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Reverse Robinhood

Posted by RWyatt on March 11, 2016 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

This kind of preditory victimization is my ultimate pet-peeve.

I'm sharing this article to enlighten all who have a desire to know about these established unfair practices. Not that I haven't been ridden over by one or more of these injustices, but whenever anyone has to experience any one of these wrongs, I get madder than anyone can get.

I thank Bill Quigley for researching these facts and sharing them with us on his twitter page, where I found them.

I hope you find this article as helpful as I do.

Thank You

Ruth Wyatt

MARCH 8, 2016

Reverse Robin Hood: Six Billion Dollar Businesses Preying on Poor People






Many see families in poverty and seek to help. Others see families in poverty and see opportunities for profit.


Here are six examples of billion dollar industries which are built on separating poor people, especially people of color, from their money, the reverse Robin Hood.


Check Cashing Businesses


Check cashing businesses. Cash a $100 check? At Walmart that will be $3. At TD bank non-customers pay $5 to cash a check from their bank.


Nearly 10 million households containing 25 million people do not have any bank account according to the FDIC. Most because they did not have enough money to keep a minimum balance in their account.


Check cashing business are part of a $100 billion industry of more than 6,500 check cashing businesses in the US, many which also provide money orders, utility bill payments and the like, according to testimony provided to Congress by the industry.


Pawn Shops


More than 30 million people use pawn shop lending services for an average loan of $150. One company, Cash America, has 84 check cashing centers and 859 lending locations in the US, over 260 in Texas alone, extending over $1 billion in pawn loans. In their 2014 annual report they disclose that 30 percent of people never return to redeem the item they pawned and the sale of those items makes up over half of the company revenues. The company paid millions in penalties in 2013 for overcharging members of the armed services and filing inaccurate court pleadings in thousands of cases. The CEO was given $6 million in 2014.


Overdraft Fees


Overdraft fees, when there is not enough money in the checking account or credit card to cover all purchases, is an $11 billion industry for banks, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. A recent New York Times article explains how banks sometimes charge overdraft fees even when the customer has enough money in their accounts to cover the purchase and were forced to pay more than a billion dollars for manipulating the order of purchases to maximize the chances that their customers will have to pay extra fees.


Payday Loans


Payday loans are used by people over 15 million times a year and can lead to deep debt problems and usually involve incredible percentages of up to 391 percent according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Pew Charitable Trusts reported pay day loans are a $7 billion dollar a year industry. The Federal Trade Commission won a $300 million case against two payday lenders who were deceiving borrowers, who, for example, took out a $300 loan thinking it could be repaid for $390 when in fact the lender was charging $975 to pay off the $300 loan. The US Department of Justice indicted former race car driver Scott Tucker on criminal charges for operating a $2 billion nationwide payday loan operation which routinely charged interest on loans for over 4.5 million people of 400 to 700 % per year. The nation’s largest pay day loan company, Advance America, charged nearly 140,000 people in North Carolina annual percentage rates exceeding 450 percent until it was stopped by the state.


Car Title Loans


More than 2 million people use auto title loans every year, paying about $3 billion in fees each year, with typical annual percentage rates of 300 percent, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. The Center for Responsible Lending estimates there are over 7000 businesses which loan money to people based on holding the title to their cars, usually charging up to 300 percent annual interest, which they advertise as 25 percent per month. The average borrower gets a loan of $951 and pays off $3,093.


Debt collection


Debt collection is a $13 billion dollar a year industry employing more than 140,000 workers in 6,000 companies, according to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


Debt collectors make more than 1 billion (yes with a b!) contacts with consumers each year, according to their own industry newsletter. Twelve million people (5.3 percent of consumers) are at least 30 days behind on their payments, according to the Urban Institute. Thirty-five percent of all adults with credit files, 77 million people, have debt in collection reported in their files. Pro Publica reviewed five years of court judgments and found the rate of judgements was twice as high in mostly black neighborhoods as it was in white ones.


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has over 74,000 complaints about improper debt collection, its number one complaint, according to a recent report of the Alliance for A Just Society.


These are not just small companies but big names like Citigroup, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, in fact the Alliance for Just Society reported the big companies in debt collections have made nearly $100 million in contributions to federal candidates and parties since 2001 and another $280 million on federal lobbyists.


Citibank was sued twice by the federal CFPB over falsified documents and providing inaccurate information in debt collections and agreed to settle the case.


The debt collector with the largest number of complaints, Encore Capital Group, specializes in buying up debts from other creditors and then filing hundreds of thousands of lawsuits was forced to cancel more than 4,500 court judgments against borrowers in New York after it was charged with filing shoddy lawsuits.


JPMorgan Chase paid over $130 million to settle a case against it brought by attorney generals from 47 states for improperly collecting debts under what is called robo-signing, where legal documents are approved and filed without proper review. JPMorgan earlier paid $389 million in fines and refunds to credit-card consumers for problems with debt collections.




These businesses target families with incomes below $35,000 and people of color are three times more likely to receive abusive loans than whites. People with blemished credit are often passed over when seeking jobs.


There is some good news. Democrats created and passed into law the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which is now beginning to gain some traction in monitoring and regulating these predatory practices. Bad news is that Republicans like Ted Cruz are trying to kill it and some Democrats are trying to hobble it. There are also good groups like the Center for Responsible Lending which provide excellent information on the abuses. But in the meantime making money off poor people remains a booming business.


Join the debate on Facebook

Bill Quigley teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans and can be reached at quigley77@gmail.com.

About my latest Manuscript

Posted by RWyatt on May 24, 2015 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

As I stated in my previous blog post, I have not yet firmly given my book a title, but the context is decided.

The genre of my book is Romance/Paranormal and the story is about how witchcraft subtley intrudes in the affairs of churches in the twentieth-century.  

To help you understand the concept of the book, I found these defnitions to enlighten you.


Christian Vews -

Is viewed as Gnostic i.e. involving the aquision of secret knowledge rather than based on scripture and open church tradition.

It's seen as involving practices such as divination and calling on spirits which are forbidden in the Bible.

Witchcraft - broadly means the practice of, and belief in, magical skills and abilities that are able to be exercised individually, by designated social groups, or by persons with the necessary esoteric (secret, private) knowledge.

Although witchcraft can often share common ground with related concepts such as socery, the paranormal, magic, superstition, shamanism, healing, spiritualism, and the occult, it is usually seen as distinct.

The character in the book uses the occult mostly, to control her counterparts.

The occult (from the Latin word ocuritus "clandestine, hidden secret") is "knowledge of the hidden." (1) In common English usage, occult refers to "knowledge of the paranormal" as opposed to "knowledge of the(2) measurable, usually referred to as science. The term is sometimes taken to mean knowledge that "is meant only for certain people" or that must be kept hidden", but for most practicing ocultists it is simply the study of a deeper spiritual reality that extends beyond pure reason and physical sciences. (3) The terms esoteric and arcane have very similar meanings, and in most conexts the three terms are interchangeable.

Some religions and sects enthusiastically embrace occultism as an integral aspect of mystical religious edperience. This attitude is common within Wicca and many other modern pagan religions.  Some other religious denominations disapprove of occultism in most or all forms.  They may view the occult as being anything supernatural or paranormal which is not achieved by or through God (as defined by those religious denominations), and is therfore the work of an opposing and malevolent entity.

The word has negative connotations for many people, and while certain practices considered by some to be "occult" are also found within mainstream religions, in this context the term "occult" is rarely used and sometimes substituted with "esoteric".

Ref: Winepedia

Keeping In Touch

Posted by RWyatt on January 9, 2014 at 1:30 AM Comments comments (0)

It has been a long while since I've updated my Blog.  Well, I suppose I felt there wasn't anything significant to say.  However, I feel remiss because thinking about it,  I should be more forthcoming.  I want those who wouldn't mind hearing from me regularly, to have that opportunity.  

I do want you to know though, I've been busy writing my next book.  And I am glad to report the first draft is finished.  I haven't decided the title positively yet, but have a strong contender.  

The novel is absolutely fiction.  Though the story may resemble someone you may know, life's perils, It is not to be considered as based on anyone's true life story.  I've been in Churches of different denominations all of my life, and many of my readers may have also, and may think they recognize a particular person in the story.  My knowledge and observation of church goers behavior is enormorous.  Therefore, I used my experience of the many years in attendence to develop my story.

In the meantime, I want to keep you in tune with my first book: The Saga of Katie Ruth. 

I read it through for the upteenth time, and I am enthralled and elated with the inspiring words written in it.  I was able to relate effectively, so that others may enjoy reading my work as well.  As I wrote, I prayed and ask for help with nearly every word.  Without a doubt, my prayers were answered.  I give all the praise to God.

A reader had this comment:

(I explained in detail about this event mentioned in the story.  I don't think it needs to be expounded upon again right here.) 

Gloria Purnell

I recently read a Purnell history fact in "The Saga of Katie Ruth"! Chapter 23 & page 135, " Another one (Ruth Wyatt) graduated in 1968. Just last year when Dr. Martin Luther King had marched there in Winona (Mississippi) for the advancement of colored people, Ruth marched with him....she ..marched right up in front of the line. Right beside Martin himself" What a historic blessing!

Ruth Wyatt: Gloria Purnell, I appreciate your sincere interest in the history of our family & expressing enjoying some of the highlights of The Saga of Katie Ruth.

It’s true, I most certainly did march arm in arm with Dr. King. …..

When we heard the Freedom Riders were coming through our small town, so many of the black citizens of our community were fearful, but Samuel McNutt, our first cousin and I, took on courage...if other black folk wouldn't, we would take a stand against the opposition aganst our freedoms we faced every single day. We were tired of Jim Crows' crippling efforts to hold us in its grip, so we were energized and ready to play whatever small part we could.

That day, we were told the Freedom Riders were coming in wagons and would arrive in Winona shortly.

Dr. King & the Freedom Riders finally arrived later in the afternoon that day. We were, to say the least, anxious and excited to meet our champion of freedom in the flesh. When his entourage came over to the area where we were, I rushed over to Dr. King admst the crowd, told him how glad we all were that he had finally made it to Winona and shook his hand. He smiled and said he was glad to have all of our support.

After we received instructions and were prepared to march th mile or so to the courthouse, I took my place right beside Dr. King and walked right next to him along with several other of his other supporters that lived in Winona. We marched right up to the steps of the Winona Courthouse.

Dr. King left the marchers after we arrived at the Courthouse, went up to the top of the stairs and addressed his supporters and the rest of the people who were in attendance.  We gave him our undivided attention and listened with rapt attention as he spoke to us.

Scores of Policemen surrounded us, waiting for us to make one wrong move.

Sam and I stood firm in our conviction, stayed close to the Freedom Riders the rest of the day and that night we had a rally at the Methodist Church.


We Celebrated My Father - Aaron Purnell, Sr. - Birth Year -1912

Posted by RWyatt on April 6, 2013 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)




Almost a year ago, my siblings and I got together to celebrate our father’s 100th birth year. We appealed to all of his grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren by promising them the best reunion they’d ever had. The party was exactly what we’d hoped for.

To make it more interesting to our youngters, we added that our father was born on the evening the Titanic went down, April 12, 1912.



We broke bread together, drank nectar, reminisced and had the best time ever. The eldest among us told stories of yester-year; everything they remembered. The younger ones, listened raptly as they were told details of unheard stories their uncles had never revealed before. My second oldest brother bought items that belonged to my father, who died in 1957. Personal items he used while he was alive. Items such as the shaving brush and razor he used and handy tools he had owned.



My youngest brother read a letter my father had written to my mother while he was away in Chicago seeking a job. We were astonished to learn he was put upon to buy a job if he was to get one, back in 1957. Our family remained in Mississippi during the time our father was in Chicago.

We'd hoped to move there with him in a few months, but he never found a job that would sufficiently support his wife and eight underage children, so we didn’t get to go.



The younger adult members of the family got together and organized a trip down to Bill Street in Memphis, no more than an hour away. That trip was their whole talk the next day. We stayed for three days in a hotel, exclusively reserved for our family.  For the full three days, we had the run of the whole place. All of the first cousins went from room to room and in some cases, acquainting themselves with each other, or getting reacquainted.

The reunion was exceptional. The wonderful time we had gave us reason to do it again.



We plan to have another immediate family reunion next year in 2014 to celebrate our mother’s birth year. I’m hoping when we come together the next time, we will have a blast again.

We took lots of pictures.  Go look at them here in my photos.






Let;s Push Forward

Posted by RWyatt on January 7, 2013 at 2:30 AM Comments comments (0)

I’m not an avid political endorser of any particular party, just the policies that affect our everyday lives.

My heart longs for change. The critical change purported by the election and declared by the majority of the people in America when we selected our leader in November, 2012.  My longings and appeal are to one group in particular.  I appeal to the group who fought to have their vote count and who voted for a riveting chance to show our unity for that change, by a vast majority in the last election.  That group is the African American voters who turned out in an uprecedented percentage rate in a moving outcry for that change. My idealisted hope is for them to step up to the challenge and help our President make the changes that are prevalent for us. Our votes spoke to the ‘powers that be’ and said we won the right by our show of support for our man and our eagerness to put him in office.


To make our voices heard, as has been proven historically, we must push with prolonged grit and determination to attain our civil liberties, our equal share and justice in the social and economic position in America. We ask for no more or no less than our fair share. The Middle Class has been bought to near poverty by the woes of the down-turn that happened in this latest economic crises. But we won the right to have our Middle Class bought back to their pre-recession status by asking the richest Americans to pay a bit more in taxes in that decisive election.


Absolutely none of the changes that can occur will reach our group, unless we fight fearlessly. Nothing is gained in our society until we fight with ‘actions of force’ and resolute. We must use effective measures to get and keep the attention of our elected congressmen in both houses. I adjure you to call them, write letters, and join protesters who protest peacefully, to demand a financial revolution for our people and this country.  We demand improved health care that won't take away way what we've recently gained. To strengthen Social Security, not lower its standards. When we use whatever is within our abilities to forge a united front, and when we protest so loudly our voices are felt all the way up on Capitol Hill, then we let them know we are dead serious and will never back down from pivotal achievements we've already gained and have a right to.


I’ve heard that when a person exercise to build-up muscles for a period of time, and the muscles begin to strengthen,  if he/she quit exercising, the muscles will atrophy. We worked with such fortitude and courage to get our candidate elected during the 2012 election, we mustn't stop now. We made our votes count and our voices heard. It was important to us! Let’s not make the mistake of letting the resilient flexing of our voters’ muscles atrophy. Let the work we began, grow into a fundamental power that will effect the changes we desire for us now and for future generations.


Every taxpayer, no matter what race or creed, is entitled to equal social and economic liberties. Yet we find disproportionately among minorities, a tendency toward neglectful inclusion in the American promise.  I implore you, let’s keep the momentum going.  Make it loud, from when we were all fired up during the elections, to reach deep into the consciousness of those we elected. We demand better education opportunities, a lower jobless rate for African Americans, and foremost, we need laws passed that will protect us from random killings in the streets. This is just to name a few very vital issues we must fight for.


Push forward my fellow citizens, and never let our elected officials take us for granted as they have in the past. Remember: To praphrase the bible; “The earth suffers violence and the violent take it by force.”


My view on the subject

Ruth Purnell-Wyatt

8 terms that suck the life out of your writing

Posted by RWyatt on August 27, 2012 at 1:20 AM Comments comments (3)

 I feel the need to keep my audience informed to the best of my ability, so I give you the best information I can find.  So here you go.......  Enjoy!

How and why to eliminate vampire words including somewhat, whatsoever and although from your prose.

By Russell Working | Posted: August 24, 2012

Abraham Lincoln wrote the most famous speech in American history. He also was a noted vampire slayer.


Coincidence? Children may wish it so. But tough-minded communicators know that the practice of cleaning up one’s copy goes hand in hand with wielding axes against the undead.


Writers must be willing to kill for the greater good of humankind. We must destroy those vampire words (and phrases) that suck the life out of our prose.


Copyblogger notes that E.B. White recognized the dangers of words like rather, very, little, and pretty decades ago, although the nearsighted writer mistook them for “leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words.”


No, sir; the problem is far worse than a few freshwater annelids. “With the Internet making writers and publishers of us all, those little words aren’t just leeches: they’re full-grown vampires,” Copyblogger writes. “And they need to be stopped.”



Garlic cloves and blinding daylight are mere trifles against these verbal apparitions. Only the blood-red ink of an editor’s pen can send them to their graves.


We at Ragan.com have asked communicators, writers and Chicago-area exorcists for their suggestions. True, every word exists for a reason. But an overreliance on the following suggests it’s time to summon your inner Abe Lincoln.


1. Somewhat.


Vampire slayer Janella Griggs, who by day is an account executive and copywriter with Cunningham Group, has done battle with this specter.


“Either it is or it isn't,” she writes. “And when someone writes ‘somewhat unique,’ that irritates me to no end. … Write with passion and purpose and confidence, not noncommittal words like ‘somewhat.’”


2. There is (or are, was or were).


Back away slowly if these words appear frequently in a passage. Look for fang marks on the writer or speaker’s greenish neck.


Bank of America Corp.’s CEO recently used this phrase as he denied that his firm needed to raise more money due to problems with mortgage investors.


He unwittingly revealed his status as a Transylvania native when he said, “There is no capital raise needed here.” A mortal would have said, “We don’t need to raise capital.”


Besides, wouldn’t a real banker care about economy, as in economy of words? Consider:


Vampires: There are needless words that suck the life out of our prose.


Mortals: Needless words suck the life out of our prose.


3. Although, while and whereas as sentence-starters.


Sometimes we must back into a thought with although, just as truckers reverse a rig down a cramped alley to a loading bay. But if these sentence starters are overused, the result is as tedious as watching the trucker keep backing up, pulling forward, and backing up again, or so Bright Hub might argue. The same is true of whereas and while.


A vampire hunter won’t hesitate to grab an ax and chop out such phrases. Rearrange the thought. These sentences are the domain of undead communicators who tend to eschew concretes, like this:


Vampires: While I undertook advance measures to keep my colleagues alert during my presentation, my listeners still showed a discourteous lack of interest.


Mortals: I spiked the orange juice with No-Doz, but my presentation still put everyone to sleep.


4. Literally, actually, basically, and arguably .


Ghosts vs. vampires: now that’s a war we’d like to see—at least if the ghosts were on our side. Ghosts tend to be the spirit of loved ones, can pass through walls, are unsusceptible to vampire bites, and are known for both eloquence and pithiness ("Mark me”;).


Luckily, the ghosts have got our back. We queried Dan Gerstein, president of Gotham Ghostwriters, who warned that younger writers are especially prone to overuse literally and actually. One of his ghosts, business author Brian Solon, added basically, and others are citing arguably.


“Both of these words have their place in select circumstances as signifiers,” Gerstein writes, “but too often they are injected unnecessarily for emphasis, and wind up having the opposite effect the writer/speaker intended.”


Note that many other prose-weakening adverbs would find a home under point No. 4.


5. Leverage and optimize.


Vampire slayer and “communications strategista” Justina Chen warns of these bloodsucking terms.


“The most deadening of terms in any writing—corporate or creative—have got to be techno-jargon and business-speak,” she writes. “Spare me the ‘leverage’ and ‘optimize’ and superhighway of meaningless acronyms. Give customers and employees stories and telling details instead. Create terms. Play with language so what you're saying is fresh and memorable.”


6. Whatsoever.


This seldom serves any purpose whatsoever.


7. Seems.


Not everything is what it appears to be, and seems is a way of hedging our bets. But it also drinks the blood of the surrounding words. Be bold. Just say it is.


8. Throat-clearing phrases like indeed, in fact and to be sure.


Here at Ragan.com, Executive Editor Rob Reinalda is known as a man who strangles vampires with his bare hands. It is rumored that he keeps a stake in his sock to drive through the hearts of writers who use these throat-clearing phrases, along with lastly, that being said, and in my personal opinion (as opposed to your impersonal opinion?).


Reinalda gets a dangerous look in his eye whenever he encounters the mutant clone the thing is, is.


Like all of us here, he has been known to show up in blood-stained clothing after a night of vampire hunting and zombie blasting. Don’t push him.


So what’s the solution for your prose? One writer tells us to use auto-correct to highlight the vampires in our copy. He would have you automatically mark words like this: *whatever*. Then you can search for them and come up with alternatives. To each his own.


Another blogger suggests the use of a program called yWriter, which enables writers to see how many times they have used a word in a section of prose. (We haven’t tried it.)


Better yet, just learn to identify the vampire words in your own copy. And keep your doors and windows bolted at night.


This post first appeared on Ragan.com in December 2011.

I Beg to Differ

Posted by RWyatt on July 30, 2012 at 1:15 AM Comments comments (0)

A few days after the Aurora, Colorado shooting, everyone was voicing their opinions about it.  A friend of mine wrote a blog about it and expressed his opinion as well.  He stated that in his opinoin: every American should be licensed and able to carry a concealed weapon.  His stance on the The Gun Control laws as they are today, are nothing more than, in his words "B.S". He believes if there had been atleast one person in that theater that was armed, the lives lost and people wounded wouldn't have been no where near what it was.  Twelve killed and 58 wounded, some severly, some crippled or paralized for life.

At first I read his dissertation and took it in to my thought processes at face value. I said to myself, 'sounds reasonable'.  But then when I had a while to think it through, my reasoning took me in a totally different direction.  

I argued: An average person, when planning an exciting night out to see a famed 'Big hit Movie', with their familly (at a "safe neighborhood theater"), a place where there had never been one incident of violence, whether it was  midnight or not, if the subject owned a gun,  he wouldn't think to arm himself on that particular night. I think he would put his gun away in its safe place and go out with his mind primarily on having fun and relaxation.

In case of an unexpected incident like what happened that notorious night; during the mayhelm, the subject would wish for their gun, hating what was happening to himself, his family and friends, and not able to forgive himself for not bringing it.  He would stand there or hide somewhere helpless with no recourse.  The mayhelm would continue and the killling would have happened just as it did.

For many years, many different groups, as well as the christian leaders, warned against the violent games that our youngsters play on their X-boxes, Play-Stations, etc., and the continous violence on tv and movies. They warned about the effects the extreme visions would have on young impressionable minds. Instead of curtailing the violence, the movie makers got more in-depth with their play-acting on screen, and the violence in their stories grew even more compelling.

From my point of view, the movie was the perfect place to carry out the erruption in a mind that had practiced it over and over, needed.  Because he'd seen it hundreds of times on tv, so many times in the movies, and made it happen to his avatars even more times than that, the violence was imprinted in his soul.  He was totally capitvated by his vice and it had taken complete controll of him.  For sheer pleasure, his demons drove him to act on his impluses.

The theater held the exact covert atmoshere, the loud exciting music cresendos, and the right players for his game. Unfortunately, James Holmes played his game wih real weapons and real people and while playing his role as a villian, (like an actor or a master-mind controlling his avatars) won against his imagined foes.

I hope we as solid, sober minded Americans, readliy learn from this tradegy, the responsiblility our citizens should exhibit.  We must take measures so we won't have to suffer acts of violence such as this ever again; acts such as this one that cause loss in a gripping magnitude of so many inocent lives. We need to do whatever is necessary to never let anxious mis-guided misfits, who pre-meditate evil acts, practice for real on unwittingly inocent lives their satanic spue. Behavior they've learned from that ever so familiar demonic scene they've witnessed in movies and the violent epic they've played on their private game consoles hundreds of times.  Come on people, let's just do it!

I'm just saying!

Ruth Purnell-Wyatt/Writer,Author

An Illusion

Posted by RWyatt on July 10, 2012 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Shared by Gina Ruiz

An Illusion that Explains Why Typos Are So Hard to Catch

Esther Inglis-Arkell

Every time you type an email or a document, errors are likely to creep in — and no matter how carefully you proof read, you might not catch everything. Why do we have such a hard time noticing typos and repeated words?

It turns out this is partly a matter of the way your brain processes text — and partly something that's specific to English and a few other languages.

Top image: Pond5

We've established before that reading is so trained into our culture, we do it instinctively. Sometimes our eyes bounce off a page of dense, boring text without absorbing any content — but for the most part it's almost impossible to look at a word and not read it. In the past, we've shown how deep into our brain reading reaches with the Stroop Effect. The Stroop Effect happens when the words for one color are printed in ink of another color. Asked what color the text is printed in, people will get confused. If the word "green" is printed in blue ink, even though their eyes see blue, their brain thinks "green." It takes people a while to sort it out.

But, you ask, if we're so comprehensively steeped in the printed word that we just can't help but read what's in front of our faces, why do we so often get tripped up on typos and misspellings? It turns out, there's a whole class of word illusions clustered around our instinct to miss errors.

I had a teacher who put up a poster in class with a triangle printed on it. Inside the triangle were the words "Don't Take Anything For Granted." Except they weren't those words. They were "Don't Take Anything For For Granted," and the text was arranged so that one "for" was on one line, while then the next line had another "for." People invariably missed the double "for," and the teacher got to be smug about them taking things for granted.

Full size It's true that we miss those types of things routinely. But that's generally because we look for what writing is — and not what writing isn't. What writing is, generally, is a way to communicate meaning from one person to another. While it's fun to see what the brain trips over or forgets, there's a more interesting illusion that allows people to see how much they understand of a puzzling paragraph. The letters are scrambled, except the first and last letter of each word. While it can be difficult to read some of the words, it's fairly easy to breeze through the entire text and understand all of it.How much does this work? The scrambled word illusion became so popular that researchers at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, which is closely linked with Cambridge, were asked about it and replied to it. And when they looked into the scrambling in English and other languages, interesting patterns emerged.

They noticed that it was actually possible to render the whole thing incomprehensible by putting the letters too far away from where they ought to be in a correctly-spelled word. The entire thing benefits from the fact that English has an abundance of medium-sized words, with a few redundant letters in them. It's possible to scramble those letters around while keeping them near where they would be, if the word were in its correct order. German, scientists found, is also a good language for that sort of thing.

When a colleague tried it with Hebrew, on the other hand, it became an unreadable mess. Apparently vowels are not written — not being a linguist I did not know this — and so the text as written already makes use of this tendency of people to fill in intuitively what they need to in order to understand the text. Scramble the letters and that intuition is derailed, making it impossible to understand. This trick relies on a language to be explicit in order to keep people understanding it when it's muddled.

Top Image: Tom Murphy VII

Via MRC and Josh Nimoy.

1895 Eighth Grade Final Exam; Or HUMBLE PIE!

Posted by RWyatt on June 8, 2012 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (0)

 Take note of this astounding truth about our fore-parents:

 In the book Saga of Katie Ruth, I wrote about how Katie graduated from Eighth Grade as the Validictorian of her class.  I also wrote how she went on to successfully achieve a Tenth Grade Certificate. She needed to get that higher level certficate to be qualified to teach the county's elementry school students.

When I see this example of how much knowledge students during this era- that I'm sure lasted into the early twentth century -had to master to gradurate, it's staggering!  It's humbling to see just how hard Katie (my mom) must have had to work and study to accomplish her goals.


I received this in an email from my sister Bettye and thought, how befitting! I just had to share it with you.

 (This picture came with the email)

Take this test and pass it on to your more literate friends


What it took to get an 8th grade education in 1895...


Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895?


This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina , Kansas , USA . It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society

and Library in Salina , and reprinted by the Salina Journal.




8th Grade Final Exam: Salina , KS - 1895


Grammar (Time, one hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.

2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.

3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph

4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of 'lie,''play,' and 'run.'

5. Define case; illustrate each case.

6 What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.

7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.



Arithmetic (Time,1 hour 15 minutes)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.

2. A wagon box is 2 ft. Deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. Wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?

3. If a load of wheat weighs 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1,050 lbs. For tare?

4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000.. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?

5. Find the cost of 6,720 lbs. Coal at $6.00 per ton.

6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.

7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft.. Long at $20 per metre?

8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.

9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?

10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt



U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided

2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus

3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.

4. Show the territorial growth of the United States

5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas

6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.

7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton , Bell , Lincoln , Penn, and Howe?

8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.



Orthography (Time, one hour)

[Do we even know what this is??]

1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication

2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?

3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals

4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?)

5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.

6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.

7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis-mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.

8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.

9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane , vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.

10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks

and by syllabication.



Geography (Time, one hour)

1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?

2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?

3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?

4. Describe the mountains of North America

5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia , Odessa , Denver , Manitoba , Hecla , Yukon , St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco

6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each..

8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?

9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.

10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.


Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete.


Gives the saying 'he only had an 8th grade education' a whole new meaning, doesn't it?!

No wonder they dropped out after 8th grade. They already knew more than they needed to know!



No, I don't have the answers! And I don't think I

ever did!

Have fun with this...pass it on so we're

not the only ones who feel stupid!!!


Posted by RWyatt on June 5, 2012 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Katie Ruth Holmes met and married Aaron Purnell within the same year.  They started their family almost immediately.  In just a few short years, their family was too large for the income they earned. When they were unable to comfortably afford to feed and clothe their growing family, Aaron, being a very consciencious provider, planned another way. He made the hard decision, taking a few suggestions his family had given him, to move away.  He moved his family to Missouri. The story continues.......

"Aaron boarded the bus at the Winona Bus station for Portageville, Missouri to check the situation he'd been told about out......

Aaron knew he would have to be cautious traveling thru Mississippi. He knew the Klu Klux Klan were very edgy at this particular time.  They were lynching black men just because, and merely on general principle.  He'd heard of a lynching a few days back that happened over in Duck Hill.  

What he'd heard was: A black guy that was unfortunate enough to have been walking along a graveled road in the back woods of the rural area of Duck Hill, met a gang of four white men.  The poor fellow was ordered by these menacing young clan members to pull a half-dead calf out of a ditch.  Despite the fact of their threats, he was unable to lift the young calf, that weighed more than he did, from where it had fallen,. The young man knew he couldn't do what they were asking of him, but he surmised the situation and knew he'd better get it done or else.  He tried with all his might to lift the calf out of the ditch by himself, he just couldn't do it.  Consequently, they brutally attacked him. Still, after they'd beaten him unmercifully, they wolfed at him and commanded him with death threats using menacing cuss words to get their calf out the ditch back on the road where they were. 

It didn't take the heady young white guys long, when they saw the thin young man struggling and saw he wasn't strong enough to accomplish what they wanted, their brutal hateful instincts took over. The guys felt brave because they outnmbered their prey four to one. Whitout any other waraning, they lynched him unmercilessly, right there a few feet off the untraveled, back woods road. The ruthless killers hung the defenseless young man in a big oak tree after they'd beaten him to death and left him hanging there.  

The man who told this story to Aaron said the calf, the obect of the story, was owned by a member of the gang.  It was a lazy Sunday afternoon, neither the owner nor his friends wanted to be bothered with the dirty work of rescuing the animal themselves. Obviously, they felt  the job was beneath them. It wasn't a job they felt was fit for them to be handling that day. They were still in their 'Sunday's best' they'd worn to the church services. It was a very unfortunate coincidence for the young black man. Because when they saw the poor young fellow walking in the thick wooded area all along, the gang felt unashamed to commit this awful bloody muder and did it without any remorse. They never feared any repercussions for their actions while they were in the heat of their pleasure killing. They didn't care in the least bit if anyone ever found out about their dastardly deed.

So even though Aaron was anxious and looking forward to this trip, he was very aware of the dangers of being a black man traveling along. He was determined to get to Missouri, but stayed watchful and very alert. He intended to get to his destination safe and alive."

This is an excerpt from the Book, The Saga of Katie Ruth

This is a story that sounds very familiar to all black Mississippians. This particular incident though, didn't happen near the time of Aaron's travel to Missouri. This paragraph and others is the reason I decided to appoint the book as Fiction.  I think somewhere there is the claim that the book is non-fiction, but its not.

The statement was made at the time of publication on the title page:  **Some names in this novel have been changed and events and facts have been modified in order to protect the innocent and for creative purposes.

I hope this statement is sufficient because, I know there are people out there ready to 'nay say' many of the incidents that I've creatively written about. Herein, my aim was to give my readers a good book to curl up with and to thoroughly enjoy reading.

God's Over Flowing Bessings!

Ruth Wyatt/

Ruth Purnell-Wyatt/Author