Saturday, November 05, 2005

Websites: Online shopping comparisons > Online Shopping Comparison Table: See how you can earn airline and online shopping points from thousands of vendors.

Travel: Free flights from Coke and Wendy's

(AirTran Airways via MilesFlyer)

Buy 32 or 64 Cokes at participating Wendy's establishments before February and earn a one-way or a round-trip airfare via AirTran Airlines. This is for real!

Academe: The Journal of Irreproducible Results

Excerpt: "According to current subscription figures, more than 6,869,797 issues of the National Geographic magazine are sent to subscribers monthly throughout the world. However, it would be safe to say that the bulk of these magazines reach subscribers in the United States and Canada, and it is, and never has been, thrown away! [...]

National Geographic averages approximately 2 pounds per issue. Since no copies have been discarded or destroyed since the beginning of publication, it can be readily seen that the accumulated aggregate weight is a figure that not only boggles the mind, but is imminently approaching the disaster point. That point will be the time at which the geologic substructure of the country can no longer support the incredible load, and subsidence will occur. Gradually at first, but then relentlessly accelerating as rock formations are compressed, become plastic and begin to flow, great faults will appear."

Friday, November 04, 2005

Academe: Journal of Polymorphous Perversity

"Now in its 14th year of publication, the Journal of Polymorphous Perversity is the irreverent psychology humor magazine that The Wall Street Journal called 'a social scientist's answer to Mad magazine.' Where else but between the covers of the Journal of Polymorphous Perversity would you find a seminal article on deja vu that appears twice in the same issue?"

Excerpt: "The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) Updated
Answer each item T(rue) or F(alse).
# I am easily awakened by the firing of cannons.
# I believe I am following others.
# I was not very strict with my parents.
# I am troubled by attacks of optimism.
# My sex life is satisfactory, except when I am with another person."

Email: Bin Ladin virus warning [SD]

It is true and it's nice that you did confirm it [via]. However, an email can say anything and even can have a virus attached. More importantly, no one needs to send out virus alerts via bulk mail if everyone simply has antivirus protection.

Email: Online chat [BL]

MSN [Messenger] has always had much better security and stability than Yahoo [Messenger].

Internet: Lard P. Drills

(Another fake spam sender name.)

Proverbs: Be good, do good, grow well

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Email: Folk music [MG]

Folk singers are not "commercially successful" like "popular music" is. Folk music is thoughtful, soulful, and deep -- not qualities that teens (since the 1960s) much less adults pine for as a rule.

Email: Song lyrics [MG]

It's a bit risky sending you music I haven't overanalyzed as to all possible implications of the lyrics, but I have to take music as suggesting what the listener wants to or needs to hear, and leave it at that.

Serendipities: Free beef plus cash at Kroger

I had a coupon sitting around for $2 off a package of ground beef (for buying Fowler's Two-Alarm Chili, which I love and also send to my parents up north), so I took it to Kroger's today. (It's getting to be chili weather again.) As part of an advertised sale, they had one package marked down from $4.43 to $2.91. I thought, "Great! I'll pay 91 cents for one and a half pounds of coarse-ground chili meat."

I always check the receipt before I leave though, because I almost always find one pricing mistake. I only bought seven items, but sure enough: Kroger charged me $4.43, not $2.91, for the beef. The cashier even thought the $2 coupon (which she'd spent five minutes puzzling over before ringing it up 60 seconds previously) was the store discount (which totals, um, $1.52).

One nice thing about Kroger is that not only do they strive to be the price leader, but when they make such a mistake, they refund the full price charged and give you the item. So in the end, Kroger paid me $6.43 to take home a $4.43 package of beef for free. That's like earning $11 -- which was more than the bill for all my groceries, even including the overcharged beef.

It really is the little things that give pleasure -- at least, until certain indictments become convictions (one can only hope).

Email: Google on CNN [MG]

CNN is good for breaking news vignettes -- however all they tend to do is repeat the same four headlines over and over all day. MSNBC does the best job in addressing issues and providing some depth, among all the cable news channels.

Houston has been cool and gorgeous with a clear blue sky for days!

Email: Google on CNN [MG]

CNN's conclusion was (in one sentence) that Google "won't replace the library" (the implication is "for now") "but they're getting closer."

I have a problem with [cable] TV news' depth compared to newspapers, and they certainly rarely "get it" when it comes to technology. They do have an international audience though. (I could write in computer magazines for decades -- and I have -- yet people remain ignorant of vital tech subjects until they see it on CNN. I still have to tell friends and clients over and over that if they are on the Internet without a firewall or antivirus software, they are all but guaranteed to have been infected within the first ten minutes they went online.)

You are so right! Yet beyond the dangers of dropping your handheld PC in the bathtub or on the sidewalk, the biggest detriments to onscreen reading are expense, resolution and backlighting. Until any technology (while offering certain advantages as it approaches a tipping point) is as easy and cheap as the natural way to do it, the tech pushers are going to keep blowing hot air -- and the cable TV blather is going to sensationalize it without putting it into a meaningful context for the consumer.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Proverbs: In a man's home, he can blame the dog

For anything. But only for laughs.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Email: Music and mail [SD]

Maybe you're a closet wannabe programmer. :-) There's an emotional reason of some sort. The hard part as we mature is to learn to do what we need to instead of what we want to [do, with urgent matters].

In iTunes, you just drag songs from the Library or one playlist to the icon (on the left) of another playlist.

Why [say] Sorry? A man would never apologize for his choice of tactics to accomplish something. Women do [it] all the time and I'm not sure it's entirely for good reasons.

I'd try quitting the mail program and restarting it; once [it] loses the connection, it needs that -- or else restarting the entire computer. (Windows has a Release and Restore for IP addresses, but that's technical.)

Weblogs: The books were right [about Cairo]

(Adventures in Mission: Egypt has an essay on life in Cairo)

"1. The air in Cairo is so polluted you can actually see it.
2. Crossing the street is like playing a game of Frogger…and you’re the frog.
3. Egyptian food is incredibly good.
4. The people here really know about hospitality.
5. You can drink the water in Cairo.
6. Cairo is the city that never sleeps—even New York and Las Vegas are boring compared to Cairo!"

Nostalgia: Kinky Friedman

Writer's Almanac: It's the birthday of the singer, songwriter, and novelist Kinky Friedman, (books by this author) born Richard Friedman, in Chicago (1944). He grew up Jewish in Texas and went on to become one of the few successful Jewish country singers with his band the Texas Jewboys. He developed a cult following, writing humorous country ballads such as "Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed," and "They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore" about a fight in a bar between a Jewish man and an anti-Semite.

Then in the mid-1980s Friedman was walking down the street in New York City when he saw a woman being attacked by a mugger at an ATM machine. Friedman grabbed the man and held him until police arrived, and the next day the New York Post ran his picture on the front page with the headline, "COUNTRY SINGER PLUCKS VICTIM FROM MUGGER." The experience of crime fighting inspired Friedman to start writing mystery novels about a former country music singer named Kinky Friedman who lives with his cat and solves crimes in his spare time. His books include Elvis, Jesus and Coca-Cola (1993), and The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover (1996).

Typos: "never had much Tim..."

"...never had much tim for that during the divorce..." (chat)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Email: Being reasonable [Mc]

I'm glad you resonate with Bishop [John] Spong. The fundies hate him as a liberal apostate, but he makes sense to me. You would also like Sojourners magazine (, edited by Jim Wallis (who is no longer welcome in the Bush White House because he says Jesus should be kept out of politics).

I believe it's possible to destroy the soul of a scone. (Former fundie friends made "healthy" scone-like cookies that hit the table with a resounding thud if you dropped one.) Scones aren't bad for you if you just have one!

Nostalgia: Farewell Astroworld

I can't believe Houston, the much-self-vaunted fourth-largest city in the nation, is now without Six Flags Astroworld (sold and disassembled due to rising land values). What is the world coming to, if our greatest popular entertainment venues are now Phobia, paintball and mini-golf? Could we at least please get our own MegaMall?

After 37 years, most Houstonians will miss Astroworld and Waterworld. And you realize now tourists and visitors will call radio stations saying "Houston sure is big! We were driving on 610 for hours and passed three Reliant stadiums before we reached the exit to our hotel!"

Email: Teachy? [SS]

I see and accept the whole person, which is different from those who only want to see and accept the parts they want of me.

Teachy? All of life is a lesson... A collaborative one, if two seekers can find each other. I find a lesson in everything. I seek a partner who does too. I don't have all the answers; each person finds those for him or herself; I facilitate discussion and suggest unseen alternatives for consideration; [I would hope that much is obvious.]

I would never want to date or marry someone who wouldn't want to know me if we weren't dating or married.

Press: Commander In Chief raising wrong questions - Pitts: Commander In Chief raising wrong questions: "Sometimes, we act as if feminism were about women. It isn't. It is, inevitably, about women and men. After all, male and female are two halves of a whole. One side cannot change without requiring the other to do the same. So I think some of us are asking the wrong question here.

We wonder if the nation could handle it that a woman was president.

I think it's more important to ask how we'd handle it that her man was not."

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Words: folderol [MW]

Main Entry: fol·de·rol
Pronunciation: 'fäl-d&-"räl
Function: noun
Etymology: fol-de-rol, a nonsense refrain in songs
1 : a useless ornament or accessory : TRIFLE

Email: Subterfuge [DR]

There are two kinds of people: Those who choose to act professionally and those who take things personally because they have issues with emotional unpreparedness (I suspect). You can't do anything about who is in which camp; you can only avoid the obvious pitfalls and hope for the best. You've done fine on your end. That's all you can do.

Email: Subterfuge [DR]

I think your intuitions are right. Most people choose to be loyal to their jobs rather than their friends, when put to the test, even if they hate the work (which really messes them up, but that's another story). I believe the [story] on the surface but I haven't confirmed it independently; I guess given X's machinations, anything could be possible. (See how screwed up it gets when you can't take someone at their word?) [I]t's possible others learned about it and drew their own conclusions, independent of the facts. You can always shoot a condemned criminal more cleanly if you don't put him on trial or ask any questions, and do so when he's not looking -- or limping in the other direction.