Monday, June 30, 2014

The Facebook™ Experiment

So, have you heard about this?

For one week, back in 2012, The folks at the Book of Faces helped some academic researchers perform a social experiment.

Read all about it, here.

Facebook™ manipulated the news feeds of around 70k users, (I'm guessing a pretty small percentage of total users,) placing a majority of positive posts on some feeds, and negative posts on others.

The idea was to find out how those posts affected the subsequent posts of those who saw them.

Not surprisingly, the experiment concluded that positive posts begat positive posts, while negative posts...

Well, you get the picture.

This is the sort of experiment that draws such a predictably mundane conclusion that it needs to be filed under...

                                                                  "No shit, Sherlock!"

So, are you offended, angered, surprised or shocked...

                                                                     "Shocked, I say!"

... about this revelation?

If you answered "Yes" to any of the above, your Uncle PC has one thing to say to you...

"WAKE THE FUCK UP!!! You are not paying attention!"

(You know that your Blog seldom uses "caps lock" or exclamation points, So, you know that your Uncle PC is laying some serious truth on you.)

Do you get your news from "mainstream" TV or cable "news?" and accept it as fact? 

"WAKE THE FUCK UP!!! You are not paying attention!"

Do you get your information from web sites and email?

"WAKE THE FUCK UP!!! You are not paying attention!"

Do you swipe a "rewards card" at your favorite grocery store or restaurant?

"WAKE THE FUCK UP!!! You are not paying attention!"

Do you use your GPS enabled cell phone to Google™ or Mapquest™?

"WAKE THE FUCK UP!!! You are not paying attention!"

Are you getting the picture? Or, is the Facebook™ story still pissing you off?

"WAKE THE FUCK UP!!! You are not paying attention!"

For better or worse, we have traded in our expectation of privacy for convenience, entertainment, and lower prices.

And I know that I am not going to give up the benefits of this brave new world.

I don't have to like it. And, neither should you.

But, it is what it is. And we have all let it happen.

So, check your outrage.

See you later, on Facebook™.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Some Rambling About Music

When I was a kid, my mom was adamant that I learn the piano. I had a great piano teacher, Mrs. Marquard, who I remember with affection. I guess I was competent, but I wasn't great.

I wish, in hindsight, that I had been better at it.

Because, who doesn't own a party like someone who can play piano?

When school band came along, I chose the trombone.

In a recent conversation about the topic, a new friend asked me, "Why the trombone?" I answered, "I really don't know." I really wanted to be a drummer, like Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, Micky Dolenz and my grandfather. My parents steered me away from that. Although, they did buy me a "practice pad" and a set of bongos. In hindsight, again, I get that. I have a neighbor kid who plays the drums. She is pretty good, but, oh, the noise!

So, about the trombone.

Maybe it was about cool people like Tommy Dorsey.

Or, maybe, the whole slidey thing was weird enough to appeal to me.

Again, I was competent, but not great.

But, by the time I was in college, I had lost interest and sold my 'bone.

A few years ago, I picked up a prop trombone on a set I was working on.

The sound that came out was sad and scary. My "chops" are long gone.

For a brief time, in high school, I flirted with the guitar. But, practicing until my fingers bled didn't work for me.

As an adult, I wish that I had learned the saxophone.

Because there is no instrument that is sexier than the sax.

But the truth is, as much as I love music, I am not musical.

At heart, I am a hard rocker. KISS, Cooper, Ozzy, AC/DC...

Those are my jams.

But, I also love classical, swing, do-wop, bubble gum, punk and Broadway musicals.

I have to accept that, at my age, I will never be a rock star.

But I still entertain one small fantasy.

That, one night, someone will put enough alcohol in me that I can be coaxed onto a stage for some karaoke.

And I will sing "Mack the Knife," "What I Like About You," "(You Shook Me) All Night Long," and "Paradise by the Dashboard Light."

                          That's right. I want to emulate a fat, sweaty, Republican. So sue me.

And I will kill each and every one of them, like a boss.

I can dream, can't I?

Friday, June 20, 2014

My Visit to the Doctor

So, I went to the doctor this morning, to tell him that the massive doses of ibuprofen that he prescribed for the arthritis in my right foot worked for about a month, but no more.

"So," he asked. "Do you want a shot?"

"You're the doctor, you tell me." I replied. "If that's the next move, let's do it."

As I watched him prepare the syringe, I asked, "I notice that you are drawing from two vials. What's that about?"

"One vial is cortisone, the other is Novocain. The cortisone will help for one to six months, but will take a couple of days to kick in. The Novocain will take the pain away for a couple of hours. But it will wear off."

And he was right. For the next four hours or so, I was without pain, (in my foot at least. Absent the foot pain, I found that I was noticing my knee pain for the first time in quite a while.)

I said, "I work on a TV show with a bunch of doctors, so I tend to ask a lot of questions."

"That's okay," he said. "What show do you work on?"

"The Doctors," I said.

"I love that show!" He replied. "I watch it whenever I get the chance."

YESSS! I love it when non-TV doctors praise my show.

Where was I?

Oh, right.

I watched him stick the needle in my foot and did not pass out. Which I could not have done, six years ago.

Working on The Doctors, I have seen things that no one who doesn't have a degree in medicine should ever see. I have become amazingly desensitized to gruesome medical procedures.

As promised, for a couple of hours, I could have tap danced.

And, as promised, the effects of the Novocain began to wear off.

And here is the part that he didn't warn me about.

Not only did the foot pain return, it was accompanied by a "pins and needles" pain. And, instead of spending my afternoon doing planed yard work, I, instead, sat in my recliner, watching my foot do an impression of Linda Blair in "The Exorcist," twisting and turning at unnatural angles, completely out of my control.


The pins and needles have passed. Hope the steroid kicks in soon.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Happy Birthday, Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla invented the future we now call "today."

Seriously, everything from X-rays, to wireless communication, to A/C electricity.

Marconi stole radio from Tesla.

When Thomas Edison was finished stealing moving pictures from Georges Mélies, he moved on to stealing electricity from Tesla.

Marconi and Edison were a couple of douche canisters.

Irony, coincidence or, maybe a clever plan...

Just days ago, SpaceX entrepreneur Elon Musk gave away all patents of his electric car company to "open source" development. It has been done before, (JVC gave away the patents for VHS video tech, effectively killing Sony's Beta tech.) But, never on something this huge.

The name of Musk's car company?

Tesla Motors.

An unrelated, but sort of interesting fact...

Nikola Tesla, in spite of his own impressive head of hair and awesome 'stache, suffered from chaetophobia, sometimes called trichophobia, a fear of hair.

Because of this phobia, poor Niki died a virgin, because he could not bring himself to touch a woman, because, hair.

On the head, and other parts.

One of my favorite Sci-Fi authors, Spider Robinson, gave his hero, a fictionalized version of Tesla, a gift.

The novel was "Lady Slings the Booze," a funny and heartwarming tale of a "house of excellent repute" that caters to time-travelers, aliens and humans that have nowhere else to go.

In that story, Lady Sally Callahan provides a time-traveling Tesla with the services of a completely hairless "working girl." Love and "happily ever afters" ensue.

Happy Birthday, Nikola Tesla.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Calvin Before Swine or Pearls Before Hobbes.

Hey, my bloglitts!

Are you like me?

Do you still subscribe to a dying, old timey, paper and ink newspaper? Or two.

So do you, like your Uncle PC, require ink stains on your fingertips as you order your bacon and eggs from you favorite greasy-spoon diner?

Do you, like me, start your morning with the comics section, before you move on to the more depressing parts of your newspaper?

Do you love "Doonesbury" even though the strips are reruns from 30 years ago?

Do you tolerate "Classic Peanuts" or "Garfield" even though those strips haven't been funny in years?

Do you share "Bizarro" and "Non Sequitur" strips on your Facebook page, while feeling disgust for right-wing comics like "Mallard Fillmore" and "Prickly City?"

If so, then this post is for you.

Did you catch last week's "Pearls Before Swine" story arc?

Did you get that you were witnessing something historic?

I sure missed it.

Until it was explained to me.

The clues were there.

Your Blog feels like an idiot for missing them.

But, there they were.

Go on over to BuzzFeed and read all about it.

I will be here when you come back.

Did you get that?

Bill Watterson, creator of the greatest comic strip ever...

  The J.D. Salinger of comics, secretly contributed artwork to Stephan Pastis' "Pearls Before Swine."

And it was his idea!

My mind is blown. How are you feeling?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Breaking Scandal

Earlier this week, some healthy, fit, Polish person with an lPhone™, in a swanky hotel, caught some scandalous, low-res footage of the so-called "President of the United States," Barack HUSSEIN Obama, engaging in a super scandalous, light work-out.

HOLY SHIT!!!! Your Blog exclaimed with his CAPS LOCK on.

Could this be the scandalous scandal that will finally bring down the tyrannical reign of the Marxist, fascist, Muslim "President" Barry HUSSEIN Soetoro?

Or is it just a distraction from BENGHAZI!?

What true American, patriot, pundit will be the first to blow the lid off of this scandalous scandal? I wondered.

Who will be the first to call out the girly man "President," who isn't as fit as...

                                                        Shirtless Vlad Putin on a horse?

Will it be Glen Beck? Or someone living off the decaying corpse of Andrew Breitbart? Or any one of many of the "fair and balanced" "journalists" at Fox "News?"

Maybe it will be one of the folks at the increasing self parody that is CNN.

Maybe even that  "scud stud" Wolf Blitzer.

Quick! Go watch CNN's report, before TMZ™ makes YouTube™ take it down, because, copyright.

You're horrified. I know, right?

But, no. None of the usual patriots from the right-wing media got on this in a timely manor.

Instead, the first conserva... whatever, wait. Seriously, shit. I can't keep this up.

This post on the Facebook™ came from a right-wing friend and coworker of your Uncle PC.

                                               Oh, Shit! Get some ointment for the burn!

As is the Curmudgeon's policy, I have blurred the identity of the poster, even though his post was public. Because I have to work with the guy. And. most of the time, he isn't this stupid.

So, the President was doing a light workout in a hotel in Poland.

So, fucking, what?

All your Blog can think of is a piece of video from a few years back. 

This one.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Velociraptors Were Scary Awesome

For a year or two after the release of the movie "Jurassic Park," science nerds had multiple, masturbatory, nerdgasms over the the movie's scientific inaccuracies.

There were a lot of them. And most of them were, probably, valid.

But the biggest beef from the scientific nerd community was about the whole velociraptor thing.

Nasty? Yes.

                                            But, no larger than your Thanksgiving turkey.

They insisted.

The movie portrayed 'raptors as way too big. They said.

And then, a year or two later, a full fossil skeleton of an, until then unknown, 'raptor was discovered in Arizona.

Do you want to guess how big it was?

Yeah. It was that big.

Four feet high. Seven feet from snout to tail.

Try carving that fucker at your Thanksgiving table.

Because scientists are more inclined to self depreciating humor in the face of being proven wrong by new facts than your average Bible banger...

They named the new velociraptor find, "Velociraptor Arizonus Speilbergus."

Because scientists are way funnier than we give them credit for.

This is kind of old news, except that just recently, scientists in Korea have built a robot 'raptor that may or may not prove that 'raptors were faster than Uslan Bolt and smarter than Sheldon Cooper.

Check it out.