Saints are so confusing

There’s this famous historical place of worship called the Hagia Sophia. As a native English speaker, I naturally pronounced the first word “Hah/ghee/a”. Years later, I feel like a fool for never having learned “Hagia” actually sounds like “Aya”.

So imagine the confusion today upon encountering the word “hagiography”, and finding out that it’s pronounced pretty close to how it looks like it should be pronounced.

Elihu was right about this election

I am young in years, and you are aged; therefore I was timid and afraid to declare my opinion to you. I said, ‘Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom.’ But…it is not the old who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is right. –Job 32:6-9

Oh, Elihu. If you could follow the United States election of 2016, it would only confirm how right you were.

Mentally, I am aware that humans (including me!) have biases which bind us, override rationality, and prevent us from gaining insight from people with opposing positions. But to see so much of it in action…

(Incidentally, like Elihu, I also fear sharing my opinion. But it has nothing to do with age. First, there is no intelligence and wisdom And I like to be right about things.)

Great moments in history: Helen Keller’s death

Helen Keller was pretty famous for being blind and deaf. However, I talked to this one historian who doubts this and presented some compelling evidence.

Go Google some images of Helen Keller. Please note she clearly had TWO eyes and TWO ears. And we’re expected to believe that ALL FOUR were not working at the same time??? Yeah, right!

It’s pretty clear she was just faking it for some attention.

(Interesting Fact: Stevie Wonder thought this was a great idea, and uses a similar scheme, except without the deaf part.)

Helen Keller's Death

Now Keller wasn’t stupid. She realized she might slip up some day and people would catch on to her tricks. So she and her handlers devised the perfect plan…

What if she “accidentally” stabbed herself in the stomach with a knife from the kitchen that was just lying on the counter? Since she was “blind”, it makes sense that she might not be able to see it. Then people would be sad and no one could question her “blindness” and “deafness”. (You can see me re-enacting the death in the picture.)

Fortunately for Helen, almost everyone bought her act about being blind and deaf anyway.
Unfortunately for Helen, it meant that her cover story was useless, and she died in vain. Although she would be dead by now anyway. Probably.

I’m back

Hey look, I’m back! LEP is going to rise from the ashes! We’re going to have posts, the best posts.

great again

I’m a little jet lagged, so I’m gonna rest up first. Then the world will see TRUE greatness once again!

(Oh yeah, I got this great deal on some hats. Pretty neat, huh? But I found out some other guy has the same kind of hats. That bastard must have stolen my idea.)

*Footnote: I DO NOT SMELL

Fast food restaurant fails to clean bathroom for at least 3 days

In Australia, there’s a fast food joint called “Hungry Jack’s”. Sure, it looks like their logo is merely ripping off Burger King’s, but they are actually Burger King in Australia. Sort of. At least they started that way; go read some Wikipedia if you care about that stuff.

I desperately want burgers and fries now.
I desperately want burgers and fries now.

Anyway, a fairly unusual event occurred in a Perth Hungry Jack’s. I.e., there was a dead body in one of the stalls. Which was there for 3 days.

Curious minds will start to wonder: “Seeing as this was Australia, was the death caused by a crocodile, kangaroo, or rabid wombat?” The actual cause of death was your standard drug overdose, demonstrating that there are other ways to die in Australia besides dangerous animals and ridiculously hot summers.

These same curious minds will likely be drawn to the fact that the corpse was hanging around for 3 days. It’s expected that public bathrooms have more aggressive cleaning schedules.

I will also note that it’s improbable the cleaners overlooked the corpse during the course of normal maintenance. “Sorry, boss, I must have missed a spot” doesn’t fully explain the facts of the case.

The actual scene was slightly less sanitary than this.
The actual scene was slightly less sanitary than this.

But maybe the restaurant isn’t completely to blame here. “Check for corpses in all stalls” is rarely part of a restroom cleaning checklist. And fast food workers are not necessarily hired based on their penchant for initiative.

Source: Body lay in Perth Hungry Jack’s toilet for three days

Monday Fighter!

Dear World, you can thank Annie for suggesting that this should be a Monday Fighter!

One Easy Piece

The 70’s got some things right. Whether this is one of the items is up to your better judgement.

You’ll notice we now have a new header and the theme is slowly being customized (still with errors in single post). The Mascot is back among us, and we got some splainin to do.


Yesterday, the UK voted on whether to leave the EU. Most of my reading came from the BBC on this, where the sides were dubbed recently as “Leave” or “Remain”.

I try to be wary of bias from media, even from sources that I like. I’d wager that more BBC writers voted Remain, and maybe this was inadvertently reflected in the coverage.

Interesting quote from Brexit: David Cameron to quit after UK votes to leave EU:

Yesterday seemed to offer a fork in the road: one path (Remain) promised it would lead to a modern world of opportunity based on interdependence; the other (Leave) was advertised as a route to an independent land that would respect tradition and heritage.

Immediately, I was struck by how this sentence seemed to cast the Leave path as backwards-looking and regressive. But I value modernity (progress) more than independence, and have little use for tradition. Could it be that I was reading too much into it?

Well, the very next sentence:

Which path people took depended on the prism through which they saw the world.

Ha! Maybe my prism also distorted how the statement read. Would your average Leaver or Remainer feel the same way I did?

What if they had switched the order, with the Leave clause first? Would it read the same way?

Yesterday seemed to offer a fork in the road: one path (Leave) was advertised as a route to an independent land that would respect tradition and heritage; the other (Remain) promised it would lead to a modern world of opportunity based on interdependence.

Even the imbalanced phrasing could be scrutinized, one side described as an “advertisement” and the other as a “promise”. The words are similar enough, but not exactly right if the clauses were to be truly parallel. I’d expect advertisement to be evaluated as more negative of a word than promise.

Or maybe the average Brit evaluates the words differently than me, an American.

It’s understandable that the writer wouldn’t want to duplicate the word, but there were probably better choices.

Editors can’t have an easy job. If they want to be good editors, that is.

Chess as a bellweather

It’s been 5 years since my last rated game. I only play lightning or blitz occasionally on and nowadays.

(And I STILL cannot consistently spell “occasionally” correctly the first time).

On days that I feel particularly sharp or dull, my chess performance seems to reflect it. So on days when I’m just not sure about how well the brain will function that day, I play a few games to figure it out.

Of course, this method does have some problems:

1. Do I selectively remember those days which support this hypothesis?
2. Did I control for the strength of my opponents?
3. Is my sample size even big enough?
4. [Other stuff I’m not thinking of]

Naturally, the answers for 1-3 are probably “yes”, “no” and “no”, but the hypothesis sounds good enough to me.