Decimate used incorrectly; Meta blogging

This is just a little bitch that I have had for the better part of a decade. Why in the hell do people use the term ‘decimate’ to talk about mass destruction or large scale loss of life? I learned the word back in high school, it means (meant?) to eliminate every 10th soldier as a punishment for treason. The reason it sticks in my mind so well is that I envisioned a line of soldiers, standing at attention, watching as a guy counted each one, then lopped the head off of the tenth one; a game of duck, duck, goose gone wrong. I remember thinking that I would have tried to start counting guys between the executioner and me, then make sure I didn’t fall into the 10th percentile, if you know what I mean.

The word has been bastardized to the point that Jeff Probst, the host of the CBS show Survivor, used it to describe one tribe losing seven out of eight players. While none of the contestants actually died (being the first reason that the usage was wrong), they lost 7/8ths of their team. I am no math major, but I really think that 7/8ths is greater than 1/10th.

It turns out that I am the jackass though, to a point. It seems that the term ‘decimate’ is now recognized as a term to describe massive loss of life. You can find a pretty average definintion of the word here. I linked to this particular dictionary only because they have the etymology of the word, thus showing that it was never meant to describe the loss of 87.5% of your group (as Probst said on Survivor). It does say that the word is accepted for descriptions of massive loss of life, but it also says that any other use is not supported.

So, in order to say that you have ‘decimated’ anything, you must either kill every 10th guy in a group or wipe out millions of Jews in Europe, any other usage is WRONG! Which leads nicely into the crux of why I make the argument right now (since it has been pissing me off for a decade or more). Some guy on a tragedy highlight reel said that a speedboat, which turned into pieces as small as kindling when it crashed into a wall, had been decimated. It was not decimated, it was destroyed to be sure, You could probably say that it had been eviscerated, since it did throw all of its inner parts out during the crash, you could say that it had been demolished, which I think is the best description. That boat was certainly not decimated.

If there had been exactly ten boats in the race, and if another, much larger, boat had singled out that particular boat and killed it, then I would say that the boat was decimated. If there had been two million boats in the race, and if another, much larger, boat killed 40-60% of them, then I would say that they had been decimated (reluctantly though. The word has a specific meaning.).

That is all for now. Any new posts today will show up above this one. As always, Email me with any thoughts. I do love the feedback.

New Site Format Starts Now

Well, as mentioned in a previous post, today is the day that I am going to start my new updating system. This will mean very little to you, as when you enter the page you only ever see the index page, regardless of how I handle the updating portion of it. What it will mean, however, is that there will be every post that I care to write during the week on the main page (newer entries being on top of course), for your enjoyment?

What this means to me is a hell of a lot less work. The real reason that my posts have dwindled over the past few months is actually due to the amount of time it takes me to add the old pages to the archives, make sure the links work and the such. Of course if I were using the movable type that would all be taken care of for me, that is a different story entirely. At some point I will probably catch up on the last few months in the archives, giving a brief description of each, after which there will simply be a link to the weekly posts. I may put a description on the ones that I think are important, but I am still not sure on that one. I will use horizontal lines to end subjects and bold print to start new ideas.

You steal the pizza, you do the time

Much like every other time I have made ultimatums regarding this site, today I had no intention of making a post, then along comes the following headline:

Elderly woman jailed over pizza delivery complaints

I can feel her pain, I really can. Pizza is made to order and then deliverd to your house. If the pizza joint doesn’t deliver then 1) they aren’t gonna have a whole hell of a lot of business, 2) They are going to rely solely on ‘walk-in’ customers, since 3) Why would you advertise in the yellow pages if people had to walk/drive to your place, while every other pizza joint on earth delivers. The woman in question, however, might have been a bit too nit-picky. (I am going to quote the whole story since it is short.)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – An 86-year-old North Carolina woman spent two nights in jail after police said she repeatedly called 911 to complain about pizza delivery.
Dorothy Densmore was charged with misusing the 911 system after she allegedly called the emergency line 20 times in about half an hour.

Densmore told police dispatchers Sunday she was angry that her local pizza parlour wouldn’t deliver to her apartment and demanded that they arrest the restaurant owner.

Instead, they arrested her.

But the five-foot, 98-pound woman wasn’t about to go quietly. She scratched, kicked and bit the hand of the police officer who came to arrest her, said officer Mandy Giannini.

Densmore is also charged with resisting arrest.

While it’s rare for someone to be charged for abusing the emergency line, Densmore kept calling even after she was asked to stop, said Giannini.

Giannini said the woman also complained to police that someone at the shop called her a “crazy old coot.”

Okay, seriously, the woman is well into her eighties (senility has probably kicked in a long time ago), but why didn’t she just call a Dominoes or Pizza Hut? If you call the loca pizza joint, and they say that they don’t deliver, they simply don’t deliver. Maybe if she was 22 and offering sex for a pizza delivery (and if she was you should be quite suspicious of S.T.D’s or A.I.D.S.) then the guy would think about making an exception.

The problem here is that the woman took on the whole ‘I am old, do my bidding’ persona. It might work with her family, but there is no sapient being on this planet that will do as she asks just because she is old…It seems to work inversely, in fact. Think about the options here, on the one hand you have the old lady that is mad that she can’t get a pizza delivered to her. On the other hand you have a nuclear (no it is not NUCULAR!) physicist who is trying to design a more efficient nuclear engine. Which person is more likely to get the pizza delivered to them? If you guessed Grandma you would be wrong.

Grandma needs to either put it back into her pants or show why she is the better bet for the long term. Unfortunately, Grandma just wants pizza, but they don’t deliver.

Old people suck. They vote Republican, almost invariably, then wonder why they actually have to pay for their meds. I guess, in a perfect world, once you are either diagnosed with a ‘condition’, or become really sick, you should definitely move to Sweden. Either that or vote for the guy that wants to help you. Never happens though…That damn, elusive, perfect world.

Police; Meta blogging; taxes in DC

Yeah, it has been a while. I would like to spout out various excuses, but I can’t seem to do it. The act of simply posting a new update on this site takes me a lot of time and that is time spent without reward. It turns out that I don’t have nearly as much to say as I thought I did when I began this little venture. Who knew?

I did look into the possibility of going to a Movable Type format a couple of months ago, but I didn’t really like the features on the free version, and if the paid version is not better than the free version by one thousand times, there is no way I am going to pay for it.

The key features of movable type appear to be its auto-archive and cgi based feedback system. Of course since I never get any feedback, and don’t care enough about my old posts to take the time to make them searchable (or click-able for that matter) I really doubt that anyone who reads this page would. The free version that I tried allowed you to set a font, and that was about the extent of its features. Not for me.

With my posts becoming less and less frequent, however, I have decided that I am (for sure this time) going to keep a running front page, which I will update whenever the hell I feel like it, and save it to disk weekly. The difference between that and what I have been doing since I started the page is small, in theory, but larger in practice. Now I am going to type some shit down here, and upload it immediately to the web page. I will also probably quit trying to archive my older posts with description of contents.

The official “Weekly Post” will be made every Sunday, small quips will be added on a daily basis, in theory. That is all going to start this Sunday, be warned. I am not sure how it is going to work out but it has to be better than my current schedule.

• Have you ever been driving down a sleepy little street that doesn’t have such luxuries as stoplights, only to nearly crash into the side of a police car? I have, happened today as a matter of fact. I was on the major street (that being the one without stop signs) merrily driving home to lunch, when, out of nowhere, a police cruiser pulled into the street ahead of me. I had to lock up the brakes to keep from hitting his car, and I guess he knew he did bad since he just waved and smiled, as opposed to stopping me for reckless driving. So it is all good, I guess.

Here is the question: If I had actually plowed into him, would I have gotten a fair trial? I was obeying every law of traffic, going the requisite 25mph, looking at the crossroads as I went. Some cop drives through a stop sign (no siren, not going very fast) and makes me have to lock up the brakes to keep from T-boning him. He is obviously at fault, but would I actually be able to plead my case? I have no doubt in my mind that if I had hit him he would have said that I was speeding and driving recklessly (which I wasn’t, else I would have hit him), yet, he was the one that drove right past a posted stop sign. The cop would have been the one that broke the law (traffic law), but you don’t really get a trial by jury on traffic offenses. I would have likely been cited for reckless endangerment, careless driving and possibly other offenses.

What really, really, really pisses me off about the whole situation is that I really wanted to go down and report him to the police. Thing is that you can’t do that in a town as small as mine, else you will be on the local police shit list for the next…well, until the end of time, really.

Humorous aside to the story is that had I actually been speeding he would have T-boned me when he drove through a posted stop sign. I bet you can name your price when the cop T-bones you.

On a similar note, I have believed all of my life that it is possible to do a “citizen’s arrest” on anyone (including police) if they break the law. That (what I am going to call an urban legend) says that if you notice a police car that is breaking traffic laws (with the red and blues off), you can flash your headlights to pull him over, detain him, force him to call another officer and cite him for his folly. I still believe that this is the law, but if you try it, good luck on driving to work tomorrow. Those so-called “stupid cops” have really good memories.

• One other random thought. There are several fundamentals of American society, one of which is “no taxation without representation”, that’s a darn good ideal. Why, though, do the residents of Washington D.C. have to pay taxes? Washington D.C. has no senators, no presence in the house of representatives, yet they pay taxes. Where is their representation? Just curious.

New refrigerator; Hearts

We got a brand new refrigerator this week! I have never actually owned a new refrigerator, and for that matter have never actually paid for one in my entire life. The ones that I have always had have been the type that are either too small or don’t work very well, so people just give them away. As I am sure you can imagine they have not been the most effecient appliances.

We currently have two refrigerators (well, three now) that aren’t up to par. One of which is a “Sears Coldspot Frostless” model. It is a full size unit and it works just fine, for about six weeks at a time, after which you have to unplug it for a couple of days to let all of the ice defrost. It should also be noted that this particular machine (by the looks and style of it) is probably at least twenty years old. I guess that the definition of “frostless” in the ’80’s was vastly different than it is now. Or it was just a gimmick name, either way that fridge is just a huge paperweight most of the time.

The other fridge that we have is an apartment sized one with a really odd name brand. I believe it is like “admiral” or “general” or some such, it always puts me in mind of the military when I read the name. It works fabulously all the time, the problem is that it has only two shelves, and all of the bars on the door that let you put jars there are long gone. Not to mention that the freezer space can be nearly completely filled with a single bag of ice, unless it was recently defrosted, in which case, with enough pounding, you might be able to fit two bags in. This one is porbably only ten years old, but it just doesn’t work for our purposes.

The wife and I had been discussing a new refrigerator for literally a couple of years before making the decision to buy one. After the luck that we have had buying used washing machines (we have two washing machines on the patio that were bought used, both of them crapped out long before they should have), we decided the refrigerator would be a new appliance. After having ogled many refrigerators in the stores over the last couple of years, we weren’t planning to be all that picky about it, we just wanted one that didn’t smell like mold even after you bleach the fuck out of it.

I actually did have two requirements for the new refrigerator, 1) It had to be full size, 2) It needed to have an ice maker. The latter was my justification for the purchase in the first place. My wife uses a lot of ice in her drinks, which she buys at convenience stores for anywhere from $1-$1.50 a bag. The ice is usually chunky little garbage that is hardly suitable for drinks in the first place. Now, if there is an ice maker in the fridge, and particularly since I have a 5 stage, reverse osmosis water filter which the water will run through, there will be good, clean ice on hand all the time without additional purchase. That will save at least $30-$40 dollars a year on ice alone (of course I still do need to buy the parts to hook the ice maker to the water system, hopefully tomorrow).

I have never really liked Sears all that much, mostly since almost everything they sell is horribly overpriced, yet this time that is where the appliance purchase was made…Well, kind of. The purchase was actually made on the computer I am typing on right now, but it was through their website. The refrigerator a Kenmore, 18.2 cubic feet, factory ice maker, and it has free delivery, if they make good on the rebate that is.

This brings me to the point of this whole story. If you have ever shopped for a new refrigerator you will notice that there are a lot of apartment sized fridges, and some even smaller, but when it comes to full size fridges there are ten 17.9 cubic feet ones to every one that is larger. Now I know why. It is all about math!

It seems that the advertised cubic footage of a refrigerator is the usable inside space of the refrigerator. Why is 17.9 so prevalent? Doorways. When I saw that I could get the 18.2 cubic foot fridge, with an ice maker, for about the same as it would cost for a 17.9 without an ice maker, since the former was on sale, I jumped on it. I didn’t even bother to look at the energy guide, since there is no way a new refrigerator can be less efficient than one that is a couple of decades old. I also didn’t look at the dimensions of the machine, that is where I ran into some problems.

If you have ever read this page before, you have likely seen me mention that nothing about my house is standard. The 18 inch thick walls are great for insulation, yet they make it difficult to standardize doorways; you try cutting through 18 inches of mud and stone to make a doorway one inch wider and tell me how it goes. A quick count while walking through the house shows that we have 16 doorways, of course only about half of them have doors on them, else you would have to open four doors to get to the toilet (no kidding). Only two of the doors are the same size, they are both outside doors (the front and side doors) and they are both exactly 32 inches. The rest of the doors vary from 26 inches (on a closet) to 36 inches (entrance to Arizona room). Keep in mind that the measurements are the actual openings, not subtracting for the trim molding.

If you have a standard tape measure around your house you can look to see that the numbers 16 and 32 are in red. 16 is in red since that is how far apart studs have to go when building. 32 is in red since that is the width of a standard doorway. It turns out that that is also why the standard refrigerator is 17.9 cubic feet, any larger than that and you can no longer slide it sideways through a doorway. My old refrigerator was 31 inches wide and 29 inches deep. I was able to turn it sideways to slide it out the door. The new refrigeratorw was 31 inches wide and 33.5 inches deep. My doorway is only 3/16 wider than 31 inches, and that is not counting the inch thick door or the hinges. There was no way to get it into the kitchen without some work. Thankfully, after taking the door off of the hinges and moving it aside, I was able to line the machine up in the doorway, leave through a different exterior door, come back in behind the machine and push it through. If it had been even 1/10th of an inch wider I am not sure if I would have been able to get it into the kitchen, even with a generous amount of vaseline.

Let this be a lesson to me. I should always measure my non-standard doorways prior to new appliance purchase.

• If you are not a fan of the card game Hearts you might as well quit reading now.

I have been playing the game Hearts (link neglected since I couldn’t find a site without a bunch of pop-up crap) for years. There are a lot of variations of the game, but they seem to follow the same guidelines. You want to take zero points. If you take a heart you take a point. If you take the queen of spades you take 13 points. It is possible to lower your score by taking points, however it is difficult since you have to take them all. This quote on the scoring of the game sums it up pretty well:

Winning the Game
When one or more players reach or surpass a score of 100 points, the player with the lowest score wins the game.
Shooting the Moon
Shooting the Moon is a special strategy in which a player tries to take all 13 Hearts and the Queen of Spades. If you manage to Shoot the Moon you can either add 26 points to everyone’s score or subtract 26 from your own.

Shooting the Sun
Shooting the Sun is even more difficult than Shooting the Moon: If you take all 13 tricks – that is, every card in the deck – you can either add 52 points to everyone’s score or subtract 52 from your own.

While my normal strategy in the game is just to not take any points, I have shot the moon a few times. I had never actually shot the sun though, and thought that it would be impossible. Again, if you do not know the game, you may not understand the difficulty. I have probably played tens of thousands of games without shooting the sun. Until today.

The sad part is that I didn’t have any idea that I was doing it as I played. I just wanted to make sure that I kept control of the cards so that I wouldn’t get stuck with the queen of spades and end up adding 13 points to my score. Oh well, I guess we takes ’em when we can get ’em.

Tune in next time to find out such fascinating things as how to treat a wart on your dog (use wart off), how to boil water (a pan and heat), possibly even how to cheat people out of a lot of money (email scams). Damn, I just gave away my next post…

Antenna-jacked!; The homeless Vs. High school graduates

Yeah I know it has been a while since I slapped anything up around here. I will attribute that to the whole supply/demand logic, of course no one demands it, so I don’t supply it. I wonder if that would work the other way around?

• So, my wife got antenna jacked today. It is sort of like a car jacking, only with no violence, and she still has the car. It is sort of like stealing your car stereo, only she still has the stereo. Some dubious person ripped off her car antenna and nothing else…How sad is that?

I do understand that this is all traumatic and the such, but come on, it is a car antenna. It is not like there is a huge black market of car antenna dealers (is there?). I just googled it up and there are thousands of stores that are selling the car antenna in question. The car antenna black market had better be a heck of a lot cheaper than the going rates (I found one for $17 with a cursory search), which aren’t that high in the first place.

Perhaps it was a guy ripping off antennas to try to get his daily fix. Maybe he can sell them for five bucks each at a junkyard, still, that would take a lot of antennas (antennae?). I don’t know how much drugs cost, as I have never used them, but when I used to buy marijuana for a friend named Einnod (way back in the nineties) it would take about $35 to get 1/8th of an ounce of marijuana, and I don’t imagine the prices are going down. And that eighth of an ounce had better be an actual eighth Dammit! I ain’t paying $35 for a 3.2 gram bag! Quit pinching you Son-of-a-Bitch! An eighth is 3.5 grams! Sure I’ll smoke the first one with you, but I want the whole bag! Don’t make me kill you! I got a wood chipper that has your name on it, you cheating S.O.B.! So I have heard, having, of course, no personal knowledge of anything related to drugs. (as an aside, if you happen to be hiking in the hills of the beautiful state of Oregon, and you happen upon a skull, could you go ahead and bury it? Odds are that it wasn’t the guy that I killed That Oregon weather has a habit of unearthing things that you pray will never surface.)

• You know what is really sad, relating to the drugs? Your average junkie on the street can likely convert grams to ounces in his head, while your average High School Senior probably couldn’t (and if he could that would be the first sign of addiction). The junkie can’t read or write, but he damn well knows that there are 16 ounces in a pound and 3.5 grams in an ounce. The junkie probably also know exactly how many ounces of liquid are in a quart since he has limited income [stolen antennas mostly], he must know wheter a quart is larger or smaller than a liter (the quart being smaller by 1.6 ounces), whether a “40” is a good value based on price…I think that your average drunken, homeless person might have better math skills than your average high school graduate… I am basing this completely on conjecture, I have never met a real junkie, most of the people I know have at least made it to higher education (you know, junior high), but them junkies know from weights and measures.

Ooh, ooh, new idea. Let’s put the junkies in charge of the department of weights and measures. No one knows the conversions better than them. I guess the only down side would be when they start to sniff the fumes at the gas pump, then run away with the gallon of their new, best fix. Yeah, okay, that idea sucked. That would be akin to making Dubya preznit, oh wait…

Women dies so religious zealots can convince themselves they aren’t having sex; Brother Dan photo

Strange thing, when I end up throwing something up over here it is usually when I have no intention of doing it. That is exactly what is happening today. I have absolutely zero first hand knowledge of the issues at hand, but I am an American, therefore I have a pretty strong opinion about it. If you don’t agree with me you are simply wrong.

This first link was stolen directly from The Washington Monthly, where the blogger (Kevin) opined that not vaccinating women against a virus for which there is a vaccine “left him speechless”. I then went to read the article that he had linked to. My panties got all bunched up over this one.

The article, in short terms, says that about half of all women in the U.S., between the ages of 18 and 22, have this HPV thing which can lead to cervical cancer. There is now a vaccine that can make you immune to it. Religious groups in the U.S. are staunchly opposed to the vaccine since that will give women license to have sex before they are married. While the site also notes that most of the cases of HPV clear up on their own having no lasting effects, some do result in cancer. If it is in your power to prevent the spread of a potentially fatal condition, shouldn’t you do it?

I really don’t have anything against religious crackpots, but when they decide that the best way to prevent disease is through abstinence I gotta make an exception. The core values of westernized religion seem to be pretty good; If you do good you will be rewarded in heaven, if you do bad you will be punished. Those are pretty sound values (with the exception of being rewarded or punished after death) that a lot of kids today lack. But, when GOD decides to invent a vaccine that can save hundreds of lives, the religious folks want to back out.

Honestly, if you are actually religious don’t you have to believe that every new invention is the work of God? If God invents a vaccine that can save lives, you should use it, right? Or do you question God’s will and let hundreds or thousands of people die? I guess I better leave that question for the religious crackpots to answer.

For some reason when I searched for ‘abstinence only’, after I had read the previous story, the number one link was to a post at, a site that I do visit from time to time. I figured what the hell and went to look at the post regarding the subject, which turned out to only be a link to a different site.

The site is called, and is possibly the most humorous website I have seen in years. Yet, it is informative. You can learn how to do oral, anal, gay, group and vaginal sex while still being abstinent. It turns out that as long as there is underwear between you/your member and the female it is not actually sex. Same for any other form of sex, as long as there is underwear in the way it is not sex. Bodily fluids may be exchanged, but there was never sex of any sort (not even letting a big woman in a blue dress go down on you). Where was this website when I was sixteen, trying to tell my girlfriend that anal sex didn’t really count against her virginity?

On a (possibly) more serious note. I really think that if it is possible to vaccinate women against the cervical cancer that comes from touching dirty men’s junk, we really should give the vaccine to all women in the U.S. (the entire world in my opinion, since most of the deaths occur in developing countries, Africa, for instance). There are plenty of other S.T.D.’s out there that we can not cure, A.I.D.S. is only one of them.

I am sure that in a perfect, Christian, world there would be no sex unless you were married, but that doesn’t translate well into the 2005 world where everyone is fucking everyone. Don’t those religious types understand that the more they condemn something the more the people want it? It is not brain surgery, you can make a few mistakes, but don’t let people die for your archaic, pseudo cause.

I have never put any photos on my site that weren’t either myself, my wife, or our animals. This is going to be the exception. Here you see a photo of one or my brothers, doing his best to look like Kid Rock, while he holds his son D.J.. I dunno if I will get many more chances to see either of them before D.J. starts stealing cars and being a neighborhood menace. There might be a precedent for my thinking the small child will go that way….