Morning Brief – August 12, 2022

graphix: spwilcen

DIY advances

After self-ticketing and self-schlepping baggage, domestic travelers will welcome the latest air travel innovation. 1

The TSA announced today that by mid-autumn, self-check security lanes will be in operation at most major US airports.  Should travelers experience difficulty with self-check security, fifteen to twenty TSA agents will be idling on-hand at the head of each DIY security lane to help travelers validate their picture IDs, pat themselves down, or determine how much further to strip.

In a related press release, FAA officials reported, the agency hopes by spring 2024 to have completed plans for self-piloting.  Major air carriers welcome this advancement.  No longer required to provide pilots and flight attendants for domestic flights, airlines look to improve profitability.

NTSB officials could not be reached for comment on either development. They are busy with plans to streamline incident investigations in the spirit of efficiency.

1 You do realize this is satire.  No? Then you deserve to be fooled.

What and Why – August 12, 2022

graphix: spwilcen
Queued 7/28/2022

I just discovered why I like to write.

Not “discovered” really.  More I’m reminded of something I’d lost sight of the last four or five years.

I’m re-reading a book I last read seventeen years ago.  I can accurately say seventeen, not “fifteen” or “something on the order of twenty” years ago.   There’s a cheat.  It was my habit to lightly pencil the date I finished a read on one of the wasted blank pages at the front of each book. This one says “8/4/05.”

It’s marvelously written by a talented author, an Edgar winner, though not for this particular novel.  I admire that talent, the story, and the way it’s told. Unpretentious and intimate. Engaging. Believable.

With a lot of serious work, I fancy I could do that.  Write like that.  To learn I’d entertained just one person with such an effort would give me great pleasure.

I’ve also re-discovered why I enjoy the detective mystery or noir genre.  Not the blood, guts, gore, and sex-heavy style of today. Humor me when I suggest a lighter style.  A style more closely resembling real life.  Not the style of James Bond or CIA operatives with killing or brutalization in every other chapter.  Occasionally humorous like life.  Occasionally sarcastic like life.  Real people.  With real flaws, maybe ugly and weak in one way or another.  Like you and me.  Okay, not like you.  Like me and a few other people you know.

Same author. Same book.

It occurs to me I could do that.

I’m working on it.

Tower of Babel – August 11, 2022

graphix: spwilcen
queued 7-29-2022

So, they asked

Q215: Should long titles be allowed or banned?

  1. Yes
  2. No

A215:    1

Technically correct

Implied here, but not entirely clear, this typifies questions seeking yes/no, true/false, or one-of-multiple-choice responses.  Technically, the answer is correct.  Or not. The question itself suggests a dichotomy. Which tosses up the “Black and White or Shades of Grey?” argument.  Which can be answered, “Yes.”  It is one or the other, but you don’t make it clear which of two options [allowed or banned] I am to address.

Or the correct answer is “Yes, no” or “No, yes” or something akin to “None of the above.”


[The disconcerting sound you hear is me chuckling.]  I participate in several forums.  I see many good questions so poorly framed [In English] that a logical answer is impossible. This, of course, to my western [USoffAn] mind.  Minds of other cultures, even other English-speaking cultures, see absolutely no difficulty in a particular question’s structure when I do.

Get to the point. The audience is getting restless

Many questions in serious “surveys” thrown up against the wild weird and whacky’s electronic walls fall into this category.  Originators then have the temerity to publish results as socially indicative, often further clouded by the phrasing of interpreted results.

For any issue, questions and individual answers may have been framed by a non-English mind1 and results then offered as undeniable truth for English minds to accept.  At play is the Tower of Babel.

Looking at the results of a published survey, even [especially] one from an MSM originator, one should assign no accuracy to the results unless the original proposition is included in the results and raw answer compilations are presented.  This because so much “content” and so many “surveys” are outsourced before presentation to a “home” population.

This caution to counter the Tower of Babel2 effect.

In other words

Q: Are Repullicans better liars than Democrinks?

  1. Repullicans
  2. Democrinks
  3. Neither are the same

Is it any wonder we have wars?

— notes

1 Or a blithering idiot.

2 Odd, is it not – we have Babel and babble? Here nor there, though etymologists suggest no relation the second to the first. What I mean is we can translate words effectively but not meanings and certainly not meanings within context. Add to that [normal] order of subject and predicate for a particular tongue, it gets quickly muddier and muddier. You really want to get strange? Toss in gender, age and inflection [impossible to accurately portray in written words] and you’ve got a real misunderstanding stew. Tasty, usually, but on occasion, lethal.

Quickie Quiz – August 10, 2022

It might be that the subject of mortality [your own or someone else’s] is something you do not care to consider .0  If mortality disturbs you, do not read on.  We understand, you sissy.

When you die _____.

  1. you will be buried.
  2. you will be cremated.
  3. you will be entombed.
  4. your remains will be donated, as for medical research.1
  5. your remains will be launched into outer space.
  6. you will be dead.
  7. you will be ‘buried’ at sea.
  8. ever trendy, your remains will undergo alkaline hydrolysis.
  9. cryonics will preserve your remains to be reunited with your immortal consciousness.
  10. you will be ‘reborn’ as a dog, dung beetle, greater human, or something.
  11. your mortal remains will be otherwise disposed.2
  12. none of the above.

You would think as famously verbose and [according to many] boring as I am, it would be no small matter to dirty-up a handsome amount of white space to sneakily keep the answer out of your immediate line of sight.

It is not, I assure you.

I am too lazy to research exhaustively, but in the USoffA, according to the National Funeral Directors Association, post death disposition is fairly-well a fifty-fifty split between ‘1’ and ‘2.’ Cremation, as multiple sources suggest, is of late becoming more common. 3

The correct answer, of course, is ‘6.’

PSA: don’t defer the entirety of decisions around this subject to be managed by those you “leave behind.” When [assuming of course, “if”] it happens, your friends and loved ones will have enough to worry about without becoming familiar with Mister Mortician.

0 Some adamantly declare mortality/immortality a non-issue, or the distinction between the two beyond our [mortal] understanding. Meh.

1 Which merely defers the ultimate answer.

2 Seriously doubt all options are covered. Options. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

3 As for any bifurcated proposition, documentation suggests no definitive answer. NFDA Smithsonian USA Today USNews Washington Post [apologies as this is one of those MSM organizations insisting on PPV or subscription viewing.

Just Like That – August 9, 2022

Queued 7/27/2022

If you recall

Or maybe not.  Seems, though, I’ve mentioned my current plans for casa refurb were to hold the line against attempts to put me to work painting until autumn and cooler weather. Seeing as how I’m the one gonna do the painting and far as I know there’s no “season” for house painting, my reasons are really nobody’s business.

Also think I mentioned where Boss and the Downstairs Crew Chief ganged-up on me about painting the new bathroom.  Two days after I successfully made my case, Crew Chief made it a point to tell me, with Boss standing right there, that the Crew had hit a snag which would put them off a day.  He then reckoned I had the whole weekend to paint the room and have it dry by the Crew’s return Tuesday. 

Why not? The paint was ready even if I wasn’t.

Yeah, so?

While it wasn’t exactly clear in subsequent blog dribble, I acquiesced. Two coats acquiesced, finishing-up neigh eleven Pee of Emm the last weekend evening.  Because? Because there would be no end to the tooth-chipping I’d have to endure if I didn’t.  Why’d it take so long? Because I do have other ongoing, time-consuming responsibilities.  Even on weekends. 

Painting is wonderous fun.  I can think of few things I’d rather do more than painting. That, newbies, is pure sarcasm.

But that’s a one-off, right?

Sure. All but ‘cept.  I am reminded that I’ve sixteen rooms to paint.  And a garage. There will be no “crew” save yours truly.  Washing, tending nail-pops, seam cracks, poorly placed and now patched wall mounting holes, sanding, resurfacing where needed, re-sanding, and in a few cases priming [some of the existing colors are dark, dark, dark] before painting. Walls, ceilings, and trim.

Bleak Christmas outlook?

Not necessarily. An October start would let me finish by Turkey Day. But it is a lot of work.  Tedious work. Did I mention humping heavy furniture from room to room to accommodate ladders and drop cloths?  Understand, when a room is finished and dry, there is quite necessarily a requirement to re-install the [still heavy] furniture.  Every thought of the project makes me cringe.

You sense my solution?

Get the project started. Get it out of the way.  Over. Done with. [Until it is determined after all that that particular beige is just not quite right for the guest bedroom. Or whatever.] 

So, for the next three months [hopefully] don’t be curious why my posts fall off.  Three months? Bad math? Nope.  Summer.  Many chores and summertime projects cannot be ignored.  I suspect gonna be a lot of eleven Pee of Emm paint sessions.

There is a ‘plus’ in this

With rooms torn apart while in-process [two minimum at one time – the target room and the one holding the target room’s furnishings in addition to its own] certain people will be less inclined to back me into a corner and suggest there is another, more important new project to be tended.

Just like that

I’m in the painting business.


Vitalis and Old Spice – August 8, 2022

graphix: spwilcen
Queued 7/26/2022

Want to guess where I’m going with this?

Fragrance Flashback

As a youth, I had a handsome head of hair.  Took a lot of ribbing about “curls” from the ladies.   As I remember, my hair wasn’t curly, but thick and wavy, sandy brown.  Never used any hair cream on it.  Once, a summer I think, bothered by an unusual case of dandruff, I tried something called “QED,” something akin to Brylcreem, to take care of the problem. Don’t think I used it more than a week.  Otherwise, wash it, dry it, comb it, and cut it – that was “hair care.”

Until just ten years ago, I still had a mess of hair. Well-peppered with grey sure, but thick and manageable.  Then it quickly went white.  A nice white as grey or white goes, but it also got thin and wiry. Unmanageable. I wrestled with the problem five or so years. At last, I determined to do something. Something artificial.

Brylcreem? VO5? I didn’t want to plaster it down, just make it manageable. Not keen on the “new” hair “products,” mousse, gels, axle grease, waxes, tea tree oils, wombat dung, and such.  And the prices for these “products!” I settled on Vitalis.  It has been around longer than I have. Affordable too.

In the ‘60s, the mention or fragrances like Vitalis, Old Spice, Mennen, and Aqua Velva immediately and unmistakably recalled my father’s generation.  Nothing wrong there, and all these masculine products still smell great.  They’re still around.  That says something. They just were and are “older” men’s fragrances.  Youth of the ‘60s used the likes of Hai Karate, Jade East, English Leather, Canoe, and British Sterling.  I’m betting people aged 40 to 60 today feel about the fragrances of my youth the way I feel about Old Spice. 

Point is, I find it interesting that cosmetics seem to have identifiable “generations.”  I get a whiff of Old Spice, or Aqua Velva, I immediately think of my dad. Catching a drift of Jade East or English Leather, I imagine Phil Smoothworth [BMOC in high school] just entered the room.  The ‘70s? Jovan Musk or Polo. ‘80s? Obsession or Drakkar Noir. ‘90s? Beats me. Today? Again, beats me; remember, I’m kind of stuck somewhere between the ‘60s and the ‘80s.

The Vitalis is working.  Incidentally you’ll find Old Spice antiperspirant in my bathroom kit. Otherwise, I’m cosmetically stuck in the ‘60s. Except for cologne, where I’m still using a brand introduced in the ‘80s.  I don’t know if Hai Karate, Jade East or the others are still on the market. Suspect if I found a bottle of Jade East and splashed it on in the morning, I’d get some very interesting comments.

I Forgot – August 7, 2022

graphix: spwilcen

But I’m allowed. Has to do with the number of birthdays celebrated.

A short story not published here was posted August 5 to The Chamber Magazine.

It is dark fiction. Out of norm for me. I know this appeals to many folks.

If you want to see what the Chamber Magazine is all about, the talent there, check the August 5 issue out.

To go right at my entry look here for “Miscue.” If you enjoy dark fiction.

Whoopie! – August 7, 2022

graphix: spwilcen
queued 7/25/2022

Yahoo! Scheduling this to post two weeks from now, I’ve got two weeks to focus on writing “stuff” and maybe sending one or two pieces off to publishers.

Fourteen days! Free to work on pieces exceeding 300 words.  Clean-up that novella. Consider once again talking to the editor/agent about making the novel ready for a pitch.

Well, and doing chores outside, and shuffling furniture from room to room, and running-down parts, and [precedence has been established] painting.

No.  As you read this, it is the last of the scheduled posts. 

Fun time is already over. Nertz. 

Disclaimers – August 6, 2022

graphix” spwilcen

MA Language:
May contain adult concepts – reality, truth, full disclosure, and/or sarcasm

No. 48:
Which reads: “May contain milk/peanuts/soy/wheat.”

This one is easy pickings.  Let’s take Milk, Moo Cow Juice, Bossy Cola, Bovine Lactose Leakage.

“Pardon me. What are you buying there?”

“A gallon of milk.”

“‘Milk,’ did you say?”


“Well, you have selected the right item from the dairy case.”

“Unh, if you’ll excuse me, I need to be on my way. The missus expects me home soon.”

“With that?”

“Well, yes.  That’s why I’m here.”

“You do know, don’t you, that contains milk?”

“Milk? No? Really?”

“Read the side panel.”

“Really don’t have time for this.  I need to…”

“Read it. It’s for your protection.”

“I don’t drink the stuff.”

“Why buy it?”

“It’s for the kids.”

“Ye gods, man! You let your children drink that?”

“Well, um, yes, of course.”

“You don’t like your kids?”

“Love them matter of fact.  My youngest daughter, for example…”

“Pu-lease!  Read the damned label!”

“Um. Okay. One serving contains the following percentage of the U-S-R-D-A suggested…”

“Not that.  The small print. At the bottom.”

“Didn’t bring my glasses.”

“I’ll read if for you.”

“Okay. Thanks.”

“Facility KE 177 July 6 2022… No, um here it is: Contains milk, Riboflavin…”

“Enough! Milk?“

“Haven’t even got to the good part yet…”

“No!  Put it back.  I’ll get something else for the kids. Orange juice maybe.”

“Be sure to read the label.”

“Contains milk? Orange juice contains milk?”

“No, but oranges…”

“Damn! I’ll get something else.”

“Beer aisle is one over.  Good on Animal Oat Crunchies, you know.”

Legitimate number forty-eights might read:

May contain formaldehyde.
May contain cellulose.
Contains stems and leaf fragments.
Contains insect parts.
May contain Lenny Warshaw’s left pinkie, or pieces of it.
Contains Polysorbate-80.
May contain cyanide traces.
May contain Listeria.
Contains insane added sugars.
Contains dirt.
Contains six forms of sodium.
Contains no healthy ingredients.