Friday, April 13, 2012

Maybe She Did Work A Day
But does she know what it means to hold a job?

Her husband has told us all she drives Cadillacs.

Her husband, by the way, made nearly half a million dollars a year in speaking fees – what he likes to call “not much” money. He also makes millions of dollars, maybe not every year but most, on investments.

She has worked, exerted effort. She raised children and volunteered in her community. However, she has not been compelled to fill out an IRS Form W-4 – that form one fills out when instructing an employer how much withholding tax to take out of her pay.

It may be wrong to say about this woman that she “never worked a day in her life.” But it is perfectly true that as an adult she never had to get a job. If she ever had to work overtime it was because she was tending to people she loved rather than foregoing time with people she loved. She never had to put up with a boss’s borderline abuse because she couldn’t jeopardize her paycheck or her children’s health insurance. If she needed a vacation she could afford a really nice one without worrying that she was using money the children would need for clothes when the next school year started.

She is a woman of privilege. She is not the person her husband should turn to for insights into the concerns of the vast majority of American women. For those multiple tens of millions of women control over their reproductive organs is very important. For them equal pay for equal work would make a huge difference. For them a car repair is a tougher choice than which Cadillac dealer to call and the color of the loaner car.

If her husband wants to lead us he better be getting advice from someone much closer to our reality than she is.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Inscrutable necessities

This morning's bike ride started shortly before the sun came into view over the hills between here and Purcellville. The calm dry air hardly moved. The dry pavement hinted at no overnight rain. A wonderful time to be pedaling.

And apparently the earthworms agreed with me: a great time to be on the road.

Thousands of earthworms had left their homes in the early morning hours and crawled onto the roads I often ride. Most of them were already desiccated* and had taken the twisted forms of commas, question marks and apostrophes - perhaps to punctuate my morning exercise. Others were still their squishy selves, crusted with road grit and struggling to get somewhere. A lucky few were flung from my tire onto various parts of the bike (and one onto me) for a somewhat quicker ride.

Okay, maybe they weren't really lucky, since each of these hitchhikers ended up dead, but let's face it: they were all going to die anyway.

Which makes me wonder: if they were going to die anyway, what the heck were they doing on a dry road in such numbers? I can imagine why a worm would come out of soggy rain-soaked dirt and find that a wet road is pretty comfortable. But what could possibly have driven so many worms out of the ground onto totally dry pavement.

Of course they didn't go to waste, except for the several still stuck to my bike and the one took off my shirt during breakfast. Crows have done a remarkable job of cleaning up the road.

*The Merriam-Webster online dictionary lists definition number 2 for desiccate as "to preserve (a food) by drying." I am thinking of the less culinary specific definition number 1, "to dry up."

Friday, February 24, 2012

Let's Honor the Troops With Accuracy
More foolishness on the internet

One of my Facebook friends, an artistic craftsperson with a generous spirit, recently posted a comment stating that the media has been overly absorbed by the late Whitney Houston and completely ignored a list of eleven names, "all Marines that gave their lives last month." He asked us all to repeat the post as a way of giving honor to the troops.

The post by my friend was studded with the " > " which often accompanies the body of a forwarded email, so I decided to look into it more carefully. So I did a Google search on the first name on the list: Justin Allen. I accepted Google's suggested refinement of "Justin Allen 23" which one could infer from my friend's original post was his age at the time of death.

The first item on the search results was a page at that mentioned exactly the same list of "Marines" being tacked onto a brief diatribe against Lindsay Lohan with a similar plea that we all copy the supposed tribute to the soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The date of the web page was September 26, 2010 - long before last month.

Like my Facebook friend I support our troops and encourage others to do so as well, even though my friend and I disagree on how best to manifest that support. However, I cannot help but think that eventually blindly copying and reposting inaccurate information will only hurt our cause.

Since the internet provides us with information so quickly we can take a moment to verify that what we repeat is true.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Do more numbers matter?
Recently, tonight in fact, I heard about Google analytics which can be used to track the traffic to a website. At this point I have followed the directions to incorporate Google analytics to my blog, the one you are reading now.