Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I've been away.

It seems that I lost the energy to continue this little effort, which must make me the... oh... twenty five millionth blogger to run out of remotely interesting things to write about.

I could say that I've had too much on my plate. It certainly was a busy summer, beginning with my boy getting married and moving through about a hundred family graduations and weddings (well, maybe ten or twelve). Toss in a few friends' kids doing the same and right up to another wedding this Saturday and all the weekends have been pretty busy.

And then there may have been some golf.

Yeah, I could say I've been too busy. But then I think to myself that I certainly spend a lot of time reading others' blogs and such. And what about all those Scrabble games with the computer and the Sudoku? Seems there may have been a couple of hundred hours to spare there somewhere.

The honest truth is that I must have gotten a little discouraged. It's a lonely process, this sitting down with one's own mind. And the introspection involved can be a bit unsettling. I find myself wondering why I think the things I do, and whether it's good for me to do so. I find myself wondering why I'm not one of those people who seem to accept things as they are, who are happy falling asleep in front of Survivor reruns, instead of sitting here reading posts on The Daily Kos about Darfur and Iraq. And seeing the pictures American TV doesn't show.

Or more generally, why do I expect so much out of people that I have such a hard time being around them. On the job I have a routine of amicability, but I can't seem to muster that bit socially. Why do I insist that people know things?

Who's the smart one here? The knowledgeable or the complacent? Is it smart for people not to care what I think?

Who cares what some post middle aged crank is opining about, anyway? It's just delusional nonsense, right?

Well, I'm forgetting that this is about me. I care to know, and maybe this article from the Baltimore Sun has something to say as to why:

Grumpy Old Men (and Women) Stay Smart, Study Hints

..."These individuals have a higher vocabulary," she said. "They have a better use of words, a better knowledge of facts."

It also suggests that those dismissed as grumpy old men and feisty* old ladies are often smarter in some ways than the young. The study's findings fly in the face of notions that intellect and memory fade with age - and that has made it a hot topic in the psychology world...

Oh, speak to me, my darling! "She" is Morgan State psychology professor Jacqueline Bichsel, who goes on to say:

"These results suggest that superior, crystallized ability is relatively strongly associated with low agreeableness scores, meaning that older individuals who have a tendency toward being unfriendly and uncooperative maintain higher levels of breadth and depth of general knowledge."

Hah! In this woman's clinical search for a correlation between personality traits and intelligence she found that general intelligence, the type that would help you play Jeopardy (I'll take odds and ends for 40, Art), seems to be the area of intelligence most predictable by personality. Interestingly, the young did no better than the old in this area. That's right, the 19-60 group did no better than the over 60s. And "disagreeable" over 60s did best of all.

Of course, there is some disagreement:

"The unfortunate interpretation of Bichsel's study is that it's good for older people to be cranky, and I feel that it reinforces those ageist stereotypes," said Susan K. Whitbourne, a University of Massachusetts psychology professor.

Well, just who the hell is this Whitbourne, and where's her study, I'd like to know! Stereotyping by whom? We just explained to you that only we know that what these youngsters think about us is all wrong anyway. Are you not paying attention?

And don't think you whippersnappers can crash this party:

Yet that doesn't mean that if you're 60 or younger and prone to be pushed around, standing up for yourself more often now will ensure you'll hold on to your smarts.
"What research has shown is that personality doesn't change a lot during the lifespan," said Bichsel. "And no single experience is going to change a person's personality."

No, I was born with this, baby, and I'm getting better at it all the time.

"It sort of keeps your mind sharp to have some of those traits," she added. "If you think about it, if you engage in debate you have to use words to make your point. That's what a disagreeable person does. They like to make their point, so they're going to seek out words to help them do that."

I think I'm ready to get back on this horse, now.

* the web site (undoubtedly edited by a younger person than is the paper), spelled it fiesty.


At 12:44 PM, Blogger JD said...

I care...

I'll give you a call this weekend. Things have been a little hectic. And I still don't have a job!


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