Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Free Speech

27 August, 2009

Here’s an article from the New York Times entitled “Is it OK to Blog About This Woman Anonymously?”

Very interesting indeed.

Getting Old(er)

20 August, 2009

“As we get older and more experienced, we overestimate the accuracy of our judgments, especially when the task is difficult and when we’re involved with something of great personal importance.”

Gladwell, Malcolm. “Cocksure: Banks, battles, and the psychology of overconfidence. The New Yorker 27 July 2009: 26.

Gladwell comes to this conclusion based (among other things) on the research of Ellen Langer, a psychologist who says, regarding competition, “…because ability makes a difference in competitions of skill, we make the mistake of thinking that it must also make a difference in competitions of pure chance.”  This results in overconfidence.

“In conflicts involving mutual assessment, an exaggerated assessment of the probability of winning increases the probability of winning,” Richard Wrangham, a biological anthropolgist at Harvard, writes.  “Selection therefore favors this form of overconfidence.”  Winners know how to bluff.  And who bluffs the best?  The person who, instead of pretending to be stronger than he is, actually believes himself to be stronger than he is.”

We’re good so far, right?  Here’s where the analogy to the Pasadena blogosphere breaks down.

“According to Wrangham, self-deception reduces the chances of “behavioral leakage”; that is, of “inadvertently revealing the truth through an inappropriate behavior.”

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It seems like overconfidence is helpful…up to a point.  One needs overconfidence tempered with knowing what one’s limits are.  My dad has been a master of overconfidence his whole life.  In first grade he didn’t want to go back into the classroom after recess, so while marching in the line of children heading back inside, he didn’t make the left turn with the rest of the class but kept marching straight on in the direction of home.  As a 20-something, he convinced the Library of Congress that he had a reasonable knowledge of modern foreign languages and got a job filing foreign-language periodicals.  In truth, even though he had no mastery of any foreign language, it was easy enough to tell the French from the Dutch from the Swedish, etc., so he had no problem doing the job.  It was filing, for gawshsakes.  At least the task of deciphering one language from another added a bit of interest to the job.

Flush with confidence from a string of jobs (journalist-photographer in the Air Force, Evelyn Woods speed reading instructor, teacher at Massanutten Military Academy), he got a naval commission and was sent to Viet-Nam.  He went on to a civil service career in public relations, high school counseling, army recruiting — endeavours that require one to exude confidence.

Pop at Dodger Stadium

My dad and me at Dodger Stadium, 2008.

As a kid in western Pennsylvania, my dad moved a lot (Franklin, Guys Mills, Meadville, Zelienople…Okay, I’m not sure about Zelienople, but I threw it in because it’s such a great place name).  As an adult, my dad has moved a lot.  My dad has lived in Hollywood since 2002, which means he has not lately been moving a lot, and he is ready to move.  He has been applying for civil service jobs overseas, but with his hearing in bad shape and his memory getting worse, it is unlikely he could either be hired or handle a full-time job.

I recently had to talk him out of moving to Las Vegas, an idea prompted by tax problems with the State of California.  (He doesn’t understand, as a government retiree, why the government should take money out of his retirement.)  Able to minimize the wretched Vegas heat from the comfort of his top-floor Hollywood apartment, he was attracted by the lower cost of living.  He probably also wanted to continue his streak: “I’ve never lost in Vegas,” he avers.

Plans for Vegas have now been shelved, but my dad continues to exhibit, between episodes of JAG and Perry Mason, a desire to move.  At the same time, he does tell me about his failing memory.  “I have no secrets,” he’s always said.  He gets mad at me when I don’t respond to his e-mails, he’s crotchety when I call in lieu of e-mailing, and the other day he got mad at me for using the word “palindrome.”  Despite all this, my fingers are crossed that he will continue to have lucid moments of honesty when he tells me about his failing mental state.

Pop's Confidence

Confident in Covent Garden, London, 2008.

I’d love to hear about how it’s going with you and your aging parents.  Feel free to comment, or leave links in the comments.

Getting the Message Out…or IN

13 August, 2009

I’m in the midst of planning my high school reunion. It will start on Guy Fawkes Day – though I don’t anticipate that we will build a bonfire in the hotel lobby.

Among other e-outreach activities, I set up a Facebook page for the event. The FB page contains info about the date, the city, the hotel, etc. I think it is pretty clear. Yet people still leave comments or send me e-mails asking where and when the reunion will be.

This puzzles me. I think I’ve laid out the basic information very clearly, yet some people don’t seem to be able to grasp what it actually right there in front of them.

Come to think of it, the first time “Carolina Logue” (the nom de plume of a parody blog writer) left a comment here, I deleted it. I didn’t read it carefully—it was more like I got a whiff of skunk and my eyes were too busy rolling back in my head to focus on the words. Later, when I got another comment from “Carolina” I saw that “she” was on a computer in Philadelphia. Thank you, wordpress.com, for revealing the IP address of commenters! Feh on blogspot for not doing the same!

So in the plainest speak possible: Aaron Proctor was Carolina Logue, author of the Pasadena Newer Progressive. With no help from anyone but his girlfriend, Kat.  You can read my previous post explaining all this here. (more…)

The Cover Up: A Mountain of Evidence

25 July, 2009

My name is Neob and I am from the planet JohBirSo. I have tied Kelly up (for her own good!) and taken over her blog. She will be released depending on how she treats my dog, Precious. (more…)

The Disrepute of Blogging

16 July, 2009

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Fussing and Fighting, My Friend

20 June, 2009

This is the post you’ve been waiting for.

boxinggloveshanging

I have bad news. We are all racists.

I know, I know. You don’t want to be a racist (I don’t either). You think it is despicable to demean the humanity of another person, or to think of an entire group of people as inferior. Or perhaps you are a member of a group that has been victimized by another group, and you carry hate inside you, even though you don’t want to. (more…)

We Can’t Sit Back and Blog

2 April, 2009

After my class at Pasadena Community Network last week, I watched some of Our Town with Marie Stein on KPAS 56. Marie’s guest was Jane Roberts of 34millionfriends.org. Just like me, Jane was appalled when Pres. Bush II stood in the way of the Congressional appropriation for UNFPA. So Jane decided to raise some money to help fill the gap, and she had done just that.

The main point is that providing family planning to women is essentially providing health care to women. The problem is that some people don’t want women to have access to family planning or even prevent diseases that are preventable (yes, both of those links go to the same article—repetition for emphasis, dear).

On the show, Jane showed pictures of her recent trip to Africa. One caller called in to make comments about the “feral” behavior of humans, breeding without thought about the consequences. I’d never heard ‘feral’ applied to humans before though I’m sure most of us have exhibited ‘feral-like tendencies’ at one time or another. I’m a mammal—how ’bout you?

I loved Jane and as I watched, I thought, “I’m going to blog this!” In her final call to action, Jane said, “We can’t just sit back and blog.” No, Jane, we can’t just sit back and blog, but we can sit up and blog.  Bloggers and blogs are your (feral) friends too.

Hit Return

19 March, 2009

I have returned.  I am writing; I am hitting return.

A poem (inspired by the recent journey) has been chopped and put into the pot. It is simmering nicely. I’m not sure this blog is not the best venue for debuting a poem. But I may—when it is ready.

Thanks to Google Earth, I can show you where (in the wilds of Arizona) we went.

outpost

Yes, that compound looking thing at the end of the road.  The Scout’s aunt and uncle live there.  Through artfully designed windows set in thick adobe walls, we watched big-eared bunnies chase insects and quail shimmy in the dirt at dusk.  Alas, I did not see a javelina this time around.

dsc_3239-javelina

You really don’t want to see one of these things unless you have a drink in your hand.

We also went here…

camelback-ranch-before

…though the photo above was taken before this was built:

camelback-grandstand2

Photo credit: The Hot Sheet

Watching sports must put me into some kind of alpha state, because on the way home we stopped here too…

iwtg

Sometimes I envy those who got to see Jackie Robinson play baseball.  Others will one day envy me for living in the heyday of the Roger Federer era, or more precisely, the Federer/Nadal era.

* + * * + *

With all due respect to the venue with the view and these charming people…here is your daily dose of kitsch.   I wish I could explain why this makes me feel like I’m watching laboratory animals in an experiment.  Even more, I wish you were here so we could laugh together.

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Heads up! I have a blogging-related question.  Say you read someone’s blog (their personal blog) and after a while you start to feel like you know them, or at least know something about them.  Then you meet that blogger in person.  Is there a difference between the blogging persona and the person you meet?  A little difference?  A big one?  If there’s big difference, why do you think that is?  What’s your experience?  Feel free to comment, or to blog on this topic yourself and link to your post in the comments here.

(NB: The question doesn’t apply to someone you already know in the 3-D world…just to someone that you met via reading their blog.)

Blogging a tweet

2 March, 2009

UPDATED 4 pm, 2 March 2009

Yes, a new month, a Monday morning, and another first here at The Blather. I’ve got a lot of work at the moment so I haven’t been blogging. It hasn’t been good for me (not blogging=not writing).

I don’t have time to do a proper blog post right now, so I’m going to do the quickest, easiest, simplest thing I can do to prop up this Blather. I’m going LCD.

I’m going to blog a tweet.

For those not aware, a “tweet” is a statement made on Twitter. I like the description of Twitter as a giant, crowded, noisy bar where people yell out stuff to each other. It’s especially fun during big events like the vice-presidential debates or mild earthquakes. If I find @susankitchens there, we chat a bit in that public forum

Sometimes it seems silly, because Susan is a dear friend, and I know her phone number(s). I even know the phone number she had 25 years ago—only because the numbers play the tune “It’s a Small World After All.” (In case you’re wondering, it’s 449-7525. Try it—but please hang up before it rings.) Once I tweeted to her, “Sod Twitter, I’m ringing you up” because why yell across a crowded room when you can pick up the telephone?

In any case, here’s my Tweet:

kellylcr Brave New World comes to the school lunch room: Big Mother is Watching http://tinyurl.com/b8v6ph

That’s a link to Karen E. Klein’s interesting and humorous article in today’s LA Times. Oops–wrong!  That’s Karin Klein’s piece, not Karen E. Klein’s piece.  Thanks to Karen (via email) and Susan C for the correction.

Re: Karin’s piece (the one in the tweet):  Oh, the brave new world of electronic surveillance in your kid’s life. Being underage never sucked so much.

Karen E. Klein does write for the LA Times—her Small Business column appears each Monday in the Business section.  Karen E. Klein tells me that she’s been getting confused with Karin Klein for the last 25 years.  It was really fun when the two of them worked in the same office as Gary Klein.

Even though I don’t know my Karin Klein from my Karen E. Klein, what I said in the original version of this post still stands:  San Gabriel Valley-ites, You may not realize it but we have a writer/editor/expert power couple living in our midst. Karen is an established expert on small business finance and retirement. She is also married to Steve Scauzillobackbone of the Pasadena Star News. Say what you will about the incredible shrinking local paper—I like local news is important. And I appreciated this recent editorial about California’s Department of Fish and Game as well.

Well, thanks to Firefox crashing twice (10 open tabs is a challenge), this has taken an hour. Buh-bye!  UPDATE: And thanks to my inability to focus properly before 9 am, an extra half hour was required to fix my foog.  I mean goof.

Thank you, patient reader.

Blogging In Absentia

13 November, 2008

The thing is that I really enjoy blogging, but I’m not home, and I simply can’t blog right now.  Thanks to all my witty, opinionated commenters.  I feel like the host of a playground in which things are just about to veer out of control at any moment.

Actually, that’s probably a projection.  I’m up in Oregon with my bipolar mother, who is having the mother of all manic episodes right now.  I’m trying to keep her on track (impossible).  I’m dispensing meds as directed, but nothing is working (yet).  This ‘playground’ (her apartment) is a mess because in her mania, my mom keeps taking things out, moving things around, putting things in boxes, putting things in the hallway, etc.  When we go shopping she wants to buy everything that strikes her fancy.  This is just garden-variety mania.

Today we are going back to the hospital.  As soon as we find her teeth, that is.

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Photo by The Scout:

disneyland-by-scout