“Did you see that ludicrous display last night?”

Wouldn’t it be nice if the networks would set their science fiction shows in the near future, so it’s obvious the science is made up?

Ok, I confess I watched the premiere of CSI Cyber last night. I also confess that I was expecting to watch for the heckling value.

csicyber

 

 

About the only things I’m willing to believe about the show are a) the FBI has (or should have) a cyber crimes division b) it’s possible to develop a code analysis tool that puts the bad stuff in red. Oh, and a Toyota Camry can’t float. Please note that although they lamented the fact that “it would take too long to brute force that long password (so obviously we feds just have to be able to bypass things things, you know, for the children),” they had a team member who used logic to figure it out. Also note that the existence of a back door in another system is what allowed the original crime to happen.

Also, ask yourself why you need your babycam (among other things) to be on the internet.

In Closing: most kids aren’t whisked away by strangers, no matter what you might see on TV; guess how many terrorists the NSA “collect all the calls” program has caught? ZERO.

Music Monday: In which I misuse Tom Petty

 

There’s been quite a lot of talk about, between, and across those that think vaccinations are wonderful lifesaving technology, and those that don’t. And for those who are saying “What’s the big deal? Measles are just a rash!” Roald Dahl has some words for you. Here’s one of the better summaries.

Let me briefly put my position out there: vaccines save lives; herd immunity saves the lives of those who are too young or sick for vaccines, as well as those for whom the vaccine didn’t work as well as it should. The risks associated with the currently available vaccines are tiny compared to the risks of being hit by lightning. Vegas is uncomfortably close to Disneyland, has its own supposedly unrelated case of measles, and 3 cases of whooping cough in one high school. All preventable.

Today’s latest round — politicians have waded into the fray. Should we then call it Measlesgate? Vaxgate? Maybe just Stupidgate. So the President went on the record as saying the sensible thing: “You should get your kids vaccinated.” The crowd that would argue about the American flag being Red White and Blue if the Kenyan Muslim Usurper President said so immediately swung into action! They couldn’t come out and say “No no no, vaccinations are dangerous,” because that would be too stupid. Instead, two people who want to run for President in 2016, Chris Christie and Rand Paul, said that parents should be able to make the choice for themselves about whether to vaccinate their kids. Dr. Dean is not amused.

Ok, let’s talk about parental choice and child safety. When it comes to keeping children safe, the law doesn’t allow certain choices. Parents aren’t allowed to choose whether to use a car seat for a baby, or whether their older children use seat belts. Parent’s aren’t allowed to choose to withhold medical care they don’t agree with in most states — even when the “child” is the one making the decision. We don’t let parents choose to do things that are known to put a child in danger (except let them play football, of course). The idea that parents should be able to choose to endanger their children (and those around them) is ludicrous.

In short, this is yet another argument where the facts just don’t support two sides to the issue.

In Closing: they hate us for our freedoms; Greece and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership; yeah, that ain’t happening; no kidding; stereotypes; and Evangeline.

Every Afternoon

 

Translation: Every Afternoon in Grenada, Every Afternoon a Child Dies.

Here in Las Vegas, our Child Protective Services office is under fire. Here’s a dead baby found incidental to police serving another warrant. Here’s a boy beaten to death for lying about reading some Bible verses — sadly, school officials alerted CPS to a potential problem just hours before his death. Here’s a child sex abuse case. And the latest, a baby dead after having been removed with his 8 siblings from a home described as having “deplorable conditions.”

There’s a lot of finger pointing, a lot of shoulda-couldas. The fact remains that CPS — and the police — have limited resources to do a Herculean job: keeping every child safe.

But you know what? Every time some busy-body calls the cops or the CPS for a false abuse charge, or a kid or pre-teen left in a car for 5 minutes while mom runs a quick errand, or a kid merely being outside without direct adult supervision? The cops and CPS workers pushing that paperwork can’t spend that time investigating a real case of neglect or abuse. The end result is more kids hurt and more kids killed.

In Closing: walking is good for you; license to work; so much for “elected” officials; shoe’s on the other foot; I love Max.

News

Even though the stats say people read this little site regularly, the fact is not many people comment. One of the few people who I’d call a “regular commenter” was Cynthia.

It is with great sadness that I must report that Cynthia passed away this morning. She leaves behind a long-term boyfriend, assorted distant relatives, a grandson, and one daughter. That would be me.

In Closing: rubble bucket challenge; an interesting and relevant graph; on inequality and impounded cars; cop cams; one less one less problem; Karl calls ’em as he sees ’em; shhh, ancient oligarch secret; and thanks to bankruptcy “reform,” there is no hope of this getting better until the previous item miraculously vanishes; I still wonder why insurance companies haven’t put their considerable clout behind this; and won’t somebody please think of the children (unless of course they are brown).

 

 

Shorties of Badassdom

When Kids are Smarter than the Adults: Apparently, being accused of twirling a pencil with a pencap on it is a problem that is best addressed by a 5 hour interrogation evaluation, including a strip search and blood testing. No idea whether anybody thought it would be a good idea to call mom or dad. Elsewhere — and I would totally like to believe this is an April Fools joke except that here’s local coverage including an interview —  police responded to a couple of kids building a tree fort with guns drawn. The child’s reaction was “I was thinking that I don’t want to be shot today, so I just listened to what they said.”

Tired of LinkedIn?: It was a pain in the butt to figure out how to close an account, so let me save you some effort.

You know you want this: Your dose of NSA, surveillance, spyingSnowden, privacy, and related links.

Jobs: A few items about the minimum wage, employment, job creation, and income equality.

A weighty subject: Some miscellaneous stuff about food, calories, obesity, diet, and exercise.

College Math: Sobering.

News headlines you won’t see: yeah.

And a reason to reach out to your Congressman: The Better Off Budget.

 

To the Lady in Workout Clothes ahead of me at the Grocery Store

Hey dear, let me tell you why you’re never going to lose that 10 to 20 pounds around your hips and waist and why your hubby is never going to lose the gut unless you change your ways.

I’m not going to put all the blame on the expensive whole wheat crap that you think is good for you, even though you should probably only eat half that at most, and even though there is a case to be made for that being your biggest problem. Many experts think that’s good stuff, but you still should put some of it back on the shelf.

I’m not going to be too hard on you for the gallon of frozen yogurt. Again, you think you’re doing the right diet thing, even though it’s still got far too much sugar in it to be truly healthy. Maybe you only eat a tablespoon a day? Maybe I wasn’t close enough to see that it was one of those fat-free or sugar-free chemistry sets masquerading as real food?

I’m not going to put all the blame on the plentiful sports drinks in your cart, even though there is simply no way you are working out hard enough for them to be beneficial to you. Have you ever looked at the nutrition panel? It’s probably replenishing every calorie you “worked” off, and many of those drinks contain corn syrup. If you seriously worked out hard enough for these to be a good idea, you would never dream of wearing your disgusting sweaty workout clothes to a grocery store — even fresh out of the wash!

I am going to rag on you just a little bit for the 3 boxes of different kinds of crackers. For pity sake, if you want to eat something that goes crunch, try an apple or a carrot! You might get some vitamins out of the deal.

I am going to rag on you just a little bit for the fact that the only protein I saw in your cart was a pound of ground beef. Come on, that’s going to last a week? If you don’t eat some protein, your body is just going to steal it from your muscles. In case you didn’t know, muscle is what keeps you from looking like a complete blob.

But the one thing that I think is your biggest problem was the stack of 6 frozen pizzas. That proves that you only give the faintest lip service to eating healthy: pizza is neither low carb nor low fat. Ever. Just, please, tell me that’s not a one week supply. Lie to me if you must. You want a pizza? Learn to make that stuff from scratch. I can guarantee you’ll eat less of it because it’s harder than stuffing that frozen crap in a hot oven, it will be better tasting because you’ll use better ingredients, and healthier. Why healthier? You’ll actually burn some calories kneeding the dough, shaping it, and putting quality stuff on top!

Want to make that gut vanish? Try eating real, minimally processed food. Sure, you’ll have to spend more than 3 minutes preparing it, but you and your husband will both be better off.

I’d like to say at least your dog eats well, but you didn’t buy any dog food.

In Closing: would you like to play a game?; playing it safe; poverty tax; ever wonder what the numbers mean?; duh; travel tips; “let’s just take these laptops with no anti-virus to a hacker’s conference! What could possibly go wrong???”; parks; make “the PillOTC, prevent abortions; we don’t need “administrators” with no common sense having any authority over children, ever, for any reason.

Cat Ass Trophy

Or, Caturday, Film Festival Edition

Ok, I like cats well enough. I even have a cat. Sure, I occasionally look at pictures of cats online, with or without witty catpions (intentional misspelling). I’ve been sucked in by video of Maru the Box Cat at least once. I have posted about Stationmaster Tama and  library cats. IBKC and Cute Overload are linked in the sidebar. But you know, I think this cat thing has officially gone off the rails. 

Thursday night in Minneapolis, ten thousand people turned out for a festival of short films starring cats:

The crowd — easily double what organizers expected — packed the lawn outside the museum, spilling onto the sidewalks across the street. There were local cat lovers and out-of-state fans of Fluffy; many wore kitty-theme T-shirts or simply ears and whiskers. Some took real cats on leashes. A few dogs came, for irony.

They all settled in for a screening of cats behaving badly, or cutely, or mysteriously, sometimes all at once. That much of the audience had already seen the clips on YouTube did not seem to diminish the enthusiasm. Quite the contrary.

Keyboard Cat and Nyan Cat allegedly wanted to be paid to attend. Inasmuch as Nyan Cat is animated, I’d like to know how that would even work. I won’t link to those furry freeloaders now just on principal.

Did they actually use film, or did they just cue up 60 tabs in YouTube?

In Closing: more stuff to do in Vegas; we don’t need no steenking warrant; just say no to huge birthday bashes for little kids; “The recovery continues to be skewed toward low-wage jobs, reinforcing the rise in inequality and America’s deficit of good jobs”; of course job growth is variable by region (which is why we need streamlined short sales nowDouble Dose of Ezra; is that where I’ve heard it before?; Etch-a-sketch; mathematically impossible; yes the Republicans have a place for single women, I guess; low carb diets do work; the study never said skinny monkeys, just underfed monkeys; and great timing.

Turkey Sandwich Wars

As nearly as I can tell, it started with a regional chain called Capriotti’s and a sandwich known as The Bobbie. It’s basically “Thanksgiving Dinner on a sub bun”: Turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and mayo. Delicious if a bit carb-heavy.

Then a local sandwich shop called Eddie D’s threw down with their own version. As Eddie himself put it, “I call it the Robert, because it’s the Bobbie’s daddy.” It’s served hot with turkey, melted cheese, stuffing, cranberry sauce and you can order it with hot gravy. Also delicious.

Expect some variation to come to fine dining near you and then eventually filter down to the casual dining set. The other day I was exposed to Marche Bacchus’s take on the Thanksgiving sandwich. Their version features housemade cole slaw, swiss cheese, caramelized onions, and cranberry coulis. A huge improvement over the turkey panini they used to serve.

I think this trend could be the next Slider of the culinary world.

In Closing: Iceland wants banksters in jail; and that’s why they fear Occupy; why is this not an election talking point?; food safety rules delayed; she gets it (BTW, love the content hate the font); walking changes linked to cognitive decline; loose lips sink viruses; upscale pawn shops (because the economy is so great); spoiled; doesn’t everyone need an espresso maker in their car??; seriously; the mayor is a cat; and why we wear pants.

Oh, Oh, It’s Magic

On my most recent trip, I had a unique book to read while lounging by a beach of white sand and impossibly blue water. That book was The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow. No, not a fantasy novel for young adults, but a book about women — oddly bereft of feminism. It’s a book about brides and a very special bridal shop in a small Michigan town. You’ll want to keep some tissues close by while you read it. You can get a little taste of it right here.

How did he end up in a bridal shop? When Mr. Zaslow set out to write “a nonfiction book about the love we all wish for our daughters,” he went looking for “a place with great emotion.” His wife suggested a bridal shop. And it’s not just any bridal shop, not one of those big chains or the boutique tucked in an obscure corner of a big department store. Becker’s Bridal has a long history: 4 generations of women in one remarkable family have worked here, in an old “small town” bank building, creating “magic.”

In addition to reading about the strong women of the Becker family and their business, we also follow a number of brides on their journey through the process. This does cause a bit of a muddle towards the last third of the book as the reader jumps from bride to bride, finishing out what happened between their trip to Becker’s and the wedding itself: is Courtney the one who decided not to kiss anyone until she got married? The kindergarten teacher who was in a car wreck? The widow who is getting remarried even though her kids are unhappy with the arrangement? The independent woman who is finally getting married for the first time in her 40s? Or is she the one with rheumatic heart disease? With many brides comes some confusion for anyone without a photographic memory.

As I consider the idea of my second wedding, I found the idea of a “bridal industry” somewhat creepy. No mistake, I understand and respect that there are people who make a living making sure I have a dress that makes me “princess for a day,” seeing to invitations, attiring my entire wedding party, putting together memorable services and receptions. I can’t imagine spending “between $19,907 and $33,178” as most American couples do. Even the cheapest sale dresses at Becker’s are more than I can justify spending on a gown I will — hopefully — only wear once.

Like the “funeral industry,” it doesn’t quite sound right to have an “industry” grow up around profoundly personal moments in somebody’s life. What’s next? Calling religious institutions part of the “faith industry”?

This being said, Mr. Zaslow comes up with some very interesting observations, presented in a rather dry, tangential, New York Times sort of way: brides used to be “smaller,” oh no not because of obesity, but because they “didn’t work out” and “didn’t lift weights” and “didn’t eat the way Americans eat today”; roughly 15% of mothers of the bride want dresses that are “too revealing and sexy,” and 35% have to be reminded that they aren’t the grandmother of the bride; sometimes the boss has to “be a bitch”; and oddly enough, “advances in box-making helped fuel the computer revolution.”

In this world of Brides Behaving Badly, it’s refreshing to see that getting married doesn’t have to be a three ring circus. On the other hand, there’s something odd about a man writing a tear-jerker book about the bridal industry, and saying it’s about “the love we all wish for our daughters.”

Want to discuss this book more? Go check out the conversation already flowing over at the Blogher Book Club.

Disclosure statement: I read this book for the Blogher Book Club. In return for my participation I was given a copy of the book (e-book in this case) and I will receive $20. Nevertheless, the opinions expressed here are my own.

Ok then, who wants a heaping helping of In Closing?: made up words; moron; Anonymous does good; if school was a job, students would get more break time by law; it’s never too early to eat right and move your body; cult; and security theatre.