Monday, November 30, 2009

Funniest Moments (funny moments are non-competitive so they're all funniest)

The Pants Thief

So I was on my way to the laundromat. Newly single mom, living on a quiet tree lined street pulling a shopping cart (not the grocery store type one but the other one!) filled with laundry. Took another street that was pretty much deserted, then got to the bigger one with the laundromat at corner.

But then realized that my favorite purple corduroy pants (with the wide waistband -- where oh where did my hourglass figure go?) was missing. So I assumed it must have dropped off the cart. I left the laundry there and retraced my steps.

And lo and behold, I could see a small purple mound at a distance on the sidewalk of the quiet street! But but then, a beige station wagon screeched to a stop right next to the pants, a man jumped out and made for the pants. By this time I was running and yelling, hey, these are mine! The man looked at me, grabbed the pants and jumped back in the car. I pursued the car a ways yelling but by then I was laughing so hard I could barely stand up.

I tried telling this incredible story at work but I had a hard time because each time I couldn’t help laughing before the end....

Five years later I made a new friend and I told her the story. She said “I know this guy. There’s only one like him (the town had 30,000 people at the time) and he did drive a beige station wagon.”

And who was that dastardly pants thief? That’s for another post..... (And what did he do with my pants –I shudder to think!)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Who me?

Kati is my name, asking questions is my game!

My motto: "Confusion is the mother of Wisdom." (Confusion tends to be promiscuous so the identity of Wisdom's father is open to speculation)


From foreign student in Kalamazoo (from Belgium via Hungary, Switzerland,France) to marrying young (to a Latvian via the UK) and disregarding my mother's frantic cables: "Can't you just live with him?" My mom was way ahead of her time and time proved that she knew best, but my two kids and now one grandkid are awesome, and so is my new partner of the last 29 years.

From sales clerk (at Steuben no less!) to fry cook, to cultural-social anthropologist/translator/teacher to writing blogs in the Northwest woods....

Like other Flysters I came to this site through reading the amazing posts following "Dear Prudence" on Slate. Yes, gossip is fascinating. It's actually the cornerstone of anthropology (even bones are gossips!), not to mention it helps keep abreast with our species' deepest concerns (Hey you! Stop laughing already!).

This blog is addressed and dedicated to all those who haven't stopped saying "why?" as they grew up, and even now refuse to take "Because!" for an answer

This blog will frequently start sentences with “But” as well as indulge in strange punctuation, occasional weird spelling and lots and lots of parentheses (Please be advised that any and all cussing will be in French).

In My Neck of the Woods, the Galaxy, the Great Etc...

Alien Life and Flogging

So this guy suffering (or benefiting) from Asperger syndrome wondered if the US govt had had contact with “aliens from outer space” and kept it hidden from us.

Garry McKinnon, is a Brit and from the UK who, between 2001 and 2002, hacked into one hundred US military and NASA computers looking for evidence of contact. The discussion in the fray following the article (haven’t been able to provide link but it’s in the Slate science section) had to do with demanding proper punishment and arguing that Asperger shouldn’t be used as a reason to deny his deportation to the US. But that’s not all! Flogging, hanging were invoked, as well as the weird notion that the framers of the constitution were used to having people drawn and quartered (as if it wasn’t documented that they opposed judicial torture and that’s why they prohibited “cruel and unusual” punishments).

Actually, this hacker did the US govt a favor by showing how vulnerable our systems were. At any rate, spies surely already hacked into all the govt computers, albeit more discretely, and I’m sure we have hacked into the computers of all other governments across our little globe.

BUT that’s not really the point. The point is did that guy find trace of alien communication (in addition to the traces left by himself!) and if he did, what was it? I tried bringing up this question in that fray as I thought it more interesting than arguing whether we should go back to flogging and hanging “evildoers” (of course in spite of the article, many posters thought he had “taken down” thousands of armed forces computers, and the number kept on growing) but I was promptly told I must be nuts (too true!). So what do ya’ll think? Did he or didn’t he find something about alien contacts?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oh It's You? No It's Me.

Are mosquitoes robots?

“I Is A Strange Loop,” that’s what Douglas Hofstadter (no no, not that Hofstadter, the other one!) wanted to call his book but his publisher objected (as publishers are wont to do) so he had to call it I Am A Strange Loop.

So boys and girls, I am trying to read this loopy book and I’m hoping someone (anyone?) will join me. Incidentally, the book should be in most libraries but I got it through the used book section of Amazon (no no, not that Amazon, the .com one!): it costs me one buck plus $3.50 in shipping (thieves I say!). The good thing about owning the book is that you can write all sorts of irrelevant things in the margins (like phone messages and oodles of doodles), as well as argue with the distinguished author....

The book has to do with loops and selves and at some point something with math (supposedly couched in words ignoramuses like me and I could comprehend –help!)

I didn’t get very far yet but I did get to the point where our very own Douggie at age 14 accompanied his parents to a camera shop where the clerk demonstrated the sort of video cam (brand new at the time) where the picture shows on a TV screen. Amazing! So our very clever 14 year old aimed the camera at the computer screen itself... The clerk started screaming in terror that the kid would injure himself, the TV set would surely explode and implode all at once, and cause the earth, nay the universe, to rip asunder, etc etc.. So like any inquisitive kid, our author wondered why. His parents bought the gizmo and as soon as they got home our Douggie aimed it at the TV set. It didn’t break and he lived to tell about it! No only that, when he came of age, he repeated the experiment with various objects. The results were amazing ever expanding patterns that didn’t seem to have anything to do with the original objects. Those intriguing images are in the book, the one on the cover began with him just holding his hand in front of the screen, and the rest is history...

Well you’ve guessed it, the book has to do with “self referentiality,” or in plainer words, with the way we are able to refer to the self, selfhood, I, me, etc... I won’t go into it yet because I’m still trying to figure out what he’s saying, and right now my head feels like a pocketless pool table and all the balls keep on knocking against each other and sometimes they stick into clusters and sometimes they don’t (this ever since I tried to comprehend one of the beginning chapters where he compares our brain to that very same thing. Oh the power of suggestion! But I don’t think I’ve clusters in my brain, just lots of loose billiard balls that are getting looser all the time –but I digress....)

One thing that bugs me though, it’s Hofstadter’s claim that mosquitoes are like robots. Now that seems loopy to me. What do ya’ll think?