The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

By the way... there's a crossword at the bottom of this page

Friday, September 19, 2014

Emails, We Get Emails...

I received an email the other day. Lovely thing, really. Here, let me offer the body of it:

My name is Danielle, I found your post titled "Time for an Oil Change", and I really enjoyed your writing style - you conveyed the message perfectly.

The reason I am getting in touch is I am working for a client, Sierra Financial (their link)we feel that the information is a great fit with what we do.

We were wondering if you would be interested in linking to our website from inside this post? We know the request is a little unusual, but it would help us reach customers interested in this article, which suits us perfectly.

We're happy to pay you for your efforts in inserting the link - let us know a fair price!

Hear from you soon,
Danielle McAnn

Who could possibly turn that earnest plea down? Me, it turns out. I failed to see the connection a financial facilitator might have with a blog post on getting an oil change for a car. That's who she works for... a financial group in Australia.

They even offered to pay me to put a link in that particular post. Now why would anyone pay for a link in a 6 year old post? Makes me wonder about their business acumen. 

This is wasted space. For some reason I cannot clean it out from the bottom of my posts.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the java and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!

As a former sailor, I learned to truly love coffee, black and strong. Before I enlisted, I drank it blond and sweet... that would be cream and two sugars, please. I bring this up because of Pearl posting a piece on coffee made by her friend Maryna. It was called "Seet. I Make You Coffee." and it struck a chord for me, as many of her posts do (a great talent, that Pearl).


I was reminded of how coffee affected my life. The waitress at the Mr. Donut on 19th Avenue and 163rd street who chewed coffee beans, the first time I had Cuban Coffee, how I changed from the "blond and sweet" to the "black and bitter" style.

I have always loved the smell of coffee. In my house, as a child, it was always instant coffee. The first time I recall tasting it, however, was at the golf course in Bethpage, NY. That set the "blond and sweet" type for me. I was maybe seven years old. It would be 13 more years before I switched to "black and bitter."

Let's go back to that Cuban Coffee... I had a friend in junior high named Ernesto. He and his family got out of Cuba before Castro took over. They had been coming up for years for Ernesto to attend school in America. Once Castro took over, they realized their life in Cuba was over. Ernie introduced me to Cuban Coffee when I was in high school. Cuban Coffee is served demitasse, in very small cups, and is about half cream and sugar. It is, as I recall it, pretty much the strongest coffee I have ever tasted. You needed the cream and sugar! The waitress at that Mr. Donut was Cuban and was used to the strongest coffee imaginable. She was not a pretty woman and, I suspect, did not have the freshest breath. And she made the coffee there quite strong on her shift. But I still loaded it up with cream and sugar.

It was in the Navy, that I switched from "blond and sweet" to "black and bitter." You see, the first thing you run out of at sea is fresh milk. There is no cream. Well, maybe in in the officer's mess (the wardroom) but not for the enlisted men. After being at sea, the fresh milk was replaced by powdered milk. And I hated that... probably from the days my mother gave us Starlac. Coffee, for a sailor, is mandatory. At sea, we stood at least three watches a day. Four hours long, they started at midnight, four AM, 8 AM, Noon, four PM, and eight PM. We stood 3 a day except when we were on "port and starboard" watches in a combat zone. At those times, we stood six hour watches and got very little sleep.

Without coffee, we were zombies. With coffee, we were somehat alert. For 3 and a half years, I went nowhere without a cup seemingly grafted to my hand. It did not matter how rough the seas, I could keep coffee from spilling out of that cup.

After my discharge, I had a cheap tin coffee pot (maybe it was aluminum) in which I would brew the strongest coffee I could stand. I never timed the brew, I could tell by the smell when it was ready.

It was many years later that I learned about caffeine addiction. I had been on the midnight to 8 AM shift for several years when I began to realize that the massive headaches I got on Saturday mornings were due to the lack of java. So I cut back to two cups (granted those cups are 12 ouncers) a day. The headaches on my days off disappeared and, surprisingly, I found I was still reasonably alert.

But I still love the smell of coffee brewing.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Some Thoughts On Life Elsewhere

I am not thinking of moving from Paradise (which is what I call my little haven, Sebring). I am musing about life elsewhere in the universe.

The arguments for extra-terrestrial life are reasonable:

1. It's a big universe. In fact, it's a huge galaxy in which Earth exists. It is unreasonable to assume that the only planet in either which could support life would be ours. Ergo, life is possible elsewhere.

2. The closer we examine our own planet the more we realize that life can handle harsh conditions. Therefore, life is tenacious and not limited to what science might consider benign environments.

Using these arguments, it's hard to definitively state that only Earth has evolved life forms. On the other hand...

The main argument about extra-terrestrial life has to do with the intelligent nature of such life, not merely its existence. In fact, I do not harbor the illusion that life exists only on this single planet in a vast and unfathomable ocean of possible solar systems and planets. What I might argue is that advanced intelligent life is only remotely possible.

When reading science fiction that deals, or describes, such intelligent life it tends to evoke images of complex and far advanced civilizations. One such book which I like is called "The Mote In God's Eye" in which first contact with an alien species is described. If you have not read this book, I strongly recommend it.

My main argument against extra-terrestrial life visiting our planet is simple:

Why would any intelligent and advanced civilization spend treasure and blood to travel many (perhaps hundreds or more) light years just to abduct a few humans with histories of mental illness and carve up a few livestock? Wouldn't they use probes, as we do, to first check a planet for life and test the environment? Why assume that these civilizations would evolve so differently than we have as to pretty much do things even more irrationally than our own?

Just musing here...

Friday, September 12, 2014

I Just Don't Get It

I watch the news, I read the news, and I am mystified. When I was a young lad but old enough to think that girls weren't "icky" (come to think of it, I never thought that), I wondered why girls seemed to like guys who treated them badly. I saw that a lot of the time. It wasn't an illusion. When I mistreated a girl in any way (and I never physically abused them), I would find myself without a girlfriend. Yet other guys (a few, not most, I admit) could treat them like dirt and they came back for more. It made no sense to me.

This is why the Ray Rice thing makes no sense to me. Yet, it does... because I have seen it happen many times. And she married the guy! After he knocked her out in that elevator. Granted, I have learned that she spit in his face just before he smacked her and that can cause someone to snap and just react violently. But that really isn't an excuse to knock her unconscious. Relationship dynamics are a mystery to me and a lot of others.

Of course, I grew up in a household where the only strife was between my siblings (mostly between me and my brother). My parents did not fight, did not argue in any way. If there were disagreements, I certainly never saw them. So I was totally unprepared for disagreements in my first marriage. And there were many. The first couple of years were quite turbulent. Eventually, I developed a strategy of passive-aggressiveness. An argument would start, heat up quickly and I would just say, "You're right" and then continue to do whatever it was that ticked her off. I merely used that "You're right" as an excuse not to continue bickering.

Toward the end, I just stopped caring what her reaction might be. I wanted a new (shall we say "expensive"?) camera, I just went out and bought one. When she would demand to know why I didn't talk it over with her first, I just said, "I already knew you wouldn't approve." I began to do as I pleased, regardless of what she would say. To be honest, I really did not care anymore.

I won't go into the reasons we eventually split up but it had little to do with my behavior at the end. I had decided that I could not keep the marriage together by myself and quit trying.

I still do not understand women... But, then, who does?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

1768 Posts And I'm Getting Bored

I have been running this blog since October of 2008. That's a long time for me. I ran an Electronic Bulletin Board board for about the same length of time but it is longer than the time I've spent in some of the places I've lived. Boredom has set in. I am becoming indifferent to this blog. It's inevitable, I suppose. We tire of things, don't we? And, being lazy, I tend to tire easily... especially if there is effort involved.

What to do... what to do... Maybe just limit the number of posts to 3 or 4 a week. They are getting more infrequent anyway and if I limit them then I can say "It's policy."

I am not as clever as some other bloggers and that bothers me. There's a story one of my fellow golfers tells that reminds us that "we aren't that good." It's the story of a pro golfer who gets angry about missing a putt and his father says "I don't know why you get so mad... you're not that good."

I get angry sometimes when playing golf because I muff a shot in some way. And I get angry when a post doesn't read as well as I thought it should. But, in reality, I am not that good.

So, in the future, I think it will be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for this blog.