Flimsy Sanity: November 2007

Flimsy Sanity

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What Would Carl (Sagan) Do

Thanks to Sparrow Chat's Bob Adams for his sidebar posting of this video.


Check this out for next halloween. I had tar on the floor and used WD40 to get it off, but I also used kerosene and it did the trick too. Makes you wonder about the formula simularities, I know the old folks used kerosene for everything.

Christmas Charity

I have a lot of trouble giving to organized charities because of the high overhead thing and requirements about religious affiliation. This year, I am going to just give food to the food bank (here it is in the Presbyterian church) and ask if heathens can eat too. If not, I will just wander around looking for people who look hungry.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pets Should Find You

On the radio today, a lady was looking for a dog to replace the one she had to put down. Please, please don't do that - it never works out. My sister had a schnauzer poodle cross that they loved and tried to replace with another and it was a disaster. When my dog Collateral died, I ran to the pet store and bought one that ended up looking a lot like her and that dog and I clashed. Please LADY (like Jerry Lewis said) just be patient and the perfect dog for you will come to you like magic. I THINK SO ANYWAY.

Wouldn't It be Nice?

When I was a kid, I think the favorite food gift I could have wanted was the variety cereal packs with all the choices of dry cereal. We ate lots of oatmeal and cream of wheat (mostly because my brother was in charge of cooking breakfast while we were doing chores and that is what he liked).

Wouldn't it be nice if you could buy variety packs of dog food, lay them out for your dog and see which one she chooses instead of forcing your preference on them?

I went to Google pictures to get a dog one and there were 34 million entries. Ha

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Insulting the Cook

I had two delicious broccoli based dishes today. At the Nelson's deli, they have a salad made with broccoli, raisins, sunflower seeds and something else that was charming. Then tonight I had supper with my dog sitters at the Chinese Restaurant that straddles the area between Main and Bridge and had a perfectly prepared vegetable and tofu dish with the fancy little corns, broccoli, water chestnuts, and a few other ingredients. Absolutely excellent and the sauce was perfect.

Here is my problem. Since I misplaced my dentures, the broccoli that was correctly cooked al dente was too hard to eat. I could have just explained why I needed it cooked a little more and had it done with, but I didn't want to insult a good cook.

I should try and think - What Would Ray Do. While I was in the psych unit, excitement was generated by spectacular tirades by a guy named Ray who was on so many medications that my heart ached. I actually think he was so bored with the procedures and he just performed his act to break up the monotony for the rest of us. He couldn't sleep (most people with mental illness have sleeping problems) and was perfectly quiet in the mornings when everyone else was sleeping - that is why I am so sure it was an act. Ray would find out what people's dreams were and then show them a way to work toward them, but most people were lured with the idea that Ray might have money and would just gift their dream to them, after all this was MAYO and even Putin gets his checkup there.

I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to laugh so hard your stomach hurts after you have been depressed for ten years and Ray would cut through the crap and get to the heart of the matter in a couple words and always loudly. He was so interesting because everything that came from his mouth was unexpected. The food there was spectacular and they sent around a form for us to grade the food. They asked Ray what he thought, expecting a compliment, I suppose. Ray yelled, "It made me shit."

When he wanted some assistance, he would yell over and over for it and the nurses would walk very, very slowly to his room. Sometimes he just yelled "Help", not like he was in danger, but more the "Come do your job description". Another reason I liked him was because food was just his body's fuel and if he ever came for a visit, I think he wouldn't mind my cooking. I could just slop together anything and stick some barbeque sauce on it and he wouldn't mind. Damn, I lost his address as I was going to send a bus ticket to him to come to my Festivus party.

Ray would have shouted HELP but I was too shy. Really quite stupid as the place wasn't busy yet and the cook would have gladly done it, I am sure. I probably ruined the evening by asking the dad a lot of questions instead of questioning the Mom about her dreams and wishes - after all the dinner was to thank her for watching my dog while I was hospitalized. The worst thing I did was help condition the little 7 year old girl to value men more than women also. I gave her my fortune cookie and then told her to share with her brother. What kind of gift is that if I tell someone what to do with it. Of course if I thought before I talked, I wouldn't talk at all.

Final Resting Place for Clean Freaks

Darin Montgomery’s creation is an urn, made from vintage vacuum cleaner! Perfect for the cremated remains of clean freaks

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My apologies

My apologies for some of the last posts (most of which have been deleted). I told you my sanity was a flimsy thing. I was off fixing the world by trying to tell them that the problem was too much competition and not enough cooperation and I guess I got too loud for the law so I am hospitalized. It is one thing to have an opinion, another to shout it to the world. Be back soon.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The problem with competition is that you get less and less

If Apple specialized in some things and Microsoft in another, we would have two great things, not each one trying to outdo the other.

You really only need one fast food place selling e coli. But lots of foreign foods would be really fun.

Laziness is the Mother of Invention

What is progress but just looking for an easier way to do things.

When my older brother and I were kids, we were told to dig out a section of the basement so that he could get the tractor down there to widen it out. We each got five gallon buckets to work with. I stuck with it but my brother took off to the garage. By the time he got his invention done, I was damn near done getting the dirt out.

Enough is Enough

It is three in the morning or so and I can't sleep thinking about this. I was stumbling around and come across this video of a Republican guy talking about skull fucking where they pop the eyes out of old women and ejaculate in them. Where are all the compassionate Democrats? He was describing it so descriptively that if you had a heart at all, you had to be outraged. The people in the background weren't even listening and just went on about their business. There were lots of google entries on it so someone must think this is a new twist on wonderful pornography. How depraved can humans get????? Our system of government does not work and I doubt you can tinker with it anymore. You can only repair an old car so many times (though the Cubans may have the record on this).

On a lighter note, I do have a miracle to tell you about. I bought this old Coast to Coast lawn mower in some town in North Dakota and hauled it to Glendive where it fell off the truck and developed a lean. I then hauled it to Sidney where it embarrassed me by not starting which caused me to haul it to the repair shop where the guy told me I had to hold the handle back to start it (duh) like I hadn't had it for maybe 6 or 8 years already. Well I finally got to feeling a little guilty so I decided I should probably change the oil. I got the bolt out finally by using some gerryrigged tool and about 4 tablespoons of sludge came out. I filled er up and she is still running. I bought a socket from the neighbors rummage sale and next year I might change the plug.

Friday, November 09, 2007


I saw this poster (damn, I should have stolen it to put on here) where a cat had replaced Mount Rushmore. Somebody told me that they overheard someone else (names make a better story)say "Damn they ruined a perfectly good mountain."

And that one of Crazy Horse is Bullshit. They could have had that done ten times already. Ask me what I suspect about that outfit that comes to Spot to celebrate the new club.


Tipping is so unfair: I think people tip, not because they feel sorry for the waitress (why single them out from all the people struggling), but it makes them feel good about themselves or maybe it is to impress the other people at the table or maybe they just love the little slice of power - I have an aunt that always sends her English Muffin back (which is a pain in the ass for the cook anyway because you have to push it down twice in the toaster and it sells for under a dollar). They don't feel sorry for the kids working fast food who both cook and serve it up, or the clerks at the store that have to hang stuff back up for them. I'm not advocating the end of tipping for waitresses, but we should tip everyone for good work and we'd see more good work - and like drug laundry, it would be tax free. There is a law that says rich people can give gifts up to $10,000 tax free, we can just add a rider to it that says the same goes for collective gifts - which is what a tip is you know. We wouldn't even have to raise the minimum wage.

Sneaky people would tip the cook before they got the meal and they would get better fare.

Man this lady must be one of those contortionists

Good to know we are safer cause she is dead.

Morals mean sex, ethics mean crap

A worthy but probably hopeless cause

This group wants to try and make it a law that the legislature has to read the bills they pass. I think I will send them $5 - not much but I want to support the cause. Soon it will take $100 to buy a can of beans anyway, why hang on to it?

Why New Ideas are so Rare

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Simple Solutions are the Best

Taxes: In my opinion, a graduated income tax is fair even though the rich say they pay an unfair share. Some guy getting paid 10,000 a year being taxed 10% and having to live on $9,000 is more difficult than some guy making 100,000 having to live on 90,000 etc. From my experience, the lower the pay, the worse the job. The really poor are usually old people and people who cannot get a job (although there are lazy people, or maybe just people who haven't found their niche). Most really rich people got there through the work of others or through chance or heredity. What I would really like to see is the ability to designate where our contribution went. I would check libraries, a trucker would say roads, people with children might designate education, lawn order types could give it to police, war lovers could give it to the military. Whoever controls the pursestrings controls things and I would put it in the hands of the people.

Illegal Drugs: If everyone who ever used drugs showed up at all the police stations on the same day and turned themselves in, the system would implode. They would either have to jail everyone or let the people already in for drugs out. The drug war is insane and is kept illegal because of the high profit. Anything anyone does with their own body might be a vice, but it is only a crime if it hurts someone else.

Economy: A Maximum wage of one million dollars. If that is all they could have, they would have to let some trickle down and come on, anyone should be able to live comfortably on that. Brent Olson does the math here.Speaking of wages, I was watching CSPAN awhile ago and the head of the American Bar Association was crying about how federal judge wages need to keep up with CEO's and lawyers in private practice. Seems their pay is tied to and equal to the wages of our members of Congress and is now only a measly $165,200 a year. Now if they worked 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, the poor bastards are making only $79 an hour. If they cannot live on that, they are not wise enough to be a judge.

Congress: Eliminate it. The technology for a one man, one vote on every issue is available with computers and data banks. Majority rule is technically possible. Sure it would be hard to sneak in earmarks in bills the whole nation voted on and it would be difficult to write 600 page bills because the populace would grow tired of reading and automatically vote "no", but I don't see the downside here. You say it wouldn't be fair to the poor people who don't have computers? That's what libraries are for. Perhaps only the people interested in government would take the trouble to vote, but I bet the numbers would increase over the percentage that vote now on the rare occasion anyone asks for our opinion between bad and worse. Hell, we could even have a vote of confidence every 6 months for the figurehead President and two consecutive "nays" would mean dismissal. Laws would be passed by the people who made the most persuasive arguments not the ones with the most money and we could eliminate the expenses of housing, insuring, and paying for huge retirements for 500 plus parasites and the K street "johns" who fatten them. People spend so much money seeking public office for a reason. I really laugh when they call themselves public servants when nearly all are self-serving. Let's see some creative approaches to a real democracy here at home before we force it on others. It would end partisan bickering and put the thing in the hands of the people.

Schizophrenic Homeless People: Clean em up a little, put a robe on them and give em a church. All people who God talks to should have a pulpit. Why do some live in the Vatican and some on the street?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Film Not By Ken Burns, The Negro Space Program

Lying to Yourself

Social psychologists studying cognitive dissonance are interested in the way we deal with two thoughts that contradict each other - and how we deal with this contradiction.

Numerous studies of cognitive dissonance have been carried out and the effect is well-established. Its beauty is that it explains so many of our everyday behaviours. Here are some examples provided by Morton Hunt in his classic work The Story of Psychology

*When trying to join a group, the harder they make the barriers to entry, the more you value your membership. To resolve the dissonance between the hoops you were forced to jump through, and the reality of what turns out to be a pretty average club, we convince ourselves the club is, in fact, fantastic.

*People will interpret the same information in radically different ways to support their own views of the world. When deciding our view on a contentious point, we conveniently forget what jars with our own theory and remember everything that fits.

*People quickly adjust their values to fit their behaviour, even when it is clearly immoral. Those stealing from their employer will claim that "Everyone does it" so they would be losing out if they didn't, or alternatively that "I'm underpaid so I deserve a little extra on the side."
How and Why We Lie to Ourselves

The club thing is really evident with the Marines who are very proud of themselves. I have NEVER met a man who has been in the marines that does not tell you that he was one within 15 minutes of meeting him, even if that part of his life ended 30 years ago. I bet that is the lure of secret clubs like the Masons and even the illegal drug industry for that matter (well the secrecy and the tax free money of course).

Good One

Sorry, I didn't copy where this came from.

Kurt Vonnegut's Rules for Writing Fiction

Kurt Vonnegut
Eight rules for writing fiction:

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them -- in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

-- Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut, Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons 1999), 9-10.

Better than Post Secret if that is possible

One sentence stories.

Here is a sample:
I sat in meditation for 10 hours a day for eight days before Nothing finally happened.

For Your Amusement

Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007

Top 25 Censored news stories of 2007
#1 Future of Internet Debate Ignored by Media

#2 Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran

#3 Oceans of the World in Extreme Danger

#4 Hunger and Homelessness Increasing in the US

#5 High-Tech Genocide in Congo

#6 Federal Whistleblower Protection in Jeopardy

# 7 US Operatives Torture Detainees to Death in Afghanistan and Iraq

#8 Pentagon Exempt from Freedom of Information Act

#9 The World Bank Funds Israel-Palestine Wall

#10 Expanded Air War in Iraq Kills More Civilians

#11 Dangers of Genetically Modified Food Confirmed

#12 Pentagon Plans to Build New Landmines

#13 New Evidence Establishes Dangers of Roundup

#14 Homeland Security Contracts KBR to Build Detention Centers in the US

#15 Chemical Industry is EPA’s Primary Research Partner

#16 Ecuador and Mexico Defy US on International Criminal Court

#17 Iraq Invasion Promotes OPEC Agenda

#18 Physicist Challenges Official 9-11 Story

#19 Destruction of Rainforests Worst Ever

#20 Bottled Water: A Global Environmental Problem

#21 Gold Mining Threatens Ancient Andean Glaciers

#22 $Billions in Homeland Security Spending Undisclosed

#23 US Oil Targets Kyoto in Europe

#24 Cheney’s Halliburton Stock Rose Over 3000 Percent Last Year

#25 US Military in Paraguay Threatens Region

See stories here.

Newest Toy Recall

Money Versus Wealth

Great article, I suggest you read it all.
The problem is this: a predatory global financial system, driven by the single imperative of making ever more money for those who already have lots of it, is rapidly depleting the real capital ­ the human, social, natural, and even physical capital ­ on which our well-being depends.

The truly troubling part is that so many of us have become willing accomplices to what is best described as a war of money against life. It starts, in part, from our failure to recognize that money is not wealth. Wealth is something that has real value in meeting our needs and fulfilling our wants. Modern money is only a number on a piece of paper or an electronic trace in a computer that by social convention gives its holder a claim on real wealth. In our confusion we concentrate on the money to the neglect of those things that actually sustain a good life.

It is striking how difficult our very language makes it to express the critical difference between money and real wealth. Picture yourself alone on a desert island with nothing to sustain yourself but a large trunk filled with bundles of hundred dollar bills. The point becomes immediately clear.

Think of a modern money economy as comprised of two related subsystems. One creates wealth. It consists of factories, homes, farms, stores, transportation and communications facilities, the natural productive systems of the planet, and people going to work in factories, hospitals, schools, stores, restaurants, publishing houses, and elsewhere to produce the goods and services that sustain us. The other creates and distributes money as a convenient mechanism for allocating wealth. In a healthy economy the money system serves as dutiful servant of wealth creation, allocating real capital to productive investment and rewarding those who do productive work in relation to their contribution.

Albania recently suffered a national crisis brought on by the collapse of fraudulent pyramid schemes. Westerners wise in the ways of the market were bemused by the naiveté of the Albanians who fell for "investment" schemes promising returns as high as 25 percent a month with no real business activity behind them. During the course of the nationwide speculative frenzy, farmers sold their flocks and urban dwellers their apartments to share in the promised bonanza of effortless wealth. The inevitable collapse sparked widespread riots, arson, and looting when the Albanian government failed to make up the losses.

Those inclined to laugh at the innocence of the Albanians should first consider their own response to proposals that social security contributions be invested in a stock market that even Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says is substantially over valued. The speculative financial bubble, which involves bidding up the price of an asset far beyond its underlying value, is little more than a sophisticated variant of the classic pyramid scam.

Investing in a bubble is a form of gambling and it isn't entirely naive. Who cares if there is nothing behind it? The bubble is the action. The trick is to place big bets and get out before it bursts. It is a game of nerves. The action gets especially exciting when banks are willing to accept the inflated assets as collateral and lend new money into existence to stake further play, which pushes prices ever higher. This process of borrowing into bubbles with newly created money is key to making financial wealth increase faster than real wealth. Furthermore, when a leveraged bubble bursts and banks are left with substantial portfolios of uncollectible loans, governments are almost forced to step in with a bailout to stop a banking collapse ­ as the US government did in the case of the Great Depression and the more recent Savings and Loan crisis. This amounts to another money transfer, this time from taxpayers to those with money.

Money versus Wealth by David C Korten

Dr. David C. Korten has over thirty-five years of experience in preeminent business, academic, and international development institutions as well as in contemporary citizen action organizations. Trained in economics, organization theory, and business strategy with M.B.A. and Ph. D. degrees from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, his early career was devoted to setting up business schools in low income countries — starting with Ethiopia while still a doctoral candidate at Stanford — in the hope that creating a new class of professional business entrepreneurs would be the key to ending global poverty.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

And We Spend How Much On Education?

Jesus Camp

Why is this not labeled a dangerous cult?

Moreover, since self-interest is not an adequate basis for morality, there is reason to believe that heaven and hell cannot perform the regulative function often attributed to them. Heaven and hell are often construed as the carrot and stick that God uses to make us toe the line. Heaven is the reward that good people get for being good, and hell is the punishment that bad people get for being bad. But consider this. Good people do good because they want to do good - not because they will personally benefit from it or because someone has forced them to do it. People who do good solely for personal gain or to avoid personal harm are not good people. Someone who saves a drowning child, for example, only because he was offered a reward or was physically threatened does not deserve our praise. Thus, if your only reason for performing good actions is your desire to go to heaven or your fear of going to hell - if all your other-regarding actions are motivated purely by self-interest - then you should go to hell because you are not a good person. An obsessive concern with either heaven or hell should actually lessen one's chances for salvation rather than increase them. Theodore Schick, Jr.

News in a Nutshell

If We Have a World War III

What makes Bush think the world will take our side? Maybe our own flag waving citizens are ignorant of our sins but the world knows. This is an old video by Bill Moyers and the Bush he talks about is the first one, but it really is a good synopsis of our foreign policy.

Monday, November 05, 2007

For your amusement

The Problem with Reading

I think if you get all your news from TV, you probably are very patriotic, quite content with the way things are, and most likely a Republican (since the owners of all the major networks are Republican and push that agenda in both obvious and subtle ways). If you delve a little deeper, you probably think the Democrats could do a better job. However, the more you read, the more you see that there isn't a great deal of difference and both worship at the money trough. That is why things continue pretty much the same, no matter who is elected. The democrats were even too chickenshit to let Stephen Colbert run in an inconsequential state because they knew it would be embarrassing. So much for what they teach in school - that in America, anyone can be President.

Anyone (and it will never be a Republican) who actually comes up with the obvious - that the system needs reform - is GOING TO FACE RIDICULE or worse. All the well reasoned, intelligent things Kucinich has said in the past (and there is plenty) have not been publicised, but now that he has said he has seen a UFO, he is done for (even though he really never stood a snowballs chance). Because Howard Dean got carried away with enthusiasm, he was branded unstable. That is why Wellstone had to go.

My favorite cousin, who used to talk about politics all the time, has given up and is just trying to have fun by playing his music and teaching math creatively. I think I want to give up too as it is hopeless. There comes a time when you have to quit trying to fix an old car.

So let me tell you about my new toy. I once saw a program about how Google designed a game to make their picture tags more precise. People were shown a picture and given points if their terms matched another player and some people were so addicted to it, they did a ton of work for Google for free. Stumble Upon (and del.icio.us to a lesser degree) works by the same principle and categorizes stuff on the net. In a way, it is just an echo chamber. When you choose your preferences, you can watch videos and read articles that just mirror your prejudices, but isn't that what we all do anyway? When you find things on your own that are good, you indicate that you like it and review it. It is a way to separate the wheat from the chaff, although like wikipedia, there are jerks who try and ruin it. When you google a topic, you can see the ones that other stumble uponers have liked and in general, I think their choices are good. The problem with the internet is that there is TOO MUCH information and this addresses that in a small way. Anyway, I give it my endorsement.

For instance, I watched a program with some famous physics guy talking about creating ideas. 90% was lost on me because I didn't know what the hell he was talking about even though I strained to understand. What I did get though, was that school teaches by presenting a problem and asking you to solve it, but in real life you first have to identify the problem or even recognize that there is a problem. Cool, huh?

Soup Lines

I always wondered where the women and children were in all the pictures of soup lines during the depression. Didn't they get to eat? This reminds me of an old lawyer joke though you could convert it to a corporate CEO joke:

One afternoon, a lawyer was riding in his limousine when he saw two men along the roadside eating grass.

He asked one man, "Why are you eating grass?"

"We don't have any money for food," the poor man replied. "We HAVE TO eat grass."

The lawyer said, "Well, then, you can come with me to my house...and I'll feed you!"

"But sir, I have a wife and two children with me. They are over there, under that tree."

"Bring them along," the lawyer replied. Turning to the other poor man, he said, "You come with us, too."

The second man said, "But sir, I also have a wife and SIX children with me!"

"Bring them all!" the lawyer answered......and they jammed into the huge limo.

Once underway, one of the poor fellows turned to the lawyer and said, "Sir, you are too kind. Thank you."
The lawyer replied, "Glad to do it! You'll really love my place......the grass is almost a foot high!"

Check out Barbara's Blog about child slave labor in India.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Chomsky and Trivers on Self Deception

Making The Roundup of UnPatriots Legal

Big Brother: House passes the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act"

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed HR 1955 titled the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. This bill is one of the most blatant attacks against the Constitution yet and actually defines thought crimes as homegrown terrorism. If passed into law, it will also establish a commission and a Center of Excellence to study and defeat so called thought criminals. Unlike previous anti-terror legislation, this bill specifically targets the civilian population of the United States and uses vague language to define homegrown terrorism. Amazingly, 404 of our elected representatives from both the Democrat and Republican parties voted in favor of this bill. There is little doubt that this bill is specifically targeting the growing patriot community that is demanding the restoration of the Constitution.
The definition of violent radicalization uses vague language to define this term of promoting any belief system that the government considers to be an extremist agenda. Since the bill doesn’t specifically define what an extremist belief system is, it is entirely up to the interpretation of the government.
This bill is completely insane. It literally allows the government to define any and all crimes including thought crime as violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism. Obviously, this legislation is unconstitutional on a number of levels and it is clear that all 404 representatives who voted in favor of this bill are traitors and should be removed from office immediately. The treason spans both political parties and it shows us all that there is no difference between them. The bill will go on to the Senate and will likely be passed and signed into the law by George W. Bush. Considering that draconian legislation like the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act have already been passed, there seems little question that this one will get passed as well. This is more proof that our country has been completely sold out by a group of traitors at all levels of government.

Read the whole thing as it spells out the specifics of the law. Everything has a lifespan, even forms of government. Russian Communism didn't fail because Reagan started Star Wars (and maintaining the balance of power bankrupted them) and said to tear down the wall, it fell because it was so corrupt. We should see a lesson there as we watch democracy turn into oligarchy turn into a police state.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Behind the Bushisms

Women, Know Your Limits

Funniest thing ever

Extreme Work

This is one of the two pictures I have on my wall because it is so interesting that these guys can be so casual while so close to danger. To me, extreme sports is expensive and rather tame. If you want to endanger your life, get a job. Night clerking at a 7-ll in a poor section of town might just get that adrenalin pumping and they will even pay you to thrill-seek.

Although highway accidents were the leading manner of death for male workers, homicide was the leading cause for female workers, accounting for 35 percent of their fatal work injuries.
Falls accounted for 10 percent of fatal work injuries. The construction industry, particularly special trade contractors such as roofing, painting and structural steel erection, accounted for almost half the falls. One-fifth of the falls were from or through roofs; falls from scaffolding and from ladders each accounted for about one-eighth. Nine percent of fatally injured workers were struck by various objects, a fourth of which were falling trees, tree limbs and logs. Other objects that struck workers included machines and vehicles slipping into gear or falling onto workers, and various building materials such as pipes, beams, metal plates and lumber. Electrocutions accounted for 5 percent of the worker deaths in a one-year span.
Occupations with large numbers of worker fatalities included truck drivers, farm workers, sales supervisors and proprietors, and construction laborers. Industry divisions with large numbers of fatalities included agriculture, forestry, fishing, construction, transportation and public utilities, and mining
More here. Oh yeah, he goes into joining the armed services too. I bet mine sweeping WOULD be exciting.

ps. If you like the picture, Carp Diem has a good entry on it. He or she points out that the guy on the end is holding a liquor flask - now that IS "pushing the envelope".

Friday, November 02, 2007

I Fail the Interview

I found this picture at a resale shop in an expensive curved glass frame that was way beyond my means and I wanted it. I left a note asking if the owner would just sell me the picture without the frame and he agreed to if it hadn't sold in a year. I waited and a year passed and he sold it for $20.

I just thought it was funny that even for this formal portrait from the olden times when pictures were rare, expensive and rather an event, the one on the right couldn't "neaten up". Her glasses are askew, hair amess, jewelry crooked and by the expression on her face, I would say she is perturbed by the whole procedure. I don't know the story of these worn-out peasant women, but I assume they might be spinster sisters.

I AM the one on the right. All my life, I have tried to be neat but my clothes are usually food stained (probably from eating at the computer or on the couch), my hair has always been a mess, and even when I worked in jobs that required a professional appearance (teaching and librarian), I just couldn't look put together even when I spent a lot of money on clothes. I grew up wearing my cousin's cast offs and my aunt told me that she didn't give me some of the nicer ones because I wrecked them so fast and it bothered her that the fancier ones would be destroyed. Now I wear only comfortable clothes to cover myself, not to make a statement (though carelessness is a BIG statement). I only buy from rummage sales and thrift stores as they will be in the rag bag in short order, either from food or because I work fast, not slow and careful. I swear I have tried to be neat and I actually think it may be a gene I am missing. I won't go into all the hair-do failures except to say that beauticians make it look worse than I do myself. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a slob, my house is clean even though sometimes the trim work painting is a little wavy.

I also detest having my picture taken and in general don't like looking at pictures unless they make me laugh. Lining relatives up and taking their pictures is BOORRING - boring to do and boring to look at. If I had to evacuate for a fire, I would probably grab my library card and of course the dog.

Besides being messy and perturbed by pictures, I also am an introvert and love to be by myself. I like learning new things and the chances of that happening while making chit chat are damn near nil. Give me a book or a computer screen. I am friendly to strangers because I can give them attributes they may or may not have, but I am very slow to form friendships. I am very quiet and let people talk until I find out if we have anything in common. I don't like confrontation and I think that arguing is nearly always useless because even if you make more sense, the opponent has to defend his ego. If they think Bush is great, I will be polite and not voice my opinion, but I will avoid them and will choose my words carefully to try and conceal my disgust and I work hard to not let my body language betray me. I agree with Jonathan Rauch who wrote this in Atlantic Monthly:
Introverts are not necessarily shy. Shy people are anxious or frightened or self-excoriating in social settings; introverts generally are not. Introverts are also not misanthropic, though some of us do go along with Sartre as far as to say "Hell is other people at breakfast." Rather, introverts are people who find other people tiring.

Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn't antisocial. It isn't a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating. Our motto: "I'm okay, you're okay—in small doses."

With their endless appetite for talk and attention, extroverts also dominate social life, so they tend to set expectations. In our extrovertist society, being outgoing is considered normal and therefore desirable, a mark of happiness, confidence, leadership. Extroverts are seen as bighearted, vibrant, warm, empathic. "People person" is a compliment. Introverts are described with words like "guarded," "loner," "reserved," "taciturn," "self-contained," "private"—narrow, ungenerous words, words that suggest emotional parsimony and smallness of personality.

So what does the manual tell a psychiatrist to look for when he/she/it checks out your mental health?
When asked a question, does patient pause for long periods before answering?
Does patient's face remain blank or expressionless?
Does patient seem withdrawn or unsociable?
Does patient dress sloppily, or come to your office with poorly groomed hair? ("Do not rate grooming as poor if it is simply done in what one might consider poor taste," the manual advises.)

Maybe the lady on the right is flat out insane, or maybe she is disppointed in her disloyal sister and angry that she has to be polite to her.

More Crime in the Suites

Fraud in suits never spends time in a cell. I remember Xrista talking about how the rich thought the humiliation of exposure was punishment enough.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Seeger in 64

Wisdom for Cowboys

Writer's Strike

The last time they had a writer's strike, Letterman had a "Top Two" list. He really is pretty funny.

Hollywood stars could not exist without the writers but I don't think politicians could either. I hope the political writers go on strike too. If you thought Bush was a poor speaker propped up, imagine what he would sound like standing all alone.