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December 20, 2014, 01:40:55 pm
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1  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: How much can you bench press? on: Today at 01:03:39 pm
okay, I voted 61-80 kg.  

I was at the gym this morning and after swimming a few laps, I remembered this thread and decided to check.  I walked to the free weight room but they looked pretty scary, so I went to the one of the machine rooms.  Finally I found a "chest press" machine and started experimenting.  There's a little pin that is pushed into a weight.  It is set in ten-kilogram increments.  I started with 10.  No problem.  Then 20.  Then 30, and so on.  At about 50 it started getting pretty tough.  At 70 it took most of my strength.  By then I felt like I didn't want to try 80, so we'll call it 70. At sea level on the surface of the earth that mass would have a weight of approximately 154 pounds.  I could probably lift more, but screw it.

Think that's sad?  Here's an even sadder story:  So my son has been asking for a Kid Classic Smoothie every day for a couple of weeks.  Every time we walk past the little cafe area on the upper deck of the club he asks about it, so I finally caved.  One banana, three strawberries, enriched strawberry jelly, concentrated orange juice, and whey protein, all blended to a fairly homogeneous texture and served in disposable styrofoam cup with a plastic lid and bendy straw.  $3.99 plus tax.  

We stopped at the counter and the woman behind the counter says, "May I help you?" and he says, "A Kid Classic, please."  She punches a few buttons on the cash register and then said, "That'll be four twenty-three."  So then he gives her a five-dollar bill.  Then she punches a few more buttons and the drawer opens up.  I said, "I think I have 23 cents..."  I dig around in my pocket and manage to come up with a quarter and three Lincoln cents.  I handed those to her.  Now, bear in mind that at this point the cash register drawer is open, we owe her $4.23, and we have tendered $5.28.  At this point one might reasonably expect her to reach in a take out on dollar and one nickel and hand them to us and close the drawer.  That is not what happened next.  What happened next was that a look of severe consternation came over her face for a few seconds, then she proceeded to stare blankly at the cash register for a while.  Maybe 20 seconds or so.  Then she began moving her lips and counting her fingers, again with the look of consternation.  At length she took a pen, one of those fat Spider Man pens with a fuzzy topper on it, and started scribbling figures on a piece of paper.  After a few seconds of that, she then started looking around frantically, moving small boxes and cups and pencils and pens that were cluttered about the counter.  Eventually she cried out to the guy making the orders, "Do you know where the calculator is?"  He asked, "What?"  She repeated, "Do you know where the calculator is?"  He then walked over to her and inquired about the situation.  She said, "Um, his drink is $4.23 and I punched in $5.00 and it says that I owe him, um, 77 cents.  But then he handed me this change..."  Then the guy said, "Well how much change is it?"  She said, "Well, a quarter and three cents.  Let's see.  Um, that's 28 cents."  "Okay, so he gave you $5.28 and his order is $4.23?"  "Yes."  Long sigh.  His eyes roll and he says, "okay, just give him a dollar and a nickel."  At that point about four minutes had passed since the cash register drawer had opened.  $1.05 was collected from the open cash registered and handed across the counter to me.  "Thank you, your order will be ready in a moment.  Next."

My son and I took a seat at one of the small tables on the balcony overlooking the basketball courts and awaited his Kid Classic Smoothie.  After another five minutes or so had transpired, I went to the other part of the counter, where the guy preparing the orders was, to inquire about the order, thinking that an awfully long pause had occurred.  Long enough, anyway, to prepare the Kid Classic Smoothie.  "Sir?"  "I was just wondering about my son's order..."  "Order?  What did he order?"  "A Kid Classic Smoothie."  "oh, yeah, Kid Classic.  Coming up."  So I sat down again and waited.  After a few minutes of watching him--he appeared to be jerking vigorously on something at about waist level, but the counter was high so I couldn't quite tell what he was doing--I decided to approach the counter again.  At that point, the girl who had been working the cash register came over and asked him what he was doing.  He explained that he was needed to open a new jar of whey protein but was having trouble opening the lid.  She said, "hand it to me."  He promptly handed it to her and she twisted the lid off, apparently with little effort.  It was now her turn to emit a long sigh and roll her eyes.

Eventually, the smoothie was delivered, and it had been completely devoured by the time we walked through our front door at home.  It's only about a 500-meter walk so I think we can assume that it was satisfying and delicious.  Worth the wait, as they say.

2  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: We could definitely need some snow right now on: Today at 12:28:48 pm
I'm actually hoping that it doesn't snow till at least after Christmas.  I got my son some outside toys that I'm really eager to start playing with, and it'll need to be dry for them.  Rain or snow on Christmas day will sort of be a bummer.  Still, I got some indoor things as well, just in case.

3  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: We could definitely need some snow right now on: December 19, 2014, 08:54:14 pm
Poor boy, no snow at Christmas.  I'm sure that the millions of residents of Bangladesh whose lands will be inundated by rising seas would feel sorry for you if they knew you had no snow.  I reckon that those in western Africa watching their relatives shrivel fade away from the hemorrhagic disease brought on by ebola would wish you snow also.  No doubt the North Koreans with their 900-calorie-per-day diet will also feel sorry for you and wish you to have some of the snow that is causing their frostbites this Christmas season.  The Kurds and Syrians, at least those who can still walk and talk, would wish for you a white Christmas as well. 

Yours is truly a sad story.  We wish you prosperity and peace, and our thoughts and prayers are with you.

4  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Ancient water in the Earth's crust estimated at 2.5 million cubic miles. on: December 19, 2014, 05:49:26 pm
Hey, is that the White Rose symbol for York in your signature?  York has a bunch of white rose insignia.

Lancaster is the Red Rose city.  The local city bus is called RRTA (red rose transit authority), the little historical signs have stylized red roses painted on them, and there are red rose bushes on some of the exits from 30.  There's also a red rose credit union and a bar called The Red Rose.

I think both cities took their symbols from the English cities of the war of the roses fame, in which the Lancastrians and Yorkists rivaled one another for domination. 

I never knew about any of this stuff before I moved to PA.  Until a couple of years ago, I always thought that "The War of the Roses" was a movie starring Michael Douglas and a reasonably attractive middle-aged woman who he was divorcing.  Danny DeVito was there too.

5  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Christmas traditions unique to your country/region on: December 19, 2014, 03:57:11 pm
In parts of Lancaster County, some children take a cup of oatmeal and place it in a Ziploc bag with a generous amount of glitter.  This is sprinkled upon the lawn before bedtime.  Presumably the glitter will catch the eyes of the reindeer and they'll be sure to stop at your house to nibble on the oatmeal.
6  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Don't want none..... on: December 19, 2014, 03:51:40 pm
whole lotta waxin'
7  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Post a song from the year you were born on: December 19, 2014, 08:58:40 am
Only one?  It was such a good year.  Light my Fire, Brown-Eyed Girl, Daydream Believer, Penny Lane, and RESPECT all came out that year. 

I guess I'll go with this one.  Mostly because I was never really convinced that this is what the dormouse said.

8  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of incorporating the cross into Christmas celebrations? on: December 18, 2014, 09:11:22 am
I find the common use of a crucifix - a tool of torture and execution - to be slightly disturbing in itself. :/

I suppose that the crucifix is probably most appropriate for Good Friday.  The cross is for Easter.  A star is for Christmas. 

The Christmas cards we receive from relatives feature christmas trees, curious george, snowmen, or Santa Claus.  Once in a while I get a religious-themed card in the mail from one of my parents siblings, all of whom are over 70.  Those rarely feature crosses.  They feature a star, or a young couple in a stable with a baby, or three Persians with gifts, or some combination of all those.

I prefer the Elvis-themed Christmas cards.  They are pretty rare these days, outside Las Vegas, but they were very common in my youth.  I have saved a number of them. 
9  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama to announce sweeping changes in Cuba policy today! on: December 18, 2014, 09:00:42 am
Do we know who Obama is going to be appointing to be Ambassador to Cuba?

"Wanted:  Cuban-Americans who are not loyal Republicans to apply for ambassador position."

That should narrow it down.
10  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: How much can you bench press? on: December 17, 2014, 09:00:02 pm
Inspired by Liftwieghts34. Tongue

I'm pretty sure that he wouldn't quantize it in kilos.  He might even call you a pussy for doing that.  Unless you're a Canadian, of course.  Then he'd just assume you're a pussy.

Anyway, I have no idea.  I go to the gym almost every day but I don't play with those things.  I like the pool, the jacuzzi, and the bicycle machines.  Anyway, I'd guess about 500 Newtons.  I guess you're capable of dividing that by 9.8 all by yourself.

Lift a weight, bro.  (not a mass.)  Wink

11  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama to announce sweeping changes in Cuba policy today! on: December 17, 2014, 07:26:32 pm
Wow! I didn't realize that the Vatican played such a crucial and active role in the normalization process.
Pope Francis is such a FF!
Even when his position is correct, there is nothing FF about a religious leader sticking his nose into the world of politics. That is the opposite of freedom.

Thanks again for your scorching hot takes on life!
I don't even know what this is supposed to mean.

I don't either, but if you regard the pope as a "religious leader" rather than a political one, then you must have slept through all your history classes.  The Roman Catholic church is a political organization, and the Bishop of Rome is its political leader.  In fact, the Vatican, although not a member of the United Nations general assembly, was granted Permanent Observerver State status long ago.  It never applied for membership in the UN, but make no mistake:  it is a political entity, and the pope is a political beast.  Even the mild-mannered Argentinian currently holding that title.  Popes have taken political positions for a couple of millenia, and Francis is no exception to that tradition.

Also, I'm sure he'll rest well tonight knowing that you think his position is "correct."
12  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama to announce sweeping changes in Cuba policy today! on: December 17, 2014, 05:53:18 pm

yes, I read that "the announcement was the product of a year of clandestine back-channelling between the U.S. and Cuba, facilitated by the Canadians and the Vatican and with personal involvement from the Pope."

A Canadian, the Pope, and President Obama walk into a bar...

Anyway, it's good that we're finally talking about Cuba.  Hopefully he'll do the executive order thing and make it so we won't get fined $7500 dollars for visiting Cuba.
13  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Is the USA still a democratic republic? on: December 15, 2014, 09:12:22 pm
^Why would Kramer be Boomhauer? Dale seems like a more apt comparison.

Kramer is the sage.  Well, that's what I always perceived.  Boomhauer is also the sage.  Nothing elucidates quite like a Boomhauer soliloquy.  Dale is, of course, the conspiracy theorist, and I suppose that you can find some of the conspiracy theorist in Kramer.  Maybe the juxtaposition isn't perfect.
14  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Would Bushie be better off if he went to a hipster church? on: December 15, 2014, 08:16:03 pm
Would Bushie be better off if he went to a hipster church?

WTF?  So he could be just as lazy and obnoxious as he already is, but also wear old, tight, Salvation Army store clothing while he's being lazy and obnoxious. 

15  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Furries. on: December 15, 2014, 04:25:41 pm
I don't get it

Lift a weight, bro.
16  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: When did you begin focusing on Christmas 2014? on: December 15, 2014, 11:46:25 am
10 years old?  Shouldn't he have moved past toys and on to the demigod of fitness workout machines? 

Funny you should ask.  At the gym we attend there's a policy requiring patrons to be 10 or older to use the eliptical, stationary cycles, rowing machines, freeweights, etc.  My son has been itching to try them.  Of course, he'll get bored after a few minutes of it but they're forbidden fruit for a few more weeks so I suppose that it makes them seem interesting.  

17  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: When did you register for the Atlas Forum? on: December 14, 2014, 09:42:15 pm
Date Registered:   2003-12-22, 21:29:07

You beat me by nearly two weeks.  Happy eleven years, in case I forget.  Smiley
18  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: When did you begin focusing on Christmas 2014? on: December 14, 2014, 09:15:23 pm

Just kidding.  My son had his recital last week.  Played Greensleeves.  Good times.  He knows about six christmas songs now.  We actually put up a chirstmas tree today.  I'd say that I really started focusing on Christmas today.  I'll start getting into the commercialism this week probably.  Got my eye on the rockets.  Remember those?  I started getting into those when I was about ten, and he'll be ten in a couple of weeks, so it's just about time.  Also, there are lots of cool remote-control toys now.  The nice thing about having a boy is that it gives you an excuse to buy stuff that you really ought to have outgrown by the time you are 47, but for whatever reason you haven't. 

The old lady has expressed some serious concern about the longboard, and I've decided not to pick that battle just yet, so that'll have to wait.  I'll probably sneak it in next year like I did with the in-line skates last year.  Choose your battles wisely, boys. 
19  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: What do you think the government should provide? on: December 14, 2014, 02:08:13 pm
personal care means hygiene products

A chicken in every pot and conditioning shampoo in every shower stall.  Now that's a platform!

20  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Office of Senator Polnut - Building a Better and Stronger Future on: December 14, 2014, 09:04:30 am
I voted for you, but if you ever find yourself running for real office, reconsider ideas like this:

As we are here at MIT, I am pledging myself to putting a greater focus on getting more kids intereste in science, technology, engineering and maths or STEM. It is you here and the future students at institutions like this that will create the next creative technological wonder.

Leaving aside for the moment that STEM is a really corny acronym and many scientists bristle at it, it's just a bad idea.  There are, of course, students who are interested in science and engineering.  This is a good thing, because the world needs scientists and engineers, but the Kool-Aid party that politicians and school administrators are pushing right now is not only unhelpful, it's damaging.  We end up with a third or more of the seats in freshman science courses being filled with people who not only don't want to be there but who flunk out.  Failure early on diminishes their chances of success, not only because of poor transcript grades but because of the psychological effects of failure early on.  Also, because of funding cuts to state universities, seats are severely limited and it's first-come, first-served, with deserving and interested students left on waiting lists to make room for those pushed into "stem" fields by their high school counselors.

University science faculty are drafted into entertaining groups of high school students.  They come in two varieties.  One type of group is small.  Their parents have paid 50 dollars or more for the privilege of working on a project with a real scientist at a university.  Often this group consists of people of Indian or East Asian descent.  This group represents students who are genuinely interested in science.  They don't need anyone to invent silly acronyms and they don't need to be pressured into taking science courses.  They spend a day or so at a summer Science Camp, where they build bridges, make electrical circuits, perform chemical reactions, analyze local water for lead or other heavy metals, perform genetics studies, or otherwise engage their scientific interests.  They are competitive and university faculty generally find it pleasurable to work with them.

The other type of group is larger.  It consists of entire classes of 11th- or 12th-grade students being corralled through the university's facilities.  They are led by teachers looking to score points with their school principals.  The principals are looking to score points with their school board members.  The board members are looking to score points with the voters, who have been convinced by politicians that this is a good idea.  These students are clearly very bored.  Few of these are genuinely interested in science.  They will miss a day of instruction for this field trip.  School days are limited, and these students will learn nothing on this school day.  They will be subjected to demonstrations and speeches.  They will be encouraged to ask questions by the unfortunate university faculty members pressured to host them.  They will not want to ask questions, but eventually questions will be extracted from them.  They will be such enlightened questions as "How can you stand the smell?" or "Hey, can we use this stuff to get high?"

The polls have opened and it's time to send a message. We want and need a Senate that is focused on solving problems, not creating new ones.


I strongly discourage you from jumping aboard this "get students interested in stem" bandwagon.  I know that it is politically and morally fashionable at the moment, but this philosophy is wasting resources and causing more problems than it solves, if it solves any.  Should you find yourself in any real elected office in the future, recognize that not all new ideas are good ideas.

Best of luck,
21  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: December 2014 At-large Senate Election on: December 14, 2014, 07:41:43 am
1.  Polnut
2.  Cris
3.  Bacon King
22  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: What do you think the government should provide? on: December 13, 2014, 08:41:40 pm
Housing              perhaps, especially if it is intent on displacing populations
Child Care           if it intends upon conscription or enslavement of adult populations, then yes
Food                  in times of famine, yes
Transportation     for the purposes of ethnic cleansing, of course
Health Care         no, even the most authoritarian government shouldn't go this far
Clothing              for its conscripts, yes
Personal Care      (not sure what this one means)
Furnishings          Sure, why not?  What fun is it to be a despot without hot tubs, guns and women
Communication    no, I'm for letting the market decide.  Attempts to control it usually fail anyway.
Utilities               Of course I like running water and electricity in government offices
Education           yes, this is most important.  To survive, a government must brainwash its population.

Of course, I'm for a government that provides none of those things to its citizens, because the cost is just a bit too high for my tastes, but if your goal is to set yourself up with an obedient and easily-controlled population, then by all means provide most of those things.  Throw in religion, bread, and circus, and you'll have yourself and your ruling elite set up for life.
23  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Is the USA still a democratic republic? on: December 13, 2014, 08:26:00 pm
it's really weird that people worry about a still developing state

No one worries about it.  To the extent that the comparison to Rome is valid, the whole point is precisely that we don't worry about it.  We just keep getting fatter and assume that others are worrying about it for us.  (And no we're not looking to debate whether the comparison is valid.  The presupposition being as it is, you have to find parallels.  It's rather like saying that if Jerry Seinfeld is Hank Hill, then obviously Kramer is Boomhauer.  The only thing left to argue about is whether Elaine is Bill or Dale.  I'd say Dale, and George is Bill, but I know that there are those on this forum who disagree.  Whether or not all 90s comedies followed the same formula is another debate.  Here, we're just assuming that they did and all we're doing is filling in the blanks.)
24  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Is the USA still a democratic republic? on: December 13, 2014, 08:43:13 am
who's gonna be the barbarians from the north to get rid of the USA.

From the East.  Ours will come from the East.  It will be a crushing indebtedness to them, rather than gunpowder (which was provided by the East many centuries ago), which defeats us.
25  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Favorite color poll on: December 12, 2014, 07:31:10 pm
other:  infrared
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