Batshit Apace

The sheer, unadul­tered, WTF crazi­ness that is this week con­tin­ues apace. And it’s only just after­noon on Tues­day. Nor­mal­ly I’d be grouchy as all hell, but I’ve heard so many oth­er rela­tions of grouch­i­ness from friends, fam­i­ly, cowork­ers and Face­book, that my anthro­po­log­i­cal obser­va­tion mech­a­nisms queued up my con­fir­ma­tion bias and now I’m just fas­ci­nat­ed with what­ev­er the hell is up with Cleve­land right now.

No one slept well last night, or the night before, except for peo­ple who were drunk or are usu­al­ly insom­ni­ac. Yes­ter­day, I had to lit­er­al­ly sit on Abra­ham in order to get him clothed, no one had a good day at work, and a vacant house owned by an absen­tee preda­to­ry loan scam­mer explod­ed and dam­aged fifty-five oth­er homes, and dis­placed fif­teen fam­i­lies.

Today I was ver­bal­ly abused by a crazy black woman on the bus who near­ly sat on me, and then accused me of try­ing to run her over. She referred to every black per­son as an ani­mal and every white per­son as a dirty human. All at the top of her lungs.

How­ev­er, I just gave blood and now I’m eat­ing left­over chili and a peanut but­ter sand­wich at home.

Mathlete

The new semes­ter has kicked off and any sem­blance of a hol­i­day has final­ly left the build­ing. The class I’m tak­ing for the next 4 months is Applied Quan­ti­ta­tive Rea­son­ing. The instruc­tor doesn’t appear to be a hard-ass, but he’s play­ing every­thing exact­ly by the CSU pol­i­cy guide. I get the feel­ing because it’s eas­i­er for him to let the pol­i­cy already in place do the work. This class is basi­cal­ly a part-time job; sta­tis­ti­cal math­e­mat­ics for 16 hours per week.

It’s going to be a chal­lenge, but I always rise to those. I’ve not exer­cised my math mus­cles in a decade, so I expect there will be some nec­es­sary cob­web-blow­ing in the first weeks.

Obama Lexicon

I’ve noticed that Obama’s stock turns of phrase appear more and more often on blogs and com­ing from state­ments from oth­er folks all over the place. To doc­u­ment, these are:

  • Let’s be clear
  • Make no mis­take

I don’t believe this is con­fir­ma­tion bias. They’re used in the same rhetor­i­cal con­texts, for the most part. It’s a sub­con­scious sign that the per­son speak­ing or writ­ing has a deep respect for (and very like­ly looks up to) the Pres­i­dent.

Per­son­al­ly, I like it when he talks about teach­able moments, when he’s deal­ing with thorny but moral­ly impor­tant issues. I don’t know that I always agree with what he defines as a teach­able moment, but I cer­tain­ly appre­ci­ate the sen­ti­ment that there are times when it is impor­tant to learn a les­son, and to let the moment teach that les­son to you. Your reac­tion to that moment pro­vides some­thing you can teach your­self, and then oth­ers. It’s a good mech­a­nism for thought­ful liv­ing.

Cumulative Review Part 1 — The Crap!

From what I’ve seen, read and talked about with oth­ers, the con­sen­sus is that the first decade of the new mil­len­ni­um, the first decade of actu­al world­ly-aware­ness on my part, sucked. For the most part, I’ve got to agree. Glob­al ter­ror­ism, geno­cide in Africa, two unwinnable wars, Amer­i­cans tor­tur­ing peo­ple, two reces­sions (or eco­nom­ic down­turns, or bub­ble-bursts, or what­ev­er safer word you want to use), and those are just the top 5.

Per­son­al­ly, the new decade hasn’t start­ed out much bet­ter. On New Year’s Eve, Bram was sick. On New Year’s Day I came down with the same thing and lost 7 pounds in 36 hours, prob­a­bly should have gone to the hos­pi­tal, and spent the next 3 days hob­bling about like an old man. Dur­ing this time Debbie’s broth­er got what­ev­er it was. And the babysit­ter, and the babysitter’s hus­band, and anoth­er kid she watch­es, and that kid’s par­ents.

So Tues­day I feel up to going to work. I put on my dress shirt and lo, a tear in the left elbow. What the hell? What­ev­er. I put on anoth­er dress shirt and lo, a tear in the left elbow. What the fuck? What­ev­er. I put on a sweater and go to work. While walk­ing to the bus stop, I get a call to find out that my uncle’s father died the night before. He wasn’t blood kin, but he might as well have been. 92 years old, a great and good man, a patri­arch of the 20th cen­tu­ry.

So enough of the crap from the last decade.

PLI

When I was very small, the worst word I knew was “hate.” I could get smacked for using it too freely or inap­pro­pri­ate­ly. Lat­er, I was taught the typ­i­cal tru­ism “if you can’t say any­thing nice, don’t say any­thing.” Once I’d processed that by being required to sit in a chair and think about man­ners a few times, I then became con­fused about the dif­fer­ence between a com­ment and a com­pli­ment. I under­stood per­fect­ly well what a com­pli­ment was, but a com­ment was a conun­drum. Appar­ent­ly a com­ment didn’t have to be com­pli­men­ta­ry. So to my tiny bina­ry mind, this cer­tain­ly meant that com­ments were not some­thing that was good.

It’s tod­dler log­ic, like the time I asked Mom to name every­thing that began with the let­ter m. Hey, Mom begins with m doesn’t it? She must know every­thing else that begins with m then.