Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
Everyone is welcome here.
(Some links or topics may not be completely kid-appropriate.)




Fri, Apr 28 2006

How American Express hurt my community

Not long ago I had a conversation with someone (I'll call her Elaine) who has lived in this community for more than 30 years. Her children attended school with the children of a family who has been running a small Asian restaurant in the area. The children have all grown now, but the restaurant is still family-owned and operated. We've eaten there many times and have always been met with friendly service and good food in generous portions. Elaine told us she had gone to the restaurant and had chatted with the owners. They told her that they would probably have to stop accepting the American Express card at their place of business, because the fee they pay just for the privilege of offering that convenience to their customers was now costing them several hundred dollars a month—whether one or a hundred customers used an American Express card to pay. Elaine said the woman was distraught at the prospect of discontinuing the credit card service, but could see no merit in the cost.

I started thinking about this whole thing. It's been simmering on the back burner of my mind for awhile and I really wish I could have a conversation with some of the people who work for American Express. With cardholders paying an annual fee (for at least one type of card—whether anything is charged on the card or not) and with business owmers paying a fee (whether anyone uses the service at their establishment or not), American Express has made a very nice spot for itself in corporate America. I'm sure they are proud of their success and their profits. And they should be. But my respect for their practices has been waning in recent years, and after hearing about Elaine's restaurant owning friends, I'm even less inclined to continue to use American Express. It would be great if someone from the corporation spoke to the restaurant owners, ate at one of their tables, saw the smiles from the hard-working family there, and noted the contribution that this little place has made to our community for many years. But I doubt very much that anyone at corporate headquarters even really knows the restaurant exists. When the restaurant discontinues the use of the American Express card service they might or might not get a call from someone wanting to know what the problem is. Will anyone call?

I do know of at least two local families that will probably be cutting up their American Express cards this year (after having the cards for more than two decades) and choosing to pay no more annual fees for the privilege of using the card. I doubt these families will get a call or visit or even a form letter. I do wish the corporation much success. But I hope the executives and board members realize someday that success is more than their own bottom line. Consumers in small communities pay attention. Word gets around when treasured, local businesses feel the squeeze of large corporations always reaching for more. American Express' bottom line doesn't begin to reflect our local loss of service.

posted at: 10:58 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry



Thu, Apr 27 2006

Time to take the wine off the highway

The May issue of Deb's Monthly Review is finally uploaded. You can reach it at the main page. If you're reading this post after Late May, you can find it in its archived location. The number of festivals seems to peak in May, particularly with the arrival of Memorial Day weekend, which is still considered the official start of tourist and vacation season.

I mentioned last year that the local community of Boulder Creek was having some very serious issues over the wine tasting portion of the Art, Wine and Music Festival. Folks have been routinely wandering up and down State Highway 9, enjoying sips of the vine as they took in the rest of the festival events. They were told to work on a solution, but this year it seems some folks are still not seeing the importance of keeping wine drinkers off the highway. I can't imagine how, with a whole year to plan, such a clever lot of people who put together a wonderful fundraiser like this one would be so stumped as to how to make this work in their favor. The wine tasting area could be dressed with local designer touches, oozing with wonderful live music and maybe even have a celebrity host or two mingling with tasters and even doing the pouring. I happen to know that Boulder Creek is not only a community of artists and winemakers, but a community of high tech specialists who commute to nearby Silicon Valley on a daily basis and know all about turning a bug into a feature. If the portion of organizers who are thinking negatively turn their minds in a slightly different direction, I'm betting they'll be able to make the festival one of the best ever. But they only have about a month to get with the program. It's time to turn the focus from whine to wine.

posted at: 09:06 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry



Wed, Apr 26 2006

Will someone please get them what they want so I can get what I want?

I rarely understand vehicle commercials. I have no idea who they're pitching to, but I know it isn't me. I have never really equated cars or trucks with raw sexuality, prestige, social status or any of those other ethereal things advertising seems to continue to foist off on the public. I care a lot more about the way a car looks and feels when I'm sitting inside than what it looks like to other people who see it or see me sitting in it, and that goes for being a passenger or a driver. I do want the thing to be highly visible to other drivers on the road. And it would be especially nice if the vehicle could emit increasingly painful bursts of sound waves to anyone who decided to drive too closely behind me/us on the freeway. Tires should be able to receive air from the vehicle itself, with the mere push of a dashboard button. All vehicles should be equipped with programmable window signs that allow us to tell the driver behind us that his or her left turn signal has been on for the last twelve miles or to tell them thanks for letting the driver into the lane. Someone would eventually abuse this feature by programming obscene phrase into it, but that's not my problem. I want it anyway. Oh, and I want a car that allows me to shut out all outside noise except the necessary horn warnings and emergency vehicle sirens. I'd like other vehicles to be nice and quiet from my perspective too. If I wanted to hear the tin-toy brass and the sewer-banging bass from someone's else's car stereo I'd get out of my own vehicle and get into theirs.

Of course, advertisers have no real control over that sort of thing, because car makers have not yet installed such practical features. Advertisers are stuck juggling what the client wants to sell with what consumers think it is they want from what they buy. Advertisers are simply doing the best they can with what they have, while they imagine what they could really do if what they had was a whole lot better. I've suspected for a long time that this makes advertising people really frustrated and really, really angry. After reading this post, I'm sure of it. While I have no idea what to do about it, it does make me feel better that some of the people in advertising are not having as much fun as I thought they were having trying to get me to buy into things I don't want while I pined for things I do want that no one will make and sell to me.



posted at: 11:01 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry



Tue, Apr 25 2006

Booms

I keep hearing about those mysterious booms and rattles and things moving and shaking in the San Diego area earlier this month. Weeks after the incident people are still speculating as to what the source was. And the boom in California wasn't the only one in recent months. Officials in Mississippi seem to have decided that their boom was probably a sonic boom from a plane over the Gulf of Mexico. Others aren't so sure.

Some of the booms seems to affect a relatively small area. On a fall night of 2004 there was a whole series of booms in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Even sand dunes boom after a fashion, and one web site mentions a phenomenon called "earthquake booms", which seem to be real earthquakes that may be at too high a frequency for traditional seismic instruments to record. Meteorites? Sewer gas? The booms have been blamed on everything from exploding meth labs to fancy aircraft from another planet. Are the booms caused by secret military aircraft missions? And if they are, who's going to admit it? In a few cases there have been admissions of test flights and in a few other cases the answer to identifying booms has been as simple as kids playing with bottle bombs.

Some think it's a plot to try to manipulate the weather. Others think it's caused by the weather itself. All that methane gas deep beneath the planet's surface may be Mother Nature giving us a few gut rumbles.

Back in 1984 people were blaming some of the booms on the Concorde SST. I don't know exactly how long the booms have been going on, but similar booms apparently happened in Barisal, Bangladesh more than a century ago, as well as in the British Isles, several European cities and in North America in the 1890s. It's a bit difficult to blame sounds from that time period on the Concorde. Or on military weather manipulation. Or on secret hypersonic spy planes. Whatever it is that's causing the booms, it has people curious and ready to pounce on the possibilities in any given conversation lately.

posted at: 14:34 | category: /Science | link to this entry



Mon, Apr 24 2006

Go ahead—blow me away

Although we had some rain over the weekend, we are looking forward to warmer, dryer temperatures. Unfortunately, my comfort level is somewhat narrow when it comes to both temperature and humidity. I was reminded that it's time to check on the status of the fans around the house. We have several that we use, but believe it or not, I have and use three of the Vornado 510W Compact Air Circulators. They fit on end tables, nightstands, countertops and other small spaces and they put out a lot of air for a compact-size fan. I will probably buy two more this summer. Just call me a fan-atic.

posted at: 13:41 | category: /Health and Fitness | link to this entry



Fri, Apr 21 2006

The kitchen sink (and other desirable trash)

Dumpster divers, rejoice. Someone has created a mashup just for you. It's GarbageScout. It seems to have begun with the city of New York, but San Francisco and Philadelphia have been added and we'll see other cities soon, I'm sure.

posted at: 12:45 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry



Weather for ducks past?

All the rain we've had in the past several weeks has had everyone out of sorts. Getting on with life and looking forward to spring is wonderful, albeit a bit awkward at first. Even the ducks seem to be having a bit of trouble getting their land legs. Kudos to the firefighters, police officer and other workers who took time in their busy schedule to smooth a few ruffled feathers.

posted at: 07:48 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry



Thu, Apr 20 2006

Mowing your way to the emergency room

When it comes to that study showing older people being at higher risk for lawnmower injuries, I believe I would read at least some of the numbers with caution when considering one's own chances of being hurt. Not all of us would poke our hands into running blades. However, when you consider how tough some mowers are to start, I can see how the temptation to clear debris without stopping the engine would be there.

Most mowers have some protection in the rear of the machine, so how are people getting struck with debris, unless perhaps it's a ricochet effect from mowing close to a wall or fence? I would think a bystander would be in much greater danger of getting smacked with a projectile. Maybe bystander data is actually included in the study's figures and so this is a fairly significant source of injury.

Those low-hanging limbs on trees probably catch both walking and riding mowers. It's easy to concentrate on the grass and forget to duck. But how on earth are so many people falling off riding mowers? Is this a case of inner ear disturbance? Perhaps speed is a factor. Do study statistics include participants from the growing sport of lawn mower racing? I'll bet those rough riders take a good spill every now and then. In the end, I'm betting the statistics of drivers falling off their mowers will show a direct relationship between the number of falls taken and the number of tall, cool ones consumed before mounting up for yard duty.

posted at: 10:51 | category: /Health and Fitness | link to this entry



Wed, Apr 19 2006

Warming up to really big Plasma

Am I reading correctly that the 103-inch Plasma screen from Panasonic will take 45 minutes to heat up? I'm not sure if they're kidding or not, but if that's a realistic number I'd say it would definitely cut down on any impulse viewing—even for those willing to pay the hefty price.

posted at: 08:48 | category: /Arts and Entertainment | link to this entry



Tue, Apr 18 2006

1906 Earthquake

The 1906 quake is on many Californians' minds this morning, though hardly any of us alive now went through it. Many of us have experienced other significant earthquakes. We would recognize that familiar heaving and creaking, the disorientation and dizziness from the swaying, the mixed sounds of things falling and breaking and some people screaming as they scramble for a place of safety. The 1906 quake must have been particularly frightening because it took place in darkness when most people were still in bed, or at least still groggy from sleep.

The fires that followed the 1906 earthquake were at least as devastating as the quake itself. Looting was rampant, and there are many stories of people being shot when they refused to stop taking things from stores and homes.

We like to think that we'd all be better off now in the event of another large tremor. After all, we have the ease of flying in supplies and personnel, generators for power and many other conveniences that could be gathered and made use of in an emergency. But we also have many more people in the greater Bay Area than there were in 1906. Gas pipelines, refineries and large industrial facilities carry enormous potential for explosions and fire, including toxic fires. It's not a bad idea to take a look around at where we live, work, commute and send kids to school. If another large quake hit at any particular time of the day or night, what would be our first major issues? When one lives on, or near, major fault zones, considering the possibilities isn't paranoia. It's just prudent, especially if it leads to changes that improve our chances for survival and comfort following the shaking.

posted at: 09:20 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry



Mon, Apr 17 2006

Mixed signals

While I fought those annoying muscle spasms this weekend and tried to get comfortable, I found myself stretched out in front of the TV for a few extra hours. My spouse came in to join me for awhile and it's a good thing he was there, because I thought I saw something strange go by on our TV screen that I would have thought I imagined if no one else had been there to witness it. A buzzing noise came on with a yellow screen that told us there had been an interruption in our cable service. It was only there for a couple of seconds and then programming resumed. A few minutes later it happened again.

Anyone reading this might wonder why such a message caught our attention. It's because the message was from Comcast. Our cable provider is Charter Communications. We have no idea what it means. As far as I know at this writing, the two companies are still in competition with each other.

posted at: 09:47 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry



Fri, Apr 14 2006

The privileges of being a guest are in the hands of the host

I don't wonder at all that immigrants from Mexico want what the US has to offer, particularly after reading some of the rules (from jacklewis.net) regarding immigrants who head into Mexico. I don't think we want to be that tough with people who come to the US, but I do think people who come here should remember that what guests have are privileges and not rights. I would never think to go to another country and act the way some (not all) of the illegal immigrants in the streets here have been acting lately. They are rudely and arrogantly making their own best case against themselves.

posted at: 11:27 | category: /Politics | link to this entry



Doing time won't pay for victim's extra-needed help in life

It was sad to read about 5-year-old Kai Leigh Harriott sobbing in the courtroom as she tried to talk about Anthony Warren's angry shooting that left her paralyzed 2 years ago. I went back and read some of the feedback from Dorchester, Massachusetts area residents, who hope to find some relief from violence among young people in their home town. When I read that Anthony Warren received a sentence of 13-15 years in state prison after pleading guilty in court, I had mixed feelings. People talk about about wanting criminals to "pay" for their crimes, and while we can't have these people walking around freely among us, it doesn't seem quite right to me that someone whose irresponsible act caused a little girl and her family to have to change their lives, from now on, should not have to pay with more than time in a jail cell. I wish there was a way for incarcerated, able-bodied criminals to at least do some work that would result in some form of income for those who are left in the wake of their bad decisions. What if Anthony Warren worked every day of his sentence and the money he earned went to pay to help Kai study to become a scientist or a teacher? His time would really mean something then.

I don't have any easy solutions for this type of horrible type of situation, but I do know that putting people in cells for years at a time has not worked well up to this point. The recidivism rate is not encouraging. And while some studies show that increasing an inmate's education and job skills contributes to a lower recidivism rate, programs that make this happen are costly and often result in paid personnel and volunteers taking higher physical risks in order to assist prisoners with self-improvement. Since most prisoners will be released at some point in life, society is going to have to decide what the best moves are to make that move back into free life go smoothly for the inmate's sake as well as the community into which they are released.

In the meantime, sweet little Kai forgives. I hope that particular knowledge at least helps soften Anthony Warren's heart and motivates him to want to be more like her. I guess we'll find out, when he is released back onto the streets.

posted at: 10:32 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry



Thu, Apr 13 2006

Resignation

We have more political resignations in the Watsonville area. Judy Doering-Nielsen resigned from the City Council this week. And on the heels of Superintendent Mary Ann Mays' resignation from the Pajaro Unified School District, Associate Superintendent Terry McHenry resigned his post. Each of these positions will be tough to fill, and the ongoing unrest in the area says a lot about the difficulties of leadership in a community expanding rapidly, and perhaps too rapidly, in many directions at once. Some conflict assures a sense of balance in power, but this much angry quitting and abandonment means there are some deep-seated problems that are not going to be fixed by plugging the holes with just anybody who wants to step up to the task. As we've seen with other areas of government, including that at state and federal levels, while the public cries out for fairness and equal treatment from elected and appointed officials, special interests still drive a lot of political action. And on a local level, people who can do so often just get out of the fray and move to greener pastures, both in their political service and in their change of home address. I'm meeting more and more people who plan to take their life's earnings and leave this area because of special interests taking a larger and larger share of community resources and demanding their rights, or at least what they perceive to be their rights. I hope the folks who are making all the demands learn to be resigned to the fact that they will most certainly be left holding a very large bill for their demands when much of the rest of the population abandons the area and leaves them with a very narrow tax base.

posted at: 19:37 | category: /Politics | link to this entry



Wed, Apr 12 2006

Hip Endangerment

Just when we're coming up to National Running and Fitness Week I seem to have been revisited by a muscle spasm "thing" in my right hip/back. I'm not a runner and I'm often fed propaganda about how bad running can be for one's body, but at times I think maybe a predominantly sedentary lifestyle affords no protection whatsoever against injury and ailment and may even increase one's risk of pain and suffering. I seem to battle this particular whammy when I'm most under a deadline and in most need of sitting in this chair to get a lot of typing done, and not at those times when I'm out weeding and walking and cleaning and being active.

With a sports injury you at least have the satisfaction of telling people you hyperextended your joints or tested your body beyond its known limits in a burst of speed. I sat too much. Not only did it hurt my hip, but my pride takes another hit at the same time.

posted at: 12:44 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry



Tue, Apr 11 2006

When sitting in a car is like rafting

Lately I've begun several blog posts and then abandoned them in mid-production. This sort of thing is a definite pattern for me and it extends well beyond the scope of my writing life. I can go to the washer with garments, put them into the machine and then continue on to another room and another whole task without ever starting the machine. It's most flattering to think of it as multi-tasking, but the truth is that everything I do reminds me of something else I need (or want) to do. I live in a type of word-association world, where the socks going into the washer remind me that I want to order some new clothes and so I go back to the computer where my writing project is waiting and I start looking online for clothes stores and then my stomach growls and I remember that I haven't done anything for our dinner and I get up and go see what's in the freezer and cupboard. Then the phone rings and it's about a musical project we're involved in and I start looking for a list of songs. I start the washer while I'm talking to the person on the phone. The dinner preparations are forgotten and we end up eating out. Again.

The good news is that the original writing project is still simmering somewhere beneath of all this "noise". It's likely that I'll come back to the original piece with some new insight or slant that prompts me to either whip it into shape or see that it was a feeble subject in the first place and put together a whole new thought with quick results.

The problem is not so much writer's block as it is writer's unblock—a need to allow the meandering to take me where I need to go without losing sight of where I needed to be in the first place. But the answer to both problems might be similar. One article at Writing World mentions using particular changes when writer's block hits. It suggests switching from typing to using a pen, or meeting with another writer to write together in a neutral location. I have to say that, even though it doesn't work for nonfiction, I have often found it easier to create new fiction when I get away from home base and out of anything that could remotely be called an office. One of my best ideas came to me while I was sitting in a car for several hours a day, almost 500 miles from home, when I accompanied my husband on a business trip. I think it may have been because I wasn't close to the kitchen sink or the washer and dryer or the home phone or my hundreds of files and notes and books. None of those things could influence my thoughts.

I know it doesn't sound very logical, because we're told but writing is something that successful writers learn to produce by writing several hours a day no matter how they feel about it. And we're told that we must always be in a mode to gather facts and gather mental observations and that every life experience is a part of our research. But sometimes all the people-watching and the research and the tasks of other jobs and running a household are not only distractions, but subtractions.

Sometimes the river of creativity rushes to its ultimate destination only when we can't sense the banks, the bridges or the dams. It's just tough to come to grips with that when we also have everyday obligations that won't go away just because we need frequent raft rides down that rushing river.

posted at: 11:49 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry



Mon, Apr 10 2006

ONDCP blog is like a parody of itself

I'm confused. We have an FDA, a DEA and then—oh yes. We have the Office of National Drug Control Policy. If you go to the main page for the ONDCP you'll see the folks there bragging that their blog has gotten over one million hits. Is that a good thing? I rather think it means that people are desperate for some tidbit of useful information. Instead, the blog carries sensational stories of a man in the UK who took 40,000 pills, containing ectasy, over a period of 9 years. (Apparently, the man is still alive.) Another recent blog entry tells us that Columbia's economy continues to grow. I'm assuming this is a brag that the South American country is doing well after efforts to control the growth of poppies (and other illicit drug-producing plants) have been successful in the last couple of years. What the entry does not say is that much of the production is simply moving to nearby Peru, where farmers are desperate to make a living. It also didn't mention that a former coca-farmer was elected to be President in Bolivia. Remember—we may think of cocaine as a bad thing, but the coca plant has social and spiritual uses that many of us forget about. Coca-Cola was originally called that for a very good reason. Even that blessed, numbing injection we get before the use of a dental drill is based on the medicinal properties of coca.

The problems with illicit drugs are deep-seated in our American culture and in many other cultures. An ONDCP blog paid for by taxpayers should be making that clear. The blog's current condescending tone will probably only make well-read people angry and will make young people laugh. There's a lot of talk about being tough on drugs. If we really do want to be tough on drugs we should admit that most of what society has done so far hasn't worked very well. Maybe our party line should be a little less holier-than-thou and a little more forthcoming with the real reasons why illegal drugs get to be important to so many people on the planet. The ONDCP blog is an embarrassment at this point. I hope they choose to include some real information there in the near future.

posted at: 14:18 | category: /Politics | link to this entry



Fri, Apr 07 2006

Livin' in the Wild, Wet West

The photo in this story shows a road that folks in our area commonly use to connect to the inland area of Gilroy and also to Highway 101 and Interstate 5. It's one of many areas that have given way in this heavy rainy season we've been experiencing. And when the ground gives way it often takes with it pavement, trees and utility poles.

Many thanks to the emergency crews who have been out there doing double-duty as conditions have changed from moment to moment. We've had a couple of days of dry weather and sun this week, but another storm system is forecast to hit our area over the weekend.

posted at: 11:12 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry



Thu, Apr 06 2006

Monterey Bay Bouquet probably one of many like this

It underscores an already shameful situation when employers attempt to replace illegal immigrants with other illegal immigrants in a plan to pay lower wages. And the story's details are a grim reminder that a person's social security number is becoming a lot less secure by the moment.

posted at: 11:27 | category: /Politics | link to this entry



Predators online

No, this isn't a post about pedophiles and child molesters who lurk in chat rooms, though we've heard plenty about those lately. This is about George and Gracie. Oddly enough, the couple do have something in common with that other kind of predator, even if it was none of their own doing. They have their own web cam.

posted at: 07:48 | category: /Science | link to this entry



Wed, Apr 05 2006

The press against the press

Have you been paying attention to the Anthony Pellicano Web Links Blog? I thought the post on March 27 was interesting. The author questioned the timing of a difficulty with their blog coming just after their mention of the Los Angeles Times' anemic coverage of Mr. Pellicano's case.

I don't know anything about the blog difficulties, but I grew up in a mostly "small pond", so I know a wee bit about small-town politics and the inescapable mixing of politics with local media, law enforcement, judicial personalities and the after-hours business crowd. The problem with a big-pond newspaper like the Los Angeles Times is that it's so tied up with so many people in so many different ways that it inadvertently becomes a barometer as much as a timeline of events. A hot story can appear to begin like any other story, but the people being written about in the story often have national—even international—associations and influences. So an editorial slant that changes horses in midstream makes us believe there must be something that even the newspaper executives didn't realize they were getting into the middle of when they began. Pressure may come to them from people they didn't even know had any interest in the story to begin with. And we readers become even more suspicious when we see things being left out of a story's coverage in an age when instant communication would their inclusion very easy.

It all makes me wonder about the saying that "no news is good news". It may turn out to be good only for those who are trying to keep something quiet. And news writers and editors—when they get leaned on—rarely keep doing things in exactly the same way they've been doing them. They either back off or they work that much harder to make a story stand out. If we're paying attention, a change in coverage is as much of a story as the story itself.

posted at: 10:01 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry



Tue, Apr 04 2006

See seafood? Not for long, unless we support wise fishing

If you love seafood but you want to make choices that reflect concern for the environment, use Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch site to get a printable pocket-size folder that lists items to avoid and gives you the best bets for a planet-friendly ocean platter. There are regional guides available as well as a general US guide. It's a handy paper to carry with you to a market or restaurant. The site also has printable Fish Fact Cards you can leave at restaurants to express your concern for modern catch practices. A lot of commercial fishing methods endanger other wildlife besides the particular fish being sought for sale. And there's a printable Thank You Card to let markets and restaurants know you appreciate their good choices.

A tip of the Stetson goes to The Californian for pointing out Seafood Watch.

posted at: 08:03 | category: /Food | link to this entry



Mon, Apr 03 2006

Itching to play with paper-mache again

This time of year I always think of the fun I had as a child, making paper-mache items. My mother was a master at making something from nothing. She taught me how to take a basic cardboard form and layer it with paste-soaked newspaper strips and then, once the project was dry, apply bright acrylic paint to create my own bangled bracelet. Easter eggs were easy to make because balloons make such great egg shapes. I haven't worked at it for a very long time, but I keep meaning to delve into the whole process again and sculpt something artistic. Once I do get time to play, I see that there are some great new resource and idea books, such as Paperwork : Enhancing Your Home with Paper-Mache (Inspirations) and Arnold Grummer's Complete Guide to Paper Casting. Both those titles will probably teach you more about making "pretty" things with paper-mache, but if you want to try your hand at art that will scare its viewers a bit you might get a copy of The Simple Screamer, which will teach you how to use cloth and paper to make a few haunted looking critters to liven up the place.

posted at: 16:25 | category: /Playing | link to this entry



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He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.
--Francis Bacon, Of Innovations
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