Author Archives: lcharters2014

About lcharters2014

I started life as a child.

Naked 70% certified

Let us now turn our attention to this tube of moisturizing hand and body lotion. It claims some relationship to pomegranate and honey, which suggests it also might make a good dessert topping. It is called The Naked Bee, presumably a reference to the honey. It is also “70% Certified Organic.”

Seventy percent? Why seventy percent?

70 percent certified organic

If The Naked Bee is 70% certified organic, what is the other 30%?

Possibilities:

  • 70 percent is organic, the rest of it is inorganic.
  • 70 percent is certified organic, the rest is not certified; it could be (horrors!) uncertified.
  • Perhaps the “pomegranate & honey” is a clue: 70 percent is certified organic, 30 percent is certified Kosher?
  • 70 percent is organic, the rest is dark matter.

It also has “All the good stuff, none of the bad stuff.” Chocolate cake? Free-range bison?

Bottom line: can you eat it?

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Definition of a bad day at work

This looks like an unremarkable view of an apartment building in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland:

Apartment building in Silver Spring, Maryland

If you think your day was rough, take a look at this apartment building in Silver Spring, Maryland. In the center of the photograph…

Not obvious: it is snowing. The air temperature is 33 F, and the wind is blowing at 12 MPH. And if you look in the center of the photo you see:

Worse job than you have

In the center of the photo, you see someone having a worse day on the job than yours. Be grateful, both that your day is better and that others are willing to do these jobs.

you see someone who is colder and wetter and probably more miserable than you. So be thankful. And appreciative.

Titles from a strange upbringing

There are many titles I wish I had read; I have bookcases filled with unread and partially read volumes. But here are some that are high on my list:

Untouched by Human Hands: The Last Dangerous Visions, by Robert Sheckley and Harlan Ellison. Ellison’s famous epic struggle to get his last Dangerous Visions anthology out is assisted by Sheckley.

All the Myriad Ways: Of Man and Monsters, Heroes and Horrors, Parsecs and Parables, Nightmares and Geezenstacks, Ice and Iron, Digits and Dastards, Murder and Magic, Ape and Essence, Fancies and Goodnights, Alchemy and Academe, Foundation and Empire, Visions and Ventures, Time and the Stars, by Larry Niven, William Tenn, Fritz Leiber, Robert Silverberg, Fredric Brown, William Tucker, Frederik Pohl, Randall Garrett, Aldous Huxley, John Collier, Anne McCaffrey, Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon and Poul Anderson. A galaxy and time-spanning story of nouns smashed together into subjects.

“Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman, Or All the Seas With Oysters, formed of Mist, and Grass, and Sand, and ruled by the Queen of Air and Darkness, will carry you Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38º54’N, Longitude 77º00’13″W, where you may watch The Dance of the Changer and the Three, and learn that Love is the Plan the Plan is Death, and that The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas must confront The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth, never to discover that Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones is the Good News from the Vatican, by Harlan Ellison, Avram Davidson, Vonda N. McIntyre, Poul Anderson, Terry Carr, James Tiptree Jr., Usula K. LeGuin, Roger Zelazny, Samuel R. Delany, and Robert Silverberg. This surprisingly thin science fiction-fantasy mix is essentially a fleshed-out expansion of the title.

And it runs on batteries

Would you be willing to buy a BMW that gets up to 81 miles on a single charge, has a 170 horsepower motor, and costs a mere $41,350, not including the inevitable options?

And it runs on batteries

BMW i3, an all-electric BMW that has 0 CO2 emissions, 0-100 kph in 7.2 seconds, and all the space and comfort you’ve come to expect in a car that is not very large at all.

The all-electric design pretty much dictates that you have a garage for charging, and you probably wouldn’t want this if you lived in the rural portions of the Western United States.

But those are just the drawbacks. On the bright side, it spews out zero toxins, is sized for practicality, and you can get two of them for the price of a Tesla.

Traffic directions at their finest

In an urban area, you learn to pay attention to traffic signs. In fact, the constantly cautious scan for some clue about driving conditions, because you never know when a one-way street will turn and become one-way going the opposite direction, or the Grand Eminent Statesman Highway will turn into Paisley Plaid Place.

But this traffic sign in Bethesda, Maryland, is genuinely baffling. The glaring orange is telling you to Pay Attention! This is important! The upper arrow appears to be suggesting you bend your car around a couple of corners and continue in the same direction. The lower one emphatically insists that you turn to the left, immediately.

The correct course of action was unclear: the road was entirely blocked.

Emphatic traffic sign

This sign in Bethesda, Maryland, is insisting that the driver wiggle around two corners and proceed in the same direction and, at the same time, immediately turn left.

Long line of bachelors and serial marriage

When George Clooney wed Amal Alamuddin in September 2014, The Washington Post, which normally is fairly well edited, published this on-line headline, as well as emailing it out to thousands of subscribers:

George Clooney wedding: the last of the eligible bachelors to marry Amal Alamuddin

Not only did the Washington Post have this as their on-line headline, they also emailed the same headline out to thousands of subscribers.

From this, we can conclude that:

  • The Washington Post has only one editor for both their website and their mailing lists, and that one person does not know how to read.
  • The Washington Post, in addition to their recent announcement about ending many pension benefits, also dismissed anyone who knew anything about copy-editing.
  • Least likely: Amal Alamuddin really has married a string of eligible bachelors.

The Washington Post didn’t even acknowledge my questions about the headline.

For those who find sprinkling undercomplex

Do you want to have a lawn so green, it glows green in the dark? But do you find the simple challenge of turning on a faucet to water the lawn insufficiently challenging?

Then get the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller! Which apparently supports up to eight zones, since one or six are not enough, and is Wi-Fi compatible. Not available for drought-stricken California, which has other priorities.

Rachio smart sprinkler controller

Yes, you can now use your iPhone to turn your sprinkler on and off. Apparently, you can even have eight zones of sprinklerdom. Available in French, too, but probably not California