The Soapbox Archives:
I enjoyed reading your last week's "from the patio" this morning...well done. I don't quite understand all the venomous rhetoric towards Barack Obama, the name calling, the questioning of his citizenship, etc. It's likely the same kind of thing that is thrown at Hillary and other women of power, they're labeled "bitch" as people aren't accustomed to minorities or women being in power so they seek to demean them through name calling and casting aspersions. I think it has a lot to do with their discomfort in the world changing and evolving past their antiquated views of how things should be. That person who called you a "commie" is wrong, the world will evolve past the need for such thinking, it's moving away from people who think in cold war terms and people who think in black and white and that's why they're so mean and angry. I laugh at them, real Americans are people of many races, creeds, viewpoints who tolerate each other and argue with each other on stuff, but are ultimately working together to make the U.S. a better place than a fascist and stagnant mono-viewpoint culture.
Anyhow keep up the good fight!"
I think that people who have nothing to say will resort to name-calling to divert attention from their lack of the the truth. I don't mind having discussions but it gets boring when the other guy doesn't argue from the facts and a logical point of view; that's why I take the time to get informed before making statements out of the blue. And when someone says something that I don't like, I will look for proof that they're wrong.
For instance, someone told me that "Obamacare requires everyone to have a microchip implanted in them" but they only heard it from "a friend of a friend". It's really the Telephone Game played by adults. I figured that this rumor was too stupid to be true so I had to look it up. I was pretty sure that they use microchips in pets to help identify them if the animals lose their tags or don't have them. Zoos will put chips in newborn animals to keep track of them. I would think that RFID chips in soldiers would help identify them if they get killed in battle but I haven't heard of this yet. Ordinary citizens? Just the sort of thing that uninformed people might believe because they're too lazy to do a simple search in Google for the truth and they already want to believe the worst in our (current) government.
On question these rumor-mongers should always ask: Are they better at finding out this kind of conspiracy than the reporters and lawyers who actually read the laws?
After being out of work for over two and a half years, I'm employed again. Just you know, I'm one of those that helped drive the unemployment numbers down to 7.8% in September. Maybe Obama did something right? As they say, "Slowly and surely wins the race". Perhaps anyone who offers a quick(er) fix is talking snake oil.
I found a good reason to learn Spanish. Much of my spam is now in Spanish. It's bad enough to get spammed; now I get spammed in a language I don't understand. I'd like to learn Spanish if only so I know what words to use in Thunderbird's email spam filters.
I wonder how many problems could be solved by negotiating outside the box. Instead of refusing to give in, perhaps people should look for alternative solutions. Many arguments get stuck because no one wants to look like they're giving in. Perhaps people should consider ideas that might lead to their ultimate goal.
I read an interesting article on the Boston Globe website that involved subject of reducing the need for abortions.
I can't think of anyone who is "pro-abortion", but we're currently stuck between those who believe that every woman has the right to choose the destiny of her own body ("Pro-Choice") and those who feel that all abortions should be criminalized ("Pro-Life"). Not too many people are focused on making abortions unnecessary. The article talked about a study that suggested that giving free contraceptives to people who couldn't afford them could reduce the number of unplanned conceptions and therefore, reduce the need for safe and legal abortions. Imagine how the fiscal conservatives might feel about the reduced outflows of welfare and social security payments. I know that some people might feel that this suggestion just encourages people to be promiscuous. I'm thinking, "so what?". People have been having sex for tens of thousands of years and will continue doing so with or without contraception. But what if the "Pro-Life" (or "Anti-Choice", depending on your point of view) side decided that giving out contraception was a lesser evil than allowing abortions? What if there were fewer abortions because the need for them went away? Isn't that a win? What if we found a few brave people willing to break the deadlock?
And here's another idea. Government actions can always drive public policy or pvivate choices. I was just thinking: what if couples were given an extra half a point deduction on their tax returns for a few years if they adopted a child? Think that would make encourage people to adopt a child instead of having their own biological child? Think that might encourage women bring their child to term and then give them up for adoption, knowing that people want to adopt their child? A win-win?
"I am curious (and others have wondered too) why your calendar lists some weekly dances every week, e.g., Monday night practice and Bluesy Tuesy, but not other weekly dances, e.g., MIT Wednesday swing dances and Blues Union on Thursdays."
I don't mind getting this question because it gives me an excuse to remind the dance organizers that it's *their* job to get their information to me. There's so much out there that there's not enough time for go looking on people's websites for information anymore. On the other hand, if a dance organizer sends their information to me, then I'll know that the news is "official" and so will my readers.
Anyway, back to the original question: why are some weekly or monthly dances are listed on the calendar and others aren't?
Many years ago in the pre-Olaf days, I got an email telling me that Swing City was going to be open every Friday of the year. As I was adding the information, I noticed that Christmas or Christmas Eve of that year was on a Friday. I figured the Swing City organizer knew what he was talking about so I didn't bother to question it. Of course, Swing City was closed that night and I got email telling me people had shown up to a dark hall. That's not going happen again.
I don't care if someone runs an event on the same day of every week or every month. I know that there will be scheduling problems and things happen. I don't want to make assumptions that event will always happen according to their descriptions.
I require confirmations for all listings in the various calendars (there's one for each New England state; click on the litle calendar icon next to each state.). The same rules apply to everyone, including my tenant, the dance organizer who lives upstairs from me. If you want your event listed in the calendar, send me an email listing the dates for your event or get me a flyer. Email is better because I carry the website files on a flash drive and I can update the pages anywhere.
As an example, Mike Jonas of the Monday night practice sent me a complete list of every Monday that they're open. He's also the manager at Swing City so I get email on that venue too. It usually requires several rounds of email before we get the complete schedule ironed out. Similarly, someone at Bluesy Tuesy sent me a list of future dates for that event.
MIT Wednesday swing dances and Blues Union? I never get *anything* from the MIT people; from their website, it doesn't look like they even acknowledge any swing dancing outside of New School Swing and Boston Swing Central anyway. The only way I know that Blues Union is still around is when I happen to click on their website link.
Nota bene: I do not get event information from the venues' websites.
#1: it takes a lot of work and time to read through large newsletters and websites for the small pieces of information I need for my calendars. It's much easier for the venues' organizers to put that data together and send it to me. I get a lot of information for this website every day. I tend to process the shorter emails first. There's always a good chance that I won't have the time parse through a long newsletter or website. If I get a message telling me to get all the necessary information from their website, I'm very likely to ignore the message.
#2: I need people to get in the habit of sending their information, especially the updates, to me. During one of the Boston Lindy Exchanges many years ago, I pulled information off their website on the nights, locations, and bands for my calendar; they never sent it to me. And eventually, I found out that they changed their schedule. Since they never sent the information to me in the first place, I never got their updates.
It should be known that the dancing venues get listed according to how reliable I think the venues are. Many of them (the ones listed lower on the page) don't bother sending me updates or any other indication that they're still alive. The ones that get moved to the top are the ones that remind me that they're still alive and kicking and are happy to get new customers. I hope that all the dance organizers think about that.
To my readers: What can you do to help? Whenever you go dancing somewhere, tell the organizers that you saw their event or venue listed on this website. Tell them that they can reach more customers through this website than they can on their own.
One final comment and I'll leave it at that.
This website isn't about keeping the venues' regular customers informed. They already know what's happening at their favorite venue. This website is more concerned about getting new paying customers to all the venues. Every venue should be tripping over themselves to get their information to me.
I think that a lot of the problems that plague business these days is that they've seem to have lost the art of taking care of the customer. I have a mug that says:
"If we don't take care of the customer, someone else will!"The important part of that message is that the business should take care of the customer before it becomes a problem. I think many businesses feel that they should squeeze every penny out of customer untill they squeal and then throw them a bone to shut them up. Unfortunately, that's sometimes too late. Once a customer is upset AND they have no reason to stick around, they're outta there.
A few months ago, Verizon refused to match the (price) offer I got from Comcast so I switched to Comcast after five years with Verizon. A week after that, I got a mailed offer to get me back and what was the offer? Exactly what they wouldn't give me a week earlier. Apparently they were playing chicken and thought I wouldn't dare switch away from them. After switching, there's no incentive to go back since I'd have to go through the hassle of switching again. Forget it.
Once again, I run into the same dilemma. I had switched to Trend Micro antivirus software back about 5 years ago because I saw that it had a great rating from Consumer Reports. I liked the 3-pack where I could protect three computers for what I used to pay for one. I started telling all my friends to switch to Trend Micro. As I started working again and worried about paying off my bills, one of my (3-pak) Trend Micro licenses expired. I had expected that, like (older) Norton antivirus software, Trend Micro would continue to protect my computer, albeit with no-longer-updated virus definitions. What happened was that Trend Micro stopped working. I got warnings from Windows that the antivirus was shut off. Instead of a menu to do a virus scan, I got a renewal window and nothing else. I wasn't protected anymore.
That was a bad idea. I hadn't known that I had only "rented" the Trend Micro software. I thought I had bought the software to use as I please. The normal model was that I would continue to renew my right to updates for a fee but that the software would still run if I didn't renew right away. What Trend Micro did, as did Verizon, was encourage me to see what else was out there. I ended up going with Norton 360; it happened to be offered with a rebate at Staples this week (a $40 rebate on a $90 package). It should be noted that I didn't see Trend Micro in the Consumer Reports ratings in the July (?) issue while Norton seems to have moved up.
I need to move up to a "smart" phone in November. I'm going to start comparing my Sprint service with the others (I've been with Sprint since 1997). I wonder what I can get for a new phone.