Posts filed under ‘Things that tick me off’

Just another day in paradise

Some days are diamonds and some days aren’t. You get used to it and move on or you wallow in teen angst until the day you die still an immature teenager, no matter what your actual age. Its been a string of less than diamond days for me lately, not that I’m wallowing. Things will turn around and some of the incidents of recent days will make for good stories.

Like the 28-year-old girl who drove her car into the side of a building. Yes I said it. She named her daughter after a character in the X-Men movie, she’s a girl – I don’t care what her chronological age is. I was getting ready to leave the office so I could take a picture of some teddy bears a local chiropractor’s office had collected for children who have to go into the hospital when a call came over the scanner about a car stuck in a building.

Uh, people, that’s not stuck. It’s on the sidewalk and the car did touch the building but wasn’t even close to going fast enough to punch out the bricks. On the bright side the accident was on the way to the chiropractor’s office so I still made that OK and I took the pictures which will make them happy when it comes out in the paper.

Then I talked to the sheriff about a teen party that got out of hand. They were drinking liquor – imagine that. Why in my day we sipped lemonade and attended cotillions for entertainment! What made it sad was that – like in so many cases of alcohol mixing with young people there were some fights and even a sexual assault. Things haven’t change that much since I was a teenager, it’s just that now I see the damage that can happen and cringe when I think of some of these kids trying to make it in the big wide world with the foolish idea that life is just one big party.

While talking to the sheriff he said a witness saw someone dump some dogs out in the county and got a license plate number – the case is in front of the prosecutor for action. One thing sure to tick me off is some jerk who can’t take the time to run the dogs to the animal shelter in town but has enough time to run them out to the middle of nowhere and turn them loose to live or die without any compassion.

Saturday I went out to the grand opening of a new biodiesel plant and listened to politicians. I try to avoid listening to politicians every chance I get but unfortunately with my job it comes with the territory. It wasn’t too bad. I actually agreed with some of what was said but a lot of it was just the usual pap I could have done without.

The city is redoing the curbs and gutters along my street and they ripped out the old ones in April. Since then I’ve been living on what is essentially a dirt road right in the middle of town. Dust coats my car every morning and lately there’s been dew and the dust really sticks when that happens. Washing does no good, by the following morning it’s covered in dust again. It looks like we might be getting pavement again soon so I’m cautiously optimistic.

The wheel of life keeps turning so I look forward to a change. I want a diamond of a day soon.

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August 27, 2008 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

DSL modem problem

Arrrgggggghhhhhhh!

A wire on the cable on my DSL modem broke and my Internetubeywebsurfy experience has been nonexistent of late. Long story short Wal-Mart is not the home of low prices for computer cables. $14 for a cable that should only be $3 or $4 solved the problem but not before I went half insane trying to figure out why I couldn’t get on the Internet in the first place. It was an intermittent problem and every time I thought I had it corrected it came back and bit me it the butt.

I had to buy a 9-volt battery for my little multimeter but a continuity check of each of the wires on my
network cables revealed one of them had a break that would open when moved. I’ll be back with more later, now it’s time to get the cobwebs and dust out of my hair from climbing around on the floor. You’d be surprised how much dust and stuff is in the undisturbed area behind a computer.

August 20, 2008 at 2:11 pm 1 comment

Word trivia

A British academic has come out with an idea sure to be a hit with the poor spellers in his class – he suggested it may be time to accept “variant spellings” as legitimate. Reuters link here That’s shore to gitta lotta folks upset. However, his idea is by no means unique, no less an American figure than Noah Webster proposed something similar more than two hundred years ago.

Webster’s musings on the matter were chronicled in his 1789 “An Essay on the Necessity, Advantages, and Practicality of Reforming the Mode of Spelling and of Rendering the Orthography of Words Correspondent to Pronunciation,” Dissertations on the English Language: With Notes, Historical and Critical, to Which is Added, by Way of Appendix, an Essay on a Reformed Mode of Spelling, with Dr. Franklin’s Arguments on That Subject” The whole shebang here

Webster got some of his reforms through:

gaol – jail
mould – mold
travelled – traveled
honour – honor
centre  – center
humour  – humor
masque  – mask
publick  – public

But not all of them:

women  – wimmen
determine – determin
cloak  – cloke
tongue  – tung
sponge  – spunge
sleigh  – sley
soup  – soop
ache  – ake
OK, English is a strange language. I’ll give you that. But as far as I can see the guy (Ken Smith, a criminology lecturer at Bucks New University) calling for the variant spelling is doing it because he’s too lazy to mark his students papers wrong for their mistakes, not because, like Webster, he wishes to improve the language.

Kudos to Webster but nothing less than a Monty Pythonesque “I fart in your general direction” to Smith.

August 11, 2008 at 9:10 pm 6 comments

Dear Abby and other fictional characters

Working at the newspaper there are some things that I can’t avoid, however much I’d like to. Dear Abby is one. As far as I’m concerned it’s just the Jerry Springer show on newsprint.

A few years ago I was proofreading a page Dear Abby was on and I couldn’t help laughing at the woman who wrote in. She said she had been married for 25 years and her husband couldn’t remember to put the toilet seat down. Abby clucked along with her and blamed the man of course. They agreed the man seemed incapable of learning anything.

I had a different take on it. She was the one who was sitting down on cold porcelain, not her husband. She is the one who had the constant reminders. Why didn’t she put the toilet seat down before sitting? As far as I could see she was the one with a learning disability.

Yesterday another in the never-ending horde of people who shouldn’t be allowed out without a keeper wrote in. He complained that people tended to stare at him and ask questions about the 20 something piercings he has. Link

“Eight of the piercings are in my face, and most of the others are in my ears. My main ear holes are stretched out to a half-inch.”

Now why would anyone look twice at someone like that? I just can’t seem to understand why.
Wonder of wonder Abby started to give an answer to Future Skin Artist that made sense, then she reverted to normal and went off the deep end of wacky.

“You have chosen to look different, so you shouldn’t be surprised at the staring and the questions. . . Perhaps in the future you should consider moving to Los Angeles. In this town everyone has seen almost everything, and people who are different are less shocking.”

Why would Abby pick Los Angeles to suggest as a location for unusual people? I feel I must go to the defense of all those other idiocracies we have in this country. Why San Francisco, just up the coast, is as fine an example of stupidity in action as can be found anywhere. California must have a good score or so of towns where Skin could find himself a slew of idiots just at dumb as he is to run around with. Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire to name just a few have plenty of communities where he could fit right in.

I would have answered him differently but I would have started out similarly. “You’ve decided to alter your appearance and people are going to notice. Some of them are going to be curious enough to do more than look, they will ask questions. There is nothing illegal about what you are doing and you have a perfect right to pierce your body anywhere you want to. Don’t be defensive. Answer their questions courteously and you might find that you have met a new friend. It’s your decision and you should own it, man up and walk proud. Skulk around and avoid eye contact and people will think there is something wrong with you, whether you have piercings or not.”

Then again I wouldn’t solicit letters from anyone seeking advice anyway. It is so old-fashioned and Victorian. This is the age of the Internet, surely there are better ways to find advice than writing to some busybody with nothing better to do than tell everyone around them what to do.

I guess Dear Abby performs a public service but so does the guy who unclogs the sewers. I don’t want to watch him work either.

August 9, 2008 at 2:16 am Leave a comment

Obama overload

A new poll came out today – OK, so about a kazillion polls come out everyday, big whoop – that shows people are saying they are hearing too much about Obama story here. Pew Research did a poll concerning how each candidate’s coverage is viewed and large numbers of both Republicans and Democrats agree – Obama is getting more coverage. Poll summary here Poll detail (pdf download) here.

Fatigue is setting in. It isn’t anything new, people have been saying our political campaigns are too drawn out for decades. The thing that is different now is that with the Internet people can go out and find information on their own and don’t need big news organizations spoon feeding them scraps of information. Fatigue may well lead to the public ignoring big media and concentrating more on the media that links to needed information instead of trying to be the source of information.

Fatigue is also one reason why the vote is depressed some times. By the time election day comes around people just want for it to end. I don’t blame them, I want it to end too. Personally I’d like to see all states hold presidential primaries on the same day in August and limit primary campaigns to January through August and general election campaigns from August to November. That’s nine months. If that isn’t long enough – too bad, so sad. Frankly I don’t want to hear about the next elections before the results from the current election are still being tallied.

August 6, 2008 at 4:14 pm Leave a comment

Drill here, drill now – pay less

There’s a lot of nonsense out there about how it would take 10 years to reduce oil prices by increasing drilling because it would take that long to get anything out of the ground. I don’t know where the bozos who say that came up with that figure but it’s a big load of guano and the proof is less than 10 miles from my house. MegaWest Energy is producing oil from wells on ground that did not make sense to even look at until oil prices rose above $70 a barrel. It didn’t take 10 years for them to produce oil and they had to build a humungous steam boiler to pump steam into the ground to thin the oil so they could pump it out. I did a story on it:here.

I also find it strange that these people whine about drilling in ANWR. People who complain about it have absolutely no concept of the scale of the land up there. The drilling area, 2,000 acres, is so small that it would be lost in a state the size of Missouri, never mind Alaska. I did a photo illustration to point out the relative size of Alaska, ANWR and the proposed drilling area. If you’re wondering where the drilling area is on the illustration, it is the dot between the 3 and the 1.


It’s time we got serious about this and started holding some politicians feet to the fire. Once oil prices start falling they can go back to politics as usual, until then – if they won’t vote to let the oil companies drill, vote them out of office.

August 5, 2008 at 2:16 am Leave a comment


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