Third Alien Shore

In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

Category: silliness Page 1 of 12

Unwelcome interest

One day last summer I was driving home from my workplace. I had worked the evening shift so it was nearly 10:30 pm. I was stopped at a red light turning right onto a four lane road. Looking to my left, I could see a pickup approaching in the left lane, and a car behind it. Since the right lane was free, I made the turn and proceeded on my way. As a habit, I tend to practice a more moderate acceleration because of the increased fuel economy. Since my lane was clear, I felt no reason to change my habit.

As the truck pulled up beside me, there was a flurry of noise and light behind me. The car that was behind the truck had pulled into the right lane behind me. As my acceleration brought me up to speed, the pickup truck came up beside me as I matched its speed. Had the driver in the car simply changed lanes, he would have been behind me with ample space just as he was behind the truck previously. But no, he pulled out and accelerated knowing full well I was there. He didn’t hit me so I wasn’t concerned. If he wants to demonstrate that he’s an ass, that’s his prerogative.

As we continued on, I moved past the truck and the car dropped back. To my surprise, the car made no move to pass. It didn’t feel right. Instead of my usual left turn, I took the next right into an older subdivision. The car followed. I then took the first left. The car followed. I made another half-dozen turns and the car stuck with me, with a few flashes of his high-beams for good measure. As I reached the edge of the sub-division, I turned right, away from my home. The car turned left, to get back to the main road we were on, apparently giving up on me.

I wasn’t afraid because I was in my car and safe. At the same time however, I didn’t want to lead an interested stranger to my home when I have no idea what form their interest took. I’m not that interesting, so when I find a car has been with me for a time, I’ll throw an extra turn into my route to see if it’s more than a coincidence. I’m far more likely to do this as l near home, as where I live is no one’s business.

Be aware of what’s around you. Not only to prevent collisions, but to prevent someone following you, especially if you think another driver may be upset for whatever reason.

‘Loud’ isn’t what it used to be

I’m home all alone, so what do I do? I put on music, of course. Not only that, but I put it on loud.

Today’s selection is The Crystal Method’s Vegas, and it seems that with my advancing age, loud isn’t what it used to be.

AudioTools tells me that the peak volume (A-weighted) I set is a mere 86.0 dB.

I guess I’ve got to grow up sometime…

Sarah Palin, the science wannabe

Sarah Palin ripped into Bill Nye Thursday at a Washington event for a film to discredit climate scientists. According to The Hill, she claims he has no authority to say climate-change skeptics are wrong.

Bill Nye is as much a scientist as I am. He’s a kids’ show actor; he’s not a scientist1.

The only reason I can think she singled him out is that he’s one of the most recognizable science popularizers right now. He simplifies the science for the regular joe. If she was as much a scientist as he is, she wouldn’t be attacking him at all. She’s be going after the climate scientists directly. But she’s not.

Let’s take an abbreviated look at her claim. To simplify things, compare their education and first jobs:

Bill Nye earned a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, after which he worked at Boeing where he developed a hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor for the Boeing 7472.

Sarah Palin earned a bachelor’s degree in communications after attending five universities, after which she worked as a sportscaster for KTUU-TV and KTVA-TV in Anchorage and as a sports reporter for the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman3.

So who will you believe when they talk science?


  1. Timothy Cama, The Hill, “Palin: Bill Nye ‘as much a scientist as I am’,” April 14, 2009
  2. Wikipedia, Bill Nye, retrieved April 15, 2016
  3. Wikipedia, Sarah Palin, retrieved April 15, 2016

Looking for a winter car?

A [Lamborghini] Diablo is pretty much the same thing as a Subaru Outback, except it has a 550 horsepower, mid-mounted V12 and scissor doors. Otherwise, virtually identical.

Chris Perkins
A Lamborghini Diablo VT 6.0 Makes a Perfectly Good Winter Car
Road and Track
February 16, 2016

The Force Awakens? I’ve already seen too much.

The closer we get to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the more the Disney marketing machine cranks up, and the more fatigued I get. My second-decade self would think that I must have fallen and hit my head to utter such heresy! The truth is, we grow more discriminating as we get older and it seems that Disney is throwing a hell of a lot of ads and marketing tie-ins at the wall and hoping some of them stick. The result, as I mentioned, is Star Wars fatigue.

I felt a disturbance in the force when Disney bought Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise. Disney does make some good products, but their overriding skill and focus is marketing. They’re also ridiculously zealous in protecting their properties. Every time the copyright on Mickey Mouse is about to expire, their lobbyists talk to their pocketed congress people and the limits are extended.

Another more pertinent example? A reader of the Star Wars Action News Facebook page posted a photo of the Rey Star Wars figure he bought at Walmart†. Soon afterward, the photo was removed from the post. Facebook explained that a copyright claim was filed against the image. Jeremy Conrad at Star Wars Unity tweeted the photo and found himself the recipient of a DMCA notice about it. About a photo of a legally purchased figure in a post that basically says, “Look what I got!” The overreach is ridiculous in its extent.

So far, in my own television viewing and from articles about the marketing machine attached to this seventh Star Wars film, I’ve found fourteen marketing tie-ins! Among them is the particularly perplexing Kay’s jewellers Star Wars charms. They didn’t mention the Star Wars charm bracelet, but I bet it’s on the way! Many are nothing but an attempt to hitch their wagon to Star Wars, without actually offering anything but a Star Wars photo or logo on a package with the same old stuff inside, like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Coffee-Mate, Band-Aid bandages, and Cover Girl lipstick.

It’s marketing run amok and the more I see, the less I want to reward Disney for their getting in my face to this degree. As it stands, I’ll likely be seeing The Force Awakens in the spring when it comes to Netflix.

In the meantime, it’ll get much worse once the film is released and the toy ads start. Lovely.


The image is no doubt ©2015 Lucasfilm Ltd.

†”Lucasfilm Uses DMCA to Kill Star Wars Toy Picture” by Andy, posted on Torrentfreak, December 10, 2015

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