CACTUSPEAR.ORG PRESENTS

blog 2013

eccentric observations, cracked opinions, and nonstandard commentary


saturday, december 28, 2013

is it possible to be too well educated?

apparently a professor at princeton thinks so ...

economic historian ben bernanke said this about the economic meltdown he presided over when he was chairman of the federal reserve:

'obviously we were slow to recognize the crisis. i was slow to recognize the crisis. in retrospect, it was a traditional classic crisis, but in a very different guise. that made it difficult for a historian like me to see.'

i thought that the reason you study history was so that you won't be condemned to repeat it ...

careful, thoughtful scholarly inquiry leads one out of the darkness and into the light, we were told ...

bernanke seems to be turning these truisms on their heads when he uses the fact that he is an historian as an excuse for bad judgement ...

the gentlemanly thing to do would have been to take the responsibility on himself and move on ...

and leave the excuses alone ...


monday, december 16, 2013

resume inflation

i saw this today ...

'lead fill-in host'


saturday, december 14, 2013

aging hippies

i don't think hippies age well ...

when you're 70, hair down to your bottom doesn't look that good any more ...


friday, december 6, 2013

don't give up your day job

i put an ebook online about 2 years ago ...

royalties to date come to about 16½¢ per hour spent writing ...


sunday, december 1, 2013

walking

i started walking regularly years ago after being in a car accident ...

my orthopedist recommended walking as a way to strengthen my damaged knee ...

here are my approximate numbers: 4 mph * 1.5 hours/day * 5 days/week * 50 weeks/year * 35 years = 52,500 miles ...

i guess i'm working on my third lap around the world, all without leaving the area ...


friday, november 22, 2013

kennedy assassination

it was a friday afternoon and i was in 10th grade at prep school ...

i was walking back to the main part of campus from exercise class at the field house, perhaps with one or two other students ...

a teacher i knew was standing in the parking lot, next to his car with the front door open and the radio on ...

i could tell from the look on his face that something bad had happened ...

the rest is a blur ...

in the evening there was a special service in the chapel, well attended ...

we sang the hymn 'o god our help in ages past', from psalm 90 ...

i was told it was the hymn that londoners had sung during the bombings ...

ours was, however, a secular age — the space age — and most of us weren't particularly religious ...

but the singing had a fervor i hadn't heard before ...


sunday, november 17, 2013

totally useless information

the longest word you can type using a single row on a qwerty keyboard is 'typewriter' ...

on a dvorak keyboard, the longest words are upkeep, opaque, and papaya ...


tuesday, november 13, 2013

be my designated texter?

will the idea of having a 'designated texter' in your car ever gain popularity the way 'designated driver' did?


thursday, november 7, 2013

guns don't kill people

neither do machine guns ...

or drones or bunker busters ...

or chemical or biological weapons ...

or nuclear weapons ...

repeat after me: 'people kill people' ...


wednesday, november 6, 2013

exponentially

the colloquial meaning is 'rapidly rising' ...

as in 'the number of dogs barking in my neighborhood has risen exponentially in the past year' ...

or 'the number of times i've forgotten my keys is up exponentially in the last few months' ...

the mathematical definition is something else ...


tuesday, october 22, 2013

corporations are people

really? i thought we fought a civil war so that people would never again be property ...

if corporations are people, then it should be a crime under the constitution to buy or sell one or to shut one down ...


thursday, october 17, 2013

tea party versus ordinary people

what bothered me most about the shutdown, perhaps more accurately described as a management lockout, was the contempt with which congress treated their own federal workers ...

the people who do the work that allows government, including congress, to happen ...

many of them work with their hands, many are women, african-americans, and veterans ...

many are residents of the district of columbia, and have never had voting representation in congress ...

the workers did nothing wrong, as this was not their fight ...


sunday, october 13, 2013

the graying of congress

the median age of u.s. senators is 62 (dianne feinstein, 80, is the oldest) ...

no wonder they're so out of touch with the needs of younger americans (the house is a little younger, with a median age of about 56) ...

a senator who is 62 years old today was pushing 40 when the web was invented, and 50 when web 2.0 was invented ...


wednesday, october 9, 2013

perry, the political rodeo clown

when rick perry, governor of the great state of texas, was running for president in 2012, he said in a news conference that if elected he would eliminate the departments of commerce, education, and energy ...

true, threatening to close departments is an old conservative canard, and the governor was playing to a narrow conservative base ...

perhaps he meant that he would cherry-pick the services he likes and move them to other departments ...

or maybe he would simply change the names of the departments ...

but the statement is still shockingly ignorant, even by the standards of the political class ...

here are some of the functions of the commerce department: patents & trademarks, census bureau, national oceanic & atmospheric administration, national weather service ...

education: pell grants, student loans, college accreditation, iraq & afghanistan service grants ...

energy: the national laboratories (argonne, brookhaven, fermilab, lawrence berkeley, lawrence livermore, los alamos, oak ridge, sandia, savannah river, slac), the design, engineering, manufacturing, assembly & testing of nuclear weapons ...


wednesday, october 9, 2013

plantationomics

the plantation owners have decided that they "can't afford" to provide medical care for their own field hands ...


wednesday, july 31, 2013

revolution

as a young man, i thought there should be a revolution every 20 years ...

now that i'm older and more conservative, i think that people should rise up against the ownership class about every 25 years or so, giving it a few more carefree years to enjoy its gains ...


wednesday, july 31, 2013

passive voice

try rewriting the following headlines using the active voice ...

and without using more words ...

"mayor assassinated"

"worker electrocuted"


tuesday, june 4, 2013

cigarette smoking in public

if you're walking a couple of steps behind someone who's smoking a cigarette ...

you might as well be smoking the cigarette ...


sunday, may 19, 2013

bart rules

i think that eating unshelled sunflower seeds should be banned during rush hour ...


tuesday, may 7, 2013

you know you're really getting bored when ...

you find yourself watching the same old steve ballmer youtube meltdown videos for about the hundredth time ...


sunday, april 14, 2013

you know you're getting old when ...

all of a sudden golf seems fascinating ...


monday, march 26, 2013

how to close the federal budget deficit

put the supreme court oral arguments on gay marriage ...

on tv pay-per-view ...


saturday, february 16, 2013

tal wilkenfeld

she's the best thing that has happened in a long time ...

to the bass guitar and to jazz ...


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