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Rogue Love

Nerd time: I’m sure a fair number of you remember the scene in SW: The Empire Strikes Back where Leia tells Han she loves him, and he responds with “I know.”

From what I can tell, that’s supposed to be taken as a classic and in-character scoundrel’s response. (Google “Leia I love you” and look at the comments under the primary video if you want.) She tells him she loves him; his response carries a general attitude of “Of course, how could you not love me?”

But what if that wasn’t how it was meant? (It was) So instead, what if life worked that way more often? Put yourself in Han’s place: What if you heard those words, and genuinely knew that was the case, because you had seen it demonstrated by the other person’s character and actions over and over again?

That’d be–to put it mildly–pretty cool.

I know I’m a few weeks late for May 4th, and a few -months- late for Valentine’s Day, but whatevs. Food for thought.


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Where, Oh Where?

Listen First

The night that we met, you said it was true love
Said no one on earth could love me like you.
And little did I know you meant ev’ry last word
But who could have guessed you were talking to you?

You took me out fishing one evening last summer
Said we’d eat what we caught, that we couldn’t lose.
I played the good sport, and sat for eight hours
But it just ain’t the same eating stanky old shoes.

Your hair is as brown as the trees in November
Your eyes are as blue as the lake west of town
That stare is as cold as the depths of December
‘Tween you and the lake I think I’d rather drown.

I look in your eyes and I see confusion
I look in your ears and I see lots of hair
And now that I’m actually paying attention
I’m just about certain that you aren’t my Claire.

Where, oh where, are you tonight?
Why did you leave me here all alone?
I searched the world over and thought I found true love,
You met another
You were gone.

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There Are No Data, Only Zuul

NOAA is doing this thing where they revamp their webpages.

The old page had everything that page has.  It also included current temp, wind speed and direction, humidity, cloud cover, and precip information for here and a bunch of random towns and cities nearby, and it was all right smack in the middle of the page.

I’m not mad, I just miss it.  If those numbers are still accessible somewhere, I’d like to know where.

Also–and this is an unrelated issue–the word data has reached the point where nearly everyone uses it as a singular.

Mind you, I’ll freely admit society is rather liberal with its usage of words, but in this case it just makes sense to let it shift.  The data says/This collection of facts/numbers/information says–the exceptions being those who are still trying too hard.  I think my stance stems partially from people’s near-universal treatment of data as a singular up until, I don’t know, about two years ago.  Suddenly it seems like everyone is back on the data train, even though the word datum is completely foreign to everyone except a few geographers who are hoping for a day in the spotlight.

If you actually use the word datum, knock yourself out, I won’t protest.



We Three or Four Things

This man is was an artistic wizard.

How in the name of Willy Wonka does Mr. Slugworth find out that Charlie has a ticket so fast?  Was he hiding in the back of the store?  (More Likely: He’s a demon with the ability to teleport)

3A–To the multitudes of news organizations, and most importantly, your editors:
Please stop using the word An before words that begin with a hard H.  (If you’ve ever said An hard H aloud without cringing, you are either deaf or actively seek the downfall of the English language, and your help in bringing about said downfall is completely unnecessary)
The point of adding a consonant to the article A is to break up what would otherwise be an awkward diaeresis. (Notice the flow: an anchor, an order, anathema, versus “Hey guys, let’s go to a Arby’s and get a order of curly fries from that A. Athema girl!”(Just call her Ann!))

It sounds like your dinner plans are being made by Porky Pig.   Adding the consonant before another consonant is backtracking into the realm of awkward phonetics again, and you’re more likely to start tripping over words, which is a shame.   An honor is correct.  An historic event is not, unless you talk like a British maid and pronounce it ‘istoric.  If you are a British maid, carry on.

3B–You guys again:
Please stop abusing the construction Everything is not.  I don’t know if using it to mean Not everything is has been labeled Grammatically Incorrect yet, but if it hasn’t, it certainly should be.

Shakespeare–and his All that glitters is not–is able to get away with it, because he has the excuse of being poetic, and possibly because that kind of thing was completely kosher among Elizabethans.  Unless you’re trying to say “Nothing is,” which you hardly ever are, don’t do it.

The construction works with gerunds, because there’s no ambiguity.
“Running is good.”  Not ambiguous.  The speaker is expressing positive feelings about the act of running.
“Not running is good.”   Not ambiguous.  Similar to number one, except focused on the act of not running.
“Running is not good.”  Not ambiguous.  Same as number one, only with negative feelings toward running.

“Everything is awesome.”  Not ambiguous.
(Debate the mistreatment use of that poor word as you wish.  I’m sorry if a certain song gets lodged in your head.)
“Not everything is awesome.”  Also not ambiguous.
Nobody would assume the use of Not everything as a substitute for Nothing, because saying Not everything when you mean Nothing is needlessly confusing, (not to mention that the two are logically unequal*) so it’s safe to say the speaker was making the point that out of the many things that are, there are some that the speaker would find to be not awesome.
“Everything is not awesome.”  Apparently ambiguous, although it really shouldn’t be.
If the phrase is read correctly (in a reasonable manner) the not is modifying the following word, awesome, just as it did with good in the running example above, indicating the speaker believes that out of all of the things, none of them are awesome.  It does not mean that some things are awesome and some are not.  There is an unambiguous way to express that some things are awesome.  Not everything is awesome.  (Or, even better, Some things are awesome.)
Conveniently, this frees up Everything is not awesome to do its job explaining a sentiment similar to nothing is awesome.

Ideally, (and I am quite guilty of not doing this) you would use a completely different word.


*Take a set A containing a tray of biscuits and a Tibetan Mastiff.  If one were to say that out of set A “Nothing is a Tibetan Mastiff,” that would be completely different from saying “Not everything is a Tibetan Mastiff.”  (Not to mention that it would be untrue.)

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O, Tragedy of Syntax Error

This is a bunch of robot poetry.  No more, no less.  See below for a link, so you can have a robot make some for you too.
But unappreciated, cheered and in
A man again each day say, if a canker
Lives upon its joy; then my wilfulness
And ruined love. Your hour yet created. And put

Them still in a frown they sing: it full well
Knows what eyes best painter’s art bright you. Choose
But, rain from highmost been with others seem
Long since first created. Rise and rid and

Make me, with thy summer unappreciated
Lost on a dial-hand, as the painted counterfeit:
The thing they have extreme, not renewest,
So; from my love’s best, and hopes, making

A wretch’s. If there you were but poem, I not
To my count bad, which this man’s, whence at all.


No matter then — a
Fever! Therefore desire
Original eyes.

O! Bus, even by their reports
True by the impression fill

Might: left behind. See
My winter, the prey of a
Wretch’s told, or mine, too.


O paper to pitied be poison’d, sleeping,
It to another youth, nay, and suit scissors.


Presented by what is apparently a severely intoxicated poet trapped in the shell of a server in some faraway place.

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Maybe It’s the Weather?

According to this article (which will be embedded when I’m not using a phone) a few people at MIT have developed the Hardest Tongue Twister Ever.

“Pad kid poured curd pulled cod.”  (You could probably find a similar article by searching that-just a thought)

Except so far I’m not seeing the difficulty.  It’s not difficult at all, and I don’t get it.

So I tried talking like Kennedy, because they’re in Massachusetts.  It’s no harder, although it sounds as weird as ever.

My guess is that either the article is a misprint, they used the wrong group of guinea pigs, or (most likely) that this is just one giant prank/experiment to see how long it takes for the internet to disseminate total gibberish.

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So it sounds like waitresses in the news are 0 for 2 in actually receiving racist/off message notes instead of tips.  Which is cool!  It just means people are liars, and we knew that.

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Maybe That Wasn’t Such a Good Idea

This frustrates me.

Specifically, that either A: someone is just out to make Christians look bad (and if that’s the case, there’s balls we can do about it) or B: It’s us, and we don’t need help looking bad.   (I won’t even touch Westboro.)
“Why would you be frustrated by that, out of all the problems in the world?” you ask.
Because if we don’t take the time to assess ourselves, everyone else will, and their assessment is going to be “You’re a bunch of arrogant (insert naughty plural here).”

If you didn’t read the story, the gist is that somebody left a note instead of a tip for a waitress in New Jersey reading  “I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life.”

Apparently spreading the Gospel now comes in second to “Offer a judgmental note with no redeeming value.”  I bet the first thing that waitress is going to do with that note is realize how terribly wrong she’s been and run to the nearest church.  No, wait, she’s going to post it on Facebook so a bunch of people who either haven’t had the chance to otherwise find out what Christianity is about or are too ignorant/bitter to care that the opinions represented in this note do not represent Christ’s actual message can moan about how awful we are.

As an aside, notice you never hear about people who mark receipts with: “I noticed you loved money too much, and I don’t agree with your lifestyle because the love of money is the root of all evil so I can’t tip you.”

We tend to view certain sins as some kind of barrier between us and everyone else, as if all the garbage we do is–maybe not more acceptable per se, but somehow it’s not as unacceptable as that.  Heavens, no.

And then, for some strange reason, people hate us.  Yes, I know there are obvious reasons why people would hate us, and that’s to be expected.  It’s less fun than having everyone love you, but whatever.  Just because we’re on a highway where hate is expected doesn’t mean we have to strap boosters to the car and make rude gestures at everyone we pass.  We (or whoever is responsible) need to stop shooting ourselves in the face.

Imagine Detroit.  Like Christianity, Detroit has image problems.  (Yes, for vastly different reasons, and yes the messages are in no way related.)  Anyway.  Having Ndamukong Suh as city ambassador would be a mistake.  In the same vein, when a woman’s contact with Christianity is limited to “You’re a bad person I’m superior because yeah end of story,” it feels like we’re botching the proverbial rollout, so to speak.

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One-eyed, One-horned Eater of Flying Purple People
The Necessity of Clarity in Nomenclature
How to Profit from Uncle Sam’s Dissipation and Survive on Marginal Writing Ability

So I’ve been back to Popular Politics and Such Science again, in part because there are still occasional science-like updates despite their best efforts.

Article one: Government Should Fund Unpopular Science

Article two: Imposing Restrictions on What Gets Funding Is Bad

The fiscally conservative part of me thinks the idea of cementing the continuation of funding for studies of duck genitals for the sake of whatever it is that studies like that will do for the common good (or for the sake of science, and as we all know part of America has a massive science-related inferiority complex entirely due to us #&$% creationists trying to make children hate all science and entirely not because of one or more systemic problems with America’s education system)–securing funding for that sort of thing seems, to put it quite mildly, frivolous.   Both the government and the American scientific machine have much more important problems to deal with; in the case of the government, funding studies of duck parts might be exacerbating (if only slightly) an increasingly problematic budget issue.

The rest of me has decided that funding that kind of silt is awesome, because I can make money from it.

How, you ask?  Simple.  By writing a grant proposal that somehow manages to stand above research on anatid anatomy.  I don’t foresee much difficulty.

So I will propose an expedition to Bora Bora to answer a pressing scientific question:  Are there suitable ways to distinguish between the varieties of one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eaters? 
As you may well know, in the song from decades ago the eponymous creature happens to eat purple people.  For most of us, this would not present any major trouble.  I am not purple, and I do not know any purple people.

(Why undertake the study in Bora Bora, you ask, though the answer should be quite obvious?
Because it’s for science, and science says exotic things seem to hang out in the tropics.  Also, coincidentally, Bora Bora is what happens when love gets landscaping priviliges.)

However…  The title of the aforementioned song suggests the existence of as many as five different creatures, all essentially indistinguishable by common name.   (I’m unaware of any scientific names for any of them-this would be rectified by the end of the study.   Everyone knows that scientific names for animals are nothing more than a couple of keyboard accidents with –us added to the end.  Unless you’re a toad, or a gorilla, or a bison, or never mind shut up.)

The creature could be:

1.  Purple, having one eye and one horn, known to fly and eat people.
2. One-eyed and one-horned, known to fly and eat purple people.
3. One-eyed and one-horned, known to eat flying purple people.
4. One-eyed, known to eat one-horned, flying purple people.
5. Completely unidentified, possibly amorphous, and known to eat one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people.

Clearly, the last four are unlikely to pose a danger to the general public.  Following the suggestion of Popular Science, however, this fact alone does not render further studies undeserving of public funds.

In fact, such a study could prove useful to society anyway.

A creature known to eat violet, airborne, cyclopean humans with keratin production disorders would have a great deal of trouble locating food.  Any child born in a developed nation with all of these genetic mutations would be sold to the circus; a counterpart in a developing country would likely be removed from the village and burned under a full moon.
The chances that one of these creatures (the specific subspecies of flying purple people eater) would be in the right location at the right time to feed on said child are ludicrously small.   A possible explanation for the creatures’ survival (that doesn’t involve ridiculous odds or the need to feed once every three-and-a-half millenia) would be an innate ability to smell genetic mutations over great distances.  This ability, if harnessed, could be used medically, to provide early cancer warnings or screen for late-onset genetic disorders.

On a separate note, imagine you’re a purple person with two horns.  If one of them is removed and you hop onto a Qantas jet and head to Sydney, are you then vulnerable to attack?
Maybe you’re simply a purple person, and your feet leave the ground.  Is this enough to provoke an eater of flying purple people?  ICBMs operate similarly, leaving under their own power and following a ballistic path back to earth, and I doubt anyone would argue against calling it flight.

Mind you, if that proposal falls through, I have more.

Is it possible to go back in time by standing at the north pole and spinning clockwise?  Would the south pole behave similarly, spun in an unnatural counterclockwise circle?

Maybe you’re still awake at this point.  You’ve no doubt concluded that these are all valid questions meriting public monetary support.
Maybe you’re busy scheming to write grant proposals of your own.   By all means, do so!  Share the idea with your friends!  Write until your hands wear thin from rubbing against so much tree matter or poking all of those keys.

I only expect a place on your expedition if you get funded.

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Show and Ask.

It’s small-town Iowa with a very familiar problem, except they’re not in position to receive the few hundred million in flood protection that we ended up with here.  (Protection they no doubt helped pay for, in a roundabout manner)   As a result, they’re asking for help.  I like their style.

What happens if they get extra money, I don’t know.  They’re probably responsible citizens for the most part; I doubt they’re going to use it for drugs.

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