Posted tagged ‘curmudgeonly rants’

Grokking the News

May 11, 2020

Just in case you are not a science fiction nerd, the term grokking came from Robert Heinlen’s sci-fi classic, Stranger in a Strange Land.   It means to understand, profoundly and intuitively.

My Dad used to come home from work, sit down in his chair and read the New Haven Register every evening.  Dad liked to be informed as to what was going on in the world.   I have never subscribed to a newspaper, although for many years I picked up the Los Angeles Time Sundays.  I read Newsweek and Time (although not religiously) and watched the evening news until it became so biased and banal that it interfered with my sleep rhythms.  For some years now, I’ve made a habit of reading a number of news sites on my tablet over my morning coffee.   I read a number of sites because while it is possible to find pages that aren’t banal, they are ALL biased to some degree so I hop across a variety of sites to try to counteract my own confirmation bias and get an unbiased picture of what’s going on in the world.  Since the election of Donald Trump as president, the partisanship of the media has made it harder and harder to read enough to really grok what’s going on …. and the media’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has turned me into a news skimmer for the sake of my own sanity.  Here are some of the headlines I skimmed today: (more…)

Experts

April 22, 2020

I have stopped posting on the current coronavirus pandemic because, quite frankly, I am tired of reading opinions (and more opinions) on the subject.  But when you are a 75 year old man with a very vocal Inner Curmudgeon, you have to let him out, so to speak, or he can erupt among family and friends.  I don’t have enough of either to risk that so today’s post is his … on a subject other than (but certainly applicable to) COVID-19.  He has promised to avoid the subject except for the cartoon at the top of the page.   The subject is Experts. (more…)

Life-Changing

March 5, 2020

This morning, as usual, I picked may way through the news on my tablet, carefully avoiding coronavirus hysteria and articles on what ‘our president tweeted concerning things he knows nothing about.   It seems there is less and less that I bother to read.   Oh, there are a few things I liked.  The coronavirus has at least pushed climate change off the front pages … and Kindly Uncle Joe is making a comeback against Crazy Uncle Bernie.  And as always there’s something to give me a laugh to offset the grim news.  Today’s gem is an article on BGR titled This hidden Google Maps trick just changed my life.   Having recently been battling with Google Maps to get my home address to appear in the right place, I was intrigued.  Imagine my disappointment when I found that the trick was a way to add preferences to the restaurants that Google Maps suggests when you search in an area.  Really?   If that changes your life: (1) you are eating out entirely too much; and (2) you really don’t have a life. (more…)

Just Plain Stupid

November 5, 2019

pilgrim

Recently, I posted about how many black … and black and white … cats are languishing in rescues around the country. If they are lucky, they are in a no kill rescue, meaning they have a forever home, even it’s a cage. Those in shelters that euthanize cats are more likely to euthanize black cats because they are the last to be taken. Why? Because a sizeable slice of our supposedly modern society still believes the ancient superstitions that black cats are bad luck.

(more…)

Drive Cycle Hell

July 24, 2019

smogHaving moved to Southern California in 1971 when summer brought smog days that left the air a sickly brown and people wheezing from breathing pollution, I appreciate the improvements that have been made in reducing polluters. And I know that one of the factors in being able to breathe easier are the reduction in vehicle emissions and the Smog Check Program that tests vehicles periodically to make sure emissions are still low. Yes, it is a small pain in the neck to take my car to a smog check station before it can be registered, but its a small price to pay. Except when its a big price to pay. (more…)

Nowhere to Go

December 23, 2018

I found this post languishing nearly finished in my draft folder.   I think it’s pretty funny as long as you don’t take it too seriously.

hours-highway-truck20060928_0120-2016-09-27-13-43-e1494531460183-2017-05-15-09-30So, you’re driving on the freeway. Yes, depending where you live, it might be the turnpike, throughway, parkway, highway or expressway. Just assume lots of lanes, speed limit, say, 65 mph. Traffic is moderate but moving along, heavy 18-wheelers mostly hanging out in the right lane. If you are a driver like me, you are in the second lane from the right where you can move along at a few mph above the speed limit, but not deal with crazies in the speed lanes. As you begin an incline, the eighteen wheeler ahead of you begins to slow and you are gaining on it steadily. Out of the corner of your eye in your right side mirror you see a Honda Civic coming up fast, clearly trying to get by you before you catch up with the truck. Do you: (a) slow down and let him pass then cut ahead of you; or, (b) slowly accelerate so that he can’t? Me? These days I’m almost always the (a)-guy but every once in while, the (b)-guy sneaks out. When I’m the (a)-guy, I think, Now where does he think he’s going? before letting the Civic slide by. If I think, Where the hell do you think you’re going, idiot? the (b)-guy is in charge.

The (b)-guy isn’t satisfied just to keep him from passing. He accelerates gradually so the Civic driver on his right keeps thinking he can make it. The (b)-guy knows if he times it perfectly, not only will the Honda not be able to cut ahead, the car behind him will catch enough up keep it trapped behindPSX_20181223_083757 the truck. Points are accumulated for each minute the would be right-side-passer has Nowhere to Go. The question is, how long will the sensible (a)-guy let the (b)-guy keep it up. The record is five minutes. That’s because my friend, Gary, says if you miss your exit playing a road game, you are really crazy. Even my (b)-guy doesn’t want to be considered really crazy so he zips past the truck and bails when our exit comes up. Some day I’ll tell you about the (c)-guy. He’s really crazy.

Bad Coffee Day

September 5, 2018

coffeeI find as I get older (which keeps happening no matter how much I complain) that hurrying becomes more counterproductive, a fact that the forty-year old who lives inside my head refuses to accept.   On Wednesday, I volunteer in a Twelve Step office, taking calls from people in need of help and serving as the all-around computer guy.   My normal shift is from 11 am to 2 pm but today we are having the windshield replaced on my wife’s car because a tiny chip caused by a flying stone on the freeway has begun to grow into a crack.  She would like me home to deal with the mobile windshield replacement people, scheduled to arrive between 2 and 5 pm.   Thus, my plan was to shift my hours to allow me to be home at 2.  Have I mentioned that as I get older it becomes increasingly hard to change my routine?   By the time I got out of bed, read some news on my tablet, did my morning chi gong and showered, I realized that I didn’t have time for breakfast.   Easy, the forty-year old in my head said.  We’ll brew some coffee while you get dressed, then pick up a muffin or something at Ralph’s Market when you stop to buy something for lunch.   I scurried (as much as this old body can scurry) downstairs and set up the coffee maker, then scurried up the stairs  (more slowly) to finish dressing.  As I carried my office paraphernalia to the car, I stopped to fill my travel cup with the coffee I’d brewed.   What I got was pale brown hot water.  In my haste, I’d forgotten to put the ground coffee in the basket.  Shit, says I. (more…)

Monday, Monday

July 3, 2018

mondayThe weekend rolled to a close with Mrs Eyes nervously studying for her written drivers license test on Monday, and both Mr. and Mrs. Eyes taking cold showers because the water heater wouldn’t heat water.  Hmm, is it still a water heater or just a large useless tank full of water in the garage?   We’d have to wait until Monday to find out when the plumber was scheduled to come sometime after lunch.  Because Mrs. Eyes had an appointment to renew her license Monday morning at 10:40, and being the wonderful husband he is, he agreed to keep her company.  Appointment: a fixed mutual agreement for a meeting.  From the California DMV website: Welcome to the DMV Appointment System. For faster service, please schedule an appointment before visiting a DMV field office.  Seemed sure we’d be home by 1:00 pm to meet the plumber, right?   Wrong. (more…)

Being Bud

June 14, 2018

budThis week, three people posted on my Facebook page about the latest hurricane being named Hurricane Bud. My first thought was, Really? When did they start naming Hurricanes after men? After all, one of the riddles of my childhood was, Why do they only name Hurricanes after women? The (hilarious) answer was, of course, Because if they named them after men, they’d be himmicanes. Actually, they started using men’s names (along with women’s) in 1978. So here’s a thought … given the general confusion our species seems to be undergoing about gender, how long is it before we have gender-neutral names. And will we then have to use those names for tropical storms. And will they be called theyicanes?    Having a hurricane named after me left me feeling a bit conflicted. Most of my life I’ve been a very good student … A’s were preferable, as long as they didn’t take too much work, and anything below a B embarassing. So, shouldn’t I want my hurricane to be a Category 5 (156 mph winds), or at least a Category 4?  But do I want to have to see the devastation I caused on the evening news? I felt a little relieved when I read that I would probably blow myself out before I made land fall … but the notion was a little deflating, too. I was pleased to read this morning that I may bring desirable rainfall to Southern California in the next few days. Who doesn’t want to be desirable? (more…)

%#@&#$$ Cars

June 8, 2018

TLNo one has ever accused me of being a car guy, not because I don’t like cars but because I am too cheap and too practical to actually own one of the dozens of upscale vehicles that roam the streets around our neighborhood in North Orange County California. It probably didn’t help that I was burned twice by fun but unreliable vehicles early in my car owning life, a 1966 Alfa Romeo Spyder and a Fiat (Can you say Fix It Again Tony?) 850. Beyond those it has been Chevys, Toyotas and Hondas, all kept until their odometers were well beyond 100,000 miles. I am currently driving an 11 year old Acura TL, which was my big (for me) splurge when our business was doing very well. It is the best car I’ve ever owned but as its odometer inches toward 150.000 miles it is having senior moments more and more often. As I do with my senior friends, I try to be tolerant of its signs of age, but as my Acura’s issues become more bizarre, my patience is waning. (more…)