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Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics April 27, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, People, Word Play.
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People love to throw statistics and emotional arguments around to support their own point of view and get people riled up about nothing.

I saw a commercial about autism which compared the number of children diagnosed with autism (1 in 166) with the number of children who are killed in fatal car crashes (1 in 23,000).

Using that as the starting point, it proceeded to argue that . . .


This is a perfect example of using flawed statistics to prove a point.

If you are talking about fatal car crashes, then you need to compare that with fatalities from autism, not the number of children diagnosed with autism.

Childhood fatalities from car crashes:  1 in 23,000

Childhood fatalities from autism:  a whole lot less!

Don’t be persuaded by someone spewing statistics in your direction.  First, look at what the numbers represent.  If they are comparing apples with oranges, ignore them.

There are three kinds of lies:  lies, damn lies, and statistics.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

No rules.  Just write!

Eat, Pray, Love . . . Tie the Knot??? April 27, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor, Mindfulness, People.
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How does an author follow up a smash international bestseller that has catapulted her from obscurity into fame and riches she never dreamed of?

Very carefully.

So says Amy Sohn of Publishers Weekly, in her recent editorial review of Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book:  Committed ~ A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage.

In Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert took us on a round-the-world tour from Italy to India to Indonesia, as she healed from a painful divorce.  In Italy, she ate piles of pasta.  In India, she meditated to gain clarity.  In Bali, she fell in love with Felipe ~ a divorced Brazilian-born gem seller with Australian citizenship.

Determined to avoid the potential pitfalls of marriage a second time, Gilbert and Felipe agree not to tie the knot with each other.  Instead, they exchange vows of fidelity in private without inviting friends, family, church, or state to witness their oaths of allegiance to one another.

Of course, life is what happens while we’re busy making, or not making, plans.

In Committed, Gilbert (who Time magazine named one of the one hundred most influential people in the world) embarks on another journey ~ an inner quest to make peace with matrimony after US Immigration officials stop Felipe at the border and refuse him admittance . . . unless and until he and Gilbert agree to get {gulp!} married.

In an effort to come to terms with the institution, Gilbert explores the rather fascinating history of marriage across the miles and ages:  from the tribal days of the Bible’s early testament (when marriage was both condoned and encouraged by church elders) through the early days of the Christian religion (when church elders frowned upon marriage, and actively discouraged men and women from exchanging marital vows with one another) through the present time.

As in Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert shares her journey with wit, wisdom, and subtle humor peppering her prose.  One of my favorite sections is the list of her worse character traits, which she presented to Felipe as a kind of “prenuptial informed consent release.”  Among her self-proclaimed flaws:

I think very highly of my own opinion.  I generally believe that I know best how everyone in the world should be living their lives ~ and you, most of all, will be the victim of this.

I have far more enthusiasm in life than I have actual energy.  You will be the one burdened with the job of mopping me up every time I’ve overextended myself and then fallen apart.  This will be unbelievably tedious.  I apologize in advance.

I am openly prideful, secretly judgmental, and cowardly in conflict.  All these things collude at times to turn me into a big fat liar.

While not as smooth and flowing a read as her first bestselling saga, Committed is an intriguing look beyond the surface into the sometimes murky (and quirky) depths of marriage we encounter when we “take the plunge.”

C’mon in . . . the water’s fine.