NYTimes Reports: Women Do Not Die

In August of 2008 I began saving the obituary email alerts from the New York Times when I noticed that almost none were about women. Since the NYTimes is infallible and comprehensive to a fault, the only conclusion I could draw from this was that women do not die, at least, rarely.

This file now includes 1300+ email alerts that include links to an estimated 3000+ obituaries of which an estimated 99.9% are of men, assuming the Times has accurately assigned pronouns.

Preliminary statistical analysis reveals that compared to men, there are fields in which women never die and others in which they die in very small numbers. Women who marry famous men, for example, die far less the famous men they marry but far more than women who do not marry famous men. Men who marry famous women never die unless they are themselves also famous in which case the women are not mentioned and the men die of their own accord.

If a woman marries a famous man and is blonde, sings, and writes a book about the famous man, she is certain of death. Her obituary will be long and detailed, with pictures, often of her smiling admiringly at the famous man holding a copy of the book.

Being athletic is correlated positively with death, although women who win Olympic medals are much less likely to die than men who win Olympic medals, a significant portion of the women who die were Olympic athletes. Further analysis is required to determine if the medal metal influences death rates significantly but preliminary analysis shows that when women earn silver or brass medals their death rate falls to roughly zero. Men who win even one brass medal, still die at the same alarmingly high rate that heads of state, Nobel Laureates, and brothers of former United States presidents die.

Women who play football, basketball, or baseball do not die.

It also appears that when women do die, they die young because the only photographs on file at the New York Times show them full body with exuberant smiles in the unwise fashion choices that are characteristic of those under forty. When men die there are many photos of them on file showing them as mature and distinguished citizens, in suits, looking pleasant but serious, as shown in head shots. Since so few women die, however, this may be a statistical anomaly. More complex analysis is required.

This is very rich data; this report only skimming the surface. Due to other constraints on my time I am unable to do the analysis required to determine in what ways the New York Times could be more helpful to women. For example, given that women have reduced their death rate to 10%, could it go even lower if they avoided writing books, winning medals, assuming responsibility for parenting world leaders, having blonde hair, etc.

To aid in this cause, I am offering my files to anyone who would like to build on my research. Please email me and I will send them along.

Elbows and Puzzles

I learned in my family that jigsaw puzzles were worked by turning all the pieces right side up, sorting out the border pieces and putting the border together first. Then you start on the most obvious parts and put those together, putting them into the frame as they seem to fit. Then you work the hard, all-one-color or random pattern areas last — if at all.

Living in a diverse community, however, reveals more complex patterns, or personalities. At Takoma Village, we have a jigsaw puzzle set up all the time in one corner of the common house sun room. I have learned that not every family starts with the border, some people prefer the freedom from interference they find in working the less obvious plain shapes first, some consider looking at the end-state picture too easy, some quit as soon as it is clear that even one piece is missing, and some won’t put any pieces together until all the pieces are sorted into little baggies of similar color and texture. Some want a hard puzzle that that will last forever, and others love a puzzle that can be finished in one sitting.

At first there was shock over this, then arguing, sometimes logical. Then there were elbows and  midnight reconfigurations. Over time, we have informally worked out a pattern. We alternate hard (complex subtle colors with 1000+ pieces) and easy (bright multi-colored images of 500) puzzles. The sorters no longer insist on sealed baggies filled first but the border constructers respect their piles and bowls. When the first one there starts with images the border people stand aside for a few days until they can’t take it anymore. Those who do well with the one-blue sky don’t waste their energy on the faces, leaving the simpler parts to those who enjoy less challenge. Those who like birds don’t complain about the buildings again until it’s been three in a row.

A person who wants to pick the next puzzle puts it on the table when the current puzzle is almost finished. If someone doesn’t like it, they complain to someone else. The telephone tree goes into operation and the puzzles get switched.

It works until a new person moves in who learned to work puzzles another way or who totally misses the importance of the puzzle sitting on the corner of the table or the  pile of cherry-red pieces next to the pile of tomato-red.

With all this, we finally finished the 9000+ Tower of Babel we started years ago. It’s been done for a few weeks but with the holidays, we wanted to wait to celebrate until it could be the center of attention. More later.

Crochet (& Knitting) With Wire

A beautiful and inspiring little book that is useful as well. Jewelry, boxes, baskets, and a purse crocheted with wire. Techniques would work with knitting as well. Clear instructions, even if you have never crocheted before and a list of sources for supplies. Clear, illustrated technique instructions, precise photographs of projects, explains and names jewelry-making equipment and parts like fasteners, and even includes a bibliography and index. An excellent gift book.

I’ve looked at these projects for years and never understood exactly how to get the beads on the wire or where to find the wire. Or what size wire one would use. First Tip: You put the beads on the wire, or yarn, first. Then you pull them up or push them further down as you work. Never occurred to me. Second Tip: The wire comes in numbered gauges, the smaller the number, the larger the wire; the larger the number the finer the wire. 26 is stiff but workable; 34, the size of a hair. The author prefers 28-30.

Wire also comes in more than copper and nameless grey metals — gold, silver, brass, and many wonderful shades of green, blue, red, etc. See Artistic Wire.

Crochet with Wire by Nancie M Wiseman. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 2005. At Amazon

The Sky’s the Limit by Steven Gaines

Book cover for Steven Gaines The Sky's the LimitIf  you are writing about cities, and New York in particular, you will find The Sky’s the Limit: Passion and Property in Manhattan a useful inspiration of the “truth is stranger than fiction variety.” Gems like the following one on the elevator wars have been buried in history too long.

Elisha Graves Otis invented the elevator in 1852, a feat that enabled buildings in Manhattan to rise beyond climbing distance. William Earl Dodge Stokes thought his prices, however, were even higher than the buildings. When Stokes built the monster Ansonia Hotel in 1904 he refused to pay Otis’s prices and started his own company for which he chose the name:

The Standard Plunger Elevator Company

This has to be the worst business name ever chosen. It’s one of the wonderful stories about New York that you will find in Steven Gaines’ The Sky’s the Limit: Passion and Property in Manhattan (2005). The book is about the great residential buildings in Manhattan, the excesses of personal taste, the eccentricities of coop boards, the skills of the high-end brokers who make the deals, and who lives where. It’s great fun.

The Sky’s the Limit at Amazon

Steven Gaines has been a contributing editor at New York Magazine and his journalism has appeared in Vanity Fair, the New York Observer, the New York TimesLos Angeles, Worth, and Connoisseur. For several years he hosted a weekly, live roundtable radio interview show from the Hamptons called “Sunday Brunch Live from the American Hotel in Sag Harbor,” that aired from Memorial Weekend to Labor Day on the local National Public Radio affiliate.

Sharing the Microwave

We are having the wood floors in our dining room and the cork floors in the corridors connecting the rooms on the first floor refinished. When the workers arrived yesterday morning, I showed them where the restrooms were and took them to the kitchen to locate the microwave and refrigerator. They looked at me quizzically.

I said, “I realize you probably want to go out for lunch but you’re welcome to use them anyway.”

“Us?” If they have been smoking, their cigars would have been on the floor.

We have a resident with parents in Florida who send him a case every year. He can’t possibly eat all of them so he puts them on the counter for the taking. I offered both workers oranges. They looked at me like, “What are you up to?”

Living in cohousing creates a kind of blinders to the way the rest of the residential building world works. Then a little thing like this reminds me. We offer the same amenities to our mail and package delivery people. They have few places where a restroom is available—a clean one—and they sometimes stop in just to pee. A former postal worker used to have her lunch here everyday. She read her newspaper and listened to music. One used to watch TV on his break.

One brought us a stack of puzzles his family had finished because we always have a puzzle table out next to the window in the sunroom.

We put out cookies during the holidays, too, but lots of people do that. One year we put out a big bag of popcorn and it was rejected.

How to Slow Cook a Turkey (Fail Safe)

By Popular Demand

To slow cook a turkey is the only way to cook a turkey and still be happy no matter what. I’ve cooked turkey this way since I had an oven. Remember Adelle Davis? This is her recipe for slow cooking meat and poultry. It works. One reason I remember how long I’ve been cooking the turkey is that Thanksgiving is my birthday and for most of my life I’ve spent it cooking.

And Soup

Thanksgiving may be the first reason to cook a turkey but soup is the second. Soup made from real stock is something that many have never tasted. The decline of soup is the result. Soup is well worth the effort because it is totally easy and makes a one-pot meal.

Slow-Cooking Turkey

The slow cooking method ensures that the fat will not boil and the meat will be tender.

And second major plus for large turkeys and early dinners, you can put the turkey in to cook the night before. It can be held a long time in the hot oven before being served. It can’t overcook although a few hours after it is finished cooking it may begin to dry out.

Slow cooking works for all meat and is the best method for meat and poultry, particularly if it is free range and grass fed, with no artificially induced fattening up.

Special order your turkey weeks  before Thanksgiving or purchase it 2 DAYS IN ADVANCE from the supermarket. The large turkeys will be gone if you wait. The largest turkey  you can find is the most special. I look for 23-24 lbs no matter how many people I think will show up. It makes a splash on the table, smells good cooking longer, and provides lots of bones and plenty of left over meat for soup.

If you want a small turkey, or it isn’t Thanksgiving, allow 2 lbs per person for dinner and soup.

FOR A LARGE TURKEY, THE NIGHT BEFORE

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Wash and stuff  the turkey. Coat surface with oil or butter or nothing. I stuff the turkey and also cook the turkey on top of a bed of stuffing in a large enough pan. If you want to make gravy, cook the additional stuffing separately so you can save the drippings. The stuffing in the turkey will be moist; the stuffing in the pan, dryer with brown crispy edges.

I use Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing and add onions, butter, and sometimes cranberries or celery. You can add anything you like. You can also make your own stuffing, of course, but why duplicate the masters?

Cook the turkey at 300 for one hour to kill surface bacteria and seal the surface.

Turn the temperature down to 165, the done temperature for turkey. This is the key to slow cook a turkey. The dish will never be over-cooked. All flavors and texture will be unharmed. Some ovens will only go down to 170 so use an oven thermometer and crack the door if necessary. But 170 will work too, just check the turkey so you know when it is done.

Cook 1 hour for each pound. The oven may only turn on for a few minutes every hour or so.

SOME OVENS TURN THEMSELVES OFF IN ~12 HOURS, so may have to restart it. Only the slow cook a turkey method is fail-safe. I can’t control your oven.

Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the turkey is done. (The pop-up button, if your turkey has one, may overcook or undercook using this method — or any method, actually.

Turkey Soup

DAY ONE

After dinner: Do not let people take all the left-over meat and dressing. (You may need help. Weapons are usually not necessary.)

If you are cooking soup later, refrigerate or freeze the turkey. Save the stuffing so people can put it in their soup or eat as a side dish. Save pieces of turkey meat separately to add to the soup after the stock is done.

If you are cooking the soup immediately after dinner, put all bones, skin, etc.— in a large pot and add water to cover. If some bones are sticking up, just push them down periodically while cooking until they stay down. Add 1-3 tablespoons of vinegar depending on the size of the pot to leech calcium out of the bones. The vinegar will cook off so no taste will remain or what does will blend with other flavors.

Put onions, parsley, celery, etc. in with the bones. You can cut them into large pieces, just small enough to fit in the pan.

Strong simmer until the  connecting tissue is soft and the bones just begin to fall away — about 4 hours or so.

Put the whole pot with the bones and vegetables in the fridge or if it is cold enough, outdoors. Put  a stone on the cover outside if you have raccoons or large cats. Leave it for 12-24 hours to leech more calcium out of the bones and allow the flavors to blend.

DAY TWO:

Scoop off the big globs of fat on the top. You don’t have to be meticulous about this. You want plenty left for taste and nourishment. Remember, this is a one pot fills all meal.

Warm the pot so the soup stock is completely melted.  Cool until safe to handle and pour the soup through a colander into another pot.  With the solids now in the colander, pick out the loose pieces of meat and any remaining on the bones.

Mush the meat carefully by hand to be sure there are no small bones.

Set the meat aside and throw out all the solids. The vegetables will be cooked to a mush of tasteless fiber but don’t cry over them. All the taste and minerals stay in the broth. You can add more celery, carrots, etc., later.

If you want to remove more fat, you can put the pot of liquid back in the fridge so it floats to the top and becomes solid. Or use a baster to siphon it off. But remember, a lot of the flavor is in the fat. Don’t over do it. This is one day a year. Maybe two if you do both a Christmas and Thanksgiving turkey.

Boil the liquid down until it has a rich taste, usually reducing it by 1/4 to 1/3. This depends on how much water you used on Day One and how many bones you have.

Relax. The soup is almost done. Season and add whatever else you want in the soup — carrots, celery, beans, rice, noodles, etc. — and cook until they are done. Add left over turkey just in time to heat it thoroughly.

I use soy sauce instead of salt because it gives a richer color. Soup stock can be really ugly and I’ve never been successful in the clarifying techniques recommended in cookbooks. (You probably lose flavor anyway when you swirl eggs around in it.)

I like Old Bay for poultry. Then I just smell stuff on the spice rack and decide if I want it or not. Sage is good in turkey soup. Some butter gives a nice aftertaste. It doesn’t have to be a lot. A very small amount adds flavor.

Heat stuffing separately if desired. (I like cold stuffing.)

That’s How to Slow Cook a Turkey

It sounds like a lot of work but it isn’t. Most of the time things are just cooking by themselves and you can go read a book.

It’s fail safe.

Ayn Rand and God, Joined in Parenthood

From the dedication of a book by Nathaniel Brandon, Ayn Rand’s famous disciple:

“To my parents, Ayn Rand and God”

Apocryphal but easy to remember, and if I don’t include it as one of the great classic serial need for a comma gaffs, I’ll get mail.

Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, and Robert Duvall in Marital Triangle

In a caption to a picture of Merle Haggard in the Los Angeles Times of 21 July 2010 that referred to a documentary about him, the lack of a serial comma simultaneously changes the sexual orientation of three men and claims dubious legal status for their relationships:

“Among those interviewed were his two ex-wives, Kris Kristofferson and Robert Duvall.”

Democracy in Crosswalks

This one is a rant. Sorry but I couldn’t think how to make it entertaining.

The freedom to walk across the street without fear of being run over by a car is matter of democracy in crosswalks, where pedestrians are supposed to have the right of way. Equal time. Equal space.

Yes, pedestrians are as irresponsible as drivers and the difficulties of getting laws changed are gargantuan. Groups have been working for years to get the police to enforce stops before making right turns on red. If we want democracy, we have to live democracy every day.

I once saw an East European tourist at a festival in the park dumbfounded at how Americans would allow people to crowd in line in front of them. Not just being polite to someone who is late to work or with a crying baby but people who were being rude and self-important. “You let people walk all over you. We would never allow this at home.” I’ve heard similar comments from exchange students from countries that were not democracies. On a daily, moment-to-moment basis they were much less tolerant of law breaking and violations of social norms than we are. In practice, they were more democratic.

We give up our own freedom in the name of “what can we do?” not as a question, just a lament. “We can’t get city hall to do anything.”

City hall? That was your toe that car just about took off. Your child they almost ran over.

Whenever I suggest confronting bad drivers, people say, “Oh, we can’t be rude.” Or, “We might get shot.” Or “We can’t take the law into our own hands.” Painting extreme scenarios helps us avoid action the same way focusing on facts helps avoid the truth.

Why can’t we lean over, knock on a car window, and point out to the driver waiting at a stop light that they are sitting on the crosswalk? Why can’t we yell at a driver who has just run a red light?

Why can’t we take pictures of a driver talking on a cell phone while making a left turn in front of an elementary school while children are crossing? And then send it to the police. How many times would take for that driver to think twice if the 15 parents and three crossing guards who witnessed this banged on the car trunk, and yelled at the driver? Yes, yelling is unattractive, but so are dead children.

This tiny action would not make anyone late for work and in less than a week would make crossing the street a lot safer. Have I done this in the last month? No. So many people frown on  demanding one’s rights that it requires more energy than I have if I am the only one “taking the heat.”

Cars Improve Our Quality of Life?

Q. Studies show that car ownership increases personal wealth and quality of life in ways that depending on public transportation can never accomplish so how can you say we should be getting rid of them?

A. When and where were these studies done? In rural areas or urban? 60 years ago or in the last 10 years?

It is certainly true that quality of life has improved in many ways during the period that cars have been available to more than the upper 10% of the population. Cars have may have contributed to that but they have also contributed to air, noise, and earth pollution. Was it worth it?

But that question aside, is there a context in which to compare the economic advantages of using cars vs public transportation? Public transportation is so poorly developed and maintained in this country that is probably impossible to determine.

Another problem is accounting. While people disagree whether cars are a blessing or a curse, it is hard to calculate their economic advantage because we don’t know what they cost us in terms of depletion of raw materials, air pollution, ground pollution, etc.

I’m not speaking against cars but against dependence on cars. Arranging one’s life so getting to work, to food, to recreation, to schools, etc, can be done without using a car is incredibly freeing on a personal level and environmentally would drastically reduce air, noise, and visual pollution.

Think about how much more open space there would be in cities, where cars are the most concentrated and most often parked on public land, if cars were reduced by 50%. Streets that have parking on two sides could then have 6 ft more walkways and gardens on one side, a decrease in asphalt of 25%. That is a huge number when you imagine looking down a street and seeing a long park or spacious landscaped walkways or bike lanes instead of another row of cars. The walkability index for that neighborhood zooms right up.

A further reduction in air and noise pollution could be produced by planning activities that cannot be done within walking distance to be done on public transportation. Don’t jump in the car automatically. Ask yourself, is there a Whole Foods or a Giant on a Metro line? Can I get new shoes while I’m there? How many more mysteries can I read if I ride instead of driving?

And then, do I really need a car? With six Zipcars for hourly rentals within 2 blocks of my home and three longer term car rentals one Metro stop away, how much money could I save to just rent? And that calculation should include not only the savings from my personal budget, but in tax dollars from everyone doing the same.

The incalculable costs of cars are in medical care, road building and maintenance, traffic control (though there seems to be little of that), dead car and rubber tire disposition, emergency vehicles for accidents, building and maintaining parking, etc. The air pollution is not just from driving but from manufacturing and processing the raw materials.

Maybe a better number cruncher than I am has figured out how much a reduction in the use of cars would reduce taxes.

Walter Reed (Army Hospital) Development

The word on at least one street is that the development will suffer from not being on a Metro line. The neighbors protest that it is on the Red line. The problem is that the entrance to the Takoma Metro Station is on the east, not even visible from anything anyone readily identifies as DC.

I used to teach at a college that had many satellite teaching locations. It was a repeated problem that we located an office on the wrong side of a bridge or river or whatever it was that was a psychological barrier to the local residents. Underpasses are one of those barriers.

Invisible Metro entrances are big barriers. I often am out walking in Takoma and find someone wandering around south of Cedar (you can’t go north) looking for the Metro. I tell them to follow the tracks and they say, “I did that, nothing happened.” From the DC side, you have to know the station is there before you can find it.

Metro entrances pointing the wrong way are a barrier. That the Takoma Metro points toward Takoma Park MD means it is perceived to be at least a mile further east than it really is. It is as good as in MD—the end of the world if you are walking from DC.

Takoma Educational Center, the elementary school, blocks Cedar Street, the direct shot from Walter Reed to the Takoma Station, another a barrier. People walking to and from the station in the winter will be walking in the dark at least one way to or from Walter Reed. A straight, open street feels safer. If one group takes one walk around and another group the other, there are also fewer companions.

A few years ago when WMATA announced a new station entrance to Cedar, I thought they were talking about an entrance on the west side of the station and was positive that ridership would be increased. The new entrance, however, amounted only to a set of steps, still on the east side of the station. The advantage being that they are under the underpass and thus less icy but they only duplicate a set of stair a few feet east.

I think it has probably helped that the stairs are sort of visible from the west side of the underpass, but people do not like to walk down under underpasses. They are dark and almost invariably lit with bare bulbs in wire cages like the ones in prisons. People won’t do it as long as there is any alternative. It certainly isn’t conducive to encouraging people to break old habits and use the Metro.

The need is for an entrance on the west side of the Takoma Metro, one that looks like an entrance — open, light, with a sign. Not just for Walter Reed but for everyone else on the west side. Since this is not likely to happen now that Cedar Crossing, the Gables, and the soon to be built Metro-Village are all big buildings blocking the possible development of a visible entrance, perhaps some other solution could be found.

A trolley is planned to go from Georgia Avenue across Butternut Street up Fourth Street to the Takoma station. Maybe before they get the trolley, they could put a big sign on the overpass. Something attractive and trolley-friendly, like the one that would have been there before the Metro was built and a trolley served the area.

Academic Technology

When computer’s arrived at the college where I was teaching, the typists were supposed to type on the computer and print onto forms. But the people designing the forms had no concept of how the printers printed—the spacing was wrong and the text was never aligned.

Typists had to type the body of the document in the computer, print it on the form, then put it in the typewriter to fill in the data at the top. This was so time consuming that it was easier to just type the whole document, ignoring the computer. The Academic VP who commanded the design of academic forms, had no understanding of typing or printing and her Assistant VP had no understanding of filling out forms so nothing happened, neither believing it was a problem. This situation went on for years, more than doubling the requirement for clerical staff.

The faculty were then given computers and expected to “keyboard” their own student evaluations but none of them had typewriters. They would do the body of the document, put it on a disk, and take it to a typist to print out and type in the top. This resulted in much confusion about which body went with which top. The typists decided to do themselves again. The faculty used their computers for their personal work and hand wrote student evaluations. This went on for years.

Then the acquisitions department in a rented warehouse on the other side of town, with no contact with academic staff and little with administrative staff, decided it was time to stop buying or repairing typewriters. Computers were cheaper and more efficient. Each department would be allowed to have one for extreme situations where one was required.

As the typewriters began to break down and the academic paper work to pile up, the problem was finally addressed, with the refusal to repair office equipment clearly in charge of the academic process.

A version of this post was written in response to a discussion on the Systems Thinking Forum at Linked-In on personal Aha! moments, 10 July 2010.

Just One Pronoun

A Quote Worth Quoting:

“Misplacing just one pronoun can totally confuse a listener. And when you communicate in writing, as more and more of us do in this age of e-mails and texting, you may not even know whether the recipient misunderstands.

When you’re an adult, you may not remember the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs, but that was never the point. The point is to understand grammatical principles so well that you internalize the logic. Then you can communicate beautifully and with no effort at all.”

—— from Marilyn vos Savant

Books Kids Will Sit Still For 3: A Read-Aloud Guide

One reason to blog about books is to tell people about them. Another is so I won’t forget them myself. This one is both. It is a reference book for school librarians which means if you work with kids or read to kids a lot this is where you look up ideas about what to read and why. Reference also means it’s 900+ pages and heavy.

Contains everything about reading to kids: how and why to read, the awards for best books, why books fail, when to go fiction or nonfiction, the art of storytelling, and a huge long annotated list of books for kids. Annotations include book details, plot description and its relation to similar books, suggestions called “germs”, lists of related titles (If you liked this you will like…), and subjects (called tags if you are under a certain age). Perhaps best of all, tons of indexes.

I think indexes are the number one most important feature of a non-fiction book. I look for an index before I look for a bibliography. You can fake a bibliography. Fake an index and you are in trouble. No index, no can find what I thought I had found there. Meaning no quotes from that text.

What I want to remember about this book is that it exists — I’m not a librarian so my out-of-sight out-of-mind temperament will dominate if I don’t have this in my list of blog titles. If I were doing kids book every day or even every week, I would have this on my shelf. Too well-done and too comprehensive to pass up. Buy it if you are just starting out with babies in the house, already have a bunch you don’t know what to do with, have a lot of gifts to buy, want to show everyone you are an expert on their kids, or just like reference books.

Buy at Amazon

Books Kids Will Sit Still For 3: A Read Aloud Guide by Judy Freeman
Children’s and Young Adult Literature Reference Series; Catherine Barr, Series Editor
Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2006. Greenwood Publishing Group

Choosing Colors: Color Schemer

 

Color Schemer Application Start Page
Color Schemer Start Page

If you love choosing colors or you hate it because you never get it right,  I highly recommend an inexpensive software program called Color Schemer.  It is both useful and captivating. It recommends and allows you to create color samples and save them in palettes, collections of colors—without wasting any paint.

Sample and Match Colors

Color Schemer Sampler Tool measuring the color of an orange lily.
Color Schemer Sampler Tool

You can also sample and match color with any photograph or other image on the screen. Love the colors in that landscape by Vincent van Gogh or that Martha Stewart Living interior? Choose Tools > Color Screen Picker and save the color. You can sample a whole photograph to create a full palette of colors based on a field of wild flowers.

Even more fabulous is the quality of color. On a computer, screen color is instant and luminous. It doesn’t take hours of mixing and 45 coats of thin glazes to get a rich pale blue.

Automatically Generate Palettes

ColorSchemer Sample Palettes
ColorSchemer Sample Palettes

The program will also create analogous splits, angled accents, complements, smooth gradients, shades, soft blends, rectangle shades, semi-circle blends, mono comps, and tetrad blends. I have not a clue what an angled accent or tetrad blend is but my original palette was transformed into 20 or so radiant prisms of perfectly calibrated colors. Fabulous.

Once you have a palette of colors you like, you can name it and save it. As a graphic or website designer this is fabulously helpful because you can save by project. if you are doing website design, you can print out the html # codes for each color. You can also check your color to see how they work for those who are color blind.

Share Color Palettes & Get Ideas

Color Schemer Themed Palette
Color Schemer Themed Palette

Color Schemer also has a website where people upload their palettes so you can scan through tens of thousands of examples, and even rate them. They are all named: A Rose, A Walk in the Park, Angel in the Moonlight. Even Baby Poop and Windows XP. Wedding names are common and get a lot of stars: Winter Wedding, My Wedding, Silver Wedding, Tiffany’s Berry Wedding, Sunny Wedding Day. You get the idea.remixed colors, you have to mix them every time you want to use them. With Color Schemer, you just enter the color number or drag and drop to your new palette or graphics program. Some artists keep records of 2 drops this and 4 drops that, but many painters and designers are intuitives. Intuitives think differently—we do it the hard way and recreate.

And avoid Taxes

I spend hours there, particularly instead of doing my taxes, like today when I’ve received my last deferral and have four days to finish them. I have a whole folder of palettes, my own and others. Totally useless. Complete waste of time. So I recommend Color Schemer if you care about color, or even if you don’t. You might grow to love it since you don’t even have to mix the paint.

Color Schemer Website

This entry  is Part II of a two part post on Color. In case you didn’t take my advice the first time, you  may enjoy  Part I: Colorist Painting that might contribute to your appreciation of color and thus of this program.

Color Schemer

This entry on a computer software application, Color Schemer, is Part II of a two-part entry on Color. Part I: Colorist Painting may contribute to your appreciation of color and thus of this program.

Color Schemer Application Start PageIf you love color, and especially if you hate it because you never get it right,  I highly recommend an inexpensive software program called Color Schemer.  It is both useful and captivating. It allows you to create color samples and save them in palettes or collections of colors—without wasting any paint.

Sample and Match Colors

You can also sample and match color with any photograph or other image on the screen. Love the colors in that landscape by Vincent van Gogh or that Martha Stewart Living interior? Choose Tools > Color Screen Picker and save the color. You can sample a whole photograph to create a full palette of colors based on a field of wild flowers.Color Schemer Sampler Tool

Even more fabulous is the quality of color. On a computer, screen color is instant and luminous. It doesn’t take hours of mixing and 45 coats of thin glazes to get a rich pale blue.

Automatically Generate Palettes

ColorSchemer Sampel Palettes

The program will also create analogous splits, angled accents, complements, smooth gradients, shades, soft blends, rectangle shades, semi-circle blends, mono comps, and tetrad blends. I have not a clue what an angled accent or tetrad blend is but my original palette was transformed into 20 or so radiant prisms of perfectly calibrated colors. Fabulous.

Once you have a palette of colors you like, you can name it and save it. As a graphic or website designer this is fabulously helpful because you can save by project. if you are doing website design, you can print out the html # codes for each color. You can also check your color to see how they work for those who are color blind.

Share Color Palettes & Get Ideas

Color Schemer Themed Palette

Color Schemer also has a website where people upload their palettes so you can scan through tens of thousands of examples, and even rate them. They are all named: A Rose, A Walk in the Park, Angel in the Moonlight. Even Baby Poop and Windows XP. Wedding names are common and get a lot of stars: Winter Wedding, My Wedding, Silver Wedding, Tiffany’s Berry Wedding, Sunny Wedding Day. You get the idea.remixed colors, you have to mix them every time you want to use them. With Color Schemer, you just enter the color number or drag and drop to your new palette or graphics program. Some artists keep records of 2 drops this and 4 drops that, but many painters and designers are intuitives. Intuitives think differently—we do it the hard way and recreate.

And Avoid Taxes

I spend hours there, particularly instead of doing my taxes, like today when I’ve received my last deferral and have four days to finish them. I have a whole folder of palettes, my own and others. Totally useless. Complete waste of time. So I recommend Color Schemer if you care about color, or even if you don’t. You might grow to love it since you don’t even have to mix the paint.

Color Schemer Website

This entry  is Part II of a two-part post on Color. In case you didn’t take my advice the first time, you  may enjoy  Part I: Colorist Painting that might contribute to your appreciation of color and thus of this program.

 

Colorist Painting

This post on Colorist Painting is Part I of  an entry on color. Part II is on Color Schemer, a computer application for creating pallets of color. Once you read this you may enjoy Color Schemer even more.

Painting of an amaryllis pattern on a white backgroundI’m a colorist. I paint because I want to study and create the experience of color. “Colorist” has been appropriated by those who add color to cartoons and graphic novels (translation: comic books) or to adjust color in films. And infamously, colorize black and white films. In painting, “colorist” refers to using color to achieve an emotional effect or to define form. In color field, color is the subject as in the work of Helen Frankenthaler, Marc Rothko, and Kenneth Noland. Or even the almost monochromatic, neutral paintings of Agnes Martin (one of my favorites).

Or follow this link to find a whole page of colorist paintings in Google Images: Colorist Painting

One of my students painted superrealist paintings, usually in a series and of a specific subject. Portraits, people with their cars, nineteenth century buildings. The subjects of these incredibly detailed images were so varied I asked him what most interested him. “The colors. I just see colors,” he said. After a pause he added, “And light.” His realism wasn’t about minute detail. It was about color and light. He was a colorist.

Many abstract painters are colorists.  J M W Turner, the “Painter of Light,” was a colorist. The Impressionists were all colorists.

When I paint, I care much more about the color of what I’m painting than in the thing I’m painting. When I look at a flower or a piece of wood or a painting, I see color first. Millions of colors. My color perception was tested when I was in high school. (I never why.) My art teacher just sent me downtown to the Department of Education to take a series of tests. He explained the results, but not their significance. That seems odd, as I think about it, but at fourteen I didn’t expect much of anything to have significance.

Farnsworth100 Color Vision Hue TestWhat I do remember was a test similar to the Farnsworth Munsell 100 Hue Test but there were more trays of colors. Each tray consisted of black caps with a circle of color in each one, leaving a rim of black. Each spot of color, from one end of the tray to the other, was infinitesimally different from the one next to it. The buttons were mixed and placed in front of me. I had to sort them—red to red-red orange in the first tray, orange-red-orange to red-orange in the second, etc. The lamp over the trays looked like something from a doctor’s office and the tester sat very quietly, doing nothing. The silence was bit much. I don’t remember that she even breathed.

When I finished each tray, she would turn over all the buttons, look at the numbers on the bottom, and make notes on a form. Later I learned from a psychologist that she should have waited until the end to do this because it might have influenced my behavior. I don’t think it did. I’m hard to influence. (Some say impossible.)

When my art teacher showed me the results, I had made two mistakes. After 50 years, those two mistakes still bother me. How had I been so careless as to make two mistakes? Maybe I had made them in the beginning before I realized how much attention the test took. Or in the blue-blue-greens that were a bit darker than the other colors. I never knew what they were. Realistically, considering everything, I knew I had done pretty well. “Superior” couldn’t be dog food, but I thought I could have been perfect if I’d tried harder.

I take no credit for my color vision; it’s the equipment I was born with. My eyes can see them. It’s in the genes.

You can now take the shorter test yourself. Be prepared. It’s hard: Farnsworth-Munsell 100 Hue Color Vision Test

This post is Part I of  an entry on a computer application for creating pallets of color. Part II: Color Schemer

Is Michelle Rhee Out of Control?

I’m not defending Rhee’s rude to the point of self-defeating behavior, like refusing to meet with the City Council for the first part of her tenure, but I’ve learned that for women being a real bitch is often the only way you can effect enormous change — or any change at all. High hopes take high chutzpah.

You have to go out there and get it done. All your energy has to be focused on your goal. You have to be the kind of person who has a thick skin and shrugs off all the shit that gets dumped on you. You can’t sit around and hold hands and explain yourself and sympathize. It takes too much time and energy. Nuance be damned. Get on with it. She isn’t dealing with people who care a whole lot about nuance anyway.

Yes, she needs a better press agent and a better second in command to balance some of her grossly impetuous decisions, but without her ability to say and do the unthinkable, another generation of kids and teachers would go without — not for one year but for the rest of their lives as the early deficits compound.

Look at how she got the kids in Baltimore to work harder. She showed them the test scores putting them in the bottom percentile and said, “Do you know what people think when they see this? They think you’re dumb. Are you dumb?” That’s a radical thing to do in a classroom of young kids — second grade? I’ve forgotten which grade, but young. When you do something like that, you have to show results faster than it takes for the parents to get you fired.

I used to think that part of her job was to educate the political system by explaining her actions more fully to the Council and other officials who could then support her and make her job a bit easier, but then she would be an explainer and not a doer. She isn’t there to educate. She isn’t there to ask permission. She’s there to get a system in place that expects achievement and is designed to produce it.

She will raise holy hell by completely overhauling the system, establishing what appear to be impossible standards, and getting a workable structure in place to achieve them, and then leave. Once things are almost but not quite humming along, she will move on to another educational system that is corroding a city like acid rain. Then someone will come into DC who is a politician, in the best sense of the word, and make everyone happy.

(A note: This was written before Mayor Fenty was fired as Mayor and Rhee resigned as Chancellor of Education. Despite her claims, I don’t think he lost the election because of her. I think he worked very hard to get himself fired.)

Learning to Draw & System Dynamics

Some students need an intuitive sense of the whole before they can focus on details. Others need the details in order to understand the whole. Something that is known and tested by those who study personality and learning styles.

There are two ways that figure drawing has been taught, for example. One stresses gesture drawing, observation, and feeling the figure you see in your body. You draw standing up with a freely moving arm or sit on a drawing bench with the drawing pad propped up in front of you so you can move freely. Poised for action. You draw a line, erase, draw again. It’s an active process, full of energy and alertness, full body alertness. Very romantic. Tortured or ecstatic, but the ideal is to experience the essence of the unique event.

The traditional way, the classical method, focuses on the rules of the ideal figure, often taught using plaster casts which are more available than ideal living bodies. Students must learn the perfect proportions like the length of the nose in relation to the ears, the size of the forearm in relation to the hand, usually before being allowed to work from real bodies. First you learn these measurements as ideals, then you modify them based on the unique characteristics of your subject. The emphasis is on careful pencil drawings and techniques  like using the pencil to measure the distance between the nose and the upper lip, for example. This is often what you see in films where the artist is holding up a brush handle or a pencil like a ruler. The distance between the nose and the upper lip, for example, is thought my some to be the most significant measurement to capture a likeness. Get that right and you can hardly go wrong. This method typically idealizes the human body in its perfect form.

The interesting thing for me is that I was taught as a student in the 1960s that the first way, the Romantic ideal, using gesture and feeling, was the only honest method to use. Honesty, directness, earthy, gut understanding were important aims. When I began teaching I discovered that some students couldn’t learn that way. They couldn’t understand the exercises. They don’t know what to observe or to feel, and have no sense of using charcoal or paint freely. An agonized line. Or drawing standing up.

My students were doing independent study, not doing their drawings right in front of me, so I had two textbooks that I assigned that included a full course of drawing exercises and projects—one based on romantic gestural drawing and one based on classical ideal drawing. If a student didn’t understand one, they loved the other.

Then I discovered a third group of students. The romantic gestural drawings and the classical ideal drawings are both within the European tradition of creating three dimensional illusions. The flat two dimensional drawings usually referred to as primitive are outside this tradition, interested in neither the romantic angst nor the classical ideal. Two students, for example, from South America were literally unable to draw three dimensional illusions. One insisted on trying and it took her 6 months to finish a 10″ by 12″ still life. She said it was the hardest thing she had ever done and she would never do it again. She was highly educated and been exhibiting her art work for many years. The second struggled with both text books and could produce nothing that even resemble in intention or appearance any of the exercises. Both of us were frustrated because this was her last 3 credits before graduation. She didn’t speak English well and it was hard for me to communicate about a subject she had no vocabulary for. Finally, one day she came in with a large roll of drawing paper, pages from a large newsprint pad. They were beautiful exuberant panoramas of her island—all of it—in great detail. Flat designs that communicated as well as words what each figure was doing and where they were in relation to the mountains, oceans, trees, etc. The primitive style is conceptual, not visual. It is a representation of what one knows to be true, neither romantic nor classical nor illusionist.

Until I recognized these three styles of approaching drawing and seeing space, I thought some students were just unable to draw.

In the specialized, highly selective, professional schools I had attended only one style was considered to be the only right way by that school so only one kind of student is admitted. No one in any art school or class I ever attended taught classical drawing. It was rejected as the academy of the 19th century, wiped out by the Impressionists. But the people who saw the world in classical terms were still out there, just not in my art school. After learning that romantic gestural drawing was the only real kind of drawing, I ended up teaching in a liberal arts and sciences college for adults so my students had already well developed perceptual styles and experience. They were formed.

That’s what I fear might be happening in other fields like systems thinking and system dynamics , where the only methods of analysis are based on mathematical modeling, one approach is emphasized to the exclusion of others. This limits both the thinking in the field and the ability of non-mathematicians to benefit from these ideas.

Original posted on the MIT System Dynamics in K-12 discussion list in the context of how system modeling is taught and understood. Updated 18 October 2010.

Practical Knowledge

Q. If I read your comment correctly, it seems to suggest that conventional subjects actually seldom try to assess their transfer of learning to students’ everyday life for longer period of time.

A. At the college level, the professors often consider this mundane. Their job is to raise standards and teach pure knowledge. If they need an example in business, for example, they go to a major corporation or Harvard Business School Case Studies, not to a local corporation where the students would get a lot of attention and more hands on learning.

In another example I learned of last week, an IT person told me she was trying to work with a college where they were using a technology that 90% of the world had stopped using years ago. They insisted on using it because it was pure and based on the original concepts of whatever. Only in a college would this logic be acceptable—that outdated technology was better because it was pure, based on essential principles someone had established a decade before. A decade in iT is a millennium anywhere else.

When I was a child, it never occurred to me that people wrote books. I never thought of where they came from even though I was an avid reader. They were all library books so I guess I thought they had always had existed. Now we have author tours and artists in the schools. My granddaughters think nothing of writing their own books (short and not always complete).

I argued this point repeatedly with a colleague in Manhattan who ran a semester in New York program for artists. The students had a studio (paid for by financial aid) and did internships with artists. He insisted on getting internships with “top” artists, which I would call “currently fashionable.” The problem was that these internships resulted in being the underling to the underling and spotting the artist across the warehouse-sized studio, maybe making contact once or twice a month. In order to afford such a studio an artist had to have a huge market, and then enough staff to produce it all. It was far above the level that a college graduate could hope to achieve—partly because they were in college and not painting.

One of my students who enrolled in the program insisted on doing an internship with a painter whose work she admired. The artist was actively showing and had a gallery on 57th Street but she wasn’t fashionable and didn’t have work in the major museum collections yet. But my student learned first-hand how to manage all the business aspects of being an artist and accompanied the artist to openings, parties, interviews with potential purchasers, and dinner with the artist’s dealer.

The artist was at a professional level much closer to my student’s so the learning could be applied immediately. My student also refused to move into the college’s studio space because she had a small studio at home and preferred to work with no distractions and all night if she felt like it without having to be out on the streets of the city at 3:00 in the morning. She brought her paintings to the college studio for critiques.

My colleague said my student wasn’t meeting the right people. Do you know what it means to have a recommendation from _____? Well, none of his students ever became famous and most didn’t have enough paintings done when they graduated to even think about asking for a recommendation to a dealer. They were too busy meeting people to learn how to find a studio they could afford when they graduated.

My student (not because she was mine but that’s the most convenient way to identify her) was able to use her practical connections to get a shared studio in a neighborhood of artists like herself and become an active self-supporting artist—as much as artists are ever self-supporting. She was still working as a waiter but in the 1980s almost every artist in NY was working as a waiter.

The important thing was that she had a studio in a community of artists, a host of connections at her level of development, and the skills and confidence to use them.

Deja Vu All Over Again: Sexism

It’s gratifying that my granddaughters can take the rights for granted that women won in the 1970s, but I’m afraid they will disappear if the feminists and their work is forgotten. Sexism is so pervasive, even when people are trying to “do the right thing.”

I had a discussion a month or so ago on an email discussion list for copy editors and publishers about addressing invitations to women.

The woman was doing supremely proper invitations for a charity event and insisted on using titles for everyone. Couples were to be addressed as “Mr. and Mrs. Important Dude.” Her problem was that some of the women who were “Dr” were married to men who were just “Mr.” What to do? She couldn’t call them Mr. and Dr. Important Dude.

Further, she said it is inappropriate to refer to a woman’s professional status in a social situation. (Who knew? I can’t even remember that rule so I’m sure I didn’t know it in the 1970s.)

The problem was even worse, however. These women had responded to their invitations as “Dr.” Should she ignore their social gaffe when printing seating cards?

No problem with the men, of course. It was not only proper for a man to be referred to by professional title, it was a serious faux pas not to do so.

Is this sounding like the 19th century yet?

She and I got into a huge argument about why she was using titles at all. Almost all titles are discriminatory, sexist or elitist, or both. Titles require everyone to make distinctions based on level of education, marital status, social class (titles as opposed to just first names), and most importantly and persistently, sex. Who cares who has a PhD and who doesn’t?

Does it make a difference at a charity auction? A big expensive party masquerading as noble work isn’t tenure review. How does she even know if people are married? How does she know their sex? She was on shaky ground.

The woman thought I was being “reactionary” and “ignorant of proper social etiquette.” The “discussion” didn’t end well. I hope she at least spent a few sleepless hours wondering whom she would be offending most.

Orientation to College: Why College?

Orientation to College: A Reader on Becoming an Educated Person is a wonderful, wonderful book even if I did write it myself (with help from Betsy and Jane). It’s a collection of essays on the reasons for going to college; the nature of learning and how we develop personally, even as adults; and the relationships between learning and the workplace.

What it doesn’t discuss is the unrealistic dreams parents have for that college education. There is absolutely no guarantee that a college degree, even from one of the top schools, will help their children achieve them.  Many parents need to read this book and understand what learning is, how it can help and what a technical/professional will and won’t do. Parents encourage their children to study for a job at college and that’s not what college’s do best. Colleges can teach you to think and write and do research. Too many students are not interested or not ready to do that all day, everyday. Some want and need a professional/technical education first, and a liberal arts education when they are ready.

The next book I would like to write is for parents. How to realistically assess the quality of the college education they are paying for, or planning to pay for, and how to guide their children toward learning that help them become productive, self-supporting, socially conscious, happy adults. That learning is a life-long process; it’s never too late to go to college but it can be too early. And it can be meaningless.

Why College? would still talk about how important the liberal arts are and how important it is to learn to reason and thinking analytically, but it would also talk about the reasons not to go to college. Too many families are bankrupting themselves on tuition for children who have no business being there and the colleges know it. (You can see I’m on a rant about this.) For many, even a majority of  high school graduates, the time to go to college has not yet come.

In the meantime, Orientation to College will explain a lot about what college is and what it is not.

The Book Facts

Orientation to College is the second edition, expanded and revised with new readings. The emphasis of this text is to understand why we go to college and why the liberal arts are important as a foundation for all other studies. The readings also explain learning styles, deep learning versus memorization, and why the liberal arts are important for obtaining jobs in today’s new workplace. Many of the readings are appropriate for college-bound high school students, and certainly for parents too.

Orientation to College: A Reader on Becoming an Educated Person. Jane Shipton, Elizabeth Steltenpohl, and Sharon Villines.
 Second Edition. Wadsworth, Thomson Learning, 2004. 226 pp. Index. Bibliography. ISBN: 9780534599584.

At Amazon. In The College Success Series.

Irreverent and probably self-defeating thoughts:  Every time I get a royalty statement, it’s from a different publisher. Wadsworth’s College Success Series is still the imprint, but the checks are from Cengage Learning. I have not a clue if I even have an editor now and Cengage just filed for Chapter 11.

The book is being sold on Amazon for $109. There are no photographs. A few tables and graphs. No disk. No stickers even! I asked one of the string of 12 or so editors I’ve had on this book why the price was so high. She said it was because college bookstores are so badly managed that there is a lot of waste. They price high to cover their losses. If a college can’t manage a bookstore, or teach it’s students to be honest and industrious when working in the bookstore, why are parents paying a fortune in the belief that they are preparing their children life in the real world? Is that what we think of the real world?

Pass the Olives

In my junior year at Abraham Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa, my art teacher, Larry Hoffman, drew a caricature of me in my year book. I was dressed in the Helen of Troy costume I had worn to our Grand Beaux Arts Ball (a picnic in a city park by the Des Moines Art Center) and using a long handled brush to paint a single perfect olive in the middle of a huge canvas.

Seeing my blank expression, he said, “You are like an olive. People either like you or hate you, but your taste is distinctive and has no substitute.”

At sixteen, all I understood was that I stood out. That little olive alone on a big canvas. That is not what sixteen-year-olds want to hear. I was in my late fifties before I began to understand what it means to be an olive in a world of mostly apples with a few cherries and peaches and raisins mixed in. Living in a bowl with other olives, or mixed with lots of cream cheese, or wrapped in bacon and fried.

I was in my late fifties before I could finally say, “Pass the olives.”

The series of entries in Pass the Olives are the viewpoints that earned me my reputation as an olive. If you don’t like olives, you will probably not want to read these. They are in the Things the Way I See Them genre.

The New Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods like the one you, or your parents, or your grandparents probably grew up in are still alive and well but are in high-rise buildings, the suburbs, urban renewal, and housing complexes.

Our old neighborhoods were, where our grandparents and great grandparents lived, were relatively stable with generations of the same families living on the block, and if not on this block the next one over. It was a place where not only did everyone know your name, they had always known your name. They were all like family. The ones we loved, the ones we hated, and the ones we only saw on holidays.

While the freedom of anonymity and the ability to choose any where in the world to study and work are liberating, it came at a cost. We now have few relationships with our neighbors deeper than a hasty hello over the top of a car as we race away from home for 10-12 hours a day or a cautious “Good Morning” at the elevator, rarely a jovial, “Hey how are you?” Unless we have children who play on the same baseball team or are in the same chess club, or we have a dog that we take the same dog run, we have few ties. When mail is mis-delivered, it’s the address we  recognize, not the name.

A culture has built up, particularly in large buildings and new housing developments, in which we are expected to ignore our neighbors. We tell ourselves that we are respecting their privacy or protecting our own. But are we?

It is possible and even probable that we have idealized those old nieghborhoods. But if we have, what does it mean? I think it means that that kind of neighborhood is where we want to live. Whether it ever existed  or not, is irrelevant. We have the image, the dream, and it didn’t just appear out of nowhere. It’s the image of where we want to live.

How do we build, or rebuild the dream and sustain it? How do we deal with the nitty-gritty of common interest ownership and shared facilities management? Redesigning our expanses of suburbs into villages with small town squares surrounded with shops and restaurants. Create shared spaces in huge buildings where children can play and adults can watch the Oscars or World Cup games together. Or work jigsaw puzzles and build a small take-it-or-leave-it library of paperback books. And just get to know each other.

The posts under Cohousing focus on these questions, so please explore and discuss, send suggestions, and share your stories of developing a community where there wasn’t one before.

About Pass the Olives

In my junior year at Abraham Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa, my art teacher, Larry Hoffman, drew a caricature of me in my year book. I was dressed in the Helen of Troy costume I had worn to our Grand Beaux Arts Ball (a picnic in a city park by the Des Moines Art Center) and using a long-handled brush to paint a single perfect olive in the middle of a huge canvas.

Seeing my blank expression, he said, “You are like an olive. People either like you or hate you, but your taste is distinctive and has no substitute.”

At sixteen, all I understood was that I stood out. That little olive alone on a big canvas. That is not what sixteen-year-olds want to hear. I was in my late fifties before I began to understand what it means to be an olive in a world of mostly apples with a few cherries and peaches and raisins mixed in.

I was in my late fifties before I could welcome finding myself in a bowl with other olives, mixed with lots of cream cheese, or wrapped in bacon and fried. And finally say, “Pass the olives.”

The series of entries in Pass the Olives are the viewpoints that earned me my reputation as an olive. If you don’t like olives, you will probably not want to read these. They are in the Things-the-Way-I-See-Them genre.

There are a few other memoir-ish things mixed in because I felt like writing them and had no place else to put them.