Pithy thoughts you might enjoy

I ran across Paul Noll’s website which includes a link to his one-liner pithy thoughts.

Click here to check them out!

Some of these are really hilarious – enjoy!

Here are a couple of my favorites:
11. Facts do not cease to exist simply because they are ignored.
31. If a man says it’s a silly childish game – it’s usually something his wife can beat him at.
71. I asked why doesn’t somebody do something. Then I realized I was somebody.

Thanks for posting all of those, Paul!

Why Twitter Sucks

Here’s an interesting article I ran across: http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/content?oid=925316

It hints at the dark side, but you have to scroll all the way to the bottom to see a reader’s comment which I find to be really pealing back the skin of the little blue beast:
Posted 03/25/2009 8:45AM by Momra

What I have not seen addressed in the piece or in the comments is the self-violation of privacy that twittering entails. We are rightly concerned about the government accessing our library files or tapping our phone, but twittering relies on allowing, no encouraging! strangers to plunder your personal thoughts. Personally I find it a soul-shrinking prospect.

Phew! I thought I was the only one left who valued privacy.  I don’t want people to stalk me, track me, quote me, examine me, or dredge up something stupid I said years ago (so what on earth am I doing writing this blog?  Don’t go there).  Technology empowers us to do just this, if we allow it.  Frightening, isn’t it, that the “mark of the beast” should emerge as a cute little blue bird.

Nature – not inane

Well, there’s certainly nothing inane about nature; the beauty, the wonder, and the constant surprises every time technology is applied to observe another tiny but amazing detail.

Inane Guberment

The following is from Cliff Earle, a fellow herpetologist who has been keeping tabs on the ridiculous S-373 legislation which threatens to severely impact the reptile pet industry. In the rabid banner waving, and ill-informed statements from the media through foam flecked lips, it seems that logic and reason has simply been exchanged for fear and crowd-mind.

In a very PETA-esque stance, our legislators appear to be throwing very misguided legislation at a problem which already exists, heedless of the impact to jobs and careers many in the pet trade will have to suffer.  It’s also sad to think that if these fools have their way, children in years to come might not be able to experience the joy and education which comes with close contact with animals (specifically reptiles, in this case, but who knows how long it will take before this extends to furry animals).  I have taken the liberty to hilight a few things in his letter.


This originally started as a response in Florida to the problem with escaped pet snakes thriving in the

There is a lot here, I admit — it’s been a crazy week. Pick and chose your battles from the below, with S-373 and the CA issue at the top of your list.

Legislation

Federal

As most of you probably saw in the US ARK post last night, “The United States House Committee on Natural Resources is preparing for a March 23rd oversight hearing on invasive species, specifically snakes. This will be a joint hearing between the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands and the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife. The hearing has not been formally announced yet, but we are told it will focus on the Lacey Act and whether this law is an effective method to control invasive species, particularly constrictor snakes.” This is basically the House side of the Senate’s S-373 bill.

Digging a bit, I found that committee has 49 members — of which a full 7 are Californian politicians. Those members are, in district order:
–Tom McClintock (R), CA 04 (member of National Parks)
–George Miller (D), CA 07
–Jim Costa (D), CA 20
–Lois Capps (D), CA 23 (member of National Parks *and* Insular Affairs)
–Elton Gallegly (R), CA 24 (member of National Parks)
–Grace Napolitano (D), CA 38 (member of National Parks)
–Joe Baca (D), CA 43

For everyone, they can be contacted through the committee’s website at http://resourcescommittee.house.gov. Hit them up with a form letter *before* the meeting, so that they know going in where their voter base stands! For team leaders, please make sure to prioritize meetings with those seven House members.

California

PIJAC, another organization gearing up to fight the California proposed rules, has suggested we start a letter writing campaign directed at the individual members of the DFG Commission.

Those members are as follows:
–President Jim Kellogg
–Richard B. Rogers
–Michael Sutton
–Daniel W. Richards
–Donald Benninghoven

They can be reached at:
California Fish and Game Commission
1416 Ninth Street
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

In addition, our side needs to start gathering scientific data on the frog species we collectively know about. For example, minimum/maximum temperatures tolerated by a species or any other environmental data that will support the fact they are not invasive. If our side can gather any data at all, we will be far ahead of the DFG, who are legislating based on a complete lack of supporting science. (Those who are members of forums, please post a call for support there as well.)

Florida

Several news sources have reported that Florida’s FWC Chairman plans to “remain tough” on snakes. In his own misguided words: “The state of Florida has taken the lead on this issue. We should be considering an outright ban. It is paramount that we keep doing everything we can to keep these animals out of the wild.” I’m not sure how he equates a ban with improving keeping snakes out of the wild, but he does. Read the full story at http://www.chipleypaper.com/sports/span-5421-height-style.html, then send feedback and the other side of the story to the paper’s editor, Jay Felsberg, and to the seven Commissioners here: http://myfwc.com/CONTACT/Contact_commissioners.htm.

Media

The New York Times has joined the chorus of outlets printing bad data. They have weighed in on PBS’s horrid “Invasion of the Giant Pythons” – and with glowing words. I have a background is journalism education-wise, and the NYT is both big news and often taken as gospel — which means the press credibility line has now been crossed, and we *all* need to weigh in and educate them least we lose the publicity war for good.

A few choice quotes to give you the flavor:

“Flying into Florida for a winter vacation? If you look out the plane window once you’re near your destination and the ground seems to be writhing, it’s because the entire state is covered with pythons.”

“The program’s narration, given an extra jolt via the vocal talents of F. Murray Abraham, keeps referring to ‘the python army.’ “

“But it turns out that not all of the blame for the infestation lies with pet owners who have released their pythons into the wild. Some got there courtesy of hurricanes that wrecked exotic-pet warehouses.” [Emphasis added by Cliff.]

“If you’re already in Florida watching this program, you may find it too unsettling and feel the urge to change the channel. Be careful, though, as you’re poking between the couch cushions looking for the remote. Python.”

The article — sadly titled “They’re Big and Ready to Eat Florida” — can be read here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/20/arts/television/20pythons.html.

The author can be reached here: http://www.nytimes.com/gst/emailus.html. The editor can be reached here: letters@nytimes.com. The paper can be called here: (212) 556-1234. Please cover all three. Ask them politely to cover the other side “in the interest of fairness and balance,” and put teeth in the request: if you subscribe, threaten to cancel; if you don’t, tell them you never will; and tell them you will advise your friends and acquaintances accordingly. We need to hit this hard.

BTW, the program (I’m told – it is not one of the channels I receive) was not as bad as feared. But you can submit a respectful comment or question anyway here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/invasion-of-the-giant-pythons/herpetologist-shawn-heflick-answers-your-questions/5564/. It is my understanding that several of these will be answered on-line during the pending week.

Thank you as always,
Cliff Earle

David Blaine – not so inane

Ok, sorry about the poetry.

David Blaine is a “street magician” who seems to try bizarre and unusual stunts, as opposed to wowing people with card tricks. He’s a rather low-key personality, and I was never that impressed with his act. However, I was quite surprised to see the lengths he goes to for his stunts, and the level of personal feeling he has about all of this. I have a new respect for this man, as a result.

Slower Traffic Keep Right

The signs seem fairly self-explanatory: “Slower Traffic Keep Right”.  I see them daily as I drive up and down the hill from San Bernardino to my house in Lake Arrowhead.  What perplexes me, is that I must be the only one to see them.  Driver after driver, in the left hand lane, driving very slowly… what’s with that?  Perhaps they believe that the signs apply only to trucks.  Well, it doesn’t say that, now does it?  So, you get both lanes blocked by ninnies driving 20 miles per hour, and there is no way to safely pass.

Along the same lines… turnouts!  People putt by these marvelous things, with 15 cars backed up behind them.  Can you say frustrating?  What is so difficult about using them?

Unfortunately, the RPG I keep tucked under the passenger seat for such occasions has passed its inspection date, so I dare not employ it.

When to use an apostrophe

Ok, so perhaps I’m a little overly sensitive on this one, but apostrophe mis-use really drives me bonkers!  (yes, yes, it’s a short drive, thank you).

I can’t believe that people just don’t get the very simple rules on when to use and when NOT to use an apostrophe.  It seems that the great unwashed seem to feel that it’s seasoning which can be tossed in whenever it looks neat, and that it’s how you make something plural.  (groan)

Here’s a really great page which spells it out in graphic detail:  http://theoatmeal.com/comics/apostrophe

However, in a nutshell: An apostrophe does not make something plural.  Writing “we have 4 unit’s in our apartment building” is just plain wrong.  Yet, you’ll see it all over the web, and all over storefront advertising.

An apostrophe basically has two uses; showing possession, or replacing missing letters in a contraction.

An example of possession would be: “I like Joe’s car” (which could be rewritten: I like the car belonging to Joe).  You can use this rewriting trick to see if an apostrophe is appropriate.  In our example about apartment units above, you can’t rewrite this way because since “unit” doesn’t possess anything, it wouldn’t make sense.  So, that’s how you know not to use an apostrophe in that case.

An example of a contraction would be “I don’t understand“.  “Don’t” is a contraction of “Do Not”.  The apostrophe takes the place of the missing “o”.  In our apartment example above, there are clearly no missing letters, so again, the apostrophe does not belong.  Poor apostrophe.  We can make it up to him by correctly using him in “it’s fun to get it right“.  You can rewrite that one with the missing letter put back in: “it is fun to get it right“.  That makes perfect sense, so it’s okay to use an apostrophe. (Ooo… was that one correct?  Try to rewrite it and see)

Quick! Sanitize that!

I can’t believe how over-the-top people have become about sanitizing.  There are now so many products capitalizing on this obsession, it boggles the mind.  There are many different brands of hand sanitizer goop, sanitizer wipes, sanitizer sprays, notices plastered all over to get you to constantly wash your hands.  It’s amazing, and in the long run, very bad!  Why you ask?

Our immune system is a wonderful thing.  It protects us from disease 24×7, both preventing sickness before it can take hold, and quickly quashing sickness once it does take hold.  However, it’s very much like the muscles in your body.  It needs exercise in order to be effective.  Each time your body is exposed to bacteria, your immune system analyzes it and comes up with a defense system customized for that particular bacteria strain.  Over time, you end up with a large catalog of these defense “packages” which get deployed without your knowledge, effectively fighting off infection and illness.  Small children don’t have much of a “catalog”, which is why they tend to get sick a lot.  As the years go by, their catalog improves, and they tend to get sick less and less (except in the cases where there is an underlying health issue).

One of the biggest disservice we can do for kids is to over-protect them with all these crazy sanitizer products and rabid obsession over germs.  If we are effective in protecting them from exposure to said germs, then their catalog of defenses will not develop properly.  In 20 years or so, we’ll end up with a society full of young adults who have limited immune systems, and are easily knocked off their feet by bacteria which should have little or no effect.

This is less of an issue for adults, but still, adults need to keep their immune systems healthy and fit too!

Now, I’m not advocating that it’s not wise to take simple precautions like hand-washing or sneezing into a handkerchief when there is some kind of illness going on.  The flu is certainly a real pain, and in some cases dangerous.  What I am saying is that we need a little reality-check here.  Going overboard on germ killing won’t make you healthier, it will have the opposite effect.

I can’t wait for the class-action suits when people with lousy immune systems gang up on the hand-sanitizer folks, and make a quick buck.

Doctor Who Spoof

Ok, so this isn’t inane, but it’s funny, and so I’m posting it anyway.  So there!

This is a 19 minute spoof with Rowan Atkinson (and several other famous comedians/actors) as “The Doctor”.  Sorry, I can’t embed the long version.  If you like, you can watch it as a two-part – look in my “Video Bucket” on the right.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do-wDPoC6GM

This a short one which isn’t quite as good, but is amusing nonetheless: