Appropriate Technology

For years I have seen all kinds of neat lil gadgets and hacks to aid in driving nails without smashing one’s fingers, and I chuckle at them all. The problem with hammering fingers from a missed hammer blow is caused by two factors: poor hammer technique and holding a nail “pinched” between one’s forefinger and thumb.

The “appropriate technology” for preventing smashed finger/thumb is present on almost everyone’s own hands. Simply turn the hand used to hold the nail for starting palm up and hold the nail between the index and middle fingers. Even if one misses the nail strike, a starter blow (should be a light tap) will not hit bone and fingernails directly but a cushion of flesh.

In the decades I have used this technique, since being shown by my paternal grandfather, I’ve not even had any noticeable bruising in the few times I’ve missed an initial hammer strike.

And yeh, few times. PRACTICE MAKES PERMANENT (or nearly so, at least). Practicing holding a hammer correctly, striking correctly, holding nails correctly: all these make for a much better experience, and not just in lessening injuries from missed initial hammer strikes but also in lessening fatigue during long (whatever “long” is to the user *heh*)sessions hammering nails.

Sometimes, the appropriate technology is right at the end of one’s arms.

Bush Hogging

About once a month (or so–depends), when it reaches the stage where vigorous brushing doesn’t result in a manageable mass of hair, The Beard begs to be trimmed back. (Yeh, I anthropomorphize the thing. You live with one on and off–but almost entirely on–for 40+ years and darned if you don’t, too. *heh*)

Below, just after stage one of trimming: bush hogging.

Note the “stragglies” (and the flat affect; this is after only one cuppa joe, so available facial expression is very limited). Stragglies require careful attention from barber shears. That’ll wait until after I am fully caffeinated.

BTW, this is as self-identifying as any photo of me anywhere available to the web gets, save for my DL, and it, at least, has some minor (very minor; almost non-existent) limitations on access. Other photos of me on the web (see my favicon for example) are less helpful to those seeking my face, not that anyone not suffering from some sort of traumatic brain damage wants to do so.

Rescue Kittehs

Almost two months ago, now, a young female cat showed up here at TWC Central. Thin as a rail, except for the “preggers bulge,” with a rather horrid gash on her face. She seemed to want to be friendly, but was leery of contact. I did manage to get her wound cleaned and dressed, but coming inside was. . . not happening.

So, fed her and continued wound care.

Shortly afterwards, her “preggers bulge” disappeared, so we knew what that more than likely meant.

About six weeks ago, she showed up one day with a couple of her kittens. Over the next week, another showed up. later, I briefly saw one, with a “weepy eye,” that was both VERY skittish and was definitely the runt. Only saw it one time, though. *sigh*

Today, the kittens go to a no-kill shelter, and momma cat stays with us (to be spayed shortly). Tough choice. Still, while she has turned out to be a really sweet girl, she’s not a prime adoption candidate, both from appearance (largely the wound, though it’s healed now, but also general appearance) and because she’s whole. She’ll probably never be a “pretty” cat, but she’s a sweetie.

Only one pic, right now, and that just one of the kittens.

Seriously Creeped Out…

. ..by the simple fact that so very, very many people cannot see the difference between

“All ____ aren’t” and “Not all ____ are.”

The two statements say distinctly different things, but many people (most, in my experience) use the first one when they intend the second meaning.

Mind-boggling to realize that so very many people are so far divorced from simple logic.

That “War on Fats”? Yeh, Bogus

I have found the war on fats to be suspicious for over 40 years, ever since I was notified that my contribution to a fats/diet “study” was thrown out for being too atypical. Seriously: I was asked to come back to have more samples drawn because my blood lipids were too low for their model, given my high fats intake–lots of cream, butter, red meats, eggs, etc., and then was told they couldn’t use my contribution. At least they were “honest” about the dishonesty of the “study”… THAT surprised me. Second time, I was looked at suspiciously, as though I were lying about my diet. *shrugs* What can I say? I’ve always like fat. ๐Ÿ™‚

This article is just one more confirmation–of many over the last year or so–that I was right to suspect the “war on fats” to be based on bogus info.

Viewpoint and Perspective

The Mass MEdia Podpeople Hivemind viewpoint exacerbated by an almost complete lack of historical knowledge and perspective in our society exaggerates the effect of reports of current events on public awareness and opinion. The Houston flooding is a current example.

There’s no doubt the flooding in the Houston area is devastating, and is comparable to some of the worst flooding the area has experienced in the last 100 years, but–and this is in no way intended to minimize the property damage and loss of life–while the flooding there has approached record levels, several floods in the past 100 years have had higher crests and been at least as widely spread and devastating.

Of course, Houston is more populous now than it was during what was arguably THE most devastating flood of the past, in 1935, but heck, even though I’m not really conversant in Texas history, I’ve had enough relatives from Texas (including grandparents who were Texas transplants in Oklahoma) to have been aware that Houston has experienced many floods in the past.

As always, when I hear of folks devastated by natural events in locales where such things are common, I have to wonder, “Why were folks so very unprepared for such an event?” (Let alone wondering, “Why live in a flood plain?” *heh*) Now, readers here may recall that in April we were surprised by a flood that affected our own property–even invading our basement, a flood that exceeded “100 year flood” levels and was widely, throughout the county, well above and beyond any flooding in the historical record, cresting over even a 100-year-old “historical” bridge that had never been flooded.

And yes, there were folks living in flood plains who were flooded far, far worse than we were, outside any known flood plain (and I have FEMA maps–outdated NOW!–showing we are not in a flood plain, for that matter). Yes, even with the commonsense precaution we took years ago to deliberately NOT buy a home in a flood plain, though we looked at some nice places that were in a flood plain–we experienced flooding, but. . .

Lil tidbit from the link above, for additional perspective:

“Dec. 8, 1935: Flooding to second and third floors of downtown buildings; Houston central water plant inoperable for weeks. . .”

  • My Wonder Woman had a bugout bag ready in case it got bad enough. We also had plenty of supplies on hand in case were had to “bug in,” as it were (including both wash water and potable water, as well as a means to filter and sanitize more, if necessary). Most folks I know were similarly prepared.
  • Most folks in the county handled things expeditiously, WELL before FEMA blundered in.
  • No lives lost. While some of that might be related to our sparse population, I suspect the most likely reason is that most folks didn’t need to be told when to seek higher ground, and also knew to not stupidly drive into high water.

Non-stupid behavior pays off.

While its nice to be able to depend on the kindness of strangers1, NOT having to depend on it is smarter, IMO. Just sayn’.

But, it’s so much better for Mass MEdia Podpeople Hivemind ratings to “celebrate” (as it were), or at least not condemn, mass stupidity.

Again, not minimizing the property damage and loss of life (stupid people are people too), just noting: no one who is at all aware of past events finds the Houston flood at all surprising.


1With a tip o’ the tam to Blanche DuBois. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We Are Doomed

Seen elsewhere (and very slightly redacted to obscure the source):

“If I would have [sic] known I would have went [sic] there. . . “1

*head-desk* This is what passes for literacy in our society today. When such garbled gibberish can actually pass an editor and be published, it’s no wonder folks are so badly under-mis-disinformed: they are unable, based on the evidence of speech and writing, to even think straight.


1While I cannot imagine either of my readers *heh* scratching their heads over my comments on this sentence, here:

“If I had known, I would have gone there.”

Selling Fear

A brief, off-the-cuff mini-micro-rant and observation.

Looking askance at the economy, it seems that the single largest influence on the economy is fear. Peer pressure, uncertainty for the future, personal physical safety: all these and more are just tools for moving products. Heck, just the need for more and more (and better and better, for values of “better” that specifically include “flashier” and “new” as primary values) “stuff” and ways to preserve the “more stuff”lifestyle constitutes a delightful lode of fear for sellers of “stuff”to mine.

So, what brought this mini-rant on, apart from years of observing the selling power of fear (yeh, I used to sell insurance, so? *sigh*)? A TV ad for a home security service that portrayed a happy family get-together and proclaimed that such get-togethers are only possible when one feels safe, followed by a display of the home security service’s logo, implying that such events are only possible when one’s home is secured by such a service.

*throws the bullshit flag*

Look, burglaries, robberies and other home invasions are actually relatively rare,1 on average, and can be made rarer still in one’s personal exerience by means of several simple, relatively inexpensive measures.

  1. Good locks, doors, and windows, to start.
  2. Clear notice that you are armed and willing to defend yourself, your loved ones and your property with deadly force. (Check your local laws on that last, to be sure you can do so and remain safe from law enFARCEment persecution.)
  3. Location, location, location. Where you choose to live may have the greatest impact on your home safety.

Of course there is more that one can do, but those three measures will eliminate most home invasion crimes. And the last one really is probably the single most important thing you can do to prevent home invasion crimes. The data supports my personal experience. In my whole lifetime, I have personally experienced a home invasion crime one time. The week after my wedding to my Wonder Woman, while we were away on our honeymoon, our home was burglarized. Of course, our home at the time was in “the better part of the ghetto” (as it was called by its denizens) which was a high crime area, for both property and violence against persons. Since then, about 40 years, we have elected to live in low crime areas and have experienced no such things. Yes, small data set, but larger data sets support the “location, location, location” principle.

The chief measure one can take, though, even more important than choosing a relatively safe location, is to make an attitude adjustment, and make regular attitude checks. Practice little things like thinking through how you would break into your own home. Fix that. *heh* Be aware of what is going on in your community, in your neighborhood. “Keep your head on a swivel” is not just something for guys in combat.


1Stats are hard to come by since so many different definitions and circumstances are applied/recorded, but FBI stats from 2009–yeh, I know, a lifetime ago *heh*–indicate that in that year, 5 people (note, not “households” which would be a far smaller number) in 100,000 experienced a home invasion in that year.