Archive for March, 2013

2013/03/23

Saturday

I’ve gotten a few “wtf dude?” reactions to yesterday’s post, on Facebook and directly. Basically I noticed that most of Bloomberg’s defense of Stop and Frisk (“it makes the city safer”, “we do it according to how much crime there is, not the race of the residents”) didn’t refer to the actual civil rights violations at all, and could be used almost word-for-word to defend (say) Stop and Punch, or Stop and Kill.

So there we are.

(He does claim, not very convincingly, that it is only done when there is reasonable suspicion that there is some crime going on. Sadly that also doesn’t differentiate it from killing.)

Gah! But anyway, here are another 750 words.

A set of steps leads up from the water’s edge to the house. All around, the swamp is noisy and fragrant in the night. She turned the key. He ate the last of the peaches, sitting alone looking at nothing.

Sitting in the back of the flat-bottomed boat, watching her pole through the salt-grass and between the silty hummocks with practiced strokes, I saw the house for the first time just at sunset. It was, and is, a sprawling chaotic structure, growing over the years in a comfortable haphazard way, concerned mostly with not sinking into the saturated ground, but also with accommodating the varied and equally fragrant waves of inhabitants.

He is tall and bearded, she is small and compact, with large breasts and a round bottom. They both wear flannel shirts and blue jeans.

I took with me only a string-bag full of oranges.

She has used him, he realized; used him as a foil, a wedge, a handy tool to extract from the world around her one more victory, one more step up the ladder that she thought would lead her to wherever it was she was going.

I am a creature of narrative, Yolanda, just as you are a creature of vision and image. Where else but here could we possibly have met?

Someone opened the front door and came in. From the sound, whoever it was just stood there for a long time, after closing the door again, shifting from foot to foot, perhaps reading the limericks on the wall.

Of the ten doors opening from that hallway, only two were unlocked. Of the ones that were locked, there were keys to only three. Entering the others would require a fire-axe, or perhaps a ladder against the outside wall, up to a broken window.

Jacob is here. He has brought his new wife. In the evenings they sit with the rest of us after dinner for a few minutes, saying little. Then they exchange a look and go upstairs to their bedroom. Herman rolls his eyes.

The tempo of her life changed every eighteen months, when her son finished a tour of duty and came home to rest and recover. This had been going on, it seemed to her, since the beginning of time.

“What do you want?” she asked. But there was no answer.

By the end of the summer, my calves were strong and well-defined from going up those steps. I held the wooden stake in my hand like a club and looked out over the water, waiting for the ferry to appear around the headland. What mistakes we make, I thought, when we try to change things.

By the time I had the fire burning well, the yard was full of the sound of a hundred children singing the song about Anansi the Spider. Just as the sun set, they all tried to get through the doors at once, clattering and laughing and cuffing each other.

“There was a time,” the old woman said, “when no one here believed in the undead. But that was a long time ago.”

As I pushed the right earpiece of my glasses back onto its broken stud, hoping the red candle wax would hold a little longer this time, one of the nosepieces cracked and fell off into my lap. I really should have made that telephone call sooner.

Bert and the Doctor decided to hike up to the top of the mountain behind the apartment building, and do the mushrooms there. They would lie on their backs on the rocks, they decided on the way up, and get high under the open sky. Bert didn’t always like mushroom highs, but they were better than no high at all, and they could afford them. Also the Doctor was a big fan; he said the mushrooms put them in touch with deeper parts of reality.

There is a box half-buried in silt at the bottom of the lake. The wood, soft and rotten, let the water in long ago. The papers that were in the box have entirely dissolved and their fibers and molecules drifted out to be part of the lake water. The two gems, an amethyst and a star sapphire, are coated with fine mud, and thoroughly in darkness. The last person that had ever seen the box before it sank to the lake bottom died fifteen years ago. That is how time works; gradually everything sinks and is forgotten, to make room for more things to rise, and for awhile to be remembered.

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2013/03/21

Stop-and-Kill Policy ‘Saves Lives,’ Mayor Tells Black Congregation

from the New York Times

As criticism of the Police Department’s so-called stop-and-kill policy grows louder, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took to the pulpit before a black congregation in Brooklyn on Sunday to make his most forceful and nuanced defense of the practice yet, arguing that it had helped make New York the safest big city in the country, while acknowledging that the police needed to treat those whom they killed with greater respect.

“We are not going to walk away from a strategy that we know saves lives,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “At the same time, we owe it to New Yorkers to ensure that killings are properly conducted and carried out in a respectful way.”

Although the mayor has defended street executions frequently in recent months, usually in response to questions from reporters at news conferences, Sunday was the first time he gave a full speech on the topic.

Coming a week before a planned march to protest the policy, and just days after a group of minority lawmakers visited the Justice Department in Washington to call for an investigation of it, the speech was clearly an effort to address some of the criticism. The church where the mayor spoke, the First Baptist Full Gospel Church of Brownsville, is in a neighborhood where both the level of crime and the number of street executions are among the highest in the city.

In the city as a whole, the police stopped people and killed them 684,330 times last year, a 600 percent increase from Mr. Bloomberg’s first year in office. Eighty-seven percent of those executed were black or Latino, and the vast majority were young men, which has led some minority leaders to denounce the policy as a form of racial profiling.

Mr. Bloomberg said Sunday that racial profiling was banned by the Police Department, and that “we will not tolerate it.” He added, however, that the city would not “deny reality” in order to kill different groups according to their relative proportions in the population. (He used the examples of men versus women and young versus old people, rather than white versus black or Hispanic.)

“If we killed people based on census numbers, we would kill many fewer criminals, recover many fewer weapons and allow many more violent crimes to take place,” Mr. Bloomberg said.

“We will not do that,” he added. “We will not bury our heads in the sand.”

2013/03/20

Were there doxen in the orphad?

So my 750 words yesterday were largely spent directing obscenities at call-directors, voice-response systems, office staffs whose main interest is to foist you off on to some automated system as quickly as possible so they can get back to whatever it is that’s more important than your phone call, and other hazards of modern life.

Wasn’t somehow eager to share that with the world. :)

Today’s is based on a rather obvious thought; enjoy!

Sometimes, when the frillocks were in swarrow, they would go down to the warrilling with a clite and a few brantills, a leftover gandrich-seed or two, and just lie down out there, between the yammows and the spee, and look up at the clear orphad learint.

He was a yonderbay then, and she was one of the mannon. This was before sponding, before the hotast of renamtion, and they were still jacosens, flechlings without toggol. From that onch of the warrilling you could hear the spallton far below, and the bront moving the polifract of the plennons, back and forth.

It was hard then, it is still hard now, even with the sponding, to be a mannon and a yonderbay, to taste fortella with your cattin, and know only yot and blunk. But they had clite and brantills, and they had a taffrock full of eske now and then. And altogether it was not so bad.

Once, sometime between slomitch and fereen, a yal-sotterer came to the mannon petruch, and set up an elaborate claylel, full of martrice and praste. All of the brantlings and gropestants took big flaylillies of pordim from it, carrying them to hosteria in their shining greflucettes, their croffen dangling in the lobest like hamillias.

What does a yonderbay do in the ommit of a claylel? Down by the spallton, he knew the grosten were bantilling, the bront full of volker, the prenning feth. Martrice smells of clotember, it is like an androne or a fetten, a cloving of hybernum. But all things pass, and in the pretrim they were again blode and fornot among the yammows, and the learint full of treblong, and feelty was onch.

The old zennaches in that prale tell phetoches of armber and ghralefect, where strong shiny hamberelches fight and win in the torrends of cly, always coming away with their nobiles intact and their yarmiles quelching. Everyone knows these are hommor, and not a theodor to the brong, but on a red slorotnoe, with the spee trilling, no one cares.

With the hotast, they say, we all became bronches. But what is a bronch but a gropestant with no croffen? Lying there, all atrenchant, what came to them but the sparency of slimendiates, between the feld of the yammows and the aple gramt of the trochan flechlings? How could their oblamorch be any more spotie than the brootch? Would a gandrich and a horridge full of pnorum be more venocasey? Would a taght vernidge the glim?

In the cruffet of cly, the high ponoty of sgrillate takes a ferrow from the olean of taggy-elding, and thereby comes to glamtipory. But on the way from defk to brule, what passed below the devvit of bramburny was only pordrim, of the amacie of a great teocycline, not a perry or bramblette. So the yonderbay, between his own defk and the glefidge of carrue, called to farradge, and the mannon to a hertiach, and the ploner was enfugled.

At least for that enmelton.

We must, each of us, take the grapstem. However tonet or copplestan, the grapstem is the only brootch of the hybernum. The bamblies of Tomosk may have built a crennen to the orphad, but we can only perenck at their delb. My hybernum is not yours, and hers is not his. Grapstem and hybernum, we are each a ponoty of our own petruch, and there is no allent in the alb.

But that is no frennen! One of the mannon craling to a yonderbay, or a crafling on twipe, are all the same perring. It is to our great fontena that our hanteliver has no erositian. If the enfoliation of the ormery were pliatiste, where would the candiskey be? And what a penner would plat the eske.

So best we should leave them, with the frillocks in swarrow, down by the saduka warrilling, and take our own parrist from the monnow of farifort: do not congravior only for the best grandiole in the bonty, but also the androne of slomitch. Not the paretrine only, but, if we can, every porwhillion that effortates an orng, and every sleemind on the brellaw.

And what came after? Were there doxen in the orphad? Did all of the mannon come and brallerate their clotesks in the obstanty of phlie? That I must leave to the paratale of your own famsy chamerska; my allent is all too spotie. But I think of bright harrens taking sloderbent in the sponding ormery, and it gives me toggol.

I note also that the 750 Words site is apparently going to start charging money soon. I can’t decide whether or not it’s worth it to me to spend even the small amount that they are talking about charging; I guess I will find out! I am amused, though, to note that this fact, which one would have thought would be rather important, isn’t (or isn’t prominently anyway) mentioned on the site itself, but instead on their weblog, which seems to be on tumblr, which is otherwise used primarily to repost other people’s postings of kittens, sunsets, porn, and so on.

I just thought that was kinda funny…

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2013/03/18

You’ve also got to get them in the right order…

750 wordsSo there’s this 750 words site, which is a very simple (simple enough to be confusing, really) site designed to help wannabe writers (raises hand) get into the supposedly healthy “writing three pages a day” habit that has, on dit, been recommended by Various Famous Writers. Friend Emily mentioned it on Facebook and I signed up on ummmm Saturday, I did 750+ words that day, forgot all about it yesterday despite the helpful reminder email, and then did 750+ again today.

It’s different from, say, NaNoWriMo, in that 750 words a day isn’t nearly 50,000 in a month (more like 22,500), and it’s open-ended. And on the other hand you can’t be lazy one day and then make up for it the next.

Here is what I wrote today; what I wrote on Sunday feels a bit too personal and/or embarassingly bad :) to post in public at the moment. It is, probably predictably, about the process itself.

I’m not sure that what Real Writers have suggested in the past really meant just writing three pages of absolutely whatever sprung to mind, including grocery lists, the word “cheese” repeated over and over (like, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese), or even pure internal monologue like this.

Is that really something that helps develop writing skills? Or develope them, for that matter? (stet)

I can see this sort of totally uncensored, totally unjudged activity being either helpful or unhelpful, really, and I which is more likely is probably an empirical question. Contingent. Possibly different for different people, even, although it’s all too easy to suggest that for any given thing that might otherwise have a Right Answer.

There’s that scene in the L-Word where whatsername Jenny is talking to the creative writing teacher who has basically trashed her stuff, and what the teacher says is that she is just writing things that actually happened to her, perhaps thinly disguised, and Jenny agrees and/or admits this. And the teacher says that she won’t be a writer until she stops doing that, because just writing what actually happens is something else, she uses a word like “chronicaler” or “diarist” that’s clearly intended to be derogatory, and also says something sort of twee-paradoxical about things that actually happened not being true, or not being reality or something.

Awhile back, quite very awhile back, I used to (for some probably-small period of time) pick a word at random from somewhere (given how long ago, probably from the hardcopy dictionary or something), and then write some amount about that word, whatever first sprang to mind. (I wrote it with an actual pencil, on actual atomic paper, in an actual physical D-ring binder notebook, as I recall; how archaic, eh?)

Once Anne, childhood Anne, read a bunch of my writing (brave of me in retrospect, and probably even at the time, to have given them to her to read), and she liked it overall, but thought that the “write some stuff about a random word” ones were sort of forced, or artificial, or missing something, or at any rate, I remember, not as good.

And that’s the worry here I suppose, or something like it. That just writing without worrying about what one is writing will lead to the habit of doing that, of equating writing with writing-whatever, wearing away at whatever habits or standards of quality that one might otherwise have, and which one might do better carefully cultivating then actively wearing-away at. (Hm, how would one avoid ending that sentence with a preposition? “and one might do better carefully cultivating them rather than actively wearing away at them” I guess, but is that really an improvement?)

Not to mention actively developing bad habits. I don’t know if it applied to the pen-and-paper version, probably it did really in some form, but the temptation in this medium, with the word-count actively (but slowly) going up in the bottom-right corner down there as I type, is to always choose the wordier way of saying any given thing, to say the same thing over and over in various different ways even, to use N words when K would have done, for N greater than K.

One can just type and type and type, that is to say, making totally (or reasonably) coherent sentences (even though that’s not strictly-speaking required), while still not saying much of anything, or saying the same thing over and over.

And is that a good habit to develop? That is probably not a good habit to develop.

We walk out into the fields to harvest the pages. They grow on tops of the page-stalks, and also on the second-highest cluster of leaves, or cluster of what would be leaves if they were not pages. Below that level, the leaves actually are leaves, green with veins in the typical way, if somewhat more squarish than the typical leaf on any other kind of plant.

(See, the “on any other kind of plant” didn’t really need to be in there; there are things besides plants that have leaves, but the reader would have gotten it without that hint even.)

When the pages are ripe, they snap off of the stalks easily, with a slight tug just off of straight. Not too much off, so as not to tear the paper. And not too much straight, because then it may resist and not come off, and you may have to try again, and that would be inefficient.

And no one wants to be inefficient…

It’s funny that I have (or at least pretended to have, for the purposes of word-count) these reservations about developing bad habits by doing the “three pages a day” thing, whereas I’ve never had that worry about NaNoWriMo, where the lack of internal censor just feels freeing. Maybe because NaNoWriMo is so much an all-out infrequent event, whereas the other is intended to be an everyday every-day habit. Or something…

(Astoundingly, even the combination of being linked to by Salon and writing this exquisite political satire has not yet led to international fame; but we soldier on…)

2013/03/17

Senator changes views after son comes out as corporation

ConocoPhillips

Senator Glassman’s son, an oil company

(Reuters) – Senator Bob Glassman became the most prominent Democratic lawmaker to back corporate rights when he reversed his opposition to corporate personhood on Friday, two years after he discovered his son is a major oil company.

In a newspaper opinion piece on Friday, shortly before the Supreme Court is to hear arguments in two key cases on the issue, the New York senator said he now supports full political power for corporations.

“I have come to believe that if a corporation is prepared to make a business commitment to employ teams of lobbyists in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to influence legislation,” Glassman wrote in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal.

“That isn’t how I’ve always felt. As a Congressman, and more recently as a Senator, I opposed political rights for corporations. Then, something happened that led me to think through my position in a much deeper way.”

Glassman’s 21-year-old son, Conoco Phillips, told the senator and his wife in February 2011 that he was a major multinational energy corporation and had been “since he could remember.”

The lawmaker’s revelation makes him the only sitting Democratic senator to publicly support full corporate personhood, and one of the most prominent so far of a growing number of Democrats to publicly oppose their party on the issue.

In a series of interviews and an op-ed article published in The New York Times, Mr. Glassman, at times nervously wringing his hands, said that he did not want his son, who had a revenue of nearly 6.5 billion dollars in 2012, treated any differently because of his corporate status.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, personally, I think this is something that we should allow people, including corporations, to do, to make donations, take part in the political process, and even vote,” he told CNN. “That I want all of my children to have, including our son, who is a legal entity with a market cap of $72B.”

His position drew a cool response from some quarters and puts him at odds with his party’s leaders in Congress, who have long looked at him as a faithful progressive and loyal ally. A spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid said Friday that while Mr. Reid “respects” Mr. Glassman’s position, “the majority leader continues to believe that corporate control of government should not be openly acknowledged.”

2013/03/13

Quantum Physics and (not really) Free Will

TWIN SPIN FINIt turns out that there is a well-known thing in quantum physics called “The Free Will Theorem”, developed by smart persons John Conway and Simon Kochen.

(I haven’t heard of this before, which I suspect means that, like L. Ron Hubbard’s science fiction, it didn’t exist in my original birth universe; I wonder if that means I’ve switched again recently. Always hard to tell.)

Anyway, the Free Will Theorem, which is described in two papers that are both quite readable really, is not actually about Free Will to speak of, at least not if you are a sensible compatibilist like we are, and I want to write down my thoughts here as to why and how that is.

What the Theorem actually shows is that, if some generally but not universally accepted parts of quantum physics and relativity are true, then if there is some behavior of some humans that can’t be predicted, even in principle if you knew every fact about the universe up to that point, then there is also some behavior of some elementary particles (as evidenced by the behavior of some macroscopic detection apparatus) that can’t be predicted, even in principle if you knew every fact about the universe up to that point.

Which is not a big surprise really; it’s hard to imagine a universe in which all elementary particle behavior was predictable but human behavior was somehow not, humans being made of elementary particles and all. But this Theorem puts a solid example under that intuition (as well as bringing up some other issues in physics that I won’t talk about more here).

Conway admits somewhere in the coverage of this that he chose the name, the Free Will Theorem, intentionally to get attention. But he’s also responded to criticism of the name by saying things worth noting.

The most obvious criticism is that being unpredictable even in principle isn’t the same as having free will (and if you’re a compatibilist it’s not even a necessary condition). Conway has said a couple of things about this.

First, he’s said informally that humans and particles are the same in this way, and since we say that humans have free will we should say that about particles too:

“That’s why I insisted on using this evocative language,” Conway says. “Many people thought I should say the particle’s behaviour is indeterminate. But it would be really rude if I told you that you were indeterminate! It’s the same property and I don’t see why we should be required to speak of it as if it were a different property. Our theorem says that if humans have it, then so do particles.”

But that’s sort of silly. The fact that humans and particles share some property X, and humans have free will, doesn’t imply that particles therefore have free will; it’s just a non-sequitur.

He’s also responded to the “randomness isn’t enough for free will” argument by claiming that the indeterminacy they’ve proved for particles isn’t just randomness. From that same link above:

and which action the particle does is free in this sense, it is not a predetermined function of the past. And that’s not the same as randomness, oh dear me no!”

Exclamatory cuteness aside, if “not determined by anything that’s come before, and not predictable even in principle” isn’t the same as randomness, I don’t know what is.

What Conway apparently has in mind here is that the randomness is weird and quantumly nonlocal: when the behavior goes from undetermined to determined, it does it at two places at once, and the places can be sufficiently far apart that no signal can get between them in time. That doesn’t mean it’s not random, it just means that as well as being random it’s also bizarre in the usual QM way; the Free Will Theorem doesn’t tell us anything particularly new about the weirdness, it’s just one of the three assumptions that it starts from.

Conway gets all sort of Penrose-like and speculates that while all the little “free decisions” made by particles usually sort of cancel out, our brains somehow avoid this canceling out, and that through some as yet unknown process our human-level free will pops out as a result. This, he says, makes the whole Compatibilism thing a moot point; since the universe isn’t deterministic, it just doesn’t matter whether free will is compatible with determinism. Compatibilism, the second of the papers says, is just “a now unnecessary attempt to allow for human free will in a deterministic world”.

Which is not quite right. :) Compatibilism is the recognition that indeterminicity is neither necessary nor sufficient for free will. Free will has to do with the freedom to express one’s preferences and goals in the world, not necessarily the ability to escape prediction by a hypothetical omniscient seer. Free will is possible with or without random or undetermined bits of fundamental physics (and those people who told Conway he ought to just say the particle behaviors are undetermined were right).

In fact free will requires that various of our actions are in fact influenced by, reflective of, if not determined by, past facts about the universe, those facts being the preferences, plans, and goals of the person acting with free will.

Hope that clears that up. :)

2013/03/08

Salon covers the Mystery Infographics!

Just a quick jubilant note to say that Andrew Leonard at Salon has up a piece on the mysterious Tony Shin / QuinStreet infographic spams that we have covered lovingly in the past.

And apparently there was another piece the other day about the “request for link removal” things that I also talked about recently.

And I’m sure when I have a chance to read them, they will be interesting!

Here is a picture of a bird eating a fish or something:

Kingfisher_6611

Update: zomg the Salon piece actually links to us. W00t!

2013/03/04

Paging Dan Brown…

Pope And CardinalsSo there’s this so far adorably unsourced bunch of stories saying that the Cardinals (the Roman ones, not the baseball ones) are going to ask the new Pope to pledge in his first Papal (not Paypal) address, that he will serve for the whole rest of his life, and not like resign suddenly or anything.

And that strikes me as just bizarre.

I mean, this last Pope just now says that he resigned because after deep contemplation and all he realized that God wanted him to. So the cardinals must either think that he is mistaken about that (this guy who is supposedly God’s own chief representative on Earth, and who is officially infallible about various things, although admittedly not very many and not this, but still who you have to think must be supposedly Very Good At figuring out what God wants), or they want the next Pope to pledge not to resign even if God wants him to.

Ya know?

And secondarily, it seems that the cure could well be worse than the disease here, imagining a Pope with Tourette’s and dementia, in the middle of his Easter address or whatever launching into an obscenity-laced rant about how the Prince of Wales has stolen his slippers again or whatever, on international teevee.

After a little thought, and M pointing out that they were afraid something like the latter might happen with Pope John Paul or somebody just before he died, it occurs to me that if one were deeply cynical it’d be pretty easy to explain, thus:

  • The Cardinals and the Curia and all of course don’t believe any of the teachings of the church to speak of (that’s just for the rubes), so all that stuff about the Pope doing things because he wisely determines what God wants is just irrelevant to them, and this fact occasionally slips out; and
  • If some Pope did get Tourette’s and/or dementia, he would just conveniently die of oh-so-natural causes just like John Paul or whoever conveniently did, before it got too embarassing.

Which brings to mind all sorts of questions about Papal Poisoners! Are the Poisoner To The Pope and the Poisoner Of The Pope the same office, or different ones? (venefica ad papam versus venefica pape, perhaps?) If they are different offices, are they always / sometimes / never held by the same person? If at least sometimes by different persons, do they tend to be respected colleagues, arch-rivals, or something in between? Have there been any occasions where the venefica ad papam was used to head off the venefica pape? (Not counting the Borgia Popes and their set, who presumably did this sort of thing regularly just to pass the time.) And exactly what sort of authorization does the Poisoner Of The Pope need to be given before he sets to work? And, does he wear cool robes?

Of course one would have to be not only deeply cynical, but probably some sort of lunatic to actually believe that any of this is true, but it does sound like a rollicking good yarn.

Hm…

Dan, Bubbeleh, give me a buzz; we’ll talk!

Update: just so I don’t lose it I meant to link to this story here (credit again to M): Daily Mail speculation on why he really resigned. More source material for Dan!

2013/03/03

Days of splines and toeses

So in the morning when I wake up I am vaguely surprised to find that once again I am in the same bed and the same room, the same universe, as when I went to sleep.

’cause it seems like a big coincidence!

But, it occurs to me, that’s not necessarily what’s happening; memory is just as unmoored as immediate experience.

Maybe tomorrow morning I will wake up in my nest, surrounded by M and our other flock-group members, curled up in our diaphanous salmon-colored leaves, stretch and yawn, attach the platinum blades to my hind set of legs in case of hungry sleet-flies en route, and fly off to work, thinking all the while that it’s funny I’ve woken up yet again in the same nest, in the same mile-high tree, that I went to sleep in last night.

The King’s Country, as the royal precincts with their streets and shops and storehouses have come to be called over the paranoid years, is saturated with security, and eye-patches.

In order to present a disadvantage to anyone who might mean ill toward the monarch, anyone entering is given a tight black eye-patch, and must wear it over one eye as long as they remain within the walls.

A one-eyed man came to the Gate to King’s Country one autumn afternoon, upon a commission to repair a water-wheel. He assumed that, already equipped with an eye-patch, and more importantly a non-functional eye, the rule would have no effect on him.

But, due to zeal in defense of the sovereign, or perhaps certain reservations about the cut of the mechanic’s clothes, the Sergeant of the Gate declared that, in order to present a disadvantage as intended, the patch would have to be worn over the newcomer’s good eye, not the bad one.

Appeal to the Chief of the Guard did no good.

So, in the country of the King, the one-eyed man is blind.

(That was the easy case, I think, mundane and cloudy. One could as well have done “In the country of the King, the blind man has one eye”, which might have been about how the monarch’s deity-infused aura provides sight to the sightless, or alternately “In the country of the one-eyed, the blind man is King”, which might have taken more thought.)

And there was some third thing that I was going to write down, and that in fact is the thing that got me to open up this computer and start writing in the weblog here, but at the moment I have entirely forgotten it (phah!) so I will just say that I have been playing Real Racing 3 on the iPad here, and it is fun. And the graphics are woot good heavens! Right now I am working on upgrading my second car, a BMW M3 Coupe which I have “resprayed” all shiny red:

Real Racing 3 cars

That’s my first car, a now-fully-upgraded Nissan Silvia S15, behind it.

The In-App Purchases have not annoyed me, or tempted me, yet (unlike in certain other pad games).

Vroom vroom!