2010 January minutiae
- I never believed that old saw about how people look like their pets
until I got a Facebook account.
- To those who noted in their decade wrap-ups that "I call the '00s
the Naughties! Hee hee hee!" — no, you don't. Seriously.
You don't. So why say it?
- P.S.: People writing "2K10," please stop.
- From Twitter:
shitmydadsays "Universe is 14 billion years
old. Seems silly to celebrate one year. Be like having a fucking parade
every time i take a piss."
According to the bio, this guy is 73 years old. Let's round up to 74
for argument's sake. That means he would have to take six pisses per
second in order for the math to work out. Prostate problems, you figure?
- More math: last month, I mentioned that
current estimates have the earth becoming uninhabitable not in five
billion years, but merely one billion. Here's an even scarier way to
put that: this is being posted on the night of January 31st. Add up
all the human experience between now and March 27th. That's a billion
- When I went to London twenty years ago I couldn't help but note that
the sidewalk was covered in painted instructions telling pedestrians to
LOOK LEFT or LOOK RIGHT when crossing the street. I was
reminded of this when I read that former Washington Post
ombudsman Deborah Howell was hit by a car and killed in New Zealand.
She'd looked the wrong way before stepping out into the street.
- Rick Reilly: he returned to the old basketball court his dad built
- Here is a story along the lines of those that were originally supposed
to make up the Calendar section when it started ten years ago under the
title "Sketches New and Old."
I was driving on that stretch of road that is simultaneously called
"eastbound on I-580" and "westbound on I-80" and is actually southbound,
heading towards I-880. A few car lengths ahead of me, one lane to my
right, was a Toyota truck. Its left blinker was flashing, so I hung
back for a bit to allow it to get in front of me. The truck didn't move,
and the blinker was annoying, so eventually I accelerated past it, at
which point the truck did in fact change lanes, getting behind me. Then
it moved one lane to the left, accelerated past me, and settled in a few
car lengths ahead of me, one lane to my left... with its right
- I noticed that a lot of people have been linking to maps showing
the level of religious belief in the U.S. Here's a map I made nearly
a year ago using a data set that covered both the contiguous 48 states
and the Canadian provinces and territories, but not Alaska or Hawaii.
Darker = more self-reported religious belief:
- abcnews.go.com article on how the elderly are reacting to new TSA
regulations: "These are not things we have much control over, so why
work yourself into a tizzy?" asked Prospero, reminding that "tizzy is a
word only us old fogies would use." On the contrary, I bet Snoop
Dogg uses it all the time.
- I wonder when I stopped being amazed that "891 megabytes left" could
mean "basically out of space."
- 2010 decided to start with the bizarre medical issues bright and early,
as I woke up on January 3rd feeling like I'd just been punched in the nose.
A look in the mirror showed that the bridge of my nose was pink, and the
affected area was painful when touched (and also oddly warm). I figured
that since my heater had also busted that night I had perhaps buried my face
in the pillow a little too hard to try to escape the cold. But the situation
didn't improve, and it turned out that I had apparently contracted a
spontaneous case of "facial cellulitis," which if left untreated leads to
bacterial meningitis and death. I was prescribed some antibiotics and the
problem went away but it took a couple of weeks before I felt right again.
- AP: Barred from using lead in children's jewelry because of its
toxicity, some Chinese manufacturers have been substituting the more dangerous
heavy metal cadmium [...] Enh, I wouldn't worry. I'm sure they'll start
phasing out the cadmium once they figure out how to make toys out of
- I take BART to the Powell station a lot. One night, a couple of months
ago, I was walking out and passed a young woman who had parked herself right
in front of the main exit. She was dressed like a spunky 14-year-old girl on
an early '90s NBC sitcom and was playing a fancy acoustic guitar that appeared
to have been cobbled out of one of those expensive Dell Inspiron cases.
She was also singing. Badly. So badly that I thought it was performance
art — "How will people react to the world's least talented subway
musician?" But no — she's there every frickin' time I go
to Powell. Maybe it's a longitudinal study?
- Brad Childress on what he told Brett Favre after the Vikings lost the
NFC championship game: "'Lick your wounds, and I'll do the same.'"
Careful, Brad — John Madden'll get jealous.
- I was clicking around reading the news and came across this story:
Teen Tortured by Cyberbullies Hangs Herself. I started reading and
was startled to find that the girl and her tormentors were from South
Hadley High School, where I used to teach. I remembered being surprised
at how much that school sucked given the reputed quality of Massachusetts
schools — I quit after one semester. Having now read a few
the culture at SHHS, I see that apparently things were even worse
outside the classroom than inside.
- I borrowed a book from a library on the peninsula, and proceeded to renew
it twice. When I was finally ready to return it, it occurred to me: it costs
$4 to take the bridge to the peninsula, and I only get reimbursed if I'm doing
it for work. I was due to head out there for work a couple of days after the
book was due. In those two days, the book would accrue fifty cents' worth of
fines. So clearly returning the book late was the economical choice.
...and yet doing so felt so wrong.
- Saw this while shopping:
Yes, they've changed a couple of letters, but that still says "Mr. Clean
- apple.com: Because iPad is essentially one big screen, with no
distracting keypad or buttons, you feel completely immersed in whatever
you're watching. Right, because when I'm watching a movie on my laptop
I'm always like, "How can I focus with all these fucking buttons
in front of me?!"
- I've noticed that I've developed a new tic: placing the word "probably"
before the subject of the sentence rather than after it. When I'm writing
at least I can go back and correct it, but I do it while speaking as well.
Probably I'll eventually give up trying to fix it.
- OCD Symptom o' the Month: It really bothered me that the cap on my
shampoo bottle didn't align with the major axis of the bottle's cross-section.
Eventually I had to dig the old bottle out of the recycling and raid it for
- Spotted: "All Saints' Church." Reaction: who decided which saint to name
the church after, Sarah Palin?
- Speaking of whom, she and her daughter Bristol appeared on Oprah Winfrey's
show to discuss Bristol's a-bit-late abstinence pledge. A partial transcript:
Oprah: When you make the statement that "I'm absolutely, positively not
going to have sex and I guarantee it," you don't think you're setting yourself
Bristol: No, I don't.
Oprah: I'm wondering if that's a realistic goal.
Bristol: It's a realistic goal for myself.
Sarah: Hey, does that mean that you're gonna marry pretty young?
Bristol: I don't know, Mom.
Sarah: Because I think we all know how much you crave the cock.
I give you about three months.
Okay, I made up the last line, but it's pretty much implied by
her previous one, no?
Return to the Calendar page!