Wednesday, September 29, 2004

You get what you pay for?

Our secretary is out recovering from surgery, and prior to her departure, her poor health left us with a backlog of filing and clerical work. We have contracted through a temp agency for someone at a low clerical salary. The contract is for three weeks and the work consists primarily of filing and sorting a years’ back-log of materials. While it is not an easy initial job, once the process is understood, it is a straight-forward job. The woman we have recently hired for the temporary work ‘drifts’ in between 8:30 and 9:30 each morning and clearly has the energy of a slug. She doesn’t move from the chair at her desk except to go to lunch and after three days I have only seen her open one file drawer…the one that she can reach without getting up from her chair! This is frequently the quality of worker we get in the government when we hire clerical temp support. Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to just hire some graduate student or even an unemployed PhD. and pay them their going rate? The work would have been done in a few days and certainly with accuracy and probably cost the same as the three weeks wages we are putting out. And all we had to allow was some time for serious networking for the professional. Tell me why this wouldn’t work!

Friday, September 24, 2004

You don't have mail.

I really like getting mail, email, all types of communication, except for the phone calls. Weird, I think. Most people don't respond to my emails as often or as fast as I would like.

I am trying to touch base with my sister's kids by email. They are teenagers and live on the opposite coast, so I can't see them as much as I would like to. My sister died of cancer two years ago and they are going through something I never had to. I want to be there for them, but while I occasionally get polite emails back, I can wait forever for a response. I wonder if it is because I remind them of their mother and then of her death?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Let’s keep Tiger Woods happy whatever we do!

Imagine hiking in the beautiful Cascade mountains and all you see for miles is a lawn that looks like a golf course. Beautiful, no? Monsanto’s bent grass which is resistant to Roundup (also a Monsanto product) has been identified as far away as 13 miles from the test farm in Oregon.

All of you golfers notwithstanding—do we have our priorities straight here?

Monday, September 20, 2004

Critical Thinking- Lesson One

I am the type of person who reads two or three books at one time and also squeezes in a bunch of magazines and newspapers...but I have finally started Browne and Keeley's "Asking the Right Questions," which I wrote about in a prior blog.

My first skill to learn will concern being dispassionate. 'Emotional involvement should not be the primary basis for accepting or rejecting a position.' Unfortunately, the issues, ideas and problems that most deserve critical thinking - as I see it- are those for which we have some passion. This is going to be a difficult lesson...but I will work on it.

I think I will start with the issue of determining race. Since I am corresponding with another blogger who is researching this very issue, I will have something to work with.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Who moved the earth?

Discover magazine has an interesting mini-article about the processes of geologic reformation based on natural activities and human activities. Geomorphologist Roger Hooke of the University of Maine estimates that people shift up to 45,000 tons of earths dry surface each year! Over the last 5,000 years we have moved the equivalent of a mountain rainge 13,000 feet high and 60 miles long!!!

We really don't live in harmony with nature--do we?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Keeping an eye on the eye

According to an Associated Press writer:

“Marc Oliver, 38, rode out the storm with his family in Mobile. Oliver boarded up his windows of his brick home and spent the night with his wife, 7-year-old son and brother-in-law, Robert Driver, moving from room to room as the winds shifted.

"The good lord was looking out for us," Driver said.”

And further down the story…

“Two people were killed and more than 200 homes were damaged when at least five tornadoes roared through Florida's Bay County. Five people were killed when another tornado struck homes in Blountstown, Fla., and an 8-year-old girl died after being crushed by a tree that fell onto her mobile home in Milton, Fla. Her parents were unharmed.”

I guess ‘the good lord’ can’t keep his eye on everyone and everything…

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

It is pre-determined which candidate I will vote for!

I cannot deny my destiny....according to an article by Mr. Brooks:

" Ruling Class War "(subscription?)


Published: September 11, 2004 in the New York Times

There are two sorts of people in the information-age elite, spreadsheet people and paragraph people. Spreadsheet people work with numbers, wear loafers and support Republicans. Paragraph people work with prose, don't shine their shoes as often as they should and back Democrats.

C.E.O.'s are classic spreadsheet people. According to a sample gathered by PoliticalMoneyLine in July, the number of C.E.O.'s donating funds to Bush's campaign is five times the number donating to Kerry's.

Professors, on the other hand, are classic paragraph people and lean Democratic. Eleven academics gave to the Kerry campaign for every 1 who gave to Bush's. Actors like paragraphs, too, albeit short ones. Almost 18 actors gave to Kerry for every 1 who gave to Bush. For self-described authors, the ratio was about 36 to 1. Among journalists, there were 93 Kerry donors for every Bush donor. For librarians, who must like Faulknerian, sprawling paragraphs, the ratio of Kerry to Bush donations was a whopping 223 to 1.

Laura Bush has a lot of work to do in shoring up her base.

Data from the Center for Responsive Politics allows us to probe the emerging class alignments, but the pattern is the same. Number people and word people are moving apart.

Accountants, whose relationship with numbers verges on the erotic, are now heavily Republican. Back in the early 1990's, accountants gave mostly to Democrats, but now they give twice as much to the party of Lincoln. Similarly, in the early 1990's, bankers gave equally to the two parties. Now they give mostly to Republicans, though one notices that employees at big banks, like Citigroup and Bank of America, are more likely to give to Democrats.

But lawyers - people who didn't realize that they wanted to be novelists until their student loan burdens were already too heavy - are shifting the other way. This year, lawyers gave about $81 million to Democrats and about $31 million to Republicans.

Media types are Democratic, of course, but one is dismayed to learn that two-thirds of employee donations at Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation went to Democrats. Whatever happened to company loyalty?

If you look at the big Kerry donors, you realize that the days of the starving intellectual are over. University of California employees make up the single biggest block of Kerry donors and Harvard employees are second, topping folks from Goldman Sachs and others in the supposedly sell-out/big-money professions.

Academics have had such an impact on the Democratic donor base because there is less intellectual diversity in academia than in any other profession. All but 1 percent of the campaign donations made by employees of William & Mary College went to Democrats. In the Harvard crowd, Democrats got 96 percent of the dollars. At M.I.T., it was 94 percent. Yale is a beacon of freethinking by comparison; 8 percent of its employee donations went to Republicans.

It should be noted there are some professions that span the spreadsheet-people/paragraph-people divide. For example, lobbyists give equally to both parties. (Could it possibly be that lobbyists don't have principles?) And casino people split their giving, with employees at Harrah's giving mostly to Democrats and employees at MGM Mirage giving mostly to Republicans.

Why have the class alignments shaken out as they have? There are a couple of theories. First there is the intellectual affiliation theory. Numerate people take comfort in the false clarity that numbers imply, and so also admire Bush's speaking style. Paragraph people, meanwhile, relate to the postmodern, post-Cartesian, deconstructionist, co-directional ambiguity of Kerry's Iraq policy.

I subscribe, however, to the mondo-neo-Marxist theory of information-age class conflict. According to this view, people who majored in liberal arts subjects like English and history naturally loathe people who majored in econ, business and the other "hard" fields. This loathing turns political in adult life and explains just about everything you need to know about political conflict today.

It should be added that not everybody fits predictably into the political camp indicated by a profession. I myself am thinking of founding the Class Traitors Association, made up of conservative writers, liberal accountants and other people so filled with self-loathing that they ally politically with social and cultural rivals.

Class traitors of the word, Unite! You have nothing to lose but your friends - and a world to gain!

Blogging my way through New York City

I find this site kind of spooky. " A map of the city that shows where the bloggers are, organized by subway stop. Find out who's blogging in your neighborhood!" NYC bloggers
It lists the bloggers location as well as the actual link to the blog site. People have to submit the form to get on this I the only one that this makes nervous? At least they do no give out the emails.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Comment from a former girlie-man

Keven (whomever he is...says it so much better than I.)

"If we want leaders with strong convictions and nothing else, we should elect only college sophomores who are halfway through reading The Fountainhead."

Second-class customers

I subscribe to a magazine called 'Budget Travel.' Erik Torkells, the editor, wrote an interesting article in the October 2004 issue about getting a good deal from Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, etc. He said that a comment from a sales person from an upscale New York hotel at a conference indicated that her upscale hotel treats customers who book through a third-party website worse than the other guests who pay full fare! Erik had heard rumors of this but, since he couldn't verify, he ignored them.

Well, it appears they are somewhat true. He went on to say that if we are going to be treated as second-class customers they should let us know in advance. I tend to agree. Today's budget customer might be tomorrow's travel maven for a company or someone who moves in big circles but likes to budget when traveling on their own.

Why, in these times, would anyone treat any customer any differently than any other? VERY shortsighted.

Monday, September 13, 2004

"The Legacy System from Hell that holds civilization hostage."

The Long Now has a good discussion about the future and preservation of our heritage. This whole discussion in the news this week about the minute reasons that the 'discovered' memos in GWB's military file are or are not valid may be discussions that we won't even have in the future.

A thousand years from now, we may not be able to resurrect anything of historical significance about our presidential candidates much less determine the validity...

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Blog demographics

I just surfed a bunch of blog sites and am slowly getting an idea about this new wave of communication. Lots of blogs from Asia, lots of blogs from hormone driven young people globally, lots of blogs from gays folks who like to communicate, some blogs from people with problems and than smatterings of other blogger demographics. Of course there were a few weird sites and some pornography...if that gets to be too large a percentage maybe Blogger is going to have to do something.

I found a subject index to blogs when I googled "blog sites" and marked a few of the baby boomer generational ones. I also found some younger blogs that have some very interesting things to say and I bookmarked those as well. This whole phenomenon is really nice in that it allows us old folks to be 'dogs' on the web and participate in conversations that are not normally part of our life events.

I found a few conservative bloggers but most seemed to be liberal--which in itself is interesting. What does that tell me about the two groups--liberal and conservative? One likes to communicate and one doesn't? One is more lonely than the other and doesn't have people to listen to its ideas and uses the anonymous technology? One group has a life and the other doesn't? One group likes technology and its change and the other doesn't? Interesting....

I miss the dog

As we enter fall and the crisp weather that makes me want to be outside more, I find that I miss our old dog who passed away a number of years ago. We are in transition in terms of where we live the next year or so and, as a result, cannot have a dog.

Dogs are the best tranquilizer because they are happy all the time and they never hold a grudge (unless you are a mean S.O.B.) They also make you get out of the house and exercise. If you work with them, they become better than human because they can read your mind and really observe your body language and unlike most of the people you spend time with, they actually want to please you.

They also keep you in touch with the fact that you, like them, are a biological animal. Maybe I will visit my friend next week who has some golden lab puppies and just play with them!

Let's see... if Bush was a dog what type would he be? If Kerry was a dog...?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

back from the 40th reunion

Yes, it was like chelation therapy--or what I think that might have been like. Yes it was like eating your broccoli...good for you, but not good.

Everyone is so much older and more haggard than the reunion 10 years ago. Many look like recovering alchoholics. Some are. Others are just hard working dudes that life kept throwing curves and they are tired. We sat and renewed old memories, but it wasn't as funny as the 30th. I did not graduate with happy people--except for a few.

The ex-boyfriend is really still nice--but wanted to take me on ANOTHER tour of the house. This house is now remodeled and worth at least 1.5 million. I mean two gourmet kitchens--when you don't cook! WHY does he still think he needs to impress me! What big hole in his life is not getting filled? His wife is a stepford type--but without the sweet smile.

Did get to play with some grandchildren that people brought and little ones always mean there can be a brighter tomorrow.

Kept meeting liberals the whole trip. My son has a theory about that...will fill that in later.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Wegrets, ugrets, all god's children got grets.

Well, just got off the phone with my ex-boyfriend (remember this was decades ago--so he is really an EX.) Anyway, most of my past friends think he is a dork and actually he is still kind of cute in a dorky way. We got to talking about philosophy and class old people do...and he said when I get there he wanted to tell me about some seminar he was dragged to by his wife that was really fun and funny and meaningful about people and their pasts. I can hardly wait...ugh!

This little spontaneous suggestion was because I said that I really didn't look forward to class reunions because I never looked back. I was afraid what I was running from would catch up. Also, I had lots of regrets in my life (who doesn't--if they say they have no regrets they are liars) and since I couldn't change things the regrets weren't really useful to me.

Oh well, I am packing my camouflage outfits and I am leaving on a jet plane (yes a song from my youth) and will be arriving in Colorado tomorrow afternoon. Should be an really interesting Labor Day weekend!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Two ships that pass in the night.

The intro to this snippet is an anecdote about a boat trip I took this weekend with an old friend who is 'up there' in the FDA hierarchy. During our conversation, he mentioned that the "problem with education these days is students are not given enough education on critical thinking skills." (Anyone who saw the speeches by those cute Bush daughters would certainly agree with that.) So, that statement motivated me to check Amazon for used books on critical thinking skills--I sure could use a review!

Got home tonight and didn't see that package I expected in the mail, and went to the front porch to see if it had been dropped off. Nope, not there. I mentioned to dear hubby that I was expecting some books on critical thinking skills. He looked blank and then looked out at the porch and said he was expecting a package also. A package with oyster nets in it! (He is an office scientist -- not an oysterman.)

Are these ships drifting apart???


For those of you who are still undecided about this presidential election, you must get down off that fence before you fall and hurt yourself. It is really fairly simple...ask yourself the following questions.

Is the world black and white or sometimes gray?
Is the road straight or sometimes curvy?
Is there only good and evil in this world or something that is marked 'other?'
Is a quick decision better than a thought process that may make you change your mind?
Does violence lead to more violence or end violence? (If it ends violence--when exactly does that occur?)
Is change good or bad or both?
Does God pick sides when watching mankind and its wars?
and finally
Does your feminine side ever embarrass you or is it your masculine side?

Now go forth and vote!