Computerized Christmas Shopping In 1962

I wasn’t alive in 1962, so I have no idea whether this computerized shopping assistant was considered amazing at the time. But sitting here in 2018, it seems like quite a bit of rigamarole to go through just to get a few gift ideas. I always have at least a person or two on my list for whom I have no idea what to get, but generally that’s solved by going to some stores and looking around for a while. I’m not sure this computer would be much faster than the I’ll know it when I see it method, but sometimes a list of suggestions like this would be nice to have as a starting point, if nothing else.

Does the New York department store guy sound more like Elmer Fudd or Mayor Quimby to you? I can’t make up my mind.

Here’s The TV Schedule For The 2019 World Juniors

TSN just put out the broadcast schedule for this year’s World Junior Hockey Championships. I’m going to stick it here for you guys and for me, because I have a terrible memory and I’m sure I’ll be needing to find it over and over again especially with so much going on over the holidays.

And would you look at that. I get a team Canada vs. Switzerland exhibition game on my birthday. That’s pretty alright.

By the way, does it bug anyone else that they call them the 2019 championships even though they start in 2018? That annoys me every year.

These Are A Few Of Trump’s Favourite Things

Randy Rainbow Strikes again.

From the classic musical The Sound Of Mueller.

TRUMP'S FAVORITE THINGS – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody

***NEW VIDEO***What better way to kick off the holiday season than with a Sound of Mueller sing-along?! 🎶🎄🙀💖🌈🇺🇸🎁

Posted by Randy Rainbow on Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Salvation Army Christmas Kettles Are Starting To Take Plastic

This is kind of nice. I rarely have cash on me anymore, and when I do happen to have loose change it goes into a jar so that eventually I can take it to the bank and transform it into not cash I can later use to buy things electronically. It’ll be good to not have to say no when I want to give. The only down side to this catching on is that it also works the other way, making you look like an even bigger prick when you refuse because you either don’t want to or can’t give right then.

The Salvation Army’s annual kettle campaign is taking more than just loose change this year.
The charity is now accepting donations by debit or credit on portable machines. 
Nine Ontario cities are piloting point of sale machines in London, Oakville, Hamilton, Hespeler, North Bay, Georgetown, Milton, Sudbury and Listowel.

The pilot has been tried with success other parts of Canada, including Calgary and Edmonton.
Shannon Wise, a spokesperson with the Salvation Army in London, said the machines give people more options to donate.
“We have received positive feedback from donors and community members, but it is just one location, so not a lot of people know about it yet,” she said.

If you do want to give by either cash or card, the kettles will be out until Christmas Eve. No spare change? The Salvation Army kettle campaign taking debit or credit

If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Sure They Aren’t A Dish Soap Ingredient Before You Go Making That Lemonade

And now, a reminder that we can’t blame modern technology and cable news for all of the world’s ills because people have always been kind of dumb.

In 1982, the Maryland Poison Center reported almost 80 cases of people who had suffered nausea and diarrhea after drinking Sunlight dishwashing liquid. They had received free bottles of the stuff in the mail as part of a promotional campaign. The source of the confusion was a picture of lemons on the label as well as the phrase “with real lemon juice.” This led many to conclude that the bottle contained some kind of lemonade. Or a lemon-flavored drink mixer. A lot of people added it to iced tea.

A spokesman for Lever Brothers, the manufacturer of the product, noted that the bottles also clearly said, “Sunlight dishwashing liquid.”

Sunlight no longer uses the phrase “with real lemon juice.” Apparently they learned their lesson. But they’ve still got a picture of a lemon on their bottles.

If you can even believe such a thing, Weird Universe was able to dig up newspaper columns from the time that tried to defend these people. Come for this happened to a friend of mine even though she can read very well, stay for the woman who ruined a family dinner by seasoning 24 pieces of chicken with dish soap that the mailman had left by the front door that day.

I don’t know what astounds me more, to be honest. That people were so readily slugging down fucking Sunlight because it might be juice or that they would write letters to the newspaper to admit it. But I do know what wouldn’t astound me. If one of these people ended up being the one who went on to sue because Crunchberries aren’t fruit.

More Old school Blogging Vs. Social Media Talk

Here is Dan Cohen, a fellow with many more credentials than I, saying basically what I said about getting away from social media and focusing more on the blog, but in fancier words.

It was fun for a while. I met many people through Twitter who became and remain important collaborators and friends. But the salad days of “blog to reflect, tweet to connect” are gone. Long gone. Over the last year, especially, it has seemed much more like “blog to write, tweet to fight.” Moreover, the way that our writing and personal data has been used by social media companies has become more obviously problematic—not that it wasn’t problematic to begin with.
Which is why it’s once again a good time to blog, especially on one’s own domain. I’ve had this little domain of mine for 20 years, and have been writing on it for nearly 15 years. But like so many others, the pace of my blogging has slowed down considerably, from one post a week or more in 2005 to one post a month or less in 2017.

The reasons for this slowdown are many. If I am to cut myself some slack, I’ve taken on increasingly busy professional roles that have given me less time to write at length. I’ve always tried to write substantively on my blog, with posts often going over a thousand words. When I started blogging, I committed to that model of writing here—creating pieces that were more like short essays than informal quick takes.
Unfortunately this high bar made it more attractive to put quick thoughts on Twitter, and amassing a large following there over the last decade (this month marks my ten-year anniversary on Twitter) only made social media more attractive. My story is not uncommon; indeed, it is common, as my RSS reader’s weekly article count will attest.

He goes on to discuss some of the issues, both real and perceived, that keep people sticking to Facebook and the like in spite of all we know about them rather than trying to take back their own thoughts.

Technology is a big one for many people, but you don’t have to know a whole lot these days to do a halfway decent job. Look at us, for god’s sake. Can you remember the last time there wasn’t something around here that wasn’t even the tiniest bit messed up? I sure can’t. Carin, Matt (when he was here) and I have been screwing things up since day one, but it’s functional enough that most people don’t even notice or if they do, it doesn’t bother them enough that they never come back. The technology behind this stuff is so much better and dare I say more user friendly than it was 15 years ago when we started. Yes it takes more work than a Facebook page does, but trust me, the hours of frustration you will doubtless go through at times are more than made up for by the feeling of creating something of your own. And one thing to keep in mind is that you’re not alone. The internet is a big place, and shitty though it can be, it’s filled to the brim with people and places willing to help you along. For instance, one of the first things that happened when I put up that post the other night was Amanda giving me a link to IndieWeb.org. I wasn’t asking for help with anything specific when I wrote what I did, but sensing that it might come in handy later, she took a second to share, which I’m extremely thankful for. Probably not quite as thankful as future me will be, but you know.

That brings me to the other, more interesting thing Cohen touches on in his post. This idea that blogging is somehow no longer social media even though it’s been doing the core things that social media does for longer than the term social media has existed. The entire concept has always been built around finding, sharing and conversing. Literally the only difference between Facebook and your blog is that one of those things is much bigger and treats you as the product rather than a contributor. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter or your search engine of choice, you’re spending time looking for things that interest you, and then whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, email or whatever, sharing those things with other people. All that sharing starts conversations and helps build communities large and small. That’s what a blog is and has always been, and most of us who run them go out of our way to harvest as little of your personal information as we can.

It is psychological gravity, not technical inertia, however, that is the greater force against the open web. Human beings are social animals and centralized social media like Twitter and Facebook provide a powerful sense of ambient humanity—the feeling that “others are here”—that is often missing when one writes on one’s own site. Facebook has a whole team of Ph.D.s in social psychology finding ways to increase that feeling of ambient humanity and thus increase your usage of their service.
When I left Facebook eight years ago, it showed me five photos of my friends, some with their newborn babies, and asked if I was really sure. It is unclear to me if the re-decentralizers are willing to be, or even should be, as ruthless as this. It’s easier to work on interoperable technology than social psychology, and yet it is on the latter battlefield that the war for the open web will likely be won or lost.

I don’t want to think of open web people as ruthless, because corporate ruthlessness is exactly the sort of thing we’re pushing back against. What we need to be is persistent and helpful. If people you know are tired of Facebook and Twitter, convince them that they’ll be ok without them or with less of them in their lives. And if they decide that they still want an online outlet of their own for their thoughts, feelings and dick jokes, do what you can to help them get started.

Independent internet vs. big social networks doesn’t have to be a one or the other thing. That shouldn’t be the goal, because it’s not realistic or really all that helpful. The main thing is just reminding people that they have choices and that choices are better than monopolies.

Cheap plug: Since it was mentioned in the article, this seems like a good time to remind you that we have RSS feeds. There’s one for posts and one for comments so you can easily follow along with everything.

Some folks look at RSS as outdated, but those people are what I like to call wrong. It’s the damn best. I practically live in it. To put it in modern terms, think of RSS as a sort of 1-way Twitter. It’s a frequently updating stream of customizable information being thrown at you, only more organizable and without nearly so many imbeciles. All you need is a reader, which a quick Google search can help with. Or if you’re like me and use Thunderbird as your email program, you already have one. All you have to do is set it up.

Did Not See That Coming

You know what’s kind of weird? That stories like this don’t pop up more often. Charges: Woman convicted of embezzlement charged with embezzling to pay restitution

SALT LAKE CITY — A woman convicted two years ago of embezzling from her company is accused of embezzling funds from another company to, in part, pay off the debt from her prior conviction, according to charging documents.
Tina Rae Levrant-Delgado, 44, of Salt Lake City, was charged Monday in 3rd District Court with unlawful dealing of property by a fiduciary, communications fraud and theft, all second-degree felonies.

Matrix Spa, the company she’s accused of using as an ATM this time, suffered $134,177.50 in losses, $5800 of which went to pay the apartment complex management company from which she skimmed almost $200,000 during the four years she worked there.

Did Somebody Say Extra Ketchup?


This is basically your standard “I am displeased with the level of customer service and attention to detail at this establishment and shall soon turn to physical means to express such” story. We’ve been collecting them for ages, but I’m still sometimes surprised by how many there are.

Mayra Berenice Gallo
Photo of Mayra Berenice Gallo.

Mayra Berenice Gallo, 24, allegedly became enraged when she discovered there was not enough ketchup in the order when the incident occurred on Oct. 27.
After ordering in the drive-thru of the McDonald’s restaurant in the 1500 block of North Bristol Street in Santa Ana, California, she went into the restaurant through the employee entrance and asked for more ketchup.
The manager told her she couldn’t be in the building and Gallo allegedly “became combative” and started pushing, punching and choking the employee, police said.
Another worker tried to intervene and called other employees to help, the video showed.
A man who was believed to be with Gallo is credited with stopping the attack when he pulled the woman off the manager. The two then left the restaurant.

It took police a while, but they have arrested her and she’ll likely be facing assault charges.

This New Mexico You Speak Of. It Doesn’t Seem As Spanish As The Old One

The bad news: More public officials are having trouble figuring out what qualifies as America.

The good news: At least it wasn’t the TSA this time.

You know you are from flyover country when you are applying for a marriage license, give them your New Mexico driver's…

Posted by Gavin Clarkson on Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The La Cruces Sun-News reports Gavin Clarkson, who lives in Las Cruces, and his fiancee attempted to apply for a marriage license at a D.C. license bureau on Nov. 20.
Clarkson said the clerk, however, wouldn’t accept his New Mexico driver’s license, believing he was a foreign citizen. The clerk allegedly said he would have to provide an international passport to get the license.
“She thought New Mexico was a foreign country,” he told the La Cruces Sun News. “All the couples behind us waiting in line were laughing.”

Here’s the text of that Facebook post in case it ever gets taken down, because the part where she complimented his English as if he were a Mexican Mexican must be preserved.

“You know you are from flyover country when you are applying for a marriage license, give them your New Mexico driver’s license, and they come back and say “my supervisor says we cannot accept international driver’s licenses. Do you have a New Mexico passport?” They went back to a supervisor to check if New Mexico was a state … TWICE!
The new Mrs. Clarkson thinks that the most hilarious part was when the clerk complemented me on my English. (For those that don’t know, Marina immigrated from Argentina in 1994 and became a US citizen fourteen years later).”

And yes, I did notice that the confused people were in D.C., and yes, I did laugh about it. You’d figure they’d be extra careful about that sort of thing considering they’ve been on the wrong end of it at least twice now.