Archive for October 6, 2009

The last few days …

Posted: October 6, 2009 by datechguy in oddities, personal
Tags: , ,

…hits are way down.

Maybe it’s my breath.

On the Bright side the son’s hand is finally out of the split and cast for the first time since May.

I’ll take that trade.

Peg (whom I still owe a favor to, I’d better make sure I disclose it to the FTC since I can’t afford the fine these days) talks a bit about this piece on inequality:

Since Ronald Reagan was elected nearly 30 years ago, Democratic politicians have promised that their program could reverse the steady post-1970s growth of income inequality without sacrificing America’s economic dynamism.

But having promised win-win, they may deliver lose-lose.

I think it is ironic that the logical end result of all of this tinkering is what a cultural hero of our leftist friends once sang against:

It brings to mind Ayn Rand and the Incredibles:

Dash is denied the opportunity to play sports because his power of super-speed means that he might excel. When he fights with his mother, pointing out that he is special, she insists that “everyone is special.” Dejectedly, he looks down and mumbles, “then no one is.” Similarly, Mr. Incredible gets in a fight with his wife, trying to intercede on his son’s behalf, and bemoans the fact that the school stages a fourth-grade “graduation.” This, he insists, represents the constant modern-day effort to find new ways of rewarding mediocrity.

I’m with Joe Hartman on this one who points to these two paragraphs in Screwtape proposes a toast to address this:

“The basic principle of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. That would be “undemocratic.” These differences between pupils – for they are obviously and nakedly individual differences – must be disguised. This can be done at various levels. At universities, examinations must be framed so that nearly all the students get good marks. Entrance examinations must be framed so that all, or nearly all, citizens can go to universities, whether they have any power (or wish) to profit by higher education or not. At schools, the children who are too stupid or lazy to learn languages and mathematics and elementary science can be set to doing things that children used to do in their spare time. Let, them, for example, make mud pies and call it modelling. But all the time there must be no faintest hint that they are inferior to the children who are at work. Whatever nonsense they are engaged in must have – I believe the English already use the phrase – “parity of esteem.” An even more drastic scheme is not possible. Children who are fit to proceed to a higher class may be artificially kept back, because the others would get a trauma — Beelzebub, what a useful word! – by being left behind. The bright pupil thus remains democratically fettered to his own age group throughout his school career, and a boy who would be capable of tackling Aeschylus or Dante sits listening to his coeval’s attempts to spell out A CAT SAT ON A MAT.

In a word, we may reasonably hope for the virtual abolition of education when I’m as good as you has fully had its way. All incentives to learn and all penalties for not learning will be prevented; who are they to overtop their fellows? And anyway the teachers – or should I say, nurses? – will be far too busy reassuring the dunces and patting them on the back to waste any time on real teaching. We shall no longer have to plan and toil to spread imperturbable conceit and incurable ignorance among men. The little vermin themselves will do it for us.”

Thus I am even more pleased that in her post she rebels against this abominable standard that would have kept us in the dark ages in the best way possible, by excelling!

With my favorite partner, Bill Kent, we won a four session event to get a subsidized trip to Reno next March, along with the right to compete in the North American Pairs event there. We won by an incredible margin of 7 boards (probably akin to winning a football game 63-3) and won each of the sessions with excellent games each time. Our percentage average was over 61%; generally, 55% or 56% will win the event. Am I bragging? You bet!

I don’t play enough Bridge and would love to have the chance to learn to play better from a master. Maybe if our liberal friends address bridge inequality I’d have a chance.

The don’t give it away for nothing

Posted: October 6, 2009 by datechguy in oddities
Tags: ,

You would think that particularly in this economy the prospect of free land would motivate people, apparently not:

The town of Anderson – population 300 – is foreclosing on 18 of 26 large, spruce-covered lots it gave away because the new owners did not develop them as required.

“It sounded good in theory. Oh yeah, free land. But the reality is it costs a lot of money to build up here,” said Eric Warner, one of the few to build a home, on Monday.

Hey how hard could it have been?

The March 2007 giveaway prompted thousands of calls from around the world. By the day of the land grab, 44 waited in line. Many camped out in weather as cold as minus-25 for a shot at the 1.3-acre lots, which went to the first 26 people to claim them and put down nonrefundable $500 deposits.

Under the rules, winning applicants were supposed to build a house measuring at least 1,000 square feet within two years.

Many of the winners, however, never came back or communicated with the town, even to respond to formal letters asking what their intentions were, City Clerk Darla Coghill said. She still hears daily from others interested in getting some free land, but she tells them Anderson is out of that business these days.

She thinks most outsiders couldn’t cut living in a place where the nearest gasoline and groceries are a 20-mile drive away.

As the grandson of people who came thousands of miles across the ocean to settle in a strange land I really don’t get this. I guess this is just one more thing Americans won’t do.

I’ll wager if they made the offer to immigrants having a chance to come over the majority of them would have managed.

…is that when you have a bad day or discouraging news and you want to vent about it, you are too aware of people who have things worse than you to allow yourself the cathartic effect of feeling sorry for yourself. All you can do is say a Rosary and move on.

When they say ignorance is bliss they aren’t kidding.