Monthly Archives: July 2013

People, Things, Ideas

SMBC_2951I’ve gotten spoiled. Writing about the con carne topics is much harder than writing about the life stories and the off-the-cuff opinions. Meaty topics require research and fact-checking (and often I need to create the images). And I expect they’re also harder to read!

My intention here was always to write mostly about ideas with a fallback of writing about things and, to a lesser extent, writing about life (which is to say, about people).

Today’s post keys off a Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal cartoon I saw a while back. At first the cartoon spoke to me, but the more I thought about it, the less I agreed with it.

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Sunday Soul Music

Soul MusicEarlier this week I finished re-reading what might be my favorite Terry Pratchett Discworld novel, Soul Music.  When I introduced you to Pratchett and Discworld I mentioned that each novel has its own theme. Nearly all the novels use the same groups of characters, but each revolves around a unique theme (and usually one of the character groups, although cross-over is frequent).

Soul Music is about “music with rocks in it” (in other words: rock music). It’s technically one of the “Death” novels (which is to say that the Discworld avatar of Death is the main character), but it prominently features the Wizards in supporting roles.

And Death’s grand-daughter, Susan. And the spirit of Buddy Holly.

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Toast-R-Oven

Toast-R-OvenI bought a new toaster oven the other day. My old one caught fire a little bit and afterwards it didn’t make very good toast. The lower elements fried, so it only heated from above. Broiled toast is strange and sad.  I had to toast one side and then flip my bread to toast the other.

It was interesting looking over at the toaster that one morning and wondering why bright yellow, kinda flickery, light was coming out of the toaster. A dull orange glow, that’s expected, but bright yellow? What’s up with that?

Oh! Fire! Damn, my toasted is burned! Literally.

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Descartes

Rene DescartesThe weather has been gorgeous the last couple days, so the idea of sitting at the computer hasn’t been appealing. Plus, it’s occurred to me that I’ve just ended 29 years of sitting at a computer. My original plan was to spend this first retirement month getting solidly back into blogging again, but my brain is rebelling.  It would rather just putter around for a while, enjoying life.

I do try to do what the voices in my head tell me. They seem to know what they’re talking about (at least, they’re quite convincing).  I have managed to post more this month than any month so far this year, so I’m off to a fine start.

But I’m not going to work at much more this month unless the muse strikes me.

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Sunday Thunder

thunderI woke early to the sound of thunder this morning. It was hot enough earlier in the week to force me back to enclosed air conditioning. Friday I realized it had cooled off enough to open the windows again. I very much prefer breezes blowing through my place. The weather witches mis-predicted rain Friday and Saturday, but got it right Sunday morning.

I lay in bed sleepily thinking how much I enjoy the sound of rain and thunder. That thought was immediately followed by the realization that I needed to wake up and go close some windows!  As the rain continued, I began to wonder if the Twins game today would be rained out, but now it’s just partly cloudy, so no problem.

I thundered yesterday, but on Sundays I try to be sunny (or just partly cloudy).

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BB #28: Bad Bubbles

fans behind announcersI gotta be honest: the retired life is wonderful! It’s interesting to see how my mood has changed. It’s not quite a winter to summer change, but there are definitely fewer clouds in my skies these days.  I’ve found that some things that always got under my skin don’t have the same power to piss me off they once did.

I noticed that first with regard to fans situated behind announcers mugging the camera. It bugged me producers would set up such distracting circumstances, and it bugged me the damn fans were distracting me from the announcers.  The other day I found myself grinning due to a young man aping for the camera from his seat behind the sportscasters.

But that doesn’t mean some things still don’t piss me off or bum me out!

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Strange Loops

Drawing Hands by EscherIf you have read this blog much, you know that a topic that interests me greatly is the nature of consciousness. How is it that a three-pound clump of cells, a brain, gives rise to the rich experience of consciousness, our minds? Cognitive scientist David Chalmers termed this “the hard problem” of consciousness, and as it stands we really have no idea what consciousness is (and yet we all experience it all the time).

Back in 1979 cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter wrote Gödel, Escher, Bach, a book that attempts to answer the question. GEB, as it became known, was a large book most took as a random tour of interesting scientific ideas. But GEB did  have a theme, so 25 years later Hofstadter wrote another (much shorter) book to re-state his case.

That book is called I Am a Strange Loop, and it has much worth considering!

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Baseball Stories

Mighty CaseyToday is the last day of the All-Star break. Monday was the Home Run Derby, and Tuesday was the All-Star Game itself. Wednesday and Thursday are days off for everyone in Major League baseball. In fact, yesterday and today are the only two days during the entire season that there are no baseball games played.

Tomorrow the season resumes, and all 30 teams begin working their way towards winning their Division and getting the pennant. At this point in the season, just past the halfway mark, no one is out of the race, but for some teams winning requires a major change in team performance. And some teams already stand out as the presumptive winner.

It’s the season’s “weekend,” so let’s talk about baseball stories!

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Midsummer Night’s Baseball

MoThe baseball joy in July continues! Last night, the American League won the Midsummer Classic, the MLB All-Star Game. In fact, it really wasn’t even a close game. The AL shut out the NL, 3-0, which ended a three-year losing streak! Prior to that streak, the AL pretty much owned the NL back to 1988, winning 18 of 22 (with one tie in ’02).

You are perhaps wondering why the American League is “us” and “we.” It’s  simple. I’m a Minnesota Twins fan, and they’re in the AL (Central Division). And why the Twins? I lived here from 1960-1967 (my “Wonder Bread years”) and from 1984-present, so I’ve been a “Minnesnowtan” for 62% of my life. That’s reason enough.

What follows is a write up of notes I took during the game last night:

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Baseball Joy

Yoenis CepedesImagine taking one of the most exciting parts of baseball—something not only dedicated baseball fans love, but something everyone agrees is exciting. Imagine creating something that distills a baseball game down to this one thing, this essence of baseball excitement. What is this universal crowd-pleaser?  It is, of course, the ultimate crack of the bat, the best of the “three true outcomes.” It is the home run!

Imagine watching eight of baseball’s best sluggers vying to see who can hit the most home runs. The only thing at stake: simply hitting the most homers and winning the trophy. This isn’t like the All-Star Game this evening where the winner determines home field advantage for the World Series in October. It is like the All-Star Game in being one of three events that pits the American League against the National League (the World Series, of course, is the third and most important).

For sheer unalloyed baseball fun, it’s hard to beat the Home Run Derby!

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