Grapes of Wrath

December 6th, 2018 Comments off

From The Rude Pundit 11-27-18:

I was looking up some things about how, during the Great Depression, in towns that were being destroyed by starvation and labor war, parents would send their children out on the road to find a better life than the one they could supply them. It reminded me of this passage from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, about Dust Bowl refugees from Oklahoma and elsewhere heading to California, where they hope to start a better life. But, of course, they are met with anger and hatred and hindrance every step of the way, crushing their American dreams.

Here ya go:

“The movement changed them; the highways, the camps along the road, the fear of hunger and the hunger itself, changed them. The children without dinner changed them, the endless moving changed them. They were migrants. And the hostility changed them, welded them, united them—hostility that made the little towns group and arm as though to repel an invader, squads with pick handles, clerks and storekeepers with shotguns, guarding the world against their own people.

“In the West there was panic when the migrants multiplied on the highways. Men of property were terrified for their property. Men who had never been hungry saw the eyes of the hungry. Men who had never wanted anything very much saw the flare of want in the eyes of the migrants. And the men of the towns and of the soft suburban country gathered to defend themselves; and they reassured themselves that they were good and the invaders bad, as a man must do before he fights. They said, These goddamned Okies are dirty and ignorant. They’re degenerate, sexual maniacs. Those goddamned Okies are thieves. They’ll steal anything. They’ve got no sense of property rights.

“And the latter was true, for how can a man without property know the ache of ownership? And the defending people said, They bring disease, they’re filthy. We can’t have them in the schools. They’re strangers. How’d you like to have your sister go out with one of ’em?

“The local people whipped themselves into a mold of cruelty. Then they formed units, squads, and armed them—armed them with clubs, with gas, with guns. We own the country. We can’t let these Okies get out of hand. And the men who were armed did not own the land, but they thought they did. And the clerks who drilled at night owned nothing, and the little storekeepers possessed only a drawerful of debts. But even a debt is something, even a job is something. The clerk thought, I get fifteen dollars a week. S’pose a goddamn Okie would work for twelve? And the little storekeeper thought, How could I compete with a debtless man?

“And the migrants streamed in on the highways and their hunger was in their eyes, and their need was in their eyes. They had no argument, no system, nothing but their numbers and their needs.”

Along the way, they are beaten and thrown out of towns, and their camps are set on fire, hurting old people, kids. All because of fear and irrational hate of the other. Yes, this time, now, there is the added layer of horrific racism, but, even back then, Trump would have had the Okies tear-gassed.

“They reassured themselves that they were good and the invaders bad.”

Same as it ever was.

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Top Six Biases

August 11th, 2018 Comments off

The six most damaging biases:

  • confirmation bias
  • fundamental attribution error ( to interpret others’ behaviors as having hostile intent),
  • the bias blind spot (the feeling that one is less biased than the average person),
  • the anchoring effect (to rely too heavily, or “anchor”, on one trait or piece of information),
  • the representativeness heuristic (judging probabilities on the basis of resemblance),
  • projection bias (the assumption that everybody else’s thinking is the same as one’s own).
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Something There Is About Rowing Crew

April 19th, 2018 Comments off

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The Rules of Gay Sex

April 13th, 2018 Comments off

1. Harm No One
2. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do
3. Keep It Clean
4. Swallow — you need the protein
5. A towel can be handy

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Just Fine

March 1st, 2018 Comments off

Dopamine Itch

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Olive Oil

March 1st, 2018 Comments off

Olive oil is good for your skin. And a great lubricant.

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Signs of a Psychopath

September 5th, 2017 Comments off

The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) is a diagnostic tool used to rate a person’s psychopathic or antisocial tendencies.

The twenty traits assessed by the PCL-R score are:

  • glib and superficial charm
  • grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
  • need for stimulation
  • pathological lying
  • cunning and manipulativeness
  • lack of remorse or guilt
  • shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
  • callousness and lack of empathy
  • parasitic lifestyle
  • poor behavioral controls
  • sexual promiscuity
  • early behavior problems
  • lack of realistic long-term goals
  • impulsivity
  • irresponsibility
  • failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  • many short-term marital relationships
  • juvenile delinquency
  • revocation of conditional release
  • criminal versatility
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Some Tuesday

September 4th, 2017 Comments off

When I was a child growing up in Des Plaines, Illinois, we would often drive east toward Lake Michigan, to visit our cousins who lived in Wilmette, a suburb on the lake. On the way, we would pass by the beautiful Baha’i temple, a sparkling white jewel perched on a hill overlooking the clear blue waters of Lake Michigan. And afterwards, on the drive home, we kids would spot or favorite destination, a children’s amusement park unimaginatively named KiddieLand.

And not just on that trip home, but throughout the summer, we would constantly be pestering my father to take us to KiddieLand. An appropriately small collection of rides, we were fascinated by it. There was a train of child-size cars pulled by a real diminutive steam engine; a Ferris wheel with enclosed cars that I was talked into riding — once; and pony rides, where you got to control your own pony and where my brother’s pony bit my pony’s rump and I got a wild, galloping ride until the keeper ran out and stopped the steed, after which I was forever disinterested in things equestrian.

There was also a tiny miniature golf course, and the fact that you got a bunch of tickets that you could use for any ride you wanted, not to mention the cotton candy and the syrupy sweet ice cones.
So we pestered Dad to take us to KiddieLand, all the time, until he’d finally say okay, he’d take us.

“When, Daddy, when?”

“Some Tuesday.”

Some Tuesday.

Of course that Tuesday never came.

“It’s Tuesday, Dad, you said you’d take us on Tuesday!”

“I said some Tuesday, not this Tuesday.”

Kind of like how you say, “Let’s do lunch some time.” Nothing definite, just “some time.” Which time never comes.
Sort of like the promise held out by the famous Southern Hospitality. Oh, so jovial, so friendly when meeting you, and always quick with the good word a “godbless,” and that’s about that.

When Avis and I moved to South Carolina, we were looking forward to making new friends, and time after time we’d invite people to our house for drinks or for dinner, and people were happy enough to come and enjoy our hospitality, but they never invited us back.

Had we somehow insulted them? Perhaps we were simply of the wrong church (meaning not of our guest’s church). In the North we’d had no problem finding friends, but in South Carolina, I guess, people just didn’t reciprocate, not something that Carolinians do, for some reason.

I don’t know, maybe they’re waiting for just the right moment to invite us for dinner, drinks or just a chat.

Some Tuesday, perhaps.

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Chyrons and Attention

July 29th, 2017 Comments off

Why would any news channel run chyrons  during their broadcasts?

Chyrons are those annoying streaming banners at the bottom of your screen.  They seem to be feeding you the lastet headlines, mixed in with advertisements for the site’s reatured programs.

This is misguided.  It is well known that no one can pay attention to two things a once. (The best you can do is to switch attention from one thing to another and back, very fast.) So, the chyron simply distracts your attention from the actual news that is being presented, and you never get the message.

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ACA Debates

July 26th, 2017 Comments off

“In June and July 2009, with Democrats in charge, the Senate health committee spent nearly 60 hours over 13 days marking up the bill that became the Affordable Care Act. That September and October, the Senate Finance Committee worked on the legislation for eight days — its longest markup in two decades. It considered more than 130 amendments and held 79 roll-call votes. The full Senate debated the health care bill for 25 straight days before passing it on Dec. 24, 2009.”

–NY Times

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