This comic makes privilege incredibly easy to understand – Boing Boing

I’m sick and tired of people complaining about and denigrating the poor, and those on food stamps or welfare. Many of the people making such complaints are on my Facebook feed, and many whom I grew up with and know they most likely grew up in a household that received some type of assistance. Some still live there. The median income for a household in the borough was $29,219 as of the 2000 census. 12.3% of the population live below the poverty line. And it seems like 90% have absolutely lost any type of empathy.

I make pretty good money now that I have 15 years of work experience in my field, but I can certainly see all of the little breaks I’ve received over the years of no skill of my own. Growing up, we had enough to eat. We had a roof over our heads. My parents were loving and spent time with me and read to me what I was young. I was to afford to go to college. I chose a good major. And on and on.

Anyhow, the comic referenced below does an excellent job of illustrating this privilege. You should check it out.

“The idea of “privilege” can be a difficult concept to grasp for a lot of people, especially when advantages seem small and invisible to people on the receiving end. In the comic “On a Plate,” cartoonist Toby Morris breaks down how the subtle differences afforded to some people—in this case, on the basis of class and money—can make huge differences in their opportunities over time. Make sure you read all the way to the end—it’s worth it”

via This comic makes privilege incredibly easy to understand – Boing Boing.

My Back Is Broken In A Non-Metaphorical Way


I’m not sure why everybody who commented on my post about how Marge Simpson is hot with her hair down thought I was joking, but oh well.

I had the day off yesterday because they closed the place. This is quite rare, like once every five years. My younger self would have been ecstatic to have the day off to sleep in and do nothing, but those days are long gone. My kid had me up at the usual time and I had to tend to the driveway.

The Uni closed for good reason. We had freezing rain late into the night and guess what? That freezing rain froze everywhere. My driveway was a sheet of ice in the literal sense. I mean, next winter I’m hoping to have a backyard skating rink. I had a front yard one yesterday. And the thing with those are you need to remove the ice as promptly as possible because if not, you’ll just have an icy mess the next morning.

So I spent roughly (a fitting word) two hours clearing the driveway yesterday. Just back breaking stuff. My wife offered to help, but her neck was sore already and I know chip chip chipping away at ice would not help.

It was not all bad, though. I took the daughter with me to the local comics shop to pick up our stash on new comic book day. To be honest, we’ve been battling each other all week and it was nice to spend some time with her. Of course she talked me into buying her a graphic novel, and of course I then had to buy her brother one. But there is something nice about taking my daughter to the same shop my Dad use to take me to, parking in the same parking garage, and walking the same streets. It’s good for the heart.

But yeah, today, bring on the coffee and pain meds.



Weekend From My Weekend

This is how I picture myself today, relaxing, if I were able to relax today.

I need a weekend to rest up from my weekend.

Friday we were having the “friends” birthday party for my son (6), so I decided it would be a good idea to stay home and help her prepare the house. And to cook the 2 pounds of bacon for the BLTs we were making for the kids and parents to eat because the kid likes bacon and we asked him what he wanted. So I did stay home and we did prepare (the best you can in such a situation).

I should also insert here that I had an annoying head cold all week last week that has prevented me from getting very much sleep. Boo-urns.

Anyhow, the party went well. My best friend from high school lives in the same town that we live in (we don’t live in the town we grew up in) and has a kid aged between my kid’s ages. He showed up a few minutes early and things got a bit wonky for a bit, with the kids running around pretending to be pokemon, which entails SCREAMING things like “I CHOOSE PIKACHU” and things like “NO, I CHOOSE PIKACHU”.  So things were a bit intense as other guests started to arrive. Luckily my son had some Pokemon cards lying around and so I had them play a game of “war” using the Pokemon cards because I didn’t have time to read or explain the proper Pokemon rules. This calmed things down enough.

Saturday we had my wife’s family and my family over for the “family round” of the party. My kids always enjoy hanging out with their cousins who are all around their age. They actually played quite a bit of Minecraft on the XBox. Luckily we have three controllers so nobody had to wait too long to play. Normally I would balk at them playing video games while visitors were over, but they actually interacted more with each other while building in the game.

Here is where I learned that the driver’s side window regulator of my car busted and the window is now stuck in the down position. Luckily we have a garage because otherwise I’d have 2 inches of snow in my car. I repaired the other window myself in the Summer so I know I can fix this one but I have to wait for the part to arrive in the mail. Also it is a pain in the butt to take the door apart to fix this. Boo-urns Part 2.

Sunday was church and a bit of grocery shopping. I got a craving for Shamrock Shakes and my wife made some for all of us and I have to say hers tasted the same or slightly better than the McDonalds version. So good.

Sunday was also a day of a massive headache for me, due to sinuses I think. So I spent some time on the couch when I’d have rather forced the kids outside to play in the snow.

So, anyway, quite the weekend. I could really use another one.

Early Mornings At The Grocery Store Are The Best

One of my favorite things in my life right now is 7:00 AM trips to the grocery store. It’s just so peaceful in there. People are stocking the shelves, crappy music from the 80s plays on the radio, and most importantly Newbs don’t get in my way. I highly recommend it.

Normally, I choose the self-checkout line when I go to the grocery store. For one, it’s just faster. More importantly I like packing my own stuff because I bag things better than they do. Meaning, I put more than one item in the plastic bags (I’d like to say I bring my own bags but I always for get. But don’t worry, I always reuse or recycle them). Do I really need each apple in its own plastic grocery bag (only a slight exaggeration)? Want to save the Earth? Educate the baggers that my groceries can share a home.

Sometimes I do go through the regular lines, especially early in the morning. I do this mostly because there is this nice old lady cashier that reminds me of my Grandma. It’s just a pleasant way to start the day.

So yeah, if you have to go to the grocery store go early in the morning or during, not before, a large snowstorm. It’s the best way to avoid those pesky interactions with fellow humans that are so annoying.

A Tuesday

The sun came up today. That’s good!

I woke up with it. That’s good too! My streak of waking after a period of sleep continues.

The daughter didn’t flip out before school as much this morning as yesterday morning. This is a quite pleasant turn of events. Getting them in bed earlier worked. Sometimes it’s the little decisions that make the best outcomes.

I updated the blog to a new theme. I liked the old one but I’m old school and missed my sidebar (on desktop, I imagine it disappears on mobile).  I could have screwed with the code probably and got it to work, but I’m lazy.

I have a sore throat after having beat the head-cold of last week. These menthol cough drops say to take them every two hours. That is laughable. I’ll take them as often as I please. I’m crazy like that.

Happy Tuesday, planet Earth. Your results may vary.


The world is not falling apart: The trend lines reveal an increasingly peaceful period in history.

Another interesting article, if only to remind myself that things are so bad. Improvements can be made, sure, but fear should not be our primary guide.

How can we get a less hyperbolic assessment of the state of the world? Certainly not from daily journalism. News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. We never see a reporter saying to the camera, “Here we are, live from a country where a war has not broken out”—or a city that has not been bombed, or a school that has not been shot up. As long as violence has not vanished from the world, there will always be enough incidents to fill the evening news. And since the human mind estimates probability by the ease with which it can recall examples, newsreaders will always perceive that they live in dangerous times. All the more so when billions of smartphones turn a fifth of the world’s population into crime reporters and war correspondents.

We also have to avoid being fooled by randomness. Cohen laments the “annexations, beheadings, [and] pestilence” of the past year, but surely this collection of calamities is a mere coincidence. Entropy, pathogens, and human folly are a backdrop to life, and it is statistically certain that the lurking disasters will not space themselves evenly in time but will frequently overlap. To read significance into these clusters is to succumb to primitive thinking, a world of evil eyes and cosmic conspiracies.

via The world is not falling apart: The trend lines reveal an increasingly peaceful period in history..

Don’t Watch The Super Bowl For The Commercials

I used to watch The Super Bowl because I was a football fan. Actually, looking back on it I can’t say I was ever a football fan. I was pretty much just a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

For a while there, though, I’d watch the game expecting at least to see a good game. Then, when that because less or less a given, I’d watch “for the commercials”. Now, I just skip the entire thing, and just read about it online the next day.

Think about what the commercial is designed for: to sell you some stuff you don’t really need. To trick your brain into thinking you need that stuff, that it will make you more attractive, that it will make you feel younger, that it will make you happy. But we all know it won’t.

Regular NFL football is bad enough. 3 downs and a punt. Or my favorite, commercial break, kickoff, commercial break. Field goal attempt, commercial break, kickoff, commercial break. The games cost so much for the cable companies to air they have to show us countless commercials, stretching what is one total hour of sports “action” into three hours plus of meh. And the commercials they do show are usually selling horrible beer, or horrible CSI style shows, or horribly violent actions movies, which is fitting, I suppose.

And let’s not get into how sexist and lowest common denominator most of the commercials are. It costs these companies about $4.5 million this year for 30 seconds of ad time during the Super Bowl, so they best be sexist and vapid. That’s what sells potato chips, after all.

I get it. It’s nice to be in the know on Monday morning when everybody is talking about how hilarious the Pepsi commercial was. It was it really? Or was it just amusing compared to the usual crap you are usually subjected to while watching cable television you already pay too much money for?

If you want to laugh, why not skip the entire thing and just watch an actual show (I’ve been watching this British show called Misfits on Hulu, it’s pretty good)? Or watch a movie, or anything else creative people designed for you to enjoy, or hell, even The Big Bang Theory is better than watching a Doritos commercial (just slightly barely, mind you).

And don’t get me started on the Halftime “show”. Again with the entertainment meant for the masses that seems to entertain none.

If you actually enjoy watching football, go ahead and watch the thing. You will be one of the few.

Old Man Back

“Well, um, actually a pretty nice little Saturday, we’re going to go to Home Depot. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed, Bath, & Beyond, I don’t know, I don’t know if we’ll have enough time”

I had a pretty nice little weekend, thanks for asking. I got a bit of sled riding done with my son on the epic hill we have near our house. We got about seven pretty good runs in (this was after I had shoveled snow for a half hour and that hill is steep — when I’m rich I’m gonna install a chair lift there). I also played a crap-litre (why is crap always measured by the ton in pop culture?) of Minecraft with both kids, which I realize isn’t great but they make some pretty creative stuff there and Minecraft has also helped the 5 year old learn to read many words he would have never seen in See Spot Run. And yep, we got to the Home Improvement store, though we went to Lowes not Home Depot like Frank The Tank (above).

And I tweaked my back quite good at Lowes, lifting a roll of carpet from an awkward position. Crap. I’d had hoped the old man back had properly healed itself, but I guess that was a miscalculation.

You see, late last year I had been dealing with quite a bit of back pain, bad enough I got almost no writing done and was having trouble concentrating at work. Eventually I realized the pain was self-imposed from trying to work myself back into shape again. I had decided it was time to work this old body back into shape and return to when I was in high school when I’d do 200 or 300 push-ups a day usually during commercials watching television or just whenever. I was a skinny bastard back then but didn’t have access to real weights and wouldn’t know until I got to college what to do with the weights even if I had them. I mean, it can’t be much cheaper or easier to use your own body weight to put on some muscle.

And it went well at first. I felt great. I was seeing “results” almost immediately. But then the back pain started. Worse, it took me like 2 months to realize the push-ups were the cause. But even if I knew the problem, I almost kept doing the push-ups because it was so much easier than lugging my weights around in the basement. But the pain was too much.

So, yeah, the back hurts a bit this morning. Especially because I had to shovel again today. But overall, it was a nice little weekend.

State Of The Union 2015

This is something I’d probably post to Facebook, which would in turned be ignored. Instead, I figured I’d post it here so it can be ignored here instead.

I can’t think of anything more dreadful than watching a modern State of the Union address. Well, I can think of more dreadful things because I have a good imagination, but you know what I mean. This is the Internet. Hyperbole reigns. Everything is either the best or the WORST.

It’s not that I’m not interested in politics, or at least how politics will effect my life. Nor do I particularly hate the President (I just wish he were more liberal and less middle of the road). I probably won’t even have a problem with what he is going to say. But the entire visual of the thing is what makes me sick. The State of the Union address has become just like a really boring sporting event.

Here’s how it goes. The President will say something. Pause. Democrats will stand and applaud. Republicans will sit, stone faced, as if somebody stole their lunch money. Pundits will smile, happy to have something to blather about for a few days. Pollsters will create polls. Twitter will twitter. Things will quiet and the President will say another thing. Repeat all. Barf.

It will all sound either good, or bad, depending on whatever “team” you vote for. Nothing much will change, though. Republican opposition to anything this President wants is too strong, and Democratic will to do anything even close to “liberal” is too weak. Nah, I’ll skip the spectacle of it all and just read about it tomorrow.

This is pretty much how I feel about awards shows too. It’s just a chance for those involved to get dressed up, go to some fancy parties, and pat themselves on the back, while giving the rest of us a reason to debate or argue about something that will have little effect on our real lives.

So, State of the Union 2015, I say “meh” to you.