Tales from the Technoverse

Commentary on social networking, technology, movies, society, and random musings

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The Breadwinner

July 28th, 2018 · movies, popular culture

Finished watching a wonderful animated tale about a young girl in <relatively> modern Afghanistan, the complexities of her life in general, her desperate attempt to see her father who is taken from her family, and interspersed her story about the Elephant King, The Breadwinner.

A daughter/father thing, I, of course teared up.

It remains my opinion that one can judge a society by how women and children are treated within that society.

And as the girl quotes in the movie from Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet, “Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” We all might remember that these days.

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More Helpful Hints Around the House From Me

May 31st, 2018 · books, family

So if your wife (spouse, significant other) goes to Book Expo in New York City, I have some advice for what to do, and  not to do around the house.

First, if you want to warm a piece of frozen Naan in the microwave, do NOT assume that the heating directions especially timing are the same for a microwave instead of the specified toaster oven, especially when the toaster oven setting was not specified as HIGH.

Second, if you ignore my first piece of advice, do not when you do that go outside to take out the trash, check the mail, and then slowly return to the then smoking microwave where the Naan sort of caught on fire.

Interestingly, one unexpected feature of ignoring my first two pieces of advice is that you may find that the circuit connected to the microwave is completely fried and if that circuit is the same one the refrigerator is connected to then that will not work also. Turning circuit breakers on and off does little good since it is the wiring that has gone to electrical heaven – though you might also observe the other exciting experience of having everything that is electrical in the entire house that can be rebooted do so.

Happily after moving all of the food from the upstairs refrigerator to the basement refrigerator, got to get those extra steps in, the electrician this morning was able to fix everything in approximately five minutes.

I am reminded that it is a good thing that Book Expo only happens once a year, who knows what I might end up doing during my wild, crazy bachelor week at home.

Glad to be of help.


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This Year’s Passover Seder

March 27th, 2018 · judaism

Every year we host, well mostly Ellen to be honest, I just show up, she does all the work. This year is the 20th year we will have done this.

Anyway, every year we host a Passover Seder with anywhere from 15-25 attendees. Ellen has allowed me to adapt the Seder to be something I can understand better (I can read Hebrew very slowly alliteratively but do not understand what I am reading. I learned enough to not embarrass my family when I did my Bar Mitzvah mumble-mumble years ago, but that was about it.

We use a Haggadah called A Different Night which includes Hebrew and English passages from which we select selections. In addition we have a theme each year which reflects something we think is important, as you might expect the theme ties at least loosely to the broad Passover theme of achieving freedom. What I wrote as introduction for this year is:

“As we said last year, tumultuous events have been happening and continue to happen that divide the world, our country, our friends, and even, sometimes, our families. So much of that division results from our disagreements on the use of language, of ideas, and even our interpretation of facts – a more malleable term than most of us have traditionally been used to. Our Exodus narrative assumes we have a common understanding of first principles, when that becomes less true, what then?”

Finally, I wander around the Internet and pull together quotes that relate to all of the above for people to read during the Seder.

I have attached my annual write-up and the quotes we will be using this year.

Seder Notes 2018

2018 Passover Quotes – Part I

2018 Passover Quotes – Part 2

2018 Passover Quotes – Part 3

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All You Need To Know About the Internet In Two Rules

January 1st, 2018 · technology

I have written about the Internet in the past and how it has changed society. For example, some thoughts on the Internet of Things:


My searching for information as to whether our whole approach to examining the Universe is upside down:


And my revelation that I married the Internet, though I have a feeling I may have made a classical mistake between the use of the word ‘literally’ and ‘figuratively’:


So to start you off for the new year, my two rules of the Internet:

Rule 1: Everything that you might ever need to know or want to know is in the Internet

Rule 2: It is all true

That’s it. Everything else is derived from those two rules.

Have a great 2018.

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A Random Thought About the 2020 Presidential Election

November 26th, 2017 · General, politics

Up until now the only President who was younger than I was at the time has been President Obama.

Remarkably with Trump likely to seek re-election and active talk about Joe Biden running, Bernie Sanders running, and even, amazingly, Hillary Clinton running, there is a reasonable chance that that even after 2020, the total count of Presidents younger than me will stay at one.

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My Quick Review of Guardians of the Galaxy 2

May 7th, 2017 · movies

If you liked Guardians of the Galaxy you will really like Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

If you did not like Guardians of the Galaxy you are overly adult, an attribute, as I have pointed out frequently, which is highly overrated.

For your listening pleasure

And finally one of the truly greatest film scenes ever. If you do not like it do not see either film.

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Their Finest – B+

April 16th, 2017 · movies

Ellen and I went to see Their Finest today and enjoyed it quite a bit.

The movie is set in 1940 London and tells the story of create a film to glorify the rescue at Dunkirk both to encourage the British homefront and also to show America that they should get into the war in support of Britain. The central character in the film is Catrin Cole, played winningly by Gemma Arterton, who is hired to write the “slops”, the women’s movie dialog. She works with  a cynical lead writer, Tom Buckley, played by Sam Claflin. Bill Nighy is wonderful as an aging egotistical former movie star.

Perhaps more about movie making than any historical insights, the film is wonderfully done and enjoyable to see. On the Dan’s tear-meter, it was worth a tear or two toward the end as we see the results of all of the efforts that went into making the resulting film within a film.

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Passover 2017

April 9th, 2017 · General, judaism

As I write every Spring, each year we hold a Passover Seder at our house inviting anywhere from 15-25 people over. It is a very special time for both Ellen and myself.

Since I have never been very good at Hebrew, Ellen has allowed me to adapt the Seder focusing on a theme we agree upon and adding quotes from various sources relating to that theme. The theme typically derives in some fashion from the traditional focus of Passover on freedom. Examples from the past have included being prepared for freedom, what freedom means to each of us, the role of women in the Exodus, and more recently adding some comments about human rights derived from classes I took from the University of Maryland College Park.

This year was a bit more complicated since there seems to be so much contention about well, everything. We decided to focus on tolerance of different opinions, or lack thereof.

We use A Different Night, The Family Participation Haggadah, by Noam Zion and David Dishon as a guide, though we pick and chose which parts to use. This year’s directions (to me) about how the evening will go are here:  Seder 2017.

The quotes are in the following three short Word files: 2017 label quotes 1 2017 label quotes 2 2017 label quotes 3.

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What Is The World Coming To

January 31st, 2017 · popular culture

Last night I saw a commercial for a prescription medication.

When the patient started talking the printed text on the screen said “Actor portraying a real person.”

What in heaven’s name did that mean?

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My Current Aspirational Goals – Email Edition

January 13th, 2017 · University of Maryland University College

These days at the University of Maryland University College, I find that my goals for the day revolve around my email in-box. Each day is a bit of a war, my goal is to end up with no more than the number of emails in that in-box than I started the day with.

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