2/21/12 Just Wondering
Closed captioning on TV transcribes a voiceover something like, "Female announcer: Blah... blah..." Why do they bother giving the announcer's sex?
If there's no letter L sound in Japanese, why did they name the car brand Lexus? What do they call it in Japan?
Why is it for women the road to fulfillment is a career, while for men the road to fulfillment is dumping the career and leaving the rat race?
If there's no J or U in Latin, how does the most famous old Roman, Julius Caesar, have both?
Why is it people want to become rich and so attract the opposite sex, yet the rich want to be loved for themselves and not their money?
Why do so many like democracy but hate politics when democracy means everyone is part of politics?
When did the word 'gifted' become a noun? It still means talented, but when did it start replacing gave or given? Moreover, why?
And last and probably least, what's the purpose of that little triangle just under the collar on the front of a sweatshirt?
2/3/12 The Worst Bargain Ever
I got a puzzle-a-day calendar for Christmas. Here's the puzzle for February 2nd, Groundhog Day, though it has nothing to do with groundhogs:
"Andy flushes the toilet 36 times a day. Each flush uses 2 gallons of water at a cost of 10 cents per gallon. How much do Andy's flushes cost per week?"
The answer is pretty simple math. Andy spends $50.40 a week flushing his toilet.
When I read the setup I had other questions. Why is Andy flushing his toilet so much? Why is Andy's toilet water so expensive?
Maybe it's just me, but using the toilet 36 times a day seems a bit excessive. If Andy sleeps eight hours a day it means he's relieving himself 36 times in 16 hours. That's once every 25 minutes or so. I think Andy should see a doctor.
At $50.40 a week Andy is spending over $200 a month flushing his toilet. Where does Andy live where water is so expensive? By comparison my monthly water bill is about ten dollars. I don't pay close to ten cents a gallon for water, closer to one cent per gallon.
Which makes me wonder, does Andy drink bottled water? Is there anything more overpriced? I mean, a 16 oz. bottle for a dollar means paying eight dollars a gallon. That's twice the price of gas. For water. Which I can get from the tap for a penny a gallon. Bottled water is 800 times more expensive. Though for Andy that's only 80 times more expensive. What a bargain.
1/30/12 Another One Bites the Dust
I see in the news where Kodak declared bankruptcy. Not surprising given the rise of digital photography. Still, had you told me in 1970 both Kodak and General Motors would go bust, I'd have thought you crazy. Not to mention the Soviet Union. How the mighty have fallen.
In its long heyday Kodak was invincible. Sure, there was FujiFilm and Agfa, but Kodak was the undisputed king. Photographers called it "The Yellow God". But no more. The Kodak moment is over. The Yellow God is dead. Or perhaps being reorganized as a demi-god. A very mortal demi-god it seems.
So, what big name is next? Sears? Xerox? JP Morgan? Italy? Stay tuned. Death and taxes ain't just for people.
12/21/11 Happy Holidays
That's a greeting for any holidays you like. Christmas, New Year's, Festivus, whatever. Break out the tree, the candles, the pole, the falling ball, or whatever you got. Don your gay apparel, your party hat, your dancing shoes, your Sunday's best, or whathaveyou. Grab yourself some eggnog, some fruitcake, some champagne, or something-or-other else.
Or don't. Live and let live it up, that's my motto. If I knew the Latin for that I'd use it on my crest. Not that I have a crest. Just a logo/signature thingy.
I seem to have gone off the rails. Anyway, have a good one, whatever that one is. Cheers!
12/1/11 Now Better Than Sliced Bread!
Welcome to the New and Improved terrycolon.com. Of course, new and improved are mutually exclusive. If it's improved it existed before in another form so it can't be new. If it's new it didn't exist before in another form so it can't be improved. All the same everyone accepts new and improved adspeak as if it were logical.
So, terrycolon.com is not really new. Just different than before. Whether it's improved is not for me to say. The biggest difference is unseen. I reorganized the hierarchy. Or pathways or whatever it's called. Still, it looks and functions pretty much as before. While everything is still there, it might be in a new spot. So if you linked to anything on the sight, the old url might not work.
Which might make terrycolon.com old and worse. All the same, it's easier for me to work with. Selfish as it may be, that makes it improved. For me.
11/2/11 Wrong Because it’s Right
The above illustration is my variation of something I saw recently at Coyote Blog. I thought it fun, and funny just on the face of it. Though when examined it's a brain teaser with a twist. Or maybe a brain twister with a tease.
With random selection, there's an equal chance of selecting any one of five answers. One out of five is 20%. This would mean the correct answer is A. Also D is correct.
But if there are two correct answers then you have a 40% chance of getting the right answer. So the answer is B. Yet if there's a 40% chance of getting the right answer then A and D are both wrong. Which means there aren't two correct answers so it can't be B either. All three are wrong.
Answer C is self-defeating. If there is no correct answer the odds are 0%. But since that would make answer C right, then it is wrong because there's a 20% it is right, even though it can't be.
So, answers A through D are wrong. Which would make E the correct answer, none of the above. Only if E is right there is one correct answer which would mean there's a 20% chance of getting it right. This would mean E is wrong since one of the above, A, would be right. Also D is correct.
But if there are two correct answers then you have a 40% chance of getting the right answer. So the answer is B. Yet...
You are now trapped in an infinite loop of self-contradictory logic where correct answers become wrong because they are right.
10/4/11 The Big Little Move
Ah-h-h-h, fall, AKA autumn. The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, and both are getting colder. The time nears to make the big switch. I'm not talking about resetting the clocks off daylight savings time, though that will have to be done. I'm not talking about packing away the summer clothes and restocking the closet with sweaters, though that'll be done as well. Nor am I talking about swapping out the window screens for storm windows, though I'll be doing that, too.
I'm talking about my own personal switch where I rearrange the rooms of my house. Well, not the actual structure, some of the contents inside. I have a different set-up in the summer and winter. My house has two spare bedrooms, one of which I use as my office/studio. One is a large room on the north side of the house. The other is a small room facing south.
In the warm months I use the north room as my studio. It's on the cool side of the house and doesn't get the high summer sun streaming through the windows. I can keep a window open with a window fan exhausting all the cigarette smoke to the great outdoors. The north room facing away from the street diminishes the street noise that seeps in the open window. If you can characterize noise as seeping.
When the chilly season arrives I switch my studio to the south side. I get some direct warming sunlight, which is a plus in the winter and a minus in the summer. Being the smaller room it takes less energy to heat compared to the larger north room which can be shut off. I don't know how much this saves, but every little bit helps. The smoke... in the winter I get to enjoy both the first-hand and second-hand smoke for the duration. What can I say? Not everything I do is perfectly sensible.
9/10/11 Man and Superman
Why do superheros have secret identities? I mean, if you're Superman why not be Superman all the time? What's the point of being Clark Kent part of the time? Wouldn't Superman get more girls than Clark Kent? Wouldn't Superman get a better-paying job than Clark Kent?
If Superman needed an income he could do a lot better than newspaper reporter. He could hire himself out to NASA to fly satellites into orbit. How much does NASA spend on a rocket launch? A hundred million? Superman could do it for a tenth of that and make out like a bandit. Work once a year, make ten million, save the world in his spare time.
Though maybe I'm looking at it the wrong way around. Is Superman's secret identity Clark Kent, or is Clark Kent's secret identity Superman? Then you might ask, why be Superman. Why not be Clark Kent, man of steel?
"Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Look, up in the sky. It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's Clark Kent." Though since he can fly why would he leap over tall buildings in a single bound?
Then again, maybe both Clark Kent and Superman are secret identities. After all, he was actually an alien from the planet Krypton.
6/28/11 Ah-h-h-h-h-h, Summer
Time to be outside in the fresh air. Since my drawing board and computer don't go outside for fresh air, very little updating of terrycolon.com in case you noticed. Even if you didn't notice, same story. So, I guess I'll get back to it on some rainy day. Until then, enjoy the archives.
6/3/11 What’s Up With ‘Up’?
Some words are easy to understand, but hard to explain. Take the word 'up' for example. A word about as simple and basic as they come. If asked you might define it as the opposite of down, or hold up a finger pointing toward the sky or ceiling and say, "That way."
Yet, that's probably not the most common use of the word. Our speech is peppered with the word where it has no directional meaning. If pressed, it'd be pretty hard to explain its meaning in many cases. It's like a helper word that doesn't seem to mean anything at all.
Take the following: save up, add up, divide up, pay up, round up, wake up, shake up, phone up, call up, blow up, ball up, mix up, mess up, screw up, light up, lighten up, wake up, shut up, cramp up, rip up, tear up, listen up.
Why 'up' in any of those cases? Is there a direction involved?
Next up there's: clean up, follow up, dress up, open up, drink up, eat up, saddle up, settle up, back up, start up, dry up, wash up, button up, bundle up, cook up, crack up, shape up, fix up, fill up, take up, loosen up, use up.
All these things seem to go up not down. Though not always. A relationship can break down so you break up. Unless you make up, but you can't make down. Then you can get beat down or beat up. About the same thing and neither is very pleasant.
Thing is, 'up' has more meanings than you probably ever imagined. In my dictionary there are seventeen definitions as an adverb, sixteen as an adjective, four as a preposition, two as a noun, and two as a verb. If we go further we find three more definitions as a prefix as in upbeat, updraft, uphill and so on.
You don't have to take my word for it, you can look it up. I didn't make it up. I'm on the up and up.
5/6/11 Cops, Sleuths, Spooks, and Grunts
The top occupation of leading men in Hollywood films and TV is lawman. Which can be a sherif, marshal, or most often a detective. Then you have the private eye, a detective for hire. Related to these is the secret agent, a sort-of undercover detective in a foreign land. As leading men are also often soldiers, what we find is Hollywood good-guys carry guns and shoot people, but only if they deserve it.
It's a different story for Hollywood leading ladies where the top occupation is entertainer. Which could be singer, dancer, stripper, or possibly hooker if you stretch the definition of entertainer. But this is changing. Now-a-days Hollywood leading ladies are also police, detectives, and spies just like leading men. So, Hollywood good-gals now get to carry guns and shoot people, too.
There's one other change in Hollywood heros these days. A protagonist you'd never see in Hollywood's golden age — vampire. How did that happen? How did vampire go from blood-curdling night terror to misunderstood sympathy figure? Then again, I don't suppose vampire is a job, is it?
4/14/11 Ever Heard of Hong Kong Fondue?
France has over 200 different kinds of cheeses and China has... I dunno. I can't think of one cheese from China. Seems the familiar Japanese and Chinese cooking curiously lack cheese. No cheese sushi, no cheese stir-fry, no cheese fu yung. Not only that, they don't have forks, they eat with sticks.
The Japanese give us tofu, bean curd instead of milk curd. That's sort-of like cheese made from beans. And very bland cheese at that. Which also doesn't melt nicely on a burger or work at all satisfactorily on a pizza.
Of course, my knowledge of east Asian cuisine isn't that great. Just what I've seen on the menus in restaurants. Maybe the Chinese have cheese, but they keep it to themselves. At least I haven't seen any. Not only that, but I haven't noticed much in the way of any kind of dairy in their cooking. There is coconut milk, but that's not real milk any more than tofu is real cheese.
So I wonder, are there pizzerias in Tokyo? Do they serve cheeseburgers and milkshakes in Chinese McDonalds?
3/25/11 Remember When
My first car was a 1964 Ford Falcon I bought for $100 in about 1974. This was an economy car of its day and pretty much bare bones transportation. Handling and ride were clunky and bumpy. No AC, no power steering, no radio. Such things were options which cost extra. There was no carpeting, the floor covering was a rubber mat. No seat belts and certainly no airbag. Manual trans with a column shift, brakes were drums all around. The engine had a carburetor and the ignition was simple mechanical points and condenser, computer chips were pure science fiction.
What I'm getting at is by today's standards that 64 Falcon was primitive. A car today is like a mobile den or family room. You sit in comfy, upholstered recliners surrounded by wall-to-wall carpeting, fancy sound systems, phones and even tvs. By contrast that old Falcon was more like an enclosed porch on wheels.
Sometimes folks lament, "They don't make 'em like they used to." In this case I'd say, "A good thing, too."
2/28/11 Short Month, Tall Snow
I heard on the radio this was the second snowiest February we've had since records have been kept. The we in we've being the Detroit area. How far back the records go I couldn't say because the radio didn't say. But I can't imagine it's more than a 150 years or so. All this snow this year only goes to show... I don't know what it goes to show other than it snowed a lot this February.
Does it mean weather is getting more extreme? You'd have to look at the record, which the Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project did. Their analysis of global weather since 1871 shows no evidence that the incidence of extreme weather events has increased. Which only goes to show, snow happens.
2/21/11 Oh, Sno-o-o-o-ow!
Ahhh, the joys of home ownership. I just shoveled a foot of home ownership joy off the walk and drive. If you own it you maintain it, that's part of the deal. Mow the grass, rake the leaves, shovel the snow. It never ends. Know what else never ends, paying for your property.
Even after the mortgage has been paid you're still not off the hook. Every year you pay property tax, and if you don't... bye-bye house. Property tax is basically a fee to maintain possession of what you've already paid for. It's like renting your own house from the government. Forever.
What if you applied the same principle to other types of property? Say, furniture for instance. How would people feel about paying an annual furniture tax so they can keep their living room suite? Let's take it a step further, what if you applied the same principle to money. How would folks react if the government taxed their savings at 2% a year? One might imagine some wailing and gnashing of teeth at that. Yet with land, no problem.
Makes you wonder, do you ever really own your house free and clear?
One might easily imagine how property tax came about. In days of yore most every worker or peasant was paid in cash or trade. This would make income tax pretty hard to assess and collect, following the paper trail as they say, because there wasn't much of a paper trail. Besides, most folks were illiterate and couldn't fill out tax returns anyway.
On the other hand, the government could keep track of real estate. Land didn't move and they pretty well knew who owned what. Land was a big source of wealth in olden days where farming, herding, mining, and whatnot were the primary economic activities. So they taxed land ownership as it was a fairly good proxy for who was making money — landowners.
Things are different now. A little crackerbox house on an eighth of an acre is hardly a source of income. Which makes you wonder, is property tax an outdated idea?
1/26/11 Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect
Have you ever been watching tv or reading a book and get the sneaking suspicion the writer doesn't know what they're writing about? This might happen when the story concerns something you know quite a bit about, your own particular field of work, interest, or study. In my case it'd be the illustration game or to a lesser degree horse racing tracks.
For example, I saw a horse racing movie where a track rat goes up to the betting window and says something like "A hundred dollars on Dragonfly to win." Thing is, no experienced gambler places a bet by the horse’s name, they use the number. They'll say something like, "A hundred to win on the four horse." Which only goes to show writers are mostly experts at writing and not always what they're writing about.
The same sort of thing happens with the news. How often have you watched the TV news or read the paper and had the sneaking suspicion the reporters don't know what they were talking about? Again, usually about a subject you know well. Did you ever then stop and wonder, if they could mess up on this familiar topic how well are they doing on other stories?
Which brings us to the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. As explained by Michael Crichton:
Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward — reversing cause and effect. I call these the ‘wet streets cause rain’ stories. Paper’s full of them.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story — and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
So, the problem is how can you tell when the news reports on the unfamiliar are full of errors? They say you can't believe everything you read, but how do you know which parts to believe and which parts to not believe?