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Top 106 Unread Books Meme October 5, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Books, COMBS, librarything, memes.
5 comments

I got this from Writing Grandmother’s Book, who got it from Superfastreader.  It’s another book meme which lists books tagged as unread in Librarything.  Bold what you have read, italicize your DNFs, strikethrough the ones you hated, and put asterisks next to those you read more than once.

Jonathan Strange & M. Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
Catch-22
One hundred years of solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Ulysses
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife
The Iliad
Emma
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A heartbreaking work of staggering genius
Atlas shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlesex
* Quicksilver
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury tales
The Historian
A portrait of the artist as a young man
Love in the time of cholera
Brave new world
The Fountainhead
* Foucault’s Pendulum
Middlemarch
Frankenstein
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula
A clockwork orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King

The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
1984
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels

Les misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time
* Dune
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things

A people’s history of the United States : 1492-present
* Cryptonomicon
Neverwhere

A confederacy of dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Dubliners
The unbearable lightness of being
Beloved
* Slaughterhouse-five
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
* The Confusion
Lolita
Persuasion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
* The Hobbit
In Cold Blood

White teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

There are a lot of books here in common with the 100 Books Meme.  But they are nowhere near the bottom of the curve among the people who filled out that meme (see frequency table here).  For example, more than half the people who did that meme had read The Hobbit (67%), Catcher in the Rye (64%), etc.

 I’ll tag raincoaster, Stiletto, strugglingwriter, and K. F. Gallagher.

Nineteen Things Meme September 17, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in memes, Other.
8 comments

Cerebraljetsam tagged me with this one.  I am lazy and coming down with a cold, so I thought I’d do it, but it is taking me more time than the post I had intended to do today would have.  Anyway,

1. Pick out a scar you have, and explain how you got it.  I have this scar on my thumb, near the palm of my hand.  I got it from opening a large (one gallon) plastic pickle jar at a restaurant when I was 19 years old.  I opened it with a bread knife (both the jar and the thumb.)  It took about five stitches.  I remember looking at the bone and all the cut tissue briefly before the blood welled up and spoilt the view.

2. What does your phone look like? List your reasons to buy it?  I have posted a picture of my current cell phone here.  My land-line at home looks like an old-fashioned rotary-dial phone, but is actually new, from Pottery Barn, I think.  It is easy to cradle between your head and shoulder while you are talking, so you have your hands free.  It makes a ringing noise just like the phones in those old black and white movies.

3. What is on the walls of your bedroom? There are a few paintings, one of them a diptych of the Palouse (click here to see a photo of the Palouse taken by vsz) painted by my wife. There is also a painting that her grandmother did of crashing surf (Northern California).  There is a Renoir print on the other wall.  And there is a mirror.  This blog’s current header image is actually a photo of the top of that mirror, which has a bunch of origami West Highland White Terriers marching across it.  The Westies are folded from samples of different shades of white paint (Oyster White, Petticoat White, Navaho White, Country Stove White, Crescent Moon, Dover White, Tackroom White, and endless etc) in recognition that the real thing, our dog Maggie, is never a true white. 

4. What is your current desktop picture? It’s a tesselation I drew a couple of years ago.  It looks like this:

sqtessemb.jpg

I moved the folders because I have maybe a hundred of them and they would make the tesselation difficult to see.

5. Do you believe in gay marriage? Not quite sure how to answer this one.  I believe that gays should have the right to marry.  I believe that all marriages should be, to some extent, gay.  I’d probably draw the line at requiring gays to be married, as well as requiring marriages to be gay.  Hope that covers the bases.

6. What do you want more than anything right now? I want to go to sleep, ’cause I don’t feel well, but I’d like somebody else to do my work for me first.  I don’t want to have to wake up and still have to finish this proposal I’m supposed to be writing.

7 . What time were you born? This is one fact that never seems to stick in my head.  I remember that my son was born in the morning, ’cause I had to drive to the hospital at some ungodly hour on a cold November morning, and I was worried.  A little help, Mom?

8. Are your parents still together?  Oh, yeah.  Their anniversary is coming up in October, I am almost certain of that.  It will be number 45 for them.  They set quite an example.  So my brother and I are both still on our first wives.

9. Last person who made you cry? Me, if I remember correctly, but I was telling my wife about one of my employees when the tears leaked out.  Could have been talking to her about my son.  I don’t remember which was more recent.

10. What is your favorite perfume / cologne? I realize that these things have names, and that some people wear them.  My nose isn’t very good, though, so I suspect that it is only the cheap, unpleasant ones that I actually notice.

11. What kind of hair/eye color do you like in the opposite sex? Blonde hair, blue eyes.  Nothing else comes close, although many very attractive people have neither. I wish they all could be California girls, I guess.

12. What are you listening to? Why? I’m interpreting this as a question about music. I recently bought an acoustic bass guitar (Ibanez acoustic-electric).  So I’ve been noticing bass parts more than usual, and seeking them out.  I find myself listening to Elvis Costello albums where he plays with The Imposters (Like The Deliveryman).  That bassist is un-freaking-real. I’m listening to Diana Krall and some other jazz, again for the bass.  This weekend I listened to Supertramp’s Breakfast in America album.  Some of the song’s have a tuba instead of a bass, like a polka band or Dixieland jazz band might.  Very cool.  In the car I am listening to either National Public Radio or a radio station out of Boston WMKK 93.7 FM (Mike FM), which claims to play “everything.”  I don’t know how they could possibly have time to play everything when they play Men at Work’s “Down Under,” and “Who Can It Be Now” several times each day.  But they play a lot of music that I like but do not own.

13. Do you get scared of the dark? I’ve never been scared of the dark, so far as I can remember.  Things are usually quieter in the dark, less busy.  So it’s kinda nice. I think that the things that are going to hurt you are the ones that you see every day, the things and people that are so obvious and ubiquitous that you don’t even notice them until they get you.  Those are the things you should fear.  Darkness makes you careful–it is your friend.

14. Do you like painkillers? I do.  Like the darkness, painkillers let me focus a little better, because my nerves don’t distract me so much.  Unfortunately, the over-the-counter stuff doesn’t really work for me.  The good stuff, unfortunately, is something I only get when I am really hurting. 

15. Are you too shy to ask someone out?  No, but when I did it was always terrifying and nerve-wracking.

16. If you could eat anything right now, what would it be?  Something frightfully spicy, I guess, to clear out my head.  But I’m not all that hungry.  Maybe a fish taco (cod, so long as we’re dreaming here) with some fresh, sliced jalapeño in it.

17. Who was the last person who made you mad?  My boss.  Big surprise, right? 

18. List one habit you have that has the potential to annoy people?  I’ve said before in this space that I am not consistent enough to really have habits, as such.  I do lots of things that annoy other people, of course, but I suspect that these things are not very predictable. 

19. Who was the last person who made you smile? Me.  But I was thinking about my son, who told me seven times during dinner last night how much he enjoyed riding mountain bikes through the forest yesterday afternoon.

I’ll tag prairieflounder, who has yet to interview me, even though he said he would, writinggb, and anyone else who wants to play along.

100 Books Meme – Summary Statistics September 13, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in blogs, Blogs and Blogging, Books, COMBS, literature, memes, Other.
3 comments

The 100Books meme has made the rounds of the blogosphere for some time now, and I have examined the responses of 200 blogs, but haven’t yet decided what it all means.  Partially, this has to do with the eccentricity of the list itself.  Respondents are predominently within a demographic that I can only describe as “literate knitters.”  Hard to generalize from it, is what I mean to say.  I’ve got a plan to remedy that, which I’ll get to later.  First, here are the boring summary statistics as a pdf

The blogger in the sample who read the fewest read only four of these books.  One blogger claimed to have read 90 of them. And the average blogger claimed to have read 39 of them.  [I would have read 39 of them, too, if I had read all of the books I was supposed to read in school.  But I charted my own course, which explains my disappointing grades.]

I haven’t had much chance to look at the cross-tabulations yet, but I did notice a couple of oddities:

  1. Eleven people read Tolkien’s Return of the King without having read The Fellowship of the Ring.  What, if any, is the deal with that?
  2. Ten people read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire but did not read Harry Potter and the Sourceror’s Stone (AKA HP and the Philosopher’s Stone).  Similarly, WTF?

More to come.

100 Books Meme–my list September 11, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Blogs and Blogging, Books, memes, Other.
12 comments

This is a book meme that bounced around the blogosphere for a while.  I compiled statistics from a sample of 200 bloggers who have done it.  I’ll be posting some of the results later this week, but I thought I’d do the meme myself first.  It’s only fair.  It’s easy.  Just copy the list, bold the ones you have read, and post the results.  Don’t feel bad if you didn’t read a lot of them.  It is an odd list.

My results are kinda pathetic, in some spots, and I only read 35 percent of them (assuming I counted correctly.)  Found myself thinking that I am not reall all that well-read after all.  Some of the stuff in the list I don’t even recognize.  Some of it is trash, of course.  But there are a few that I really meant to get to.  Some of the ones I meant to read are also trash, I suspect.  Anyway, here’s my list.

1.   The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2.   Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3.   To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4.   Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5.   The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6.   The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7.   The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8.   Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9.   Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10.  A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11.  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12.  Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13.  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14.  A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15.  Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16.  Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
17.  Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18   The Stand (Stephen King)
19.  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20.  Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21.  The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22.  The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23.  Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24.  The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25.  Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26.  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27.  Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28.  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29.  East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30.  Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31.  Dune (Frank Herbert)
32.  The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33.  Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34.  1984 (Orwell)
35.  The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36.  The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37.  The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38.  I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39.  The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40.  The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41.  The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42.  The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43.  Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44.  The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45.  The Bible
46.  Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47.  The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48.  Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49.  The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50.  She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51.  The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52.  A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53.  Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54.  Great Expectations (Dickens)
55.  The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56.  The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57.  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58.  The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59.  The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60.  The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61.  Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62.  The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63.  War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64.  Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65.  Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66.  One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67.  The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68.  Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69.  Les Miserables (Hugo)
70.  The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71.  Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72.  Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73.  Shogun (James Clavell)
74.  The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75.  The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76.  The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78.  The World According to Garp (John Irving)
79.  The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80.  Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81.  Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82.  Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83.  Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84.  Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85.  Emma (Jane Austen)
86.  Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87.  Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88.  The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89.  Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90.  Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91.  In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92.  Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93.  The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94.  The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95.  The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96.  The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97.  White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98.  A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99.  The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Let me know if you want to participate in the study, and I’ll be sure to get your list in.

Book Cover Meme September 7, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Books, memes, Other.
10 comments

I got this from strugglingwriter, although Cavan, the originator of this meme is also on my subscriber list, so I would have seen it there.  Anyway, the rules to Cavan’s  A Book Meme are pretty simple. Here is a direct quote directly from his site:

Go to the advanced book search on Amazon, type your first name into the Title field, and post the most interesting/amusing cover that shows up.

I couldn’t decide which book picture to post, so I’m putting up both.

518yqw4smhl.jpg     51710zqbcjl.jpg

I get the lego thing, but is that pig supposed to represent Danish Ham? 

Am I supposed to tag people with this, Cavan?  These things won’t go viral on their own.  I know, I’ll tag some book bloggers. I tag Kimbooktu and The Abused Book Liberation Project, oh, and The Superfast Reader.

Creative Blogger Award September 5, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in blogging, blogs, Blogs and Blogging, memes, Other, Wordpress.
2 comments

A few weeks ago, when I was feeling particularly despondent about this blog, MoonTopples tagged me with the award below.

cbablack.jpg

It is always nice to receive such honors, even in that garish pink color.  So thank you Mr. Topples.  I have opened up a widget on my sidebar for this and other awards. 

The Creative Blogger Award is

For those who bring unique and creative elements to their blogs. For those who incorporate art, music, creative writing, photo’s, and other beautiful visual effects into their website. For those who put a unique spin on things and come up with new ideas. This award is for the artsy, the funky, the inventor, and even the rebel. This award is for those creative individuals who stand out from the crowd.

I am supposed to pick five people to which I then award this thing.  I’ll get to that in the coming week, I think, because last night, WordPress fixed the technical issues I was having.  I can now comment on other WordPress sites without being placed into the spam queue. 

I never realized how much of this blogging thing was contingent upon the interactions with other bloggers.  I suspected it, but until I was shut out of that world I just didn’t realize the full extent.  Hope this never happens to any of you, this Web 2.0 Shunning, dear blogger.

Eight More Things July 23, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in memes, Other.
2 comments

Cerebral Jetsam just tagged me with the Meme of Eight.  I have already been tagged with this one, but I am going to do it anyway, partially because I don’t have the mental strength to do a more complicated post, and because I find Cerebral Jetsam fascinating and want to support him and his blog.  Since I have already done this one, though, I’ll not pass it on to others.  It’s sort of a compromise, I guess. 

1. My wife and son left on an extended trip about a three weeks ago and I find myself much more lonely than I expected to be.  Work has been really mentally taxing, which is an odd development.  With my support system gone, and being too busy to blog from work, I’m finding it really hard to post.  I’ll join them this week, in California, and am really looking forward to it.

2. I am taking this opportunity, these several weeks when I am alone at home, to work on the house, and myself.  There are a wide variety of home improvement projects to work on, including the sink installation, which I have posted about already, and insulating the attic, and a few other projects.  I am working on my posture, too, which has never been good.  I suspect that my posture problem stems from the fact that I wasn’t a serious athlete as a kid, and the fact that I am both very tall and very shy.  So I have always tried to become invisible, which is hard for somebody who is a full two meters tall.  I am doing exercises that I found on the web.

3. When I went, late in my junior year of high school, to see a career counselor, he told me that I should consider vocational school of some sort, and that college would be a waste of my time.  I didn’t believe him, but many people did.  I was a serious underachiever. 

4. I married one of the few who did not believe that I wouldn’t do well in college.  She was the valedictorian of my class.  She thought of me as one of the smartest people she knew.  But that’s not why I married her.

5. I am not totally alone.  My dog, Maggie, is here with me.  She is lonely, too.  I compensate by taking her on long walks.  But she is frustrated, nonetheless, by the fact that I leave here alone for four or five hours at a time, coming home on my lunch hour to walk her and talk to her, throw the ball for her. I find this responsibility curiously draining.

6. I am wearing a surgical smock right now, given to me by my best friend in high school, whose father was a doctor.  I could never have become a real doctor.  I have a Ph.D., but I can’t really deal with people in pain very well.  It is too upsetting.  I do pretty well in crises, and other stress, but it affects me too deeply to choose such a profession. 

7. I had a difficult time specializing in graduate school.  That’s because graduate school is mainly about becoming the world’s foremost expert in one thing, and I am, deep down, a jack of all trades, better at most things than most people.  I squeaked by, carrying a 4.0 until I was safely ensconced in a funded teaching assistantship and then pursuing whatever I felt like pursuing.  I studied recent U.S. history and had several conversations with my advisor where he would ask me why I needed to take a class in Latin or whatever.  Needed?

8. There are times when I find myself missing California.  This won’t shock many people, only the ones who know me.  And I realize that the California in which I grew up is completely gone, but still.  It’s like Tom Petty says, “California’s been good to me/ I hope it don’t fall into the sea.” 

Wither Question #98? June 29, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in blogging, blogs, Blogs and Blogging, COMBS, memes, Other, statistical analysis, tagging.
2 comments

This is fourth in a series of posts about my study of responses to the dreaded 150 Things meme.  All of which will end up on the COMBS page of this site, eventually.

Zandperl,* of Strange Musings writes:

One thing I noticed in your “study” is that many people left out the #98, about naming a constellation. I believe that I deliberately omitted it from mine since I’m an astronomer and know that in reality you can’t name your own constellation (the International Astronomical Union, of anti-Pluto fame, actually names them), but I’m curious if you know why all the other people omitted it and who started it.

Ah, well, I was curious about that, too.  Many people omitted this question before you deleted it from you list.  Difficult to say why, at least without more research (Oh, Boy!), but it may have been because there were at least two different questions numbered 98 by then.  Most people who answered the question (meaning that they included it in their list) put it in as “created and named your own constellation.”  But a few answered a different question #98: “passed out cold.” 

Perhaps a short paragraph regarding method is in order.  This “study” sampled blogs that responded to this meme by going to Technorati and typing in the first line of the meme as a search term.  Then I scrolled through 50 pages (500 blogs) until I got to the 50th, and worked backwards.  (I figured that with some blogs being deleted and some being offline for other reasons, I would be able to get a sample of 300 or so with which I could do this “study.”)** 

The earliest blog in the sample (um, the earliest for which I have a date) was Purple Valley, written by val, published on October 19, 2006.  If one wanted, one could trace the meme back, starting with the people that tagged her (which can be found on her post, here) and probably, perhaps, find the origin of the meme. 

What a discovery that would be!  Like Burton and Speke searching for the origin of the Nile. It would take you to the wilds of the Internet Archive, I suppose. If nobody wants to do that, I would understand.  But I am otherwise engaged at the moment. If sombody does want this job, I’d be happy to put them on the list of advisors at COMBS (which would mean putting up a page for that sort of thing, of course).  Such a research affiliate could choose their own title and role there, we’re not stuffy about that sort of thing.

Finally, my sincerest apologies for not responding to comments in the last two weeks.  There have been many, and I have responded to many of them on other peoples’ blogs, because my blog, this blog, perhaps for very good reasons, treats my own comments as spam and filters them out.  Yes.  It does.  And then yesterday when I discovered what Akismet was doing I attempted to “unspam” these comments.  It ignored my efforts as efficiently as only a computer algorithm can ignore things.  It did.

*Does one capitalize the lower case name of a nom-de-blog when it starts a sentence?  I couldn’t find anything in Strunk and White to cover this.

**zandperl put the word “study” in quotation marks, which I’m going to adopt here.  As soon as I have the time I’m going to change it throughout the blog, even going so far as to change it within the logo for COMBS.  Although I am making a serious attempt to get all of this stuff right, I’m not fooling myself into lending my findings more scientific weight or import than they can bear.  Having done some serious polling, public opinion, and marketing research, I know how to do a serious study.  Most of the questions in this particular meme have multiple interpretations, which would be inadmissible as a study.  Take question #98, for example.  I interpreted it to mean something like what the fictional ogre Shrek did in his first movie, pointing at the sky and telling Donkey that there was a constellation called “Gabby” named after a talkative donkey.   What I am doing here is not a series of studies; these are “studies.”

Experience: What’s it Good For? June 27, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in memes, Other, Philosophy, statistical analysis, tagging, web 2.0.
4 comments

This is third in a series of posts about my study of responses to the dreaded 150 Things meme.  All of which will end up on the COMBS page of this site, eventually.

My wife and I rented “The Pursuit of Happyness” from Netflix about a month ago but finally found time to watch it on Sunday night.  I like Will Smith.  We lived in San Francisco for a while, at a time when I was interested in the stock market.  We are both interested in the plight of the homeless.  There were a lot of reasons that we thought we’d like the movie.  But we just couldn’t get through the unhappyness part of it.  We stopped watching after maybe 25 minutes and sent it back.

But it got me thinking about this meme, which some people looked at as a to-do list for life.  It should all add up to something, shouldn’t it, all these experiences? 

I combined the positive responses to questions #38 (have you ever actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment?) and #141 (have you ever thought to yourself that you’re living your dream?) to divide the sample into people who were relatively content (those who responded in the affirmative to both), and relatively discontent (those who did not).  Then I crosstabulated these against the rest of the questions.  So, what correlations did I find at the 95% level of confidence?  None.  Didn’t seem to make much difference. 

That again:

None of the accomplishments on that list was strongly related to how content you said you were. 

The Impulsively Generous June 26, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in blogging, blogs, Blogs and Blogging, COMBS, memes, Other, philanthropy, statistical analysis, tagging.
1 comment so far

One of the fun parts of statistical research is connecting data that seemlingly have nothing to do with one another.  For example, does one’s propensity to give too much money to charity have anything to do with the probablility that one has touched a cockroach? 

As it turns out, within the statistical sample I took of bloggers who responded to the 150 things meme, the answer is yes.  People who had at some point given more money than they had to charity were much more likely to have touched a cockroach. 

I intend to do a few more crosstabulations of the implications of my study of the 150 things meme and would be delighted to have this research directed by readers.  Just let me know about your pet theories (as they pertain to data in the 150 things meme) and I’ll run the numbers.  Obviously I need some sort of direction because there are more than 12,000 possible crosstabulations in this dataset. 

Anyway, I started with an analysis of question #24, (have you ever given more than you could afford to charity) because responses were almost evenly split, which gave me two samples of more than 100 to compare.  But the question also caught my eye because I work in fundraising.  So I’m always looking to shed more light on philanthropy, when I can.  What else does an extensive crosstabulation of question #24 tell us?  Those who had given more than they could afford to charity were significantly more likely to have

  • Bought everyone in the bar a drink,
  • Held a tarantula,
  • Taken a candlelit bath with someone,
  • Hugged a tree,
  • Watched a meteor shower,
  • Gotten drunk on champagne,
  • Had a food fight,
  • Asked out a stranger,
  • Held a lamb,
  • Seen a total eclipse,
  • Taken a midnight walk on the beach,
  • Milked a cow,
  • Pretended to be a superhero,
  • Started a business,
  • Fallen in love and not had their heart broken,
  • Crashed a party,
  • Recorded music,
  • Picked up and moved to another city just to start over,
  • Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild,
  • Changed someone’s mind about something they care deeply about,
  • Eaten fried green tomatos, and
  • Selected one “important” author they missed in school and read (them)

As they say, correlation does not imply causality, except when it does, of course.  Just because these people were more likely, as a group, to have eaten fried green tomatos than the non-impulsively generous group doesn’t mean that people who are careful and/or stingy have an aversion to that food.  But it sorta makes you think, duznit?  And if nothing else, these crosstabulations point in the same direction as every other bit of research that COMBS has produced and will ever produce: 

Needs more research.