Bag of Randomness for Friday, July 10, 2020

Yesterday on the air during “Letters from Listeners”, the Musers read an email from me.

Not bad for a 14-year-old.

I’m Alexander Hamilton’s Direct Descendant. And He Wasn’t As Perfect As You Think. – By Ariel Clay Schuyler Hamilton Ehrlich

I shouldn’t be picking on a 14-year-old for something he can’t control, but having five names is a bit much, almost snooty.

He makes great points and even supports his arguments, though his comments about Hamilton’s thoughts on slavery has me thinking. I’m not saying he’s wrong to think about his forefather’s actions on selling slaves for his in-laws or his interpretation. I have no idea what Hamilton really thought nor am I defending his actions. But there is the possibility that he believed one particular way at one part in his life and another later in his life. It is interesting how we can be judged for something we did at one point in our life but never be able to do anything to overcome it. I learned that lesson from Roy Munson in the cinematic film Kingpin.

The kid says his father is a dead ringer for the Founding Father, I just wish he provided a photo.

‘The Wonder Years’ is getting a reboot with a Black family

Famed director Lee Daniels will executive produce and Fred Savage, the star of the original series, will direct a reboot of the hit program — this time built around a Black family, ABC announced Wednesday.

The half-hour comedy will focus on how a Black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama, “in the turbulent late 1960’s, the same era as the original series, made sure it was The Wonder Years for them too,” the network said.

I never knew this.

In 1652, a doorway was added to the wall that holds the painting. Its construction meant that a lower central chunk of the piece—which included Jesus’ feet—was lost.

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Bag of Randomness for Thursday, July 9, 2020

Why the heck do I have to find this news in the Wall Street Journal instead of a local paper or television station?

The U.S. Airport That’s Buzzing as Covid Shuts Down World TravelWith coronavirus drastically reducing travel, Dallas-Fort Worth International finds itself suddenly as the busiest in world—by default

The sprawling Texas hub, with seven runways and five terminals, has more than 90% of its gates and half its restaurants in operation. DFW typically ranks behind Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare and Los Angeles in takeoffs and landings. But due to the instant transformation of the airline business, DFW finds itself at least temporarily on top, with long-lasting implications for travelers.

“We don’t want the guidance from CDC to be a reason why schools don’t open,” Vice-President Pence said.

That quote really bugged me yesterday. The CDC created those guidelines to protect our kids, to help keep them safe. The manner in which the vice-president spoke didn’t provide me with any assurance he wanted to protect and keep our children safe. It felt more like he wanted to put our kids’ safety and protection at risk just to open schools on time to make it appear the pandemic is totally over when the data totally don’t back that up. Schools opening up regularly makes it seem as if the pandemic has been solved.

US hits 3M coronavirus cases – about a quarter of the world’s total

It took the USA a little more than three months to hit 1 million cases on April 28. It took about half that time, 44 days, to get to 2 million on June 11 and only 26 days to reach 3 million on July 8. By that gauge, if no new measures are taken, 4 million cases could be tallied as soon as July 22.

Armchair Political Consultant – If I were on Joe Biden or the Lincoln Project’s team I’d advise an ad that says the possible cancellation of the upcoming NFL and college football season (or when they are officially canceled) is due to the president and his administration not getting a better handle on this pandemic when they had the chance in January and February, or even when the curve started to flatten from mid-May to mid-June. I’d use the same ad against the Texas governor and lieutenant governor two years from now. It would start off with one of those dramatic voices, “He could have saved football season but he chose not to. Even Europe was able to protect its citizens better.” The ad could even be more generalized, “No school year or football season, blame the ones in charge of protecting the public from a pandemic.”

President Trump held a rally in which attendees did little to protect themselves and now cases are starting to spike. I expect to see the same thing in South Dakota.

Speaking of his rallies – Trump campaign considers displaying statues at future rallies

Time Capsule Found in North Carolina Confederate Monument

So far, excavators have found a wooden box, a stone allegedly from Gettysburg, two buttons and horsehair. But in that goop, a newspaper clipping from The Charlotte Democrat shows, there could be more.

A ceremony from May 1894 that laid the monument’s cornerstone listed other relics put in the time capsule under it, including a lock of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s hair, a coat button and rosebud believed to be from Lee’s coat, and a strand of hair possibly plucked from the tail of Lee’s horse Traveller.

I really thought I posted about Gary Larson creating new ‘The Far Side’ material earlier and was quite excited about the news, but I think I overlooked it. I also thought of my friend Nathon’s young son who discovered the comics who shared the laughter with his grandfather.

So a few years ago–finally fed up with my once-loyal but now reliably traitorous pen–I decided to try a digital tablet. I knew nothing about these devices but hoped it would just get me through my annual Christmas card ordeal. I got one, fired it up, and lo and behold, something totally unexpected happened: within moments, I was having fun drawing again. I was stunned at all the tools the thing offered, all the creative potential it contained. I simply had no idea how far these things had evolved. Perhaps fittingly, the first thing I drew was a caveman.

The “New Stuff” that you’ll see here is the result of my journey into the world of digital art. Believe me, this has been a bit of a learning curve for me. I hail from a world of pen and ink, and suddenly I was feeling like I was sitting at the controls of a 747. (True, I don’t get out much.) But as overwhelmed as I was, there was still something familiar there–a sense of adventure. That had always been at the core of what I enjoyed most when I was drawing The Far Side, that sense of exploring, reaching for something, taking some risks, sometimes hitting a home run and sometimes coming up with “Cow tools.” (Let’s not get into that.) But as a jazz teacher once said to me about improvisation, “You want to try and take people somewhere where they might not have been before.” I think that my approach to cartooning was similar–I’m just not sure if even I knew where I was going. But I was having fun.

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Bag of Randomness for Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Okay, fine, y’all have finally talked me into it, we’ll have a BagOfNothing meetup. Let’s do it at this year’s State Fair of Texas on opening day. We’ll meet in front of Big Tex at noon on . . . wait, what is that? Canceled? The State Fair of Texas, canceled, really? Oh, just went I wanted all of us to get together this happens. Well, maybe some other time. In the meantime, let’s just heed the advice from our senior U.S. senator.

For some reason, the post I scheduled for yesterday didn’t post, so today’s BoR might be a bit bigger than normal.

If the college football season is canceled, and I think it will be, I think there’s a huge opportunity for EA to step in. E-gaming is huge, it’s bigger than you think. They could certainly use the existing football schedules and coordinate gaming representatives from each school and try to keep the spirit of competition going. It won’t be a huge hit, but ESPN will cover anything right now.

In regards to the re-opening of sports, and this is probably different regarding the league, it’s my understanding that if a player has been exposed to someone who has coronavirus, that he will have to be quarantined. If true, I can imagine a scenario in which one team makes it to the playoffs or championship only for a COVID-19 positive fan of an opposing team to somehow come in reach of the player. It wouldn’t be all that different than Michael Jordan eating that pizza in Utah, but maybe to a greater or easier level. The COVID-19 positive fan would only have to come into contact with someone working at the hotel bubble to keep the opposing team’s best player out of the game. Just food for thought.

I dedicate this post to one of my college roommates. His mother was a postmaster and he worked for them for a bit, learning a great party trick, you give him a city and state and he could not only tell you the ZIP but he’d add the extra four digits. City so large it had more than one ZIP, not a problem for him.

Post Office Delivery Trucks Keep Catching on FireHundreds of the iconic Post Office delivery trucks have caught on fire in recent years, thanks to a 30-year-old fleet and a manufactured budget crisis.

Since May 2014, at least 407 LLVs have been damaged or destroyed in fires, or approximately one every five days, according to documents obtained by Motherboard via a Freedom of Information Act request.

Michael Flynn takes QAnon oath in Fourth of July video

Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, posted a video on July 4 in which he and others recite the oath of an anarchical group known for peddling unfounded conspiracy theories.

In the 53-second video, Flynn leads a group of six people in taking a modified form of the U.S. Senate’s oath of office. The oath ends with the line “where we go one, we go all,” which is the motto of the group QAnon.

Disney has their own version of Deep Fake technology. Per Disney Research Studios:

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first method capable of rendering photo-realistic and temporally coherent results at megapixel resolution. To this end, we introduce a progressively trained multi-way comb network and a light- and contrast-preserving blending method. We also show that while progressive training enables generation of high-resolution images, extending the architecture and training data beyond two people allows us to achieve higher fidelity in generated expressions. When compositing the generated expression onto the target face, we show how to adapt the blending strategy to preserve contrast and low-frequency lighting. Finally, we incorporate a refinement strategy into the face landmark stabilization algorithm to achieve temporal stability, which is crucial for working with high-resolution videos. We conduct an extensive ablation study to show the influence of our design choices on the quality of the swap and compare our work with popular state-of-the-art methods.

That’s unsanitary.

Georgia Jimmy John’s employees fired for making a noose out of dough

I couldn’t help but think of LiberallyLean while watching the first episode of Netflix’s Space Force. In the first episode, Steve Carell’s character, a four-star general who is the commander of Space Force, wakes up in the middle of the night. He gets out of bed, makes his side of the bed while his wife continues to sleep on the other side, uses the bathroom, and then gets back into his freshly made bed. He may be taking Admiral McRaven’s book a bit too seriously.

‘Hamilton’ Premiere Boosts Disney Streaming Service App Downloads 72% in the U.S.

I’m a bit envious and very happy for Lin-Manual Miranda about something. Imagine creating something, and then everyone who has influenced you or you have admired stopped by to see you and watch your creation. Isn’t that pretty cool? Fan of Star Wars? George Lucas stops by. Admired Bill Gates for how he has changed humanity in both business and philanthropy, he stops by with his wife. Ever had a crush on Natalie Portman and appreciated her acting, she wants to meet you. Rapped every Run DMC song when you were a kid, the surviving members show up. Ever wanted to meet and speak to a particular politician, they want to say hi. Same for your favorite author. Imagine living a dream in which you don’t have to make an effort or travel anywhere to meet any of your heroes from any walk of life, they come to you. Man, what a dream. Good for him.

Something else I love about the show, you notice something new each time. Here’s something I haven’t noticed: Hamilton’s Secret Character: How Death Appears Throughout The ShowA member of Hamilton’s ensemble plays a character called “The Bullet,” who represents death gunning for Hamilton and the other characters.

The members of Hamilton’s ensemble play the roles of various minor characters throughout the show, from Charles Lee to Philip Schuyler, but there’s one character that most audience members probably won’t notice at all: The Bullet. Played by Ariana DeBose and billed as “The Bullet” in the program for Hamilton, she represents death’s slow march towards Alexander Hamilton throughout the show, and interacts with characters in key moments of foreshadowing.

How to change your inbox layout in GmailSort your emails into tabs, or keep them all in one place

Gmail offers you several customizable formats — so many that you can have multiple Gmail accounts and they can all look completely different. For example, you can have all of your emails in one long list, you can separate your messages into multiple tabs, or you can have your inbox split into unread and read messages.

In addition to that, there are several other ways to organize your inbox, from adding a reading pane to coming up with your own categories for organizing emails. Here’s how you can customize your Gmail interface and explore all of the options.

Man Making Racist Comments To Asian Family On Viral Video Identified As SF Tech CEO Michael Lofthouse

I do love how the staff of the establishment immediately threw the creep out.

A small amount of progress for the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells. It’s small progress in terms of the scale of the project, but for any townsfolk, it’s unbelievable anything has been done after decades of rumors.

I Turned my Lawnmower Into a Tank | The Short Version

How kids today do the “talking on the phone” hand gesture.


Even the hand gesture game has changed @kamilo.ny @guesswhos_wifey @itz_daniella12 #LaughPause #dadsoftiktok #momsoftiktok #over30 #kids #fyp

♬ original sound – guesswho_718

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Bag of Randomness for Monday, July 6, 2020

I read, and only spent a short time trying to verify it, but anytime you see a double rainbow, the colors in the second rainbow appear in the opposite order than the first.

There’s been a trend that the cost of each presidential election has surpassed the previous, but with the coronavirus, I’m not sure it’s going to happen to this time.

DFW’s first woman news anchor, Judy Jordan (KDFW, 1966-1980) has died. I have no memory of her.

The guy on the right with the baseball bat is President Trump. The woman on the left is one of WifeGeeding’s college friends. The man next to her is one of my college friends (not a close one). They were recently invited to the White House to some sort of small American business showcase. Back in college, I can remember Joe talking about working with his dad about a baseball bat company they owned or were about to start and I thought that was pretty darn cool and very Americana. I’m not judging them, but I was left wondering if I were in their shoes, would I accept the invitation? It would be hard not to, it’s an honor to be invited to the White House, would be great for the business, and I’m a presidential history buff. I know I’d accept in less than a heartbeat if it was the Obama administration (though I know it would be different for many of you). Under the G.W. Bush administration, I’d think about it at least a good hard minute, but I think I would eventually accept. As for the Trump administration, I bet I’d struggle mightily with it but would eventually decline for certain morals and ethics I uphold (which I sure differ from many of you, and that’s okay.) I asked WifeGeeding about it and she also struggled with the thought.

One sidenote about our friends. They had one child and then had triplets. That must be exhausting and probably welcomed the trip to getaway.

I do think Joe and Aimee offer one very cool and unique gift for new parents, a baby bat built to match the length of the baby. “Built and certified to the length of your baby by 1/4″ increments and engraved with your newborn’s birth information.  This heirloom birth keepsake will be your measuring stick as your baby grows to show them how long they were when they were born.

NFL to play Black national anthem ‘Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing’ before ‘Star Spangled Banner’ at Week 1 games

“Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” a song also known as the Black national anthem, will be performed live or played prior to “The Star Spangled Banner” at each of the NFL’s Week 1 games in 2020, according to the Associated Press, which adds that the league is also considering memorializing victims of police brutality with helmet decals or jersey patches. These moves are seen as part of the league’s collaborative work with its players to raise awareness of systemic racism and police brutality.

Nike will be releasing this shoe this week. The whole ISPA collection is peculiar looking.

I love the idea for the Netflix reality game show The Floor is Lava, and my kids really love watching it. Here’s an interview with the creators of the show and will tell you everything you’d probably want to know about it. I found it funny that they filmed it inside an old Ikea in Burbank.

Two weeks after it landed on my Kindle on its release date, I just started to read John Dickerson’s new book The Hardest Job in the World: The American Presidency.

For the last four or five years, I’ve been really focusing on things that can cloud my judgment. Basically, how any emotion can cloud my judgment about anything. It’s still a work in progress, obviously. Here’s what Dickerson had to say on how Ike tried not to allow anger cloud his judgment.

“Anger cannot win. It cannot even think clearly.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Editors opened the big-type drawer for Eisenhower’s decision because the president had previously resisted what he called the “noise and extravagance” of the campaign. Weeks earlier, Eisenhower had waved away an easy chance to attack Stevenson: The Democratic nominee had complained about the state of the economy, and Eisenhower’s press secretary had accused Stevenson of cheering for bad news. When reporters asked the president about this, Ike said his rival must have been misquoted. (Ike’s press secretary held his next briefing from under the bus where his boss had just thrown him.)

Ike switched his strategy, but the former Supreme Allied Commander hardly stormed the beaches. “Firing back” amounted to instructing the Labor Department to rebut Stevenson’s claim about cost of living adjustments.

It’s not that Ike was mild-mannered. He wrestled to control his temper all his life. The White House staff felt the sting of his wrath so often they dubbed him “the terrible-tempered Mr. Bang.” He once flung a golf club in anger and almost broke his doctor’s leg. When the sport vexed him – which is to say, when he played it – the veins on his temple engorged until one observer said they resembled whipcords. Still, Eisenhower believed he must master his impulses. “Anger cannot win,” he wrote in his diary almost a decade before becoming president. “It cannot even think clearly.”

Eisenhower believed the presidency was too serious to be concerned with the trivialities of politics. He also believed a president needed self-control to be effective. He didn’t attack his opponent, Stevenson, for yet another reason. That reason, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, was “Mr. Eisenhower’s reluctance to engage in name-calling contests that he considers beneath the dignity of the presidency.”


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