Real Life. which I will get to in a minute. I’ve heard a lot of good things about MegaTokyo, though it is (like the article says) hard to get into if you didn’t start… a long time ago. XKCD is iconic, of course, but I mostly go there only when someone links to it. It seems that most webcomics are either one-offs like XKCD, in which case I have a hard time getting really into them, or they’re involved like MegaTokyo or Something Positive, which require a lot of investment.

It’s kind of difficult to read the latter on a computer. They sell merchandise, but what I really want is an ebook or ecomic so that I can devote some time and sit down and read it conveniently. Even though they’re free online, I would actually pay – and possibly pay well – for the convenience of being able to read them on a Kindle or tablet. Because I’m bad about reading comics daily, I tend to read Something Positive in spurts. Years at a time. Often, actually, starting from the very beginning and getting up to the new stuff that I haven’t read. I’ve read about 10 years worth of SP, and have about three years left to read, but I’d easily pay $10/yr, or maybe even $20, for every year he’s got.

It’s not entirely unlike how some CD prices have fallen to the price of MP3s, but I’d spend a couple extra dollars on MP3s just to save myself the trouble of ripping the CDs.


Category: Theater

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but in the event of your death for saying it, I will expend most of my energy reiterating my disagreement with you in the strongest possible terms. Racist.” -Voltaire, if alive today.


Category: Coffeehouse

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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