Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

The Book Brunch, Damnable HTML, Bizarre Referrals, Scuttlebutt, And The "Middle Class"

When I woke up this morning, which was at about 9:30, I lay about for a while, wondering what I was going to do with my day. I thought that maybe I could go Christmas shopping earlier than usual to avoid the tinny carols that waft through the over-conditioned mall air, or I could get to writing seriously on my NaNoWriMo piece, or I could... and then I thought, oh, my god, holy shit! I had to be out of bed, ready, and at the book awards brunch today by 10:30. By this time, it was already 10:00. I don't know how I managed to completely forget that the book awards brunch was happening this morning when I had helped work on it, but I did. So, I rushed about in a flurry, ironing clothing, ironing my hair, a quick breath-check, and then I was out the door trying to run in high heels across the first layer of treacherous ice this season. Thank god not one of the other volunteers had managed to show up early save for our extremely capable co-ordinator, so despite my being a half-hour late, she was glad to see someone had come early to help her out. The work that went into making the book awards brunch happen was worth it. Our speaker (who happens to be my father-in-law) was great, the food was plentiful if not fabulous, everyone there seemed to have a decent time, and we had a better turnout than expected. Now I have one more book industry thing to add to my resume so that one day I might ascend the ranks and make enough money to be considered middle-middle class. Woot!

I am so done with coding this damn site. Html can be a beast when you didn't know a thing to start with and read nothing about it before you started using it. At any rate, I like the way it looks when it is at a resolution of 1024 X 768. At 800 X 600 it looks pretty stupid, so people using that resolution will just have to change it if they want to read me. I can't seem to make the site work looks-wise at other resolutions, so if anyone has any suggestions for how to fix this, please let me know (and forgive my code, because I am new at this and am merely slogging through).

While checking up on referrals to my site, I noticed that there were only two searches on google that lead here over the last couple of weeks. The first one was for "penis guards," which I am utterly clueless about, and the second one was for "rolling motion of the uncircumcised penis," which impressed me with its succinctness considering that such a physical occurrence is probably very rarely brought up verbally. I am wondering if "penis guards"might be referring to sports cups, and I would like to find out, but I have found that this type of search has a tendency to throw up a kajillion windows filled with porn and often replaces my homepage with one I swear I never okayed.

My mother used the word "scuttlebutt" in an e-mail the other day, and boy, was it a tasty word to read. There is something breathy about the sounding of the vowels, and this breathiness is flanked on both sides by these harder sounds, which makes the word sound exactly like what it means -- nasty, possibly dirty, and worthy of whispering. By the way, in case any of you out there were wondering what "scuttlebutt" really means, here it is:
scuttlebutt (skuh-tuhl-buht) 1. n: a report (often malicious) about the behavior of other people; rumor or report of an intimate nature; chatty talk; the subject matter of gossip; "the divorce caused much gossip" [syn: gossip, comment] 2. n: a drinking fountain; "So, I'm going to fill up my canteen at the scuttlebutt."

Middle Class Facts and Links:**
* This site actually ranks household income by subculture. Apparently, "cultural creatives" are overwhelmingly concentrated in the middle class income range. There is a book, too, if anyone cares to read it.
* Over half of the Medicare beneficiaries in the United States who lack prescription drug coverage are in the middle class.
* The median income of Canadians has been declining relative to total family income for the past 25 years or so. In other words, the rich are getting richer, but one may comfort oneself with the knowledge that the middle classes are still by definition in the middle.
* The Victorian Reform Act of 1832 gave the vote for the first time to the working class, at least to all those able to afford to occupy a house of at least ten pounds annual value. The intention of the Whig ministers at the time was to break up a possible alliance between the middle and working classes. The ruling class feared that an alliance might give way to revolution, and they had seen what had happened to the French. Go here for more facts on the Victorian age.
* American middle-class families enjoyed 2.8% of the stock market gains between 1989 and 1998 but accounted for 38.8% of the increase in household debt. (Economic Policy Institute). "Shocking Facts About U.S. Income and Wealth Inequality" has more.
* The "middle class" of India, defined by the ability to afford electrical appliances, has grown from 310 million in 1990 to 550 million in 2000. The "very rich" of India, defined by the ability to afford a car, has grown from 2.5 million people in 1990 to roughly 33 million in 2000.
* In the United States, children from low-income families typically enter school a full year and a half behind their middle-class peers in language ability. The average middle-class first grader has been read to more than 1,250 hours. For some children in low-income families, the comparable figure is 25 hours.

** I would just like to add an aside here. I do not necessarily abide whole-heartedly with the economic classifications we have for individuals. For instance, on the "Cultural Creatives" website, they listed the middle class as having an income anywhere from $25,000 to $75,000 a year. That is an incredible spread, and so speaking of the middle class as a group having similar means and living conditions suggests that we miss whole sloughs of unique issues and problems pertaining to smaller segments of the broad range of people who make up this category. The focus is obviously much too wide when there is such wage disparity between the two ends of the spectrum.

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