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Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

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Four Things
Image by The Works Progress Administration, via Wikimedia, public domain.
1. In case you missed it earlier this month, the economist John Cochrane posted about an "artistic representation of government waste" at his blog, The Grumpy Economist.

When first I saw the title, my mind briefly processed it with the low expectations borne of past general disappointment with others: Essentially every time I see or hear that phrase, it is in the context of someone nattering about some relatively minor profligacy occurring within a government program that is itself wasteful or larcenous on a staggering scale.

Not him, too! I thought. Stop by his post for both a better angle of the statue at right and for his apt comments on something an agency that shouldn't even exist accidentally got right.

2. Everyone knows that my native state of Mississippi was the birthplace of the blues and I have passed along word here of the unexpected culinary delights to be found (still, I hope) in its rural Delta region.

But did you know that Kermit the Frog was created in Mississippi? Atlanta Magazine fills out a list of must-sees with the story:
Jim Henson Museum

This tiny museum on the banks of Deer Creek, the birthplace of Kermit the Frog, celebrates the life and work of Leland's favorite son, Jim Henson. Opened in 1991 on the heels of Henson's death, the museum tells the story of Kermit's origins: The beloved frog was fashioned in 1955 from a coat once worn by Henson's mother and a halved ping-pong ball. It also recounts how Henson created a population of the beloved puppets for the 1969 Children's Television Network production, Sesame Street. Displays showcase a wealth of plush toys, figurines, Pez dispensers, lunch boxes, and other items featuring the likes of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and their Muppet friends. [minor format edits]
In addition to the above, the interesting piece goes on to recommend some other establishments, several -- but by no means all -- pertaining to the blues.

3. I'm always on the lookout for clever hacks; here are ... two and a half.
  • A teacher has come up with a low-tech hack for allowing one to display hand-written notes as slides over Zoom. I haven't tried this myself, but I believe Zoom has a way to mirror displayed video, in case that turns out to be a problem. Score: 1 -- Probably useful in a pinch.
  • If your computer has a good web browser, it is possible to implement a toy office suite via a few small bookmarklets. (The most "bloated" of these is the 800 byte spreadsheet.) Score: 1 -- Very clever, and I've even used the "word processor" a few times.
  • In Unix-like systems, you can use the file utility to get an educated guess as to what a mystery file is. This is just one of several similar tips, not confined to Linux. Score: ½ -- useful, but not really a hack.
4. We'll ... end ... on a somewhat macabre note in an early nod to Halloween by considering a Newsweek article about a job you probably haven't heard of: the coffin confessor. These folks get paid to go to funerals and deliver messages from beyond the grave.

Leave it to capitalism to deliver what millennia of mysticism have failed to do: actual messages from beyond the grave.

And yes -- to bring an old joke back from the dead -- there's an app for that, too.

-- CAV

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