Month: June 2018


IMG_3150Brews You Can Use

Wow, I’d never heard or thought of this before: Pass a law that increases the price of booze so poor people can’t afford it. It’s a new law in Wales and apparently parallels a similar law in Scotland.

We do a similar thing with sin taxes, but at least it’s couched in terms of a revenue-raiser, not a way to make poverty suck even more.

Best line of the article: “[P]eople . . . were sceptical and believed it would “not put people off” buying booze. Dean Brace, 20, said: ‘The price of fags has gone up but people still smoke.'”

I don’t how gay sex is relevant to the discussion, but there you have it. … Read the rest


Midweek Rambling

Kinda interesting: Inside Amazon’s $3.5 Million Competition to Make Alexa Chat Like a Human. If you don’t want to wait for the results, you can use the Alexa Blueprint Skill to customize your Dot’s responses. I did this last weekend, to much laughter among friends and family. When you ask, “Hey Alexa, who is Jack?” She responds, “A well-known Communist pedophile.” When you ask which parent is the best, she says, “The father, of course.” Juvenile stuff, but fun.

But this ain’t so much fun: The Next Plague Is Coming. Is America Ready? The epidemics of the early 21st century revealed a world unprepared, even as the risks continue to multiply. Much worse is coming. The Atlantic Monthly. I stand by, partially ready, with my stock of Four Thieves essential oil, surgical masks, and foot covers. After that devastating flu I got last January, the possibility of a mass-fatality flu outbreak no longer strikes me as fantastical. If you share the concerns, you might want to consult this nifty–and, I think, exhaustive–list of things to buy now.

Summer starts at 6:07 AM tomorrow. Set your clocks . . . oh wait, wrong calendar event.

Pit Bull Attack, Episode 1,349,220: “Mckenzie said it was like a switch went off in the normally ‘cuddly, sweet’ dogs. The Norwalk woman said one minute she was petting them and the next she was fighting … Read the rest


misc-rambling-picMiscellaneous Rambling

misc-rambling-picThe heat has been unbearable. Rain permitting, I hope to make it out to the produce site to see if the lettuce is bolting. I hope not. We’re hoping for our first mega-harvest of the year.

misc-rambling-picI was pleasantly surprised by the current performance by a broccoli and kohlrabi bed I planted. I planted it in a controlled tantrum: I tore up the grass that had invaded and laid down the seeds, with no other preparation. I remember laying down the seed and saying, “It’s probably not going to make it, but screw it. I might as well use the seeds I bought.” I noticed on Sunday that the crops are coming in strong, so much so that I’m going to take the time to weed the beds by hand this week, apply BT for the cabbage worm threat, and fertilize. I’m reminded of Carol Deppe’s chapter on “Non Doing” in her (righteous) book, The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, which counsels the wisdom of doing nothing sometimes. Deppe’s observations parallel Nock’s famous essay, “Snoring as a Fine Art.”

misc-rambling-picI renew my plea: We need a pit bull ban. These are vicious, dangerous animals, their owners’ ridiculous claims to the contrary notwithstanding. Exhibit A: MSN’s list of the 21 dogs that have attacked the most people. Number One: Pit bulls. 3,397 attacks, 295 human deaths, over the course of the 32-year study. … Read the rest


Miscellaneous Rambling

Ceiling. TrastevereAmen to that Nassim Taleb quote a posted yesterday. “[A]ny argument (such as the one now used for illegal immigration) that is supported by pictures/narratives of children is called PEDOPHRASTY. Actually, use of children should weaken an argument.” I strongly agree. I’m not sure what Taleb’s reasoning is, but from my perspective: (1) The government has undertaken great mischief in the name of “the children,” and (2) If you need to invoke “the children,” you must not have a complete argument.

Ceiling. TrastevereIt kind of reminds me a conversation about a Ted Nugent concert one of my friends saw in high school. He said The Nuge ran across a catwalk a hundred feet above the audience then jumped off the catwalk onto the stage . . . by wearing a harness, which gave the illusion that he was flying over the top of the arena. My friend thought it was great. Another friend observed, “A truly great guitarist doesn’t need to do those stunts.” That’s how I feel about political arguments that invoke the children. IF you need to appeal to that type of strong emotional reaction, your argument can’t be that good. And, in fact, once you use that tact, there should be a strong presumption against your position, since you’ve now clouded it with emotion.

Ceiling. TrastevereGood Father’s Day yesterday. Man, it was hot: heat index 100. Marie and the kids came to … Read the rest


Autobio Rambling

Crazy week. My back molar split on Wednesday, necessitating an extraction. I then had to cover a lengthy client meeting Wednesday evening that didn’t let out until after 9:30. I had to get up early in order to be in Detroit for a conference that started Thursday morning at 8:30. Early Friday morning, I came down with severe dizzy spells: sudden sensations like I was going to fall over, although I was often lying down. It turns out, this is a possible side effect of my antibiotic, which can be exacerbated by drinking . . . something I did a lot of Thursday evening with my eldest kids in Ann Arbor. I stopped taking the antibiotic yesterday at 4:00, but as of this writing, the dizziness is still with me. One website says it could take a few days to stop. Great.

My paternal grandmother said, it’s no good to grow old. I guess it beats the alternative.

One thing I discovered: Those drug websites are inconsistent with their information and aren’t terribly informative. I consulted a half-dozen. I read that dizziness is a fairly common side effect of the antibiotic, that dizziness is a sign of an allergic reaction and I should call a doctor, that dizziness is a sign of a possible severe reaction and I should seek medical attention right away, that dizziness is very rare with this antibiotic and … Read the rest


IMG_3150Brews You Can Use

God willing, you’re reading this after I spent a night of drinking at old haunts along South University in Ann Arbor with Marie, Alex, and Abbie, then crashing at Abbie’s before heading back to the second day of my annual Estate Planning and Probate Conference in Detroit.

The plan was to start at The Brown Jug, which is an Ann Arbor icon and a place I frequented a lot back in the 1980s. Funny story: One night after a hitting parties, I got separated from my group and started walking home. I started chatting with two co-eds and convinced them to go to the Brown Jug with me. They proceeded to order an obnoxious amount of food, then went to the bathroom . . . and never came back, leaving me sitting there by myself with loads and loads of food coming out and a humongous bill. I proceeded to eat and eat and eat . . . and then, toward the end, the table collapsed onto my legs through no fault of my own. The manager came rushing over, apologizing, and waived all charges. I was pretty stoked.

The plan was then to go to Good Time Charley’s, at least one other bar, and Pinball Pete’s. I told the kids I could NOT have a replay of the Detroit bar hop last October, which handicapped me for … Read the rest