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Morons + Power Tools = Darwin at Work?

Posted 2006.12.05 1.00 in Music/Movies/TV by Stephanie

So this commercial comes on the tv. It’s some klutz who doesn’t understand how to make a hand saw work. Let me repeat that: Doesn’t Understand How To Make A Hand Saw Work. That’s right. Not talking about anything fancy. Not a coping saw, nor a back saw, nor a keyhole saw, nor a swiss saw, nor a bow saw, nor a hacksaw, nor a Japanese flush-cut saw. Just a plain old ordinary standard-purpose hand saw. And this stooge can’t make it go.

So what’s Black and Decker’s solution for this fool? They want to give him a power tool! Yeah! Here’s a putz that can’t drive a single piece of metal with no moving parts that you simply move backwards and forwards, and they figure the answer is to give him a motorized plug-in cutting device that can go through human flesh and bone at 2 inches per second.

Now, my first reaction is to think these guys at Black and Decker are nuts! I mean, great, you want to sell product, make money, but this is crazy. Some of these morons might have kids, unlikely as it may seem.

Then, after a moment, I realized that maybe it’s not such a bad idea. I mean, anyone as thick as this fellow on the commercial, is going to get himself killed sooner or later anyhow. Might as well cut the suspense and make sure when he screws up, it’s over fast and decisively. Otherwise he might end up dropping his keys, getting in his car and accidentally locking himself inside the vehicle, and slowly starving to death – or suffocating, if the windows are rolled up. Compared to that, a power-saw mishap is going to be positively merciful.

It reminds me of a commercial for a screwdriver for handymorons. They showed a bunch of people opening multi-bit screwdrivers upside-down, so all the bits fell out. How’d these people even survive into adulthood? How can you be so stupid as to open any enclosure upside-down, be it a multi-bit screwdriver, or a carton of milk, or jar of jelly? Why didn’t these people starve to death? And if they’re too thick to know how to open the screwdriver, what makes anyone think they’ll know what to do with it when they get it open?

It almost makes me curious to see what these dunderheads are going to build. TV is telling the hapless that now matter how clumsy and clueless you are, the answer is to use powertools. Maybe in 6 months the Discovery Channel can do a special – Power Tool Tradgedies, and the Things They Tried to Build.

Look, We Made You A Get Well Card…

Posted 2006.12.04 1.00 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

…and the whole class signed it, even that kid with the camera!

Next time, run with scissors – they’re safer!

Satsuma Rebellion
Photo found on a Wiki site.

More about Prosopagnosia

Posted 2006.12.01 1.00 in Family/Friends by Stephanie

Yeah, still talking about Prosopagnosia. Why all the interest? Well, after first hearing about it, the more I learned, the more times I was thinking to myself “OMG – I have the same exact experiences” and “That’s me! That’s me too! I do that!”

Here’s one of many, many examples: I’ve always sucked at recognizing people I should have known. I once spent 2 or 3 minutes in conversation with a ‘stranger’ who’d simply approached me on the street. I thought he was just very friendly so I politely talked with him. After a couple minutes I figured the polite thing to do was ask his name. He responded with a shocked, perhaps offended look, before telling me. The ‘stranger’ whom I had ‘never met before’ was a long time family friend whom I had met many times before. He was also our town’s mayor and even if I didn’t know him personally I had seen him in the paper or on the tv many times too. This is not to say that I had forgotten him or who he was. Nothing of the sort. I simply could not recognize him by looking at his face.

Another example: A friend was showing me photographs he had taken at an event only a week previously. I pointed to one of the pictures and asked who that was, not recognizing the woman at all. My friend looked at me sort of lost, not knowing what to say. After a few more seconds I realized that the stranger I was pointing at, was me!

Another example: Went to a get-together, met someone interesting, and spent the evening talking with her about all kinds of stuff. After the get-together was over, we ended up talking another hour or so while standing outside next to our cars. Probably spent about 6 or 7 hours in total, at the get-together then afterwards, in this person’s presence. A week later when I encountered the person again, I had no idea they’re the one I’d had such a great evening talking with. I remembered the night, remembered the conversation, but had no memory of the face, of who it was. In fact it wasn’t till years later that I was talking with ‘someone else’ about something else and she mentioned in passing, that she remembered what a good conversation that was that we’d had, lasting so long out in the parking lot. I was stunned to realize it was her, stunned that I didn’t remember it had been her, but of course I’d learned long before, never to let on about such ‘blunders’. People are often offended when they feel that they have been ‘forgotten’.

I could go on with many other similar stories, but they’re similar so it’s not really necessary. The point is, I do not recognize people by their faces. I look at hair, at height, at outline (body shape), at clothes, at movement, and listen to voices. And the biggest thing for me is context. I meet work people at work environments, family at family settings, and friends at wherever we congregate. If someone turns up out of context, like a business acquaintence at the mall, I will almost certainly not recognize them, and simply walk on past as if they were a stranger. Unless they call out or the sort, then depending on how well I know them, I might recognize them, or I might have a brief friendly conversation then walk away wondering who they were.

Fortunately my Prosopagnosia is not extreem – I can recognize my immediate family and close friends almost all of the time. Although if I had arranged to meet, say, my parents at a restaurant or mall or something, until I actually find them I have always had a lot of anxiety that I’d be unable to spot them. And when looking for them, or anyone, I tend to really have to study everybody to find the ones I’m looking for. Until I knew about Prosopagnosia, I was very troubled by the fact that I couldn’t actually remember what my immediate family or closest friends look like – I mean, I can’t close my eyes and visualize their faces. Now I know why.

Anyhow, without further rambling, here’s two more websites about the condition:

Prosopagnosia.com is another good site with real-life experiences and some pages that try to illustrate what the condition is like, so normal folks can get a better grasp of it.

Prosopagnosia – My Favorite Word has a FAQ and some additional information about the condition.

There are already a lot of great resources on the net by Prosopagnosics about the disorder, and I have not yet decided whether or not I’m going to put together my own page too. For now, I’ll just stick with what I’ve put in my blog here about it. At the moment I don’t think I have anything new to add, having only just learned that a problem I’ve lived with all my life is actually a known medical condition, rather than just some unique failing in my character.