Archive for
October 2022

Comments for Sunday, October 23, 2022, thru Mon., Oct. 31, 2022:

October 30, 2022 - This is another one of those Sunday mornings when I have absolutely nothing prepared for my Sunday comment.  I've been writing a Sunday comment every Sunday morning since January of 2015, and I don't want to break the pattern.  It's not that there's nothing to write about, it's that I don't want to repeat myself, and I don't want to write about something that no one else in the world is interested in. 

But sometimes it seems like the only things that interest me are things that do not interest anyone else in the world.  This morning I started thinking once again about podcasts.  I'm certainly not the only person in the world who listens to podcasts, but I'm the only person who I know  listens to podcasts.  Somehow, that caused me to do a Google search for "top podcasts," and that search led me to a web site which has an article titled "The Best Podcasts of 2022 (So Far).Hmm.  I paged through the 27 or 30 podcasts they list, one by one, and saw absolutely nothing of any interest to me at all - until I got to the 10th one on the list.  (None of those after #10 seemed interesting either.) 
Number 10 on the list is a podcast called "Let's Make a Sci-Fi."

Let's make a sci-fi

Hmmm.  Now that definitely seems interesting.  It turns out it is a series that is only ten episodes in length, including the introductory podcast which is less than 3 minutes long.  The rest are mostly about 30 minutes long, with one episode that is slightly over an hour.

It is what it says it is: It's a series about the creation and writing of a sci-fi TV episode or show.  The episode that is over an hour long is the sci-fi show.  Here's a blurb for the podcast:
Can three comedians create a legit sci-fi show? Comedians Ryan Beil, Maddy Kelly, and Mark Chavez are going to find out. Over eight episodes, they’ll try to write a serious, and seriously nerdy, pilot script. When they run into trouble they’ll consult Hollywood experts who have worked on things like Star Trek, Star Wars, and Firefly and science fiction superstars like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Rainn Wilson, Emily VanDerWerff and Neill Blomkamp. And in the final episode, professional actors will read their script, bringing it to life — for better or worse.
Needless to say, I immediately started downloading the entire series onto my backup hard-drive.  In doing so, I had to listen to brief parts of the beginnings and endings of most episodes while the "save as" downloads were taking place.  That was enough to make me want to start listening immediately, so I copied the files onto my MP3 player, and I'll start listening to them as soon as I finish typing this sentence and upload this Sunday comment to my site.  

October 28, 2022
- Last night, just about every late night talk show talked about McDonald's bringing back the McRib sandwich "for one final time."  If you Google it, you will find dozens of news stories about it.  Most of them, like the Washington Post, do not believe McDonald's will discontinue the McRib permanently.  They see it as just a publicity gimmick to generate sales. 

One reason I'm mentioning it is because yesterday, while browsing through past episodes of the Everything Everywhere Daily podcast, I noticed there was a 7-minute episode dated January 9, 2021, that was about the McRib sandwich.  Instead of downloading it to my MP3 player, I just listened to it.  It says,
In 2011 an article titled “A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage” analyzed the appearance of the McRib between 2005 and 2011, and found that its appearance coincided with dips in pork prices. Basically, when pork is cheap, the McRib has a good chance of appearing. It can’t stick around for too long because if it did, it would cause pork prices to rise.

Moreover, the McRib is probably either a very low margin product or a loss leader for McDonald’s. It is the only sandwich on the menu in most locations that isn’t round, requires a different type of bun, special packaging, and handling.
Hmm.  That seems more reasonable than any conspiracy theory.

I can't remember if I've every bought a McRib or not.  I don't think I ever   did.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to reduce the number of Everything Everywhere Daily podcasts that I listen to.  Yesterday, I listened to an episode of Sean Carroll's Mindscape podcast titled "What Aliens will be Like."  His guest was Dr. Arik Kershenbaum from Cambridge University.  The episode was over an hour and 20 minutes long, and it contained some very interesting comments, particularly near the end.  Here's one quote:
you can argue all you like about whether or not to send messages to aliens, but we’ve been doing it for 100 years  without meaning to, so any alien civilization that has anything like the technology necessary to come and visit us already knows that we’re here, I mean there’s no hiding, absolutely not. We’ve been looking for alien civilizations with our primitive technology and haven’t found any, but you can imagine that anyone is out there who knows what they’re doing would be able to find us, so I think the cat’s out to the bag.
And another:
if there are technologies that will allow an alien civilization to travel from one star system to another, they are so technologically advanced and they have so much energy at their disposal, why would they bother harming us? Our preconceptions and our fears of alien civilizations are entirely based on human behavior and entirely based on human colonialism, where we needed to go to another country to take all the gold, or to take all of the slaves, because we didn’t have enough stuff here. But if you can travel from one star to another, you can make as much stuff as you want, you can make as much food as you want, and really planet earth isn’t giving you anything.
And one more:
Technology seems to be highly, highly damaging to civilization, so you can imagine that anyone has reached that point that has managed to get over all of the disastrous social plagues that we have here, climate change and wars and racism and any civilization that can get past that and survive to the point of becoming technologically advanced, they’re probably pretty nice guys.
Hmm. That sort of suggests that, if some aliens were to visit Earth tomorrow, they'd just shake their heads and move on to the next world in their itinerary.  And their parting words might be something like, "You guys need to learn how to get along and work together.  Send us a message when you've done that, and we might come back for a longer visit."

October 26, 2022
- Yesterday, I downloaded another 30 episodes of the Everything Everywhere Daily podcast into my MP3 player. That means I've downloaded a total of 204 of the 842 podcasts they have available, and I've listened to 174 of them.  Today's episode is titled "The History of Recorded Sound."  It's 17 minutes long, which makes it one of the longest episodes on the site.  It also looks like a very interesting episode. I listen to CDs in my car every day, I'm listening to jazz music from cassette tapes as I type these words, and I have a stack of LP records in a cabinet in the other room.  Tapes replaced LPs, CDs replaced tapes, and MP3 replaced CDs.  It's hard to imagine what might replace MP3, since they eliminate all the problems with prior formats, and they are incredibly simple to produce.

But, MP3 files come with their own problems.  Sometime back, I copied all of my music cassette tapes onto MP3 files, but I still listen to the tapes, because when I turn on my tape player, it starts playing from where I was when I turned off the player.  When I turned on an MP3 player to listen to music, it always started at the beginning of the collection.  So, I would end up listening to the same thing every day, and I never got to 95% of the collection.  When I listen to audio books on my MP3 player, the individual MP3 files may not be in the correct order.  If I'm not careful, when a 80-minute MP3 file ends in the middle of Chapter 3, the next MP3 file might begin in the middle of Chapter 10.  So, I mostly listen to audio books in my car, because I burned the CDs in order and numbered them.

Meanwhile, I keep wanting to comment on the political situation. Last night on one of the late night talk shows, they had a long segment about Kari Lake, who is running for governor of Arizona.  Wow!  Her lunatic rants may be even crazier than Donald Trump's!  And yet there's a very good chance that she might win the election.

The problem is that you cannot argue with someone like that.  Arguing assumes that logic and reason will show who is right and who is wrong.  But if you're arguing with someone who doesn't care about logic and reason, someone who just states his or her beliefs and declares that those beliefs are superior to any logic or reason, what do you do?  It seems that the only thing that can be done is to let the person endlessly rant and hope that the voting public sees that it is just mindless ranting and not what is needed in a democracy.  

That highlights another problem:  What percentage of the voting public prefers mindless ranting to logic and reason?  In just about every political race it appears that the percentage is so close to 50% that no one - except the lunatics - can make a confident prediction.

October 23, 2022
- I'm still spending a lot of time listening to Everything Everywhere Daily podcasts.  Yesterday, while listening to some of their recent podcasts, they started advertising a different podcast: Profoundly Pointless.  I'd never heard of that podcast before, and it seemed worth checking out.  I tried searching for it using Google, but Google would only show web sites where you have to pay to listen to the podcast.  Then suddenly some pieces fell together in my brain.  When they talked about the podcast, they said you could find it on the pay-to-listen sites "or wherever you get your podcasts."

When I searched for free podcasts in the past, I'd noticed that most of them had as the first part of their web address. So, I went to that address. It's just a bunch of advertising, but at the top of the page is a place to do a podcast search.  I typed in "Profoundly Pointless", hit enter, and I was taken to a page with the search results.  There was just a picture for the Profoundly Pointless site.  I clicked on it, and it took me to where all of the 223 episodes of Profoundly Pointless are available for free downloading.

That made me wonder if other host sites work the same way. I looked through my list of my favorite podcasts and found a second host at which is very similar to  It also has a place to do a search.  There appear to be others, but mostly the others advertise the podcasts they host and provide free access to them without providing a way to search for ones that they do not advertise (if they have such a thing).

What I'd like to find is a host that provides the ability to download a podcast without going through the rigamarole of starting to play the podcast while forcing you to "right click" on the screen and then click on "save page as" to get the screen where you tell it where to download the file.  If the download is slow, you have to listen to the podcast while you wait, even if you know how to speed things up a bit.  I'd like to find a host where they provide a means of downloading the MP3 file without having to listen to parts of it first.  If you are downloading a show that is only 7 or 8 minutes long, and the download is slow, you're going to hear a significant fraction of it before you finish downloading it.

Yesterday, I downloaded and listened to 2 episodes from Profoundly Pointless, a 1 hour 9 minute episode about cryptocurrency and a 1 hour 16 minute episode about money laundering.  I don't really understand how anyone would get involved with cryptocurrency, and listening to the episode just made it seem more ridiculous to me.  It seems the people who trade in cryptocurrency simply do not trust the government, so they invest in a non-government currency that could become totally worthless at any moment.  And somehow they consider that to be a "good idea." The episode on money laundering didn't provide any information that was totally new to me, it just explained things more carefully than they've ever been explained to me before.

There's also an episode on boredom research that looks interesting.  Or maybe I should say it doesn't look like it would be boring.

Comments for Sunday, October 16, 2022, thru Sat., Oct. 22, 2022:

October 20, 2022 - I spent most of yesterday listening to episode after episode of the Everything Everywhere Daily podcast.  The average episode is probably less than 10 minutes long, so I can easily listen to 6 episodes per hour.  I'm still going through the 80 episodes I downloaded on the 15th.

One of the episodes I listened to yesterday was titled "The Podcast about Podcasts."  It says,
Currently, 28% of all Americans are weekly podcast listeners and 62% listen to some form of online audio every week.
I suspect that "some form of online audio" includes music, since I've found it difficult to find anyone else who listens to podcasts.  (The word "podcast" is an abbreviation of "broadcasts to I-pods.")

Here's another interesting quote from that episode: 
There are currently over 2.2 million podcasts according to, which is trying to be the most comprehensive list of podcasts.
That just means that there are 2.2 million podcast names that have been registered.  The vast majority have evidently been abandoned or never went onto the Internet.  Only about 13.8% seem to be currently active.  But that is still a very large number.
Yesterday, I realized that I needed to keep better track of which episodes of the Everything Everywhere Daily podcast I've downloaded and which I've finished listening to.  In any given episode, Gary Arndt, the show's narrator, might mention some other episode which contains information related what he is currently discussing.  And, if I haven't already downloaded that episode, I might hunt it down and put it in the queue for the next download.  That can be a problem if I go purely by memory.  So, yesterday I copied and pasted the episode list on the main site, and I printed out a list of the entire series.  It took 21 pages.  Then I proceeded to mark each episode I've downloaded and each episode I've finished listening to.

The key problem I have is that I don't want to pay to download podcasts, so I use sites where they are free.  But the sites where they are free all have a built-in problem: To get to an old episode you have to page backwards from the most current episode.  On the Everything Everywhere Daily Podcast site I use there are 10 episodes on a page, and there are currently 836 episodes, which means I have to page back through 83 pages of episodes to get to the page that contains the first six episodes. And when I've downloaded a single episode from that page, I again have to page back through 83 pages of episodes to get to the next episode.  It's very tedious and time-consuming.  It's faster to work backwards and download the most recent episodes, and I may do that.  The first 120 episodes I downloaded were the ones that had the most interesting titles. That is also my plan for the next batch, but now I'm going to be working from a printed list.  That could add complications.

A key factor, of course, is having nothing better to do.

October 17, 2022
- After completing my daily routine this morning, I decided to try writing a comment for this web site.  I just stared at my computer screen for about a half hour, writing nothing, before I gave up.

Then I decided to check if my favorite podcast, The Infinite Monkey Cage, had any new episodes.  They didn't.  Their last episode was still dated August 6, 2022.  I'd never downloaded or listened to that episode because it was titled "How to Teach Maths."  The title turned me off.  I've listened to every other episode of The Infinite Monkey Cage, but I was just waiting for more episodes to appear so that I could download a bunch and include that episode in the bunch.  The episode had no priority for me.

But, this morning I decided to download it, if only to see if they would tell me when more new episodes would appear.

Wow!  What a terrific episode!  They addressed a key question I have had for years: Why does math interest me so little while interesting so many others so much?  It's because I like solving mysteries not puzzles.  Mathematicians evidently like solving puzzles.

In one of the opening scenes of the movie "Good Will Hunting," Matt Damon plays a math prodigy who sees a complex math equation on a blackboard in the hallway of his school, he sees that it is incorrect, and he corrects it.  That stuns his professor who hadn't been able to figure out what was wrong with the equation.   In another movie, "The Man Who Knew Infinity", a guy from India gets to go to Cambridge University because he was able to solve a math problem that had bugged other mathematicians for a long long time.  I was never able to understand what was so great about solving a math problem.  It's just about the most boring task I can imagine.

The Infinite Monkey Cage episode made me understand why I also have no particular interest in jigsaw puzzles, Wordle or Rubik's cubes. They are puzzles, not mysteries.  I love mysteries!  I love detective stories, scientific mysteries, and adventures into the unknown.  A puzzle would only interest me if I could learn something interesting from it. Scientific mysteries require learning more about how the universe works.  It is detective work.  I understand and enjoy detective work.  And listening to that episode of The Infinite Monkey Cage solved a mystery that had been bugging me for a long time: why doesn't math hold any interest for me.

They also mentioned that they would have more new episodes when they start a new series "around the end of the year," but a little research shows that they start a new "series" every January and July.

October 16, 2022
- I'm still looking for some project to keep me busy.  The idea of writing an autobiography seems like a non-starter.  Or maybe I just don't know where to start it.  I couldn't start it by telling about where I was born and where I grew up.   Who would care?  I would have to start it with some "hook" to grab the reader's attention.  But what "hook"?  What have I done that thousands of other people haven't also done?  Hmm.  Lots of things, actually.  But none of them seem to provide a "hook."

How many people spent hours during the past few days listening to 40 episodes of the
Everything Everywhere Daily podcast?  I did.  I downloaded them into my MP3 player last Sunday, and I finished listening to them on Friday.  Yesterday, I downloaded 80 more.  The site currently has 831 episodes.  The 120 episodes I downloaded were the ones that seemed most interesting to me.  Maybe something will someday make me wonder about "President Tyler's Grandsons" or "The Most Dominant Athlete Ever," but it's more likely that I will listen to some other podcast before I download any more episodes from Everything Everywhere Daily.  I've got about 400 episodes from 65 other podcasts in my 2-terabyte hard drive waiting to be downloaded into my MP3 player.

Since I'm having a hard time figuring out what to write about this morning, I suppose I could mention that I started reading "Trump/Russia" the other day.  I gave up on it.  It contains too much about money laundering and the Russian mafia, which doesn't really interest me - even if Trump got fully mixed up with them.  So, I started reading "American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy."  It grabbed me from the very start.  It begins by explaining how the liberal Republican party of Abraham Lincoln became conservative while the party of Southern racist Democrats became liberal. I'll write more about that when I finish the book.

Comments for Sunday, October 9, 2022, thru Sat., Oct. 15, 2022:

October 14, 2022 - While driving home from the gym this afternoon, I finished listening to CD #2 in the 2 CD audio book set for "Lives of the Scientists: Experiments, Explosions (and What the Neighbors Thought)" by  Kathleen Krull, with illustrations by Kathryn Hewitt. 

Lives of the Scientists

I "borrowed" it from my local library years ago, and it finally reached the top of my listening queue. 

The 96-page book consists of brief life-histories of 20 different scientists.  Here's a blurb from one on-line source:
Did you know that it’s believed Galileo was scolded by the Roman Inquisition for sassing his mom? That Isaac Newton loved to examine soap bubbles? That Albert Einstein loved to collect joke books, and that geneticist Barbara McClintock wore a Groucho Marx disguise in public?
Additionally, Madam Curie's house was stoned by scandalized neighbors because she wasn't doing women's work.  Charles Darwin had noisy stomach ailments which prevented him from staying over at other people's houses.  When Jane Goodall worked as a waitress she could carry 13 dinner plates without dropping them.

It was an enjoyable and interesting book, but when I researched it this afternoon to write this comment, I found that it was written for 10 to 12 year olds.  I must have missed that detail when I borrowed it.  Nevertheless, I'm glad I listened to it.
October 12, 2022
- While eating breakfast this morning, I finished reading another book on my Kindle.  The book was:
"Profiles in Ignorance: How America's Politicians got Dumber and Dumber," by Andy Borowitz. 

Profiles in Ignorance

I've got 8 pages of underlined (and copied) passages from the book.  Here's a sample:
By elevating candidates who can entertain over those who can think, mass media have made the election of dunces more likely. Fact-free and nuance-intolerant, these human sound-bite machines have reduced our most complex problems to binary oppositions: us versus communists; us versus terrorists; and that latest crowd-pleaser, us versus scientists.
The book isn't just about Donald Trump.  The Republican Party's practice of running truly ignorant people for President really began with Richard Nixon.  Then Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.  The book just says that Donald Trump is undoubtedly the dumbest of them all.

Here's another interesting quote from the book:
In his 1977 interview with David Frost, Richard M. Nixon made his notorious declaration about the legality of a president’s actions: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” Trump’s followers apply a similar rule to his behavior: When Trump does it, that means that it is not idiotic. Regardless of what he says or does, Trump is right, and the media, always doing a “hit job” on him, are wrong.
That is certainly true when discussing the top-secret papers Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago when he left the White House.

And here's another interesting quote from the book:
When the Confederate flag–wavers invaded the Capitol on January 6, it wasn’t hard to see them as the descendants of the Confederate flag–wavers Reagan addressed, forty-one years earlier, at the Neshoba County Fair. And, while most people assailed Trump for inciting his mob to overthrow the government, Reaganites still laud their hero for declaring, in his inaugural address, “Government is the problem.” Reagan helped stoke the anti-government anger that achieved critical mass with the Tea Party and exploded on January 6. Of course, his followers would argue that he was merely talking about reducing the size of government, not overthrowing it. But making that distinction would require something that Reagan and his successors in the Age of Ignorance have done their best to eliminate: nuance.
While it was an interesting book, it was also clear that the author was going a bit overboard in his criticisms.  The author, Andy Borowitz, is an American writer, comedian, satirist, and actor. He's a The New York Times-bestselling author who won the first National Press Club award for humor. He is also known for creating the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

I enjoyed the book, but it's difficult to recommend, since the author doesn't just discuss the facts, he also ridicules Republicans and their practice of running really dumb people for government office.  There's a lot of that going on in my State right now, and I don't see any humor in it at all.  In fact, to me it is downright scary.

October 10, 2022
- While listening to some podcast the other day, a different podcast was mentioned or advertised.  It seemed interesting, so I made a  note of the name, and yesterday I researched it.  The podcast is "Everything Everywhere Daily"

It's a very unusual podcast and it quickly became one of my favorites after I listened to about a half dozen episodes.  It's hosted by Gary Arndt, who speaks every day for eight to fifteen minutes on some topic. As of today he has done 826 episodes. His talk this morning is on "The League of Nations."  Yesterday it was about "The Kidnapping of Charley Ross" (the first kidnapping for ransom in American history).  The day before that it was on "Trial by Combat."  The episode on October 7th was about "The Rise and Fall of Department Stores."  On the 3rd it was about "The Seven Days of The Week."  On the 2nd it was about "Hurricanes and Typhoons."  On September 19th it was on "The History of Chocolate."  On August 31, it was about "The History of Postal Delivery."

There's so much interesting stuff packed into each brief podcast that I save some of the ones I've heard in case I want to listen to it again.  The website for Everything Everywhere Daily also has transcripts for every episode.  Here's part of the transcript for the episode about "The Gunfight at the OK Corral":
Ike had gone to a livery on the edge of town to get his rifle, and soon Doc Holiday was informed that Ike had his gun and was looking for him.

The Earps and Doc Holliday found them in an alley next to the C. S. Fly’s photography studio and boarding house, where Holliday was staying.

Here is the first big misconception about the fight. It didn’t take place at the OK Corral. The corral, by the way, was abbreviated OK, which stood for Old Kindersley.

The OK Corral was actually a few buildings away on the same block. It was probably used as the name simply because the gunfight at the CS Fly Photography Studio doesn’t really roll off the tongue quite as well.

There were five cowboys there, Ike and Billy Clanton and Tom and Frank McLaury, and Billy Claiborne, and there were four on the Earp side, Wyatt, Morgan, and Virgil Earp, as well as Doc Holliday.
If you are interested in learning strange facts you never heard or read before, the "Everything Everywhere Daily" podcast is definitely a good place for that. 

October 9, 2022
- I've probably said this many times on this web site, but the Chinese have a curse that I find very interesting.  When they use the curse on someone, they say, "May you live in interesting times!"

I don't know who put a curse on our entire planet, but we are definitely living in interesting times.  Will we be able to stop global warming?  Will Russia start using nuclear weapons in the Ukraine?  Will North Korea attack South Korea?  How long can Muslim countries force women to follow rules set by men?  How long can South American, Middle East and South Asian dictators remain in power?  Will Trump run for President again in 2024?  And how could we have elected someone like Trump in 2016?

There are a lot of books about Trump in bookstores today.  Below are six of the most recent.

                    about Donald Trump

I'm really interested in whether or not Putin has some control over Trump.  "Trump/Russia" by Seth Hettena presumably addresses that issue, but if it exposed any blockbuster news, I haven't seen it reported anywhere.  It's a 288 page book, which which means it would be a relatively fast read.  Maggie Haberman's book "Confidence Man" is 608 pages.  It's been in all over the news, and I definitely want to read it.  "The Divider" by Peter Baker & Susan Glasser is 752 pages!  It seems to address the same issues as "Confidence Man," and it's gotten even better reviews.  I'm also curious about Trump's attempts to turn the Justice Department into a weapon for his own personal benefit, which is what "Holding the Line," a 352 page book by Geoffrey Berman, is all about.  But I think the question that is most on my mind is: How could we have elected someone as crooked, sleazy and dumb as Trump to be the President of the United States?  That question seems to be addressed by "American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy" by David Corn, which is 400 pages, and "Profiles in Ignorance: How America's Politicians Got Dumber and Dumber:" by Andy Borowitz, which is 320 pages. 

So, I'm currently reading "Profiles in Ignorance" on my Kindle.  If it leaves too many unanswered questions, then I may read "American Psychosis."  Otherwise I'll probably read "Trump/Russia" next.  Trump's connections to Russia really worry me.

Meanwhile, a discussion I had with a relative yesterday has gotten me thinking again about working on a book.  We talked about "Logical Relativity" and how I've finished most of a first draft.  He gave me some ideas for how to finish it. 

He also suggested again and again that I write an autobiography.  I kept telling him that the idea is absurd.  What would I title it?  "Autobiography of a Nobody"?  His argument is that a "nobody" isn't someone who has done TV interviews and has been written about in many newspapers and magazines.  Maybe "Autobiography of an Odd Ball"?  It's something to think about.  It certainly wouldn't interest any book publisher, but self-publishing books is one of the odd-ball things I've repeatedly done.

Comments for Saturday, October 1, 2022, thru Sat., Oct. 8, 2022:

October 7, 2022 - I sometimes wonder if I'm the only person on this planet who watches The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel Live with Jimmy Kimmel, and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.  Most of those late-night talk shows are on at the same time.  The Daily Show with Trevor Noah airs at 10 p.m. Central Time and usually runs for 45 minutes, overlapping Colbert, Kimmel and Fallon which air at 10:34 or 10:35 and run for an hour.  Seth Meyers airs after Jimmy Fallon.

I record them all on my DVR and watch them the next evening, after watching The NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. That means I can skip over the commercials and the parts that are of no interest to me.  I watch the monologues and some guest interviews, usually getting through them all in about 2 hours or so.

The monologues are almost always about current events in the news, but from 5 different points of view.  When Trump or some Trump supporter does or says something stupid, I can watch 5 (or 6) different people talk about it.

It's also a good way to learn about new books.  I think Maggie Haberman has been on all 5 late night talk shows promoting her new 608 page book "Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America."  I was tempted to read it, and I may some day, but 608 pages!? Reading only during breakfast and lunch, it would take me many weeks to get through it.  Instead, I started reading one of several books I have about how the Republican Party became so screwed up that they would help someone like Trump run for President - and still support him when it became clear he had committed numerous serious crimes.  It seems to have begun with Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.  Neither of them were as dumb as Trump, but covering up and explaining away their crazy comments and deeds has become a main task for the Republican Party. 

It's the psychology behind it that fascinates me.  I'll write more about it and post some quotes when I finish reading "Profiles in Ignorance: How America's Politicians Got Dumb and Dumber" by Andy Borowitz, another bestseller I learned about on late night talk shows.

October 4, 2022
- As I was driving to the gym yesterday afternoon, I noticed that the price of regular gas at the station down the street from where I live was still $3.94
9 per gallon.  I'd been hoping it would go down, but my tank was below half-full, so I decided to fill up on the way home.  While on a treadmill at the gym, I saw on one of their TVs that the price of gas was being predicted to go up.  That firmed up my decision to fill up.  Then, as I was driving home, the big sign on the gas station showed that the price of gas was now $4.199 per gallon, a jump of 25 centsDamn!!

There was nothing I could do about it, and it was time for me to fill up, so I pulled into the station.  As I put the nozzle of the pump into my gas tank I noticed that the price of regular on the pump was still
$3.949 per gallon.  They'd evidently changed the price on their big sign, but they hadn't yet changed it on the pump I was about to use.  So, I filled up.

I felt incredibly lucky.  That feeling persisted until this morning when my coffee maker wouldn't work.  I'll have to buy a new one.  @$%*#$@!!!

As I was driving around looking for the right kind of coffee maker to buy, I finished listening to CD #7 of the 7 CD audio book version of "Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks" by Dick Cavett.

Brief Encounters

It was a very enjoyable book.  It is evidently a collection of articles (or parts of articles) that Cavett wrote for the New York Times.  He tells of meeting and working with people like Steve Allen, Johnny Carson, Groucho Marx, Nora Ephron, Muhammad Ali, and most notably, Stan Laurel.  Cavett was amazed to learn that Stan Laurel (of Laurel and Hardy fame) was still alive and living in a small apartment in Los Angeles.  His name was even in the phone book (back in 2010 when they still had phone books).

It was a very enjoyable book, and I think it might even have been better if I'd read it in book form, so I could underline the best passages.

October 3, 2022
- During lunch yesterday afternoon, I finished reading another book on my Kindle.  The book was "River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile" by Candice Millard.

River of the Gods

I have no idea why I read this book.  It was a very interesting book, and I enjoyed reading it and can recommend it, but of all the books on my reading list, why did I pick this one?  It must have been just curiosity.  Or maybe I just wanted to read something different.  I think it may also be the first non-fiction I've read on my Kindle where I only underlined a single passage:
Fascination with the Nile had grown not only because it is the longest river in the world, with a basin that spans more than a million square miles, one tenth of the African continent, but because it has made possible one of the oldest and richest continuous civilizations on earth. The fertile green swath of the Nile floodplain covers less than 5 percent of Egypt but is home to more than 96 percent of its population. The rest of the land is desert. So vital are the river’s annual floods that ancient Egyptians based their calendars on them, starting each new year with the first day of the floods.
It was truly a look back in time.  England was still looking for territory to conquer and colonize, and the biggest mystery at the time (for the Royal Geographic Society) seems to have been: where does the river Nile originate?  Two explorers, Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke were sent to find out.  They spent years on various attempts, getting sick many times in addition to having to deal with hostile tribes and marauding caravans as they traveled by ship from India to the east coast of Africa, then inland by caravan from the Indian Ocean, through Tanzania to the various lakes and rivers that might be the source of the Nile.  (Traveling up the Nile to find its source would be about 1,500 miles, while traveling inland from the Indian Ocean is about 400 miles.)

Speke and Burton became hate-filled enemies.  Speke declared Lake Victoria (which he named) to be the source of the Nile, but Burton disputed it.  Burton was a much more likeable person, and his name is usually associated with searching for the source of the Nile, but it was Speke who textbooks now credit for the achievement.  Just before Burton and Speke were going to publicly debate their views about the source of the Nile, Speke shot himself - possibly accidentally, since he did it while climbing over a wall with a loaded, cocked shotgun while he was out hunting.

One thing that fascinated me about this book was that Speke was a mean, vicious, hateful, conservative religious fanatic, while Burton was a friendly, likeable, liberal agnostic. So, many of their conflicts can be seen today in contemporary America - and in the rest of the world.  It's a book about a time when racism, slavery and the conquering of other countries and peoples was the norm.  And you can't help but be amazed at how little we've changed.

October 2, 2022
- This is another one of those Sunday mornings when I have nothing prepared for my Sunday comment.

I feel like I'm at some kind of crossroads.  I also feel like the world is at some kind of crossroads.  Italy just elected their first fascist prime minister since Benito Mussolini. And in my home state there there is a good chance that next month we might elect a raving fascist as governor.  The Republican  candidate for governor brags about the same things that Democrats attack him for! 

I don't see any path that I can take to change things.  No one is going to listen to me rant about politics.

I keep thinking I should get back to work on my book about Logical Relativity, but it would mostly just be a re-wording of what I wrote in my 13 science papers on the subject.  And there seems no reason for anyone to buy a book when they can read it all in my papers for free.  The only thing that isn't in my papers is why so many people disagree about fundamental scientific questions.  And the answer that question seems to be: because it is difficult to get any two people to agree on anything.

I could write something about why it is difficult to get any two people to agreed about anything.  But the counter argument would be that millions of people agree that Donald Trump should be elected President in 2024.  Yes, but why do they believe that?  If you ask them, all they seem able to say is that he's the best candidate.  Why is Donald Trump the best candidate?  Because that is what his supporters believe.  Why do his supporters believe that?  Because it is what they feel.  Why is it what they feel?  Because it is what they believe.  In other words, it is purely emotional and has nothing to do with logic or common sense.

Support for other fascist political candidates is mostly emotional, too.  People appear to be tired of so much uncertainty and so much constant change.  They want things to stop changing.  Logically, that can never happen, even if millions of people believe a fascist political candidate can make it happen.

At the moment, I have no ideas for how to change the way the world works, so I'm just going to sit down and read a book or listen to some podcasts.  Both are good ways to get the opinions of others without getting into an actual argument with anyone.

October 1, 2022
- On Friday I picked up my Hewlett-Packard (HP) laptop from where it was being repaired, and this time they actually did fix it.  I can now use the attached keyboard to type whatever I want to type.  It works fine.  I still need to find the time to figure out what programs it still has and which programs I need to reload.  The person who returned the HP computer to me was not the same person I'd been talking to about it for two weeks or more.  My data files appear to be intact, although they are not located where they used to be.

For now, my large Lenovo laptop is going to be my primary computer.  It is what I'll be using to update this web site for the foreseeable future.

© 2022 by Ed Lake