Lawn Differences

Noticed this article [Link] that illustrates the difference between California and Alibam. In the land of golden earthquakes they decorate their lawns like this:

In Alibam most decorate their lawns with old motorcars (well rusted), failed appliances and electronics, garden gnomes, Confederate battle flags, and such.

Difference between cool and hick.

Ode to Mediocrity and Failure

Freya’s day. Moderately not-unpleasant in the park. A bit humid. Wind low. Had to shuck top layer. But not quite conducive to contemplation while walking.

I ran across an article [Link] purporting to define the “perfect” hamburger.

And I began to roll on the floor laughing. And gasping for breath.

The hamburger is an abomination of foodstuffs. It is on the level of paleolithic (pre-pottery) soups. 

You start with ground beef. That’s second rate meat that has been pre-masticated to remove all of the texture and much of the flavor. Actually the flavor is still there but it has been so thoroughly mixed that there are no colors of flavor, only gray. And not fifty shades.

Then you heat the meat in a sanitary fashion. That means some specified temperature for some amount of time. This is the same process that a blacksmith uses when he wants to temper iron. Make it tougher and homogeneous, that is. So now the flavor is destroyed by thermal decomposition of its molecules.

Next you put the flavorless meat on a lifeless bun, probably baked in a steam oven, add vegetable and fruit bits made tasteless (even negatively tasting) by chemical preservation and coloration. And you add compotes of various vegetables and spices that have been produced in great factories to a standardized formula using low bidder ingredients.

Rather reminiscent of the Challenger experience, isn’t it. Except for the freezing of various key components. Oh, if you buy the burger at a fast food restaurant, the meat was also frozen, wasn’t it? So it is like the Challenger experience. Except the explosion is disappointment. 

Modern Amerikan Capitalism has reduced the hamburger, never a great thing to begin with, to just another salt-sugar-fat processed food. No different from breakfast cereal or cookies or tv dinners. 

Yes, if the burger is warm and fresh and you are hungry there is a mild pleasurable sensation. But for a real meal you have to have stuff with flavor and texture and more than a bit of risk.

Yes, the hamburger is a fitting symbol of the contemporary mediocrity of Amerikan society.

Amerikan Failure

Lower temperature of air this morning. Gym sparsely populated. Podcast, and episode of “Big Think” was mediocre, which is a substantial improvement over the past two weeks.

Not the subject but put me in mind of our education system. I am now of the hypothesis that it is a failure. At least the public schule system in Amerika. The situation is that less and less is taught to fewer and fewer.

The basic idea of public education is simple and, on the exterior, good. Provide an affordable environment where the young of the nation are taught what they need to survive and participate in society. The promise of success is intellectually and observationally fallacious. Success cannot be guaranteed. The appearance of success can be guaranteed with money, at least in a capitalist environment.

There has always been disagreement of what needs be taught in public schule. Even reading and writing and maths are debatable. And are. Sturgeon’t rule of parents are antagonistic to any literate level of maths, even algebra, which I consider preliterate. And writing is is dis-fashion these days. Which explain the ignorance and failure of students’ composition.

In fact ignorance and failure are the general characterization of the students. The only things they are required to learn is what is on the standardized tests, which determine funding of schules and faculty. Much, not all, of the faculty are careerists solely. Those who decline to learn are rewarded with promotion on social justice grounds quite ignoring its effect on mind programming of the entire student population. There is no incentive nor freedom for students to learn anything. Except the standardized tests. 

The grades on these tests are falsehoods, indicative of wrongful measure. Graduating students with high marks cannot do college work nor once out of college, do real work. 

It is not that idealism and a sense of right are absent from the educationalist system, just sorely depleted and suppressed. The apparent problem is over-regulation, the result of several centuries of natural progression. If a rule is good, a hundred are better. And an asentient population is more complaint than a rational one. Nebbishism is encouraged both actively and passively.

Can it be changed? Not without disaster, I fear. So we may as well write off the nation if not civilization and the species as a whole.


Ear Stercus

It raineth! No complaint, just appreciation. And due to continue through much of the week. Probably a nuisance – at least – for others but I enjoy the stuff, at least intellectually. Mentally. My sinuses do not. 

The Guardian is still on holiday, so I had to find other listening for Two day and after last week’s disappointment with the decrepitude that the SCIENCE podcast has rotted into, I tried the Big Think [Link] podcast again. It was marginally better than my experience with the Science Guy episode that gave boredom new meaning. 

Evidently these people make a special effort to have really unengaging, off-putting even, people on their podcasts. I can’t recall who the fellow was this morning, he was announced as famous which meant I had never heard of him and his babblings did little to endear him to me. Not a STEM nor nerd, nor even geek, I fear.

His topic was genius and it was mediocrely done. By that I mean that half of it was utter stinking stercus and half was moderately accurate. That’s better than Sturgeon’s rule but then this is supposed to be. But it didn’t rise above average boggery. 

Of course, it is hard to do genius, especially when the speaker obviously isn’t. Some parts of the descriptions were accurate but much of the added commentary was smelly and unpleasantly yuck. It amazes me how well funded organizations can’t do decent podcasts but two good old geeks in a garage can. Is it something about success that spoils the art? 

The sole virtue of this was it diverted me for a few minutes. But I can only hope the Guardian mob returns soon. Or I find another fill-in that isn’t better unheard.

Fat Monday

Mundane day again. Fall portends, evidently. If one can consider high ’80’s degF Fallish. Gym was sparse this morning. Very few educationalists and weight bouncers. Not sure why.

The podcast episode, one of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” had to do with the North American overeating epidemic. Blame for this one went to overzealous Capitalism and the campaign against fat. Seems all the fat in foods was replaced with sugar. Which just moves the fat into the body.

One of the bits that caught my attention was a claim that of all the household chores, cooking is the most pleasing. From the context of the housekeeper, that is. I devoted some cognitive cycles to this and have a conjecture. Most household chores (all?) produce no product. It’s rather like grass mowing, which I have previously discussed. You work hard at something and have nothing to show for it and hence no satisfaction. Cooking produces a product, at least if you do it right, which sets it apart from the other chores that do away with product, at least in the main.

What didn’t get mentioned was that the processed, packaged foodstuff debacle is also responsible for the demise of marriage. If one entertains Wrangham’s thesis that marriage is primarily about cooking to entice the man to stay around to raise the children then when he is no longer dependent on she for cooking, and in many cases she can’t cook, then there is no reason to stay in the marriage. Hence 0.5 of all childholds is singleton in parent. 

I also ran across an article [Link] that argues that the internet makes us think we are smarter than we actually are. I could not resist sharing a quote:

“We show that searching the internet for explanatory knowledge creates an illusion whereby people mistake access to information for their own personal understanding of the information. Evidence from nine experiments shows that searching for information online leads to an increase in self-assessed knowledge as people mistakenly think they have more knowledge ‘in the head’.”

I sometimes think my problem is that I think (know?) what is on the web page is inaccurate and what is in my head is more accurate.

The internet, to me, is access to misinformation.

So is this blog. Be Mundane!


The old saying is that travel is broadening. [Link]

I think they were thinking of Chaucer and Marco Polo when they made up that saying.

I had to travel a lot as part of my employment. Aside from military installations, about all I learned was that all hotels are noisy and uncomfortable, motels the square of that; and travel food is bad and expensive. The best place to eat on travel is a sports bar. No ethanol beyond a single brew but the food is freshly cooked and no more health destroying than fast food places, which are better than sit down restaurants because of the order-of-magnitude difference in price for the same food. 

Military installations are uncomfortable, civilians are discriminated against ala 1950’s racism, and food is either terrible or non-existent. 

It never pays to be nice to anyone while traveling except people working at airports. If you never go back you don’t have to tip. Always carry all of your valuable with you. Sleep with them. That includes drugs. I have had tylenol stolen. 

Never get a rental car in a big city. Always carry a camera – people who live in big cities avoid tourists with cameras. Unless they talk a lot and then they get mugged. 

Unless you can see grass out of your window do not get out of the hotel after dark. Always carry a air can boat horn in you bag. The homeland gestapo will seize your pepper spray but not your horn.  

Arrive and leave early. Most bogs are night people. That’s where zombie stories come from.

If you want to be absolutely safe, travel with small children. 

Accept no dinner invitations. 

Do Bogs have Value?

Two day. No Guardian Science podcast episode. Had to listen to SCIENCE podcast instead. Oh, how the formerly excellent has sagged, all the way down to abysmal. No substance and scant facade. But the bits from NPR were passable if unmemorable.

For some reason I ended up thinking on the nature of bogs. In particular why they have such strange attitudes towards knowledge and life. Why do they settle for being almost totally ignorant of almost everything? And why is it that what they do know something of, that something is incomplete and gaping? One almost has to question whether they have sentience, much less intelligence.

I find this often in dealing with my bog relatives and acquaintances. My bog friends actually have at least a tinge of geek to them which may be why they are bearable. Some of the time.

But I am constantly amazed not only at how little bogs know and how uncaring they are of their ignorance, but they are actually violently upset when that ignorance is exposed. Do they exist in a perpetual state of insecurity over knowledge? Or are they just slime mold when it comes to knowing, except when their feeding and rutting is interrupted?

In fact, the only good thing I could come up with about bogs is their willingness to do things that are necessary but so uninteresting as to be nauseatingly distasteful. Like running businesses.

Anyway. the search for bog value continues.