Monday, February 27, 2006
Yesterday was a day like that for me in the blog world. I found myself irresistibly drawn to give people advice. A suggestion to correct a grammar error on Weekend Wino; Instructions to David Brin about how to include active links in his posts; Advice to Curbstone Critic on how to keep his sidebar from slipping to the bottom (in fairness, Curbstone Critic did ask for advice); and more.
I'm over it. Anyone who was gritting their teeth and trying to avoid me can come out now.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
On a lighter note, Finger Lakes Weekend Wino, started in November 2005 to provide information about Finger Lakes wines and winery events. Weekend Wino quotes "Vintage Chart from Wine Enthusiast magazine that shows their vintage ratings for Finger Lakes wine. They rate the 2001 vintage for both reds and whites as the best in the 12 years of ratings listed." I'm looking forward to checking that out.
(Cross posted at Dryden Democrats)
Friday, February 24, 2006
"Opening March 4, 2006 at the Avenue Art Gallery in Endicott, “The Whimsical Dreams of August” is a multimedia collaboration that navigates the slippery substance of our dream worlds. Ithaca theatre artist Siouxsie Grady and Binghamton visual artist Dianne Hodack present a showcase of theatre and visual art inspired by a daily reporting of dreams during the hot summer nights of August 2005. The opening reception, March 4th from 5:00-8:00pm, will feature live performance, light appetizers, and an opportunity for the public to share their dream stories. "
I know Siouxsie. I'm sure this show will be a delight.
Thanks to Kit Wainer for asking me to see Wonder Woman, the Musical at the Kitchen Theatre. And thanks to Kit for putting Elizabeth Whitney and Rachel Lampert in touch.
You can catch this very funny memoir of Wonder Woman worship if you're quick, at The Kitchen Theatre tonight and tomorrow.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
But right now it's all about Dubai and the ports. While I was in New York, I wasn't reading as much news as I usually do. But my superficial reaction was that the opposition to doing business with Dubai would mask more important issues. And I still feel that way. I never thought I'd come this close to agreeing with Mr Bush, but he's right that we can't avoid business with UAE simply because they're Arab. Don't get me wrong. Bush is a dismal leader in a dozen ways, some of which have led to this ridiculous story. But the knee jerk reaction of congress and the public is equally horrible.
I don't know how leaders gain trust or regain it once they've screwed up, but I'm sure psychologists and good leaders do know. I've said this before on this blog. I used to teach my kids that if you lie under pressure, or betray a friend or anything else that damages your reputation, you have to do ten right things, under similar pressure to regain the trust you lost. I was surprised when Bush's approval rating started to drop, that he didn't seem to care. I'm afraid it's the fundamentalist belief that "I'm right and to hell with the rest of you," that drives Bush. While there's something to be said for clinging to your principles in the face of public opposition, your principles have to be right for this to work. When you're doing things that deeply offend the people you're leading, you'd better have a really strong moral basis to overcome the popular reaction.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Sometimes things just sneak up on me. I don't pay much attention to what seems to me like the lighter side of women's image issues - cosmetics, fashion, etc. But I do pay attention to words. This ad says:
What extraordinary love looks like
I've got some grammatical issues here. But when it comes right down to it, love doesn't look like anything. And diamonds look like - well - diamonds.
The ad goes on to say: "Cartier has created the most beautiful diamond rings so that a woman can feel how extraordinary the love she inspires can be." You might need to reread that.I sense how carefully these words were chosen. More grammer and style issues, but if a woman isn't already feeling how extraordinary the love she inspires is, I don't see how jewelry is going to make that happen. I do appreciate some jewelry for its intrinsic beauty. And I can wax poetic about love and the sentiment underlying gifts and tokens of love. But this just sounds crass to me. Now I'm going to go look up "crass."
So frame analysis will consist of three stages ...Let's be clear that framing is not just marketing or just manipulation. It is: finding out what people are thinking and figuring out what you want to add. Note that you can only add, you can't take away. To make the great conversation meaningful, you have to understand the other speaker and you have to have something to add.
1.) Discovering the mental frames that people already have. If you don't do this, you won't know what information you should highlight or add, or what information you should de-emphasize.
2.) Developing an understanding of what it is you want to communicate. What do you want to make more salient in people's mental frames, and what do you want to add to their knowledge?
3.) Framing your speech and writing in such a way that it accomplishes the goals from 2) given 1).
Note also step 3. I used to hate writing papers. I guess I still do. Once I've figured something out, I want to move on. But educating myself is a drop in the bucket compared to sharing ideas with others. I have to put my viewpoint out there to continue the conversation.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
I've been doing this for so long, I take it for granted and I've lost the idealistic energy the self-reliance movement gave me decades ago. We subscribed to Mother Earth News with the first issue and continued for about a decade 'til our homestead was pretty well established and we found that reading Mother at the library was enough. It's great to get it online now. I need to remember the inspiration it gave me in those years.
There's some overlap between friends of Arco-o-gist and my reader/writer friends at Whorled Leaves. Political reading and writing are important to me, energizing and exhausting at the same time. I come back to people like Leaning Birch, Ontario Wanderer and Sand Creek Almanac for pleasure, for comfort and energy.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
"The world is so full of a number of things..."
Pick a program you know something about to see how the site works. Example: Food Stamps. The program is performing moderately effectively. Purpose: "To alleviate hunger and improve nutrition by increasing food purchasing power of eligible low-income households." There's also a nutrition education goal. The program's own assessment shows participation rising from 54% of eligible households in 2002 to 56% in 2003, the most recent year for which data is complete. The overpayment error rate has fallen from 8.3% in 2002 to 5.9% in 2004.
Program Purpose & Design 80%
Strategic Planning 62%
Program Management 100%
Program Results/Accountability 67%
Program Funding Level (in millions)
Check it out with your favorite program.
(Cross posted at Dryden Democrats)
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
"What was needed was the broadest possible participation of Iraqis in the political and physical re-fashioning of the country. Where there was no civil society it should be created. Where we had established sets of regular interlocutors we should now add others to broaden and reinvigorate political debate. Councils should be established in towns and villages where there were none -- Iraqis should be given a stake in the democratic process. There was a caveat -- there should be no elections. We were not ready for them..."
I readily admit my anglophilia. Etherington hits the nail on the head with this description:
"One of the points about the British, I often explain to American friends, is that the cult of the amateur is historically important. Calm under-statement is also essential. One should not be seen to try too hard at anything, or ever to claim competence in any sphere at all. This gets the British into all kinds of difficulties, particularly when applying for jobs. A friend of mine insists that the only correct response when asked if one has any interests is to look one's interlocutor straight in the eye and firmly reply "None whatsoever." The late nineteenth-century British Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury once characterized his view of British foreign policy as floating gently downstream in a boat and putting out one's oar at intervals to avoid collisions."You have to love someone who describes Ambassador Paul Bremmer as "unclubbable," that is, "a man who would not mix or invite one for a beer in the evening."
But universal truths crop up repeatedly in Etherington's book.
"The principal moral danger of taking part in great endeavours is the human temptation to be an onlooker rather than to assume the active and evaluative role for which one has been employed."
"The Iraqis" seemed at once to long for change -- and to kick against the bondage of occupation while simultaneously avowing that Iraq was incapable of self-betterment. They wanted, I thought, a miracle; but almost without exception none saw themselves as a part of the solution."Isn't that true of Americans, too, in the face of almost any problem?
Lately I've been interested in population. I'm stuck in the 60's when I learned in high school that the US population was about 195,000,000. Not true anymore. Now it's about 297,000,000. And somewhere in the 80's I got the impression that the US was approaching ZPG, zero population growth. Not so. The World Factbook puts population growth at .92% per year. That's about 2,700,000 per year - about two-thirds from the birth/death rate ratio and one-third from immigration. So, last year the population was around 295,000,000 and next year it will be around 300,000,000.
One reason I'm interested in population is that when someone tells me that 37,000,000 people in the United States are below the "poverty level" it's good to know that that means about 12 of every 100 people. I don't know, that seems like a lot to me. Then, notice that one of those 12 people who is single is making less than $9,570 per year. If 8 of those 12 people are in the same family they're making altogether $32,390 per year.
2005 HHS Poverty Guidelines
Persons in Family Unit
1 $ 9,570
I'm pretty sure most of my readers are making more than $32,390 a year and are not supporting much more than themselves or maybe one other family member. Picture it for a minute: a spouse and six kids and $623 a week. For that matter picture living alone with $184 a week.
Depending where you go today, possibly one or two of the next ten people you walk past are "living in poverty." On that happy note...