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March 23, 2005
Twelve Million Dollars

I'm just saying. That's where the lottery is at for tonight's drawing. I won't win. I will never win the lottery.

That's mostly because I never remember to buy a ticket. In my fantasies, I've spent a hundred lottery jackpot winnings but I rarely bother to buy a ticket.

Newswise, today I read the Mahablog, on healthcare. There's some stuff about the laws around the Schiavo case, including the one then-Governor Bush signed that allows a Texas hospital to let you die if you're poor, but it's a larger discussion of healthcare that's well worth reading.

Also, I read about our flawed voting process, by Christopher Hitchens. (Via Alterman.)

I see the "where are the female bloggers" discussion has flared back up. I won't link to any of it, I'm sure you've all seen it.

I've spent a lot of what leisure time I have over the last week reading women's blogs I've bookmarked. I expect to be making additions to the blogroll soon. *

I know my comments run about 50-50 between men and women, but I have no idea about my readership beyond that, so I can't speak to whether or not men are actually reading blogs written by women. (Besides, my bog isn't a fair test. I don't attract the masses, just a handful of highly intelligent and well-informed people.) (Which remains a mystery to me. Y'all are very intelligent and you're all very knowledgeable. What the heck do you come here for?)

Other than that, the aforementioned frantic busyness is keeping my nose to the grindstone. When it isn't, my brain is distracted by entirely irrelevant questions.

What makes a smell? Why can I smell a man's aftershave in the elevator when there's no man there? Why can I smell a woman's perfume from across the room? Why can I smell curry in the apartment building hallway the morning after my neighbor fixes dinner? Air currents are no doubt involved, but what, precisely, is a smell composed of? Chemicals riding along on little water droplets in the air currents? Gases of some kind? (Is "chemicals mixed with water" what a gas is?) Why do some smells linger and others dissipate quickly? Why did I not pay more attention in science when I was in school?

Do visuals matter? As I cruise the world o'blog, I see more and more pictures on blogs. I notice that these are mostly women. It's more rare to see a picture on a man's blog. Is this because women are socialized to think how they look is of high importance and men believe what they have to say is the more critical factor? Or because women are more likely to have pictures of themselves in an appropriate format? Do you notice pictures on blogs? Do you think/feel differently about a blogger whose face you "know"?

How about bios? Do you read bios if bloggers provide them?

And then there's second careers. Seems to me I'm hearing more and more about 40-somethings and 50-somethings taking on, not new positions, but entirely new careers.

Is this a consequence of the "disposable" society we live in, where corporations cut costs on the work-line and know that the remaining employees, terrified of being next after a round of lay-offs, will willingly take on the work once done by two, or even three employees? Is it that burnout rates increase, employees cease to feel loyalty to their employers,** and are consequently more ready to move on, even to entirely new fields?

Those are today's thoughts so far. Sometimes, when I'm sitting on "hold" I have interesting thoughts. Other times...not so much.


* Allow me to mention that I won't be blogrolling most of the women whose blogs I've read. My standards aren't that high, but there are some things I automatically avoid.

1 - Blogs where the front page is full of "quiz results" the blogger has taken. We all take those on-line, "what fillintheblank are you" quizzes from time to time, but I'm not interested in reading a blog where, on my first visit, I'm forced to read through the results of half a dozen of those to see if the blogger has anything to talk about.

2 - Cussing. I largely avoid blogs where four-letter words abound. I don't like stupidity and resorting to profanity twice in every sentence reads, to the outsider, like you don't know any other words. Save the profanity, so when you need it, it makes an impact.

3 - Design. I can forgive a cutesy name and, in at least one case, I'm probably going to wind up linking to a blog that's pepto-bismol pink, in spite of myself, but if you want to be taken seriously, your blog shouldn't resemble a Barbie Dream House.

Similarly, knock it off with the black backgrounds and the teeny-tiny white/gray font. Design matters. (While I'm ranting, stop already with the "parchment" template in Blogger, okay? You don't look more intelligent because your site's background mimics the Dead Sea Scrolls.) Go for readability. If you want to be taken seriously, don't make people struggle through your fancy font and creative formatting to figure out whether or not you're saying anything worth reading.

4 - Topic matters. My blogroll is politica/current events. Politics and current events have to make up the vast majority of what you're discussing. We all go off-topic (I'm off-topic right now) but keep it in check.

5 - Quoting. We all quote articles and other bloggers. It's the right thing to do. However...a page filled with huge blocks of text you're quoting where you add or analyze nothing or almost nothing? Why should I come to your blog to read that? I can read the article. You want blogrolled, then say something about the text. If I search your blog for the past week or two weeks and find 4,000 words of quoted text and 100 words written by you? I won't be back.

**How about the whole ethics thing? Is there really an increasing problem with that or do we just hear about it more? And if it's a bigger problem these days than it used to be, how much of it is employees feeling less "responsible" to their employers because they know that to said employers they are disposable parts?

Posted by AnneZook at 01:49 PM


I love your rules about whom you won't blogroll; very creative! I don't have time to read bloggers' bios, and I don't see their blogs most of the time 'cause I read posts via Bloglines, but when I used to actually click on the blogs to read it I thought male pictures were far more prevalent than female ones; I think I got the idea to put my picture on my blog from seeing pictures on guys' blogs...

Posted by: Elayne Riggs at March 25, 2005 12:00 PM

Really? Maybe it's just that I've been making an effort to search out women's blogs recently, but I can only think of 2-3 men's blogs with pictures, while I've recently seen a dozen or more women's blogs with pictures.

Posted by: Anne at March 28, 2005 11:14 AM