Archive for July, 2009

Remember the Little Red Book?

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Also known as Quotations from Chairman Mao? Back in the 60s, it seemed as though you could hardly go anywhere without running into someone who had one, or hearing someone make a reference to it.

I have a copy that I picked up at a garage sale some years ago, still in quite good shape, actually. Well, for those of you who are nostalgic for that sort of thing, but don’t want to outsource your rhetoric, we now have the Little Blue Book, Daily Readings from the thoughts of Chairman, excuse me, from the speeches and writings of President Obama.

The publisher no longer lists it on their website, but it’s still listed at Amazon (which claims it’s in-stock at the time of this post), although the product description there does not include the following sentence, which apparently was in the publisher’s original listing, according to the site where I found out about it:

“It is an unofficial requirement for every citizen to own, to read, and to carry this book at all times.”

That sounds ominous. Will there be a test?

I wonder if it’s no longer available from the publisher because Obama’s popularity has gone down for some reason?

Obama popularity 9/27/09

Only the ephemeral is of lasting value

Monday, July 27th, 2009

I ran across that as a quote some years ago, and it stuck with me because of the antinomy. It also came to mind when I read this article.

Allergic to your cat?

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Have you tried drugging it?

Robert Heinlein loved cats, and, if I’m remembering correctly something I read many years ago, actually built a separate guest house on his property so his friends who were allergic to them could come and visit. Not an option for most of us.

Actually, I’ve read that if you give your cat a bath every 7-10 days, it keeps the dander down enough that it won’t affect most people with allergic reactions to them. Bathing the cat is usually the problem, although my cat has never given me much trouble with that. Not that I bathe her often, or that she cares for it when I do – she just doesn’t go into full-out Tasmanian Devil mode. When I do give her a bath, it’s usually in the summer, anyway, to avoid her catching a chill. I used to live in a house that had one room that had its own heater, which made it possible to keep the cat there until she dried.

I’ve known a number of people with mild to allegedly severe cat allergies, at least one of whom has several cats. I say “allegedly” in the previous sentence because I’ve known two types of people who claimed severe cat allergies: the type who avoided cats completely (as far as I could tell), and the type who didn’t seem to have any problems until they were aware that a cat was nearby.

I don’t doubt that there are people with severe allergic reactions to cats, it’s just that about half the people I’ve known who claimed them appeared to dislike cats to a greater extent than they showed allergic reactions.

My own allergies are to penicillin, which isn’t used much anymore because too many bugs have developed resistance to it, and some sort of seasonal allergy. I’ve never bothered to figure out what the seasonal allergy is, because it seemed like too much trouble. I did ask my father once, because he had seasonal allergies, also. I asked him about 20 years ago, when I first realized that what I had wasn’t just the occasional spring/summer cold. Prior to that, it hadn’t been regular enough for me to realize it was allergies.

When I asked, his response was that he was allergic to nothing. “Come on, Dad! Every spring you’re downing Sudafed for weeks at a time! What’s that for?” I replied. He told me he’d been tested for everything the doctors could think of, and he hadn’t responded to anything, so he must be allergic to “nothing.” I left it there; my allergies are much milder than his were, so presuming that I’m allergic to the same thing he was made it unlikely I’d find out anything useful.

In any case, I thought it was interesting that you could deal with a cat allergy not by taking drugs yourself, but by drugging the cat. It makes sense, but it also means that, although you could keep a cat yourself, your friends with cats are unlikely to put them on a drug regime just so you can visit without allergic reaction.

Not exactly a quick summer read

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

I first heard about the Voynich manuscript when I was in high school. Some years after that, I tried to track down a facsimile edition, but I don’t believe any were made – at least, not in a quantity that would make the price affordable to me.

Now, parts of it are available on the web, which pleases me. Not that I have any delusions about being able to make sense of it; I just like knowing that such things are available.

Keeping abreast of the issues

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Denver isn’t on the list yet, but this is a protest I believe I’d like to see happen here.

The Hazards of Gambling

Monday, July 20th, 2009

The Cunning Plan: Go to the dog track with sufficient money to bet on every possible winning combination.

The Anticipated Result: Profit!

What could possibly go wrong?

This reminds me of a Colorado lottery jackpot some years ago … you had to choose six numbers in the range from 1 to 42 to win. If I remember correctly, the cards that you used for selecting your numbers had eight rows of five numbers, and a ninth row with the last two numbers. In the drawing in question, the numbers in each corner of the layout were drawn, along with two others that fit into an obvious and fairly regular geometric pattern.

Because the pattern was fairly regular and obvious, more than one person had the winning numbers. I couldn’t verify this with a web search, but I believe that seventeen winners shared a ten million dollar jackpot. Given the dollar amount in question, I don’t believe that any of the winners were given the annuity option; I think they were all required to take cash. They didn’t get that much, because the cash prize is the amount it would take to buy an annuity for the listed prize amount, so they were all sitting around in the interview looking somewhat glum while saying that they were happy things turned out that way.

I imagine the British couple at the dog track had the same reaction (immediate glee followed by disappointment) to their dog track escapade. They’re worse off, however, since they actually suffered a loss, which the lottery winners didn’t.

Want a stimulus plan that stimulates the economy?

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Look back to what George Bush did in 2003. Bizblogger compares the Bush and Obama stimulus plans from one year prior to implementation to six months after implementation.

It’s surprising how similar the initial conditions are, and how different the outcomes are (but only if you don’t understand economics, which appears to be a category that includes the Democrats in Congress).

A Day To Remember

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

It was forty years ago today that Teddy Kennedy went for a swim. Would that his passenger had survived, rather than him. He’d probably be remembered more fondly, and the country would be better off.

Oh, yes, we’ll be more popular and respected now

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

It’s all this smart diplomacy – spurn the handshake of an ally (scroll down), then shake the hand of … well, not an ally.

Wednesday Weirdness

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Jeff Atwood documents the slide into tastelessness exhibited by advertising for an online game. I remember seeing all of those ads, but I didn’t notice that they were all for the same game.

Can there be tasty tastelessness? That’s what human-flavored tofu would appear to be. What’s the market for that, anyway? Vegetarian zombies?

Does your cat go after the mice in your (home) office? Get a kitty inbox so you can get work done. After all, workplace safety is very important.

I’ve heard that smoking is a filthy habit that costs too much money, but twenty-three quadrillion dollars? I guess this is how the Democrats are planning to fund their new healthcare plan.

Conspiracy theorists ahoy! Because of the lack of documentation on President Obama’s background, an Army major fought deployment to Afghanistan on the basis that Obama was not legally the Commander-in-Chief. His orders have now been revoked, and his attorney, Orly Taitz, is claiming that because the Army hasn’t defended its position in court, it must be unable to defend it.

“Do you know what this means?” Taitz asked in a telephone interview with Tuesday, about an hour after hearing from Maj. Stefan Cook, the officer fighting his deployment to Afghanistan. “It means the Obama administration has blinked. They have no cards to play with. The moment I filed a lawsuit, they didn’t even fight!”

“Can you imagine what are the consequences? This is disastrous” for the administration, she said. “We’ll have no military. Because anytime any Soldier, any Sailor, any Airman does not want to follow any orders, all he has to do is call an attorney and say ‘I don’t want to follow this order because I question the legitimacy of the commander in chief.’ “