Friday, May 06, 2011

Why I Quit Taking Surveys

Readers of this page will know that I used to take a lot of online surveys. They were kind of fun, and put me into the running to win prizes that I never won or to earn points that expired before I could amass enough to acquire that nifty looking ballpoint pen or some other glitzy trinket. I stopped doing them, for the most part, because they had become repetitious, as well as...well, here’s this:

Perhaps you see the problem. The correct answer to the question is, in fact, zero. But zero is not an option, nor is the question optional. Because the originators of the survey failed to sufficiently think through their design, I am left with two choices:
    1. Lie
    2. Quit
I chose the latter, not only because of my legendary devotion to total honesty (made that up) but also because if the survey writers make a boneheaded mistake like this at the beginning of the process, the odds are not good that the rest of the undertaking will be any better.

Besides, I suddenly remembered why I had quit taking so many surveys.

And Still They Say

Some more quotations. Once upon a time, nearly all of the quotations that I shared in these pages came from the wonderful newsletter A Word a Day, but now—thanks to the astounding power of Twitter—they come from all over this great land of ours. Better than e-mailed cartoons, even. Or pretty close.

“A witty saying proves nothing.” —Voltaire

“Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.” —Chinese Proverbs

“In youth we feel richer for every new illusion; in maturer years, for every one we lose.” —Madame Anne Sophie Swetchine, mystic (1782-1857)

“There is only one success—to be able to spend your life in your own way.” —Christopher Morley

“Gentleness in every kind of behavior: that is the praise of the wise man.” —Egyptian Proverb

“Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history.” —George Bernard Shaw

“I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.” —Gerry Spence

“A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed.” —Henrik Ibsen

“An expert is someone called in at the last minute to share the blame.” —Unknown

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” —Albert Einstein

“My life has a superb cast but I can’t figure out the plot. —Ashleigh Brilliant.

“We may have filled our lives so full of other things that we have no room to receive our blessings.” —Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings

“Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together.” —Carl Zwanzig

“It’s not good to make sentimental journeys. You see the differences instead of the sameness.” —Mary Astor

“More people have been brought into the church by the kindness of real Christian love than by all of the theological arguments in the world, and more people have been driven from church by the hardness and ugliness of so-called Christianity than by all of the doubts in the world.” —William Barclay, theologian (1907-1978)

“Neuroscientists, developmental biologists, psychologists, social scientists, and researchers from every point of the scientific compass now know that play is a profound biological process.” —Stuart Brown, MD

“Every conversation is a form of jazz. The activity of instantaneous creation is as ordinary to us as breathing.” —Stephen Nachmanovitch

“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” —Oscar Wilde, writer (1854-1900)

“Fear prophets and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them.” —Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

“Care of the soul is a continuous process that concerns itself not so much with ‘fixing’ a central flaw as with attending to the small details of everyday life, as well as to major decisions and changes.” —Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul : A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life

Monday, May 02, 2011

Amusing. Also True.

Someone else posted this on Facebook. Not sure of its origins. Amusing enough, but it does tend to underscore the fact that there is real, serious stuff going on in the world, despite the tomfoolery of GOP presidential hopefuls, Faux News pundits, and the Great Unhinged.

And Where Was the News?

Like millions of Americans (I presume), I was in front of the television set late last night awaiting the president's comments on the death of Osama bin Laden. After a certain amount of channel surfing, in which we saw a lot of talking heads all saying pretty much the same things, we ended up on CBS.

As I waited for the president, I also had Twitter running on my phone. Tellingly, it was Twitter that first brought me the news of bin Laden's demise. (Actually, it was my wife calling down from upstairs shortly before 10:00 p.m. CDT that a friend of our son had just texted him the news, prompting me to check Twitter. It would be several minutes before my e-mail started popping with news alerts from various sources.) By and by, tweets began to appear describing scenes of celebrating crowds that had gathered in front of the White House, cheering, chanting, and singing the national anthem.

And then CBS's White House bloke interrupts himself to say that his producer had just stepped outside and reported back that crowds had gathered, cheering, chanting, etc.

And my thought was, Where was the news?

Here we have a guy standing in front of a sign saying CBS News White House, and reporting that his producer ran outside to see what was going on. But where were the pictures? It seems to me that even two or three years ago, the reporter would have interrupted himself to throw to another reporter out on Pennsylvania Avenue, showing us the cheering, chanting, singing crowds. But that costs money, I suppose, so instead we have a talking head telling us what is going on outside the building.

I might as well have been listening on the radio.

Or reading it on Twitter.