The Arrow

There are no answers; only choices.

Archive for April, 2011

Goodbye, Typewriter. Sigh.

Posted by thearrow on April 26, 2011

Last typewriter factory in the world shuts down. Rest in peace.

The reporter even included this description of the typewriter, which, 20 years ago when I learned to type on one, would have been considered an exercise in the literary technique of defamiliarization:

“The typewriter is a mechanical device with keys that, when pressed, cause characters to be printed on a medium, usually paper. The first commercial typewriter was produced in the US in 1867 and by the turn of the century had developed into the standardized QWERTY format keyboard that we still have on keyboards today. The device was used extensively through much of the 20th century by many authors and businessmen.”

I guess you have to explain it to those born in the early 90’s; they might not have ever seen a real one. And when you think that those who perfected the typewriter arrived at the QWERTY keyboard in order to slow down typewriters that were getting all tangled up with other designs. Now we are locked in this keyboard layout forever.

I learned to type (blind) on a typewriter during communism, in high-school classes of stenography and typewriting. It was love at first clack. We had a terrific teacher who guided us through endless drills meant to help us memorize the keyboard and improve our accuracy. While my speed was lightning-fast, it took me a couple of years to get my accuracy at some acceptable level, because I had been typing on my own for two years before taking classes and, as we already know, it’s hard to root out bad habits. Also, I didn’t quite have the notion of self-discipline yet. I still remember how the tiniest error would show up on the page; there was no fooling the teacher.

I loved typing so much that I even went to two national contests for typewriting. I don’t remember winning, but it sure was fun to participate. In college it was a skill that helped me land my very first job, which started with typing and turned into translations — another great love of mine.

I still have my typewriter at my parents’ place and hope to keep it forever. Now that I think of it, I might want to be buried with it 🙂

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Our Kitty Overlord

Posted by thearrow on April 26, 2011


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Tickling Penguin

Posted by thearrow on April 20, 2011

Another awfully cute video. And yes, I don’t have much to say these days 🙂

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Don’t Wake Me Up

Posted by thearrow on April 15, 2011

Steve has been saying for some time that I’m now a crazy cat person. I think this proves beyond doubt that I am :). The dog person in me is hibernating.

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Kitty and Dolphin

Posted by thearrow on April 13, 2011

It’s viral by now, but just in case you haven’t seen it yet.

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Wood Music in the Forest

Posted by thearrow on April 12, 2011

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To All Abortion Foes Out There

Posted by thearrow on April 9, 2011

This past week, Republicans and Democrats have been in an epic clash over… abortion. Funding for the entire government of the United States hang on the thread of severe spending cuts that were supposed to also defund Planned Parenthood, a leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate, because it also provides abortions, even if no federal dollars pay for those. The Republicans’ argument, strongly supported by the fundamentalist, parochial,  and overall retrograde Tea Partiers, was that any funding for Planned Parenthood would indirectly support its provision of abortions.

The government funding crisis was averted literally two hours before the government was supposed to shut down and Planned Parenthood retained its funding.

You can now see that abortion, my friends, is a major no-no in the Provincial States of America. Even if the right to have one is written into law, social conservatives are working hard at making sure it’s not accessible. It’s the least they can do since they haven’t been able to revert Roe v. Wade.

More recently, “28 states were considering or had already passed” laws banning the provision of abortion by health plans participating in healthcare exchanges to be set up by 2014 to cover low-income people. As usual, the poor get f***ed over. If you’re lucky to have employer-sponsored health insurance, you can get all the abortions you want. You think this kind of insurance is not supported by taxpayer dollars? Think again. Health care insurance provided by employers is a benefit that is not taxed at all. So the federal government doesn’t get any revenue from your benefit, like it does from your wages. Moreover, employers write it off as a business expense.

In some places, Planned Parenthood is the only provider of reproductive health services for low-income women (many without health insurance), helping them get much-needed breast cancer screenings, birth control, testing and treatment for STDs, etc.  Social conservatives were absolutely fine with them not getting anything at all. This would bring those women in a situation not much different from that of Romanian women  during Ceausescu’s regime, when both birth control and abortions were illegal.

Which brings me to my final statement:

If I could, I would force any anti-abortion person in this world to watch 4 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days, a movie about what women had to go through to get an abortion in the insane times of Ceausescu (sometimes much worse than that depicted in the movie). And ask themselves if that’s what they want for their daughters, sisters, and mothers.

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