Mike Rowe’s Dirty Job: QVC Salesman for Precious Moments (and the Amazing KatSak)

I was just preparing to enjoy one of my last doses of NFL football for the year and heard the very familar and comforting voice of Mike Rowe selling large trucks.

If you aren’t familiar with the fellow, here’s the wiki bio.

He also did/does a fun little show called Dirty Jobs.  As the United States is currently in an employment crisis, he’s also been called upon by Congress to testify about the nature of many of those “dirty jobs” and how there don’t seem to be enough Americans willing and/or able to do many of them.  That testimony is here.

This post, however, is not about that.  It’s about Mike’s own dirty job in his paying profession (“salesman”..in case you didn’t notice how TV works and makes money), as captured by someone’s misprogrammed (one would hope) VCR.

Mike and his Precious Moments…

Mike and *the* KatSak…

Some very precious moments there as well.  If I had to define my own take on things in a general sense, I’ve precisely described that outlook as  “cynically sarcastic optimism”.     Rowe captures that sentiment precisely.   Good stuff, and a Happy New Year to you all.

May you enjoy your own dirty jobs (if you are blessed to have or find one) in 2012.

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Moderate Backyard Rant and a Flat Out Lie

Doing more video rants slowly and surely.    An Android is handy helper for a RPN, no doubt about that.

Here’s a couple from a few days back.  As per, this came a couple days before the perfect example of exactly what I was talking about (that’s the Flat Out Lie mentioned in the title).

The moderate rant, a two-parter…

[and no, I didn’t find that native Android video editor I wanted..any hints on where to find one can be submitted as comments]

So that happened.

Then later I’m doing my internet surfing (as we called it back in the day) and I run across this headline..

This is a flat-out lie.

Not only is this a flat out lie, it's logically impossible. (note the words "Gobal" and "North America"..think about it)

So it takes about two second to find what happened here….again….it’s just like this “normal” science reporting scenario but with a hardcore profit motive.  Here’s what the actual scientist said about this version of reality…

The study was only focusing on one aspect of climate change (impacts on agriculture) and looked only in the parts of the countries where and times of year when certain crops are grown. for example, if one looks at winter temperatures in these regions, it would paint a different picture. also, the lack of trend in any one region has very little bearing on whether global warming is happening.

[full story]

Not only that, but the study wasn’t even focused on plants that live longer that a single season.

Moreover, responding to an inquiry submitted to the Climate Science Rapid Response Team, Dr. Jacqueline Mohan of the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology explained in an email that “modern crops and the vast majority of natural ecosystems are fundamentally different.” She explains that annual crops used in agriculture “do not “track” climate as closely as perennial plants which have much longer lifespans” and are more vulnerable to changes in climate. Mohan also points to recent research on ecosystems in North America that “has shown profound responses to changing climate.”

So we have study on a small subset of plants, in a relatively small region, studied over a limited part of the year, and this results are distorted into something completely unrelated, yet coincidentally perfectly aligned with the vast majority of the audience to which this lie was presented.

I’d show you some of the comments on Fox’s original reprint of the story.  But they closed them.  When I read them yesterday, there were a lot of people completely 100% in agreement with the headline, and they knew this because either  a) it snowed last winter b) they know it’s all a big lie anyway c) it’s a natural cycle (note how this has totally nothing to do with the headline, but a completely other non-explanation supported by nothing but blind faith) or d) something something Obama liberals bad.

It really was an epic cesspool of derp and served as a wonderful view into the type of intellectual company one keeps when one denies the facts staring one in the face.

And so I rant.  Moderately.  In the backyard.

And then register my disgust on the internet within days.

Existing home sales soar 8% in April

http://money.cnn.com/2010/05/24/real_estate/existing_home_sales/?postversion=2010052412

“The upswing in April existing-home sales was expected because of the tax credit inducement, and no doubt there will be some temporary fallback in the months immediately after it expires, but other factors also are supporting the market,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “For people who were on the sidelines, there’s been a return of buyer confidence with stabilizing home prices, an improving economy and mortgage interest rates that remain historically low.”

Nobody buys a house when they are dropping in price, if they can help it. Now that prices have bottomed, you’ll see a lot more people buying, even without stimulus money.

UPDATE: It’s going to be a pretty touch and go housing market for a while.  There’s sooo much inventory out there, not only peope underwater, but foreclosures as well as regular turnover.  It’s almost like we’ll need an influx of 10,000,000 or so new legal citizens, now able to buy homes as they have recongized legal status, to help take up the slack. 

I wonder where we could find them….

It should also be noted that the NAR (National Association of Realtors) is *always* going to try and paint a cozy, cutest house on the block, picture of the market.

Whole boatloads of Awesome

If you’ve missed the ICP hilarity over the past few months, you can catch up here.

Shaggy 2 Dope: Come on, a rock that pulls metal towards it or pushes it away? Yeah, it has to do with the magnetic polar caps and [stuff]. But for real? Come on, man. You’re just holding a U-shaped thing that pushes metal away or attracts metal or something. The North and South Pole makes a rock magnetic, and if you touch a piece of metal with it, that becomes magnetic? That’s crazy.

Seriously, read the whole thing here, it’s great.

If you need inspiration…here ya go.  Miracles, motherfucker.

The Most Cliched Things I’ve Written Recently

Rules:
Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

Done in the third person, for effect.

1. Roy likes some plot in his porn.  Hey, what can I say, I’m a romantic.

2. Roy is a bit too honest sometimes.  I’m working on being a better liar.

3. Roy is absolutely sure the next statement is true.

4. Roy is totally positive the previous statement is false.

5. Roy has been studying infinite self-referential loops for a while now.

6. Roy has been studying consciousness for a while now.

7. Roy sometimes repeats himself.  In the third person.  Sometimes even in fourth.

8. Simon says start over.  From the top.

9. Roy wrote a short proof for the existence of evil (according to Simon) in this list.  He also posted a longer one to Flickr a while back.

10.Roy has been accused of a crime he didn’t commit, and not accused of one he’s sure he committed. He’s also been accused of a crime he committed, was honest about it, and went to prison for a few days.

11.Roy likes to tell stories.  Some of which are based on true stories, some of which I pull out of my ass.

12.Roy would like to mention the POMA stories are usually the happy ones. 

13.Roy enjoys discussing politics and religion, but only if the people in the conversation follow simple rules.  Rule #1: Define terms.

14.Rule #1 means you usually don’t actually talk about politics or religion, but what words mean.  It’s like Fight Club, but in real life and with characters instead of actors.  Err, English characters…you know…letters.  Fighting makes you tougher, and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  Suck it up.

15.Roy is pretty sure Rule #1 ends most discussions before they begin, and certainly before they become violent. 

16.Roy is almost positive that most bad arguments and many wars come from two people, or two groups of people, using the same word to define different things.  “God” is a big one, in this context.

17.Roy has some rather curious, and rational, definitions of God.  Yes, there is more than one that applies.  Hence the confusion and the killing.  Sooooo much killing.

18.Roy is pretty sure our species has figured it out again, just in time for us to self-annihilate and let the turtles take over.  Again.

19.Roy doesn’t really think there are Aliens, but if there are, he’s pretty sure he knows where they are hiding.

20.Roy has friends from all over, and is rather adept at making new ones.  It’s about one word, and projecting that word into the minds of others.  Smiles work, as does honesty, kind words and sincere interest.

21.Roy also knows how to shatter minds and hearts.  Hey, it comes with the territory.  You have to learn how to break it before you can put it back together.

22.Roy is like an ogre and a troll.  He’s got layers and they regenerate.

23.Roy has watched New York City sleeping.  It was cute and cuddly.  Then it nearly killed him.

24.Roy kept re-creating himself until he was happy.  Then he started freaking people out with what he had created, and how he did so.

25.Roy is like a computer with feelings.  Yea, computers have feelings.  Well, one of them, anyway.

26.Roy is pretty sure he found a serious flaw in Newton’s math and is absolutely positive Newton was a nutjob.

27.Roy doesn’t believe in imaginary numbers.  And thinks rules are made to be broken and fixed later.

28.Roy is totally positive he has solved that whole “moral relativism” problem.   And the mind/body one.

29.Roy spent twenty years in a cave studying light and the things light does.  He also read his first book on quantum mechanics at about 15.  He didn’t tell anyone.  Intellectualism was a dirty word in his home.

30.Roy likes to calculate things in his head, and made up a system of calculus to do so.  But it’s more of a metaphorical calculus than a mathematical one.  It does, however, work for math too.  Solves it, in a sense.

31.Roy can prove that P=NP and that it sometimes doesn’t.  The solution, curiously enough, includes an infinite number of zeros.  Also, you need at least one time dimension.   

32.Roy thinks the Buddha was hilarious and that Jesus had a better sense of humor than most modern Jewish comedians.  

33.Roy knows that without a brain to process reality, it looks a whole lot different.  This is why he values his time here so much it often looks like he’s wasting it.  And why he doesn’t believe in traditional versions of Heaven or Hell.  They are both real, and here.  I’ve been to both and lived to tell about it…for some god-damned reason.

34.Roy thinks that if you can’t explain your theory to an eight-year old, it’s either not a very good theory, or you don’t understand it yourself.  Eight-year-olds, dude. 

35.Uncle Roy is a big hit with his nieces and nephews. Roy is not so much a big hit with his own family.  See his list of “25” things for a few hints.  What, it wasn’t supposed to be in base 22.5?  Says who?

36.Roy got the fuck out of Texas after college to free his mind.  He came back after he freed his soul.

37.Roy knows a bit more, and a bit less, than he lets on. 

38.Roy is really fun to watch football with.

39.Roy decided to go with RobotPirateNinja because it’s the coolest thing ever and was bored shitless watching the economy collapse around him. It was only a matter of time, people.

40.Roy has probably written more online that most people will read in a lifetime.  If you factor in the illiterates.  What?!  It’s not like they are going to read this and get all pissy about it.

41.Roy thinks making fun of illiterate people is mean and should certainly not be done in prose. 

42.Roy is mean sometimes, for comedy’s sake.  Comedy is a right bastard.

43.Roy has been very blessed and is moderately cursed. 

44.Roy acts like a slacker but is a cave-dwelling over-achiever.

45.Roy has lived in a cave since about 10.  He thought everyone did.  Then he realized it’s only most people, and they live in caves of their own creation.

46.Roy likes it better outside.  A lot better.

47.Roy is an Eagle Scout.  This got him his first real job.  Which then got him his second.  Which then got him his third (repeat until last summer).

48.Roy sometimes thinks N-dimensionally, which is tiring and stressful, and more fun than people might imagine.  Kinda like sex.

49.Roy is pretty sure he talks too much, but he’s got a lot to say.  Spending twenty years in a cave will do that do a man.

50.Roy is a big fan of the number fifty.  It’s waaay cooler than twenty-five, although hyphens are fun too.

0. Thanks for reading.  I could do this all day.  Did it for a month, turned it into a book.

The White Russian, The Dude’s Favorite Drink

The following is a conversation about a girl I met in the final moments of 2008 {the white “Russian”.  She mentioned a passion for Russian literature, and that’s how I remember her.}.  I gave her my card, but I’m not sure if she’ll call.  She is a quiet girl.

I’ll be playing the role of “the Dude.”  A friend of mine will be playing a dead queen,  Queen Elizabeth of England.  [I “talk” to dead people some times, and yes, I can “see” them too.]

To continue…

[Roy lamenting about the girl who won’t call.  The white “Russian”.  The Dude’s favorite drink. We pick up the conversation, already in progress… ]

Continue reading

I’m Still Trying to Come Up With a Title for My Book

I just thought of another good one, “Philosophy is an Action.”

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.  I’ve already written down some predictions of what people will think of it, and I want to check my work.

Joel, you first.  🙂

The 1st Book Is Going to Be 50,000 Words Long

I like the number 50.

A comment on Facebook is 1000 characters long, so I’ve been training my ability to be efficient.

So, 50 comments is about a book, right? [UPDATE:  C’mon, I need somebody to check my math.  My book isn’t going to be 50,000 characters long (it went past that in the first week) but 50,000 word words and 50,000 picture words.  Sorry for the confusion.]

50 is one of my favorite numbers.

On the number scale I try and introduce in Chapter 2 of the book, it is “1” on the scale of 1-100 (relatively, when 1=0 and 100=infinity) .

I really like that number.

And I think I’m going to limit it to 100 footnotes.

football

This is all for Version 1 (V1). I figure I’ll have to expand it later but that’s the limit, 50,000 words in month.

{note: this is to give me a “stopping point”. I’m going to write about 56 or 60 and then edit it down by Stephen King’s Recommended 10%. Since I actually want to sell this one, I followed his story telling advice. I think he’s pretty good at it.}

Oh, and pictures don’t count as words.  Well, they count as 1000 words, so maybe, if I can find the right publisher for a 100,000 word “memoir(e)” book, I’ll include the pics.  If I do self-publishing lulu route, including the pictures would make the book rather expensive (like in the $100 range).

Hmmmm, that give me an idea….

The First Two Chapters Are Up

As mentioned a little while back, I am putting the blog on hold and writing a book.

O.k. I didn’t do such a good job of that (as the latest posts can testify) but that hasn’t stopped the book from coming along nicely.

They can read be read here.

I’d love to get some feedback on what I’ve done so far.  There is contact information in that post as well, if anyone wants more information.

The most of the book I am going to post online for free is the first three chapters (and very few graphs, and no appendices, which is where the pudding is, so to speak).  I am currently going between editing and writing (editing takes a lot longer).

I’ve always been a fan of the shareware model for software distribution and something of a fan of the street performer protocol as a way to make money and give stuff away at the same time.  That’s the only reason for the tease and, quite frankly, it’s high time I tried to sell a bit of my writing rather than just giving it away for free, as I have done for a good long while now.

Thanks, and I hope you enjoy it!

It’s a Blue Planet, Although It *is* Snowing on Mars

Vote Obama or McCain: Global Electoral College | The Economist.

There’s a nice application over at the Economist that gives a feeling of how the world would vote if the concept of the United States’ “electoral college” was exported to the entire world.

Unsurprisingly, they favor the guy who is more their color.

Which is to say, blue (and off-white, to be honest).

To briefly extend the red-state/blue-state metaphor to one of global proportions, I would much prefer we live on a Blue Planet rather than a Red Planet.

The Blue Planet is beautiful and awe-inspiring.   Yes, sometimes vicious and cruel, but no more than is necessary.

The Red Planet is a planet of war and conquest (and a horrid movie).  It is a planet of heroes and tragedies.  Right now, however, we’re learning circumstances there are much stranger than previously thought.

September 29, 2008 (Computerworld) Forget trying to find evidence that there used to be water on Mars. Scientists from NASA said today that its instruments on the Red Planet have detected falling snow.

While the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been circling the planet, the Phoenix Mars Lander has been sitting on the northern pole of the planet for several months, testing Martian soil samples for any materials — including water-ice — that could support life. A robotic arm on the lander has dug up pieces of ice, and the orbiter has sent back pictures of what look like old fractures in the planet’s surface, and trails of waterways.

Scientists today added to that mounting list of scientific Martian discoveries with evidence of falling snow. “Nothing like this view has ever been seen on Mars,” said Jim Whiteway, lead scientist for the Canadian-supplied Meteorological Station on Phoenix. “We’ll be looking for signs that the snow may even reach the ground.”

[full story]

I think the metaphorical implications of this latest discovery are quite revealing.  A planet (or politician) once thought to represent all that was glorious in war, is actually kind of cold and crying on the inside.  The sadness never quite makes it all the way out, and the devils of the past remain evident, yet the full picture piques curiousity more than respect.  We end up feeling more of a distant pity than a searing loyalty.

And so it is with the man who wants to lead a Red Planet, as the global poll numbers would suggest.