Archive for the ‘Amusing’ Category

Why this Blog is Pretty Much Defunct

October 5, 2011

A lot of effort went into creating this blog and trying to keep it supplied with decent content in order to give the SBL a dynamic public face beyond their static home page. That work went unappreciated.

Behind the scenes there was constant harassment and bullying from another SBL member about this blog and the way it was being run (you all noticed how awful it was, right?). This went on for over a year in the various internal management groups of the SBL, may have contributed to a number of other moderators quitting, and eventually the bullying behavior was adopted by others.

You might consider this video:

I do not take well to bullying. Never have (and in fact protected some kids from it back when I was in high school), and I tend to react like the kid in the video.

The SBL administrators were like so many school administrators when it came to that bullying: blame the bullied equally with the bully. And of course, the bully considers it a victory for his ego if he gets his victim into trouble. Smart administrators figure that out and control the bully. But not in the SBL. Oh, they made new rules that were supposed to deal with the bully, but when push came to shove, they not only reneged, they denied they had any responsibility. Pfft.

That is why I am also no longer in the SBL.

As I’ve mentioned before, you can now follow me on my own blog: Ahcuah. There is now more content there than when I was writing here, because here I was always conscientiously working to write as a representative of the SBL. On my own, I don’t have to worry about that.

[The bully has now been rewarded and made one of the SBL moderators. Talk about clueless administrators.]

[Updated: To those who wonder about the truth of the above, you need only look at the recent example in one of the internal management groups: The bully attacked me again, by name, and the administrators did nothing until somebody defended me. Then, the remonstrance was a reply, not to the bully, but to the defender.]



Good for Use

March 11, 2011

There is an interesting study I just read about today: A glove on your hand can change your mind. In language, “right” is good and “left” is often bad (just look at the French word for “left”, gauche, or the Spanish word for left hand, siniestra, a cognate of sinister). It turns out, that really is related to our handedness. Studies show that left-handers, “left” is good. From the article:

In experiments by psychologist Daniel Casasanto, when people were asked which of two products to buy, which of two job applicants to hire, or which of two alien creatures looks more intelligent, right-handers tended to choose the product, person, or creature they saw on their right, but most left-handers chose the one on their left.

Admittedly, it is a subtle effect, but it is there nonetheless.

But here is the cool part: right-handers’ reactions could be changed by temporarily changing them into lefties. They did so merely by having the right-handers put on a rather awkward ski glove on their right hand for about 12 minutes. At that point the subjects started showing a preference for “left is good.”

How is this related to barefooting? There is no study extending this work to feet, but somehow I just want to think that maybe putting shoes on feet (much more awkward then even a ski glove) can also influence how one perceives good and bad in the world. Maybe that can account for the totally unreasonable reaction that bare feet often seem to elicit.

I guess we ought to call it shoddy thinking.

If Your Name is “Barefoot”

February 13, 2011

If your name is “Barefoot,” according to the Name Meaning and History page on

1. English: nickname for someone who was in the habit of going about his business unshod, from Old English bæra ‘bare’, ‘naked’ + fot ‘foot’. It may have referred to a peasant unable to afford even the simplest type of footwear, or to someone who went barefoot as a religious penance.

2. In some instances, probably a translation of German Barfuss, the northern form Barfoth, or the Danish cognate Barfo(e)d.

There is also another possibility. In “The East Anglian,” by Charles Harold and Evelyn White (1904), in a section on wills, the will of one Francis Barfoote was probated in 1598. In a footnote, the author adds the following:

This plebian name of Barefoot is identical with that of the aristocratic Warwickshire family of Hereford or Beresford, who held a manor in the neighbouring parish of Clopton in the fourteenth century. I have noted the following different spellings, which mark its degradation:—Bereford, Berford, Barford, Barforth, Barfoot, Barefoot.

“Beresford” means “beaver-ford”. So, just because your last name is “Barefoot” does not mean that you had an ancestor who was named that for going barefoot.

However, I can guarantee that if you go back far enough, you will find an ancestor (actually, many ancestors) who went barefoot all the time.

Two Feet of Snow

February 10, 2011

Via Dan in a comment. The image comes from The Worley Gig:

Two Feet of Snow

A Little Snow Fun

February 8, 2011

OK, this is just a bit of fun, with no deep significance at all.

We had about half an inch of snow at my house today, and I walked in it on my driveway while fetching the mail, leaving a nice set of snowprints. Here is one of them:


The cool thing is what happens if you use photo processing software to invert the image (sending dark to light and vice versa). It then actually looks like a cast of your foot. See for yourself:

Inverted Snowprint


Barefoot? or Barefooted?

December 26, 2010

So, which word do you use? My impression has always been that “barefooted” has a bit of a retro feel about it.

Anyways, Google now has a new tool, their Ngram Viewer. This searches through all of the books they have scanned and counts up the occurrences of the words you ask for.

Here are the results for “barefoot” vs. “barefooted”:

Click on image for the full-size version.

It appears that my impression was correct. Up until 1920 or so, “barefoot” and “barefooted” ran neck-and-neck, mostly. But suddenly in the 1920s, “barefoot” took the lead and rushed ahead, leaving “barefooted” in the dust.

I really don’t know why. But I can make some guesses that are pure speculation (and feel free to comment to leave your own guess). The 1920s is about the time when rural areas really started to industrialize. Rural electrification and radio started to spread, and even in rural areas folks were expected to wear shoes. As bare feet disappeared, they were discussed less, and the simpler, and more regular, “barefoot” came to the fore.

Also notice the jump in “barefooted” starting around 2000. I wonder if that is somehow related to media publicity the Society for Barefoot Living started to get around that time? As bare feet were talked about more, maybe that allowed more room (so to speak) for the alternative form.


December 10, 2010

Here’s a nice video from the German folk duo, “Tuó”:

“Tuó” is Tasmin Gutwald and Oda Tiemann.

The Wisdom of Dogs

September 23, 2010

Here’s what happens when you try to make a dog wear shoes.

Babies often react the same way.

Shoes are something that have to be inflicted. (OK, I’m joking there, but when folks have been wearing shoes for a long, long time, it may no longer be obvious that they first felt really unnatural, and turned off so much of our sensory input from the ground.)

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