Friday’s Odds and Ends

In writing this blog post today I experimented with using Dragon Naturally Speaking. I have arthritis in my hands so sometimes that makes typing a challenge, and I thought I would see how this dictating program works. I think once I get more used to using my voice instead of my fingers, the process will go faster and won’t feel so awkward. For someone who has used their fingers to transfer what is in their head to a page for so long this new way is going to take some getting used to, but then I adjusted to writing directly with a keyboard to a computer some years ago when I started my writing career the real old-fashioned way – pen and paper. No, not an inkwell and a quill. That was Shakespeare.

Anyway, on with the news.

If anyone thought racism was dead, the asinine remarks from Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling that got him banned from the NBA, shows bigotry is alive and well.

Then there was Nevada cattle rancher, Cliven Bundy and his comment about African-Americans, “I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy?” A totally insensitive remark, but then he is not known for sensitivity. Bundy has been battling the federal government over grazing rights on federal land, and early in April, the government confiscated 900 head of his cattle and demanded that he pay $1 million in grazing fees. I think that segued into his making the comment about “negroes” because he also lost his federal ranching subsidy, while Welfare still supports so many African American families.

Some people need a verbal self-edit button.

On a much more pleasant note: Last Friday during the annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day at the White house, Charlotte Bell, a 10-year-old girl, spoke to Michelle Obama, “My dad’s been out of a job for three years, and I wanted to give you his resume.” That led to this touching picture.

Image Courtesy of Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

According to the news story, Michelle took the resume with her when she left the forum. It would be nice to know if she helps the girl’s father get a job.

Today’s fun from the comic strips comes from Doonesbury. In the first frame we see a receptionist at a doctor’s office and she says, “Mr. Andrews? The doctor will see you now.”

From offstage Mr. Andrews says, “No he won’t.”  Andrews then walks up to the receptionist and continues. “I’ve been waiting since 2:30. Here.” He hands her piece of paper.

She asks, “What’s this?”

He responds, “My bill for two wasted hours. When I miss an appointment you send me a bill right? Why is the doctor’s time valuable but the patient’s is worth nothing? I reject that model!”

The receptionist looks at the paper, “$16,000?”

Mr. Andrews is walking away and he says, “I’m having a good year.”

This next one is from Baldo. Gracie and her father are sitting at the kitchen table and Gracie asks, “Papi, do you think I could run for political office?”

To which he replies, “Well Gracie you’re very young. Your view of life is simple and narrow. Your vocabulary is limited and you don’t understand big complicated issues.”

Listening to him say all that, Gracie looks sadder and sadder, but then he finally says, “I say go for it.”

Now, for no other reason than they are so lovely, here is a picture of my Azaleas that are in full bloom. I do love the spring flowers.

3 thoughts on “Friday’s Odds and Ends”

  1. I have Dragon – and may use it again, especially if I’m lying down – but it does require some concentration.

    I’m a very fast and accurate typist, so dealing with failure in even a good program analyzing my speech takes longer than just fixing it myself.

    When OCR first came out, the failure rate was the same: too large to make it worth it, because you spent more time fixing what the program had done, and had to proof the results very carefully.

    People swear by Dragon – I hope you adjust to it quickly. I’d love to hear.


  2. Alicia, I don’t think I will ever use Dragon primarily for my writing as there seems to be that mind finger connection that I miss. But it is good for dictating some things, like items from the newspaper that I put on my blog. Also, I am going to be helping some local writers create books out of newspaper columns they have written, and I thought reading the columns instead of scanning them would work well. I’ve been practicing with some things for my blog, as well as reading one of my nonfiction books, and so far that seems to be going okay. There are things I have to fix, but I just consider that part of the editing a proofing we would do for any book.

  3. I have had great luck with Dragon and now use it regularly, in particular with initial drafts. That way, I can edit and revise by typing (keyboarding I guess it is called now). I find my initial drafts are stronger as I am not struggling with the typing. Always enjoy your posts.

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