Dennis E. Powell's View from Mudsock Heights

Dennis E. Powell is crackpot-at-large at Open for Business. Powell was a reporter in New York and elsewhere before moving to Ohio, where he has (mostly) recovered. You can reach him at dep@drippingwithirony.com.

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The Next Big Thing

By Dennis E. Powell | Jan 03, 2024 at 8:36 PM

True, it’s a little late to be talking about Christmas shopping, but throughout the year we need to give gifts from time to time, often to young people, so I don’t think it’s a waste of time to discuss presents a little even at this late date.

Twitter -- oops, X -- Wins So Far

By Dennis E. Powell | Dec 27, 2023 at 8:08 PM

A year ago last week, having taken steps to preserve my privacy, I started an account on the ubiquitous website that at the time was called Twitter. Much has happened since then, as you may have heard.

Bring Back This Christmas Tradition!

By Dennis E. Powell | Dec 20, 2023 at 9:57 PM

It is as familiar a phrase as any in American English, usually remembered in the smooth baritone of Nat “King” Cole: “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire . . .” The song was written by Robert Wells and Mel Tormé in 1945. (The first line made more sense then.) It is secular, as Christmas songs go — both Wells and Tormé were Jewish — but it acknowledged that yes, this is a religious holiday.

Lost in Translation

By Dennis E. Powell | Dec 13, 2023 at 11:21 PM

It took a few months of daily communication requiring translation software for me to notice the similarity. The software — Google Translate, a product called DeepL, and Apple\’s translator (which does to languages what its maps did a few years ago to geography) — seems to be close to accurate much of the time. Sometimes that is good enough. Often it isn\’t. The mistranslations are so serious so often that one learns to ask the correspondent to rephrase the sentence. With luck the realization comes before much damage is done, and war is averted.

Off By Default

By Dennis E. Powell | Dec 06, 2023 at 11:04 PM

You probably have never heard of Nick Shabazz. We seldom hear of people who make sense. Our attention is drawn instead to noisy malevolent clowns.

The Privacy Tablet -- from Google!

By Dennis E. Powell | Nov 30, 2023 at 1:04 AM

Thanks, Google! You have struck a blow for privacy! Okay, that overstates things slightly, but only slightly. And while the Google Pixel Tablet is anything but private as shipped, the enormous, generally evil company (who knows that you are looking at this article unless you did something to prevent tracking, which you probably didn’t) left the tablet open so people concerned with privacy and security can fix it.

The Zen of Pictures

By Dennis E. Powell | Nov 22, 2023 at 11:57 PM

The conversation with my friend Angelo was satisfying and thought-provoking, as they always are. We had been talking about how men, when they grow up (chronologically) and have money, are wont to buy the things they desired but didn’t get when they were little boys.

You Don't Have to Go Home, But Please Don't Stay Here

By Dennis E. Powell | Nov 15, 2023 at 9:30 PM

We’re not-so-slowly being overrun by invasive animal and plant species, and it’s costing money. Costing me money in particular. And like so many terrible things for which no one can be held personally accountable, in many cases the government is to blame.

The Metaphor We Need

By Dennis E. Powell | Nov 08, 2023 at 10:22 PM

Do you like movie westerns? It is conceivable, I suppose, that you don’t. If you don’t, it is probably because you have a mistaken impression of them, and I encourage you to reconsider.

The 20-Percent Solution

By Dennis E. Powell | Nov 01, 2023 at 9:34 PM

The idea hit me in early 1977, during of all things a pistol match. And the ratio that first came to mind that weekend morning still seems about right. It is a rule — okay, a “guideline” as we now like to say — that explains and to a limited extent influences much of our daily lives. That morning I named it the 20 percent rule. In the — Lord help me — nearly 50 years since that day it has held up pretty well.

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