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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in mejeep deMeep ferret's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, February 28th, 2018
5:56 pm
the bane of my existence
'ya know what gets my goat? Minor yet recurring annoyances such as

  • leaky batteries. I scrub the corrosion out of something every week. Happily, alkaline batteries do not corrode the contacts and nearby metal as horribly as zinc-acid.

  • items missing one of the rubber feet.

  • items missing the remote control

  • "value engineered" devices with no buttons, or perhaps a POWER button, so it's useless unless the missing remote is found

  • the way "universal remotes" aren't. They lack most of the important functions for new devices, such as menu.

  • the way OLD plastic bottles spring leaks. I keep all my cleaners in a bucket because they leak over time. Right now I'm scrubbing out a bucket where something leaked and slimed all the nearby containers

  • the way NEW plastic bottles crack and break, often IN THE STORE! It's laudable to use minimal materials for packaging, but I've suffered beanut butter with a cracked lid, drinks with cracked caps, etc. Many plastic totes and storage things are chipped and severely cracked IN THE STORE! That's my indicator of "do not buy, the plastic is too brittle".

  • the way most manufacturers IGNORE the attempted standardization of the "barrel connector" for power supplies. The outer diameter was supposed to be voltage specific, the inner pin diameter to indicate current required. I salvage many items so the power supply (and remote control) are often missing. Some devices have the courtesy of listing the required voltage and current, but too many do not bother. I still have devices waiting for me to find a power supply with the required connector.

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017
4:35 am
brain dump
Why can't NYC get art stuff like this?
Illuminate SF - festival of light!

Whatever happened to Colombo yogurt?
They were the last holdout for 8 oz containers when Dannon and others all went to 6 oz.
I liked their flavors and consistency better than Dannon.

"Pivoting" is the new term for "my company is failing, let's try something completely different!"

I saw a car with the US flag on the bumper but it was upside-down. I adore that, it's subtle.
I'm not sure folks remember that an upside down flag is a DISTRESS SIGNAL!

I found a business card for a Nordstrom employee:
"prothesis certified fit specialist
hosiery, lingerie"
No wonder Nordstrom does so well, they have provide REAL PERSONALIZED SERVICE!
Saturday, August 26th, 2017
11:38 pm
word of the month: skeuomorphism
When I was a kid, the old school desks had a hole for the ink-bottle.
see the photo https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e2/Ecole-banc1900.jpg
from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inkwell

It's no longer an anachronism!
Tables and desks now have a similar hole for computer cables!

a related concept:
A friend introduced me to the word "skeumorphic":
Skeuomorphism is a term most often used in graphical user interface design to describe interface objects that mimic their real-world counterparts in how they appear and/or how the user can interact with them. A well-known example is the recycle bin icon used for discarding files. Skeuomorphism makes interface objects familiar to users by using concepts they recognize.
I see that word a lot lately, with Apple's new interface and such!

Monday, August 7th, 2017
6:40 am
ferret finds and silly thoughts
Once upon a time, there were TV commercials for a Jergens shampoo "Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific"

I thought I had misread the label but it's a real product "Body Spray for Dogs".
We now essentially have "Gee, Your Butt Smells Terrific"
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017
10:05 pm
too stupid to use anywhere else
I tell myself stupid jokes, such as

  • William Penn was not erased from history, unlike Willam Pencil.

  • Pencil-vania is full of erasures.

  • the gasolene powered pencil failed because it is now unleaded

update: I just scored some vintage pencils, new in box, from the thrift shop.
"waxed with whale oil for gliding smoothness"
Oh, that's just an ad on the back of the box for their OTHER pencils :-(
Monday, July 31st, 2017
5:47 am
2 standard rants
A friend coined the phrase "Standard Rant" for
a stance or opinion that is well known by all his friends.

1) checkerboarding
That is my term for the way competing stores put their stores
in an un-necessary location just to prevent their competor from that territory.
Often the stores alternate along the major highways and streets.
I don't see the need for so many stores, but someone's underwriting the cost.

Around NY/NJ, CVS and Walgreens are agressively placing new stores
not only near each other, often across the street from each other!
Some of the stores barely last a year.

Once upon a time, stores would COMPETE for your business.
For example, I needed a pill splitter.
CVS and Walgreen's sold the same device at the same price
despite the custom imprint.

Similarly, Staples and Office Depot popped up regardless of need.
Home Depot vs Lowe's too.

7-11 / Quickcheck / WaWa seem to think that NJ has infinite need for quick food.
There is a new 7-11 being constructed near me.
It's only a few blocks away from one that's been there for years
and under a mile from another on Route 1, albeit in the other direction.

2) Manhattan is now just a playground for the rich.

I used to work in Manhattan and enjoyed all the wonderful and strange unique shops.
They're all gone. The rent is too damned high.
And now people are being forced out of their homes in new and horrible ways:
    New York property speculators have figured out how to evict everyone

The tactics deployed to evict tenants -- elderly retirees, families, disabled people, veterans
-- are shocking and ghastly, including trumped-up claims of mental illness
used to secure involuntary commitals to mental institutions;
threats to take away families children if they report the lack of heat and water
(on the grounds that only an unfit parent would keep a child in a home without heat and water),
hiring homeless people to live in the corridors of family buildings and defecate on tenants doormats, and on and on.

Once upon a time, there was a concept of "checks and balances".
It's been replaced by "winner take all" selfish greed, institutionalized by corporations
and our govt (the best money can buy!)
Wednesday, July 12th, 2017
4:47 pm
the ferret economic indicator
My simple economic indicator is how many empty stores I see

  • around my neighborhood

  • in the mall

  • where I visit

I'm distressed at the sudden number of empty storefronts in my neighborhood.
A dollar shop is gone. It was successful for over a decade.
Admittedly, few dollar shops can hold to that price point but despite rising prices,
they filled the niche when closeout stores went out of business.

I attended college in Manhattan in the late 70s to early 80s.
Despite all the economic turmoil, 8th street was ALWAYS full of fun stores.
Now most are empty and will stay empty.
Most Manhattan blocks now have empty stores.
Even 5th ave has empty stores because it's just too expensive.
Even the Disney flagship store and FAO are gone.

My nightmare has come true: there is no more middle class in the USA.
Here's further evidence:


Bloomberg: Middle-class Americans were "fleeced" by neoliberalism
Noah Smith (previously) writes in Bloomberg (!) about the "fleecing" of the Gen-X and Boomer middle class -- a class that is growing continuously smaller and poorer, thanks to "financial deregulation, tax cuts and a lax attitude toward consumer protection and antitrust."

But along with real productivity, the neoliberal age saw plenty of grift and middle-class wealth extraction. In the book, \xe2\x80\x9cPhishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception,\xe2\x80\x9d Nobel prize-winning economists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller said that all free-market economies are accompanied by some amount of consumer error, simply because sellers are always exploring every possible method of parting people from their money.
Saturday, January 7th, 2017
3:45 am
how to make a ferret cry
I'm going bonkers looking for items that are simply no longer available
- Jolt cola
- car door edge guards

Ikea drives me mad by discontinuing unique items that are simply not available anywhere else. Or worse, changing it in subtle ways. Their blue GLIS tackle box had adjustable dividers. At $4, it a great alternative to Plano boxes at 1/2 to 1/3 the price. But NOOOOOOOOOO, the new clear ones have NO adjustable partitions.
And to complicate things
- there are other storage containers named "Glis"
- in store only, not available by web or phone
Disappointment is part of the "Ikea Experience"

It's hard to buy plain stationery items like a bottle of ink.

- all the local stationers are gone due to StaplesDepotMaxx.
Even in Manhattan.
Canal Street's "Tunnel Discount Stationers" was the place to go for anything. Max Tunnel was the store cat. Every day I use something I bought there, so I'm reminded of a nice store that's long gone

- all the art/drafting stores are gone
Pearl Paint: 1933 - 2014
Art Brown
Sam Flax

Koenig Art Emporium is not gone but none are near me

3 classic delis around Carnegie Hall are gone
- Wolf's deli
- Stage Deli
- Carnegic Deli

Deli Master's in Queens in gone too. This is the official place to cry about it:
Sunday, January 1st, 2017
12:39 am
Year of Tux the Penguin?
I wonder when Tux the Penguin will be Time magazine's product of the year. Or has that already happened?

A friend commented "this is the year of the Linux Desktop!"

I'm unsure I can count the number of Linux devices I have at home
- Ubuntu on my Dell laptop
- Fedora on my desktop system only because I found that install DVD first
- Raspberry Pi 2 and 3
- Beaglebone black
- Intel Edison and Galileo
- Pocket Chip

My Sony TV seems to have Linux inside based on the upgrade I had to feed it via a USB memory stick.

Unigroup (NYC) and NJ Linux User Group are very active, full of clever folks doing great things and sharing their knowledge.

That's the optimism that keeps me going.
Tuesday, November 1st, 2016
12:40 am
carbrows and eyes
What's all this with new cars having led "eyebrows" like something out of Monsters Inc. Didn't "Mike's New Car" teach car design engineers that "more anthropomorphic" is NOT necessarily better?

Driving at night is more distracting than ever with all these angry car-eyes in my rear view mirror. So few cars are happy or even contented.

The tail lights of a Cooper Mini looked just like owl eyes: huge red rings around black centers with 2 red (( )) the outer edges. Haunting!
Friday, May 20th, 2016
9:47 pm
Fawlty Fuzzy Memory
A piece of a recent conversation:

see if you can chase down footage of the Feral 1999 (I think) cabin skits.
MelSkunk's cabin did a skit where your character was the villain, to much amewsement

Just thought you'd be amused by being a skit villain.
The recurring punchline was "but Mejeep the evil ferret couldn't remember how
(action) would help his plan, as ferrets have an attention span of exactly five seconds.

Which gave them an excuse to write a skit that was somewhere
between a "fractured fairy tale" and a crack-fic =^.^=. Hilarity ensued.

Hugs and awwwwwwwwwwws, happy I created a silly ferret memory!
The evil ferret skit was full of anime references.

I vaguely remembers my 3 cabin's skits.
One was with my red ferret puppet, plotting something under the secret sofa.
The next year Whiffert was with me, we did a spoof of Cirque do Soleil:
Cirque Souffle, with silly circus acts.
The 3rd year, Bushycat lead with "Das Cabin", some German-trope.
We usually won "most BIZARRE" act"

I found a paper with all the circus acts from the cabin skit "Ciruqe Du Souffle"
(a spoof of Cirque Soleil, using puppets)

[opening music: overture from Barnum the broadway musical]

Yugo the Dancing Bear
[music: carnival fanfare]

The Flying Ferretinis
[music: the Man on the Flying Trapeeze]
(ferret puppets were popular from The Funday Pawpet Show
and puppet shows at furry conventions)

Katz & Dogz
[music: $10,000 pyramid]
(Katz was a popular virtual-pet computer game)

Skunk The Magnificent
[music: 2001/Fanfare for the Common Man]

The Grand Finale
[music: The Elephant Walk]
Friday, February 12th, 2016
11:51 pm
any teddy bear / plush collectors out there?
Are there any teddy bear / plush collector groups or blogs still active?
I am trying to sell some new unused Gund and Boyd bears
but I have fallen out of the scene so I don't know where to reach the right folks.
Monday, February 1st, 2016
11:18 am
standard rant: steal a few million dollars or more and you keep enough even if caught!
If you or I steal something, that's a crime with severe penalties.
But if a corporation steal millions to BILLIONS of dollars,
they keep enough to make it worthwhile EVEN IF CAUGHT!

In Rigged Justice: 2016 How Weak Enforcement Lets Corporate Offenders Off Easy, a 12-page booklet, Senator Elizabeth Warren documents corporations that were caught undertaking grossly fraudulent, highly profitable actions, and were made to pay a trivial fraction of those profits in fines -- fines become a part of the cost of doing business, not a deterrent to criminal behavior.

the document: http://www.warren.senate.gov/files/documents/Rigged_Justice_2016.pdf
Friday, January 29th, 2016
7:02 am
Bob & Ray were right so long ago on the radio
"Bob and Ray" (Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding)
were on the radio for decades with their bizarre improv

Long before Walmart paid starvation wages, they made fun of an imaginary paperclip company:
Bob and Ray "The Great Lakes Paperclip Company" Radio Comedy

Ernie Kovacs satired many things but I do not remember him being that close to reality.
Thursday, December 24th, 2015
10:05 pm
grateful for little things
I'm happy to report that NONE of my neighbors are using that "as seen on TV" lazy-ass laser-light-star projector on their home. When properly done, string lights really accentuate the house's features and make it PRETTY!

Some blocks seem to make it a competition, with each house and front yard looking like a display demo of all the lastest bling-tech. But I don't sense anything really new: most are using the same raindrop-leds and color changing leds as last year. I can't blame them, all those LED lights were a bit of an investment.

So Merry X-mas, Yule, Solstice or whatever you choose to observe, or not observe.

UPDATE: while on the way to the 7-11 for a snack, I saw 2 homes with the red & green laser lights :-0
One was kinda sad: just one string of lights on the handrail and the rather weak laser dots giving the porch a case of the measles. The other house was full of lights on the bare trees and house, so the laser lights supplemented them.
Thursday, October 1st, 2015
10:41 am
silly collections
BoingBoing's random shiny thing of the minute:
World's largest collection of coffee cup lids

That would have been a perfect companion to the Cooper Union's exhibition about coffee cup design/art:

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015
4:00 am
MAD magazine was right
Long ago when I was a teen, I discovered MAD magazine.
It was really clever by disguising education as humor & satire,
particularly pointing out how advertising really works.

I see it all the time with words that have become meaningless

"luxury ..." applied to anything better than a cardboard box
"gourmet ..." Everything is gourmet now, even jelly beans
"premium" as in "premium orange juice" some is from concentrate, some is not
"creamery butter" From where else are 'ya gonna get the butter?
"oven baked" how else do you bake things?

So why is there no word for a store with the "OPEN" sign lit when it's clearly closed?

Long ago Rich Hall popularized sniglets:
  1. a neologism
  2. any word that doesn't appear in the dictionary, but should

and to eliminate that other click:
A neologism … is the name for a relatively new or isolated term, word, or phrase that may be in the process of entering common use, but that has not yet been accepted into mainstream language.

As a computer engineer, I've been surrounded by jargon and terms that have become common language/parlance because computers are so ubiquitous. It's fun being bleeding edge at times, but are we really becoming more descriptive of things?

There's an awesome British comic who has an awesome Homeopathic rant. In particular, he points out be wary of anyone who calls themself a nutritionist dietitian is the legally protected term.
Saturday, September 19th, 2015
3:39 pm
TP-LINK for the IoT
A friend has a TP-Link wireless router outside his bathroom.
Wow, that's quite over specialized: a wifi Toilet Paper Link for the Internet of Toilets?

Archer was once a Radio Shack label/brand. TP link has a rather pretty WiFi router named Archer too
Sunday, March 29th, 2015
4:06 pm
Israeli "makers"
in case you didn't have it tweeted to you already:


Rube Goldberg's Passover Seder
Engineering, Architecture and Planning students at Technion--Israel Institute of Technology are remembering the story of Moses this Passover as only engineers, architects and planners can.

They built a Rube Goldberg machine that aims to do more than pour cereal or mix a cocktail, but to remind us of the Story of Moses. This matzo, tin foil and dominos machine pays homage to Moses in the bulrushes, the burning bush, and plagues upon Egypt. The story takes us through the parting of the red sea and a metaphorical freeing of the slaves, ending with the reveal of a seder plate, a group of symbols which remind us to keep on remembering.

Best. Seder. Ever. (via Haaretz)
Saturday, March 14th, 2015
1:11 am
PIE day!
Ike A Ferret thinks he noze it all
because he's a Tau Bet
(member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society)
TBP is celebrating PIE day 3.14.15
with a video too

Other Pie Day celebrations:
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