About those Confederate monuments…

There are basically two schools of thought floating around the public’s consciousness about confederate monuments right now, especially in light of recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

  1. These are monuments to slavery, hatred, bigotry and the losing side of a war. They should be destroyed, or at the very least put in museums.
  2. You’re rewriting/destroying history. They should be left in place.

Now let me tell you a story:

In 1968 and 1969, I spent a year at Gettysburg College.

Old Dorm

Pennsylvania Hall, also known as Old Dorm, was built in 1837 and was used as a signal station and field hospital by both Union and Confederate forces. It was gutted and restored the year I was there, and underwent additional restoration in subsequent years. The entire campus is steeped in the history of the Civil War.

Decades later I returned to visit the campus, and had more time and more mobility to visit the historical sites, museums, and the battlefields.

20090518 - Michael Contemplates Gettysburg

In May of 2009, my son contemplates a battlefield.

The silence that hangs over those fields, where about 8,000 people lost their lives and over 57,000 were listed as casualties, is haunting. In Lincoln’s words, “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.” Standing on that quiet land, listening, one can almost hear the tumult and terrors of war – and it’s important to note that Lincoln did not single out either Union or Confederate soldiers in his appellation “brave men.” Those who fought and died, regardless of how just their cause or how willingly or not they served, deserve to be remembered. They belong to the annals of our nation.

The word nigger appears 219 times in Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, but it was a product of its times and remains a classic piece of literature – an ode to the evils of slavery – just as it stands. I’ve seen “sanitized” versions of the work, which has long been one of my favorites, and they just feel wrong.

When I visited Albania numerous times in the early 90s, shortly after the fall of Communism, I found a land in which almost every reference to Enver Hoxha had been purged, except for the national museum in Tiranë. And I understood that national sentiment as well. After 41 years of brutal repression, very few Albanians had any desire to “remember” that part of their history, that they had so recently been relieved of.

In our case, the civil war is now 150 years behind us, but the history of slavery in the USA was almost 100 years longer than that, beginning on 31 August 1620, when John Rolfe recorded that “there came in a Dutch man-of-war that sold us twenty negars.” And the ripples and ramifications of slavery extended well into my lifetime; although I personally never saw scenes like this one, I was 14 the year of the Selma to Montgomery marches, 15 when Bobby Seale and Huey Newton founded the Black Panthers, and am watching the social media storm swirling around the Black Lives Matter today. If black lives really mattered, there would be no need for such a movement.

The record shows that most Confederate monuments were put up during the eras of Jim Crow segregation and the civil rights movement. They were put up, many with financial support from  The United Daughters of the Confederacy, to influence the narrative of the Civil War; the message was that the Civil War was not an issue of slavery but rather an issue of states rights.

On one hand, historical revisionism is a slippery slope. Humans are imperfect, and there will always be unpleasant truths in our past that must be acknowledged and remembered if we are not to repeat them. On the other hand, while my experience has been one of white privilege I can at least begin to imagine the gut feelings of those who have been impacted by the legacy of slavery at viewing – or even thinking of the existence of – monuments to people who fought, killed, and died to keep their people in bondage.

There are no monuments in Germany venerating Hitler or Göbbels or Eichmann. According to Joshua Zeitz, writing for Politico,

“The generation of Germans that came of age in the 1970s and 1980s confronted the country’s Nazi past and forcefully repudiated it. It took several decades of hard self-reflection, but a reunified Germany emerged from the Cold War as one of the great mainstays of democracy and human rights.”

Even though America stood for freedom and self-determination during the many wars of the last century, at home our own legacy of keeping a large part of our own population in miserable servitude for centuries remains not only unrepudiated but continues to be celebrated under the guise of another kind of historical revisionism.

It’s not enough to remove bronze and stone monuments to human wretchedness and cruelty; the underlying attitudes of the antebellum South and the Civil War remain enshrined in the hearts of too many people and too many textbooks. But it’s a step that we owe to the descendants of those who sweated under the loads and suffered under the lash and who have endured second-class status since their forefathers were emancipated, a step that must be taken if we are to eradicate those attitudes.

And what of private Buford Liles who marched off to war believing that the cause of the South was just and who never came home to wife and children, and all the privates and sergeants and fighting men like him who laid down their lives? A nation that has turned its back on the inhuman excesses of the past and that strives to build a society that works for everyone, with no one left out, can honor the bravery of these men and women, and all the victims of that wretched conflict, in memory without celebrating the flawed cause that moved them.

A contemplative visit to a peaceful battlefield would suffice.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

“My hat, it has three corners…”

I learned this song as a child, as many of us probably did at camp or elsewhere.

My hat, it has three corners,
Three corners has my hat.
And had it not three corners,
It would not be my hat!

Or, in German:

Mein Hut, der hat drei Ecken,
Drei Ecken hat mein Hut,
Und hätt er nicht drei Ecken,
So wär es nicht mein Hut.

It’s sung to an old Italian folk tune, “The Carnival of Venice“:

Only recently, thanks to a Facebook post by a respected friend and colleague, did I learn that the tune has a lot more attached to it than one simple verse.

The starkly minimalist play by Samuel Beckett, “En Attendant Godot” (Waiting for Godot) contains the following song in French, which is endlessly iterative:

Un chien vint dans l’office
Et prit une andouillette;
Alors à coups de louche
Le chef le mit en miettes.

Les autres chiens en ce voyant
Vite vite l’ensevelirent
Au pied d’une croix en bois blanc
Où le passant pouvait lire:

Un chien vint dans l’office…

A dog went into the kitchen
And stole a piece of bread;
The cook came out with a ladle
And beat him till he was dead.

Then all the dogs came running
And dug the dog a tomb,
And wrote upon the tombstone
For the eyes of dogs to come:

A dog went into the kitchen… (repeat forever)

There are other translations of this song as well; some claim that the German version is the original, which Beckett appropriated for his play:

Ein Mops kam in die Küche
Und stahl dem Koch ein Ei.
Da nahm der Koch den Löffel
Und schlug den Mops entzwei.

So kamen alle Möpse
Und gruben ihm ein Grab
Und setzten einen Grabstein,
Auf dem geschrieben stand:

Ein Mops kam in die Küche…

(Like most folk songs, there are numerous versions with slightly varying words; there is a bawdy German song, non-iterative, that begins “Ich bin ein junges Weibchen” that uses the same melody as well.)

And here’s the Hebrew version:

אל המטבח בא כלב
ועצם שם חטף
אז הטבח חבט בו
הרג אותו עם כף

כל הכלבים אז באו
וקבר לו חפרו
ומצבה הקימו
עליה הם כתבו:

אל המטבח בא כלב…

El hamitbach ba kelev
Ve-etzem sham chataf
Az hatabach chavat bo
Harag oto im kaf.

Kol haklavim az ba’u
Vekever lo chafru
Umatzeva hekimu
Aleiha hem katvu.

El hamitbach ba kelev…

It is interesting to note that all of these versions can be sung to the same tune, although it is not always used in every interpretation of “Godot.”

The concept of the eternally iterating song poked my memory, and I recalled that when I was a young child, my mother and I would end up rolling in laughter after doing this one for what seemed like hours:

Twas a dark and stormy night!
Three robbers sat in a cave!
“Tell us a story!” said one,
And this is how it begun:

‘Twas a dark and stormy night…

Mother was an actress, and a good one – so every iteration took on a different character when it was her turn.

Finally, there’s this gem written by writer/composer Norman Martin in 1988:

Be grateful. Be grateful, I say, that I didn’t choose to post the 10-hour version!

Many thanks to my colleagues in the translation community for the various versions (whom I shall not name unless they tell me they wish to be identified!)

The Old Wolf has spoken.

150 quotes overheard in LA

Here’s the scoop on LA, in 150 amusing overheard quotes. I found this at Bored Panda, which they lifted from the Instagram account Overheard LA, where you can see more of these.

As usual it’s broken up into 15 pages so they can serve up an obscene amount of ads, and everything is in image files. So here it is in plain text:


Guy staring at ambulance in front of Whole Foods;
“Somebody must have accidentally ate gluten.”

Customer: “You close at 6:30, right?”
Barista: “Yes, but we close emotionally at 6.”

“He’s 31, but like North Carolina-31, like, 2 kids and a mortgage. 31-year-old dudes in Los Angeles are just learning how to cook a **** chicken.”

Bouncer: “Sorry. I need to see an ID.”
Girl: “I told you… I’m 30. Why would anyone lie about that?”

“I think I want her back, dude.”
“Did she get a haircut when you broke up?”
“Yeah.”
“You’re out of luck. She doesn’t want you back.”

“What’s wrong, why are you so quiet?”
“Nothing, I’m fine. I’m just saving my personality for when everyone else gets here.”

(Reminded me of this gem from Dave Berg, click it for a larger version:)
Dave Berg Georgie

“And then he texted me as soon as he got Wi-Fin in Mexico.”
“That’s all I want… To be someone’s first thought once they get Wi-Fi.”

“I want to go on a trip with you at some point.”
“Like acid or travel?”

“Every psycho I’ve ever dated was a Leo.”
“Every psycho I’ve ever dated believed in Astrology.”

“Excuse me, can I read your palms? You just have beautiful energy and I could feel it from across the parking lot.”
“That’s my anxiety disorder.”

“Honestly, why are the older generations so judgmental, they were Millennials once too.”
“No… no that’s not how that word works.”

“My mom won’t let me go to your house anymore because your parents watch Fox News.
(Little Boy to Friend)

Cashier:  “How are you today?”
Customer: “Ok.”
Cashier: “Life isn’t supposed to be lived ‘just ok’.”
Customer: “Look, I just came here for some coconut water, not a **** life coach.”

Babysitter: “What city do you live in?”
7-Year-Old: “Santa Monica!”
Babysitter: “Good job! Do you know which state you live in?”
7-Year-Old: “Confusion.”

“I’m dating a guy that’s 6’7″.”
“Is he hot?”
“He’s 6’7″. It doesn’t matter. I don’t even think I’ve seen his face yet.”

Customer: “My name is Bri.”
Cashier: “Brie, like the cheese? Nice to meet you. I’m Mason, like the jar.”

Woman: “I need to buy new pants because the other ones are too big now.”
9-Year-Old: “You don’t need new pants, just more cake till the old ones fit again.”

Cashier: “And how is your day going today, sir?”
Guy: “I’m sorry, this is like my 87th interaction today and I just don’t have it in me.”

“Oh my gosh, sorry, traffic was so bad.”
(5-Year-Old running into ballet class late.)

“How did you get 105% on your final?”
“Oh, my teacher gives us extra credit if we follow her on instagram.”

(Note: “extra credit” reminds me of the story about the OB/GYN who got tired of the rat race and decided to change careers, so he went to auto mechanic school. The final exam involved taking an engine apart and putting it back together again. After the end of the course he received his grades in the mail and was surprised to find out that he had been awarded 250 points out of a possible 200. Not displeased but curious, he called his professor and asked why he had given such a high grade. The instructor responded, “Well, I gave you 100 points for taking the engine apart correctly and 100 points for putting it back together correctly, but I had to give you an extra 50 points for doing it all through the tailpipe!”)

“I mean, she just seems like such a good person to date; she’s not an alcoholic, she’s bnot severely mentally ill, she has a cool dog…”

“What’s the first thing you look for in a girl?”
“Less than 900 followers on Instagram.”

Male Flight Attendant: “Does anyone have a Galaxy Note 7? Bueller? OK good, because the only thing flaming on this plane is going to be me.”

“Sometimes I think I want to have a baby and then I just think I am not even responsible enough for white jeans.”

Nurse: “What is your occupation?”
ER Patient: “I’m an actor, dancer, model, and stylist but right now I work at Chipotle.”

“I wanted to do something cultural, so I took him to the Getty and he actually touched a **** painting. He was like, ‘Is this real?‘ Alarms went off, security came to us, I was so embarrassed. He’s from Florida, so it was his first time at a museum.

“Can we break up somewhere else? This is my favorite Whole Foods.”

“Of Course LA is a tough place to live. It’s a city full of people who were too good for their own hometowns.”

“We had to fire the nanny… my husband found her on an escort site.”
“Why was he looking up escorts?”

“Dating in LA is mostly just explaining your tattoo meanings and food allergies to each other like ‘Hi, I’m gluten intolerant and this is the Japanese word for abundance…’ And that happens on a loop until we all decide to just move back in with our parents.”

Babysitter: “What do you dream about at night?”
7-Year-Old: “I don’t dream, I only have nightmares about this economy.”

“I buy myself an extravagant five every month when I get my period to remind myself what I’d be giving up if I ever got pregnant.”

Cashier: “sign?”
Customer: “Sagittarius.”
Cashier: “I meant I need your signature.”

“First it’s pilot season that award season, now it’s festival season. I feel like LA just creates special seasons to make up for the fact that we don’t have actual seasons.”

“Everyone is getting engaged.”
“Whatever, yesterday the guy at my bakery gave me a free chocolate croissants and it felt like an engagement.”

“Don’t waste your peers on that boy. LA is a desert, you need to stay hydrated.”

“How’s dating going?”
“I’m researching personality disorders. I wanna see how many I can catch and identify, like Pokémon Go but with human men.”

German Friend: “I’m going to Idaho for the holiday.”
American Friend: “Idaho? What is that?”
German Friend: “The state. I-d-a-h-o.”
American Friend: “I’ve literally never heard of it.”

“Why to stop following me?”
“Because your posts annoy the **** out of me. It’s like, we get it, you had a kid.”

“I need to start saving people’s numbers. I accidentally had lunch with the wrong person the other day.”

Dad: “Are the shirts bisexual?”
Salesperson: “You mean unisex?”

“God I love protesting. Expressing myself and getting my 10,000 steps. It’s a win-win.”

Girl: “Gluten-free please.”
Cashier: “Are you allergic?”
Girl: “No, I’m just an asshole.”

“He’s hot, you should speak to him.”
“No, my future boyfriend should still be at work at this time.”

Girl to Friend: “even in a turtleneck should look slutty.”
Stranger: “At least she ain’t got an ugly heart like you.”

“Pretty sure were never getting back together.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Her dog blocked me on Instagram.”

Teenager: “Hold on. I have to Insta that.”
Father: “Yes dear… Continue howling into the void.”

“You’re late. You said you were going to be here in five minutes.”
“That’s an expression, not an actual measurement of time.”

“Every new friend I make is another person who might ask me to drive them to the airport in the future. And I don’t need that.”

Woman: “Excuse me, how long is this march going to go on for?”
Police Officer: “About four more years, Lady.”

“You need to start saying ‘yes’ to things.”
“I did that for a year and I ended up in Miami sleeping on a blowup mattress in a man’s kitchen.”

“I can’t believe my phone doesn’t autocorrect rose to rosé. I feel like it doesn’t even know me.”

“Your son is adorable, how old is he?”
“Oh no, we don’t do age… We are all infinite beings walking on this Earth.”

“My therapist told me I have to read a book called ‘Codependent No More.’ Will you go with me to buy it at the bookstore?”

“I had one line.”
“Wait we talking about coke or acting?”

“You know how I’m getting my period? Getting acne on my face and when I was watching the Tour de France this morning I had to fight the urge to cry at the people running beside the bikers motivating them.”

Judge: “State your profession.”
Potential Juror: “Spiritual advisor. And to clarify, I already know too much about the case to serve as an impartial juror because I’m a clairvoyant.”

Girl to Stranger in tight parking space: “my God how did you park in that spot? That’s amazing! What’s your birthday?”
“Uh, September 22nd.”
“Libra! Yes! Make sense.”

“I took like a five hour nap today.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s just called sleeping.”

“Sorry, I’m late. There was so much traffic… Also, I left the time we were supposed to meet.”

Girl: “Aren’t you gonna take a picture of our food?”
Guy: “I don’t do that anymore.”
Girl: “I’m so proud of you babe.”

Son: “I’m going to go to the pier, get a guitar, take my shirt off and play for people.”
Dad: “yeah, don’t be that guy.”

“Like, it used to be people wouldn’t approach you in bars. Now they won’t even approach you online. The entire species of humans will only be continued by high school sweethearts in the Midwest.”

Customer: “remember that used to be a medium popcorn size?”
Arclight Employee: “just like there used to be a middle class.”

Yoga Teacher coughing: “Sorry to disrupt our meditation but I have a Chia seed stuck in my throat.”

Drunk Woman: “What meat alternatives do you have?”
Cashier: “Ma’am, this is McDonald’s.”

“Oh my God he’s Facetiming me. What do I do?!”
“ANSWER IT.”
“I CANT. He hasn’t seen me without a Snapchat filter yet…”

Guy at the LA Pride March:
“If Hillary was president we would be at brunch.”

“You moan more eating this ice cream than you do when we have sex.”
(Guy to Girlfriend)

“He needs to readjust his priorities. He takes two days to respond but two seconds to come.”

Girl to Homeless Guy:
“Hey, can I run into McDonald’s and get you a burger?”
“Um… I’m actually a vegetarian, just get me some large fries, an iced tea and an apple pie instead.”

“I’m over all this hippie health ****.  If I order a sweet crêpe, I want a sweet crêpe. Show me chocolate. Don’t give me apples and tell me it’s dessert. I know **** apples.”

Camp Counselor:
“When it’s your turn, stand and say your name. No Instagram names, human names.”

McDonald’s Clerk: “Here’s your card and here’s your receipt.”
Woman: “Oh, you keep the receipt, I don’t want to remember this tomorrow.”

“She’s 23 and he’s 49. He refuses to eat out with her on Father’s Day because the waiters always think he’s her dad.”

“Yeah he’s definitely rich.”
“How do you know?”
“He had Fiji water in his fridge.”

“He parallel-parked his car on the first try like it was no big deal. He doesn’t even have a rearview camera… That really turns me on.”

“I mean he drove me to LAX on a Friday night… So yeah, I’d say things are serious.”

“True friendship is knowing that your friends would pick you up from LAX, but you care about them too much to ask that ride.”

“Please tell me you didn’t forget to bring the Xanax.”
“Baby, I’d forget to bring YOU before I forgot the Xanax.”

TSA Agent: “Ma’am are you carrying on any medications?”
Older Woman: “How else do you expect me to fly commercial?”

“I used to be considered a catch; a middle-class American male with a good job… But LA girls only date actors, musicians, rich douchebags and **** Australians.”

“We’ve had so much break-up sex that were back together now.”

Quote LA isn’t meant to be lived in, it’s a giant amusement park; you just stay as long as you can before you have to go home.”

“LA isn’t meant to be lived in, it’s a giant amusement park; you just stay as long as you can before you have to go home.”

“I can’t date him his name is too weird.”
“What you mean? His name is Carl.”
“No, his dad is Carl. He’s Carl Jr.”

Lead Singer: “Anyone from the South?”
*Girl in audience cheers loudly
Lead Singer: “where you from?”
Girl: “San Diego.”

“I’ve decided that I want a wedding, just not a marriage.”

“Aw he is so cute! Can I pet him?”
“Please don’t assume her gender pronoun. Cashew’s very sensitive to ignorance.”

“Why wouldn’t we meeting at a vegan restaurant for dinner? Is she vegan?”
“No, she just likes unnecessarily expensive things.”

“Dating in LA is like shopping at IKEA. You go, find something pretty, put it together and hope it doesn’t fall apart.”

Lawyer: “What gear were you in at the moment of impact?”
Witness: “Lululemon leggings and Nikes.”

Customer: “Can I speak to a manager?”
Employee: “Emotionally, he’s not available right now. Is this something I can resolve?”

“How my gonna pick up chicks? I’m a Taurus. Everyone wants the sexual Scorpio or the mysterious Gemini. What am I gonna say… ‘Hi, I’m a Taurus. Stubborn, materialistic, and possessive?'”

“He drove me home and parked in front of the Permit Only sign, then looked at me and said ‘You’re worth the parking ticket.'”

“I think I’ve been in LA too long; I ordered a $5.75 latte and thought, ‘Wow that is really cheap.”

“iPhone 7? No case?”
“I want that kind of wealth.”

“My ex connected with me on LinkedIn. I endorsed him for ‘being a cokehead.’ ”

“You’re watching Harry Potter on the second date? Don’t you think that’s moving a bit too fast?”

“The first time I did acid, I unfollowed all the Jenners and Kardashians on Instagram.”

“I think I’m done with my ‘How hot and fit can I be and how many people can I seduce’ phase. I wanna, like, read books and know albums by name and be funny and ****.”
“I mean, yeah.”

Mom: “How was your day today?”
Five-year-old: “I don’t ask you about your business so why would you ask me about mine?”

“Do you wanna come with us to happy hour after work?”
“Honestly, those people aren’t worth the calories.”

“Can you give it to me the way my daughter gets it?! Doggy Style?”
(Mother at In-N-Out trying to order Animal Style burger.)

“Where are you staying for Coachella? Are you camping?”
“Ew no. I’m staying at a suite at the Marriott, but I won’t wash my hair that way I look like I’m camping.”

“How do I get his attention?”
“Text him ‘I had a dream about you last night’ and then follow up with ‘whoops, wrong person!’ ”

“Were not dragging anyone off.”
(Delta agent. LAX gate 54.)

“I slept with this really horrible hipster, I think it was just because he was tall. No one in LA is tall. It’s all small men with big dreams, you know what I mean??”

“Want to go to Starbucks?”
“No, I’m getting my coffee at McDonald’s this week to help save money for all the Coachella drugs act by on Friday.”

“I compliment her dress and she brags how she got it at a flea market for $9. She has to tell me this every time like she’s some **** archaeologist.”

“It’s just annoying because I’m so LA and I don’t give a **** about anybody, and he’s from Atlanta so he has that Southern hospitality and just wants to help everyone.”

“Does he have money?”
“Well, he always gets guac on his Chipotle, and never fails to order a large popcorn at Arclight. So I guess you could say he’s pretty well-off.”

“What brought you LA?”
“I came here to work on my Instagram.”

Girl: “I think I want to be a Lululemon housewife.”
Guy: “I spent my Saturday morning marching for you.”

“You passed out on Friday and came back Sunday… You’re basically the Jesus of Coachella.”

Woman to Starbucks Barista: “I’m not sure what to get, what would you recommend?”
Woman in line behind her: “are you **** serious?”

“So my doctor said no more Xanax, just an adult coloring book.”

Woman: “Is that lettuce fresh? It doesn’t look fresh. A few there on the top look off.”
Kid behind woman: “Yo, this is **** Chipotle.”

Woman to Apple genius: “My read receipts won’t turn off. I’m trying to play games with men and I don’t want them to see where I read their texts.”

“Welcome to LA, where everyone dates themselves.”

“Dried mango is the beef jerky of Los Angeles.”

“I love LA but I feel like I’ve just walked into an Instagram feed.”

TSA: “What do you need help with, sir?”
Surfer Dude: “I didn’t bring my passport.”
TSA: “Where you going?”
Surfer Dude: “Hawaii.”

“I have the opposite of FOMO. I literally look at his photos to remind myself how grateful I am we’re not together.”

“Ugh space my least favorite weather is wind.”

“Hey do you have cigarette?”
“Haha no, sorry. You’re in Brentwood not Chicago.”

Student: “What major would I love?”
Counselor: ” ‘Do what you love’ is great advice for making 30K a year.”

Pilot over loudspeaker: “So bit about myself… First of all, I’m a Libra.”

Woman pleading to TSA agent throwing out her frozen juices: “Do you have any idea how much a juice cleanse costs!?… Also, I can’t get this in Wisconsin.”

“I’m always late because I have to have an UberBlack pick me up from where my UberPool drops me off so that when I arrive I look important.”

“I’m NEVER buying anything from REVOLVE again!”
“How come?”
“Because I’m basically paying for those blogger bitches’ vacations!”

“Alcohol gives me the courage to be the person my vision board says I’m going to be.”

“In LA we wait for everything. Wait on the freeway, wait for men, waiting for our careers to happen.”

“I swear there’s a neighborhood in LA for every stage in your life. Like, when I’m ready to settle down, I’ll just move to Pasadena.”

*baby hysterically crying*
Random Woman: Is she a Taurus?”

“I didn’t appreciate middle school while I was in it. Being skinny for no reason and having a Bar Mitzvah to go to every weekend. Those were the days.”

“The East Coast takes Adderall like the West Coast takes xanax.”

“Roses die, tacos don’t.”

“In LA, weekends begin on Thursday.”

“It’s like hot yoga outside.”

“Should I get a French Bulldog or a Chanel purse? Because they pretty much cost the same.”

“The 110 is like the 10’s **** little brother.”
What about the 405?”
“The 405 is the 110 and 10’s drunk uncle you constantly avoid because you don’t know what he’s capable of.”

“OMG mom I’m totally fine, I’m only 34. When I’m ready to settle for being housewife I’ll drive down to Orange County and swipe for a day, but until then I know what I signed up for by dating in Los Angeles.”

Customer: Do you have any bars?”
Barista: “Uh … Like Xanax?”
Customer: “No, like granola bars.”

“The word ‘bougie’ comes from the word bourgeois.”
“But bourgeois means middle class?”
“Yeah, but the middle class was lit back then.”

Yoga Instructor:
“Release any rage you have built up like Rob did yesterday.”

Dad: “Is that a line for the soup kitchen? It’s a sad how many homeless people there are.”
Daughter: “That’s Supreme.”

“Stagecoach is like Coachella for Trump supporters.”

“Lorde was at brunch today?”
“Disick?”


Having lived in LA, some of these are funny to me – but it was a long time ago. I suspect the up and coming generation will resonate with more of them than I did.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Don’t reply to spam. Ever.

This should go without saying, but I just thought I’d point out one of many reasons why you should never respond to spam messages.

spam

(We wanted to let you know that we noticed that you still did not claim your $200 Amazon-shopping bonus that was gifted to you as a thank you for your business in past.
Please be sure to claim this before Aug 25
But Hurry! This Ends on Aug 25!
Please Go Here Now to Claim Your $200 Amazon-Shopping Bonus)

Click on the “Claim Your Bonus” link and your email program will generate a message to the following addresses:

  • info@delopment.net
  • sports@southeoffice.com,
  • mailtech@provintimate.net
  • reply@republck.com
  • info@templervices.net

Whatever message you send, such as “Ooh yes I want my bonus” or whatever, you have just given a live email address to five spammers/criminals/scammers or Mogg knows what, with a loud additional shout: “I am a sucker! Please Scam Me!”

Just don’t. Never respond to anything in your Spam box, and if you get email from people you have never done business with, delete it at once.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Ave atque vale, Dilbert

I’ve long loved the comic strips. In high school I’d regularly run across the street for a cup of coffee and the Waterbury Republican, work the crossword, and catch up on the day’s funnies.

04MikFerd'nand_1966_96

When webcomics became a thing, I subscribed to many. Way too many. One of them was responsible for my getting together with my wife, but the time-sink was worse than TV Tropes. Ultimately got pared down to 14, ones that have compelling story lines, or which make me smile, or which are relevant to how I see the world.

After lo, these many years – 28, more or less – I just pulled “Dilbert” off my list. When I was working in the corporate world, a lot of nonsense that I saw happening around me was reflected in the strip, and it was nice to think that it wasn’t just me that had to put up with management idiocy and the idiosyncrasies of co-workers. And in the early years, the strip could be painfully funny, particularly since I worked for a good many years in the tech sector.

Dilbert - Computer Wars

Last few years I’ve just gotten the feeling that Adams has run out of material, and he entered the stale zone that Garfield has been in for decades, and which Gary Larson and Bill Watterson so assiduously avoided. Still, I kept reading for the sake of tradition.

Lately, though, I added the fact that I just don’t click with the author’s world view, he being a staunch supporter of the cretin-in-chief that is currently disgracing the White House, and has even started injecting politics into his strips:

dt170619

dt170620

dt170621

Courtesy of Paul Taylor, author of the incomparable Wapsi Square, comes this commentary:

WebcomicsFree

So other than this one post, I don’t plan on being the kind of person who leaves something but who can’t leave it alone – you see a lot of these on the comments boards, folks who don’t like a strip and who come every day to complain about it.

I own a lot of previous Dilbert material that I still appreciate, and will continue to do so – but unless things change drastically in the future, I’ll just go elsewhere for my daily dose of smiles.

NoBoss

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Pluto: Still a planet, always a planet.

Poor Pluto. I wrote a detailed essay about my feelings back in 2014, before New Horizons had gotten close enough to reveal the stunning images of Pluto and Charon that it painstakingly sent back at 38 kbps.

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Pluto and Charon. ©2015 NASA

Yeah yeah, I get it. Science moves on. Clyde Tombaugh discovered the Kuiper Belt; Pluto is just another trans-Neptunian object that happened to get captured, and not even the biggest. There are doubtless many more large ones yet to be discovered.

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But Pluto was a part of the public’s consciousness as a planet for 76 years – from 1930 when Dr. Tombaugh discovered it, until it was reclassified by the IAU, a move that was opposed by many scientists and astronomers.

I even wrote to Mike Brown, who has referred to himself as “the man who killed Pluto,” and expressed my feelings that for historical reasons, Pluto should have been “grandfathered in” as a planet; he was kind enough to reply, and explained that while he understands why I and others feel emotionally attached to Pluto, the IAU took an opportunity to make planetary classification meaningful instead of arbitrary, which is scientifically more important than nostalgia.

But I’m still sad. And I’m not the only one. Dr. Maggie Lieu, a research fellow at the ESA (European Space Agency) recently posted on Twitter,

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The cleaners took Pluto down, but he was quickly replaced:

thug

And the current status is this: (If you can’t read the text, it says

  • Don’t worry, Pluto! We dwarf planets will be your friends.
  • Yes, those stuck-up full planets are the 1% living in their “cleared neighbourhoods” and oppressing the rest of us with their unequal distribution of mass.

Thug 2

I accept the science, but the IAU’s designation is, after all, just academic nomenclature – and whatever the scientists of today or the future choose to call Pluto, for me it will be the 9th planet in our solar system, Sol IX, forever.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

PS: One of my all-time favorite Woot! shirts, “Gardening at Night.”

gardening

Don’t waste your money on this garbage.

Every time I see a new scam for weight loss, I shed a tear for the people who are taken in. But when I see major retailers pushing snake oil, the tears dry up and are replaced with fiery heat under my collar.

Saw this at Walmart the other day – absolutely nothing new here, they’ve been doing this for a long time, but this is the latest example.

Scam 3

There’s no excuse for this. It’s taking advantage of people who are trying to release weight, selling them something that is just as valuable as the gravel in their driveways.

There is no magic bullet.

The large print giveth, but the small print taketh away: “Kelli used C. canephora robusta with diet and exercise and has been remunerated. Average weight loss with C. canephora robusta was 10.95 lbs in 60 days with a low-calorie diet and 3.7 lbs in 8 weeks with a calorie-reduced diet and moderate exercise.”

Scam 0

Do you happen to detect a trend here? As I mentioned in an earlier post, reducing caloric intake and increasing caloric consumption (i.e. exercise) will cause you to release weight even if you:

  • Take HydroxyCut
  • take homeopathic drops
  • sing an aria from “Aida”
  • stand on your head and spit nickels, or
  • eat a spoonful of Portland cement with each meal.

If  you weren’t sure, C. canephora robusta is also known as “robusta coffee,” a cousin to arabica coffee, and is often used in espresso because of its stronger flavor and increased bitterness.

Coffee. Trying to recycle the “green coffee extract” scam. Let’s look at all the ingredients:

Scam1

You can see that what you’re getting is basically caffeine and some other random herbs. And for weight release, it’s junk. It doesn’t work. And they know it.

To release weight, eat less and/or exercise more, preferably both. If you set up a consistent caloric deficit, you’ll gradually release weight in a healthy way (unless you really have a medical condition preventing it, in which case see your physician.) Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s hard; as I saw posted by a Facebook friend just today:

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And that’s another conversation. But don’t waste your money at Walmart or elsewhere on this worthless garbage.

The Old Wolf has spoken.