Information overload

When I was pregnant with my first child, I took the obligatory Lamaze class.  I mostly found the class creepy and New Age (proving, even then, that I was a nascent conservative).  Indeed, the only thing I took away from the class, and the only thing that’s still stuck in my brain was the core point, the point that the teacher admitted was really the only reason for all the fancy Lamaze breathing and New Age wrapping.

During the third or fourth class, the instructor had us grasp a few ice cubes in our hands.  As you know, after the initial “oooh” feeling of chill, it quickly gets quite unpleasant to hold an ice cube in your hand.  The darn thing is cold, too cold.  After we’d suffered through a minute or two of burning cold on our hands, the instructor had our partners do the breathing exercises with us.  The pain receded.

Since we all realized that there was no correlation between oxygen flow and cold hands (as opposed to what we presumed was the connection between oxygen flow and a less painful labor), she explained in simple words what was happening:  “Your brain can process only so much data simultaneously.  When your partner started insisting on you doing the breathing, that information filled your brain and eventually overrode your brain’s ability to be aware of the pain in your hand.”  In other words, too much information can even distract you from pain.

As it happened, I discovered that the best distraction from pain during childbirth is an epidural, but that’s another story.  (Although I will say that even I was aware of the irony of me — me!! — begging to have a needle stuck in my spine.)

All of the above is not simply a bizarre digression.  It goes, instead, to the problems I’ve been having with blogging lately.  As regular readers know, I used to be much more prolific, and I’d get going earlier in the day.  Some of my slow down is logistical.  I have a morning job now, and simply can’t get to the computer.  I then have a short of window of mid-daytime, which is often eaten up by errands, etc.  I then go into high gear for the afternoon shift, which again drags me away from my computer for the carpools, volunteer work, shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.  And, of course, selfishly, I put the dojo ahead of the blog.  Blogging is wonderful, but the dojo is good for my health, both mental and physical.  Simply put, my time is more constricted than before.

But there’s a bigger problem, and this gets to my Lamaze story.  President Obama and his Democrats have been busy, busy, busy, and the rogue nations have been busy too.  The news cycle pops with stories, not from day to day, or week to week, but from minute to minute.  During my shortened computer time, I’m struggling to process

And all of that’s just what I could think of sitting here for a minute.  Go to my usual haunts, such as American Thinker, Little Green Footballs, Power Line, Michelle Malkin, National Review, Commentary, The New York Times, the SF Chronicle, etc., and there’s more and more and more and more.

In the old days, I used to be a powerful information processor.  It’s one of the reasons I’ve always been a good legal writer.  I can read a bunch of stuff and start synthesizing it.  I see connections.  Except that I’m not a whacked out schizophrenic, it’s sort of like that moment in the movie A Beautiful Mind when the Russell Crowe character, having pinned all these articles to the wall, suddenly sees them explode in interconnectedness.  Because he was mad, of course, nothing actually connected them but, in my world, things frequently did connect, and I had a good track record of convincing judges that my patterns were correct.

For many years, my blog has been the same.  I read the news, and read it, and read it, and then suddenly, I have a wonderful epiphany when a pattern makes sense.  Lately, though, I can’t see any patterns beyond the obvious one:  Obama told more egregious lies (both in number and in scope) than most politicians have had to tell in order to get elected.  He had to, of course, because he had no record on which to run.  All he had was the promise he made to credulous voters that he was good enough, smart enough and, gosh darn it!, people would like him.

It’s a good lie.  Popularity polls show that, bizarrely, even as people figure out that his policies are inimical to their economic well-being and their values, they still like him.  Apparently Lincoln was wrong.  If you’re Obama, you can fool all of the people (or at least enough of them) all of the time.

And so I’m having trouble blogging.  There are too many ice cubes.  There’s too much mental pain.  I can’t blog out the noise, dull the pain and see the patterns.  Just when it’s most important that the opposition keep to its message, I’ve lost my focus.  I assume I’ll get it back, but you’ll have to bear with me for a few days (weeks?!) if my blog is a bit discursive, or if it relays information without much comment.  Right now, in my brain, there’s no there there.