Brenternet (The World as seen by Brent Moore)

Trying to appeal to the highest common denominator. I can't give you 110% effort, but I will give you 107.4% effort. If you're a spammer and leave me a comment, I will make fun of you. I use twice as many semicolons compared to most other bloggers

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Location: Smyrna, Tennessee, United States

As the title implies, I am Brent K. Moore. I married MariLynn Simons on Sept. 25, 1999. we attend Stewart's Creek Church of Christ. We have five pets, a dachshund, Slinkie, a malamute, Juno, and three rabbits, Ebunny and Ifurry, and now Houdini.

Friday, April 02, 2010

How to have fun with the U.S. Census.

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To paraphrase Paul Revere, "The census is Coming! The Census is Coming!"

But, you already knew that.

You already knew that because the government felt it behooved them to spend approximately the GPD of Greece letting you know it was coming. They bought a radio commercial telling you to tune in to the TV spot reminding you to check you mailbox for the letter advising another letter was scorching its way to your mailbox.

Obviously, the point of the census it to enumerate the population. However, those scaremongering advertisements remind you that if you don't accurately answer the census, there won't be enough teachers in our schools or buses on our streets. Of course, since it's the government, they can't discern there's not enough teachers when class sizes reach about 50 or there are too few buses when passengers have to ride on the roof. Of course, the government could have used all of their census ad budget to fix these problems, or, if nothing else, could have built another Olympic sized swimming pool for a failing Kansas City school.

When the census was first established in the Constitution, the purpose was to determine how many congressmen each state should have. Luckily, this purpose gives us the first method to screw with the government. If you generally like the politicians that get elected to Congress from your state, get all your friends to say 37 people live in your house. Then, call your friends in states where the politicians have royally messed things up (for instance, New Jersey) and tell them to answer that nobody lives in the house. That would be believable if you were in Detroit.

Of course, the problem comes with the rest of the questions found on the census form combined with most peoples genuine distrust for the government. Deep down, I suspect every president since Andrew Jackson used the results of additional questions for their own political gain, but even during the last census, you really only heard from the ready-to-form-a-militia types who were only going to answer question 1. These days, even the typical housewife is getting into the act by refusing to participate.

The census form assumes you are going to answer these questions to the best of your abilities. I propose if you really want to sock it to the government in your own little civil disobedient way, answer the census to the worst of your abilities. Let's look at the questions that your government wants to know.

1. How Many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010?

Since they're asking about April 1st, can I answer this with an April Fools joke? My wife and typical 2 and a half children live here.

If they're being specific about the type of dwelling, I suppose anyone who lives in a condominium, dog house, mansion, mud hut, back seat of a car, tornado shelter, teepee, or igloo can put down a 0.

2) Were there any additional people staying here April 1, 2010 that you did not include in Question 1?
[] Children, such as newborn babies or foster children
[] Relatives, such as adult children, cousins, or in-laws
[] Nonrelatives, such as roommates or live in baby sitters
[] People staying here temporarily

Well, let's see... The postman, newspaper delivery boy, milkman, Fedex delivery guy and the next door neighbor who need to borrow some nutmeg all stopped by today. You didn't want me to include them in the count?

What gets me is that there are people who weren't going to count their own children, I suppose to try and hide them from the government, and the government was taking another shot at getting them to answer. I believe in the Old Testament, we read of Moses's mother who didn't answer this question before putting him in a basket to sail him down the river.

3) Is this house, apartment or mobile home-
[] Owned by you or someone in the household with a mortgage or loan? Include home equity loans.
[] Owned by you or someone in this household free and clear (without a mortgage or loan)?
[] Rented?
[] Occupied without payment or rent?

Hey government, it's none of your business if I stopped paying on my mortgage a year ago when I realized they'd never get around to foreclosing on me.


Now, I expect the next question to be if am interested in getting a great deal on some furniture.

4) What is your Telephone Number? We may call if we don't understand an answer.

Don't mess this one up. If you're going to lie on everything else, this isn't the question to start telling the truth. Now, President Obama isn't going to call you personally and try to sell you a GM, but someone in a cubicle somewhere is going to keep trying to call you until they get a strait answer. Here are some suggestions:
867-5309
555-1212
202-456-1414
411

Bonus Census tip! If you put fake answers on your census, some dude will be dispatched to your house to try and get answers. They will not ask for your social security number. If someone does ask for that, or your bank account number, your credit card number or your ebay password, they are not from the census bureau. But don't rule out the IRS.

Bonus Census Tip #2! According to law, if you don't answer the census truthfully, you could be looking at a $5,000 fine, although this fine has never been enforced. If a census worker shows up at your house and is looking for you to pay this fine in cash right then, you don't have to.


5) Please provide information for each person living here. Start with a person living here who owns or rents this house, apartment, or mobile home. If the owner or the renter lives somewhere else, start with any adult living here. This will be Person 1.
What is Person 1's name?


The government could have saved a lot of ink here by just asking: What is your name? I would suspect the person who is responsible enough to take care of the living conditions is usually the person who also opens the important looking envelopes.

The real question is how to answer this. I suppose you could actually answer this as "Person 1" and cleverly pretend to be an idiot. I plan to say my name is Brenternet Q. Public.

6) What is person 1's sex?
[] Male
[] Female


I anticipate the government getting a lot of juvenile handwritten answers to this one.

7) What is Person 1's age and what is Person 1's date of birth?

Now this is the question that will offend more people than the "Do you own or rent your house" question. I suppose a lot of older men will answer 39. As for the birthday, I was born on January 1, which is good because that's the answer that automatically pops up on internet forms and I don't have to select anything, but bad because the form assumes you're lying.

NOTE: Please answer BOTH Question 8 about Hispanic origin and Question 9 about race. For this census, Hispanic origins are not race.

Huh? So if you ARE Hispanic, you're supposed to specifically answer what type of Hispanic person you are in Question 8 and then pick something non-hispanic in Question 9? I'd like to know how Hispanic people have been answering this?

8) Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin?
[] No
[] Yes, Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano
[] Yes, Puerto Rican
[] Yes, Cuban
[] Yes, another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin - Print origin, for example, Argentinean, Colombian, Dominican, Nicaraguan, Salvadorian, Spaniard, and so on.


I wonder how many people have answered this "And so on." Right now, there are people from obscure Hispanic or Spanish origin who are miffed because their nationality isn't listed. There's a Basque guy out there somewhere saying, "Dude, they always forget about us."

9) What is person 1's race? Mark one or more boxes.
[] White
[] Black, African Am., Negro

(let me pause for just a moment. People still use the term Negro outside of Senator Harry Reid? The first option then should also say White, Caucasian, Cracker )
[] American Indian or Alaska Native
[] Asian Indian
[] Chinese
[] Filipino
[] Japanese
[] Korean
[] Vietnamese
[] Native Hawaiian
[] Guamanian or Chamorro (Chamorro is not recognized by my spell checker)
[] Samoan
[] Other Asian for example Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Pakastani, Cambodian, and so on
[] Other Pacific Islander, for example, Fijian, Tongan, and so on.
[] Some other Race - Print race.


Right now, there's a Transdniestrian who is upset because his race wasn't listed.

I think the #1 response to the Other is Hispanic. If you're really looking to have fun with your answers, here's where to do it. Rush Limbaugh suggested people answer this as "American"

Bad Answers: Jedi, Vulcan, Klingon

These are obviously fake. If you're going to use something from Star Trek, use something a little more obscure like Andorian, Cardassian, Ocampan

Other non Star Trek options: Liliputian, Hutt, V for Visitors, Minotaur, Homo Erectus, Minbari. Have fun. Be creative.

10) Does Person 1 sometimes live or stay somewhere else?
[] No.
[] Yes - Mark all that apply
[] In College housing
[] In the military
[] At a seasonal or second residence
[] For Child custody
[] in jail or prison
[] in a nursing home
[] For another reason


What are some good other reasons? Witness protection program, Living off the land, Living off the grid. This does make me wonder how many people on and off live in Jail seasonally.

My final piece of advice is to use a #2 pencil. The instructions clearly say use a blue or black pen. (a red pen would make the census worker feel bad.) Many times over the years, especially when I was in college, I used a freshly sharpened #2 pencil for standardized forms, and this is a standardized form if I've ever seen one. If everyone used a pencil, (or better yet a fountain pen with no formal training), all of the census workers who have to make heads or tails out of what you put will keep their jobs until the next census.
40759

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