ferret ponderings

Watching MeTV, mostly Twilight Zone, makes me wonder ...
if music is the "universal language" and radio waves radiate nearly forever (albeting always getting weaker),
what would others infer about us from our audio transmissions?

AM, FM are rather easy to decode, thus the analog RECORD on Voyager.
It's most likely to be understood by others.
Today's digital encoding and crypto, not as likely.

Early music was full of soothing sounds and mathematical progressions.
Now most music if full of anger and frustation (a simple ferret's summary of rap and punk).
With so much content going only via cable and fiber optic,
very little of the "good stuff" is transmitted by radio anymore.

With so many radio stations playing the same songs over and over,
I wonder if any aliens would consider us a stagnant civilization,
particularly with Trump's spewings?


In another posting, I'll give my "standard rant" how stores no longer believe in summer,
which I find depressing because my birthday is mid-August, which used to be deep into school vacation.
Now all the stores are "back to school" in JULY :-( Kids aren't allowed to enjoy summer anymore?
[Hallmark started selling their "Keepsake Ornaments" on July 13!]

I'm frustrated with the way TI still dominates the school calculator market.
The Target flyer only shows the TI 30XIIS for $8.99
The OfficeDepotMax flyer shows 4 TI calculators and only 1 square for Casio calculators.
I understand "Some competitive examinations allow the candidates for the use of a calculator
but may permit to use the only calculator of non-programmable type"
but what happened to all the competitors?

I have a Casio calculator that I got at the local thrift shop.
2 line display and lotsa features. Really easy to use.
It even does fractions!
I found several calculators that do octal & hex
but few have all all the logical operations (AND OR NOT SHIFT).

I really needed a programmable calculator for college,
but they're hard to buy now that HP doesn't make anything worth buying :-(
What's left? Cellphone app?

take the train!


soon 100th anniversary of a serious NYC subway wreck

NYC trivia: Nov 1 will be the 100 year anniversary of a subway wreck
The Malbone Street Wreck, also known as the Brighton Beach Line Accident, was a rapid transit railroad accident that occurred November 1, 1918, on the Brighton Beach Line beneath the intersection of Flatbush Avenue, Ocean Avenue, and Malbone Street (now known as Empire Boulevard), in the community of Flatbush, Brooklyn. At least 93 people died, making it one of the deadliest train crashes in the history of the United States, as well as the deadliest in the history of the New York City Subway.
I wonder if any railfans will relate that to the recent train accidents:
and the need for PTC

Similarly, I had never known of the General Slocum ferry disaster
until a friend told me the story while attending the "Towers of Light" ceremony

The General Slocum disaster:
An estimated 1,021 of the 1,342 people on board died.
The General Slocum disaster was the New York area's worst disaster in terms of loss of life until the September 11, 2001 attacks.

new and improved ferret thoughts

When I was a kid, "new and improved" products were everywhere.
The term was so overused that it became meaningless.
MAD magazine was merciless at making fun of "Madison Avenue":
the advertising agencies behind such things.

For how long has "New York" been "New"?
[yes, I know, even old New York used to be New Amsterdam ...].
Even folks from New Jersey just call it "Joisey".

I say it's time to STOP CALLING THEM NEW!
New York will be just "York".
York in England will be "Old York", something they'll adore for tourism.
NJ will be just "Jersey".

But what about New England?
Yea! What about New England?
Well, I'm no loyalist, so let's call it for what it is: FAKE ENGLAND!
Just a bunch of briddish wanna-bees!

And that's the trutttttttthhhhhhh!

The Coca-Cola company uses pliers to squeeze us, again

For many years, there was a Mexican Standoff among Coke, Pepsi and Cadbury/Schwepps to see who would break the $1.99 price for a 2 gallon soda at the supermarket. (CVS, delis and convenience stores passed that mark long ago, particularly if refrigerated).

I just noticed that Coke broke the $2.00 price barrier for a 2 litre bottle at ShopRite. Ouch!

Pliers refers to an NPR segment of a fellow who collects trade show and internal promotional music.
Coca-Cola had a song-and-dance show "Packaging and Pricing", boasting how their packaging and pricing
work together like a pair of pliers to SQUEEESE THE COMPETITION!

I'd love to see inside one of those Coca-cola "robot" dispensors with the touch-screen for allegedly over 100 variations of Coca-Cola products. How many tanks of syrup are in there? That machine is the closest thing we have to a food replicator!

standard rant: retail "seasons" are out of control

It's July 4th. Summertime. The east coast is suffering a heat wave.

But NOOOOOOO, stores have declared summer obsolete!
(with slight allusion to the Twilight Zone episode )

ShopRite (supermarket) is already selling pallettes of notepads.
I just got a flyer for a children's store's "Back To School Sale".

WTF ?!  Why can't kids ENJOY SUMMER ANYMORE?

My birthday is in August.
Part of the pleasure was how it was DURING SUMMER RECESS
so I was spared the embarassment of any announcements or in-class commotion.

Try to buy a bathing suit or any summer clothing.
Try. I dare you. Stores go from winter direct to fall because that's their time for REVENUE.
Why don't the stores just admit the summer is a dead season and close for a month or 2 :-/


what's on my mind today

RTR would've loved this for his "Clever Contradictions" show segment:
silly store signs and gags:

I am still pondering the difference between dinner and supper.
Dinner has the advantage of being associated with fine dining at the diner.
Or more modestly on your dinette set.
I think supper is terribly under-represented!
Snoopy said it best:
So what's wrong with making mealtime a joyous occasion?

from the play "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown" is just for illustrating the difference between things
such as lists flammable and INflammable as synonyms.
Huh? That violates the "in" prefix as meaning "not".

Similarly, press and depress as synonyms as verbs


I'm fascinated by the way fads gain amazing momentum and die so fast.
I remember the resurgence of YoYos and Click-clacks when I was in 6th grade.
YoYs were kinda reinvented as stretchy water balls.
Toy shops depended on Xmas and the "must have" toys:
Cabbage Patch Dolls, Beanie Babies, Tickle-Me-Elmo.
But many missed the mark: Cup Stacking, Pogs.
Industry analysts apaprently believe there's an infinite need for frozen yogurt stores.
Somehow TCBY missed out and closed stores
at a time when 16 Handles, Cups, Menchie, Red Mango, Pink Berry,
and others are literally eating their lunch.
Other fads:
Bubble tea: The fad that forgot to fade
A Brief, Delicious History Of The Great Cupcake Takeover
On July 7, 2014, the trendy cupcake bubble burst.
That's when one of the most ubiquitous cupcake chains, Crumbs Bake Shop,
closed all of its remaining 48 stores, signaling the beginning of the post-trendy-cupcake era.