Monthly Archives: April 2015

Reality? I thought you said Realtor

Neurotics build castles in the sky.

Psychotics move in.

Counselors charge rent.

Psychiatrists cite building codes and condemn.

Dr House becomes your roommate.

It goes downhill from there.

I like Hugh Laurie. I like his character Dr House. I even like Cut-throat Bitch. And Wilson, I like Wilson. Actually I’m rather amiable. I like almost everyone. So what is the point? The point of what? What do you want from me? Isn’t that the story of life? What do you want from me? Affection and acceptance are all I have to offer. Is that enough? Am I being too ambiguous? There is gender ambiguity, is there reality ambiguity? James Burke made a telecourse called “The Day the Universe Changed.” If your version of reality changes, your entire universe changes.

Current political opinions would seem to suggest a multiverse with several entirely different realities.

That could be optimistic or pessimistic. Dr Pangloss would say it is the best of all possible worlds. What say you?


Ow! That Smarts! OOH, Dry Corners

Smarty-pants is a smartass. What does that mean? Mean is average. Mean is unkind. What does that say about language?

I have been thinking lately. I don’t feel as smart as I used to be. Sometimes I look back at papers I wrote in college and think, “Man I used to be smart.”

On the show Good Eats Alton Brown had an episode about casseroles. He recommended round pans to avoid dry corners. Square pans cause dry corners use a round one – unless you like dry corners. THAT is the key. It’s not a mistake if you like it. These cooking shows like to tell you how to avoid the liquid at the bottom of the coleslaw. Well excuuse me. I happen to like that liquid. And microwaves stunt creativity. Not through some radiation leakage or anything like that. People used to use leftovers to make new dishes. Hash, Mulligan Stew, Shepherd’s Pie, Pot Pie, were what you made with leftovers. Beef Stroganoff was leftover onion soup dressed up. Pot pie didn’t “Reefer” to a dish legal in Colorado. Brownies were somebodies fallen cake. Now back to the main article.

And not only was I smart, but I was able to stay focused. I have often heard intelligence described as capacity. There are different kinds of capacity. There are different ways of being smart, and different components within the types. A lot of it boils down to what do you want to look at.

IQ isn’t a comprehensive, all-encompassing measure of intelligence. It was originally designed to predict how well a person would do in school. It’s been criticized as being socially biased. As a predictor of success in school it is fairly accurate. Schools are socially biased as well. A genius that is unfamiliar with the language and culture will probably not do well in that school.

Memory plays a big role in what most people think of as intelligence. I suspect when people talk of intellectual capacity they are most often talking about memory. Individuals vary greatly in their ability to remember. And there is a difference between remembering the events of the day versus memorizing facts for a test. There is a difference between recall and recognition. Recognition is a big part of figuring out cause and effect. It also leads to things like superstitions when causality is mistaken for coincidence.

Even with a round pan you can end up with a dry outer ring if you cook it on too high of a heat. My mother-in-law had a recipe for scalloped corn that is really good. The outer edge does form a harder crust, but I think it’s the tastiest part of it. There’s some caramelization that makes it seem sweeter.

Memory is certainly not the only hallmark of intelligence. Processing that information is key. Correlating, cross-referencing, reenforcing synaptic pathways makes those memories useful. I added synaptic pathways because learning motor skills is done through repetition. Those more times those neurons fire in that order the easier it gets. You don’t develop coordination by thinking. If you learn a new skill, like ice skating. At first you have to think about balance and what you’re doing. When you stop having to think about it is when you know how to do it. Language is like that too. A measure of fluency is whether you think in that language or whether you think in your native language and translate. If it applies to motor skills, and it applies to language skills, don’t you think it might be a property of what it means to have a skill?

All too often human endeavors are an attempt to justify looking down on some other group. That is a highly refined skill for some.

And before I forget, oh what was that again?

When you caramelize something you are converting starches to sugars. That’s why they taste so good. Onions are great caramelized. The stronger and more tear inducing the onion the sweeter the caramel.

Curiously, self defense sprays are pepper based never onion based. You might deter some if you hit them with an onion.


Tap That Router And Die, You’re Screwed

To properly construct a pun one must follow a thread.

I bought a new router Thursday. My computer and streaming devices work much better now. I would do a happy dance, but I can’t tap.

The wind knocked some of my tree limbs down. I spent part of the day outside with a cordless sawzall cutting it up. It’s not a tool I use often, but man is it nice when I need it. Sometimes the right tool reciprocates. I suppose some might use a chain saw. I’m not going to link to that. I can’t get my teeth into it.

Last week I was in the sun quite a bit. I wore my grandfathers hat. It’s kind of a weird looking hat. My grandfather died before I was born. In pictures he’s always smiling and looks kind of like Jed Clampett. My grandmother I remember quite well. All the pictures of her show her scowling. That’s pretty close to how I remember her too. She was tall, stocky, and built like a football player. She had 12 kids, 4 of which were 2 sets of twins. Grandpa must’ve been quite a guy. I do think about getting a new hat sometimes.


Birds, Bees, and WASPLEG

Religion and politics are subjects so full of landmines that it is very easy to get blasted. This guy knows that. I don’t know who the guy lip syncing is, but I heard the track many years ago on Dr Demento.

Okay, well that didn’t come out quite like I intended, but I’m going to leave it in. The track I wanted is about a minute and a half. That says 4 minutes. Anyway, Polite conversation used to avoid those topics in order to stay polite. People say our society has gotten less polite. It certainly has on the political side of things. That actually is linguistically an oxymoron. The word politic used to mean being able to disagree with politeness. And that phrase could be interpreted a couple of different ways. Do I disagree and remain polite or do I disagree with people telling me to be polite. And so enters the RFRA, Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

My sin is better than your sin. I’ve had that conversation a number of times. Catholics have the seven deadly sins. These will get you to Hell not Purgatory, WASPLEG, Wrath Avarice Sloth Pride Lust Envy Gluttony. I’m not a Catholic. I think most other Christian religions consider sin as sin all sin is abhorrent to God, but all sin except unbelief is forgivable. Dying in unbelief is what I was taught was unforgivable.

That said, I’m going to take it a step further than that interview or TYT did. Being LGBT is worse than adultery, worse than not honoring your mother and father, is it worse than murder? The people that consider it worse than adultery and disrespect might be in that group that also considers abortion to be murder. There have been abortion doctors killed and clinics bombed. I’m not saying all prolife advocates want to kill doctors and bomb clinics. I’m not saying all prolifers consider abortion murder. But some do. Do we allow the RFRA to let people refuse service to abortion doctors? That is not a trivial issue. The flip side has been in court. Do we allow pharmacists to refuse to fill scripts for birth control pills? That HAS happened, and gone to court. There is not always another pharmacy to go to in rural areas. So far I don’t think I’ve advocated either side, but the pharmacy issue has been in the courts in the past and it is not being attached to RFRA issues now being argued. I think it should be a part of those discussions.

Now I’ve got to go buy a new router. Mine is getting flaky.


Could Clytemnestra Contract Chlamydia Chewing Gum?

She would have to be coordinated enough to do more than walk while chewing gum.

Ted must be short for Agamemnon, and Barbara must a nickname for Cassandra.

Clytemnestra being a Greek wouldn’t have liked Trojans.

Wrigleys wasn’t around back then although chicle was. But that was half a world away. And it was similar to latex. If that was a problem for her she might be more likely to get chlamydia. And chlamydia is from the GREEK meaning “Cloak” so see what can happen if you don’t wear a raincoat in the shower.

And you thought history was boring.

How to Watch TV

Many years ago Mortimer Adler wrote a tome titled “How To Read A Book.” It’s an excellent read, and I like Mortimer Adler. Technology does change things once in a while.

I used to read quite a lot, but technology changes some things. One of Dr Adler’s points is that reading shouldn’t be sedentary. It should be active. Obviously it’s not physically active like aerobics, but you are mentally active and attentive. You don’t “Veg Out” reading. You do get that effect from TV though. Watching TV is passive, you veg out.

You don’t have to be a couch potato. Get a chair like this one.

I think I can hear a TV in the background.

Happy April Fools Day!
“When April Showers She Never Closes the Curtains” Spike Jones