News, Politics, and Culture from 14895

By John Tucker

Wiser’s Wramblings: Pellet Stove – Parallax and Surveys


By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels

Well, now that my household excitement is over, I guess I can resume my almost started “wrambling”. Sat down with laptop on my lap to start my column a few minutes after having fired up the pellet stove. Just as I started typing I was interrupted by a terrible rumbling, rattling sound, almost like an amplified card in the spokes of a bicycle if you are familiar with that childhood improvisational motor bike trick. Thought at first that someone with a loud rattling muffler had pulled into the driveway. I Jumped up to look out the basement/Family Room window and discovered the sound coming from my Pellet stove. I immediately turned it off and the sound gradually went away but smoke was seeping from all the pores of the stove. The exhaust vent pipe was too hot to touch so I suspect that there was, or at least had been, something burning in the pipe. Went outside to check the vent and no fire there but the vent diffuser was full of a burned, crusted, flaky residue that almost looked like melted plastic. Not sure what the problem is but I will have to disconnect the vent ducting and investigate further tomorrow now that everything has settled down.

Some of the News Feed sources like Yahoo, and others, are getting just as bad as the historic supermarket tabloid, National Enquirer. The banner or header shown below appeared as one of the “teaser” headings among the Yahoo News topic listing today. The subject of this particular business establishment was a hot ticket item several years ago and feelings are still present among locals regarding same.

Most likely wrapping up physical therapy sessions following a recent shoulder implant surgery, the therapist had me complete a survey similar one I was given when I began the therapy. I say similar as at least one particular, question was omitted. Given my history of arthritis related joint and body repair and parts replacements, I have on numerous occasions completed these surveys. I don’t know who invents these things but there is no logic to how they are designed. With my experience I dare say I could do a much better job developing a survey more appropriate for nearly all of those I have taken.

Two major flaws are built into these surveys. First off, the survey preceding the surgery is so generic that it is ridiculous. The ones I have taken are designed such that they would be appropriate only if the medical procedure is for a “sustained injury” and the questions designed to determine: “On what date did the injury occur?”, or “Was this a ‘work related injury’?” The surveys are designed to generically cover a broad range of characteristics. Some of the surveys develop a numerical score. If the question is not pertinent to your procedure, then answering inappropriately, or not at all, affects your score.

My recent surgical procedure was performed on my non-dominant arm. That being the case, how can I correctly answer the question; “Can you open a tight jar lid?”, or, “Do you have difficulty writing?” Since I write with the right hand and don’t use the hand on the arm that underwent the surgery, how can I answer that without affecting the numerical score developed from the answer. It is significant. A simple fix to the above would be to have an answer selection such as “Not Applicable” and as such would not be counted in the numerical rating.

I mentioned previously that the before and after surveys asked the same questions, with at least one exception. The incoming patient survey following the shoulder joint replacement, asked: “Did this procedure affect your sex life?” I kid you not. It actually asked that. I did not answer that question with a Yes or No, but rather, I noted a comment. I will not divulge what that comment was.

I have often bemoaned the difficulties of typing on a smart device keyboard and the inherent typing mistakes therefrom. The size of the keys relative to your finger or thumb is only part of the problem. Parallax vision, at least to me, is the most significant cause of typing mistakes. If unfamiliar with that term it is most easily illustrated by closing one eye and pointing at an object. Keeping your finger in the same place, open the closed eye and close the other. Your finger now points off to the side of the object. Actually, something similar to this is used to determine your “dominant” eye. With both eyes open point at an object. Then, close one eye and see if your finger lines up with the object. Open that eye and close the other. One or the other will be pointing at the object, while the other isn’t. Your dominant eye is the one that will be pointing at the object and not off to one side or the other.

Back to the typing correlation. I find that when typing on these small keyboards I often end up typing the letter next to the one I thought I was typing. This is all due to the parallax effect. On a larger keyboard where I can utilize my learned typing skills, not looking at the keys, I don’t have that problem. Good high school course choice by picking typing over driver’s education.

Speaking of typing. I have another problem with keyboarding, especially using Facebook wherein I often end a “smartass” comment with a smiley face or winking face emoji. To enter the emoji you select it from the screen or type 😉 (😉), then press enter/return and it displays the emoji. In my mind I have pressed the enter/return key and that ended my sentence. NOT! I usually discover this after I have continued through about 25 posts and then, when trying to leave Facebook or to open something else, I get an error message box indicating that I have something still open and do I want to “leave” or “stay on the page”. I then need to start scrolling back through all of the posts until I find the one that didn’t close after the emoji. I need to press the enter/return key once more to end the statement so I can move on.

Finally, after 55 years of marriage to a lefthanded wife, I have learned how to (when to) twist the tie wrap backwards.

Has anyone received an Amazon shipment in the light grey or whitish colored envelope that isn’t filthy? Doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter, those packages are absolutely, filthy. So are the boxes but it’s not as obvious.

I absolutely love our language and someday soon will do a column expanding on: “sound alike”, “spelt alike” or “meaning alike” words. I empathize with anyone trying to learn our language. Despite the hundreds of thousand words available I still make up some of my own, as I think they are more descriptive than any real ones available. The other day I made up the word “jeopardose” to use when talking about the “unvaxxed” exposing others. It was a blended mutation of jeopardize and dose. Having commented on a Facebook post already being populated by those who take exception to being called out for not being vaccinated, it drew immediate attention. I was told that being critical of others, especially while “grammarly ignorant” and uneducated, was inappropriate. The kind lady showed me the correct spelling of “jeopardize. I explained my intentional misspelling, but the lady just would not accept the notion that I had done it on purpose. I tried to educate her (my sarcasm intended) as to the use of cacography to intentionally misspell words as a form of satire. (Disclaimer…I knew there was a name for my intentional misspell but did have to look up what it was). She said I was just making excuses for my ignorance.

Ever wonder why the word “anal”, is the root of such words as: analyze, analysis, analytics etc.

Over the past few weeks, I have been basking in the luxury of much improved Internet connectivity. For some unexplained reason My Spectrum service, at least as far as internet is concerned, has been more than acceptable. TV still suffers from “Buffering” occasionally, but I hadn’t been frozen or dropped when trying to access online links. The only explanation I can come up with, and this seems unreasonable, is this improvement started within a few days of a go around I had with a number of Spectrum customer service agents, including a couple of managers.

At the beginning of the college basketball season, I attempted to swap one of the channels, from my Spectrum Choice package which we never watch, with ESPN. St. Bonaventure had some games coming up on ESPN which I wanted to watch. They would have nothing to do with a straight swap and worked hard to get me to sign up for a more costly plan. In every one of the several calls I made to Customer Service regarding the swap, I complained about my current internet driven TV performance and threatened to leave Spectrum for a different provider. At one point one of the “reps” almost had me sold on upgrading by offering a very attractive pricing break. When we started finalizing the terms things started to fall apart. They wanted to start adding in costs that they had forgotten to mention. I advised the next manager I dealt with that I was going to end my subscription as soon as the end of that pay cycle came up.

Within two weeks of that conversation my internet service improved dramatically, however TV buffering remains. Of course, now that I naively updated to Windows 11, I seem to have re-kindled some of the problems, but I don’t think it’s due to Spectrum.

Thanks for reading. If you would like to comment to, or critique, any of my thoughts or writings you are welcome to send an email to  

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