Randomosity

It is Random Friday, where I cover a lot of topics in a short time. Hang on.

Fuelishness

When I first started driving, I got into the habit (some might say weird compulsion) to keep a notebook in the car to keep track of fuel and mileage. Its something my mom did, and still does. Whenever you fill up your car with gas, you note the date, odometer reading, how much gas you put in, and then you can figure out how many miles per gallon you’re getting.

This is useful because it often can indicate if there’s a problem with the engine if the MPG starts dropping radically.

I got away from this a few decades ago, but I just started up again recently. I found a phone app called “Fuel Buddy” and it tracks all the fueling information and even calculates the MPG for me so I don’t have to wear out any brain cells.

Fuel Buddy also allows you to track several vehicles and has options to automatically sense what gas station you are at. You can set service reminders for various components, like the battery, engine oil, spark plugs,  tire rotation, etc.

So far I’ve found on our last fill up that our 2004 Pontiac Vibe got 26.27 mpg, which is pretty good for an older car that does primarily city driving, and the 2013 Fiat 500 Lounge got 33.35 mpg. I might have been driving it a little aggressively since I first got it, so I’m going to see if I can better than on the next fill up.

First Outdoor Run

Yes, you read that correctly. Tuesday, I went out for the first outdoor run of the year. We finally had nice weather, no rain, and it was in the low 80s.

I wore my Hoka One One Clifton 3 and they were so cushiony, it felt like I was running on a wrestling mat instead of a cement sidewalk.

I did fairly well, and ran well over a mile and a half before I had to rest walk for about half a block or so. It seemed like I was always running uphill. How is that possible? I’m pretty sure M.C. Escher did not design my neighborhood.

I’ll have to relearn to pace myself, but it was nice being outside instead of on the treadmill watching TV.

I ran a total of 3.14 (pi!) miles in 36:13. Way off my personal treadmill best of 28 minutes and change for 3.11 miles (5k). My average speed was 5.2 mph, which isn’t bad since I had about 4 walking breaks thrown in there. And my fastest pace was 9.1 mph! Call me The Flash! Or maybe The Flash’s older, out of shape brother, The Slump.

The only drawback to outside running is my shoes got dirty. They don’t pick up dirt and grass and debris when I run on the treadmill. I’ve grown accustomed to having my shoes looking like new, so seeing the sole no longer pristine white sort of depressed me. Oh, well.

Took the Plunge

My phone did, that is. Fell right off my belt and took a half gainer into the toilet bowl at work. I guess the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge really is waterproof because it wasn’t harmed at all.

Luckily, the water was still disinfectant blue from when it had been cleaned the day before, meaning no one had used it yet.

I wiped it off, smeared some hand sanitizer on it, and it was good to go.

Weigh-in Friday

Sorry. I didn’t weigh myself this morning, which is probably just as well. Despite returning to salads for lunch this week, (the last several weeks I was eating PB&J or lunch meat sandwiches), I ate a lot of junk food the rest of the time: pizza (three times, restaurant and frozen, and leftovers), burgers  (twice, both at restaurants), a shake, cheesecurds, and heavily salted snack foods. So I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d climbed back over the 200 pound mark.

First Place!

Thought I’d mention it, since nearly every baseball pundit predicted we’d be in last place,  the Milwaukee Brewers are in first place in their division, leading the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.

Nyah! Nyah!

Star Trek Discovery

By now, most trekkies have seen the first real trailer of Star Trek Discovery and pissed their pants. Amirite?

Or you’re in a state of quiet uncertainty. You dont want to get too excited in case it sucks, but you’re still eager for anything new from the Star Trek franchise.

Or you’re one of those skeptics who are trying to figure out, if this is supposed to be in the Prime timeline 10 years before Kirk, why does all the equipment and special effects look like they’re from the Kelvin timeline?

I’m actually part of a fourth group. The ones who are angry as Hell that CBS isn’t airing Star Trek Discovery on over-the-air network CBS, but instead has chosen to hold the franchise hostage and extort money from loyal fans by forcing them to watch their pay service, CBS All Access.

I don’t know about yoo, but I don’t deal with terrorists. Why should I pay for a service that has only one watchable show on it? I mean, I can’t even name another television program that airs on CBS.

Fuck you, CBS.

If I have to, I’ll wait ten years for the show to make it to Netflix.

How the Elimination of the Fairness Doctrine Fucked Over America

I read something appalling recently. Although that the approval ratings for the Orange Turd are the lowest in the history of approval ratings, there are 96% of those who voted for him, STILL SUPPORTING HIM!

Are you fucking kidding me?

So you have to ask yourself Why? And the only answer possible is they are uninformed on the issues, they only hear one side of the argument, the side they already agree with. There is no critical thinking involved. They are spoon fed their opinions from Fox News, Breitbart, and conservative talk radio.

There was a time in America where the people were better informed. They could make better decisions because they were more knowledgeable about current events and understood both sides of an issue.

If you’re old enough, you probably remember when news programs had Point-Counterpoint discussions where they’d discuss both sides of an argument.

They did that because it was an FCC  requirement.  They had to give equal airtime to opposing views to keep their broadcast license. During elections, if they had one candidate on, then the station was required to give equal time to their opponent.

It was called The Fairness Doctrine and it became law in 1949. And it worked. Most Americans, if they regularly watched the news, had a basic understanding of issues and could make informed decisions. It helped Americans to think for themselves.

But then, in 1985 under Ronald Reagan, that rule was rescinded. Without the requirement to present both sides of an argument, conservative talk radio was born and its angry,  one-sided ignorant rhetoric quickly found an audience among white bigots who felt disenfranchised by a progressive America.

Talk radio hosts were able to inflame these white Americans into believing all their supposed woes were because of illegal immigrants, non-Christians, libtards, feminazis, ecoterrorists, gays who were forcing their lifestyle upon them, and the like.

And their hate and ignorance continued to grow because now they could feed their ignorance by listening to only one side of the news–conservative–and they lost the perspective to see things from the other side. It became easier to name call than have an open mind.

And the Orange Turd found he could capitalize on their hate, their bigotry, and their ignorance, and he road a massive wave of racial, homophobic, sexist prejudice into the White House.

And despite his every lie, every scandal, every illegal activity, his supporters still love him because they are completely uninformed about these activities and have the opinion (handpicked by the Orange Turd himself) that everything negative said about him is “fake news” and all part of a witch hunt to tear him down.

And that is why we need The Fairness Doctrine back: to try to bring some sanity back into politics, to gradually re-teach people how to think for themselves, and to inform them of all sides of the issues.

Resist to stay informed.

/rant over

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Now I understand

I’m at the Department of Motor Vehicles with my son. He’s taking his driving road test.

As I sit here, the DMV driving examiners come in with the wannabe drivers to review the road test results.

I’m eavesdropping, of course.

One examiner is telling the wannabe driver, “OK, when I told you to make a right turn, you swung way out into the next lane before turning, then you turned wide, going into the far left lane. You should always stay in your lane and turn into the lane nearest you.

“When I told you to make a lane change, you only used your mirrors to check for cars. You need to look over your shoulder to check for cars. The mirror is just a tiny picture and leaves a big blind spot.”

This is something I had just told my son the day before, to check over your shoulder when you make turns and lane changes. He said, he had the mirrors set up so he didn’t have to turn his head. I then said, the examiner is going to check to make sure you’re looking over your shoulder. My son, of course, didn’t seem to think I knew what I was talking about. So when the examiner said that, he gave me a “Oh, OK, you were right,” smile.

The examiner continued, “When I had you make a Y turn, you didn’t use your turn signal. Nor did you signal when I had you pull over to the side of the curb. And you didn’t signal when you pulled out into traffic.”

This is the kind of driver the DMV passes today.

This is the kind of driver the DMV passes today.

And there were several other mistakes the examiner counted off. My son and I sat there waiting to hear the examiner give the driver the bad news, that he had failed.

Instead, the examiner said, “Congratuations. Did you want to get your license today?”

Of course, I was dumbstruck.

And I hate to be one to say, “I told you so,” but “I told you so.” Bad drivers today aren’t my imagination, they are a reality and the examiners are the ones responsible for letting them get on to the road.

Oh, and my son? He got an almost perfect score. The examiner said he could have ridden with my son all afternoon.

Well, sure, because all those other drivers you are passing probably scare the crap out of you.

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An American Guide to Understanding Soccer

The World Cup begins today. If you’re like most Americans, that phrase is meaningless, as it should be. But if you’re curious, I’m here to help.

The World Cup is like our SuperBowl, only nowhere near as exciting. That’s because the sport involved is something called soccer, a sport the rest of the world made up because they were jealous we had all the good sports, such as baseball, football, basketball, dodge ball, wrestling, roller derby, curling, and hockey, which we share with Canada. And because they were jealous, they even named it after our game of football to cause confusion, hoping some unwary Americans would tune in and inadvertently boost their television ratings, which they already claim are in the hundreds of millions.

But they measure viewership, like they measure everything else, in those weird metrics, so if you were to convert that into American television Nielsen Ratings it actually equates to 15 viewers.

If you’re curious about the game’s history, read on. Soccer was invented in the 1950s by a couple of bored Germans who only had a basketball and a hockey net to play with. They tried shooting hoops, but that proved rather unsatisfying as neither missed so their game of Horse would have gone on forever until one of them in frustration kicked the basketball. The other German yelled, “Hans, stop!” Fearing the basketball would destroy their hockey net he made a spectacular leap, catching the ball just before it went in.

Hans said, “Hey, Fritz, that was fun!” And then they each took turns kicking the ball while the other tried to block it from going in. And thus, soccer was born.

It quickly took off because everyone could play it and you didn’t need any equipment other than a ball, two nets, and your mom’s knee high socks. Heck, even today the game hasn’t advanced very much equipment-wise. They don’t even own cups, which is why they stand in front of the goal covering their dicks.

A side note here, no one has ever fully explained why they needed this new sport in the first place when they already had one of the most exciting, balls-to-the-wall, manly sports ever in rugby. But that’s neither here nor there.

Americans first heard of soccer in the 1960s because of the exploits of one Brazilian player known as Pelé and because of the table game many taverns had known as foosball, which is what many Americans call soccer even today. “Hey look, Billy Bob, there’s a foosball game on the television machine.”

Sadly, soccer has only produced two famous players in the last 50 years, compared to the hundreds upon hundreds of stars American sports have produced. These were the aforementioned Pelé and more recently David Beckam, who was really made famous because he married a Spice Girl and a movie was named after him then his actual playing ability, as proven by how poorly he performed when he came to America. Now you’d have thought someone of his supposed soccer prowess would have been like Wayne Gretzky or Michael Jordon playing against children, but no, he bombed worse than “Ishtar” with Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman.

This lack of talent is one of the reason the rest of the world hates America so much, because we just naturally ooze athleticism but we choose to ignore their sport. They know if just one American made it big in soccer, then their sport would finally be accepted here and Americans would watch it. Sure, when pigs fly and America goes metric. Don’t hold your breath, bucko.
The rules of soccer are simple. Everyone runs around like chickens with their heads cut off kicking a speckled ball until some announcer yells, “Gooooooooal!” There is a clock that keeps counting up, not down as in the majority of sports that make sense, so they never know when to end the game and usually stop when all the fans have fallen sleep and its too dark to see the ball. One other thing about soccer, if you recall, the game was created by Germans, who have lousy hand-eye coordination. You know this from watching any John Wayne World War II movie; the Germans couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. And that is the reason they aren’t allowed to use their hands and why most Americans, who have the greatest hand-eye coordination in the world, can’t play soccer.

So there you have it, my friends, a brief history on the game of soccer. Now as we head into this weekend of World Cup festivities, you are fully armed with the facts so when some nerdy guy requests they put soccer on the tele in your favorite tavern, you can shout down the little freak with “Soccer sucks” knowing your opinion is now an informed one.

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I’m a motor moron

My therapist had me try a new exercise. I was supposed to lean my shoulder against the wall, then move my right foot forward a bit. I sat and thought about it, shifted the left foot, then moved my right foot.

“Oh, you’re a motor moron,” she said with a laugh. “That’s what we call people who have trouble distinguishing their right from their left.”

Ah. Well, then, yes. I’m a motor moron. When I was in the Navy and they wanted us to do something involving left or right, I had to think about which hand I salute with (your right), then go from there. But now, I’ve been out of the Navy so long, that my muscle memory of saluting is gone, so I’m back to struggling with right from left.

My wife and I used to have a VHS copy of Richard Simmons’ “Dancing to the Oldies.” We’d do the tape together in our small apartment living room. My wife would watch the dancers and could immediately translate their movements. If they moved to their left, she moved to her left. When they moved to their right, she moved to her right. In other words, she was a mirror opposite of them.

Then there was me. I’d see what they did, which was moving to my right, and I’d follow along, moving to my right. Except, in real time, they were moving to their left. So they’d move to their left. I’d move to my right and my wife would move to her left and bam! We’d run into each other.

“You’re going the wrong way,” she’d say.

“No. They go that way and I’m going that way.”

Needless to say, “Dancing to the Oldies” ended up in the trash because we became frustrated running into each other.

It’s also another reason why I gave up learning Tai-Chi from a video. Sure, I could learn all the moves, but they were backwards. My “Ward Off Left” was “Ward Off Right.” My “Left Brush Knee Twist Step” was “Right Brush Knee Twist Step.” So on and so forth.

Directions? Take two rights and a left, third house on the right. Guess where I’ll end up? So please, give me compass directions. Today I was driving and my wife was showing me a place in the park she goes to relax before heading on to work. I said, “Should I make a left?” but pointed right. She said, “No. Make a right.” “Right. That’s what I said.” “Yeah, right.”

And politics? Because I can’t tell left from right I’ve never been able to figure out what a red or a blue state is.

And of course, if you tell me to come right over, I’ll never make it.

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Algebra I for Dummies

I’m trying to relearn Algebra. I didn’t really learn it in High School (in fact, I failed it and retook it in summer school) and thought I learned it in College when I got an A in Introduction to Algebra, but a bad teaching assistant ruined it for me in the next class and I came away with an even worse understanding.

So I picked up the Dummy series. Hey, this is for me. I’m a dummy when it comes to Algebra and I admit it. The Education system failed me when it came to math.

So I’m reading along, learning and relearning the basics. It seems simple enough. Algebra is math abbreviated. So I was doing fine until I get to fractions. Ok. I’ve had trouble with them in the past. Addition? No problem. Subtraction? So far so good. I get to multiplying. Oh. Ok. Still no problem. You multiply numerators together then denominators together and then reduce the answer to the smaller fraction. Fine. I get it.

But then comes page 47. And they try to show me that you can reduce the fractions first, then multiply. How? By dividing the numerator of one fraction and the denominator of the other by a number divisible y both What? Why? Why can you do that? “Multiplication is commutative.” yeah? So order doesn’t matter, but what does that have to do with dividing a numerator in one fraction and a denominator in the other fraction?

I can’t comprehend this and no one has ever been able to explain this. They say math makes sense and follows strict rules, but I can’t for the life of me understand this rule. What right do I have to cross the line between the numerator and denominator? For some reason I see that line as wall that can’t be crossed. And yet, they want me to.

I think I need an entire chapter, or maybe even a whole book, on why we can do this.

I just can’t get my head around why you can reduce using the parts part of one fraction with the whole representation of a different fraction.

For example 5/6 X 3/8 X 4/7. Why can I reduce by taking the 4 and 8 and then the 3 and 6? That all seems so random to me. How are they related?

And I haven’t even gotten to division, which really freaked me out because for some reason you’re able to flip the fraction of one up-side-down!

My head hurts.

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