Someplace Special – January 15th

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

I haven’t yet gotten to the MLK Memorial in Washington. Next trip, for sure.

(So much talk and shouting in our country, so little of it worth anything in light of the actual actions the shouters are taking. How did people like King and Lincoln keep going in the face of so much hatred, anger, and violence?)

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Group Mind Question – January 14th

Two things happened this weekend that got me wondering how much life in Los Angeles might be different from life elsewhere. The two incidents involve using phone apps and the Internet to do routine things and I don’t know if that’s a “La La” thing (or at least a big city thing) or something that’s happening everywhere – so I’ll ask.

First incident – I needed a haircut. Desperately. I don’t get my hair styled, I get it cut. Helen Keller could cut my hair, so I don’t go anyplace expensive. I believe I’ve ranted about this before. Bottom line, Fantastic Sam’s and SuperCuts are high end for me. The new Great Cuts chain is $3 cheaper and gets me the same results.

Saturday is a busy time at these places, but now they have this app where you can “check in” well in advance and then just walk in and be next, or close to it. I found out about this one time sitting there for about a half hour and watching three or four guys come in and get started within a minute or two while I waited. And waited. And waited. It was really annoying. But now I use the app! So when I was leaving the hangar, thirty-five miles and forty minutes away, I started the app, checked in, and when I got there I was in the chair in about a minute, bypassing the two or three guys who were there waiting.

It was great! Of course, whether or not using the app is “fair” all depends on whose ox is being gored, obviously!

Second incident – we wanted to see a movie, but our schedule was sort of up in the air. Almost every theater around here now has the advance ticket sale option where you not only buy your ticket but also reserve your seat. Even if you just walk up to the window, you still pick an assigned seat. Since you’re stuck with the system one way or the other, we usually log in and buy tickets and pick seats in advance. But today it was more of a spur of the moment thing, so we didn’t.

Walking up to the window at 11:28 for a 11:30 movie we found there were only four single seats available for the movie we really wanted to see. We ended up seeing another film (“Molly’s Game,” which we really liked, BTW) at noon instead.

Question – if you’re living in a smaller town in the US (Vermont, Maryland, Texas, Arizona… I know you’re out there) or outside of the US, is this level of online or electronic scheduling and ticket purchasing as routine or even required these days? It happened here quickly, within a year or two at most, but I was wondering if I would be looked at like I had two heads if I wanted to buy movie tickets on my phone in West Smalltown, Ohio?

Just curious.


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Can I Get A Legal Opinion?

Any lawyers out there?

(For the record – I apologize in advance. My brain sometimes goes off on tangents all on its own and I put this bit and that fact and that other trivia together and pretty soon I’m asking some pretty odd questions. This might be one of them.)

I was thinking of a possible story scene and wondering about possible legal ramifications to my protagonist when I remembered a very similar scene set up in a favorite movie (not the greatest copy of the clip, but it gets the idea across):

So, the legal question – if someone were choking to death and you had the capability to Heimlich them and save their life but you know that they’re a real worthless piece of evil shit so you decide to simply watch them die and ignore the fact that you could intervene, what could you be charged with?

I was wondering if it was even a crime. Morally reprehensible, perhaps. An act of omission, no doubt. But an actual crime?

You’re not taking any action which causes the person’s death, you’re simply withholding action which is likely to avoid an imminent crisis and save the person’s life.

Do you have an obligation to step in and attempt to save the evil bastard’s life?

Some quick googling tells me that the difference between murder and manslaughter is intent and premeditation. In this case there may be intent, but there’s no agency other than the withholding of potential assistance.

Related (from my admittedly spotty and hearsay lay person’s understanding of the law) would be if you can be held accountable for your actions if you see a total stranger having a heart attack or a car accident and you’re just a normal person with possibly some rudimentary (hey, I was in the Boy Scouts 50 years ago, I can tie a tourniquet!) first aid training. A doctor, nurse, or paramedic stepping into an emergency like that can be sued for malpractice if they mess up something or make the situation worse, while a non-medical stranger can’t be. Good Samaritan laws, anyone?

That’s sort of the opposite of what I’m asking. I might not be liable if I see a car crash, drag an injured person from the car (as it explodes, just like in the movies) and they end up being paralyzed because of some damage I might (or might not) have done to them in moving them from the car. But if I see the crash, know that I’ve got the time and the means to step in and help, but also know it’s an evil bastard who’s about to die if I withhold that help, am I guilty of a crime for just standing there and watching the line of gasoline run downhill toward the road flare?

Inquiring minds…


Filed under Paul

The Fungus Among Us

In the cool, damp morning light, the humongous organism living under our yard poked up a few scouts to see if it had really, really rained the other day.

When I first saw the yard covered with mushrooms decades ago after we had first moved in, I did the usual all-American thing and tried to figure out how to kill them. After all, they destroyed that putting green look that I wanted for my yard!

I found out that all of the various fungi and similar fauna and flora are interconnected underground and it’s almost like one huge organism that’s far larger than any elephant or whale. I also found out that my yard looks just fine when it more closely resembles a salad than a carpet.

And, yes… That makes it the humongous fungus among us!

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Someplace Special – January 11th


Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto, Japan

Truly a favorite place – can’t wait to re-visit.

(When my heart is so full to overflowing with hatred and frustration, I wish I could go to a place such as this and wander the mountain in silence to find myself again.)

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Thanks, I Needed That

There has been a lot of instability lately, both outside and inside. After an intense batch of both yesterday, the exterior storm clouds parted for a minute or two.

Please ignore the reflections of file cabinets and the gobs of dirt on the outside of my office windows.

A brief and fleeting message of hope from the turbulence outside which can help make the turbulence inside a bit easier to survive.

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That Feeling When – January 9th

TFW the universe reminds you why you must ALWAYS wear your glasses when reading the cooking (well, okay, maybe not “cooking,” more like “re-heating” or “preparation” at best) instructions on your Marie Callendar’s garlic roasted chicken with penne pasta dinner.

Pop a hole in the film – check.

Microwave for four minutes – check.

Open, stir, replace film – check.

Microwave for four and a half minutes – oops.

What’s the difference between 2½ minutes and 4½ minutes?

It’s realizing that it might be February before that sucker cools off enough to eat.

It’s wondering if you could do the entire Eastern seaboard a huge favor by thawing them overnight using this now glowing in the dark TV dinner.

It’s thinking about actually just heating up another one (correctly this time) because it would be faster than waiting for this one to get back down into triple digits.

It’s wondering if you’ve invented a whole new field of physics when you start speculating about things being hot enough to rip a hole in the spacetime continuum the same way that black holes get massive enough to do that.

Lesson learned.

(Narrator voice: “The lesson was… not… learned.”)

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