You guys’ comment discussion about steak dinners that turn into sales pitches reminded me of the time my friend Jeff and I went to a speed-reading seminar. The Evelyn Wood method — remember her? The pitch was, you got one free lesson and then they leaned on you to sign up for the whole course.

As I recall, one of Jimmy Carter’s first actions after winning the election was to take a speed-reading course, which says so much about him — such an earnest schoolboy thing to do. But speed reading, as I recall, was total bullshit. The teacher showed us her technique, which involved sliding your fingers down the page, reading a page in about two or three seconds. And I don’t care how many classes you take, that isn’t reading, speed or otherwise.

I forget what we did after that first class, but I remember going outside and laughing uproariously.

What ever happened to Evelyn Wood speed reading? Let’s ask Professor Google:

Put another way, the problem with speed-reading claims is that speed-reading is really just another way of saying “skimming.” You can flash as many words as you like in front of your eyes, and though you may be able to understand each word on its own, they won’t mean much as a collective whole. Language processing just doesn’t work that way.

Yep. I read fast enough, although I never measured it, because who gives a shit? As a writer, I like to savor sentences, hold them on the tongue a moment or two to consider their flavors. No crime in that.

Boy, you can tell it’s bleak January, can’t you? Been indoors all day, except for a brief dog walk. Got the bathrooms cleaned, got a workout in, and now I’m too lazy to even take a shower. I did start the day reading this hair-raising account of a Canadian man — and many others — targeted by a mentally unstable “super spreader” of online slander. The perpetrator, a homeless woman, has targeted him and his entire family, as well as others who have crossed her in some way, for years, and guess what? Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The sites where she has proclaimed these people to be pedophiles, scammers, cheaters and worse? Say they can’t do anything about it.

This, more than anything, makes me insane. Lots of people make fun of newspaper editors for our once-quaint, and now-abandoned, belief that we were gatekeepers of information, but at its heart, it’s about taking responsibility for your use of a very powerful tool. That belief is absent in tech. Forgive the longer-than-usual cut/paste, but here’s the gist:

Many of the slanderous posts appeared on a website called Ripoff Report, which describes itself as a forum for exposing “complaints, reviews, scams, lawsuits, frauds.” (Its tagline: “consumers educating consumers.”)

He started clicking around and eventually found a part of the site where Ripoff Report offered “arbitration services,” which cost up to $2,000, to get rid of “substantially false” information. That sounded like extortion; Mr. Babcock wasn’t about to pay to have lies removed.

Ripoff Report is one of hundreds of “complaint sites” — others include She’s a Homewrecker, Cheaterbot and Deadbeats Exposed — that let people anonymously expose an unreliable handyman, a cheating ex, a sexual predator.

But there is no fact-checking. The sites often charge money to take down posts, even defamatory ones. And there is limited accountability. Ripoff Report, like the others, notes on its site that, thanks to Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, it isn’t responsible for what its users post:

If someone posts false information about you on the Ripoff Report, the CDA prohibits you from holding us liable for the statements which others have written. You can always sue the author if you want, but you can’t sue Ripoff Report just because we provide a forum for speech.

With that impunity, Ripoff Report and its ilk are willing to host pure, uncensored vengeance.

When these greedheads lose their protection, this will be why.

Just as an aside, has anyone considered what’s going to come of the insane overuse of the charge of pedophilia? It’s one of the worst things you can label a person, and yet, it’s more abused than ever, which means sooner or later it will lose its power; I mean, when Hillary Clinton is called a pedophile, what does the term even mean?

Which reminds me: You fans of “Lolita” might enjoy “Lolita Podcast,” which I’m working my way through now, on the recommendation of my daughter. It suffers from some podcast bloat, but in general it’s well-done, thoughtful and thorough. The episode I listened to while cleaning the bathroom was about Lolita in psychology, as well as the treatment of both survivors and perpetrators of child sexual abuse. The latter, it seems, is lacking, and a pre-abuse recognition of so-called minor-attracted persons, i.e. pedophiles, who haven’t committed any crimes yet.

A few years ago, when a little girl was raped, murdered and dismembered in a Fort Wayne trailer park, we had a comment discussion about the result of restrictions on where sex offenders can live, post-release. Because they can’t be near schools and so forth, and because their names are public, etc., many find themselves with few options, and end up in scuzzy apartment buildings and trailer parks, etc. Who else ends up in this borderline housing where no one else wants to be? Poor people, especially single mothers with young children. Bad policy, maybe.

Man, this has meandered, hasn’t it? That’s what happens when you skip your shower to clean the shower. Anyway, soon it’ll be Monday. Enjoy yours.

Posted at 7:42 pm in Same ol' same ol' |

51 responses to “Readthisreallyfast.”

  1. David C said on January 31, 2021 at 8:32 pm

    I wish Elon Musk was taken down for calling the Thailand cave diver guy a pedophile and only partially because I think Elon Musk is the biggest asshole on Earth. Mostly because someone has to draw a line. But Elon has more money than God and Lin Wood was the other guy’s attorney so he never had a chance.

    305 chars

  2. alex said on January 31, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    I didn’t grasp Musk’s motivation in that matter. He was just being flippant? Is he really so petty that he can’t stand heroism getting some limelight?

    150 chars

  3. casey confoy said on January 31, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    RE: Rueben Rueben

    The quote from Conti’s character, “Gowan McGland,” that’s stayed with me all these years comes early in the movie, when he’s dining with a group that includes men from decidedly white-collar professions that in no way call to mind poetry. One of the men extols the virtues of a speed-reading workshop, citing an employee of Allied Fertilizer who, previously unable to be productive on the job because of the stack of reports piling up on his desk, went on to read “War and Peace” in 55 minutes.

    McGland puts on the brakes.

    But he read the book the way the fertilizer man reads reports; he did not read it as a book. I, for example, would like to read Fitzgerald’s ‘Tender Is the Night’ as slowly as possible. In fact, I would pay vast sums for anyone to teach me to read the books I love at a snail’s pace.

    The others are not impressed, but McGland isn’t finished making his point.

    Why restrict oneself to reading? Why not also listening? A ‘Minute Waltz’ in five or six seconds, or one could go to the ballet and by 9 o’clock be home in bed with your wife, or if you’re lucky, somebody else’s wife.

    1170 chars

    • nancy said on February 1, 2021 at 8:14 am

      Thanks for this. I hadn’t thought about “Rueben Rueben” for years.

      66 chars

  4. LAMary said on January 31, 2021 at 10:42 pm

    I was informed that Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin molested then murdered a little girl, then drank her blood. The police who who figured out it was Hillary and Huma were also killed at Hillary’s bequest. The person who told me this did not believe it. Not even close. He was reporting what someone had told him. The whole murdering children and drinking blood story is the old blood libel accusation used by antisemites.

    422 chars

  5. Sherri said on January 31, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    Totally different subject, but I just discovered that I have a Wikipedia page! Pretty weird. My husband discovered it.

    118 chars

  6. Dexter Friend said on February 1, 2021 at 12:37 am

    I have a friend who sends me paper clippings from The Columbus Dispatch and also The New York Times. That is when I revert to speed reading unless I really want to let the words sink in. Actually, for me speed reading is separating wheat from chaff, then slowing down when some things grabs my attention. I tried to speed read a book and realized it was a waste, no retention of plot or direction. So speed reading for every reading assignment is just as much bullshit as the Marshall McLuhan craze of 50 years ago. That was totally horseshit, actually.

    602 chars

  7. alex said on February 1, 2021 at 6:54 am

    I remember Evelyn Wood being satirized a lot…

    Here’s Cheech & Chong.

    SNL skewered her too, but I can’t find any surviving video.

    217 chars

  8. Deborah said on February 1, 2021 at 7:05 am

    The only time I try to do anything close to speed reading is when I’m trying to find something in a book I’ve previously read.

    My husband, who reads a lot, reads very slowly, and he’ll be the first one to tell you that. But he has amazing retention and can discuss details and intricacies that I can’t do without going back and looking it up. We don’t read the same books very often though.

    There’s an excellent article about Joan Didion in the latest New Yorker, I’d include a link but I read it in the print version.

    538 chars

  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 1, 2021 at 8:25 am

    It’s still a strange thing but I remember in our earlier discussion and I’ll note it again here: unintended consequences are a bear, even when you’re talking about sex offenders. I wouldn’t say they’re a huge percentage of unsheltered homeless, but they’re certainly over-represented in our contingent. On my mind this am as we are scheduled around here to go below 10 degrees overnight lows mid-week and emphatically so next weekend, and that’s our warming shelter trigger. We tried to stay open up to 15 or so and found most of our guests heading out as soon as the overnights went up to there, saying “all the good spots get taken, man.” But get to 10 or 5 or -3 and we have 12-24 people heading in from the tents and bridge undercarriages to what we put together in church basements and Sunday school classrooms.

    And I’ve learned a great deal about tiers and offenses and what people tend to say first, then start to disclose as they get more secure with you. I can’t say I understand it, but with our youth offenders in the court, and then their older “relatives” in doing emergency shelter, you get a sense of how some are stupid selfish decisions, and some are painful compulsions rooted in I have no idea what genetic or childhood-experience influences.

    But bottom-line is that 98.5% of them will get out of jail or prison or wherever we send them to start, and of them, studies range from 5 to at most 24% reoffend. Victim advocates note those are probably low, since sex offenses are underreported, which I accept as valid, but even so — the big justice issue with sex offenders is that they reoffend at higher rates than other offenses, no doubt about it, but a majority at minimum do not. Yet if we release them back into society, they have to go somewhere. And unsheltered and unsupervised they are even more likely to reoffend even if it’s just in terms of simple larceny. Anyhow, someone else is going to have to sit and drink coffee with our unsheltered folk at 2 am this week, since I’m still living in my bubble: my mother gets shot two this week, father-in-law next, and we have a contingent of volunteers who have gotten the vaccine who will take the shifts this time. We’d love to get them vaccinated while they’re coming in “from the cold” but none of them qualify for us to set up a quick clinic (at least here in Ohio). Hat tip to any place that’s figured out how to get vaccinations into their homeless during emergency sheltering; that’s a population worth doing ASAP, since at least half of them tend to be highly mobile.

    2555 chars

  10. Jim said on February 1, 2021 at 9:50 am

    alex: ask and ye shall receive.

    123 chars

  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 1, 2021 at 9:54 am

    Grosse Point connection here to a fascinating lady, just died at 108:

    154 chars

  12. Julie Robinson said on February 1, 2021 at 10:10 am

    Wasn’t Jimmy Carter so impressed with speed reading that he signed his staff up for lessons too?

    And speaking of impressive, Sherri, that’s you. You’ve dropped some of those details before, but reading of your whole body of work astounded me. Higher math is still a mystery to me, but it sounds like it’s a plaything for you. Brava.

    Other than that the news of the day is a downy woodpecker at the feeder, and Indiana opening Covid shots up to 65 & older. That means 60 & older should be a couple of weeks away, and it’ll be our turn. Mom gets her second shot today. Oh yeah, we had about eight inches of snow over the weekend, but here at the senior apartments it’s not our problem.

    698 chars

  13. Jeff Borden said on February 1, 2021 at 10:21 am

    Speed reading? What a horrible idea. Certainly, some books are a breeze to read. The Mike Hammer books by Mickey Spillane, which I enjoy occasionally, race by in a few hours. “How to Be An Antiracist” by Ibram Kendi is a slog, but worth the work. I always have a book going, but during the pandemic, the pace has quickened. Coffee and books were made for days like these.

    Meanwhile, 28 states led by Republicans are addressing the record high turnout of the 2020 election by making it much harder to vote. It’s so inspiring to see how much the GOP embraces democracy, isn’t it?

    580 chars

  14. Deborah said on February 1, 2021 at 10:50 am

    I think maybe we got about 4 or 5 inches of snow over the weekend and lots of ice collected on buildings, ours and the ones around us that we can see which includes the Hancock building. Someone died a few years back by being conked by a piece of ice off of the Hancock the size of a microwave. I won’t be walking around the city today, the high is supposed to be 30 and the sun is out so lots of falling ice. Every once and a while we hear aloud clickety clack as falling pieces blow against our windows. We’ve got enough to worry about with the virus raging in Illinois and vaccine distribution crawling here, I don’t want to have to worry about having a hunk of ice landing on top of me too.

    694 chars

  15. Deborah said on February 1, 2021 at 10:52 am

    I was going to correct “aloud” to “a loud” in my comment above but I don’t seem to have the edit button this morning?

    Edit: it’s back now.

    139 chars

  16. LAMary said on February 1, 2021 at 11:01 am

    I meant request up there. It was the sore arm tylenol talking/typing.

    69 chars

  17. Deborah said on February 1, 2021 at 11:45 am

    Very cool Sherri, you are a great role model for the effort to get young girls interested in STEM. Have you done any work with that endeavor? You’d be a natural. Although you have a lot of irons in other fires it looks like too.

    228 chars

  18. Sherri said on February 1, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    Honestly, Deborah, there’s not a problem getting girls interested in STEM. The problem is not the girls, it’s STEM. It’s all the ways STEM devalues girls once they get there that is the issue.

    Once I hoped that by going through some of the bullshit I did, I was paving the way for later generations, but progress has been glacial. I just finished reading Susan Fowler’s book, Whistleblower. She’s the young woman who brought Uber’s sexual harassment culture to attention, but Uber wasn’t the first or only place she had put up with nonsense. She was in software engineering rather than in physics because of a ridiculous situation in the physics department at Penn, when a male student’s progress and well-being were clearly prioritized at her expense.

    So, no, I’m not going to work on getting young girls interested in STEM. I’m more interested in making STEM more hospitable to women and other underrepresented voices. Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not..

    989 chars

  19. Heather said on February 1, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    Unfortunately the problem with industries treating women (and POC) like crap isn’t limited to STEM fields–it happens everywhere, including the “liberal field of journalism. A few days ago a former editor at the Atlantic spilled the beans about her shitty former boss, James Bennet who’s also the guy who greenlit the Tom Cotton op-ed in the NYT. Whatta guy.

    446 chars

  20. Jakash said on February 1, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    I vaguely recall that in school, not even sure whether it was elementary or high school, we had some kind of speed-reading instruction. Somehow single lines were projected on a screen in front of the class and rapidly went by and … that’s all I remember.

    I’m a frustratingly slow reader, and not just because I sometimes like to savor certain sentences. I’m just slow, though as Jeff B. notes, it does depend somewhat on the book. But, on the other hand, I also have poor retention of what I’ve read. A charming two-fer!

    529 chars

  21. Suzanne said on February 1, 2021 at 1:22 pm

    I read fast which can be bad. I often remember the feel of a book, the essence of it, but can’t remember a lot of plot details. I do love beautiful literature that forces me to slow down & savor. Plot driven books drive me to read super fast, especially mysteries, because I have to know how it ends!

    I will have to try to find the Joan Didion piece mentioned above. She is an American treasure.

    On another subject, a chemistry professor walks into a bar…

    567 chars

  22. Bruce Fields said on February 1, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    Reading’s a life-long pursuit. It takes a different approach depending on the material and what I hope to get out of it.

    I finally managed to pass my eyes over every word of Ulysses last year, but I’m not sure I could claim to have “read” it yet–there’s too much that’s still totally opaque to me.

    Too often I try to read everything in order from beginning to end when I’d be better off, say, diving straight in to the part I’m curious about, and then working my way back.

    I also need to get better about stopping and thinking, or looking something up, when I need to. Well, except other times it actually *is* better just to let it was over me and come back to it later if needed, rather than getting bogged down in some trivia.

    741 chars

  23. Jeff Borden said on February 1, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    When a book doesn’t click with me, I will stop reading. My wife considers it a sacred obligation to finish every book she starts. In more than 31 years of marriage, I can only think of a couple of times where she gave up and moved on to something better.

    254 chars

  24. Deborah said on February 1, 2021 at 1:44 pm

    Sherri, great point and thanks for that. I should have known that because it’s exactly the case with architecture. I’m not an architect but having worked at mostly architecture firms in my design career I’ve gotten to know some women architects well and they have exactly that problem. Architecture schools are finding that most of their students now are women but when they graduate they don’t stay in the field which is a crying shame. Architecture is definitely an old white man’s game, way overtime for that to change.

    522 chars

  25. LAMary said on February 1, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    Alex, Musk is bizarre. I considered interviewing for a recruiting position SpaceX and was waved off by people who had worked there or had contact with Musk’s style. He’s brilliant and rude and half crazy. He is not very nice to employees and there is a lot of turnover. The top engineering people are treated well but people working on the line? Nah. So he probably said what he said just to be flippant or shocking. That’s what he does.

    438 chars

  26. Deborah said on February 1, 2021 at 2:19 pm

    When I’m reading a book that I’m not exactly thrilled about finishing, I’m conflicted. I usually go ahead and finish it eventually, sometimes taking month long gaps between reading sessions with it, hoping that it was just my mood at the time that made me lose interest. And sometimes that works. If someone I respect has recommended a book, whether that be a person I know or a book reviewer, I usually give it a good long go before I want to throw in the towel.

    I’ve tried finishing Ulysses too, many times, I even went to the Martello Tower where the beginning of the book takes place in Sandy Cove outside of Dublin (where stately, plump Buck Mulligan shaves) hoping that would give me the motivation to finish it. We also tried listening to the audio book on one of our road trips. That turned out to be impossible because of the heavy accent of the reader combined with road noise. I haven’t given up on finishing it someday, but I feel like if I do it will be an exercise as Bruce mentioned above, of running my eyes over every word.

    1044 chars

  27. Deborah said on February 1, 2021 at 2:46 pm

    So now I’m going to have to put “Rueben Rueben” on my movie watching list.

    74 chars

  28. LAMary said on February 1, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    According to possibly sketchy sources the BLM movement has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. So has Jared Kushner.

    120 chars

  29. LAMary said on February 1, 2021 at 3:16 pm

    And Stacey Abrams has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

    68 chars

  30. ROGirl said on February 1, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    When it feels like I’m reading something that was assigned in a class and it’s a slog to get through a few sentences, I don’t feel guilty about ending the journey. I’m not going to retain any of it, anyway.

    206 chars

  31. Dexter Friend said on February 1, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    LA Mary, I’m pulling for Stacey for NPP. And did you get caught up in the anti-vaxxer mini-riot in the Dodgers’ parking lot Saturday?

    134 chars

  32. Mark P said on February 1, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    Georgia Republicans are so afraid Abrams will run for governor next year that they have already set up a website to smear her. Idiots are using the same tactics that didn’t work on Ossoff and Warnock in the Senate runoffs, saving Georgia from socialism. Abrams has not even announced whether she will run.

    307 chars

  33. Colleen said on February 1, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    I have always been a relatively fast reader, even as far back as elementary school. Of late, however, I am discouraged when I try to read….I have no attention span, and when I do get rolling with a book,I fall asleep after a few pages. I miss my old reading self….

    268 chars

  34. Dexter Friend said on February 2, 2021 at 1:53 am

    Colleen, Even if I have a coffee with extra grounds before I start to read a book, I will nod off also. I can’t make it past 8 or 10 pages and I am zonked. Oh well, and I understand what you mean.

    198 chars

  35. Dorothy said on February 2, 2021 at 6:55 am

    For a long time I didn’t read much because I cannot read and talk to someone in a car at the same time (although reading and riding in a car do not make me sick), and you can’t read and watch a favorite show on t.v. either. But I have read so much since the pandemic began and I’m really dedicating myself to continuing this habit for the rest of my life. It’ll never be my first thing to reach for (knitting or quilting occupy that space) but I feel like I’m feeding my brain when I read now. Last week one day I read 100 or so pages in a novel and realized I just have to prioritize it. Put the knitting down – put it out of sight – and just read! It helps of course to have something really great to read. My son told me about a book that is moving him tremendously this week – Interior Chinatown is the title. It’s a novel – yesterday I found it online at my library so I’m next in line when one of the three copies is returned. Usually when he recommends something I jump on it. Once or twice I wasn’t enamored of a book so I just pick up another one. I’m also trying to keep a list of books I’ve read so that gives me something to look back at and realize how much I’ve been reading. Some nights I’m too sleepy. But other nights I keep the light on while Mike has shut his off because I can’t wait to read what happens next!

    1330 chars

  36. alex said on February 2, 2021 at 7:29 am

    I used to be an avid reader but a career in publishing kind of ruined it for me, as well as the internet. When the written word takes up so much of your life, it’s not much of a pleasurable escape. I miss reading books and also magazines with long-form literary journalism. I used to love such reading and coming to the end of a good story was always a bittersweet experience. For the last few decades, though, I’ve hardly been able to finish any reading that I start.

    The last few years have been particularly bad as I’ve become addicted to the habit of doom scrolling. The Trump era had me perpetually on the internet, always on high alert. Much as I’m relieved by the recent election, I’m still stuck in this habit and trying to shake it off.

    I would love nothing more than to be able to hang my hammock in the backyard and spend a sunny Sunday afternoon devouring a good story without any distractions.

    914 chars

  37. Julie Robinson said on February 2, 2021 at 9:33 am

    For everyone who used to be a reader but now finds it hard, may I suggest that part of your difficulty may be aging eyes? By the time I finish the newspaper I have eye strain and little patience for a book with typical font size. Audiobooks, ebooks and large print have made all the difference for me, and last night I started book 12 of 2021.

    Aside from that the sun is shining as it rarely has this winter and the birds are frolicking, so it’s time to get off the internet.

    479 chars

  38. Suzanne said on February 2, 2021 at 10:05 am

    Even with aging eyes, I am still an avid reader. But then, I have worn glasses since I was about 8 years old, so I am used to my eyes being bad. Last year, I read 45 books, thanks to the pandemic. I usually have an audio book for commutes, a paper book for bedtime reading, and an ebook for reading on the excercise bike. I don’t love ebooks, but they are darn convenient. I read them on my ipad, but that can be bad because it’s too easy to read a few pages and then check Twitter. I do like the ability to look up unfamiliar terms very easily and quickly.

    I just finished Jesus & John Wayne by Kristin Kobes Du Mez which was excellent in explaining the intersection of white nationalism, evangelicalism, toxic masculinity, and right wing politics.
    I am now reading Anthony Horowitz’s The Word is Murder which is a thoroughly enjoyable murder mystery, and Death Sentence by Joe Sharkey, a true crime telling of the John List family annihilation partially because he wanted to make sure his children went to heaven while they were still believers, among other things.
    Next, I think something not involving death might be in order…

    1144 chars

  39. Deborah said on February 2, 2021 at 11:41 am

    I’m trying to finish “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver, one of those books I read a chapter from then put down for a month or two, then read another chapter etc, I finally finished John Le Carre’s last book “Agent Running in the Field” which had a big gap in between reading because of all the election crap. I just recently ordered Joan Didion’s latest after reading about it in the New Yorker, “Let Me Tell You What I Mean” which is supposed to arrive tomorrow. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to get back to Karl Ove Knausgarde’s “A Time for Everything” a year has gone by since I last read another chapter of that. The gaps between my book readings are getting wider and wider.

    I still read a lot but lately it’s been mostly Twitter. Here’s an interesting tidbit I learned today online that is supposed to have actually happened: When the first woman astronaut was sent into space for 6 days they provided her with 100 Tampons (!) and asked her if that was enough. These were rocket scientists who obviously didn’t know much about women.

    1059 chars

  40. LAMary said on February 2, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    Nope, Dexter. The protesters chose to wait until I left. They’ve heard about my NJ reputation. It would have been ugly if I was there. Either that or they waited until they knew the lines would be longer and they could piss off more people. In either case, I missed it.

    269 chars

  41. Jeff Borden said on February 2, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    For those who live in the Buckeye State or used to. . .an interesting take on Rob Portman, the limp windsock currently serving as a U.S. senator who is not seeking reelection because he is just so depressed about the lack of comity in Congress. Ugh.

    373 chars

  42. Little Bird said on February 2, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    I read like books are breath. Or, I used to. The past year has been so stressful and absolutely nerve wracking that it can be difficult for me to get in the reading zone, particularly if it’s a book I’ve never read before. So now more than ever I usually have at least two books going so I can bounce between them when I can’t seem to focus on one of them.
    Books were always my favorite escape, to the point where it stops being like reading and more like watching a movie in my head. Thanks to Deborah, I learned to love reading. She got me started early.

    570 chars

  43. Mark P said on February 2, 2021 at 2:59 pm

    Apparently someone at NASA asked Ride if 100 tampons would be the right number, and she said they could cut that in half with no problem. But, to be fair, they were engineers, and they consider being off by a factor of two perfectly acceptable most of the time.

    261 chars

  44. bethbfromindiana said on February 2, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    I’m a retired English teacher and school librarian. I love to “read” as it is an escape for me. I like to have an audio book going either on my phone or on CD (all from our library) anytime I have routines to do–getting ready in the morning or for bed, fixing meals, doing laundry, the dishes, cleaning, driving (only CDs, then). It helps pass the time and keeps me alert and not dwelling on what might be hurting at that particular time. I read HC or PBs from my library as well. This is usually before bed or while in the bathroom. I love our local library; I think the only books I have purchased over the years have been for gifts or titles by Diana Gabaldon.

    Since 1998, I’ve kept an Excel spreadsheet of every title I have read or listened to. The totally number is embarrassing high, but, there is nothing scholarly and only a few that are “great literature” on the list. As I said, I read for fun and escape–something especially needed since 2016!

    968 chars

  45. David C said on February 2, 2021 at 3:53 pm

    NASA does a lot of pressure vessels where you want to be off by a factor of 4-6 so the engineers easily could have suggested 200-300 tampons.

    141 chars

  46. Sherri said on February 2, 2021 at 5:02 pm

    Bezos is stepping down as CEO of Amazon, will be chairman of the board. I heard a story from my husband this weekend that I hadn’t remembered. When he was at Xerox PARC, he and some colleagues were discussing spinning their work out into a startup. This would have been around 1995ish. One of the group found this crazy web site that billed itself as the world’s largest book store, that was basically just a list of books for sale. He called up the guy behind it, some guy named Jeff Bezos, and talked with him for a half hour or so about the experience of launching an internet startup. This was well before the dot com days.

    I remember my husband showing me back then, but I didn’t remember that one of his cofounders had talked to Bezos. Needless to say, while my husband’s startup wasn’t a failure, it was not a success at Amazon scale.

    865 chars

  47. susan said on February 2, 2021 at 5:08 pm

    Sherri, what is the difference between being CEO and Chairman of the Board?

    75 chars

  48. Jeff Borden said on February 2, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    Pete Buttigieg became the first out gay person to serve in a Cabinet today. Thirteen asshole Republicans from the South –including your fave seditionists Greasy Rafael Cruz and Prep School Populist Josh Hawley– voted against him, presumably because they find him “icky” and they are all soldiers for Jebus and all. Good dog, but Alabammy’s Tommy Tuberville has been in office just a few weeks, but already is threatening to oust Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson as the dumbest dummy in the Senate.

    490 chars

  49. Mark P said on February 2, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    You may not know this, but Tommy Tuberville is not a real person. He was supposed to be Foghorn Leghorn’s stupider Loony Tunes nephew, but they dropped him because it was too ridiculous for anyone to be that stupid, even in a cartoon.

    236 chars

  50. Sherri said on February 2, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    The CEO is responsible for running the company. The board is responsible for the CEO, at least technically. This move means that Bezos is stepping away from day to day operations. I would imagine that much like when Bill Gates stepped down as CEO of Microsoft, this doesn’t mean that Bezos won’t be actively involved with the company, just not with everything. It was quite some time before Gates was not a big factor at Microsoft, regularly in meetings. Gates was chairman of Microsoft’s board until 2014 (when Satya Nadella became CEO) and just left the board last year.

    578 chars