The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle just disappeared from the blog. Sorry!

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Report Card... Of Sorts


As you may know I purchased a Mercedes-Benz CLA250 in February... against my wife's better judgement.

I have had the car some 6 weeks now and, as I recall from my school years, that is about when school report cards come out. While I dreaded those, I am about to grade the M-B in a similar fashion.

I still like it. It is fun to drive and would even be economical if I didn't have to use mid-grade gas in it. It gets about the same as the Focus did but is an overall better car in a number of ways. Still, it lacks that fun feature of a rear-view camera (which I can get for under $200, after market, if I am willing to install it myself).

I took the car up to the dealer's yesterday because the ECO mode didn't seem to be working properly. The ECO function shuts the engine off while you sit at a light, saving gas, and restarts it automatically when you take your foot off the brake. A friend asked, "What if it doesn't start again?", which gave me pause but I decided I can just re-start it the conventional way. Anyway, that problem has not arisen yet. Just the opposite. In fact, I drove it about 20 miles Thursday before it did what it was supposed to. It turns out that my oil temperature is the culprit, it just wasn't getting warm enough most of the time. One of the suggestions was to idle the engine and let it warm up before driving off. I admit I do not do this, my father always did but I, being obstinate and usually in a big hurry have never done that. I'll consider it but probably won't do it.

I saw the vehicle I possibly should have bought while at the dealer's: a GLA 250 SUV. very nice but not as good mileage figures. Still, a touch roomier and possibly a bit more room for my clubs (though they fit fine now if I remove the driver first) and maybe a little roomier for passengers, too.

But both the CLA and the GLA are small and, of course, not inexpensive... I wonder if I will still like the car after a year?


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I Don't Understand


Maybe I'm just stupid, or otherwise ignorant, but let me run some stuff past you.

By now you've heard about the crash of that plane in the Alps. A tragic loss of life, no question. What bothers me first is the emphasis on the two infants and the 16 children. Certainly, that's part of the tragedy and, certainly, we do not like to even hear about children dying. But it happens and it's over. We cannot undo it, we cannot bring them back to life. If you are a believer then you should take comfort that they are, undoubtedly, in Heaven. Personally, I don't think anyone suffered much in that crash... maybe some trepidation about why the plane was descending so rapidly but they could not have seen the mountain they were about to crash into.

But something else bothers me about that crash. Much is being made about the fact that the pilots did not send a signal that they had a problem. This is explained away as pilots are trained to "aviate, navigate, communicate"... in that order so I keep hearing that it is no surprise that there was no distress signal sent. Well, it appears that the pilots failed to do the other two items also. The flight path remained adhered to (no apparent attempt to change course), and they definitely didn't aviate. But something else struck me... why doesn't the transponder send out a signal reporting a problem? It sends out location and altitude on a regular basis (identifier and altitude at the very least) but, if as is speculated, the computer detected some problem and put the plane in a downward path (at a rate of approximately 3000 feet per minute), why couldn't the transponder be rigged to report that problem to air traffic control or to someone, somewhere? At least we'd have some idea of what happened.

Call me silly but I do not understand why this isn't so.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Ah! The Joys Of Home Ownership


Way back, maybe in 2008, I had a whole house filter installed. It worked fine, I thought, until one day I noticed it running the weekly backwash (a function which allegedly flushes the filter) during the daytime. I bypassed it but the damage was already done... to my water bill; $209 for that month. And on the 19th of this month (March), I found it running again. I have bypassed it again but I expect a hit on my water bill again, though a somewhat lighter one. Since the same exact model is still available, at the same price, I can replace this one with a new one without having to re-configure the plumbing to it.

On the other hand, I am considering just doing without a filter. After all, I am on city water and, other than some dislike for the occasional annoyance and poor taste, this water is fine. And we buy bottled water for drinking anyway. That leaves only the ice-maker and coffee maker needing any possible filtering. I am not fussy about my water and I can rig up an under the sink filter so I really don't need a whole-house filter.

Guess I will do without one.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Darn Phones!


I should know better, but obviously don't, I bought another smart phone. This meant pairing it with the car. It also meant transferring my contacts over. A simple task, you say? Not if the old phone was a Windows type and the new one an android type; apparently the Windows phones don't store the contacts in the SIM card and they don't let you transfer them via a USB cable either.

So I sat down and and reloaded them in the new phone, one by one. Tediously keying in each entry using that tiny little keyboard that pops up when you add a new contact or edit an old one.

I then had to go about the business of learning the quirks and idiosyncrasies of the darn thing, starting with pairing it with my Benz. That turned out to be a lot of trouble. Oh, the pairing went OK (as soon as I figured how to do that) but then all those contacts I meticulously entered through that tiny alleged keyboard had to be uploaded... and I had to learn how the bluetooth settings on the phone worked (did you know they aren't all the same in that regard?)


Anyway, in spite of my quick temper and tendency to give up when frustrated, I muddled through and accomplished my task.

I wish I could say everything is fine now but you know it isn't. I have a ton of things to learn about the car and about the new phone and I am an "old dog" and you know what they say about teaching them new tricks...



Monday, March 16, 2015

A couple of Things

 
First up is about driving hazards:

LAKE PLACID [Florida] — A 98-year-old man was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital in serious condition after his 2008 Chevrolet HHR was struck while crossing U.S. 27 at Lake Mirror Drive. Highway Patrol Trooper Larry H. McClellan Jr.’s report showed that John G. Gill’s vehicle was crossing the southbound highway lane at 4:05 p.m. Friday when a southbound 1996 Ford F-250 swerved left, but struck the HHR. Jean Gill, 85, a passenger in the HHR, reported minor injuries, as did the pickup driver, John G. Thomason, 66, and his passenger, Tvonne Campbell, 51. All four are from Lake Placid.


These things happen... moreso in our "snowbird" months because there is an increase in traffic and courtesy seems to be harder to find. Though, clearly, the HHR driver might be a bit old to be behind the wheel and was likely at fault. Here's the problem for us: there is no public transportation system in this area... so, if you cannot drive, you are trapped at home.

The next thing on my agenda is a rant about racism. Much in the news these days, it is a major problem for our society.

Let's start with the definition:

rac·ism

ˈrāˌsizəm/

noun

noun: racism
the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.
Think about that definition...Who doesn't practice it from time to time? I am sure there are many of you who do not consider yourselves racist in any way but aren't you? When you think of a white person from the south as a redneck, when you assume someone is probably a bigot just because he or she is lighter-skinned, or that someone is poor or ignorant or cannot be rich because his or her skin is darker than yours...How is that not racism?

I had a black man once tell me, "scratch a white person, find a bigot." How is that different from saying a black man is lazy?

Personally, I believe we are all biased in some way, that this trait is deeply embedded in our DNA; that all we can do is acknowledge it and try to control it. And that we must.