Good News

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We were out at the house today, which is ready for the rough in inspection, which means the electric and water lines are run.  It is a beautiful day here in eastern Pennsylvania.  Sunny and temperatures in the 70’s made spring cleanup of the yard a pleasant task.  Hubby even planted some early spring seeds:  radishes, lettuce, peas.

On the way home we stopped at a sandwich shop.  Hubby’s sandwich came wrapped in this “newspaper.”  The news is all from Sunday, November 19,1989.  The news is all actual new from this day in history.  Take a good look at the picture. (I hope you can read it.)

What do you notice about these actual news events?  I can’t  wait any more.  ‘lt is all good news: The first Women in Space, Remarkable Upset in Olympic History, Titanic Found,  The Berlin Wall Falls, plus the hot movie was E.T. – The Extra-terrestrial.

We hear about how horrible, and bad news is.  Lately, we hear news called fake when the powers that be don’t like their coverage.  Back in 1989, the press was called biased, but jjournalists were believed honest, hard working people.

There was plenty of bad news in 1989, but there was also good news.  It was good to be reminded of this really terrific good news.  I bet if we stop focusing on our divisions,  we will be able to see some really good news today.

I challenge you to look for the good news today.

 

 

 

 

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Psychographics and Data Driven Marketing

You have heard about it in the news:  Psychographics.  This is something I know a little about, as I studied psychographics in college.  Many of my classmates just didn’t get it, and now all Americans are coping with the fact that their data from social media has been used in a deliberate attempt to sway their votes in the last presidential election.

Normally, psychographics is used to shape advertising for companies, like radio stations who want to appeal to hard rockin’ men, or maybe their girlfriends.  Movie producers will use psychographics to test ending to movies.  Politicians will use psychographics to understand what their constituents want, and word their political ads and speeches to show they are the ones to fulfill their needs.

Even a clever blogger could study other blogs and figure out what they really believe and pander to that.  A clever blogger could craft blogs to appeal to their current followers even better.  A really clever blogger could understand what motivates other readers so well that they could have a hit with every blog.  (I wish I was so clever.)

So how are your Facebook posts of family, fun, comedy, and how your day went useful to advertisers?  All of this information gives your basic demographic information:  sex, age, married or single,  and number of children, how old your children are, type and number of pets, and show an advertiser what you might need to make your life easier, happier, prettier, and more fun.

In addition, every like, can provide information about your likes and dislikes.  You don’t just like flowers and pets.  You like a political ad and share certain topics over and over again.  If you support the police, as opposed to black lives matter, you have registered a “vote” showing your political leanings.

There is nothing wrong with supporting the police.  There is nothing wrong with acknowledging black lives matter.  In fact, the two things are not mutually exclusive.  It is only advertising presented as opinion that makes the two things seem mutually exclusive.

Even more powerful, is to make advertising look like news.  This is the real fake news.  One of our son’s saw an ad presented as a newscast of the showing Seattle’s Space Needle being moved by tractor trailer to a new location.  (I was unable to find a video of this.)  My son could not be persuaded until he saw the Space Needle in its place in Seattle.

But know there is some clever advertiser, maybe someone who has no business involving themselves in our election, taking your click, and putting them together with other clicks, and use them to craft messages to get an emotional reaction from you.  Messages that look like someone’s opinion, or a news article.

You don’t even have to agree with the messages.  You see the messages over and over again.  As the messages get crazier, maybe you begin to wonder.  With all the smoke, you start looking for the fire.

These messages are tweaked to mix truth with speculation.  There are kind, well meaning people willing to believe the most outlandish speculation.  There are people who can get carried along with the crowd as emotions rise.

A tool that started as a way to bring us goods, wonderful entertainment, and services to make our lives better, has been used to manipulate us.

Equating common sense gun legislation with Nazi Germany’s attempt to exterminate Jews, is an exaggeration of paranoid fear.   I have several friends who have shared that on Facebook.  They are all excited that something drastic will be done.  Our right to bear arms is the principle they agree with.  Just because it originates with the NRA does not mean it is real.  Do the majority of gun owners agree?  No.  Every survey says most gun owners want common sense gun control.  We get to decide what is common sense.

The solution is to be skeptical.  If something seems extreme, that you have not seen someplace else, anyplace else, except another social media site, you may have something designed to manipulate you.

You are bombarded by adds for everything.  Click on Wayfair once and it will be forever be in Facebook feed.  Don’t be a sucker for every add that comes along, and that is what these posts are, designed to look like a person’s opinion.

 

If a Man is in The Woods

Originally Blogged September 26, 2014, this may be my favorite post ever.  Since then I have many new readers, and unless you have taken the time to comb through past offerings, (for which you’d have my very humble thanks) you have missed this.  

If I was writing this today, I can’t think of anything I might add.  Life has been stressful lately, and I offer this to remind us all, that although miss-steps may happen, the dance goes on.  A little humor can  help us get back on track.  

Enjoy. 

If a man is in the wood, and he talks, and there is no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?

I think I made this up, but I really couldn’t swear to it. I am sure I am not the first woman to think such a thing. Hubby and I were fighting in the car and he was complaining that he is always wrong, so I made this little sarcastic comment. He laughed and the argument was forgotten. He has now repeated my bit of sarcasm to everyone at every opportunity. It is funny, and always gets a laugh, and neither of us can even remember what the original argument was about.

It is the kind of thing I’ve heard my whole life while in the kitchen with the women on the holidays. “My husband is head of the house. I always let him think so.” “Boys will be boys,” we say about our men engaged in the annual Turkey Mud Bowl. The men will laugh at these also. Men go along with the joke, giving their “little woman” a pat on the behind to send them off shopping. Okay, maybe it is only grocery shopping, but hey, its part of the game, or maybe better described as a dance.

Even if you don’t dance you know that the man is the lead, the one who directs the dance. You would only be partially correct. If the man tried to lead exclusively, there would be a lot of bumping into people on a crowded dance floor. Dancing is a cooperation. When the man is moving backwards he relies upon his partner, since he does not have eyes in the back of his head. Likewise, relationships should be cooperative.

In a relationship, one or the other may take the lead depending upon knowledge, skills, and talents each possesses. With discussion, sharing, and mutual consideration each person will have the insight to see who should lead. Two people working together can accomplish much more working cooperatively, than one person trying to do everything.

By working together, hubby and I raised children while putting ourselves through school. The two of us built garages and porches and gardens. Oh my! We have built an entire life. As long as we are working together, we can do anything.

So, if you see my hubby in the woods, tell him I’m waiting for him.

Zombie Raccoons

Zombie Raccoon by Shutterstock

Honest, it’s true.  Police are getting reports of Zombie raccoons near Youngstown, Ohio.

Raccoons are out and about during the day, are standing on their hind legs, and terrorizing residents.

Rather than the start of the zombie apocalypse,  the raccoons most likely have distemper.  This might be a good time to make sure all your pets vaccinations are up to date.

This should go without saying, but You know how people can be.  If you see an animal acting in an unusual way, just keep away from it.  You can get all kinds of things from animals, like rabies.

Other conditions you can acquire from your pet includes common infections:  hookworm and roundworm, salmonella, Psittacosis (parrot fever), Lyme disease.

If there is a zombie apocalypse remember, something sharp to the brain stops them.  What you really need to be afraid of, are the people.

I have to go now, it is nap-time for my kitty, Shadow.  She needs my lap.

 

Busy? Not so Much.

A Ramble.

It is a snowy, blustery day, but warm enough that there is no accumulation on the ground.  Terrific.

I have swept and mopped, dusted and polished, scrubbed and scrapped, fluffed and folded.  I have also watched a bunch of TV, checked everyone on Facebook, deleted a bunch of emails, and sat with my little Shadow on my lap.  Just the mention of my sweet black cat brings a smile to my lips.  Me and my Shadow.  You would never know I have another cat, Blue, and a Boston Terrier named Brutus Buckeye who does accompany me on walks.

While doing these things my head was a buzz with ideas.  These are the same ideas that keep me from a good nights sleep.  Ideas that sound really great, until I actually give them attention.

Today those ideas include a family saga that my Dad thought I should write.  Not just the random pieces I heard growing up, but a real story, based upon actual events, that I really know very little about.  All of the people who could tell me details have passed.  A large historical family saga seems completely beyond my abilities.

The house, the one that caught fire, had to be gutted, and has been sitting empty since mid December, finally is ready for inspection of its new wiring.  When you buy a house from someone who thinks they can do everything themselves, and codes are only for other people.

Some very creative solutions, that are illegal, and possibly dangerous, were found within our walls.  Such dangers as bare wires inside a wall with just a little electrical tape to keep things together, or faux grounded outlets (outlets lacking any grounding) near areas of water usage.  The new wiring is ready for inspection and will meet all codes.  Codes which really are for our protection.

I can hear someone thinking that communities can really get picky with their codes, especially when the exterior is concerned.  Live in a historic district and you will really know the pressure code can exert on a homeowner can be worse than the pickiest of homeowner associations, but these codes ensure the maintenance of historically valuable architecture.  Fortunately, I live in the country.  Nobody cares about historical accuracy and general cosmetic stuff, but safety is the concern.

There were also at least ten blog ideas that flitted through my brain, but those are gone.  I live most of my life in the comfort of my own brain, full of stories, and ideas that I just can’t get out to share with anyone else.  There is too much going on.  As I jump from one thing to the next, ideas disappear into the hidden corners of my mind.

Write it down you say?  Ever find those notes later and ask yourself, “What?  What ever possessed me to think that’s a good idea? Nobody cares what I think about that!

Politics?  I don’t even want to hear about politics, why would anyone care what I think.  CNN, FOX, MSNBC, CBS, PBS… all have better sources and, people more politically educated than I.  Recently, I stick to the major local networks, and PBS.  I just want the news.  I can make my own political determination about it, and so can you!

Our house?  It is coming along, agonizingly slowly.  I do not want to bore you with counter choices and flooring.  I like it.  I will share pictures as available.  I can’t wait to see the results of all this planning.  It has been emotionally trying at times.  Repeated moves, make me feel like a couch surfer.  Sleep disruptions, general anxiety, and overall stress is the rule of the day.   We are in a nice place, and have what we need, but I am plagued by stress over my own klutziness and worry over pets and the damage we may cause.

Interpersonal conflict.  No.  Either to personal, or to mundane.

I could just write about my cat.  Shadow is curled up on her stand in the window.  Just a warm little body who plants herself on my lap whenever I make myself available.  Her silky fur, and gentle purr are soothing.

Give your pet, or someone you love, a little attention.  It is a great stress reliever.

Embracing the Imperfect

 

I awoke this morning to a stunningly beautiful blanket of snow on every branch, bud, and blade surrounding the house.  What remains after the melt is mud, grass greening up even though it never got mowed in the fall, a lot of brown twigs, and a few spring flowers breaking the ground that can be identified by the type of leaves they push up first.  Yes, these are my favorite flowers, tulips and daffodils.

Not driving to our family’s Easter gathering yesterday allowed me to look out the window at the stick trees along the road, with the occasional nest not seen on our last trip down the road.   All the fallen trees were visible.  I saw an eagle in flight, and a few buzzards, as well as birds sitting on branches.  Our Pittsburgh celebrity eagle parents, have one hatch-ling.

Nature is messy, I thought.  Hollowed out logs, trees with holes, a bramble of twigs here and there.  I remembered hearing about a word to describe the appreciation of the imperfect.  A Japanese term Wabi Sabi expresses an appreciation for the beauty of the natural simple things as well as thee beauty of age and wear.  The logs, and brambles provide shelter for a variety of animals.

My Dad would tend the woods behind his home.  He kept a place back in the woods for fall leaves raked from his lawn.  It took a few years, but those leaves decayed into a rich soil amendment for his gardens.  Fallen logs were moved off the walking paths, and stray sticks would become walking sticks, and a special stick maybe kept for multiple walks throughout the spring and summer.

Birds and animals of all kinds were welcome to make their homes in the woods, but Dad had a running feud with a groundhog that wanted to make his home under the shed.  Dad worked to make the chosen home-site unappealing so the groundhog would retreat to the woods.  I’m not sure how successful Dad was.

When the ground is dry, I will enjoy walking woodland paths, getting a close up view of plants and flowers, bugs, mosses, and fungi.  With luck, I might even get to see some larger wildlife, a woodpecker, owl, or deer.

Don’t let the snow fool you.  It is April and spring is here.  Enjoy every bit of the spring, and the messiness of the woods, because soon we will be complaining about how hot and humid it is, and the woods will be a refreshing retreat.

 

 

 

International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day

To all of you wonderful women, and the men lucky enough to have a beautiful, strong, wonderful woman in your life.

So how did you celebrate?  Flowers?  Chocolate?  Breakfast in bed?  A meal out?

Hubby was watching CNN and announced the day.  Mcdonald’s flipped their golden arches to a W for International Women’s Day.  Sweet.

What was my celebration?  I turned on MTV Live for empowering music and sexy videos and started dancing around the house with a broom.  The sexy videos probably appeal more to men than women, but I’ll give you guys that, since you poor guys didn’t get an International Men’s Day.

I overheard two men talking during lunch a while ago, kvetching about how women have no sense of humor where locker room talk is concerned.  Women have turned a friendly slap on the behind into a criminal offence.  Women have taken all the jobs, and still women complain when men just want to work off a little tension and mix a little pleasure in with business.

Sorry men, life is hard.  Who needs equal pay, a safe work environment, and our skills judged fairly against our male counterparts at promotion times?  We have International Women’s Day.

If you haven’t celebrated with the woman in your life yet, why don’t you give her a big hug and tell her how great it is that she is the one in your life

 

 

On Being Displaced

Being displaced sucks.

Sure, I focus on the good things.  Living in the Residence Inn Marriot was fun, with halls to walk when it was cold outside, a mini gym, a saltwater pool and a hot tub.  Who doesn’t love a breakfast buffet laid out for you everyday, and the three times a week dinner brought in by local restaurants.   My physical activity offset my inability to control my meals, and I am sure my nutritionist was frustrated by my lack of responsiveness.

We were finally found a rental in Slippery Rock, Pa.  A college town.  A college rental, empty of students till the start of the next semester.  Or landlord, desperate for anybody to pay rent for a few short months, gave us a lease after requiring a hefty pet deposit and insurance against pet damage, also welcomed our Boston Terrier and two cats.  We are within walking distance of every restaurant the town has to offer.

The cats cause stress.  The cats were pretty good at my daughter’s home.  Some minor scratching my daughter assured me she could handle.  The last two days at the hotel the cats poked holes in the leatheret dining chairs.  To the cats’ delight, the rental furniture provided at the house include the same type of  dining chairs.  Now I wonder, how many of these chairs will I end up buying.

Most of our furniture survived.  We were able to get one cat-stand out of storage, nicely cleaned and oderfree.   The scratching posts are packed away someplace.  The cats favorite chair is in storage.  Fortunately, Brutus has his bed.

We have begun replacing the stuff destroyed in the fire.  But every day presents a new challenge.  Every day we have to  compromise  in how we do things, because our stuff is in storage.  The meat thermometer is in storage, but I remember cooking by knowing the weight of a meat and estimating the time for appropriate doneness.  Bless the Red Cross for providing us with blankets, because all our extra blankets are in storage.  I have very warm thoughts for the Red Cross while snuggling under my blanket.

We camp.  We have had many moves.  We know how to make do.  But it is so nice, to be in your own home, with your own stuff, doing things the way you like, without worry about how it affects others.

 

 

Driving Enhancement

While running errands with Hubby, driving from place to place, we realized our little Honda Matrix has an unadvertised feature.  Here is the conversation that revealed this feature:

Me: That was a rolling stop (though a stop sign).

Hubby:  Who knew we had the audible breaking enhancement. 

Me:  Other drivers have the audible breaking enhancement, if your window is rolled down.

Sometimes we think we are funny.

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