Saturday, October 13, 2012

3641 Pretty feet, so there!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Polls reveal attitudes; they do not predict behavior.  Just because a poll says 50% of the polled will resign their job if X occurs doesn‘t mean that anyone will actually resign when X occurs.
We forget that attitude and behavior are, for obvious reasons, different.
-- [To keep in mind during this time of rampant OMG polls] --

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Have you ever heard of Morton's Toe? See http://www.integrative-healthcare.org/mt/archives/2010/12/mortons_toe_one.html.  That's where the second (index?) toe is longer than the big toe.

Believe it or not, it's considered a deformity, a disorder.  10% of the world's people have it.  The articles insist that 80% of the people who have it suffer foot pain, and it causes (domino effect) hip and back pain (and apparently practically every other pain in the body, including fibromyalgia and TMJ pain.  I think they're going a bit far with that.)

The Greeks considered it the height of beauty.  A Morton's Toe foot is called a Greek foot.  The non-Morton's are called Roman feet.  Most ancient Greek statues have Morton's Toes, and the statue of Liberty has them.  When I went to the Mensa world gathering in Orlando a few years ago, there were a few thousand Mensans from all over the world all wearing sandals, and I did my own informal survey.  Four out of five Mensans there had Morton's Toe.  That's an extremely high proportion.

Everyone in my family has it (so far as I know), so it never struck me as odd.  It makes the foot look nicely rounded, much prettier than those ugly feet with those sticking-out pointy big toes.

---------------------------------------------

The auction hall near my country house has scheduled an estate auction next Saturday.   (I bought most of my furniture there over the years.)  It's going to be a combination of a few estates, and one is Jimmy Cagney's.  "The" Jimmy Cagney, I wondered?  So I did some research.

It is his stuff.  He died about 26 years ago, so it's a bit late for his things to be auctioned.  Maybe it was a heir who's getting rid of some things.  Maybe his wife?  It turns out he had a large farm in Stanfordville, less than 20 miles from my country house, where he'd lived for the last 30 years of his life.  He enjoyed painting, and a few of his paintings will be auctioned, among other "smalls".

That was something interesting about that area.  There were/are a lot of very famous people living up there, and sometimes you'd see them on the streets or in the village shops, and nobody said boo, nobody takes photos, nobody asks for autographs.  No fuss.
.

3640 Quality in code and sex bunnies

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A good deal of tyranny goes by the name of protection.
-- Crystal Eastman --
 
-----------------------------------------------

If you're a masochist who is curious about the budget proposed by Paul Ryan, you can find all 98 pages of it at  http://budget.house.gov/uploadedfiles/pathtoprosperity2013.pdf.

------------------------------

When I worked for IBM, there was a lot of blather from management about "quality", but that's just what it was - blather.  We put out code that we knew was full of bugs, but we sent it out ON TIME, by damn!  We techies hated it.  Everybody said the word "quality" with a snort.  Yeah, sure.  What it came down to was that we had to beat the competition to market,  Period.  As far as sales and executives were concerned - "get it out first and fix it later", which eventually devolved to "get it out, and fix the bugs only if customers complain about them".

Well, judging by what I received the other day, that hasn't improved.  What really gets me is that there isn't even any competition in this instance - just maybe a due date to be met.

There's a website for employees.  I got an email saying that I should register for it.  This is how:  
Your IBM ID must have the format of a valid email address. It is uneditable and
  •     must be no longer than 80 characters
  •     must contain an '@' character that separates the user and domain values (example: yourid@ipsname.com)
[...later in the instructions, after the part about creating a password ...]  

If your IBM ID is over 32 characters or contains an "@" symbol, it may not give you access to certain password-protected parts of [the site].  This is a known, temporary condition, where a shorter, simpler IBM ID is required to access those areas properly. If you haven't already created a secondary IBM ID, return to the area where you had trouble signing in, and follow the 'Register' link from there to create one. 
 They have GOT to be kidding!  How could anyone send that crap out with a straight face?

---------------------------------

  Well, ladies, it looks like all the advances of the libbers in the '70s have not penetrated some areas.  The above photo accompanies one of those Yahoo sidebar ads, versions with captions like "One simple trick to beat the recession and make a fortune" or "One simple way to make a million dollars".

Take a good look.

Now, who is that ad addressed to?

And what does it say about women?

Apparently, a woman is still a thing to be owned, a reward for good work, good for one thing only, and we don't mind if she's a golddigger if she's got a chest full of silicone.

They could have shown him with a fancy car.  Car = woman, woman = car, same thing, same amount of respect.

Bah!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

3639 Apt!

Thursday, October 11, 2012 (before the debate)

Human beings are never more frightening than
when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right.
-- Laurens van der Post --

------------------------------------------------------------------

Aaaagh!  I just choked on a potato chip.   Field called Ryan "Eddie Munster in a suit"!
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-n2QGXwrfZuk/UHdQk3ldIII/AAAAAAAANV8/M098ckHcAYU/s1600/nx121011Vice_Presidential_De320x350-274x300.jpg

-------------------------------------------------------------

Update, during debate:   I WANNA VOTE FOR JOE FOR PRESIDENT!!!!
.

3638 Simplistic rant - don't bother reading.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

If your customs allow you to kill on the basis of religious, racial, material, political,
or ideological differences, then you are living in a barbarian society,
and you are a barbarian.
...[T]hose who engage in violence even to spread seemingly well intentioned
political ideologies are barbarians.
-- Michael Hachulski --

--------------------------------------------------------------

I'm hearing that CEOs are against Obama.  Not all - but the hand-picked ones are being trotted out, threatening layoffs.  Sheesh.  I can't think of a better reason to vote for Obama.  Yeah, sure, if he's elected you're going to kill your own personal golden goose?  Wait a minute.  I gotta find my violin.

And hey, Kodak wants to kill the health care plans for their existing retirees as a means to  emerge from bankruptcy.  Note that retirees are usually on medicare, so all Kodak is paying for is fill-in policies, and for dependents of retirees.  These are older folks and dependents with pre-existing conditions.  Um, did you do anything first about executive salaries?   And if you get Romney, what will these folks do when medicare is strangled, or disabled to the point that facilities will no longer accept it?  How about the 60-year-old dependent who is not yet eligible for medicare?

Oh yeah, I forgot.  Romney has a plan for them.  He said people who don't have health insurance can just go to ERs.  Is he unaware that the ER will just stabilize you, then if you don't have insurance you are not admitted for further care, you are just sent home?  Stabilized means you're not going to die in the next day or two.  The basic condition is not addressed.  That's Romney-care.

CEOs like that, I guess.

-------------------------------

Something to keep in mind - CEO jobs and salaries have not been impacted in the current environment.  The stock market isn't thrilled, but that's because large companies are not expanding.  They are sitting on capital, waiting.  They won't admit it, but they kind of like being able to dictate salaries and conditions to people and unions who are desperate for jobs.

"Don't like it?  Leave.  I can get another just like you for less."

What they don't seem to realize is that nobody's buying what they have to sell because nobody's sure of their jobs, your job could move to India or China next week, and if they have a job they haven't had a raise in six years.  Corporations don't seem to have made that connection.  Chicken and egg.

You can't keep taking away from your workforce, and then expect them to keep buying your crap.

That's the REAL trickle-down theory.
.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

3637 Bare Bones

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We cannot get rid of terrorism by getting rid of terrorists. We must
get rid of the conditions that create terrorists.
-- Silk --

----------------------------------------------------

Well, here I am.

There you are.

.......... crickets ............

I've got nothing.

Well, a little news.  The Nugget is going to school!

Ok, not really school.  She's going to a day care center three mornings a week, from 9 'til 2.  She gets a "report card" every day.  She likes "circle", stories, colors, and lunch.

This gives her Mommy some time for herself, too.

Nugget hasn't adjusted yet to the change in nap schedule, and since she started "school", she's been up several times during the night, which is upsetting her Daddy, Hercules.  Don't know how that's going to shake out.

Daughter had asked me a while ago to give her sewing lessons, but there was never time.  Well, there was time, but chasing the Nugget around used it up.  So now, after Daughter gets caught up on the list of things she hadn't been able to do for the past year and a half, maybe.

-------------------------------

I think my daughter may be trying to kill me.  Late last week she brought over some beef stew with lots of vegetables (she seems to think I don't eat right).  It was good, but it was loaded with sharp shards of bone that I wasn't expecting until I bit down on one.  She had smashed up a big marrow bone into it.

Today she brought over a chicken stew with potatoes, chick peas, carrots, and lots of stewed tomatoes in it.  Also lots of fingernail-sized bits of what looks like rib bone.  After I discovered the first one I tried to feel around for them in a mouthful (found an average of four or five per mouthful), but then I bit down on a sneaky one and it stabbed between a tooth and gum - so I threw the rest of the stew out.  It was very good, but it scared me.

I hope she's not feeding the Nugget that tonight.

Maybe I should call her and warn her.  On the other hand, she takes offense easily, and my complaining of bones twice within the space of a week will not be taken well.

I never was very good at diplomacy, no matter what my Dale Carnegie trophy says.
.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

3636 Institutionalized Misogyny

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact."
-- Bertrand Russell --

--------------------------------------------------------------

I found this from The Word Detective (http://www.word-detective.com/2012/10/grizzlygrisly/): 
"I actually thought, back in the 1990s, that the increasing popularity of the internet would be a boon for reading and language skills because, back then, reading was the only thing you could do online. Practice makes perfect, yadda yadda. Text is still the bulk of content online, but the catch is that much of it appears to have been written by drunken chipmunks, or perhaps just by people with a very shaky grasp of standard spelling. Oh well, things do fall apart. I used to joke about the inevitable arrival of a “point and grunt” interface for computers, but then the iPhone and iPad arrived, proving that true genius often consists of patenting the stupidest thing you can possibly imagine."
A man after my own heart.

-------------------------------

I found this at Roba's blog (http://www.andfaraway.net/blog/2012/10/08/an-awareness-of-the-universe/):
Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth.

Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star.

But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many – perhaps most – of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-sized heaven – or hell. [Emphasis mine - Silk]

How many of those potential heavens and hells are now inhabited, and by what manner of creatures, we have no way of guessing; the very nearest is a million times farther away than Mars or Venus, those still remote goals of the next generation.

The intro to Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey
(I have been unable to verify the source, since I don't happen to have a copy of the book here, and different publication dates tend to have different introductions anyway.  But I know Roba to be intelligent and well-read, so I'll take her word for it.)

Roba was remarking on how mind-blowing the size of the universe is.

Me, my first thought was, "Sheesh!  I didn't know Clarke was a Mormon!"

-------------------------------


Ok, now I get into religion.  It's just my opinion, and I'm allowed to have one, even if you disagree.  If I go straight to hell for it, so be it.  If you got here on a search and are tempted to blast me or strive to educate me in the comments, don't bother.  It isn't worth your time to compose or my time to delete, and I won't respond.

Basically, I don't respect The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Yes, they can be very nice people. That's not what I mean.  They shouldn't feel hurt; there are many sects and religions I don't respect.  Join the club.  I just respect you guys less.  A lot less.

What I don't respect are the beliefs.  I'm not talking about gold tablets or (early) polygamy or racist policies, although I have a hard time "getting" any of that.  What gets me is the frank misogynism.

Many religious systems, if not most, are misogynistic to a greater or lesser degree.  Women are considered lesser in the eyes of God, dirty, the bearer and source of sin, tempters.  I'm looking at you, Christians (Catholics in particular), Muslims, conservative Jews, in general any religion invented by (ok, divinely revealed to, if you insist) men of the male persuasion.  But at least in those religions, women are still children of God, even if they are allowed no voice or role.

Of all, Mormons are the worst offenders against women.

If you were born into a Mormon family I can understand why you stay.  We cling to what we know.  I'll give you a pass.  But I absolutely cannot respect someone's choice to convert to that religion.  I can understand why a man might.  The temporal (this life) advantages are enormous.  And the promised afterlife for a man is amazing. (I have a belief that whatever you truly believe will happen to you after death, does.  Any man who also believes that will absolutely love what the Latter Day Saints promise.)

However, I cannot understand why any intelligent, sane, self-respecting woman would convert to, consciously join, a church that tells women that they have no value to God or anyone else except as given to them by a human-type man.  Any woman who does must be missing one of those three attributes.

Here's how it works.  When a Mormon man dies, he becomes a god, literally, and gets a whole planet for himself to be the god of.  He can then populate the planet with women, as many as he wants apparently, who will be absolutely compliant to his wishes and are happy to act as sexually available handmaidens.

Women aren't so lucky.  When they die they don't go to "heaven" (a male god's planet) unless they are called to heaven by a man.  If no man calls them, they stay in torment for eternity.

Thud.

What does that tell women? They'd better find a man in this life and keep him happy until one or the other of them dies.  Shut up.  Be compliant.  In this religion, God doesn't consign you to Hell, a man does.  He can even do it by default. 

Of all the world's religions, this seems the most obviously designed by males, for males, period, the least spiritual religion of all (at least of all I know of).

I don't understand why ANY woman would believe that crap.  I can understand why men would want to, but they certainly get no respect from me for not saying, "Hey, this isn't right.  Something's wrong here."
.

Monday, October 08, 2012

3635 Treasure pits.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Carl Sagan: It doesn't pay to be so open-minded that your brains fall out.
-- Carl Sagan --

------------------------------------------------------------

Today I (again) came across the story of the Oak Island treasure pit.  Treasure hunters have dug down 150' into a booby-trapped shaft over the past 200+ years hoping to find pirate treasure.  Several people have died in the various attempts.  It's beginning to look well nigh impossible to get to any treasure that might be at the bottom.

Now, me, I'd never have tried so hard.  I'd figure that anyone who burys treasure wants to come back and get it.  Who would bother making it so difficult?  So whatever might be at the bottom was never meant to be disturbed, whether valuable or not, or, if there is anything there at all, it has no value anyway and no one ever wanted to get it back.

You don't hide something so well that even you can't recover it.

My mother learned that when she was about 10 years old.

Gramma had a pair of Staffordshire dogs that her mother, Great-Gramma, had brought from Wales.  Mom had a fine gold chain necklace she wanted to hide from her brothers, Richard and Raymond.  The dogs looked almost exactly like the ones at the link above, about 12" in height, with a tiny air-hole at the back of the neck. 

Mom decided that was the perfect place to hide her necklace - in one of the dogs.  She fed the end through the hole, and the instant she heard the clasp hit the bottom she knew she had screwed up.  There was no other hole in the dog.  There was no way to get the necklace out.

Gramma asked her one day where the necklace was.  Mom lied and told her she'd left it on her dresser, and it disappeared, one of the boys must have taken it.  Off course they denied having seen it.

Many decades later Gramma moved into a tiny assisted living apartment.  She gave one of the dogs to her sister's daughter, Annette (Mom's cousin), and the other dog to my mother. 

[Absolutely the wrong thing to do!  First of all, every pair of the original Staffordshires is unique and perfectly matched - the old molds were used only once and the hand gilding was unique to the painter - so you don't split them up!  Secondly, it caused a rift between the two previously close cousins.  Each coveted the other's dog.]

Well, when my mother got her dog, she shook it.  No rattle.  Annette had got her gold necklace, too.

--------------------------

I now own two pairs of the tall white Staffordshire dogs, one pair bought at auction, the other at an antiques fair.  Also two pair of smaller more colorful antique copies made for the lower class purchasers.

None of them rattle.
.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

3634 Exploding words

Sunday, October 7, 2012

"Rational arguments don't usually work on religious people. Otherwise,
there wouldn't be religious people."
--  Doris Egan  --

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I thought I knew what terrorism is.  I believed it to be acts or threats of violence designed to create fear in a group loosely represented by the target of the violence, for political purposes.  That word seems to have exploded.

According to the local police blotter, "acts of terrorism" and "terroristic threats" now include stuff like a guy standing on his neighbor's lawn brandishing a baseball bat threatening to kill the neighbor's dog if he doesn't keep it confined, or a guy setting fire to the car belonging to the guy who "stole" his girlfriend.

Um, didn't we already have terms for those acts?  Where's the political purpose?  How is it "terrorism", instead of threatening bodily harm, destruction of property, vandalism, whatever it used to be called?

I don't understand.

Likewise, I thought I understood what "bullying" is.  I believed a bully to be one who used size, strength, position, or credible threats to repeatedly coerce or intimidate another of lesser power, the key in the definition being that the bully starts with power over the victim, and the coercion is ongoing. The bully is not expressing anger.  It's simply an exercise in power to hurt.

This word also seems to have exploded.

News item of a few days ago:  A female TV news anchor received an email from a viewer who commented that he was disappointed in her because she was overweight, and said that as such she was not an good role model for youth.  She made the news by responding to that email on the air.  (First off, I don't understand why it was necessary for her to respond on the air, but that's not the point.)  In all of the articles I read, the guy was called a bully, and the story was linked to October being the anti-bullying month. 

Um, don't we already have terms for guys like that?  "Bully" isn't one of them.  He has no power over her at all, no power to injure her physically, financially, or socially.  It was one email where he proved himself a fool.  He did not bully her.  He did not attempt to coerce her.  He simply insulted her.

When we allow words like "terrorism" and "bullying" to explode, we weaken them.  People are using them to get an emotional reaction.  If we allow that to continue, eventually "terrorist" will simply mean "someone who frightened me" and "bully" will simply mean "someone who annoyed me".

We need to guard words to keep them pure.
.

3633 Getting to where I'll talk with wrong numbers?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished
unless they kill in large numbers
and to the sound of trumpets."
--  Voltaire  --

------------------------------------------------------------

I've been thinking more about post #3631, about the mortgage rates.  The more I think about it, the more interesting it gets.

If I carry a balance on the credit cards, it's oh, say, 9% or more.  The mortgage would be 2.75%.  The mortgage is obviously a cheaper loan.  If I invest the mortgage money, I'd make say 11-12% on it (I just checked those numbers and am surprised it's so high, given that 1/3 is in bonds that pay very low), and I'd pull from those investments as I need it to pay back the mortgage and pay for purchases that otherwise would have been on credit cards.  PLUS, I get a tax break on the mortgage interest whereas I don't get a break on credit card interest.  Of course, when I pull from investments, I'd have capital gains tax - but there's talk of eliminating capital gains tax, so ....

A difference of like 8-9% on paying out and bringing in?  Damn!

-------------------------------

I'm very socially isolated here.  For the past two years I've talked with almost no one, beyond occasional conversations with Becs and The Man.  Maybe weather and lawn care with neighbor George.  I see Daughter and the Nugget almost every day (except weekends, when they seem to go off somewhere), but I can't really talk with Daughter, and Nugget isn't speaking English yet.  About the only other people I see are store clerks.  None of those contacts involve much in the way of conversation, and certainly never about ideas.  About the only food for thought I get these days is from my reading, either books or internet.  I don't watch much TV and am rarely interested in movies.

Man, I never thought I'd find myself missing coworkers!

Know how you occasionally find little old ladies who leap on any eye contact to engage you in lengthy and desperate-seeming conversation?  Now I know where they come from.  At least I have the internet.

Daughter knows almost everyone on the street, and chit-chats with everyone.  I can't do that.  I don't know how to chit-chat.  Daughter is content with small talk.  I'm not.  Plus I've done the suburban housewife thing a few times in the past, and I just don't want to ever again get caught up in those petty spats and intrigues and social debts and imagined slights.   It leads to more trouble than it's worth.  And it's worse when you're a single woman.

I could have Mensa and various Meetup groups, but although I mark events on the calendar, I don't actually go to anything, mainly because I feel guilty that I'm not making any progress on either house, so it feels wrong to go gallivanting when there's so much that isn't getting done.  That keeps me pretty much nailed in the house (although it doesn't get me up off the chair in front of the laptop).  Besides, the Meetup people are, I don't know, not "deep"?  Again, there's petty spats and intrigues and social debts and competitions.  Some of those people are flat-out crazy.  Some are nasty.  Many are shallow.  I'm not desperate enough I guess to navigate those piranha-infested shoals.

I'm not lonely, though.  Oddly enough, it's not people-contact I'm missing.  If so, I'd get up and go to Mensa, Intertel, or Meetup stuff.  I'm pretty much content alone.  Always have been a bit of a loner.

What I miss is discussing ideas.

------------------------------

Bonus - Nugget 17-month update:

Sudden nap attack.

An installation at Grounds for Sculpture.


Grounds for Sculpture. Everything here except the littlest beer drinker is a statue.

.