Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sad Sacks

We've had another loss of a notable person... this time, neurologist Dr Oliver Sacks succumbed to cancer after a long, productive life.

Dr Sacks was one of the great popularizers of science- writing entertaining, accessible books, some of which were made into popular movies. My personal favorite book by him is Seeing Voices, a book about the development of sign languages and the rise of deaf culture. Dr Sacks had a knack for covering neurological topics in an approachable fashion, and his compassion was evident on every page.

We lost one of the good ones- anyone who is able to teach scientific concepts to lay persons is doing important work, and Dr Sacks was prolific. In a culture which seems to be sliding towards idiocracy, people like Dr Sacks are more important than ever- we are sadly diminished by his passing.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ten Years Post-Katrina

It's been ten years since Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the Gulg Coast and damn near wiped a major U.S. city off the map. Ten years since a jackass president played air guitar while a national tragedy was unfolding (at least Nero was reputed to have fiddled while Rome burned), ten years since an out-of-his-league frat bro botched the rescue efforts, ten years since a TV jackass described U.S. citizens in a racially insensitive manner usually reserved for victims of third-world disasters. Ten years after the media's racial bias was made clear in stark black-and-white.

Besides the loss of life, the worst legacy of Katrina was the destruction of a neighborhood marked by a high degree of home ownership among the African-American population, the destruction of family property that made exacerbated intergenerational poverty. The population of the devastated Gulf Coast was not only displaced, it was disinherited.

I spent an hour this afternoon listening to a post-Katrina on This American Life. The stories of individuals who survived the hurricane and subsequent failure of the levees and flood walls will drive home the horror of the tragedy better than dry prose from a high-and-dry guy thirteen hundred miles away ever could.

Better keep some hankies on hand.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Found Another Time-Sink

Today, I found the Piece of Shit Book Club- they read shitty books so you don't have to. The glorious thing about the site is that, purportedly, they invited the internet infamous Chuck Tingle to review a children's book. From creepy PUA how-tos to creepy fundamentalist child-rearing how-tos to creepy dinosaur erotica, they run the gamut of, you got it, piece of shit books.

Be forewarned, though, this site will have you wondering how the hell you lost so much time reading these reviews. That's better than losing that time reading those shitty books, though.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Media Shows Again and Again how Rachel Points out the Folly of Men

Over the course of my five years and eight months of blogging, I have only written about Donald Trump a handful of times. I've avoided writing about him in this campaign season because I think he'll get bored with campaigning and drop out of the race in a few months. I figured I'd mention The Donald in light of Rachel Maddow's comparison of his feud with Fox News as a Godzilla vs Mothra style battle. Yeah, Trump is kinda like Godzilla, stomping the GOP that awakened him from his slumber in abyssal slime, and Trumpzilla has become a meme, with this image being a particular favorite of mine. I don't see myself giving much coverage to The Donald, but snark is paramount to me, so without further ado, here's my concise take on Trump's campaign:

With a purposeful grimace and a terrible rug,
He stinks up the TV with his godawful mug.

Helpless people on the campaign trail.
Scream bug-eyed as he rants and he rails.

He picks up a mic and he talks with a frown
As he blames all the problems on the people who are brown

Oh no, they say he's got to go go go Trumpzilla
Oh no, there goes Rubio go go Trumpzilla

Media shows again and again
How Rachel points up the folly of men

This doggerel, based on a comment of mine on the linked story, is a parody of a classic Blue Öyster Cult song:

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I cribbed the BÖC-lyric-as-post-title schtick from these fine folks- if you're going to steal, steal from the best.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Meanwhile, on the Workfront

Yesterday, I got a call from one of the guys in my department... he had taken a bad spill and broke his humerus (not funny at all) a few inches down from his shoulder joint. It was a bad break, and he will find out later if he will need pins or a full shoulder replacement (he's no spring chicken). At any rate, he will be out of work for at least three weeks. As luck would have it, another of the guys in my department is out on vacation- he's out of state, and I wouldn't even think of calling him on his time off. Needless to say, only half of the department is available to work this week. The department head told me that overtime would be authorized (a rare enough occurrence).

I have to compile the schedule for our big October events before the end of the month- right now, I have to work on the assumption that my co-worker will be back in action by then, but I'm not too optimistic. I figure I'll have a month to reconfigure the schedule... right now, I think I'll just write in "then a miracle occurs".

I'm not holding my breath here. Of course, the most important thing is that my friend recovers... I can deal with whatever work throws at me.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Grand Theft: Garbage

This year, the raccoons seem to be more incorrigible than ever- they really don't exhibit the least bit of shyness, even when confronted by a foot-stamping primate with a high-powered flashlight:

It's hard for me to gauge whether or not this year's garbage is more delicious than previous years' garbage, but the procyonid population sure seems like it's beating a path to our trash receptacles.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Remember these Two?

For the past two months, I'd been bouncing from worksite to worksite in order to make up for some staffing complications. As a result, I hadn't been to my principal workplace before 9PM for a while. As a result of THAT, I didn't see my co-workers in the Rodent Abatement Team in the daylight for weeks, and I didn't bother trying to photograph them in the darkness.

To make up for a lack of kitteh content, here is a picture of my co-workers Fred and Ginger on their matching pedestals:

We had a nice opportunity to watch the sun set over the property, at the onset of the regular walkabout. It was good to share a lovely moment with my four-legged friends, and it's even better to be able to share this moment with my readers. I wasn't neglecting them for the past two months, I was neglecting YOU, and for that, I'm sorry.