Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Where Have I Been

I saw this on Born Again Redneck. These are all the States (the red ones) in the US that I have either lived in or have visited.

I have actually lived in most of them before the age of 10. And no, my parents weren't in the military.

They were printers when it was actually a skill: not like now where all you need to do is type. Both my mother and father were typographers and worked at newspapers all across the country. In those days most of the papers in large cities were Unionized and as card carrying members they could "pull a traveling card". This meant you could pick up and arrive in Toledo and go to the local paper, The Toledo Blade as I recall, and fill in as a sub if someone wanted to take off for a few days. We lived like gypsies and pulled our home, a 40 foot trailer, behind a 1955 or so Ford station wagon from one end of the country to the other several times a year. I spent more time on Route 66 than Tod Stiles and Buzz Murdock. I was in first grade in Ypsilanti Mi., Walla Walla Wash., and Seal Beach, Ca., and a couple more schools, so I've been told, all in the same year.

Looking back, I now realize that my mother was unusual in that she was a successful woman in a man's world way before there was such a thing a feminist revolution. Maybe that explains why I am a woman in what is usually a man's occupation. My father has written a book about the lifestyle which doesn't exist anymore. Here is a photo of my father with one of the few last working Linotype machines that has been refurbished an is now in a museum.

Wanderlust is just built into our genes. I still love to travel. And my father since retiring has written tons of travel books which require..... traveling. What a drag, getting to do what you love and get paid to do it. We should all have it so hard.

Messing with my blog

Please excuse me for a while. I am trying to get the comment section on this blog back to the Blogspot defaults so that I can respond to comments left. I appreciate that some people are "really" looking at my vanity blog and want to be able to respond to those so kind as to leave comments.

Not being the most adept computer programmer in the world, I'll probably flub it up a few times. And I think I will be deleting your previous comments. Dang!!! Be patient.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Teaching to the Test....So?

What is the big problem with "teaching to the test"? I remember when I was in grade school and high school (Ok! so it was a long time ago) that the teacher would often say "Take notes this is going to be on the test". And it usually was on the test. It seems to me that testing the students is the only way to know if they are actually learning anything in school. It also seems dubious to me that they are actually learning anything at all.

The Teachers, and their Union, are screaming that it is forcing them to .....what? Change their methodology of conceptual learning where the students are in a free form learning environment, or change their methodology to be assured that when the kids have completed 13 years of mandatory education, they have actually obtained some skills that will help them out in the rest of their lives? I don't see a problem with this.

From personal experience, I know that it is next to impossible to hire a young person out of high school, or even college for that matter of fact, who possesses even the most rudimentary skills in reading, writing and math. When the prospective employee has a high school diploma, the employer should be able to feel confident that the prospect has at least some basic skills. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. I'm not suggesting that we go back to diagramming sentences (something that I really liked in English) or that every student needs to take a calculus class. But.....Come on.... How about being able to do some basic math and be able to write a coherent sentence.

Even some teachers have admitted the failings of our current educational system. "But, a new era is upon us. Students graduate uneducated, and incapable of even faking it for a simple book report. They fail to learn math facts, so need a multiplication chart. They fail to learn math processes; are not made to show their work; are not held to standards of accuracy; so are allowed "encouraged" to use calculators, even for ACT and SAT tests. Students fail to develop skill with cursive penmanship, so must depend on keyboards of some kind. They fail to learn rational thought and discriminating judgment, so must depend on fools, liberal professors, a biased media, for their 'opinions' and decisions."

It is probably too late for most students to catch up. By the time they are in 6th grade they have whiled away 7 non productive years. Those students who are ready to graduate from high school now have no chance to "learn" the material that is needed to pass the test. So at this point the teachers are actually teaching THE test. Teaching TO the test is not the same thing. Teaching to the test should have been done all along. We may not be able to help graduating students now, but it is not too late to start with the younger grades. Mabye in 13 years we will be graduating students who are compentent citizens instead of a bunch of uneducated drags on society.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Expensive Penny

If you have read the side bar you know that I am a financial advisor and money manager for a living. The following is the kind of waste and short sightedness that will bring a business to it's knees. It is also the same kind of waste and robotic adherence to frivolous and unnecessary procedure that will bankrupt a country.

A short while ago, I decided that I would close one of my Bank accounts. Seems simple? Wrong. I carefully balanced my check book and wrote one last check. It seems, however, that there was a teeensy bit of interest that kicked in and I had a balance remaining of one penny! So I tell the bank, go ahead and keep the penny I don't want it......but.....nooooooo. They send me a cashiers check for ONE CENT. Think about how stupid this is and how the costs of sending me one penny add up. First they have to print the check, put it in an envelope, post it. People all along the way are getting paid to send me a penny. Bank personnel, USPS people who send it to my post office and then they deliver to me. If I then cash the check at my bank, the teller and then the processing center and then the delivery service that actually handles the physical check and the other bank then gets the check and processes it, film of the check is made in both banks. And so on and so on.

My one penny probably eventually cost hundreds of dollars. So who pays for the expensive penny? Everyone else who still has an account with the original bank by paying higher and higher fees to cover stupid and avoidable losses.

I have the check framed and near my desk. When I discuss why I think the stock of a particular company maybe or may not be a good investment and bring up the topic of earnings per share and other fundamental analysis issues, I can refer to my expensive penny as an illustration. They should have just kept the penny.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I can see for miles and miles

It has been a terrible winter here. Usually we are dry, cold, with a little bit of snow, frozen ground for many days but crystal clear skies at night where you are stunned and awed by the stars and brilliant cold but sunny days. Did I mention cold? This year it rained daily for two weeks and was overcast on the days it didn't rain. The last time I lived in weather like this was in Paradise, California. It rained 108 inches that last year. Paradise was, and still is unless someone moved it, above the Sacramento Valley just high enough to always be in the clouds. I thought often then of committing suicide like the characters do in the Illustrated Man, The Long Rain. Just tip my head back and drown. I felt if I didn't move fast enough I would be covered by moss and mildew.

When I moved to where I am now, I was enthralled with the wide open vistas. Even in winter the view was unlimited. Since the sun has come out again, my spirits have soared. Stress level down, energy level up. I suspect I have S.A.D. or the Winter Blues. Unfortunaltely in the winter I also get F.A.T. and B.I.T.C.H.Y. WIth my newfound enthusiasm, I ordered some overly ambitious gardening catalogues. When I excitedly told my husband my plans (plans for him actually) to construct raised planting beds and grow some herbs and vegetables, his reaction was "ummm yeah...I gotta take pictures of that". Well, he may be right and I will crap out before I get done. But ....hey don't rain on my parade. The sun is out.... wooo hooo.

Soon the fruit trees and lilacs will be budding out. The daffodils will be pushing their sunny faces through the dirt. The birds of spring will be returning to join the zillions of quail that we have been feeding all winter. Soon we can sit in the sun on our deck and enjoy the view. We can see for miles and miles.

I'm a Corvette!!

I love meaningless on line tests, which probably download a ton of tracking cookies. anyway.

I've always wanted a Corvette. Well, either that or a big fat chrome grinned 1948 Buick.

I'm a Chevrolet Corvette!

You're a classic - powerful, athletic, and competitive. You're all about winning the race and getting the job done. While you have a practical everyday side, you get wild when anyone pushes your pedal. You hate to lose, but you hardly ever do.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Take the test

Sorry for the cruddy pictures, but the Corvette shot that came with the test results rudely pushed itsway into the right hand column and messed up the web page. I guess you get the idea anyway.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Domestic Spying Claptrap

The following is a letter that I have sent to our local fishwrap. I just can't stand it anymore!! The distortions, the half truths, the out and out lies and especially the idiots who lap it all up without a scintilla of thought and then reguritate it back into the aforementioned fishwrap.

The recent spate of letters to the editor decrying “domestic spying” and wailing that the “President is breaking the law” need to be examined in a brighter light. Let me give you a few quotes to ponder. "The Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes." also “It is important to understand that the rules and methodology for criminal searches are inconsistent with the collection of foreign intelligence and would unduly frustrate the president in carrying out his foreign intelligence responsibilities." Before the inevitable knee-jerk reactions, let me also clarify that these quotes are from Clinton’s Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on July 14, 1994. Where was the outrage then?? In 1994 President Clinton expanded this program of warrantless searches to domestic programs with no foreign connections at all in an attempt to control crime in highly violent housing projects. Again, where was the outrage??

It is a falsehood that the law has been broken. Federal Courts have constantly upheld the right of Presidents since Jimmy Carter through George Bush to gather foreign intelligence without having a court ordered warrant. In 1982 a federal court of appeals ruled that "the National Security Agency may lawfully intercept messages between United States citizens and people overseas, even if there is no cause to believe the Americans are foreign agents." This program is nothing new. What is new is the concerted effort by those who are permanently angry at the current administration to attempt to discredit it and try to regain political power at all costs, even at the cost of allowing future attacks on America.

We are at war; a global war with terrorists who have stated their goal to destroy us. The fact that the enemy doesn’t wear a spiffy uniform or have a recognized national flag doesn’t make it any less of a war. We ignore these facts at our peril. For those of you think that the attack on September 11, 2001 was the opening salvo, you need to review history. You know, that thing we are doomed to repeat if we don’t study it? Here is a very short recap: the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in 1993, US Embassies in Africa in 1998, the USS Cole in 2000, and in 2001 attacked both the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Thousands of American citizens have died at the hands of terrorists.

Mr. Whittaker, from Millville, wants to know “How many innocent lives will be devastated by the recklessness of this administration?” I would like to know how many innocent lives will be destroyed in the next attacks. The next attack perhaps may be a dirty bomb made with enriched uranium obtained from Iran, or possibly a biological one fueled by a test tube of smallpox or anthrax. This next attack doesn’t have to be inevitable; however, it can be preventable if we are allowed to protect ourselves. Mr. Whittaker may be unwilling to give an inch or ounce of credit to the current administration in its efforts to keep us safe. In the short run, I am willing to give the government computers the ability to spy on terrorists, yes even American citizens who help the terrorists, if in the long run it means that we will live to have a future.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The "It never fails" Category

Some mysteries of life can just be filed away under "It never fails".

I don't know why but whenever I want to get an item out of the clothes drier, it is always on the bottom of the pile....always.

When I grab some paper clips, they have somehow become entangled. There can be 500 paper clips in the box, but it never fails that the ones I grab have "married" each other.

When I am in a hurry to take a jacket out of the closet, the coat hanger does a double flip and lands down behind in the most inconvenient place to reach, one that entails getting on hands and knees with butt high up in the air.

If I, out of the goodness of my heart, let someone with fewer items than me go ahead in the grocery line, it always turns out they forgot something, run to get it and make the rest of us wait. Either that or the clerk knows the customer and they have a 5 minute talk about their kids, husbands or whatever. Just hurry the heck up! I want to get out of here before the ice cream melts.

The last pair of nylons (How is that for showing my age? I didn't call them panty hose) will get a run before I can walk out of the bedroom.

The utensil I want from the utility drawer is always in the back and wedged under everything else. What! Do the spatulas, measuring spoons and cheese graters move around at night? I'm sure I put them back where they belonged.....I think.

I am a Mastermind Rational

According to the Jung Typology test, I am a Mastermind Rational or an iNTj. So I am introverted (44% strength of preferences), Intuitive (62%), Thinking (62%), Judging (22%). I guess that means leave me out of the big crowds, let me think and plan, and I really don't care to judge you or even think too much about you.

I like this part "However there is one attitude that sets them apart from other Rationals: they tend to be much more self-confident than the rest, having, for obscure reasons, developed a very strong will. They are rather rare, comprising no more than, say, one percent of the population. Being very judicious, decisions come naturally to them; indeed, they can hardly rest until they have things settled, decided, and set. They are the people who are able to formulate coherent and comprehensive contingency plans, hence contingency organizers or "entailers."

Now, isn't that just what you want the person that is watching your money to be like?

I also find it interesting that US Grant and Ayn Rand are classified as Masterminds. Ayn Rand had a profound affect on me when I read Atlas Shrugged at the age of 13 and supposedly U.S. Grant is a distant relative of some sort. I am also a distant cousin of Jessie ....go figure.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Dust Bunnies

It occurs to me that the thoughts we have rumbling and rolling around in our heads resemble the dust bunnies that grow under our beds. Dust bunnies start from a small bit of fluff or dust and somewhat like a pearl in an oyster gather unto themselves more and more substance around the initial irritation until they become noticeable. We eventually clear out the dust bunnies and start a new batch. Similarly the thoughts that I have seem to gather enough dust from various sources until I can someday form them into some sort of a whole. Here is where I plan to cough up the dust bunnies in my mind.

The core of my dust bunnies can be something serious like world peace or as frivolous as to how the cat knows what time it is and why is it that the item I want to get from the utility drawer is always in the back. My husband has his own dust bunnies or in his case nits to pick with the world and shares his thoughts with the rest of the world on his own blog

Lucky me..... I get to be the web master on both blogs since, as the name of my husbands blog indicates he is a plumber and not a computer programer. Since I am the computer techno geek in the household I get to set up the home entertainment center, download the digital camera, program the TIVO, set up the wireless network in the house and anything else to do with tthe computers. I really don't mind. It gives me a sort of powerful feeling and a satisfaction in knowing that I have these skills. that my husband doesn't have. Although I have a sneaking suspicion that he "could" do these things if he really wanted to, but it is easier to let me. That's ok too. I probably could learn how to do the maintenance chores around the house that my husband does now, but I don't want to to those things either.