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."

By the way... there's a crossword at the bottom of this page

Monday, September 1, 2014

Phone Annoyances



Much has changed in the time I have been on this planet. Life is somewhat easier and somewhat harder. When I was a child, we had one phone, wired directly into the wall. Extensions were expensive, you paid for the installation, and a fee for monthly service. That's all changed now. Phones travel with us, cellphones, that is. We now pay large amounts of money for the convenience and scratchy, poor, service we once complained about. And we have become rude as a result of those cellphones. We must answer them, regardless of where we are or who we are with. At one time, we answered the phone because we had no idea who it was and it could be important. Now, it seems, we answer because we can. We know who is calling, thanks to Caller ID, but we still feel the need to answer. We could be in a restaurant, having a pleasant meal, when a call comes in. And, instead of being considerate of anyone at all (either other diners or those at our own table), we answer that phone.

Which brings me to my complaint... which has nothing to do with cellphones, but with my home phone... I have received some phone calls from what appears to be a robo-caller system. The call comes in, I answer, and it is "dead air." Dialing back the number just gets you sent to the caller's voice mail which (in this case) is full so you cannot leave a message telling them not to call your number. It belongs to a Bojangles restaurant in Bradenton, FL. I have never been there and do not know how they got my number but you can be sure I will never visit one in the future. I have found their website and written a comment complaining about the calls. I have lodged a complaint with the Do Not Call registry and will follow up with a complaint to the Florida Public Service Commission on Tuesday.

Telemarketers are fools, in my opinion, and those that hire such firms or engage in the practice are even more foolish.

 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Woe Is Me! Woe Is Me!


Normally, I talk about politics on Saturdays but in spite of the nastiness of Florida's gubenartorial race (a lot of "mud" being slung), Russia pretty much invading Ukraine, ISIS (or ISIL or just plain old IS) showing itself to be much more than a JV team of "wannabe" terrorists... I have my own problems to sort out. And I would like to plead for your sympathy.

Let's start with my computer troubles. I have no clue what happened. I pride myself on having a techie heart and a dogged determination to find a cause of a problem and correct it but this one stumped me.

Some of the problem was undoubtedly related to what the industry calls a "Potentially Unwanted Program", aka "PUP." The culprit was apparently something called "Astromender" or "Astromedia" and it appeared in my beloved Firefox browser, taking over as my home page and displacing Google as my default search engine. It went downhill from there. All of a sudden, I could not see web pages as they are supposed to appear. Instead, they looked like the HTML wasn't being read properly. After trying to install a clean copy and failing, I eventually tried a copy of Internet Explorer. That browser worked almost perfectly. I still get some kind of error message when opening the Blogger editor or trying to look at the design page:


" We're sorry, but we were unable to complete your request.

When reporting this error to Blogger Support or on the Blogger Help Group,

please:


  • Describe what you were doing when you got this error.


  • Provide the following error code.

  • bX-rjv2lc


    This information will help us to track down your specific problem and fix it!

    We apologize for the inconvenience."

    Like that... But it means nothing to me (since the requested page appears) and it doesn't seem to cause any harm. With Firefox, I was waiting in La La Land for the editor or design to appear. Firefox was also repeatedly trying (and failing) to re-download whatever I had downloaded in a previous session.

    In short, it's not fixed but I have found a way around it.

    My other problem is my golf game. I won't go into it but I believe I have found the problem... I am in the midst of a balance problem. That is, I am unsteady on my feet. I am working on this and hope to improve my balance and, therefore, my game.



    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    Madness, It's Madness


    I am still having a spot of trouble with my chosen browser so bear with me, please.

    As I was watching the TV the other night, I came across some "talking heads" (pundits, they call them) fretting about the War On Terror, ISIS (or ISIL, whichever you prefer), and Bashir Assad. The crux of the worry was how we might find ourselves allied with Assad in order to deal with ISIS.

    They actually worried about this. I presume that is because they've forgotten some fairly recent history... You see, back in 1941, Great Britain allied with the Soviets, specifically with Josef Stalin, (and we joined that alliance once we got into that war) which had not long before signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany and happily engaged in dividing up Poland in 1939.

    In simple terms... it's been done before; this allying with those you do not like in order to defeat a greater threat.

    So why fret about it now?

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

    Life Is Full Of Potholes


    I am still having problems with my browser. It could be a virus or just some screwup I somehow created. But it is affecting my ability to post and that means they will be iffy.


     I have been thinking about death lately, wondering mostly about what happens after. Being atheist, I do not buy into any of the stories about an afterlife but I realize I am definitely in the minority on this. Personally, I believe that death is one of the reasons that religions exist. No one wants to think that this is it... that when someone dies, it's all over, that we just cease to exist. We do not want life to be final. So, we (according to me) invent gods and heavens and hells or we invent reincarnation. Anything but life just being over.

    I could be wrong. The problem is that I won't know until after I am dead and I don't believe I would know then because the "me" that exists now simply won't anymore. So I would be unaware of anything. Just gone.  Some think that's a bleak future. To that, I say isn't that the point? We cannot know what happens after we die though religions offer us hope and we all want hope, don't we?

    Woody Allen once offered the theory that when we die our souls go to a garage in New Jersey. That is even more bleak than my vision.

    But what about you? What do you think happens after death?


    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

    I Err, Therefore I Am Human


    This was supposed to post yesterday but the Blogger editor would not load so I had to set it up for today


    It turns out, according to this article that the errors we make help us. Well, DUH!  Once again, a heap of research has shown what we already know... or should know... that we learn from mistakes and learn faster from those mistakes than we otherwise would.

    Of course, that doesn't explain the people who make the same mistakes repeatedly... that's covered under Einstein's definition of insanity... "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

    I wonder about that. Criminals fall under that definition, especially the ones we call "career criminals." They commit a crime, get arrested, and go to jail. And when they get out, they do it again. Perhaps they thought the mistake was in getting caught?

    I have made repeated mistakes in my life. But I believe that was because I didn't recognize the mistake, I thought the mistake was something else... like the career criminal does.  The article was talking about learning "motor skills" (often referred to as "muscle memory"). Anyone who ever watched a toddler learning to walk knows mistakes he makes help him learn. It continues as the child learns to do other things: throw a ball, climb a ladder, talk, etc. But that learning never stops. Ask any golfer about mistakes. Most of us know immediately that we goofed in some small way but we often don't know just how and when the goof occurred. This makes it difficult to overcome.

    Children are constantly learning (I call it "human programming") and have fewer mistakes to look back on, to file away, to categorize. They are more resilient; they recover more quickly than adults. They also make more mistakes because they are learning many new skills. Personally, I think it is vitally important that we teach them essential morality before they turn five.

    But why concentrate on motor skills? Why not apply this knowledge to every new thing to learn?  It seems that these scientists have uncovered that also:

    The surprise finding in the new study, published in Science Express, is that not only do errors train the brain to better perform a specific task, but they also teach it how to learn faster from errors, even when those errors are encountered in a completely different task.

    “In this way, the brain generalizes from one task to another by keeping a memory of the errors,” the researchers said.


    In other words, we learn how to learn.


    Maybe being a klutz is helpful.