Saturday, January 29, 2022

Feline Fun

Our DVD player has been crapped out for some years, longer than we have had our two cats. We bought a new player this past week and I installed it on the lowest shelf of the television stand, about a foot or so above the floor, and it is driving the cats nuts.


There's this little drawer that pops out, of course, just when they are dozing peacefully on the rug, and freaks them out. Then it pops back in and they don't know where it went, which leaves them in a state of high anxiety. They just know that it is going to pop out again when they least expect it and bite one of them on the butt. They skulk around, eying the new device suspiciously, filled with dread.

We've had more fun watching the cats than we have watching any DVDs.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Home Field Advantage

They both were the #1 seed in their conference. They both had the previous week off to rest and prepare. They both had home field advantage. They both were significantly favored by Las Vegas odds makers. They both lost. Wow.

Update, Monday morning: Three playoff games won by field goals in the last few seconds and a fourth tied with 00:00 on the clock when the kick went through the uprights. That game was won in overtime by a touchdown. Wow again.

In that last game, the lead changed four times in the final two minutes of regulation while the two teams scored a combined 25 points. KC put the period on regulation by scoring the tying field goal after receiving the ball on its own 25-yard line with 0:13 remaining in the game.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Brer Rabbit Diplomacy

Biden and his minions have been issuing dire threats against Putin as to what will happen to Russia if that nation invades Ukraine. It is hard to imagine why Russia would want to invade the decrepit, dismal, decayed and utterly useless nation that is Ukraine, but... They have been warned!

"But," you retort, "Russia has all those troops along the border." Those troops are there because of the trouble we are creating in Ukraine, pumping in weapons and agitating the government of Ukraine. And, by the way, while Russia may have troops at the border, we have troops in Ukraine.

In due course a sufficient time will have passed, during which Russia will not have done what it never intended to do, that is invade a country which it never intended or threatened to invade, and Biden will raise his arms in triumph and claim, "The Russians don't want war with me because they are afraid of me. I made them back down from invading Ukraine."

Sort of like Brer Rabbit begging not to be thrown into the briar patch, which was the safest place for him to be. Or Obama's retort that the stimulus bill was not large enough, "Think how bad things would be had we not passed it."

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Computers Can't Think

More and more, I am noticing that once a store is out of stock on an item, more often than not it never regains a supply of that item. The result is a steadily diminishing supply of goods on the shelves, diminishing at an accelerating pace.

I have not been able to confirm, but I suspect that computerized ordering has much to do with this.

Computer ordering bases its order on what the store is selling. When the item first runs out there is still a robust history of sales, so the computer will reorder. The next time it places an order, however, there have been no recent sales (the store was out of stock), so it does not reorder that item.

So even if the item came in after the initial outage, it was not reordered afterward because of the period of non-sales. Then there are some sales which may trigger an order, but the computer shows diminished volume on the item, due to the period when it was out of stock.

That order, then, may be for reduced quantity, which causes the item to be out of stock even sooner, and reduces the sales history even further. That causes the computer to cut the next reorder quantity even further.

You can see the diminishing numbers that the computer is looking at, right? Diminishing numbers that eventually tell the computer that it is no longer worth reordering the item at all.

Shortage? Bad store management? Or both?

Saturday, January 08, 2022

On Political Violence

Ted Rall posted a piece at The Unz Review on the current attitude toward political violence in this nation which is well worth reading.  I do think he misses a couple of points, which I will address later, but he does address a couple of glaring contradictions in the manner in which we view political activism.

“Our republic rests,” he writes, “upon a paradox. We teach schoolchildren that in the late 18th century, the personal assessment of some colonists that the British government was unjust followed by their decision to take up arms was not merely justified but noble and heroic. In the 21st century, however, any analogous judgment that this government is corrupt and unresponsive to their needs is beyond the pale — and an armed revolt would be the act of treasonous maniacs.”

He goes on to say that those who fought for the South in the Civil War were never brought to trial, nor were they even deprived of their weapons. They were, in fact, sent home to live in peace, unlike those who stormed the Capitol Building on January 6th without any weapons and without apparent intention to damage the structure.

“To sum up the official line,” he continues, “the American Revolution was a fully justified, admirable use of political violence (24,000 dead British soldiers) that created the best country ever. The Southern secession that attempted to cut the best country ever in half, … was forgivable.

Political violence now, on the other hand, is not now, nor ever will be, morally or legally permissible.”

The counter argument, of course, is that the British government was wrong, The Yankee government was righteous, and Democrats are… Well, whatever they are.

The point that I think he misses is that the present government policy of stamping down political violence very ruthlessly  is based on an extreme fear of such violence, which is entirely natural in a government that was born in political violence (the American Revolution) and which used even more extreme violence (the Civil War) to survive.