Friday, October 28, 2011

NaNoWriMo For November


National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the year of 2011 is just a couple more days. I have registered and feel pretty sure that I can do it again this year, hopefully with a better result than last year. My hastily created novel last year brought me a Winner Certificate -- but merely because I wrote more than 50,000 words. Unfortunately, even though I worked at it for a while after the month of November was over I did not succeed in bringing all the scenes together into a whole which could be revised and polished and then submitted to publishers.

So I don't know if the effort put into writing thousands of words without taking time for any revisions is worth it or not. Some scenes that I wrote were okay... not great, but okay... but not many of them.

Perhaps this ear's effort will be more fruitful.

We'll see.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thinking Up Titles Is Tedious


Dodie, up in Maine, sent me the following yesterday;

Good example of a Brain Study: If you can read this you have a strong mind:

7H15 M3554G3 53RV35 7O PR0V3 H0W 0UR M1ND5 C4N D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5! 1MPR3551V3 7H1NG5! 1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG 17 WA5 H4RD BU7 N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3 Y0UR M1ND 1S R34D1NG 17 4U70M471C4LLY W17H 0U7 3V3N 7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17, B3 PROUD! 0NLY C3R741N P30PL3 C4N R3AD 7H15.

That seems somewhat similar to those graphics in which you must unfocus your eyes to the hidden picture within.

Another new word from the columns of George Will drove me by way of Google to the online providers of definitions:

Expressing or conveying a threat: "minatory finger-wagging".

threatening - minacious - ominous - menacing - forbidding

I can't imagine why, when, or where I would ever use that word.It's strangely interesting to me though; I hope I can remember it


Do not speak unless you can improve the silence.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just Musing Is All


It seems to me that the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit imposing and collecting taxes from the annual income extorted from the citizens by the many organized religious institutions. After all, the first amendment in the Bill Of Rights states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Taxing money collected by a Church does not impinge upon the free exercise of church goers to practice their religion.

I recently read somewhere that in 2007 Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson) was reported to have given $10 million to The Church of Scientology. That is surely a mere drop in the bucket when so many wealthy celebrities call themselves Scientologists (John Travolta, Tom Cruise, and others) and who probably also donate huge 'tax deductible' amounts to the organization.

If I Ruled The World is the title of a short piece by Steven Pinker wherein he decrees the following rule on pundits: No one may bemoan a decay, decline, or degeneration without providing a measure of the way the world is today...

This decree would, first of all, eliminate tedious jeremiads about the decline of the language. The genre has been around for centuries, and if the doomsayers were correct we would now be grunting like Tarzan. But not only do we see vast amounts of clear and competent prose in everyday outlets like Wikipedia and Amazon reviews, but a gusher of superb writing appearing daily, as anyone who has lost a morning to sites like The Browser and Arts and Letters Daily can attest.

This is an entertaining and (in my opinion) informative article and most thinking people will enjoy reading it.

Steven Pinker is professor of psychology at Harvard University.


Memento mori

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book News, Etc.


I just finished reading Lost Memory of Skin and The Sweet Hereafter, both by Russell Banks. They were interesting and I enjoyed reading them but I have no opinion as to their literary quality.


American Grown is a supposed book supposedly written by Michelle Obama that is coming out in April 2012... and it's about food.

I can hardly wait.


A baseball game on Fox last night preempted House so I reluctantly turned to CBS at that time and watched Two And A Half Men. No, I actually watched only the first fifteen minutes of it then turned off the TV. That's all I could handle. Ashton Kucher: yuk. The script writers: double yuk.

More to come . . .


Difference of opinion is what makes a horse race.
--Mark Twain

Monday, October 24, 2011

Back Online . . . Finally


Now I have dependable Internet access.



Sunday, October 23, 2011

Minor Irritants From Modern Technology


I have had so much trouble with the FREE Wi-Fi internet access that my apartment complex provides (such as going down for two or three days at a time several times each month) that I decided to go ahead and sign up with CenturyLink (telephone company) for high-speed Internet. They will be here this coming Monday (tomorrow) to hook up the equipment. I have to pay around $40 each month but I think it will be worth it to not have to worry about whether I will be able to get online each day.

Time will tell, as they say. (Although I once read that the biggest liar in the world is they say.)

I don not own a cell phone. Never have and probably never will, although before I retired in 2001 I had to put up with a company provided cellular monster hanging from my belt and seemingly unable to stop ring, ring, and ringing eternally. Which is probably why I do not want one.

The land-line telephone sitting beside my arm chair is the same one I've used for more than ten years. It's a little blue AT&T Princess phone, but lately it's been acting up. The coiled handset cable no longer makes a good connection and produces lots of static and sometimes cuts me off when I am talking. So this morning while I was out for my walk I stopped in at Walgreens and bought a new little slim line phone. You'll never guess how much it cost. Ha! It was a close-out sale and I got it for only a dollar and a quarter. Wow! Some great deal, huh? And it works fine.

Before I connected it to the wall jack, I tried the headset cable with the old phone and it also worked fine. So that means all I needed to fix the old Princess was a new coiled cable... but a replacement cable costs seven dollars at Radio Shack... Go figure.

While clicking through the TV channels I paused on a godawful afternoon show titled The Talk and heard a woman say, "Doesn't matter what it means, what counts is what it connotates..." Is connotates a valid word, I wonder, or one that has been through popular usage incorrectly coined from the word connotation which stems from the verb to connote -- Who knows?

Doesn't matter, I suppose.


The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government.
-- U.S. Constitution

Monday, October 10, 2011

An Extra Long Walk


The weather was so marvelous this morning that I extended my daily walk for an extra half-hour and snapped a few photos along the way.

Here is the first one...

Looking North on Camino Seco at Speedway Boulevard

Tucson, Arizona

(Click each photo for larger view)

Santa Catalina Mountain Scene

Another Santa Catalina Mountain Scene

There are several more but that's enough for now.


PZ Myers has asked his readers to write an essay titled Why I Am An Atheist which he will include in his blog. Well, since I am not an atheist, I cannot truthfully write such an essay because I am neither an atheist nor a theist... I am merely an evolved primate who does not know whether God, a god, or even a godlike creature exists... or not.

But I should be able to write an essay titled Why I Am Not An Atheist.

Perhaps I will do so.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Who Really Owns The U.S.A?


I did not compose the following:

The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they're an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything.

They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They've long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They've got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear.

They've got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying -- lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.

But I’ll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That's against their interests. They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago.

You know what they want? Obedient workers -- people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they're coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. It's a big club, and you ain't in it.

You and I are not in the big club.

Who said the above? --

I'm pretty sure it was.