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Ability To Sing Does Not Imply Ability To Think
Just because someone can sing is no reason to suspect they have ever entertained a profound idea.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When I read works written more than 200 years ago, I usually become quite frustrated because the authors bandy abstract vague words about as if they represented concrete, well-defined objects. Sometimes they affect a pseudomathematical language, hoping it will give their words the aura of incontestable logic. They go on for pages and pages sounding learned, but actually saying nothing of consequence, especially when they talk about religious notions. It makes me wonder how my own works will sound, if someone should read them 200 years hence. Likely they will suffer the same fate.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Your accent is a way of advertising where you are from. So why are so many people pretending to be from Texas by dropping their gs?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
AccentsThe following is an ordered list. See if you can guess what it represents:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- New Zealand
- New England
When I hear someone making grammatical errors and demolishing his pronunciation, I need to remember that is how he was taught to speak. If he spoke like me, his family and friends would tease him mercilessly.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Why is it that the people who call phone-in radio shows, or ask questions at public lectures usually have intelligible accents?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Accurate Depiction of Little Girls
Why don’t the movies accurately portray little girls playing, continually shrieking in mock terror in voices high pitched enough to shatter glass. It might do wonders to slow the population explosion.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The young imagine we seniors aged as an act of will, as if we had resolutely decided to live on nothing but cream puffs.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Addictive Drugs are Far Too Dangerous
I would never dare experiment with cocaine or heroin. My will surrenders when tempted by even a piece of cheddar cheese or a chocolate-covered cookie.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When I hear about someone who gambled away every penny, then talked someone into lending some money, then gambled some more, I feel like whacking them repeatedly over the head with a shovel.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Advantage of Aging
One of the pleasant surprises of aging is fewer deadlines.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Advantages of Quadra island life:
- Sweet smelling air.
- Unspoiled scenery.
- You can see the stars at night.
- Quiet or the sounds of nature.
- People trust each other.
Disadvantages of island life:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Cost of ferries.
- Life is tied to the ferry schedule.
- Missing the last ferry.
- Higher costs for groceries, hardware etc.
- Power goes out for days at a time.
- If ever you do anything or say anything you wish you had not, everyone on the island will know about it forever.
- Developers are dedicated to ruining it.
Advantages of a Unique Name
When I was a boy, I did not like having a unique name, however, when I grew up I was glad there were not other people with my name running around doing crazy things I would get blamed for.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If we are looking at planets supporting life in other parts of the galaxy, we could compare the age of that planet with ours. That would give us a rough guide for what level of life to expect.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Aging Is Like A Cold Snap
My parents warned me this would happen, but it still caught me off guard. I was discounted for my youth, then one day I woke up and suddenly I was discounted for my decrepitude.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Ahead of My Time
People like to ridicule, condemn and threaten me. It is not so much that I am out of step with popular opinions; it is just that I am a few decades ahead of most people. For example:
- In 1960 I started debunking Christianity.
- In 1965 I protested nuclear testing in Amchitka.
- In 1968, before Greenpeace was officially founded, I sent them (2.5 months room and board at the time). They told me it was the biggest donation they had ever received.
- In 1969 I was preaching strict gay equality when even gays were still opposed to it.
- In 1975 I gave away my 3 year old car and thereafter walked, used a bicycle or public transportation.
- In 1976 my Christmas tree was lit with LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes).
- In 1977 my house was controlled by a thermostat that automatically turned down the heat when people went out or went to sleep saving me 50% on my gas bill.
- In 1986-10 I published an article in Byte magazine about why computer languages should have what today we call large standard class libraries, to handle problems such as sorting, dealing with the calendar and international zip codes.
- In 2000 I opposed the Bush presidency.
- On 2001-09-11 I expressed doubts about Bush’s story of what happened on 9-11.
- In 2000 I protested the Makah Whale hunt.
- In 2001 I opposed the Afghan war.
- In 2002 I opposed the Iraq war, before it even started.
- In 2003 I started harassing politicians to get on with solving homelessness.
It seems it is only a matter of time until most people come around to my point of view.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Aint’t is becoming respectable. It must be used sparingly and it must be used to mean isn’t with emphasis.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Your odds of being murdered are only 1 in 18,000. So the odds of somebody going to murder you and finding you already murdered, are quite remote, perhaps something like 1 in 7 trillion. Oddly, this happens in almost every murder mystery.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Why would anyone want to eat genetically-modified, deformed, cage-tortured, spongy-boned chicken, soaked in grease and packed in flour when they could have free-range herb-roasted chicken for less money? KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) spends a bundle trying to convince people to.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
We should not use the phrase conservative estimate. It is ambiguous. For example, if you heard that a conservative estimate for global warming in 10 years is 2.0°C (3.6°F) what does that mean? Is that the most optimistic or most pessimistic likely outcome? Is that the low or high end of the range?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
One of the least appealing features of Americans besides their jingoism is their humour, which is based on insult and cruelty.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Usually humour is based on an unexpected twist. But in America, it is created by staging one of a number of traditional gags, for example:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- A small person or animal hits an adult male in the testicles.
- Someone farts, burps or belches.
- Someone falls down or gets hit in the head.
- Someone belittles someone else with a cruel, original, colourful insult.
- A low status male makes a pass at a high status female with a crude double entendre.
Anger at Drugs
Adults are so angry about drugs not because they are Puritanical but because they have seen, over time, how drugs create untold misery for both the drug takers and those around them.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
In my personal estimation, the indigenous art of North America is among the world’s best, but its music is by far the worst. What happened to bring this about?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When stores treat me as if they were sure I was out to steal from them, I feel uncomfortable and want to get out as fast as possible. I wonder if anti-theft measures end up insulting customers, encouraging customers to steal since they are presumed thieves, encouraging customers to figure out how to outwit antitheft measures and end up losing the store money. People hate being stolen from and that emotion could lead them to irrational policies.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Apologies nearly always are an acknowledgement of superior power. A child apologises because a parent forces him to. It has nothing to do with regret for the act, just regret at getting caught or getting punished. They mean nothing.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The apostrophe was invented late in the evolution of English. It is used for contractions and possessives, often correctly. Perhaps it is time to drop it.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Appeal of Bach
The reason I like Bach above all other composers is that he spends just as much time creating base voices just as interesting as the melodic line.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Appeal of Back
I have been trying to figure out why I love Bach so much and why I can listen to familiar pieces over and over and still they seem fresh. Bach shows you where he is going, then, instead of tediously elaborating the idea, he heads off in new direction. It is as though he ruthlessly excised all the excessively repetitive bits and anything clichéd. He also has so much going on at once. It is like a three ring circus.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Appeal of Jazz Musicians
There is very little jazz music that I like, but I love the way jazz musicians have nothing but high praise for each other.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I think aquariums are greatly underestimated for their salutary effect on mental health. Watching the fish in their little dramas is relaxing. One glance rapidly pulls you away from whatever it was you were fretting about. The fish are your little charges who depend on you. They race over like little puppies when you come near (hoping to be fed of course). You can dote on them all you want and they won’t reject you or run off or become spoiled brats. They provide the motivation to get out of your chair every hour to go have a quick look to see what they are up to. An aquarium screensaver is to a real aquarium as a stuffed toy is to a real puppy.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Aristotle used the term facts in a way quite different from the way we do, more the way FOX news does. They are not about how the world is, but how he thinks it should be. For example, he asserted that men had more teeth than women, men who did not study philosophy were reborn as women, that people who marry young have only female children, that the only animal than can get the measles is the pig… Oddly, these obviously wrong assertions did not in any way deter people from considering him a completely trusted authority for thousands of years.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Arithmetic vs Mathematics
The media routinely confuse arithmetic and math. Learning to add and divide is arithmetic, not math. Learning algebra, sets, other bases and real world problem solving is math. With the rise of the calculator, learning arithmetic is becoming less and less important.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Ark For Humanity
Imagine that civilisation on earth were in its last throws and your task was to prepare an ark, to send the example of the best work of our species out into the cosmos, hoping it might eventually be discovered. With very limited space, what would you send? I would send digital representations of:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Concerto for 2 Violins, Strings and Continuo in D Minor by Bach to represent music.
- The Birth Of Venus by Sandro Botticelli to represent painting.
- Notre Dam, Ronchamp by Le Corbusier to represent architecture.
- The Laocoon to represent sculpture.
- Origin Of Species by Charles Darwin to represent biology.
- The Art of Computer Programming, third edition, volumes 1-4 by Donald Knuth to represent computer science.
Artificial Speech Impediments
Did you ever notice that every young singer circa 2012 seems to have a speech impediment? I think they are required to adopt one to create their own unique sound.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If we discovered there were an asteroid on collision course with earth, would we wait until the last minute to do anything about it? No, we would act now so we had the most time to deflect it. Yet when it comes to climate change, we want to wait until is a way too late.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The most astonishing thing I ever learned about a celebrity was that Leonard Cohen collected guns and owned James Bond’s Walther PBK. He was also an ordained Buddhist monk.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The prime directive of weight control is avoid attending feasts. You do more damage in one feast than in months of ordinary overindulgence.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Avoid Mindless Repetition
Try something; if it does not work, try something else; repeat until you obtain the desired result. If you can’t think of something new to try, repeat the thing that had any effect at all, no matter how small.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Avoiding Contaminated Meat
If you eat steak contaminated with bacteria, the bacteria are mainly on the surface. So long as you sear the meat to raise the outside to a high temperature you will be OK. However, if you eat ground meat, the bacteria are mixed through and through. You must cook the meat all the way through. If you eat tenderised steak, needles push the bacteria on the outside into the center, it too must be thoroughly cooked through. The most likely to be contaminated are prepared meats.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Avoiding Soccer and Cricket
Americans compete in almost every world sport except cricket and soccer. To the rest of the world this looks like cowardice and an admission of incompetence.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Why is it that entertainers, more that any other professions, host award shows for themselves?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I have noticed with every passing decade pop music get worse and worse. I wondered if this was simply a result of me being fixated on the music of my youth in the 1960s and 1970s. However, I noticed I like some contemporary pop music such as Mother Mother, Les Hay Babies and many Quebec artists. What is the problem? Musicians tend to set up their drum machine, and set it on automatic, without any variation of any kind for the whole piece. They use similar automation with synthesisers. The pieces becomes mindlessly repetitive, without any interesting variations. The rhythms degenerate to thunk, thunk, thunk. Because of the rigid rhythm track there can be no changes of time signature. There can be no tempo changes. The singers mindlessly repeat the same bars over and over without the tiniest change. To distinguish themselves, female singers adopt all manner of vocal affections, e.g. feigning sexual passion, baby talk, breathiness, simulation pneumonia, falsetto, frying, nasal speech, mumbling, fake regional accents…
Then there is Tribe Red, a category in themselves. They produce music designed to torture confessions out of suspected terrorists in Gitmo. It is based on indigenous war screams.
Why do the fans put up with this crap? Perhaps the answer is drugs. Maybe today’s recreational drugs dumb down the mind so it craves the security of mindless repetition.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Games and puzzles are simplified problems for children to learn the art. Oddly, adults often become addicted to them and refuse to move on to solving messy real-world problems.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Bacon Fad
I am puzzled by the mania for bacon. It tastes like greasy sand.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Some people should never be interviewed, but the media keep trying because the person can sing or throw a ball. It is embarrassing.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I was born in 1948. The worst year I can recall for pop music was 2013. What is the problem? Pop songs begin with a figure of a few notes. They play it over and over and over before finally getting on with the song. To make things worse, they play the figure unmodified over and over throughout the song. They program a cheap synthesiser to make the figure, then put it on repeat. There is no variation of any kind. They don’t even lower the volume to avoid drowning out the vocals. That is not all, but that is the worst of it.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
In a satisfying life you should have some regrets both for things you did and didn’t do.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
What is the matter with parents? Do they hate their kids? Why do they let them balloon up 45.36 kg (100 lbs) overweight? They know they will suffer from diabetes, heart problems and lack of energy for the rest of their lives.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Baseball is Boring
Baseball is the most boring game I have ever played. I am utterly baffled that anyone would consider it a spectator sport. I note, however, it must be a subtle emotional pleasure since the fans don’t routinely riot.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If you want people to tell you the truth, you must not have a cow when they do.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
To Be Honest
When someone says, To be honest with you… does not that imply nearly everything they say to me is dishonest?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Without my ability to describe it, life would be much more painful.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Lane lined with blackberries bearing abundant fruit.
- Lane lined with wizened black vines poisoned with the latest creation from the mind of Monsanto.
- Lane lined with flat board fences painted grey-brown.
- Lane lined with flat board fences covered in crude graffiti.
Beauty Loss Awareness
Are beautiful humans ever aware how soon the gift will evaporate in a mist, like Cinderella’s pumpkin.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I have never been all that keen on Beethoven. He is like a deaf old man who shouts all the time. His music reminds me of a codfish thrashing about in the bottom of a boat.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I find the music of Beethoven and friends overblown, but then it was designed for the concert hall, not to accompany peeling potatoes.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Being an Outsider
Almost everything I say, the majority of the population violently disagrees with. I am fairly sure though that over the next hundred years they will come around. If all goes as planned, those promoting my ideas will have a dead guy, namely me, to quote and thus give heft to their arguments. To this end, I decided to r present most of my ideas as relatively short sound bites suitable for quoting.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Just because you can persuade everyone to agree with you does not mean you are right.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
It is odd how much effort we put into never being cornered into admitting we are wrong, when that is the one thing others seem to want most of us.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Best Comedy Sketches of All time
- Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Telephone
- Monty Python (John Cleese and Michael Palin), Dead Parrot
(Norwegian Blue, just resting, pining for the fjords)
- Lily Tomlin This a Recording (Ernestine)
- Bill Cosby, Chicken Heart
- Bob Newhart, Introducing Tobacco to Civilisation
- George Carlin, There is No God
- Carole Burnette, Gone With the Wind
- Lucille Ball, The Chocolate Factory
- Howie Mandel, Rubber Glove
- Monty Python (Michael Palin), The Lumberjack Song
There may be better ones, but I have not heard them yet, or they slipped my mind.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Big Good News
It is hard to cope with the torrent of bad news unless you remember since time immemorial very few animals, including human, manage to live to old age. It only since the invention of antibiotics and limited to the industrial countries that people can expect with reasonably certainty to survive childhood and young adulthood.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
There are no shortage of people willing to tackle big, dangerous, painful, difficult projects. Unfortunately, nearly all of these projects are pointless.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
People are far too casual about butchering the English language. It was an act of vandalism to redefine bad to mean good. People create dialects and slangs that other English speakers cannot comprehend. If you go to India, English is so distorted you can’t tell if people are speaking Hindi or English. And Indians want to take it even further away from the English spoken elsewhere. Every kid should learn two clearly separate languages:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Standard international English. It should have canonical spelling, pronunciation and vocabulary. It needs an academy to define it, like French has.
- A local language or English dialect with local slang.
After over a decade of failure, now in 2015 the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team are looking up. Fans from all across Canada are going wild. I cannot understand this. Baseball is the slowest spectator sport. One team sits on the bench while the other stands around in a field doing almost nothing. People have to entertain themselves with statistics, food, drink and chewing tobacco to deal with the boredom. I would imagine the loyal fans would resent the newcomers, driving up seat prices.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
What the heck is that blue liquid that exudes from women in sanitary napkin commercials? Similarly what is that orange slime that keeps spilling on the counters of people who use Bounty paper towels?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I watched a movie Savage Grace about the life of Anthony Baekeland. I googled for images to find out what the real Anthony Baekeland looked like. There were none, just images of actors in the movie. It is as though Google does not understand the difference between movies and reality.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
What is the point of sending a search party up a dangerous mountain in a storm to recover a body only to bury it somewhere else on the mountain? We endanger young searchers for the sake of a corpse. What point is there in spending $1 million to find a corpse that died in some accident or murder (unless the body is needed for forensics to prosecute)? This is public money that could have been used to benefit the living. The bereaved is so selfish. He demands the public fork out this much money just because it might ease his pain to small degree. Finding the corpse will probably do almost nothing to help the heart ache. He may want search for religious reasons. If it is that important to him, he should pay for the search himself, or solicit the help of unpaid volunteers.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Bohemian Rhapsody is considered the best rock song of all time. Freddy Mercury put enough variety and complexity into it so that it could stand up, like Bach, to repeated hearings.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
To Boldly Go
I think the proscription against split infinitives is illogical. What better place to put an adverb to make it absolutely clear to which verb it applies?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Even Bach can be boring when he noodles on for bar after bar of nothing but quavers relieved only by an occasional trill or mordent.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
What on earth possesses musicians to find the most monotonous pattern their synthesizer has for a drum beat then leave it playing utterly unmodified throughout the piece, not even a micro volume change, not a nano tempo change, not even one extra beat anywhere. What are they composing for Guantánamo ?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Why do directors put 10-minute gunfights in their movies? Nothing is more boring or clichéd.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Borrowed Bicycle Analogy
Life is like getting on a friend’s bicycle for the first time. Long before you get the hang of it, your time is up.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I think the rules of boxing should be changed to make it a foul to hit someone in the head. Brain damage hurts not only the person hit, but the entire society on the hook for treating his lifelong brain injury.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When Shakespear referred to life as a brief candle, he meant it.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Bright Side Of Alzheimers
When you get Alzheimers you can look at it as discarding memories that are too painful, boring or insignificant.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Bully or Victim?
When a known bully and a victim tell conflicting stories, I tend to believe the victim. The bully has already proved his degeneracy. This applies to individuals and countries.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Canadians have taboos against the following in descending order:
- defecating in public
- cleaning the nose in public
- urinating in public
- cleaning the ears in public
How did we decide what to include and the order? There is no taboo on hair, face or teeth cleaning. There is not even a taboo against cleaning the genitals other than the general nudity taboo.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When I went to Mumbai, people would come up to me and I could not tell if they were speaking Hindi or heavily accented English. They would try to help by speaking ever louder.
Some accents are very hard to decode. Some make the ears bleed like Valley girl or Bronx. It might help to collect a set of easy-on-the ears easy-to-understand accents and teach them as canonical.
Suggested paragons: Candice Bergen, Walter Cronkite, Judi Dench, Mariette Hartley, Barbara Jefford, Kelly LeBrock, Gregory Peck, Christopher Plummer, Dan Rather, Diana Rigg, Shelagh Rogers, Peter O’Toole, Eleanor Wachtel, Michael York.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
People used to build cathedrals knowing they might take centuries to complete. We too should have similar patience to build social movements that might take centuries to flower.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Cause of Death
We die of accumulated embarrassments.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Cause Of Obesity
Consider that people who live in the third world who don’t have enough money for food have just as much trouble with obesity as we do. Consider that you have to eat only 20 calories a day (1/5 of a slice of an apple) more than you expend to balloon into obesity. Consider the total weight of food you eat over a decade. Consider that there has been a North American epidemic of obesity and diabetes that started around 1980. Fat does not distribute evenly. Its distribution is controlled by hormones. Consider that the function of insulin is to lower blood sugar by removing it from the blood and encapsulating it as fat. What can account for obesity given all this? — a diet consisting mainly of sugars and starches, just as my mother claimed.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68) Gary Taubes lecture
I don’t think many people would eat caviar if it were not so expensive. It is just raw fish eggs. It is a bit like eating mildly-decomposed snails.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I don’t mind English changing, but I do decry when it moves in idiotic directions, e.g.
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Valley girl speak now also affected by young males. They turn every sentence into a question.
- Glamour speak. It started in gay culture. Random syllables are stressed and drastically elongated. This make speech harder to understand, since you can’t accent and appear to be accenting random parts.
- Mumbling. This just makes speech hard to understand.
- Texas accents. This mainly because I detest George Bush, and anything that sounds like him makes me want to spit. The strange thing is Texas accents are creeping all over North America with dropped gs, and ta for to, and ts turned to ds, as is wadder for water.
There are many things to be depressed about. Some of mine include:
- No action on global warming.
- Extinction of species.
- Uncontrolled population growth.
- Erosion of civil liberties.
- The barbaric behaviour of Muslim groups like Boko Haram and ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and also the imperialist genocide from the USA.
- Mass pollution of lakes, rivers and oceans.
- Autocratic powers of corporations.
- Spread of religious superstition and violence.
When I see things getting worse, I remind myself that some time in the next century we will develop computers smarter than ourselves. I have no idea what their values will be, but the fate of earth will no longer be in human hands. Everything will change.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I am not a total Grinch when it comes to Christmas music. I have even collected and posted a collection of Christmas songs and carols. However, I intended these to be sung by groups of friends on Christmas Eve. I complain in the most strenuous way about the wall-to-wall sound curtain of Christmas dreck music every December. These are bad songs, corny variations, sung by usually second rate artists looking for a pension fund, endlessly repeated. Perhaps retailers are attempting to create a Pavlovian conditioning — Hear the music — buy something. Is there name for people who go postal from such exposure?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Christmas Tree Safety
The Grinches have grossly exaggerated the danger of fire from real Christmas trees. Modern LED (Light-Emitting Diode) lights use very low voltages, currents and temperatures and thus pose almost no risk at all. It is time to ban the true culprits from apartment buildings — incandescent lights, not the fir trees that exude the evergreen fragrance of Christmas.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Chronicling the Obvious
I chronicle the obvious, especially the unacknowledged.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Clean as a Whistle?
Clean as a whistle is damning with faint praise.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
English is a strange language: cleave in the opposite of cleave, raze is the opposite of raise.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Children learn fastest in the earliest years of their lives. Part of this is because adults have not yet tired of endlessly repeating simple messages like 1-2-3-Go! We pretend that adults should be capable of absorbing anything on one hearing. The best teachers are usually those who most recently learned the material themselves. They have patience and sympathy for and insight into a student’s misunderstanding because they remember their own recent confusion. For those that mastered the material long ago, it becomes so trivial, it hardly requires any explanation, much less a slow, simplified, repetitive one.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If somebody has a really compelling motive for murder, e.g. a lifetime of bullying, killing one’s pets, I don’t feel all that contemptuous. However, when the motive was being too cheap to call a cab (a drunk driver) I want to lock them up till they rot.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Composition of Love
Love seems complicated and ineffable, but that is because it is a blanket term for many component factors that appear blended in various combinations. For example love includes factors like:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- pride: partner as trophy
If I turn on the radio, and an interview is in progress, all I hear is a jumble of words. After about a minute, depending on the accents, I figure out what the topic is. Thereafter, I can understand fine. It seems comprehension works by guessing what the person will say next, and noticing any differences.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
It is only a matter of time until people record every moment of their lives, even sleeping. It will considered necessary for security and resolving disputes about what occurred. This may discourage people from fully engaging with their lives. Won’t they torment themselves in old age with nostalgia. Will it ever be possible to stop obsessing about a lover who dumped you, with their loving face taunting you like one of Odysseus’ sirens.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Monitoring concussions is closing the barn door after the horse has fled. We have to prevent them not count them.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
To resolve conflicts, we use different strategies in different domains:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- In politics and law, we use compromise and sometimes compensation.
- In science, we use observations or experiments to decide which hypothesis is right. Compromise would inevitable lead to a wrong answer.
- In religion, we just make up our facts, so there is no way to resolve disputes with facts. We shout and kill. We have schisms over every minute difference of opinion.
The commonsense definition of conscious is able to answer questions. However, computers answer questions, and I doubt many people consider them conscious. Another definition has a dream-like internal experience, can feel pain. The problem here is, this definition is subjective. Imagine an advanced computer. How could tell from the outside if it were conscious?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
How do you measure consciousness? From the inside, you can evaluate your subjective sense of attention. From the outside, you can tell if someone is asleep, but you can’t tell if there is anybody home having an experience.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Contemplating The Deluded
The more intelligent you are, the more distressing it is how many of your fellow humans base their lives on delusions.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If I turn on the radio an someone with a strong accent is being interviewed, for the first minute or two all I hear is a salad of words. Then suddenly it dawns on me what the topic is. From them on I have no problem comprehending. It seems comprehension works by predicting what the speaker might say and comparing with what they actually say.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When we humans lived in caves, sugar, fat and salt were rare. We evolved a craving for them. We did not need a satiety mechanism. Today we find Wendy’s hamburgers made of sugar, fat and salt irresistible. We eat far more than we need and harm our health. What we need is an implant that monitors blood sugar, fat and salt, that triggers some chemicals that feel much like being full to let us know when we have had enough.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Subtract your age from 80. Subtract that number from the current year. Think how long ago that was. That is how much time you have until you are 80, if you live that long. It is actually quite a bit less since time passes ever more swiftly as you age.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Counting Medals Fairly
Olympic medal counting should be weighted by population and/or national wealth. All a raw high medal count proves is that a national is large and wealthy.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Country and Western
Country and Western is a genre of music dedicated to mispronouncing English by aping the accents of uneducated people. It is phony to the core.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
There is a chemical you need in your brain to nail down memories. Once you have used it up, you must rest to replenish it before you can memorise anything more. This is why cramming does not work. People with photographic memories have a lot of it. People who have trouble learning have only a little. They need more frequent rests.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If the obesity epidemic were caused by a parasite, there would be a panic war on obesity. But because we know it could be rectified with a better diet and more exercise, we let it creep up to the point it is killing people off younger and younger.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Crucial Life Skills
Consider how many crucial life skills are not taught in high school:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- How to compute income tax.
- How to register to vote.
- How to get a passport.
- How to recognise a con.
- How mortgages work.
- How to deal with car dealers and car repairmen.
- How to buy insurance.
- All the ways to avoid catching HIV (Human Immuno-deficiency Virus).
- How to handle being dumped.
- Marriage and divorce.
- How to detect the catches in an advertisement.
Life is a cutthroat competition between lifeforms, with each concerned only for its own welfare. Every animal survives by stealing accumulated energy from other lifeforms i.e. by eating them.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
My dad, Fred Green, was head of production at BC Hydro, the BC electric power utility. One of his least favourite jobs was allocating office space because of all the resentments it created with petty jealousies. His strategy was to present an atrocious office layout that offended absolutely everyone. He would then announce he would consider an alternate layout if the employees affected wanted to propose one. They would fight it out and present their plan. My dad would accept it and all would be happy at the terrible fate they had so narrowly escaped.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If quotes were labelled with the time and place they were uttered, it would help resolve future disputes about what the words meant at the time.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Dealing With The Future
There are three basic approaches of dealing with the future:
- The grasshopper: Do what would be optimal if you hit by a bus tomorrow.
- The gambler: Do you best to predict what is going to happen, the bet the farm you are right.
- The boy scout: Be prepared.
Is Prime Minister Stephen Harper a grasshopper or a gambler in his deliberate destruction of the Canadian environment?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Dealing with the Little Kids
One the nice things about getting old is everyone you deal with was either little kid in the lower grades, or not even born when you were a kid. There is no need to take them all that seriously. The adults have mostly died off. We can make up new rules.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
They are some people who are getting up in years whom I will sorely miss when they die. I include Betty White, Leonard Cohen, Noam Chomsky, Richard Dawkins, Woody Allen, Stephen Lewis, David Suzuki… Nelson Mandela, who was no the list has died. I did’t include the late Gore Vidal because he has said he was quite uncomfortable in his old age and was ready to go. On the other hand I would love to pound some nails into the coffins of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, John Boehner, Newt Gingrich, John Choon Yoo, John Roberts, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Mitch McConnell, Lowell Green, David Petraeus, Rick Santorum… Happily, Fred Phelps, who was on the list, is no longer with us.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If you were on your deathbed what would you like to hear?
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Some fanciful story about 20-hour a day harp practice and living in a house with solid gold plumbing and countertops?
- A reminder that everyone dies eventually, and no one has failed to do it. It is as ordinary as your first day at school.
When my dad laying dying of brain cancer, he said that he wished he had made more of a contribution. He contributed far more than average, but still this haunted him. I have HIV and I have no idea just how much longer I will last. Sometime it feels like 24 hours. Because the HIV is so well controlled, the doctor says I could live to normal life expectancy. However, I too find my Dad’s obsession haunting me. So I pass this on to encourage you:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Don’t waste your university education. It is not just a matter of passing exams or getting a diploma. You want to learn as much as possible and expose yourself to as much divergent opinion as you can. You will never get another chance like this to just pig out on learning.
- Don’t pine. If your lover left, they were clearly not a suitable lifetime partner. Even if you could persuade them to return, it would take too much energy to placate them. You would be walking on eggs. Be glad you found out as quickly as you did.
- Don’t be afraid to explore corners of the planet and the mindsphere that others avoid. If you expect to find something novel you will have to look where others have not.
- While you are still young, travel to the places most different from home. Try to get in touch with ordinary people, not just tourist industry people. Foreign travel is like breaking into an alternate universe.
Decline of Baseball
Baseball is a pretty boring spectator sport at best. Fans have to entertain themselves memorising statistics. When a pitcher throws a perfect game, it is doubly boring. The rest of his team except the catcher just stand there the whole game doing nothing. For baseball to survive as a spectator sport, the game will have to be modified to even the odds between pitcher and batter, perhaps by moving the pitcher’s mound further out.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Declining Pop Music
The quality of pop music has declined ever since the 1970s. Why? I think the culprit is MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) editing software. It encourages an absolutely non-varying beat. It encourages endless identical repetition of small elements. It discourages all but the most primitive rhythms. It encourages every note being perfectly on pitch without any bending. Every song sounds like every other. The best music being made today avoids MIDI altogether.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Declining TV Quality
The more channels of TV there are, the worse your odds are of finding something interesting to watch. This is because the fixed advertising-funded programming budget pie is spread thinner over more channels. To improve program content, we need funding to come from the viewers based on what they actually watch, possibly delivered a program at a time through the Internet.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Deepak Chopra writes books about science, physics and quantum mechanics. However, they are pure gibberish, pure woo, a word salad of scientific vocabulary. It sounds vaguely like it means something, but it is nonsense. Oddly book buyers far prefer these information-free books to real books about science, physics and quantum mechanics. At least with real books you have some hope of making sense of them.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Defence Is Not For Defence
The United States spends more on its military than all other countries in the world put together. Polls tell us Americans believe this money is well spent, necessary to prevent invasion. They fail no notice that almost no countries are ever invaded, not even ones without militaries like Costa Rica. The country most likely to invade others is the United States itself. This suggests the purpose of the US military is not defence, but planetary hegemony.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Definition of Friends
A friend is someone who feels happy when things work out for you, so long as it is not at the expense of someone else.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Definition of Hip Hop
Hip hop is the art of pronouncing an poem in such a way it is incomprehensible.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Definition of Lying
Lying is a tactic to trick other lifeforms into working for your benefit instead of their own. Even ants do it.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Definition of Progress
Progress consists not so much in learning something new as in unlearning something false.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Definition of Wreck-less Driving
Wreck-less driving is driving without having an accident.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Deformed By Fat
To people of the coming generations, viewing movies of our time will be disturbing because of all the people grossly deformed by excess adipose tissue. To them, it will be like trying to ignore enormous goiters on half the cast.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Desirable Life Extension
Life extension people want to tack a decade onto my years sitting a wheelchair in a nursing home. No. That is not want I want. I wanted them to insert ten years between 29 and 30.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
There is a very simple technique to detect many types of lie. Simply ask yourself, Is there any way this person could have come across this information from a reliable source? When people tell you about super-secret conspiracies, what the Pentagon is up to, what a politician plans to do, what the police have discovered in their investigations, there is obviously not much chance they would be privy to such information.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Devolving to Baby Talk
I hear on the radio and TV, adults using language or pronunciation that only children used to use. I suspect what is happening is parents and teachers no longer correct their children, not wanting to stifle them. Where will this lead. Will we evolve to baby talk?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Difference Between Being a Child and an Adult
When you are a child, the world was populated by large, somewhat cranky people overly concerned with your health and safety. When you grow up, the world is run by the bullies and dumb kids several grades behind you. These corrupt idiots have no common sense. They are as bent now on destroying the planet as they were then on destroying others’ fun and tormenting cats.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Disadvantage of Aging
The most frustrating thing about getting old is your to-do list grows at least a 100 times longer than your done-list.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Disadvantage of Suicide
The main disadvantage of suicide is you must forgo right to all future corrections or additions.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Humans usually like to know why you want something done when you ask them a favour. It helps motivate them if they know that the purpose is one they approve of and consider important. So it usually helps to volunteer that information any time you make a request. The other advantage of disclosure is, if they know why you want something, they can often come up with a better solution than the one you requested.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
There was a time when young Einstein did not yet know how to add 2 + 2. What if someone had belittled him for not already knowing and put him off math?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I feel disgust at politically correct language, especially dishonest language like developmentally delayed children as if these kids will grow into perfectly normal adults, just a year or two late. I also dislike convoluted phrases like people of colour. These silly phrases get longer and more indirect by the year. Most of the time they are trying to disguise something unpleasant with verbose, flowery language.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Distract from Survival
If an alien species wanted to distract humans from attending to their survival, all they needed to do was introduce the video game.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Ditch The Accent
If you talk like a Valley Girl, no one will ever take you seriously. Do whatever it takes to ditch the accent.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Do It Now
If you have even vague plans to do something big with your life, do them now. You never know if some health anvil will hit you that leaves you with only 1/10 normal energy.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Do It Now!
If you are in your teens or twenties, you are at your peek of sexual attractiveness. Your body will never again function as well or be as indestructible. Now is the time for adventure. You will ever after far more regret the things you did not do than the things you did. Don’t let anything put you on hold — a jilted lover, parental disapproval, religion or even garden variety procrastination. Whatever it is you dream of doing, starting a social movement, traveling Tibet, having sex in every form known to man, hiking across German, living among the orangutans… Do it now!. I know, it does not feel like it, but your time is almost up.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Do Not Fear Failure
If you want to serve your species, you must be willing to fail. People who want personal glory pursue safe mainstream success. But the most valuable discoveries are off the beaten track and most of that prospecting will not pan out. There is no glory for all by a handful of those who devote themselves to this most valuable exploration. Sports teach that nothing matters but winning. This an idiotic life lesson. It teaches fear of failure.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
People who get a dog, then pay someone to walk it and another to groom it and another to feed it, are like someone who buys a classic Jaguar E series and hires someone to drive it around for him.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Doing the Wrong Thing
As you get older, mostly what you remember of your life are the times you did not do the right thing. Doing the right thing every time is the treasure you really want to accumulate.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Don’t Die List
Here are some of the people getting on in years, whose obituaries I would dread reading:
- Angela Lansbury (born:1925-10-16 age:91)
- Sir David Attenborough (born:1926-05-08 age:90)
- Noam Chomsky (born:1928-12-07 age:88)
- Jane Goodall (born:1934-04-03 age:82)
- Leonard Cohen (born:1934-09-21 died:2016-11-10 at age:82)
- Julie Andrews (born:1935-10-01 age:81)
- Woody Allen (born:1935-12-01 age:81)
- Dr. David Suzuki (born:1936-03-24 age:80)
- Joan Baez (born:1941-01-09 age:75)
- Michael York (born:1942-03-27 age:74)
- Garrison Keillor (born:1942-08-07 age:74)
- Gwynne Dyer (born:1943-04-17 age:73)
Unfortunately, Mike Nichols (born:1931-11-06 died:2014-11-19 at age:83) has now gone.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Downside of Good Weather
The problem with good weather is it brings out mosquitos, leaf blowers and road pavers.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Downside of Intelligence
Even being in the top 1% of intelligence is frustrating. Others simply can’t understand what is blindingly obvious to you. They persist in doing stupid things for the most idiotic of reasons. Imagine if you were 100 or 1000 times more intelligent than normal. Life would be unbearably lonely. Interacting with normal humans would like having only an anthill as your social outlet. Spoken language would be so unbearably clumsy and slow to communicate the torrent of ideas.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Dreaming is like being in a flight simulator. Because your actions are disengaged from reality, none of your mistakes are fatal.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
It is not so much when driverless cars arrive, but when manually-driven cars are no longer permitted on the road. Manually-driven cars greatly add to the danger of travelling in driverless cars, slow them down and reduce traffic density. There is already one highway from Seattle to Vancouver that prohibits manually-driven cars.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Drug Addiction Training
Anyone whose life becomes unmanageable because of drugs does not have enough to do that he considers important. If he did, he would rarely be able to schedule the time for drugs. When parents teach their kids that nothing is important, that anything the kids do is futile, that you can’t fight city hall…, they are training their children for drug addiction.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
What’s with so many young female pop singers affecting being drunk or mentally defective. Is it supposed to make them more sexy, the thought they could throw up on you at any minute?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When I was a pre-schooler, CKDA radio station in Victoria excitedly announced that Rosemary Clooney was in the studio. I was puzzled. I thought she worked there and sang live.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
For racist reasons the west is largely ignoring Ebola. It is gaining steam. When it bursts the bonds of Africa, it is going to be pretty hard to stop.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Economics of Hockey
Hockey is popular for the same reason dog fights, cock fights, bull baiting and gladiatorial combats were. People like to see suffering, injury and pain. It makes no economic sense to sideline a multi-million dollar player, like Sidney Crosby, possibly for life. If hockey does not shape up soon, it will go the way of the dog fight. Throwing the best players into a cement mixer is a strategy for economic collapse.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
You you talk too loudly into a microphone it distorts and buzzes or squeals. This is how nearly all electric guitar music sounds to my ears.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I perused a copy of Elle Maggie while I was waiting in a doctor’s office. None of the models smiled, looked seductive, looked happy, puzzled, determined or anything else except contemptuous or vacant. There must be some economic reason for this. I cannot think of one.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Emergency Peak Load
In an emergency, people quickly flood the cell phone system with calls, blocking it from working. Emergency calls cannot get through. Most of these calls are people telling stories of their adventure or reassuring others they are ok. It is unlikely people will voluntarily refrain from calling. We need ways of giving important calls priority, perhaps by charging $50 for calls in such times with a rebate for legit emergency calls.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Emotional Content of Speech
Computers have trouble understanding speech because the literal meaning is swamped by the emotional content. We receive no formal training on recognising the emotional content of speech. On the contrary, we are trained to ignore it.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I find it so odd when someone complains for years about a family member’s outrageous addictive behaviour, then they start experimenting with the same drug.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Encapsulating the Obvious
I attempt to encapsulate any obvious idea in a sound bite so posterity will have a dead guy to quote to support it.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The End Of Football
The days of football and hockey are numbered. Lawsuits for children brain damaged by concussion will gradually make them too expensive to play.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Consider a phrase like pedophile killer. What does it mean?
- Somebody who kills pedophiles?
- Somebody who murders children?
- A pedophile who murders people?
I can imagine a reformed language where which meaning you intended would be unambiguously apparent.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
All but the youngest children know that a joke is funny only the first time you hear it. Why then why do Hollywood script writers think somebody getting kicked in the balls or farting is a guaranteed laugh no matter how many times they repeat it?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Christians considered envy such a serious sin they put it into the ten commandments, as wicked as cutting the lawn on Sunday. But the economy depends on it. People buy products they see their neighbours using e.g. flat screen TV, cable Internet access. If you envy someone’s fitness, health, wealth, knowledge of art, ability to speak in public, public service etc., that is a sign that you might want to improve your own skill in that area. In excess envy will poison your life making it impossible to enjoy what you have, but in moderation it won’t hurt you.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Erasing Your Regional Accent
Unless you work hard to preserve it, writing erases your regional accent.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I was so surprised to hear Coleman Barks speak after getting to know him in text.
I had a dream that I was a young black man. I suspected my older lover was a serial killer, but I had no proof. I debated whether to go to the authorities. I seemed damned if I did and damned if I didn’t. I solved the problem in the usual dream fashion by waking up. Wouldn’t it be neat if there were an analogous escape hatch from waking reality when matters became untenable.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Essence of Great Music
I have been listening to a lot of music lately, mostly 18th century. I have been trying to figure out what is that separates the great from the merely entertaining. So far I have identified three patterns.
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- The greats are light on repetition. When they repeat, they do it in a substantially different way.
- The lesser lights lay out their music like a row of bricks, with no transition between them and everything the same pattern within each brick. The greats bridge seamlessly in a smooth flow and offer new musical ideas in almost every bar.
- The greats refrain from taking a musical idea to its full conclusion. They show you where it is going, then get on with something else. The lesser lights insist on tediously finishing each idea in a completely predictable way.
Estimating Odds of Success
When I started my gay lib project in 1969, I thought I had less than 1 in a million chance of having any effect at all. After all, even all the gay people I know were opposed to gay lib and many straight people thought gays should be put to death if not worse. How dare I oppose 2000 years of Christian tradition and bigotry. Yet within three years we had the first civil rights legislation protecting gays. No one was more surprised than me. Ever since, my estimates of poor odds have never deterred me from doing what I thought was needed. I don’t think it should deter anyone else either.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Crocodiles do not age. They just keep growing bigger and bigger. They are as vigourous at 70 as at 7. Eventually they die in some accident or of some disease. They don’t die of old age. This suggests that to create eternal life, all we have to do is turn off the mechanism that makes us age.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I counted the days I would be old enough to leave home and be free of the sadistic jail warden, my mother. I later fretted that the abuse had permanently damaged me psychologically. Finally, she died and things gradually flowed to normal.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Everyone Believes in UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects)
What’s the big fuss about UFOs ? Surely nobody believes that all flying objects have been identified, so they necessarily believe in UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) s, right?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Evil PeopleThere are some people so irredeemably evil, but so powerful that they will likely never be prosecuted, it would be a wonderful thing if they vapourised.
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Bashar al-Assad
- George W. Bush
- Dick Cheney
- Stephen Harper
- Charles Koch
- David Koch
- Robert Mugabe
- Donald Rumsfeld
- Jim Inhofe
- Rick Perry
- Vladimir Putin
- Alison Redford
- Donald Trump
- Scott Walker
Evil’s primary defense is to convince you it does not exist.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Evolution of English
English seems to be evolving so that pronunciation and spelling diverge. Further, there are ever more variant pronunciations of each word. English is becoming a much harder language to learn.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Everyone can find some excuse why their life is hopeless: sexual or physical child abuse, genetic propensity for obesity, low IQ (Intelligence Quotient), not conventionally handsome appearance, their soul mate abandoned them, poor health… Remind yourself that plenty of people with this handicap have created enjoyable lives. Get on with it!~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
You may have heard that the universe is expanding at an ever-increasing rate. This means the galaxies are rushing away from each other as more space appears between galaxies. The galaxies themselves are not expanding. The earth is not expanding. You are not expanding. Your atoms are not expanding.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Bach was a Christian, Thomas Jefferson kept slaves, Mohammed had a child bride, Jesus chastened slaves to do what they were told. People are primarily embedded in their time. You can’s very well expect thinking even 100 years ahead of their time.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I write so often, hoping to find a way to express what my existence is like. All that comes out are the vaguest hints. I imagine if I found the perfect words to express the truth of it, there would be a great relief, like an octopus might feel expressing eggs.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Extolling the Suicidal
People who commit suicide are typically extolled as unusually virtuous. This may be more than mere politeness. People who commit suicide are prone to manic-depressive disorder. The manic phase makes them fun. The depressive phase makes them considerate, empathetic, compassionate and good listeners.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If, in future, our eyesight is extended into ultraviolet and infrared, it might come with new subjective colours, as different from any we see now, as red is from green.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The octopus has 8 arms, 3 hearts, no skeleton and no hands. Its skin can flash messages or be used for near perfect camouflage in both colour and texture. The whale has no arms. It can see with sound like a bat. Why should intelligent creatures from off planet be more like man than even other intelligent terrestrial creatures?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When you treat badly behaved people with respect, is that enlightened behaviour or lying?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
There are clues to let you know if a review is fake.
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- A real review will tell you quirky details that let you know the author has actually used the product, things not gleanable from seeing an ad or product spec.
- A real review will usually have a balance of both good and bad things to say.
- A fake review will tell you the product is wonderful and other vague words, but never tells you why.
- A fake review will sound like it was lifted from ad copy.
- A real review usually contains irrelevancies and details of interest only to the author, e.g. that it will fit on their credenza. A fake review sticks to information of interest to everyone.
If I had a four year old child and she asked What holds the moon up? I would burst with pride she had noticed this important question. How to answer it? There would be little hope of explaining the calculus behind Newton’s answer. Perhaps a ball on a string swung around my head. What stops it from flying away? What stops it from falling in?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I am glad I have so far avoided fame. From what I have seen, the public give you no peace, no privacy and are always trying to prove you wrong, incompetent or immoral. Fame is thus best enjoyed after death.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When I study famous, honoured people of the past, I am often astonished to discover they actually set humanity back with their cruel, backward and superstitious beliefs. I would like to see a long list of historical figures, that rated each person from -10 to +10 for their contribution to world culture. Someone like Darwin would rate +10. Someone like Hitler would rate -10. People like Martin Luther and Thomas Aquinas would get negative scores, even though people in their time thought highly of them. It would be unfair to hold pro-slavery attitudes, or male chauvinistic pig attitudes against someone of the 1600s, since everyone held such attitudes. Those pushed in the right direction deserve a positive score.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If you are a writer and want to use the language of science, even for fantasy, check with an expert to make sure you are using it plausibly. Otherwise your work becomes unbearably ludicrous to one who does understand the language.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The first time I heard a fart or saw someone kicked in the testicles, I could have found it amusing. What baffles me is there are people who find these amusing, even when repeated dozens of times in the same film.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I would have thought, in the vast history of fashion, that at some time, prison garb would be de rigeur. The idea is you dress in solidarity with the imprisoned, to take away the uniform’s stigma.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The less frequently you ask people to do you favours, the more likely they will grant them when you ask.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The most useful thing feminists could do for young women is teach them how to speak properly. They will never be taken seriously unless they speak reasonably. The first thing to do is to get them out of the habit of inflecting every statement as if it were a question. e.g. My name is Marilyn? as if they harboured deep seated doubt about it. Drop the valley girl accent. Don’t elongate vowels as if infinitely bored. Don’t screech. Slow down, take a breath every once in a while. Some voices are like having your eardrums attacked non-stop with a jackhammer. Drop the baby talk and cutesy little girl-isms. Listen to CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio hosts for good rôle models.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
By the time someone is addicted to fentanyl there is almost no hope for them. If an ambulance team saves a user with an injection of naloxone, they have not saved their life. They will be taking a fentanyl overdose again the very next day. There is not much point in pouring millions into such a lost cause. The time to pour the money in is before they have taken their first dose. We have to make little kids understand taking fentanyl is little different from suicide.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Finding the Obviously True Falsehoods
The most important things to discover are those which everyone thinks are true, simply because everyone else does, but which are obviously false if you give them so much as a once over.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I have a todo list long enough for several lifetimes. Where on earth do people find the time to play video and board games?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
It is a good thing if parents let their kids keep fish. The kids learn some useful life lessons:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- You can’t just ignore your fish and expect them to thrive.
- There is such a thing as both too little and too much food, light, heat, fertiliser…
- Living things die. They have natural lifespan.
- You have to keep the environment free of waste or things die.
- The ordinariness of reproduction.
- The way fish do not pine when rejected.
Vanilla is a flavour. Smell it. Don’t confuse colour with flavour.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Fleeing Perry and Jane
You’d think on encountering Perry Mason, people would flee in terror. They have a 25% chance of being murdered and a 40% chance of being framed for a murder. Ditto, Miss Marple should find her prospective hosts have fled for Patagonia when she inquired about coming to visit.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Why do people react so differently to those that thwart them in real life and those that thwart them in video games.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Food vs Drugs
It is a well-established scientific principle that nearly always a large amount of a substance has a bigger effect than a small amount. Why then do doctors focus all their attention on tiny pills and ignore the much larger amounts of food and drink their patients ingest?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Foolishly Protective Parents
When parents drive their kids to work, they are for certain seriously damaging their health in return for protecting them from an extremely unlikely abduction (and exposing them to the much more probable danger of a collision). Abduction is way down the list on perils likely to befall a child.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68) The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
ESL (English as a Second Language) speakers try to pronounce English phonetically. English is only approximately phonetic. They must listen to a native speaker and copy the way they pronounce each word.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Fractals enable animators to create realistic leaves, rock and other detailed surfaces. They are not photographs. They are works of the mathematical imagination. If you remember jumping off a big rock and in your mind’s eye you see all the granite veins and speckles, I doubt these come from a precise photograph in your memory. You are just filling in, generating, all those fine details from a few facts that you remember about the rock, like fractally-rendered surfaces in a video game. I once had a lucid dream. I looked at a dark wooden door and marvelled at all the fine detail I could see in the grain. I was generating all that. I suspect ordinary memory works the same way. Memory detail is an illusion.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Fracturing of English
The English language is fracturing. Words that used to be pronounced as they are spelt, now have eccentric pronunciations. Advertisers hasten this process by featuring any new fad pronunciation to sound hip. This is a shame. The language is getting harder and harder to learn and understand with so many exceptions and variants.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Freedom to Direct Your Attention
Your greatest freedom is your ability to choose what to pay attention to. Your choices determine the much larger body of things you necessarily ignore. Don’t waste this freedom.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Frequency of Complaining
The less frequently you complain, the more seriously you will be taken when you do.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Nearly everyone fritters their life away on things that don’t matter. By the time they discover how short life truly is, it is too late.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The three funniest lines in movies are:
- Nobody’s perfect in Some Like It Hot.
- I’ll have what she’s having in Harry Met Sally.
- It’s true in Blazing Saddles
It all depends on context.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Futility of Punishment
Addiction is persisting in using a substance despite negative consequences. So it makes no sense to use punishment as an instrument of rehab.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
There are essentially two possible futures:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- In one, people look back on our time as quaint, naïve and silly.
- In the other, there will be no people to look back on our time.
It’s ironic that even the most powerful politician, law enforcement officer or prosecutor cannot bring down a major drug dealer or gangster, yet these criminals are completely defenseless against an anonymous nobody.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
It is amusing to notice how people have conflicting beliefs about something when expressed in general or in the specific. For example, take Lord Acton’s dictum, Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Very few people will dispute it. But if you say, The USA is the world’s leading superpower. Their military is almost as big as those of all other countries combined. This causes them to bully. almost no American will agree.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Get to the Point
Researchers have found most people only read the first few chapters of books they read. Similarly they read only the first few paragraphs of articles they read. So you as a writer should get to the point. Put everything of importance up front. You might as well compose only epigrams, sound bites and quotations, trying to pack everything into a few sentences. This is the essence of Twitter, but most people don’t understand the information density expected of them.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Get Your Own Website
Get yourself your own website. The problem with posting on someone else’s is they can quietly toss your work in the trash without even the courtesy of telling you why they did it.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
You’d think getting old is something that would very gradually creep up on you. It does not work that way. It springs on you like a mountain lion, out of the blue.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
As you get older, you become surer of what is right and what is nonsense. This gives you the confidence to speak out. It also means it easier to be dismissed as a crank.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Gifts for the Moribund
The ideal gift for someone with a terminal disease is not flowers, but something durable designed to last a century or two.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Life on earth is beset by dozens of dangers that could extinguish it. Because of religious beliefs in babysitter gods, humans pay little attention to them. For those two reasons, I think it unlikely we will survive even 200 years. The only hope is awakening people from the delusion of religion so they start paying proper attention to global perils.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
There are so many beautiful fragrances. Why are the makers of liquid soaps so fond of goat vomit?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Canadian musicians have a heck of a nerve releasing such slovenly music where the baseline is the same bar pounded out over and over by a synthesiser, unmodified.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Going forward is the new um.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
As Good As It Gets
If you look in the mirror and say to yourself Oh dear, what an ugly creature! I have bad news. Barring a massive fitness campaign, this is the best you are ever going to look again. In the decades to come you will look at old photos of yourself and say What I would give to look that good again..~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Good Luck Soap
A investment broker attending a conference in Vancouver, BC Canada, decided to play tourist and explore Chinatown. The stores were filled with bottles and barrels of strange-looking bits of biota, labelled only in Chinese. He saw a barrel of little red envelopes with gold Chinese writing. He asked what they were. Good luck soap. They were only 50 cents each, so he bought ten for gifts. To shorten the story, he discovered when he used the soap, his ability to pick investments oddly improved. He used all the soaps for himself and made an excuse to visit Vancouver again when he ran out. This time the soaps were 1.00 each and they were half as thick. On the third trip, the soaps were 2.00. Then he noticed than whenever he used the soaps, his ability improved, but that of all his coworkers plummeted. He also noticed his skin was aging about twice as fast normal. But he was hooked…~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Could someone please write a heartfelt song that was not a massive assault on English grammar sung in the accent of someone with grade 3+ reading comprehension.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
We humans are a bit like dry-cell batteries. We run for a short while, making things happen, but not shaking the world, then we die and stop having any more effect. The problem comes when we imagine we are supposed to have to the power to reshape the entire world in our lifetime.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Some people have voices so grating, that no matter what their qualifications, they would never get a job. The ear-bleeding would be just too painful. I don’t think these people realise how unpleasant their voices are. I don’t think people are aware much of the reason that they try to avoid some people is their voices. It would be extremely valuable to take a course to get rid of ticks (repeating an um-equivalent sound such as uh, like or basically), stop whining, stop grating, stop croaking, stop squeaking, stop the Valley-girl mannerisms, stop cute 3 year old mannerisms, stop chipmunking, stop extending of syllables, pronounce clearly, correct mispronounced words… Women seem more prone than men to picking up weird vocal mannerisms.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
A great writer convinces you he has suffered just as badly as you have.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Growing Intolerance with Tobacco
Over the years, as tobacco smoking in Canada became less and less common, I found my tolerance drastically dropped. I contemplate murder when someone smokes a cigar stinking up a block of the outdoors. I feel nauseous at clouds of smoke in old black and white movies. I wonder how long till there will be warnings on movies about tobacco and alcohol use.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I became an old man without my permission. I think it happened over a weekend.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Don’t point a gun at anyone you do not want to kill.
- From the point of view of accidents, unloaded guns are much more dangerous than loaded ones.
- If you bring a gun into your house, when it kills someone, the shooter will not be calm.
Pop psychologists ask Is the glass half full or half empty? don’t they realise it depends if you are pouring water into it, or drinking it?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Half a Loaf
If you ask someone for spare change and they give you only a small amount, it is quite possible they gave you all they had. If you give them a hurt look, they may make a note not to give you anything in future.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Handicap! What strange word! It can mean someone is either far more or far less skilled than usual.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
In ancient China, fathers gave their sons opium to make them sober, tend the family business and avoid chasing women. This suggests our current societal problems with opiates stem from how we treat them, not something inherently destructive. I suspect Christian Puritanical beliefs cloud our thinking about the best way to handle them.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Hardening My Heart
When I was younger, my heart would melt any time I heard someone cry when they told me about their life predicaments. Now, I am more inclined to think to myself, For pity sake. Stop feeling so sorry for yourself. Rather, let’s think about what practical we could do to ameliorate your situation..~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Having A Baby
When one of a couple contracts a terminal disease early in life, often they decide to have a baby. I consider this irresponsible and selfish. The baby will be denied a parent. The baby will likely be saddled with that same terminal disease.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Having A Baby
When one of a couple has a deformed or disabled baby, they often choose to have another. I consider this irresponsible and selfish. The baby will likely have the same defects as its sibling. If they want another baby, let them adopt one.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Helicopter parents are not only making childhood into a jail sentence, parents are harming their children in many ways:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Parents are keeping children infantile, unable to function unattended, unable to avoid dangers on their own, unable to get themselves out of scrapes, unable to judge just how dangerous something is.
- Such children become so dependent they fear leaving home, even in their twenties.
- As Robert A. Heinlein advised Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy.
- Parents teach paranoia of strangers. Abductions by strangers are extremely rare, and even rarer than they were 60 years ago. As adults, these children cannot socialise properly because they are needlessly frightened of new faces.
- Parents never let their children outside for imaginative, strenuous unstructured play. They turn kids into dull couch potatoes.
- The rarer stranger abductions are, the more the media cover them. There are thousands of things more dangerous to children that parents ignore. Read Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.
- Police in Maryland intervened when parents permitted their children to walk to school. When I was a child, everyone either walked or biked to school. The Maryland law is enforcing irrational paranoia.
You may have noticed how quotations pop up at random all over my website, aimed at getting people to look at their lives from a different perspective. You are welcome to use any or all of the quotations in my quotation collection in a similar way on your own website. To get your point across these days, you have to shrink it to a sound bite.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Why do people get so emotional about the hijab? Why should anyone else’s fashions be your concern? I can think of two reasons:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- The person wearing the hijab can study you, but you can see nothing. They are as anonymous as bank robbers. It creates a deliberate inequality. It is as though they are looking down at you, laughing at you behind the mask.
- The presumed reason for the hijab is to prevent raising lustful or rapacious feelings. Accusing me of that is insulting.
I don’t know how to categorise Hip Hop, but it is not music.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Hockey Blood Sport
Hockey and football players like to beat each other bloody and give each other concussions. Just how far is too far? Being a hockey or football player should not be a get out of jail free card for breaking the law on assault and battery. If we put no checks on it, the Romans showed us where this blood sport lust leads.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
There is nothing manly about watching hockey to get your jollies by seeing someone become braindamaged for life. That is simple perversion.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The solution to hockey violence is to press criminal charges for aggravated assault. Ice is no licence to aim for career-ending brain damage.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Homemade Vaccine Research
If you do your own amateur informal experiments on the effectiveness and dangers of vaccines, you will be badly mistaken because you use just a small sample of people. Results you attribute to the vaccine may be actually caused by variation in initial health, state of the immune system, the differing levels of hygiene, the differing degrees of exposure, which of the 256 strains of flu each person got etc. The way to do this properly is to monitor thousands of people to average out individual differences. What people are foolishly doing is similar to announcing coins always turn up heads based on one test flipping. I never understand why people prefer to trust people who don’t don’t have any training in statistics or people with untested crank theories over qualified over certified experts. It is such arrogance to presume your hunches about the effectiveness are more reliable than people who have studied this for a lifetime have to tell you.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
How to Fall Asleep
I have never had any trouble going to sleep. The trick is to distract myself from thinking about all the things I have to do tomorrow. I can do that with a book, TV or radio. But most often I just start paying attention to the visual thoughts going on in my head. If I listened to the nagging voice in my head, I would never sleep. Another way of looking at it, I just jump-start a dream.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
How Febreze Works
I wonder if people would continue to use Febreze if they understood it works by covering your sofa in cyclodextrin, tiny molecular tubes that encircle the odiferous molecules of wet dog preventing them from wafting into the air. It is like cleaning your house my putting the dirt in tiny plastic bags and leaving it to accumulate in place.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
How to Make Jello
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Empty an 85 grams (3 oz) packet (cheaper brands work just as well) into a bowl in the sink.
- Add 500 mls (1.06 US pints) boiling water.
- Whip until foamy with a Braun hand blender.
How Movies Explain Aging
Movies are showing everyone that ugly old codgers sometimes truly were once heart-stopping handsome. It is not just tall tales.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
How To Tell You Are Old
You know you are old when you look up some old buzzard pontificating on TV and discover in Wikipedia he is ten years younger than you are.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
One of the least attractive features of the human species is the way humans derive joy from depriving their fellows.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The toothpaste, mouthwash and whitening strip companies are selling you watered down hydrogen peroxide at stupendous markup. You can buy generic full strength hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth rapidly at any drug store for peanuts.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I Want a New Colour
It would be so cool if someone could show me a totally new colour, one no one has ever seen before, not just a new shade, a new colour and different from any you have ever seen as green is from red, even if through direct brain stimulation.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Identity Is Not the Same as Occupation
When you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up you, really mean what do they want to do to earn a living when they grow up.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
My favourite way to begin a sentence is with the word if.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
In the Movies
Did you ever notice that in the movies:
- Cameras make a whooshing noise when they take a picture.
- Binoculars have a restricted field of view, like a Mastercard two-circle logo.
- Power outages cause fireworks to shoot from devices as they shut down one by one.
- Everybody’s phone number starts with 555, which is invalid.
- Every time a sleuth goes to visit someone, there is a murder.
- Any time a female is alone in a house at night guarantees she will be attacked.
- Any time a person changes a baby’s diaper, guarantees the baby will pee on them.
- It never drizzles or rains. There is always a drenching downpour.
- Every scheme no matter how hare-brained to deal with a disaster always works perfectly, first time.
- Any reference to a religious superstition, secular superstition or curse will come true later in spades.
These conventions are so common they don’t strike you as weird.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Incompetent Pot Technology
You’d think modern technology would make it impossible for a pot to boil over, burn the food or catch fire. You’d think a kettle could be invented that did not scald you in normal use.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
It is amazing that India spawned the exquisite subtlety of Indian classical music and dance and also the aggressive banality of Bollywood.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When you refuse to be vaccinated because of some rumour you read on the Internet, you are not just risking your own life and the lives of your children, you are helping spread the disease to strangers and kill them.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When you get old, there is little chance you will say to yourself, I wish I had spent my life doing something less important. So why not start doing at least a little potentially significant stuff right now?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
There you are thirty and about a year later you are 65. Where did the time go? It happens to everyone. Google the life-spanning images of famous people such as movie actors you knew in your youth.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The main difference between a drug addict and a genius is persistence. A drug addict insists on instant payoff. A genius is willing to work for years before seeing a payoff. When I teach, at first, I arrange that kids get a big bang reward for very little work. I gradually reduce the reward and extend the time. Eventually kids work indefinitely for subtle rewards — honing skill and precise control.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When you are a teen, everything matters so intensely. When you are an adult, it does not matter quite so much.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
An interesting life will not happen by itself. You have to seriously provoke it.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The International Game
Football/soccer was a good choice for an international sport.
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- You don’t need a lot of money to play, just a field and a ball. Third world countries have a chance.
- Unlike hockey or American football, there is no intent to permanently injure your opponent.
- The rules are simple.
- There is lots of action. Baseball and cricket are glacial in comparison.
- A wide variety of physical types can still be star players, unlike basketball where you have to be ultra-tall.
The most impressive thing you can say in an interview is That didn’t really address your question.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I don’t see the point of interviewing athletes. All they ever offer are meaningless clichés. Ditto for actors, musicians and politicians.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- If you do an interview for a newspaper or magazine, they will put words in your mouth, and make comments, sometimes disparaging, about you.
- If you do a taped interview for TV, it will be chopped down to a soundbite, usually at your most emotional and incoherent.
- If you do a live interview for TV, the interview will be over very quickly. The interviewer will read off dull questions and not respond in any way to what you say.
- If you do a radio interview, they cannot misquote you, and generally there is a decent amount of time to put your points across.
Musicians give incoherent interviews. Actors tell funny stories about themselves. Authors surprise.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Because English has changed so much over the centuries from input from so many other languages, its spelling has become intractable. Even worse is pronunciation with randomly silent hs, rs, ts and ls. It is time for a simplifying overhaul to make the language spelled as she is pronounced. We need this reform for English to take on its rôle as universal second language. It is far to hard to learn as it is. We might even permit optional regularisms like swimmed instead of swam and I be instead of I am in the interlanguage. We need to look at how ESL speakers butcher the language. We need to find simplifications so those speakers will find English more natural.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
One of the most amazing creations of humanity are a set of aerobic exercises devised by the Inuit that can be performed in a space the size of a bathtub.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Invoking a Feeling
The poet communicates a feeling, not by describing it, but my invoking it.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I have been baffled by the irrational behaviour of my fellow citizens, for example:
- The panic over smart meters without any evidence they are dangerous and despite the fact they are one of the smallest sources of electro-magnetic radiation in out modern environment.
- Citizens refuse to do anything to protect themselves from global warming, even though scientists say it is the biggest threat to mankind short of global thermonuclear war.
- Americans insist on believing the earth is less than 10,000 years old despite the fact there is not a shred of evidence to support that and overwhelming evidence from all branches of science that it is 454,000 times older.
- People living in poverty vote for tax increases for themselves and tax cuts for the 1%.
What is going on?
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Part of the problem is the way the media present information. If they had an astronomer on to explain the movement of the planets and moons they would need to dredge up a flat earther for balance and treat his ravings as equally valid. They would tell the listeners that, as a toss-up, you can arbitrarily pick either equally-valid view, like deciding which colour of socks to wear. For dramatic interest they want an equally matched fight with the outcome uncertain. As a result, they deliberately mislead an ignorant and gullible public.
- Part is an orgy of wishful thinking. People convince each other their fantasies will soon come true.
- Part is tribal thinking where one derives all beliefs from the consensus beliefs of one’s tribe, e.g. the Conservative Party, the Catholic Church…
- Part is the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Most people are in denial. First Nations are in anger. Most environmentalists are in depression.
It is Ok to Procrastinate Pleasure
Why are you here? for your personal pleasure or for the general benefit? If comfort is not your goal, there is no need to fret or panic when life becomes uncomfortable. You are free to procrastinate personal pleasure.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Given the absolute inevitability of a murder being committed if Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Jessica Fletcher… comes to visit, you would think friends and relatives would bar the door and flee at their approach and the authorities would keep a close eye on them as potential serial killers.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The key to job satisfaction is to do something you believe contributes in a meaningful way to society.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach (born:1685-03-31 died:1750-07-28 at age:65) is my favourite composer. When I was a teenager, I fantasised about time traveling back to do what I could to help him be more productive (perhaps by persuading him to spend less time on tedious religious organ music). However, since I have no musical talent, I figured he would want nothing to do with me. He married his second cousin. They had 7 children, 4 of whom survived to adulthood, including Wilhelm Friedemann Bach and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach who both became important composers as well, at the time more famous than their father. His first wife died suddenly. His second wife was 17 years younger. Together they had 13 more children, 6 of whom survived into adulthood. He developed cataracts and became blind. He tried experimental surgery which failed. He then had a stroke and died of pneumonia. He was not recognised by the general public until the 20th century. Glenn Gould primarily introduced him to classical music lovers. Jacques Lousier and Wendy Carlos introduced him to the general public.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Many movies teach anti-social, anti-environment or racist values. If an actor participates in such a movie, they are no longer admirable people in my book.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Almost nobody reads books written by dead people. The exposure to their work is limited to quotations. So, if you want to have legacy influence, you need to express your ideas in concise, self-contained, quotable paragraphs.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Keeping Your Bike
One of the most annoying features of bicycle ownership is the astounding frequency with which your bike or wheels are stolen. Here are some tips to hold onto your bike longer.
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Buy a second hand bike with steel rims.
- Don’t use quick-release hubs.
- Don’t buy brand name components.
- Use a proper bike lock, not a padlock and chain.
- Don’t leave your bike parked outside for longer than an hour. Bring it inside.
- Get your name/SIN number/phone number/driver’s licence number engraved on the frame in a prominent place. Police often recover bikes but have no idea whom to return them to.
When I was in elementary school and also in junior high, my life was miserable. Kerry Dix ran a small gang that beat me up every day. For several reasons, he singled me out as the school scapegoat. I complained to my Mom. She was humiliated when she found out he was a short, skinny little guy, only two years older than me. She believed it was my fault that I could not whip his whole gang without assistance. I complained to the principal. He told me to be compassionate since Kerry and another of the gang members, Jaimie Nixon were the products of divorce. He died in 1997 of a drug overdose, possibly a suicide because the authorities were investigating him for real estate fraud. The only picture I could find of him was when he was in grade 11. He looked like an angel, handsome as could be. It made me wish I could go back and try something different in dealing with him.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Key To Brevity
The key to brevity is to save something for another occasion.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Kids Hate Clowns
Wherever did people get the idea that kids love clowns, especially Shriners? Kids are terrified of clowns. Adults like clowns. Why do you think they feature so often in horror movies?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Kinds of Writer
There are three kinds of writer:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- People who write what others want to hear — entertainers.
- People who write what the powers that be want them to say — propagandists.
- People who write what they think is true.
I find it distressing that my partner likes to pack the fridge and freezer with unlabelled containers. However, the problem with labelling can be more serious. Consider a bottle of eye drops. The bottle is tiny and any print on it is microscopic except for the brand name. That company may make other products, such as ear drops, nasal decongestants, hand sanitiser… that also come is similar small bottles. Seniors, especially, are likely to confuse them. What we need are mandatory conspicuous icons to go on such bottles to tell you what they are for, like this:~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If golfing were somehow necessary to tend the lawn, then you would immediately see the invention of all manner of labour-saving machines to reduce the time you had to spend doing it.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When I was three, I remember my mother was nursing my younger sister. I asked if I could nurse too. I expected her to say yes, but instead she chastised me, pointing out I was much too old a boy for that now. In recalling this event, I feel disgust and horror at the thought of nursing, that I certainly did not feel at the time. Somewhere between then and now, I must have changed drastically in my attitudes toward lactation.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Why did the Spanish turn the letter r into a sensuous experience while the English decided to make it silent? Why did the Americans transform the letter t to sound like a d, where other dialects of English decided to make it into a glottal stop? Why don’t languages evolve so that they are maximally easy to understand? What are the pressures to simply and complicate them?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
It is ironic that is politically correct both to encourage a common language for all mankind and the preservation of niche languages.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Las Vegas — Futuristic Hell
I have never understood the appeal of Las Vegas. It is like spending your vacations spiritually dumpster diving or visiting some future-hell theme park. I have never seen more depressed and bored people in my life.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I originally thought that people laughed when they heard something funny. But that is not so. Listen to the radio and keep track of all the times people laugh. They seem to laugh mainly for no reason. Possibly, it may say Be gentle with me. I am harmless.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If you track when people laugh, you will discover what triggers laughter is rarely comedy. What makes people laugh is nervousness or others’s pain or humiliation.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Listen to radio for a few hours and keep track of when people laugh. Almost never is it when people hear something funny. I think people laugh to show they are not hostile.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Laws of the TV Universe
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Clients defended by a lawyer in a repeating series are always innocent no matter how much evidence there is against them.
- If somebody is murdered, at least two other people will have attacked them within hours of the murder.
- If there is reference made to a superstition or mythical monster, it will manifest later in the show.
- If there is a noise in the night, its cause is homicidal.
- If A says something insulting about B, then B will be standing behind them.
- If on first meeting, a heterosexual pair fight, especially if the woman trashes the man to a friend, they will be married off in the last minutes of the show.
- If there are more than 10 minutes left in the show, the protagonist will face another major setback.
- If a recurring character becomes romantically involved, the relationship must break up by the end of the show, often involving the death of the partner.
- If a character says I swear in a loud voice, he is telling the truth.
- If recurring character comes across a windfall, they will always lose it or it will be proven illegitimate.
- Busy expensive lawyers never turn down a pro-bono case.
- If a character points out there is less that a 1% chance of something happening, guaranteed it will happen.
Learning Body Limits
Part of childhood is learning the limits of your body. If you keep children wrapped in cotton wool, how can they learn? Children have to learn by error (i.e. scraped elbows).~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Even though a toddler’s verbal skills are not impressive, he is learning 7 new words a day, an eight year old is learning 12 new words a day, while you…~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
He helped make heterosexuality respectable.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
It is too bad you can only hear a Leonard Cohen song for the first time once. The lyrics and metaphors, the first time, are so startling. On later hearings they become comfortable as old shoes.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Leonard Cohen has been with me every phase of my life since a teen. I can hardly believe he has become old. When he dies, I will probably take it harder than the death any other person. At least he has left books, music and video.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Leonard was raised as a Jew and became an ordained Buddhist monk. However, his songs are full of masochistic Christian imagery. What gives? I think Leonard was not interested in whether a religion was literally true, only if it could generate intense feelings and emotions.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Les Hay Babies
Les Hay Babies are a bilingual Acadian trio of three young women. They have produced a song called Bonny and Clyde. Have a look at the Bonny and Clyde video with the picture turned off so you can focus on the sound. It quite unusual. It sweeps you along in a lovely torrent of sound. The CD is even more so.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Level Playing Field
In the Olympics, a country with ten times the population has ten times bigger a field of talent. A country ten times richer can afford the highest tech training. The end result means only the large, rich countries have much of a chance at the gold. There should be some way of creating a more level playing field. Perhaps large countries should compete as several separate regions.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
At some point you have to stop and ask yourself, What am I trying to accomplish with my life? There is a good chance is not something you want, but that your parents wanted. You have my permission to change it.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Lifetime Cost of Booze
If people with the alcoholic gene did a quick calculation of how much they would spend in a lifetime on booze, would anyone be so stupid as to take that first sip?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Lifetime Cost of Tobacco
If people did a quick calculation of how much they would spend in a lifetime on cigarettes, would anyone be so stupid as to take that first puff?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Just thinking about global problems such as global warming, nuclear war, overpopulation, environmental collapse, mass extinctions, biological weapons etc. can be pretty depressing. No wonder so many people flatly refuse to think about them at all. Instead of beating on people with information about how extremely serious these issues are, perhaps we need to lighten up, so that people can think about these problems without overwhelm.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
You should be able to walk from any part of your home to any other part at 3 in the morning without having to grope in the dark. This could be done with conventional light switches at both ends of each hallway, or room with two exits or with automatic sensors that turn on when you enter a region and turn off when you leave it.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Many people imagine that because they have billions brain cells they must have billions of memories. I think our store of memories is actually quite limited. Try this experiment.
- Make a list of all the events your can remember from your 12th year.
- Make a list of all the people you can remember you interacted with in your 12th year.
- Make a list of all the places whose floor plans you can remember from your 12th year.
- Make a list of your clothes, possessions and pets from your 12th year.
- Make a list of characters you recall from TV and movies in your 12th year.
- Make a list of what you would typically see in the kitchen cupboards and the refrigerator in your 12th year.
If you do this for your 13th year, there will be quite a bit of duplication.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If you watch somebody littering, they do it unconsciously. They don’t look around to see if anyone is watching. They have no shame. It seems they were raised in a home where everyone threw trash on the ground and their mothers never corrected them.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Living To 100
People think it is special blessing to live to 100, but if your spouse, siblings and friends are all dead?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I am on the last lap of my life. It leads me to contemplate what it would be like to live it over again:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Reliving my Life Reliving My Life Time Better Why Early Childhood I would go crazy with today’s helicopter parents. I don’t like being supervised. I don’t like my movements curtailed. Elementary school I had a terrible time with bullies. From what I read today’s bullies are even worse. High School I was gay and felt completely alone. Today, I could be out. Young Adult I was famous and admired because of my work in gay lib. I knew everyone. If I redid my life, gay lib would not be necessary, at least in Canada. Adult I was dumped suddenly and rather viciously. I never got over it. Presumably I would get just as insanely attached all over again. Middle Age I got HIV in 1985 and expected to die at any moment, year after year. The drugs were horrible. I learned to read while throwing up. Presumably next time around the drugs will be much gentler. Old Age Sex is over. Nobody I find interesting would be interested in a decrepit body like mine. In future aging may be postponed and energy improved.
Living With It
Whatever you do, you will have to live with its consequences for the rest of your life. Be kind to your future self. You won’t be able to undo anything.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
One of the odd things about growing old is my past actions seem much more embarrassing than they did at the time and my past angsts seem much ado about nothing.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Every day, I try to do something, that if it worked, would greatly change the world for the better. So far, nothing has worked. However, if, some day, one of these attempts works, it will look to everyone effortless and ascribe my success to superior skill or say that it would have happened anyway without my effort. I look on it as like buying a lottery ticket.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Everybody knows that doing service to others is the most effective way of generating happy feelings, but it the last thing most people try to cheer themselves up.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Madness of Casino Gambling
What possesses people to gamble at casinos? They always lose over the long run. If they are not careful, they are also sucked into financial ruin. It would make much more sense to gamble with their friends with 50:50 odds of winning.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I find it hard to take anyone seriously who hides their face behind layers of paint and powder.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Mandatory GPS (Global Positioning System)
Almost every day there is a news item about some idiot who went off into the wilderness without a GPS, without preparation, without telling anyone where he was going on when he was coming back. His disappearance triggers a massive, expensive search, where rescuers risk their lives, usually searching for him in unpleasant weather. The taxpayer gets stuck for 100% of the rescue bill, hospital bills and body recover bills.
I think it should work like this: When people want to head off into the wilderness, into unpatrolled ski areas etc. it should be mandatory for them to own or rent a GPS unit. This would have four functions:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Help him find his own way out if he is smart enough and responsible enough to use the unit.
- Help rescuers find him very quickly by automatic satellite tracking of his GPS position.
- For communicating during the rescue to find out just what help is needed.
- Automatically notice people in trouble for early rescue from the fact they don’t move.
I once had a lover 18 years younger than me. He was very keen to rollerblade and for me to accompany him. Unfortunately, I was quite clumsy and over and over fell painfully onto my tailbone. He was quite disappointed when I said I could not take any more punishment. Having a younger lover seems such a wonderful idea until you discover the practicalities.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Memorable Moments in Movies
I have only seen a minute fraction of all movies. Here are some of the most memorable (not necessarily funny) moments in the ones I did see.
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- The giant yellow flippers in flagrante delicto scene in Along Came Polly with Hank Azaria (yes Homer Simpson) as Claude, the nudist, well hung, buff French scuba instructor, Ben Stiller as Reuben Feffer, the jilted husband and Debra Messing as Lisa Kramer, the unfaithful on the first day of her honeymoon, wife.
- The salsa dance lesson scene in Along Came Polly where Ben Stiller as Reuben Feffer learns how to dance backwards from Jsu Garcia as Javier the dashing gay Cuban.
- The charm scene in Boardwalk Empire where Nick Robinson as Rowland Smith, the teenage bootlegger, gets caught stealing booze by Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson.
- The Coke machine scene in Dr. Strangelove with Peter Sellers as Group Captain Lionel Mandrake and Keenan Wyn as Colonel Bat Guano.
- The clone bath scene in First Wave where Sebastian Spence as Cade Foster first discovers the alien cache of adult fetuses in tanks, including the breathtaking Roger R. Cross as Joshua. This is not the movie, but an episode in a TV series.
- The horse head scene in The Godfather with John Marley as Jack Woltz.
- The scene where Lawrence first tries out his new Arabic clothes in Lawrence of Arabia with Peter O’Toole as Colonel T. E. Lawrence.
- The tent feast scene in Lawrence of Arabia with Peter O’Toole as Colonel T. E. Lawrence showing off by quoting the Qur’an.
- The sea turtle scene Ocean Heaven where Jet Li as Wang Xingchang convinces Zhang Wen as Dafu his retarded son that he has died and reincarnated as a sea turtle. It is one of the silliest scenes ever, but it is still made me choke up. May every disabled child have a father as loving as Wang Xingchang.
- The laughing gas scene in The Pink Panther Strikes Again where Peter Sellers as Chief Inspector Clouseau extracts a tooth from Herbert Lom as Charles Dreyfus
- The death scene in Romeo and Juliet where Michael York as the dashing Mercutio continues his banter as he lies mortally wounded.
- Chase scene in Sleeper where Woody Allen as Miles Monroe tries to escape by jumping like a little boy emulating superman’s takeoff maneuver.
- The orb scene in Sleeper where Woody Allen as Miles Monroe tries to pass as a robot immune the stoning effects of the orb pleasure device.
- The tango scene in Some Like it Hot where Jack Lemmon as Daphne dances to a blind-folded orchestra with Joe E. Brown as Osgood Fielding III.
- The gobbling scene in Something for Everyone when Michael York as Konrad Ludwig brings Angela Lansbury as Countess Herthe von Ornstein strawberries in bed. She devours them both ravenously and meticulously.
- The limousine scene in Something for Everyone when Michael York as the scheming, omnisexual, murderous Konrad Ludwig, realises he has been completely outsmarted by Jane Carr as Lotte von Ornstein who lusts after his perfect body and now has him trapped into marrying her.
- The first interview scene in Superman I where Margo Kidder as Lois Lane interviews Christopher Reeves as Superman. Do you…eat?
- The bath scene in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape where as Johnny Depp as Gilbert Grape patiently and tenderly gives his retarded younger brother Leonardo diCaprio as Arnie Grape a bath.
- The final scene in Zorba the Greek where Anthony Quinn as Zorba, after his world has collapsed around him, gets up and dances.
Most of my memories are a list of my life’s most embarrassing moments.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I play a game. I imagine I am on a panel of advisors in charge of the world. Via the Internet, my website, the CBC website and various newspaper blogs, I tell the world everyday a fraction of what it needs to do to become more livable and sustainable. Of course, it almost always ignores my advice. I vaguely hope my works to be discovered, possibly after my death, when suddenly I would be taken seriously and go viral. But more practically, I just hope even 0.1% of what I say soaks into the public consciousness. I have no idea which thin slice of my writing might appeal. The most-read pieces so far are a humorous piece on how to write terrible computer programs and an contemptuous essay on why you should not marry a soldier.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Mindless Hockey Violence
In what sport but hockey do players bludgeon each other with bare fists to the point of brain damage? Pro wrestling, but that is more choreography than sport. Boxing, but they use padded gloves. Gladiatorial combat, but they use weapons. Perhaps cage fighting. Even on purely economic grounds, I object. I don’t like paying to patch these idiots back up to get themselves killed.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
A Minor Advantage of Aging
One the pleasant things about growing older is your clothes last much longer.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
A Minor Advantage of Old Age
One the few advantages of old age is your fingernails are stronger.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Misery of Hockey
Hockey is the most depressing game. Fans of every team in the league but one go into suicidal depression. It is as though the slim chance of the pleasure of squashing others and watching their misery makes it all worthwhile.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If someone is born to drug addicted, homeless or abusive parents, or born with a painful lifelong incurable illness they really would have been much better off had they never been born. This is not to say they should commit suicide, but rather the circumstances of their birth should have been prevented.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Almost every culture in the world has a rich musical tradition, with the exception of the natives of North America whose mindless thumping and screaming sounds like cats being tortured. Was there once a developed musical culture that was lost in the colonial conquest?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Almost every place on earth has its own fascinating musical tradition. Oddly, the indigenous people of North America have only a quite primitive musical tradition. Why? Was there one that was destroyed by the European occupation? Was there some reason the native people never took much of an interest in complex music? Poverty is not the explanation. Consider Africa, South America, the middle east, India…~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Money ⇒ Fixing
Given that the outcomes of college and professional sports redirect millions of dollars, it is naïve to trust the games are not fixed.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Sometimes when I wake up feeling nauseous and achy, I expect to see the creature from the black lagoon staring back at me from the bathroom mirror. Instead, I see a well-rested, relatively youthful face staring back. How awful people must feel inside when they really do look like the creature from the black lagoon.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Most Unwelcome Gift
The most unwelcome gift is advice.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Perhaps my main peeve in the movies is the way half a dozen guys and a few housewives, will hover about to watch a bomb disposal expert defuse a bomb. I can’t see anyone being that stupid.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
As children, we have grand plans for our lives, but as we age, it becomes merely a matter of muddling through with minimal pain.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When you give your child the mumps vaccine and the booster, you not only protecting your child, you are doing your part to protect the whole herd. When 90% of people are vaccinated, mumps cannot get a foothold. This protects everyone. However, once it gets a foothold, even some vaccinated people will become infected. Deciding whether to vaccinate or not is not purely a personal decision. Sydney Crosby got both his shots, yet he got mumps anyway because fewer than 90% of parents chose to vaccinate. All those slacker parents conspired to put Mr. Crosby on the sidelines.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
It seems almost every few days some teenage girl is brutally murdered. Her relatives beat their breasts on the radio emoting about how unbearable a loss this is. Every person who ever knew her attests to her sainthood and how the universe will barely be able to continue without her. They explain they would do absolutely anything to bring her back. You can feel the deep pain in their voices. The problem is, now is too late. The time to put on the full court press was months or even years ago, to pull the girl back from the brink of alcohol or drug abuse, or hanging out with criminals, or to find alternatives to hitch hiking. The time to insist the provincial government fund the police to track down serial killers was long before they got to her.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The music on the radio mostly sounds as if it were slapped-together in half-an-hour. This was not always so.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
You may have noticed that most pop music starts with a short melodic or rhythmic figure played at least 12 times identically, without any variation of any kind, as the introduction. Then the figure continues in the background throughout the whole song. I find this boring, nay infuriating. Why do musicians do this?
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- laziness. They can program their synthesiser to pump it out ad nauseam without effort or musicians.
- The target for the music is drug users who find the mindless repetition reassuring.
- They get paid by the note.
Most music on the radio sounds as if it were created in half and hour. This was not always so.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Music With Scales
Music that incorporates scales is like a novel that keeps repeating the alphabet.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Much of the appeal of music is its repetition and predictability. People come to appreciate a piece the more they hear it. The repetition fosters the illusion that the universe is a safe, predictable place.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
In Mozart’s day, when you heard a piece of music, it could well be the first and last time you would ever hear it. Back then, a little repetition was justified.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Musicians on Musicians
One of the things I like about musicians is, when they talk publicly about each other, they have nothing but praise without a hint of envy.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I love live music shows. The performers have only the highest praise for each other. People who don’t like the Rolling Stones listen to some other group. They don’t form a Rolling Stone hate group. Imagine if politics and religion worked the same way.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Is My Beer Cold?
Coors Light beer features mountains on the can that change from white to blue when the beer cools to 4.0°C (39.2°F). If someone is so out of it they need help telling them if their beer is as cold as they like it, they probably should not be drinking more beer.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Political correctness has a little game. A minority group has a name. They they change it, usually to a longer name. Those that use the new name are their friends. Those that use the old one are bigots. Here are some examples:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Dwarf/Midget ⇒ vertically challenged ⇒ little people. This makes no sense. Little people are leprechauns.
- Negroes ⇒ coloureds ⇒ blacks ⇒ people of colour ⇒ African Americans
- Indians ⇒ natives ⇒ indigenous people ⇒ aboriginals ⇒ first nations
Getting to choose the name for something is 60% of persuading the public it is a right or a crime. Consider loaded terms like:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- All-natural (The ingredients are anything found on planet earth. Even carcinogens are part of nature. Cue The Lion King: Circle of Life.)
- cannabis (sounds clinical and scientific)
- collateral damage (killing civilians, especially children. It does not have to be accidental.)
- decommit (renege)
- defence contractor (when was they last time the built anything to defend anyone?)
- global-warming (sounds like a swim in Jamaica)
- climate-change (sounds refreshing, how about Thermageddon, climate collapse, planetary heat death)
- death tax
- intensive interrogation (torture)
- marriage equality (The good guys can play this game too.)
- oil-sands (tar sands, bitumen)
- partial-birth abortion (an extremely misleading name. It is not an abortion performed part way through birth. It is actually an abortion any time in the third trimester.)
- pro-life (Who isn’t in favour of life? It actually means making abortion and assisted death illegal.)
- purveyor of fine spirits
- redacted (censored)
- second amendment rights (It actually refers to the right to use guns in a reckless manner. The second amendment merely gives individual states rights to form militias.)
- sex trade worker
- sodomy (unspeakably wicked and dangerous whatever it is)
- Statutory rape (succumbing to the seduction of a 19-year old)
- traditional marriage…
Necessity of Cheating
It is almost impossible to win a global competition of any kind without cheating. This becomes the justification for cheating. Hence Walmart, Nestlé, Altria-Kraft, Exxon, Halliburton.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The New Period
The period is overused ♦ It means initials, acronyms, ellipsis, separating segments of a hierarchical name, end-of-sentence… ♦ It looks too much like a comma ♦ We need a new punctuation mark to be used exclusively to mark the end of a sentence ♦ It should be distinctive so you can scan for the end of the next sentence without having to look at every individual character ♦ It should have some extra space after it so that sentences are also blocked out with whitespace ♦ Text might render like this paragraph or something similar ♦~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
New Pop Music
Every generation needs to invent a new musical genre. Ideally it will make their parents’ ears bleed. It has to be new yet most of the euphonious ones are taken. I find it hard to believe that anyone will ever be nostalgic for the music circa 2013.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If your sentence refers to two different males, or two different groups of people, if you want to avoid ambiguity, you must avoid pronouns. You must spell the names all out ponderously. We need two new pronouns, one singular and one plural that mean the party of the second part.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The New Status Symbols
Privacy and anonymity are becoming harder and more expensive to attain. They will become status symbols.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Back in the 1980s, I announced publicly that my work could be used for non-military use only. Hundreds of times since I have had to interpret just what I meant by that in any given situation. Had I not announced, I doubt I would have held myself to nearly as strict and consistent a standard.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
North American Music
I am baffled how it could be the indigenous people of North America could come up with the most sophisticated indigenous art in the world, but the most awful music. It is mindless thumping overlaid with simulated sounds of cats being tortured.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
My least favourite month is November. It rains all the time and people weep for serial killers who butchered children for no good reason as if they were heroes.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
On Being Human
The most frustrating thing about being human is that you have to watch your fellows treating each other in the most unimaginably cruel ways and destroying the planet that sustains us while knowing that whatever you do to counter will be insignificant because you are only one in 7.357 billion.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
On the Brink of Death
If you have let yourself go to the point you can’t walk 400 metres (437.45 yards), the odds are you will be dead within 6 years. Most people who can’t walk that far, don’t even know it. You won’t find out until you try.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
It is odd how strongly some people crave praise, awards, prizes, honours and fame. Why would you want a swelled head? Most of us are already ridiculously conceited.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
On Singing Badly
Confidential to Hollywood: Singing badly is not funny. It’s been done.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Only Eight for a Year
Your kid will only be eight for a year. If there is any activity you want to share with your kid while they are eight, you had better get on with it during that year.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Optimism and Pessimism
Neither pessimism nor optimism are the optimum strategy. Both deliberately blind you to the most accurate estimates of what is most likely to happen. Further, pessimism make you refrain from action because you imagine it is futile. Optimism makes you refrain from action because you imagine it is not necessary. However, pessimists tend to hold a more accurate view than optimists.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
As you get older, you discover your parents were ordinary.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Out Damn Valley Girl Accent
If you are entering the job market, you will fail if you speak like a valley girl, especially if you are male. Get rid of that nasal whine. Chop those elongated two-note vowels. Drop that bored accent. Learn to pronounce like the most respected announcers on radio and TV. You sound like a slob if you drop your gs or say ta instead of to. People somewhat older than you will be evaluating you. Your sloppy speech habits irritate them even if your peers see no problem. You may complain this is unfair, but if you ignore my advice you will have a much harder time getting a job. In a tight job market, you need every edge you can get.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Outing The Disadvantages
With the Java glossary, I aim to give you an overview of a technology so that you can quickly tell if it would be useful to you. To do that I must do three things:
- Explain in simple terms what it is for and how it works.
- Explain the advantages over competing technologies.
- Explain the disadvantages compared with competing technologies.
This last work makes me unpopular. It makes me look like a grumpy old man, but it is my most valuable service. The vendors will go to great lengths to hide those disadvantages from you. Otherwise, the disadvantages may not become obvious until you have committed yourself to that technology and it is too late to back out. I am not commanding you don’t use this. Only you know which advantages and disadvantage are important to you.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The biggest temptation to overeat is knowing there is more of what you are eating, ready and nearby. Cavemen did not have this problem. They did not have big stores of food. If they did, the food would rot or be eaten by animals or insects. For the most part, they ate food as soon as they found it. If they were lucky enough to come across a big source of food, e.g. they bagged a hippopotamus, the wisest thing to do would be to gorge and eat as much of it as possible. Tomorrow there might be nothing. We are still thinking like cavemen when we go to the fridge. One way to defeat this programming is to buy only enough food for one day. You can scarf it all down as fast as you please and still not overeat.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Be careful when talking to kids not to fill their heads with ideas impossibly grand or they might get the idea great things automatically happen like being drawn along by a river. Also few of us do anything of historical significance. There should be no shame in that.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Popular psychology and parents often lie to kids telling them that their wildest dreams will come true if they but try. In a mad desire to be unique they often set useless, egotistic, athletic, entertainment or fame goals. They want to be the one in 10 million. They people who win these games are genetic flukes. You have odds similar to winning a lottery. It is a silly pipedream. You are much better off aiming to so something well, something useful.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Overvaluing Dead Speakers
It is curious that we give more weight to the utterances of dead people, even though what they said does not take into consideration anything that has been learned since they uttered it.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Owing is a Convention
People often fail to realise that owning is just a social convention, like a rule in a board game. It coordinates use of objects. It is not real in the same sense gravity is.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Parents harangue their kids not to hit or hurt each other, then they pack them off to junior hockey.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Passing for Smarter
The quickest way to get people to presume you are 15 IQ points higher is to stop saying um or its many synonyms such as moving forward, basically, per se, to be honest… Just leave a silence when you have nothing to say.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If you study the behaviour of the Roman Emperors and the Twentieth Century dictators, you can see what happens with the constraints of peers are removed. This Gandhian business of ignoring what others think is somewhat overrated.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Perfect Your Craft
Perfect your craft; recognition comes later. Perfect your craft; that is your job; recognition is other people’s. Many people receive no recognition until they die; many people receive no recognition ever. People who receive recognition before perfecting their craft mostly receive contempt.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Perry Mason was a whodunnit popular in the 1950s. If it is ever revived we will need a writers guide to make sure the new episodes conform to the stock formula:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Any person behaving rudely or smugly in the first 10 minutes of the episode will be murdered.
- Anyone Perry represents is innocent.
- Lt. Tragg and Hamilton Burger must treat Perry as a likely criminal, even though they have known him for years.
- Young good-looking couples in love are never guilty.
- Anyone who says I swear I didn’t do it in a loud voice is always innocent.
- Any guilty party will instantly confess as soon as Perry conjectures how they committed the crime (not necessarily a murder), even if Perry has similarly falsely accused half a dozen people prior.
- At the end of each episode, Perry Mason, Della Street and Paul Drake must be alive, single and unencumbered with a partner.
- Every show must end with a lame joke and group laughter.
Phone In Callers
I am puzzled about people who call in to radio shows. They ramble. They refuse to get to the point. They usually have some thick accent or speech eccentricity that make them hard to understand. They are usually quite stupid. Why would this be? Perhaps in their daily life people refuse to listen to them, so they call radio shows where the host is required to be patient and polite.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Unsolicited sales phone calls for the same product arrive perhaps five times a week. It works like this:
- a person barges into my bathroom and demands I get out of the tub to listen to their pitch I have heard 5 times before, often to sell me a product I could not possibly use, like a new roof when I live in an apartment.
- a person barges into my office, taps me on the shoulder and says Whatever you are doing, has no importance compared with my scam to install malware on your computer.
Anyone who behaves this way deserves a blast in the strongest possible language. That it is their job is no more excuse than that they rob banks for a living.
The telephone as an invention is incomplete. It rudely interrupts for salesmen and other trivial calls all with maximal alarm. In the old days, callers had to write ahead for an appointment and present a card before being allowed to enter.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Phone-in Show Callers
Why is it that people who can barely speak English are the ones most likely to call phone-in shows on radio?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Pigging Out is Natural
Because we evolved in conditional of near constant food shortage, we learned that whenever food is available, you should eat as much as you can. This strategy does not work in the modern world where food is continuously available. You have to recreate the original conditions by removing food from your environment, or by going hungry all the time with an act of will.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Piss on you Smokers!
I can smell a cigar smoker from two blocks away. It is revolting. They positively enjoy stinking up the place, like tigers urinating to mark territory. Smokers create a filthy bubble around them of about 5 meters. They refuse to believe the smoke is objectionable to others because they love the smell and they are so immersed in it, they can barely smell it. Their olfactory organs have atrophied and numbed.
I don’t object to marijuana smoke, which some say is equally dangerous to health, but that is because it does not reek. Cigarette smoke sticks to clothes until they are laundered. You would not throw mud on another’s clothes, but smokers think nothing of throwing stink bombs on them.
When my Dad quit smoking he remarked on how incredibly good food tasted now that his sense of smell was coming back to life.
Finally, study the litter on the street. It is mostly fast food wrappers and smoking trash.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Places I Would Not Live
There are some places I have never visited, but I would not ever consider living there, based solely on the name: Fishkill, Wolf Trap, Kill Burn, Camp Kill Jews and St. Paul.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If you look in history, usually several people came up even every good idea independently. It makes no sense to try patent/copyright ideas in the guise of stamping our plagiarism. Leave that to formal patents and copyright law.
When I read a book, I often quote it with attribution on this website. However, sometimes the author rambles. So then I try to condense the idea into an epigram. Would the author even want attribution for my simplified/adulterated version, that might even have totally missed his point? So, sometimes I just cite the title of his book without trying to claim the author agrees with my version, but merely as an interesting place to read more on the issue.
I was very embarrassed to discover two epigrams that I thought I had composed If you want a thing done well, do it yourself. and Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence. were actually Napoleon’s. It is easy to confuse something that pops into your head with something you heard long ago. I think we should just correct the attribution without presuming criminal intent.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Planned Obsolescence in Paint
The more fashionable a colour, the sooner it will look dated. That’s why the paint companies try to persuade you to overuse this year’s colours. The goal of marketing is to get people to buy new product even when the previous product is still working fine by persuading them it is obsolete.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Playing God In A Flood
In a flood, the government often redirects floodwaters away from one area to flood another. Those flooded complain, But I was wise. I built on high land. Why should I suffer to save those fools to build on the flood plain?. The government responds, It is a matter of the greatest good for the greatest number. I think either the government or those on the low land should compensate the people on the high land for their unwilling sacrifice.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Please Die List
Here are some of the people whose obituaries I would enjoy reading:
- Billy Graham (born:1918-11-07 age:98)
- Ernest Angley (born:1921-08-09 age:95)
- Robert Mugabe (born:1924-02-21 age:92)
- Ex-Pope Ratzinger (born:1927-04-16 age:89)
- Pat Robertson (born:1930-03-22 age:86)
- Rupert Murdoch (born:1931-03-11 age:85)
- Donald Rumsfeld (born:1932-07-09 age:84)
- James Inhofe (born:1934-11-17 age:82)
- Charles Koch (born:1935-11-01 age:81)
- James Dobson (born:1936-04-21 age:80)
- David Koch (born:1940-05-03 age:76)
- Dick Cheney (born:1941-01-30 age:75)
- Gary Kilgore North (born:1942 age:74)
- Donald Trump (born:1946-06-14 age:70)
- George W. Bush (born:1946-07-06 age:70)
- Peter Popoff (born:1946-07-02 age:70)
- Paul LePage (born:1948-10-09 age:68)
- Rush Limbaugh (born:1951-01-12 age:65)
- Benny Hinn (born:1952-12-03 age:64)
- David Barton (born:1954 age:62)
- John Roberts (born:1955-01-27 age:61)
- Stephen Harper (born:1959-04-30 age:57)
- Ann Coulter (born:1961-12-08 age:55)
- Sean Hannity (born:1961-12-30 age:54)
- Glenn Beck (born:1964-02-10 age:52)
- Bashar al-Assad (born:1965-09-11 age:51)
- Kellyanne Conway (Trump’s chief apologist) (born:1967-01-20 age:49)
- Mark Dice (born:1977-12-21 age:38)
- Kim Jong Un (born:1984-01-08 age:32)
I have had my wish once so far. Fred Phelps (born:1929-11-13 died:2014-03-19 at age:84) was on the list. Eventually every last one of them will go, though quite possibly long after I do.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Pompous Religion Theories
The purpose of grand religious or philosophical theories of everything is to get people to accept foolish assertions by shoehorning them in with a desire for consistency.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Pondering Your Life
When you get old, you can’t help but review all the stupid choices you made in your life. You wince at what you did. Yet even with all those suboptimal choices, you got to where you are now. Those choices could not have been all that catastrophic.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I prefer listening to pop music in French. I hear the music, the rhymes and the rhythm with all the silliness of the lyrics squeezed out.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Pop Music Decline
Ever since disco came into fashion, I lost interest in pop music. The problem is computers make it so easy to crank out music that is mindlessly repetitive, and without any innovation. The epitome of this crap music is Tribe Red and the powwow genre, which would be suitable for use as torture at Guantánamo. I could count on one hand pop musicians who still create actual music.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If you went by the lyrics of pop songs you would assume everyone is addicted to alcohol, drugs and cigarettes. You would assume when a couple broke up, they always tried as hard as possible to make the other suffer.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
There are movie rôles that attract many different actors: Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Superman, Batman… Why those ones?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
After you are dead, it depends completely on what others think of you how much of your life work is preserved.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If people don’t like you now, why do think posterity will hold you in any higher regard?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
As you get older, it gets harder to comprehend thick accents. I speculate this may be partly why as people age they become more xenophobic.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
In my experience, people die prematurely most commonly from HIV, cancer and traffic accidents.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Imagine if you went to a spice shop, and every supplier of cinnamon in the shop packaged cinnamon under its own house name. You would get home and look at your package of clydecin and wonder if you had cinnamon or cloves or something else. This is effectively what prescription drug manufacturers do. Here is how I think it should work:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Your pill bottle should be labelled in big print with the generic name of the drug. We should not permit any alternate proprietary names. Multiple names just causes confusion when emergency personnel do not recognize one of the dozen variant names when being told about allergies.
- Your pill bottle should contain a phrase to tell what condition the medicine is for, e.g. tranquilizer, blood pressure reduction, lower blood sugar, anti-HIV…
- The pill shapes and colours should encode the general pill purpose, e.g. white are antibiotics, red are circulatory and heart, blue are tranquilisers and nervous system…
- When a patent expires, the brand name becomes the generic name.
- The only time a drug may have an alternate name is during trials before it has been released. It does not need a consumer name yet.
How many times have you gone to a public presentation, where the presenter spent the first five minutes fiddling with his microphone, and learning how to work the audio-visual equipment by randomly pressing buttons? That is so insulting. That should be done before the audience arrives.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Pretending to Know the Future
Someone who says It will be A; It will B; It will be C. Don’t ask me how I know. you know he does not value his audience’s time. He is most likely a pompous blowhard. One of many examples is Thomas Huebl.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Pretending Sports Matter
The outcome of a sporting event has almost no lasting effect, save possibly on the income of the star players. Spectators whip themselves up into temporarily caring passionately about the outcome. Taking this ability into life in general is a recipe for a disappointing and futile life.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The secret to making money collecting is to keep pristine junk, that everyone owns and everyone discards.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
According to Dr. Michio Kaku, using MRI we may be able to see the images in your dreams.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I can calculate the total work I will do in my life if I procrastinate and if I don’t and still I procrastinate, why?
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Because I am hoping in future I will have more energy.
- Because I am hoping something will happen to make this work unnecessary.
- Because work now I value as more onerous that work later.
The Procrastination Diet
You make losing weight unnecessarily difficult if you focus on all the delicious foods you are depriving yourself of. There is no need to deny yourself anything, just procrastinate so you eat it less often.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Professional Announcer Slovenliness
You would think professional radio announcers would take a professional pride in pronouncing words correctly. But they don’t . They mangle even simple words like to, Tuesday and February.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I have noticed that ESL speakers usually have a perfectly adequate vocabulary. They demonstrate their excellent command of it with their ability to speak quickly. What makes them incomprehensible, difficult to understand or tiring to listen to is their accents. English language schools would do better to focus 75% of the time on accurate pronunciation. People can easily pick up new vocabulary later on their own. In contrast, without instruction, their pronunciation will never improve. In addition, accurate pronunciation is the key to better jobs and better social acceptance.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Purpose of Fiction
The social utility of fiction is similar to travel. It helps people see the world through eyes quite different from their own.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Purpose of Gambling
Gambling is so universal, I think it must serve some useful purpose — namely wealth sharing.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Purpose of HDTV (High Definition Television)
HDTV’s greatest gift will be making it easier to see through the deception of infomercials.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Purpose of Please and Thank-You
Why are please and thank-you the cornerstones of politeness? Please is a marker word that warns the listener to pay attention because the message contains a request. Failure to respond will have consequences. When the task is completed, the requester says thank you to signal they consider the request fulfilled to their satisfaction. The listener can now safely put the matter out of mind. Without please the listener might miss the request, and then the requester could feel hurt that the request was deliberately ignored.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Purpose of Table Manners
Table manners teach children restraint, how to resist urges.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Quaker advertises its chocolate bars have half the sugar of the competition. How do they do it? Their bars are half the size!~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Questions To Ask When You Will Die Soon
When I was diagnosed with HIV and told I would die in one to three years, I asked myself What can I get accomplished in my remaining time? Other people ask themselves pointless questions such as Why me? or What sort of deal can I con god into, to let me live?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
After authors are dead, people rarely read their books. Exposure is limited to quotations. So an author seeking an audience in posterity might save time by writing just quotations as I do.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
It is quite a bit easier to quote myself than to find some famous person who has already said what I want to say.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I think radio will be enjoying a revival. It can be combined with a website to deliver text, replays, transcripts, news and video. It is not as intrusive as TV. People can go about their ordinary activities with the radio in the background. It is cheap enough to produce that every local area can have a choice of stations. It is becoming the primary choice for local advertisers. Newspapers and radio will merge as papers drop delivering cellulose packets. Radio also has the advantage of relatively low bandwidth, so a specialty station can easily serve the entire planet.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Radio vs TV
What’s the difference between television and radio? In radio there are fewer screams, fights and stabbings. People being interviewed on radio do not talk over the interviewer and other guests.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Rat music is classical music that sounds like a rat running rapidly up and down the keyboard. The primary source of enjoyment of such music is admiring the speed and manual dexterity of the pianist. Even greats like Mozart succumbed to it, e.g. in his Coronation Concerto.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When a rat philosopher heads down a tunnel and finds no cheese, he does not say to himself Rats! I failed. He says, I have learned something. I now know one more place where the cheese isnt.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Psychopaths do not experience dread while waiting for some inevitable terrible thing to happen. Ironically, this is more rational than what normal people do.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Reactions to Cancer
Where people get cancer, they have three main reactions, two of which are considered admirable:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- fighting it
Reducing Global Suffering
Even when I excoriate mercilessly, what I am trying to do is reduce global suffering.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
People are far more likely to regret what they didn’t do than what they did.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Only about 0.27% of people die on their birthdays.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Relinquish the Floor
It would be nice if English had a short word that meant I have spoken that you would say to relinquish the floor to someone else. The Iroquois language has one.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If someone is reluctant to grant you an interview, consider the possibility they have received many death threats, and you might be someone planning to realise one of those threats. They will only take interviews from people they know.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Reminding Me of my Bald Spot
Something that baffles me is why barbers so often warn me about my bald spot. Do they think I don’t know about it? Are they concerned if I don’t seek immediate medical attention it will spread? Is the first step in a hair replacement pitch? Are they hoping commiseration will generate a bigger tip?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Some people can remember their childhoods, even prior to the time they could talk. They understand why children seem so dense, asking the same questions over and over. It is more like asking to hear a favourite bedtime story yet again. The child simply cannot not think of a new question to keep the conversation going with a beloved adult.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
A joke repeated is not twice as funny; it is half as funny. (Advice to the CBC Irrelevant Show).~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Research and Experiment on the Small Scale
It is too obvious to mention, but… If there are several different ways of doing something, one of them is probably noticeably better. If you do something more than once a day, it is probably worth a little experiment and a few moments contemplating the advantages and disadvantages of doing it each way. Then you can put your choice on automatic.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I have noticed it is a lot easier to research the birth date of someone over 50 than under 50. I think younger people are more concerned about identity theft and avoiding crazies from the Internet showing up at their door.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Resistance to Antibiotics
Microorganisms are rapidly evolving resistance to all our antibiotics. We will soon be back to the way things were in 1900 before antibiotics. Most children died of communicable diseases. What do we need to do?
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Always use antibiotics in multi-drug cocktails so the bugs have a very tough time evolving resistance, the way we do with HIV drugs.
- Ban the use of human antibiotics in animal feed just to promote growth. Low dose is the ideal way to encourage resistance.
- Criminal penalties for prescribing antibiotics frivolously — e.g. because patient foolishly demanded it.
- Hire drug companies to develop a spectrum of unpatented new antibiotics.
- Keep some antibiotics in reserve to be used only when the standard set have failed.
When you reach retirement age, you can look back 15 years to when you were 50. It seems like yesterday. You can look ahead 15 years to when you will be 80. Most people die around then if not sooner. This is it. You are on the last lap.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The River of Life
I am haunted by the image of the river of humanity. Individual lives are like drops of water flowing from birth to death, all in a matter of days. The bloom of youth lasts but an afternoon. A career is over in a day. From a distance, the stream of frantic activity appears continuous and eternal.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Wade Davis said that everyone who takes a certain South American psychedelic plant has similar visions, among them viewing the activities of rock people. I can think of three explanations for that:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- People who take the hallucinogen first study up on its effects. Suggestibility takes it from there.
- These visions are archetypes built into all human brains.
- Analogously to infrared goggles, the psychedelic allows a different view of reality that emphasises things not normally visible.
I hope this is not news to you:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- If you have to clean a toothbrush holder and a toilet with the same rag, clean the toothbrush holder first.
- The proper position of the toilet seat for flushing is neither up nor down, but closed.
- Clean is not a fragrance.
Edvard Munch’s The Scream is one of my least favourite paintings. There’s four variants. I have never understood its popularity. It is not aesthetically pleasing. It shows no great skill of execution. It is not something you can stare at for hours and keep seeing something new. It elicits uncomfortable emotions. It is famous because it is famous.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I wish parents would teach their children not to scream except in an emergency.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The word inform is an academic fad that will forever date writings as circa 2012.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I wish couples, before they stopped using birth control, would have a talk with a dozen parents, some happy and some miserable about how their kids turned out. Imagine if your kid became addicted to drugs, started selling his or her body, became a soldier, joined a criminal gang, became a religious fanatic or a Republican and nothing you could think of would dissuade them. Not only have you failed them, you have launched your little monster on the world. Even if they turn out OK, you have still added one more overpopulation straw to the planet’s back.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Selling an Idea
If you are trying to sell an idea, it works better if you can find a dead person who thought of it first.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Selling an Idea
To make a new idea sound respectable, you need to find a dead guy who espoused it.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Seniors Were Once As Horny As Anyone Else
Seniors behave as if they never used to be horny as goats. They manage to fool themselves and the younger generation.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Modern Canadians speak more like Shakespear did, than modern Londeners.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Shining Black Hole
According to Dr. Michio Kaku, if were not for obscuring dust, the black hole at the center of our galaxy would shine as brightly as the moon.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Shock of Growing Old
Nothing can prepare you for the shock of waking up one day and seeing an old person staring back at you in the mirror.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
A typical soft drink has 8 US teaspoons of sugar, yet if you mix up a large glass of lemonade, it takes only 2 teaspoons of drink powder and not all of the sugar dissolves. How do the soft drink makers manage to pack in so much sugar? A cup of coffee with 8 US teaspoons of sugar would taste revolting. How come soft drinks don’t taste sickly sweet?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Sign of Recovery
It is a good sign when a hospital patient complains about the food. Those about to die know they won’t be eating any more of it.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Have you noticed how pop singers usually affect some silly way of speaking, e.g.
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- using a breathy voice as though they were deathly ill.
- a fake Texas accent.
- baby talk.
Slow Parcel Mystery
It makes no sense. Produce arrives in a timely way from the other side of the planet for pennies a kilogram. I can fly from where I live to anywhere in the USA within a day. I can drive to anywhere in the USA within 5 days or so. Yet it takes over a month for a parcel to get to me and they charge $20 to ship it. What are they doing with my parcel to make it take so long and cost so much?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Smartest in the World
If you are an unusually intelligent child, it is not hard to develop the delusion that you are the brightest human on the planet. Gradually through life this notion will be kicked out of you as you encounter people clears much more intelligent than you are. The final blow comes with old age, when you realise you are not nearly as quick as you once were.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Smoker = Criminal
I notice that in TV and the movies, if someone smokes, it is a signal they are a criminal or will soon be murdered. I think the idea it helps make the audience less sympathetic to them. Nobody likes a smoker pays no attention to how the smoke affects others.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Smoking and Pigging In The Movies
The smoking scenes in old movies don’t play well today. I suspect scenes of pigging out, particularly on junk food won’t play well either by the 2030s.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Smoking is Boring
Watching people smoke is the worst way to pad a film.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Smoking In the Movies
In the 50s, smoking in the movies signified sophistication or rebellion. Today it signifies stupidity, selfishness and a dead-end life.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Smoking in the Movies
It becomes increasingly difficult to watch movies prior to the 1970s because of the routine tobacco ingestion. It distracts the plot as much as if the actors blandly shot up heroin in the middle of their dialogs.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
In 1985, I went for soul food at Powell’s restaurant in San Francisco. When I tasted the smothered chicken — a chicken in peppery gravy, I thought to myself So this is what I have been hungry for all my life.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
It is only 117 km (72.70 miles) from Seattle (WA, USA) to Victoria (BC Canada). Yet it takes an envelope about 4 weeks to arrive by snail mail. The trip by car/ferry takes far less than a day. It is only 45 minutes by float plane.
Why is snail mail so slow? They must be storing the envelope for nearly the entire 4 weeks. Perhaps they store mail until they have a big enough batch to forward to the next way point. I would think there would be plenty of mail flowing from Seattle to Vancouver and from Vancouver to Victoria every day. There should no need to accumulate a batch. If anyone knows the solution to this mystery, please pass it on.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
So You Want To Be a CEO (Chief Executive Officer)
If you are the sort of person who likes to concentrate on one problem for hours at a time, avoid becoming a CEO. A CEO has to be aware of everything simultaneously, including which employees are stealing and embezzling.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Consider the following names: Carson, Dyson, Emerson, Gibson, Henderson, Patterson, Prison, Simpson, Swanson, Thompson, Watson… How could these names have come about when no one is named Car, Dy or Emer?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Why do song writers affect much worse grammar and pronunciation than they use in ordinary speech?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Songwriters know how to sell an idea, however, they typically though have no idea which idea they should sell.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If you want people to think of you as twice as smart as they do now, you need do only two things:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Stop dropping your gs, e.g. dropping instead of droppin
- Say to instead of ta.
Pretty well any native English speaker can speak English with a convincing French accent. Yet it never occurs to them to speak French with that same convincing French accent.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Some people speed, some people do not. Why speed?
- You arrive sooner.
- It makes driving more exciting.
- It is a way of demonstrating manliness.
- It is a way prove to yourself you do not give a fuck about anyone else. You are a free spirit. Nobody tells you what to do.
- It is a competitive sport, seeing who can get ahead and cut others off.
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Speeding is illegal. Who wants a fine?
- You are less likely to get in an accident.
- You can see the scenery better if you take your time.
- You use less gas and put less wear on you car. Driving at 35.76 metres/sec (80 mph) increases your fuel consumption by 28%.
- You emit less greenhouse gases.
Consider three types of sports:
- spectator sports.
- competitive sports.
- recreational sports.
(1) and (2) consume huge amounts of time, money and energy. (2) requires painful, boring training. Yet neither (1) nor (2) produce anything commensurate with the effort expended, nothing of lasting value. Imagine what could have been accomplished if all that work had been expended toward some practical goal. (3), of course, have health benefits and simple physical pleasure.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I don’t think the government should be promoting professional sports with subsidies and by building stadia. Why?
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Sports are essentially entertainment. They don’t produce anything. After the competition is over, pretty much all is forgotten. Taxes should go to repairing infrastructure, education etc, not frills.
- Mainly the well-to-do people attend. Ordinary folk cannot afford tickets. The wealthy do not need a subsidy. The wealthy team owners do not need a subsidy. The poor are subsidising the rich.
- Many types of professional sports deliberately push athletes to injure themselves. The taxpayer, most of whom have never watched that athlete play, are stuck with the medical bills for the rest of his life.
- Some sports incite drunken riots and inflame racism.
Sports and War
When men watch professional sports, their testosterone levels rise and their cortisol (stress hormone) levels rise. This suggests the experience is tapping into the same brain wiring as tribal warfare. It dumbs men down so that they see my tribe 100% good, other tribe 100% evil bastards.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When you discover that starch is a polymer, i.e. a polysaccharide, i.e. a long thin chain of sugar molecules, it becomes less of a mystery how it is so effective at piling on the pounds.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Stating the Obvious
I see my rôle as stating the obvious, particularly things so obvious that nobody else sees it necessary to enunciate them.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Stating the Taboo
I see my rôle as stating the obvious, particularly obvious things others are afraid to say aloud.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
ph is pronounced f as in photograph. Then surely Stephen should be pronounced Steffan.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Smokers know that every cigarette shortens life. They dismiss the loss by saying, who wants extra years as a senile nonagenarian anyway? But the years are stolen from your teens, twenties and thirties. Old age comes earlier.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Because of media hype, parents are unnecessarily paranoid about the dangers of strangers abducting and killing their children. They are suffocating their children in the process, turning them into obese, pasty worms who never see the light of day.
In 1970, 66% of children walked or biked to school. Today 10% do. 70% of children played outside. Now only 30% are permitted to.
Abductions are 1/3 what they were in the 1990s and most of those are parents disputing custody. The risk of a child being killed by a stranger are 1/20 the risk of drowning and 1/40 the risk of a fatal car accident. If for some strange reason you wanted your child to be killed by a stranger, you would have to leave them outside unattended for an average of 750,000 years. Sexual abuse is nearly always by someone the child knows, most commonly the father.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68) The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
The Stylist Insult
It is considered a compliment to call a woman stylish, but if you think about it, anyone who chases the latest styles is foolish and shallow.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Ages 0 to 20 takes an eternity of subjective time. 40 to 60 takes only a couple of years.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When you are six, a month takes an eternity of subjective time. When you are sixty, a year whips by like a chase in a Mack Sennett silent film.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Successful People Persist Doggedly
One of the most useful pieces of information I have gleaned from reading biographies is that successful people have far more than their fair share of setbacks and brutal discouragement from others. However, they are stubborn and refuse to give up.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If you hear of a friend who has committed suicide, you might imagine them dispassionately ticking off a list of horrible and pleasant things likely to happen while they compute the balance. It is not like that at all. They kill themselves when the mental pain becomes unbearable.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
More teens now commit suicide than die in car accidents. Put yourself in the shoes of a teen.
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Adults tell you that climate change is going to make our planet unlivable. But adults don’t care. They ignore the problem so they can make a little bit more money in the short term. The lives of young people don’t matter.
- Adults tell you that we have accumulated enough nuclear and biological weapons to wipe out everyone many times over, and our taxes are being used to build more. There is nothing we can do about it. The defence industry has the government by the balls.
- Adults tell you that over the decades the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. There is nothing anyone can do about it since the corporations can legally buy the politicians.
- Adults tell you that in recent years, half the planet’s species have gone extinct. All food fish species will be gone by 2048. Adults are unwilling to make the tiniest sacrifice to slow this. They don’t care if young people inherit a lifeless planet.
- To deal with this despair, you might try drugs to get some short term pleasure. This is like playing Russian roulette. It is a form of suicide.
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. One of the extremely odd things about life is you do not have to solve all its problems. Most of the time, situations change in insignificant ways that make insurmountable problems largely go away. Commonly, it simply amounts to meeting a new person.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If I were ever to commit suicide (other that just before life’s natural end) here is why:
I can’t stand living in a world where there are Christians and Republicans. What is so terrible about Christians and Republicans? Where to begin?
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- They are climate change deniers. Out of greed or ignorance or superstition they work hard to destroy our planet. They are almost certain to succeed.
- They hate the environment. They work hard to drive species to extinction, presumably for economic benefit.
- They promote overpopulation.
- They are racist and homophobic. They demand white privilege. They brazenly deny others their civil rights.
- They lie and lie and lie. The repeat lies to each other so they can forget that they are lying.
- They are bullies. They promote the use of military force and torture to let the USA stomp over everyone else.
- The Catholic priests rape children. The church helps them get away with it.
- The Catholic hospitals murder women by denying them an abortion needed to save their life.
- Christians believe Jesus suffered unbearably for three days on the cross, yet they condemn the terminally ill to suffering just as horrible for months and even years.
- They know perfectly well that every country with gun control has a tenth or less the problem with gun violence. Yet they lie and lie that more guns makes you safer.
- Republicans keep upping military expenditure, fueling an arms race, even when the USA spends more than the rest of the earth combined on deathware.
Part of the reason native people have so much trouble with suicide is in their tradition it is a taboo subject.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Most of what I have said in my life soap box can be summed up in a few sentences:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Play fair, especially with those weaker than you.
- Whomever makes a mess should be obligated to clean it up.
- We should not tolerate lying because, as Gautama Buddha said, If people become accustomed to lying, they will unconsciously commit every possible wrong deed. Before they can act wickedly, they must lie and once they begin to lie they will act wickedly without concern.
- Echoing Gandhi: An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.
- Again echoing Gandhi: Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
What is the point of surveillance cameras if they do not have sufficient resolution to identify the culprit or read off his licence number?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Survival Training for Kids
If you teach your children to be considerate of others, you automatically teach them the keys to survival. They will take care to preserve other species. They won’t go mindlessly to war. They won’t persecute others just because they have different beliefs. They will make the sacrifices necessary to deal with the end of oil and global warming because they are concerned for their children and grandchildren. They won’t conspicuously consume. They will have happy relationships.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
On 2010-01-12, a magnitude 7 earthquake in Haiti killed 300,000 people. On 2010-02-23, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile killed only 500 people. Why such a difference in casualties? The Haitians had no building codes. The Chileans strictly enforced theirs. North Americans like to live dangerously by building on landfill that liquefies during quakes.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Did you ever notice when someone is murdered there are plenty of suspects who wanted the victim dead? It is no accident who gets murdered. If there are dozens of people who want someone dead, the odds are much greater one of them will carry through.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Oddly people are far more suspicious and critical of altruistic acts than criminal ones.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
One of the more amusing things about humans is their penchant for symbolic action. For example, instead of helping the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, they wear blue and yellow and run. Instead of helping flood victims, they pray for them. Instead of funding research, they wear a coloured ribbon. Instead of stopping rapists, they hold a candlelight vigil for them and force women to bear their sons to ensure the preservation of rapist genes.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Taboo Against Old Music
I enjoy pop music from the 1890s through the 1970s. Unfortunately, there seems to be a taboo against composing any new music in any of those genres. Ditto the baroque period.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Talking to Plants
Everyone can talk to plants, but plants talk back only to those with very active imaginations.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If there is anything to telekinesis, now that we can see individual molecules, if the psychics find they can’s even move a single molecule, we know for certain they are full of B.S.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Telling the Truth Always Offends Someone
You can choose your words to avoid giving offence or you can tell the truth. You can’t do both simultaneously.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Athletes and musicians give the worst interviews. Why do they bother?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Thanking the Dead
There were so many people who died before I realised they were important. I should have at least sent them a thank you note.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Why is it that the people with the thickest accents are the first to line up to ask questions at public lectures?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
We look back on letters written in the 1800s. They seem so quaint and so far away. No matter what, centuries will continue to click by. People of the future, if there are any, will look back on what we wrote. Our letters and lives will seem equally quaint.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Time For Fame
The best time for fame is after death.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If time travel to the past were possible, I speculate just your presence there would so disturb things that you could never go back to your future life. The gross features might still be there, but the your familiar circle of people might no longer exist.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I have a very hard time understanding the appeal of games. My in-box is full of thousands of real-world problems to solve. Why would I waste time solving puzzles and games where the solution does not matter?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Tobacco and Children
Tobacco is more addictive than marijuana, alcohol and even cocaine. Oddly we permit corporations to advertise it to children.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The smaller the hole in a toilet seat, the more comfortable. The bigger the hole in a toilet seat, the easier it is to keep clean. Where else do find such useful information?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
You can’t be too careful! Oh yes you can! You can waste so much effort worrying about things highly unlikely to happen that you forget to prepare for the ones that will inevitably happen. You can turn your kids into couch potatoes if you don’t let them get outside for some vigorous unstructured play. You can instill a phobia of strangers so deep in your kids it will prevent them from ever finding life partners.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Music that consists of three words sung over and over again is not music.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If you want to become more honest, you must first train yourself to be an insensitive bastard who is unaffected when people get so upset when you tell the truth.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Scientists have found that monkeys with access to all the food they want become obese; the same with humans. We have not evolved to cope with continuous abundance.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Tragedy vs Comedy
In tragedy, if a character the audience likes slips in snow, it is sad event. If a character is one the audience dislikes, it is a guilty pleasure. In comedy, if a character the audience likes slips in snow, it is funny. If a character is one the audience dislikes, it is a wickedly funny.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Tragically Hip
I heard that Gord Downie, the lead singer of the Tragically Hip, was terminally ill. The band was doing a farewell tour. Person after person on the CBC extolled the virtues of the band. The name of the band was intriguing. I looked forward to hearing them.
I eventually got to hear them and was unimpressed. The melodies were mindlessly simple and repetitive. The guitars were distorted as if they had used the cheapest imaginable electronic amplifiers. Downie was reputed to be a great poet, but I could never make out his words. The band was a wall of noise drowning him out. Would they have gotten much attention for a farewell tour without Downie’s brain cancer?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Travel when you are young, ideally in the year after high school before you go to university. Why?
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- There is nothing better to show you on a deep level there is more than one way to do something.
- It is cheaper to travel when you are young.
- You will have more adventure traveling while you are young.
- Later in life, your finances, health or energy may restrict you.
- It will be much harder to get away later with ties of family, job, home, pets and community.
- Life is over so fast, if you don’t do it now, you may never find time.
- Many of the most interesting places on earth are being McDonaldised. This is your last chance to see.
I don’t know how to categorise Tribe Red, but it is not music. Perhaps a sonic tool for removing wallpaper.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Triumph of the Valley Girl Accent
I have watched in horror at the triumph of the valley girl accent — inflecting every statement as if were a question. Now young males use it. I have even heard female university professors use it. Does this mean in a century, everyone, even cowboys will affect it?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Most people live such self-centred and trivial lives that, outside of immediate family, they would never be missed.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
It is quite amazing the variety of enthusiasms humans devote their lives to that have nothing at all to do with survival: music, entertainment, spectator sports, video games, board games, model railroads, keeping non-food animals…~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Logically people should trust a double blind clinical trial of 2000 people far more than the personal testimony of some stranger, but they don’t. This suggests the corporate world has seriously blown its credibility.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Trying With Poor Odds
Just how sure do you have to be you will succeed before you will even try? A baby salmon has about 1 in a million chance of living to adulthood, swimming up its home river and spawning. About 200 top cyclists compete in the Tour de France each year. Only one can be the winner. Millions of scientists try to discover something new. Only a handful will win a Nobel prize. In auditions of So You Think You Can Dance I saw hundreds of people completely without talent who had deluded themselves they were the best dancer in America. Some people need to delude themselves to get up the energy to even try. Often the prize is just icing on the cake. The attempt itself has benefits.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
TV As Anaesthesia
Television is an anaesthetic. If you doubt me, try going cold turkey.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Two of the most enduring TV shows of the past, Perry Mason and Matlock, are each composed on a rigid framework for each episode. Within that, there is considerable invention. The appeal might be similar to that of a sonata, where the composer is constrained by the rules of sonata composition, but within them he is free to improvise freely.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Why has Twilight succeeded so much better than other movies with teenage male hearthrobs?
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- The heroine is quite ordinary. She is not that pretty usually walking around with a vacant stare and her mouth hanging open. She is not that bright. (Often as naïve as the bimbos in Scream movies who insist on examining the attic when they believe a murderer is afoot.) She is not that articulate. She is not that sexy. She has no interests or hobbies. Yet for some reason she drives all the boys wild with desire. They all find her fascinating. She is a heroine any young girl could easily identify with.
- For various reasons, the boys attracted to her have extreme self-restraint. They treat her with courtly respect. The appear to see something ineffably regal about her that is not obvious on the surface. She does not have to beat them off like horny dogs.
- There is a lot of Freud going on here. Bella is involved with a much older man/vampire, yet he looks like a teenager. She gets the best of both worlds. Even though he is single, Edward has the attraction of an affair with an older married man. He is not in such a rush to get into the sack. In fact, he seems to have no interest in that direction at all. In the early part of the movie, you might mistake him for a handsome young gay man.
Types of Liar
There are four degrees of liar:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Liars who repeat things that are not true without ever bothering to check if they are indeed true.
- Liars who knowingly say things that are not true.
- Liars who make it obvious they know they are saying things that are not true.
- Liars who keep repeating the same old lies, no matter how many times their lies are debunked.
Types of Medicine
Complementary medicine is something you do in addition to the usual scientific medicine to make people feel better, e.g. home-made chicken soup. Alternative medicine is something you do in place of scientific medicine, e.g. homeopathy — something not yet shown to work. As soon as it is shown to work, it becomes scientific medicine. This suggests that any alternative therapy that has been around for decades and still has not been shown to work, almost certainly doesn’t.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Types of Writer
There are three types of writer:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- The entertainer who writes what the people want to hear, e.g. Garrison Keillor.
- The propagandist who writes what the people in power want the people to hear, e.g. Bill O’Reilly.
- The obsessive who writes what he thinks is true, e.g. me.
Most people have an um phrase such as you know, moving forward, basically, essentially, etc. that they use when they are thinking of the next thing to say. The word blocks other from interrupting. If you can break the habit of using such a word, you will be perceived as much more intelligent.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I don’t see how it is possible to have a fair Paraolympics. The varying degrees of disability are the equivalent of varying degrees of doping.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Unimpressed by Pyramids
Everyone is so impressed that Khufu ordered a giant pyramid built that covers the equivalent of seven city blocks. I am unimpressed. It seems an enormous effort to create an unimaginative giant pile of stone blocks. Perhaps he ordered when he was three years old.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Iceland has 800 government approved names for babies. Other European countries have similar lists from which people must approve. The intent is to preserve national identity. It just causes confusion if two people who move in the same circles have the same name. I can imagine a day when babies must be given unique names with unique pronunciations and not just unique spellings. Then your name would also be your passport number.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Teachers sit on gifted students in high schools like oversized hens. But when the students get to university, nobody knows their name or cares what they do. No wonder so many students fail because of the shock. We need a more gradual transition.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
How come some people have unruly hair, but no one has ruly hair? If they did, what are the rules?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68) (after the manner of Don Ferguson’s confused philosopher character the Royal Canadian Air Farce)
Tobacco, inactivity, poor diet, alcohol, car crashes and gun incidents are far more likely to kill you than plane crashes, sharks, terrorists and earthquakes. It seems almost the more likely something is to kill you, the more familiar it becomes and hence the less scary.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If you find you are not getting much accomplished in a day, there is not much point in berating yourself. You need to give up some low priority activity, like watching TV just because it is on, or driving.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
In my grandparents’s generation, most families lost several children to infectious diseases. Most modern parents have forgotten that. They don’t understand how horrible the consequences of not vaccinating. They focus only on the minor side effects of the vaccines.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
In Canada, political correctness has ballooned out of control to the point any time anyone feels hurt, it is automatically somebody else’s fault. If you feel offended by my sex life, I have harmed you. If you feel offended by my fashion choices, you have a right to make me change. If I say something that lets you know I sincerely think you are twit, I have violated you and must apologise or compensate you. If you don’t like my yucky reading matter, you have the right to censor it.
My lack of belief in your deities deeply disturbs you. Therefore you have a right to force me to listen to your prosletysing for the entire month of December. You wear clothing designed to be sexually appealing then cry rape when anyone stares. You are so fat you cannot fit in the seats provided or benefit from a massage. You are offended when the establishment informs you of the problem. You demand everyone should pretend not to notice, but should have known to make costly provisions in case you ever were to visit. Those who refuse to jump to preserve equanimity must be punished.
From the point of view of science, this is blithering nonsense. Nobody can reach inside your head and make you feel bad. It starts out with you deciding to give yourself a jolt of emotional pain whenever you are exposed to certain conditions. You then expose yourself to those conditions. Mostly you did it to yourself. You do not have a right to demand others behave according to your standards of conduct just to make the world comfortable for you. When most other people contemplate my sex life, they think it is just fine. That means the problem lies with you (and possibly your religion), not me. Most of what you torment yourself with is none of your business.
Instead of indulging behaviour Nazis, we should tell them to grow some thicker skin and mind their own business.
If you recognise yourself as one of these victim Nazis, what are you to do? Just put up with it and let the world run over you? The answer is quite complicated and takes several books to explain fully. But are ways to live in world of imperfect inconsiderate people without going crazy or becoming a behaviour Nazi. You can start by reading Ken Keyes’ classic book I have posted online at Handbook To Higher Consciousness.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If I had a kid, I would strongly discourage him from playing video games. Why?
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- It teaches him to be casual about killing.
- It is not healthy for a kid to be sitting for hours a day.
- It is a time waster. There are many more useful and productive things a kid could do.
- It avoids social contact.
What causes humans to lose interest in their own survival, to withdraw from all human contact, to stop sleeping, to avoid sunlight? Answer: The video game!~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
If you are not enjoying a shower of virtual vegetables, you are not accomplishing enough.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Voltaire did not have a Sony ICD-UX512BLK Digital Flash Voice Recorder. I have one and I would estimate I lose about 40% of the ideas I intend to save before I get them into the computer or into the recorder. Voltaire may similarly have many ideas he did not manage to get on a paper for lack of technology.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The main difference between sleeping dreams and the waking dreams we call ordinary consciousness is waking dreams accept more inputs from the outside world to influence the course of the dream.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I elaborate on this theme in my essay Reality is a Hallucination
War of the Worlds
Surveys done when War of the Worlds was first aired, discovered only 2% of the American population were listening and all of them said they thought they were listening to a play. The stories of mass hysterias were fabricated by newspaper, partly to discredit their competition — radio.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Warning: Immature Subject Matter
When Showcase TV says The following program contains mature subject matter; viewer discretion is advised., they nearly almost always mean The following program contains immature behaviour.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Olympics are rigged so that the richest countries win the most medals. Then they crow as if wealth itself were an athletic achievement. The rich countries can afford to hire away the best coaches. They can afford the most undetectable enhancement performing drugs. They can afford the best training facilities. They can afford the most advanced equipment and clothing.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Weight Loss Theory
I would think the key to a weight loss program would be knowing exactly how hungry you have to be before you start eating and knowing exactly how full you can be before you stop eating. The plan would include learning how to determine those two points and learning how to monitor when you cross them.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
What Determines Your Life?
The main thing that determines your life is the way you prioritise your todo list.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
What It is Like to be Old
When you are old, it feels as if you should be able to do all the things you did at 30, if only you can get it together.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When Not To Be Scientific
If you are seeking a headache remedy, something to quench nausea, something to soothe stomach pain, something to ease muscle aches, it does not matter at all if the remedy works for other people. All that matters is does it work for you. Similarly, whether avoiding gluten, or milk or sugar or taking VSL#3 probiotics works for other people is irrelevant. What matters is does it work for you.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Where Are the Aliens?
Here are some of the reasons I think we have not yet contacted intelligent alien civilisations:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- The Drake equation estimates how many intelligent civilisations there are in our galaxy. One crucial term in the equation is longevity, the average time a technological civilisation survives until it self-destructs. Our civilisation will likely be on the air no longer that a century before it self destructs by climate change, nuclear war, careless genetic tinkering, gross pollution, overpopulation and environmental stress… Other civilisations would likely be similarly self-destructive, so would never be on the air at the same time we are.
- Of all the millions of species on earth, only one evolved technology. Intelligence may be common, but technology may be rare. You need both a brain and manipulators (hands).
- We are presuming aliens communicate by broadcasting radio signals. This is an extremely primitive and inefficient way to use interstellar bandwidth. I suspect aliens would use laser point-to-point or something much more advanced. Signals would be highly compressed and encrypted and look to us like background hiss.
- Humans are new kids on the block. We are not advanced enough to be of interest to the established civilisations.
- We started accidentally broadcasting around 1930. Those radio waves have managed to spread out over 86 years light years. Our galaxy is 100,000 light years across. Hardly anyone has heard our signals.
Where are the Atticuses?
Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird is probably the most admirable character in movies, yet oddly nobody names their son Atticus.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When your body wants you to do something, it creates a feeling. When you have done it sufficiently, it creates a different feeling. If you procrastinate, it creates a more and more intense and painful version of the feeling. For example, there is a distinct feeling to prod the start and end of eating, peeing, evacuating, vomiting, sleeping, exercising, getting warm…
These are like emotional whips and rewards. Modern life often means we have to procrastinate more than we did in primitive times.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Isn’t it odd that anyone killed in a accident or who was murdered is much kinder, helpful and joyful than average.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Who Should Not Become a Criminal
If you are the type who compulsively videos yourself and posts it on Facebook, or you are the type who feels compelled to confess every bowel movement on a blog, you probably should forgo a career as a criminal. Recording your crimes or confessing them or telling anyone about them is the fastest way to a conviction.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Why Bother With Rigged Games Embedded in Movies?
I have never understood why directors include sporting events in fictional films. They have as much appeal as watching a rigged game or a rerun. The appeal of spectator sports relies on not knowing the outcome.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Why Corporations Sell Superstition
One of the main themes in television is that hunches, superstition and religion are more reliable than logic, sponsored by corporations who would have you believe that buying a different brand of dusting cloth will bring fresh love into your life.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Given that child torture is now an established feature of modern warfare, what sort of person would enlist as a soldier, much less admit he had done it? What sort of person would sign up with Monsanto to destroy the world’s food crops? What sort of person would sign up with BP to pollute the oceans and trigger runaway global warming to drive most of earth’s species to extinction. They must be acutely evil in a way you never encounter in daily life. These people cause far more harm than the most notorious serial killers.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Why I am Second Rate
It is not that I want to live a long time, it is that I want to get a lot done. I am just as intelligent as effective people. I work just as hard, but get a lot less accomplished, or rather a lot less important accomplished. I think my problem is my penchant for yak shaving. Truly effective people do not get sidetracked. They always work on the most important thing first, not the thing that intrigues them most in the moment.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Why Life Is Short Matters
You have been told this a thousand times, that life is short. Why do you think that is? It is the piece of knowledge that most people think is the most important to pass on to the younger generation. It is much truer than you would ever imagine. So what? don’t spin your wheels. Get on with whatever it is you want to accomplish. If your life keeps going off the rails or stalling, find out why and fix it now!~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
There are three main reasons to stay alive:
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Life is enjoyable.
- You want to make the world more enjoyable for others.
- You are afraid to die.
I am so out of sync with my generation, I think my best chance of having some influence is after I am dead. Nobody reads the works of dead people, just a few quotations. I figured I would be efficient and cut out the middle man, by writing nothing but quotations. Technically they are not quotations until somebody quotes them, but they have the form.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Why Teens Suicide
The reason there are so many teen suicides is teens have not yet learned that life situations can change all by themselves.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Why Waste Time on Purpose?
Each day I can only accomplish about 1/1000 of what I want to get done. I find it astounding that anyone would schedule playing video games into their day, an activity that accomplishes absolutely nothing.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Widening Circles of Loyalty
Maturity is primarily a matter of broadening loyalty. It starts with self absorption, then loyalty to the family, then loyalty to the neighbourhood, then the state, then to the human species, then to all life on earth, then to the cosmos.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
When you get so old that even having a bath is a major daily accomplishment, it hits you that you are not going to start any more major projects in the tail end of your life. Then it really hits you, how unsatisfactory your life turned out compared how you imagined it would be.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
What would you expect to find in TV dramas? Things people like to do, but don’t often get to do. What do you most often find? Murder, framing someone for murder, rape, extreme rudeness, seeing people covered in noxious muds, shooting, torture, reckless driving, vehicle crashes, attacks by monsters, being trapped…~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I sometimes wish I were more intelligent or more persuasive, but that is as pointless as wishing I had a 30 cm (11.81 in) penis. Whatever I am going to accomplish in life, I am going to have to muddle through with the equipment I have got.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I would have liked to have done something significant enough to win a Nobel prize, but pretty well anything else would leave me cold. Sports medals and prizes for writing fiction or entertaining are frivolous. They stroke the ego, but have no lasting importance.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Withholding from the Jury
My big objection to the law is the way it decides that some things, even if true, must not be known by those whose job is to decide the verdict. This gives rich criminals an unfair advantage.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Worst Band I Have Ever Heard
The worst band I have ever heard, in the sense of the most painful to listen to, is Tribe Red. They start with ancient aboriginal war chants designed to intimidate the enemy, similar to the use of bagpipes. They add random screaming and shouting. The effect is like being attacked with a hammer. Oddly, some people claim to like them and have even given them awards. I think the judges just wanted to look politically correct by giving an award to a Canadian indigenous group.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
The Worst Music
You might think that the worst music comes from garage bands, but the bouncy background music from commercials is even more idiotically mindless.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
To show respect for your audience, write concisely.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
There are two kinds of authors, ones who try to tell you everything there is to know about some narrow subject and others who try to tell you just enough to get started on a wide range of topics. I am of the second type.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I have heard authors talk of writers’ block. I have the opposite problem writers’ diarrhoea. I feel a bit like the telegraph operator in a small town in the old west, frantically trying to transcribe all the messages, coming in hiddledy piggledy on every conceivable topic. I only manage to remember or record a fraction of them. The torrent of ideas is strongest as I am falling asleep or waking up. It is not as though I compose the ideas. They crowd in from nowhere, like pigeons attracted to bird feed, trying to take centre stage or like young actors wanting to be in a movie. It is not as though I sit down to write an essay on any particular topic. This flood of ideas can be annoying when I do focus because it interrupts.
This suggests a home remedy for those with writers’ block. Stop trying to force on-topic ideas to come. Just start writing down whatever does come, on whatever topic. You need to prime the pump.
I think what happens is your subconscious resents being told all the time what to think about. So it goes on strike. You are like a tyrannical parent who refuses to ever let his child outside to play. It is not just enough to get up from your desk. You must stop ruminating on the official work topic. Read up on the concept of negotiating with your and honouring your inner child. You might look into the work of John K. Pollard e.g. Self Parenting: The Complete Guide to Your Inner Conversations or John Bradshaw e.g. Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Writing Must Amuse
Most writing remains unread for refusing to amuse.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Avoid the passive voice. It is usually a scoundrel’s trick to avoid naming names.
- Read your work aloud back to yourself. You should not stumble.
- Make sure there is no way any of your pronouns are ambiguous as to who they refer to.
- Avoid an um phrase, such as going forward that people use to hold onto the talking stick when they can’t think of anything better to say.
- Avoid stock metaphors, e.g. ran like the wind, or avoided like the plague.
- Check for instances of your most common typos, ideally with a multi-word search utility.
- Use a spell checker.
- View the work in multiple ways, e.g. in different editors, as HTML… Oddly, each different format brings to the fore different errors.
- Read a few books on the subject.
- Imagine speaking in the voice of Mark Twain.
- Practice polishing famous quotations to them clearer and terser.
- Prune. Ideally every word should tell you something significant that would remain unsaid if it were removed.
- If word does not feel quite right, use a thesaurus to find the one you were really thinking of.
- Come back to a work hours or days later after you write a draft. Its flaws will be more apparent. You will see what you actually wrote not what you imagined you wrote. This is particularly important for catching grammatical errors and typos. Oddly, I find I do by best rewriting in that interval when I am not even looking at the page.
YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) Camp
When I was eight, I went away for ten days to Camp Howdy, a YMCA summer camp. I still cherish so many happy memories of that time. I wish every kid could have at least one experience in a lifetime like that.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
You Are the Only Agent You Control
If something goes wrong, it does not really matter who is to blame. You are the only agent that you have direct control over capable of changing the universe. The question to ask, is What can I do to fix this problem?~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
You can Relax
The main compensation of being old is that the pressure to produce is off.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
You Survived Last Time
Perhaps the most reassuring thought in times of trouble is to review some of the times in past much worse than the current situation that somehow eventually worked themselves out. Things change, all by the themselves.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
Young Female Voices
I detest most young female voices. I despair where they are taking English in the next century. What are they doing that makes me want to strangle them?
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
- Frying. This is mimicking the crackly phlegmy voice of someone dying of lung cancer.
- Uptalk. This is a rising tone at the end of every sentence, turning it into an implied question. It begs some third party to validate their every statement.
- Valley Girl. This is mimicking the accent of IQ 50, drug-fried girl from Southern California.
- Randomly elongating and accentuating syllables.
- Talking through the nose.
- wadder instead of water.
- ta instead of to.
Your Tools of Influence
Any influence you have on the universe in your life you must somehow effect by wiggling parts of your body, particularly your tongue to talk, your face to express, your hands to write, type and build and your genitals and anus to pleasure others. Everybody starts out with roughly equally-capable equipment.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
I found zero G in a roller coaster highly unpleasant, so, though zero G in space looks fun, I think the nausea would completely spoil the experience.~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)
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