Thursday, September 27, 2018

Look out, Look out...

Today, Senator Lindsey Graham threatened the Democrats, re their attack on Kavanaugh: "If this is the new norm, you better watch out for your nominees."

Excuse me, sir. We democrats were watching our nominees. I have two words for you: Merrick Garland.

Gosh, these Republicans have a ten-second memory and no shame.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Box in a Box packing: Many a pitfall...

We just received a box from Amazon. Inside the box was a smaller box, protected by a little rapping. I opened the outside box with care, because it had a "This side up" symbol.

The inside box also had a "This side up" symbol. It was pointing at the bottom of the boxes.

The particular product we bought was not perturbed at being carried upside down. Thank goodness.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

My first "Impossible Burger"

I ate my first "impossible burger" (I'll call it the IB) today, at Shelly's Cafe in Teaneck, NJ, USA. The IB is a veggie burger that most remarkably imitates real beef, both in taste, and, so they say, in its suggestion of gravy. Here is its website.

So, how good was it? Well, my burger was delicious, partly because of the many additional ingredients inside the bun. In fact, it was hard to separate out the taste of the IB from its surroundings.

My wife asked, "How far are you willing to go out of your way for another one?" I would say, certainly fifteen miles. But next time, I will look for a simple cheese burger treatment of the IB, just so that I can focus on its taste. I think that it still does not come close to feeling like real meat, but it does better than the many other veggie burgers I have enjoyed.

Impossible Burger!

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Mind Cards, a fun iPhone game:

I am enjoying the very straightforward game of: Mind Cards. It is free in the IOS app store. My FAQ/advice page to help you play it is here: .

The game is rather simple at first. The initial challenge is to develop a clean technique, to avoid making horrible blunders. Gradually, as you card deck increases, Mind Cards becomes a game of real skill.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

It's Hard to change New Habits...

It was time to recharge my iPad. Whenever I attach the charging cord to the device, the screen turns on. Consequently—duh—I should not turn the screen off just before I plug the iPad into its charger.

It has been remarkably difficult for me to remember this, but I got my payoff today, courtesy of another totally unrelated habit that should have been irrelevant.

I walked over to the charging cord and stupidly began to press down on the on/off button. Now bear in mind, this is a physical button. As I pressed, I remembered that I did not want to turn the screen off, so I slid my finger off the button. Why did I slide it off? Because, if you click or tap a button on a computer screen and decide you really did not want to press it, you can usually avoid the press by sliding your finger off of it. (You should have noticed by now that most computer screen buttons activate when you let go of them, not when you press them.)

Well, what do you suppose happened when I slid my finger off the physical on/off switch? It didn't activate!!

I can't understand it, but I'm happy with the results.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Djokovic, Edmund, 2018: Double bounce: Lots more to say…

I watched short clips of the incredible moment at Wimbledon 2018, where the umpire gave a point to Kyle Edmund after he hit a ball on the second bounce. I was sure there was more to it than that brief clip, so I watched the fourth set in which the incident occurred. Adding some background makes this triple, or maybe even quadruple umpiring error even more interesting.

For those of you who have not seen the clip, Djokovic hit a soft ball to Edmund’s forehand when Edmund was moving away to guard his other side. Edmund desperately shifted course and scooped under the ball, hitting a nasty cross shot that Djokovic could not possibly reach. Edmund’s cross shot, however, was out (it was not called out). Edmund dropped his racket in the followthrough, and his momentum took him to the net. Edmund wound up with both hands on the net as Djokovic began to argue with the umpire. The commentators believed the umpire was claiming that Edmund had gotten his racket under the ball before it bounced, and the ball came off the edge of the frame. Djokovic said later he simply argued that Edmund’s shot was impossible unless he hit the ball after the second bounce. (The video shows clearly that the ball bounced twice before Edmund hit it.)

Quite amazingly, this umpiring error cost Djokovic two points. The umpire assessed a penalty for delaying the game while he argued. It’s a good thing for that umpire that Djokovic managed to win the match.

First of all, why didn’t Edmund concede the point? It is possible, as he insisted afterwards, that he had no idea what had happened. But on the previous point, Edmund’s sense of injustice must have risen to astronomical levels. Novak Djokovic had hit a serve that the linesman called out (a long ball), just as Edmund swung at it. Edmund’s return was long. The umpire overruled the line judge (correctly, I believe) and called the serve in. Edmund asked to replay the point. The umpire ruled that even if the ball had been called in, Edmund failed to return it, and gave Djokovic the point. Edmund argued that he would have hit the ball better if it had been called in.

This is an umpire’s judgment call, and you could see it made Edmund furious. When he went after that ball on the double bounce, I would not blame him for feeling that the universe owed him one point. Now it is clear that Djokovic won the point, because:
  1. The ball double-bounced
  2. Edmund hit it out (Djokovic could not see this, and he did not challenge; the Hawkeye showed it was out)
  3. Edmund dropped his racket hitting the ball. He could have been called for throwing his racket.
  4. Edmund’s forward motion took him into the net. The umpire should have noticed this before Djokovic occupied his attention.
Why didn’t the linesman call Edmund’s shot out? The commentators on TennisTV believed the linesman stopped paying attention as soon as the ball double-bounced. It was obvious to the linesman that the point was over.

What fascinated me most was the aftermath. If you have a chance to see a replay of the rest of the match, you will see two incredibly angry players fighting every point. Usually, players impress me with their deep concentration, but here, they both felt unfairly treated and furious.
Kyle Edmund is a British player, and this incident occurred on his home ground in Wimbledon. Before this point was played, the crowd seemed almost divided in their applause. But the crowd had no patience for Djokovic’s argument with umpire. After play continued, they roared with approval every time Edmund scored a point.

I can’t wait to see the aftershocks from this incident. Some people called Edmund a cheater for failing to concede the point. (But please note, it is possible he really did not realize what he had done.) I personally think Edmund should have conceded the point for touching the net.
The umpire is going to be awesomely criticized. And please note that the bad call just happened to favor the home player.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Learn a lot about architecture while howling with laughter

Kate Wagner has created a website about the atrociousness of McMansions, called McMansionHell. Hers is a rather deep website. While you read her sendups of the awful aesthetics of McMansions, you will learn a lot of terminology and a lot about architectural principles of style and beauty. And you will laugh.

She demonstrates that McMansions not only look funny on the outside. They tend to be weird inside, expensive to maintain, poor investments, and often bad for their surroundings.

Her Certified Dank™page takes us inside some of these McMansions, for some of her funniest observations. A number of McMansions apparently have a "Great Room", a room with a very high ceiling and a great deal of misproportioned space. Commenting on one of these rooms, she points to a small fan hanging, oh, maybe eighteen feet from the floor, and says, "if you think your job is futile, imagine being this fan."

I am definitely a fan of this website, and I look forward to her search for the worst McMansion in every state.

Monday, July 02, 2018

But it feels like...

I checked the temperature at my favorite weather web page today, and it told me the temp was 99 (Fahrenheit), but it felt like 97. I wondered how the air could feel like 97. I suspect that, just as there are people with extraordinary taste, who can tell us when there is a hint of raspberry in coffee, or a hint of chocolate in a whiskey, there must be natural experts who can feel the temperature.

I imagine a conversation between one of these experts, Herb, and a weather scientist named Candice.

Candice: The temperature gauge says 99 degrees, Herb, what do you think?

Herb (shakes his limbs a bit, taps the back of his left hand with two fingers, and take a deep breath): I'd say it feels like 97.

Candice: Amazing! That's just what the computer predicted. We must be right on.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Shelby Lyman's chess column has been pretty accurate lately, but...

Here is one needing correction. I read this column in the Times of Trenton of June 10, 2018. The problem is:

Lyman gives 1... Re6, but despite what he says, it does not threaten mate. Please enjoy the pretty positions in which black wins after 1. ...c3 !

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Security advice for Apple:

I don't want to opine on Facebook anymore, so, once again: I'll blog here.

On my iPhone and my iPad, from time to time, Apple requires me to type in my password so that I can go back to using my fingerprint. Quite obviously, the screen into which I am required to type my password consists of nothing but a keyboard.

It is a keyboard in relatively light lettering, probably close to invisible in some lighting, but much worse: it is an ordinary Apple keyboard, in which you have to do a lot of shifting to get numbers, upper case and punctuation. Now Apple, and in fact all security advocates, want us to use interesting passwords, right? Not just a bunch of lower case letters? So why not give us a password keyboard with KEYS FOR JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING. Go ahead, give us seven rows of keys. There's plenty of room on the screent.