Friday, July 20, 2012

Various & Sundry, July 20

Interesting day today with lots of good conversations. The one that surprised me most, though, was the conversation I had on Twitter with someone I don't know personally who tweeted,"The only people who murder others with guns are those that already break the law. This is why gun control is not a solution. Very simple." It was one of those, "Are you seeing the world I'm seeing?" moments and I'm afraid I let my knee-jerk reactions get the best of me. Went a couple rounds based on my initial position and then, you know, actually decided to do a little research.

What I found, looking into it a titch more, is, boy, the numbers will let you argue whatever way you want. There's nothing I can even link to because the issue is so clouded that I have no idea what's a trustworthy source. One thing I found that challenges my starting point without seeming nut-jobby was this editorial, written after the Virginia Tech shooting. I can't say I like his conclusions (much preferring something that reinforces my original opinion), but it raises the question, What can we do to make our society and our particular culture as a whole less violent?

At any rate, my prayers are with the victims of the shootings in Aurora, their families and loved ones, and the shooter himself.

So let's talk about tea, shall we? Yes, let's. Because we have three tea-related items to share this week.

First, there's this gizmo that's a teapot with a timer built in. "No unnecessary bells or whistles (let alone a power cord) are needed for this elegantly simple tea timer-and-steeper to do its job. Just pour, screw, tip and wait." Nifty.

This next product makes the same mistake made by the folks who brought you the Tea Monkey Infuser. Namely, you don't want to put something that looks like a human or animal in your tea because said human or animal turns your lovely bath/tea water brown. And that's just gross.

But these folks gave it the good college try with Mr. Tea. You may not be able to see it in the small photo there, but the tag line is "throw some tea in your trousers." Really? "Throw some tea in your trousers"? That's simply unfortunate. Nice try, but no.

I keep trying to think what kind of thing you could make into an infuser where you say to yourself, "How lovely to soak this in my water! I was just hoping that it would turn clear water brown." I'm not coming up with anything. How about you?

I do, however, love the idea behind the Universal Tea Machine, “a gargantuan cross between a tea-making device, a primitive computer and a pinball machine.” Built to mark both the London Olympics and Alan Turing's centenary,
The Universal Tea Machine will dispense up to 2,000 free, freshly made cups of tea each week from its temporary home next to a giant screen streaming Olympic coverage in Victoria Park, Hackney — but you will only receive a nice builder’s brew with milk and sugar, as opposed to a dry tea bag with three sugar lumps or a cup of hot milk and water, if you can perform binary addition...Would-be tea drinkers will have to perform five sequential additions correctly in order to produce a perfect cuppa.

I'm sure Douglas Adams would approve.

In other literary references, Mark Twain has some wise words on how he came up with his characters.

My favorite obit of the week is one that the subject, one Val Patterson, wrote himself. Here's the part that's gotten the most attention:
Now that I have gone to my reward, I have confessions and things I should now say. As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June, 1971. I could have left that unsaid, but I wanted to get it off my chest. Also, I really am NOT a PhD. What happened was that the day I went to pay off my college student loan at the U of U, the girl working there put my receipt into the wrong stack, and two weeks later, a PhD diploma came in the mail. I didn't even graduate, I only had about 3 years of college credit. In fact, I never did even learn what the letters "PhD" even stood for. For all of the Electronic Engineers I have worked with, I'm sorry, but you have to admit my designs always worked very well, and were well engineered, and I always made you laugh at work. Now to that really mean Park Ranger; after all, it was me that rolled those rocks into your geyser and ruined it. I did notice a few years later that you did get Old Faithful working again. To Disneyland - you can now throw away that "Banned for Life" file you have on me, I'm not a problem anymore - and SeaWorld San Diego, too, if you read this.
But the whole thing is completely delightful and truly touching. I'm sure his friends and family miss him very much.

And with that I must add: Life can be short. Tell your friends and family that you love them.

Have a great weekend.

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