Tuesday, November 16, 2010

There Are Shockingly Few Industrialized Countries

It's a huge lie! Most of us are not doing well.

Comrade Andrea, apparently.

P.S. A question for another time, in a far-off place: Is industrialization good?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Apples and sundry

Having written is one of the best feelings in the world. It is better than kissing, better than shopping, better than vegan apple bars. It may or may not be better than lying in a cornfield looking up.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'm Listening

Today on my way up the fabled, marbled stairs of a building at the University of Michigan I passed about a dozen students scattered around the floor over giant sketchpads, sketching said fabled stairs.

Almost all of them had headphones on; so uniformly that at first I thought part of the assignment might have included some audio recording. But a few did not, and so I reject that hypothesis.

What this means is: I am surprised by our low tolerance for silence.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Andrea Looks for Data

Andrea looked for data on the Internet. She found some that might work, and then discovered it didn't. She found some more that might work, and she's still not sure if it will. Also, she downloaded some songs.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Diversion, Dear Readers!

Dear Friends!

I come to you, poring over the Internet, and a spoonful of Raw Almond Butter, with the following invitation to EXPRESS YOUR OPINIONS to Strangers! You, too, can answer questions about Raw and Vegan THINGS.

Rule 1: I like surveys
Rule 2: I am forever against the abbreviation of the word "vegetable" to "veggies"
**Bonus Rule 3**: Go ahead, take this survey, and vote for Pure Food and Wine for Best Restaurant, Mighty-O for best vegan bakery, Sarma Melngailis for best vegan chef, and Vancouver for best vegan International city! Now you are an informed voter.

Or, please COMMENT HERE and correct Yours Truly! For I am but a humble servant.

The end! Except, the beginning:

P.S. Bonus Bonus Bonus that is not actually a Bonus: I will not reveal for whom I voted for best national vegan city. One reason is that I don't remember. The other is that, no matter what upon which I settled, said settling caused Much torment.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Important, and I Mean It

Here are two things that are related, but I know nothing about.

First, there is a reasonably new program in some medical schools to specifically admit students whose undergraduate training was in the humanities, not the physical sciences.

Second, we (society and medical professionals, more specifically) have no idea how to treat and care for end-of-life patients. (Warning: this article is horribly sad.)

I am in no position to offer further thoughts on this matter at present besides the following: I still don't know whether offering medical classes to non-medical doctors would ultimately be good for everybody. Nor do I know if I care, when I go to the doctor, how broadly read in the humanities he is. But I do know that there is a reason medicine is still fundamentally practiced by humans, not robots.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I am going to say something controversial

Listen up!

This is it:

I find babies of people I know to be far grosser than babies of people I don't know.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Today I did not receive a mini bible from a man on the corner because I was carrying two cups of coffee and he looked at me and realized I wouldn't be able to hold it. It is now official that coffee was invented by Satan.

Monday, June 7, 2010

There, Way Over There, and Even Further Away than That

There is an obvious comment to be made about how there are now a million different articles about how things like hyperlinks, the Internet, and eternal information updates on all our gizmos (my 90 year old male friend made me call them that) causes us to lose focus, and how the fact that there are all these articles now makes following the story difficult, because I don't know what to read first. Also there is a thingy (that's Earl again) on the New York Times right now where you can test your focus. I opened that, then saw another article (called "Driven to Distraction" or "Dressed to Distract" -- it doesn't matter, I didn't read it), and then closed everything, checked my email, and am now here.

But I, dear readers, am not going to be the one to make that comment.

There is an additional comment to be made about the artfully ironic usage of hyperlinks in here, but I, subtle friends, am also not going to do that.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ask Again Later

Here's a social science puzzle for you.

Why was the Magic Eight Ball ever remotely popular? Why did we buy these things?

What is wrong with us?

Friday, May 21, 2010

A cheap shot

Two fat girls under a tiny umbrella in the pouring rain. I'm sorry, dear readers, it is insensitive, but it is also funny!

[Insert Venn Diagram where the circle on the Left is INSENSITIVE and the circle on the Right is FUNNY here.]

Dear Mr. Boss, Sir:

I have decided I will no longer allow others to tell me what to do. Please let me know if this is acceptable. In addition, I refuse to continue apologizing for my decisions. I am sorry if this is an inconvenience for you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally

This mnemonic never really worked for me because I always got hung up on what it was Sally did that needed so much excusing. I am pretty sure she got blackout drunk at a strip mall, but that doesn't make any sense, because then it would mean you set something to Base 2 before Differentiating and Setting equal to zero and Measuring. Which, obviously, is wrong.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

If you gather the berries, I'll slaughter a rabbit

For how long will we be beholden to our evolutionary past?

This article is about how men tend to be more intelligent than women (you read that right). It claims that the reason for this comes from two factors:
  1. Our hunter male ancestors had to solve complex problems to hunt. This meant the smarter ones survived. Our female ancestors who were in charge of the mindless task of collecting berries, on the other hand, could be as dumb as they pleased.
  2. Our hunter male ancestors also increased their chances of survival and reproduction if they were more competitive. Thus, not only are men more intelligent, on average, than women (by 5 IQ points!), but also they are more likely to ruthlessly pursue success.
I understand that our old Neanderthal brains are all kinds of stressed out in our new, rapidly evolving social world. But, evolution hasn't come to a standstill. The verdict doesn't have to necessarily be in forever, right? Perhaps these days men and women face tasks that are more equally challenging than before. Perhaps in a million billion years we'll close that 5 point gap.

Surely we're now (and have been for the last, say, hundred thousand years) being selected on different features of brains from those for which our hunter-gatherer relatives were rewarded.

Or are we?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Think about this at your own risk

Many say we should have reasonable expectations, lest we get disappointed. Many also believe prophecies can be self-fulfilling.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Where you Stand is Where you Sit; Or, Epilogue part 2 of 1

This just in, eager and breathless readers! The Moment Yours Truly got up and began to Collect her Things (loosely defined), something. Happened.

He sat down!

I am filled with instant calm. Like a babbling brook that ceased to babble, but because it was calm, not stagnant or filled with styrofoam.

Standing for Change; or, Epilogue, part 1 of 1

Your Fearless Leader Cannot Take It! Trying to sit and work next to a man who is standing is officially impossible. Why, dear ones? Clearly, it is related to our evolution on the grasslands. I do not think I need to bore you with the details of how those connect.

Your preferences don't look so ordered from the other side, eh?!

Dear Readers!

Your Fearless Leader read a blog post the other day about how terrible sitting is for us, and how we should do less of it. This is probably true.

Today, Yours Truly is in a café and the man next to me is standing while working at his computer, and has been for the past One Hour Or More.

This has translated into Your Leader spending the last One Hour Or More feeling Mighty Nervous! Leave, sir! Or sit! How can you spend your life in this purgatory?!?!?!?!

Your Seated Leader may even need to move to a new room.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On Hickory

I had some almonds the other day that turned out to have "hickory" flavoring in them. I don't know what "hickory" actually is, but it brings to mind ropes and wooden walls with deer heads on it, so it can't be good.

Oh, Hello There

A good title for a book:

"Everyone Has a Story, Except Me"

Optional subtitle: An autobiography

By Dipheroné Larson (your Fearless Leader's New Pen Name)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


None of us know what we are doing. The next day, much less week, may bring problems we haven't considered. Or, it may bring pleasant surprises. Or, it may bring nothing particularly new in either direction.

Regardless, Your Fearless Leader hereby Proclaims that doing Laundy never makes you worse off.

No matter what happens, by heavens, you will at least be able to deal with it without having to search around your room first for a clean pair of socks or a shirt that doesn't look like crap. This is why the cavemen invented laundromats. People don't realize this, but "Sir-Sudz-A-Lot" was an early hominid. He may have dated Lucy.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sling the Daggers, oh dear ones

Dear Ones!

It turns out that a very good insult to use on someone is: "You put the 'pathetic' in 'sympathetic'". It is especially daggered because it punishes someone for trying to do something that is kind to you!

Your Fearless Leader shall Keep You Updated on its use and reception.


Dear Readers!

It is but a gift and a curse that Your Fearless Leader has terribly high expectations for the production of most things in life! A gift, yes, as high standards drive us to excellence. A curse, yes, also, as we are Destined for Disappointment (the original double D).

I present to you the latest in our collection of Special Shortcomings ("Special" pronounced as in "species" but with suffix "-ial", as in "of or applying to our species"):
  1. There is no verb yet for the act of looking something up in the Dictionary! (And don't get me started on the Thesaurus.)
  2. The word Globish has another pronunciation: Globlish!
  3. Soy lattes are still awful!
  4. There is no word "special" in the sense described herein.
Friends, Readers, Confidants: Let not these troubles cause you sadness. We shall rise up; only, of course, to be disappointed further.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Cocktail Party of Strangers

Meeting someone new means

It’s possible

Your world could change completely

Right away.

But normally it means

You’re about to

Engage in small talk

... for awhile.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My New Self-Help Book! (forthcoming)

Dear Readers!

Exciting news from your Fearless Leader! We are publishing a self-help book, and right here for your VERY OWN PRIVILEGED EYES, we present an exxxcclussive excerpt!


"Secrets to Success: The Paranoia Next Door, Volume 1, Part 1, Section 1 of 2, Catastasis for the Rest of Us."

Bored with your ho-hum existence? The ticket to boredom relief, psychologists* say, is fear! Imagine: if you had something (or better -- someone!) to run from, be scared of, or at least lie awake obsessively thinking about at night while your heart races and your palms sweat and you can't even breathe for the agony -- Mr. HH (Ho-Hum) would be RIGHT on out the door faster than you can say "help me."!

To get started TODAY** just use this simple trick! Imagine you are on the brink of catastrophe. Allow every single thing that happens to you, or that you observe, or that even shows up on TV or in your text messages, to be a confirming signal of that worst fear. Then, unlock your front door and hop into bed! Goodnight!!

*not psychologists
**for better results, start TONIGHT. Advanced students (only) may wait until the next new moon. Extra-advanced students may wait until the next new moon DVD.


Stay tuned for more sneak previews and excerpts, Dear, Wonderful, Readers! And to all a panicked, one-eye-open night! And, while that one eye is open -- keep it peeled for my Book to hit bookstore* shelves soon**!!

*not bookstore
**Loosely defined. Until then, remember this: Time is your worst enemy.


P.S. Sneaky me, I'm saving the best for last: SATISFACTION IS COMPLETELY GUARANTEED! You will see results faster than you can say, "someone call the police" OR YOUR MONEY BACK!!!!

AND, if you pre-order TODAY, we'll throw in an audio accompaniment guide ABSOLUTELY FREE!! Settle down for a dark and stormy afternoon and repeat aloud to such great hits as, "911? I'd like to report an intruder" and "has anyone seen my grandmother?"


Friday, March 19, 2010

If I were homeless

If I were homeless

I would

Sit on a park bench

All day,

Feeding pigeons (with what?),

Squinting in the sun,

Tanned skin around my eyes,

Covering a mind that would be


How it ever was

That I wore a suit,

And tie, and ticking watch.

I also

Most surely would not


In Michigan.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Please Enjoy Thinking About The Following

When you call someone "typical", it is never in reference to a good thing!

For example:

"You look beautiful today. Typical!"

That makes it sound nasty!!

This is outstandingly interesting!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

oh, Hark! The innocent days of Ice and High Speed

Dear Readers!

Yours Truly has a Hobby! Yes, a HOOOOBBBBBBYY. That looks like it says "hooby", which, for the record, is different.

The hobby is, after it has Snowed and there is Snow on one's Car, scrape off only the windows, and leave all other snow piled on top of it -- the hood, the roof, the sailboat you carry behind it, etc.

Then, drive at high speeds and enjoy the snow Rrrripping off the car in a giant cloud of danger!

More to the point: It is not that dangerous (don't tell Yours Truly otherwise), and it makes you feel like you are living a high school physics experiment. On ... erm... wind ... and Force! Wind and force, sir!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Let's Never Speak of This Again

If you are a child and want to be loud on a bus, here is the secret: Laugh and shriek in a delighted fashion. No one can ask a happy child to stop being happy, even if they secretly wish you were stored in the luggage compartment.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The view is nice from up here on my high horse!

It's that time again, dear readers! That's right -- time for Yours Truly to complain more about what we're eating. This time it's going to be quick (fear not). Here it is:

Snacks: I am against them.

There are many reasons, some more sane than others, none unvaluable. (Do not tell me that unvaluable is not a word.) Your Fearless Leader will not share them Yet, but invites you to Whet your non-appetite with this article on how eating all the time has taken over American culture.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Andrea Sends a Letter, Volume III

Episode 1, series finale: At 11:05 AM EST (or EDT??), Your Fearless Leader Mailed a Letter. It was easy. She said no when they asked if she wanted more than one stamp.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Andrea Sends a Letter, Volume II

  • Episode 1: After writing blog post about failing to send letter, notice the full, cold truth of how pathetic lack of letter sending is. Vow to send letter that afternoon.
  • Episode 2: Afternoon passes. No letter sent.

Andrea Sends a Letter, Volume I

  • Episode 1: Spend a day finding a card that isn't obviously from a drug store discount bucket but also doesn't cost $7.95.
  • Episode 2: Keep card and envelope in bag for 2-2.5 weeks. (I'm traveling! I can't write CARDS!)
  • Episode 3: Return from travels. Wait several days. Call someone to get address of recipient. Write address on a used post-it note found in car. Put post-it in bag with card.
  • Episode 4: Two days later, address envelope, be grateful key post-it is still there. Write first half of card. Discover it is glossy and thus smearing everywhere. Stop.
  • Episode 5: Carry open card around another hour. Finally close it, hope ink doesn't get destroyed.
  • Episode 6: 3 week days and 2 weekend days later, finish second half of card.
  • Episode 7: Keep it open on desk for several hours. Close it, lick envelope. Put in bag.
  • Episode 8: Leave in bag until there is time to go to Post Office to get stamp. But the Post Office closes at 5 PM. Also, it is cold out. 2 more days pass.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Day in the Midwest

Yours Truly is in a Prominent Bank on a Prominent Street in a Town in Michigan, when a nearly toothless man in a wheelchair rolls in at top speed from a very snowy sidewalk. He has a backback that looks empty and the biggest Grin you have ever seen.

He halts, spins around once to take everyone in. Someone asks how his Christmas was. He shouts: "In my old age, I don't need anything new! I just want to be able to come in and say hello to my favorite bankers!"

Everyone exclaims hello back, asks how he has been since Christmas. He is, as you might expect, Outstanding.

He wheels up to the counter and addresses the gentle old lady teller with the salutation, "Hello, Marvelous!" Her response is not audible.

Immediately following that is the most rip-roaring conversation anyone has ever heard about how Kroger is the best grocery store anyone could have asked for. Everyone is involved and has a laudable thing to add about our Humble Grocery Chain.

When they run out of praises to sing, one lady helps him get something out of his backpack. He leaves in a flash, having done no banking. Everyone carries on. Yours Truly waits more.

(Insider tip: don't even think about going to Meijer unless you feel like waiting for a hundred years at their slow self checkout lines!!)

(Insider counter-tip: Yours Truly attended a Luncheon once with Hank Meijer, son of owner. He is, it turns out, a very Nice man, is writing a biography of his father, and is very Philanthropic to good causes like Microcredit. This post in no way intends to reflect the Opinion of Anyone, except for those stated herein, and heretofore.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Note to self

Rule 1: On Monday mornings in Michigan, the Panera near the local shopping mall is filled with over-caffeinated super moms. They (the Panera people, not the super moms (as far as can be understood from the naked eye)) also turn off the fireplace, which is the only redeeming quality in the whole place.
Rule 2: Do not go there!

And, now, the first PARADOX of TWENTY-TEN! Major cities in California are one thousand times (approximately) warmer than most other cities in the northern half of the US. Yet, roaring fireplaces are de rigeur in the former, and de almost nowhere to be found ever in the latter.

This is a puzzle. There is very little research on this. Someone, for the love of things on fire and not wanting to freeze to death, fill this gap in the literature!

Proposal 1: Research agendas in the social sciences in this decade should be valued in terms of how much they contribute to the immediate personal comfort of the researcher.