pyesetz: (woof)
In this article, Bill Harnsberger states
Number of states with no-texting-while-driving laws: 46
So, in how many states is it a crime to send a text while driving a car?  If you don't notice the hyphen shown in green above (nor the fact that 'laws' is plural), it seems there are 46 states that lack a texting-while-driving law.  With the hyphen, there are only four such states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, and [if you're over age 20] Arkansas).

The h-y-p-h-e-n is a very important punctuation mark!
pyesetz: (mr_peabody)
(This post probably won't look like much to [ profile] shiver_raccoon.)

I don't speak Chinese.  I can't even read it.  One could say that "It's all Greek to me" but actually I find the Greek language considerably easier to read, even though I don't speak that one, either.  Via Unicode and the power of the Internet, I can look up Chinese words in a dictionary — but it is often quite unclear how a word could have ended up with the range of meanings that many Chinese words have.

Recently I was reminded of the concept of the Socialist Harmonious Society (和谐社会), which was a slogan of the Hu Jintao administration (2002-2012).  You see, when a Chinese person says something disharmonious, that utterance needs to be censored for the good of the country.  The people of China do not feel well about their government when they are reminded that it is corrupt and self-dealing, so it would be wrong to remind them of that.  Naturally, it is also wrong to remind people that censorship of news about corruption causes corruption to increase, so online posts about censorship must themselves also be censored in order to construct a Harmonious Society.  (Sort of like Obama's "the country will do well if everyone believes the government's lies about how well the country is doing".)

Without censorship there would be no art, so the Chinese have found various puns and circumlocutions for talking about the fact that there are things they are prohibited from talking about.  The word "河蟹" (river crab) has the same consonants and vowels as "和諧" (harmonious) but different tone, so it doesn't trigger the illegal-word detector (or didn't, for awhile).  If a message is deleted from the Internet in order to promote a harmonious society, you could say that that it "被和谐了" (has been harmonized).  Let's look more closely at that last phrase:
"bedding", "quilt"; (passive-voice marker)
和諧"harmonious", "harmony", "harmonize"
(perfective aspect); (change of state)

So you see, Chinese makes *perfect* sense!  You just take the base-word for ‘harmony’, put a passive-marker in front of it and a perfective-marker after, and voilà — you get the past passive participle for "to have been censored"!  Too bad the rest of the language is so difficult.
pyesetz: (woof)
Hello, furiends!  Today I would like to talk to you about a can of beans.  (The connection between beans and Furry will be left as an exercise to the reader.)  Wifey thinks we bought this can from the "discontinued" bin at Central Fresh Market (which was originally a butcher shop and still offers excellent prices on meat and terrible prices on everything else).

It is your typical 19-oz can of mixed beans.  Usually I get the Unico® bean medley, which contains only four kinds of beans (red kidneys, chick peas, romanos, and great northerns).  This Mr. Goudas® product contains nine kinds of beans (chick peas, red kidneys, white kidneys, romanos, limas, pigeon peas, soybeans, black beans, and blackeye peas), plus the usual water, salt, calcium chloride, and disodium EDTA (which makes suds to tell me that I haven't yet finished washing the canning fluid off the beans).

Okay, I admit it: I've been padding this text to try to match it up with that tall photo of a bean-can to the left, but this is ultimately pointless because your browser is probably set to a different font-size than mine.  Thank heavens for <br clear="all">!

Okay, now for the next photo!

I was not able to completely separate the label from the steel can, but I think my flatbed scanner did a decent job on this.  The scribble on the UPC is to indicate that this product was reduced for quick sale.  Everything is written in both English and French, as required by Canadian national standards.  (Maybe someday the American national standards will require both English and Spanish.)  The product name "9‑ͭ‑ͪ Symphony/9‑ͤ‑ͫ‑ͤ Symphonie" is obviously a pun based on the number of bean types and the fact that beans cause intestinal gas unless consumed along with Beano™ brand α-galactosidase.

Okay, now let's get to the interesting part: the talk-balloons coming out of the mouths of the white bean and the purple bean do not say the same things in English and French!  Usually this happens because the text in one language uses an untranslatable pun and/or idiomatic phrasing, so the other language will use a circumlocution to express the same idea.  But in this case, the two languages do *not* express the same idea.

The English text advertises that this product generates flatus, suggesting that there exist customers for whom that is a selling-point.  The French text says nothing of interest, so clearly it has been censored.  "Chauffer et servir" is just wrong — bean medley is best served at room temperature, straight from the can (I generally use a fork); the English text says nothing about heating.  "Prêt à servir" is redundant with the text on the red stripe along the bottom of the label.  The writer of the French ad-copy just plain chickened out regarding the rectum opus aspect of this food product.  (I highly recommend that last link, which is an excellent example of what in Medieval Irish was called Braigetóir.)

Having consumed the contents of this can, I can confirm that its English label text is accurate regarding the effects of the product upon the large intestine.

p.s. If you're still unsure what beans and Furry have to do with each other, here's a hint: butt.
pyesetz: (woof)
[ profile] porsupah mentioned this writing-analysis test from IBM's Watson.  I fed it my Mass. trip report '14 and it said:
You are inner-directed.

You are calm-seeking: you prefer activities that are quiet, calm, and safe. You are unconcerned with art: you are less concerned with artistic or creative activities than most people who participated in our surveys. And you are deliberate: you carefully think through decisions before making them.

Your choices are driven by a desire for discovery.

You are relatively unconcerned with both achieving success and taking pleasure in life. You make decisions with little regard for how they show off your talents. And you prefer activities with a purpose greater than just personal enjoyment.
pyesetz: (woof)
"smegma-covered meat balloons getting shoved into bacteria-laden mucus pockets"

pyesetz: (woof)
This is not a racoon:

It is a picture of a raccoon!
pyesetz: (woof)
The title of this post is from an article about Scott Fistler, the Arizona Republican who changed his name to "Cesar Chavez" and is now running for office as a "Democrat" (but still using Republican tactics).  I used a wildcard Google search "a few * short of a *" to find other examples of this snowclone.

The first hit is A few sandwiches short of a picnic, which has an entry at Wiktionary.  That entry gives a synonym "one card shy of a full deck".

The next hit is A few X short of a Y at the Snowclones database, which lists these examples
  • a few bananas short of a bushel
  • a few sprinkles short of a sundae
  • a few hosannas short of a miracle
  • a few smarties short of a lollybag
  • a few beers short of a barrel
The snowclone entry links to the Canonical List of Fulldeckisms which is a 1994 list from USENET.  Some of its entries are rather dated now, such as
  • A return with no gosub
  • A VGA card and a Herc monitor
  • An 8080 in a 68000 environment
  • An Apple //e on UUCP
  • An XT clone in a Pentium zone
  • Blew his O-rings
  • Her dialing thumb must be broken
  • In need of a ROM upgrade
  • Mainspring's wound too tight
  • Metronome needs oil
  • Missing a few catalog cards / gears / marbles
  • Nine pence in the shilling
  • Overruns above 110 baud
  • Pins 2 and 3 (RS-232) permanently connected to ground
  • RS232C brain with a DIN connector
  • Running at 300 baud
  • Single-sided, low density
  • Slept too close to his radium-dial watch
  • The fan is working but the freon's leaked out
  • Thinks at 5 baud
  • Thinks cellular phones are carbon-based life forms
  • Thinks E=MC² is a rap star
  • Too many birds on her antenna
  • Using a 1S-2D floppy for brains in a world of hard disks
Google's list then includes some items that duplicate the USENET list ("a few fries short of a happy meal", "a few bricks shy of a load", etc.)

Then there's the Not too bright list, including items such as
  • A few screws short of a hardware store
  • A few peas short of a casserole
  • A few Bradys short of a bunch
Then there's the Euphamisms for Stupid, which is written by a college professor who apparently doesn't know how to spell "euphemism".  Anyway, his list doesn't include anything not previously seen.

And that's the first page of Google results.  Surely no one would look any further?

Okay, so I clicked "next" and got
  • A few eggs short of a dozen
  • a few cattle short of a ranch
  • a few plums short of a fruit pie
Guess I can stop now.  Sorry!
pyesetz: (woof)
Most macros using this coon photo are lame, but this one seems better than many:

From what little I've heard about South Africa in recent years, the New Black Boss is just as corrupt as the Old White Boss.


Dec. 21st, 2012 11:36 am
pyesetz: (arctic-fox)
Sometimes an entire week goes by between moments when I feel like working at Company 𝔾.  The situation is starting to look similar to my last few years at Company ℱ, where I didn't want to leave because I like being "a big frog in a small pond" and hate job-hunting due to poor health, but I wasn't happy with management so I never felt like working.  A good boss could get me going again, but I don't have one.

I would say "FML", but things seem to be okay at home with the wife and kids.  Money is going to be a problem soon, though.

In Russian, Песец (which can be pronounced "Pyesetz") refers to a fox that's white in the winter and sort of blueish in the summer.  Maybe I should pick a new name.  The other Russian name I got in college was Мчить (don't even try), which perhaps I should use to refer to my weredog.
pyesetz: (mr_peabody)
When people ask me what my Inner Dog's breed is, I generally tell them that it is a борзая собака (or "borzoi").  But what does "Borzoi" actually mean in Russian?  I looked it up at Wikipedia, which says that it is an archaic adjective meaning "fast".  It also says "as adults they are decorative couch potatoes".  Of course, Wikipedia is unreliable (like any other source) and sometimes trolls will insert jokes into the articles and you sort of have to already know the material to get the joke.  I have no idea whether "couch potato" is actually a good description for an older Borzoi.  The Russian Wikipedia article does not confirm this assertion.  Some Wikipedia articles in different languages are just translations of each other, but these two Borzoi articles seem to have been written independently, with non-overlapping sets of photos, etc.

Other interesting factoids:
  • The borzoi is susceptible to OCD, which is not "obsessive compulsive disorder".
  • In the anime Kuroshitsuji, there is a demon named "Sebastian".  The demon was named after someone's pet borzoi.  (Some people think that all were-animals are demons.)
pyesetz: (Default)
"If we can hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate."

pyesetz: (fire-hunter)

An article in the New York Times describes E₈ as “some sort of curvy, torus type of thing” and states twice that it has 57 dimensions.  The Wikipedia article on E₈ contains 2800 words, but after reading them I now know even less: E₈ seems to have only eight dimensions, or is it 248, or perhaps 696,729,600?  The number 57 does not appear there, but only in a catsup article.  They do show a nice Tinker-Toy picture, but obviously it captures very little of E₈’s hyperdimensional grandeur.

The problem is that I pre-announced a post about E₈, but I have no idea what that word *means* to mathematicians.  If I am to write an entire essay about a word that I don't understand, then I must be either a PHB or a linguist.  I actually have half a bachelor's degree in linguistics, so hopefully it will be okay if my hair isn't quite pointy enough for this essay.

So what does E₈ have to do with Objective Reality?  That’s a hard question.  Let's start with an easier one: is E₈ *alive*?  Think about that for a moment.  Does that sound like the silliest question you've heard all day?  It's completely outside the Overton window of socially-acceptable questions.  What kind of Commie-pinko-moonbat loonie would even ask such a thing?  Let's review the range of answers:
  • Western Civ: No, because E₈ was not “born” and cannot “die”.  It does not eat, reproduce, or evolve.
  • Anishinaabe (the Great Lakes Indians): Yes, because there are questions you can answer by studying E₈.
  • Brain science: Maybe, because we don't have a clear idea yet what the word “alive” actually means in terms of brain activation.  Some research suggests that the superior temporal sulcus is active when analyzing situations that Western Civ would say are “dead” while the Anishinaabe would say “alive”.
  • Furry: Yes, because the word E₈ can be drawn as a face-in-profile with a goatee.  Add some stick-figure arms and legs and you can make a dancing cartoon that sings about the philosophy of science in rhyming couplets.
  • Dictionary: Yes (senses 2 and 5) or no (senses 3 and 4) or begs the question (sense 1) or cupcake sauerbraten tarball (sense 6).
Well, that clears things up nicely, doesn't it?  We can now confidently conclude that philosophy is a method for turning wrong answers into a continuing stream of research grants. 

On to our next question: does E₈ *exist*?  Philosophers have made lots of money on this one!  (Bonus question: define “alive” and “exists” so that God has both properties but rainbow-pooping unicorns have neither.)  Let us review the isms that philosophers have come up with:
  • Nominalism: No, the word E₈ exists but the concept it refers to is imaginary.
  • Idealism: No, because only consciousness exists, not the things that we are conscious of.
  • Intuitionism: No, because only the natural numbers were created by God; everything else is man’s work.
  • Formalism: Begs the question because math is just a game and has nothing to do with the real world.
  • Logicism: Begs the question because math is just a sub-branch of logic so go ask the logicians.
  • Platonism: Sort of, but the E₈ that you or I know about is just a shadow of the real E₈ whose grandeur is beyond any ape’s ability to appreciate.
  • Social constructivism: Yes because E₈ is something that mathematicians talk about.
  • Empiricism: Yes because it was discovered rather than invented.
  • Realism: Yes, but only if E₈ describes string theory and string theory describes Objective Reality.

Well, *now* we're getting somewhere!  So if E₈ is needed to describe string theory and string theory is needed to describe Objective Reality and Mathematical Realism is the correct philosophy THEN WE WIN!

There's an article called An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything that was apparently never published in an official journal.  It was written by “surfer and theoretical physicist” A. Garrett Lisi.  BTW, the phrase “exceptionally simple” is a pun referring to E₈, not a measure of the theory’s conceptual difficulty!  The Wikipedia article has an animation, one frame of which I am showing to the right.  Note the multiple occurrences of the “Star of David” motif, hiding in plain sight within this physics theory, thus proving that Rabbinic Judaism is the only correct religion.

Anyway, Lisi’s theory shows how each of the 248 symmetries of E₈ can be thought of as corresponding to one of the 248 subatomic particles (including 22 that are yet to be discovered).  Many mathematician-physicists think that it would be sooo kewl if this theory turns out to be correct, although Gödel told us 80 years ago that there cannot be a “theory of everything” because every theory of the universe must be incomplete, inconsistent, trivial, and/or obsolete.  So why do they even bother?

Since I haven't completely run this topic into the ground, expect a (part III) at some point.

pyesetz: (sozont)
Three posts in one day!  I'm on a tear!

Read this blog.  I know the author.  His post on Constructivist Angelology is light-years ahead of my own work in the field.

In an email sent to (presumably) dozens of his closest friends, the author told me that this blog would NOT focus on penguins, yet there have been three posts in the last three days on that very topic.  As for hedgehogs, the Constructivist post linked above was the first of what has so far become at least five posts on marmotology.  Looks like a certain author's furry/feathery tendencies are refusing to be repressed!

And therein lies the rub.  The author has been bitten by the popularity bug and has taken it upon himself to try to become the best-Google-ranked blog on the subject of humility among the land beavers.  Nooooo!  The slippery slope to the road to Perdition!  But there is still time to give him the antidote.  He needs readers, real readers who really comment, not fake "readership" as provided by Google ranks.  Won't you help?  Because a blog is a terrible thing to waste.  You can use OpenID to sign in using your LiveJournal username.
pyesetz: (Default)

pyesetz: (mr_peabody)
PZ Myers brought to my attention a page on the web called Battleground God.  I won the game, but it didn't make me feel good.

1. God Exists.
Easy: Don't Know is the only legitimate answer.  You can have faith that He exists, or you can be certain that not believing in Him is your best move as a citizen of modern society—but neither of these proves anything.

7. It is justifiable to base one's beliefs about the external world on a firm, inner conviction, regardless of the external evidence, or lack of it, for the truth or falsity of these convictions.
Only True or False are permitted, but both answers should be acceptable.  This is basically asking, "Was it Plato or Aristotle who was completely correct about the nature of the universe?"  To humour the program, I chose False but any resulting inconsistencies would have been the program's fault for requiring a forced choice here.

8. Any being that it is right to call God must know everything that there is to know.
What does "there is to know" mean?  Does this include the phase angle for a pair of entangled photons?  I would have preferred "God knows everything knowable" because it may be (indeed, seems quite likely nowadays) that God's universe includes facts that are not knowable, even to God.  So I chose False.

10. If, despite years of trying, no strong evidence or argument has been presented to show that there is a Loch Ness monster, it is rational to believe that such a monster does not exist.
Yes, but this says nothing about whether Nessie actually exists.   For two thousand years it was impossible to prove the atomic theory of matter, but "absence of proof is not proof of absence".  For two hundred years it was impossible to disprove Newton's F=ma equation, but the equation was still wrong all that time.

11. People who die of horrible, painful diseases need to die in such a way for some higher purpose.
Another question with a forced true/false answer.  Since I answered Don't Know for the first question, I should answer the same here, but the program doesn't allow that.

13. It is foolish to believe in God without certain, irrevocable proof that God exists.
This could only be true if people were abstract thinking machines without physical bodies.  If your brain contains various pieces that evolved separately for separate reasons and work better together if you have an overall belief in God, then your justification is based on utility and you don't need "irrevocable" proof.  (And how can you "revoke" a proof?  How could a real-world proof of anything ever be "certain"?  There is always room for error!)

14. As long as there are no compelling arguments or evidence that show that God does not exist, atheism is a matter of faith, not rationality.
I do think that atheism is a matter of faith, but not for the reason given, so I answered False.  Atheism is the answer No for the first question, whose correct answer is unknowable.

15. The serial rapist Peter Sutcliffe had a firm, inner conviction that God wanted him to rape and murder prostitutes. He was, therefore, justified in believing that he was carrying out God's will in undertaking these actions.
This is apparently one of the "gotcha" questions designed to make you "bite a bullet" by adopting an unpopular position.  I answered False to dodge the bullet, but really I do think he was "justified", just as the police were "justified" in stopping him.  What does justification have to do with anything?

16. If God exists she would have the freedom and power to create square circles and make 1 + 1 = 72.
There's a whole bunch of these "my God can beat up your god" questions.  There's no way to know what God can or can't do.  Suppose God changed the value of π.  How could we detect that?  After God made the change, it would seem to us that π had always had the value we now perceive it to have because otherwise nothing in the universe would make any sense.  And everyone who's anyone knows that 1+1=10 in binary.

17. It is justifiable to believe in God if one has a firm, inner conviction that God exists, regardless of the external evidence, or lack of it, for the truth or falsity of the conviction that God exists.
No, it is justifiable to believe in God because that is how our brains work.  This is the same reason why it is justifiable to believe that the Earth is flat while planning a car trip across town—but if you're crossing the continent then you really do need to use the fancy math to avoid wasting fuel.  So I answered False because the question contains an invalid subordinate clause.
pyesetz: (arctic-fox)
Below is a meme copied from [ profile] loganberrybunny.  I am posting this because Wifey complained yesterday that I don't post enough, but none of the topics she suggested (We've withdrawn kid #2 from Boy Scouts because the local troop leaders refuse to follow Scouting safety rules, we're planning a trip to the States next month, Wifey found some bacon made out of beef, just sitting there ready to buy from our local grocer's meat case!) really seemed suitable for me.

This post will get no comments because today is a weekend.

Age: I have a toothache, so I'm feeling old today.  It's been a little bothersome for weeks.  On Wednesday I had my teeth cleaned; now the tooth might need an extraction.  This particular tooth is about 40 years old and was expected to fail last year, so I guess I got my money's worth out of it.

Where you grew up: Massachusetts in the time of Nixon's resignation, so it was an extra-liberal period in a liberal enclave of a right-wing country.

A body of water, smaller than a river, contained within relatively narrow banks: stream, brook, rivulet.  There are additional words that I recognize ("rill") but am very unlikely to use myself.

What the thing you push around the grocery store is called: Shopping cart, but the locals here call them "buggies".

A metal container to carry a meal in: lunchbox, but I also recognize "lunch-pail" for construction workers.

The thing that you cook bacon and eggs in: I never cook bacon, but Wifey uses a frying pan (a.k.a. "skillet").

The piece of furniture that seats three people: Couch or sofa.  Supposedly the locals say "Chesterfield" or "divan" but I haven't heard those.

The device on the outside of the house that carries rain off the roof: I have to remember to say "eavestrough" because the locals don't recognize "gutter".  Since Logan in UK also says "gutter", I wonder where the Canucks got "eavestrough" from?

The covered area outside a house where people sit in the evening: Nobody does that anymore.  My house has a porch, but we almost never sit on it.

Carbonated, sweetened, non-alcoholic beverages: soda.  Massachusetts people often say "tonic".  The locals have no idea what I'm talking about unless I say "pop".

A flat, round breakfast food served with syrup: Pancakes.  I also recognize "flapjack".

A long sandwich designed to be a whole meal in itself: Sub.  I also recognize "submarine", "hoagie" (esp. in Philadelphia), "grinder", and "hero".  I prefer a dry sandwich and Italian bread rather than a French baguette, which is too stiff for that usage.

The piece of clothing worn by men at the beach: Lifeguard uniform? Bathing suit.

Shoes worn for sports: Sneakers, but the locals call them "runners".

Putting a room in order: Cleaning?  This is not an activity with which I have much experience...

A flying insect that glows in the dark: I used to call them "fireflies", until Cartoon Network had a Bugs Bunny marathon called "June Bugs".  You can guess what time of year that was.

The little insect that curls up into a ball: It's not an insect!  It is the only land-dwelling crustacean!  Just hours ago I saw the largest one I've ever seen.  I have no idea how old it is.  Wikipedia says woodlouse and I agree.  I've also heard "pill-bug" and "sow-bug" and "roly-poly".

The children's playground equipment where one kid sits on one side and goes up while the other sits on the other side and goes down: See-saw, teeter-totter.

How do you eat your pizza: Hot.  I often put slices in the microwave to reheat them, because pizza with congealed cheese is unappetizing.

What's it called when private citizens put up signs and sell their used stuff: Capitalism.  Also: garage sale, yard sale, rummage sale (Boston area?).

What's the evening meal? Dinner or supper.

The thing under a house where the furnace and perhaps a rec room are: It's not a "thing", but a "place"! In fact, I'm sitting in it right now.  I generally treat the words "basement" and cellar" as interchangeable, but the by-laws of my township make a distinction: mine is too deep to be a "cellar" and is legally a "basement".

What do you call the thing that you can get water out of to drink in public places: Water fountain, bottled water vending machine, Dixie cup, glass.
pyesetz: (Default)
Randy Cassingham writes the most popular email newsletter in the world (now that Boing Boing has become an RSS feed).  He says:
[G]enetic sequencing has shown that the current H1N1 pandemic virus is an amalgam of four different strains: North American swine influenza, North American avian influenza, human influenza, and a swine influenza virus typically found in Asia and Europe.  In other words, half swine, a quarter bird, and a quarter plain ol' human influenza, strains found around the world all mixed together.  It's that mix that helps make it so easily passed around.

(And when I sent out a note to some friends saying that I was recovering from Swine Flu, one of the wags, knowing the above, replied that it wasn't pure swine flu, but one mixed with bird flu, and thus it was more properly termed "Flying Pig Flu". Yeah: I like hanging around smart funny people. :-)

(Randy got the flu while giving a talk at a Mensa conference, so obviously he isn't *that* smart...)
pyesetz: (felix)
I was just doing a comment-exchange with [ profile] avenginglioness when I noticed an interesting coincidence:

1. The Medieval Times corporation was founded in 1973.

2. The first known citation for the word "edutainment" is from 1973.

That is all.
pyesetz: (Default)
Wifey and I emailed our absentee ballots on Monday.  On Tuesday she received an email acknowledgment that her vote was accepted.  I did not get any acknowledgment.  Oh well—every candidate I voted for won anyway.

On Tuesday I got a promotion to Team Leader.  The *fifth* person I've tried to hire as an underling accepted the job.  On Friday he sent in his work for the week.  I wrote back that it was "not the correct solution" and went into considerable technical detail as to exactly why his program doesn't do what is needed, ending with "you did a great job on everything I didn't complain about!"  We'll see if he comes back next week for more punishment.  Hey, in today's economy, a job with an obnoxious boss is better than no job at all—right?

If he does come back, I guess I'll refer to him as ‘Я’ on this blog.  The letter ‘Я’ appears frequently in English parodies of Russian text because it looks like a backwards ‘R’, but it is actually not a very common capital letter: the ‘Я’ section of a Russian dictionary is very short.  But IRL, both Я’s name and mine contain this letter.  (Actually, I've never seen his name in Russian, but I *think* it has a ‘Я’ in it.)  A millennium ago, the letter now written as ‘Я’ represented a nasal vowel, perhaps like French "in", but this fact might not have anything to do with the history of my family's name, where the initial sound might have been the same as today's palatal approximant back when Slavs were writing Я as Ѧ and sounding like Frenchmen when they pronounced it.

So, how about them Team Democrat folks, eh?  Some of them still can't believe they actually won for a change.  President Obama gave a press conference where he announced that he is NOT THE PRESIDENT yet—meanwhile Harper is already trying to get Obama to do a North American deal on global warming so Canadian firms don't get penalized by the new US cap-and-trade system.  Even Dictator Chávez of Venezuela is saying that it's a new day and maybe he doesn't have to hate the USA anymore.  Did you know that Obama is the first-ever US president whose name ends with ‘a’?  It's true!  All previous president's names ended with a consonant or a silent ‘e’.  Also, he's the first-ever US president with a living grandmother in Kenya.  Some pundits have already started using the word Dholuo when referring to the president's family-in-the-Old-Country, while the more idiotic pundits use the word "Swahili" which is the official language of Kenya but is spoken by a completely different group of black people in that country.

The John McCain we saw making his run for the presidency (unlike the real John McCain, who gave his concession speech) was utterly unqualified for higher office, yet 47.5% of American voters pulled the lever for him.  That's like 70 million Americans doing something that no reasonable person should ever do, no matter what their positions might be on abortion and gays and whatnot—you should not hand over the football to a man who is willing to pretend to be a spineless hack!  So no, I will not be moving back to the States any time soon.

pyesetz: (Default)
I approve this message.

In other news, I attended last Saturday's Blogstravaganza!.  I didn't record the attendee's blognames because Canadian Cynic was collecting those and was supposed to make a post, but no post has been forthcoming.  I wrote to him to ask about it, but Yahoo's computer (which provides both my email address and his) said, "I'm not going to try again; this message has been in the queue too long."  Why is 27 hours "too long"?

Anyway, it was a bit of a pain trying to find the Blogstravaganza! table on the restaurant patio.  Idealistic Pragmatist's expectation that she would be the only female turned out to be incorrect.  In fact, the group ended up with (I think) four girls and six boys.  Of course, being a non-furry meet, there were no tails worn, plushy table decorations, tables full of nondescript college boys *not* being rowdy, or any other obvious indicators of where I should go, so IP ended up calling out "Bloggers?  Bloggers?" to anyone who walked around the patio with a confused look on their face.

Considering that these were supposed to be the "progressive bloggers", there was rather a lack of political discussion.  It was mostly chitchat about the bloggers' personal lives—the stuff that was too inane to post on their blogs.  I tried mentioning C-61 but it seemed nobody had much to say because they'd already discussed it on their blogs.  Also, the name "Stephen Harper" seemed to be a bit of a sore point.  So we mostly just drank pitchers of dark English ale.

At one point, for no obvious reason, a fellow mentioned those fucking furries who put on their suits and, er, "wiggle".  IP silently pointed in my direction.  I explained that very few furries actually have sex in-suit because it's messy and the suits are expensive and hard to clean.  I didn't go into the anonymous gay sex aspect, nor did I whip out my wallet photos of Wifey and the kidlets.

I probably tried too hard to talk linguistics with IP.  When I mentioned Grice's Rule of Implicature, her laugh suggested inappropriateness and lack of context.  She's a sociolinguist, but I don't really know what that means.  Perhaps she is [ profile] ozarque's kind of linguist.  I don't like sociologists because they tend to be normative, writing just-so stories to explain why our culture *should be* whatever it currently *is*.  I prefer anthropological linguistics, which may be why I married an anthropologist.

As for "how do I drum up more readers for my blog?", it seemed the only answer discussed was "join a progressive-blog aggregator".  But my blog is too recherche (which means "research" in French and "affectedly pretentious" in English) and I don't know of any aggregate where I would fit.


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August 2017

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