Random Thoughts

I guarantee that they’re random.  It’s up to you to decide whether or not they’re real thoughts

Having ignored single-parent families for years, the Elementary Teachers Foundation of Ontario is now on a crusade to save children who have “two mommies” or “two daddies” from discrimination.  Since they might not have a mommy or a daddy when the appropriate day comes along, the Federation is advocating changing some names.

Fathers’ Day would be known as Love Day, and Mothers’ Day could be called GAMES Day, for Grandmothers, Aunts, Mothers, Even Sisters.  Based on that, I suggested that Fathers’ Day be named FUGLY Day, for Fathers, Uncles, Grandfathers and other Lying Yahoos, but I just don’t feel the Love to accept it.

I just put a fresh crop of Karma in the barn for the winter.  A week ago, I took the daughter up the highway for her pain-med infusion treatment.  As we reached the on-ramp for the highway, we spotted a young man standing on the edge of the road with two big hockey bags.  I haven’t seen a hitch-hiker in years, so we pulled over and asked him where he was going.  He wanted to get to London, an hour up the road, and we were only going as far as Ingersoll, 45 minutes away, but he accepted the ride.

His chances of getting a ride to London improved by being as far as Ingersoll.  He had broken up with his significant other (or she had kicked him out broken up with him), and the remains of “all his worldly possessions” were in those two bags.  He hoped to get back a job he’d previously held, as a chicken catcher at a packing plant.  Who says there’s no good jobs anymore?

Since the grandson is “all growed up” and moved out to his first apartment, the daughter is sometimes a little lonely.  I went to pick her up the other evening to share a meal and a bunch of conversation.  Coming down a hill to a traffic light, about a half mile from her house, I spotted a Ford pickup which had almost made a left turn, but was abandoned in the intersection with the hazard lights flashing.

I had time to wonder why exactly there, as I edged past it.  A half block further on, I found the reason.  A guy is clumping along with a two-gallon plastic gas can in his hand.  I pulled into the next driveway, rolled down the window and asked him if he’d like a ride.  He was overjoyed.

His name was Mike.  Everybody, say hello to Mike.  He was headed towards the daughter’s place, hoping for a ride from his dad, who lives nearby, but there are no gas stations in the downtown area.  I drove him back out to a garage, waited while he filled the can, and drove him back to his truck.

The all-electronic dashboard on his truck doesn’t work right.  How I can relate to that.  He never knows just how much gas he has.  When it runs out, it runs out, and the truck is too heavy for one man to push.  Three more feet, and he could have coasted three blocks, almost to the gas station.  He has the gas can in the bed, but somebody, who is not him, used it, probably for the lawn mower, and put it back empty.

In 1918, the U.S. Postal Service printed 24 cent stamps to celebrate air-mail service.  Since the public didn’t know what airplanes looked like, the picture of the JN-17 “Jenny” was inserted upside-down.  A few were sold before the mistake was caught, making this the most expensive collectible stamp.

95 years later, the USPS decided to duplicate the stamp to celebrate 100 years of airmail.  Since everyone knows what a biplane looks like, the picture was inserted right-side-up, and a hundred sheets were printed before anyone noticed.  Most of the sheets were recovered, but a couple are unaccounted for.  They’re wrong, because they’re right, and we have another potential fortune-maker.  Way to go, Post Office, keep up the momentum.

As the digital world continues to wrap its tentacles more tightly around us, the local newspaper has been including two sections of the New York Times in the last six Saturday editions.  We got the International Weekly and the Book Review.  Is the Times really that pretentious?  We were treated to stories of South Koreans emigrating to Mexico for work.  Dear Lord, are there jobs even Mexicans won’t do?

Last week there was a story about Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban.  Apparently she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and some were disappointed that she didn’t win.  I’m proud of her and what she’s trying to do, freedom for Muslim women, and education for Pakistani girls, but really?? A Peace Prize?  Nothing she’s doing is to bring peace.  It’s like having a Casino built in your town, and giving it a Civic Award for creating more parking.

This week’s Book Review section had a two-page article about Phillip Roth and Norman Mailer, both powerful writers, who hit their stride back in what? – 1973?  Nothing a little more recent??  Even H E Ellis would say, “If not me, at least do Jodi Picault!”

It’s snowing on my website.  I don’t know whether that’s because WordPress just gratuitously turned it on, or because I clicked the snow icon last year, and it’s still valid.  I haven’t noticed snow on anyone else’s site, but then, I’ve been in suspended animation, and remiss in my visits for about a week.  Sorry!

I’m temporarily all ranted out.  You may now provide adoration.  I had to give all mine to the cat.  😉

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Information Retrieval

This will not be a computer tutorial.  I started with a bitch about certain website set-ups, but, in my best shit-hit-the-fan tradition, I’m going to touch on a couple of other things that sour my milk, and attitude.

I have Loi Vo’s, Style and Home magazine….actually, probably his wife’s.  Last month, I had his Business Quarterly magazine.  The month before that, I got his bank statement.  Are you sensing a pattern here?  At least once a month I get mail for him.  In the meantime, I’m waiting for my knifemakers magazine.  Once it just didn’t show up in the mail at all, another time I received the next month’s issue two days before the late one showed up.

The central city gets door-to-door mail delivery.  To save money, out here in the ‘burbs, they put up Super Mailboxes every block or so.  Forty or fifty individual boxes, one for each house, and a couple of larger package boxes.  You walk, or drive to the box to get your mail.  I hear you ask, “Is Loi Vo’s box right beside yours?”  If only!  He lives 4 blocks, two super mailboxes and a postal code away….but his house number is the same as mine, so I can see how the nuclear physicist, who moonlights as my mailman, could make that mistake….over and over and over.

Instead of hand delivering to his house, I finally decided to complain to head office, and went online to CanadaPost.ca.  What a piece of milquetoast.  They already have answers to every question you might possibly ask….except mine.  Want to buy stamps online?  Need a postal code?  Want locations of Canada Post outlets?

Every decent site does much the same.  It saves you time, and them money and manpower.  However, most sites also include a spot where you can drop an email to cover concerns not listed.  Has the Post Office got one on their site?  Uh uh!  Probably to discourage irate customers like me from actually getting service.  Well then, I’ll just take Loi Vo’s magazine, go to the main office, and complain.

The main branch used to be right downtown, then they moved it way out to an industrial plaza, how wily.  I know where it is, within a block or so, but thought I’d use their Find-a-Branch service for an exact address.  I opened it up, and they list every pharmacy and corner store which contains a postal outlet – but don’t list the main office.  I think I’ll format a letter to take with me, to list my complaints, and that will be one of my bitches.

A movie based on one of author Lee Child’s books, has come out, and he has just released another in the series.  His character, a huge man who needs a Dolf Lundgren Viking to play him, is being portrayed, some fans say betrayed, by a Tom Cruise pipsqueak.  Books I might like, which are part of groups of 20 or more, interest me.  With the number of books I read, a series like that could keep me reading for several years, so I went online to do some research.

My orderly mind doesn’t want to start in the middle.  With character development, I want to begin at the beginning.  I went to the Chapters/Indigo site.  This is the big book purveyor in Canada.  Chapters merged with Indigo some years ago, and they bought up Coles Books.  Coles used to, and still may, provide Coles Notes.  These are like the American Cliff’s Notes.  They were banned at my highschool.  You were supposed to do your own learning.  That didn’t stop them from being used at home.

On the book site, I chose advanced search, and started to type in Lee Child’s name.  I got a prompt which read, “Lee Child books”, so I clicked it.  Now, I know he’s published about 20 books, but the top of the page read, 493 Items.  493??!  Okay, there will be hardcover and paperback and large print and audio books and trade-size softback, but 493?

This is Chapters own sorted listing.  They claim this is “Lee Child books”, so I started to scroll down.  The first listing is a Regency romance called The Agency, by Y.s. Lee.  I loved the, one capitalized/ one lower case, initials.  Is she a friend of k.d. lang?  Well, it does have an author named Lee.  A couple of books by Lee Child, then, Just Like Me, by Jan-Lee Music, then a couple more by Lee Child, then Quinlan B. Lee, then Robert Lee, (no middle E.), then John Lee, then Chris Higgins and John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series.  Wait, what??  How did Higgins and John D. MacDonald get into this list?  McGee does rhyme with Lee.

I managed to sort out only Lee Child books.  Since I’m looking to start at the beginning, I sorted again for date of publication.  Yeah, that worked so well!  Since the movie just came out, that book, which is at least five novels old, is at the top of the list.  All the others were chronologically scrambled too.

I think I found the first in the series, a book titled Killing Floor.  I clicked on its image for more information, including cost.  Along with the hard cover, large print, and audio, I found two paperback editions, identical, as far as I could see.  One offered an online price of $12.95, or used from $15.65, the other online price was $10.44, and used from $10.80.

I am confused by all this.  Why is one online price $10.44, and the other $12.95?  Even if these are not exactly the same book, why would I pay half again, or better, to buy a used copy, when an original is available.  I’ve reserved a large-print copy at the library for free, with one person ahead of me.  I prefer the tactile sensation of print.  The library is only authorised to issue 6 E-books at a time, and there are 56 people on the waiting list.

Wikipedia dispenses comprehensive free information.  These other sites just hand out free question marks.