Capitalist Starvation

Yuck! Dihydrogen oxide falleth. And I did not get to engage in my wanted constitutional. And I am bidded to a party this afternoon. So today is going to be a large negative. Too much boggery and misery. And yes, those are usually redundant.

I noted an article [Link] that offers that Amerikans eat more in restaurants than at home. Not surprising but the claim is hideously specious. The metric the claim is based on is that the restaurant sector took in more money in March than did the grocery sector. The problem is that this isn’t either the number of people nor the number of meals. It’s money. There is a conversion from a price per meal (RV) for restaurant and home meals, but they are not equal. For any given person, home eating is almost always less expensive than restaurant eating. The exception most often is holidays or some other ritual occasion.

So yes, Amerikans did spend more money in restaurants than grocery stores last month, but more meals? Nyet!

The data also have no useful demographics, like type of restaurant or – more insightful – age/gender/… demographics. So we can’t say whether the GEN Ys are really the drivers of this. We all (?) suspect that. GEN Ys have a nasty entitled attitude towards eating, at least many of the ones I have known. Yes, there are cool heads there but there are fewer in fraction than GEN Xs.

Is this a disaster? Only in terms of hurrying the food collapse. Restaurant cooking is several times more wasteful than home cooking. And with food shortages already looming – the California water shortage, e.g. – all this does is move us closer to catastrophe on the landscape. 

Maybe that’s a good thing. I used to think the extinction of humans to be bad. Lately I am unsure of that.

But I do keep coming back to thoughts of the founding grandparent. 

Propagation of Ignorance

Spitting again this morning. The constitutional was almost pleasant. The podcast drones on, at most moderately diverting but not really engaging. The only real attention grabber is the points of obvious ignorance. Sometimes it is amusing just to listen in on what bogs talk about. Not for long, mind, but for a while. A little while. About sixteen or so minutes usually.

I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

not long ago and I grabbed it because it epitomizes my experience with on-line courses. Not much better than a blank screen. I know the GEN Y like (?) them but I do not. Every one I have taken has proven to be a BAD teacher. And not in the slang way of good. I mean no learning. 

This is a problem when they are certification courses. I have told the tale of the credit card training course that was supposed to take an hour and took eight because it had irrelevant information relative the certification exam. This is one of the reasons people break rules. They aren’t taught well, if at all. And don’t get me off on politicians and constables and physical quantities. No state legislature has any idea of what speed is.

And while I’m on the azimuth, I noted yesterday [Link] that the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, another one of those things politicians do NOT understand and underfund dangerously) has found an aircraft carrier – Great Patriotic War version – that was used in nuclear tests post-war in the Pacific and then sunk by the Yankee Navy because they couldn’t figure out what to do with it.

Seriously? That’s what you do? Sink glow-in-the-dark ships and wait for Godzilla to trash Tokyo? Makes me wonder why the Neandertals died out. Much have been from disgust?

Trickster Thunks

Lovely! The park was shrouded in something between a light mist and a heavy haze this morning. As one would expect from such the wind speed was quite small and so no strong cooling. Pray note the difference here between cooling and cool, the latter a thing I am never. The podcast was an episode of “The Pen Addict” (part of) and I got to share the AO with a pair of rather talkative and moderately loud young women. When did we start calling them females and not women? Am I missing something or is society whacked? Or both?

I started out a few days ago to write a blot about this cartoon: [Link]

but it got eaten partway through by the box. 

My favorite cartoon has always been the Wiley Coyote ones. I know they are “Road Runner” cartoons but I watch for the coyote. I like the old ones better than the new since the humor is better. The new ones are rather too heavy handed, reflecting a lack of sophistication among scripters, I suppose. Anyway, deterioration and rot regardless.

This reminded me that our contemporary society has a rather corrupted view of what is a hero. We tend to describe anyone who is a member of the constabulary, fire brigade, or military as a hero regardless of their exploits. I do not deny that they are admirable for their avocations but calling them heroes is a bit of an insult.

The idea of hero comes to us from classical Greece. It refers to someone who perceives some activity as evil and replaces it with something else which may be more or less evil. It is not so much about good and evil as making change and that change has its price.

So no, I don’t think of coyote as a hero. Nor do I think of road runner as such. The opposite. Coyote and Road Runner are about a status quo, a modal behavior. They are a parody of biological competition. The parody is that the road runner doesn’t get eaten and the coyote doesn’t starve to death. That’s a bit part of the cartoon aspect. 

Happily that cartoon treatment results in a pair of rather nice role models. The road runner is the quintessential bog. He demonstrates how to cope in society when you can’t do anything but exist. And the coyote is a nerd. He demonstrates the ultimate in never giving up, which is an ideal but also a challenge (untreated.) Since I am a nerd, I have always found coyote to be a role model. Imaginary, admittedly, but still a role model of perseverance. 

But I do wish there was a cartoon role model of rationality. That would be a true hero.

Avoidance of Flop?

Two day. Not bright. Dihydrogen oxide falleth. And yesterday was frustrating at the minimum. And one of my blots disappeared. Some foible of the system, I think. Perhaps this one will fare better?

I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

a while back and its accuracy struck me. So far as I can recall, all of my fame has been encountered in strange places. The usual mode is a meet someone and after we have conversed a while they say something like “you’re the fellow who did thus and such.” Most often, “you wrote such and such paper.” 

I have always wanted to be the best at what I do. I suspect all of us want to do that. I have achieved what I have by seeking out things that other people are unwilling to do or at least not engaged in. At least in great numbers. And not things like cleaning septic tanks. That’s too important and I have a rather accurate estimate of how low my abilities are. But I have found that I can excel at things other people don’t care for or about and that is sufficient. Except when I run across someone who has done the same thing and we have mutual absence of respect for the other’s work. But that happens regardless of what you do. 

But I have to admit that I have not tried to toss a cow flop in a lot of years. Not since I was a bairn. And didn’t know to get a dried up one. They don’t hold together when they are still moist. 

And I did eat a couple of meals cooked over cow flops. I shan’t say where for legal reasons. But I can tell you that there is no taste of cow flop imparted to the food. 

WikiCongress

Mundane day and week in. Hopefully better than last week. And the week out. It started fairly well. The gym was sparse. the weight bouncers sparser, and the podcast, an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas”, dealt with Wikipedia. I found I already knew quite a lot but it was good to have an integrated refresher.

Evidently, most of the national versions are much less contentious than the American version. And despite the contention it is very productive and effective. So the question arises:

Why is Wikipedia so effective and the Yankee Congress NOT?

I suspect the answer is the fraction of politicians in the contributing population. Congress, obviously, is 1.0 politicians while in Wikipedia the politician fraction is < 0.01. As is, however, contributions from politicians, and their myrmidons, are generally the most contentious. And consume the most arbitration and editorial resources.

So why haven’t we done something to remedy this cancer? The World Wonders.

Perhaps if we structured the legislature as a Wiki we could get more – and Better! – done. 

One of the greatest worries of the founding fathers was that government needed inertia lest mob rule ensue and laws and such oscillate wildly and destructively. But doesn’t Wikipedia have inertia? So far as I can see it does.