Sunday, September 19, 2010

Altered memories

In a conversation last night with my oldest daughter's boyfriend, we were talking about memories and how they are not really stored as "facts" but more along the lines of associations. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why people have an altered perception of how we each remember something.

However, it surprises me something as recent as the 2008 elections is being re-written by some as to how things really were. Perfect example, this piece by Jennifer Rubin -- LINK, specifically this one part:

After the across-the-board defeats in 2008, conservative pundits didn’t rail at the voters. You didn’t see the right blogosphere go after the voters as irrational (How could they elect someone so unqualified? They’ve gone bonkers!) with the venom that the left now displays

At first I wondered where Rubin was during the 2008 election, where the anger, angst, name calling and general insults began from the right side of the blogosphere during the primary and continued on into the general. I'm not going to play the revisionist game and pretend I was an Obama supporter, I wasn't. Nor am I going to pretend some of the left were any better behaved, they weren't.

However, voter bashing took place and is still continuing to this date, where the blame game is traded by both parties in the never ending game of trying to convince voters each party is the lessor of two evils.

Need some examples of how the right dissed Obama voters?

Here's a classic 2008 moment that the right blogosphere had all kinds of fun with.

Obama Voters = Mentally Stupid and similar post titles were rampant in the blogosphere. The right went after Obama voters with the same passion some on the left went after Palin as far as the insult train.

Part of the problem we face right now is the absence of truth. We are responsible for this because some of us don't want to know the truth, some of us only want to know the truth if it suits our own political philosophical agenda and some of us aren't sure what the truth even is anymore...

A great way to start towards a more truthful society is to stop the bullshit when it comes to pretending one side treats the other with more respect. Maybe some of us do, but there are extremes at both ends that at the end of the day really don't act very different at all.

The internet which could be the greatest tool to bring us forward at times becomes nothing more than a virtual playground. "They started it!" needs to be replaced with "Grow the hell up!"

Dress success

My oldest daughter had been searching for the perfect dress to wear to a wedding in a few weeks. She looked at women's clothing catalogs, online stores and found a few dresses she liked, but the ones she did like were pretty expensive. Since I'm visiting her in AZ right now, we headed off to the mall today to see what we could find. I spotted a dress that was a bit different of a style for her, but I thought it would look amazing on her.

It did.

It was on sale.

Dress success.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

History of Insults

Since I don't take them to heart, but instead have fun pointing out the history, finding this site -- that shares the history of insults was a fun experience.

What I find interesting is that most of the earlier insults were directed to intelligence instead of being insults directed at a person's character or looks.

A personal favorite:
I was delighted to see that nincompoop is the fertile mother of children, such as nincom (1800, simply a shortened form) and nincompoopery (1900). The latter is used to describe foolishness or stupidity. Sinclair Lewis says, for example, in Arrowsmith: "Were they, in their present condition of nincompoopery, worth any sort of attention?" I was delighted to see that nincompoopiana developed around 1880, though it was used as a name for a late 19th century aesthetic movement. The London Times explained this in 1970: "'Nincompoopiana' began in the 1880s and was triggered off by the aesthetic movement which rebelled against the pretty and the respectable, and by the 'new woman.'" Very very nice, isn't it? Finally, there is nincompoopish (1852) which means "characteristic of or resembling a nincompoop." And, why was it invented in 1852, in America no less? Possibly because this was the height of the "Know-Nothing" movement in American politics. From 1852: "It is perhaps the deepest misfortune which should befall mankind now, that for the ensuing Presidential term the rule of the United States should be in the hands of the nincompoopish or the imbecile."

I am emboldened by all of this to try to make up my own words. How about a nincompooper? You could imagine several things that such a person would do. Or nincompoopdom, as the place where they tend to congregate? The possibilities, though not endless, are multifarious.

Cigars or cigarettes...

Still on the topic of smoking, a few of my friends both male and female are into cigar smoking. It's something I've not tried, though I have tried the whole tobacco hookah experience since some of my daughters and their friends are into that. Most of my cigar smoking friends are not into discount cigars -- they go for the more pricey products and claim that it's a moment that they savor. I'd be afraid after years of inhaling smoke, I'd be a bad cigar smoker...

It's electric...

A few months back, I was supposed to review an electronic cigarette, but apparently one of my neighbors either received my package by mistake and decided to keep it for themselves or some other postal mishap happened since I never received the package. Hence I've still wondered if that or any of the electronic cigarette usa brands out there actually do work and how. I've heard anecdotal stories from friends of friends, but not anyone directly yet as to the electric smoke experience compared to the traditional cigarette.

So, if you've actually tried it? Let me know. Yes, I know smoking is not considered healthy, so lectures on my vice are not necessary.


More fun with hate mail...

Another supporter of Rich Iott for Congress that was not happy with my piece in the Toledo Free Press where I raised questions about his treatment of several college students and his making derogatory comments about residents of third world nations, e-mailed me last week.

Some of the words used by those who were unhappy with this reporting of public record information are not ones I'd use on my blog. However, one that gave me the most fun was "I've met braindead monkey's smarter than you are" -- I emailed the Iott supporter back, "Where exactly are you guys hanging around with brain dead monkeys? Is that normal?"

For some reason, he didn't e-mail me back...

Dumb as a Door Knob

A recent hate e-mail stated I was "as dumb as a door knob" which made me wonder, how did door knobs end up with such a bad rap...

It's actually an English insult that originally was "dumb as a doornail" -- a doornail was the nail/plate behind a door knocker. When one knocked on the door, this doornail was abused. Since few people have these door knockers now days, the saying at some point became "door knob" instead of "door nail." So there we have a quick educational moment thanks to a yahoo who doesn't like my research abilities.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

8% unemployment was not promised - it was predicted

We can debate the virtues of the stimulus package as to how effective it was, however it's a bit intellectually dishonest to state that there was a promise that unemployment would be 8% if the stimulus package was passed. There was a prediction and it was one that was couched with the reality of the uncertainty of our current economy.

The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan is where the chart is that is creating the controversy. Yet if one were to actually read the 14 pages you'd have a different view -- one part:

It should be understood that all of the estimates presented in this memo are subject to significant margins of error. There is the obvious uncertainty that comes from modeling a hypothetical package rather than the final legislation passed by the Congress. But, there is the more fundamental uncertainty that comes with any estimate of the effects of a program. Our estimates of economic relationships and rules of thumb are derived from historical experience and so will not apply exactly in any given episode. Furthermore, the uncertainty is surely higher than normal now because the current recession is unusual both in its fundamental causes and its severity.

That's not a promise, it's predictions...

Saturday, September 04, 2010

We have the same anti -war movement and not the same passion.

If you have wondered what's happened to the anti-war effort after President Obama was elected, you'll want to read - Anti-war groups battle for survival. One part of the recommended piece:
“We don’t have a very vibrant anti-war movement anymore,” lamented Medea Benjamin, founder of Code Pink, one of the anti-war movement’s most visible organizations. “The issues have not changed very much. … Now we have a surge [in Afghanistan] that we would have been furious about under George Bush, yet it’s hard to mobilize people under Obama. We have the same anti -war movement and not the same passion.”

The real question will be what will happen the next presidential cycle.

What killed the video card?

My husband is into online games that require a video card that is above the one that's on my computer (which is the most expensive computer in the house) and was above my daughter's computer that he is using by proxy after his died. Some computers, like mine, have built in video cards, those who don't? Are much easier to replace, which is what he did, he purchased an upgraded video card for the computer he's using after several days of withdrawal from Combat Arms...

Men are reviewed in the Times far more often than women

What's going to be interesting is if anything changes after the recent focus on accusations being made that the New York Times book review process is preferential to white males. Slate does a nice job in summarizing as well as researching the fiction aspect in -- Fact-Checking the Franzenfreude. One tiny part:
We compared men to women and then highlighted the authors whose books had been singled out for the one-two punch of a weekday review and a review in the Sunday Times Book Review.
Here's what we found.
Of the 545 books reviewed between June 29, 2008 and Aug. 27, 2010:
—338 were written by men (62 percent of the total)
—207 were written by women (38 percent of the total)
Of the 101 books that received two reviews in that period:
—72 were written by men (71 percent)
—29 were written by women (29 percent)
What does this tell us? These overall numbers pretty well line up with what other studies have found: Men are reviewed in the Times far more often than women. One crucial bit of information missing, of course, is the percentage of all published adult fiction that has been written by men vs. women. As for the double reviews, men seem to get them twice as often as women.

You may also want to read the XX Factor and Lionel Shriver's I write a nasty book. And they want a girly cover on it.

I wrote a book, though no publisher was interested, I self published. So, I can't comment personally on how I was treated. Though I do thank the many who have bought In Memory Of: The Loved and the Forgotten of Ohio.

Misplaced priorities in spending...

Misplaced priorities in education are really clear when you read this Wall Street Journal article on the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex in California.

At $578 million—or about $140,000 per student—the 24-acre Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools complex in mid-Wilshire is the most expensive school ever constructed in U.S. history. To put the price in context, this city's Staples sports and entertainment center cost $375 million. To put it in a more important context, the school district is currently running a $640 million deficit and has had to lay off 3,000 teachers in the last two years. It also has one of the lowest graduation rates in the country and some of the worst test scores.

It's a scenario that's repeated in other districts, though not quite at the same level of grandeur, millions spent on buildings in districts that don't have enough money to pay salaries, provide transportation or buy books...

I love eHow

There are some mechanical repairs that can not be done easily by the average home mechanic, but there are some that can. My daughter's boyfriend recently got a used car that needs some work. Some of what it needs I know is beyond my husband's abilities as a weekend mechanic, but using sites like eHow help determine if it's possible or not.

As an example, their project -- changing the power steering pump is marked "moderately easy" -- this means they have a good chance of pulling it off and being able to save the boyfriend almost $200.00 depending on how much the tool rental is.

eHow also confirms for me that one of the other car repairs is not something they want to attempt -- replacing a tie rod since that is "moderately challenging."


Thursday, September 02, 2010

It's almost UGG time again...

At first I resisted UGG's but after I borrowed a pair of one of my daughter's I have to admit I was a taken in by the comfort and the look. The girls also own some knock off of UGG's but I've found they don't last more than one winter, if that. My red suede boots have lasted two winters, they'll make it into a third though it's time to start thinking about replacing them. Hence my finding the pair pictured when looking through merrell shoes online. Granted, they aren't red, but they look pretty neat and hopefully the price will drop a bit more in the near future....

Larry Sabato & the Crystal Ball

The predictions are out:

2010 was always going to be a Republican year, in the midterm tradition. It has simply been a question of degree. Several scenarios were possible, depending in large measure on whether, or how quickly, the deeply troubled American economy recovered from the Great Recession. Had Democratic hopes on economic revitalization materialized, it is easy to see how the party could have used its superior financial resources, combined with the tendency of Republicans in some districts and states to nominate ideological fringe candidates, to keep losses to the low 30s in the House and a handful in the Senate.

Given what we can see at this moment, Republicans have a good chance to win the House by picking up as many as 47 seats, net. This is a "net" number since the GOP will probably lose several of its own congressional districts in Delaware, Hawaii, and Louisiana. This estimate, which may be raised or lowered by Election Day, is based on a careful district-by-district analysis, plus electoral modeling based on trends in President Obama's Gallup job approval rating and the Democratic-versus-Republican congressional generic ballot (discussed later in this essay). If anything, we have been conservative in estimating the probable GOP House gains, if the election were being held today.

In the Senate, we now believe the GOP will do a bit better than our long-time prediction of +7 seats. Republicans have an outside shot at winning full control (+10), but are more likely to end up with +8 (or maybe +9, at which point it will be interesting to see how senators such as Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and others react). GOP leaders themselves did not believe such a result was truly possible just a few months ago. If the Republican wave on November 2 is as large as some polls are suggesting it may be, then the surprise on election night could be a full GOP takeover. Since World War II, the House of Representatives has flipped parties on six occasions (1946, 1948, 1952, 1954, 1994, and 2006). Every time, the Senate flipped too, even when it had not been predicted to do so. These few examples do not create an iron law of politics, but they do suggest an electoral tendency.

It is however not predicted at this point that Ohio's gubernatorial race will change parties...

Text books online

College text books can be expensive, my bunch that is and was in college always tried to find their books online, used whenever possible to save money. Then when they had completed a course, if it was one a friend or a sibling was not going to take in the very near future they'd sell books from those courses online instead of back to the college bookstore. Most times they ended up with enough money from their old text books to buy the books needed for the next semester.