If you haven’t noticed, I’m not big on having my picture taken. At the same time, I try not to run away and make a big fuss about how I hate it. So, when group picture time comes around, I just suck it up and smile. However, I never learned that scared chimpanzee, all teeth no eyes, smile that movie stars and women who want to look like them can do. I’ve tried a couple of times and I wind up looking more like a scared chimpanzee than a fashion model. On the other hand, I’m sloe-eyed and when I smile normally my eyes turn into little slits. When I was in China with my mother, I couldn’t gracefully get out of having my picture taken. For forty years, I’ve taken the more-or-less identical photo:


“Well, the other day I was talking to my friend Barbara. You remember Barbara, right? She told me how all her friends were reading this book Fifty Shades of Gray. I was so offended. I couldn’t believe she was telling me about it. She thinks just because she’s rich she knows things I don’t. What! Does she think I live under a rock? Fifty Shades of Gray! Is it possible to miss it? So I said to her, ‘Thank-you, Barbara, but I’ve already read it and I was totally appalled. My daughter can write so much better than that!’

“Have you thought about going into the pornography field, sweetie? You’d be very good at it. You always had quite an imagination.”

Um… thanks for the support Mom. And I wonder why I feel like I didn’t get good career advice as a kid. At least she’s gotten off my hips.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is a lazy post.

I saw this a few minutes ago:

He quotes Bill Nye; my favorite part is this:  ”We need scientifically literate voters and tax payers for the future….”

Does Nye think that Creationists don’t pay taxes, or something?

Mama said there’d be days like this…. so she taught me to diagram sentences! Really! I don’t know about you, but when I was in school they didn’t teach this any more, but my mother made sure that I learned. She promised me that one day, I’d be thankful. Today is that day!

A diagram of the sentence, "We need scientifically literate voters and tax payers in the future."

Me, I’d be happy just to stop at step three with literate voters and taxpayers.

It’s only 2013, so I don’t yet have anyone I’m supporting for the Democratic nomination, so, Hillary fans, don’t take this too seriously, but…

Now with the mess going on in Congress, people are saying that it’s all but inevitable that Chris Christie will be the Republican nominee. Now, consider that Cory Booker’s name is one of the names that comes up when discussing the Democratic nomination. Oh, the fucking joy! A Jersey/Jersey match up. The f-bombs will fly. The rest of the country will have no fucking clue what they’re saying. Debates will take about twenty minutes because people from New Jersey talk quickly.

Sigh. It’ll never happen.

After over four decades of being told that I’m not a “real” American, unlike those Southerners who fly the treason flag, or those salt of the earth heartlanders, or cowboys out west, I would love to see the rest of the country experience nine solid months of Jerseyana.

(Not to worry. This isn’t my real post. I’m going to go out sketching.)

I’m not on twitter, so I can’t tweet, but if I were a twit I would tweet this tweet: All the graduates of publicly funded schools in London have fewer Nobel prizes than the graduates of New York City Public Schools.

There, I said it. I even put it in bold. I am braced for the accusations of cultural imperialism and racism that are sure to follow. On the accusation of racism let me defend myself by pointing out that all graduates of publicly funded schools in London are not the same race. Although London is associated in the world-wide popular mind with the indigenous island race popularly called Britons, itself a dubious admixture of Celts, Germans, Normans and an itty bitty bit of Roman, and probably a few other things they’d rather not talk about like those “little people”, it should be pointed out that residency in London is not, and really never has been, the exclusive property of Britons. Secondly, I have been told that my family has more than a drop of British blood, or at least it is presumed due to the surfeit of surnames that read like a seventeenth century career guide: Farmer, Cooper, Fletcher, Weaver, Smith and others. Just because I am not exclusively of British descent does not make me a “self-hating Briton.” In my entirely objective and unbiased evaluation of myself, I am entirely fair-minded and even-handed in my treatment of Britons. I treat them just like human beings, which I should point out they are.

But the lack of Noble Prizes among the graduates of the publicly funded schools in London is just a fact. Surely it is only in the interest of Londoners themselves to ask how and why their culture is failing them. The indigenous people of the British Isles once had a great culture. They hauled big rocks and put them in a circle, or something like that.

Richard Dawkins pointed out the other day, “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.”

Writing in the Guardian, Nesrine Malik said, “To wearily engage with his logic briefly: yes, it is technically true that fewer Muslims (10) than Trinity College Cambridge members (32) have won Nobel prizes. But insert pretty much any other group of people instead of “Muslims”, and the statement would be true. You are comparing a specialised academic institution to an arbitrarily chosen group of people. Go on. Try it. All the world’s Chinese, all the world’s Indians, all the world’s lefthanded people, all the world’s cyclists.”

So I did. Or more accurately I tried to try it. I wondered how my people, the people of New Jersey, fared. I suspected with Princeton and the former Bell Labs and the highest average level of education in the U.S. we would fare very well on a world-wide scale. So I took to the internet in search of information. If you are from New Jersey, it will not surprise you that everywhere I looked I saw references to New York City, New York City, New York City. I abandoned my people and decided to settle on New York City Public High School graduates as my arbitrarily chosen group of people. I failed Nesrine Malik’s test. When substituting “New York City Public High School graduates” for “Muslims” I came up with an untrue statement. Forty (40) graduates of the New York City Public High School system have won Nobel Prizes. So take that Trinity.

Then I thought, that’s not fair. New York City public high schools (For British readers, U.S. public schools are public, unlike British public schools which are private. In other words, they are funded by the public and open to the public.) probably contain more people than Trinity college. So, let’s compare like to like. What about the graduates of publicly funded high schools in London? How many Nobel prize winners are there. I couldn’t find a complete list, but so far it doesn’t look good. Furthermore, all of the New York City Nobel Laureates didn’t attend Bronx Science. Richard Feynman went to Far Rockaway. Far Rockaway, folks! The six people listed who received their secondary education in London did not attend publicly funded schools.

It is high time the British people did some serious soul-searching. All residents of the islands, not least of all the indigenous Britons, would benefit.

(Full disclosure: I once had a boyfriend from Rockaway Beach who graduated from Far Rockaway High School.)