Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Truman?!

The Final clue: He came to power 34 days before FDR and left it 19 days after him.

They guessed: Stalin. Churchill. Truman. (Truman????)

Stalin ruled until 1953, and started, depending on how exactly you reckon his "ruling" the USSR, sometime in the 1920s. Churchill was PM twice - 1940-1945, and then again 1951-1955. As for Truman (!!!), he didn't come to power until FDR died.

The correct answer? Hitler.

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At 9:04 PM, September 30, 2014 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

I assumed that all three contestants would get the right answer, er, question. But as we watched this fiasco unfold tonight, I turned to husband and said that I bet you'd be unable to resist blogging about it, and he agreed. You are so-o-o easy ;-)

 

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I'm sorry

I'm sorry, Larry Hogan's daughter. The fact that your father married a woman and has three daughters and is (let's give it to you) the greatest dad ever ... has nothing to do with the policies of the party he belongs to or what kind of governor he would be.

And that's the truth.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Things could always be worse

Haha. Last time Hannah Dingdon's ne'er-do-well daughter left her son (Hannah's grandson, that is) "for a few hours" it was an overnight stay. This time the kid looks to have been there ten years!


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Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Week in Entertainment

Live: Macbeth, the Verdi opera, at the Met. Netrebko absolutely blew the place away as Lady Macbeth - this is the kind of role her powerful voice was made for. Also at the Met, a brilliant recital by René Pape, with Moussorgsky and Dvořák, among others. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime - definitely worth seeing, if not quite as good as the London cast. Of course, they're still shaking it down, so it can only get better. Wonderful show.

TV: The new season of The Middle and Modern Family. I have to admit Alex as joy-killer was funny. And my gosh Luke is growing like a weed.

Read:The Glass Magician, enjoyed it. A couple of old Doctor Thorndykes.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Nearly in half

When you cut something "nearly in half", how much do you have? Is it slightly more than half? That's what it is for me. I could possibly be persuaded that cutting to 47% was still "nearly in half", but really, I'm going to be thinking you meant, oh, to 55%. Maybe even 60%.

Which is why I'm still puzzled by this:
In May 2013, Uber charged customers a fare of $2.75 per mile (with an additional 60¢ per minute under eleven mph).... Uber has cut UberX fares nearly in half: to $1.10 per mile, plus 21¢ a minute.
That's a cut of 60% for the basic fare and 65% for the slow rate -  down to 40% of the fare and 35% of the slow rate. To me, that's not "cut UberX fares nearly in half". That's "cut fares by more than half."

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At 10:19 AM, September 26, 2014 Anonymous Mark P had this to say...

I agree.

Something that bothers me, although it's so common now it's useless to complain, is when someone says a thing is ten time smaller than some other thing. To me, that's completely illogical and, at least in mathematical terms, meaningless. There is no everyday quantity that can be multiplied by 10 and end up smaller.

 
At 11:37 AM, September 26, 2014 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Language isn't math, though. "Ten times smaller" isn't exactly English, but there are a lot of languages that use that construction - Russian, for instance, where you're twice as short instead of half as tall.

The thing for English is that we generally make our measurements with respect to the default or unmarked element - tall, old, big - not the marked one - short, young, small.

 

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Outrageous

So, I kind of hate to do it, but I think I must agree with Dick Cheney.

There is no moral equivalence between ISIS and Ferguson.

Sure, one is a violent, narrowly theocratic group who kills civilian hostages in a particularly provocative and cruel way. But we would be remiss in not remembering that those hostages are at least from a country who invaded the group's homeland, bombed and destroyed it, causing the death of hundreds of thousands, and then placed into power an equally narrowly theocratic bunch on the other side of the divide. This is a war.

In Ferguson, the killing was done by the local police - the ones with the mandate to protect the one who was killed.

You're right, Dick. They aren't morally equivalent at all.

(Of course, Obama didn't really say there was a moral equivalence; he merely pointed out what other nations such as Russia love to point out on their own: "at times we too have failed to live up to our ideals; that America has plenty of problems within our own borders... yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions." "This is true," he said. And it is.)


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At 9:32 PM, September 25, 2014 Anonymous Brigid had this to say...

But don't you know that if you don't think America is perfect in every way, you hate America?
The willful ignorance and lack of reason in our current national discourse terrifies the crap out of me.

 

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Under

This was interesting. Watching the end of Family Feud as I wait for Jeopardy! The last round's pompt was: "Name something that people are sometimes said to be under."

The number one answer, which she gave, was "the weather."

Her family then struck out with "paid - the covers - age", so the other team got the chance to steal. And said "educated".

They should have take a hint from the only right answer. It's a thing. The others are phrases that describe people, but, for instance, "paid" is not a thing that you are under, it's a description of how you're paid. (Granted, "the covers" is a thing, it's just not something you say about people.)

Here's the ones they missed: the gun - the influence - a spell.

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At 4:56 PM, September 26, 2014 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

I've never seen this show (we get "Jeopardy!" paired with "Wheel of Fortune"). Here are a few more "unders" for you, although I'm sure other blog followers can come up with more:

Under...
a cloud
suspicion
investigation
indictment
weight
one's hat
obligation
observation
the radar
review
the baton (of a conductor)
the Boardwalk
the Linden
Milkwood
the Dome

 
At 6:17 PM, September 26, 2014 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

That's the same pair we have. Steve Harvey's version of "Family Feud" fills the hour before them. A little of that show goes a long way, but I do end up watching part of it every now and then.

 
At 6:19 PM, September 26, 2014 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

PS - a few of yours don't work for me. I couldn't say a person was under Milkwood, for instance, or under someone's hat. And "weight" is like "paid" or "educated". But most of them are right on the mark.

 
At 8:12 PM, September 26, 2014 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

I was thinking of the slang expression "Keep it under your hat" (i.e., a secret).

I misspelled Dylan Thomas' "Under Milk Wood."

 
At 8:32 PM, September 26, 2014 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

I know the saying, but it's supposed to be something someone is said to be under, not something they keep something under.

 

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OMG Chai

So, the president returned a salute today with a cup of chai in his hand. (It is, of course, proof positive that Obama hates the troops.) And let's not get sucked into whether the president should even be saluting - it's a modern custom started by the theatrical Reagan, so OF COURSE HE SHOULD!!!!!!11!

Ahem.

Instead, let's dwell on the outrage provoked in Republicans and Foxicans by this:

Bush salutes with his dog in his arm

Oh, there wasn't any? Moving on...

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At 9:24 PM, September 24, 2014 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

THIS MADE MY DAY!!! And yes, I'm shouting :-)))

 
At 11:01 AM, September 26, 2014 Anonymous Picky had this to say...

You will know the answer to this: do ordinary serving soldiers in the US salute when they are in civilian clothes? I'm pretty certain that ain't allowed over here in Blighty. In fact I don't think they are allowed to salute when not wearing headgear (the salute being the remnant of removing the hat, I think).

 
At 11:34 AM, September 26, 2014 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

No. They don't. And until Reagan, presidents didn't salute anybody either.

 

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Why I still take cabs

I'm not crazy about the wait time for cabs, that's for sure. Fortunately, the company I use to go to the airport is bookable for that. But something's always nagged at me about things like Uber.
From the very beginning, Uber attracted drivers with a bait-and-switch. Take the company’s launch in LA: In May 2013, Uber charged customers a fare of $2.75 per mile (with an additional 60¢ per minute under eleven mph). Drivers got to keep 80 percent of the fare. Working full time, drivers could make a living wage: between 15 and $20 an hour.

Drivers rushed to sign up, and thousands leased and bought cars just to work for Uber — especially immigrants and low-income people desperate for a well-paying job in a terrible economy. But over the last year, the company has faced stiff competition from its arch-rival, Lyft. To raise demand and push Lyft out of the LA market, Uber has cut UberX fares nearly in half: to $1.10 per mile, plus 21¢ a minute. ...

Uber is part of a new wave of corporations that make up what’s called the “sharing economy.” The premise is seductive in its simplicity: people have skills, and costumers want services. Silicon Valley plays matchmaker, churning out apps that pair workers with work. Now, anyone can rent out an apartment with AirBnB, become a cabbie through Uber, or clean houses using Homejoy.

But under the guise of innovation and progress, companies are stripping away worker protections, pushing down wages, and flouting government regulations. At its core, the sharing economy is a scheme to shift risk from companies to workers, discourage labor organizing, and ensure that capitalists can reap huge profits with low fixed costs.

There’s nothing innovative or new about this business model. Uber is just capitalism, in its most naked form.
(source via AZspot)

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At 5:52 PM, September 23, 2014 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Seems that these schemes potentially strip away protections not only from workers but also from consumers. Especially when traveling alone, I wouldn't want to risk taking Uber or staying at lodgings booked on AirBnB.

 

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Week in Entertainment

Film:To Be Takei - very funny, and also very thought-provoking.

DVD: The second season of Murder in Suburbia. I went back and looked at what I wrote about the first one, and it holds true: they still have only two topics of conversation - their cases and their love lives. It's odd; I know they're not meant to be best friends, but surely they could talk about food or traffic or something. It's a minor thing, though; the show is entertaining and well made.

TV: Doctor Who's "Time Heist" was great. Nice callouts to all heist films - the crew striding in in slo-mo, for instance. Given that Clara is leaving at Christmas, I'm hoping the Doctor's 'call me' gesture when Cy left means he'll be back. And a lot of Leverage on Sunday. I do miss that show. (new things start soon! yay!)

Read: Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History. It's an excellent book, though Quanah only shows up about halfway through - it is the story of the Comanches and their wars with the Spanish and the Texans as well as the US, not just a biography. Very good, violent story, though marred just a bit by the author's unconscious failure at even-handedness. He describes the Comanche (all the Plains tribes - he's very scrupulous in distinguishing the Civilized Nations and other eastern tribes as different from the horse Indians) as "backward" and "primitive" and "Stone Age"in explaining their behavior, although what was going on in Texas and the US South during most of the book was just as barbaric (to use yet another loaded term). But he does try to place their violence in context, while avoiding the simplistic dichotomy of Noble Savage/evil barbarian or ruthless invader/innocent pioneer: that is, he looks at Manifest Destiny and its impact on the Plains peoples with a clear eye, for the most part. Worth its Pulitzer nomination.  Then I relaxed with Newt's Emerald, a Regency+magic romp.



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9,000,000 still waiting

Hmmm. Christain Mingle dot Com has "over 13,000,000 members" and "4,000,000 joined this year". That means some 9,000,000 people have been there at least a year and haven't "met [their] beautiful wife" yet.

God may be saying "it's your turn" but it doesn't look like this way is any more likely to set you up than any other.

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