Friday, April 18, 2014

Engineering

     Who needs it?  Y'know, it's all written down in books; most of what I use in my job, you could sit a smart, motivated kid with a smattering of math down with a handful of parts and VOM and explain the basics in an afternoon; yet the arguments people in my trade -- including me -- get up to are simply staggering.

     99.44% of the time, the problem is not that either side is wrong; it's that either or both hasn't fully put together everything they know.  It's stuff they apply fairly often but there's some gap in understanding on either (or both!) sides of the dispute that prevents reasoning from specific examples to the bigger picture and back to how the other person understands matters.

     TL;DR version: Oh, ghu, I gotta quit arguing on the internet.  It only frustrates me and annoys the pig. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

About Mom X

     She is now comfortably ensconced in a furnished 1-bedroom suite, getting "Respite Care" for awhile at a place just up the road from her house.  She chose it and is there to get healed up for some (minor) surgery that should help her get even better; and after she's healed up from that, she (and her kids including me) will figure out what's next.

     The place is pretty much a fine hotel with a nice dining room, 24-hour nurses and falling-down monitors.  I think she'll be safer. I hope she'll worry less.  I think I will.

Glibness Isn't Understanding

     F'rinstance: The Very Serious Man in the TV told me yesterday, "We know more about the surface of the Moon than we do about the depths of the sea." Yes, but we also know more about the surface of the Moon than we know about Brooklyn -- because any fool with a telescope can look at half of the Moon but to look at Brooklyn, you have to go there or fly/orbit over the place! (Also, we don't really know all that much about the far side of the Moon -- a scant handful of mapping flights have yet to get a complete image of that side.)

     All too often, we -- and perhaps especially The Media -- substitute some half-baked fragment of common lore for the truth: "We only use ten percent of our brains." (Wrong)  

     Remember, it's not what you don't know that's the problem -- it's the things you think you know that aren't so.  Me, too, only more so

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cognitive Dissonance In America's Richest Bedroom Community

     I'm not kidding about either one; Mom X, by virtue of the power of annexation, lives in Carmel, IN, the wealthiest little city in the nation.  As it happens, her corner of it used to be a collection of shacky little houses, dog runs, and pickup trucks mostly up on blocks, with a name you'll still find on maps (Homeplace) but lacking incorporation; but by the Sixties, they'd thrown up some nice subdivisions outside the auto-body-shop and greasy-spoon core of the un-town, and that's where Mom and Dad X came home to roost[1] in the mid-1980s.

       Enter the Nineties, and the Highway 31 corridor that formed the western boundary of Homeplace sprouted office towers like feral hemp springs up in a northern-Indiana ditch.  By the Noughties, hospitals and medical centers followed and these days, from about 91st street to well past 131st, there's a great big wall of suit & stethoscope voodoo lining the highway like a City of Gold gone wrong.

     Now comes Your Heroine, struggling with the electric monstrosities of an induction cooktop and a Keurig[2], squinting northwest out the west-facing kitchen window at the arc-welder glare of--  The rising sun?  Well yes and no, too:  the good old sun still rises in the East, even in this howling, savage-haunted wasteland, and reflects most harshly from the glittering mirrorshaded office tower a block north and two streets over, and right into Mom X's kitchen window.

     But I swear to you, for just a moment the entire Earth spun and swung, unmoored beneath my unfamiliarly slipper-socked soles.
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1. Hey, didn't I just use that already?  Ah, well.  It was entirely true for Dad: a brisk walk back to the center of the community took you, until they pushed it over a few years ago, to the little brick house where he, a half-dozen brothers, on sister and a few cousins had grown up, while a walk about as far in the other direction reached the more-rural corner where once has stood the house in which he was born.  Mom X lived on the good side of the tracks in Carmel proper, a bit too far to walk, and only since Jr. High.  But the place is certainly well within their teenaged watershed, for all that it was a woodland back then.

2. I'm sure that's also the name of a city in Turonistan, where Turk Turon once served as Mayor, Chief of Police, Dogcatcher and restaurateur.  (Hint: avoid the "catch of the day.")

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Home As The Cow Flies, Home To Roost

     Or something like that.  The Sandman's bill came due several hours early Monday.  By 4:00 that afternoon, I was having trouble walking because the darned floor wouldn't stay level -- and neither would the walls.  When it finally dawned on me that I could either drive home now or be carried out on a shutter at quitting time, I asked the boss if he could spare me early.  By good luck, the evening shift was fully staffed (we're already in vacation season), so I made my cautious way home and was in bed within the hour.

     Eleven hours later when the alarm went off, I resented it only mildly.  Maybe I'm finally caught up on sleep.

     (P.S., If you think "cow flies" was a typo, you ain't lived in the country.  It's not the cows themselves that attract them, mind you; but I'll always wonder why they named 'em horseflies.  They like cattle better. Or, rather...  Ahem.)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Three Day Weekend!

     Done the hard way: came home Friday (late), slept, got up (early) and did the hamfest/Grissom Museum trip.  Slept, woke up about 9 p.m., went into work, worked, came home, slept, woke up about noon, got my taxes done and visited Mom X in the hospital.

     She sounds great and is in good spirits, but she looks just like anyone would who had fallen face-first onto a concrete floor.  The hospital's given her a very nice room, practically a hotel room with hospital fittings.  She's hoping to be released early this week -- and planning to spend some time with either home heath care or in an assisted-living place, once she finds one she likes.  Too many falls in recent months.  She's looking at long-term options and I'm not pushing; she's very much in command of her faculties and well aware of her fragility.  It's not easy for her. She has always been very active.

     Back into the relentless maw of work for me, and bearing bad tidings to boot: the weekend overnight work mentioned above was nipped in the bud by uncooperative weather and now I get to explain that to folks who look askance at the wind at 1000' being greatly different to the wind at ground level. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Qualified Impunity

     Police can be bad enough they get sent home without supper -- or any police powers.  IMPD's David Reese did something Friday -- details are sketchy, just two counts of battery and one of "residential entry" -- that earned him suspension without pay, loss of police powers and some time with IMPD's "Wellness" program.  And some other time in court.

     What happened, exactly?  Couldn't tell you.  And neither can our local media outlets.  Thin blue line is running a wee bit opaque at present.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Not Much Blog Today

     I have a very busy day, on the heels of a busy day, to be followed by...  Well.

     Road trip this morning, overnight work at work (weather permitting) and taxes tomorrow.  Friday afternoon, my Mom fell again and she's back in the hospital for evaluation and treatment of minor injuries.  I took her cell phone to the hospital after a late day at work (it had been left at her house when she went in) and found my siblings and partners filling Mom's room but no sign of Mom.  She was getting some form of imaging.   The room was crowded even with the rolling ER bed gone, so I went home: when the only function you can serve is to get in the way, the best thing to do is get out of the way and let the professionals work. (This is naturally taken of a sign of indifference, coldness and a failure to respect the gods of the household shrine.  Well, maybe; but I'd rather that than be a ghoul.)  Me, I'll "think good thoughts" her way and show up later, when the medicos have things sorted and she'll be wanting company.

     (If ever I go in hospital, I hope my previous pattern holds true and it takes hours if not days for anyone other then me and the docs to know about it.  Early on, anybody without some flavor of EMT, RN, LPN, N-P or M.D. after their name or driving a mopbucket is mostly in the way, just one more knot of worry to afflict the patient. Who has, in case you haven't noticed, more pressing problems than playing a foil to your desire to emote.)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Voice Of Spamerica?

     "...[T]hey broadcast from...a world that no longer exists. I view these stations, Voice of America and Radio Liberty, as spam on our airwaves." That's what our good, good friends the Russians say, or at least it's what the .gov.ru  official who turned down VOA's routine request to renew their contract to broadcast via transmitters inside Russia said.

    RIA Novosti general director Dmitry Kiselyov sent a one-sentence refusal but has since has plenty to say to Russian media outlets, dismissing charges that he's suppressing dissenting voices, "This does not have anything to do with freedom of speech because Voice of America and Radio Liberty do not talk about anything original."

     Ah, it's voices-from-the-ash-heap-of history time again is it?   VOA -- like other shortwave broadcasters -- has been steadily shutting down transmitting facilities (with the possible exception of Greenville B),* but -- again, like other traditionally shortwave services -- maintains considerable web and satellite presence. While they're no longer on boomboxes in Russia, VOA is still pumping out signals to all the world, for anyone who cares to listen.

     Spam?  Better check the supermarket shelves, Dimitry: that stuff still sells.
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* The big Crosley-built site in Bethany, Ohio is long gone except for the building.  Dixon, California is shut down, as are Delano in CA and Greenville A in North Carolina. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Wimmen Only: Is It Just Me...

...Or do like one in three Revlon lipsticks end up spontaneously ejecting the actual lipstick from the lipstick tube at some point in their useful life?

     (A post which illustrates the old folk-wisdom that anytime women talk about anything, men interrupt with blithe unawareness of the appropriateness of their incursion..  Boys, it's cute but there really are times when you should stand silent.)

Frank James Is Recovering

     Mas Ayoob paid him a visit and has good news!  Frank is one of the most impressive people -- and best shooters -- I have ever met.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Wednesday

     H'mm, I got nuthin' -- Hey, didja hear the Rooooshians, in the closing ceremonies for the Sochi Winter Olympics and Farewell Party, played the instrumental version of a song about reclaiming Alaska? 

     Welcome to the run-up to WW III.  Be sure'n take your iodine tabs.

     Frikkin' morons.  Y'know what the upper-limit boundary* to the time between really honkin' big wars is?  The lifespan of the participants in the previous one.  Seriously, check your history books.  Oh, you'll get a few outliers and there's regional variations, but about the time the bulk of the guys who fought amidst massive loss of life are dead, another opportunity to look at people's inside on a large scale comes along.  The species may be programmed for it in our hardware.  It only takes a few bastards to flip the switch and then...it's on.

     Dammit.
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* The lower limit is, of course, the time it takes to re-arm.  Twenty years, more or less, is the modern record.