Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Rule of the Grammar Queens

There's this company.....Grammarly....which has a unique business angle.  They say or claim that they (as a private company) are the world's authority and leading automated proofreader.

In essence, they are a grammar-checker company, and someone (hard to imagine it not being English literature freaks or CEO).....to check the grammar of folks across the spectrum.

So, they say they've covered the 19 folks running for President and found that enthusiasts for Republicans make more grammatical screw-ups than enthusiasts for Democrats. Republican enthusiasts also use fewer unique words.....a key method that tells stories over your 'intelligence'.  And finally, there is this claim that Trump enthusiasts are the worst of the worst on grammar usage.

It's hard to imagine that 'grammar queens' have turned a business idea like this into something that actually pays a profit.

The idea that someone walks around and notes grammar usage of folks?  I've been around a number of folks who carried a listing of a thousand words to always throw into evaluations.....sparking them a bit and making a guy look 'special'.  After a while, I came to realize.....like a lot of Air Force people....that the words on an evaluation were pretty bogus and made the guy look often fabricated or phony.

What Grammar issues for the Hillary folks?  Well....they didn't say.  It might have been interesting to hear what the Obama grammar situation is for his folks, or if Al Gore enthusiasts were 'rocket-scientists'.   But they left that out of the whole story.

I'm guessing if you brought up this type of measurement with George Washington.....he probably would have started laughing, and noted the bulk of American residents were barely able to read and you'd best not worrying them over their position in life or their political status, or their usage of pseudo verbiage to attract attention.

On the Subject of Sirens

One of the hundred-odd things that an American would notice after a couple of months in Germany....is that Germans have retained the old air-raid-like sirens, and they use them on a semi frequent basis (calling up the volunteer fire department or running tests).

I'd take a guess that in my village of four-thousand people.....throughout an entire year.....the siren goes off at least twenty times.  Once or twice a year.....there's a test of the system at noon (always advertised a month ahead of time).  The rest are all recalling guys for the fire department.

Two Hessen cities, because of a large flow of refugees.....have opted to halt the air raid sirens for the time being.

The logic?  The bureaucrats say that the Syrians have been through a lot and it's just not right to run the air-raid sirens.....it'd just get them all frustrated and disturbed.

Oddly, ever since the night that they brought refugees into my village and they ran the air-raid siren to get the volunteer fire department to come out and organize things (at 3AM).....the local air-raid siren in my village has been quiet.  No fire.....no emergencies.  I'm kinda of the opinion that they may have switched it off intentionally because of some reaction that morning with the refugees arriving.

It is something left over from WW II.  Germans who lived through the 1941-1945 era.....all remember the siren, and remember the drill that was involved.....going to a local cellar and hoping that the bombs didn't hit their house.

You would think that as the war ended.....the last thing on Earth that any of these people wanted to hear....would be the air-raid siren.  Oddly.....they kept that feature around.

Robbery in the Neighborhood

We had an unusual robbery in my region (here in Germany) over the weekend.  A grocery got robbed.....after hours.

If you've never been to Germany.....most buildings have a tile roof....not just houses, but most stores and regular buildings.  Tile roofs are an odd factor in construction.

Years ago....for twenty-odd minutes one afternoon....I stood and watched this crew put up a tile roof.  One guy on the ground would pile tiles on an escalator-like device and it'd go up to the roof and deliver the loose tiles to two big strong and husky guys.  The two guys would walk across the roof and simply pop the ceramic tiles into place.  No nails.  No glue.  No tar.  Just popping them onto a wood plank, and putting another tile on top of that.  A regular roof deal probably wouldn't take more than six hours for two guys to throw up into place.

So, we have this grocery in the nearby town.....four miles away....with a tile roof.

The break-in guy figured out that once you get on a roof.....you just slide your hand under a tile, and you can remove it.  Once he removes a dozen tiles and there's this opening. He slides in....gets past the false ceiling, and he can rob the place easily.

Cops won't say how much, but you can figure that he carried out booze, smokes and maybe some cash.

Here's the thing.....there's almost no way for the grocery guys to figure some protection against another robbery like this.  You could throw up sensors......but for a store like this?  You'd have to figure $20,000 spent on the sensors.  A security guard?  Well....for seven nights a week.....that's a cost item.  Leave a dog in the place?  Sanitation requirements would fall into play.

It'll be curious if this gets repeated several times and it's a gang with one smart roofer in the mix.

Gitmo Ends?

There's a piece today, short and blunt....from RollCall....that kinda says the President is so tied up into closing Gitmo (our prison for the Islamic characters in Cuba)....that he is threatening to veto the National Defense Authorization Act if Congress doesn't fix the wording to prevent him from closing it.

No Authorization Act.....no funds to run the military.

Republicans are playing along now because they don't want to shut down the government.

A true fix?  No.

You've got at least thirty Republicans who simply don't agree with the President's desire to close Gitmo.....and you probably have forty-odd governors who really don't want the Gitmo crowd moved into their state.

The best bet right now....is simply another continuing resolution....saying that there's this fake budget with numbers written on it and you can spend this money.

Will Gitmo close?  Maybe....but I'd take a bet that whoever gets the remaining prisoners in the US (whichever state).....will turn into a political mess for that governor and create another massive political issue in four years.

The Little Gamble in Life

Generally, if you wait a week after a mass shooting and the sudden eruption of gun control talk....you come to this one curious news item that will get rarely reported.

This morning....from Oregon and the Umpqua Community College shooting....it kinda came out that Chris Mercer was into some drugs (legal stuff that you'd take for controlling violent outbursts).

You generally take lithium....if you are bipolar and unable to control some of your urges or mood swings.  What doctors will say in general discussions is that they don't fully understand lithium or it's affect on the mind.  Yeah, it was one of those freak discoveries that had strong evidence of helping uncontrollable people.

Now, I should note....once you get onto lithium and you think that fixes problem one....well, it kinda starts problem number two: hand tremors will start up......you start getting thirsty more often.....you start having more diarrhea....you have enough nausea that you want to vomit.....then you start noticing poor memory.....then you start to pile on weight (probably from eating more)....then you start to notice thinning hair and occasional acne, and there's this occasional problem with you just wanting to sleep more and more.

This is the kind of stuff that you'd notice after six months and you'd start to ask questions about the new problems and how you fix these.  Frankly, most people who grasp they've got bad concentration and poor memory....get pushed out of jobs and can't feel too positive about any future job situation....so more depression piles on top of present depression.  Social anxiety?  Tons of it, but what exactly will that do to fix the problem?

Mercer admits in one Facebook commentary that he was taking five different drugs.  The effect of each drug against the other?  You can bet that no drug company would dare test their stuff to see what happens if you take X, and then pile Y and Z on top of it.

From the piece that InfoWars did.....Mercer's mom admits months ago that both she and her son had Asperger's Syndrome and that Mercer had to be put into a mental facility for a while because he just refused to stay on the Lithium.

You just kinda stand there and shake your head.  All this gun control talk, but this is simply another example of a confused kid who simply couldn't get to any point of control and probably needed to be in some permanent facility with no stress, no outside influence, and mildly sedated.  Go and suggest that in the public and you'd see a quarter of the nation freak out completely and say that's simply not right or granting the personal lifestyle or civil rights of the affected person.

Point-counter-point of the whole issue.

Who has more rights in the end?  It's kinda of a poor way of playing life-poker and just hoping today....I've got my marbles lined up right, driving a safe car, working in a business that will not fold up or go bankrupt, paying my taxes, hoping that I don't get robbed tonight on the way home by some drugged-up teenage hoodie-kid, and then face some Lithium-player who is either safely on meds or unsafely off his meds who might want to kill me because of my shirt color, my status with some church, or my affiliation with banjo players.

Yeah, it's a lousy situation and you just gamble on each day unfolding in a safe way and you end up back home....safe and sound.