Author Archives: Wyrd Smythe

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts.

Scalzi: Redshirts

I just finished reading Redshirts, by John Scalzi, and it’s just about the best, most entertaining, brilliant story I’ve read in a good long time. It’s so good that I have to place it with other best-of-kind laugh out loud science fiction delights such as Galaxy Quest and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

It has a lot in common with Galaxy Quest in being a multi-level utterly ingenious send up and hysterical deconstruction of Star Trek (The Original Series). Scalzi has captured and lampshaded so many of the things fans have discussed over the years. And, as with Galaxy Quest, it’s a pretty good story all on its own.

But it is an absolute must-read for any fan of the original Star Trek.

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Whadda Week!

The culprit!

Well, it’s been quite a week! As mentioned in the last post, the coming of fall (which is always bittersweet for me), a bout of miserably muggy weather, and then electrical problems in my home, have all conspired to batter the shores of my equilibrium. But there have been some raisins in the poo pile. This week, stressful though it was, has turned out a good one.

For one, my Minnesota Twins won the AL Central Division last Wednesday! They are going to postseason for the first time since 2010. (The bad news is that it looks like they’ll face the Yankees — who ended the Twins’ postseason in 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010 and 2017.)

And my electrical power problems are fixed. (I think.)

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Scenes From a Walk

Enjoying a nice morning!

I’ve definitely been feeling the wear and tear of my age lately. This past few weeks, especially, a variety of things has conspired to do considerable pounding on my emotional balance. Simply put, it’s been a shitty transition into fall with the looming dark and cold of winter (the Autumnal Equinox was this past Monday).

And since I have an electrician coming tomorrow to try to solve the power outages that have affected half the circuits in my home, it ain’t over yet. On the other hand, counting blessings, the weather is finally fall-like (we had a bout of hot muggy misery last week); I’ve been really enjoying my morning walks; and I read one of the most delightful and brilliant science fiction books.

I’ll tell you about the book this coming Sci-Fi Saturday. Today I thought I’d show you why I love my morning walks!

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It’s About Our Kids

This will rip your heart out (if you have one):

Pass it on to everyone you know, especially your Congress Critters.

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Predictive Art

Do you think this is art? (Or just something your kid could do?)

“Coffee Thyme” by Sam Gilliam, 1980, crayon

Your opinion on this turns out to be highly correlated with your opinion about our current (miserable excuse for a) President.

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Bummer in the Dell

If I went with longer titles, I might have called this post Why I’ll Never Buy Another Dell Computer! Or I could have gone for the much shorter Dell Sucks! But I can’t resist a good pun or play on wyrds, so Bummer it is.

About a year ago I replaced my aging Sony Vaio laptop with a Dell XPS 15. The Sony taught me some hard lessons about buying a laptop online, one of them being “you’ll be sorry if you buy a Sony” — it had many annoyances, not the least of which was the wireless never worked. And it had a literal bug in it! The Dell is better in many ways, but,… well,…

Dell you disappoint me. Let me count the ways…

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Round Numbers

10000002
10004
1008
4016
1064
@char

BB #63: In the News

Time for another Friday News Dump! The good news is that these are about quite recent news articles that caught my eye. (The bad news is that I might dump some older ones on you if there’s room.)

Usually I present them, more-or-less, in order of their interest to me… and apparently to my readers, since the comments seem to always involve the first article. So this time I’m going to save the meatier one (in my eyes) for last hoping the others get some interest.

So the lineup is: Dog brains, static electricity, quantum DNA, and free will.

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42 Finally Solved!

Musicians practice; actors rehearse; athletes work out; and mathematicians play with numbers. Some of the games they play may seem as silly or pointless as musicians playing scales, but there is a point to it all. That old saying defining insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results was never really correct (or intended to be used as it often is).

An old joke is more on point: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” (Asked the first-time visitors to New York.) — “Practice, practice, practice!” (Replied the street musician they asked.) The point of mathematical play can be sheer exercise for the mind, sometimes can uncover unexpected insights, and once in a while can be sheer fun.

As when finally solving a 65-year-old puzzle involving the number 42!

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Ow!

Stung! Ow!!

I’ve been dog-sitting my pal, Bentley, the last few days, and when we began our early morning walk today, she was checking out an interesting hole in the ground. She’s noticed it before, sniffed at it, and then moved on, so I assumed it was just a hole in the ground worthy of smelling.

But today, suddenly she reacted — pawing at the air in front of her. Because bees! Or rather, yellow-jacket wasps, which nest in holes in the ground. Small ones, but equipped with stingers nevertheless. I whipped my hat off and started trying to clear the air (there were only three or so that I saw, not a swarm), swatted one off her side, and then we high-tailed it across the street as fast as we could run.

As we walked away, I noticed that my left hand hurt: one of them got me!

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