The heptagon is underused as an architectural element.
P.S. I am not a crackpot.
What's the opposite of a mallet?
The trolley problem is just as perplexing if your goal is to kill as many people as possible.
And in sentences I wasnt expecting to read yesterday:
Deposition of Fiona Hill, page 66.
The 48-star flag and Oscar the Grouch are anachronistic. The flag gained its 49th and 50th stars in 1959 when Alaska and Hawai‘i were admitted as states; Oscar the Grouch first appeared on Sesame Street in the summer of 1969.
(Also, the truck says “Quality Service for Over 30 Years”. While it's possible that the truck or its owners were in service before the admission of Alaska, this implication is that it wasn't.)
I conclude that this trash truck was designed by time travellers, who failed to do adequate research.
I was reading over an older blog post, and I noticed an inadvertent
pun. I opened up the file so that I could insert a comment at that
point that said
But there was already a comment that said
This one is from CNN this morning.
The next word was “generals”.
Sort of in the same category as visiting all fifty states: a few years back I visited all four continental U.S. time zones in the space of 24 hours. I was flying from Philadelphia (Eastern) to Salt Lake City (Mountain) via Dallas (Central). There was a huge storm and I was trapped overnight in Dallas. The next morning, the airline routed me to Salt Lake via Seattle (Pacific).
Despite spending the night in an airport (and in Dallas) I was in a good mood, and I was pleased that I had accomplished this minor feat.
Also I took advantage of the unterrupted quiet time in Dallas to solve a rather tricky math problem.
I have not yet hit all fifty, but I am working on it. The rules are, visits that only pass through the airport on the way to somewhere else do not count, but if I were to get away from the airport even for a couple of hours, that would count. And driving through in a car does count, even if I didn't stop. I'm not sure I've had to actually apply either of these rules, but it's good to know what the parameters are.
I'm pretty sure I've been through the Minneapolis airport, I remember looking out the plane window and saying “wow, they really do have a lot of lakes”. Whatever, it doesn't count.
Alaska (twice!), Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawai‘i (three times! truly, I am blessed), Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia.
The most recent ones checked off the list were Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Lorrie and the girls were away at some Harry Potter con, so I took an awesome road trip westward to Indianapolis, then south to Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, and back via West Virginia, crossing three states off the list and also seeing Mammoth Cave, which has been on my bucket list for at least forty years. I have an unfinished blog post about this and someday you might hear about it.
Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia were the last low-hanging fruit. None of the states I haven't been to yet are convenient driving distance from Philadelphia, and many of them are large and far apart:
Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
The prospect is a bit daunting but Katara and Toph are getting older and in a few years will be able to take care of themselves, which will leave more time for driving tours of the Great Plains.
Maine and South Carolina are closest to where I live. I need to start planning more carefully. One road trip I've always wanted to take is to circumnavigate Lake Michigan. I might start in Chicago, drive up through Wisconsin, stopping in Neenah (does the foundry give tours? I can look at the outside, at least) and in Plover (because of the name). Then into the Upper Peninsula, over the Straits of Mackinac, down through Michigan, and back to Chicago via Indiana. This was a bit more attractive when it checked off three states instead of only two, but that's the way it goes. And I didn't get as much time as I wanted to look around Indianapolis.
I have not yet visited American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, or Guam. But I have been to the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
To make that map, I said “Gee, I wish there was a web site where I
could click on a map of the U.S. to change the colors of the states,
and then download a PNG of the result. And then I typed
Barry Stiefel set it as a goal to visit all fifty states in the course of a one-week vacation (both weekends included) and actually acomplished this literal tour de force.
His web site has disappeared, but here is an archived copy of his description of how he accomplished this feat.
I do not speak French, but as long-time readers of my blog are aware, I can put together a quarter-assed attempt at many things, and in speaking French I can mash together stock phrases, scraps of other people's discarded French, some high school Latin, and some knowledge of Indo-European etymology to make a garbage omelet that is not French but can, in very limited quantity, be used in place of French.
In Switzerland, this worked. I would address a waiter and say “Un plat petit pour mademoiselle, c'il vous plait” and the waiter would promptly set a small plate before Katara, then age 14 months.
In Paris, when I tried the same thing, it did not work at all. The Parisians produced no plates. The waiter would look at me blankly, and instead of a plate they would produce a honking noise from their nose. In Paris, I spoke English or nothing.
Another thing that worked in Switzerland but not in Paris: my Parisian host asked what I would particularly like to do while I was in Paris. I said I would particularly like to visit a restaurant that served horse meat. He said he believed people no longer ate horse meat and that it would be nearly impossible to find a restaurant that served it. In Lausanne I found horse meat on the menu without even making an effort.
Conspiracy theorists of the Internet: How are these related?
Horse meat is pretty good. Or at least, it is in Switzerland. But maybe the French hoard all the best horse meat for themselves.
Every once in a while I go to a restaurant that is excellent, not in any particular way, but only overall. The food isn't excellent, but it is very good and served hot. The prices aren't unusually low, but they are reasonable. The service isn't flashy, but it is prompt and efficient. The interior space isn't beautiful or magnificent but it is pleasant and attractive.
We have a phrase in English, “to damn with faint praise”, and that might sound like what I'm doing here. But I'm trying to do the opposite of that. To do everything adequately is hard. To do everything a little better than adequately is damn near impossible. It requires a global attention to process control, and a flawlessness of execution, that is extremely difficult to achieve. To be consistently above average is itself a domain of excellence. But I don't know any handy vocabulary for it, so it seems difficult to talk about.
And I don't think our culture gives this kind of excellence as much credit as it deserves. I'm not trying to rag on the Olympics, but the Olympics is the opposite of this: people train their whole lives, sacrifice everything, to produce a single perfect ten-second performance. There is no Olympic medal for being better-than-average in every way.
(Possible counterpoint: Professional baseball does reward consistency and overall above-averageness.)
Wouldn't it have been great if there had been a Saturday morning cartoon about Andy Warhol solving mysteries? And then there might have been Andy Warhol action figures.
Alternatively, what if Buckeroo Banzai were removed from his movie, and replaced with Warhol? Big improvement, I think. Except the title would make even less sense.