Uncomfortable Conversation

All conversations are uncomfortable for me. I think this is why I don’t find most comedy sketches funny. The comic part of the sketch is nearly always somebody getting something wrong, and then the awkwardness of maneuvering around that misunderstanding. Like the dog turd in the middle of the living room floor that everyone is too afraid to mention. This sketch structure is basically every single episode of Three’s Company, a show I was forced to watch with the family, all of whom found it uproariously funny. There were other shows back in the day, back when entertainment was three broadcast channels or a trip to the library. Any number of situation comedies that weren’t funny because they made fun of awkwardness directly, and so I didn’t watch them. Between Two Ferns is the latest awkward thing that isn’t funny to me. Not funny because that is every single conversation I’ve ever been a part of, for my entire life.

Not until The Big Bang Theory did I find a show that was both awkward and humorous, mostly because it made fun of normal people (represented in the person of Penny) people who just can’t grasp the truly geeky nature of the wonder of science. Every episode of the show is immensely funny for me. The geekier the better. Awkward is what Leonard Hofstadter is all the time, and it works. It gives me hope as well as makes me laugh.

The Good Place – Another example of a smart, funny sitcom.

The one exception to this situation, the one time conversation isn’t awkward for me, is when I’m talking alone with the Wife. I know she will be straight with me, and I with her. I don’t have to wonder about what is the right thing to say? I just say what is on my mind, and she does the same thing. No other conversations are absent the discomfort of awkwardness. How can something that is always present be funny? I wonder how many comics are tormented by this, only worse? Having to do the same schtick over and over and you hate it? I’m just being me, and it isn’t funny being me. It’s just being me.

The Between Two Ferns movie is out now. I will be as far away from that movie as I can get from this point onward. I hope that Zach Galifianakis makes a boatload of money from the movie so that he can finally stop doing the shtick and find something else to do that he really enjoys.

Trae Crowder on the Ellen/Bush Reaction

Facebook – Trae CrowderYoutube

Trae (can I call you Trae?) You are hanging around in the wrong circles online. That’s what I get from this. It’s funny, so I know why you went there. However, anyone pissing about Ellen saying she sat next to Bush at a football game is an idiot. That is their overriding mental makeup, not that they claim to be liberal (which they demonstrably aren’t. Liberal means listening to all arguments without judgement. You don’t have to accept them, you just have to hear the speaker out once.) That’s my response. Maybe it’s because I block reactionary dickheads like you are describing, no matter which side of the isle they are on, on every platform I spend any time on. Outrage influencers are the lowest scum of the earth. Way, way below war criminals on the value meter. They can’t be reasoned with, no matter who they are outraged at.

…I’m just thankful that I don’t have to read and/or listen to their shit. If only the Orange Hate-Monkey were that easy to ignore. What’s that? I can’t be liberal if I’m ignoring their arguments? When they make different arguments I’ll give them a second chance. If they can get my attention.

Facebook comment and video posted to blog. Conservatives eat their own, too. Were you watching the 2016 election?

#MAGA Nimrods

I mean, Jesus Christ, how did nobody consider that one day, some insane demagogue might incite a populist rebellion and threaten to shit on our country? How did no one think to create some kind of safeguard?

OH WAIT. I DID. IN FUCKING 1787.

Remember that Constitution you guys all say you loooove so much? Yeah, I wrote that shit. All of it. Even though for some reason you assholes keep thinking it was Jefferson. And because I’m way smarter than all of you, I wrote in a little something I call the Electoral College.

ARTICLE II SECTION 1, NIMRODS. Maybe if you had paid attention in civics class instead of fantasizing about having seven seconds in heaven with Joey Leibowitz during free period you would know about it. But here, let me break it down for you.

James fucking Madison

An article on the Yale Record with the byline of A. Chase from 2016. Can’t say they don’t have a sense of humor. Humor that is still as relevant four years later. Imagine what it would have been like to have an Electoral College that wasn’t required by law to vote for the guy who threatened to incite a populist rebellion and threaten to shit on our country? The guy who is in the process of doing it? Maybe we should look to that other part of the Constitution that James fucking Madison wrote.

The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Article I, Section 2, Clause 5

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Article I, Section 3, Clauses 6 and 7

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article 2 Section 4

A handy guide to give to the Orange Hate-Monkey so that he can follow along as the procedure takes place.

Deranged Pans

Everytime I open the medicine cabinet this label is staring me in the face.

I know that the french translation is an attempt to mimic the english phrase organizer basket above it, but I’m always left wondering if a french speaker would see that as a natural french phrase, or if it reads like labels written for english by people who don’t speak it?

I’m still left with deranged pans, myself. The sanity of your cookware is apparently a subject open for debate. How would you go about determining that?

Folderol

Etymology: Originally a nonsense refrain in several old songs, used to make the song longer without adding more meaningful matter.

Nonsense or foolishness.

See also: frippery

Wiktionary

This is one of my favorite words. I heard it used in a sentence this week in relation to the Brexit machinations of Boris Johnson. Since it was a British podcast, this might not rank as a rare occurrence.

Odious Oatiness

The Wife hates my morning oatmeal. Hates it. Basically, she just hates all oatmeal, all the time. But especially my morning oatmeal. I don’t know why. It’s heaven for me.

First you start with a quarter cup of oats. Add a heaping tablespoon of PB-Fit powder. Then add about half a teaspoon of dark brown sugar. Then you poor a cup of hot water across the mixture, stir and let it set for five to ten minutes. Then you add in a handful of fresh or frozen blueberries and microwave the mixture until it has boiled for a little over a minute. Let it stand again for about ten minutes. Then you add the piece-de-resistance.

Pour a half-cup of oatmilk across it and stir the mixture again. Oatmilk is the best milk for eating any cereal with. Why? Because it tastes like you’ve already had cereal in it. That was my favorite part of breakfast as a child. I never liked the taste of milk even before I became lactose intolerant (or whatever it is that my gut objects to when it comes to milk) But. Pour milk over cereal and let the cereal soak a bit. After eating the cereal you drink the milk out of the bowl. Yum. I mean, that milk beat chocolate milk for flavor, even if all you had in the way of cereal was Raisin Bran.

The oatmeal I make in the morning tastes like peanut butter oatmeal cookies. I can’t start my day without it. Yesterday we were running late for an appointment and The Wife was trying to help get me out the door. I have no sense of time. I never have, and being disabled has only decoupled me further from whatever time sense I had as a working adult. So I asked her to open the new cartoon of oatmilk and pour it while I grabbed the last bit of stuff on the way out the door. As she hands the bowl to me she says “I don’t think I shook the milk enough before pouring. It won’t be as odious, I’m sorry.”

She claimed she meant oatiness. “Won’t have it’s oatiness.” But I know a freudian slip when I hear one.

Apple Card

Twelve and a half years after Steve Jobs borrows technology already in use by Palm and Handspring to create the iPhone, Apple has today invented the credit card. Now, some will say, “wait a minute, credit cards have been around for decades.” But that would be incorrect. There has never been a credit card made of titanium before! An actual metal card, not plastic.

TechLeadWhy the Apple Card is pure garbage – Aug 21, 2019

I’m kidding. It really is garbage, as the video above goes into. In fact, cashback cards in general are garbage, something he doesn’t go into. Cashback is a gimmick. The card issuers count on you charging things and then forgetting to pay the cards off each month. They don’t make money unless you pay them interest for carrying a balance from month to month.

The solution to the credit problem is not to have any credit cards. Use cards tied to your bank accounts, issued by your bank or credit union (I try to only use credit unions myself) and only use credit when absolutely necessary. Then pay back the entire amount as fast as possible in order to reduce your own costs. If you have to have a card to do certain kinds of transactions, have one card to do those transactions with and then pay that card off before the issuer can charge you for the carry-over balance.

60% of reward cards holders don’t pay off their balances each month. That statistic troubles personal finance experts, because credit card interest rates are at a 25-year high.

NPR

It would really be nice to have enough money (as the youtuber above clearly has) to be able to resist the urge to put essentials on credit. To go on a spending spree and not have to worry about doing without essentials later. If you cannot afford to buy essentials, you cannot afford to have that temptation lying around. Cut up the cards and never look back.

The concept of customers paying different merchants using the same card was expanded in 1950 by Ralph Schneider and Frank McNamara, founders of Diners Club, to consolidate multiple cards. The Diners Club, which was created partially through a merger with Dine and Sign, produced the first “general purpose” charge card and required the entire bill to be paid with each statement. That was followed by Carte Blanche and in 1958 by American Express which created a worldwide credit card network (although these were initially charge cards that later acquired credit card features).

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The US government has taken to issuing charge cards to people who qualify for benefits these days. I’m not sure what I think of this development other than that it is a way to get funds into the hands of the unbanked, a serious problem in poverty stricken areas. And as long as the card only works up to the point where the benefits end, that shouldn’t be a problem. What would be a problem is the government issuing cards that could then be used to tie more poor people to debt that they will never be able to pay off. That would be a problem.

So, there you have it. Apple creates the charge card in 2019, about 150 years after the idea is first proposed in speculative fiction, and about 60 years after the first general charge card is introduced into the consuming population. Just in case you thought Steve Jobs was full of himself when he claimed to create the smartphone. Apple creates Paypal for Apple, joining the leagues of credit card issuers that are only a benefit to the wealthy who can pay their cards off regularly. Charge cards which are just another cross for the poor to be hung on, unless those poor are lucky enough to qualify for government benefits. In which case, track your balance! (the one solid word of financial advice offered in the video) But, you know, shiney new overpriced technology. We’re all excited to see it. Can’t you tell?

A h/t is due to the Economist Radio episode Money talks: From bad to wurst-Germany’s economy shrinks where I first heard of this latest offering from Apple.

Lunatics By Any Other Name

(As he storms away) “Have a nice day.”

(Believe it or not, he comes storming back) “WHAT’S THAT? HAVE A NICE DAY? WHO THE F— ARE YOU TO TELL ME TO HAVE A NICE DAY! WHAT IF I TOLD YOU IT’S NOT YOUR F—ING BUSINESS WHAT KIND OF DAY I HAVE?”

“Then, sir, I would tell you to feel free to have the kind of day you seem to prefer.”

Adam Troy Castro

…and this is why I’m not the guy you want canvassing. Or maybe I am. I wouldn’t put up with treatment like this. Call the cops, the guy is a raving lunatic and he’s going to get someone killed. Hopefully he’ll only 
get himself killed, but even then he should be restrained and medicated until we find out what is wrong with him and everyone like him.

This is what we are going to have to do if we want to silence these arrogant assholes. Make them understand, as a group, that we will put them in a rubber room and pipe in elevator music all day long if they don’t cool their shit. Just go all Ministry of Truth on their asses.

Facebook comment on a three year old post that I just saw today. So sue me.

Daily Beef: Where is my Phone?

When I bought my latest phone and paired it with my Aftershokz bluetooth headset, a bone-conduction headset that allows me to hear sounds my ears no longer pick up, the nearly pure Android OS on the phone worked beautifully. Now that I had a phone that was something near current in technology, I discovered that the tech allowed me to do things that I had never thought to try doing before.

Things like telling my phone to find itself for me. It’s a bluetooth headset, it is securely linked to the phone, all you have to do is trigger the voice dialer on the headset and ask the headset “where is my phone?” then the helpful Google assistant speaks again and offers to ring the phone for you. Or rather, it did until sometime in the last few weeks.

The brain fog that is a side-effect of Meniere’s symptoms leaves me pretty much a basket case for days at a time. I spend a lot of time looking for things that I’ve set down somewhere, but I can’t remember where. As I’m standing there looking for my phone I remember I can ask the headset to find the phone for me. So I ask the question. This is the response I got.

An app? Why the fuck should I download an app? Why would Google seperate out the functions that were available right from the headset, and put them in an app? When I finally found the phone, conveniently located exactly where I last left it, I downloaded the app and then tried to use it to find my device. The app helpfully told me that the phone was in my hand. Well, duh. There was no function at all within the app to allow it to do the thing I used to do by triggering voice dial on the headset. Or as I said to Google in my feedback,

This app is fucking useless. If I had two phones, maybe not. But now when I ask Google “where is my phone” it unhelpfully directs me to get this app rather than offering to ring my phone as it has done for me for the last couple of years. Why in the hell would you take that functionality out of the OS? Now I have to own two phones or use a desktop computer to access the device connected to my Bluetooth headset? Why in the hell should I have to do that, when the two devices are securely connected?

Feedback that Google promptly deleted, probably because I violated their feedback standards by cursing at them. What do they expect when they break shit that works? It’s not like this is the first time. I doubt that it will be the last time, either.

For the last week Android has unhelpfully directed me to download this useless app, the app that only tells me when the phone is in my hand, the app that cannot possibly locate the phone’s precise location using current technology even if I had two phones so that when I lose one I can find it with the other, that app was what Google wanted me to go use. Until today. Today, on a whim, I asked the headset “where is my phone” and it responded “I can ring your Motorola phone for you. Would you like me to do that?” as if the last week of hopeless irritation had been a bad dream. I nearly cheered, but instead just told the voice “no”, which it quite typically didn’t understand and unhelpfully informed me that it could only ring the last two phones I had, to which I responded with what it could go do with itself for all its troubles…

…but at least that one useful function has been restored. I would prefer not to lose the phone in the first place, but at least I haven’t driven down the road with my phone sitting on top of my car. Driving along wondering where I had put the thing but confident it was in the car since my audio kept playing on the bluetooth connection. At least I’m not that forgetful. Yet. Who does that? Did someone do that? How would I know?

Authenticators

The Microsoft authenticator asks to use the Microsoft authenticator to sign in. There is no joke here, but if there were, that would be the punchline. While setting up the Microsoft authenticator on my Android phone, the authenticator demanded I use the authenticator that I was setting up to authenticate my identity. To be fair, the Google authenticator would have done the same thing if I had added my Microsoft account to it instead of setting up the Microsoft authenticator, but that isn’t where this article started. It started with Microsoft software insisting I turn myself inside out in order to find my own skin.

This is a lot like using your Google voice phone number as part of your two-step verification process. You can’t two-step verify if your second verification is behind a firewall that requires the second step to penetrate. There is a workaround for the Google voice number problem, however there is no way to authenticate the authenticators unless you have two phones with one phone already authenticated. This is because you can’t get the Microsoft authenticator on a Windows desktop installation (Google? Mozilla? The ball is in your court.) It is only available for Android and iPhone.

I’m stuck in this predicament because I was trying to troubleshoot software issues on my Motorola phone. I’ve recently become addicted to Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem, but it crashes all the time. All the time as in about four screen changes to the next crash, crashes all the time. Maddeningly frequent. In an effort to see what was causing the problem I reset the phone to factory specs and then preformatted the SD card as part of the phone’s internal memory, a step I had neglected to perform previously, then activated applications until I started noticing the crash issue again. The cause of the crashes? My malware protection application appears to interfere with the wifi calls within the game program, and I’m not about to turn off my anti-malware application. So no fix on that score, but the phone does appear to function more predictably for other programs, so worth the trouble of going back and setting it up properly.

Or at least I thought that way until starting to reactivate some of the less frequently used Android applications. The Facebook and Twitter apps tw0-step verification worked just fine. Annoying but doable because I hadn’t switched them to using an external authenticator (luckily) If I had made an authenticator my second step to log in, then I would have immediately discovered this problem when I tried to log into those applications. The Steam mobile application is almost that bad. It at least gives you an option for hey dumbass this is the authenticator in question. Deauthorize it. I only used the Microsoft authenticator for Microsoft, and today I notice that I’m not signed into Bing.

Why do you need to be signed into Bing?

I’m glad you asked that question. Pull up a chair, it’s a long story. Today’s Windows spotlight image was of a very beautiful series of fields in Japan, but this is also the day when Microsoft doesn’t link the spotlight image as part of the splash screen display, a clickable link that allows you to look for versions of the specific image shown. Allows you to look for versions of the image that can be shared, or allows you to research the location as an educational effort or a possible travel destination. Bing is where the links on the splash screen go to, and I wondered if logging into Bing might give me different search results.

So I tried logging into Bing. Bing promptly demanded that I approve the Microsoft login from my authenticator app. I open the app on my phone, it doesn’t know it’s the authenticator for my phone and my Microsoft account. The authenticator wants me to authenticate on the authenticator that is being authenticated. Now the loop is complete. But it isn’t just Microsoft’s loop, it is Google’s authenticator loop as well. This would have been a problem if (will be a problem when) I discover that I used the authenticator for another program (fingers crossed) I’m not sure what good a mobile authenticator is if I have to go through this much trouble just to get them to work properly.

My Blizzard authenticator is a fob that I’ve managed not to lose for ten years. It still works ten years later and as long as I don’t lose it (fingers crossed) it’ll safeguard my Blizzard account without causing me to turn myself inside out trying to troubleshoot the problem. More than can be said for mobile authenticators.

If you lose your mobile device or (like me) reset your device to factory specs and reinstall all your apps from the Google backup you will have to re-authorize all your authenticators (at least, all of them that I’ve run across so far) If you use the Google authenticator for your Google account as part of your two-step verification, you will lose the ability to open your Google account. More importantly, you will lose access to any other account that relies on it as part of its two-step verification process. This is also true of the Microsoft authenticator.

So, how do you avoid the authenticator loop? Well, Microsoft allows you to remove the authenticator from your Microsoft account after you log into it with a browser. You will have to remember your password and be able to get a second verification by email or SMS if you have two-step verification set up. You can then follow the process for installing the authenticator again as if it was a new installation. You can also use the Google authenticator and add your Microsoft account to that authenticator if you like.

The authenticator is the second application whose data I have had to restore externally, the other one was my medical ID program containing personal data that I hadn’t saved anywhere else. Luckily I had shared the data directly with several physicians, professionals who happily gave me my own data back after I realized I had lost my only copy (now backed up externally) there is no way to transfer the authenticator security tokens to a new phone as of this writing. I’m just glad I never relied on the Google authenticator for my Google account. If you have done this, here is how you turn two-step verification back off. You’ll notice that the first thing you have to do is gain access to your Google account. So if you’ve already lost access to your account, you have my sympathy. I wish I had answers for you.

So what have we learned here? Well, I’ve discovering that mobile authenticators are almost more trouble than they are worth, and that’s three things I learned from resetting my phone to factory specs. I guess it was worth the trouble after all. Still wish I could get that game to stop crashing.