Monthly Archives: February 2016

multiple peeps

I realize that in the process of finding my own voice, I’ve accidentally found at least two.  To avoid confusion, I’ve tagged my “silly naive egotistical blogger of the year” posts and things along those lines as “satire” and my “sincere analysis, critique and policy wonk” posts as “but seriously”.

Try not to confuse the two as often as I do.

on whether there should be wifi on the subway

We’re all so busy and have so much to do and there’s just not enough time. People have a lot of important things to say, so they need to talk on the phone a lot.

When you’re on a long subway ride, sometimes there’s nothing to do, so you might be forced to daydream, or read something, or be reflective, or just be bored. And that would seem like a waste of time, when instead you could be streaming some entertainment to make yourself feel happier.

So I vote for wifi on the subways. After all, you can’t stop progress. Do you think that we should go back to the horse and the buggy? Streaming content on the subway would be a step toward the future and in my opinion would be much better than going backward and cleaning up horse poop.

lunar year of the fire monkey 2016

  • Firecracker Ceremony in Sarah D. Roosevelt Park

In 1997, former Mayor Gulliani banned firecrackers in Chinatown as part of his “broken windows” policing policy. Before the firecracker ban, during lunar new year, dragons would dance menacingly in front of storefronts until the owners came out to throw lit firecrackers at them. The dragons would then dance mockingly on top of the firecrackers and then go on to the next store front. In 2003 Mayor Bloomberg allowed the reintroduction of firecrackers at officially sanctioned events, giving us the firecracker ceremony in Sarah D. Roosevelt park.

The firecracker ceremony never starts on time because innumerable officials must give innumerable speeches to thank innumerable people in two languages. The firecrackers are strung on a high wire which is not quite high enough to let everyone see. But even with the wait and partial view, the firecracker ceremony is more than worth it for the the sound and the crowd.

After the firecracker ceremony we wandered through Chinatown, where dragons still danced in the streets and confetti filled the air. We looked in the shops, grabbed a bite to eat and tried to be respectful when we peeked into a few temples. It’s was an interesting and fun day.

Petco Superbowl

I saved about $20 on pet supplies when I ordered from Petco vs. Amazon. Now Petco sends me at least one e-mail a day.

But the one I got on Super Bowl Sunday was special: It began “Game day is here “celebrate” with Free Shipping!”

So how did they know? I mean how did they know, that I was such a big football fan and that I always celebrate by buying pet supplies?

Scary. It’s like they could read my mind.

Japanese disclaimer

I’ve added translators for Spanish and French to this blog, because I figure if it’s good enough for other companies doing business in North America, well then it’s good enough for me too.

I’ve also added an Icelandic translator, just because I think the letters look really cool and even though I’ve never been, it seems like a really cool country which I believe was recently ranked as the country with the second happiest citizens. So that’s really cool too.

And I’ve added a Japanese translator because Japanese looks even cooler than Icelandic and because I love of some of the quirkier aspects of the Japanese culture, sushi, samurais, anime, traditional folk dancing, planting cherry blossom trees everywhere and other stuff like that.

Bear in mind that this site is translated by robots and that not a solitary soul even tries to check the veracity of any of it. So for legal reasons I must offer this disclaimer as follows: shares no responsibility for any actions or reactions resulting from the accuracy or inaccuracy of any statement contained or not contained herein particularly as this may or may not affect the loss of limb, loss of life, mental or physical illness or even slight discomfort, a bad rash in an embarrassing place, or the harming of anyone or anything. Furthermore, all characters appearing in this work (unless stated otherwise) are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. And we also don’t hurt any animals.

Once upon a time, in an age that my kids refer to as the “olden days”, I used to get a newsletter from a company that did multi-language translations and typesetting. This was in the days  before robots could do everything better than people. One of my favorite features of this newsletter was a section that told horror stories about bad translations, when no one in charge bothered to take a peak outside or had any regional understanding of the local culture.

One such horror story told how Pepsi translated “Catch that Pepsi spirit” into Japanese and the effective cultural translation worked out to be something like “With Pepsi, your ancestors will come back to haunt you”. So obviously that was not good for sales.

If you’d like see an old Pepsi ad and take a scary trip back to 1977, you can do so HERE. Now imagine watching this commerical with the awareness that your ancestors had come back to haunt you. And if you were already scared, then you’d be doubly scared then.

My lawyers tell me that to be on the safe side, I should make everyone who visits this site submit a digital signature to a disclaimer shielding me from any legal claims.
However, instead I will simply advise you: “DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ (NO MATTER IN  WHAT LANGUAGE) PEOPLE. AND ESPECIALLY IF IT’S ON THE INTERNETS.” It might all be made up to start out with and then via a bad translation, it might become doubly made up. I’m just trying to play fair here. I just thought you’d like to know.

my tagline: “The future is fantastical”

Because the default tagline assigned to the WordPress default Twenty Thirteen theme  is “The future is fantastic” and ultimately I chose that same theme, (see earlier post) and ultimately I landed on using  something very close to the default tagline with “The future is fantastical”, some might think that this was straight-forward decision, since the only difference between the default tagline and mine are a mere two letters, more specifically “AL” tacked on at the end.

But truth be told (and since there is no one else alive who can say otherwise, in this case you must believe my version of the truth, and if required I would even swear to it in a court of law with no fear of perjuring myself, since it is only I who in this matter actually knows the truth and therefore I am it’s perfect and only arbiter plain and simple.) there was a wee moment when I considered using the Twenty Thirteen default tagline “The future is fantastic” without alteration. But upon “googling” its use (And I must say that I do love to say “googling” and I’m so glad that the OED has accepted it as a new verb) I found that the field of blogs using the “The future is fantastic” was way too crowded. See?

And not only was this tagline used in an abundance of other WordPress blogs, but it was also used for all other kinds of hokum and snake oil and who knows what else, that really was’t even properly part of the blogosphere. So it was destiny that my search for the perfect tagline continued.

As an aside, truth be told (see discussion of this figure of speech in the paragraph just above) I had at one point almost decided to use a different default WordPress tagline “Just another WordPress site”. With this, I thought I had a classic, because with the exception of the Twenty Thirteen template using “The future is fantastic”, I do believe that “Just another WordPress site” was the only other default tagline that has ever offered.

And while this type of brand consistency normally appeals to me, I just felt that “Just another WordPress site”was somehow just not catchy enough. So I did a did an extensive study of the matter, or in other words, I added and changed and rearranged the words and stuff like that.

For example: I tried “Just another amazing WordPress site” and “Just another awesomely cool WordPress site” as well as many other variations of that ilk. And at one point, I thought I really had something when I came up with “Just another really super-cool one-of-a-kind can’t-miss-it WordPress site”, which really seemed most excellent to me and not only because I really love to make up compound words.

But then I noticed another problem. When I “googled” (I will never stop loving to use that word. ) “Just another WordPress site”, I found that it’s use, while not omnipresent, was certainly quite ubiquitous. So even with a large change in wording, the general common-ness of it  would ultimately make my tagline less unique than I had orginally desired.

But more significantly, I also saw that many people were confused about how to change or remove “Just another WordPress site” as their tag line. This really started the alarm bells ringing. Not only did it seem that so many people had used this tagline and later lost interest in it, (so there must have been something lacking right from the start, right?) but also using this tagline seems to have caused a state of confusion in many people as to how on earth they would ever change or remove it. See? Clearly I wanted none of that.

So still undaunted, I continued my quest.  And in part, because I had once thought I was so close with “The future is fantastic”, I ultimately returned to it. And in the end I decided to use it while making one minor modification by adding “AL” to the end thus producing “The future is fantastical”.

For me, this added wordplay gave this tagline new life. And even for about two seconds (or maybe a minute) I thought that “fantastical” was a new word that I had just invented.But then I “googled” (Ahh!) it and found that “fantastical” had actually been in use since perhaps 2003.

According to the internets, my not-new-word “fantastical” could mean some combination of “fantastic” and “magical”. Or alternately, it could mean that something was too much of a good thing, that it was really too good to be true, just too much, “too good” in a sarcastic sense. See?

Used in a sentence: “The rapid advance of technology allows us to experience previously unimaginable opportunities for non-stop entertainment and multi-tasking thus giving us fantastical powers of concentration and the ability to truly “be here now.” Used in another sentence: “The future really is fantastical.” It really is.

So in all seriousness and yes all (at least most) kidding aside I really do mean this to be a mostly very serious blog. So I really mean it when I say that I truly do believe that the future is fantastical. Right now (which at least heavily implies the future, doesn’t it?), there are some truly fantastic things happening. And some truly magical things are definitely happening too. And some of the things happening are just too-much-all-at-once in your face in a way that many people just seem caught up in the flow when it can be hard to tell exactly where all of this is really going.  “The future is fantastical”: It may be just another tagline but you must admit (actually I don’t know what you’d admit to, or wouldn’t admit to, but you might) it’s so much catchier than “just another really super-cool one-of-a-kind can’t miss tagline”. And I’d like to think it’s kinda’ fantastical all on it’s own. Used in another sentence: “My tagline, “The future is fantastical” is fantastical.”

R.I.P. Paul Kantner, Signe Anderson; January 28, 2016

kantner_andersonI was always a huge fan of Jefferson Airplane. But to me, Paul Kantner was just another one of the guys in the band. Because for me, it was always about Grace Slick who I had a huge crush on from the time I was fourteen.

I learned more about Paul when he and Grace got together in 1971 to make an album called Sunfighter and create a baby named China Wing Kanter. For someone only fourteen, Sunfighter seemed epic,  indeed a wondrous trip through rock, folk, history, animal instinct, overtones of imagined cannibalism, almost a whole other very strange world.

As for Signe Anderson, I wouldn’t have even known who she was had she not died on the same day as Kantner. I have since learned that she was the original singer for the Airplane but made the decision to leave when she learned she was pregnant. She continued to sing for the rest of her life, but never regained her chance at significant fame.

We should celebrate both Paul and Signe for being extremely brave people.

Paul just kept exploring, he kept pushing his music further, he tended to stay constructive, he saw the problems with the world, but yet believed that humanity would rise above it. He believed that one day we would ascend to the stars.

Signe for her part probably couldn’t see into the future any better than most of us, but she had the foresight to know what was most important. She had the wisdom to know that being a mother was more important than chasing after fame. That having a home was better for the child than being on the road. The strength to give up so much in favor of a simpler path, makes Signe seem to me as the braver of the two. And I think Paul was extremely brave.

The dead are never that far away. Thank you for your brave spirits. R.I.P. Signe and Paul!