Posted by: David | November 26, 2008

No Sound No Fury

Two unconnected conversations from work have somehow joined together in my brain. The first one was in the morning, a fellow staffer telling me about her nephew who is a filmmaker. He’s making a film about some famous radio personalities as children playing with those home built radios people used to use in the old days … to talk to other people far away … it took us a both few minutes to remember what these were called. Ham radios. Her nephew is going to enter the film in a contest.

Later in the day I was meeting with a new hire.  A fun new duty for me is to give new staffers a computer orientation session. I show them the basics then ask for questions. Well today’s new hire was a seasoned web explorer already. We talked about all kinds of webby stuff, he likes Firefox and Chrome. He was about to share his opinion on blogs, but sharply stopped and asked me if I had a blog. (I guess I must LOOK like I’d have a blog.) Rather than freely admit that I have a blog, I said just go ahead and let me have it. “Blogs are […pause…] retarded.” he says. I said “Yeah they are”. So he gets it. I’ll save it for later to tell him that for every 5000 or so retarded blogs, there are probably 10 dys-retarded ones. And of that 10, 2 are amazing, 3 are cool, and 5 are intelligent. No blogevangelist am I. He’s entitled to his opinion. Even if it’s right. The real barrier here is time. As always.

So, ham radio and blogs. Is there a connection? I think there is. Think about it. Strangers talking to each other across great distances. Except blogging is quieter. No sound, no fury. No signifying nothing. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Do count your blessings before they hatch! And please remember this above all: Don’t listen to everything you hear!



  1. Do sparrows also eat from that birdfeeder that you have that looks like a tube hung vertically, with little bars attached to it for birds to land?

    The reason I ask is that my sparrows leave lots of little black dots on the barrister of my neighbour’s terrace, and now I have new neighbours.

    At present, what I do, is I put out the birdfood before she is up and remove it when she gets up, so she does not see why there are those droplings or droplets on that stone plate.

    Yes, we have a few kinds of sparrows that eat the sunflower seeds.

    I hope that your new neighbors come to understand the inevitability of things like bird droppings. But your courtesy is notable.

  2. I went to English teaching blogs and found one with the typical crap: lists of grammar items with Latin names, and there was something about “main clouse”, “subject clouse”, “relative clouse”.

    So I got angry and wrote in:
    “It is “CLAUSE”, not “clouse”, and anyway those lists of yours are just stupid.”

    Today I saw that there was an answer in Spanish:
    “I simply copied what the teacher wrote on the blackboard!”

    I saw that comment on your money post and ran it through the Google translator. It didn’t make sense to me until now. Sounds like the English “teaching” blogs are really English “learning” blogs. What a waste of perfectly good anger cantueso. 🙂

  3. Yes, I see the connection. I think I like the quietness of blogging and you don’t have to worry about hanging up on someone. It’s so easy to turn off the computer.

    Have a great Thanksgiving!!!

    Yes, I like that aspect of blogging too. It’s very convenient. Even if it IS retarded. 😀

  4. No. It is not anger wasted.

    What has been happening in teaching has also happened in medicine. The big companies have big lobbies. The idea is to sell more drugs and and do without doctors and sell more books and do without teachers. The strategy is to turn teachers into book presenters and doctors into secretaries all on a Government budget.

    Of course children are a much easier market than sick people and probably more profitable.

    (I don’t yet know what “comment on …money post” you mean).

    I agree. This is one reason why we are getting more stupid and sick. The irony of this in the face of the glorious internet is all too painful. Now we have such enhanced access to data and information and yet … I guess we’re seeing the light, but preferring the darkness.

    I think they should remove all prescription drug advertisements from popular media. They shamelessly sell disease and pretend to be responsible with disclaimers like “ask your doctor …” and listing negative side effects. Then pull the lawyers and insurance companies out of medicine and give it back to the practitioners. The healers, like teachers, should be required to renew their certifications every 3 years.

    I see by your next comment that you found the comment that I thought you referenced.

  5. I see what comment you meant.

    English is obligatory everywhere. Many kids can’t learn it. The impediments may be largely psychosomatic. The parents do not know any English. So imagine what an easy market that is.

    Among the funnier slogans I have heard:

    Selling CDs:
    “Your time is worth money! Don’t waste it with books!”

    Selling words on the Internet:
    “Learn English at only 1 cent a word! Register here! ”

    Selling a course:
    “You will speak English as fluently as you speak your own language: 100% money back guarantee.”

    That last one was very successful. What was the catch? Can you guess? It became a court case.

    A penny a word, what a bargain! How much for all 171,000 words? The psychosomatic obstacle is one of practice then? Limited opportunities to use English in one’s own environs?

    I guess that since you work as a translator you have every right to complain about languages and the teaching of them. It’s surprising to me that English has become so widespread. Why is that? Is the contagion of the Western Consumer SEMI Reality Show? (SEMI is an acronym I made up. It stands for Socio Economic Military Industrial and is used also with its meaning as a prefix for half.)

  6. I read an article in last week’s (?) New York Times about the new trend of “Slow Blogging” which, I think, we’re all slipping into. It’s blogging at a much slower pace than we were say a year ago. In my case, this is definitely true. I’ve had Internet connection problems for going on three months now, so in part it’s that problem that’s taken some of the wind out of my sails, but I probably would have slowed down on posting anyway.

    My tastes in blog reading have changed since the beginning. As I was saying last week (?) I’ve gotten to where I really enjoy reading the posts that include a little of this, a little of that. I think it’s because in our little blogosphere, I’ve become friends with you and other people and I enjoy seeing what everyone’s been up to lately, looking at photos, and sharing a thought or two. In my case, because I’m living so far from home and family, blogs have a been a real blessing to me. (Ironically, all my favorite bloggers, including you, are New Englanders. I didn’t try for that, it just turned out that way.) Without all you guys I think I’d feel really isolated and cut off from the world. But now you’re all like friends and co-workers to me, and I can pop into your cyber “cubicle” any time of the day or night and take some candy from your candy dish and laugh or talk about what’s up in a non-intrusive way. Like Joan said, it’s the quietness of blogging that can make it so agreeable. That, and we can do it in our pajamas.

    Hmm. interesting. Yeah, we are slipping into a slower pace. I used to post like twice a week, and now it’s like once a week or two. I found that article via, what else, Google. Thanks for mentioning it. Apparently we are part of a “small, quirky movement”. I guess that’s good since I’ve been strongly considering leaving the Movementarians.

    I like your summary of our blogosphere. It’s comforting to know that the ordinary bits that fill our posts are of some value to other minds, even though fleeting. I think about it often, and what an intimately disconnected form of sharing it is. Given the millions of blogs swamping servers everywhere it’s really fascinating how our little blog-molecule came together. I wonder what will become of it. At bottom it is a set of individually contributed efforts, offerings of time, thoughts, or whatever pieces of our lives that it may amuse us to publish. So THIS is web 2.0 … the Cloud. Clouds in my coffee. I am in my pajamas right now. Have been all day.

  7. English has become so widespread the same way as Microsoft software. When I had to learn about computers about 7 years ago, only Microsoft teaching manuals were available at the library. Doctors writing a dissertation in Spanish have to preface it with an English summary. New cameras, computers, telephones, scanners, thingies come out with English instructions only.

    It is a vicious circle running on the laws of the bigger, the cheaper, the more profitable.

    That makes sense. Computers and technology are driving the spread of this language with an artificial haste. This is probably not good.

    Every piece of technology I’ve seen comes with multilingual instructions. Of course I have no way of knowing how good the foreign language instructions are.

    It IS a vicious circle, and its getting more vicious. In the name of bigger, cheaper, better, all of our stuff is getting sucked into the “CLOUD”.

  8. I have never seen drugs or medication advertised in Europe. I thought there was a law against it in the US, too. The subject of the law was called “ethical advertising”.

    However, not too long ago a friend of mine came back from New York and brought me a free newspaper called “Metro”, and I saw .

    !!! Does the whole country suck?

    HAH! Ethical Advertising!! That is an oxymoron of immense impact.

    These pharmaceutical ads are truly awful. I don’t think most people are aware of the damage they do. I’d almost rather see cigarette ads, as at least people pretty much know that those are dangerous.

    The whole country sucks. Yes. But not all the time. We’re just paying for the decades of pure fantasy that we’ve lived in since the end of World War 2. Perhaps after the end of World War 9 we’ll finally get it right. If there is anyone left.

  9. To Wendy and David:

    I think that for conversations of every kind the discussion groups are better than blogs, i.e. more varied as to participants, though this may have changed. I got thrown out of the best group there as a “resident terrorist” and also as a “spick whore”:

    I thought that originally blogs were considered newspapers. Even this blog (David’s) should be about horticulture, that is, object-oriented and thereby googlable, which still does not mean they have to be like schoolbooks.

    The difference is mainly in the tags.

    You might be right about that. And any topic should be adaptable to this newer form of correspondence. Looks like you’ve been at it for a while (looking over what you linked). I’d like to think that I’ve gotten to know you somewhat over the past year as a blogger and commenter, and I imagine that your curt cynicism probably offends a broad swath of readers who don’t get subtlety. Their loss, eh?

    When I’m looking for software solutions, user forums sponsored and hosted by the software publishers can be very helpful. As far as conversation goes, I don’t have the time to engage with discussion groups. But searchable topical material is one of the internet’s greatest strengths. As readers we must take care in evaluating the veracity of our findings.

    The topics my blog posts tend to touch upon are those lighter aspects of my life that I feel safe in sharing with the world. Without the camera however, I probably would never have continued.

    What awful things they called you! Don’t they know you’re German? 😀 These exchanges are pointless in my opinion. Like chat rooms, there is no way to moderate the participants. When idiots express themselves, our choice is to accept or ridicule their thoughts, no matter how poorly formed. My mother taught me to accept, and silence is my most frequent response. Ridicule is more fun when played by willing parties.

  10. No, they were not idiots. In that one forum nearly all were Jewish and very good thinkers, but probably because of the situation of Israel they had become openly racist. And no matter how sharp they were able to think in other regards, as far as Iraq was concerned there was only the wholesale solution so brutal that for a long time I thought it was an awful joke, a wild sarcasm.

    There was also a problem in that somebody took my nick, opened up an account as cantueso at G-mail and sent out messages in faulty and obscene English making me feel ashamed, though more about the grammar than the “adult” stuff.

    (I hate that Americanism of calling that stuff “adult”. Now at WordPress they call it mature, don’t they? That is less ugly and more funny.)

    I am SO prejudiced against racists. 🙂 ♥

    Considering what passes as “adult”, i.e. experienced, here in the USA, I couldn’t agree with you more. What are we to make of the theft of an anonymous internet identity? Once a few years back, another David Levine (there are supposedly 471 people with that name in the USA) emailed me to ask if he could HAVE my hotmail email address. I said no.

  11. I had to go re-read your post to remember what I was going to comment! Who uses the term ‘retarded’ anymore? but, yes, I see the connection you make for ham radios and blogging building a sense of community.

    I enjoyed reading all the comments here, too. It is a nice conversation over here at your blog. love it! Where’s that candy dish? got any M&Ms?

    Thanks for you nice comments C! So. Yeah. Unfortunately, middle aged white guys trying to act all cool and shit (like me) still use “retarded” as a general critique of all things stupid. It’s lame I know. I apologize.

    I have not resurrected the candy dish in my new location. Yet. Maybe after the holiday break I will. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Oh no need to apologize for using the word retarded, at least to me. sigh. We have so many bigger problems and maybe I could escalate from it to those bigger issues but … sigh again. oh crap, never mind.

    Well thanks again C. 😉 Several times a year I hear better words and repeat them in place of my usual lame expletives. Flapdoodle, balderdash, crapstack, etc. Working at a college helps. Sometimes I overhear little bits of students’ conversations. Recently I heard this one between 3 friends …
    “Hey I changed my major yesterday!”
    “Oh yeah, to what?”
    “Uh … [very long pause]”
    “JEEZISS! You don’t even reMEMber?
    They all laugh.

  13. It’s worth sifting through the bad blogs to find the good. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

    So many blogs, so little time … 😦 It’s nice to have found a small collection of gems amongst the ore. That picture of you and your Cabbage Patch doll … priceless!

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