Attraction for Dummies

Hold tight folks, things are about to get politically incorrect…

Over the past few years I have become something of a relationship hacker. I have observed the actions of others, and the consequences of those actions. I have seen plenty of thoughtless stupidity — mostly from men — and delusional rationalization — mostly from women.

Over the past century, the average age of first marriage has gone up by about ten years. In Grand-dad’s day, a young woman would go from her father’s house to the altar and then on to home, hearth and family. In these enlightened days, however, women are encouraged to avoid early marriage at all costs, get an education, become independent and generally “find themselves”, before seeking marriage… if they feel like it.  This is generally thought of as a good thing, but I wonder if it really is; after all, marriage has become disposable, and women seem to be a lot less happy than they used to be…

The Economics of Attraction

We all have standards. There are things that we find attractive, and things that we simply don’t. But some of the lists that women come up with are unrealistic in the extreme. This is partly because most women overestimate their attractiveness to men, and partly because during her prime years or attractiveness, (16-28), women enjoy awesome power and a plethora of options. The more attractive she is, the more attention she will receive and the more discerning she will have to be.

However, what Mother Nature provides most bounteously, Father Time takes away with alacrity. Gravity and birthdays will inevitably conspire to reduce their power to command the attention of men and rob them of options. Men stop noticing them, pursuing them and making a fuss of them. But like the proverbial boiling frog, they are often slow to realize this until it is too late. As one wag put it: “Cinderella has arrived late to the ball, only to find Prince Charming has long since departed, and all that is left is a few middle-aged peasants leering at her from the punchbowl.” By the time most women go shopping for a husband, they have acquired the skills that will make them girlfriend material but lost the qualities that would make them good wife material. And then they are surprised when men turn away from marriage.

Did you hear that sound? I think someone’s head just exploded.

What men find attractive.

We’ve all seen the lists that women compile, but two can play at that game. Here is a very good one for men:

“…ideal Beauty can vary depending on culture, but there are still certain physical features in women that carry across most cultures: a feminine face with strong facial symmetry, large breasts, a low waist-to-hip ratio, smooth and unblemished skin, etc. Beauty is essentially a purely visual attribute,  indeed well over 95% of that which men use to determine the attractiveness of a woman falls under visual Beauty… the remaining features which determine attractiveness include how the woman smells, what her voice sounds like, and what her body feels like to the touch.”

Someone recently tweeted two graphs, ostensibly taken from a prominent dating site: The first graph shows what women consider to the the perfect age for a man:

Age Graph for men“My age plus or minus five years”

The second was what men consider the perfect age for a woman:

 Age Graph for women“twenty-one plus or minus three years”

What is amazing to me is that the person who tweeted the graphs described them as “disturbing”. I can only surmise that it must have been a woman, as I, like most men, found them a statement of the obvious. The fact is that a twenty-one-year-old-“hottie” will be lusted after by pretty much every male she meets — from thirteen-year-old boys whose hormones have just dropped all the way up to ninety-nine-year-old-geezers on their deathbeds. Some people (i.e., older/less attractive women) don’t like this, which is understandable. But just like the female predilection for cute shoes and drama, the male sex drive is not up for negotiation, and they are simply arguing with biology. Most women prefer men who are tall, strong, confident, dominant and independent, but get upset when men chase after women who are young, slim, pretty, submissive and vulnerable. You can’t argue with biology, and you can’t negotiate attraction.

What is annoying is that some are seeking to criminalize unwanted behavior — there are actually folks out there who want any kind of unwanted advances to be labeled as “harassment”. The problem with that is the difference between “cool” and “creepy” behavior is simply one of attraction, and as such, is highly subjective and arbitrary. Any law which keeps bad/undesirable men from approaching a woman will also keep the hot/attractive guys away as well. Good luck with that…

You. Me. Lunch

In conclusion, a few sayings that to mind:

  1. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder“. This means he decides how attractive you are. Not you, your friends, or the media.
  2. Self Praise is no recommendation” Women talking about how “hot” they are automatically lose points.
  3. Beauty = Fertility + Love” My own work, I believe, but it explains why a lot. It explains why man will remain attracted to a woman after her looks are gone. It also explains why divorced women find it much harder than they expected to get a date — her husband’s treatment of her may have caused her to inflate her value. As a bonus, it also has the added effect of making certain people’s heads explode.
  4. Men age like wine. Women age like milk“. Dunno where i heard this one, but the more I ruminate on it, the truer it becomes.

Why progressivism is bunk

I have commented on Elizabeth Warren’s delusional thinking before, but her recent speech: “Eleven Commandments of Progressivism” made me laugh and cry at her tragicomic grasp of reality. So here are her eleven commandments — apparently she need more commandment than God, make of that what you will — along with a dose of real-world analysis and rebuttal.

“We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.”

Sounds good, but how do you legally define “Honesty”? And what happens when the cost of regulation gets so onerous that Wall Street decides to move to another state, or — God forbid — another country?

That aside, I don’t believe that Wall Street is the source of my problems — but K-street might well be. No matter which way you slice it, the lobbying business is essentially legalized corruption. And while we’re on the subject, how much money have you, Senator Warren, taken from the lobbyists? How much have the universities, the law firms and “Women’s Issues” organization paid you to legislate for them and champion their causes?

Personally, I have never had a problem that Washington DC has solved, though I can think of a fair few that they have created.

“We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth.”

This is what is known as a Non Sequitur; the two clauses have nothing to do with each other. It certainly sound warm and fuzzy, but it makes no sense at all. Reminds me of the joke “Close the door! It’s cold outside!” “So if I close the door it will be warm outside?

Does everyone who believes in science really have a responsibility to protect the earth? Scientists, after all, invented nuclear weapons, biological warfare, and genetically modified crops. And if you don’t “believe” in science, does it then follow that you don’t have a responsibility to protect this Earth? The American Indians lived in harmony with nature for millennia before we got here, and they were hardly “scientists”.

And by the way, real scientists do not “believe” in science — they do it. Once you start “believing” in science, are you not in danger of turning it into a religion? There certainly seems to be enough cult thinking among scientists for me not to trust them with the future of the planet — this is one of the reasons that I don’t buy into the eco-terrorism that is being passed around as science these days. The global warming fanatics have the same batting average as the Apocalypse Apologists, and yet we somehow give the former credibility while dismissing the latter as kooks. These good, well-meaning folks can’t even predict the stock market, or even next week’s weather — and they expect us to believe them when they say they know what will happen eons hence. They have been so spectacularly unsuccessful with their predictions that in my lifetime the problem has gone from “Global Cooling” to “Global Warming“, then on to “Climate Change” (translation: “we don’t know, but it’s gonna be bad, so everybody do as we say…”).

“We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality.”

Net Neutrality is a laudable goal, and one which I support. But like Capitalism, pure, undiluted, unbridled Net Neutrality can be a bad thing. And it contains one major flaw that I dealt with here.

“We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage.”

Another couplet of unrelated factoids. The assumption here is that the minimum wage is the best and only solution to poverty. Typical socialist delusional thinking. You want to see the way out of poverty? Ask up-by-their-bootstraps folks like Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice… but you won’t, cos they know something that you refuse to admit; that success takes guts and perseverance, and people of that caliber are rare. And it doesn’t exactly help that they are Conservatives…

“We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.”

I believe that people get paid either for what they do, what they know, what they are owed, or what they own. Since fast food workers are paid for what they do, they are expendable and replaceable. Any such job will have low wages, and the best way out of that trap is to make yourself more useful to society. So quit wasting your free time watching reality TV and game shows. Get some skills/give up your vices//start your own business. That is the American way, but it is apparently not the “progressive” way. Thanks for clearing that up.

“We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt.”

Consider the source: Warren is the product of the government-funded and government-backed education system, and has been heavily financed by the education “industry”. She is not likely to be particularly inclined to “fix” the system that got her where she is today, though I am pretty sure that she will support any measure that will “solve the problem” by throwing more of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars at it.

Education is a good thing, but it is NOT a human right. Students are not “entitled” to anything, least of all an overpriced and probably useless degree at somebody else’s expense. The fact is that tuition costs are spiraling out of control, but I suspect that has more to do with easily-available government-backed money than anything else.

“We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions.”

Consider the source: As a Senator, Warren is not going to be getting Social Security, she will be getting a Government pension. But rest assured, she’ll fight for you… just like all the other politicians who promised to “fix” the system.

Fun Fact: Retirement is actually a modern Western invention that is less than a century old. The norm throughout history and geography is to work until you die, you can’t work any more, or you can live off your savings or your kids.

Ever wondered why we retire at 65? Because Social Security said so. But when Social Security was invented only one in fourteen people lived to 65… which means that Social Security was a scam on day one. Medicare is a promise that the government knows it cannot keep, as the currently-shifting goalposts mutely testify. One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was “Don’t assume that the government will have any money for you when you retire“. That was way back in 1989.

Bottom line, if you want to retire comfortably, live within your means, spend less and save 15% of your income. the government will also take 15% — half from you and half from your employer. We’ll see which plan pays off.

“We believe-I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014-we believe in equal pay for equal work.

Consider the source: There is no evidence that Ms Warren, has ever worked a real job in her life. She’s an academic, with all of the ivory-tower philosophy that goes with it.

Like so many things politicians say, this sounds good in theory, but the word “equal” means different things to different people. Is a kindergarten teacher (usually female) “equal” to an Oil Rig Worker (usually male)? Is a receptionist (usually a woman) “equal” to a roofer (usually male)? Which is more dangerous? Don’t you think that greater risk should carry greater reward?

According to Department of Labor statistics, there are now more women in the workplace than men. There are more women getting degrees than men (though not in the hard STEM subjects, where men still heavily outnumber the women). And yet, salaried men work longer hours than women in the same job, for the same money — and in some cities, women get paid *more* than men for the same or less work. How much more “equality” do you want?

“We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America.”

More equality talk. Lovely. Let’s look at the facts, shall we?

Men are more likely than women to be arrested, die violently, commit crimes, be victims of crimes, go to jail, and be addicted. They also die more often on the  job, have more heart attacks, commit suicide in greater numbers, and live shorter lives than women” (David Murrow).

Men can also be drafted and are expected to bear arms for their country if needed. They work all the dirty/difficult/dangerous jobs (when is the last time you saw a woman plumber/construction worker/roofer?). Does that sound “equal” to you?

Fun Fact: Women have more “equality” then they have ever had. and they are less happy than they have ever been. The inescapable conclusion: “equality” is over-rated.

When I got married, the expectation was that I would work, and she would look after house and, when they came along, do most of the child-rearing. Yeah, I’m old-fashioned that way, and so is she. I would help around the house (fixing things and doing “man stuff”), and she would feed me good, healthy, home-cooked meals and do her part to make me the best man I can be. A quarter-century later I have the best marriage a man could with for. The idea alone is enough to make some women’s heads explode, while others silently wonder “why can’t I have that?”. The reason you can’t is that thanks to feminism and changing cultural norms, women have changed, as has the institution of marriage: these days, it is a rigged game, where the deck is heavily stacked against men. Women can (and do) blow up a marriage at any time and for any reason (three-quarters of divorces are filed by women), and female-friendly courts have an overwhelming tendency to give the wife everything. These days, a woman can throw her husband out of his house and into a prison cell by merely accusing him of divorce. So who has the real power?

But change is a-comin’. Men are finally waking up to this fact, and are beginning to realize that those same changes mean that they can have all of the perks of marriage while freeing them from the obligation of having to buy a ring and sign on the dotted line — and are turning away from marriage. Ladies, you have won. Enjoy your victory.

“We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform.”

No it doesn’t you twit; that means looking to the principles laid out in the constitution and defending our borders. What is is with all of these non-sequiturs?

Here’s a nice little definition for you. An immigrant is someone who has been through the legal process of immigration. I know whereof I speak — I was one. Someone who sneaks across the border in the dead of night is not an immigrant, they are an illegal alien. In large enough numbers, this may be considered an invasion. If they do so with the backing of a foreign government, it is, in effect, an act of war. Mexico secures their southern border; we should too.

I love immigration. If folks want to come here, pay taxes, take part in the great American Experiment and pay their way in life, Good for them: let them do it legally like I did. But I did not come to America to learn Spanish and live in a Barrio.

Of course this has nothing to do with the fact that should these invaders get citizenship they would overwhelmingly vote Democrat — that would not be at at all… or would it?

“And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it. We will fight for it!”

Typical progressive yowling: Three clauses that have nothing to do with one another. Let’s break it down:

“And we believe that corporations are not people…”

They aren’t and shouldn’t be. But Hobby Lobby is effectively a family-run business that has made it clear that they will run their company their way or go out of business. You have your principles, however misguided they may be — let them have theirs.

“…that women have a right to their bodies…”

Ah, yes, that old chestnut. So why is it that prostitution is illegal and and partial-birth abortion (a revolting practice that involves sucking out their brains of your unborn child) isn’t? Because one is “exploitation” and the other is “a choice”. Is this what you call “empowerment”?

“…We will overturn Hobby Lobby.”

Uh.. Sorry Ms Warren, but Congress does not get to “overturn” Supreme Court cases — they get to create laws. But if you want a law that destroys a business and puts thousands of people out of work, knock yourself out.

Fun Fact: Hobby Lobby did not infringe anyone’s rights, and it hasn’t deprived anyone of anything — just the right for women to get four abortifactants (in their opinion) at someone else’s expense. This case turned on four out of the twenty birth control mechanisms — you still get the other sixteen for “free”. You want one of those those “banned” medications? They’re not really banned – you can pay for them like everyone else. They’re not expensive – If you can afford a cellphone, you can afford the meds. Can’t afford both? Choose.

According to Warren, “Getting free stuff because you are a woman” (presumably paid for by men) is yet another definition of “equality”.

And the main tenet of conservatives’ philosophy, according to Warren? “I got mine. The rest of you are on your own.”

And the main tenet of Socialists/Feminist/Progressives’ philosophy, according to Wizard Prang? “Give us enough money and power, and we, the government, will solve all problems, make everything fair for everyone and create utopia

Socialism explained

Good luck with that

The problem with Net Neutrality

Why a good idea will destroy small businesses.

Like most responsible Netizens, I am in favor of Net Neutrality — the principle that ISPs should not discriminate based on content. In principle, it sounds like a good idea: you, the customer, should have access to whatever services you want, without having to pay extra for it, and without the ISP “throttling” internet traffic that competes with services that they may be offering — for an additional fee, naturally.

But there is trouble in paradise, and its name is Netflix.

The Netflix paradox.

Netflix, you see, is the biggest single source of Internet traffic in the world; it is estimated that as much as 40% if the bits flowing through the system come from that one source. And that places a load on ISPs, who have to purchase additional bandwidth and hardware to handle all of those bits wending their way from Netflix’s servers, across the public internet, to the ISP’s customers. Unlike consumers, ISPs have to pay for the “Public Internet” bandwidth they consume. The big ISPs have a solution: they do a deal with Netflix, where Netflix installs a server within the ISP’s Datacenter. This saves on bandwidth, as the movies on that server can be accessed by customers without having to go out on the public internet ad all the way back to Netflix. It saves on costs, as the ISP does not have to pay anyone for the bits that flow around within their networks.It also makes for a better experience for the customer, who is blissfully unaware that all of this is going on.

This is all well and good if you are one of the big boys — Cox, Comcast, Time Warner — as they all have deals in place with Netflix. But what if you are a small ISP? Netflix won’t talk to these little guys — not worth their time. They have to pay full-freight; as their customers sign up for Netflix, they are shifting massively more data, which pushes their bandwidth costs go up accordingly.

Their customers, however, won’t pay more just to watch Netflix. And there, as they say, is the rub.

Network Neutrality says: “Thou shalt not block or throttle Netflix”. Customers say “I want my Netflix!” And the small ISP says: “If it’s all the same to you, I would like to make a little bit of profit here, so I can feed my children? (won’t somebody please think of the children?!). Sorry, couldn’t resist.

The elephant in the room is bandwidth; most residential internet customers in this country are used to paying a flat fee for “all-you-can-eat” service. This means that those customers who are not Netflix subscribers are effectively subsidizing those who are.

The bottom line is that small ISPs are being punished by a perfect storm; on one side we have fixed-price, customers fattened on “all-you-can-eat” unlimited data. On the other is a major bandwidth hog who won’t cut them a deal. And Net neutrality means that they cannot throttle Netflix traffic or charge their customers a surcharge to make up for their real increased costs.

Residential Internet service is the only utility where most customers do not pay for what they actually use.
Water, gas, electricity, these are usually metered. But not Internet.

For them, the only fair solution is to change their pricing model from all-you-can-eat to a-la-carte, where customers pay for the bandwidth they use. And customers who have been spoiled by unlimited data won’t want that — I certainly don’t.

This is not meant to be a screed against Net Neutrality — it is a good idea, and one which I support in the main. My intention here is not to criticize the idea or derail it in any way. My intention is to draw attention to the fact that the law of unintended consequences will always bite you in the… rear.

Finally… Ferrari

The Prancing Horse arrives in Real Racing 3

Without a doubt, the most-requested marque in Real Racing 3 has to be Ferrari. Over the course of last year I have seen scores, if not hundreds of posts on FireMonkeys and other forums, begging for Ferrari to be added to the game.

Screenshot_2014-06-22-20-41-57

Naturally, the addition of a marque to the game requires an intricate mating dance in which information, money and data changes hands before permission is finally given. For a prestige marque like Ferrari, this dance is a particularly intricate one.

Well, it’s finally happened; the legendary Italian marque has been added to the impressive roster of cars currently available in the game, bringing the total to 74.

The new offerings include the Ferrari FF, 45B Italia and F12Berlinetta. In addition, Lexus has added the IS 350 F Sport (2014), which is an almost insignificant addition — an afterthought when compared to the three Italian offerings.

Screenshot_2013-10-22-21-05-39

The new Ferrari — apparently the plural of “Ferrari” is “Ferrari” (who knew?) — are raced in two new series. The first of these, Ferrari Faceoff — or “Ferrari Tear-Your-Face-Off”, as I call it — is a career series. Curiously, it is found right at the end, after Zenith. This is odd, since the Ferrari offerings are not really in the same class as the Bugatti Veyron, Agera R, etc. In my opinion it should have been inserted earlier in the series, perhaps around the “Lexus LFA Showcase Series”, after the appearance of the last Lamborghinis (or should that be “Lamborghini”?), which are their closest competition.

The second event — Battle Italia — is an optional series. It is also rather unusual in that it pits the three new arrivals against two of the Lamborghini(s) that have been in the game since Day One.

There is also a new track — Circuit de Catalunya, in Spain. Like the Dubai Autodrome, it is a collection of tracks of varying length and complexity. Like Dubai, it is kind of irritating, but at least there are no twilight races (and a little less sand).

Screenshot_2014-06-22-20-42-06

There is also a new type of Event: Ghost Challenges. It is an evolution of Time Trials, in which the player can challenge any other player on the Time Trial ladder.

Screenshot_2014-06-22-20-42-18

Another new feature is “Meet The Crew”. This motley bunch consists of “The Manager”, who will double the payout of the next race, “The Agent”, who will similarly double the fame earned in the next race, and “The Mechanic”, who will magically erase the damage caused by the next race.

Screenshot_2014-06-22-20-42-12

But these bonuses only work if you win the next race. The crew can be hired for one gold piece each, but if you win enough races, they will work their magic for free.

Another welcome change is that the Monkeys increased the payouts: My “Reference Race” (Classic American Muscle, ’68 Dodge Challenger Indy Speedway Endurance, 50 miles) yielded R$29990 and 5990 fame in 1.3 and 1.3.5; in 1.4 it was increased to R$41960 and 7980 fame — a substantial increase, and much appreciated.

Off Track - Invalid Lap

The only fly in the ointment was that a change was made to Time Trials such that invalidated the result if if all four wheels left the track. This was an annoyance, but an understandable one. The result has become the bane of my existence.

The Verdict

Perhaps the biggest surprise about this version is that three new the Ferrari are really not that impressive. The first two (FF and Italia) are under-performing, and only the third has performance that could grudgingly be called “impressive”. But all three cars are skittish and skiddy; the defining thought that kept popping into my mind when taking one around a track was a Douglas Adams/Zaphod Beeblebrox quote: “Looks like a fish, moves like a fish, steers like a cow”. Racing the F12Berlinetta against its closest Lamborghini opposite number — the Aventadora — highlighted the difference. The Lambo was a joy to drive; fast yet forgiving, with plenty of warning when Bad Things Were About To Happen. The Ferrari, however, lost grip far too easily, and when if did so, the “departure from controlled flight” was quite vicious.

Perhaps FireMonkeys did not model the cars correctly, but assuming that they did a good job — the models would have to have been approved by Modena, after all — the new additions were disappointing and not that impressive.

The Ban Hammer strikes again

The Endurance Race that I mentioned earlier is, of course, the same race that I mentioned in my review of V1.3.5. The bad news is that apparently the large payouts from those long Endurance Races was apparently enough to trigger a week-long automatically-generated ban. What is incredibly irritating is that there is no appeal mechanism against this ban. Given that I had not actually done anything that might be considered as cheating I decided that if I was going to be labeled a cheat I might as well be one, so I got a friend to “bless” my profile, by adding a few thousand gold coins. I didn’t ask for any R$ — I could earn that honestly enough. I asked for about 4k; to my surprise he added 57k. That should be far more than I will ever need…

Naturally, that triggered another week-long ban, but at this point I really don’t care. In fact, I still haven’t been back on-line, even though the ban expired a week ago, and I don’t have any plans to go online anytime soon.

Ban 2

Onwards to 1.5!

Food for thought

A disparate and semi-random collection of random nutrition-related thoughts and opinions:

  • “Cow’s milk is natures perfect food… if you are a baby cow” (Mark Hyman)
  • Fat doesn’t make you fat; sugar makes you fat. Decades of low-fat diets have left us fatter than ever. But when the manufacturers removed the fat, what was left tasted horrible, so to make it taste better they added… sugar.
  • Unhealthy Breakfast:.Cereal + Fruit Juice + Toast.
  • Healthy Breakfast: Eggs + Ham + Fruit
  • Whole Milk Good. Low-fat milk Bad. Fat-free/skim milk Ugly
  • The three most profitable foods in the supermarket are soda, salty snacks and breakfast cereal. You don’t actually need any of them.
  • If is doesn’t rot, don’t eat it.
  • You don’t need much sugar to function: Normal blood glucose level is 100mg/dL. Which is a gram per liter. You have five liters of blood on average. So the sum total of your blood glucose is about five grams – which is about a teaspoon of sugar.
  • Restaurant food is bad for you: They want you to enjoy the experience, so to make the food taste better they add sugar and/or salt. So… if you’re fat, stay out of restaurants… unless you work there.
  • Eat Butter.
  • Drink lots of water. There is no habit as conducive to long-term health as drinking plenty of water.
  • “If it tastes good, spit it out”
  • Walk! Americans do not walk enough. Get a pedometer (or install a pedometer app on your smartphone)
  • Sugar is a poison – treat it as such.
  • Avoid white foods
  • Shop “on the edge”. Most supermarkets have the fresh (perishable) foods around the edges of the store, with the non-perishable stuff (Twinkies, anyone?) in the center, mainly for logistical reasons. This works to your advantage. Staying out of the middle makes shopping simpler, too.

Independence

This is the day when Americans celebrate their nation’s independence.

On this day 238 years ago, a bunch of colonists, Englishman to a man, nailed their colors to a mast.

And that was when the trouble started.

They took on one of the world’s the mightiest empires, with the largest and most-feared Navy of the day. And they knew that England would not take it lying down, and that a fight was coming. And fight they did. The war for America’s independence was long, bloody and costly in lives.

But why did they fight? For the right to be free? Curiously, no; most of the colonials were happy to be British subjects. They fought because the tyranny of Britain was finally becoming intolerable. They wanted freedom from onerous and unfair taxation, from being mercilessly squeezed for revenue like toothpaste. For freedom from unfair and unjust laws, imposed from afar by an uncaring tyrant, and levied at gunpoint.

Sounds Familiar?

And today we celebrate it by taking a day off work and eating food. Funny how many of our holidays revolve around food. And we’re all getting fat. Coincidence? I think not. But that is another story for another post.

Understanding IVRs – a quick primer

For those who were wondering, IVR isn’t some new form of birth control, it stands for “Interactive voice response”, which Wikipedia defines as “a technology that allows a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and DTMF tones input via keypad.”

You and I know it as a device that is designed to keep the customers away from real people. I also call it “The Runaround”.

Here are are few of the commoner phrases that you may hear, along with their translations. Enjoy the show:

  • “Our Menu Options have Changed” – Last week, someone got through to a real person. We have taken steps to make sure that this does not happen again.
  • “Due to unexpectedly high call volumes…” we didn’t hire enough people.
  • “…all of our representatives/associates are currently serving other customers/guests.” – we didn’t hire enough people.
  • “For a better experience, please check out our website”- we didn’t hire enough people.

Now you know

Porsches, Porsches and more Porsches

I recently finished the “Muscle Cars” version of RR3 and upgraded to the next version up: 1.3.5, also known as “50 years of 911″, but known unofficially by me as “Seven more bloody Porsches”.

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I am not particularly enamored of the Porsche 911; having driven cars made by Bugatti, Koenegsegg, Pagani, McLaren and Lamborghini, the 911s in the game felt a little… weak. While they were competent enough cars, I have found them to be overrated. In the “Everyday Heroes” Series, for instance, while the 911 GT3 RS is a better car on paper than the BMW M6 Coupe, I preferred the latter. It was bigger, quieter, more civilized and more “chuckable” than the 911, which felt noisy, twitchy and difficult to control by comparison.

From the beginning, the game has boasted no less than three Porsche 911s – the 911 GT3 RS, the 911 GT3 RS 4.0, and the 911 GT3 Cup – as well as the awful Carrera GT, the indecently quick 918 RSR Concept, and the absolutely lovely 918 Spyder Concept. So with a total of six Porsches to choose from, the game has not exactly been light on this particular marque. So imagine my surprise when I found out the they were releasing an update featuring no less than *seven* more Porches – all 911s.

  • 911 Carrera RS 2.7 (1972)
  • 911 Targa (1974)
  • 911 Carrera 2 Speedster (1993)
  • 911 Carrera RS 3.8 (1995)
  • 911 GT2 (2003)
  • 911 Turbo (2009)
  • 911 RSR (2013)

A Free Porsche!

Once upon a time, the game offered a free Porsche 911 for one day only. All you had to do is enter the racing code “50 Years of 911″ and…

A Free Porsche!

The 911 Carrera RS 2.7 (1972) is the oldest 911 in the game, but it is a surprisingly decent little machine, and it good enough to get you a long way down the road, so to speak. The second car in the series, however, is utter crap, and requires a couple of upgrades to get through one of the two Showcase races (the Hockenheim Speed Record). Working your way down the series from there, however, the cars get progressively better and better before culminating in the Awesome (and, at XX Gold, ruddy expensive) 911 RSR. This is the grippiest car thus far in the game (1.7G stock).

Porsche 7

A Better View

One of the most annoying changes from 1.1.12 to 1.2 is that they lowered the bonnet view. IThis made it more difficult to discern the width of your vehicle — which made it easier to run off the track — as well as making it more difficult to see past the vehicle in front of you. Apparently the FireMonkeys were listening, as they have added a high/low camera setting that gives you back the original high view — a much-appreciated touch.

The Awesome Race Continues

As the version numbering suggests, 1.3.5 does not feature any major changes in the game over 1.3; just a bunch of new cars. In my earlier piece on the muscle Cars edition, I mentioned “The Awesome Race”, an everlasting endurance race featuring the ’69 Dodge Charger. The good news is that this race is unchanged in V1.3.5, and I was able to surpass my personal best and clock up an amazing result.

The Ban Hammer Strikes

Although this was a perfectly legitimate race, the sudden influx of cash must have caught the attention of the “anti-cheat” routines built into the game as I soon got this:

Not a problem, as I was able to progress all the way through the 911 Series without needing to play online. Since the offline bots are more predictable and less capable than the saved performances of other players, this actually had the effect of making the game *easier*. Gee, thanks..!

What about the rest of us?

An article on Slate — a website that I seldom voluntarily visit, due to its tendency towards feminist rant and hysteria — was recently bought to my attention. It was called “Canada’s Vicious HIV Laws“, and screeches on at length about how wrong it is to imprison people who are unfortunate enough to have contracted HIV and somehow forgot to inform their sexual partners of this trivial fact.

Nobody deserves to contract HIV. Nobody. My heart goes out to those who have to live — and perhaps die — with this disease. And it is immoral to imprison someone who suffers from it. But that is not the case here. These people are not being punished for having HIV, they are being punished for putting someone else’s life in danger.

In other words, this is not an morality issue, it is a Public Health issue. Most of these folks had a Dread Disease and knowingly played Russian Roulette with someone else’s life. And that, by any reasonable definition, is a crime.

Is prison the answer? I don’t know. But I don’t have a better idea.

I wonder if the writer of the article would fight for the rights of the accused if they had infected someone she cares about.

Probably not

Fathers’ Day

Things are about to get messy; hold on to your hats…

There has been a lot of blathering in the press lately about “Reproductive Rights”. Indeed there are those who believe that Reproductive Rights should be considered a basic human right. But it occurs to me that nothing has been said about the reproductive rights of men.

It’s almost as if they are not allowed to have any

  • It takes two to make a baby, but only one to get an abortion.
  • If the woman chooses to get an abortion, the man has no choice, whether he wants the baby or not.
  • If the woman chooses to have the child, the man still has no choice — though he will be expected to provide for the child for at least eighteen years.
  • Whether or not the man used birth control is irrelevant.
  • Whether or not the women used birth control, or lied about it, or forgot her pill is also irrelevant – it is still his responsibility.
  • If it subsequently turns out that he was not the father, it may still be his responsibility.
  • If a man marries a “single mother” (aka divorced mother), and they subsequently divorce, he will often required to pay for the support of children that are not his.

It is the very definition of unfairness to expect one person to have to subsidize the mistakes of another. A man should not have to raise another man’s spawn, nor should he have to suffer the ignominy of having a slut for a wife — for if this sort of behavior is not the very definition of sluttery, what is? The logical extension of this train of thought is that if a man marries a woman who already has children, and they subsequently split, he should never be required to pay for the support and upkeep of children who are not his. On hearing this, many women will howl and yowl and foam at the mouth and flop on the floor; I would remind them that they cannot have both chivalry and equality; with equal rights come equal responsibilities.

It seems to me that a little balance may need to be bought to this area of life, so here are the changes I propose:

  • Put a ring on it: Marriage is the logical framework in which to have create and raise children. No marriage, no child support — PERIOD.  You want to get pregnant outside of marriage, or don’t want to marry, that’s fine. Your body, your decision, your dime.
  • Mandatory paternity testing at birth: The birth of a baby is a wonderful thing; it is also the logical time to establish who the father is. If the husband is not the father, it is also an excellent time to find out so he can divorce her and kick her out with nothing (just as she would be inclined to do if he were had impregnated some other woman).
  • Mandatory paternity testing in child support/divorce proceedings: It is a sad thing when a marriage dissolves, and the children are usually the saddest casualties . When this happens, the husband should be required by law to support those children who are identified as his if he is to have full access to them. This is right and proper. But he should never, under any circumstances, be required to support another man’s spawn, nor should he have to foot the bill for someone else’s irresponsibility. Nor should he be forced to pay for the upkeep of children he is not allowed to see. Abuse is real, but too many women have used accusations of abuse to separating fathers from their children while still helping themselves to the contents of his bank account.

No doubt a whole lot of folks will howl and yowl at my humble suggestions — and I suspect that they will all be women. This is to be expected, since they are mostly likely be the ones to lose out on the cash-and-prizes currently on offer from what is effectively a rigged game.

The alternative is that men will continue to walk away from the institution of marriage, on the very rational pretext that there is nothing in it for them.

Remember folks, “With reproductive rights come reproductive responsibilities”

Happy Fathers’ Day

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