Month: March 2014



And people wonder why I resent girls’ athletics . . . and the federal government: “The U.S Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has forced a school in Michigan to tear down a brand-new set of bleachers for its boys’ varsity baseball team because the new seating is nicer than the girls’ softball bleachers. The raised seating deck for the boys’ baseball team, which was paid for with money raised by parents, was put in place because fans who’d come to watch games at Plymouth High School in Canton, Mich., were having a hard time seeing the game through the chain-link fence WJBK-TV reported.” Link.


I “resent,” don’t “hate,” girls’ athletics. It’s a resentment spawned naturally from getting force-fed something against one’s will. My dislike for girls’ sports doesn’t expand past that.… Read the rest



10 Total Tyrants From The History Of Rock And Roll. Sample: “In his desire for control, [Colonel Tom Parker] acted against Elvis’s interests. For example, Parker (who was secretly Dutch) feared being barred reentry to the States if he traveled abroad, but he was scared of losing influence if Presley traveled without him. The result was that Elvis never played a single show outside the US in his entire career except for three Canadian dates in 1957, which was before the Canada-US border closed.”… Read the rest


Gardening Update

What’s a gardening nerd to do?

I plant a lot of sweet peppers. It’s the only food that almost everyone in my family enjoys, plus they thrive in self-watering containers. Because I have an army of both (family members and self-watering containers), I had hoped to plant an army of peppers (fifty or so). But they take a long time to nurture, so they need to be planted at least eight weeks before the anticipated last frost.

But when’s that going to be? It’s a big (gardening) deal: If you plant too early, the plants get too big and you run out of room under the grow lamps. If you plant too late, you won’t get any peppers before the fall frost swoops in.

I emailed two TDE readers who have a lot of gardening and weather experience. They’re both anticipating a rough next two months:

Reader 1: My gut says COLD COLD COLD, followed almost immediately by super hot.

The ground frost levels are very deep and we are still seeing lots of cold days.

I would not plant before frost days unless I could cover with hot house containers, and then only with a southern exposure with lots of compost/mulch.

Reader 2: I think it will be late May before it’s really safe from frost. We haven’t had any days here yet where it actually felt like warmer weather was on the way — we’re supposed to get at least 3 inches of snow here later today [Sunday, March 29th].

Maybe concentrate on getting any cold-tolerant plants / seeds out. Young lettuce can put up with frost. Cabbage, radishes, peas, onions, potatoes, a lot of greens.

I had already started 25 peppers a few weeks ago, and now I’ve started another ten “King of … Read the rest


A Random Passage

“We lose ourselves in crowds, yet a terrible fear of anonymity haunts many Americans: we want to be known, remembered, thought of, and except in the tawdriest sense this is only possible in small communities and networks of families. Those cut off from such possibilities are driven to freakish acts of exposure, such as flashing strangers on blue cable channels or running for president.” Bill Kauffman, Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette (2003)

Read the rest

Received in an Email

A husband takes his wife to a disco. There’s a guy on the dance floor. living it large, break dancing, moon walking, back flips, the works.

The wife turns to her husband and says, “See that guy? 25 years ago he proposed to me and I turned him down.”

The husband says, “Looks like he’s still celebrating.… Read the rest



You want to get the best deals at the grocery store? Be different. Here’s an excerpt from an article about “data mining” that shows how men with small children are manipulated cruelly:

[O]ne Midwest grocery chain used the data mining capacity of Oracle software to analyze local buying patterns. They discovered that when men bought diapers on Thursdays and Saturdays, they also tended to buy beer. Further analysis showed that these shoppers typically did their weekly grocery shopping on Saturdays. On Thursdays, however, they only bought a few items. The retailer concluded that they purchased the beer to have it available for the upcoming weekend. The grocery chain could use this newly discovered information in various ways to increase revenue. For example, they could move the beer display closer to the diaper display. And, they could make sure beer and diapers were sold at full price on Thursdays.

I especially like this Sherlockian-like piece of deduction: “The retailer concluded that they purchased the beer to have it available for the upcoming weekend.”

But why move the beer closer to the diaper display? It seems you’d want to move the beer to the back of the store, away from the diaper display, so the male shoppers would have to walk through the store more, thereby increasing the possibility that they’ll see something else they want to buy (I learned that fundamental retail trick during my three years working at K-Mart).

I suspect the retailer’s decision to move the beer closer to the diapers was triggered by a fundamental misunderstanding about men. The retailer probably figured that the men are coming to the store to buy diapers (a necessity), so they better get the beer near the diapers so the men buy it. In reality, of course, beer is a necessity … Read the rest


A New Jersey man who was released last week after 15 years in prison for robbing a shoe store was arrested the next day for robbing the exact same store. He learned a valuable lesson. Next time, steal both shoes at the same time.… Read the rest