2005 Notebook

Hey Christian Kids!

Do your parents give you boring things you don’t like? Bibles, crucifixes, WWJD bracelets, My First Chastity BeltTM, Chick tracts, or just plain ugly clothes? Here’s a solution: sell them, then donate the money to the poor. Doing so is morally unimpeachable, generates good heaven-ward karma, and your parents can’t get mad at you without being complete hypocrites (Mark 12:41-44)!

The problem with this strategem is that your parents can one-up you. But if you can handle the loss of your PlayStation, you’re home free.

Tip: if your parents know you don’t like something, then when you’re getting rid of the unwanted stuff, get rid of a few other items you could live without too. A little misdirection can work wonders.


Things I Shouldn’t Have to Point Out, #1

In a recent Wired news article about RFID chips, a spokesman for the National Community Pharmacists Association claims annual losses due to prescriptions remaining unfilled measure in the hundreds of millions of dollars. I shouldn’t have to point this out, but unfilled prescriptions are potential income. Not receiving potential income is not a loss.

Or, colloquially: don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.


The I, God Principle

Whenever you hear someone make a pronouncement in the name of a deity, such as “Jesus was a liberal” or “God hates fags”, substitute “I” for the deity’s name. The resulting statement will be true, because people only make a pronouncement in someone else’s name when it agrees with their own beliefs.

While this holds true for all appeals to authority (“Gandhi would have said...”, “That’s human nature”), it’s particularly true for religious pronouncements.



The long-predicted paperless office is still a myth, but I’m pretty close to having a paperless home. Almost all of my data is stored electronically. These days, I use paper at home for two things: the few documents which must be physical (e.g., handwritten letters), and as scratch paper for working out math problems. (Yet even in the latter case, the final results will be stored electronically.)


Nod, Shake, ?

In my culture, nodding your head (pivoting it forward and back) means yes, while shaking it (rotating it around the body's vertical axis) mean no. In avionics terms, nod and shake are yaw and pitch, respectively. But what about the third degree of freedom, roll? Why don't we pivot it left to right in the body's left-right plane? Is this omission a cultural oddity, or is there a physiological reason?


Trick or... no, trick

Here's a Halloween trick that requires almost no preparation. Just after Halloween, buy some discounted bags of good candy. (It's important to get something good but not too good—it makes the trick better, and you don't want kids remembering that it was you who gave them peanut butter chews/Godiva truffles.) When you get home, stick the candy someplace where it won't be a temptation. Let it sit there for a year. On Halloween, hand out the now-stale candy to your innocent victims. They think they've scored—until they get home, and find it stale and hard.

For extra evil, warm the stuff in an oven on low for a little while to make it stick to the wrapper.

This trick is handy for those ingrates who show up at your door without a costume. Keep two jars, one of fresh candy and the other the gaffed stuff, and give the latter to the costumeless. If they don't understand “no costume, no candy”, they deserve what they get.


Last updated 13 November 2005
All contents ©2005 Mark L. Irons

Previous: 2004 Notebook ··· Next: 2006 Notebook