Let's roll some dice, watch some movies, or generally just geek out. New posts at 6:30 pm ET but only if I have something to say. Menu at the top. firstname.lastname@example.org on Mastodon and @gsllc on Twitter.
Last week, I shared a random memory of a Tonight Show interview. Today is an interview from Joan Rivers’ Late Show. The link should take you to the relevant part, which is at 5:35. Here, Dave discusses the split with Van Halen and the fallout from it.
Side note: The fact that Rivers took this gig created a personal rift with Johnny Carson.
What I remember about this is that Van Halen — Eddie in particular — was deeply critical of Dave in the press, and Dave always took the high ground. For a while anyway. A couple months after this interview, I heard a snippet from another interview on the radio. Paraphrasing to the best of my recollection (which, based on these posts, is pretty good), Dave’s response to Van Halen was, “Well, I’m out here forging the future, and Van Halen is still living in the pasture.”
Still, I took Dave’s side in the mess because he didn’t fight back until Van Halen pushed him over the edge. Of course, I don’t know any of these guys, so I never really cared about their personal battles. I just knew that they were both producing music I loved, so the breakup worked out great for me.
As a reminder, one of only 14 concerts I’ve ever seen was Hagar and Roth’s joint tour.
Everyone insists they have a good memory, but our brains form fake memories all the time. I’ve used YouTube to test my memory quite often and found that my long-term memory is pretty accurate. The weird thing about my memory is that I sometimes remember things as a mirror image of the way they were. That is, if I remember footage from a TV show where person A is on the left and person B is on the right, their positions are swapped. However, I remember incredible detail about everything else in the footage. Here was a random memory that popped into my head when my cousin shared some footage from Saturday Night Fever. It’s an interview on the Tonight Show with Sylvester Stallone and John Travolta promoting the sequel to Saturday Night Fever, Staying Alive.
And part II.
I remembered almost every minute detail of this interview, and because it’s the Tonight Show, I didn’t reverse the image in my head. The host is always on the right side of the screen, and it’s impossible for a healthy brain to forget that.
Unfortunately, my short-term memory is beginning to suffer, and I sometimes have trouble getting words out when speaking. I also have some difficulty forming new memories. As Kareem Said said on Oz, “Life is balance.” I guess I had this coming, but you can imagine how frustrating that is for someone who historically forgets nothing. While I could stand to lose a lot of childhood and young-adulthood memories, I hope the cognitive decline remains slow.
Tomorrow, I’m discussing memory, so for Caturday, here’s a video on feline memory.
By the way, with all my talk about cats, I don’t own one. However, I bought a house this year, so my tax withholdings were wrong. I’m getting about $2,300 back between federal and state. Hence, I’m buying some cat stuff and getting a cat. Maybe I’ll get two. My understanding is that if they have a playmate when they’re young, they learn the limits of violent behavior. Of course, I’ve always enjoyed “fighting” with the cats I’ve owned, so that’s not too much of a concern.
I have a really annoying habit. Actually, I have several, but this one annoys me. I have to finish what I start. In the context of this post, it means that, once I’ve set my mind to binging the entire run of a television show, I can’t stop until I’m finished no matter how bad the show is. That’s what happened with Scorpion.
Scorpion aired on CBS from 2014-2017, and now you can watch it on demand on Paramount Plus. It centered on a team of underachieving, supra-geniuses who finally get their big break when the Department of Homeland Security designates them a contractor. It started off well enough, and the ratings were some of the best CBS enjoyed during its run. One executive referred to it as “our Big Bang Theory, but as a drama.” However, by season four, the ratings were terrible, and despite a cult following and a tense cliffhanger to end season four, the show was cancelled.
The show was wildly unrealistic. As anyone with a physics degree, a first career in software engineering, and a current career as an attorney can tell you, most shows are. I have no problem with that. You have to enter into any television show or movie with a certain suspension of disbelief, and I’m happy to do so for the sake of drama. After all, despite not being a comics reader, I’m a huge fan of the MCU and DCEU. What could be less realistic?
But this show dives into many different branches of science, and it gets them all terribly wrong. Moreover, while each episode presents a preexisting peril to be solved, while addressing the peril, the Scorpion team members always make things worse, and usually in the most ridiculous or unrealistic of ways. It’s terrible writing that eventually grates on the viewer. Sharks don’t act that way. Computers don’t act that way. Gravity doesn’t act that way. How is it that you’re always getting your jacket caught right before you have to make a getaway? You’ve been on a deserted island for three weeks; how are you all so clean, and why is Cabe still wearing a suit and tie?
As the charm of the show tends to wane, there’s little left to keep the viewer interested. But I have to say, if there were a season five, I’d have watched it.
I had a random memory pop in my head last week. During the early part of its run, my favorite show was the Six Million Dollar Man (1973-1978). Lee Majors played the titular Steve Austin. I also loved its spinoff, The Bionic Woman (1976-1978). The origin of the latter was a sad and frustrating one. The bionics screwed with Jaime Sommers’s body and seemingly killed her. The premise of the show was that she was somehow saved but lost all memory of her romantic relationship with Steve Austin.
Like most of society, I lost interest in the shows as I grew up, but when they announced an upcoming made-for-TV movie bringing back the characters, I was moderately intrigued. It was a huge part of my childhood that wasn’t that far removed from (what was then) the present day. I don’t remember watching the first one, The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (1987), but I do remember seeing the second one, Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (1989) with an unknown Sandra Bullock playing the next generation of bionic human.
What stood out in my memory of that show was that Jaime Sommers’s memories had returned, and at the end of the second movie, she interrupted his proposal of marriage to propose to him. Even though I remember not liking the movie, I remember being happy with the resolution. Why? I don’t know. They’re make-believe characters, and they’re not part of a series I was currently watching, so their relationship meant nothing the second the final credits rolled. But humans are weird like that, and their failure to connect even upon her resurrection for the Bionic Woman was disappointing.
There was a third movie, Bionic Ever After?, but I’m sure I never saw it. By 1994, I had more important things to do.
As of this writing, Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner are still going strong at 83 and 73 years old respectively.
My annoyance with the legal department at Wizards of the Coast led me to create a new law of the internet. You all know Godwin’s Law:
As an online discussion grows longer (regardless of topic or scope), the probability of a comparison to Nazis or Adolf Hitler approaches 1.
Put another way, if an internet argument goes long enough, someone’s going to call someone else a Nazi. Then, there’s Poe’s Law:
Without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, every parody of extreme views can be mistaken by some readers for a sincere expression of the views being parodied.
In other words, you can’t tell the difference between an idiot and a comedian unless they’re a comedian and they ruin their joke by explaining it. Well, Poe’s Law inspired the text of my own law, which unsurprisingly I call Bodine’s Law:
Without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, an arrogant author’s exploitation of another’s ignorance can be mistaken by some readers for a sincere, ignorant/incompetent expression of the views being expressed.
In other words, arrogant authors, thinking their dishonesty will never be exposed, tend to take advantage of the ignorance of others by knowingly making ignorant or incompetent statements, but if you understand the topic, you won’t know if the authors are actually ignorant themselves. The arrogant authors generally rely on an argument from authority, but not necessarily, so I think this rule is useful to keep in mind.
Google chrome is my browser of choice, and it has several plug-ins that allow you to control the playback speed of certain streaming services, which are Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Hulu for me. Netflix requires no such plug-in because it has the feature built into its platform. Apple TV is my only platform that doesn’t have an associated Chrome plug-in, though I get the impression that, like Netflix, its proprietary streaming software includes it. I wouldn’t know because I’m a PC guy. MACs are for people that to use computers without knowing how to use computers.
Enough insults. My observation is that the speed at which TV shows and movies are presented is too slow for me. I often use 1.25x speed when watching a show even if I’m not in a hurry to get through it (though sometimes I bump it to 1.5x). My mind wanders if I watch them at normal speeds, and there are some shows that I would never have finished if it weren’t for being able to watch them at a higher speed. Maybe I have undiagnosed ADD. I don’t know. I’m not going to diagnose myself.
I don’t have this problem with my Paramount+ shows, which right now are Star Trek: Lower Decks and the new Beavis and Butthead. I have no idea if there’s a plug-in for Paramount+ because I have yet to need one. I also haven’t had the need to use the plug-in for Disney+. I’ve watched all the MCU and Star Wars series that have come out and not once noticed a problem with their pace. Maybe those shows are just better written. Or maybe I’m weird (maybe?!), and these plug-ins exist because people’s time to watch shows are limited.
An internet rabbit hole led me to an article on the nine types of intelligence: naturalistic, musical, logical/mathematical, existential, interpersonal, linguistic, bodily/kinaesthetic, intrapersonal, and spatial. Some other articles claim only eight, leaving out existential intelligence, while another claimed there are twelve, adding emotional, creative, and collaborative intelligence. I bet if I search long enough, I could find articles claiming anywhere between eight and twenty forms of intelligence – I seem to remember hearing a claim of 27 once – but I don’t want to work too hard at this. It doesn’t matter which model I use because I’m not addressing all forms in this post.
This will be nowhere near as important as an evaluation of me by others, but it seems like an appropriate post to follow the debacle that was Inktober. Here it goes.
“An understanding of oneself and the human condition as a whole.”
“Sensitivity to one’s own feelings, goals and anxieties, and the capacity to plan and act in light of one’s own traits.”
I think I have exceptionally high intrapersonal intelligence. This should surprise no one considering the existence of this post. I’m brutally honest with myself about my strengths and weaknesses and act accordingly. Anyone involved in competition develops skills in this area regardless of whether their intrapersonal IQ is high. Part (not all) of winning a fight is evaluating your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, comparing them to your own, and then making the fight a contest relying on the things you do better than that opponent. Over my life, competition has taken the form of martial arts and lawyering, both of which involve “fights.”
This is an intelligence I use often, as it can span areas that we’d generally associate with other forms of intellect. For example, I’ve trained in martial arts since I was 14, but I wouldn’t say my bodily/kinaesthetic IQ is particularly high. And then there’s . . .
“People with musical intelligence are generally more sensitive to sound and often pick up on noises that others would not normally be aware of. They have an excellent sense of rhythm and the ability to recognize tone and pitch.”
“Sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, meter, tone, melody and timbre.”
If I could have a higher intelligence in any of these forms, it would be musical intelligence. I played alto saxophone from 4th to 11th grade, moving onto guitar and (electric) base immediately after that. I dabbled on the keyboard every now and then since my undergraduate days and the University of Maryland (Go Terps!!!), and the keyboard my current focus. Beyond the saxophone, however, I’m entirely self-taught, and it shows in the terrible habits I developed on guitar and keyboard.
Despite my bad habits, I’m still “musical.” My musicianship is an example of how practice, persistence, and knowledge can overcome raw intellect. My knowledge of music theory is far above average, though there’s still a lot more to understand.
I’ve used that knowledge to make myself better, but obviously Eddie Van Halen, who couldn’t read sheet music, was a better musician in his sleep than I was on my best day. Raw musical intellect served him far better than my study of music theory served me. I, on the other hand, can’t learn by ear; I need that sheet music. But that’s okay. Music has never been more than a hobby to me, so I can live with that. I just think anyone in earshot, as well as I, would appreciate me having a higher musical IQ, and not being high on that scale would always have held me back from a career. A career would otherwise have still been in play in my retirement.
“People with this type of intelligence are excellent at maths and working with numbers. They can recognise patterns easily and work out processes in a logical manner. They have excellent reasoning skills and can often talk themselves out of trouble. People with high logical–mathematical intelligence are often drawn to games involving strategy and the solving of puzzles.”
“The ability to analyze problems logically, carry out mathematical operations and investigate issues scientifically.”
This is easily my highest form or intellect – I’ve forgotten forms of math that many people don’t know exist – but one I don’t use to any appreciable degree. When I was 15, I knew what I wanted to do for a living: Combining science and math with the law through the practice of patent law. Unfortunately, my experiences at a large law firm soured me to the practice of patent law. There’s nothing wrong with it; there’s just something wrong with that firm and the people who ran it. I can’t help but stay sharp in these areas, but patent law specifically gives me the shakes. It’s a behavioral thing, similar to a phobia but not nearly that bad. I associate anything patent related with a feeling of dread springing from how terrible my experiences were. I have little patience for people stupidly putting me through hell for no reason other than, “That’s just how we’ve always done it.” I’ve worked with both copyrights and trademarks professionally since leaving that firm, so this is specific to patents. It’s a shame. There’s serious money to be had there, and I have the background for it (i.e., a physics degree).
“People with this type of intelligence are often good at reading verbal and non-verbal cues as well as determining temperament and mood.”
“The ability to interact effectively with others. Sensitivity to other people’s moods, feelings, temperaments, and motivations.”
This is by far my lowest form of intelligence. I fully understand that humans are just apes flinging pooh, but that doesn’t mean I can predict your behavior. This comes from the fact that my childhood was rough, and in particular I was discouraged, and sometimes denied, close relationships that threatened my nuclear family’s control over me. As a result, I never developed a lot of the basic relationship skills that most of you take for granted. Being an attorney taught me to deal with people in some sense, but more in a ritualistic than intuitive way. Combined with a lack of interpersonal IQ, and viola! I’m middle-aged and have never been married despite that always being important to me.
“People with high linguistic intelligence are very good at putting their feelings and thoughts into words in order to make others understand them.”
“[S]ensitivity to the meaning of words, the order among words, and the sound, rhythms, inflections and meter of words.”
As an attorney, this is the intelligence I use the most, but it’s exceptionally hard to evaluate myself in this regard. I have no sense of how high my linguistic IQ is. For example, I can write a mean legal brief, but I wouldn’t know how to start to write a work of fiction meant to entertain.
I think this fact reared its ugly head with my most viewed blog posts. Those posts were written for two different audiences, and I had a lot of trouble navigating between the two styles of writing. It negatively affected my clinical writing while doing little to grab people that don’t think that way. Perhaps my linguistic IQ is low, and I’m relying on other forms of intellect to compensate. Perhaps my linguistic IQ is high, and I would be an excellent creative writer if I put my mind to it and broke habits that make me a good technical writer. I certainly have an idea for characters that could be the basis of a series of novels, but I doubt I’ll ever even try to put that to paper. I may never know if I’m capable of it.
“[P]eople with high levels of existential intelligence often think more deeply about daily occurrences.”
While I’m not sure what my existential IQ is, this definition certainly applies to me. A high existential IQ could be what I’m relying on to be a good lawyer. I have a passion for constitutional law, and there’s nothing concrete about that. That’s all philosophical. The average person’s inability to understand why the Supreme Court does what it does is often grounded in a misunderstanding of the nature of constitutional law itself. I’ve read (or re-read) easily over 1,000 pages of Supreme Court text within the past couple months. Here’s just a few: Apodaca v. Oregon, Edwards v. Vannoy, Ramos v. Louisiana, Johnson v. Louisiana, Carson v. Macon, Espinoza v. Montana, Kennedy v. Bremerton, Dobbs v. Jackson, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Roe v. Wade, Citizen’s United v. FEC, Google v. Oracle, Craig v. Boren, Clark v. Jeter, United States v. Virginia (VMI case), Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan, Reed v. Reed, Romer v. Evans, Fourth Estate v. WallStreet.com, Loving v. Virginia, Matal v. Tam, Miller v. California, Paris Adult Theater v. Slaton, Walker v. SCV, McDonald v. Chicago, and District of Columbia v. Heller. Of all these cases, I’m willing to discuss only Google v. Oracle with people, and even that could get me in trouble. I don’t need the headaches you give me, but I do love reading landmark cases and those tangentially associated with them.
“In the organizational and social media environment, has emerged a new type of intelligence that refers to the ability to work as a team to achieve a common goal.”
This is one of the additional 3 forms of intelligence, and I’m not sure what to make of it. First, collaboration precedes social media by millennia. Seriously, cave men collaborated to take down dinner. It’s who we are. This actually seems like a hybrid between interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence. It combines your ability to work with others (interpersonal) with knowing where to place yourself within the team to maximize everyone’s strengths and minimize everyone’s weaknesses (intrapersonal). Oddly enough, despite my low interpersonal IQ, my high intrapersonal IQ always leads me to seek out a team to accomplish a goal. When I do so, I suggest placing people exactly where they belong without any consideration for how their placement insults them. 🙂 This is probably why I greatly prefer collaborative board games (e.g., Pandemic, Wizards of the Coast’s games based on the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons engine) to competitive ones).
I have nothing to say about the other forms of intelligence. Maybe I’d make the best gardener in the world, but I simply don’t care if I can grow tomatoes. And reading maps is far less important to me now that I have Google Maps to do it. I’m happy in my job, and if I weren’t, I’d probably go back to software engineering. I doubt I’ll ever “live with the chimps.”