Sunday, November 30, 2008

Reading List

If you liked his earlier works, you'll love this one. Some of it requires a real stretch of the imagination--can the difficulty of rice production really explain Asians' outstanding math ability?--but most of it is just very clever and a lot of fun. The moral seems to be that innate talent only takes you so far--luck, personality, and culture really define your success.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

This Bodes Ill

Sign those contracts now!
Another agent who had also heard about the no-acquisitions policy at HMH called the move “very scary” and said it's indicative of an industry climate worse than any he’s ever seen.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Big 3 Bankruptcy

Consider the source, but here's a fairly terrifying picture of the world following our automobile companies' potential bankruptcies.
Eighty percent of consumers would not even consider buying a car or truck from a bankrupt manufacturer, one recent survey indicates. So once a bankruptcy proceeding got started, the company’s revenue would plummet, leading it to hemorrhage cash to cover its high fixed costs.
And that's just the beginning, as millions lose their jobs, auto financing vanishes, and Medicare/Medicaid expenses rise astronomically. "Riots in the streets, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

When You Drive Through a Storm

The play is over. Today it's all about the "Twilight" movie.

Friday, O went with friends to Friendly's in Cortland. I drove to pick her up in Dryden around 11 and got caught in a blizzard so bad that I ended up staying overnight with her at the home of people I'd just met that day.

Yesterday, I got the snow tires I'd ordered. A little late. But now I can drive up the driveway, at least.

And last night, I sat in a corner throughout the cast party, which involved much picture-taking and line dancing. And pizza.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Country According to Cartograms

If, like me, you've been thinking that the country is hopelessly divided, these amazing cartograms may help you see things differently.

O's a Star

There were glitches, but she sailed through. Her voice was astonishingly rich and mature for a 12-year-old, and I say that entirely without bias.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

P.C. Update

As a textbook writer, I am in the forefront of forced political correctness. In case you're not keeping up, here are just a very few of the latest rules and regs from a client who shall remain nameless. This sort of list is not unique to that client, I rush to point out; it's just especially thorough.

Many P.C. rules come about as a way of avoiding offending folks who follow certain religions.
Avoid all possible suggestions of evolution or creationism. Do not refer to people as animals. However, if necessary, it’s generally possible to use separate sentences to discuss the similar characteristics of humans and some animals.
Avoid religious holidays, though it is possible to mention the winter or spring break in a school year. Selections may include a reference to Thanksgiving, but do not emphasize the religious aspect of the holiday. Instead focus on thankfulness for a good harvest or the abundance of food if necessary.
When it comes to people, it's a good idea to remember that their condition is foist upon them; it does not define them. Therefore, a good P.C. rule of thumb is to use adjectives, not nouns, as in these examples.
Avoid using the word slave; instead use enslaved person. Wrong: stutterers, autistics Correct: people who stutter, children with autism
It's a drag, but
Because the visual evidence of hearing impairment is subtle, they don’t count toward the “handicap” percentages.
In general, all violence is verboten, as are references to gambling or other bad behavior.
Be sensitive about animals hunting other animals. Close-up images of predator-prey relationships should generally be avoided.
Wrong: I’ll bet she is at home; I’m your best bet. Correct: I think she is at home; I’m the best choice.
And animals are our friends, although we are not related.
Any zoos in fiction or nonfiction selections should house animals in natural-looking settings instead of cages with bars.
No politics; apparently even overt patriotism is questionable.
With the exception of uniformed police, firefighters, or other community service workers, no characters should wear national flags. Photographs of public figures wearing U.S. flag lapel pins are acceptable.
And always be specific.
DinĂ© is preferable to Navajo; Lakota, Nakota, or Dakota (depending on the language spoken by the group’s ancestors) is preferable to Sioux.
Use Hispanic to refer to cultures that are connected to Spain, not cultures developed in the Americas.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Once on This Island

Opening night is tomorrow. Very exciting. 7 PM Thursday through Saturday. Dryden MS/HS Auditorium. $7 adults, $5 children. Here's the star of the show singing the ending of "Ti Moune."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Electorate Stayed Home

I know we broke no records here in Tompkins County. It seems that was true just about nationwide.
States that experienced a large drop-off in turnout included McCain's home state of Arizona, which he won; heavily Republican Utah; and Ohio, another GOP-leaning state that fell into the Obama column.
Registration was up a lot, but people didn't turn out, especially on the GOP side.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dan Rather v. CBS

I'm loving this case, which could vindicate that nutball Dan Rather, who has claimed rather shrilly that CBS fired him due to GOP pressure. Ol' Dan could come out a hero if things keep going the way they're going. Courage.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Required Reading

Frank Rich's summing up of how the GOP shot itself this season--with the reminder that
. . .at a time of genuine national peril we actually do need an opposition party that is not brain-dead.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hillary for State?

My bet: She takes it. I believe that Paterson then gets to appoint someone to her seat, although it may require a special election. Does anyone know that particular NYS law?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Internet Down

We've had little or no Internet service for over 1 week. Frontier's been out on the lines, valiantly clipping and splicing, but our symptoms lead us to believe it's in vain. The symptoms are: slow connection to no connection; some sites accessible and other sites not; some email getting through in no time while others take three days. I've been patching together a work life, spending an hour at the downtown library (their daily maximum) and yesterday, spending six hours at a back office at a nearby school. The word from the last person Paul spoke to at Frontier is, "Until the linesmen hand it off, the engineers won't be called in." Nice.

One interesting sidelight: One of my jobs this week was editing for our assemblywoman. So she was able to see firsthand what we mean when we complain about highspeed broadband service in the boondocks.

Meanwhile, O has developed a rotten cold, just in time for her debut (and All-County Band Concert tomorrow).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Nice Quote

I like this quote from Roger Cohen's column today:
Rosa Parks sat in 1955. Martin Luther King walked in 1963. Barack Obama ran in 2008. That our children might fly.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Perhaps the Singing Bird Will Come

SAZ writes, "I'm very, very proud of my country." Chuck reports that at 105th and Broadway, there was dancing in the streets. Will sends a Chinese proverb of hope (see title of post). Helen J was at Grant Park.

Here in Dryden, Simon reports that we went 2-to-1 for all the Democratic candidates. Astonishing. I feel layers of curmudgeon peeling away. . . .

LATER: Simon points out that only Obama was 2-to-1; the others were 3-to-2. DZ states that for the first time ever, including when native son FDR ran, Dutchess County went Democratic.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day, 2008

We had a very nice dinner at Rogues Harbor Inn with our congressman last night; he kindly chose to spend his last day before the election in Tompkins County. District 10 was quiet when O and I arrived to vote at 7 AM. Two more cars pulled in as we left. Since we were too early to go to school, we drove past another polling place, one where they recently merged districts. The parking lot was full, and there was a strong police presence.

Now I'll try to work for a few hours before picking up the first lists at noon. At 2:20, I'll pick up O to take her to her flute lesson. Then I'll drop her at home and pick up more lists. At 5:45, I'll take her to rehearsal, pick up more lists, and make calls at Mike Lane's office until 7:45, when I'll pick O up and deliver her home before returning to the polls to get the final results at 9. Then it's off to post the results and go to the Victory Party downtown. Not too late, though--at 7:15 AM tomorrow, I'll need to be on the radio to pundit-fy about the results.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ballot and Initiative

See the BOE website for sample local ballots (NOTE: Yours may differ! See your own BOE website!) and an explanation in simpler language of the amendment we'll be voting on.

Hockey Mom Voting Obama

Hockey mom Lara says, "Finally, something I can relate to!" LOL

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Electoral Votes

Today's numbers have Dems up to 59 Senate seats. Not filibuster-proof, but pretty respectable. Remember that back in 2001, it took Jim Jeffords's defection from the GOP to gain Dems the majority.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Studs Terkel, who died yesterday at home on the North Side of Chicago at age 96, perfected the art of the oral history. I haven't read nearly enough of his work, but I liked these two.

November 1!

Happy Birthday to O
Happy Anniversary to the Big Zs

Reason for the Season

Simon sent this, which has moments of sheer genius:
In The Know: Has Halloween Become Overcommercialized?