Sunday, March 30, 2014

I'm Not Saying I'm Smart, But I Did Sort Of Guess This

I took the test at Pottermore last night. I thought I was too timid for Gryffindor, too lazy for Hufflepuff, and not ambitious enough for Slytherin. So, I thought I would be sorted into Ravenclaw, and I was right, like a Ravenclaw would be.
Although why a sixty year old is taking quizzes on Pottermore and not AARP is a question that even I can't answer.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

When Will They Ever Learn?

I've been hearing a lot of unfounded speculation about causes of MH 370's disappearance that don't involve aliens or Bond villains.

And So It Begins "For Now"

There has been a programming error at the PO in our scanner software. Some items requiring a signature have been deliverable without obtaining a signature to scan. A refresh was pushed out last week, but for now our supervisor tells us, "Just do whatever the scanner tells you to."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Who Can You Believe?

Nothing new here; Karen saw a doctor last week that wanted to cut her feet off, but today we saw a podiatrist and she didn't want to cut them off. Of course, a podiatrist couldn't bill after that, so maybe she's biased.


I gave blood this morning, and the phlebotomist was a talker. He told me stories about his life, my life, other people's lives, even though I wasn't really all that interested, or confident that he knew what he was talking about. It made me feel so sorry for my customers.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Do Immigrants Take American Jobs?

Probably not.
And I'm not just saying that because my father was an undocumented alien. He would have been a Dream Act beneficiary if they'd had such a thing back when he was a kid (or now, for that matter) but instead he got drafted to fight in World War II. Since he wasn't naturalized until 27 years after I was born (in a territory, not a state) I'm not quite sure of my own immigrant status, but if I get deported to Canada, I guess it won't be the worst thing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Somebody Had To Go First

Oh sure, the day after I stood up to the Kochs, the New York Times does. If you're interested in what they had to say, click here.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Good Authors Too, Who Once Knew Better Words, Now Only Use Four Letter Words. Writing Prose, Anything Goes.

So Cole Porter said, and so I meant to say as the title of my last post where it would have made some sense. So imagine it's there, and here the title is, Changing The Channel.
The Koch brothers are funding a TV and telephone ad campaign up here. It's surprising because we think of ourselves as an out of the way place where you really can see Russia, although not from Sarah Palin's house (which to be fairer to her than she is to anybody else, she never said). You would think that billionaires wishing to return the country to sound moral and economic principles would be able to marshall the facts and then hire creative talent to cogently explain their ideas and convince the polity of their correctness. Instead, they repeat half-truths, lies and distortions, and, being billionaires, they repeat them a lot. It's almost as if they think a new truth can be created if they just repeat it often enough.
I'm still plowing through The Bully Pulpit (or, if I haven't mentioned it, I'm plowing through The Bully Pulpit). It's interesting, and not hard to read, or at least not hard to comprehend, but sort of depressing that a century ago, the Republican party took on rapacious companies that were exploiting monopolies to the detriment of farmers, small businesses, workers, and even the government. Laws were passed, attitudes changed, the citizenry were aroused, then grateful, and then maybe complacent. After a century, it's probably time to revisit the idea of corporate responsibility to the society that underpins them.  Instead of trying to channel Ronald Reagan, maybe the Republicans should reach even farther back and try and to assume the mantle of Teddy Roosevelt.
Now, here's a story that takes place in La Crosse, WI. La Crosse is notable for at least two things; I've been there, and, probably completely coincidentally,  ninety six percent of the residents have an advance directive explaining how they'd like to be cared for at the end of their lives. That's more than three times the rate in the rest of the nation. This came about because an ethicist at a local hospital hated the excruciating conversations families had to have at what was already a difficult time. He trained nurses and others to ask people what they wanted, and eventually the idea spread through the community. The story is available here, and is worth listening to if you'd like to hear it explained more fully. Most of the people don't want to live on and on and on kept not quite dead by machines. This turned out to be a money saver for Medicare which pays for most of those machines. It's a money loser for the hospitals since the almost dead are a huge profit center for them, but the hospitals think it's worth it to fund the program since it makes their patients lives so much better. Since it is so much better for families to make these decisions in advance, and to have the patients affected by the decisions make the decisions, the people writing the Affordable Care Act tried to include funding for similar programs nationally. These are what Sarah Palin called Death Panels. I was excited to tell Karen about this because she grew up near La Crosse and even recognized the name of the medical facility there. When we got to the part about the Death Panels, she agreed it was unfortunate that that's how they were portrayed, but she said, that's what the media told us. But really, it wasn't the media, it was Fox News; the same organization that had Karen crying last fall because Leah was going to have to pay $500 or even $1000 a month for health insurance. You won't even have to go to to find out that Leah has health insurance now and pays far, far less than Fox would have had her believe.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Nothing About Vegans In This Post

So, about six weeks ago, I was saying that I was surrendering in the grammar/word usage wars. I specifically mentioned that if most people think "begs the question," means "invites the question," then it does.* Today, Grammar Girl took up "begs the question" in her podcast. She searched google and found thousands of incorrect usages, but no correct ones. It's over; ** it means invites the question. But, we don't have to just grudgingly accept the decline of our language into grunts and gestures. Well, we do, but instead of thinking of it as decline, we can feel privileged to get to watch the language change right before our eyes.
Another source of confusion has been around which of our dogs is the cutest. I don't want to decide for you, but look at this face:

*In addition, according to a reader, I used nine commas in one sentence. I never went back to count, but I suppose she's right. I'm fond of commas, and I scatter them like birdseed.
**I also have an unhealthy attachment to semicolons.

Monday, March 03, 2014

I woke up yesterday morning at my usual time. When I realized I was off, I was so thrilled about being able to sleep in that I almost couldn't fall back to sleep, but then I did!
I think this graphic from QuizUp illustrates how that fits into the overall arc of my life:
that is, some small achievements and no friends. And doesn't this give the lie to the whole "Work hard and you'll be rewarded," credo. You can't imagine how many hours I had to put in to get to "General of Knowledge" in QuizUp and I really don't have anything to show for it. Well, except for this graphic that I'm humble bragging about.

In other news, John McCain is saying that the Russians invading the Crimea shows that the world doesn't respect us anymore. But how many countries do we have to bomb to get their respect? We just left Iraq, we're still in Afghanistan after more than twelve years, we're sending drones into Pakistan and it's only been three years since we were bombing Libya. And do any of those countries seem better off for our intervention? Furthermore, does that ever work? John McCain himself had already been shot down while bombing North Vietnam and was a prisoner of war when the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia. They invaded Hungary barely two years after the end of the Korean war. The Korean war itself started less than five years after we had dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. I think if people were going to respect us for being willing to be bad asses, World War II should have done the trick.
Finally, our usual shout out to dog and vegan lovers.