This and That

About Celebrity Journalism
“If the headlines scream about the living arrangements of the sitcom actress Ellen DeGeneres, what will they do if there is another Hiroshima?”
―Pete Hamill

Baffling Sleep Stats
I got five hours sleep instead of my usual seven. Most mornings I begin with meditation, then the Elevate app to exercise my mind. I got three record high scores on six exercises. I am baffled. Any theories about why short sleep would IMPROVE your mental acumen?

I recently asked someone for an idiot-proof interface, which took me back 50 years: “There is no such thing as idiot-proof because idiots are so ingenious.”

Graceful Exits
Graceful Exits, How Great Beings Die, by Sushila Blackman, is a compilation of the death stories of 108 Hindu, Tibetan Buddhist, and Zen masters. It’s an amazing book; I read it a long time ago and forgot to mention it in my column or book list. I am now remedying that error. I highly recommend it, even if you’re not spiritually inclined.

 This and That

On Sunday I sang my love song If Offered A Choice before several hundred people (and my wife and daughters) accompanied by the Danville Community Band. The video cuts out before the stirring ending and the brisk round of applause, but you'll get the idea.

Cool Art
I am beginning to think that I read all the notifications in LinkedIn so you don’t have to. In any case, super-cool stroboscopic art.

Bollards Ahoy
You ever wondered if bollards are effective?
[not a stealth edit] Thank you Robert Malchman for pointing out this was CGI.

Spider Humor

From Semi-Rad: I didn’t come here to f**k spiders.

Journalism Quote
The late Pete Hamill on celebrity journalism: “If the headlines scream about the living arrangements of the sitcom actress Ellen DeGeneres, what will they do if there is another Hiroshima?”

This and That

You're The Only Woman Man Enough (To Bask In My Love)

Real Choo-Choo Jokes
Daniel Dern found some real choo-choo jokes for me. Nothing AI about them. Thanks Daniel!

One-Hit Wonders
More One-Hit Wonders news. The early results are in. Arlo Guthrie? Yes, because Alice’s Restaurant was too long for the Billboard Hot 100 list. Flying Purple People Eater? No, because  I arbitrarily eliminated novelty songs. “Take that Billboard,” noted one correspondent, disagreeing about Guthrie.

More Youthful Wisdom
According to Wikipedia, The phrase "correlation does not imply causation" refers to the inability to legitimately deduce a cause-and-effect relationship between two events or variables solely on the basis of an observed association or correlation between them. It’s been the bane of my existence for a half century.

Strained Analogy

As I enter my 70s, I feel my body is like a car; I fuel it and take care of the maintenance diligently. Still, now that odometer’s turned over, things are just going to go wrong with increasing frequency. Alas, I can’t afford a new model.

  This and That

Journalism Feedback
In every newsroom, the most junior person on the staff used to be in charge of answering--or should I say ignoring--calls from the public. Now, we beg for the feedback. Sigh. I am SO glad I was born in 1952 and not 1992. And, thanks for your comments!

More Fun With AI
AI gone mad. I can’t get AI to write me a Chatanooga Choo-Choo joke, but this guy, among other things, can get all American presidents rendered as Pixar characters, and portraits of creepy AI families. Worth a look.

Short Light Bulb Life
In 1925, the international cartel Phoebus set light bulb life low and punished members whose bulbs lasted too long. The members claim it wasn’t planned obsolescence, but a scientific decision. That’s codswallop. An international cartel is almost certainly meeting this week to lower standards.

 This and That

Hey Galen: One Hit Wonders
My friend Galen asked for my one-hit wonders playlist.

Focus Puller
Thanks again, Brendan at What’s A Focus Puller?

Silly Signs
My wife keeps getting silly signs and sharing them with me. So now I share them with you.

The Greatness of French
Singing a love song I wrote, I realized I could have said it better. I was experiencing l'esprit d'escalier, French for “you thought of something better to say, too late.” The French have done it again. If not for schadenfreude, they’d have a clean sweep.

Well, OK, German Too
The German penchant for compound words led to Fernsehapparat (far seeing machine: TV) and Fernsprechapparat (far speaking machine: radio). Alas, most Germans say TV (tay-vay) or Radio (rah-dio) or Funk (radio). But at least they have a real German option.

This and That

Chekov on Entropy
 (of special interest to my MIT readers)
"Only entropy comes easy."
Anton Chekov

Cicero on History

Thank you Stephen Shore, for tipping me to this:

“Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child. If no use is made of the labours of past ages, the world must remain always in the infancy of knowledge.”
―Marcus Tulliius Cicero

 This and That

Funny Punctuation

After nearly a half century, the Interobang (the first new English punctuation in a few centuries) never caught on. It (] HTML &#8253) seems useful. Few type faces have it, few people use it. Why is that?

Proofreading Mood
I am not sure what to make of this: Bad moods are good times to proofread

Top5 List Entry
July 2015
I made the HumorLab list --almost number one!
And the Number Two Ant-Man Pet Peeve.. I'm ignored by clerks at the DMV. Oh wait...

This and That

Things I Never Mentioned
I love Gary Larson and have every The Far Side  strip in a lovely two-volume collection. I loved That 70s Show and cannot wait for the Netflix revival, That 90s Show, which at the very least features Red and Kitty. Others will do cameos.

The Accordion Segment
Because I was a TV tech, I know how local TV news ends on time. The weather segment was the “accordion,” because it could get longer or shorter to make the timing right. Which is why some nights the report was “rain tomorrow” and other times it included every high within 100 miles.

Quote about Lies
We ain’t seen nothing yet: Last years lies were “only the tip of an iceberg of mendacity, bobbing insidiously in a sea of deceit.”

This and That

Being a Mentor
I promised myself I’d never be a sucker for cute animal videos. I was lying to myself.

First Payment Ever
Well Blow Me Over! Last week’s Right Column Redux (You Could Pay For This Column) resulted in my first paid subscription!

Semirad: impressive again

A great graphic: New year new me

Greta Thunberg
She was replying to a climate change mocker who wanted to email her about the "enormous emissions" he proudly boasted that come from his various expensive cars. Her reply: “Yes, please do enlighten me. Email me at”
Voice Recognition
A funny Scottish Accent/Voice Recognition video.

Cameos Considered
Daniel Dern checks in with Holy Cameo Compilation

Business Jargon Job Posting
This comes from LinkedIn with no credit. I did, however find it a hilarious use of AI

This and That

My friend and former editor at The Tech, Lee Giguere, gets his name here because he was the first to recognize last week’s compliment as the first part of the Boy Scout Oath. Sixty years later and I can still recite it. I didn’t suggest “obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent” as they don’t strike me as appropriate, since I can’t testify the service person in front of meets those standards.

Navalny Doc
“Navalny is a 2022 documentary film… [that] revolves around Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and events related to his poisoning,” according to HBO. It is excellent. If you want to understand modern Russia, watch it. Then switch to YouTube and watch “Putin’s Palace,” one of Navalny’s most famous works.

NeuroScience of Gratitude
I knew gratitude was good for you, but I was amazed by how good. Like real-science good. Like rewires your brain good.

Pelosi In The House
A terrific documentary, shot by Nancy Pelosi’s daughter and showing on HBO Max. If you have any interest in what made this revolutionary woman tick while she was the first female speaker, have a look.

World’s Shortest Joke
I didn’t even have to read the Borowitz report after this headline: "Herschel Walker Offers Kevin McCarthy Seven Hundred Dollars to Abort His Speaker Bid"

Edwin Diamond Centenary
I reached out through MIT class notes for ideas to celebrate Edwin Diamond’s centenary. One reader suggested I submit an op-ed somewhere celebrating his life and accomplishments. Anybody here have some juice that could get that placed?