9.18.2006

quiet

I can't remember the last time wmtc was this quiet for this long. Statcounter says about the same number of people are still reading every day, but maybe they're different people. Maybe most of the talkative people have drifted off and been replaced by non-commenting readers?

Many people have been emailing comments. It's nice to hear from you all, but why not post, and possibly start a conversation?

34 comments:

Scott M. said...

I tried here but no one took me up on it! Waah!

Scott -- the post killer!

L-girl said...

Hey, I won't take it personally if you don't. :)

deang said...

I'm one of the ones who's been reading but not posting. Really wanted to post on the Ehrenreich book and what we mean when we say a civilization "collapses" but had so much to say on the topics that I couldn't sort out my thoughts in time to create a post. I'm presently reading Terry Jones's "Barbarians", basically a history of the Roman Empire with an emphasis on those the Romans disdained.

teflonjedi said...

Well, you know me...I am kinda quiet usually. But, I am reading, all the way from warm southern China!

L-girl said...

Hi Dean! You know, I had so much to say about the Ehrenreich book and Collapse, I could barely write. I managed to say something, but it was maybe 10% of what I was thinking.

I scanned a bunch of pages of Bait & Switch to post, then got paralyzed again - overwhelmed.

So once again, we are sharing thoughts. :)

That book sounds really interesting, especially in light of the research I did for the kids' book on ancient civilizations. Feel free to leave a comment about it anytime, doesn't matter if it's technically off-topic.

L-girl said...

Hi Teflonjedi! How are you liking China? I know you've been there before, you lucky duck. Is it all work, or do you have time for exploring, too?

M@ said...

Well I posted here but, to be honest, I'm not surprised no one took me up on it. :)

I also spent almost the whole weekend -- gasp! -- away from the computer. I was flogging the book at an apple harvest festival (for obscure and annoying reasons). But I've been reading when I can.

West End Bound said...

As info, my GoogleReader service has not had any new posts from wmtc in a couple of days - Maybe that's why it has been more quiet than usual???

James said...

I'm afraid I've been rather busy with the new job, so I haven't been able to read from work. But I'm still around, anyway!

L-girl said...

M@, good news, very cool. Book signings at apple harvest festival, now that's what I call creative marketing... Don't you love a whole chunk of time away from the computer?

West End Bound, hmmm, not good. Thanks for letting me know. I think. ;-)

Hi James! How's it going? I'll check your blogs for updates - the ones you haven't had time to write...

James said...

Haven't written a thing -- or processed any photos -- since the job started.

Here's something for discussion, though. From Rocky Mountain News via Eschaton:

It started two years ago. Anthony Stewart runs an automotive-services business. His wife cares for children in their 4-year-old home on a quiet street in a nice subdivision.

They learned at that time that a third child, a boy, was on the way. Being self-employed, they had no health insurance.

They paid for Kerry's prenatal care, hospital and delivery costs out of their savings and by selling stocks and fairly exhausting every credit card and line of credit available to them.

By the time they took their infant son home, they still owed the hospital $17,000. Negotiations on a payment schedule went nowhere. The $17,000 landed in collections.

Yes, they would refinance their home, pay off the hospital debt, plus bring down their credit card debt.

A banker friend steered them to a mortgage broker, a seemingly friendly woman, who told them that despite their credit woes and low credit scores, she could get them a mortgage at a rate no higher than 7 percent.

Weeks passed. And the offered rate continued to climb: 7.8 percent, 8 percent and higher.

Finally, at the closing table, the broker told them their new loan would be 10.8 percent, and adjustable. Anthony Stewart had missed his last mortgage payment, the one she'd earlier told him he didn't have to pay. He paid it that day. It made no difference.

The mortgage on his home would climb to nearly $5,000 a month now, from the $3,000 per month he'd been paying since buying the house.

...

Getting out of the loan was impossible, what with their low credit scores and a pre-payment penalty of no less than $22,000.

Now, two years later, the adjustable rate mortgage is about to adjust.

He and Kerry have figured out the monthly loan amount likely will total no less than $7,000.

M@ said...

Well, I was kind of strong-armed into it -- the publisher is a sponsor of the festival and I was kind of manning their booth at the same time. It was a tough crowd -- sold 5 books over the two days, which isn't really much but it's better than nothing.

I'm slowly getting better at roping people in -- if I can get people to stop and talk, I can usually sell a book to about one or two out of every ten. It's really tiring, though -- you don't make sales sitting down. You have to be standing, moving towards people, trying to catch their eye. I usually stand for most of the day, sitting down only for lunch and possibly for a break or two.

I should probably post on my own blog about this, of course. I'll get to it, I'll get to it...

L-girl said...

M@, that is such hard work. I admire your fortitude.

James, sadly, there are a Million of those stories. It ties directly to what I was writing above, re Bait And Switch, the collapsing American middle class.

James said...

James, sadly, there are a Million of those stories. It ties directly to what I was writing above, re Bait And Switch, the collapsing American middle class.

Yeah, I figured it'd tie in well.

Every time I see one of these stories, I think there should be a moratorium on the phrase "The Land of Opportunity". I suggest, "The Land of Opportunity Provided You've Already Got It Made" instead.

L-girl said...

I suggest, "The Land of Opportunity Provided You've Already Got It Made" instead.

That's more accurate, yes.

And "the land of opportunity if you're the one in a million who gets really really lucky". Then everyone can point to you and say, See, he made it, it's possible to do! So all you folks struggling out there, it's your own damn fault.

Jenjenjigglepants said...

I too have been reading and not posting--I'll cite the start of school. But now I am officially WAY behind (I know it's only week 3...) so I'll blog on:

I had a question from a couple of weeks ago, somewhere along the way L-girl you noted that fashions seemed to be behind here. I can kind of see it re: haute couture since that stuff is released in NY/Paris/London and the knock-offs trickle down. But what about the wardrobes of all of us plebes? If we are all shopping at [insert generic mall megacorp]how is it that the avg torontonian varies greatly from the avg. new yorker?
JJJP

L-girl said...

JJJP, that's a very good question!

I think most New Yorkers don't shop in chain stores and malls. (Except for The Gap, I guess. Gap has taken over NYC in the last decade.)

People in the immediate suburbs shop at the megastores, and they look more like Torontonians. But New Yorkers - or the subset of New Yorkers who are fashion conscious - are still a few steps ahead.

I was also thinking of things like hair styles and men's facial hair. I remember on one of our Toronto visits, seeing a lot of men with goatees, which had come and gone in NY several years earlier.

I don't count in any of this, of course. I always look the same.

James said...

Then everyone can point to you and say, See, he made it, it's possible to do!

People always have trouble distinguishing "possible" from "probable", "likely", or even "plausible".

impudent strumpet said...

I think most New Yorkers don't shop in chain stores and malls.

Is this because chain stores and malls are less convenient in NY, or just because of aesthetic sensibilities? I find that the more urban the area where I live, the less willing I am to leave my immediate neighbourhood for shopping. Luckily (or perhaps unluckily since it narrows my worldview) my immediate neighbourhood is equipped with a small mall containing several chain clothing stores targeted to my precise demographic.

Then everyone can point to you and say, See, he made it, it's possible to do!

People always have trouble distinguishing "possible" from "probable", "likely", or even "plausible".


This is the problem with when people believe that you can do anything if you can put your mind to it - they tend to turn into insufferable boors/bores (pick the spelling that conveys the most appropriate meaning) when faced with someone who can't do every single thing they put their mind to.

teflonjedi said...

Hi Teflonjedi! How are you liking China? I know you've been there before, you lucky duck. Is it all work, or do you have time for exploring, too?

It is sadly almost all work. It looks like I'll have enough time this weekend to check out the local zoo, and the local circus, but that's about it. We've gone into Guangzhou, the local big big city, a few times for food and such, but there doesn't seem to be much in the way of local touristy sites in this part of China...not that that's necessarily a bad thing!

Instead, I get to see the rapidly industrializing part of China, the part with malls and McDonalds and Calvin Klein and Ray-bans, and cityscapes crawling with skyscrapers, and countrysides covered with freeways...and local co-workers giving me a hard time about pollution when I jokingly suggested that we burn some bad parts to be sure we got rid of them this time. Not necessarily the China you might expect!

I'll have stories to tell, when I have more time to breathe, on my blog...

L-girl said...

Is this because chain stores and malls are less convenient in NY, or just because of aesthetic sensibilities?

There aren't malls in New York City, and no one wants them. It's considered a plus.

The chain stores that have really taken hold in NY are considered (for the most part) as contributing to the homogenization and suburbanization of the city.

This is the problem with when people believe that you can do anything if you can put your mind to it - they tend to turn into insufferable boors/bores (pick the spelling that conveys the most appropriate meaning) when faced with someone who can't do every single thing they put their mind to.

But when an entire society is geared towards that mentality, it's more than just boring, it's dangerous and destructive. If everyone can do anything they set their minds to, why should there be any kind of social assistance? Why should society have any responsibility at all, since everything is in the power of the individual?

L-girl said...

Thanks for checking in, T-jedi. Have a good stay and a safe return. :)

Lone Primate said...

The story about the financial hardships accruing from the third child's birth is appalling. I really cannot understand the mentality of (so much of) the United States, or that of Canadians who insists "we're the same as them". There's a real mean-spiritedness in the US that, while it certainly does exist in Canada, is rarely allowed to play as open and legitimate a role in public policy as it is there. American culture exalts success, and loves to savage the loser and punish failure. It even extends to the health cares system. Can't afford health coverage? You must be lazy: ergo, you don't deserve it; decrease the surplus population, etc., etc. But what mistake did these people make? They ran their own business. They owned a home. They had savings. They had a family. Isn't that the very essense of "the American Dream"? Isn't that what people crossed the oceans for for generations? How can it be that these people, the very pillars of their society, verge on criminality in giving birth to a child?

L-girl said...

Yes, yes, yes.

Maybe I will post those excerpts after all...

L-girl said...

Whoa! The footprint has been replaced by, what, a meercat?

Lone Primate said...

Whoa! The footprint has been replaced by, what, a meercat?

A ring-tailed lemur... it's a primate. One of the few species among our order that, IMO, isn't out-and-out fugly. :)

L-girl said...

Duh, a primate, of course.

M@ said...

But when an entire society is geared towards that mentality, it's more than just boring, it's dangerous and destructive. If everyone can do anything they set their minds to, why should there be any kind of social assistance? Why should society have any responsibility at all, since everything is in the power of the individual?

I read recently that something like 65% of surveyed Americans think that the phrase "god helps those who help themselves" is in the bible. That stuff about poverty must have just been a diversionary tactic.

Also, I note that the "quiet" post has resulted in the longest comment thread in some time... :)

Lone Primate said...

Also, I note that the "quiet" post has resulted in the longest comment thread in some time... :)

I know. I miss Rob too. :D

Things just haven't been the same since his crew got the job and guys like him are fielding instead of swinging a bat. Too bad he took his mitt and went home. >:)

L-girl said...

Also, I note that the "quiet" post has resulted in the longest comment thread in some time... :)

I know. I miss Rob too. :D

Things just haven't been the same since his crew got the job and guys like him are fielding instead of swinging a bat. Too bad he took his mitt and went home. >:)


Ha ha. It does appear that's what happened. He was awfully quiet after the election.

We've had some very good discussions since his disappearance. But I know it hasn't been as much fun for you, LP. He was your perfect foil - he unleashed your debating and writing talents.

Should I scare up some conversatives for you? (I feel like I'm asking you if you'd like steak for dinner. )

deang said...

Should I scare up some conversatives for you?

Barbara Ehrenreich maintains a website that she apparently doesn't make off-limits to hate-filled, sociopathic right-wing commentors. You Canadians might want to check out some of their comments on Enrenreich's recent posts to get a taste of the obsessions and hatefulness of the American right-wing.

For example, one from a few days ago declares that he doesn't care anything at all for those who suffered and died from Hurricane Katrina, that it's every man for himself and he wouldn't want to live around poor people anyway. And this in response to an Ehrenreich essay on how the unemployed in the US too often blame only themselves for their predicament. And even that comment is pretty mild compared to what you can hear on the street here or on many other sites any day of the week. Laura's probably received much worse.

When I read comments like that, attitudes that are all too familiar and widespread here in Texas, I am so glad Laura deletes them. At the same time, as Laura says, I don't think the rest of the world really realizes just how aggressively hateful many in the US are.

L-girl said...

When I read comments like that, attitudes that are all too familiar and widespread here in Texas, I am so glad Laura deletes them. At the same time, as Laura says, I don't think the rest of the world really realizes just how aggressively hateful many in the US are.

Dean, you have the uncanny knack of commenting on topics that I've been thinking about and am planning to blog on. I'll link back to this comment in today's post.

Also, thanks for saying that re deleting comments. I've been thinking about this lately - re-evaluating my position - and I've come to the same place, again.

Anonymous said...

I have a theory on the quietness, which is unsupported by any data and possibly about to be demolished. Lately I think you have been posting too many things too quickly. It doesn't give the "community" time to catch up.

Just my two cents (after a long silence).

L-girl said...

Oh demolished, for sure. I'm posting at the same rate as usual, or slightly less. And the quietness went away. People came back.

But hey, thanks for your opinion! ;-)

Seriously, I really have been putting things up at the same rate as always.