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    Tiny Hawaiian shirt

    Waiting for the car

    One of Marisa’s friends got married yesterday, so it was a car ride day!

    The wedding invite stated the attire was “semi-formal garden.” I have no idea what that means, but Marisa figured the boys could wear shorts and Hawaiian shirts. Which meant, to me, that I could also wear a Hawaiian shirt (which I did).

    After the boys got ready Sammy came running up to me and he was so excited. He explained that he was excited to wear a shirt that was mine when I was a little boy.

    He was very excited!

    Also, very wrong. As I had never seen the cute little shirt he was wearing before in my life. I didn’t tell him that, of course, but it was very cute.

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  • The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka ****


    It is easy to see why The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida won the Booker Prize. It is a beautiful book about very difficult subjects (Sri Lankan civil wars and a lot of death… of course, the main character is a ghost who dies at the start of the book… so there’s a lot of death).

    I think one could make a compelling argument that this book should be categorized as fantasy, given the main character is a ghost, encounters otherworldly creatures, and experiences the afterlife (it seems ghosts have 7 moons to decide if they want to pass on to whatever happens after death or if they want to haunt the earth). However, given how well it is written and the fact that it was up for fancy awards, it is “literary fiction.”

    None of that is really relevant to whether or not I think this book is good… and I do! Shocking, I know, given it won the dang award and lots of other praise. But sometimes people like a thing because that thing is damn good.

    And this book is the reason I do things like read the shortlist of award nominees. I would have never picked up this book on my own, but I’m very glad to have read it.

    It is pretty brutal, so it may not be for everyone. It is also very funny, heartbreaking, and pretty touching at the end.

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  • Holy crap

    That’s Declan’s phrase of the day.

    We don’t even know where he picked it up. But, holy crap he likes saying it.

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  • The only thing worse than taxes is filling out tax paperwork

    Many countries already offer versions of the options the IRS is studying. A 2022 study co-written by Treasury economists found that the U.S. could accurately fill out nearly half of individual tax returns using information it already has from employers and elsewhere. 

    That step, which would go beyond what the IRS is currently considering, would be a real threat to the tax-preparation industry, which is trying to stop the IRS from getting close. Intuit’s lobbying spending rose 18% in the first three months of 2023, compared with the same quarter a year earlier. H&R Block increased its lobbying costs by 29% over the same interval. 

    IRS Weighs Creating a Government-Run Tax-Prep Option – WSJ

    50% of the taxes filed by the American People could have been filed for them automatically. Then why are we paying people to fill out tax information that the government already has access to? Because of tax prep companies’ lobbyist efforts.

    And I bet this plan was leaked by some tax prep company’s PR company in order to try and kill the plan.

    They are the worst!

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  • Friars Club seems like a good deal to me

    But these days the landmark home of wisecracks and cigar smoke, and legends like Milton Berle and Jerry Lewis, is trying to fight off extinction.A loan company has moved to foreclose on the club after it missed payments on a $13 million mortgage. And a federal judge is mulling whether to appoint an outside company to take over the Friars Club’s six-story townhouse on East 55th Street, which has been shuttered for months as the club’s financial problems have deepened.

    After Decades of Drinks and Laughs, Is It Last Call at the Friars Club? – The New York Times

    It is fun to think about what you’d do if you were a billionaire. Of course, I’d give lots of money to charity (I’d probably do something like Bill Gates and identify something that I think I’d be able to “fix” with my money in my lifetime and just focus on that).

    However, even with lots of charity, you’d still be really wealthy. And I think I’d buy the Friars Club. I mean, it would be cool just to own the building! Though in reality, it would probably end up being a pain dealing with all the people that would come along with it.

    That being said, I hope the club somehow survives. I think knowing that there are little pockets of the past holding on in our crazy mixed-up world.

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  • Getting stuck on tech

    Sometimes a device (it is always a device) takes up space in my head. I just keep thinking about it over and over again. Often these are devices that I have no need for.

    And yet.

    My brain tells me, “if only you had x, you’d be able to do all those things that you could do on 15 devices you already own but haven’t.”

    My current obsession is the Remarkable Eink tablet with a type cover. I have no need for it; if only my brain knew that!

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  • Close your eyes and enjoy the scraping

    The other day as I was standing in line at the grocery store I thought to myself, “When someone has their hands in your mouth what are you supposed to look at?”

    Luckily, no one in the grocery store had their hands in my mouth (at least not during that trip). I had just been at the dentist earlier in the day, and I got a clean bill of dental health and clean teeth to boot.

    As the dental hygienist was doing her thing I had a choice to make: stare at her or close my eyes and think of England.

    I opted to close my eyes for the duration, which I think is the right choice for all involved.

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  • Masks Work, jerks

    As with seat belts, whether people use masks properly matters, but no randomized trial could conclude seat belts “don’t work.” At best, that type of trial would be a truly inefficient way to assess specific instructions and incentives to get people to use them properly.

    Masks Work. Distorting Science to Dispute the Evidence Doesn’t – Scientific American

    Being someone who wears a mask is pretty lonely these days. Sure, they are annoying but I am certain they work.

    I know lots of people seem to think they don’t work because they aren’t effective when worn incorrectly. Those people are idiots.

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  • Don’t forget to tip your Apple Store Staff

    But this tipping proposal is so antithetical to Apple’s customer-first retail experience that it feels like a joke, or that the union negotiators have never even been in an Apple Store. They might as well ask for employees to be allowed to vape while working.

    Daring Fireball: The Union Representing Apple Store Workers in Maryland Wants to Prompt Customers for Tips on Purchases

    I imagine theyd handle tipping by having a prompt when you pay, as they do at many retail establishments. My main issue with this is that given how utterly frustrating it is to attempt to do anything at an Apple Store I can’t imagine many tips would roll in.

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  • Bath conversation

    The boys are young, and small, enough that we can still give them a bath at the same time in the same tub. This saves a lot of time, but bathing two 3.5 year olds at the same time can be a bit chaotic.

    As Marisa was washing Sammy’s hair I had the following conversation with Declan:

    *Declan points at Sammy’s testicles*

    Declan: Is that Sammy’s butthole?

    Me: No, those are his testicles.

    Declan: Are they going to grab me?

    *Me puzzled until it hits me*

    Me: Testicles, not tentacles.

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    The Last Remains by Elly Griffiths *****


    This is the 15th (!), and last (for now), book in Elly Griffiths’ wonderful Ruth Galloway series. After 14 books, you have to wonder if there’s any more story to tell here. How many murders can Ruth, an archeologist living in a small town in England, get herself involved with? How many people can fall in love with her?

    I don’t know the answer to any of those questions, but I can tell you that while I think this is a very satisfying conclusion to the series, I want to continue my yearly visits with these characters.

    And that’s exactly why I love this series so much and why the long-running mystery series is a thing; people love the characters. “The Last Remains” really brings your attention to just how many people have populated these books over the years as Ruth runs into many and revisits adventures past.

    I couldn’t help but think that Elly Griffiths was feeling the pressure of her fictional universe a bit while reading this, and yet I still think it is a fine addition to the series.

    Certainly, don’t start the series here. That would be madness. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading any Ruth Galloway books, start with the first. I have a sneaking suspicion that you’ll find yourself tucking into this book much sooner than you might think (these books go down easy!).

    Elly Griffiths has written about her decision to end (?) the series here. She says that while this is the last Ruth book for now, it may not be the last one forever.

    Here’s hoping Ruth visits Elly with an idea she can’t resist.

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    Translation State by Ann Leckie *****


    I was lucky enough to get an arc of this book awhile ago, and it sat on my Kindle just waiting. I regret that.

    Why didn’t I just gobble it up, as I recommend you do? Because for some reason I had it in my head that this wasn’t set in Leckie’s  Imperial Radch universe (“Ancillary Justice” and so on). I don’t know why I thought that it wasn’t, but it is.

    And what a fine entry in the loosely connected series it is. It is a sort of missing person/mystery/why are aliens like that tale which is a lot of fun.

    You don’t need to have read any of the previous books to appreciate this one, but you should because they’re great as well (in different ways).

    I’m a sucker for a cozy mystery, and this novel is almost a cozy mystery (though it isn’t all that cozy… well, not in the way that I define cozy).

    The main character is great, there’s lots of twisty science fictiony stuff, and some good old fashsioned disfunctional families thrown in for fun.

    And you’d better bet there’s tea. Though it isn’t for everyone.

    “Translation State” comes out on 6/6/23, and you should read it.

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  • Banning books is always dumb

    Calliope Price, 14 and in the eighth grade, came out to meet Alan Gratz — author of the “banned” young-adult novel about climate change, Two Degrees — after hearing about the controversy and realizing that Gratz had also written her favorite book, which is called, ironically, Ban This Book. Holding her now-signed copy, she weighed in on Kutztown Area Middle School canceling a planned “One School, One Book” program amid conservative complaints a climate book would somehow scare or indoctrinate adolescents.

    “I think it’s really stupid,” she said.

    The day the book banners lost in Pennsylvania’s culture wars

    Will Bunch’s article is pretty one sided, and you know what? I’m okay with that because there’s only one side to book banning – it is wrong.

    But, Scott, what if you disagree with something in a book?!

    Oh, grow up. That’s the whole point of reading. To broaden your sights and consider views you may not have encountered before. Books should start conversations.

    Good job, teens of Kutztown. Boo to the people trying to ban books.

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  • Does this mean I’ve matured?

    My new wifi stuff arrived Thursday afternoon. I, of course, wanted to immediately rip apart my home network.

    And when I was a younger man I totally would have done that. But I worried that there might be some troubleshooting needed, and other people need the internet around these parts (our guys really like YouTube).

    And so on my counter my eero sits at this very moment. Soon. Soon.

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  • They’re going to need 40,000 dime rolls

    Estimated $200,000 in dimes stolen from trailer outside Walmart in Northeast Philly, police say | PhillyVoice:

    Investigators told 6ABC that the big rig was apparently broken into using bolt cutters. An estimated $200,000 in dimes were stolen — the equivalent of two million coins. That was up from an earlier estimate of $100,000 on Thursday afternoon. 

    While making a getaway, the suspect left piles of change in the Walmart parking lot.

    I have so many questions, but mostly: what do you do with two million dimes?!

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    If this hearts ‘a rockin’ why the heck did that guy put wires in it?

    This morning marked the first Afib episode I’ve had since my ablation. They tell you that this is normal. Your heart is healing, and as such it might freak out a few times.

    They also tell you the procedure has an 80% success rate.

    However, it hasn’t even been two weeks! They say to give it 6 weeks to heal and judge, and so I shall.

    And my heart flipped back into sinus rhythm, so that’s good too.

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