Where’s My Computer?

We have about seven laptop and three desktop computers in this house, three tablets (that I know of), and one smartphone per person (not counting the older versions that people refuse to part with). Current residency is two adults, one high schooler, two cats, one dog, a parrot, and from time to time a college student—who brings his own computer(s) and smartphone.

I haven’t written in the last few days because my daughter is doing one part of her drivers’ education class online, therefore she’s using my laptop. Why? There are several possibilities:

  1. My karma is transmitted through my computer so my daughter can take advantage of my successes, and blame any failures on me.
  2. She couldn’t find her computer in her bedroom, which is apparently like every other teenagers’ dystopian, chaotic, toxic environmental disaster.
  3. This is how 21st century teenagers bond with their parents.
  4. Or, most likely, it was the closest and easiest to grab when she needed a computer.

Parenting prepares one for a spiritual existence unbound by material possessions—perfecting the ability to let go of possessions and power and to realize that one’s interests and desires are of no consequence in the giant scheme of things. Therefore I am writing on a different computer which requires me to cut and paste my material into WordPress.

Excuse me—it’s time to cut and paste.

A Bite out of the Future

We stopped at a candy store the other day with the express purpose of buying sugar-free chocolate covered coffee beans. Don’t ask—it is what it is.

Excuse the pun, but I felt like a kid in a candy shop and had to look around, but as usual, I was looking for something different.

I found it.

Crick-ettes®–I chose the Salt N’ Vinegar version over bacon and cheddar or sour cream and onion. And yes, they were actual crickets. Before you get too uppity, if you use red lipstick, eat red candies, etc. it’s color is most likely created by using ground cochineal bugs. According to National Geographic (Feb 2017) back in the 19th century, chemists figured out how to make a substitute, but with today’s emphasis on organic and all-natural ingredients, it’s back to the bugs.

Various scientists have predicted that insects are such a great source of protein that it is only logical to use them to feed a hungry world. They’re even mentioned several times in the Bible, most notably with regard to John the Baptist who ate locusts and wild honey.

So, here’s my report:

They’re expensive—but it is pretty much a novelty item, in a package with a wry sense of humor. The box shows the various “cuts” of a cricket, just as a butcher’s shop would show a chart of the cuts of beef.

One gram of Crick-ettes cost $2.59 (about seven dried crickets) and provides 4.3 calories, 4 mg sodium, .014 g of sugar, and .67 g of protein. I suspect most of the salt and sugar is due to the flavoring, and, yes, they were salty—as salty as potato chips. They were about as crunchy as potato chips, as well.

I don’t usually watch the Superbowl, but it’s just as well. Buying enough Crick-ettes® to fill a serving bowl would be cost prohibitive—at least if purchased through a candy store.

In case you’re interested in Crick-ettes® are distributed by HOTLIX® Inc, http://www.hotlix.com.

A Recent Study Found . . .

I recently wrote about fake news. Interestingly, one of the areas where news has been routinely faked is in scientific journals. It’s a PhD professional version of the “sink test” many of us saw back in college. In the sink test, students conduct the assigned experiment and when it doesn’t produce the expected results, they pour the chemicals down the sink and write a paper claiming that it worked. Now the sink test has gone pro.

WIRED magazine has a great article about it.

It turns out that the media likes to print the results of scientific studies that are bold, shocking, surprising, interesting, or titillating. Instead of the professional journals providing a forum for peers to review the information and attempt to duplicate the outcomes, it instead is a feeder for the mainstream media and—THIS JUST IN—A new study finds that the media is interested in BREAKING NEWS rather than fact. Here to express his personal opinion about this is—sorry, I got carried away.

The result? Instead of studies being proven by peers who perform the experiment and get the same results, about 40 percent of the published studies are not reproducible*. That is a corruption of the scientific method and casts legitimate doubt on findings that were supposedly obtained through systematic, unbiased study and analysis; doubt is cast on the legitimate as well as the fudged. I know the traditional wisdom is “publish or perish,” but publishing fiction—either overt or covert doesn’t count.

So, it is up to us plain, ordinary folks—the unwashed masses, the uncertified hicks, so to speak—to be more disciplined than the scientists. It is up to us to question, test, analyze, hypothesize, and then share the results with others for testing.

 

 

*There actually is a publication called The Journal of Irreproducible Results, which is best described as a humor magazine for scientists. The journal is, to the best of my knowledge, in no way responsible for the current perversion of science—although if they were, the punchline would, no doubt, be hilarious.

Trading

A coworker from long ago used to say, “We trade time for money, so we should try to get as much money as possible for our time.” I understood his sentiment, but had long ago decided that I wasn’t willing to make the moral compromises required to get rich; I confess that I was not as zealous as he was.

For me, riches are going home to my family at the end of the day, and puttering around the house on weekends.

Pathetic?

I don’t think so.

If we re-imagine the Garden of Eden, Adam spent his time with Eve, and it was considered paradise. Even after they’d been evicted, it was still pretty-not-too-bad. There was hunting and gathering to be done, after which Adam returned to his family.

It was when their children began to murder one another that it all went to hell. Adam and Eve, the first parents were also the first parents to bury a child—a child who was murdered by a brother. A terrible tradition that has sadly continued—today, any parent who loses a child feels the same pain—especially if it was murder.

So, for me, each day I can return home to my family it is the best part of the day and my most precious treasure.

Generations

“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” — Socrates

Each generation despairs at their children, or perhaps the children of each generation despair at their parents.

When my grandparents were young, horses were still the main form of transportation. My grandmother’s wedding gown was more than a little flapper-like. Jazz was the cutting-edge music that had parents shaking their heads. With World War I, the musical question was, “How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm, after they’ve seen Paree?”

My parents grew up in the depression and prohibition was still in force for their first few years; World War II was raging in Europe as they became teenagers. Big band music and crooners, like Bing Crosby, led to Zoot Suits and predictions of doom.

I grew up in the 1960’s with rock and roll, hippies, “The Summer of Love,” and the Vietnam War. The mantra was, “Never trust anyone over 30.”

My oldest child is 41, my youngest, 16, so I’ve been through the process with one generation, and am still in the midst of the second generation.

The disconnect is the natural order of things as one generation breaks free from their parents and defines itself. Somewhere around age thirty or so, just as Tolkien wrote of Hobbits, individuals tend to come of age.

Samuel Clemens may or may not be responsible for this quote, of which there are various versions. This one is attributed to Victor Steinbok, a highly-regarded researcher. in a Bulletin from the Missouri Department of Agriculture in March of 1916 <Link>

Somthing like Mark Twain. At the age of seventeen Mark says he thought his father the most ignorant man in all the world and just couldn’t stand him about. At the age of twenty-three he found that his father knew a few things and he could put up with him occasionally; at the age of twenty-seven he knew that his father was the smartest man in all the world and he just doted on having him about. There is a bit of psychology in this that is worthy our study.

Isn’t It Good? Norwegian Wood.

Way back in the 1970s, when John Lennon was still alive, we took many types of wood for granted, although I think Norwegian wood is more a song description than anything else. Apparently, the Beatles, in their leaner days, would break up the furniture where they were staying and burn it in the fireplace to stay warm.

Before container ships, cargo had to be blocked and braced—held in place by wood, so it didn’t shift during transit. If all the weight shifted to one side of a ship, it would heel over then sink. Bad.

If the cargo was flammable or worse (think ammunition or other explosives), the blocking and bracing material had to be fresh wood, since reused wood might have a stray nail that could cause a spark, with very, very bad consequences.

During the Vietnam war, ships would arrive in Vietnam from small ports. Their cargo was often blocked and braced with the shipper’s local “junk” wood. In some cases, the junk wood was teak. Since it had been used once and had nails in it, it was no longer usable. Some of the service members would take it to their hooch and build furniture out of this beautiful teak. They’d then spend the rest of their tour trying to figure out how to get their objet art back home. Some succeeded, while those who failed knew their teak creation would soon be a pile of ash.

Rosewood is another example of a beautiful wood that was once plentiful. Now, guitar makers such as Taylor have to meet strict regulations if they have rosewood to use in building a guitar, AND the rules are equally strict if they ship a guitar that has any rosewood in it, anywhere.

The lesson? Plant trees. You never know what local, unloved, unwanted, species might someday be a rare and valuable commodity. In the meantime, it provides shade, and once it’s full grown, each tree will remove 55,000 gallons of water from the ground and transpire it into the air. Those of you facing droughts won’t appreciate this, but if you’re along the seacoast, you understand the benefits of this.

I like trees. I think Norwegian wood (whatever that is) would be better with roots in the ground and limbs in the air than in the fireplace.

Why Haven’t I Been Blogging?

The sun was in my eyes.

My suit was at the cleaners.

My car wouldn’t start.

Friends dropped in from out of town.

My car was stolen.

. . . with apologies to Jake Blues . . . .

Actually, I’ve been working on my story, and my day job, and my kids—but the story is my main excuse.

The problem with being a writer who is later taught how to edit is that it forces one to keep going back and rewriting, then reviewing, then rewriting, etc.

HOWEVER- – – – – – I think it’s getting better.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to share it in my mortal lifetime.

Cross your fingers.