Category Archives: Miscellanea

The art of the long-playing record

As I think I mentioned a while back, TYG and I are now one of those couples who schedule regular date nights (or date days depending on the event). Between the pandemic and the brutal demands of her old job, we’d gotten out of the habit of doing stuff together and we both want to change that. So our date a couple of weeks back was to hit Whole Foods — we usually go to a closer supermarket — and then visit a couple of thrift stores. It was fun and I came home with several books and DVDs.

I also stopped to browse the vinyl for sale. Not that I have a record player, but I do love the art on the old album covers. So here are some photos.#SFWApro. All rights to cover images remain with current holders.

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Reflect on this!

TYG and I went to the North Carolina Museum of Art, which reopened after its recent remodeling. And the first new thing we encountered was this outdoor exhibit:It’s like Lady of Shanghai, where Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth have a shootout in a hall of mirrors! Only, you know, not.

#SFWApro.

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Would you like some cheese with these wines?

No deep point here, I just like wine labels.Astonishingly, this one was not for an amontillado. It feels very Poe.#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holders.

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A cat, a tortoise and an opossum walk into a bar …

Just some random animal photos from recent weeks. First, Snowdrop, snug in his planter.

Then we have this guy whom I helped across the road. Though TYG told me afterwards that they prefer being lifted from under their belly rather than by the shell. I didn’t know.And then we have Pogo II or III (I’m not sure, but they don’t live long) feasting off leftover cat food.#SFWApro.

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This has no good ending, does it?

Art by Virgil Finlay.

But who knows? Maybe she’s going to fly down and help the guy. Things can surprise you. This week a friend of mine called and told me to expect their funeral within six months, eight at best. Turns out the only thing wrong with them was using Dr. Google as their primary-care physician. They’re fine. For which I am very grateful.

#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.

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A remake of Lady In A Cage (1964) starring Wisp!

So last Saturday it was that day we worry about every year: time for Wisp to get her annual checkup.

Not that she shows any signs of ill-health, but she’s an indoor/outdoor cat who doesn’t always show up in the mornings. Even if she does, we have to find some way to get her into a pet carrier or cage. We made the appointment a month before her annual checkup was due precisely to give us time if we had to make a backup appointment.

As it turned out, it was easy. She came in that morning. I scattered a few kibbles in the cage, she stretched to reach them, I picked her up and dropped her inside, closing the door before she could bolt. She tried clinging to the bars with her rear foot, but she lost.

Then it was just sitting for two hours, listening to her pitiful meows for mercy and freedom.I tried putting the sheet over her cage to calm her. It didn’t work and she kept clawing at the sheet until most of it was inside the cage with her.

In the past they’ve doped her up at the vet before examining her. This year, their new vet asked if she’d be okay to handle without anesthetic. I said they could try it. I also agreed to come in so Wisp could have some moral support from her human. To my surprise, once they bundled her in a towel she was pretty compliant.Maybe having me there helped.

The results? Bloodwork good, vaccines all injected and she’s only 9.5 pounds or so. TYG had worried Wisp was getting heavy but it must have been winter fluff on her coat.

This threw my Saturday schedule way off. With anesthetic it usually takes a couple of hours before we pick her up. I’d figured on using the time to get some shopping done, but instead I wound up sitting at the vet for 45 minutes or so, then taking Wisp home, then feeding her. But she’s my cat, so she comes first. And not being anesthetized means we can let her outside without having to worry she’s too zonked to defend herself. Instead, she sat and waited for the rest of her breakfast, which I provided.

Snowdrop’s turn comes in about three months. I hope it’s as easy.

#SFWApro.

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I am tentatively optimistic I have neither long covid or monkeypox

Which is a roundabout way of saying I spent the past week on vacation in Florida, realm of “Typhoid Ron” DeSantis. in Fort Walton Beach, which is dedicated Trump Country so I doubt vax rates are very high. And, of course, flying there alongside god knows who. But if I don’t show any symptoms this week, I guess masking as much as possible paid off.

I picked the date because I’d missed my sister Tracy the last couple of times she went on stage and last weekend she was directing Daddy’s Girl, a comedy about a diner owner possibly meeting his long-lost daughter. Here’s the set:It’s a fun show (review in the next couple of weeks).

TYG has always mocked me for showing up the recommended 2 hours before departure and treating 90 minutes as the absolute minimum. At 5:30 June 9, though, Raleigh Durham Airport was packed, inside and out.I feel justified.

As the overheads on all the flights were packed, it turns out I made a smart move just bringing my backpack. Only three hard-copy books but I had a ton of ebooks I wanted to catch up on, so that worked out well for me.

During the trip I got to spend time with Tracy, our mutual best friend Cindy and her sister Deborah, and meet their dog, Raven Marie. Raven was initially suspicious about a stranger in the house, but she soon warmed up. She showed this by licking me at every opportunity.

I wound up spending more time with my Dad than anticipated, hanging out at his apartment and driving him on a few errands. That was fine, but left me without much time to see anyone else. It’s been two years-plus since I made it down so I think it’s excusable to prioritize family, but I still feel a little guilty. Next time I go, I’ll plan in advance so that I can see Dad and still make time for friends.

And what the heck, I did get the excitement of following Dad around Publix and Sam’s Club. I also got to use his car for myself which let me visit the waterfront during the morning without having to use Lyft or a rental.It’s pretty on the waterfront.Mostly, anyway.

In addition to the gunk, I also got to see a homeless man washing in Santa Rosa Sound and a woman in a cart riding after a black guy she’d been arguing with and shrieking racial epithets. I thought about intervening but he was easily outdistancing her, she wasn’t drawing a gun or calling cops on him so I stayed back.

I did not sleep well — unless I’m beyond exhausted, I wake up between 3:30 and 5 no matter how late I go to bed. And that’s Eastern time, where the Florida Panhandle is on Central so when my hosts go to sleep at 9 or 9:30, it’s 10-10:30 PM for me.

Even so I relaxed a lot. Nothing that had to be done beyond hanging out and relaxing, and after the past couple of months with TYG’s job, that was a welcome break. Even though I didn’t do any stretching while I was there, my body felt quite relaxed. Even my feet were comfortable, which is interesting. Here at home, they routinely feel so stiff I assumed it was age and arthritis, aggravated by bad posture (I get in some weird positions when Plushie stretches out in my lap). Apparently it’s all posture and none of it’s age. So I can fix it if I just figure out how to sit or how often to get up or whatever it is I was doing in Florida that I don’t do normally. This is cool.

I made it back Wednesday and will resume work this morning. For obvious reasons, no week-in-review post this afternoon as this one covers the week.

I had a great break but it’s good to be back home with TYG, the pups and Wisp. Worryingly, Snowdrop hasn’t shown in four days. Fingers crossed he’s okay (and I hope he comes back soon, because TYG adores him).

#SFWApro.

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Assorted links about science and tech

Some of these links are from last year, but they’re still interesting. Accompanied, as usual, by random comics illustrations.

In one of those “identical resumes/different gender” experiments, women were hired for STEM faculty positions twice as often as men of equal ability. As noted at the link this is not a real world experiment — nobody involved was real or actually hired — and even a slight superiority on the male side made it a slam dunk (despite shrieks online that it’s about women being picked over more qualified men).

“When AI gets attention for recovering lost works of art, it makes the technology sound a lot less scary than when it garners headlines for creating deep fakes that falsify politicians’ speech or for using facial recognition for authoritarian surveillance.” — from an article arguing that AIs researching art history are mostly just PR for the technology.

The kunga of Mesopotamia is the oldest human-created hybrid we know of, a mix of Syrian wild ass and donkey.

How game-theory AI is transforming high-stakes poker.

It’s been said that while fully automated cars are 90 percent of the way to perfection, the last 10 percent is nightmarishly hard. Case in point.

If you’re unvaccinated and catch Covid, CDC guidelines say you’re a priority for life-saving treatment ahead of other pulmonary issues.

Aww, gee, it seems right-wingers on right-wing social media are having trouble attracting followers.

What effect will massive mergers in the gaming industry have on the market?

The female “pudenda” derives from a Latin word for “shame.” Medicine is going to retire the word.

There are also a boatload of female body parts named for men.

If the Earn It Act imposes legal liability on hosting companies for posts harming children, will it also kill encryption?

There are only a few hundred Stradivarious violins. A digital project hopes to preserve their sound before time takes its toll.

“Throughout the pandemic, each time a public safety measure arrives on the scene, some experts fret that the masses will simply use the newfound sense of security as license to behave recklessly, canceling out or even reversing any benefits of the safety measure.” — On the dubious arguments that reducing danger makes the risk greater.

#SFWApro. Covers by Murphy Anderson, Gil Kane, Carmine Infantino, Mort Meskin and Jack Binder

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Cats and food

Snowdrop has decided to hang out in the planter sometimes.Wisp, meanwhile, has suddenly decided to sleep on the couch next to me or in my lap rather than on her pillow.It’s almost like they’re living creatures who change their preferences rather than wind-up toys.

And here’s the raw apple pie I mentioned planning to make. A mix of nuts, dates, apples and dried apples, it’s quite tasty. Especially with some cheddar on top.#SFWApro

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The horror — the horror!

Did any of you “go fancy” for the holidays with fruit cocktail eggnog pie?Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth would recoil from this.

#SFWApro.

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