Thursday, August 11, 2022

Lily (the Cat) Understands Static Electricity

Lily
My son's cat, Lily, who lives with us, has learned about static electricity. She's a smart cat, so this isn't a surprise. I've talked about how petting her causes static electricity and slightly painful shocks before. But Lily has learned that being touched or touching can cause pain. If I pet her, then touch her head, she'll flinch expecting a shock, which she sometimes gets. And when she walks over my leg as I'm sitting, she moves her paw close to it, pulls back, and then sets it down on my leg. She knows she might get shocked. 

I suppose this could just be a Pavlovian response. She's learned through experience. But isn't that how we all learn outside of formal schooling? It amazes me, though, that she knows enough to be wary of static electricity.

I don't know if other cats do this. This is the first cat I've had around as an adult. And the only cat I've had in the dry environment where I live.

Aside: I swear I remember in school learning that in the 18th century, someone rubbed a glass rod with a cat skin and got static electricity. There might be something about cat hide that makes static electricity happen more easily.

Does your cat know about static electricity? Or is Lily just extra smart. Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Popular Blogs

I blog for a couple of reasons. One: I'm trying to sell books. But, also, it's a good way for me to get my thoughts down on... pixels.  

According to this website, there are certain types of blogs that are most popular. They are not in any particular order (as in most popular first). But here's a selection of them:

Fashion blogs: I know almost nothing about fashion. I'm more of a jeans and T-shirt kind of guy.

Food blogs: Anyone who knows me, knows I like food. But I can't see writing about it much except maybe restaurant reviews. But I don't go to that many restaurants, anyway. I live in a small town and the selection is limited (we do have two McDonalds).

Travel blogs: Due to health reasons, I can't really travel much. And I hate flying. If I can't drive there in one day, I don't want to go.

Music blogs: I've talked about music. But I don't listen to new music (anything past the early 1990s). So unless I rehash what I love about 70s rock music, I'm not going to fill a whole blog about it. And I don't know a lot about music. Just what I like but not the details of how it is made.

Fitness blogs: Har dee har har.

DIY blogs: This has to do with do it yourself (DIY) projects mostly around the home. Me, I can barely pound a nail straight. If I need something done around the house, I call a handyman or contractor.

Political blogs: I used to have a blog that was mostly political. I avoid politics here because why alienate half your audience. As Michael Jordon said (and I paraphrase), "Republicans buy sneakers too."

There's lots more. Probably this blog comes closest to being a "personal blog." I know there are blogs out there that get thousands of page views a day. I feel lucky if I get thirty. 

What kind of blogs do you read? What blog topics interest you? Let me know in the comments below.


Thursday, July 28, 2022

I Had COVID

After two and a half years of the pandemic, I finally tested positive for COVID. I suspect I caught it on July 7th or 8th. I started feeling symptoms on the 12th. I did a COVID test on the 13th and it came back positive. I have no idea where or how I caught it. Interestingly, my wife didn't have it when I did. We think she caught it from me.

I've had both COVID shots and one booster. At my age, I'm eligible for two boosters, but I never got the second one. My symptoms were mild-ish. The first few days I coughed so much my ribs and diaphragm hurt. My nose ran constantly and I was taking DayQuil Extreme to control symptoms. That helped, I suppose. The fatigue was what I hated. I only had energy to sleep or watch TV. And I slept a lot. I got behind on my reading because I didn't have the energy to do so.

But, on the evening of Monday the 18th my breathing was very labored and my nail beds were turning blueish. I sign of too little oxygen. So I went to the ER. I was there about eight hours, leaving a little before 1AM. At first they were talking about admitting me for a day or two. Which I really didn't want. But then they said if my blood oxygen saturation stayed over 90% with no added oxygen, I could go home. It did.

They gave me an X-ray and a CAT scan. The nurse said all that showed up was COVID. So they shot me with a steroid to reduce inflammation. The problem with steroids is that I'm bipolar. And steroids make me (and every other bipolar person, I assume) manic. They said they gave me a small dose but I still got very silly and was singing in the halls as they wheeled me off to the CAT scan.

They also gave me a monoclonal anti-viral agent that the FDA has "emergency" approved. I don't know if it helped or not. But I did start feeling a little better. But I might have gotten better anyway.

The hardest part was the "self-isolation." I didn't leave the house for nearly two weeks except for that ER trip.

So now, after nearly three weeks, I'm feeling better and I'm back among the living.

Have you had COVID? How was your experience? Let me know in the comments below.



Thursday, July 21, 2022

History

Apollo 11: The Eagle
I recently had a birthday. Reminded me of all I've seen throughout my life. The first national event I remember is John F. Kennedy's funeral. I turned on the television and there was this boring parade on. And it was on both channels! Later in life when I saw pictures of that funeral, I realized that's what I had been watching. I don't remember the Kennedy assassination itself, though. I was three years old at the time. And I just dated myself.

I remember the moon landings. I was amazed by them. I thought we were entering the space age and when I was an adult, I could live on the moon. I had just turned nine. We are coming up on 53rd anniversary of the first one (July 20, 1969). And no one is living on the moon.

I remember the Vietnam War, Watergate, the fall of Saigon. I remember Nixon's resignation. 

I could go on, but I won't.

I met someone the other day who was just turning 21. So they were born in 2001. For them, 9/11 is history. You'd probably have to be born in 1996 about to remember 9/11. My youngest son was born in 1994 and he remembers it.

I have lived so much history. But younger people have not. My father was born in 1930. He's seen so much more than I. When he goes, so will a lot of what he knows about history.

It amazes me that anyone doesn't remember 9/11 because they are too young. They'll have to study it in school. 

What events do you remember? What history are you afraid is being lost? Let me know in the comments below.


Thursday, July 14, 2022

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

The first season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (SNW) is over and is was, pretty much, very good.

I almost gave up after the first episode was a) boring and b) violated Star Trek canon with Spock and T'Pring (and had Vulcans acting human), and c) got political.

But after that, the writers laid off the politics and the series ended up being fun. Except I wish they'd skip the whole Spock/T'Pring stuff. 

I like Captain Pike. It's been a long time since I've seen "The Cage"/"The Menagerie" so I don't know how his character fits with the Pike seen in those episodes. It sometimes seems they are trying to make him like the Pike in the Kelvin Timeline. But Pike here is a man with a sense of duty to his crew and a sense of humor. His leadership style is more friendly than I think Star Fleet would like.

Number One in "The Cage"/"The Menagerie" was more Spock-like than the character in SNW.

The penultimate episode had shades of Alien/Aliens except with the species the Gorn not xenomorphs. 

The best episode of the season was definitely the last. No spoilers, but it helps to know your original series episodes. 

After that first episode misstep, the series has become fun and interesting. It is, I think, my favorite of the three current Star Trek series. I'm looking forward to season two.

The above photo is being used under Section 107 of the Copyright Act: fair usage.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Better Call Saul Season Six Second Half

There are six episodes of Better Call Saul left. They start on Monday the 11th. It's been a long wait since the seventh episode of this last season aired May 23rd.

When I first started watching, I thought the show was going to be about Saul Goodman's days as a crooked lawyer. But it was more about Jimmy McGill's downfall to become Saul. But the show is so well done, I was enraptured from the start. See, I don't only watch Star Trek.

*Spoilers ahead for season six part one*

I never quite understood why Jimmy and Kim worked so hard to destroy Howard Hamlin. Yes, he was a jerk to both of them, but did he deserve to be ruined?

Having said that, it was fun to watch them do it, especially in episode seven of season six, "Plan and Execution" (a double meaning if you've seen the episode). Better Call Saul is what I call a "handcrafted show." There's not a detail that isn't significant. And as the plan to ruin Howard's reputation grew, letting the viewer in on more and more information, it was simply a delight to watch. I had to pause every now and then and giggle at how well the plan worked.

But then came the shocker at the end of "Plan and Execution." The writers and producers left us hanging not knowing what's going to happen next. 

I can't talk about Better Call Saul without talking about Mike, played brilliantly by Jonathan Banks. If you watched Breaking Bad, you know what happens to him. Which makes it all the more tragic about his descent in being basically a hood for a drug dealer. We don't see his first murder, but we know it happened.

I will be DVRing Monday's episode and probably watching it Tuesday. It's been a long wait.

Will Walter White and/or Jesse Pinkman make an appearance? We'll have to see. What ever happens, it will be well written, well done, and probably surprising.

Have you watched Better Call Saul? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments below.

The above photo is being used under Section 107 of the Copyright Act: fair usage.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe

Over the weekend I watched  Beavis And Butt-Head Do The Universe on Paramount+. I was looking forward to it because Beavis And Butt-Head Do America (1996) was brilliant and funny and worked as social satire.

You might remember the Beavis and Butt-Head show on MTV in the 90s. It was controversial for lots of reasons. But it was done by Mike Judge and I thought it was a brilliant satire of the nihilism of many young men in America. Beavis and Butt-Head have two things they are interested in: hard rock music and "scoring." Today, we'd call them "incels."

Beavis And Butt-Head Do The Universe starts in the 1990s but the pair of idiots is sent into the future (which takes way too long). They are dropped in 2022. Now having these two in the "woke" 2020s was an amazing idea. Unfortunately, it was not executed well. They did wander into a feminist studies course in a college where they were told they had "white privilege" and could do whatever they wanted and not worry about the police. So, they do whatever they want. And get arrested.

I was disappointed. Maybe that type of humor doesn't work anymore. Of course, I'm 26 years older. Maybe that type of humor doesn't work for me anymore. 

Oh, and I swear Bobby Hill makes a cameo appearance as an adult.

This is, by the way, my 1,200th blog post on this blog!

The above photo is being used under Section 107 of the Copyright Act: fair usage.