Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Open Thread: Something Shiny

If you knew you were damaging your brain….would it help if you were having a blast while doing so? (Let’s ask some crackheads for their opinion!) (Yes! Yes, it does help!) Is it possible that our time spent online is actually weakening our abilities to concentrate and solve complex problems? Or is that not the case after all? Maybe we’re actually strengthening our minds in this fast-paced, virtual world. Perhaps it’s a bit of both. It’s a puzzle scientists have been trying to solve for years, and researchers are sharply divided…but I find the idea that we are altering our brains on a cellular level with our high tech, fast-paced lifestyles to be mad cool (and, if being honest….a bit creepy). I want to touch on a couple of the more recent studies on the topic…and perhaps test the limits of Moose distractibility while at it. /grin

[Warning: If you are epileptic or have any other kind of seizure disorder, you need not view this diary.

No, really….not kidding.

People with dial-up should also be wary, as it is image heavy.

All others…make sure you’ve allowed flash…buckle your seatbelts…and join me below the fold!]





(Are ya twitchin’ yet?)

PhotobucketYou may think this is just a bunch of Kysen silliness and not worth reading further….but, I promise I’m addressing a serious topic here…and may actually make a point or two (shocking, I know). Whatever you may believe about the Internet’s effect on our brains, the fact remains that it is distracting. This diary may be, in some ways, more aesthetically challenged and displeasing than most, but do a Google image search…go to a site with pop-ups…allow alerts for your email…set your phone for Twitter and Facebook updates…hell, read a Kysen diary! The types of distractions found on the Intertubes (and in this very diary) are seemingly limitless. If we accept that neurological pathways in our brains can be changed, then doesn’t it reasonably follow that changing our primary source of information from books to the Interwebs would have some sort of lasting impact on our minds? I’m leaning towards ‘YES’, but, you must decide for yourself (if you can find the time to do so).

Is there any question that the rise of the Internet (and teh Googles!) has changed the way we view and interact with the world? Information is everywhere, albeit not always accurate (especially on Yahoo! answers), and it’s instantly accessible with the click of a mouse or a touchpad (unless, of course, you forgot to pay your ‘Net bill). There is no dearth of things to do…places to go…people to ‘socialize’ with — things to entertain us. Our options myriad. Amazingly, people still get bored enough to need sites like (or or Type “bored” into Google, and you’ll get enough search results  to keep you busy for months. And if you still can’t find a website to tickle your fancy… can always create your own ( / grin) — and hell, learning to do so will eat some time, won’t it? But one of the questions that comes to mind is… what price are we paying for infinite information, freedom, options, stimulation and fun? Another is…how is it that superman can deflect bullets…yet he ducks when the villain throws the gun at him?

Is it zonking us out? Damaging our attention spans? Eating away at our ability to focus? That’s an argument that’s long been used to condemn everything from books to television to video games….but is it valid?

Socrates started what may have been the first technology scare. In the “Phaedrus,” he lamented the invention of books, which “create forgetfulness” in the soul. Instead of remembering for themselves, Socrates warned, new readers were blindly trusting in “external written characters.” The library was ruining the mind.

Needless to say, the printing press only made things worse. In the 17th century, Robert Burton complained, in “The Anatomy of Melancholy,” of the “vast chaos and confusion of books” that make the eyes and fingers ache. By 1890, the problem was the speed of transmission: one eminent physician blamed “the pelting of telegrams” for triggering an outbreak of mental illness. And then came radio and television, which poisoned the mind with passive pleasure. Children, it was said, had stopped reading books. Socrates would be pleased.  

The Frontal Cortex – Jonah Lehrer, image added

The Myth of Multitasking

People who spend time online are immersed in endless stimulation, often switching quickly between tasks and applications. Whether it’s friending your waiter on Facebook, Tweeting madly, checking email incessantly, adjusting iTunes, downloading files (probably illegally…you sneaky bastards!), or refreshing your favorite websites in a compulsive need to check for new articles and comments….we often find ourselves doing many things at once. Our spidey sense might be telling us that this is a good thing — after all, isn’t it a valuable skill to be able to juggle jobs and multitask? Possibly. But the evidence doesn’t seem to bear that out ….just because we do a lot of switching around and multitasking doesn’t mean we have grown particularly adept at it.

While many people say multitasking makes them more productive, research shows otherwise. Heavy multitaskers actually have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information, scientists say, and they experience more stress.

And scientists are discovering that even after the multitasking ends, fractured thinking and lack of focus persist.

New York Times, emphasis and image(s) added

Is it possible, even, that our Internet use is altering our very personalities?

Some experts believe excessive use of the Internet, cellphones and other technologies can cause us to become more impatient, impulsive, forgetful and even more narcissistic.

“More and more, life is resembling the chat room,” says Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, director of the Impulse Control Disorders Clinic at Stanford. “We’re paying a price in terms of our cognitive life because of this virtual lifestyle.”

We do spend a lot of time with our devices, and some studies have suggested that excessive dependence on cellphones and the Internet is akin to an addiction. Web sites like offer self-assessment tests to determine if technology has become a drug. Among the questions used to identify those at risk: Do you neglect housework to spend more time online? Are you frequently checking your e-mail? Do you often lose sleep because you log in late at night? If you answered “often” or “always,” technology may be taking a toll on you.

New York Times, emphasis and image(s) added

Does this entertain you half as much as it does me? If so, you might have a problem:

Yeahhhhhh… you should probably get that checked out…

Advances in computer technology and the Internet have changed the way America works, learns, and communicates.  The Internet has become an integral part of America’s economic, political, and social life. – Bill Clinton

The scientific community has been asking for years now whether the Internet makes us smarter or dumber, and there are good arguments on both sides of the issue. Undoubtedly our use of the Internet has increased certain skills and abilities as we are forced to rapidly adjust to a wealth of incoming information and stimuli. Maybe there is no simple answer to this question. Evidence of Internet users’ distractibility and use of scanning techniques on websites has been documented for over a decade, and now more and more emerging research points to the conclusion that the Internet is rewiring our brains, to the detriment of some of our most valued abilities as a species. Recent research indicates that our use of the Web is making us increasingly distractible and less capable of effectively processing and absorbing what we read. In other words, we are creating a sort of attention deficit in ourselves, which is slowly deteriorating our ability to engage in complex thought processes that don’t involve a multitude of attention-grabbing stimuli. Righteous!

2008 saw the publication of an article describing changes in the way ‘Net surfers read and process.

. . .a recently published study of online research habits, conducted by scholars from University College London, suggests that we may well be in the midst of a sea change in the way we read and think. As part of the five-year research program, the scholars examined computer logs documenting the behavior of visitors to two popular research sites, one operated by the British Library and one by a U.K. educational consortium, that provide access to journal articles, e-books, and other sources of written information. They found that people using the sites exhibited “a form of skimming activity,” hopping from one source to another and rarely returning to any source they’d already visited. They typically read no more than one or two pages of an article or book before they would “bounce” out to another site. Sometimes they’d save a long article, but there’s no evidence that they ever went back and actually read it. The authors of the study report:

It is clear that users are not reading online in the traditional sense; indeed there are signs that new forms of “reading” are emerging as users “power browse” horizontally through titles, contents pages and abstracts going for quick wins. It almost seems that they go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense.

The Atlantic, emphasis and image(s) added

Ooph. Don’t look at that too long.

This one’s mo’betta…

Damn… feeling a little car sick over here…

Anyhoooo… continuing on…

The crux of the argument rests on the idea that the endless distractions provided by the Internet — from popups to links to pictures to…to…to… sorry, got distracted… But this seemingly infinite array of sparkly (S H I N Y ?!?) stimuli enables us to fuel the natural human tendency toward distractibility.

PhotobucketThe picture emerging from the research is deeply troubling, at least to anyone who values the depth, rather than just the velocity, of human thought. People who read text studded with links, the studies show, comprehend less than those who read traditional linear text. People who watch busy multimedia presentations remember less than those who take in information in a more sedate and focused manner. People who are continually distracted by emails, alerts and other messages understand less than those who are able to concentrate. And people who juggle many tasks are less creative and less productive than those who do one thing at a time.

The common thread in these disabilities is the division of attention. The richness of our thoughts, our memories and even our personalities hinges on our ability to focus the mind and sustain concentration. Only when we pay deep attention to a new piece of information are we able to associate it “meaningfully and systematically with knowledge already well established in memory,” writes the Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel. Such associations are essential to mastering complex concepts.

Wall Street Journal, emphasis and image(s) added

So in other words, we’re becoming superficial, distractible…


Oh, that’s messed up. Now…what was I saying? Methinks it had something to do with… reptiles? No?


Nevermind, I was talking about attention span.

It looks like there’s a trade-off, or quid pro quo of sorts, for our speedy digital lifestyles.

Ms. Greenfield concluded that “every medium develops some cognitive skills at the expense of others.” Our growing use of screen-based media, she said, has strengthened visual-spatial intelligence, which can improve the ability to do jobs that involve keeping track of lots of simultaneous signals, like air traffic control. But that has been accompanied by “new weaknesses in higher-order cognitive processes,” including “abstract vocabulary, mindfulness, reflection, inductive problem solving, critical thinking, and imagination.” We’re becoming, in a word, shallower.

Wall Street Journal, emphasis and image(s) added

Back to that Multitasking Myth….

Even though it may seem as though multitaskers would be better at juggling tasks and processing numerous bits of information at once, it turns out that some of them are pretty incompetent. Maybe practice doesn’t make perfect???  

In another experiment, recently conducted at Stanford University’s Communication Between Humans and Interactive Media Lab, a team of researchers gave various cognitive tests to 49 people who do a lot of media multitasking and 52 people who multitask much less frequently. The heavy multitaskers performed poorly on all the tests. They were more easily distracted, had less control over their attention, and were much less able to distinguish important information from trivia.

The researchers were surprised by the results. They had expected that the intensive multitaskers would have gained some unique mental advantages from all their on-screen juggling. But that wasn’t the case. In fact, the heavy multitaskers weren’t even good at multitasking. They were considerably less adept at switching between tasks than the more infrequent multitaskers. “Everything distracts them,” observed Clifford Nass, the professor who heads the Stanford lab.

Wall Street Journal, emphasis and image(s) added

And according to these researchers, it’s not like these negative effects just go away when we turn our attention to something else. When we walk away from our computers, our brief (cuz god knows we can’t leave the poor Interwebs all alone by itself for long!) departure doesn’t change the fact that the neurological structure of our brains has been altered. Yup, you read that correctly (well, you did if you did not scan past it)…our brains are being altered. Holla!

It would be one thing if the ill effects went away as soon as we turned off our computers and cellphones. But they don’t. The cellular structure of the human brain, scientists have discovered, adapts readily to the tools we use, including those for finding, storing and sharing information. By changing our habits of mind, each new technology strengthens certain neural pathways and weakens others. The cellular alterations continue to shape the way we think even when we’re not using the technology.

The pioneering neuroscientist Michael Merzenich believes our brains are being “massively remodeled” by our ever-intensifying use of the Web and related media. In the 1970s and 1980s, Mr. Merzenich, now a professor emeritus at the University of California in San Francisco, conducted a famous series of experiments on primate brains that revealed how extensively and quickly neural circuits change in response to experience. When, for example, Mr. Merzenich rearranged the nerves in a monkey’s hand, the nerve cells in the animal’s sensory cortex quickly reorganized themselves to create a new “mental map” of the hand.

Wall Street Journal, emphasis and image(s) added

I don’t know that we’re getting “stupider,” but according to this research, some of us are certainly losing our ability to concentrate in low-stimuli environments (ie: the real world).

Reading a long sequence of pages helps us develop a rare kind of mental discipline. The innate bias of the human brain, after all, is to be distracted. Our predisposition is to be aware of as much of what’s going on around us as possible. Our fast-paced, reflexive shifts in focus were once crucial to our survival. They reduced the odds that a predator would take us by surprise or that we’d overlook a nearby source of food.

To read a book is to practice an unnatural process of thought. It requires us to place ourselves at what T. S. Eliot, in his poem “Four Quartets,” called “the still point of the turning world.” We have to forge or strengthen the neural links needed to counter our instinctive distractedness, thereby gaining greater control over our attention and our mind.

It is this control, this mental discipline, that we are at risk of losing as we spend ever more time scanning and skimming online.

Wall Street Journal, emphasis and image(s) added

Wanna test YOUR Focus and your ability to juggle tasks quickly?:  Click HERE for a brief test.

Believe it or not…it seems Kysen can focus very well (but, admittedly SUCKS at juggling tasks).

Much like we are what we eat (arugula, anyone?), one researcher posits that we are what — and how — we read.

“We are not only what we read,” says Maryanne Wolf, a developmental psychologist at Tufts University and the author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. “We are how we read.” Wolf worries that the style of reading promoted by the Net, a style that puts “efficiency” and “immediacy” above all else, may be weakening our capacity for the kind of deep reading that emerged when an earlier technology, the printing press, made long and complex works of prose commonplace. When we read online, she says, we tend to become “mere decoders of information.” Our ability to interpret text, to make the rich mental connections that form when we read deeply and without distraction, remains largely disengaged.

[. . .]

As we use what the sociologist Daniel Bell has called our “intellectual technologies”-the tools that extend our mental rather than our physical capacities-we inevitably begin to take on the qualities of those technologies.

The Atlantic, original emphasis, image(s) added

(If the contents of this diary haven’t distracted you yet…relax… you’re safe… nothing will…)

Hmmmm…..makes me think of THIS song.

(Yeah, Kysen’s head is noddin’.)

And it’s not just the way we’re rewiring ourselves — for a lot of us, part of the issue is how much we’re stressing ourselves out. It’s impossible these days not to become dependent on technology, and to an extent, it’s tough not to become flat out addicted. But how can we not check our email or answer our phones? What if something important were to happen???

While most Americans say devices like smartphones, cellphones and personal computers have made their lives better and their jobs easier, some say they have been intrusive, increased their levels of stress and made it difficult to concentrate, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.

Younger people are particularly affected: almost 30 percent of those under 45 said the use of these devices made it harder to focus, while less than 10 percent of older users agreed.

[. . .]

People seem to find it hard to shut down after work. Almost 40 percent check work e-mail after hours or on vacation.

Some people can’t imagine living without their computers. About a third of those polled said they couldn’t, while 65 percent said they either probably or definitely could get along without their PCs. The people who are most computer-dependent tend to be better educated and more affluent.

New York Times, emphasis and image(s) added

Maybe we’re not yet headed for this level of stupidity:

Or hell, even this one:

(Who’re the bigger fools, the parents or the kids? I vote for the cameraman!)

I feel as though I am all over the place in this diary…which, to some degree, is the point…but, jeez…I’m starting to get lost. Guess that just kinda adds to the thrill of the ride.

Look! Elvis!

Even if we haven’t yet descended into full blown stupidity, I think the argument that we’re changing our brains is fairly credible. Not everyone agrees with me (I know! go figure?)…

But neuroscience author and blogger Jonah Lehrer is unimpressed with Carr’s scientific rigor, and with his respect for the brain. Sure, Lehrer says in his New York Times review of the book, we bounce around the Internet, distracted at every turn:

But this isn’t really the fault of the Internet. The online world has merely exposed the feebleness of human attention, which is so weak that even the most minor temptations are all but impossible to resist. Carr extends these anecdotal observations by linking them to the plasticity of the brain, which is constantly being shaped by experience. While plasticity is generally seen as a positive feature – it keeps the cortex supple – Carr is interested in its dark side.

In addition, Lehrer says, Carr may have cherry-picked studies to support his argument, but the science is not nearly so one-sided:

What Carr neglects to mention, however, is that the preponderance of scientific evidence suggests that the Internet and related technologies are actually good for the mind. For instance, a comprehensive 2009 review of studies published on the cognitive effects of video games found that gaming led to significant improvements in performance on various cognitive tasks, from visual perception to sustained attention. This surprising result led the scientists to propose that even simple computer games like Tetris can lead to “marked increases in the speed of information processing.”

The key to the Carr argument, then, is not so much scientific rigor as it is an appeal to an extremely enticing romantic appeal. Even among the many Web-savvy people who responded with derision toward what feels like a reactionary attack on the modern way of life, there is the basic longing to disconnect now and then.

Discover Magazine, emphasis and image(s) added

I’d originally intended to do more to outline the other side of the argument — that our use of the internet makes us smarter. At least I think that was my intent….but to be honest…? I don’t have the patience or attention span for it. Oops.

So what do you think, Moose?

Are we getting dumber?

Should we be worried?

Should I be more concerned that I find this soooooo pleasing:

And how’s this for trippy??


HTML Hit Counter

(Let’s see how dead the Moose realllllly is….)

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  1. sricki

    But all joking aside…

    I know that a lot of people won’t agree with the ideas put forth in Carr’s book/article, and I’ve read several of the articles refuting it; however, I think I see some truth in it from a personal perspective. Or maybe I’m just looking for an excuse? Let me explain.

    If asked on a survey or something, I would still say that I love to read and describe myself as a voracious reader. The truth, however, is not so clear cut. While that absolutely used to be true and I used to read a LOT… I no longer do so. Almost everything I read nowadays is available online. In fact, the last “difficult” book I read was started and finished in early October of 2007. Since then, the most highbrow thing I’ve read is Harry Potter — which is a pretty sad state of affairs for someone who used to read all the time.

    Some of you might remember that I spent about a year caring for my paternal grandmother back in 2007/2008. That started in September of 2007, back when I still considered myself an avid reader. I had an intercom on my bedside night table which was connected to two intercoms on the other side of the house — one in her bathroom and her day bedroom (which she preferred to the big bed in her bedroom) — so that I could hear her at all times if I was in my room. Well, she had chronic renal failure, and a lot of fatigue comes along with that. So she was in bed near all the time — slept as much as humanly possible — but that meant that her schedule was all messed up. So when she was awake, it was as likely to be at night as during the day. When they put her on Lasix to drain the fluid off her heart and lungs, she started needing to go to the bathroom all the time. But it would take her awhile to muster up the willpower and strength to walk to the bathroom, so she would sit on the edge of the bed and holler for me. It always seemed that when I needed her to get up (to take meds or go to the doctors), she wouldn’t budge — but when I was just looking for a moment’s peace, she would call out incessantly.

    Well, it got to the point where reading was a pain in the ass. I am a very “intent” reader… I see and hear everything on the page and get very absorbed. That was a problem for a couple of reasons. For one thing, if I was reading intently, I found that I sometimes didn’t hear her yelling for me until she’d been at it for a couple of minutes. For another, to reach that level of absorption, I need a relatively peaceful, interruption-free environment — not something that was available to me at the time. So somewhere in October/November of 2007, I kind of gave up on reading. I started spending exorbitant amounts of time online, something I’d never really done before. It was just easier — most articles online were short and could be finished quickly, and I didn’t need to become “absorbed” in the news. I also started watching a lot of TV — also something I had rarely done before. I started following the Democratic primaries more closely, and then I started hanging out on the blogs. Diaries were usually short, comments were short, and it was a much “easier” reading experience than a book.

    My time with my grandmother came and passed — as did she — and my habits did not go back to “normal.” I had grown accustomed to sitting in front of my computer, and even when I moved to another city, away from my family, I still found myself here — in front of the screen — rather than with a book in my hands. Repeatedly, over the last 2-3 years, I have started new books — and even old ones that I have cherished for years — and each attempt at reading anything “deeper” than Harry Potter has failed. In fact, I didn’t even make it through the fourth one in that series the last time I tried. It just… seemed so long.

    I have tried to figure out what was wrong with me. And I kept telling people, “My attention span just doesn’t seem to be as good as it used to be.” But for the life of me, I couldn’t think of a reason.

    In light of all that, Carr’s argument makes a lot of sense. This is a long comment I’ve been writing. So far, in the time I’ve been typing it out, I have also checked several email accounts, done a couple of searches in Google, screwed around in iTunes, chatted to someone, called my mother, snuggled two cats, stared at my TV (which is on mute and stuck on a DVD screen), messed with the settings in a two new hosting accounts I have opened, and scrolled up and down this page to stare at the sparkly pictures. Now… maybe I am am just agreeing with this article because I want an excuse for the fact that I can no longer focus on anything. But I am still left wondering why — because it was never like that before I started sitting online all the time.

    So maybe Carr is right. Maybe he isn’t. But just in case… I think I’ll set a few minutes aside for book reading each day from now on — we’ll see how well that goes… if it goes at all.

  2. DTOzone

    From Common Cents at GOS. Ode to Bloggers;

    How do we pay for it? They don’t know.

    They say it won’t matter, let the deficit grow.

    How do you pass it? They don’t know.

    Should be easy, Greenwald said it was so.

  3. fogiv

    …almost non-stop, but there’s no denying I’ve seen a slowing of this particular habit since the advent of the tubez. Still, I think I read a lot more than most people.  I have partially finished books lying about all over, so I can grab one when the need strikes. My folks always told me that nearly everything I should ever want or need to know could be found — in part if not completely — in a book somewhere.  I find comfort in books.  I started reading Louis L’Amour books alound in my Dad’s lap when I was about two. Ever encouraging, my parents always had me surrounded with piles of books (their basement is still full of thousands of them, to my Mom’s dismay).  As I type now, I have within reach on my desk a biography on Django Reinhardt, Nicholson’s Baker’s The Fermata, and an 1882 copy of The Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a handwritten cursive inscription inside reads:

    Sophie Horner

    April 30th, 1885

    San Francisco,


    On my fifteenth birthday,

    from Aiden

    How freakin’ cool is that? I’ve thought of writing a story based on that inscription.  What was happening with Sophie and Aiden?  Another cool thing:  I’m slowly working on a bit by bit translation of cool leather-bound 1882 french-latin Missal, Missel des Fideles, that I found at a flea market some years ago. It’s interesting, because papal condemnations of translations of Catholic Mass into the vernacular were strong at the time; prohibitions on non-latin Mass weren’t quietly dropped until 1897. So this thing is a rebellious little limited run. Tucked within the pages I found a little pamphlet,


    De La


    Prechee Aux Dames Du Calvaire

    De Paris

    Du 27 Fevrier Au 3 Mars 1934

    Par Le

    R.P. Boulay, O.P.

    Les souffrances du Redemteur

    Ne fallait-il pas que le Christ souffrit pour entrer dans sa gloire?  (Saint Luc XXIV – 26)

    Another cool story there somewhere, eh?

    I’ll be back to read this diary of yours more carefully (I just skimmed really) when I’ve got a few accomplishments under my belt today.  If I don’t get some stuff done pronto, my wonderful wife is gonna display my head on a pike in the center of our unmowed yard. So for now, I guess I’m just commenting on the comments, generally. Or just riffing ’cause Happy and sricki said ‘books’.  Whatevah.  

  4. HappyinVT

    Sort of.

    A wonderful essay is circulating by Alain de Botton in City magazine (I came across it via Andrew Sullivan), titled, On Distraction. In just 333 words, de Botton captures one of the central problems of this present moment in history:

    “One of the more embarrassing and self-indulgent challenges of our time is the task of relearning how to concentrate. The past decade has seen an unparalleled assault on our capacity to fix our minds steadily on anything. To sit still and think, without succumbing to an anxious reach for a machine, has become almost impossible.

    “The obsession with current events is relentless. We are made to feel that at any point, somewhere on the globe, something may occur to sweep away old certainties-something that, if we failed to learn about it instantaneously, could leave us wholly unable to comprehend ourselves or our fellows.”

    Al’s focus is on the media but I think it can be addressed to our use of the Internet as well.

    Like domesticated oxen, the population is yanked from media stoked crisis to crisis, all of which carry a whiff of apocalypse: an oil gusher in the Gulf now comes with underwater 24-hour live stream cameras, all available online and to TV networks, as experts – real and invented – jump onto our screens to tell us their version of what is happening.


    The bigger crisis of our time is, thus, Power’s need to create constant crises, generated first and foremost by the commercial media, all competing for our dwindling hours of free time and attention span, and exacerbated by every kind of interest group, advertiser, opportunist, politician, “activist,” aspiring tyrant or con artist who know that a person who perceives himself or his community or his world in crisis can be sold all kinds of products and ideologies to serve the salesman. When we “lose our heads” we are easy prey for the predators.

    We see this not only on the television but on various websites as well.  Anonymous bloggers, or folks with unknown/dubious credentials announce “breaking news” with inch-high headlines or flashing sirens.  To which someone will go, “OMG!” and link to such article with breathless hair-on-fire.  I went there myself on rumproast last week when someone posted a fake twitter feed for Alvin Greene and I got suckered.  But, hey, it’s SC so who knows what’s real in that state.

    Anyway, I thought Al’s piece tied in rather nicely with this piece.

  5. DTOzone

    WE NEED JOBS! Except for jobs we don’t like, fuck them.

    so says GOS, channelled by Bill Maher

    Well, gee, I couldn’t possibly understand why the good people of Applachia, Great Plains and the South vote against their own interests?  

  6. DTOzone

    Is it me maybe?

    The Democrats’ mistake…. (2+ / 0-)

    ….was taking impeachment off the table. Essentially, this INVITED Republicans to endlessly put impeachment ON THE TABLE for ANY Democratic President, to be used at any time for any reason.


  7. HappyinVT

    You may be aware that I work for the local rag newspaper.  I work from 2 – 10 which I guess technically puts me in the second shift.

    We are having a summer bbq at the end of the month.  The flyers were put up yesterday and I got pissed off.  First, in big letters it says that the bbq starts at noon and in tiny letters in parentheses “6:00pm/second shift.”  That’s not what set me off initially ~ I got royally peeved at the fact that there is a drawing at 12:45 and you must be present to win.  So, if you work the second shift either you show up hours early to claim some prize or you are excluded altogether.  That pisses me off.  I’m coming in early that day anyway because I’m leaving early so I can be present to win but, seriously, how in the world is that fair?  Did no one on the party committee not think about how the second shift people would feel?

    I sent an email last night to one of the committee members who works in my department who is, for now, also a close friend.  I was more polite (I didn’t say it was insulting or offensive which is how I really feel) than I felt like being but I’m not sure how she’ll take my position on this.  I’m not completely sure I care; I just hate any kind of confrontation.  She is also one of those “sucks to be you but I got mind” types so I’m sure she’ll see that as some kind of “lefty welfare” on my part.

    Like most places, events revolve around the day shift office workers.  It used to be the second shift got the leftovers, literally, and no one other than the second shift saw anything wrong with that.  That’s a shame.  They already have the crappy job in a poorly ventilated, standing-on-their-feet all the time, noisy atmosphere.  They don’t need to feel like after thoughts.  Some of them are on their second job when they get therre at 8, 9, 10 o’clock at night.  None of the pansies on day shift is in that position.

    I’m ticking myself off all over again.  Anyway, I look forward to whatever conversation my email will elicit.  (I’ve been known to have potential conversations in my head only to be pissed off that the other person doesn’t react the way I think they will.)

    Anyway, that’s my rant.

  8. sricki

    but since this is an open thread…

    One of my cats is farty, and I can’t figure out which one.

    Damn. If I’m just gonna type out everything that pops into my head, I guess I should start using twitter, huh?  

  9. fogiv

    Alter’s The Promise last night.  I’m diggin’ it so far.

    Barney Frank tried to beat the shit out of Hank Paulson in the White House.  Literally almost a fist fight.  Obama calmed everyone down.  Awesome.

    Barney Frank muscled his way past Harry Reid and started yelling. “Fuck you, Hank! Fuck you! Blow up this deal? We didn’t blow up this deal! Your guys blew up the deal! You better tell [GOP Rep. Spencer] Bacchus and the rest of them to get their shit together!”

  10. fogiv

    from the US Govt. yesterday to set up an interview.  Stoked mostly.  I think I may have this thing fairly well sewn up, if I want it.

  11. sricki

    So sricki’s gonna vent. Plus, I have an excuse in that it seemed just too perfect that that dirty Kysen’s thread had 69 comments in it, and I just wanna ruin it. ; )

    Has anyone here ever had problems with houseguests who just wanna barrel through your door and then set up camp for days and days on end?

    I have a classmate — not a close friend at all — who I carpooled with to a class out of town to save gas, and who I’ve worked with on several projects/tests/presentations at school. We’ve talked, but we’ve never done anything “social” or “friend-like” such as go out to dinner or coffee or a movie or anything like that. So, I get a call sometime last…. I think it was February… And he’s like, “Can I please stay at your apartment for the night?” — and feeds me some cockamamie story about his mentally ill brother. Okay. Fine. I’m sensitive to the whole mental health issue and have plenty of “mentally ill” family members. Sure, so I tell him “Of course” (so stupid).

    Well one night turned into two nights turned into three turned into a week, with no sign of him leaving. And every day, I thought he would be gone — but would spend the whole day fretting and worrying over whether he would show, and then he would. And I am a VERY private person. I live alone for a reason. And he often would not call before he came because he has no cell phone and works all day and then goes home to his brother (allegedly) to scope the situation out and see if it’s okay to stay there… and then doesn’t want to use the phone to call me at HIS house because he wants his brother to think he’s sleeping in a parking lot in his car in the hopes that it will guilt his brother into getting his act together.

    So he was just showing up and driving me crazy — and at the time, he had a hacking cough, which kept me up all night (not that I sleep for much of it anyway, but that’s not really the point, is it?). And I just didn’t know what to say — I had not given him a “time limit,” and he seemed so pitiful. I felt bad for him. But finally after a week, I wrote him a long email late one night about ways he could cope with his brother (who lives with him) right down to having the guy arrested (he stole all their electronics and pawned them for crack money — supposedly). Well after that email, my house guest disappeared.

    I heard nothing from him for about… dunno, maybe 2 months, and was for the most part well glad to be rid of him. Then he randomly calls one afternoon, also while I was out of town, and we have a nice, long talk — and it’s very friendly and all that, and he doesn’t ask for a place to stay, so I’m cool about it. Well the very next day, after having reestablished contact with me, he calls asking for a place to stay. I was floored — and I was around other people, so I couldn’t just explode at him. So I said, “Yeah sure,” and rushed back home to get my apartment ready for a guest. He said it was just for one night… which again turned into two… into three… into….

    Now let me explain something about myself. You guys see a much fiercer version of me here than exists “in real life” — I will admit that I’m not always the same person behind the screen as I am walking around in daylight in the real world. I am, if you can believe it… painfully nice to people. Now, if someone is a complete ass, I will use the same sharp tongue so many of you saw on MyDD with the trolls. But if someone is nice or pitiful, I have a HELL of a time being firm with them, even if it’s needed. And another thing about this house guest — he is a Mormon. And I hate to stereotype, but they are just as nice and wholesome and goody-two-shoes as people make them out to be. I mean, the kinda shit where when I first let him in my apartment and showed him to a bedroom, he was like, “Sricki, your home has such great spirit!”  **gag**  I have made a few cracks to my mom since all this started about how I should have known better than to ever let a Mormon cross my threshold — because once you let them in, you can’t get them out. Heh.

    Well so a friend of mine, who is frustrated by my inability to put my foot down but still wanted to help… kinda schooled me on what to say. My friend told me, verbatim, what to say to get rid of my house guest. I had already told my guest that I was a very private person, which is why I don’t have roommates, but that didn’t sink in. So I was told to say, when he went to leave in the morning, “Now… if you need a place to stay for TONIGHT… please call and let me know… give me some warning. But ____, this just can’t go on open-ended. You need to sort things out with your brother.”

    So I said that, and the guest came back one more night, and then disappeared again.

    Well, he stopped by one afternoon just to visit a few weeks ago… just showed up at my door. Have I ever mentioned how much I FUCKING HATE pop-in company? A trait I got from my mother, who hates it SO bad that… in the early years of her marriage to my father, one time actually climbed out the bedroom window onto their apartment complex roof to escape my father’s friends when they dropped in unexpectedly. (Yeah, my family is a little…. “off.”) Well so, I hate pop-in company just as much — I am a bad Southerner — and I feared that he was looking for a place to stay. So I tried to ignore the knocking and doorbell ringing, but he stood out there hollering, “Sricki, it’s ___, and I don’t need a place to stay, sricki!!” And he yelled until one of my neighbors was outside complaining. So I let him in to talk, pretended I’d been asleep and undressed, and then sat here and chatted with him a couple of hours. He didn’t ask for a place to stay then, but wimp that I am, it scared me so bad that I told him I was going out of town (so that he wouldn’t call the next day to ask for a place to sleep) and then parked my car on the other side of my (rather large) apartment complex… and continued parking there for like 5 days. Then I got my nerve back up and started parking in front of my building again.

    So last night, totally out of the blue — no ingratiating courtesy call or anything — he calls at 8:30 PM and asks for a place to stay for the night. And I’m just like… “_____, the place is a mess” (which it isn’t) “and I just need a little more warning… let me clean up around here tomorrow, and we’ll see.” I was not overly “nice,” but I certainly wasn’t rude. But I DID flatly shoot him down. He said he understood, but I didn’t know what that meant. So all day, I have been kinda expecting him to just show up. It’s 9:50 as I type this, and my assumption is that if he isn’t here by 10, he’s not coming. But seriously, all day I have been paranoid and dreading it.

    I don’t have the money for the kind of therapy it would require to find out what’s wrong with me — what kind of deep-seated emotional problem do I have which prevents me from straight up saying, “Dude, I hate having you here… you make me miserable… don’t ever ask to crash at my place again because this is not a flophouse… in fact… fuck off.” I guess I’d need some serious psychoanalysis to figure it out. I have always been this way. If someone is nice, I have a lot of trouble being mean or strict — it’s why I know I could never be a parent (or one of the reasons). But the fucked up thing here is — I absolutely know I am being used. But because he is so nicey-nice and pitiful, I don’t know how to tell him off. And I don’t really believe the full of his excuses and stories anymore about why he can’t stay in his own house, but I can’t call him out because I have no proof.

    So tell me moose — what the fuck is wrong with me, and what the fuck should I do? One of my friends has suggested that since I can’t seem to get my nerve up to talk to him to his FACE… I should write a polite but clear email telling him that he can’t stay here anymore because it gives me anxiety attacks or something. I really dunno what’s best. Anyone got any thoughts?

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