Ink Paper Words' Profile

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Pacific Northwest, United States
In elementary school, I desperately wanted my mother to order books for me from those flyers Scholastic hands out to kids. She refused, citing the "perfectly good library down the street." I exacted revenge by becoming a card-carrying ALA accredited reference librarian. Ha! Take that!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Virtual Walden

Finally! A role-playing video game worth the time you spend being sucked in. Or, as Erik Hayden of Time puts it,
Get ready for some edge-of-your-seat 19th century transcendentalist action!
I guess I have some mixed feelings about this project undertaken by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. Is it just me, or is there some degree of irony inherent in a video game about living simply and purposefully? And yet, if people are smart, they will anticipate that when petroleum runs out (there were only so many dinosaurs to turn into oil, after all) reverting back to this lifestyle will be necessary if humankind is to survive.

My only quibble with the trailer is where they state "Walden, the Game, will bring the writing of Thoreau to life in an immersific experience where his work will be encountered by a new generation of readers in a form that will capture their attention and imagination." Cuz you know, words are like, so hard and all.

According to Time, this game is intended as a supplement to Thoreau's text, not as a substitute. What's next, Little Virtual Women? Why not? Sure beats Grand Theft Auto.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wayne Kamp Would Be So Proud

Well, Mr. Kamp, my beleaguered math teacher at Lewis Junior High, would be proud. In the intervening years since I took his class, I have to a large degree overcome my innumeracy. So much that I have been able to piece together some interesting stats in honor of Tax Day tomorrow. I have every confidence that Mr. Kamp would now be blown away by my ability to fill in the missing chunks of info to compile this list. Oh, and Mr. Kamp, you should see me calculate my discount per yard and per total purchase when the fabric store is having a sale.

Some noise has been made on the Interwebz regarding the respective tax rates paid by President Obama and his secretary. This was in relation to the announcement that Romney, rather than releasing his taxes as did the Obamas and the Bidens, filed a request for an extension to file with the IRS. Certainly, there is nothing remotely illegal or underhanded about filing such a request. Millions do it every year. However, when one is campaigning for the highest office in the land, it would behoove him to realize how this will appear to his potential employers, the voters.

On the surface, it might seem scandalous to rightwingers that Obama does indeed pay a lower tax rate than his secretary. The White House has made no secret of it. However, the difference is only half a percentage point, so even though the rate is lower, Obama still paid nearly twice the actual amount that Breckenridge did.

Were Romney to pay the same rate as Obama, his tax liability would be $9,260,875 – or nearly 10 times the AGI for Breckenridge, or 3 times what he estimates he owes this year.

What a difference context makes. And BTW, Mrs Breckenridge must be one rocking secretary to score a salary roughly twice what the Occupational Outlook Handbook says is the median for secretaries. Kudos to you, madame!

Feminism, SAHM's and the "Dignity of Work"

Much has been made this last week over Hilary Rosen's comments regarding Ann Romney and her role as a "stay at home mom." Somewhat tactlessly, Rosen said that Mrs Romney had "never worked a day in her life," drawing the ire and umbrage of SAHM's across the country. If only Rosen had written that Romney never had to work a day in her life, much of the resulting flack might have been avoided.

As it is, however, accusations of class warfare and the denigration of the role of mothers (although I prefer the non-gender-specific "parents") continue to fly about the Interwebz. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

No one can deny that parents have a tough road in front of them. Some parents make huge financial sacrifices in order to take care of the home and to be able to devote more time and attention too their children. All good. But on many forums, time and time again I've seen working mothers castigated for loving money and "luxuries" so much that they are willing to trample on their family's well-being to attain it. Working mothers (interesting how this is never applied to working fathers) are demonized and blamed for all of society's ills.

Clearly, the situation for every family will be different. Some enjoy the luxury of being able to be with their children all day, some work because they want to be able to pay rent and utility bills. I don't see why any family's choice needs to be distilled into either "if you work you don't love your kids" or "if you stay home you demonstrate that education isn't necessary for women." Why have we, as a society, not risen above such petty, bifurcated thinking by now?

Ironically enough, as recently as January Mrs Romney's husband Mitt declared that people receiving TANF funds ought and need to work to feel the "dignity" that comes from working. I certainly agree that earning a living is vastly superior to deal with social service agencies, many of which care little how demeaned their clients feel. Besides, one often gets the impression that between requisite hoop-jumping and correcting their mistakes, one might as well be working.

Frankly, I don't believe the Romneys can have it both ways. Of course, "Flipper" has never really been known for staking out a position and sticking with it, but he can't both insist that one must work in order to feel a sense of worth and defend his wife for finding her sense of worth in the home.

The bottom line for me is that Mrs Romney enjoys a standard of living that few will ever know and due to her many blessings in life, is not a qualified or appropriate spokesman for the struggles that ordinary Americans face. I'm glad that Mitt "looks up" to his wife -- that is as it should be. However, I cannot look up to her as I do many other women. My mother and grandmother, for example. Both are\wereamazing women who not only worked outside the home, but in it as well. I thank both of them for giving me the blessing of knowing how to economize and get by on little. In a later post, I will highlight Yale nursing professor Margaret Moss and explain why she is a woman that anyone can, and should, admire.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

At Last! A Facebook Dislike Function

I was fascinated to learn of Dean Terry's Enemy Graph plugin for Facebook. It has frequently occurred to me that a simple Like button was not sufficient, and in terms of letting brands know what people truly, think of them, the Enemy Graph is not only an idea whose time has come, it is long overdue.

As a member of a few anti-fan sites I can already anticipate much of the criticism likely headed toward the Enemy Graph developers: there is too much negativity in the world already; this is for losers who are wasting energy by actively disliking someone they adore; people are just “jelus [sic].” Although personally, I've always thought that when you expend the energy to find a group devoted to disliking something you do like for the explicit purpose of trolling them, that is just one step closer to mental than those you're ragging on. Face it, disliking something is just as much a part of human nature as liking something, if not more so. As a species, are we not driven by a desire to shun and abhor that which is different?

Interestingly, MSN reports that Facebook will not allow a “dislike” button and have to wonder why. My guess is they are PO'd they didn't think of it first. Or perhaps it simply did not fit into their strategy to attract businesses with built-in fans.

Huffington Post has several built-in reactions for their stories. You can click Inspiring, Funny, Obsolete, Scary, Must-Have, Amazing, Innovative or Nerdy. It's nice they give you more ways to react, but really, any reaction worth recording will not be pre-defined. I thought I saw “Insipid” once, but when I looked closer it was the aforementioned “Inspiring.” Meh.

Per the Enemy Graph FB page, they are currently being slammed with new people "liking" the option to express dislike. I find the irony delicious. Anyway, when it's back up, my first EG will be Rachael Ray and other assorted Food network tools.