Tag Archive | shouting from the soap box

The Amazing Human Brain

brain1Last night when I couldn’t sleep, I turned on the Science Channel and watched a fascinating program about people who suffered brain injuries and subsequently emerged from their injury with abilities they didn’t have before the accident.

One person fell as a toddler and began sculpting animals — mostly horses. In about five to ten minutes, this man (now 53 years old) could produce a 3D image of a horse or longhorn steer that was so life-like it’s hard to believe anyone could produce something so beautiful in such a short period of time. And get this — He MUST sculpt– at one point in his life he was institutionalized and his clay was taken away from him. Later, he told his caregiver this was child abuse.

Another profile was about an ordinary guy who was playing around a pool with this buddies and accidentally dove into the shallow end. He banged his head on the cement bottom of the pool, lost some hearing temporarily, and days later he had the ability to write and play his music on the piano. We’re not talking “Mary had a little lamb,” here folks; we’re talking about complicated classical pieces of music and original scores. Before the accident, this man had never touched a piano, but now he MUST play or the music in his brain drives him crazy.

There were other stories about such incidents, but I think sharing two with you is enough to make the point that scientists and doctors don’t have a clue why these people do what they do. It’s as if the injury turned off certain abilities and made room in the brain to turn other abilities on. I can’t explain this savant behavior of their findings, but it just goes to show you what amazing beings we humans truly are.

Wouldn’t it be great if we understood the way we tick? After that we might delve into the workings of the oceans. There’s so much to explore right here on little ol’ earth. I think we should concentrate on exploring these types of phenomena instead of using our brains to conjure up more sophisticated ways to kill each other.

Yeah, I’m on my soap box today. The situation in Syria involving chemical weapons makes me so sad. Why couldn’t countries be satisfied with the power to be able to destroy the earth with nuclear power? Why did the US and the USSR also have a chemical weapons warfare race, too? (This is a true fact of the cold war. It was Nixon who put a stop to the US chemical weapon development. I guess this fact got lost in his Watergate debacle.)  Why do governments develop such things? Putting anthrax on ballistic missiles to shoot at one another seems like overkill to me.  Yeah, I watch the Military Channel, too.

For all the good in the world, there seems to be a need to perpetuate evil, too. I just wonder how gassing or poisoning innocent populations and destroying land masses for millions of years achieves anything. Perhaps this thinking is prevalent because many people in power don’t have exceptional brains?

No Credit for Credit Bureaus

Soap BoxI’ve climbed onto MY SOAP BOX for today’s post, so if you don’t want to read my rant opinion, stop reading right now.

Last night on 60 Minutes (one of my favorite television programs), there was a story about a woman who found an error on her credit report. (It was reported that there are over 40 Million mistakes in credit reporting.) Like a good, responsible person she took great care to keep her credit in good status. Like we are all instructed, she checked her report often. When she found an error, she took action right away and called the bureau to report the mistake. She followed their instructions to get the error corrected, and after several weeks, nothing was done. That’s right, NO ACTION was taken. And as the story goes, this is the norm, not the exception.

Most Americans know credit scores have become the most important number in their lives. It has become a barometer of personal responsibility and character, which is totally ridiculous.

But, nonetheless, this woman in the story pursued her quest to get the error on her report fixed. She  eventually fought for YEARS with no satisfaction. I kid you not–SHE FOUGHT FOR YEARS!  She proved to the credit bureau that another woman with a similar name was responsible for the trouble. The error was indeed an error, and yet, the credit bureau did nothing to rectify it. In fact, when she requested a copy of her report, it was different from what the lending institutions received!

The other part of the story is these matters are not handled  handled by employees in INDIA. Yup, that’s right. People completely on the other side of the world are expected to fix these American boo-boos. And they probably could take care of the problem, IF THEY WERE GIVEN THE AUTHORITY TO DO SO.

See the vortex?  See the fraud?

The credit bureaus have turned out to be real-life “Big Brothers” — and corrupt ones at that. They control our lives in a way that no other agency does. This one arbitrary number affects rates everything financial and more. It affects rates you can get on loans. It affects credit card rates. It’s taken into consideration when you apply for insurance. And recently, it even affects your ability to get a job!  In addition, most people don’t realize that cellphone and cable companies, as well as landlords use the scores as part of customer background checks. Believe it or not, one late payment can cost a person thousands of dollars over the following five to 10 years because credit card companies base interest rates on credit scores.

These credit agencies are worse than organized crime! A loan shark might break  your leg to get his due, but after he’s taken his pound of flesh, it’s done. I love this one comment that appeared on the CBS blog: “The credit rating agencies will symbolically break every bone in your body, harvest your organs for sale to the highest bidder, and leave your carcass to the vultures to be picked clean.”

What was the end result for the woman in the 60 Minutes story? She ended up SUING the credit bureau and settling for a large amount of money. I’m happy for her. She deserved whatever she was awarded. But here’s the logic behind the settlement: The credit bureau finds it easier to deal with the problem this way instead of just  fixing the error in the first place!

What I wanted to know is what genius  bean counter decided that ONE LITTLE NUMBER is the determinant that we are a good people?  Who sees such vivid black and white in our complex gray world?  What about people who have earned a good wage for a long time, paid their bills on time, and managed their credit responsibility for years, who have fallen victim to an economic downturn and unemployment and underemployment for the past several years?  Personally, I’ve watched my 700+ credit score plummet over the past three years. It’s disheartening to know that in the eyes of the credit world, I am just a step above a felon.

So, I’ve decided to join the apathetic millions who don’t concern themselves with this ONE NUMBER issued by these fraudulent agencies who are too lazy to fix mistakes for good people. It really doesn’t matter. I’ve fallen into this credit black hole and have little recourse to solve the dilemma. My choices are–to die or pay cash.