November 30, 2005
I'm thinking of starting a board or pool or something. I've had two flat tires in four days, so I'm trying to devise a way to profit off betting on which tire will go next, when it will go, and what the method of loosing air will be (or at least cover the cost of repairs, $7.14 per repair, at Wal-Mart). So far I've had a bead leak on the front, passenger side and a valve core leak on the front, drivers side. Anyone care to make a wager? (This offer is restricted to individuals who do not have access to any parking lot my car might be parked in at anytime.)
The price of the air in New York City has reached a record setting $430.00 per square foot, according to this article from CNN.com. I wasn't aware that air space in a city was so valuable, but it does make sense. I wonder what it would cost to own the air rights to my own personal bubble space? This all reminds me of a story sister Sarah emailed awhile back about one of her twin daughters admonishing the other to "get YOUR bubble space out of MY bubble space!"
November 29, 2005
I'm a fan of great food, but my culinary skills leave much to be desired (everyone knows the rule "never trust a skinny cook"). Not long ago, to satisfy a craving for Waldorf Salad I found myself on the Chefs.com website, home of a gabillion recipies, including this incredible recipie for Curried Waldorf Salad. Of course, since I am cooking for one instead of four I did a little downsizing, it still turned out perfectly.
November 27, 2005
A "Tiring" Weekend...
I've been off work for five days due to the Thanksgiving holiday, and believe me, I am ready to go back to work. While engaging in the requisite shopping, over-eating and christmas decorating, I managed to squeeze in a flat tire, a couple hours trying to fix it with two helpful, but entirely untrustworthy neighbors, and an hour and a half wait in Wal-Mart on discovering the tire had leaked significantly overnight. On top of that I finished reading "Beyond Politics: Markets, Welfare, and the Failure of Bureaucracy", I'm not too sure how much of the material I absorbed because it's content was so over-my-head, but I forged ahead, re-reading sentences two or three times before realizing I still had no idea what it meant and moving on. Some of it must have taken root though, because I did understand the concluding two chapters, and particularly the section on privatization which only confirmed my suspicions. Closing the covers of the book, I was overcome with a deep feeling of satisfaction for having finished, perhaps similar to a marathon runner on finishing the race, regardless of position, or pain. However, believing I must be somewhat smarter for the experience, I will be happy to engage in 40 hours of mind-numbing physical labor beginning tomorrow afternoon.
November 24, 2005
Patiently waiting it's proper place in the "Order of Things", following the turkey, pumpkin pie and 2 1/2 hour nap. Heralded, not by bells, gongs or a shot from a starting gun, but by a single, crystal clear note from Kenny G's saxophone. The Christmas Season has begun.
November 23, 2005
Ahhhhh, the holidays......
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, how do I know this? Because there was gridlock in the Kroger parking lot tonight. I believe there were at least ten cars waiting on me to vacate one parking space.
Deadbeat Parents Unite!
This may qualify as the most unworthy charity ever, a non-profit organization formed to assist irresponsible parents in evading child support obligations. (Full story here, free at the present but will become premium content soon) David and Dorothy Snyder of Roseland, Indiana came up with the idea following his legal troubles over "gifting" some of his real estate commissions to her, thereby avoiding having them applied toward child support. Snyder owes somewhere between $67,000 and $90,000 for his two sons living in Texas with his ex-wife, one of his sons is handicapped and will need his support for the rest of his life.
And, while Snyder seems to have trouble finding a way to petition a Texas court to adjust his financial obligation, he did somehow manage to come up with $11,250 last week in order to keep himself out of a 45 day jail sentence for contempt of court. I'm pretty sure $11,000 would buy a lot of legal services, but that may not be enough to buy just the right loophole. Come to think of it, for $11,000 he could probably do the research himself, file the petiton, fly to Texas for a hearing, and maybe even take his boys out to dinner afterwards. Or would that make too much sense?
Where does Snyder think the money to help other deadbeat parents shirk their responsibilites would come from? From other non-custodial parents (I'm guessing these would be parents who are able to make their obligations, and have money leftover), from grandparents, and others who may support their plight. I'm no psychologist, but I think that's commonly known as "enabling". I offer an alternative, instead of clicking the "Paypal" link to donate, find a Christmas Angel Tree, take the name of an unfortunate child caught in the middle of a parental power struggle and buy him or her a winter jacket, mittens and a couple of toys.
November 21, 2005
The back cover of "Class Action" by Clara Bingham and Laura Leedy Gansler carries it's classification under "Law/Women's Studies". After reading the book, I think it should have been classified under "Horror". I find myself wondering if the harrassment the women faced at work was worse than the abuse they suffered in the process of litigation.
I lived way too much of my life on or near the "Iron Range", I know of a lot of the places mentioned, and could picture many of them. Although I lived with it, seeing the regressive mindset of the area spelled out in black and white was shocking. The horrible conditions the women of "Jensen v. Eveleth Mines" faced, and their strength in fighting back, in spite of the physical and emotional cost is something every woman should be thankful for. These ladies may very well be the Rosa Parks of working women's rights. Their victory is the victory of all American women.
The recently released film "North Country" is based on this story, and while I plan to see it at some point in time, I find difficult to imagine it will do justice to the material presented in the book.
November 19, 2005
The following excerpt comes from TEDblog:
Raed tihs... yuor mnid rokcs!
Cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!
I don't recall that information being in the book "Wet Mind: The New Cognitive Neuroscience". Maybe I won't bother proof-reading my entries for spelling errors anymore. ("Yeah, right", the perfectionist in me says.)
November 18, 2005
As the holiday season approaches, I'm reminded of this bit of wisdom from artist Brian Andreas, as told by his wonderfully creative "Story People"
RULES FOR A SUCCESSFUL HOLIDAY:
1. Get together with the family
2. Relive old times
3. Get out before it blows
Prints like the one pictured above are available on his Story People website. A word of caution, viewing his work can be habit forming, and lead to bouts of indecision (particularly when browsing in small shops).
November 17, 2005
Three wonderful things about today...
#1. Payday -- how I love waking up to find money magically appeared in my checking account while I slept.
#2. Friday -- sorry to those of you stuck in the five-day-a-week mode, but to me Thursday is the new Friday.
#3. Thanksgiving Dinner -- what's not to love about an hour long, catered dinner during your shift?
November 15, 2005
The Undercover Economist
This book caught my eye in particular not because it was recommended by the author of "Freakonomics", which I loved, or because it was recommended on "Marginal Revolution", but because of the part of the subtitle which refers to used cars. So eager to read this book was I, I purchased a used "advanced reading copy" prior to publication. Author Tim Harford engages the reader in a fascinating walk through the world of economics in terms even someone with a foggy memory of high-school economics can understand.
However, I disagree with his evaluation of the used car market. My reason for dissent is based on the fact that for the last 14 months I have owned a decent used car, bought at what I feel was a bargain, and I have said on more than one occasion that I would buy my car all over again. This is not the first time I've owned a decent used car, purchased at what I felt was a bargain and that I would have bought all over again. So how did a brilliant economist miss the mark on this one point? In my opinion, he approached the question from a strictly economical standpoint and failed to take into consideration human behavior.
So why CAN you buy a decent used car? I believe there are two conditions which lead to this possibility. The first condition is the number of car "owners" who are not actually owners, but lease their car (or as Dave Ramsey would say "fleece" their car). At the end of the lease their car enters the used car market as a decent used car, and they have soaked up the bulk of the depriciation. The other condition is one in which otherwise intelligent people believe they need to dump a decent car before the end of the warranty period, and purchase a new car (heaven forbid they would inherit someone else's car problems) even though there is nothing serious wrong with the car. To borrow Harfords "peaches" and "lemons" comparison, owners of "peaches" mistakenly believe they are holding a "lemon" to the benefit of smart used car shoppers.
And that is why I was able to buy a 4 year old car with only minor cosmetic defects and under 60,000 miles on it for a bargain basement price.
I am a good employee, I put in a full night of work every night, whether I feel like it or not, and my supervisor and everyone else in management loves me for it. However, when I saw that we may be in for a bit of severe weather later today, all I could think was "I hope the lights go out at work tonight".
November 13, 2005
WORKING HOLIDAYS: The holidays are approaching, those exuberant days of office parties, packed airports and family snarls. It also can be a time of a second job, as retailers rush to add seasonal workers.
What's the appeal for job hunters? Debt reduction, according to a survey of 5,300 seasonal job seekers.
More than half, 61 percent, of those aged 22 and older said they're hunting seasonal work to pay off debt. Even 11 percent of teens 14 and 15 said they were seeking debt relief, too. But for that age group, a large percentage (39 percent) said they wanted a job for money to buy holiday presents.
What debt do 14 and 15 year olds have, besides maybe the $5.00 they borrowed from their best friend at the mall last week? That's just nuts.
November 12, 2005
Life in a Micropolis....
Too big to be a small town, but too small to be a big city, pretty much describes how I feel about my town. This story in today's headlines confirms it. It's also no surprise that Cookeville ranks among the top of the Micropolises, (is that a word?) we've been near the top of the best places to live more than once. But the really important question this raises is "Do we get a Super Target?"
I want to know....
What would the Leaning Tower of Pisa be without the lean? Tower of Pisa lacks inspiration.
November 11, 2005
What's in a name?
Is this a bad sign?
Wandering through the aisles of Pier One recently, I noticed a guy wearing a shirt which proudly advertised him as a "chic magnet". I was a little concerned, as I am technically a "chic", but as it turned out our polarity must have been off, because for each step I took in his direction he took one in the opposite direction. Or perhaps there are some other laws of physics I have failed to take into account, it's been a few years, but I don't remember Physics being a strong subject for me.
November 6, 2005
My whirlwind weekend with sister Gloria and her husband Mark is sadly over too soon. All the wonderful things we accomplished exceeded my wildest dreams! This weekends highlights were:
Eating Alligator for the first time ever (tastes like chicken, except perhaps a bit more rubbery).
Shopping forever in wonderful little downtown Cookeville shops. (Including one in which each shopper was given an original piece of artwork, by the owners daughter.)
Acquiring a fabulous piece of art which will provide vision and direction for future interior decorating adventures in years to come (not to mention the downright steal of a deal I got it for!)
Watching "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" at the newly opened dinner and movie establishment.
Checking out the brunch buffet at "Bagels and More" (their pumpkin pie is absolutely amazing).
Drinks at Gridges (coffee and apple cider type drinks, not alcoholic, thank you).
Fighting my sister and brother-in-law for the check (I won two, but I cheated at World Food Market by telling the girl not to let them pay while they selected their drinks).
And the pièce de résistance was an impromptu "Bob & Betty" patio makeover in which my dull, lifeless, but not lacking in potential patio was transformed into an inspiring autumn haven. (Let me just say, Gloria IS the new Doug Wilson!) I'll post pictures after they're developed.
November 4, 2005
"REgress is the new "PROgress"...
Please tell me Las Vegas, Nevada can produce a better mayoral candidate for the next election than their current Mayor, Oscar Goodman. His recent suggestion for "solving" their graffiti problem leaves me shaking my head. An excerpt from this cnn.com article:
"In the old days in France, they had beheadings of people who commit heinous crimes," Mayor Oscar Goodman said Wednesday on the TV show "Nevada Newsmakers."
Goodman said the city has a beautiful highway landscaping project and "these punks come along and deface it."
"I'm saying maybe you put them on TV and cut off a thumb," the mayor said. "That may be the right thing to do."
Goodman also suggested whippings should be brought back for children who get into trouble.
How does this guy get to be the mayor of any town with a population in the double digits? I must have been at work when they repealed the Eighth Amendment from the Bill of Rights. You know, the pesky little clause about "cruel and unusual punishment". Possibly the most alarming thing about the Mayor's comment is that we're talking about a petty crime. How is a freaking landscape project more important than the self-worth of a human?
What punishment would Mayor Goodman propose for the inevitable copycat, the child who sees a perpetrators thumb amputation on TV, and then chops off the thumb of a playmate? Should we then gouge out the eyes of that child? I hope the citizens of Las Vegas turn out at the polls to give Mayor Goodman two thumbs down.
November 3, 2005
Hi, I'm Anna, and I'm a "bookaholic"....
After about 6 or 7 weekends of fall cleaning, I'm finally ready for a visit from my sister Gloria & her husband Mark who are coming TOMORROW!!!!! (Those of you who have actually been in my one bedroom apartment may be wondering how there could possibly have been 6 or 7 weeks worth of work in here. It really had more to do with my own energy and lack of enthusiasm for cleaning that stretched it out so long.) This weekend will be full of visiting my favorite Cookeville spots, possibly checking out some new ones (always more fun with company), and will be much too short to get it all in!
In the mean time the pile of books waiting patiently for me to read them has grown to include "Fixing Broken Windows" by George L. Kelling and Catherine M. Coles, "From the Ground Up" by Edward E. Lawler III, "Good to Great" by Jim Collins, and a bootleg advanced reading copy of "The Undercover Economist" by Tim Hartford. I'm watching my mailbox for "Class Action" by Laura Leedy Gansler (this book was the basis for the movie "North Country" which is now in theaters. I've not seen to movie, but probably will when it comes out on DVD -- which, judging from the size of my reading pile, should coincide nicely with my actual reading of the book!)
Now that my little apartment is all cleaned, de-cluttered and organized, I feel a bit like the Calvin & Hobbes cartoon above, my winter days packed full of being curled up with a mug of hot cocoa and a book, I'm not sure I'll get it all in before spring!
November 2, 2005
Just for Mom.... (or any other school teacher out there)
I thought of you when I read this today, A "must read" link, especially for you! To whet your appetite, here's an excerpt:
The Value of Control Groups in Causal Inference (and Breakfast Cereal)
A few years ago, I taught the following lesson in my daughter's kindergarden class and my graduate methods class in the same week. It worked pretty well in both. Anyone who has a kid in kindergarten, some good graduate students, or both, might want to try this. It was especially fun for the instructor.
To start, I hold up some nails and ask "does everyone likes to eat nails?" The kindergarten kids scream, "Nooooooo." The graduate students say "No," trying to look cool. I say I'm going to convince them otherwise.
Hope ya enjoy it!