A tw**t

August 31, 2014 • 5:14 pm

Well, I’m in a hotel with cable t.v., and I have a choice of watching one of elebenty gazillion channels or reading Carol Tavris and Eliot Aronson’s book Mistakes Were Made (but not by me), about people’s failure to recognize their biases and the ways they resolve cognitive dissonance. I’m halfway through it and it’s very good: a PCC Book Club selection.

I did turn on the t.v., as I don’t have cable at home, and the only thing I could find that was halfway interesting was some show called “Man vs. Food,” which involves a guy whose job is to go around the country and try to eat the biggest burgers, the hottest curries, and so on. It was mildly interesting because it was about food, but I’d prefer a show in which some guy just finds good places to eat.  Flipping through the other channels, I realized that since I’ve stopped watching most t.v., I’m not missing very much.

So I’m going to turn it off and read before I hit something like “Say Yes to the Dress” (and yes, there’s one reader out there who likes that show and shouldn’t be watching it and I’m talking to that person!).

In the meantime, here’s a fun tw**t.  There is a big anniversary tomorrow; does anyone know what it is?

Screen shot 2014-08-31 at 2.17.19 PM h/t: Alberto

63 thoughts on “A tw**t

  1. There isn’t much on right now. All the shows start up in the next couple of weeks. I’m watching Modern Family and I watched 60 Minutes just before where they were trying to figure out what causes dementia. Ugh, the stats are terrible.

  2. With the loss of Martha 100 years ago on 01 September 1914, passenger pigeons altogether were lost ? Extinction, not ?


  3. I didn’t have a TV for 17 years until I got married at age 34. If it were up to me, I’d toss the thing tomorrow. I like to watch sports, but prefer to do it in a tavern with other like minded fans (it’s amazing how much beer you can buy for the price of your cable bill).

    Lately though, for some weird reason, I’ve been watching “What’s My Line” on YouTube on the laptop. It’s interesting to see the old celebrities when they were still young (mostly dead now). I’m really addicted to it.

  4. You would probably enjoy Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on Food Network. It is all about unusual hole in the wall places with fantastic food. They run re-runs constantly, so it shouldn’t be hard to find.

    1. I’d be interested to know if Prof. CC has seen/enjoys Alton Brown’s old show “Good Eats”. I am not really a foodie and I don’t like to cook, but I actually really liked the show. It struck an entertaining and informative balance between cooking and food science.

      1. Good Eats was fun. I still enjoy that show. I would also wonder what an actual combination scientist/foodie would think of it. The science was presented in a silly way, but still seemed accurate.

  5. Yes! “Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)” is an entertaining, quick read. A good primer on critical thinking and logical fallacies.

    1. I’ll have to add it to my list. Two books on critical thinking and logical fallacies that I have read, and recommend highly, are How We Know What Isn’t So by Thomas Gilovich, and Crimes Against Logic by Jamie Whyte.

      1. So Jamie Whyte has some redeeming features after all? He’s currently running as a far – right candidate for parliament in New Zealand.

        1. And despite getting himself in trouble over a comment supporting incest in limited circumstances, is highly likely to win the Epsom seat.

    2. I just read “Folly of Fools,” which isn’t as good as it could have been. I’ll this one to the list to cleanse the palette.

    3. Aronson confesses in the book to not understanding the adage, “Exceptions prove the rule”. I set him straight on the matter.

  6. I effectively stopped watching TV in 1975; even then I realized that it was stupid. From then until 2006, the only thing I watched was an occasional baseball game.

    When Adam Wainwright struck out Brandon Inge looking on a curve ball to end the 2006 World Series, I turned off the tube. I haven’t had it on since, and can’t conceive of any set of circumstances under which I would turn it on again.

    At my office, there is a TV in the lunch room, and it is just about always on. Every time I walk through to get my lunch from the fridge, I’m reminded of just how fake and mindless it is. I don’t even eat my lunch there, because I can’t stand the inane babble, both from the set itself, and from the people talking about how awesome this show or that commercial are.

    1. Pretty much a similar story here, except since 1996. The Telecommunications Act was the last straw… whole swaths of bandwidth that belonged to the public by birthright was snatched and practically given away to the private sector (Dems, led by Gore, promised lower-prices on TV/Phone, then made good on their promises to campaign donors AT&T, Worldcomm, MCI – giving away parts of the spectrum that, until then, were licensed). This led to takeovers/monopolies & bubble/crash profit-taking greedy garbage.

      I made a bet to myself… that I’d cancel cable the second the price went up (contrary to the politicos’ predictions). I figured it would take a couple billing cycles after the Act went into effect for the price of everything to jump up. The prices started to inch up the very next month, I think.

      So I headed down to the cable place, spoke to a pleasant service rep who said she could help me turn off the cable as she typed search information into her computer terminal. When she saw my record, she stopped suddenly – and turned to me with a look of mild shock. “You’re not moving?!?”, she said, momentarily baffled.
      “uh… no. uh… how do you know that?”

      Anyway, I haven’t looked back since. Huge waste of resources and time.

    2. You’re being exposed to the wrong shows. I actually think this is the era of the best TV. My evidence is:

      – Breaking Bad
      – True Detectives
      – Game of Thrones
      – The Newsroom
      – The Walking Dead
      – Mad Men

      1. I love TV. It’s better than it’s ever been. There are shows to suit all tastes if you know where to look. There’s plenty of rubbish too, which, scarily, is some of the most popular, but I ignore those.

      2. – Breaking Bad
        – True Detectives
        – Game of Thrones
        – The Newsroom
        – The Walking Dead
        – Mad Men

        The Wire
        The Sopranos
        The Bridge
        The Killing
        The Hour
        ( what’s with all the The’s??)
        Not to mention Nova and Nature and Cosmos and Jon Stewart and Charlie Rose, who has some great interviews…

        This from one who watched virtually zero TV from 1960 ( when we moved overseas) till 7 or 8 years ago when I got hooked on The Sopranos. There is a lot of really good writing on TV now. I have never watched any of those reality shows or d’Ohprah, as someone put it 🙂

      3. I think I’ve seen maybe a couple of minute of one of that list. If you count trailers, before I hit the fast-forward button. The one with dwarves and castles, which I associate with Game of Thrones.
        Don’t get me wrong – George RR Martin is a name that gets my attention, on the grounds of his “Sandkings” anthology. But I haven’t felt one second of temptation to the Thrones thing.
        The rest don’t even get that level of consideration, between them.

      4. Amen. Most TV of course remains inane crap, but the better shows are far, far better than their predecessors ever even dreamed of being. Contrast “The Wire” with the very poular detective shows of yore (e.g., “Hawaii Five-O” ran from 1968-1980), for example, and it becomes very clear that TV has evolved quite a bit as an entertainment medium. “True Detective,” also mentioned above, is a nearly unique blend of setting, writing, acting, directing, and soundtrack all coming together near-seamlessly to set the mood and action. I’d put those two shows, along with maybe “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men,” up against anything filmed before the turn of the millenium.

  7. Well, there’s the US Open Tennis Tournament. Lots of cooking and gardening shows are on, on Saturdays. Charlie Rose and Moyers & Company on PBS and all the nature shows are pretty good. There are good series on like “The Genius of Design” and lots of good stuff on the Smithsonian and OASIS channels, if you can get them.

  8. At the end of the day it can be a pleasant waste of time, but only because I have a DVR and can watch what I want and skip over the commercials. Stewart and Colbert are witty and often on target, especially when ripping up Fox News. I also enjoy real football, aka soccer.

    1. Good point. I mentioned earlier that I love TV, but I watch everything except live sport and the six o’clock news via DVR, so no ads. And I often start watching them a few minutes late so I can skip the ads then too.

      1. Most definitely it’s the DVR ( andDVDs and Netflix) that have made all the difference. You watch when you want and with NO ads. I end up screaming at the TV if there are ads.
        ( same at the movie theaters which now have so many ads!)

    2. but only because I have a DVR and can watch what I want and skip over the commercials

      What did we do before we had DVRs?
      Oh yes, make a cup of tea / sandwich/ toilet break/ write a letter. Anything, anything at all, apart from watch the damned adverts.
      You know, when I write things like “anything at all”, I ask myself “do I mean that?” Followed by “What would Sithrak do?”

  9. I watch Forensic Files on “HLN” (which used to be a news station) I like the sound of the narrator’s voice. Even though he’s talking about murders I leave it on all night.

    That is, when “Project Runway” isn’t on!

    1. I’m reasonably certain that Project Runway would be included in the “Reasons Not to Have Cable” promoted by some, as it is truly, completely and totally mindless drivel. It is also one of the few shows I make sure to watch every week. 🙂

      For sleeping, I put on audiobooks and leave them running all night. Rex Stout murder mysteries and Watership Down for brain rot. For non brain-rot, non-fiction such as Operation Mincement, The Adventure of English and WEIT.

      This only works for books I’ve already read or listened to, otherwise it’s impossible to follow.

  10. Since you mentioned the PCC book club (ought to be a real thing to replace/combat D’Oh-prah) can I request something? (which hopefully doesn’t violate da roolz) I think it would be wonderful if in fact you had a suggested reading list added to the website sidebar. You are constantly mentioning great books you’ve read or are reading, so why not make it official? I’d love to see which books on biology or atheism, or whatever, you’d recommend without having to search desperately through the old posts trying to figure out when/where they were mentioned. Yes, I know you are constantly busy, but it’s just a thought…

    1. oh, and to add to the discussion, I’m watching old Mock the Week shows, since we’ve got thunderstorms and PBS (the only thing really worth watching on free TV) is always the first to go blank. THere’s little worth watching on network tv or cable/dish, but with youtube, hulu, and netflix, who needs it?

    1. On the subject of witchcraft, a Nigerian “witch hunter” is suing the British Humanist Association for libel! The witch hunter, Mrs Ukpabio, wrote that a child “under the age of two” who is “possessed with black, red and vampire witchcraft spirits” can be identified by features such as s/he “screams at night, cries, is always feverish, suddenly deteriorates in health, puts up an attitude of fear, and may not feed very well.” Her teachings are to the effect that babies under the age of two who exhibit signs of illness or standard, entirely normal childhood behaviour (such as crying, not feeding well, screaming at night, having a fever) may be possessed by vampire witchcraft spirits. The funny part, were this not so serious, is that her action is based on the fact that the BHA misrepresented her by saying that she ascribed these symptoms to Satanic (not vampiric) possession and hence has damaged her reputation and livelihood to the sum of half a billion pounds.

      The not funny bit is that children have apparently been beaten to death in attempts to exorcise such spirits.

      1. Ah, I was wondering if anyone else had noticed that one.
        Definitely a “ha ha, but serious” story.

        The not funny bit is that children have apparently been beaten to death in attempts to exorcise such spirits.

        Happens on a weekly (if not daily) basis. In the name of one or many gods.
        In the spirit of fairness, I’m not aware of any children being beaten to death in the name of Sithrak. Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But every one else in the multiple pantheons of humanity … second check, yes, even Buddha Get-Back-In-Line-Gautama-Where-Do-You-Think-You-Are-Going-You-Horrible-Little-Bhodisatva? … has that particular crime on their follower’s consciences.

  11. Speaking of Satan and witchcraft, there’s a story in the Guardian Australia about a familiar saving its servant.

  12. If you don’t teach your child to obey Jesus, he or she has a better chance of becoming a well-adjusted adult.

    1. And by well-adjusted, you heathen probably mean not being tormented by eternal guilt over some arbitrary nonsense? The blasphemy!

      1. And not only that, a godless heathen like me might actually expect my well adjusted kids to treat people respectfully. Yes, they even are polite to people who violate the ancient morals of a bunch of shepherds who thought selling daughters to their rapists was moral. The horrors!

        1. Tsk tsk. And you probably forgot to teach them that it does not matter how vile the things are that one says, as long as no curse words are used?

    1. Yes, it should say
      “the devil will teach them about evolution, sexuality, psychology, witchcraft and rock’n roll music”

  13. If you manage to catch it you might enjoy Bizarre Foods, where Andrew Zimmern travels to various places (used to be around the world, but now seems limited to the US) and eats various things with a focus on foods that are uncommon fare, dying/limited ethnic cuisine or generally considered taboo in the US.

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