Apr 17

Nearly happened to me

This sort of thing nearly happened to me.

As it turns out, Honda keys — as the long-rumored urban legend goes — really do work on more than one vehicle, or at least Deanna’s did.

I don’t know about Hondas, but Toyota keys used to work on at least some cars of the same make. I know this because sometime back in 1995 when I was in the army, I had a 1989 Toyota Corolla. And so did someone else who parked in the same lot, though I didn’t know that until just a little later.

Here’s what happened.

One day on the weekend I walked out of the barracks to the parking lot and unlocked what I thought was my car. I sat down, put the key in the ignition, pressed down the clutch and started the car. Then I reached over to the gearshift and noticed in the passenger seat and on the floor were strewn all sorts of things I hadn’t left there.

My first thought was that someone broke into my car and put some trash in there, but quickly discarded (heh) that idea as it just didn’t make any sense. So I looked around a bit and realized…this was not my car.

I turned the engine off, hopped out, and found my actual car about three spaces down, behind a large truck that was concealing it from view.

I never figured out who owned the other Corolla. And from then on made sure I was getting into the correct vehicle in that parking lot especially.

Apr 16


It’s not really surprising that teachers are being denigrated and devalued.

Like the postal service, public schools and the educators who work for them are an example of a government institution that is visible and works well, so to the conservatives destroying that is paramount to show that “government doesn’t work.”

And teachers are an easy target, as even in academia someone who “just” teaches is seen as far inferior to a researcher who also teaches (usually poorly) on the side.

Apr 15

Fake Geek Girls

Remember this when you hear idiot men moaning about “fake geek girls.”

The first ever novel, The Tale of Genji – which was also, coincidentally, a work of fantasy – was written by Lady Murasaki Shikibu in around the year 1000, and is still being read today. In 1666, Margaret Cavendish published what is arguably the first ever work of science fiction, The Blazing World; but even if you discount her work on the grounds of obscurity, Mary Shelley is still recognised as the mother of modern science fiction for her 1818 publication of Frankenstein, which she wrote at the age of 19. The first ever crimefighting vigilante to go don a mask, a cape and a secret identity was the Scarlet Pimpernel, created by Baroness Emma Orczy in 1905. Women have been creating comic books since the late 1800s; even in the male-dominated Golden and Silver Ages, women like Nina Albright, Ruth Atkinson and Marie Severin were still known quantities. The whole concept of young adult novels – and, indeed, of teenagers as a distinct literary audience – was introduced by Sarah Trimmer in 1802, while the novel most widely held to have prompted the separate categorisation of YA in the modern era was S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, published in 1967.

I of course knew that Mary Shelley had written Frankenstein. I read it when I was seven or eight. But I didn’t know that she’d written it when she was 19.

Apr 14

Mate preferences

The only real argument I have with modern feminism is that it is now a mainstream view that male mate preferences are wrong if the male states a preference for thin or fit women, while all female mate preferences are all fine – for instance, that many/most(?) women will not date shorter-than-average men.

I understand it’s reacting to objectification and past historical and currently-happening injustices, but that doesn’t make it right.

Apr 14


Hate to laugh at people who I knew were going to get ripped off, but I told you so.

It is inevitable when people move away from things that they control, to those that others control. It always amazes me that people are shocked when this occurs, when it is in fact as mentioned inevitable, and the point of the entire enterprise to extract as much money as possible.

Apr 13


The Russian invasion of Ukraine is inevitable now, and has been for a while.

There is absolutely nothing that the US can or should do about it. That time has long past, if ever there was one.

Apr 12

The advantages

As almost anyone who reads this blog knows, I was in the US army for five years. It wasn’t easy, but I’m glad I did it. It helped me in many ways, and its lessons continue to be valuable and applicable to everyday life.

In many ways, I learned more about the world and working in the army than in any of my other 15 years of working experience, and nearly all of the most important lessons were learned in that crucible.

This story of working with Steve Jobs reminded me of that army experience, and one important part of it in particular.

One great take away from working with Steve is that there’s not much anyone can do to intimidate me now. So, bonus.

In the Army, I worked and dealt with some of the most irascible, hardcore, intimidating people in the universe. Literally in many cases trained killers. I’ve been screamed at, encouraged and sometimes belittled by the best and in some cases the worst of humanity.

It seemed horrible at the time but I – who was already pretty unflappable – became well-nigh incapable of being intimidated.

That is a surprisingly useful skill in the corporate world. Hell, in any part of life, really.

Apr 11

Why I don’t get along with liberals

This is why I don’t get along with liberals, even though I am one. (And far more liberal than anyone on that site, too.)

There’s a reason that liberals have the reputation of being shrinking, cowering and effete: it’s because for the most part, they are.

The post I linked to illustrates that dynamic perfectly, as well as the fact that even progressives have been convinced that worship of the free market is one’s primary duty, so that boycotts are right out.

What people miss about boycotts is that even though they are often – almost always, actually – ineffective economically, their main purpose is to get people to shut the fuck up.

Did everyone in the South suddenly believe in 1965 that calling black people “nigger” to their faces was wrong? Of fucking course not. But boycotts and other successful actions made them shut the fuck up.

You can’t always change beliefs. Most of the time you won’t. But you can make people shut the fuck up. And sometimes that is good enough.

Just think if we could make the street harassers clam up?


I call myself a “militant liberal” from time to time, but that moniker doesn’t really fit. Maybe I’ll think of a better one sometime.

Apr 11


I think economics as it is currently taught and learned is probably the only well-accepted academic discipline that the more you learn about it, the dumber you become.

This comment details why that it is the case.

Unfortunately to fight the enemy, you have to know what the enemy is thinking.

Apr 09


From the article I linked below, this also struck me.

I used to puzzle over a particular statistic that routinely comes up in articles about time use: even though women work vastly more hours now than they did in the 1970s, mothers—and fathers—of all income levels spend much more time with their children than they used to. This seemed impossible to me until recently, when I began to think about my own life. My mother didn’t work all that much when I was younger, but she didn’t spend vast amounts of time with me, either. She didn’t arrange my playdates or drive me to swimming lessons or introduce me to cool music she liked. On weekdays after school she just expected me to show up for dinner; on weekends I barely saw her at all. I, on the other hand, might easily spend every waking Saturday hour with one if not all three of my children, taking one to a soccer game, the second to a theater program, the third to a friend’s house, or just hanging out with them at home. When my daughter was about 10, my husband suddenly realized that in her whole life, she had probably not spent more than 10 minutes unsupervised by an adult. Not 10 minutes in 10 years.

The same was true for me as a kid. Then, I might have seen my parents when they forced me to come inside for dinner. On the weekend, there was a good chance I might not see them at all, not even for a minute.

How do modern kids live as they do?

Sylvia tells him she bought this house because she wanted to give her own children the kinds of childhood experiences she’d had, and when she saw the little wooded area out back, her “heart leapt.” But “there’s no way they’d be out in the woods,” she adds. “My hometown is now so diverse, with people coming in and out and lots of transients.” Hart reminds her how she used to spend most of her time across the river, playing. “There’s no river here,” she tells him, then whispers, “and I’m really glad about that.” There will soon be a fence around the yard—she mentions the fence several times—“so they’ll be contained,” and she’ll always be able to see her kids from the kitchen window. As Sylvia is being interviewed, her son makes some halfhearted attempts to cut the hedges with a pair of scissors, but he doesn’t really seem to know how to do it, and he never strays more than a few inches from his father.

What the FUCK? I’d have gone absolutely mad if I’d had to live in a prison camp environment like that. When I was less than 10 years old I sometimes wandered 10-12 miles away from my house on my bike, all by myself or sometimes with a friend or two.