Saturday, March 07, 2009

2299 Symmetry

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The left-to-right, superficial bilateral symmetry of the mammalian body is a very good design. When you find something odd on one side of your cat (or yourself), you can check the other side, and if it's there too, you can relax.

2298 Thinking it over

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I resigned from The Company three times, and they hired me three times. They even gave me the same serial number each time, and updated my hire-in date to show continuous service. If I wanted to go back to work now, I'm fairly sure they'd find something for me. I have an impressive folder. But, looking over the past forty years, I realize now that starting with them was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Bad choice. I hated every moment with them. I should have stayed in teaching, something I loved.

(Of course, then maybe I would not have met Jay, which is one of the few things I did right. On the other hand, it turned out we'd been circling each other for decades before we met, so maybe we'd have met even without The Company. I don't know.)

Two out of three of my marriages were to the wrong men. Bad choices. There were reasons, of course, for why they sort of looked right at the time, but there were also negative signs, and I ignored them.

Having a medical scare makes you look at where you are now, what you're doing, what you really want compared to what you have. Reevaluate the path you've chosen.

I don't know what I'll do about it, but I want more.

I want to live in a warm place, without snow.

I want a man I can go to for hugs when I need them, without getting a lecture as to why it's impossible this week.

I want to make things, to create.

I want a clean neat house.

I've gotta think about this.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

2297 Not Helping My Mood

Ok. Read this New York Times piece:

Opinions? Sorry, I can't give mine without using a bunch of bad words I can almost guarantee you've never heard before. But I'll give you a hint. It's not enough that he raped her, but the Church doesn't care if he ultimately kills her (oh, wait, they probably figure that she seduced him, so shares the sin, oh, wait, she's female so she has no standing in the church anyway, and nine-year-old kids are fair game anyway). And who's going to take care of the babies? Oh, yeah, since he's the father, he can take responsibility when he gets out of jail. They might be about 8 by then, just the right age.

2296 Dear Folks,

Attention: "formally known as" and "formerly known as" are NOT the same, even if you do insist upon pronouncing them the same!


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

2295 Sexting (I hate that word!)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The plumber came by. He's going to put a new silt filter in on Friday, in a more accessible spot. Another $300.

Why do people feel like they have to make up new words? "Sexting" = sending text messages with sexual content. It's not just sending text, though. It includes emailing and posting on the internet.

The Massachusetts Berkshire County DA has decided to get tough with teens (and anyone else) who sends, receives, or forwards photos or messages with sexual content involving minors. The kids are taking explicit photos of themselves or others and passing them around, or posting them on social sites like Facebook, and he's threatening to charge them with kiddy porn. Very good story here, the official DA site, with (what I find to be) shocking statistics.

A lot of people are blaming the technology for the rash of topless teens out there.

It's not the technology to be blamed. It's worse. It's a whole social atmosphere of "anything goes", and "why not". It's ordinary street clothes that look like lingerie. Office attire that flashes parts of the body normally kept private. It's expectations out of control, expectations expecting to be met.

It's not the technology. Victorians sketched. It's what one did. And it was not unusual for a young man finding himself alone with a woman and a sketch pad and a pencil to ask her if she'd be willing to take off her top for art. And the young lady would raise her eyebrows, laugh at him, and keep her top on. Hey, it didn't hurt to ask.

When I was in high school and college, every so often a guy would get hold of a Polaroid camera, and he'd ask, beg, hopping from one foot to another in anxiety, and the girl would raise her eyebrows, laugh at him, and keep her top on. Hey, it didn't hurt to ask.

Now the girls often are taking the photos themselves. Nobody has to ask.

There's something very wrong with their thinking.

I blame Madonna, and all those who followed in her footsteps.

2294 Progression and other bits

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Still sick, but it's different now. My throat isn't sore, and my muscles feel a little better, but the coughing has kicked up to where I can't talk without coughing, and when I cough I wet my pants. Add a mild diarrhea and a strange weakness in my legs (I'm walking like I'm drunk), and I'm still miserable.

People have asked "What are you taking for it?" and offer me Z-Packs and decongestants, and recommend aspirin. I believe this is a virus, so antibiotics are counter-productive. There is no congestion. I'm coughing because the back of my throat is super dry. I'm not taking aspirin for the fever, because I believe fever (as long as it's not out of control) is the body's way of fighting invaders - a way to make the body inhospitable to colonization. So I'm doing hot soaks, gargling with mouthwash, sucking on honey-lemon drops, and resting. I slept 13 hours last night. I figure I've got two more days of miserable, followed by two weeks of coughing, and then it will be over.


I assume by now everyone has heard about the woman who was ticketed for breastfeeding her baby and talking on the cell phone at the same time, while driving her other children to school. The baby's head was resting on the steering wheel (think "air bag"). She says that when she gets out of jail, she'll probably do it again, because when the baby's hungry, he needs to be fed.

She's an idiot.


In other news, there's the saga of the the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition family in Atlanta whose deteriorating one-story ranch was replaced by a $450,000+ castle.

I always wondered about that show - when a modest house is replaced by a mini-mansion, the taxes have got to go up, utilities have to be much higher, and how do the families manage the taxes and general upkeep? Well, it turns out that the show gives them enough money to pay the taxes for 25 years (around here, for a house that size, that's over $200,000). Plus this family in Atlanta was given college tuition money, and a car, and I don't know what else.

So, they've got a brand new $450,000+ 5,000+ sq ft house with no mortgage, 25 years worth of taxes, and tuition money.

What did they do? They went to the bank and got a $450,000 equity loan on the house, ostensibly to start a business, which apparently was never started.

So, let's see. They have $450,000 from the bank, cash for 25 years worth of taxes, and who knows what else. They never made any payment on the loan, and are giving the house to the bank, and walking away with the money.

Ya gotta admire the gall. They can buy another reasonably-sized house and still have a half a million left over. Neighbors and the community volunteers who worked on the house are justifiably pissed.

Apparently it's not a rare problem. Other recipients of the show's largess have done the same thing - used the house for collateral for loans they can't repay.

So, now, how do I apply for the show? I could use a quick half-million....

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

2293 Sick

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I'm sick. Miserable. Saturday at the tax clinic I had a minor choking episode - water went down the wrong way and the little trap door in there spasmed and snapped shut and I couldn't breathe for a bit. Trying to clear it tore up my throat. I thought at the time, "Uh oh. This is going to cause a problem. Highway for germs, and there's a lot of them here today."

I now have a raging sore throat, slight fever, headaches, and body aches. Probably a virus. My scalp itches like mad, and that's often a sign (with me) of major immune system activity. I took a long hot bath, and now I'm even more miserable. I used a eucalyptus bath salt that was supposed to be good for aching muscles, and now I smell like I bathed in Vicks Vaporub. Worse, the muscles still ache.


Monday, March 02, 2009

2292 Still Feeling Mean

Monday, March 2, 2009

Back when I had to hide this blog, I did it by unchecking the setting that allowed search engines to find it, and by changing the URL.

Unchecking the setting was easy. Changing the URL was not.

I had a half-dozen or more possible names in mind, but when I tried to use them, Blogger told me that the name was already in use. So I'd go to that URL to see who was using it and what they were doing with it, and I'd find a five-year-old blog with one five-year-old test post. That happened over and over.

My first choice was (of course). That one exists, contains 10 entries from two months in mid-2002. Why is she still sitting on it?

Look, folks, if you don't want to use the name, give it back! Unregister it. Release it for Blogger to let someone else use it!

Or maybe Blogger should contact the owners who haven't posted in a year or two (they have an email id connected to the blog), and if there's no further action within a certain period, the blog is unregistered and deleted. If nothing else, think of all those moribund blogs sitting out there taking up storage. Will they live forever?

What started this rant was my finding the other day a blogger who was lamenting the great ideas he had, but had no time to implement. He then proceeded to list thirty-one blog names/URLs and what he had planned to fill them with - mostly news and innovations in aspects of his profession and related areas.

I checked. Yeah, he had started all of them three to seven years ago, and none of them had anything in them. Thirty-one good descriptive blog names/URLs, and he had locked them up and then didn't use them.

Thanks fella. From me on principle, and from other members of your profession who might have made better use of those URLs.

2291 Feeling Mean, Feeling Smug

Monday, March 2, 2009

I'm feeling particularly mean today. Annoyed. A lot of anger. I can't blast it at the source, but it's got to come out somewhere, so fasten a seat belt.

There are certain people whose blogs one should never read:
- Anyone you know in real life and want to like.
- Anyone you work with and need to not dislike.
- Any relatives it's inconvenient to dislike.

Yeah. I've about had it with a one o'them.

He is a very intelligent, capable, hard worker. Dependable. Gracious. This is all such good stuff. He cultivates an external appearance of modesty, humbleness, and sweetness. He credits his good fortune to God. You can't help but like him at first.

But after a while it changes.

In his blog he admits to small failures and imperfections, makes gentle fun of himself. But then you start to notice arrogance, and pride in his very lack of pride, if that makes any sense. That's the part that bites my tail the most.

Where one person would say, "I just did this thing, and wow, I was so lucky, it worked out so well, let me tell you about it", he will say, "I worked hard finding out about all about this thing, and then I did this and this, and it worked very well, and it could work as well for you, too, if you're willing to put as much thought and work into it as I did, you could do it too."

Gee. Thanks for your confidence in the rest of us.

Then he follows that up with a reminder of how modest and humble and grateful he is. That makes my teeth hurt.

You know, it's ok to be arrogant. It's ok to take credit when you know you did a good job. It's ok to be what you are, whatever that is. There's at the very least honesty and integrity in that. It's the false pose that bugs me.

I think I'm going to have to let him go.


If I'm the same way, I apologize. But I don't think I pretend to be modest.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

2290 Lasting Media, lasting fur

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I yell at the TV a lot. I yelled at "Sunday Morning" today. They'd done a piece on how a lot of material produced only a decade ago cannot now be read, because the program under which it was produced no longer exists, or the device for reading or playing it is obsolete. They called it "data rot". ***

And then the reporter said, "There never has been and never will be a format that lasts forever."

I exploded.

I have actually TOUCHED the Rosetta stone! I have seen prehistoric cave paintings in Europe, and traced runes carved into the walls of megalithic tombs. People are still reading Sumerian clay tablets. I personally own 150-year-old books and photographs, and by damn I can still read them.

"Never has been" indeed. Stupid child. What is now is not what has always been. Once upon a time we did it better in terms of lasting through eternity.


***Actually, that's not "data rot". Data rot is when the data on the storage device weakens, deteriorates, disappears. For example, the data on a well-stored vinyl phonograph record does not deteriorate, because it's physical, on a stable base. The data on well-stored magnetic tape or disks will deteriorate all by itself. That's data rot. That's what Jay's father was working on before the Alzheimer's hit him - trying to find the least expensive way to preserve the data on CDs and DVDs, which also deteriorate over time.

What the reporter was referring to is more properly called "technological creep".


I wore my fake silver fox jacket to the deli today, and the clerk asked if it was real. (I have two fakes, and the silver is a pretty good fake. The other is a longer brown fake beaver, and that one is very frankly fake.) The clerk agreed that the fox was a good fake, and asked if I ever had people get nasty because I was wearing "fur".

It's funny. The only time I've had any problem was when I was wearing a very frankly fake. I mean it was so fake it was dull, fuzzy, and matted.

One day I was standing in line at the grocery store, wearing that jacket. The woman behind me in line was being very loud, saying things like that the smell of death was nauseating her, that she despised people who killed for vanity, blah blah blah, and - note that she was wearing leather shoes and had meat in her basket, and that (um, I forget the word, but it's when you say one thing and do another) annoyed me.

She kept getting louder and louder.

Anyhow, after I'd paid the bill and was about to leave, I turned to her and said, very loudly, "Hey. A little respect here. Twenty polyesters died to make this coat."

She reared back and blustered a bit, and said,"And I'm sure it looked better on them!"

The entire grocery store cracked up.