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Monday, January 23, 2017

The Qimas Solution

It was very early in the morning. By early, I mean get up and tinkle and go back to sleep o'clock. It was dark and at least three or four hours before my planned wake-up time. I had one very clear and urgent thought as my mind crossed into consciousness. Their bodies haven't had enough time to clear the Qimas Solution before they have to wake up. 

I became aware that it was too early for me to get up for anything other than to answer nature's call. I shook my head as I stumbled into the bathroom. What the heck had I been dreaming about? As a general rule, if I wake with coherent (or even partly incoherent) thoughts related to a dream, I remember at least the last part of the dream. This time I was coming up completely blank. I was able to find some amusement from the idea I had awakened with. In fact, I opened up Blogger on my phone and saved the title you see at the top of this post. It was just so odd, and I didn't want to wake up later with it fully erased from my memory.

When I woke up hours later, the memory of the incident was still there, but I couldn't remember the name of the Solution that was still coursing through the bloodstreams of the faceless and possibly victimized bodies. I looked at the title on my phone and once again shook my head. I still had no clue what it meant or where it came from.

You may think that this is a tempest in a teapot, and it sort of is. But I routinely  have extremely vivid dreams. I suppose most of us do, or the dreams wouldn't accomplish the mysterious functions they perform. But I am also someone who remembers most of their dreams. In fact, when I have repeating dreams, or serial dreams as I tend to call them, I will frequently have thoughts like oh no, not this dream again! Many people, including Trent, seldom if ever remember their dreams in the morning. I have awakened happy, sad, irritated, frightened, disgusted - you get the idea - all because of remembered dreams.

The following night (last night), I woke up numerous times thinking about the silly Qimas (KEE-mus) solution and the blog post I was going to write about it. I was, over and over again, composing the blog post in my sleep! After about the fourth time I awakened while mentally writing, I promised myself that I would write it before the next time I went to bed. And that is why I am writing, and you are reading, about this odd bit of mental nonsense.

I fervently hope that the Qimas Solution will not affect your dreams tonight. Since I don't know the contents or purpose of the Solution, I have no idea of the potential side effects. And I hope that by the time I go to bed tonight, the Qimas Solution has had sufficient time to clear itself from my bloodstream!
 


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The Tip Jar:

As always, I am happy and honored to write for you. It brings me great joy, and I hope that it gives you joy and/or food for thought. If you'd like to support the cause, please visit:

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Thank you for reading!

Monday, January 9, 2017

How to Open a Box

Having been around for a little while, I have learned many things. I have also not learned many things. Today I want to share a valuable lesson with you on how to open a box.

In order to open a box, you must first acquire one. Think of something that you would like to eat. Look at your phone's treasure trove of apps with store membership rewards and coupons and specials. Check your rebates app(s). Determine, through the use of these research venues, which store has the prize which you seek.

After loading any and all applicable coupons and rebates on your cellular device, arrive at the store and locate the product. Scan the shelves to find the closest-to-perfect match. Breakfast biscuits? Check. Ooh, chocolate? Check. Itty-bitty bite-sized morsels of yum so that you don't have to bite into them and send crumbs tumbling everywhere? Check. While waiting in line, resist the brightly colored packages of chocolates, candies, and beef jerkey. Ignore the gums and mints and Burt's Bees lip balm, and the tabloid headlines that scream at you with their bold print. Pay for your treasure (and your other groceries - you wouldn't drive to the market for just one thing, after all) and head home.

Curse your insanity as you lift your ridiculously heavy reuseable shopping bags onto your shoulders. Carry so much that it makes every muscle in the upper half of your body tremble, because you do not want to make a second trip out to the car. Take everything that requires refrigeration or freezing out of the bags, stow them away accordingly, and collapse onto your favorite sofa or chair for a few minutes of recovery. Heave a sigh and gather up your cellphone to take pictures of barcodes and your receipts because rebates are important. Go sit on the bed with your legs up just because it feels good.

Forget about your treasure until a day or two later. Smile as you recall that box full of cute little chocolate yumminess in individual-serving packets. Sit down with the box in your lap and see the upside-down instruction to gently lift the flap with your finger. Squeeze your finger under the end of the flap and realize there's enough glue there to build a model airplane big enough to hold small children, and strong enough to hold together while it flies. Notice the inadvertent gasps coming out of your mouth. You will not be defeated by a little cardboard box!

Slide you finger across the half-inch wide swath of glue as the lid reduces in thickness by half - that glue isn't moving for anybody, anytime. Holler as the glue slices your finger a little bit. Throw the box down, wash your hands, and find a bandage. You don't want blood from a chocolate injury all over the house. Return to the box and realize that you'll never be able to use the locking tab feature - the locking tab is very thin and the slot is covered with the killer glue. Decide that being careful is no longer necessary and just tear the other side of the lid to get into the box.

Nibble on your morsels of chocolate yumminess while emptying the box into a resealable and more finger-friendly container that is perfectly suitable for snacks. Remind yourself that the next time you buy these overpriced nuggets of yum you will just open the box with a knife or some scissors. Wait three months and repeat the process because you forgot all about that evil glue and its bloodlust. Sigh and swear to yourself it won't happen again. Until the next time.

A note from The Lunatic: No, I didn't cut myself. But when I was trying to open that box today, I could imagine that happening to some unsuspecting seeker of chocolate delight. And I did not tear the box lid open. But for a second there I really wanted to!



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The Tip Jar:

As always, I am happy and honored to write for you. It brings me great joy, and I hope that it gives you joy and/or food for thought. If you'd like to support the cause, please visit:

https://www.paypal.me/TheLunatic




Thank you for reading!

Friday, January 6, 2017

The College

In the wake of our most recent Presidential election, I have seen numerous charming posts on social media telling everyone why the U. S. Electoral College is such a wonderful thing. These posts are, of course, intended to show everyone who reads them that the Electoral College's selection of Donald Trump as the Pesident of the United States in spite of the popular vote being in favor of Hillary Clinton is a good thing. Before some of you get your knickers in a twist, I am not going to say anything in this post about who I wanted or didn't want elected. This is all about understanding the Electoral College.

As I said before, since the election I have seen a lot of charming posts about why the Electoral College is so fabulous. Why do I keep referring to them as being charming? Because even though they are well-intentioned and sound quite brilliant and factual, most of them are simply misguided regurgitations of incorrect information. I'd like to address acouple of the misconceptions that keep being stated as facts.

Claim: the Electoral College was created to balance the voting power between higher- and lower-population areas. Actually, this is not the case. The Electoral College was created because our Founding Fathers weren't sure that the power to elect the President should lie in the hands (votes) of the uneducated, inexperienced (not so bright?) general public. The FFs wanted the President to be chosen by a vote of the Congress. The Electoral College process was created as an alternative to choosing one option or the other.

Claim: the Electoral College gives an equal say in the election to areas with lower population density. Have you seen the same meme that I have? It shows a map of the USA that is mostly shaded in gray. There are scattered areas that are shaded in blue, and on the map it states that half of the US population is in these counties. It goes on to say, "Now, imagine living in the gray areas and the blue zones voted opposite of you. This is why we have an Electoral College. Civics 101. You're welcome." Here's the meme in question:




Guess what? The Electoral College does exactly what this meme claims it protects us from. You see, this meme implies that the College prevents the larger populations from deciding for the smaller ones. In a nutshell, here's how the votes are apportioned. The 50 States and the District of Columbia all have Electoral College votes. Each State (for this purpose, we will use the term State to refer to DC) has at least 3 votes. Each State has 2 votes because each State has 2 Senators. Each State has at least one other vote, because they also get one vote for each member the State has in the House of Representatives. And how is the number of each State's Representatives determined? Why, by population, of course.

And how are the votes distributed? Well, before the election, each State selects groups of Electoral College voters. Alaska, which has 3 votes, has 3 electors selected by their individual parties. These voters are dedicated to giving their votes to their party's candidate. In the 2016 election, in other words, there would be 3 electors with votes for Clinton, 3 for Trump, etcetera. I know that some of you are thinking that adds up to more than 3. So here's where it gets even more interesting. In 49 of the 51 Electoral States (everywhere but Maine and Nebraska), it's an all-or-nothing vote. So if the majority of the general public's votes in Alaska go to the Democratic cadidate, the 3 Democratic Electors represent the entire State and all 3 votes go to the Democratic candidate. 

Let's take this a step further. The higher the State's population, the higher their number of Representatives, and the higher their number of Electoral College votes. And the truth is that regardless of people's opinions to the contrary, larger population blocs carry those votes. Colorado has 9 votes, and the greatest population density is in the Denver-Boulder Metro area. Yes, we potentially decide the Electoral votes for the whole State. But there are 48 other Electoral States that work the same way. The largest number of votes in the State determines the Electoral votes from that State. There are 6 Electoral States that have 20 or more votes each, with a total of 191. There are 33 Electoral States with 10 or less votes each, totaling 189 votes. The numbers don't lie. That's 6 States with more Electoral power than 33 other states. So I think this begs the question: do you still believe those posts saying that the Electoral College is the great equalizer?


Note: My source of information on the Electoral College is the National Archives and Records Administration, which you can access through this link.

Electoral College 


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The Tip Jar:

As always, I am happy and honored to write for you. It brings me great joy, and I hope that it gives you joy and/or food for thought. If you'd like to support the cause, please visit:

https://www.paypal.me/TheLunatic




Thank you for reading!