Category Archives: Learning

Yeah,, but did you know . . .

Upworthy is a new shared site. I really don’t know how it works, but I like it a lot. The stuff that pops up there takes a bit of a sideways look at “content that is as fun to share as a FAIL video of some idiot surfing off his roof.”

But, they add:

. . . we believe the things that matter in the world don’t have to be boring and guilt-inducing. And the addictive stuff we love doesn’t have to be completely without substance.

Here’s something important from over there that’s rarely  mentioned outside the usual wonky sites. Nice to see it somewhere younger people might visit:

We already know that 90 percent of the media is controlled by six companies, 37 banks have been consolidated into four, 307 types of corn have been reduced to 12, and these 10 companies own practically everything else. What’s next?

Subscribe. It’s fun.

I just got a reply to my blind Craigslist ad – from a young friend!


Any reader here knows that I recently bought a Dummies-type book (my first since 1992) and it’s about as useful as MS Office 2010 (and it’s gruesome anchor Word 2010) is nasty. Nasty, nasty, nasty.

So I’ve found myself using Publisher instead – even for quite ordinary documents. It’s easier, properly intuitive and seems relatively free of Microsoft’s usual ‘scold’ override function (My dear user, you really don’t want to do it that way, do you? Here, let me fix it for you. There. That’s better, isn’t it?)

But it’s a stalling tactic. I’ve really got to get a handle on this newfangled version of Word. I’ve decided a tutor is what I need – someone to give me a jump start. Having figured out what I needed, it was on to Craigslist! I put up a blind ad.

And the first reponse was from a friend. Whom I know to be smart and ‘puter savvy.  So Kris shall be my tutor. He’ll pretend he doesn’t want me to pay him which I will absolutely slap down. And since we’ll meet evenings after work/before rehearsal (he’s an actor poor fellow), I will of course feed him his dinner which will make me feel all maternal. Win-win!

Meet Theo Jansen – an original thinker

A confusing day of mixed signals, following a night of little or no sleep, and the unblogginess persists. Meanwhile, and before I find an oldie, how about something to make us smile:

RSS: Help me out here

I bet Dorian knows the answer

Would someone please tell me why I should – if I should – add RSS feed to posts and comments. And how is that different from subscriptions or tags ?

ALSO: How? And is it an ‘in’ or ‘out’ function. I’m lost here.

I will say no, I will say no, I will . . .

The novice retiree’s naiveté. Too many obligations. Not even enough time (see number 4 here) to take care of my personal business like food shopping, library stops etc.

Not so much unbloggy as unavailable. The short term committment wraps up very soon. The theatre is hosting an international festival (theatre companies coming from ALL continents except Antarctica!) and I committed myself heavily. The festival wraps up at the end of this week. Life should get back to normal then.

And between the oil spill and Gen. Stanley MacArthur, I look forward to reading and blogging a lot.

Do come back.

Catching up, some lessons and a song

Over the last week, I’ve learned four important lessons. Allow me to share.

  1. Do not move heavy furniture, in the dark, barefoot  – or you might end up in the Emergency Room.
  2. Do not undertake two substantial volunteer projects that share a deadline.
  3. Do consider your excema prone skin when building a swimming pool. It’s likely to cost a few sheckles to convert to a salt water system. And this leads to the final and somewhat humiliating lesson:
  4. Do listen to friends.

Given the above – and the mood engendered this past week – I am unbloggy. So unbloggy that I failed to do a Friday night oldie.

Here is a taste of the – then – newly-emerging edgy 60’s culture. It wasn’t all hippies and the Beatles:

We are such interesting critters

We are always learning new things about ourselves – as individuals and as a species. Often what we learn is esoteric and doesn’t seem to have any application in our lives. And just as often, it does, whether we or you or I can see it or not.

And sometimes what we learn is just fun to know. Among the most amusing?  When humans read the written word, it absolutely doesn’t have to be spelled correctly. The word can be jumbled – but as long as the first and last letters are correct and the word is in some context, we can read it every time, without skipping a beat. Lookee here:

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

Blogging Lite (and good morning)

Blogging’s been light and sporatic – maybe later today I can pick up again. But the real world will have its way with us at times.

Can you list the number of reasons (there are many) why a Droid is the  w-r-o-n-g  device for a woman of a certain age? Watch me go to the Verizon store and go all old lady on those kids and see if I can unsign that damn contract.

Meanwhile, as you know, today is the 143rd day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.

Let the games begin. (my games that is)

Went to see the young men at the Verizon store today as it was time for a new phone. The contract update phone to which I am entitled was not particularly appealing.

So I now have a Droid, Verizon’s version of the I-Phone. (And I understand Apple is suing them. Whee, telecomm giants grapple! Mud wrestling is next!)

I will spend some happy hours playing with it, exploring apps and noise makers, while the device itself gets its first real charge, which is a landmark moment in the life of a young phone.

Maybe I should knit some booties.

My mouse has wanderlust

I’ve got an odd problem. My mouse acts odd but only when I’m online. AND I keep getting this situation where whatever page I’m on – on its own – starts scrolling to the top and no matter what I do I can’t scroll down. If I have four tabs open, the problem is on each one. A few times, if I wait 10 minutes, the problem disappears. Sometimes if I  wait an hour, it doesn’t. Mostly I close my browser and start all  over, which can be very annoying when I’m in the middle of something.

If it were a mouse problem, it should apply to programs or Outlook. Right? I have already switched mice. Didn’t fix it.

I use Mozilla Firefox. Anybody have any ideas?

Oh no.

I just deleted every post I published since December 26. I am pretty upset. More  later.

UPDATE: I’ve been finding some of them via comments links (who knew? go through that door and the post is still there!). Now I have to try to find some caches in google or somewhere. If anyone has any of my content, please let me know. Of course,  I’ve no idea why anyone would have any, but obviously given this morning’s event, I still have a great deal to learn.

So that’s what I saw . . .

In a post earlier this week, I described watching a ‘break dance’ at the Miami Book Fair. Alas, another sign of age – identifying something with a decades old name when in fact it’s something entirely new. (Which shouldn’t surprise, since I stopped being able to identify most cars a  l-o-n-g  time ago.)

This morning, The New York Times informs me that what I saw is called ‘jerking’. Right name or not, I got one thing right. It was the best of sidewalk theatre. And I was grateful to have been right there.

Scholars in the sun

That’s what it felt like at the Miami Book Fair. Tens of thousands of people, moving easily around the designated venues on the astonishing urban campus of Miami-Dade College. Notebooks, schedules and sunglasses grasped in hand, looking

John Hodgman

toward the next event. Joyce Carol Oats! Taylor Branch! John Hodgman! (John Hodgman?) Some poetry perhaps. Or the star turn – for which I had a splendid seat – Al Gore himself. The uber celebrity of the young scholastic set. (Gotta admit, I was pretty darn star struck myself.)

No frowns, no angry faces, sunshine and smiles. And then, icing on my cake – a spontaneous break dance performance on a sidewalk in front of me. Six or seven teenage boys – volunteers at the Fair with their bright yellow teeshirts – removed  their badges and glasses and put down bags and ipods and phones in a pile. And to the beat of a music they pulled from the air to their ears only, began to dance and leap and walk on air. And after a few minutes a little girl, no more than four years old moved into their space and without missing a beat they surrounded her in a circle and made her their only audience. And she smiled and clapped and was soon trying to do what they were doing.

Don’t think I’ll forget that one soon.

Off to Miami!

Light posting for the next few days. Very shortly I’ll jump into my trusty vehicle, unhealthy volumes of coffee and Diet Coke at my side, and head off to the Miami Book Festival.

b9ookimagesIt’s a great event, and tomorrow morning Paquita and I have tickets to hear Al Gore. And in the afternoon we’ll hear Taylor Branch.

If I don’t float away first on a sea not-good-for-me!! beverages.

This week’s happy surprise

Turns out you can return mattresses! Who knew? I went to the local big huge mattress store because they have everything and take the old bed away when they deliver and set up the new one. Did my homework and shopping on line. Consumer Reports does not rate mattresses, so that makes it all a bit more difficult. They have a twenty thousand page explanation of why they don’t. So I just moved on.

Now most of us don’t buy mattresses more than once in a decade. Sometimes much longer. So it’s not like I had a clue image00111going in what was right for me. I had some price, quality info, but that’s only an elimination round. The hard part is next. Pick the damn mattress.

And I picked wrong. And they delivered it and set it up and I slept on it and it was wrong, wrong, wrong and did I mention, wrong. This is a lot of money, so what to do? I choose to stress out to an intolerable level for some hours. And finally in a rush of bravery went back to the store and asked “what happens when someone has bought the wrong mattress”. (With that mysterious tag and all, I assumed mattresses were like bathing suits – it’s a felony if you try to return after use.)

And they said “happens all the time.” And I choose another and they came out and switched it all out and I love my new mattress. Humanity has redeemed itself.

Victory is mine

And I have no idea why. So yeah for me. I mysteriously fixed my problem while off eating dinner and didn’t know it.

This is a test. This is only a test.

OopsMy posts are being published in the wrong direction. New posts are not making it to the top. They seem to be appearing under the last post. If it happens again with this one, I’m going to assume that I changed some setting in my sleep last night. But of course, I didn’t have much sleep so anxious was I for more news of the balloon boy.

Let us see where this one appears.

Okay, not liking this . . .

For the second time in as many weeks, posts have disappeared into thin air. About four, posted late afternoon yesterday? Not there. Were there last night. On the home page, fully visible, not in draft form.

Who took ’em? Fess’ up!!!!


The concept and management of CATEGORIES and TAGS still eludes me and gets me all tied up in knots. A public blog ain’t a public blog untill that is fixed. I’ve downloaded a few lengthy articles on the subject(s), written in plain enough language for a no-longer-young person like myself.  And I imagine actually reading them would be the thing to do. (Ya think?) I don’t think I get anywhere with this undertaking until I get that stuff squared away. My categories are all screwed-up and I haven’t even tackled tags. And somewhere in WordPress is a function that allows me to make global changes in category names. Need to find that as well.

Time for a Diet Coke.

He’s a very fine teacher

Michael MooreSaw Michael Moore’s new movie yesterday. Best he’s made since Roger and Me a gajillion years ago. In that one, he was chasing Roger Moore, the then-chairman of GM, trying to talk to him (that failed). The film maker was very concerned about what GM was doing to America, bleeding jobs, making crappy cars, and in the process destroying  Moore’s hometown of  Flint MI.

Moore is still making movies. GM ain’t doin’ so well.

Go see Capitalism: A Love Story.


monkey imagesI seem to have just deleted about six posts – some of which I was rather proud.  I’m now trying to find them  on Google and see if there’s a cache so I can restore. Don’t even remember all the titles! Dammit!

One was called ‘Sound and fury, signifying nothing’  linking to  and talking about a recent David Brooks column. And how little actual effect talk radio and the Becks have on elections. His column is here. Pretty damn good column.

One was called ‘Breakin’ up is hard to do’ and was about my slavish devotion to WordPerfect. FOUND CACHE. SHALL RESTORE!  Update: Well, this one appears not to have been deleted at all. And of course, cuz it’s the only one I’ve found cached so far.

One was about Letterman. I remember that one:

Letterman was single. Clinton was married. Next?

A few long ones about McCrystal and a column by Walter Pincus. And one about comments by Sec. Gates.

One called “We’re Democratics dammit” in which I brilliantly take media and national Dems to task for failing to respond to the constant and intentional insult (don’t get why it’s an insult) of calling the Democratic party the Democrat party. Something to do with ‘rat’??

And one called ‘Adding to the charm’. I have no idea what that one was about.

The one called ‘Snap me out of it’ said something like: I wanted to do more than politics here. Not going so  well.

god hates fagsThe one I’d most like to find was called ‘Those durn Apostles’ and was about a conservative christian project to ‘retranslate the Bible’  from the original because apparently it’s too liberal. I opined that since it’s unlikely that any of the scholars involved are likey to speak Aramic that perhaps they could get some help from Mel Gibson. Liked the artwork too.

And there was another about a story in the Washington Times. Yes, The Washington Times. If I can’t find a cache I’ll post the link here.

Oh yes, one more about how pleased I was to have Comcast coming to my house again today. That was ‘My pal Comcast’.

Breakin’ up is hard to do

wordperfectSo I don’t bother any more. WordPerfect is my date and has been since 1993. The last update I have installed is WordPerfect 11, now six years old.  And Mr. Gates and I never got along.

Here are some words my 2003 version of WordPerfect does not know:

any web address
any email address

(I know – I can teach it.)

Something else that’s hard – categories, getting them right, figuring out what the hell tags are. But first, the categories – that is a challenge.

Definitions help

monkeysTo inform the dialogue, I offer the following, courtesy Oxford English Dictionary:

1. an economic system in which the production and distribution of goods depend on invested private capital and profit-making.
2. Polit. the dominance of private owners of capital and production for profit.
a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the community as a whole should own and control the means of production, distribution, and exchange.
a political theory derived from Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person is paid and works according to his or her needs and abilities.
1. the totalitarian principles and organization of the extreme right-wing nationalist movement in Italy (1922-43).
2. any system of extreme right-wing or authoritarian views.
1. state ruled by a dictator.
2. absolute authority in any sphere.
government by a small group of people.
1. a system of government by the whole population, usu. through elected representatives.
2. a classless and tolerant form of society.

Blog readers are fickle

So eye strain or not, I had better be sure to keep those daily posts coming. Big dive in visitors over weekend. Nevertheless, I’m stunned to report 993 visits to date. That is the smallest of change of course, but I am the newest of bloggers and have yet to explore how one drives traffic. Shands clappingo, good news and bad news.  And that is life. And so – as I require positive reinforcement and someone must do it – kudos to me. 993 visits. Goal is now to speed things up; it took three weeks to get that number and most of them are no doubt friends and family. Defined goal? The second thousand in TWO weeks.

Maybe this works

OrhanThe Glenzilla himself said today that Jim DeMint is a liar.

Note that the picture at left is not Jim DeMint. And further note that the referenced post by the inimitable Greenwald actually says nothing at all about DeMint – it’s just that I am so excited to have this link thing working I scribbled the first thing that came to mind after ‘said’.

Thanks Orhan.

Display more than pretty pictures?

just to see if this works. Okay it does. Now if I can remember how I did that. Anyway, terrific little video from Robert Reich yesterday – very short. A little anti-climactic after Obama’s speech last night, but still good.

Welcome Dorian

I finally identified the appropriate steps I needed to take so Dorian’s front door key would work in this place. Hurrah. key

Think, think!

Apologies for being so derivative. Still looking for my own voice here.

Well, well

seems there’s no need to lurk over my own blog. The very lovely people at WordPress inform me of new comments. That’s polite.


Wonder how many new bloggers sit hitting the refresh button to see if anyone has visited or commented. Betcha it’s every single one.