Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This Is Leap Day 2012


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What Is Leap Year?

Leap Years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth's revolutions around the sun. It takes the Earth approximately 365.242199 days (a tropical year) to circle once around the Sun. If we didn't add a day on February 29 nearly every 4 years, we would lose almost six hours every year. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by approximately 24 days.

More about Leap Year

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Davy Jones

Star of The Monkees


The Monkees


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The olive oil in your salad dressing may be a fraud.

"...the sanctity of the US $1.5-billion olive oil market is at risk," says Tom Mueller, author of the new book Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, who spent three years studying the subject.

“It turned out to be far more complex, far more fraud-ridden, far more interesting and culturally rich than I had ever imagined,” said Mueller, an American freelance writer based in Liguria, Italy.

Read more . . .

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BORN ON THIS DAY



Born February 29, 1916
Died February 24, 1994

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012


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This space is a place holder in case I decide to insert some words of wisdom later in the day when I feel more like writing.

At the moment, I am watching that tremendous blockbuster news item on Good Morning America featuring Angelina Jolie's right leg.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY


Born February 28, 1948

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__________

"I care not so much what I am to others as what I am to myself."
--Michel de Montaigne

Monday, February 27, 2012

Taking Up Space . . .

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BORN ON THIS DAY


Born February 27, 1980

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

How To Be An Author



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How does one become an author?

To be a successful writer of published stories of any kind one must first of all write--write, write, and write--and do so continually. Persistence is vital. One must write and never stop writing. Some may disagree with that, but that's okay. Everyone has the right to be wrong.

But, you might ask, how does a writer get a start? How does one know what to write about?

Great Caesar's Ghost!

Let's see . . .

One probably starts by writing about the subjects he or she reads about. You might say that you most like to read romantic love stories. Recently I read that, "Romance literature is underground writing, almost never reviewed or discussed in the newspapers or literary rags, or at a dinner party. One is supposed to be embarrassed to have a taste for it."

Makes sense to me. So, if a soon-to-be author who loves to read both melodramatic tales of romance and also more complex cerebral literary stories, perhaps that writer might combine the two genres successfully and be the first writer to do so.

One first writes and then submits to publishers. And then one does that again. And again. And again. If, after an eternity of try, try, and try again, this does not work out for you, when all else fails, a writer with enough confidence in his or her work can always turn to self-publishing.

That will work.

While it is true that self-publishing may not earn you any money for your labor and, in fact, it will probably cost you some money, you will be a published author. Although, I have read in many recent blog entries... "Among the many unexpected gifts of the e-reader, anonymity is one of the most valuable and Romance is one of the fastest-growing categories in books."

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BORN ON THIS DAY



born February 26, 1846
died January 10, 1917

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BORN ON THIS DAY


February 26, 1802 - May 22, 1885.

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"Men have to be taught how to love; women are born with the innate ability to love."
--jay Dixon

Saturday, February 25, 2012

More Politics . . . (Ugh!)



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POLITICS

Ir has been reported that comedian Bill Maher has pledged one million dollars to a super PAC supporting President Obama's reelection bid. Why would he do that? Publicity? Probably. To draw attention to himself is the most probable reason I can think of. To announce and to publicize his progressive beliefs to the world, I suppose.

Why else?

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In an SF Weekly blog Erin Sherbert wrote:

"Paranoid Republican Rep. Bob Morris reportedly accused the Girl Scouts of being a radical branch of Planned Parenthood. More specifically, he said the youngsters are out there promoting homosexuality and abortion, one cookie at a time. He's convinced that the Girl Scouts are a bunch of radical lesbian feminists..."

Read more . . .

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TOUGH TALK


It's reported that President Obama said . . .

"It is time to stop the killing of Syrian
citizens by their own government."


And . . .


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton blasted Russia and China as "despicable" for opposing U.N. Security Council action on Syria, and more than 60 nations began planning a civilian peacekeeping mission to deploy after the Damascus regime halts a brutal crackdown on the opposition.


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How much longer will it be before the people of the United States become so fed up with the ever-worsening conditions at home and the continual "all talk, no action" arrogance of the federal government that they talk themselves into outbreaks similar to the violent foreign mass insurrections right here in U.S. city streets? If that were to happen, what would be the reaction of the currently ruling regime? The president and congress. Would they order the military to lay down their arms? Or use them against the radicals? Would the government leaders step down from their thrones of power? Or would there be retaliative shelling attacks on the howling mobs, on the insurgents? On the criminal fringe guerrillas -- on the civilian "freedom fighters?"

Of course that could not possibly happen here in our enlightened nation, in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Of course not.

You realize, don't you, that I am describing a scenario lifted from an upcoming blockbuster of a fiction novel.

Of course.

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Protests in Afghanistan over burning of Korans


In response to the burning of Korans at a U.S. military base, some are questioning whether the parade of apologies from the U.S. government may do more harm than good.

Read more . . .

Could this also be the seed of another best-seller fiction novel?

Why not?

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BORN ON THIS DAY


(Bob, not Robert)

Born February 25, 1937

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A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
--George Bernard Shaw

Friday, February 24, 2012

Birthdays Only


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I am doing some other (writing related) stuff today and so my blog entry will consist only of a couple of birthdays.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY



Born February 24, 1965

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Born February 24, 1921
(Yes, he's still alive)

Vigoda is well known for his portrayal of Sal Tessio in The Godfather, and for his portrayal of Detective Sgt. Phil Fish on the sitcom television series Barney Miller from 1975–1977

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"The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life."
--Muhammad Ali

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Black History Month



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The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.


I swear to the Lord
I still can't see
Why Democracy means
Everybody but me.
--Langston Hughes


BORN ON THIS DAY


W. E. B. Du Bois

February 23, 1868 - August 27, 1963


In 1903 W. E. B. Du Bois published

A collection of 14 essays

The kindle edition of this book is available at this time FREE from Amazon.com. I downloaded a copy just a few minutes before I wrote this.

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To live anywhere in the world today and be against equality because of race or color is like living in Alaska and being against snow.
--William Faulkner

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More On Reading And Writing


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I am just finishing reading the novel: Welcome To Hard Times by E.L. Doctorow. Didn't care much for it.

Last night I started reading the next book on my list: HELL by Robert Olen Butler. I bought this novel from a used bookstore a few weeks ago and just found out that it appears to be a first edition and is signed on the inner title page by the author.

Of course, I have no way of knowing if the signature was truly inscribed by Robert Olen Butler himself, but then again, I have no way of knowing it is not.

Here is snapshot of the Title Page

(Click the image to enlarge)

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There is an interesting Essay titled: On Getting Paid: Literary Magazines and Remuneration. Here is the first paragraph:

David Lynn began his Editor’s Notes for the Autumn 2004 issue of The Kenyon Review with some necessary questions: "How much is a fine story worth? What monetary value does a superb poem possess? How much -- and this is the inexorable point -- should authors be paid for their long, solitary work?"

Here is the link in case you are interested in the subject of payment to authors for literary work and would like to read the article.

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BORN ON THIS DAY



Born February 22, 1907
Died January 10, 1997

Sheldon Leonard's name served as a namesake for the main characters Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter in the funny American sitcom The Big Bang Theory, as the writers are fans of his work.

(Today is also the birthday of President George Washington)

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I have lately been musing about what is termed philosophy.

The philosophical statement "I think, therefore I am" is meaningless, in my opinion. Even the followup witticism "I think, therefore I think I am" has no real meaning when one thinks about it. Neither statement is, in itself, an actual provable fact. Both statements say nothing about one's state of being except as a temporary belief at a particular instant of time, and even then is merely an audible representation of a subjective chemical reaction and is therefore a questionable conclusion.

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Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.
--George Carlin

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

So Much To Learn... So Little Time


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Yesterday I checked my (Early Voting by Mail) Arizona ballot choice for presidential candidate for the Republican Primary to be held February 28, 2012. I dropped it in the mail bin in the office even though there was no mail pickup yesterday, which was President's Day and a legal holiday for employees of the U.S. Postal Service. It will go out in today's mail and arrive at election headquarters (or whatever it's called) here in Tucson either tomorrow or the next day. Now I can proudly wear the patriotic sticker proclaiming...


Hooray for me.

Who (whom?) did I vote for?

That's for me to know.

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If there is one thing I am truly thankful for it's that I was born into this time and place where such grand and open opportunities to learn exist. There is so much knowledge out there, free for the taking, that no single individual can access and absorb it all within a mere lifetime.

There are some truly wonderful sites scattered among the many flashy and extravagant come-ons manufactured by all those money grubbing pitchmen on the World Wide Web. Oh yes. There certainly are. I've seen some of them. Occasionally I have mentioned a few of my favorites here on my chatty little blog.

Today I decided to point my readers to a few of what I consider to be some of the more interesting ones.

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"Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will."
--Vernon Howard

Science Fiction


SciFiStation is a website for Science Fiction fans, for Science Fiction researchers, and for anyone else with even a passing interest in Science Fiction.

Even if you are not a dedicated fan of Science Fiction, you might enjoy learning some of the fascinating facts about the subject, and this site is an excellent place to get your feet wet, so to speak.

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Another site I visit every day is Grammarphobia and I never leave it without having learned something new about English grammar. For example: There is a difference between the words 'ethics' and 'morals' -- did you know that? I mean did you really know that? Grammarphobia HERE has an informative short article regarding the differing meanings of 'ethics' and 'morals.'

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Kelsey Grammer


Born February 21, 1955

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Dmitrii Lezine has on exhibit some of the most fabulous photos you have ever seen. Well... the most fabulous photos that I've ever seen. (On the Internet.)

If you appreciate stunning, jaw-dropping photography, take a look HERE

You won't be sorry.

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"Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned."
--Mark Twain

Monday, February 20, 2012

What Are Holidays For?



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Internet Shutdown?

because of computer virus concerns? Is this real?

Could be. I suppose.

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BORN ON THIS DAY


HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Entrepreneur


born February 20, 1966
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY

three time winner
Indianapolis 500

born February 20, 1934

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A perpetual holiday is a good working definition of hell.
George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Taking One's Self Too Seriously?


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For some reason I still have not marked my choice for presidential candidate on the Republican Early Voting By Mail ballot. It sits on my shelf patiently awaiting my attention, but I simply have not been able to make a decision. And I have only about three more days to get it done.

Oh, woe is me.

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BORN ON THIS DAY

Lee Marvin


February 19, 1924 - August 29, 1987


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As usual, I have watched the Sunday Morning TV News shows, and am still doing so at this moment. Not paying much attention, though. Same old same old. And, as usual I am disappointed and possibly in danger of sliding into depression. I really do not feel like writing anything deep or meaningful at this time.

Depression? Perhaps it's because I have been reading in utter amazement from the Catholic Catechism. That might be the reason. Yes... could be.

Better watch my step these days.

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A baby fills a hole in your heart that your didn’t know was there.
--anonymous

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Cats And The Prots


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Student quits choir over song praising 'Allah' is a headline recently blogged about by Hemant Mehta and is just one instance of the dogma being instilled (whether intentionally or unintentionally) in the minds of young people by the Christian church.

Why, in the twenty-first century, are children still being fed such narrow minded exclusionary ideas?

A man by the name of Bob Lesch commented in Charles Krauthammer's Washington Post column February 17, 2012: "...using a condom violates church doctrine. having sex for any reason other than procreation violates church doctrine. in other words - 99% of catholics, including priests, bishops, cardinals and yes - popes, violate church doctrine - and quite frequently. so why should ANY politician or government official pay any attention to church doctrine - ever?"

That statement is provocative in that it is so obviously true. Almost every American citizen, even though most will publicly deny it, knows that it is true.

After thinking long and hard about the above fact I decided to do some in-depth research on existing "church doctrine" so as to try to discover whether or not my negative beliefs concerning organized religion are valid or if perhaps I have slipped through the cracks and missed out on a Christian education when I was still at a teachable age.

Since I know so little (beyond hearsay) about the Holy Roman Catholic Church, it seems to me that the logical source in which to begin should be the basic primer of the Catholic Church.



As I read and study the lessons day after day I will try to report here in the blog on what I learn.

Before starting in on the Catholic Catechism, though, I did an online search concerning the differences between the Catholic and Protestant beliefs as presented by the Protestant side... at a comparison section of God On The Net to soak up the basics.

One of the God On The Net questions that stuck with me was: "Why don't Protestants and Catholics just get together, iron out their differences, and join together?"

The answer was "Each side disagrees with the other on many fundamental theological doctrines, such as the existence of purgatory and whether the Old and New Testaments are the only divinely-inspired teachings. Neither side is willing to change its position; hence, there can be no genuine reunification of Protestantism and Catholicism."

That reminds me of the many times in the past when I asked, "Why don't Republicans and Democrats get together, iron out their differences and join together? Perhaps the same answer applies: "Neither side is willing to change its position; hence, there can be no genuine unification of lumbering Elephant doctrine and stumbling Jackass doctrine.

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"Sure, health care, good works, and religion are important. But reelection is divine."
--Charles Krauthammer

HAPPY BIRTHDAY



Born February 18, 1957

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bread, Circuses, And Bare Reality


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A NASA memo I received yesterday announced:

WASHINGTON -- Feb. 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the day in 1962 when U.S. Sen. John Glenn piloted his Friendship 7 spacecraft on the first U.S. orbital. In the next two weeks, NASA Television will broadcast a series of live events and special programming to commemorate 50 years of Americans in orbit, including the premiere of a new documentary and special interactive online features.

Upon reading that, my first thought was Fifty years later and we can't even get a man onto the moon again. Why not? Have the temperament of men and goals of governments changed so much in that span of time? Is mankind on the down slide? Has the dream of future meaningful and affordable manned space flight proven to be beyond human capability after all?

So it seems.

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A Washington Post article regarding The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau caught my attention. It begins:

Consumer agency wants oversight of debt collectors, credit bureaus The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday sought to bring debt collectors and credit bureaus under its purview, marking the first time the often controversial industries would be subject to federal supervision.

This reminded me of the problem I've been having with some telephone collection agency for the last few weeks. My telephone rings (every day six days each week) and when I answer it a prerecorded voice says, "This is a message for (a mechanical three toned voice pronounces Wendy -- Kvyltz??- - Dreese") followed by the instructions: "If this is (repeated but garbled name) please press 1. If (same repetition of name) is available but must be summoned to the phone, please press 2. If (same repetition of name) is not available please press 3."

Pressing the 2 or pressing 3 does not switch me to a human being -- 2 merely repeats the instructions for a short time then hangs up, and 3 just hangs up. I never press 1 because that would be falsely (and maybe dangerously) saying that I am the person being called. What can a guy do?

Well. a couple of days ago I again got a call for that person, but it was different this time. The electronic voice said that this was a call from a collection agency for Wendy -- Kvyltz?? -- Dreese. -- To talk to a human please press 1."

I immediately pressed 1 and was connected to a lady who listened to the explanation of my dilemma, that I am a 72 year old man who lives alone in a small one-bedroom apartment and that I had never heard of that person, and that I had had this phone number for less than a year and that I was contemplating going to the telephone company to stop the prerecorded harassment.

She turned out to be a very nice lady who apologized for the mistake and assured me that my number would be erased from their system.

I thanked her kindly and hung up.

Time will tell what happens (or does not happen) next.

Here is the link in case you would like to read the aforementioned article regarding government control over debt collection.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY


Born February 17, 1963

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I don't understand why there is such a flap-doodle about contraception. If a woman wants to assure herself that she can have sex without becoming pregnant then why should anyone think they have a right (under the power of law) to stop her? That makes absolutely no sense at all. And, to proclaim that one's religion condemns contraception is not only incorrect, it is downright foolish.

The Christian bible does not teach that it is forbidden to keep oneself from conceiving a child. Period. And anyone who says that it does is preaching a falsehood. Even if that misinformed preacher mistakenly believes it to be true.

Jesus himself in Matthew 17:17 of the Christian bible despairs at how his supposed faithful followers themselves so often misunderstand when he says to them, "O unbelieving and perverse generation, How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?"

Instead of acknowledging the simple truths before their eyes, men persist in twisting words to perversely reflect back their own ingrained but erroneous beliefs.

A New York Times article reports that Liberal women’s health and rights groups point to evidence, including a New York Times/CBS News poll released Tuesday, indicating that most Americans, including a majority of Catholics, support requiring religiously affiliated institutions to provide contraception coverage.

The people themselves are able to see the common-sense truth that contraception is a blessing for the human race, and is not a sin, no matter what today's perverse generation of vipers with their pointy pontifical hats and flowing golden robes or their white clerical collars try to foist upon us.

Of course, not being as naive or as stupid as I sometimes make myself out to be, I realize that all this to-do and hoop-la is not really about contraception or religiosity... it's about power, about getting power, getting more power, and holding on to power.

Oh well. I have to write about something. Have to get my homespun views and corn-pone insights on record somehow.

La, de, da.

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"In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill... we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one."
--Plato

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How Does A Blogger Choose A Subject?



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I have been asked why I sometimes include those pictures and links to celebrity information about those whose birthdays fall on the current date . My answer is "Why not?" It requires minimal research, provides some light distraction from the serious side of life, and it's fun. So, again... "Why not?"
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Misogyny is a fancy word that means the hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women. There is no law against it... yet. Not until all the thoroughly brainwashed self-styled 'Progressives' can manage to slip one through Congress and impose it on the broad backs of the ignorant masses. -- (That's us, you and me) -- I'm not sure why, but the subject has been nagging me to get busy and write a story incorporating misogyny in a seemingly new and original way.

My somewhat limited research has yet to reveal any new facts or to stimulate the creation of same... but the idea germ is there and if anything arises I will hopefully be alert enough to grab onto it.

Hope it doesn't take too long.

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While recently reading a book review I noted down the following passage -- "...he calls his friend an asshole and taunts him about the size of his penis." I wrote this down in my notes folder because it seems to be a characteristic that a character in a story of mine might someday need to exhibit.

The above is just a brief glimpse into my thought processes.

Ignore it if you like.

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BORN ON THIS DAY


(Geordie La Forge)

Born February 16, 1957


ALSO


granddaughter of
Ernest Hemingway

born February 16, 1954
and died on Jul 1, 1996

If you are curious as to why I chose Margaux as today's Birthday Girl... well, then you certainly don't know me very well.

Right?
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So . . . how do I choose what subject to write about in my daily blog? I don't. I usually just sit down at the keyboard and start to type, hoping a subject (or a random group of subjects) will choose me.

Does that appear to be a cop-out?

Too bad.

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”You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.”
--Albert Einstein

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Self Analysis? What's That?


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Below is an attempted reply to a recent query from a fellow writer and longtime online friend.

I wrote:

So you tell me you are a coffee-shop habitue?

Yikes! But there are people sitting around you there. How can you write, or even think, while surrounded by chattering, nattering, coffee-drinking people?

As for myself, I need solitude. I must do all my writing alone. I thought every writer must do so. I am not particularly antisocial, not in my own estimation; I am more of an 'outlier,' I suppose you could say.

You asked me if what you had written to me in your previous note made any sense to me. And you opined that it did.

Well, yes, it makes sense to me, of course it makes sense to me, about as much as anything else in this helter skelter world makes sense to me. Although, until you asked me directly, I probably would not have said so.

You wrote that you'd come to feel from me a deep sense of regret, of sadness sometimes masked by gruffness... and of course the regret is there, it's there in most of us, I suspect. But gruffness? No. I don't think so. I don't recognize gruffness ever emanating from me, unless you mean the rough and tough defensive demeanor I spread about, like the sporadic distant warning cough of the male African lion that covers his tendency toward timidity with seemingly callous contempt in a raucous attempt to hide his inner fears -- as we humans are wont to do.

But I digress. (Of course I digress. I constantly digress.)

Or do I?

You chide me for wasting my time sitting and staring day after day at old TV reruns instead of using that (precious?) time to write of serious things. And I wonder why. Why should you care how I spend my time? (No, I don't wholly swallow your avowed premise of mere self-interest.)

Why on Earth should I willingly enter through the self-forbidden gates of Hell on Earth?

Why should I wish to rake through the sunken muck and dredge up memories of old suppressed afflictions? Those many, many wounds, most of them self-inflicted? Let them lie. Too painful. Why should I want to mine that putrid pit containing the deeply buried ores of grief and pain? Hurts too much. Leave it. Let it all remain dormant within its temporary crypt until it eventually slips away from those hidden regions wherein such filthy sins belong, and move on into some final eternity of blessed oblivion.

There are some things I cannot say. Not properly. It takes too much wisdom, and too much plain and simple courage. There are things I should not write about. For the same reason.

But let me think upon it.

Gene

P.S.
After several re-readings, the above seems, even to me, to be but a self-conscious bit of foggy-minded doggerel. And by doggerel, I mean: loosely styled and irregular in measure, not for its burlesque or comic effect, but by my careful choice of words -- words which are clearly marked by triviality and inferiority.

It was not originally intended to be.

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A Washington Post article about love that I was reading yesterday at one point spoke of a romcom and since I had no idea what a romcom was I looked it up.

A romcom, according to The Urban Dictionary, is a romantic comedy. Why conflate those two words? Why form one word from two? For convenience? For economy?

For the sake of saving energy while exchanging information verbally?

I would suggest that the creation of the word romcom came about when someone thought it clever enough to spread it among acquaintances so that they would see how terribly clever was this coiner of new words. To puff up his or her self-esteem, don't ya' know?

Now why, you might ask me, are you, an old has-been, reading about love?

Well, you might ask, but please do not expect a racy or provocative answer.

I'm doing research for a difficult piece I am attempting to write.

That's all.

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BORN ON THIS DAY




Born February 15, 1927
Died on May 29, 2008.

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Also Born On This Day

Galileo Galilei
(1564-1642)

___________

"Half of analysis is anal."
--Marty Indik

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Price Of Life Is Death


_____


Today is Valentine's Day.
(Enough said about that)
_____

The subject of rectifying financial inequality among the people of the world is one of those topics that sits rocking precariously within my mind, tipping first one way then the other in concert with my changes in perception and judgment of the state of my surroundings. Should there be something done about it, or not?

According to Wikipedia, Michael Rubens Bloomberg (born February 14, 1942) is the current Mayor of New York City. With a net worth of $19.5 billion in 2011, he is also the 12th-richest person in the United States.

The 12th richest? There are eleven people who are richer than that in the United States?

Great Caesar's Ghost!

I read that Bloomberg has expressed concern about poverty and growing class divisions stating, "This society cannot go forward, the way we have been going forward, where the gap between the rich and the poor keeps growing." And I suspect that this is true. But I wonder what his motive is for stating it.


BIRTHDAY



Michael Bloomberg was
born February 14, 1942

One answer might be for the peoples of the world to seize all the assets and all the wealth of every single citizen of the Earth, leaving each one of them only enough to survive in reasonable (although not in excessive) comfort and to dedicate everything collected to solving the much touted incidence of global warming.

No?

Why not? Is personal gain more important than survival of the planet?

Yes. Of course it is. Where have you been living on all your life?

Besides, global warming is a planetary problem, and is possibly a solar phenomenon. The puny race of human beings cannot stop it. Or, even if it can... it won't.

The rich and the poor of every nation wage an ongoing war with each other, sometimes by an almost unnoticed wearing down as if by water trickling away the bedrock below, and at other times with an all-out murderous conflagration from loosened flames of furious fires, but always -- always -- embroiled in consistent conflict.

Sanity?

What's that?

Events and circumstances in nature occur not as they should, but as they must.

__________

"Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning."
--Bill Gates

Monday, February 13, 2012

For What It's Worth


_____


My early memories of hearing Tennessee Ernie Ford was at my Grandma and Grandpa Morris's house, first on their huge old wooden Philco radio and then on their small-screened Dumont television set when they first got one. To those two old folks, he was "Ernie" whose deep baritone voice was as familiar to them as any of the rest of us in the family. Grandma especially liked to hear him sing her favorite hymns, like The Old Rugged Cross and the like.


BORN ON THIS DAY




February 13 1919 - October 17, 1991


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Is everything all right? Or is it alright?

Most dictionaries and some grammarians agree that "alright" as one word is currently not acceptable English, though it may become so in the future.

Grammar Girl offers her answer:

The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style seems to contradict itself. It states that "alright" as one word "has never been accepted as standard" but it then goes on to explain that "all right" as two words and "alright" as one word have two distinct meanings. It gives the example of the sentence "The figures are all right." When you use "all right" as two words, the sentence means "the figures are all accurate." When you write "The figures are alright," with "alright" as one word, this source explains that the sentence means "the figures are satisfactory."

Gee whiz! How's a guy to know what's correct or not correct?

_____

This morning I read in The Washington Post the following paragraph:

"A year ago, the {Obama} administration issued a white paper outlining three options for replacing Fannie and Freddie. They include creating a new government agency that would continue to insure mortgages or one that would intervene only during a crisis."

Why had I not known about this until now? I try to keep abreast of the current news stories, but evidently I don't always succeed. Oh well, it probably doesn't matter as much as I would have thought. But keeping an eye on what follows in that area might be a good idea.

Or not . . .

___________

Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.
--Napoleon Bonaparte

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Birthday Of President Abraham Lincoln



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One of the first of the many, many dates I was required to memorize way back in grade school was Lincoln's Birthday (today) and surprisingly enough I have never forgotten it.

One of the most recent quotes attributed to Mr. Lincoln that I have read (and am now attempting to memorize) is: "We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution."

To me, that quotation is one of the most enduring pieces of wisdom in existence, and is of monumental importance especially in the current governmental atmosphere of seemingly casual, somewhat scornful, payment of lip-service to the constitution. Mr. Lincoln's words can well bear repeating:

We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.

Born On This Day

Abraham Lincoln
16th President of the United States


(February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865)


The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate--we can not consecrate--we can not hallow--this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


So! "The world will little note, nor long remember...."

Have we indeed forgotten?

It sometimes seems so.

Note:
Many of the volumes of Abraham Lincoln's writing are available FREE for downloading in Kindle editions from Amazon.com.

__________

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
--Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Couple Of Things . . .


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I ran across a new word. It is Elderschadenfreude (pronounced elder-shod-un-FROYD-uh) -- Elderschadenfreude is defined as the secret pleasure of hearing about aging parents that are even more impossible than yours.

Sandra Tsing Loh has a piece in the Atlantic titled Daddy Issues. Why caring for my aging father has me wishing he would die.

Sandra Tsing Loh


Below is an excerpt:

“I WAAAAAAAANT MY FATHERRRRRR TO DIEEEEE!!!”

Startled, and subtly stepping back to put a bit more distance between us, my co-worker asked what I meant.

“What I mean, Rob, is that even if, while howling like a banshee, I tore my 91-year-old father limb from limb with my own hands in the town square, I believe no jury of my peers would convict me. Indeed, if they knew all the facts, I believe any group of sensible, sane individuals would actually roll up their shirtsleeves and pitch in.”

Don't be fooled. This article is not a fluffy-cutesy little piece about how wonderful it is to care for an aging parent. It is not. It most certainly is not.

If you can spare a few minutes to read it, I'm sure you will be glad you did.

(Well, I'm not all 'that' sure)

At the end of the article there are a variety of comments, pro and con.

_____


Happy Birthday

Jennifer Aniston


Born February 11, 1965

_____


Thomas Alva Edison
was also born on this day


(February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931)

Which picture would you rather gaze upon?
Tom's? Or Jenn's?
__________

Let your heart guide you.
It whispers,
so listen carefully.

--Littlefoot's mother (Land Before Time)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bric-A-Brac


_____

The Rensselaer Adventures blog contained the following revelation: "Today the Rensselaer paper reported in the Arrest Log of someone arrested by the Jasper County Sheriff's Office and charged with "wreckless driving."

Was that an accidental typo? Or was it done on purpose?

Naw . . . they're not that clever.

_____


HAPPY BIRTHDAY



Born February 10, 1961

______


Curation is a word I don't remember ever having heard or known about before today. According to Wikipedia it can mean: Digital curation, the preservation and maintenance of digital assets.

Curation may also be:

- The work performed by a curator
- Archiving, historical record keeping
- Evidence management, indexing and cataloguing of evidence
- Cultural heritage management, conservation of cultural sites and resources
- Healing, medical curing of illness

Curation, huh? Well, live and learn.


By the way . . .

Did you know that George Bernard Shaw is the only person to have been awarded both the Nobel Prize for Literature and an Oscar?



Born: 26-Jul-1856
Died: 2-Nov-1950

_____


Steve Jobs FBI File Reveals Bomb Threat, 'Tendency To Distort Reality' -- and More.

___________

Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn't there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything.
--Robert A. Heinlein

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Do You Whinge Or Do You Whine?



_____

On this morning's TV news regarding the contraception dispute between the government and religion, I heard some Bishop, or it might have been some other high Catholic official, say that the Church and President Obama were "at loggerheads." At loggerheads? Loggerheads? What in Darwin's Green Earth does that mean?

The phrase: at loggerheads simply means: in dispute with. Originally, a loggerhead was used with the meaning of a stupid person - a blockhead.

The idiom has now come to mean: If people are at loggerheads, they are arguing and can't agree on anything.

The Bishop (or whatever he is) might have better said, "The Church and President Obama disagree with each other on some points."

_____


Happy Birthday

born February 9, 1944
Author of The Color Purple

_____

Earlier today I ran across a blog entry written by some Brit who spoke of "... all those whinging cretins..." -- and this reminded me of a Limerick I had several years ago written making fun of the Brits who say whinge -- pronounced Whin-j. So I searched through my 'Old Writings' folder until I found it.

Here it is:

Whenever a Brit says, "whinge"
I shudder, I quake and I cringe.
In the States, we say, "whine"
Which is perfectly fine --
A Yank would never say, "whinge"


The above indicates that I might not be an Anglophile.

And despite my paternal lineage . . . I'm not.
(more about this subject at some other time)

__________

To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.
--Edmund Burke

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Is English Grammar Doomed?


_____

Every time I hear someone say "...comprised of..." it brings me closer to becoming hysterical. A few minutes ago Garret Lewis, on Tucson Radio Station KNST, spoke of brownies being "comprised of" something or other. Using correct grammar, he should have said either "composed of" or "...comprises..." because the word "of" is never correctly used with the word "comprised."

Dr. Grammar writes:

Comprise?

"Nothing is ever 'comprised of' something. To comprise means 'to contain or to embrace': The jury comprises seven women and five men.

All of the following mean the same thing:
The jury is composed of seven women and five men.
The jury is made up of seven women and five men.
Seven women and five men constitute the jury.
Seven women and five men make up the jury.

Even when used correctly, in my humble opinion, comprise and constitute tend to sound stilted. Some form of is made up of sounds better in most cases."

Why is this important? Because using a word incorrectly (as so many public speakers do these days) changes its meaning in the minds of the hearers who themselves repeat the mistake, which helps destroy the effectiveness of the English language, word by word by word.

There are, of course, times when incorrect grammar is excusable and even preferable, such as when words are purposely used incorrectly in a fiction story's character dialogue, or when consciously used incorrectly in a poem to make a point in an artistic manner.


Robert Brault once wrote: "Do not be surprised when those who ignore the rules of grammar also ignore the law. After all, the law is just so much grammar."

_____

Happy Birthday

Born February 8, 1955
(When I was 16)
__________

Ignorant people think it is the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain't so; it is the sickening grammar that they use.
--Mark Twain

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Gonna Vote Early And Who Cares?



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The U.S. mail brought me my Early Vote By Mail ballot in which I can mark my choice for the Republican candidate and send back by February 24, 2012. I didn't realize that there would be so many names on the ballot who are still listed as running for president. They are all there, even the ones who have withdrawn from the race. Since I really do not want to vote for either of the top two contenders, I can just mark any old choice and send it in.

My choice? Who cares?
_____

The Fact Checker reported on Mitt Romney’s misfire on the national anthem in his speech of February 2, 2012 when he said: "We are the only people on the earth that put our hand over our heart during the playing of the national anthem. It was FDR who asked us to do that, in honor of the blood that was being shed by our sons and daughters in far-off places."

Evidently there are other countries who use the hand-over-the-heart salute during the playing of their national anthems, and FDR had nothing to do with establishing the custom.

The Fact Checker will tell you all about it.

It seems to me that Mitt Romney often plays fast and loose with his facts. And with the truth. I wonder if that is a Mormon tradition, or merely an ingrained trait of politicians.


"Gingrich, however, embodies the vanity and rapacity that make modern Washington repulsive. And there is his anti-conservative confidence that he has a comprehensive explanation of, and plan to perfect, everything."
--George Will