Appalled, are we?

Everyone is aghast that rich people have bought their children entry into colleges. Why? Who among us is still so naive that they think anything is honest?

Perhaps those are the same trusting, dare I say gullible, people that send gift cards to a person that calls them on the phone and says, ‘You have been found guilty and have a fine. If you don’t send it – in some odd, unrecoverable form – we will send the police to lock you up.’

Rich people have always, and will always, get things that are inaccessible to normal people. They take it for granted that they are smarter and better suited to run things than common people. Their children, dumb or smart, are allowed to get a leg up on the rest of society. It is not something they ponder or agonize over: they simply assume that anything can be bought. Why should they think differently? There are plenty of crooks and poor people out there with their hands open for the bribes. When one of the rich assholes is actually caught, they never do hard time.

There will be a flurry of media attention about this matter, then it will subside and they will go back to getting access to things as they always have. Get used to it. And someday, if they let you, you may join them in the rich people places that you are not allowed in now.

And, as a side issue, over the years I have seen a lot of bank guards going in and out of banks from armored trucks and I have never seen a money bag with a big dollar sign on it.


The Anti-Science Crowd

I would like to talk to you about anti-science people. It might be about Global Warming, Vaccinating Children, Air Quality, Ghosts, Crowd Size, or many other things. There is a subset of humans that simply refuse to accept the science behind many issues.

It does not matter if 98% of all research and scientific studies show that something is a FACT, there will be one or two that claim it is simply not true, they will metaphorically put their fingers in their ears and say ‘Wah Wah Wah’ so as not to hear the truth. They just ignore anything that shows them to be wrong.

There are now some parents that are refusing to get their children measles vaccinations. We have had herd immunity for decades but now, because of these people, measles is making a comeback. In the old days, we simply would not have put up with this: the parents would have complied or been quarantined. Now, political correctness allows them to decide for themselves, based on no science, that they know best.

I remember when I was a child they did not ask. They just one day hauled off and gave every kid at school vaccinations. The children did not like it, but in those days, Public Health did not listen to their whining. The CDC ought to be able to force this issue, either make the parents comply or quarantine the children until puberty. But as long as Washington is run by fucking idiots, that will not happen.

This same general ‘We don’t believe this’ in spite of factual evidence is everywhere. Part of it is the goddam internet. As long as everyone has a voice, everyone’s opinion is given equal weight. The lunatic giant 139 foot snake believer is given the same consideration as the renowned snakeologist, who may be desperately claiming that no such snake could exist in nature. FACTS ARE FACTS. EVERYONE DOES NOT GET TO HAVE THEIR OWN SET OF ‘ALTERNATE’ FACTS.


I went to the Skin Man yesterday. Probably young people, of which I am sure there are thousands reading this blog, do not have a Skin Man. But they will. Your skin is a marvelous organ, keeps your juice in and germs out. Self-healing. I wish I had a car like it. It stretches and shrinks to fit your body as you get fatter and then diet.

But it ages like everything else. Over time you will have a dermatologist. Many of them are jerks. I don’t know why. But if you shop around, you will find one that is OK.

But I did not call you here to talk about Skin Men. I want to talk about where it ends. Everyone would agree that the skin covering your ear flap is skin. But is the eardrum skin? And where does the skin end and digestive tract begin at your mouth hole? Your lips? Or take your nosehole. I do not think a Skin Man treats problems with smell. Perhaps at the edge of every orifice it changes to some other system: digestive, respiratory, excretory, auditory, etc. There are certainly specialized skin areas, such as the scalp, which is nothing like arm skin but is treated by a Skin Man. And the above mentioned nosehole – I think we all agree that as the skin turns inward, there is a small stretch of real skin before it become hole.

Do Skin Men (and women – I only use man because it rhymes better) have a class in med school about where it ends, so they know when to send a patient to another specialist? Perhaps some enterprising student will make this their Doctorate Thesis. I would have asked my Skin Man but he wanted to talk about the Super Bowl. See what you can find out from your Skin Man and report back. Thanks.

Plague O’ Squirrels

I mentioned that we have deer. I wish they would eat squirrels. For every deer, we have a thousand squirrels. When you look out, the backyard is just crawling with them. They scamper. They bury nuts. They eat the house, which is made of wood but now I wish it were steel or concrete. Nobody eats them  We had a cat and after a couple of tries and failures, it simply gave up on pursuing the monsters. Coyotes can’t catch them. Snakes? What a laugh. I don’t see enough snakes around here to ill a croker sack. You can’r shoot them; too close to other houses and inside the goddam ‘city’ of Johns Creek.

I got a powerful green laser I figured I could blind the sonofabitches. But they ignore it. I am careful never to aim it skyward, don’t worry about that. I got within six feet of one of the bastards and hit him in the beady eye, He left, but only because I got close, not because the laser blinded him.

Someone said to trap the furry little shits and carry them to the river and release them. How are you going to trap a thousand fast moving squirrels? I do not have the answer.

Deer, Herd of

There is a herd of deer that come through my backyard. I could have said, ‘So, there is this herd of deer’ but I find it irritating that so many people are unable to say a statement without opening with ‘So’. Just listen. It will soon irritate you as well.

This is not exactly a herd. It is more like ten or twelve, but that is a large number of whitetail deer for a suburban yard. And they are not joined at the hip; the grouping varies in size and age, almost always does and fawns. Rarely do you see a buck. They are ramblin’ guys and do not like the responsibilities of family life. Sometimes they lie down and take a snooze.

I am not naive about these beasts. They are wild animals and all of them have sharp little hooves that will open a human up. So I do not try to pet them or feed them. And don’t forget this main caution: these little rascals have deer ticks. You may not know how ticks work. They do not live on their hosts; they drink some blood, which the female needs to reproduce, and then they drop off the beast. Which means them or their ticklets can get on YOU. Deer ticks equals Lyme Disease. Think about it the next time you are pondering whether to go out and pat Bambi.

The Dying of the Book

This is a little different from my usual lighthearted romps of casual events. This one is serious, sort of.

You may have noticed that I’ve converted all my books to paperback so they are now available in both e-book and paper. Yippee. It took a large amount of effort to convert them, which I will explain shortly. But I have so far sold a total of: TaDa, zero paperbacks.

The reason is simple: they cost too much. An e-book is essentially worthless and free, it consists of bits of electrical energy arranged in a form than computers can read. Paper books, on the other hand require Stuff. Paper, ink, printers or presses, cover makers, binders. And labor.

So a simple piece of short swill, no matter how clever, like Monkeyshines, Otters, and Drunks, that can sell for $0.99 in e-book must sell at $6.50 in paperback even if the author is willing to make no money from it. That’s right, the entire cost of the book is in paper and printing and such.

Self-publishing has opened the door for all authors but unless you are famous (Stephen King) or fortunate (the lady that did Fifty Shades of Grey) you are not going to sell paper books.

I learned a lot in the conversion process. I never thought about it, even though I have handled and read thousands, maybe a million hard and soft books. Things like the gutter, the inside edge of the pages, must have a wider margin than the outside edge of the page because part of the page is sunk below the waterline where the binding is. And the proper way to head and begin a new chapter. And the most readable fonts. And the difference between fonts and typefaces. And copyright format. and ISBN’s and front matter and the difference between a prologue and a foreword.

Anyway, is is enough to say that the conversion process was not painless and certainly took a lot of time. But the end result was a book that I could not afford to get a profit on: after printing costs and the fee to the service, the damn books cost so much no one will buy them at even the lowest possible price.

Note that this price is fixed: it is the same regardless of content, so a Monkeyshines, Otters, and Drunks costs the same to print as a Catch 22. Not long ago my wife and I had occasion to go into a real book store, one of the few that are left. I priced various paperbacks and hards. The prices were unbelievable, maybe $14 for a thin paperback by an unknown author. How can anyone afford to read these? That is why I am afraid the end is near for real books. They are becoming like caviar, something only the rich can indulge in.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say about that. I get books to read from the library myself.


I’ve been thinking about Bobo lately. Not as a last name. It is fine there. But as a front name, it is somehow Funny to me.

I remember a fellow employee, an Engineer, who was named Bob X. One time he received a mailing at the office that was misaddressed – I think it was an advertisement for a technical journal but that does not matter – and it was sent to Bobo X. The receptionist told everyone and soon he was Bobo forever after . Why? Because Bobo is a funny name. It conjured up images of Clowns or Monkeys. No one names their child Bobo. It is never the top of the Baby Name list. Jason and stuff like that is what people name their children.

You remember the Seinfeld joke about if you name your child ‘Jeeves’ you have pretty much set their future as a gentlemans gentleman – a butler. Well, Bobo is much the same. It’s to the circus for that child when it grows up.

Anyway, it’s something to think about.