27 August 2020
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Trapped In The Blogopause

Does The Internet Have Layers Like the Atmosphere?

If the internet had layers like the OSI model or the atmosphere, I'm sure it would include the blogosphere. The internet equivalent of the thermosphere would be where all the heated arguments occur. There might even be a Hitler sub-layer. The Exosphere would belong to rural folk everywhere, with limited or slow-speed access. The Bitcoin miners live in the internet stratosphere. Facebook and Google occupy the Troposphere, crowding everyone else out.

Although it's not shown in the diagram, there is a special area between the troposphere and the stratosphere called the tropopause. The internet equivalent would be the Blogopause, where this blog has been languishing. Notwithstanding the fraudulent publication date at the left, months have passed. The election is over, vaccines have been declared effective. And it's getting chilly out. Who ordered that?

I've been a slug, albeit without the trail of slime. (I hope.) Too much going on and not enough ambition, sad to say. But there's no shortage of T-shirts or NPs to round out whatever odd Richard-notions need explication, so I'll try to do better. Or at least more. *

I Don't Speak Football

I've been a baseball fan on and off all my life. My dad took me to Yankees games two or three stadia ago, I even traded baseball cards in my youth. I wish I had saved them, as does everyone else who knows how their value has rocketed. Of course if everyone else had saved them, they'd be worthless. But football? It's always seemed to me to be a bunch of men running around influenced by a sort of macroscopic Brownian motion. Never followed the sport, and only know a handful of names of players who have broken out into mainstream culture. Joe Namath. someone called "Refrigerator" and someone else called "Gronk." And of course O.J. Simpson, who's still looking for the real killer.

Maybe the first football name to which I paid attention was Gale Sayers. I'm sure he had great charisma with the prolate spheroid, but for me he was the last stamp. Back in the mid-'60s the gasoline company Amoco ran a contest whose object was to collect the stamp-sized photos of six football players. If you accomplished this, you got a prize which was both large and monetary. I don't remember the amount, and perhaps today it would seem less impressive, but the contest was effective. I got gas at Amoco every chance I had and finally collected the full set of stamps with the exception of the one with Mr. Sayers's likeness.

I wasn't alone. Nobody got his stamp. If there was a winner somewhere in the U.S. in the '60s I never found out. Gale Sayers died recently, hence this reminiscence. I wonder if even he had a copy of the Gale Sayers stamp.

Stupid Survey Stuff

No, not the political surveys on which we've hung up several times a day during the election season. Rather, they're the inevitable surveys that follow online experiences. They begin with a simple question:

On a scale of 1 to 5, Would You Recommend This Company|Product|Service to your friends or associates

I've always wondered what the point of that question is. The answer inevitably is "No I wouldn't." Not because I am unable to rate (on a scale of 1 to 5) my opinion, but rather that nobody asks me for recommendations for anything, ever. Why would they? If you've been reading this blog, you probably understand why. But like the ridiculous requests for reviews of products I've purchased, e.g., rubber bands, one's daily communications rarely involve recommendations for idiosyncratic purchases. And yet I occasionally harbor an atavistic desire to respond to a survey in the spurious hope that my response will be read and acted upon. I'll let you know when economy class airline seats become less uncomfortable as a result of my feedback.

The Costco Anomaly

Although I occasionally denigrate my shopping skills, they have been improving in recent years. Fluffy has to eat, and from time to time a walk to the local food store ("supermarket") is in order, and, far less frequently, an expedition to Costco. We undertook one this week, and discovered an anomaly.

Costco has a great deal on food. When done shopping, you can pick up a very large hot dog with condiments and even optional sauerkraut for about $1.50. (Compare and contrast with NYC street-vendor hot dog carts who charge between $3 and $5 for a small hot dog.) But wait, there's more! Costco also includes an empty cup and a straw, which you can employ at the convenient soda (and water and lemonade) station around the corner from the food dispenser.

It is our practice to share a hot dog and a lemonade after a grueling shopping expedition, and this most recent trip was no exception. Costco felt very safe, with high ceilings, plenty of air flow, and very few shoppers. So few, in fact that there was uncharacteristically no queue to collect the hot dog, and no queue at the exit to check our overflowing cart against the foot-long receipt. The anomaly? There was a long line at the soda station!

See how the pandemic sharpens one's perception?

The Best Voicemail Ever!

I have no idea who called, or what it was about. I generally delete voicemail as soon as it becomes obvious that it's a robocall or other spam. But in this case, as with my one-line jokes that are too short to ignore, this is a quickie. Here it is.

(The stupidest? Almost every day I get a couple of calls that begin "Hello! And please don't hang up the phone." They rarely get past the And please.)

* I did commit a bit of eye candy disguised as research.

Richard Factor



The Kinks




A Richard oddity: I love blue but I'm not a fan of The Blues, either musically or personally.

This is a Blues Festival T-shirt, and it would seem to be related to the musical variety in addition to the background color.

I wear it on occasion, but I'm conflicted.

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