Review: Freakonomics

This isn’t going to be a true review. This IS however a HUGE recommendation for their podcast this week. I listened to it this morning on my walk and… I might have freaked out another walked coming towards me at one point when I did the double-hands “yes, that!” gesture. I looked up a little further right after I did it and the guy was moving off the sidewalk already…. So yeah. Go and listen. It is a fabulous take on how we can and possibly should look at saving the rainforest. I think my favorite quote was something like “Brazil’s strategy was a lot of sticks, but not a lot of carrots” which made me all the more excited to see how we could add more sticks to the solution.

Politics: School ReOpening

I work in corporate education. I have trained soft skills (customer service, management, and HR compliance training *shudders*) and I have trained “hard skills” in IT. I LOVE teaching Microsoft Excel certification training. Word is number two. Excel is probably my favorite because when people can use Excel, they almost universally like the application they hated the most and that is soooo gratifying. I have literally trained on a global scale. I have worked for multiple companies with locations in other countries. Both in developing training that isn’t in my time zone and delivering that training. This means I have worked with giving training in person and via a remote tool. I hope that this world will bring useful advances to schools. But there are some pretty bad pitfalls that the corporate world has learned. Which leads to my some advice for schools and teachers. Number 1: DO NOT MIX IT UP Learning can be done remotely. It is more

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Life Memories: John Lewis

I was in college when I first learned about John Lewis. I was doing some research regarding Georgia history and the civil rights movement (specifically some cases which started in Georgia). My professor made a comment about “Representative Lewis” and I blinked. It rocked me mentally to realize that someone still alive (and honestly not that old in 2005) had marched with Martin Luther King Jr. Marched as an adult. Not a child holding a parent’s hand. A man grown and finished with his education. Mathematically I knew this was possible. But this was the first time I felt it to my shoes. I didn’t know anything about John Lewis at the time. I didn’t grow up with him as my representative (honestly, I didn’t know who my rep WAS growing up so…. this wasn’t surprising). He was one of the people who inspired me to begin paying more attention to my local politics instead of just presidential. This meant

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Review: Blueland

I do not have the same adversity to advertising some people do. I don’t like intrusive ads, but sometimes an ad points me to a product I wouldn’t have known of otherwise. Such was the case with Blueland. I was on Facebook and I just kept seeing this ad for reusable soap dispenser. It is up my alley. I try to be environmentally conscious. So I clicked on the link. We needed soap soon. I went ahead and ordered the Hand Soap Starter Set. I won’t say I’m in love with the product, but it absolutely meets the requirements of hand soap in our most commonly used bathroom. This is the bathroom where we wash our hands after being in the public. This is the bathroom nearby post-meals (baby eats messily ya know!). This is the bathroom guests would use if we were having people over. The little tablets are easy. Not too strong on scent but strong enough that

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Gaming: Microtransactions

There is a lot of conversation in the video game industry on this topic, and I have somewhat mixed thoughts on it. You have seen them, I can almost promise you this. You don’t have to be a hardcore gamer to know what I’m talking about. I use the mobile world first because I think it’s more familiar to more people. I played some Candy Crush back in the day. I got incredibly frustrated and uninstalled it. I reached a point where I couldn’t play it anymore. There came a time when I needed some special things to make the levels possible to beat. Or such good luck it would be ridiculous. And there wasn’t any good reason to go back and play previous levels. Since I wasn’t willing to pay to “win” the game, I uninstalled and went looking for something better. So many mobile games follow this pattern. I get so incredibly frustrated by it. On the other

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Listening is hard

I wrote about this just the other week and then I had to live it. I listen to The Bulwark Podcast regularly. Not every day, but it is something to listen to while I’m cooking dinner and it makes me think. It also engages me with more conservative thought without being Trump supporters (Sykes might hate Trump more than any liberal I know). The other day he had a guest, Kmele Foster, who talked about anti-racism. This particular podcast was pretty hard for me to listen to. There were several points where I started to argue with my speaker and had to stop myself and listen again. I wrote just the other week how we have to really stop and listen to people. And it might have been twenty minutes before he said something that I think was really valuable. In it he is talking about cops killing white people being under-reported and how that is bad too. Then he

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SCOTUS: Bostock v. Clayton County

Oh My GOD. This opinion is amazing. If you have trouble reading legal opinions, I have a new source I’m recommending – a real lawyer reading it! So firstly, GORSUCH wrote this opinion. Trump’s first appointee is not as horrible as I had feared. I am stilled pissed Merrick Garland wasn’t voted on – but Gorsuch at least seems to be a decent Supreme Court Judge. The fact this ran 6-3, this wasn’t a “by the lines” case. Roberts and Gorsuch voted along with Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Shocker – Alito, Thomas, and Kavanaugh dissented. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Page 2 Well that was pretty blunt… but it gets better! From the ordinary public meaning of the statute’s language at the time of the law’s adoption, a straightforward rule emerges: An employer violates

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Politics: “Defund” Slogan

I debated all weekend whether I wanted to touch this with a hundred foot poll. I saw posts ranging from “All taxes are theft anyway, so stop paying the police” (I stopped reading here and did NOT click “show more…” to see the entire thread) to “police are all bad apples and it all needs to be rebooted from the ground up” up to “it’s a slogan to start a more nuanced conversation about re-evaluting programs between the police and other social services.” Then one of my friends posted something that really resonated with me. Language matters. This particular hashtag lumps the people who want to have a reasoned argument around re-evaluating program funding with the “police departments shouldn’t exist” (of the corruption and tax-theft crowd). Ouch. Is that right? I GET that this is more complex than a slogan can easily capture. My brother has a phrase about “no good political statement can fit on a bumper sticker” I

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Life: Quarantine Life

Life is full of stress right now. I am fighting my anxiety basically daily, like pretty much everyone else. I am avoiding the news for the most part because I want to hear something that is NOT “the world is ending.” So I am trying to cope. I am cleaning my kitchen a LOT. I am sewing masks. My first attempt was OK, but not great. Fortunately, I have lots of 1 yard scraps of material I hated to get rid of, so I have had plenty to work with. I’m pretty proud of some of my later masks. I am back on anti-anxieties. I can’t concentrate. I feel like I am losing my mind regularly. I feel like I’ve become agoraphobic because leaving my house only increases my anxiety. A walk around the neighborhood is an Event. Grocery shopping is an exhausting juggle of requirements. But worse than the ever-present stress is the frustration interacting with the world. We

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Review: The Belgariad

My brother gave me these books by David Eddings when I was in middle school and they are an old favorite. With everything going on in the world, I have been struggling to read. This is breaking my heart, but it’s true. My brain just can’t process new things from books right now. New worlds and characters are too much. So I borrowed the first book on audio book from the library just to have something comforting. I devoured them all over again. This series was a warm blanket of comfort. The characters are not extremely rounded. They are in fact mostly two-dimensional. They were tropes when Eddings wrote the book. The world is kind of flat. Very flat. Nations are not made of diverse people, the people themselves are tropes. There are only two languages (apparently) and one of them might still be more “extreme dialect difference” rather than actually a different language. Like Spain-Spanish vs. Mexico-Spanish. And somehow

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