Saturday, October 26, 2013

It's a Wide, Wide, Wide, Wide World

As strange as it may seem to people who have known me, I routinely go to a gym. When you've got an ICD, or, to be more exact, a CRT-D implanted in your chest you have to do what you can to stay heart-healthy. And in my case that has meant using equipment that includes heart-rate monitoring so I don't rev my heart up too high.

Being a modern gym trying to attract a younger clientele, they have installed a number of wide-screen monitors above and in front of the various aerobic machines. At any moment of the day you can usually see a dozen or more folks huffing and puffing on treadmills, stair steppers, various forms of exercise bikes, and rowing machines. They're all focused on being thin and trim, unlike the folks on the TV monitors.

Now, I don't own or particularly want a huge monitor in my home. There's no place to put one, and when I do watch a DVD I use a nice, wide monitor on the family computer that cost way less than its bigger kin. Between it and the speakers, I do OK.

So, forgive me, those of you with thicker wallets and wider TV monitors, when I ask why people are watching a standard-size TV broadcast (1.33:1 aspect ratio) stretched out sideways on monitor built for watching wide-screen (16:9 or more!) images?

I'm tired of seeing cars with apparently oval tires. I wonder, just how much weight a woman would have to take off before her face would look human? We're not all related to Jabba the Hutt, right?

Or should I drop my standards and accept that before long most people will think I've of a normal width?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How Did They Do That?

Anyone who's ever had a large sign prepared knows that it takes several days, perhaps weeks, to prepare them -- to design them, have them professionally printed, etc. -- then to distribute them to where they are needed. How is it the federal government had the signs ready to go up at all the entrances to national parks and federal buildings on October 1 unless this shutdown was planned in advance?
As a former technical writer, I know that the production of those signs took at least a couple of weeks. As a retired trucker, I know a big operation when I see one, and delivering those signs took TIME, as in a week or more, unless the federal government contracted the delivery of those signs to FedEx! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Washington Shenanigans (or Business As Usual!)

While I might disagree with the details of how the Republicans have finally taken a stand, I'm glad to see them finally do it. All my life I've watched the Republicans in Washington bluster, talk big, then "compromise" or "reach across the aisle" and do the Democrats bidding. They have repeatedly, for decades, mistaken abject surrender for compromise.

The good news in the current "government shutdown" is that people are finally noticing that the Obama administration is deliberately shutting down things that hurt the little guy, the common folk, the ordinary Americans who don't live and work within the Washington Beltway.

It's no wonder the President's popularity has tanked ( People are beginning to associate him with what his administration does. While he ran for re-election as an outsider railing against the Republicans, that act isn't working too well while National Park Service officials are trying to kick everyone out of the National Parks, 80 and 90 year-old World War II veterans are having to move "Barrycades" to visit their own memorial, and the President keeps talking about not negotiating with the House of Representatives while he's saying he's ready to negotiate with Third World dictators.

Speaking of Barrycades at the National Parks, here's a bison's reaction to one...