Says Me

Pentel beats Pilot — a bit of pen snobbery

So I like to use nice pens. Not $200 wastes of money — I mean a good $2 or $3 pen as opposed to the 30-cent Bics or other junky ones. I like it to write smoothly. There are a lot of good pens that I’m happy to use.

Apparently Pilot G-2 pens are among the favorites of folks like me, so I bought a bunch of them a year ago. Well I don’t know what they were thinking — the G-2 is smooth, but it also tends to get ‘globby’ and leave a big ol’ ball of ink when you start writing. And two of the 12 I bought leaked. So… no thanks.

My current favorite is the Pentel EnerGel. Really smooth, dries fast, no globbing. It’s as good as the Uni-balls I usually buy, and I find I like the needle tip better. I own two, and I bought a pack of 12 refills. And then I found that the refills fit the Pilot G-2 bodies! (And the Uni-ball Signo as well!) Well cool. This means I can swap out the leaky, globby Pilot ink in the G-2s (which are still around the house) with the Pentel refills.

Yeah, yeah, it’s silly. But I found that I would reach for a pen, see a Pilot, and hesitate. (I couldn’t make myself throw them out because… um… you never know. It’s better than nothing. Or something.) Now those Pilot bodies are sporting the excellent Pentel EnerGel ink and I don’t feel nearly as bad throwing out the Pilot ink.

I need to get a life.

Nuclear options for the GOP to stop Trump

You might think that, if a candidate (say, Trump) has 1,237 pledged delegates going into the convention (say, the GOP’s), that’s that — he gets the nomination. The delegates are pledged for the first round of voting. Only if the voting goes to a second round are the delegates “unbound” and can vote for anyone they please. Thus if Trump has 1,237 pledged delegates going into Cleveland, the rest is formality.

That turns out not to be the case. There are at least two options for the Republicans if they don’t want Trump to be their nominee. Using either, of course, would cause enormous backlash (hint: Don’t be in Cleveland), so it’s a question of how important it would be to stop him.

Option 1: The delegates can vote to unbind themselves. Yep, they can change the rules so they are no longer bound to any particular candidate, and then vote as they please. (If you follow that link, search the page for the word unbind.)

Option 2: They can simply not vote for whomever they’re pledged to. Again, yep. The rules say they must vote for that person, but get this — there is no penalty for not following the rule. (“You don’t get shot or hung if you break the rules. You don’t even get jailed over the weekend.”)

Again, taking either of those two options would provoke a bit of outrage among Trump supporters (to say the least). But if the delegates don’t own property in Cleveland, they might decide that’s the lesser of two evils.

Now THIS I can do

This is great — a new study (and who’s gonna argue with a study?) finds that just one minute of all-out exercise is as good as 45 minutes of moderate exercise! I’m not going to read the entire article (or the study) because I don’t want to know the caveats. I am gonna put in my one minute a day and be fit and trim in no time.

Studying hard


He’s a Kantor all right!




I made bath bombs. Fizzzzzy!

A bit of drug perspective

Here’s some perspective for ya: Today Pennsylvania became the 24th state (well, including DC) to legalize marijuana. But all 50 states and all US territories allow medical heroin.

Rich, white, Texan — let’s go easy on him

Apparently, if you’re rich, white, and in Texas, the penalty for killing someone is six months in prison per victim.

Moody. Person or picture.

(via Instagram)

Going meta-ish: Sam posts to Instagram.

(via Instagram)

Hive status: AOK

Mike the Bee Guy came to check the hive. The queen has left her travel chamber and has been busy laying eggs. The workers have been building a ton of comb in the hive and it looks great. Everything we were looking for is showing up, so — so far, so good!



Pro tip: Unless you’re a WWI reenactor, Mr. Yuck is serious about not mixing ammonia and bleach. Even if you think the bathroom needs it.

oh god oh god my eyes

D is for dog (vision, and more) — A-to-Z challenge

This may not qualify as quite as common a myth as some others, but it’s my blog and I say it counts.

The myth is that dogs don’t see color, just black and white. It’s a myth because it just ain’t so.

Dogs certainly can see colors, just not the same ones humans can thanks to a critical limitation. (But humans aren’t exactly top of the line here, either.)

Humans have three types of photoreceptors — aka “cones” — in their eyes, for what we call the three primary colors of light: red, green, and blue. We are trichromats. Every hue we see is some combination of these three colors, which is why our electronics’ screens use “RGB” colors. (Most monitors allow 256 levels each of red, green, and blue, leading to 256 x 256 x 256 or 16.8 million possible colors.)

dog-viewsDogs on the other hand are dichromats — they can only distinguish two colors of light: yellow and blue. Among other things, that means they can’t really distinguish between orange and green. That means if you’re throwing a ball for your dog onto grass, orange is a bad color choice. Go for bright yellow.

Interestingly, bulls are similar dichromats, so the whole red-makes-them-crazy myth? Yeah, not so much — they can’t distinguish red anyway.

But here’s an interesting tidbit: We trichromat humans got nothing on goldfish. Or zebra finches. Or a lot of insects. They’re tetrachromats, meaning they have four sets of cones and can see not only combinations of RG and B, but also ultraviolet wavelengths. That means they can see colors we can’t really imagine, and their TV shows probably make fun of us for being ‘color blind.’ Female zebra finches will sometimes not choose a mate because there isn’t enough UV light to see him by.

If you have trouble wrapping your mind around the idea of seeing an entirely new set of colors, let’s not talk about pigeons and butterflies, which are believed to be pentachromats, seeing five sets of colors.

And I certainly won’t bring up the mantis shrimp. It has the most advanced eyes of any animal on the planet, and can see — are you ready? — with 12 different sets of cones. We’re talking not only different wavelengths of light but different types of polarization. Saying that it’s impossible to even conceive of what they see is an understatement.

C is for Coffee (and caffeine) — A-to-Z Challenge

Picture 214The official coffee myth is that an Ethiopian goat herder — he even has a name, Kaldi — saw his goats dancing around an unusual berry bush. Then (depending on the myth you choose to believe) he either A) ate the beans himself and discovered they made him perky, B) went to a local religious person who decided the beans were evil … until he threw them in a fire and was enticed by the smell, C) tried eating the beans (too yucky), cooking them (too hard), and finally soaking them before discovering the concept of coffee.

Whatever. It’s a bunch of hokum. The reality is, depending on your point of view, either more or less interesting.

The fact is, no one is sure where or when coffee was first discovered. Probably maybe Ethiopia. What’s odd is that it just started appearing in merchants’ shops in the 15th century, seemingly out of nowhere. One day no coffee, the next day… coffee.

Why odd? Because it wasn’t like these places were out of contact with the rest of the world. The supposed birthplace of coffee was in contact with the Egyptians, the Romans, and the Greeks, among others — and none of them ever reported this miracle beverage. It was well over a thousand years of recorded history in the region before coffee was discovered and began to spread.

And a fun fact about caffeine is that it works in a decidedly simple way: It simply blocks a receptor in your brain that normally accepts the ‘I am tired’ neuromodulator, adenosine. Essentially, it prevents the messenger from getting through with the message, “It’s time to rest.”

Maybe being rich in California makes you stupid

Parents in Malibu, who don’t believe in vaccination, now decide they actually DO care about their kids’ health. Unfortunately, they’re fighting against something that doesn’t actually exist.

Another random rule from the Associated Press

The Associated Press — the organization that thinks it makes perfect sense for someone to thank “…my parents, the Dali Lama and God…” and that airplane can fly “more than” a city, has now decreed that it will lower-case the “I” in Internet. Because… just because. To make it clear that it could be any of the internets? Who knows? But it’s gonna look odd to write, “You can find the information on the internet” because having an article — the — before the lower-cased word is just weird.

By this logic, shouldn’t we also lower-case “congress” when referring to the U.S. Congress? I mean the u.s. congress?

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