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Of Measurements

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measurement n. 1. The act of measuring or the process of being measured. —TheFreeDictionary
measured adj. 1. Determined by measurement. —TheFreeDictionary

In honor of Pi Day of the Century, let’s play math nerd with that. First, we’ll take the “or” in the first definition at face value, allowing us to use the second part of that definition on its own: measurement can mean the process of being measured. Next we’ll perform a simple substitution, as is so common in our own definitions, giving us: measurement can mean the process of being determined by measurement. Which, by further extension, yields: measurement can mean the process of being determined by the process of being determined by the process of being determined by the process of being determined by . . . measurement, . . . which can mean the process . . . . Oh, hello there, π! Fancy you showing up.

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Written by macheide

11 March 2015 at 3:42 pm

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Once Again?

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“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but…”

I’ve never been able to figure out completely what will or will not appear on the Facebook badge that I use on aftermath’s sidebar. I do know that if I manually enter something very specifically in the “status” field on my Facebook page, that something does show up on the badge. But other updates that make it to my Facebook page by other means – via Twitter, via various apps I use on my iPhone, or through other actions that get reflected on Facebook – seem rather random about whether or not they make it to the badge.

“…once to die” – So only just now noticing the piece from back on April 8 that Facebook has decided to carry through to today catches me a bit oddly. A verse from my reading in the Bible app I have on my iPhone, and as I recall I was focusing on Eastertime thoughts at the time I recorded the reading for my Facebook timeline. But the Facebook badge only has sufficient room for that opening clause. Which, given my own recent personal history, sparks a certain quirky smile.

Like, no sacrilege intended, except it’s a bit humorous. Try this. Forget it’s scripture and take it only as the opening line in a creative writing exercise in a college lit class, season it with some of the details from my own experience, and complete the sentence. For instance –

  • “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but” as some of us don’t bother checking our appointment books before setting up duplicate entries, we have an appointment book app that will fix things for you.
  • “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but” as there be some among us who always seem bent on pushing the edge of the envelope, we must be more specific when we set a standard that’s supposed to be absolute and final.
  • “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but” as Kurt Gödel has proved the number system to be either inconsistent or incomplete (we can’t know which), some of us don’t believe “one” means the same as the rest of us accept as obvious truth.
  • “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but” as certain of us are actuarially inclined, were we to ask how many times “once” is supposed to be, we’d only be charged those inflated professional fees to get the response “How many times do you want ‘once’ to be?
  • “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but” as the actuary thinks himself equal to a god when it comes to determining matters of life and death, he thinks he’s the one who gets to decide exactly when that particular “once” actually occurs.
  • “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but” as far as counting each individual’s one and only “once,” certain individuals you simply can’t count on to get it right the first time.
  • “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but” as some of us are almost heretic enough to deserve being struck by lightning for even thinking of drafting a post such as this, you never know quite what to believe when it comes to how many times he’s really died, but you do know you’ll curse him every time you hear this scripture ever again.
  • “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but” as whoever will not die at least once each day will never live a single day, must not we all die once again and once again and once all over again?
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Written by macheide

15 April 2012 at 3:39 pm

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Put Up Wet

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Rode hard and put up wet

Southerners sure can find the perfect way to put it.

We’d been talking about how hard Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan had aged. How would you describe that look? Whereupon Susan introduced me to another one of those quaint descriptions one only hears in Texas or in Texas-wannabe parts: “Rode hard and put up wet.”

“Rough,” she said it meant, like how a horse would look when it was still sweating after a long rugged gallop. Kelly then introduced both of us to the younger generation’s more vulgar definition, with just enough subtle detail to make the point of how too many men treat women much as they’d treated horses in the situations that gave us this image in the first place. The basic gist being that the horse (or woman, or an employee who had created a special project of value to a company, or any other object of temporary urgency) had been used to the hard edge of extreme utility (“rode,” not even ridden), then simply abandoned without tending to the needs of the one who had been used so.

For Dylan, Susan had meant only the general visual impression of what such a horse would look like: 500 miles of bad road, so to speak. But the full image could probably be said to be apropos: throughout most if not all of the 45+ years of his career, an audience who has felt it owned Dylan’s vision has all too frequently “rode” him hard then quite readily put him up “wet” without so much as a shrug for his needs for privacy, his own life, his own dream. Owned, just as owned as a dispensable old mare.

From the perspective of wordsmithing, I find a uniquely pleasurable twist in a set of words that is set as a description of the object (the horse), while technically finding its purest meanings in its implied depiction of the subject (the ignorant rider). Few words or word groups have that quality: applying to one thing while actually referring to another. One simple illustration – “sunlit” – isn’t nearly as pungent as this Southern bit of roadkill is.

This ought at least base for a good ol’ boy country & western standard song, one would think.

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Written by macheide

22 February 2009 at 3:44 pm

Posted in whatev

Layoff Blues

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Not just bank tellers and stock exchange clerical staff (as in, employees ineligible for receiving bailout money in the form of bonus pay), auto workers, and nearly every industry and service and profession on down to chefs and lawyers and NFL staff and orchestral musicians; but now even zoo animals are being laid off.

About the only safe occupation these days is to be a G-man.

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Written by macheide

31 January 2009 at 11:49 am

Posted in whatev

On Transigence

There is no such thing. If one is not inflexible, then he can be called flexible; but if he is not intransigent, we don’t call him transigent. If one is not uncompromising, then he’s probably open to reasonable compromise; but if he ceases being intransigent, we’re not quite certain what he’s become.

I’m guessing this one-sided etymology is a nod to the fact that the word was born in the political arena and to this day is viewed as belonging to the argot of the politico. One can always find a president or a governor or a senator who is intransigent. One who is not? Truly not? Only in our deepest dreams.

But insurance companies lack in transigency too. While roofs, they can be quite transigent. Just saying.

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Written by macheide

12 January 2009 at 2:17 am

Posted in whatev

Retiring a Lexicon Sliver

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But even when workers make good choices, a market meltdown near the end of their working careers can still blow their savings to smithereens.

Big Slide in 401(k)s Spurs Calls for Change, Eleanor Laise, Wall Street Journal

That might seem somewhat a mixed metaphor were it not that I grew up downwind of Three Mile Island close enough to know exactly how accurate Laise’s portrayal can come to being realized. Even so, I confess I find it difficult to envision my 401(k) funds as a smoldering heap of radioactive smithereens. For that matter, what exactly is a smithereen? It occurs to me that I’ve never been close enough to a real war zone to know a smithereen from a shard.

A bit of OED exploring reveals that apparently no smithereen ever does a solo act. They only come in the plural, and generally only in large numbers. “Small fragments; atoms,” for instance the isotopes the TMI accident threatened to make of us. But pick up one of those small fragments, and apparently you don’t have a single smithereen. You have a splinter or a speck or a smidgen or a scintilla or maybe even a scruple. But withdraw a dollar from your 401(k) plan, and it ceases to be the smithereens our economy has made of your retirement plans.

Or something like that. I’m not sure I get the point of Laise’s skimpy imagery, if she even had one. Whatev.

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Written by macheide

8 January 2009 at 4:26 pm

Posted in whatev

Too True To Be Good

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Today, you will give me a single grain of rice. Then, each day for thirty days you will give me double the rice you gave me the day before.

One Grain of Rice, a mathematical folktale by Demi

About 90 years ago, an Italian immigrant made essentially that same double-the-rice proposal to citizens of Boston: invest in my company, and I’ll double your money every 90 days. Do the math, people, do the damned math! Invest a million dollars in a scheme like that today, leave your money invested a mere five years, and you’ll be able to retire after that very brief period with upwards of one third of the current money supply of the entire U.S.!! Except . . . hmmmm, there seem to be more than two other financial idiots throwing into this scheme along with me, so how exactly are we going to be dividing up the country’s wealth between us all, pray do tell.

In the current re-run, the TV and the press and the politicians keep mislabeling the scheme’s investors as “victims.” The more accurate tag: “sucker.” And this time around, our scam artist’s biggest mistake was not turning his operation into a bank while he had the chance, in which case the U.S. taxpayer could have joined all the suckers by bailing him out.

So if these financial versions of chain letters are doomed to failure anywhere from as few as 15 to at most 30 iterations out into the future, might we not still see at least a near-term reality to them, temporarily without fraud, able to actually produce those get-rich-quick asset returns at first, simply not able to sustain it past some certain point, the exercise then becoming to know that point and get out before the scheme turns sour? No. That moment was back at the very initial point, at the origin of the idea.

Anything so good that it can’t be true will have its truth found out as not being all that good to begin with.

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Written by macheide

31 December 2008 at 10:30 am

Posted in whatev

Auto Neurotic

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OK. About this Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act. Help me understand, please.

I don’t want to own a GM car.

If I were Oprah, GM cars would not be what I give away. You couldn’t pay me to own a GM car, because then I’d only have to go through the trouble of trying to unload it on a car-buying public that doesn’t want a used GM car anymore than it wants a new GM car.

And even if I were to have a moment of insanity and want to sacrifice my better judgment to buy a GM car for the supposed patriotic good of the country, I couldn’t get myself a loan to do so, despite my good name and sterling credit, because the credit markets suck due to all the irresponsible consumers and greedy bankers and regulators looking the other way as we drove our nation’s metaphorical GM-made car into the ditch. And because Congress found it easier to give the Administration near-dictatorial authority to bail out the greedy bankers instead of helping the irresponsible consumers get the credit they’d need to borrow money to purchase the GM cars they don’t want anyway, GM can claim that it’s not their fault, that they have an excuse for failing to sell me the car that I don’t want to and can’t afford to buy.

So because I don’t want to buy a GM car, and because I couldn’t borrow the money to buy a GM car even if I did want a GM car, and because I’m not a bank eligible for a government handout, GM is in trouble.

So you’re going to take my money and give it to GM anyway, giving GM the cash as if I had gone ahead and bought the car I don’t want. Because the country can’t afford to be without what GM does best: make more cars that I don’t want.

So, what happens to the GM car I didn’t buy, the non-sale of which put GM in the red, that you’ve now paid GM for anyway? I pay GM to get nothing because I don’t want to pay them to get a GM car?

If you’re going to give them my money, at least give me something for it. Just, don’t give me a GM car. Please.

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Written by macheide

11 December 2008 at 3:39 pm

Posted in whatev

AdnonSense

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It’s a very trivial observation of passing consequence at best, I know, but I felt a bit of culture clash in coming upon this news article of a rather intriguing archaeological find, then seeing Google’s “Sponsored Links” thinking that it might put me in the mood for purchasing some cologne. Like, would anyone other than Liz Taylor (perhaps hoping to corner the market on a rare fragrance) have clicked the title of this article out of interest for the “perfume” part of the story?

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Written by macheide

10 December 2008 at 8:05 pm

Posted in whatev

Poor Of

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I’ll be good soon.

Another macheïde list of questionable purpose and even less value: T9 obiter dictum.

I’ve way too many years to do it like a teen: they either know without looking when to hit “next” for the alternative word on a T9 word list, or they know how to interpret T9-speak and interpret on the fly without caring how it come across.

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Written by macheide

2 December 2008 at 3:15 pm

Posted in whatev

Augh!!! Language Augmentation!

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“Obama Says His Becoming U.S. President Augurs Change” reads a Bloomberg headline, echoing one of the lines they had streaming on Bloomberg TV’s middle ticker tape. But although it would not be the least surprising to hear a word like “augur” from our eloquent presidential elect, this time I think they’re paraphrasing. The closest Obama has probably come recently to a context in which he might have used the word might have been in his Tuesday night speech in Chicago after winning the election, when at one point he pointed to auguries the world might see set to flight by America’s historic choice –

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

Mildly intriguing, but perhaps not completely coincidental, is a cousin of this word chosen by Bloomberg to represent how the symbolic sign or omen represented by the Obama choice is auspice of a broader, more significant future change: inauguration. An augury is the omen or sign; that omen or sign then augurs the future if one knows how to see and read its meaning and follows its direction; and one then inaugurates to celebrate the occasion of the auguring.

Here then: After 8 years of having a leader who couldn’t correctly pronounce “nuclear” and seemed to barely know the meaning of words beyond a fifth grade education level, the choice of Obama augurs a whole new engagement of all American people with the English language.

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Written by macheide

6 November 2008 at 9:49 pm

Posted in whatev

Spl-oink

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Them SWA commercials poking fun at losers like AA are obsolete now that luggage fees will go away since oil prices have come back down, right? Yeah right.

That’s the simple text message I’ve now tried on three separate occasions to send through Spoink.

A system bug that just happens to hit only that message but none of my other spoinks? Some anti-microblogging term of service that I’ve maybe violated by expressing a consumer’s opinon?

Notwithstanding all the time I waste on various Internet pursuits, I have neither the time nor the interest to figure this one out. Off I go to continue the search for a suitable, reliable microblogging service.

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Written by macheide

1 October 2008 at 9:22 pm

Posted in whatev

Most Precious Commodity

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Upwards of 1% of the country’s population is heading into their second week after Ike without electrical power; those who miss living in their mansions may not completely understand how far away from home that can make one feel. And although one can go for days, maybe even weeks after the storm, without so much as an MRE, clean water is more urgently and immediately needed for survival.

But if Ike has taught us anything about emergency supplies and distribution, it is that the most precious commodity, the commondity that is most in demand, the commodity least available, and the commodity for which distribution systems remain desperately inadequate is simply: information. Reliable, up-to-date information.

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Written by macheide

21 September 2008 at 6:41 pm

Posted in whatev

Flying Right

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Southwest Airlines has earned a profit during the most recent fiscal quarter, proving an airline can survive current economic conditions and keep its customers without charging them to travel with luggage and piling on all the other indignities that dying outfits like American Airlines resort to.

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Written by macheide

24 July 2008 at 2:24 pm

Posted in whatev

On Limiting the Jurisdiction of an Oath

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“Security subsists, too, in fidelity to freedom’s first principles. Chief among these are freedom from arbitrary and unlawful restraint and the personal liberty that is secured by adherence to the separation of powers.”

“The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times. Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system they are reconciled within the framework of the law.”

Boumediene v. Bush

Carefully considering the history and fundamental principles, from the Magna Carta itself to the fight of freedom against tyranny and terrorism both from without and within, the Supreme Court reasserts our most basic freedom, which we can not claim for our own selves while denying to those whom we have arbitrarily imprisoned without justification.

“The United States Supreme Court yesterday rendered a decision which I think is one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”

John McCain, presumptive GOP presidential nominee

One wonders, has he taken any time out of his busy candidacy to actually read the Supreme Court’s decision? I sincerely doubt it — he even seems unaware of our ruler’s own principal position in this particular case (a position W himself no doubt would abandon if Cuba were to ever take seriously enough to enforce).

Eh, well at least we know how casually he intends to take that oath he holds dim hopes to be reciting next January. The Constitution can not be protected and defended by shrugging it off by means of capricious designations that pretend to being above and outside freedom and the law.

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Written by macheide

14 June 2008 at 11:25 pm

Posted in whatev

Sosh Networking Stats

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sosh networking stats

Just my opinion, but if LiveJournal had even the most distant clue how to identify, attract, and retain its market, neither myspace (where I for one will never show my face) nor blogger (where I once staked out a claim to my own little corner, for which both the password and e-mail account have long ago been lost, so I’ll not disturb them again) would be anywhere near where they’ve long been and will long remain, while LJ’s eventually going to be sniffing back down in the ditch that early losers OpenDiary (clue to where OD is: this chart’s lowest edge is at 80; OD currently “hovers” near 40,000) quickly dug themselves into.

Facebook, I still just don’t get the point of. Apparently enough others do. Go them.

WordPress‘ recent backtracking on this graph can’t possibly be directly related to the specific cardinal sins I tattled about, I wouldn’t think. Even so, if they persist in running their show in the market-bassackward ways that LiveJournal and OpenDiary have perfected, they can’t harbor any illusions about turning back north.

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Written by macheide

11 May 2008 at 7:38 am

Posted in whatev

Warning Spam

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warning spam

Yes, but why post this on the back of the door of the men’s restroom on the second floor of New Orleans’ Royal Sonesta Hotel?

Perhaps I should seek an explanation from the idiot who tried to patronize me with an explanation of why some baby-changing stations in men’s restrooms carry instructions in braille.

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Written by macheide

9 May 2008 at 7:13 am

Posted in whatev