Category Archives: distractions

Strange Market

If you come and visit me in the MidWest, you’ll be in Cow Country. Yup. Cows everywhere. What will you find on the menus? Steaks, chops, ribs, roasts, burgers… Do you need leather? There are stores here that just sell cowboy boots, and you’d have no problem getting leather items anywhere.

I went to the UK for a 2-week tour. Sheep everywhere! What do you find on the menus? Steaks, chops, ribs, roasts, and burgers…but no lamb. No crown roasts, no chops, no legs, no shanks. Do you want some authentic British wool? You can get Red Heart and Bernat in the local convenience stores. Those are NOT British labels. I went into google to search for shops in Edinburgh and London and in those huge cities, I found 4 shops, only 2 that sell locally-sourced undyed wool. And those 2 locations are warehouse stores that sell exclusively online.

I have a former student who cards and spins wool here in Omaha. It’s Wonderful stuff! Like I said, this is cow country and I have a more available source of undyed, pure wool here in town than I had on my travels in the UK.

So, as a tourist, I thought they’d offer authentic Aran sweaters and knit goods to sell at exorbitant prices. They had mass-produced sweaters with cable patterns. Most were wool/polyester or wool/cotton blends. None were produced in the UK. I am confused. They have more sheep than people, and you cannot find wool or locally crafted sweaters? In fact, there used to be an “Irish Shop” in the local mall that sold Aran sweaters and woolen goods here in Omaha, and I didn’t find any with variety on the whole tour in the UK.

I think I am going to contact my student and get some of her wool to make a sweater, an authentic Irish pattern sweater.

Let me be the tactical adviser!

I have never fired a weapon in my life. I have never gone to firearms training, tactical training, or strategic training either for the military or police…because I am NOT military or police. BUT I watch lots of procedural police shows.

I was watching one where the Texas Ranger was in the house of his paramour who happened to be a bad guy. Her cohorts broke down the door and started shooting with their fully automatic weapons. In the blink of an eye, our hero tips back the couch he was on to give him cover. I HAVE had upholstery training. Couches, the good ones, have oak frames. They have springs wired together for support, hog hair to keep the springs from damaging the filling, and cotton batting for comfort. The cheap couches have pine frames, springs of less tensile strength, and foam rubber for comfort. You can tip a good couch but only if you are strong and have help because oak is heavy. The high tensile strength of the springs might serve to deflect bullets, but the batting and the hog hair would not. Since our hero tipped the couch himself, we must assume it was a cheaper model. (After all, if you’re going to have to do more than one take on the fight scene, you don’t want to use an expensive couch!) The pine frame would be useless against most bullets, and we know that the manufacturers will not use much wood in their creations. They may use 3/4 -inch plywood to support the springs.

Our poor hero, hiding behind fluff and pine, should be Swiss Cheese. Our bad guys are standing in the doorway firing fully automatic weapons and hitting the wall behind the couch, the end tables, the lamps. They must have gone to the Storm Trooper Training Facility. With the couch on its back, one strafing from arm to arm of the couch and close to the floor would take him out.

But noooooooooooooooooooooo.

The next thing I noticed was that the intruders didn’t intrude. They broke down the door and started firing willy nilly into the living room. Then they stopped firing so our hero could get some shots in with his little handgun. It was a cute little silver deal and looked like it could shoot water or light your cigarette. So he’s firing over the back of the couch without looking at his target because, well, “Don’t stick your head up to see your opponents if they are shooting automatic weapons at you!” He has no idea where his bullets are going. But he knows that when he fires, they don’t. He doesn’t use this break in their attack to find a better hiding place. Both intruders had automatic weapons–both firing simultaneously. They couldn’t see their target, but they knew he was behind the couch. They also knew he was the only target in the apartment that was armed. They didn’t come into the apartment! The door is a bottleneck. It makes them stationary targets. If one had put down suppressing fire (into the couch) the other could have entered and advanced on the good guy. Then he could fire from a different angle to distract the good guy while his partner entered the room to flank him.

But noooooooooooooooooooooo.

Of course, if the good guy had moved from behind the couch to a new position, he could have picked them off as they came into the room because they’d still be shooting at the couch. I’m shaking my head.

Next scenario:

The detective and his partner are running down a guy who was instrumental in a murder and they know he’s the only one that can tell them who the mastermind behind the murder is. They chase him into an open space and lo and behold, there are 8-10 other cops there, weapons drawn. “Give it up! You got NOWHERE to go! You’re surrounded!”

Indeed, he is standing in a circle of cops…a circle. None of them has taken cover. Our intrepid detective sees the panic in his target’s eyes turn to determination. He is going to commit suicide by cop. The detective is telling him to get on his knees and the guy does not comply. He walks toward him, trying to talk him out of his decision, and at one point tells the other officers to lower their weapons. They are lowered but not holstered as is protocol. The target slowly moves his hand from above his head to his waistband where his weapon is. WE do not know if he’s going to drop the weapon or draw on the officers. Those officers behind him do not have the closed-captioned monitor to observe his actions, they just see him dropping one hand.

Among the first rules you would learn in firearms safety is to not only pay attention to your target but to scope out what is beyond your target. You cannot control the bullet after it leaves your gun. Remember that the target is in a circle of cops? So even though those cops behind the target cannot see what he’s doing, they fire on the suspect. If the suspect had gone down quickly instead of acting, the 2nd and 3rd bullets would have hit our detective and his partner. Because he is acting, even though he has been hit in the lung, the liver, and the heart, he remains standing and slowly crumples to his back. You can see that the bullets have traveled through and through his torso because he has both entry and exit wounds. Where did the bullets go after they pierced him? Into the cops on the other side of the circle? Oops

While the detective was slowly walking toward our suspect and talking him down, why wasn’t another cop walking up behind him to subdue him while the suspect was distracted? Oh, because if the suspect had gone for the gun, the detective would have fired and gotten both the officer and the suspect.

In a press defense in basketball, you get two people to stop the progress of the offensive player by trapping him in a corner or near the side of the court. If the offensive player with the ball is in center court, you have to put three people on him to stop him. In a situation where our suspect was in the center of an area, he has too many options. You want to “herd” him to a point where the only option is to surrender, you put him up against a wall or a corner.

Of course, every cop that faces this situation knows that if you speak in logical terms, the suspect will acknowledge your wisdom and make a rational decision. It’s like arguing with your toddler on the benefits of sleep and expecting him to bow to your deductions and accept your conclusion. HA! The detectives all start with, “You don’t want to do this! We can work something out…” And every time… they go for the gun and either aim it at the police or blow their brains out. OF COURSE, THEY WANT TO DO THIS! It’s the easy, quick answer.

You have to make an emotional appeal. The suspect is in full-on emotional panic. Logic will have NO effect. “How do you think your loved ones would prefer you–dead or alive? Do you think the outcome is hopeless? If I could give you an alternative, would you at least consider it? Officer Smith, could you come up and relieve our suspect of his gun, please? The rest of the officers, make sure there is nobody behind the suspect so if shots need to be fired, there are no collateral damages. I promise you will not be hurt if you follow my suggestions.”

It doesn’t make good TV or Movies, but it might in real life. Any police officers out there, please look at this and see if I’ve misjudged the situation. If I have, PLEASE enlighten me!

The coolest arrest I’ve ever seen was when this kid was robbing a fast food joint. He and his partner tied up the manager and the rest of the crew and they walked out into the parking lot. Apparently, my call to the police had been heeded and they came in without lights and siren and parked away from the building, blocking the exits. That way, no new customers came in and our thieves would not get out easily. They were unaware of the circumstances outside the building. One of the officers was behind the dumpster where the thieves had parked their car, and one was stationed at the freezer door. The kids sauntered out of the building, and the policeman behind the door walked up behind them with his gun in one kid’s back and his finger to the other’s back, and said quietly in his deep, deep voice, “You are under arrest.” One of them peed his pants. “Now boys, get down on your knees and lace your fingers behind your head.” The officer’s partner revealed himself, weapon leveled, and moved toward the boys. The backup police helped gather them up and read them their rights and put them in the car. They took the money as evidence. Then the one with the deep voice went in and made sure the manager and the crew were ok, and he stayed to ask questions.

Staying true

I have a problem. I can stay true to the evidence or I can stay true to the plot. Sometimes, they’re polar opposites.

Watching Longmire. It’s a Netflix series set in Wyoming. The Sherriff commutes from his Ranch in New Mexico, 90 m north of Santa Fe. Wait, no? Oh, well he supposedly lives in Wyoming near the Montana Border within the view of the Absaroka part of the Rocky Mountains. The series is set in Wyoming, but most of the location scenes are shot in New Mexico. Somehow, he drives to Denver in 5 hours. He’s really MOVING!

Now recall that I am a fan of procedural shows such as CSI, Criminal Minds, NCIS… Longmire’s deputy has been found dead in a stream having been shot in the face by a shotgun. In his truck is his folded uniform. He has texted his old girlfriend with multiple apologies and has left a suicide note on his computer which he left running in his house.

“Click” goes my mind.

  1. Did he take off all his clothes, wander into the middle of the stream, sit down on the rocks and pull the trigger with his foot? (Gibbs would have noticed that.)
  2. Since he has powder burns on his face, he missed his mouth, yes? The muzzle of the gun would have had to be at least a few inches outside of his face to leave that type of wound. I think it would be daunting to look into the barrel and still be willing to pull the trigger rather than putting it in your mouth. Therefore is it really possible to contort yourself into a position like that to pull the trigger? (Dexter would have noticed that.)
  3. Longmire tries to sift for missing BBs to see if he shot himself in the river. There were 196 BBs in his face which means that some of them either blew out the back of his head or missed him entirely. But there were only 6 missing. If you swallow the barrel, wouldn’t all the BBs be inside the mouth or the inside of the skull and more than 6 would have blown through the back of his head. (Temperance Brennan would have noticed that.)
  4. Where did they find the shotgun? Wouldn’t his fingerprints have been on the barrel rather than the trigger and the stock? If the shotgun was in the water and washed off the fingerprints, how did the dirt inside the shell in the gun stay dry? (Horatio Caine would have noticed that.)
  5. If, as Walt noted, Barlow (Branch’s Dad) killed him, texted Longmire’s daughter, removed the cameras and evidence from Branch’s house, moved the body to the river in Branch’s truck and rode his mountain bike back to his house, there should have been evidence everywhere! (Monk would have noticed that.)
  6. There would have been bicycle tracks near the truck. There would have been blood evidence in the truck (head wounds bleed a LOT!). What did he do with the bloody clothes and whatever he wrapped up Branch’s body in? Wouldn’t Barlow’s fingerprints have been on Branch’s phone? Wouldn’t there have been river mud on the bicycle? Wouldn’t there have been river mud on Barlow’s boots and pants? How did he clean up the blood at the scene of the murder (the skeet shooting range)? How did a man of his age ride a mountain bike all the way to his home and still be able to walk the next day? (Grissom would have noticed that.)

The plot is that we don’t know who did it, and Longmire has to puzzle it out. He wants to believe Nighthorse (the owner of the big casino going up) is behind the murder of his wife and now Branch, his deputy. It would still mean that the body would have been moved and posed. Nighthorse had done this with David Ridge, the guy who’d murdered the meth head that had been hired to kill Longmire’s wife. David faked his suicide and Nighthorse helped him fake his cremation. David was an employee of Nighthorse, but was lent to Barlow (Branch’s Dad) to kill the meth head and as Barlow and Nighthorse were notoriously at odds, if they identified David as the murderer, his association would lead back to Nighthorse and not Barlow. They tried to frame Longmire, then Hector, then Henry.

David’s calling card was a peyote soaked crow feather. When Branch was trying to get the DNA from David’s cremation, David shot him and inserted this crow feather into Branch’s wound, and later, he left one stuck in the meth head’s throat, but there wasn’t one when he killed Hector. And Hector, being found dying in a cave, identified David as his killer. OK, now it’s getting confusing because David is seen alive and walking around after his death. In fact, he tries to kill Longmire and lands on Longmire’s knife so he has 2 funerals.

If they’d followed the evidence and had applied logic to the situation, they would have identified Barlow sooner.

This is what messes with my head though: Barlow shot his only son, the heir to his legacy in the face!!!! That is extremely personal. His last words to his son were, “I’m too old to start over and make my fortune. But I’m not to old to have another son.” Blam! He was afraid that the evidence his son had found would send him to jail and ruin his businesses. In the end, he had no son and his insurance would have gone to his brother Lucien as the next of kin. If he had a will, he couldn’t have predicted he’d have to murder his own son, so his legacy would be in probate for decades.

I kinda like it when the evidence and the plot are coordinated. Otherwise, I process this completely differently and it keeps me up at night.

Incongruence

“You’re weird.” I think that started in Kindergarten. I had to wear corrective shoes, so not sneakers. I immediately stood out from the crowd. I had a vast vocabulary as a first grader, but I didn’t start reading chapter books until Fifth Grade…The Robe by Douglas Lloyd. I heard that phrase “You’re so weird!” every day, multiple times a day, for all of elementary school. I was imbued with the connections between subjects, music and art, art and history, history and literature, literature and math, math and science, science and music, and around and around and around it goes. I took for granted that everyone thought this way. They don’t. People didn’t understand my jokes. I was (and am) loud when I get excited. When we started on the SRA reading program in fifth grade, I zoomed ahead and got through all of the fifth grade requirements, the sixth grade, seventh, eighth, and ninth grade requirements. There were one or two others in the class that did that too. That would be two or three of us out of a class of thirty that reached ninth grade level in fifth grade.

Because our elementary school was a lab school, we were the mice they experimented on. No one in public school got as many standardized tests as we did. Where the rest of the class was worried about content, I learned how to take tests. You didn’t have to have a whole lot of content mastery to do well on the test. This surprised some teachers. I was the exception, not the rule, though. Therefore, they didn’t have to make adjustments. I was the outlier. I was weird.

Somewhere along the way, weird translated to stupid. I transferred to public school in seventh grade because my teacher at the lab school was psycho. I was in tears Every Day with this woman! Remember that I hadn’t started reading chapter books until fifth grade? I decided for my 1000-page per month book-reading requirement that I was going to read David Copperfield (850 pages). My psycho teacher said I couldn’t do it, so, of course, I did and wrote a book report on it. She accused me of cheating even though I could quote her passages and explain the whole plot to her without notes. My folks adamantly denied I had cheated. It made no difference. She flunked me on that project. I transferred before the winter break. At this time, I’d already studied Spanish for 3 1/2 years, so vocabulary words in my English class were easy–Latin roots etc. made new English words easy to understand. Though in the fifth grade classroom at the lab school, we had experimented with the “New Math,” the public school seventh graders where I now found myself were just getting into it. My teacher was not very familiar with “New Math.” They discouraged mental flexibility and solving problems without pencil and paper. For the tests, I wrote the answer and then went back and did all the steps.

The question I had to answer was this: 12 – x = 7.

  • Soooo in my head it came out in English. What’s the difference between 12 and 7? The answer is 5. I couldn’t just write 5 and go on to the next question though. So on the bottom line I wrote “5 = x”
  • Then I filled in all the steps: 12 – x – 7 = 7 – 7
  • 12 – x – 7 = (7 – 7) = 0
  • 12 – x – 7 = (12 – 7) – x
  • (12 – 7) – x + x = 0 + x
  • (12 – 7) + (-x + x) = 0 + x
  • 12 – 7 + 0 = x
  • 5 + 0 = x
  • 5 = x

QED

NOW go on to the next question. What a horrendous way to spend twenty minutes. Only one other person in that class was done in twenty minutes. He was the smartest kid in the class. Everyone else took the full fifty minutes. My teacher assumed I’d given up and was surprised there were any answers on my test when I turned it in. Then She accused me of cheating. I wanted to issue a challenge to the other kid that had finished in twenty minutes, but this was public school. You don’t have competitions to improve your skill. It might make someone in the class feel bad. I asked her how I could have “given up” after twenty minutes and a full thirty minutes before those sitting around me and copied from people who didn’t pass the test and still get a 95% on it? The look on her face confirmed she was unfamiliar with logical debate. From then on, we had to bring our work up to the teacher’s desk as we finished it instead of just passing it forward at the end of class. It was a race now between me and the other bright kid, and we were always first and second. Sometimes he won, sometimes I did. Now I was REALLY weird. Girls are not supposed to be good at Math–we were supposed to be brilliant at English and Spelling and Social Studies. Julie and Paula and I were also good at science. Julie and Paula got a pass because they were smart. (?) I was weird so I wasn’t supposed to be smart? I was loud and obnoxious, so I couldn’t be smart.

OK, everything will be different when I go to college…oh well. Nope.

I could hear better than anyone in the music department. I could even identify metronome beats per minute without looking at it. So it would go tick tick tick tick and I’d say, “Ah, that’s 84 beats per minute,” and be right. This is a trick. This is not a tool. It not a skill that anyone would want to acquire. I took the final exam for ear training and sight singing and passed it without taking the class. I was once again accused of cheating. I was now expecting this type of reaction. I invited them to test me again on any other song they chose. They didn’t. But then they had me as “dropped from course” instead of passing it. I didn’t even realize they’d done that until I went back to school in ’86 and got a look at my transcript. Every time I did well in a course, regardless of the subject matter, I was accused of cheating. I guess it is suspicious to have someone that was weird be good at anything. I took Calculus, Fortran IV (dark ages with punch cards!) and Assembly language computer programming classes and they thought my boyfriend was doing my homework and were surprised when I got an A on the final exam. I took Renaissance History and Renaissance Literature, and they were surprised that a music major would get A’s on the final tests. I only had to take English Composition and Grammar once and apparently that’s unusual among music majors.

Then I went to get a second degree in Business, and when I did well on the accounting classes and the business law classes, they were surprised that I had another degree in Music (the horror!) I took a Geology class and not expected to do well because business majors didn’t take Geology classes. I took advanced statistics and business majors were mostly into marketing so when I did well there and was actually tutoring some of the other students, it was because I was cheating–my husband was helping me write the computer programs that I wrote in Basic to do my homework and check my students’. (Remember the boyfriend from earlier? Same guy. We got married!) Nope I didn’t cheat; that was all me. And I was pregnant. I was weird because I actually liked Macro and Micro Economics. I took the GMAT and got 650+ and that did not surprise anyone. They were surprised that I took the test at all. After all, business majors who are mothers of four kids do not usually go back for a masters’ degree. And, I didn’t. We moved and I hadn’t been accepted into any Masters programs. It reinforced my belief that maybe I wasn’t as special as I thought I was.

I have been head-butting the “you’re weird, you can’t be innovative or smart or wise” all my life. It’s only been in the last 10 or so years that I quit fighting. I had looked back on my life and realized that it didn’t matter how much I knew, how long I’d studied, how well I remembered things, or how I expressed my wisdom. I was not at all as special as I thought myself to be. If the first thing EVERYONE thought was that I was not very bright, that I was a goof off, that I was a trouble maker, or that I was an arrogant self-centered narcissist, MAYBE THEY WERE RIGHT. I tried not to stick out. I tried not to show what I knew while secretly hoping someone would see me for me besides my husband.

Long-term friends now recognize that I have a lot of intelligence and skill in a wide variety of subjects. But most people’s first impression of me is that I’m not very smart. I still get that look of shock when I speak from the perspective of a fairly intelligent being with an integrated approach to things physical, mental and spiritual. I guess I’ve spoken about this before.

Unfortunately, I am extremely intolerant of ignorant people. Given the overload of information that is currently from a multitude of sources, I find that people that latch onto the things that make absolutely no sense MADDENING! I cannot understand how anyone could fact check the things they see online or hear on TV or Radio espoused as the “truth” and ignore (hence ignorant) the facts and the context of said information. So sometimes I let my “intelligence, wisdom, and factual grounding” blow-up on the screen. It’s like I’m reading or listening to something really foolish and I say or post, “Wait just a dam minute! Do you hear what you’re saying?!!! Shut up and do some detective work before you start spouting off stuff you clearly do not understand! You are making yourself look like a foo… Wait? you got 500 likes and people agreeing with you in the first minute since you posted something this stupid?” And from the ignorant person I get, “Where’d that come from? I thought you were enlightened! You’re just as delusional as ______________(fill in the blank with the most esteemed expert in whatever area you want to discuss)” So now I get blasted by all of my ignorant friends and all HIS ignorant friends as someone who’s obviously been deceived. I’m now a member of the sheeple? Excuse me? So given a choice between overwhelming factual proof and incontrovertible evidence versus the overwhelming negative responses and personal attacks what should I do? Unfriend a person because they’re ignorant? I keep backing myself into the patronizing activity of these doofuses with the head patting, “It’s ok, I like you even if you are woefully uninformed about the FACT that the earth really is flat…” Once again, I’m not as smart and informed and wise as I think I am. I feel like I don’t belong here.

Yes, I still want to see their cute kids and their latest fur baby antics. I love their vacation pictures. But I wish they’d stay out of philosophy and science and politics and religion because on the ladder of awareness and scientific study and theological background, they are not even on the third rung. When they expose their lack of understanding, I have to show extreme restraint to keep from pouring slime all over their heads. I realize I’m not at the top of the ladder and someone above me might be fighting the same urge to pour on me. But I think I’m miles above them. And this is my problem. I am weird. My greatest fear is that I’m only on the fourth rung.

What this is demonstrates the fact that where I think of myself on an intellectual and philosophical scale may be incongruent with my actual position.

Caped Jerks

Yes, I’ve been watching “The Boys” about some crusaders who object to super heroes murdering people. It’s a very sneaky plot. The super heroes save people and get justice except when they’re high. They are just as likely to kill the bad guy and everyone in the vicinity as they are to actually save the day. If they mess up, (let off a laser-eye attack in the cockpit of the airliner destroying all the instruments) they’re just as likely to escape and cut the plane in half and blame the terrorists. And sometimes they demand sexual favors for payment. The corporation pays them handsomely and runs polls like Nielson Ratings and arranges for special events and promotions to bring in more gigs. They decide they want to be part of the military, and the only way to get them into that position is if one of the heroes comes up with a synthetic serum that turns ordinary people into super heroes, but since he sells it to the terrorists (incognito of course!) they create super villains. In that way, the only solution to super villains is the superheroes in the military. Et Voila! ANYWAY… It’s lots of blood and sex and gore and ridiculous situations, some of which have that Seth Rogen touch.

My question is this: Who does their laundry? Every single episode, they’re all wearing the same clothes. The end of the episode, the hero has blood spatter and tissue all over his outfit, and the next episode, same outfit, all clean and shiny. Does he change clothes between calls? Can you imagine him dressed like Captain America (they call him Homelander) and dropping in on a bank robbery with blood and guts all over him?

Homelander: Hey guys! Robbing a Bank?

Bad guys: Dammmmmm! What is that stench?

H: Oh probably some small colon and a bit of brain and blood…

B: gags

H: Just drop the money and surrender.

B: still gagging

H walks up to the sick one and that poor guy just starts throwing up.

Wonder Woman clone called Maeve walks up.

M: Homelander? Couldn’t you shower before you came here?

H: WW! Glad you could join us! I’m going to take this teller into the vault to see if anything else is missing.

M: I’ll hold down the fort. I wonder if I can juggle these three guys?

We hear three thuds like breaking watermelons and then M calls out: Guess not…

Then we see H coming out of the vault adjusting his trousers, and the teller straightening her skirt with obvious signs of transferred blood and goo. So obviously, these jerks need to be taken down and exposed and that’s why we have “The Boys” who try to combat these guys even though they do not have any super powers of their own. They have recruited 2 super heroines who keep saving them from the jerks, and I guess we’ll see if they stick with them.

The whole series is like that. It’s like a really bad car wreck. You can’t look away and you’re not sure if you should laugh or cringe. Will I watch the next season? Yes. Why? I don’t know!

Weird Dream

When I have dreams, some stick in my mind until morning and some don’t. I know I dream every night but my dreams have changed in my *ahem ahem* years. Instead of action dreams where someone or something is chasing me or I’m going someplace or fighting some battle, I’m having Emotion Dreams. I’m not a fan of emotions. They are difficult to interpret and hard to control. There are times when I yearn for Vulcan philosophy or for a chip I could turn off like Data’s. They’re messy and complicate things that should be simple.

What do I mean? Well, yesterday, for instance, I was working on a project and the Things I Used To Do that were simple and straight-forward were now multi-step processes. I was writing a workbook and after rewriting it and editing it, I saved it. I needed to retrieve it for my meeting, and went to click it and it says, “Cannot find this file, did you rename it or delete it?” And THERE, RIGHT THERE, I was looking at 4 different copies. I clicked on all of them and got the same message. It was getting down to the wire and I was getting mad. I did a search for the thing and nothing came up. I had sent copies of this workbook to everyone in the meeting, including me (which showed amazing foresight on my part), and clicked on that link and it popped right up. After I taught that night’s session, I wanted to go back into my directory and eliminate all the false leads. I couldn’t just click a box and hit the delete button. It was like Mickey Mouse and the brooms in Fantasia. I’d click on it, get the “did you change this?” message, and then it added itself to my already over-populated directory. So I went to the help section and looked up how to delete a file.

The instructions came with a video, but of course, clicking on the video just started the video and it was 2″ by 3″ so I couldn’t actually see anything. And the instructions included those dreadful words: You simply… If it were simple, would I be in the help section? You SIMPLY go to the dashboard, select the file, and hit delete. It will go to your recycle bin. My dashboard doesn’t look anything like their dashboard. So No, I haven’t figured out how to clean up my list of amazing tomes.

I want something unimproved that doesn’t “help” me by doing stuff I know how to do. I want to push a button and have stuff happen, and not have messages saying that what I’m doing could be done quicker and easier by adding another 21 steps! I was mad and frustrated. I wanted to throw things. I scrolled through FaceBook for another hour and then crawled into bed.

So, my dream:

I go to the bathroom and I notice the roll of toilet paper not mounted on the dispenser. I take a good look at it and discover that it has been dropped in the toilet and quickly retrieved. I also deduce that the toilet water was not unspoiled as the paper is discolored and has a slight odor. (EWWWW) By fishing out the roll and putting it back on the dispenser without mounting it, I now have a puddle on the floor and a streak where the water (and other stuff) dripped down the wall. I feel Mad and Confused. I cannot fathom the logic of someone thinking you could use partially wet, definitely soiled toilet paper. I’m upset because it’s a mess I dread cleaning up as it makes me gag to even think of it.

The previous day, I had watched episodes of Dexter, the 1st 2 episodes of Game of Thrones, Forged in Steel and Forged in Fire episodes showing wicked swords and daggers, and finally the latest episode of Supernatural. You’d think I’d be dreaming of solving crimes, running a D&D scenario, catching Dexter (and surviving), and rewriting all the Sam and Dean stories without the “We have to kill God and his Sister” themes. But no, I dream of dirty toilet paper.

Worst Song EVER!

Think about it. What is the worst song you’ve ever heard? What were the qualities that made it awful? Was it the chord progressions? The idiotic lyrics? The ridiculous premise? The bad singing? The elementary solos that a 4th grader could do? Now think about this: If this song was so awful, how did you ever hear it? How did it get on the radio? Why would anyone listen to it twice?

I submit it was because the writer or the band leader sold his soul to the devil, and devil said, “Sure! Now I can torture hundreds of thousands at the SAME TIME! AND, bonus, I get your soul.” Granted, his soul was probably really tiny and would go for pennies on the dollar at the discount store, but a soul is a soul.

My Nomination for WORST SONG EVER is “The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band.

Some people call me the space cowboy, yeah
Some call me the gangster of love
Some people call me Maurice
‘Cause I speak of the pompatus of love

Space cowboy? More like space cadet. The gangster of love? He can’t afford to buy it so he steals it. Some people call him Maurice? His name is Steve and he’s so forgettable that people call him the wrong name! Pompatus? OMG He just made up that word. His vocabulary is so limited he needed a 3-syllable word that described love and couldn’t think of any! USE A FREAKIN’ THESAURUS YOU DOOF!

People talk about me, baby
Say I’m doin’ you wrong, doin’ you wrong
Well, don’t you worry, baby, don’t worry
‘Cause I’m right here, right here, right here, right here at home

If they’re talking about him, it’s because they realize he’s a loser. He IS doing you wrong…He’s at home while you’re out working? Chillin’ in front of Jerry Springer and Reality TV because he has no life other than sitting in your living room waiting to pounce on you when you get home.

‘Cause I’m a picker, I’m a grinner
I’m a lover, and I’m a sinner
I play my music in the sun
I’m a joker, I’m a smoker
I’m a midnight toker
I sure don’t want to hurt no one
.

THAT’S Pickin’ and Grinnin’

He wouldn’t pass the audition to get onto Hee Haw…He does No picking and he grins like a 2-year-old that just filled his pants. My guess is that he is no lover because he has no idea what it means to love. He’s definitely a sinner, because so far, he’s exhibited nothing but narcissism and sociopathic behavior. He does what he wants, when he wants, which, in and of itself, isn’t bad unless it interferes with those people around him. He is trying to interfere with this girl… He plays his music in the sun. 1st of all, he only knows 3 chords. He plays outside where others can be inflicted by his lack of melodic sense and innovation. The song is repetitive and mostly focuses on himself. Nobody cares about that! A joker? He’s as funny as Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck. He Smokes! So again, ew. A midnight toker? It means he pretends he’s one thing during the day and sneaks around at night for a buzz. It’s why your couch smells so funky in the morning and all those burn holes in the upholstery. Since he doesn’t want to hurt no one, grammatically speaking, he wants to hurt everyone. I’m not sure that he thought these lyrics out. Or, they came to him sometime after midnight…Draw your own conclusion.

You’re the cutest thing that I ever did see
I really love your peaches, want to shake your tree
Lovey-dovey, lovey-dovey, lovey-dovey all the time
Ooh-wee baby, I’ll sure show you good time

Cutest thing…OMG. Look at puppy and kitten pictures. He loves her peaches? Does he realize that when he “shakes her tree” her peaches will fall off? I’m not sure I’d want to engage with someone if I knew that my boobs would fall off. Lovey-dovey… flashbacks of Thurston Howell on Gilligan’s island. So when this girl is at home, he intends to occupy all her time by shaking her peaches off. That sounds really stupid. Now if he were going to show her a good time, he’d take her to a concert or a movie or dinner or something first.

‘Cause I’m a picker, I’m a grinner
I’m a lover, and I’m a sinner
I play my music in the sun
I’m a joker, I’m a smoker
I’m a midnight toker
I get my lovin’ on the run.

Wait, check out that last line! So he’s there with this cute girl, hanging around all day, playing his 3 chords, smelling up her couch at midnight, shaking her peaches off, and he’s doing it ON THE RUN? People say he’s doing her wrong and he says “No, because I’m right here at home…” except when he goes on the road again and finds another cute peach girl. What a JERK!

The song continues for another 2 1/2 min and he has absolutely nothing else to say, so he repeats the 1st part of the song. He does change Ooh-wee baby to C’mon baby. He’s still trying to convince her she should make out with him. About this time, she should have called her brothers to beat the snot out of him.

The Chord progression he uses is G, C, D, C and a base run to G again. Over and over and over again. The melody is simple, repetitive, almost but not quite pentatonic so you can’t sing a wrong note and the way he’s got it harmonized is unimaginative. And yet… the oldies station we listen to in the morning will play that at least once between 5:45 and 6:45 AM EVERY FREAKIN’ DAY. How in the Hell did it even get a second playing? How the hell did it get on a “Best” list at all?

This is from Wikipedia:

The Joker” is a song by the Steve Miller Band from their 1973 album The Joker. It is one of two Steve Miller Band songs that feature the nonce word “pompatus“. The song topped the US Billboard Hot 100 in early 1974.[1]

More than 16 years later, in September 1990, it reached number one in the UK Singles Chart for two weeks[2] after being used in “Great Deal”, a Hugh Johnson-directed television advertisement for Levi’s, thus holding the record for the longest gap between transatlantic chart-toppers. This reissue of “The Joker” also topped the Irish Singles Chart,[3] the New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart,[4] the Dutch Nationale Top 100[5] and the Dutch Top 40.

My question is: WHY? It has absolutely no value! I’m going to stick to my premise: He sold his soul and Now WE have to pay the interest on it.

It goes a little like this…

I have been watching artists doing live performances from their homes. They have to introduce their songs themselves, naturally, and they say, “I’m going to play this favorite of mine, Danny Boy, and it sounds something like this:”

Wait.

What is he comparing it to? It’s like saying, “It sounds something like Mozart,” and then playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Well? It sounds EXACTLY like that. Is he comparing it to something he hears in his head? Then how would we know that is not exactly what it sounds like in his head? We wouldn’t. So why would he tell us? Extraneous information.

Now a sculptor could finish a piece, and say, “It looks something like David of David and Goliath.” And it would if David was in his 20s and not Jewish. You could say that this image you have created is something from your own imagination and not a factual representation since you never met David or even saw him from a distance. In the same way, a composer has an aural image of his music and recreates it on the instruments of his choice. But if, as a composer, it’s in your head, why wouldn’t you reproduce it the way you hear it?

Why not say instead, “This is a song I wrote called ‘My Hideaway’ and I hope you like it.” You could jazz it up and say, “This song, ‘My Hideaway’ was originally conceived with a totally different instrumentation, but I’m going to play it on solo piano for you. I like this version very much! See what you think.”

And if what you’re going to play is only a little like how you wrote it, why not give it a different name? It’s like that gag in Monty Python…and now for something completely different. “Tonight, I’m going to play a variation on ‘My Hideaway’ that I call ‘Her Hideaway’ and though it has some common elements, it’s so far removed from the original that I changed the name.”

It sounds a little like this…” and “It sounds something like this…” are cliches we’ve had for ages, and if you take a cold, hard look at them, they make NO sense. Learn some new introductions guys!

 

The More you know

The More you know, the less you don’t know.

The More you know, the more you know what you don’t know.

The More you know, the less smart your friends look.

The More you know, the more you want to know.

The More you No, the less you Yes.

Oops, that last one slipped in there.

The More you know, the less stupid you feel.

The More you know, seems like a good idea, right? Do you ache to find out where you saw that actor in the show? I saw Sean Murray in a JAG episode who was a ne’er-do-well kid whose mom pleaded with the judge to have him remanded into her custody. The JAG asked the judge to remand him to the custody of the Navy! All he needed was discipline. Sean’s final line was that he might go into the Judge Advocate General program. Well, he goes to John Hopkins and MIT and gets into NCIS… Oh wait, we’re not supposed to know that.

So maybe that doesn’t make you curious. I have a student that is taking Arabic lessons. I’d love to learn Arabic! I have another student that raises sheep, and I’d love to spin my own yarn. I have a friend that could teach me. I have another student that loves history and we were talking about the 1st American War…the Revolutionary War. It wasn’t.

In colonial New England, King Philip’s War began when a band of Wampanoag warriors raided the border settlement of Swansea, Massachusetts, and massacred the English colonists there. King Philip was the Chief of the Wampanoag. The article cited there gives the whole story. How do I know that? I had a relative that was wounded there. So this happened 100 years before the Revolutionary War. So, no, the Pilgrims and the Natives were not in blissful peace until the French and Indian War 80 years later and 10 years before the Revolutionary War.

I’m beginning to see a pattern. But was it because they didn’t know more? If I post this will more people know more?

Yet we tend to denigrate those curious people, those smart people, those founts of information. Egg-heads, Geeks, Idiot-Savants… It’s not good to be smart in America. We need to change that. Because THE MORE YOU KNOW…