The things I don’t know

Pickles are not something that I grew up with in Sri Lanka. They were a new food I encountered only once I came to the US and I found that I do not like them at all. When I find them in food, I carefully take them out before eating unless I accidentally eat them because they have been cut up small.

But for the longest time, I was not aware that pickles were just cucumbers that had been processed in some way. I had thought that pickles were a separate kind of plant. Then once in conversation with my daughters, I casually said something about pickle plants. After a brief pause of incredulity, they laughed hilariously at my ignorance and I discovered that I had been wrong all this time. I learned later that the word pickle is itself shorthand for ‘pickled cucumber’. If I had known the full name, I would have not been confused.

It makes me wonder what other things I believe that are absurdly wrong but common knowledge to everyone else. And what kind of event will bring my ignorance to the surface.

Mormons abandon Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America have had a well-deserved bad reputation of being generally reactionary in their attitudes and in particular hostile towards the LGBT community. They have tried to redeem themselves by removing most of the restrictions and now have even announced that they will allow girls to enroll and as part of that move they have announced that they will change their name to Scouts BSA effective February 2019.
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What happened to car ribbon decals?

I was in Boston last week visiting with my grandson (who is now 15 moths old and great fun to be with) and when driving I noticed a car in front of me that had one of those ribbon decals stuck on the back with the message too faded to read. The reason it struck me was that nowadays one rarely sees them. There was a time when these decals were all the rage and some cars had several of them, each a different color promoting a different cause.
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You too can be an exercise champion

When the devices called Fitbits first came out, they were all over the place. One of them was handed to me and I wore one over a few days to see how much I walked on average. It turns out that my daily walk numbers were nowhere close to what was expected (10,000 steps?) and so I had two options: walk more or give up monitoring my number. I chose the latter and now don’t even know where my Fitbit is. My attitude to exercise is close to that of Pig in Pearls Before Swine.
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Preach, brother! But maybe at another time and elsewhere

A screening of the latest comic-book based superhero film (this seems to be an inexhaustible well from which film makers can draw) ended somewhat spectacularly at a theater in California.

Just after 10 p.m., police started receiving several calls about a man who started “preaching and making odd statements about God,” said Carl Baker, the spokesman for the Police Department. “People panicked and ran out of the theater.”

The man was apparently waving his arms in the air and jumped while shouting.

“As soon as the movie was over, this guy starts yelling, preaching and talking about repenting from our sins,” said Susie Arias of Highland, who was at the theater at 27481 San Bernardino Ave.

“At first, I thought it was a joke and some people even started yelling back at him, but then when he starts taking about guaranteeing our right to heaven and paying for our sins today, I think that’s when mass hysteria hit and some people started running out,” she said.
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What is it with BMW drivers?

In a comment on my post about roundabouts, commenter sonofrojblake talked about the conditions under which problems can arise and how some drivers solve it and then threw in this comment about those who mess things up.

It’s a joy to see, spoiled only by the predictable selfish or oblivious asshole usually driving a BMW who is so important or in a hurry that they HAVE to gain that extra four metres by NOT letting you in.

I noted that utterly gratuitous slap at BMW drivers and wondered if any other commenters would jump to their defense. None did. This does not surprise since I long ago discovered that many people absolutely hate BMW drivers, seeing them as entitled jerks who drive as if the road belongs to them. This strong feeling has also influenced the Urban Dictionary where the top definition of ‘BMW Driver’ is:
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I’m back!

The flu-like symptoms I had lasted only about 24 hours and I am back. When I feel sick, which fortunately rarely happens, what I do is take to bed and sleep as much as I can, my only sustenance being dilute sweetened orange juice (50% juice, 50% water, plus four tablespoons of sugar for a liter of the mixture). That is the only thing that I can take that overcomes the deadened taste buds that flu causes. I avoid any medication unless the symptoms are really severe.
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No blogging, taking a sick day

Since last night I have been feeling ‘under the weather’ (a fine phrase that captures the feeling of being lethargic and achy and having a low fever without being really sick) and so have taken a break from blogging. Hopefully I will feel ‘over the weather’ (a phrase that does not exist, as far as I know, but perhaps should) by tomorrow.

The magic roundabout

Roundabouts are rare in the US (where they are called traffic circles), with traffic authorities favoring stop signs instead. Last year ago, I wrote about the so-called ‘magic roundabout’ in Swindon, UK that contains seven roundabouts looks incredibly complicated but apparently moves traffic through it very quickly and efficiently. In that post, I provided the graphic below but it does not fully capture the experience.


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