Smoking Charges Ignite
Last night, Amy took Anna, our seven-year-old, to the dress rehearsal for her 2015 dance recital. I was left in charge of Will, our nine-year-old, and Ella, our three-year-old. What follows is a litany of the kids showing me that I exist in their world as a piece of tightly-spun twine, permanently...
Our actions become our kids' reactions. Not exactly new. Not exactly Newtonian (pause while joke sinks in). But it's a truism all the same. ...
Piece of Sh*t Car Reprise
When I was in high-school, a popular song named "Ode to My Car," by Adam Sandler, spun regularly on the radio. No, it didn't. All foul-mouthed teenage boys wished such happy, unfiltered radio days would appear, but that didn't stop the explicit lyrics from making an impact, even if the song's plot...
Occam’s Razor is a problem-solving heuristic, useful in choosing one explanation from many for unexplained circumstances. It says that when deciding among many possible solutions to a problem, choose the simplest, the one requiring the fewest assumptions. If you make …...
Certain messes in life are unavoidable. If you get a DUI and your hair is sufficiently mussed or you manage to jam your finger into the nearest outlet just prior to the mug-shot, chances are you'll be a big-time celebrity some day. ...
A Reasonable Explanation
Therapist: Take me back to the beginning. Tell me how it all got started, how you eventually wound up holding the bloody knife in the aftermath of your killing spree. I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation....
That's a Mouthful
Waking up to the sounds of birds and (outside) insects is alluring, and when you have your second 10th cup of coffee and realize you are on vacation, and this auditory lovemaking is real, not the result of an ambitious-carpet-cleaning hallucination, you can finally relax, letting your bulk stress...
Stupid Piece of ... Oh, That's Right
I'm a realist. I call things like they are, and if I look stupid in the process, well, so be it. ...
The morning started off good. Four eggs fluffed with a splash of milk, mixed with Parmesan and salt and black pepper and red pepper flakes and slathered with Cholula hot sauce; four ounces of Bob Evan's spicy Italian sausage (sorry for the smell, honey, luv ya) fried into the wonderful concoction;...
When Did I Become a Pushover?
I've never thought of myself as the Ultimate Fighter type. As a kid, whenever the possibility of bodily harm came up, I tried to avoid confrontation. But if the issue was pressed, I could stand up and issue fake threats along with the best of them and hope that my manufactured bravado was enough to...
As I Approach 30
I live in a small town. Colona, IL has a population of just over 5,000. As a jogger, this means I am usually only assaulted with exhaust fumes a few times whenever I decide to go outside to burn some calories. But as far as the type of people passing me on the roadside? Over this, I have no control....
Ride the Razor
By Seth Kabala
Occam’s Razor is a problem-solving heuristic, useful in choosing one explanation from many for unexplained circumstances. It says that when deciding among many possible solutions to a problem, choose the simplest, the one requiring the fewest assumptions.
If you make your living as a criminalist, philosopher, scientist, or theologian, doubtless you’re shaking your head at my simpleton nature, because the process behind Occam’s Razor is far more complex than its description belies. To you, I say suck on an egg. Why the hell are you reading a column written by a humorist on a humor website? Get out, hike up your tighty-whities, go bury your nose in a technical journal, and take your negativity elsewhere.
To the rest of you, read on for the point.
It occurs to me that the principle of Occam’s Razor applies to all of our lives on a daily basis. In the office, for example, instead of getting red in the face when your employees fail to perform to your specifications, specifications which have only been stated in general terms, give them a metric. Then if they fail to achieve said metric, you can fire their asses for cause. Simple. Much preferable to the following testimony given at a wrongful termination hearing:
(For more fun, read this out loud with an overwrought southern accent.)
Well, uh, Your Honor, why did we let her go? It’s simple: she’s a bitch-slut-whore.
(Judge asks question.)
Was I hyphenating those last three words? (Thinks about it.) Yes, yes I was, because she simultaneously assumed authority she didn’t have, was having sex when she should have been doing work, and then got pregnant and took a shitload of time off, causing us to miss a bid deadline on a huge contract. Millions of dollars of work–gone. All because she’s a bitch-slut-whore.
(Judge asks question.)
Well, that’s beside the point.
Okay, I’ll admit that I’m an absentee owner and did hire her to be the president, so she, technically, had the authority to do the things she did.
(Is further chastised.)
Fine. When she was having sex, it was in her house, late at night, and she was with her husband. I had come over–
(Is cut off by Judge and asked a clarifying question.)
Um, it was (mumbles answer).
IT WAS 2:30 IN THE MORNING, OK!
(Judge asks question.)
Yes, it’s her husband’s kid, so characterizing her actions as being slutty is probably unfair. But why does she have to have all the good ideas?
(Judge asks question.)
Yes, that is why I hired her, but–
Occam’s Razor appeared in our house this week. Despite my declaration (every time we buy a house) that we will personally engage in zero home improvement projects, I found myself replacing broken ceramic floor tiles in our kitchen. I removed the old ones, found the screws I had driven through the cement board had popped up–the likely cause of the broken tiles–and I needed to remove them before re-laying new tile. Problem: I needed a square-head drill bit to fit the screw heads.
We’ve owned our house for five years. From the beginning, I’ve stored most of my tools in an extra room in the far right portion of our basement. It’s cold and creepy back there, but the previous owner was an old man with nothing better to do with his time than put built-in shelves everywhere, quite useful for tools. So guess where I looked when I needed my non-standard drill bits?
I looked in the garage. I looked in my car. I looked upstairs. I looked in other parts of the basement. Finding nothing and feeling as though I wanted to go mixed martial arts on our plaster walls, it occurred to me that we hadn’t changed the location of our tool repository, so I went to the cold, creepy back section, looked up to the top shelf, and what did I see?
The drill bit case.
With a delay for search and swearing, I finished the tile repair job, but I wonder: why do I still make things more complicated than they have to be? Why do we call things what they are not? Get angry at people for failing to achieve standards that we have failed to verbalize?
Be clear, be specific, and be simple, my friends.
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Tags: bitch, broken, built-in, ceramic tile, clear, contract, criminalist, deadline, drill bit, fire their asses, heuristic, home-improvement, humor writing, humorist, judge, metric, mixed martial arts, Occam's Razor, old man, owner, president, problem-solving, razor, simple, slut, southern accent, specific, swearing, TFF Issue #5, tighty-whities, whore
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