Y’all know what bugs are, don’t you? They’re critters, smaller than varmints but bigger than germs, with more than four legs.

Whether or not they’re insects is your business.

Nothing drives me crazier than biologists arguing spiders aren’t bugs. They definitely are.

The Advancement of Grammar

We forget at times that the technological revolution is being mirrored and matched in things like grammar.

Two hundred years ago, most dialogue was in huge blocks. Individual speakers were stuffed together, one after another, in single paragraphs. Dickens, admittedly writing for the paycheck, put each speaker in their own paragraph, and now this is so common that doing it any other way strikes us as odd. It’s much, much, much easier to read.

But it’s new!

Lines between paragraphs are new!

Long paragraphs are fine when called for. If Adam enters the scene wearing something peculiar, and we need a two-page paragraph of description, that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. But if the writer prefers to frontload a little scene setting so that later the scene can go unbothered, that frontload can usually be broken up into a bunch of little chunks. Give me a paragraph on the room layout, a paragraph on the furniture, one on where the people are sitting, and one on the view out the window. If the author thinks they need all that, go right ahead. But the breaking-up of huge text-walls into smaller features is an improvement.

I’ve been reading Mallory, and the story is better than I recall. The general flow of the writing consists of text boulders filled with heterogeneous dialogue intrusions. You would never confuse it with a modern retelling. Manutius’s invention of the comma has been mirrored by improvements in things like indentations and spacing, and these are real, significant improvements.


My Bad Decision Senses are piping up again, accurately detecting possible bad decisions to be made. And they’re pinging the Honda Hornet.

I said never buy Honda. I meant it. I mean it now. I do!

I just kinda want to know the out-the-door price on one in black and yellow.

Foreign Policy

I’ve heard it said ‘Foreign policy is local.’ That means something like ‘the people who are undertaking foreign policy are playing to a local audience. US politicians are acting as they thing their US voters will approve, UK politicians for UK voters, etc.’ I think there’s probably some truth in that.

People outside the US have very little say in US politics, as we have little say in theirs. What little we have in theirs and they in ours is often the subject of immense pressures. For a US politician to take a firm stance on, say, Belgian politics is to virtually guarantee blowback.

In a democracy, people vote for a leader, and those people largely elect the leader. There’s always a little fuzz. Even in a bureaucracy, the unelected do not reign without constraint. In an autocracy, things are even fuzzier, but there’s a certain amount of ‘will of the ruled’ that must be marshalled.

China has paid close attention to this with their reactions to US politicians who attempt to speak directly to the Chinese people. Putin may be influenced by the disquiet arising in Russia from his Ukrainian war moreseo than he admits. Putin has a lot of money in his authority account, but he’s making big purchases when he sends conscripts to the meat grinder.


I just bought a $100 calculator.

Normally I’m in one of two regimes: $15 calculators or computer software (Matlab, Mathematica, etc.). I infrequently need something inbetween.

However, for some tests I now do, and the quick and dirty TI 30XIIS has hit its limits. Those limits aren’t excessive naming symbols. I got a TI 83+, which apparently isn’t one of the current really good graphing calculators. For me, it’s night and day. It can invert complex functions with a press of a button. I don’t slog through radian/degree conversions. The thing does full on matrix multiplication without dropping negative signs. It’s like seeing dawn.

Still, for a hundred bucks, it better knock my socks off.

It did.


Turns out 747 did win. Fat Bear Week had a cheating scandal. Fake votes were cast for Fat Bear Week.

Fat Bear Week.

Someone cheated over Fat Bear Week.