Sunday, July 22, 2018

His Citizenship Means a Lot to Him

July 22, 2018

A man who became a naturalized U. S. citizen in 1999 was sentenced for aiding and abetting al-Qaida in a plot to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge. He’s getting out of prison in 2020.

Now the government wants to strip him of his citizenship, on the grounds that his terrorist affiliation demonstrated a lack of commitment to the U.S. Constitution.

He’s objecting, and a judge sided with him, saying that U.S. citizenship is precious, and the government hasn’t proved that any misrepresentations the man made on his citizenship application influenced the decision to grant him citizenship. That’s probably true. However:

Call me crazy, but plotting against your adopted country doesn’t indicate to me that you hold it or your citizenship in high esteem.

Citizenship is precious. I wonder how he’ll show his appreciation once he’s out of jail.

Jason's Right to Privacy

July 22, 2018

Hey, Everyone!

Meet Jason, an Uber and Lyft driver, who put a video camera in his car to record passengers—and then streamed them online. He posted conversations, and activities (to a point); blacked out addresses and security info; but let viewers comment on passengers’ looks, actions, conversations, etc.

Some passengers were aware that they were being filmed, but none knew that they were being streamed. When he first started, he told passengers that they were being streamed, but then they either clammed up or acted for the camera, and he didn’t like that, so he stopped mentioning it.

Long story short, people were unhappy, felt violated, shamed…Jason doesn’t care. It makes him money.

They have no right to privacy, because they’re in a public conveyance, he says.

I disagree. If they were riding on a public transit bus or train, then they might reasonably expect to be seen and heard by others. But they paid for a private car, so in my opinion they could reasonably expect privacy.

We’ll let the courts sort that out.

In the meantime, Jason asked that his last name not be published in the Post-Dispatch article that covered the story. He was worried about his privacy. He says that the internet can be a crazy place.

Duly noted.

Jason’s last name is Gargac.

Monday, July 16, 2018

For the Animal-Lover on Your Gift List

July 15, 2018

If you have a hard-to-buy-for nature lover on your gift list, check out the animal artwork at the St. Louis Zoo.

The art is painted by animals. It gives them something to do, and the sales help support the zoo.

Here’s a link to the article in the Post-Dispatch.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Star Is Born?

July 12, 2018

A music festival in Finland is offering free shuttle rides—provided that the rider sings for the driver the entire time. When the singing stops, so does the ride.

The point is to demonstrate how quiet electric cars are—the engines aren’t louder than your singing.

Possible Unintended Consequence: Maybe a new singing sensation will be discovered.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Stop Selling Yourself (or Your Characters) Short

July 8, 2018

I keep reading books in which the heroine describes herself as short. What irritates me is that they mention it like it’s a character flaw or a disfigurement—or a handicap to landing the job or the hunk of their dreams.

And some of these self-described “short” women are 5 feet, 4 inches tall!

I’m 5 feet 3, and I’ve never felt short, unless I was trying to reach a tall shelf. But to hear these women describe themselves, they got short-changed in the physical attractiveness sweepstakes, and in their ability to succeed. It irritates me every time.

Then it hit me: The characters are comparing themselves supermodels. They don’t feel like they’re going to hit the big-time unless they’re 5’7” or taller. It makes me wonder about the authors, frankly.

Great news, Ladies—and Heads Up, Authors: In the 1960’s, the average height for a U.S. woman was 5’3” (average weight, 140, just as an FYI). Today it’s 5’4”.

So quit whining, Book Characters: You’re fine.

Friday, July 6, 2018

She's Lucky They Only Complained

July 6, 2018

A woman wrote to Miss Manners, asking how to respond to friends who thanked her for the theater tickets she gave them as a present, but who said that they wished the seats had been closer to the stage.

Miss Manners gave her usual amusing reply: Tell your friends that you won't be running the risk of disappointing them again.

I think that, in this day and age, the gift-giver is lucky that the friends didn’t call the box office and help themselves to an upgrade on her credit card.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

What's a Person to Do?

July 5, 2018

In yet another blow to fair play for the un-moneyed, and to common sense, a court ruled that a woman was responsible for paying her monthly rent, even when part of her ceiling was in her bathtub and the landlord wasn’t making the necessary repairs.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the tenant had improperly withheld payment, even though the landlord was slow to fix the problem, and the tenant had to stay in a hotel for several nights (on her dime).

What did they want her to do?

I’m picturing her shoveling the celling debris out of the bathtub in order to take a shower. Would she wear a helmet in case more of the ceiling fell in as she was showering? Would she have to keep the debris on the premises to prove her case?

Would the hotel give her a special, “Oh, we know how these landlords are” rate so she could pay them AND her rent while she was waiting for her apartment to become habitable? Somehow, I doubt it.

Go, Missouri. Keep proving to your citizens that they don’t matter.