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BarBots: Here To Help

BarBots: Here To Help

Yes, the barbots are coming.  Some are here already.  But don’t worry – they’re here to help!  Over at the Wall Street Journal, Timothy Aeppel pens…err…keys…I mean…writes somehow:

Robots Can Mix You A Drink.  But Will They Listen To Your Problems?

Makr Shakr

The Makr Shakr

Opening sentence:  “Robots aren’t about to elbow bartenders out of a job.”

Are you kidding me?  That thing is nothing but one giant elbow!  How could it not elbow anyone out of anything?  That’s like saying a hammer isn’t about to pound anything.  Of course, Mr. Aeppel factually and logically explains that more than anything else, robotic bartenders are simply tools to boost the productivity of  human bartenders.  But as anyone who had read this blog knows, when discussing robots and the coming robot revolution there is no room for facts or logic .

So, of course the barbots will win us over with their aloof demeanors and cute names like Makr Shakr and Bartendro.  Of course they will be subservient, what with their needing human supervision to function properly.  Then,  when you least expect it…WHAM!  Elbow to the throat.  And then you can add that to the list of problems they won’t listen to.

 

Eulogy for a Metaphor

Eulogy for a Metaphor

 

I was taken aback today when I learned that the term “Bullshit” is a dead metaphor.  But it seems that the term’s claim on life as a metaphor had always been tenuous at best, and so it’s death as such was iminent.  You see, a metaphor is a figure of speech that identifies something as being the same as some unrelated thing for rhetorical effect.  So to use “bullshit” as a metaphor, for example, of a person’s untruthful arguments or assertions one would be comparing those assertions to the literal end product of a bull’s digestive tract.  The comparison does not hold up to the actual physical similarites.

bovine excrement meter

Perhaps then, “Bullshit” might  have been better suited to life as a simile rather than a metaphor.  In this regard one could pronounce their adversary’s statements as not literally bovine excrement, rather that they were only similar to it.  From that point the observer’s  imagination is employed to distinguish exactly what those similarities might be –  Color? Odor? Quantity?  Point of origin?

I will not contradict the contention that “bullshit” is a dead metaphor.  I see no reason to.  Alas, poor Bullshit, we barely knew ye.  You died quietly, and your death went unremarked upon.  Yet no metaphor truly dies that lives on as an expletive.  And as such, shall you live ever after in our hearts and in our language.  And I’m quite content to retain the term soley for use as an expletive, though others may lament it’s loss as a useful metaphor for this blog.

Music Friday – In Search Of A Theme Edition

Music Friday – In Search Of A Theme Edition

When I do a Music Friday post I usually like to give it some sort of theme.  I had a little trouble this week because as I write this it is 5:10 AM and I am not at my – shall we say – sharpest.  But I have nothing to lose, so here goes.

OK, coffee’s kicking in now.

The whole Music Friday theme itself came about kind of by accident.  I’ve always had a Music category on the blog from day one, but it just so happened that a few weeks in a row when I posted about music it happened on Fridays.  Theme junkie that I am, Music Friday was born and the rest is history.  So where was I?  Oh yeah.  Searching for a theme.  Searching.  Searching.  If only…wait…I have an idea.

Here’s one everybody knows;  Artist: Chicago

Here’s one some of you might know;  Artist:George Benson

Here’s one you should know;  Artist: Average White Band

Finally;  Who the heck is Lasgo?

Whew!  that was close, but I knew I’d find a theme if I searched long enough.  Thanks for watching, listening and reading.  I have to go now in search of a paycheck.  Have a great weekend!

 

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

So I read this today.  According to Matt O’Brien at The Washington Post WonkBlog:

Economists Have Discovered How Bad The Economy Really Is

Excerpt:

“…even though the unemployment rate tells us the most about the labor market, it doesn’t tell us the full story. All it does is show us how many people who are actively looking for work can’t find it. But that leaves out the “shadow unemployed” who want full-time jobs but have either given up looking for them or can only find part-time ones.”

So we have a lot of “underemployment” instead of unemployment.  Not to mention those who are employed full time in jobs of last resort because their are no jobs available for them in their chosen field and they need something to pay the bills.  You know – the engineer who works at Home Depot or the middle manager who is selling phones at the AT&T store, or the former factory worker who now a cosmotologist (at an 80% pay cut).

Huh.  Who Knew?  Oh…that’s right.  Everyone who doesn’t work for a newspaper.  Well, at least one guy who works (blogs?) for a newspaper knows.

Nothing to see here!  Move Along!

Cross posted at Cuana Enterprises Amazon Store blog, the Men Out Of Work Blog

Speaking of Patriots

Speaking of Patriots

April 18th marked the 70th anniversary of the death of WWII journalist and war correspondent Ernie Pyle.  Most young people know precious little about WWII and probably even less, if anything at all about Ernie Pyle.  Suffice it to say that he was a popular journalist of his time, a man committed to something larger than himself, and  a soldier’s friend.

There is an archive of his work maintained on the web by the Indiana University School of Journalism.  One of his more moving columns is The Death of Captain Waskow:

“In this war I have known a lot of officers who were loved and respected by the soldiers under them. But never have I crossed the trail of any man as beloved as Capt. Henry T. Waskow of Belton, Texas.

Capt. Waskow was a company commander in the 36th Division. He had led his company since long before it left the States. He was very young, only in his middle twenties, but he carried in him a sincerity and gentleness that made people want to be guided by him.

“After my own father, he came next,” a sergeant told me.

“He always looked after us,” a soldier said. “He’d go to bat for us every time.”

“I’ve never knowed him to do anything unfair,” another one said.

I was at the foot of the mule trail the night they brought Capt. Waskow’s body down….”

You owe it to yourself to follow the link and read the whole thing.  Pyle was killed by Japanese machine-gun fire on the Island of Ie Shima in 1945.  He is among the few civilians to have been awarded the Purple Heart.

Today is Patriots’ Day

Today is Patriots’ Day

It is the Official Observance of the beginning of The American Revolution in 1775.  240 Years ago yesterday were fought the battles of Lexington and Concord.

Could it happen again today?  Read this:

Seventy Two Killed Resisting Gun Confiscation in Boston.

That sounds like it could be ripped from today’s headlines.  I guess that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

California’s Leaders, Visionaries Lacking In Leadership, Vision

California’s Leaders, Visionaries Lacking In Leadership, Vision

California’s Leaders and Visionaries are lacking in leadership and vision.  Other than that, things are going great.

People are starting to notice that the “leaders” in California aren’t doing such a great job.  Over at The Daily Beast, Joel Kotkin does a nice job of making his case that California is becoming a feudal society of the very rich, the very poor and a vanishing middle class, with a liberal-socialist dominated state government that is incapable of dealing with any crisis large or small, no matter how much advanced warning they have.  The “no-growth” and “environment first” policies have resulted in a state whose crumbling infrastrucure is insufficient to support it’s burgeoning population.  Hell, it was insufficient 40 years ago during the reign of Moonbeam I, and now during the Weekend at Bernie’s administration of Moonbeam II and III we’ll be lucky if there’s water to flush the toilets.

What am I talking about?  THE DROUGHT!

Who could possibly have foreseen a drought?  Only anyone with a pulse, that’s who.  What are we doing about it?  Letting our lawns die.  Visionary!  More importantly what are we doing to alleviate the next drought?  Because there will be a next drought.  California’s history is basically a list of droughts that occur on a regular basis.  You can practically set your clock by them.  SO…are we planning a system of aqueducts like the Romans did?  Nope.  Are we building more dams and reservoirs for water storage capacity?  Nope.  We passed a bond measure (translation: borrowed money) to deal with the problem.  What are we building with the money?  A giant bureaucracy to create regulations on how we use water.  Problem solved!

It’s not that we can’t afford to do something about it.  God knows our politicos are shoveling the taxpayer’s money down various holes like a fireman shovels coal on a steam locomotive.  (Governor Brown: please don’t get any more ideas!).  Even with businesses and middle class taxpayers fleeing, there is still record tax revenue.  The state budget has more than doubled in the last 20 years.  So what’s the problem?  The problem is the mindset – what we chose to spend (and not spend) on.  The mindset about what ends are achievable and desirable versus those that are counter to the laws of economics, not to mention the laws of physics and indeed the laws of nature itself.

bring me men to match my mountains

Some time ago I wrote that California needs leaders – Men to Match Her Mountains.  Or Women.  Women or Men with the vision to see what needs to be done and the courage to see it done.

I am not advocating mass disregard for the environment, but if you’re going to have forty million or more people live somewhere, they are going to have needs and those needs must be met.  Meeting those needs will leave a footprint.  Visionaries look forward and find innovative ways to meet challenges.  Yeah, we’ll leave a footprint or two.  But we can also tread lightly as possible and mitigate the effects of the things we need to do, the things that we must do.

There is nothing “progressive” about a mindset that says in order to move forward we must lower our standards of living and make do with less.  That we must aspire to less.  That we must scale back our dreams.  If that is what our leaders and visionaries are telling us, then they are neither leaders nor visionaries.

 

An Unecessary Drought

An Unecessary Drought

Trigger warning – it’s Monday and I’m cranky.  This could get profane.  Hide the children.

This post is about the drought in California – an unecessary drought.  I know many of you who are looking at California in your rear view mirrors, and your attitude is “so what?”  I still live here, so I care.

Yes, I care.  I wish our “leaders” cared as much as I do.  They obviously do not.  Either that, or they are monumentally stupid.  Two choices.    Well, I guess there is a third choice: they don’t care and they are monumentally stupid.  Come to think of it, that seems like the safest bet.  Yeah, I’m going with that.

I say that because there are some conditions here, both climatic and social that are so obvious ignoring them or otherwise failing to meaningfully adress them requires an absolute lack of mental acuity or ardent willfull blindness.

I made  a case a few months ago – read this and see if you agree with me;

California Politicos:  Need Water?  Build a Train

All the preceding is preamble to a long, well written piece in City Journal by Victor Davis Hanson that is worth ten minutes of your time:

The Scorching of California

Jerry Brown had a chance to do something about the drought the last time he was Governor – back in the 1970s.  But he and the rest of the “visionaries” in his administrations practiced a “no growth” mentality.  Infrastructure planning and implementation ground to a halt.  Because building new freeways would create more traffic or something.  And more dams would equal less water?  More likely “fish first, f*ck everybody else”.  Or maybe they believed “if you don’t build it they won’t come”.  News flash, Jerry – you didn’t build it and they came anyway.  And now we’re all screwed.

But hey – trains!  Just like Europe!  Problem solved!

Don’t Believe Anything You Read On The Internet Today…

Don’t Believe Anything You Read On The Internet Today…

…except this.  Possibly.

The admonition “Don’t believe anything you read on the internet today” could well be true any day of the year, but no more so than today, April 1st.  April Fool’s Day.  Anyone been pranked yet?  Me neither.  But I’m afraid to leave the house.  And since I’m shuttered inside with the shades drawn (and the shotgun handy…just in case) I have some time to ponder what started this whole April Fool’s Day thing.

What I found was an article that I’m relatively certain is not an elaborate April Fool’s prank in itself.  Though it is at a site called Hoaxes.org.  Hmmm…I’m suspicious already.

Wait!  What was that noise? **picks up shotgun, chambers a round**

OK…false alarm.  Where were we?  Oh yeah…Hoaxes.org.  Seems legit, so here goes.

The Origin of April Fool’s Day is a compilation of theories on the origin of pranking April 1st.  Going back as far as the 15th and 16th centuries, we find that in Europe there was wide inconsistency in how the calendar was observed.  Even though Julius Ceasar had invented the Julian Calendar in the 1st Century A.D. local jurisdictions pretty much decided on their own when to observe certain dates.  In the 16th Century, leaders (Kings, Popes, etc) began trying to reform the calendar and make things consistent.  This reformation did not take place overnight, but spanned almost a century.  One of the changes made was a universal decree that January 1st was to be the beginning of the year.  Since some locales had been starting their year at Eastertime, often around April 1st,  this could possibly have imparted an aura of confusion on the date April 1, or led to a person who believed the new year started on April 1 being dubbed an “April Fool”.

My take: plausible.

There are also several paragraphs devoted to searching for early references to April Fool’s  Day in literature.  Of course, some alleged references are vague, but there seems to be a fairly straighforward one in a 1561 poem by the Flemish writer Eduard De Dene about a nobleman who plays tricks on his servant by sending him to do silly errands on April 1st.  This checks off the boxes for both  “April (1st) Fool’s Day” and the term “Fool’s Errand”.  So, most likely the custom had been established by the mid 16th Century.

So whether your filling your boss’s car with ping pong balls,

car full of ping pong balls

 

redirecting your friend’s Facebook page to a midget porn site,

trust me you dont want to see that

 

or just faking your own (or someone else’s) death,

Beach+prank_cd852c_4962032

you can be assured you are partaking in a long and well established tradition.  And…if you’re wondering who it was who glued your coffee cup to your desk?  It wasn’t me.  I told you – I haven’t left the house all day.

Music Friday – All Cats Edition

Music Friday – All Cats Edition

It’s Friday and you know what that means.  That’s right.  Songs with “Cat” in the title.  What?   You were expecting BillBoard Hot 100 1976 through…?

According to Alaska Jim this is the list of songs with cat (or some form of “cat” i.e. lion or tiger) in the title.  And, no, I have no idea who Alaska Jim is other than the fact he has a list of cat titles on a website that I found by googling “songs about cats”.  But anyway, thanks Jim.

Some of these you’d know if you gave it a minute’s thought.  Others you have never heard of.

Let the fun begin!

I’ll start off with the obvious choice – the song and the name of the group both have “cat” in the title:

Here’s another you’ve heard many times:

Here’s a fun one from a movie with the same title:

Now let’s get a little obscure (unless you are a Lovin’ Spoonful fan):

Finally, a song that is seared into my memory due to the fact that it played in heavy rotation on KRAK radio in 1965:

Tiger by the tail indeed.  Dedicated to cat lovers everywhere.  Some more than others.  Welp, time to go to work.  Hope you enjoyed these.  Have a great weekend!

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