“I meet with many, many time travelers. Some of the best time travelers. Believe me, really smart guys. They love me. They do. They tell me, ‘we’re from the future. But we didn’t come here to kill you, Mr. Trump. We’re here to thank you.'”
Your Daily Devotional is a lightly-edited entry from my Twitter feed. Follow me at @jefftiedrich

Your Daily Devotional for October 6, 2016


Beware the Windows 10 zombie screen – The Tech Curmudgeon

Be careful when you get the Windows 10 “black screen of undeath,” because your PC might not be dead yet.

bsod-cursorThe Tech Curmudgeon is old enough to remember the bad old days of Windows 3.1, Windows 98, and the infamous “blue screen of death.” The Tech Curmudgeon and everyone he knows lost hours of effort to crashes that ate our work, lost grades to crashes that ate our work, maybe even lost jobs to crashes that ate our work, all the while cursing Bill Gates and Micro$oft. The Tech Curmudgeon learned to set every program to autosave every five or ten minutes, how to find and import the backups, and how to invent new profanity when the blue screen of death inevitably murdered the files on the few programs that wouldn’t autosave and ate the backups too.

Raise your hand if you ever fantasized about taking a sledgehammer, napalm, or tactical nuke to your PC as a result of a blue screen of death… and if your hand is down, you’re lying.

Yet Windows 10, an OS that the Tech Curmudgeon generally likes, has upped the “piss him the fuck off” factor of Windows even higher than the blue screen of death with what the Tech Curmudgeon calls their “zombie screen.” You know, the black screen you get when Windows 10 is updating (without asking you for permission first, of course) and all you can see – sometimes – is the mouse pointer. Continue reading


Brexit Britain Bigotry Bake-off

Turning every unemployed person into a doctor is neither possible nor desirable. But if you do the math, that seems to be where England is heading.


We’ve been here before…

It’s a few months since I wrote about my despair following the Brexit referendum and, as I feared, the walls are coming up. It’s not like Europe has much experience with forcing foreigners and minorities to be physically labelled and publicly humiliated.

So post-Brexit Britain’s new idea of forcing companies to label their foreign employees and humiliate them for not hiring locals is a depressing return to the dark ages.

A further idea is to replace all foreign employees with locals. They’re starting with the NHS — the country’s ubiquitous universal health service — which currently employs about 1.2 million people, of whom 55,000 are EU citizens (30,000 of whom are doctors). Continue reading

It’s World Teachers Day: who changed your life?

It’s World Teachers Day. And I’m a little distressed by how little mention I have seen of it flying around on my Facebook feed. But then, what do I expect?

CATEGORY: EducationOnce upon a time we celebrated teachers for their wisdom and commitment to making their communities better places. Now, in addition, we celebrate them for their superhuman perseverance in the face of utterly overwhelming odds. Some of the stories I’ve heard from teachers border on the harrowing. And I’m just talking about what they’re expected to do in the classroom. Never mind what those who work in de facto war zones face.

It is hard to be truly dedicated to something that your society is at best indifferent, and at worst is actively hostile toward. Continue reading


The Slants (and the Redskins): what’s in (an offensive) name?

SCOTUS takes on the First Amendment case of The Slants, a band crying foul over a U.S. patent office refusal to trademark its name

by Amber Healy

the-slants-2105-press-shot-b-1The Supreme Court of the United States will hear the case of The Slants, the Portland, Ore., pop band that has spent the better part of the past six years’ trying to trademark its name.

It’s unlikely the court will hear the case before 2017, with a decision to come without prior notice months later, but it’s a huge win for the band to make it this far.

If you’re late to this dance-pop party, here’s a little recap. Continue reading


Learning from the silence of elephants

by Tamara Enz


Our lives are full of noise. Endless beeps, twitters, and rings. Traffic, jets, refrigerators, air conditioners. Ubiquitous cell phones, microwaves, TVs, and tablets. Each pinging, humming, and demanding attention. Gratuitous noise, the TV or radio turned on and then ignored, or worse, talked over loudly, has long been a pet peeve. Car keys left in the ignition, leaf blowers (^%*^%$#$ leaf blowers), car alarms (see leaf blowers), and every cell phone/ATM/POS card reader with keyboards that indicate, by sound, every letter entered.

Every. Letter. Entered.

For some, like me, it’s exhausting. Continue reading


Chelsea Clinton and “anecdotal evidence”

The once and future first daughter’s bout of reefer madness notwithstanding, please remember: “anecdotal evidence” is another way of saying “no evidence”…

Chelsea Clinton, who has been out on the stump a bit lately “helping” her mother’s campaign, recently dove face first into the muck by saying that pot can be fatal.

“…we also have anecdotal evidence now from Colorado where some of the people who were taking marijuana for those purposes, the coroner believes, after they died, there was drug interactions with other things they were taking.”

Clinton didn’t provide any details on this “anecdotal evidence,” and later one of her “spokesmen” was trotted out to explain that Chelsea “misspoke.” Continue reading

Playing Marco Polo…WITH Marco Polo: S&R Honors

Marco Polo is one of our most renowned travelers and explorers. Yet there is controversy about whether he actually went where he says he did. If only he’d taken a selfie stick and set up an Instagram account….

Marco Polo dressed as a Tatar (image courtesy Wikimedia)

Marco Polo dressed as a Tatar (image courtesy Wikimedia)

On my book shelves are several of the nicely bound sets of what used to be termed “classics” (i.e., books considered sacrosanct members of the Western Canon) that were all the rage many years ago when the American middle class aspired to be like their betters and give the appearance of being cultured – back when part of being cultured meant being well read, of course. Please do not misconstrue my intent here; owning a handsome set of “classics” is not the same as having read them. Lea and I have bought most of these sets in used book stores and antique shops and found almost all of the volumes in a given set in mint or near mint condition (after all, sitting on bookshelves year after year does cause some slight aging, as does being moved from the prominent bookshelves in the den to the ratty ones in the basement).

Thus it is that I have, as mentioned above, several sets of these “collections of ready made culture” (I have mentioned one popular collection in another essay). The set from which the book that is the subject of this essay, Travels of Marco Polo, The Venetian, is taken is called, interestingly, “The Programmed Classics,” and is published by Doubleday. It’s a handsome book, though the translation by 19th century “Orientalist” William Marsden is, at best, creaky.

So, to Marco Polo’s travels…real or made up…. Continue reading

Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump

Keeping up with the Presidential kids

Some presidential offspring are okay. Some less so. But if Trump wins, god help us.

Watching Chelsea Clinton make a fool of herself every time she makes a campaign appearance—well, probably not every time, just the ones I hear about, the ones where she, you know, makes a fool of herself—started me wondering about presidential offspring. I liked Chelsea for a while there—she seemed to be setting out on her own. But she now seems back in the firm grasp of the Clinton machine, and she doesn’t have a chance—perhaps she never did.

Anyway, what about the other presidential offspring (and their parents) of my lifetime? Well, let’s see: Continue reading

Hillary Clinton

Dear Hillary: some unsolicited campaign speech ideas

by Djerrid

I’d like to thank everyone for coming.

This is a campaign rally. This is where candidates typically tout their accomplishments and stir up enthusiasm and take a few jabs at their opponents.

But this campaign is different. This election is different. This is about our shared vision for a better America, but it’s also about a person who is unfit to be a school board member, much less the president of the United States.

Donald J. Trump is notoriously well known for how thin his skin is. Continue reading


It’s official: Tom Brady just isn’t that good a quarterback

No, Pats fans, Tom Terrific doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. Not unless he’s sweeping up.

tom-brady-deflate-gate-memes-2For years we Denver Broncos fans, who feel like former superstar running back Terrell Davis belongs in the NFL Hall of Fame, have heard a variety of arguments against his candidacy. One that has always struck me goes like this.

Yes, Davis gained a lot of yards and was key to Denver’s two Super Bowl wins. BUT, after he retired the team generated the same kinds of results with a variety of nobody backs. In the several years post-TD the team was led in rushing by the likes of Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson and Rueben Droughns, who posted four 1,000 yard season between them. Add to this two 1,500-yard campaigns (these were two of his three best years) by Clinton Portis, and, the argument goes, yo momma could have gone for 1,000 in that system.

That’s the key word: system. It wasn’t Davis, it was Mike Shanahan’s system. Continue reading


Ignore the pundits – Clinton owned the first part of last night’s debate too

Pundits are getting it wrong about last night’s debate – Clinton wasn’t on her heels for the first 20-30 minutes, she was making a pitch to Sanders supporters, progressives, her base, and her lukewarm supporters.

hillary-clinton-weak-men-fear-strong-womenI’ve been reading lots of so-called pundits talking about how Trump did really well in the first 20-30 minutes of the debate last night, and then Clinton took control and never let go. OK, from some perspective I get that – Trump stuck to his message, and Clinton’s responses weren’t as good as they would get later in the evening. I looked at Trump’s performance early on as more ignoring the question and repeating your usual stump speech a la Rubio’s “one trick pony” flub rather than “sticking to the message,” but I’m most vehemently NOT a Trump supporter, so that may just be my personal biases clouding my judgement.

What I got out of the first 20-30 minutes of the debate was something quite different than what the pundits did. It was in that part of the debate when Clinton mentioned climate change and raising taxes on the wealthy. Instead of a Clinton thrown on the defensive and responding to attacks with dodges and weaves, I saw a Clinton who was doing exactly what she wanted to be doing – laying out the reasons why Sanders supporters, progressives, and even lukewarm supporters like me should back her. Continue reading