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."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Frances Gramata 1950-2015

I have sad news to tell you today, my sister-in-law passed away on Sunday. At age 64, she was young for this town. She succumbed to circulation problems caused by her diabetes and smoking. She "coded" three times the night after her surgery and then once again later in the morning (approximately 11:05 AM). I was in the room at the ICU when her heart stopped. The nurses tried to bring her back for 20+ minutes before finally giving up.

Franny was my favorite sister-in-law, the kindest, gentlest, sweetest person I ever knew. She drove me crazy at times by her naivete' and gullibility. She would give more than she had (as Faye put it) if she believed you had a need and she almost always believed that. But that was part of her charm, what endeared her to so many.

It is true that only the good die young. And Franny was one of the best.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Getting Old Is Not For Wimps

I dropped my sister-in-law off at the hospital today. It was an unexpected journey. I had taken her to her doctor's office because she had an appontment. Between the time she had made the appointment and today, it got changed a couple of times... by the doctor's office. A couple of weeks ago, she stumbled over a box of books and injured her shin. She was in a lot of pain for that but that wasn't why she made the appointment; it was a regular visit, a follow-up after having a bypass put in her leg last year. But it was why I took her to the appointment.

She is diabetic and, like many diabetics, had circulatory problems which lead to neuropathy. Which led to the bypass last year. Which led to this routine visit to the doctor who had performed the surgery.

He did not like what he saw. He could not find a pulse in her foot. So he scheduled her for another surgery tomorrow and I, being the one to take her to the doctor's, also had to take her to the hospital and get her checked in. Which we did. They will perform a CAT scan on her tonight to make sure everything is how the doctor thinks it should be and, hopefully, allow him to clear the blockage without doing another bypass.

Faye and I... and Frances... are hopeful. Frances has vowed (again) to quit smoking (which contributes to the circulatory problems), maybe she will stick to it this time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Would You Go Along?

At one point, the president said that he hoped those opposing his deal with Iran would read the deal before criticizing it.

Except that they can't. Oh, they can read the main deal... but they are not privy to the side deals and the side deals are the ones that basically shred the main deal. The inspections that ensure compliance are essentially out the window. We already knew the alleged "snap-back" of sanctions had no teeth and there were hints that the 24/7 inspections were not going to happen but now we learn that Iran will not allow military bases to be inspected.

In some ways I am thinking the Iranians do not really want this agreement and are making sure it won't happen. Iran has nothing to lose here.

I can't help feeling that this president wanted chaos to erupt at the conclusion of his presidency.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Proof Of What?

I have been watching the show "Proof" since its beginning. Why would this guy bother with this series? I'll try to explain...

I don't believe in an afterlife. According to my late mother, neither did my father. Still, I am interested in the concept and, therefore,more than willing to explore it.

Perhaps some background: I think humans created religions to explain not only the mysteries of life but to answer the great question of death. Few, in my opinion, are willing to accept death as an end. We fear it... one minute a person is alive and the next lifeless. Can it be that simple? Our egos simply find that hard to accept. So we invent religions to not only explain crop failures, hard times and good, but to alleviate the cessation of life. A reward of some sort for living a good life is promised after death and you go on "living" for eternity. There is also punishment for those who do not live good lives.

But, in both cases, life is continued and that is the point, I think. Death is but a transition between physical life and this "afterlife." We toy with (in poems and stories) the cessation of life as "eternal sleep." but even that implies that life goes on after we die.

We don't know, of course, what really happens after we die. I think it is the cessation of consciousness. Call it what you will but I do not think there is anything after death.

In the series, a terminally ill (cancer) billionaire funds inquiries into the possibility of life after death based on Near Death Experiences (NDE's) there is also a recurring character who is a psychic who claims that he talks to the spirits. The show delves into NDE's and finds intriguing clues about life after death but, of course, it cannot definitively answer the question.

A religion might say one must have faith, that we mere humans are not privy to such knowledge, that maybe we couldn't handle it.

I think whatever you wish to believe is fine with me... short of performing human sacrifices, that is.

Friday, August 21, 2015

More On Golf

The title might seem redundant.
I'd like to provide a little background on my use of Golf GPS devices. There was a time, many years ago where you only had course provided markers on each hole. The distance from tee to the center of the green (at the tee box), 200 yards out (blue marker), 150 yards out (white marker) and 100 yards out (red marker). Sometimes these markers were round and pretty flush with the fairway and sometimes these were posts about 2 feet high. And sometimes you could buy a "yardage book" in the pro shop which showed the distances from various objects along the fairway.

The course I played on most had no markers at all except for the distance to the green at the tee box. I had to guess at the distances. But I was young and still had adequate depth perception so I could do it. In fact, I think I was pretty good at figuring distance.

Not anymore. They say there's three things you lose as you age: memory... and I forget the other two. So I depend on my GPS units to report distances. I sometimes wonder how accurate they are, especially when they differ from the fairway markers by 5 or more yards. But they do offer you some guidance which can be used for club selection. Tom Sightings hasn't reached the age where he needs one (as he commented) but he will.

I am cheap so I tend to buy things on clearence... which might explain why that Golf Buddy unit crapped out on me. But what are the odds that I would get a replacement unit that behaved exactly as my original defective unit did?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Experiences In Golf

I have a lot of experience in golf but that doesn't seem to help. I don't have the natural talent nor the great hand/eye coordination that the pros have. That's obvious even to me. Plus, because of my deteriorating depthe perception, I cannot judge distance as I once used to. Therefore I must rely on golf GPS units.

I purchased one by Golf Buddy not long ago. It worked fine for a few weeks and then, one day, it wouln't charge. I contacted Golf Buddy technical support and they responded with the following:

Thank you for contacting GolfBuddy.

I am sorry that you have an issue with your unit. May we kindly ask that you do an "Emergency Reboot" and a "Firmware Upgrade" to check if this will rememdy the issue at hand.

Here are the instructions to try an emergency reboot on your GB WT3 unit:

Press the OK, Arrow up and Arrow down all at once to restart the system.

After doing these steps, try updating the firmware on your unit. This helps the unit´s system (firmware) perform more accurately. You can update the firmware using the GolfBuddy World Course Manager.

The problem is that this didn't work so I requested an RMA # and instructions on how to ship it back. They received the unit, presumably inspected it, and contacted me by phone. During that call, the tech said he would be sending me a replacement. That replacement came on Tuesday. I opened the box, removed the unit, and it would not power up. I therefore suspected I would have to charge it so I hooked it up to the charger (not an easy thing to do) and plugged it into my computer via the USB port. It did not charge. In fact, it behaved exactly like the one I had sent back. So I called Golf Buddy support and explained to the tech what trouble I was having.

I requested a pre-paid label to ship this one back because I do not see why I should pay to send back a defective unit that I have not used in any way, shape, or form. I did not get one. Instead, I got the "boilerplate" on how and where to ship the unit.

So, instead of just complying, I am writing this post to warn others about Golf Buddy.

Update: on 8-19 I received an email from UPS with the pre-paid access. I will be sending this unit back on 8-20.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz

I am still getting spam but I no longer care. Isn't that weird?

I just read "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" and it was quite different than the movie. Rather than spoil it for you, I'll just say there are no flying monkeys until quite late in the book (and there is a reason they obey the Wicked Witch...), the tin man and the scarecrow don't sleep... ever... and the good witch who greets Dorothy when she lands in Oz isn't Glinda (though there are Munchkins there).

Like most books, it's better than the movie because you can use your imagination. Unfortunately, that has been tainted by seeing the movie (more than a few times). Let's just say Dorothy isn't as old as she was in the movie and leave it at that. The Emerald City is more interesting and the whole story of Dorothy's adventure is much more Grimm-ish overall.

I recommend you read it when you get the chance. It is available at the Gutenberg site. Get it with images if you can, they are quite good.

Friday, August 14, 2015


I get way too much of it, as I am sure you also do. There is also spam I do not get, for Gmail filters it for me. I wish Gmail wouldn't do that because I would prefer to deal with it myself. But I cannot get it to stop filtering it.

The spam is of the usual type: male enhancement, offers of insurance, extended car warrenties, and the rest. It slows down some but never stops. I suspect that Comcast, which is my internet provider, is the one that sold my email address because most of the spam is addressed to one of my email accounts... though the NY Times may have done it since I gave that particular address to them and that is the only Comcast address that receives it.

It's annoying but, with the occasional exception, not harmful. I don't know anyone who responds to spam but some must or the spammers wouldn't continue and their clients would dry up.

Incidentally, the problems I was having with "copy and paste" have gone away, I suppose the Blogger coders got tired of the complaints. So now I can write in Wordpad and paste it in the blog again.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Government Is Not The Answer

This is why we should not expect, or want, the government to be in charge of everything.

I believe we are in a battle between forces which believe government should be the ultimate authority and the forces which do not. When we vote in 2016, that is what is at stake.

I think most Americans simply want the government to leave them alone. I have said that before. The Founding Fathers seemed to want to limit government for just that reason. I could be wrong but I do not think so. I think the people of America in the 1770's would be appalled at the state of the country today. That is, after they got over the shock of being in modern America.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Let's Play Monopoly

There's no question that it is one of my favorite games. I've played it since I was a young tyke and love it. In fact, while I am writing this I am also playing it. A game I started Sunday morning about 9 AM.

Here's how Wiki describes its beginnings:

Monopoly is a board game that originated in the United States in 1903 as a way to demonstrate that an economy which rewards wealth creation is better than one in which monopolists work under few constraints.

When it was created, many people remembered (lived in) a time when monopolists ruled the economy. Rockefeller, Carnegie, and others were kings of industry in the late 1800's. Some say they built industrial America. Today, it's a game. A game played with pizza and beer, often.
But it was once serious stuff. Very serious.

I play a version that can be played on any PC. I can have human players or computer ones, I can alter the rules a bit and do... I add to the number of houses and hotels (I found I needed more than the game's default) and make some changes I like (landing on Free Parking means you collect some of the taxes paid by the players) and I deal out all of the properties at the outset. And, of course, I cheat a little: I quit any game where I am at a distinct disadvantage before it starts. I do not need to start with a monopoly but I like to have one, or at least a one of the properties in most of the sets. After that, I try to gather up railroads. I feel they are the key to the game.

With a PC version, I have learned that I can buy railroads for $288 (first one), $385 (second one), and $1085 (and last one) most times. I have also learned I can buy non-monopoly properties at 3x their value. To buy one that gives me a monopoly varies depending on how much the value of the monopoly is. For instance, getting the last of the Connecticut Ave, Vermont Ave, and Oriental can be as cheap as $800 but the last of the green set may cost up to $2000.

I found I can win easily enough with 4 railroads and any monopoly set.

The next time you think about how evil, selfish, and greedy the rich (who don't pay their "fair share" in taxes) are, ask yourself which you almost always choose in Monopoly: $200 or 10% of your total value?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Why I Am Patriotic

I was once ignorant about the Founding Fathers. After all, I was young and what could I want to know about a bunch of old men who had lived 150 years before me? That was before I learned how much they restricted their own power in constructing a new nation. Many owned slaves but the documents upon which the nation was founded would eventually lead to freedom for the million or, at least, the hundreds of thousands held in slavery at the time.

Even though they likely figured they would be the ones to hold power after the Revolution, they sought to limit the government's power. Just the Revolution alone was unprecedented at the time. To attempt to break away from the superpower of the day was an incredible concept. Their cause was probably helped by the Crown also thinking a revolt in the colonies was doomed to defeat.

What is really remarkable is that the Founding Fathers wrote that document (the Constitution) some 12 years after the revolt began and some four years after its success. They could have made themselves royalty, they could have made themselves into an aristocracy but they didn't. Perhaps because they thought the populace would not stand for it after 8 years of war against an aristocracy or because, in order to raise an army to fight the Crown, they had to tap into the concept of liberty for all (minus the slaves, of course). They knew their livelihoods (and the livelihoods of many of those who wielded power in the Colonies before the Revolution) depended upon the continuation of slavery. Or maybe they just thought slavery would endure. Still, they sowed the seeds of freedom from slavery in that Constitution.

England professed to be free while it maintained its traditional caste society. If you were not of a noble family, you were not free. The birth of the American nation likely had to turn the idea that the masses were lesser people on its head.

The history of America is one of a nation struggling to live up to its own lofty ideas. And we have old, dead, white men to thank for it. Perhaps revolutions do not end... if successful.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What Are Adages?

Simple phrases or sentences which convey a moral or instruct about behavior. My mother was fond of them. She used them over and over as I was growing up but most of them made very little sense to me.

For example, she often said "Handsome is as handsome does." To this day, I have no idea what that might mean. Another one she liked was "Them that has, gets." That one I equate to the "Golden Rule" which, in my crowd, meant... "those with the gold makes the rules." Or, perhaps, "The rich get richer while the poor get poorer."

I am sure you have adages rambling around in your own brains. Maybe your mother was fond of them too.

Of course, Mom was also fond of saying things like, "If you break your leg, don't come running to me." And, "If you drown, I'll never speak to you again." Both of which make a kind of sense when you think about it.

I had something else I wanted to convey, something about patriotism, but that will keep for another time.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Just Some Thoughts

Not important ones, just random ones about the GOP presidential nominee race and a few other things.

There are now seventeen candidates vying for the GOP nomination. Sharks smelling blood in the water. Even though Trump leads in the polls, I don't think he has a chance of getting that nomination. He reminds me of Perot in a lot of ways; bombastic, populist, a bit outrageous but getting a lot of attention and popularity. Trump, like Perot, doesn't seem to have a lot of specifics. Perot used a car metaphor... he was going to "open the hood" and fix what was broke. Trump just brags about his money and how successful he's been in business. But he also says he'll build a wall along the border and, somehow, get Mexico to pay for it. He's not saying how.

Marco Rubio and others (including Jeb Bush) are out in California looking for people willing to contribute money. You need a lot of money to run for president. Silly me, I thought you needed ideas and plans to implement them. I guess that hasn't been true for decades. It seems there are no specifics anymore, just bombast and populism.

I hear Joe Biden might get into the race on the Democrat side. Don't know how true that is but Hillary is having image trouble. I have to wonder how she can expect the public to believe she never, in 4 years as Secretary of State, sent an email through her private server that contained classified information. Easy to prove, just allow access to that server. I won't hold my breath, that's not the Clinton Way.

I am wondering if the next president, whoever it is, can dig us out of the hole we are in.

Good thing I am old.