Category Archives: Pet peeves

On Demand is really annoying me

1381719_10152397079184657_408001691_nOr maybe it’s the damn networks’ fault. Or Obama’s. Or Bush’s. (Hey, I’m going with Bush. That’s always easy.)

For about a year now, and increasingly, recorded shows cut off before the last-minute or two. So f**k me.

I always watch Jon Stewart the next morning while getting breakfast. And I have never seen his ‘Moment of Zen’ in its entirety. Never.

The TV Guide is at least honest about what’s coming . . . they list the real run time – for instance, 8:00 – 9:01.

Have these folk noticed that live streaming is biting at their tails? I’d say it’s a heck of a time to get your viewers angry.

Good Riddance to Daylight Savings Time

Have I mentioned lately that I hate/resent/dread Daylight Savings Time? Always have. Always will. And here in The Sunshine State it’s an especial torture when,  every summer, we take an hour away from the coolest part of the day and tack it on to the hottest part of the day.

indian_daylight savings timeSo thank you National Geographic for putting it out there.  First, the premise put forward in 1917 that DST would energy has little relevance 100 years later.

In their 2008 National Bureau of Economic Research study, the team found that lighting demand dropped, but the warmer hour of extra daylight tacked onto each evening led to more air-conditioning use, which canceled out the gains from reduced lighting and then some: Hoosiers paid higher electric bills than before DST, the study showed . . . During the 2000 Sydney Olympics, parts of Australia extended daylight saving time while others did not . . . the practice did indeed drop lighting and electricity use in the evenings—but that higher energy demands during darker mornings completely canceled out the evening gains. . .

“Everywhere there is air conditioning, our evidence suggests that daylight saving is a loser,” Wolff said.

And, oh yeah, gas.

“When you give Americans more light at the end of the day, they really do want to get out of the house. And they go to ballparks, or to the mall and other places, but they don’t walk there. Daylight saving reliably increases the amount of driving that Americans do, and gasoline consumption tracks up with daylight saving.”

Conventional wisdom is that DST was begun to help farmers. Not so. Farmers found it disruptive to livestock and crops.  Who else doesn’t like it?

  • Orthodox religions with traditional prayer schedules have long fought against DST
  • The TV industry hates it and fights it, and
  • Arizona thinks it’s stupid and does not participate.

 

Pet peeve: Settings that sneak around and change themselves when you’re not looking

This morning’s surprise here at Whatever Works: instead of the usual visible list of ‘recent comments’ on the homepage, here’s what I woke up to instead:

There are no public comments available to display.

Any fellow WordPress bloggers know what’s going on – I can’t find a fix.

UPDATE: It’s even worse. No comments are even coming in – nothing on the blog or in my email since midnight. And now no email at all since noon. So maybe it’s a provider or email problem. Yikes. Since I can’t see comments, feel free to email any thoughts to me: maureenholland@comcast.net

FINAL UPDATE (I hope): A just-as-mysterious self correction has opened the dates and now mail and  comments are flowing again. That odd message under ‘Recent Comments’ on the homepage still there.

Pet peeve: George Will resurects an old fake favorite

Count on George Will to build an entire column on a cheap half truth. I used to enjoy his columns but in recent years he’s turned bitter. And careless of how he used language and history. He’s got his underwear in a know again.

A few years back, according to the GOP punditocracy, Obama’s chief of staff spoke terrifying words! He said “we should never waste a crisis”. This of course, meant the sheets had to be pulled off the fainting couches yet again.

Crisi-tunity.pngNot only was his comment not new, it has been the conventional wisdom for hundred of years; the Chinese use the same character for ‘crisis’ and ‘opportunity’.  Seen below “the use has been adopted by business leaders and motivational speakers’. Because it’s true.

Benjamin Zimmer has traced the history of weiji in English as far back as anonymous editorial in a journal[2] for missionaries in China.[3] The use of the term probably gained momentum when John F. Kennedy delivered a speech in Indianapolis on April 12, 1959:[3]

When written in Chinese the word crisis is composed of two characters.
One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.[4]

Kennedy employed this trope routinely in his speeches, and it was then appropriated by Richard M. Nixon and others. The usage has been adopted by business consultants and motivational speakers and has gained great popularity in universities and in the popular press. For example, in 2007, Condoleezza Rice used the meme during Middle East peace talks,[5] and Al Gore did so both in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee,[6] and in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance lecture.[7]

Pet peeve: people as props (and that is four p’s!)

Here’s a visual whose time is long past. The line up of stiff and unsmiling people behind the candidate, so beloved of politicians in recent decades, is now just annoying. Please stop.

Dear newsmedia: George Zimmerman is not charged with killing a black teenager; he is charged with killing a teenager

Just heard it again on a radio news broadcast: “George Zimmerman has been taken into custody and been charged with the murder of a black teenager.” That’s what the news reader said – pet peeve of mine.

There may well be racial overtones to this crime, and there are valid reasons to suspect that there are, but Zimmerman is not being charged on those grounds. Zimmerman is being charged with murder, quite serious enough on its own. But  the real defendant in this trial will be the State of Florida and its insane  “Stand Your Ground” law.

So is the racial aspect a matter of concern? You bet it is. But I think the larger threat is to all of us; it is another wound to our tradition of common law.

The Supreme Court just upheld strip searches for unpaid parking fines, so I shudder to think what will happen if a challenge to this Florida law makes its way to that gorgeous white temple to justice. I figure the NRA will get there first.

Another pet peeve: Gail Collins edition

Collins, who is, I believe, the Editorial Page Editor of The New York Times, needs to stand back and read her own stuff:

It’s thanks to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law that a crime-watch volunteer was not arrested after he shot an African-American teenager . . .

Do you see it? That brief sentence is the only reference to that recent crime, the only reference to its victim, in the entire column. So how does describing him as ‘African-American’ advance her point at all? It doesn’t. It’s habit, and one that journalists everywhere need to break.

Her column was about the NRA and its endless lobbying for irrational laws. It wasn’t about racism, it wasn’t about bigotry, it was entirely about the NRA and our gun laws. Linguistic categorization adds nothing to a discussion of gun laws.

And that’s what’s wrong with Collins’ column.

(Here in Florida the gun lobby was enormously influential in writing and passing the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, under which self-appointed neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman, acted legally in shooting – to death –  an unarmed kid.)

 

Reprise of a pet peeve

Supermarket carts are too frackin’ big. Look around your local store and see how many carts are full. One in ten? Yesterday at my local, the Manager was near the entrance pretending to be glad to see the customers and pretending to be willing to hear their comments. He wasn’t getting much business, so I thought I’d make an inquiry; surely there’s no reason to clog the aisles with unnecessary oversized carts?

This would do fine

I asked why not two sizes of carts. He said we have carry baskets. I said yes you do, and they’re wonderful when I”m gathering a few lightweight things. Lightweight things. So why not two sizes of carts on wheels, I asked. And the man looked at me as though I’d asked him to undress and do an Irish jig.

There is, no doubt, some marketing study of human behavior that underlies the continuing use of the big cart, even as families have shrunk and households are increasingly composed of a single person.

I am sure they think we’ll be compelled to buy more and fill that basket. And I’m also pretty sure they’ve never done the two/three times a week supermarket shuffle.

Enough with the giant shopping carts. (I’ve posted about this before, but no one listened.)

Bill Gates does like his little jokes, doesn’t he.

I am dying here as I try to adapt myself to Word 2010 after being a WordPerfect user for over 20 years. When my laptop hard drive died, my data files were safe on Mozy, but my software was gone. So I had to make a decision about what to install on the new machine. I chose to ‘bite the bullet’ and – for the sake of compatibility – left my beloved WordPerfect behind and got a full Office 2010 suite.

Before 2010, I was able to use 2003 when I had to and though I didn’t much like it, I could manage whatever needed doing. No more. If you’re upgrading, think twice.

Word 2010 was apparently designed by 500 monkeys who delighted in  complexity. Be gone intuitive functionality! Welcome multiplicity! If two keystrokes were needed before, there are four now – to do the same thing. If one pull down menu for tables or formatting worked well, why twenty of them must surely be better! And why use the same old words? Let’s rename everything. Who needs a task bar? Such a pedestrian word. Let there be a ‘ribbon’. Much better word (for the same thing). Choosing key words for searching “Help” is now an interesting (and mostly unsuccessful) exercise.

‘Help’ also assumes the user is trying to do the most complicated thing, not the simple thing. To find how to do a simple thing is like a kid’s game of tag. Look here, look there, look everywhere.

And of course there's this nonsense

There is no ‘format’ tab. Excuse me, no format ‘ribbon’. Things like fonts, margins, spacing, inset pix, even copy/paste are all located on different ‘ribbons’. If I am creating a document and want to perform a function within it, I must search the other ribbons and their attendant pull down menus – which are full of new words and phrases – in order to find what I need.

A simple example: remember choosing optional security settings? In 2010 it’ll take you a while – that happens now in the ‘Trust Center”, once you find that and figure out what the Elvis it means.

By the way, anyone know what a banded row is? I’ve been trying to create a very simple table – three columns, indeterminate number of rows, nothing fancy, plain old 12 point Ariel. Plain, plain, plain. This appears to be a very difficult thing to do. I’ve been at it for almost half an hour and have more questions than when I started.

What we have here is a tool designed to make the task more difficult. Well done Microsoft.

Mme, Mlle, Mrs, Miss, Ms

It’s way past time, but the French language police have finally determined that a word meaning “young female virgin” might be inappropriate on a job application. Happy to see them catching up to the 20th century (not knocking France – a wonderful country, except for those very uptight defenders of the language). Can’t find the news story, but here‘s a prior, albeit somewhat dated, one.

That story today reminded me of how our own efforts to replace the words “Miss” (unmarried female) and “Mrs” (married female) with the single designation of “Ms” (female), in order to align with the male “Mr” (which reveals nothing of that person’s marital status), went awry.

Instead of simplifying, we managed to replace the previous two  categories with three. The ladies are now classified as Mrs (she’s just a bit old-fashioned), Miss (such a shame dontcha know) or Ms (none of your fracking business). Of course, the men are still Mr (a male person – and that’s all the information you need so butt out.)

FAIL.

Blind man talking

From my paper this morning, this Letter to the Editor:

I stopped subscribing to the paper over a year ago except to purchase a Sunday paper for sports/movies, as the paper has moved way too far to the left to be credible anymore.

As the country is center right, your paper has continued to move further left. Hopefully a change in direction will be made to restore the paper’s credibility and for more balanced news.

The writer so disapproves of the  20 or so  inches of daily editorial opinion (which he doesn’t have to read) that he chooses to shut out the news and close himself off from the area’s primary source of local information.

Face, meet the Nose – before it’s gone.

Also this, from my paper’s web edition this morning – on the editorial page:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But there does remain the matter of those ‘liberal’ editorials. So I guess it’s all or nothing, as Rush says. Anyway,  it’s a small price to pay when you are striking blows for liberty. Or something.

Pet peeve: a post is not a blog

Lately, especially in media where they really ought to know better, I hear ‘blog posts’ referred to as ‘blogs’.

A post is not a blog. An article is not a newspaper. A story is not a magazine.

Please stop it.

Let’s just pin the tail on the donkey. Now, that’s leadership!

From the transcript of Cain’s interview at the Milwakee Journal-Sentinel

He defended his view that presidents and presidential candidates don’t need to be immersed in the fine print of world affairs – they simply need to be leaders who can surround themselves with the right people and sift through their advice.

“I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy. Just thought I’d throw that out,” he said, a dig at his critics.

So he’s saying he will make decisions on which advisor to believe, and he doesn’t need any personal knowledge to evaluate that advice. Okay.

“I want to talk to commanders on the ground. Because you run for president (people say) you need to have the answer. No, you don’t! No, you don’t! That’s not good decision-making,” said Cain.*

Having the answer is not good decision-making. Doing what someone else has decided is good decision-making. Okay that too.

The constant iteration ‘I’ll listen to the commanders on the ground’. is nonsense. The generals’ job is to determine a strategy to fulfill the mission as defined by civilians, in the person of the CinC.  (Has there ever been a general for whom more troops and more weapons is not the answer to everything?)  That statement almost always goes unchallenged.

*I guess the man means: I’m not supposed to know anything about the Constitution.

I can’t keep my socks up

Honest. I can’t. At least I can’t keep those little ankle socks up. No matter the brand, no matter the material, they slip down my heel, work their way under my foot and in no time at all are bunched up under my arches.

I thought everyone should know this.

Pet peeve: protestations of equivalency

People / things I love to kick when they’re down.

  • Sarah Palin
  • Fox News
  • other Palins

Anyway,  on with it: whenever (which is often) FOX News is accused of faking their journalism, they get all weak with the vapors. At which point ‘media critics’, the ones still allowed on television anyway (I’m looking at you Howard Kurtz), remind their viewers and readers that MSNBC and CNN and some other elvis-forsaken entity do it too! After all. To be fair. You know.

It’s nonsense of course. Here’s an oldie but goodie. Ever seen CNN do this? Such good times:

During a segment in which Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade labeled New York Times reporter Jacques Steinberg and editor Steven Reddicliffe “attack dogs,” Fox News featured photos of Steinberg and Reddicliffe that appeared to have been digitally altered . . ..

Here’s a screenshot of photo Fox & Friends used for Steinberg, with the actual photo on the left.

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s Reddcliffe.

Pet peeve: Shuttle up but CNN stares in the mirror

Atlantis just lifted off. For an old fan of the space program, this is bittersweet. I’ve loved watching the launches and humans mucking around outside the atmosphere. But the program was way past its use by date and is probably holding back some of the science we could be doing in less costly unmanned craft.

There’s a romance and a majesty there when we lift this craft off the earth, soemthing entirely lost on the television cables, who blather over the NASA announcers. The official NASA radio announcements are compelling; the brief silences add tremendously to the drama. But brief silences are anathema to a medium that thrills to its own voice.

Someday we’ll be reaching out further than the Space Station. For that, we must turn our money and brain power to making that happen – in my lifetime I hope.

You want to buy me? Find me!

Is this the flag I'm really supposed to salute?

No one who knows me would mistake me for a shopper. Sometimes I need to be told to replace a favorite garment which is perfectly clean and sometimes even pressed. But worn. Tired. Old. I don’t notice. I like sunglasses and scarves and tote bags and other accessories to which I pay much more attention. But I know this about myself, so I heed the advice and do what’s needed.

Like I said, I’m not a shopper. 

This morning, I came across a page I’d torn out of an advertising circular from Sunday’s paper because it featured a small table fan of the sort I want for my office and haven’t been able to find. It’s a very small fan with a small footprint that will fit very nicely on my desk. It’s cheap and simple. Just my style. I want that fan. In fact I need that fan.

But I have no idea what store has that fan. Neither the store’s name nor any suggestive logo or partial logo nor small print at the bottom is to be found on either side of this sheet. It could be Sears. It could be Target. Maybe it’s Penny’s. I’ll bet they all have big budgets and big staffs to produce these little things that clutter our newspapers and litter our landscape.

Perhaps, as an “American consumer”, I’m supposed to be adept at identifying this orphan page by the font alone?  If I can’t do that I must be unworthy of their $14.99 fan.

Netroots Nation, the liberal media and who’s making the money buddy?

Markos Moulitsas

The Netroots Nation convention (referenced below) was so named by readers of Markos Moulitsas‘ blog, Daily Kos, probably the most influential liberal site in the blogsphere. It’s routinely demonized by the right who have dubbed it – and by extension Markos – The Great Orange Satan (the logo color is orange). Kos has gone from a a lone blogger  – immigrant, veteran, lawyer, author, father, political activist -whose very first sentence in his first blog post (in ’04 I think) was “I am a liberal”, to a community of tens of thousands of activists,  hundred and hundreds of writers and advertising rates that would make The New York Times blush.

I’ve written often – here, and here, and here – about the utter failure of the liberal punditocracy and elected Democrats to make the point that liberal media dominates because it’s what people want and support with their dollars.

A blog is media. Daily Kos is a blog. Daily Kos is liberal and Daily Kos is making money. Lots of money.

It’s more successful than its conservative rivals (except perhaps  The Druge Report which even after a decade plus is still only a primitive blog acting as a news aggregator with a point of view). In any free market the major players are the ones that rake in the bucks because people value the product and pay for it. The media may be liberal, but what’s almost never mentioned is that it’s also   what America reads and watches. And pays for.

Let’s look at movies and compare the box office success of  the  anti-liberal movie Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged with Sicko, Michael Moore’s liberal documentary. Both of these were in limited release.

Atlas Shrugged:  Here’s a report from the Hollywood Reporter:

The man who says he spent $10 million of his own money to bring Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 to the big screen vowed Wednesday to go through with his plans to make the next two installments, even though critics hate the movie and business at movie theaters has fallen off a cliff.

[Producer] Aglialoro said he had to scale down his ambition for the film to be in 1,000 theaters this weekend, so it will likely be closer to 400. During its opening weekend, the movie took in $5,640 per screen but then only $1,890 in its second. Through Wednesday, the film had grossed $3.3 million since opening April 15.

That paper also covered Sicko when it was released in ’07. here

Lionsgate far outpaced the competition this summer, but its biggest hit was the Weinstein Co. co-release “Sicko.” Michael Moore’s harsh and humorous health-care expose took in $24.1 million. Currently neck and neck with “An Inconvenient Truth,” it will pass that film to become the third-highest-grossing nonmusical documentary of all time this weekend, though its purse doesn’t begin to compare with the top-ranking docu, Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” ($119.2 million.)

Liberal media has more reach. Because people pay for it. From an earlier post, I’ll republish this, because it can’t be posted often enough.

FROM Whatever Works in FEBRUARY of 2010 :

That most frequent target of conservative media, The New York Times, reported a circulation (March 2009) of 1,039,031 copies on weekdays and 1,451,233 copies on Sundays. And the venerable Wall Street Journal has equivalent if not higher weekday numbers. But since the Times is perceived to be ‘liberal’ throughout and the Journal is perceived to be conservative only in its editorial pages, they’re not politically opposite. The Journal is a hybrid. So a comparison would not be useful.)

NEWSPAPERS
The Washington Post – A publicly traded company
Daily audience 1,599,900

The Washington Times – A privately held company owned by the Rev. Sun Young Moon
Daily audience 83,511

MAGAZINES
The Weekly Standard – a privately held company
Can’t find circulation numbers, even at their own website, so to keep it fair(ish)
National Review – a privately held company
Weekly circulation 183,000

Time Magazine – A publicly traded company
Weekly circulation 3,400,000

I draw the reader’s attention to which of these publications thrive in the free market and which are rich men’s hobbies.

I hate Daylight Savings Time

I have always hated Daylight Savings Time. I do now, and always will hate Daylight Savings Time.

The only thing the State of Arizona ever did right was say ‘no thanks’ to Daylight Savings.

The US has the highest corporate tax rate in the world

True – if only the big guys paid taxes.

One of the little know facts about the cruise industry is that it pays virtually no U.S. taxes. The cruise lines take advantage of an obscure provision in the U.S. tax code which permits shipping companies to evade taxes by incorporating overseas and flying the flags of foreign countries. That’s why Carnival is incorporated in Panama, Royal Caribbean is incorporated in Liberia, and Princess Cruises is incorporated in Bermuda.

Pet peeve redemption! Double space be gone!

For years, I’ve been pestering people to stop using two spaces after a period when typing . My pleas fell on deaf ears and to my horror I found that people actually didn’t care! They claimed something they called ‘priorities’.

The use of double spaces is a throwback to the days before computers, before even IBM Selectric typewriters, when two spaces were visually necessary as there was no kerning – every keystroke, be it an “i” or an “M” or a “;” took up the same horizontal space. We needed that double space so our eyes could sort it all out.

Even then though, they  were never employed in typography. Fonts controlled  word and letter spaces, making text much easier to read.

So when IBM Selectrics and then computers entered the scene with fonts for all, the old double space was retired. Or it was supposed to be, except a few hundred million people didn’t get the message.

Today, Slate explains it all, and I am redeemed (I hope) amongst those friends who’d taken to covering their ears upon any mention of ‘spaces’. I shall immediately make them aware that I was, ahem, right.

It’s a fair question

Steve Benen says:

“And I’ve been trying to stress this for eight years: “The right and the left both have intemperate voices. But here’s the key: only the conservative movement counts the most vile blowhards as leading lights, embraced by the leadership. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Sarah Palin: these are among the most popular conservatives in America. Who are the folks on the left with equivalent popularity and influence?”

(He said this before there was a Glenn Beck.)

Ms Moe’s pet peeves

“Thank you Bill, that’s a great question.” says this morning’s guest on CSpan’s Washington Journal, in response to a batshit dumb question.

Courtesy and manners are essential to a functioning society and I am a big fan of courtesy and manners. But treating Bill with excessive cordiality is simply not necessary. Courtesy in fact is contra-indicated.

So please either ignore him or answer his stupid question as best you can. Don’t thank the fool.

Another of Moe’s pet peeves

This is the second time I’ve posted a pet peeve and it is once again about language. I was just listening to CNN – something I usually avoid as I do all morning TV – and they were reporting a story about police getting ready to blow up a residence that was full of bombs. The reader reported that “they’ll blow up this home . . . ” Ouch.

When I grew up and for the centuries before then, a building where families or single people resided  (or even intended for that purpose) was a ‘house’ . In it, said people made a ‘home’. We understood ‘home’ to be pretty much where Mommy and Daddy lived – in thier house.

In the 1980’s, as residential real estate agents moved from being service providers to being masters of the universe, ‘home’ became the more marketable concept. It especially had cachet for those who’d never owned a house before.

And so today, one word has completely replaced the other and – I believe – lost meaning in the process; it’s become cheap. ‘Home’ is no longer ‘where the heart is’; it’s just  a building. Usually for sale.

One of Ms. Moe’s pet peeves

I have many on my list. This one is near the top.

One outcome of the 70’s Feminist movement was the introduction of a much needed new form of address into our language, a universal, generic form of address for women.

Men had always had such a form – “Mr”. On the other hand, women were forced to broadcast their social status – by using either “Miss” or “Mrs”. It was a pretty serious handicap for working women particularly. Or a woman seeking credit.

It also created awkward moments when addressing a woman with whom  you were not acquainted – Hello Miss Smith? Hello Mrs. Smith? Whoops? Sorry.

“Ms” was introduced as a sensible replacement for the previous two forms. It was immediately and widely embraced.

Except . . . except for those for whom moving wimmin’ out of the kitchen was the devil’s own work and likely the beginning of the end of our Christian nation.

So a politically correct compromise was applied and it made the situation much much worse.

Now on forms  are all those annoying check boxes where I must announce myself as either:

  • Mrs. – I am married and quite traditional. Thank you.
  • Miss – Unmarried and a little timid, if that’s okay. Also, I work at Publix.
  • Ms – None of your business, creep. I’m a ball busting feminist pinko commie dyke anyway!