Have your Mac read to you

Let’s not deny it, we all like facility. We like to do things easily and quickly. The easier the better.

IMG_2049For instance, sometimes after staring at your computer screen for a while, you start squinting and your eyes beg you for mercy.
Well, you don’t have to squint anymore. Your Mac (version OS X) can read anything out loud to you.
I was not aware of this until my wife pointed it out.

To experience this feature, first click on “System Preferences”. Then click on the “Dictation & Speech” icon and select either Tom, Kathy, Vicky or Victoria’s voice. You can test each voice by clicking on the “Play” button.
Personally I like Tom’s voice.
And you can also select the “speaking rate”, the speed at which the text is read.

To have your Mac speak to you, highlight the text to be spoken and press the Option + Esc keys (you can select different keys) at the same time.
Et voila! Your Mac will read any text to you.

If you are tired of typing, you can also dictate to your computer.
In the “Dictation & Speech” area you simply need to turn Dictation “ON” and your machine will type whatever you speak.

Isn’t beautiful? You don’t need that costly secretary anymore… unless you cannot do without the way she speaks and the way she walks. But this is for you to decide.

Go ahead, try it on. Highlight any chapter (or the entire text) in this little piece and press the Option + Esc keys together.
Your Mac will read it to you.

Will wonders ever cease?


PS: To get a better view of the spider, click on the image.

Vox populi

Here we go again! The peons are being rounded again to go the polls and voice their sentiments.

To me though, the bloody elections are like a recurring rash. Annoying and irritating.
Annoying because my mailbox is filling up with political pamphlets that I never read, and irritating because the airwaves are full of partisan messages that nobody pays attention to.

All this hullabaloo because of democracy: the rule of the people.

Democracy has a nice ring, but the principle is flawed because most of the electorate has not the faintest idea who or what to vote for, and many abstain to participate for that simple reason.
In today’s elections we are faced with so many questions and decisions that unless you are a hardcore political junkie, you are practically unable to proceed.

In Marin County, we have to elect or re-elect a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, State board Equalization district 2 (what the heck is that?).
Then we have to vote for a US Representative, a State Senator, a Member of the State Assembly, a State Superintendent of Public Instruction, a Healthcare Director.

What do we know about the incumbents or the candidates? Practically nothing.

In order to vote for a candidate, I would like to know what his political record is and how he/she stands on at least ten major issues. But this kind of information is not readily available.

It does not mean that you should not vote, but to vote earnestly you have to do a lot of research and I don’t think that the average citizen has the time or the inclination to do so.
Most voters will vote by party affiliation or union affiliation. They will leave it up to their leaders to tell them what to do to protect their narrow interests.
And these leaders can, and often are controlled by the omnipresent money of special interests.

In order to vote intelligently, you need to investigate each candidate, each proposition thoroughly. And in this respect, the Internet can be very helpful.

But you also need to check various sources to form a valid opinion. And those sources have to give you sound reasons to vote for certain candidates or propositions.
A single newspaper endorsement is not enough to form an opinion. It is a good idea to check a few local newspapers and examine their reasons for endorsing a candidate or a proposition.
It is hard work, but if you care about your future or about the future of your children, you have to do this.

You have to vote, but you need to do your homework carefully and thoroughly before trekking to the voting booth and casting your fate to the wind.


Skin flicks

I don’t get it.
Why would anybody bankroll a schlocky movie that few people will ever care to watch?Making a movie costs beaucoup bucks, doesn’t it? So why would anybody sink millions in turkeys that will never fly?
This is rather puzzling…

Like thousands of people, I am a Netflix subscriber.
For about $11.00 a month I can watch as many movies as I like.
But what kind of movies? Critically acclaimed flicks?
Heck no, mostly B movies, which were probably never shown in movie theaters.
And there are thousands of them… all competing for “Razzies” (worst in film) awards.

If you want something more stimulating, better turn to adult entertainment.
What’s nice about porno movies is the fact that the plots are never overly taxing and that unlike foreign movies you don’t need subtitles.
Everybody can easily follow the story line without intensive mental exertion.

In a typical plot, a guy rings a doorbell and a bare breasted babe in high heels opens the door. The guy mumbles something about being lost and needing directions, and before you know it, they are both naked on the couch performing Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, the Rabbit’s Stomp, the Milkmaid’s Fantasy and various sex acts outlawed in forty-five states.

In another plot, a half naked woman catches a cat burglar in the act, and after scolding him, she forces him to submit to her libidinous cravings.

In most cases dialogues are superfluous. The wailing, panting and moaning heard in the background are only here to highlight “the artistic merit” of the protagonists.

Now, what so bad about those movies?
They are highly moralistic and occasionally educational.
In the first plot, it is clearly demonstrated that you should never talk to strangers, and in the second it illustrates the fact that crime doesn’t pay and that you will always have to pay for your misdeeds.

These movies can also be educational. You might discover new stimulating sexual positions besides the well worn “missionary” and the “let’s do it like animals” standbys.

Erotica has also proven to be highly spiritual. The characters of these sexual romps have often been known to cry out the name of the Lord at crucial moments. How many acclaimed movies can claim that distinction?

So in conclusion, as long as they are paying taxes and do not hurt children or small animals, adults should have the option to live vicariously by watching highly improbable but entertaining sexual romps.

We are not living under bearded, repressed, censorious mullahs… yet.