Fads we’ve found and lost

Phosphates in detergent. Years ago, no detergent ad would fail to mention, contains phosphates. Now they are never included as they induce pollution and eutrophication of waterways.

Salt intake limits. Not that long ago, one thousand milligrams (a gram) was considered dangerous. Now it’s OK to have 3000 milligrams – three full grams.

Speed. At one point, forty miles per hour was thought to be fatal, if a train could achieve that.

Pet food that contains no plant matter. This is a misconception. I could not keep Spring Peeper frogs (Hyla crucifer) because I did not know about gut-load. You feed the insects on this gumbo before feeding them to the frog. Many predators ingest a fair bit of plant matter when they consume their prey. Frogs eat bugs who eat leaves, among other things. So why is it so wonderful that there is no plant matter in Rover’s dog food? When a wolf eats a rabbit it gets the stomach too, right?

Thinking. The world is now informed from a Twitter account. Personal attacks are standard; denial and prevarication expected. What do you believe? Why?

Flashing?

We need a new word in Ontario, added to the Highway Traffic Act. It should mean ‘flashing’ but only in a special sense.

Our school buses carry signs that they are not to be passed when their signals are ‘flashing.’ This does NOT apply to four-way flashing, only to left-right flashing. Which only school buses and emergency vehicles can do.

I know a very competent bus driver. She once said that she never uses four-ways, as it stops traffic.

I suggest a new word, legally defined in the Highway Traffic Act.

What do you think of ‘flicking?’ Any other suggestions? How about winking? Flinking?

Silly answers

I am going to ask you to imagine each of the following words as one might use them in a sentence. Then I’ll give you my silly answers. Ready?

  1. Infantile
  2. Toy Story
  3. Promiscuous
  4. Blacklisted

Infantile. If you call me an infant, I’ll behave like one.

Toy Story. Seeing the mountain of Christmas toys, Tory got in front for a photo-op.

Promiscuous. If you are our escort, pro miss, queue us.

Blacklisted. Here are a number of notable things which Conrad Black listed as achievements:

  • Serving jail time in the USA.
  • Dumping his Canadian citizenship to become a British peer.
  • Being stripped of his Order of Canada
  • Claiming Trump the most successful US POTUS since Regan
  • Raiding the Dominion Stores pension and getting to keep half of it.

For those of you with short memories, here’s a quote from the above hotlink:

Black stripped a $56 million surplus from the Dominion Stores employees’ pension fund but lost a court challenge and gave roughly half of it back.

White House joke-of-the-Day

Here you will find a BBC News page on this item. I will content myself with a quote and a comment on one of the pictures.

Here’s the quote, emphasis mine as always:

He said his onetime foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was a “low level volunteer” and “liar“. Mr Trump once called him an “excellent guy“.

Now click on the hotlink above and scroll down to the third image. Here you will find these words:

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders   …

and the photo caption …

White House: “Today’s announcement has nothing to do with the president”

while standing beside the American flag, presumably in the White House press briefing room, behind a White House presentation desk, in front of a White House logo on the wall.

Methinks she doth deny too much.

Now for the dumb questions:

  • If the White House press secretary has to say any of this in this setting, does it look just a bit like (desperate) damage control?
  • How many of Trump’s former helpers have turned, and will turn, from excellent guy to liar?

Beat the Tom-Tom

This is a silly post, but I am annoyed with TomTom (the GPS manufacturer.)

If you look up a current product on their website, you’ll see that lifetime map updates are guaranteed.

If you buy a TomTom car GPS, you’ll find a coupon marked “do not lose this” which gives you lifetime updates.

If you forget this coupon, they’ll try to charge you for the maps the GPS box says are free.

It gets better. When your device gets too small for the map, they create a smaller version (covering less of North America) which works.

Then they tell you that your device is obsolete, and you need to pay for a one-time last-time map update.

I’m not paying for a map update. They can cut me an Eastern Canada Only map that will fit in my device.

Lifetime maps means just that.

Guess what I’ll do if this machine gets abandoned? Small claims court? Switch to Garmin?

That’s silly. But so is TomTom to ask me to pay for what they promised when I got their machine.

Peach in sediment?

Speech impediment.

I remember the one time Daffy Duck was permitted to appear with Donald. He made a comment about not working again, with some one with a speech impediment.

Here is a thoughtful article about How Trump Could Get Fired. This from The New Yorker. This is a long and careful article. If you can’t read, tough. No easy summaries here.

And, what would you expect to say reacting to the possibility of impeachment? That it would make you fame records? Have a look here.

I’ll give a few quotes, latter reference first. As always, emphasis mine:

“Everywhere I go, people tell me that if I am impeached, they’re going to watch it,” he said. “The ratings are going to be through the roof.” He said that he expected his impeachment ratings to be “many, many times” the size of the audience for Bill Clinton’s impeachment, in 1998. “It’s not even going to be close,” Trump said. “The ratings for Bill Clinton’s impeachment were a joke.”

If you wondered about Trump’s understanding of impeachment, here’s another quote from the same source: (emphasis mine, as always)

Asked about the recent impeachment of the former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Trump said, “Did anyone even watch that one? That was Korea. Nobody cares.” As for the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, he said, “I didn’t hear about that one. I don’t follow Brazil. I like Argentina. I saw ‘Evita’ many, many times. Andrew Lloyd Webber did a great job. Millions and millions of people loved it. But that was a Broadway show, not an impeachment.”

Now let’s go to our earlier ‘how Trump could get fired’ from The New Yorker.

Michael Flynn, who resigned as Trump’s national-security adviser after acknowledging that he lied about his contact with Russia’s Ambassador, is seeking immunity in exchange for speaking with federal investigators, raising the prospect that he could reveal other undisclosed contacts, or a broader conspiracy.

 Is trump a peach in sediment? Or do we both have a speech impediment? That’s the dumb question.

How Blog Posts Work (sometimes)

Assume you post to my blog, make sense, tell the blog an eMail that looks real (and checks out), then what happens?

My blog sends me an eMail informing me of your comment. I look at it, maybe test the eMail, and approve it.

Your comment will not show up until I review it as above.

Some blogs automatically  apply comments; some use algorithms to decide to apply comments, some use add-ons to try to detect spam. So other blogs may approve or deny your comment without human intervention.

I always intervene, and am human.

Some comments are sensible. About 120 have been approved and are visible here. The blog goes backward in time to when it was created (long ago, when the world was young and the rocks were still cooling.)

Many comments are not sensible. Some are in characters other than this alphabet. A few have been pornographic. (Apparently mentioning Donald Trump and ‘tongue in cheek’ was enough to provoke this.) Most are boringly familiar. For example:

  • I can make money working from home. The amounts vary.
  • My blog needs SEO tool help.
  • Weird lists of car insurance in the USA from a provider in the EU.
  • Clearly self-promoting. Jewellery, Viagra, clothing lines.
  • Badly written, likely synonym-replacer generated, pidgin English.

What I do depends on my level of annoyance with the sender. I have done the following:

  • Used a tool at my ISP to prevent entire address ranges from seeing my blog. Much of China is blocked out this way. Entire ISPs.
  • Found the commenter’s ISP and formally complained. A few users have vanished, likely cut off (until they find another ISP or identity.)
  • Other actions. (I’m not disclosing any more. Be surprised, eh?)

So, to recap:

  • If you want to comment, give the blog website a real eMail address (that works) and say something with reasonable English. Your eMail will NOT be disclosed.
  • Wait. All decent comments will be approved, and then appear.
  • Don’t bother to spam me. You’re wasting your time, and I’ve gotten really efficient at dumping spam comments.

Do any of you think the above will change my poor-comment-per-day average? That’s the dumb question.

Donald, Duck!

I don’t think he sees it coming.

At some point Trump is going to face facts. The manufacturing jobs are not coming back. Automation has made sure of that.
Global warming is going to happen. Drought in California, floods in New York. More violent weather driven by more power in the atmosphere.
Russia will keep meddling with Ukraine and Syria (and goodness knows what else I’m unaware of.) North Korea will continue to develop missiles and atomic weapons.
Regime change will turn out to be 100 % disaster. Libya. Cuba. Chile. Iran. Iraq. Nicaragua. Will we never learn?
Trading partners can not be shut out by fiat. No automaker makes all the parts of any car. A  simple strike by the manufacturer of, say, dimming mirrors, could shut down GM. Remember that a fire in a single chip factory in Taiwan brought the computer industry to a halt.
Proxy wars end in failure. Yemen, Syria, and ‘Palestine’.
Draining the swamp by employing its owners is the biggest practical joke ever played on an entire country.

It’s called disaster, Donald. Do you see it coming?

Donald, Duck.

Jeff Sessions: a message, eh?

Here you will find a bbc news article about Jeff Sessions and his complaint.

I will tease you with a few quotes. Emphasis mine.

“I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power,” he said on The Mark Levin Show.

Senator Mazie Hirono shared an image of the unanimous Senate vote that confirmed Judge Waston, which “includes a ‘yea’ vote” from Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. “Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It’s my home. Have some respect,” Senator Brian Schatz continued.

“Please don’t dis[respect] Hawaii as it gives us papaya, coffee, helicopter parts and the last competent president,” another continued.

One Illinois resident added: “We should let @jeffsessions know that New Mexico is a state too. Otherwise the wall might get built in the wrong place.”

Now for the dumb questions. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Has Trump turned much of the US government into a say-anything thoughtless herd?

Does Jeff Sessions know who he is and who he voted for?

Does any of this matter, at least in the rule-by-twitter era?

United we …. have to Stand it?

Here is one page (from BBC News) about United Airlines. It is really about Air Canada too, so I’ll give a few quotes (emphasis mine) and then some snotty comments.

Dr David Dao has said he will sue United Airlines after he lost two front teeth and his nose was broken when the airline called security officers in to help remove him from the plane. He had refused to leave when the airline asked for volunteers to make way for staff members.

In response to the huge backlash the company faced on social media, United said it would allocate seats for staff at least an hour in advance, in future.

What this means is imho this:

In this alternate universe, David Dao would have found the four United personnel already on the plane. United would have had to ask passengers to give up their seats while still in the lounge. What would they have done, had the requisite four booked passengers not volunteered? How would they have kept David Dao from boarding?

Now for Air Canada.

Canada’s largest airline, Air Canada, has apologised after giving a 10-year-old boy’s seat to someone else.

The family eventually made it to Montreal and caught a connecting flight to Costa Rica for their holiday, but have since complained to Air Canada and received an offer of a C$2,500 (£1,500) voucher, along with an apology.

I have (had actually) compensatory travel miles with WestJet in apology for a mess-up. However those miles cannot be used in WestJet Vacations nor in travel booked via an agent. In short, to me they are useless. And, a voucher is only useful if one decides to trust the offending airline again.

I have had an adjustment from Air Canada Vacations after they cut into my travel bag in Cuba, in the Cayo Coco airport (en route to Cayo Santa Maria.) They said the bag was lost, but I saw it through an opened door. They filled out (reluctantly) a baggage damage form that turned out to be

  • a lost baggage form
  • a form with no serial number on it.

My travel agent is excellent, and got Air Canada to admit liability and offer to repair the bag. I will never travel Air Canada Vacations again. Simple as that.

WestJet is not so easy to avoid; we’re flying west this summer and my travel agent chose them as the most reasonable and convenient flight.

So, travel experience in Canada is weird, and overbooking is common.

Should we ‘stand united’ against this practise? that’s the dumb question.

Now the just-for-laughs part.

I knew an individual (ET) who travelled for IBM Canada frequently when he was in technical education. He would learn a new technology (computer, operating system, transaction manager, database engine, whatever) and then create a course and be sent across Canada to deliver that course. Typically he’d be in a city for a working week, Monday – Friday, and return.

Certain flights eastward on Friday were frequently overbooked. (This would have been Air Canada at that time, I’m pretty sure.) Passengers would be offered bribes to take the next flight, and be guaranteed to be on it.

ET would, if reasonable, deliberately book one of these overloaded flights. Then he’d play poker with the rest of the passengers, guessing when to drop his bluff of disinterest and take the offer.

He’d only go for cash. In those days, they’d offer this when desperate.

Today, they drag you down the aisle, remove two teeth, and give you a concussion.

That’s the payoff of progress.

Overbooking is imho a profit-maximizing scheme. Bumping paid passengers for crew is, again imho, a profit-maximizing scheme (they need to get crew from A to B for a business reason.)

So, if the Canadian government (an oxymoron, or is it a sarcastic phrase?) wants to stop this, it has to make it more expensive than behaving fairly to paid, booked passengers.

Is this likely? that’s your final dumb question.