Posts Tagged ‘learning’

The Dog Days of Summer

August 17, 2018

Running and Close Encounters with Dogs

Running obviously is a physical activity, but along with the endorphin effect it often provides serendipitous experiences. I’ve mentioned my dog encounters before.

On one very warm and sunny day in Portland, running along the Willamette River, my friend and I needed a pit stop so we stopped at a park that had restrooms. I should mention that we often stop during a run to commune with our four-legged friends, the friendly ones at least. It was at the park we met Possum, whose owner was giving him a drink. He was a cool dog with an unusual coat. The owner told us he was a Catahoula. Doing some research later, I discovered that he was a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, which apparently became the state dog of Louisiana in 1979. The owner said that he was a Katrina orphan that they rescued and brought to Portland when they moved here. I thought it was an interesting story.

One More Dog Story

On another run, by myself this time, I met Bruno the Pit Bull. I always ask if a dog is friendly and if it’s OK to approach the animal. Two ladies were walking Bruno, and they said it was OK. Big, but only six-months old he was a beautiful animal. We were talking about the undeserved reputations that Pit Bulls have, as being vicious. Bruno was very friendly. Not everyone agrees on the breed’s inherent personality, but here’s a bit of information. Personally, I’ve met a lot of very friendly pit bulls and some not so friendly other dog breeds.

Vietnam: Going Back Again

June 26, 2018

Blogger’s Block (Back to Vietnam)

Just as a segue, a few words about my creative process. Aside from my lame excuses, my procrastinating, or whatever else might be preventing me from sitting down and working on my blog, I’ll just call it “blogger’s block”, similar to writer’s block. You’ve seen it in the movies, the famous writer (not that I’m famous) sitting at his writing desk, coffee and cigarettes on the desk (not that I smoke or recommend smoking, although I do drink coffee). His waste basket, full to the brim with crumpled sheets of paper, is nearby. He stares at the sheet of paper in his typewriter, a chapter name at the top of the page, and a line or two of text, or possibly just an incomplete sentence. OK, “typewriter”, that’s an older movie, maybe he’s sitting at his laptop keyboard staring at the screen. At any rate he’s not happy.

My writing lapses aren’t usually that dramatic, but I do have them. Thank you, Tom (my gym friend) for kick-starting me by praising my work. Be patient, I’ll take us back to Vietnam in a few minutes, honest – this one is dedicated to you.

Options, Options, and More Options

How about this, I’ll include you in my thinking/decision process, kind of as my virtual writing assistant, helping me decide the content for the next installment of my Vietnam blog. OK, OK, agreed, kind of a not-so-subtle way to get people to comment on my blog.

I have a 36-page double-spaced draft that I wrote nine years after my return from Vietnam. I used an IBM Selectric typewriter, and the draft is on the original paper. Many authors still use typewriters, and some like John Le Carre’ (The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, etc.) write out their manuscripts in longhand. His wife types and edits his manuscripts, which I think is very cool. Anyway, my thought was to just go through my entire 12-month Vietnam tour and select highlights, like the one in my last post, “A Dark and Stormy Night” . As I have already done, I am using some of the text from my nearly 40-year-old draft, for example, the Preface that follows is from “Vietnam Ten Years Ago – A Sailor Remembers”.

“The following narrative is the product of my memories and feelings about a personal experience and the desire to share the experience with others – a retrospective look at something which happened ten years ago. Since that time, it has rattled around in my head, I have discussed it with others, and I have written about it.
The memories of my year spent in Vietnam have not been naggingly painful or filled with nightmarish, melodramatic flashbacks (as others have experienced). In fact, some of what happened was quite pleasant. There are other memories I would rather forget.
Occasionally, I use real names in the narrative, because I remember some of them. However, I have no intentions of misrepresenting actual events or offending any of the real people involved. (Bernie Blazek, October 1979)”

More Options

Keep reading, Tom, we’re getting there.

So, the previous option would be to take my original draft and present it as a blog. Probably not the best choice, presenting over 10,000 words in my blog. Choosing “highlights”, as I’ve been doing, I think is better.

I also thought about getting “political” by addressing the question, “Are wars bad?” I’ve seen the Ken Burns TV series about the Vietnam War, and I was there for a year, but I think that question is beyond the scope of this blog. I will mention just one thing, a snippet from the Michael Berry Radio broadcast from Houston, Texas. You can Google him if you like. On June 6 this year, he dedicated a good part of his show to D-Day veterans, many of whom died in Normandy, France.

Berry talked about an 18-year-old who was drafted. One of the things struck home, about the young man, whose whole life was ahead of him, a girl friend, a future family. He didn’t enlist, but when he was drafted, he went willingly. He never came back. Say what you want about Michael Berry’s political views, but I think he called this one correctly.

OK, one more snippet about a bumper sticker (I may be misquoting it, but you’ll get the idea) that I saw in my neighborhood. “Except for overcoming communism, fascism, Nazism, and slavery, wars have not accomplished a thing.”

I guess one more option would be a musical/pictorial blog, kind of like I’ve done with other topics. By the way, I have to guide you down the music trivia path, just for a moment. If you read the first Vietnam installment I did, I included a song titled In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. You should read this Tampa Tribune piece about the song . . . veeerrry interesting!

OK, Tom, I’m running out of gas on this installment and need to go have dinner. Please feel free to comment and/or make a suggestion (or anyone). ‘Backatcha’ with more later.

The music and pictures are either symbolic or just for entertainment.

Canned Heat: Can’t Find My Way Home
Huey Lewis and the News: The Power of Love
Canned Heat: Let’s Work Together
Don Henley: Dirty Laundry
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young: Helplessly Hoping
Supertramp: Take the Long Road Home

 

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The X-Files: 2018 (Part I)

March 23, 2018
Vitamin String Quartet:  The Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to the Who – Tommy

 

What’s Up, Rufous Blog? (Blog of the Week: March 23, 2018)

What happened to the Rufous blog you may have asked – actually I did do a post on February 23, my birthday – but my so-called “blog of the week” has been more of a “blog of the month”. OK, multi-tasking doesn’t always work (some experts say that “single-tasking” is actually more efficient). Multi-tasking only works if you don’t forget to do the higher priority items on your list, which in my case is blogging.

Blogger’s note:  The following quote is not totally  in context with my topic, but it struck a chord with me so I wanted to include it.
Quote from Life in Oregon, February-March 2018:
“Think about how the conversation in America, in Oregon, would change if each of us assumed the best of the person who disagrees with us. Together, let’s think about and interact with people on the other side of the issues as if they are potential allies, not enemies.” (ORTL president Harmony Daws, January 14, 2018, Oregon Right to Life annual Roe v. Wade Memorial and March in Portland, Oregon)

Politics or TV?

Did I tell you about John le Carre’, who writes his books out in longhand, then gives the manuscripts to his wife who types and edits them. He’s 86 and just published a new novel. A would-be writer could get inspired by David Cornwell (his real name). I also write out my content longhand in my bright green composition book before transferring it to the blog. Always, I’ll have several blog ideas going, like something political (always a challenge to be “correct”) or like today I have a blog about TV. Maybe I’ll include some “politics” too in this blog (spoiler alert).  :}

The X-Files – The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat

I was never a big fan in the past, but the new season 11 caught my attention, in particular episode 4, which I found very interesting on many levels. If you’ve watched it, you may have noticed that the stars (in my opinion), David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, have aged fairly well. OK, enough small talk, here’s my rehash of episode 4. Kudos to the producer and writer, Chris Carter, Darin Morgan, staff writers Brad Follmer and Benjamin Van Allen, and (wait for it) David Duchovny. Episode 4 has some humorous moments, maybe satirical/tongue-in-cheek is a better description, compared to the paranormal or whatever you normally expect from X-files – like a more recent episode with the drones spying on and pursuing Fox and Scully.

OK, having mentioned the producer and writers I think I’m OK legally in quoting the dialog (yes, I paused the TV and wrote it down). If you’re a fan and missed it, you should watch episode 4.

As Long as the Truth Gets Out

Continuing . . . take this scene, about 44 minutes into the episode, Mulder and another character named “Mr. They” are in this wonderful sculpture garden with all these statues. Mulder is having a conversation with Mr. They.

Mulder:  “As long as the truth gets out.”

Mr. They:  “They don’t really care if the truth gets out because the public no longer knows what’s meant by the truth.”

Mulder:  “What do you mean?”

Mr. They:  “Well, I mean, no one can tell the difference anymore between what’s real and what’s fake.”

Oh, ouch, OK, is anyone picking up on the political angle here? I have no idea what Chris Carter and his staff of creative people were trying to accomplish with episode 4, but it’s kind of fun to speculate, eh.

Mulder:  “There’s still an objective truth, an objective reality.”

(Transition to main story line)

Mr. They:  “So what? I mean, you take this Mandela effect.”

Mr. They (quotes George Orwell):  “He who controls the past controls the future.” (More quotes later)

Mr. They:  “Well, believe what you want to believe, that’s what everybody does now anyway.” (Slight break in the dialog)

Mr. They:  “All you really need is a laptop.”

Mulder:  So that’s what this has been all about, the spread of online disinformation.”

Mr. They:  “Maybe?”

Mr. They:  “You know, our current president said something truly profound.” He said, “Nobody knows for sure.”

Mulder:  “What was he referring to?”

Mr. They:  “Does it matter?”

The previous scene lasts only about two minutes and ends with a great shot of Mulder standing in front of a statue with its arms outstretched, as if to say, what’s going on.

The scene shifts to a parking garage, with Mulder and Scully talking to another character, Reggie, who says, “We found the truth that’s out there.”

Rather than risk spoiling the rest of the episode, I highly recommend you watch episode 4 just to see the ending.

The Red Mustang

The next scene shows Mulder, Scully, and Reggie driving down the road in a red Mustang convertible and then the final scene . . .

Tip: Google “x-files season 11” to get more reviews and analysis.
Definition/primer on innuendo:
  • Veiled or equivocal reflection on character or reputation.
  • The use of such allusions resorting to innuendo.
Example:
His reputation has been damaged by innuendo.

One or Two (or Three) More Quotes

Voltaire: “To hold a pen is to be at war.”
Voltaire:  “What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other’s folly – that is the first law of nature.”
Read more at:  Voltaire Quotes.
John 8:32:  “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV Bible)
Next Up:  “The X-Files 2018 (Part II)”. Just a hint, expect some content based on my favorite Imprimis readings. No surprise there. Feel free to peruse the Imprimis issues.
Definition of “Imprimis”:  In the first place used to introduce a list of items or consideration.
Antonio Vivaldi:  The Four Seasons, Summer (Presto)

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To Do or Not to Do: Birthday Blog, 2018

February 23, 2018

My birthday blog for last year is here. I have a new birthday today.

I’ll start with some music – it’s Winter – and some quotes to set the tone for this piece which could go anywhere, hang on . . .

Takako Nishizaki: Very Best of Vivaldi, “Four Seasons, Winter (Largo)”

This BrainyQuote’s page has a wealth of quotes that relate either directly or in some weird, tangential way to this birthday blog. I started reading some of the quotes after doing the search on Shakespeare’s famous quote, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” which is the hook for the rest of this creative dissertation. I’ll explain more in a minute. Check out Jean-Luc Godard’s quote, “To be or not to be. That’s not really a question.” All you ex-English majors, like me, and grammarians should get a chuckle out of it. And check out Chuck Palahniuk, wow, some powerful, some witty, some head-scratcher quotes. By the way, his birthday is February 21, two days before mine. I should find him on Facebook and wish him a belated Happy Birthday. I’m not sure I can compete with the wisdom in some of the quotes, but as I get back on track here, maybe some of it will make sense to you. Nobody has quoted me yet.

To Do or Not to Do

Many weeks ago I got the idea for this blog. I started a draft on paper – I do that a lot as do many famous writers. Not that I’m famous, but John Le Carre’ is famous and well-published. I was just listening to his latest novel today, A Legacy of Spies. I watched a 60 Minutes interview with him several weeks ago. He lives in England in a remote place called Land’s End and has a separate little house where he writes his books in longhand. His wife types and edits his manuscripts. I thought that his lifestyle was extremely cool. His real name, which he prefers, is David Cornwell. Here he is in Wikipedia if you’re interested.

Back on Track

If you look at the “intro” parts of this blog, Looking for a Rufous, you may have picked up on the whole Rufous thing. Looking for things in life that really, really provide meaning and fulfillment, rather than just “living.” Also, there’s a great quote in Me and My Blog, probably my favorite quote, that says it all in my opinion. Of course, like someone said, if you already know the answer, don’t ask the question. Maybe you’ve figured it out already. Power to you, go for it, I’m perfectly fine with not perpetuating the search for meaning.

Takako Nishizaki: Very Best of Vivaldi, “Four Seasons, Spring (Allegro)”

An Average Day

Early morning sun (unusual for us in our Oregon winter) coming through the living room window, the dogs horsing around, listening to a Chicago song, “Wake Up Sunshine”, feeling good, an upbeat start to my day. I hope your day started on an upbeat note. But not every day starts that way, some days are more of a struggle. More caffeine, doesn’t help. Does that sound familiar? Such is life, eh, ups and downs, it’s normal. But what about the “baseline” parts of your life, the ongoing efforts that help you transcend the temporary mood swings and dark days? Is your baseline OK?

Tom Robbins: “To be or not to be isn’t the question. The question is, how to prolong being.”

I look at the best-selling authors, the scientists who discover cures for diseases, the athletes who strive to do their best, the volunteers who stack sandbags to stop the flood waters, and the others who strive to do things beyond themselves – I look at them in awe, admiring what they do. I’m not saying that being average is bad or that winning second place is not something to be proud of. You were there, that’s what counts.

N. Tonchev, Montana Chamber Orchestra: “Four Seasons, Summer (Presto)”

Parting Words on Starting this New Year (for me)

  • For this year, my plan is to try to stay healthy. If you’re active doing stuff, that’s a great place to start.
  • Do new things like meditation, early in the day. Even if it’s only 5 minutes, just relax, clear your thoughts, and focus on your breathing.
  • Journal, listen to music, watch the birds, cook dinner, talk to your kids or your friends or your dog (you’d be surprised how good a listener a dog can be).
  • Get involved, open up your mind and figure things out by relying on good, solid information. Segue to the Imprimis site, check it out, pick an area that interests you. I love the latest one, Are We Free to Discuss America’s Real Problems?.

More to come in the next blog.

N. Tonchev, Montana Chamber Orchestra: “Four Seasons, Autumn (Adagio-molto)”

Always Pictures

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Blog of the Week: December 24, 2017

December 25, 2017

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A Christmas Eve Blog

What can I say, on this Christmas Eve, 2017, to edify and perhaps entertain you. First, I’ll update you on my week in wintry Oregon, then move on to the “edifying” part.

The Recap for the Week

Did I say “wintry”? Which reminds me, I hate it when she’s right all the time (well, most of the time). My spouse called it (before the weatherman) at least two weeks ago, “The conditions are right, and we’ll have snow by Christmas.” And we did, on Christmas Eve.

And the rest of the week . . . Christmas preparations, some indoor golf on Tuesday, a couple of short runs for me in the cold, visits from the grandkids, and the wife came down with a cold. So, some plusses and some minuses for this past week.

The Edifying Part

It’s late, so I’ll wrap it up with some thoughts and affirmations from my Daily Word readings (see my note below). It’s good to slow down, to stop, and to reflect. I’ll include the accompanying Bible reference in parentheses for each of these daily affirmations. Look them up if you like.

Note: You can go to dailyword.com to get a copy if you’re interested.
Coldplay: God Put a Smile on Your Face
  • Joy: I expand my joy as I share my blessings with others. (Isaiah 55:12)
  • Healing: I am an ever-renewing expression of Infinite Life. (Luke 9:2)
  • Giving: I freely express my giving heart. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • Receiving: I prepare to receive as I give without an expectation of return. (Luke 8:15)
  • Strength: In stillness, I renew my strength. (1 Chronicles 16:11)
  • Celebrate: I celebrate the glory of God with all that I am and in everything that I do! (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  • Silent Night: I find peace and love in the Silence. (Isaiah 30:15)
  • Christmas Eve: I am ready to give birth to new expressions of Spirit as I release limitations. (Luke 2:14)
  • Christmas: I welcome the rebirth of Christmas spirit into my heart today. (Luke 1:14)

Blog of the Week: December 17, 2017

December 18, 2017
dadson_at-the-beach-2

Dad & Son

What’s the Hook?

For the answer, go back to my Crystal City, Part I blog to refresh your memory about journalism. Basically, rather than start out with some of the more routine things that happened this past week, I wanted to start with my morning meditation thoughts from this morning, which I thought were well-worth passing along, although the thoughts didn’t actually happen last week. Doesn’t matter really, try to be flexible. :}

As part of my morning routine, as I mentioned last week, I try to spend some time reading – I read different things, always the Bible, and some other things, just to get my day started on the right foot (or the left). Often, I’ll just open my Bible at a random location. This morning was in the book of Psalms, Psalm 15 to be exact. I recommend reading the Bible even if you aren’t “religious” (whatever that means), partly because of the way it was written, especially the Psalms, which are poems, songs of praise, or thankfulness verses, and they show a wide variety of emotions and feelings. My Bible is the New International Version. I quote part of Psalm 15, just a bit to get you started, then you can read all of it, it’s only five verses long.

Psalm 15 (part of it)

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?

He whose life is blameless and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the Lord,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends his money
without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things
will never be shaken.

Actually, I got carried away, that’s all of Psalm 5.

Journal Recap

Just a few high points from my journal for the past week, that’s all.

My son-in-law came over to help install a new kitchen faucet after the other one stopped working. Actually, I don’t claim to have mechanical abilities sufficient for such a task, so I watched, and he installed the faucet. It would have taken me three times as long. Water is an amazing commodity in our daily lives, try washing your dishes in the shower.

My wife and I played golf at Killarney Golf Course. It was chilly, but dry, and the greens were as hard as a rock from the cold weather we’ve had. She won (again). We’ve recently started playing golf at a place called Top Golf, which is undercover and has food and drink, not a regular golf course, but still a lot of fun and at least it’s dry and warm.

Lots of soup and salads this week, fortunately I’m married to a creative cook, who creates wonderful soups that are especially good during the cold months. Otherwise, I did my usual routine going to the gym and running, but less distance this time of year. On Saturday we did a sleepover at my daughter’s house so she and her hubby could have a weekend night at the beach while we stayed with the kids. Lots of walks in their new neighborhood, with and without the dogs, just exploring to find the best places to go.

Closing in on Christmas, so maybe my next BOTW will be about Christmas. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas in advance.

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Mt. Hood, Oregon

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Sunriver, Oregon

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Estacada, Oregon

Journalism 201: Part II

June 29, 2017

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See the note about the picture at the bottom.

Looking Back: What Happened at Crystal City? (Part I)

If you’re a reader of my blog, you may remember this Journalism 101 post from last year, a four-part series about Crystal City. If you missed it, you should check it out. A lot has happened in our world in the last year, and this blog has been stewing and simmering in the pot.

As a Journalism major in college I learned a few things about that whole process of gathering information. However, now I’m more concerned about how we as individuals interpret and react to information and the apparent trends that I see. I’ll try to focus on what’s been on my mind.

What’s the Point?

Without getting into a discussion about “fake news” and “real news” and all the different varieties of “media”, I’ll just throw some ideas and questions your way.

Would you say that social issues should be examined on a purely emotional basis or should rational and logical thought be involved?

It’s always good to vet your sources. As you know, because of the Internet, finding information is surprisingly easy.

Definition of “vet” (quoted from Merriam-Webster)
  1. To subject to usually expert appraisal or correction, e.g. vet a manuscript.
  2. To evaluate for possible approval or acceptance, e.g. vet the candidates for a position.

Randy Newman: Sigmund Freud’s Impersonation of Albert Einstein in America

Back on Track: Alternate Sources of Information

I’m throwing this blog installment out there as food for thought. Just a note about a web site that I found that (in my opinion) is a very good one, Hillsdale College. I receive and read the free monthly Imprimis digest. You also can sign up for the digest (and contribute to the college as I do). I included the Hillsdale College web site because the articles will give you a different perspective on some of the major issues – the questions about Syrian refugees, what is conservatism, the left’s war on free speech, etc.

Be forewarned that the Imprimis installments are well written but are not light reading and require some mental effort to absorb what the writer is saying. I’ll touch on and summarize some of their past topics.

Note that I don’t expect you to read all of these web articles, although you may find them very interesting, and even the sidebar articles are interesting if not controversial, e.g. the soapboxie site.

Another source: soapboxie.com

What Has Happened to Truth in Journalism?

A Real Need for the Real News

Before I get to some summaries of the Imprimis articles, I’ll throw in my “two cents worth”.

My Two Cents Worth – Some Things to Think About

Side note: In defining “media”, think of how we get our information, broadcast news, newspapers, social media (Facebook, etc.), TV shows, radio, and the Internet.
Don Henley: Dirty Laundry

Here are a few questions (rhetorical) to ask about using the media and becoming responsible users of the media.

  • Should we avoid all media sources?
  • Use mainstream media (Fox, CNN, and CBS) or try to find alternate sources of information?
  • Isn’t it more responsible to react to news by thinking rationally and logically rather than emotionally?
  • Should we be accountable for our own actions/reactions to the media?
  • Should we expect the media to be totally unbiased in their news reporting?

Imprimis Digest

As I said before the Imprimis Digest installments are not light reading, but I’ve made some notes, and I’ll try to give you the high points. Obviously, feel free to make your own interpretations and form your own opinions. I’m quoting the Imprimis summary statement next to the title on the web page for each Imprimis piece. Note the number of installments, all the way back to 1972.

Restoring America’s Economic Mobility (September 2016)

“Today the story of American politics is the story of class struggles. It wasn’t supposed to be that way.”

In Frank Buckley’s opening paragraph he talks about Marx and puts a historical frame around his subject. If you are a person interested in economics and like numbers and details, you’ll find this piece very interesting.

The author dives right into the meat of his article, discussing “economic mobility” in paragraph 4. There is a graph of the mobility rankings on page 2. Note that the U.S. and U.K. are rated low in mobility. He talks about education on page 3 and how we compare with Canada.

He touches on immigration briefly in one paragraph on page 3, “What abut immigration? Canada doesn’t have a problem with illegal aliens – it deports them”.

Who We Are as a People – The Syrian Refuge Question (October 2016)

“It is not beyond reason that a sovereign nation would be allowed to inquire whether the religious beliefs of an asylum seeker are compatible with the American constitutional order.”

A brief aside:
OK, take a break, inhale, deep breath, and ask yourself, “Why is the Rufous blog all of a sudden after all this time getting political, especially when I was so enjoying his pictures and music and his insights (nonpolitical) about life? Why am I now being asked to be accountable, to think about normal, every-day things in a different light and possibly make better decisions about issues that affect my life and the lives of others?”

More Imprimis

As I said above I’d try to give you the high points of the Imprimis pieces, and I do read them and use my highlighter and make notes sometimes, but to summarize all of that is very time consuming, so I’m leaving it up to you (isn’t there a song with those lyrics?). I.e. I won’t do the grunt work for you — if you’re interested in reading it, then the rest is up to you.

Thanksgiving and America (November 2016)

“The best expression of this aspect of Thanksgiving comes from Benjamin Franklin, who called it a day “of public Felicity,” a time to express gratitude to God for the “full Enjoyment of Liberty, civil and religious.”

A More American Conservatism (December 2016)

“If American conservatism means anything, then, it means the things found at the beginning of America, when it became a nation.”

I found this one very interesting because I know how we like our labels, “conservative”, “liberal”, etc., and this piece does a good job of explaining conservatism in its true sense.

The Left’s War on Free Speech (April 2017)

“In the weeks following the Citizens United ruling, the Left settled on a new strategy. If it could no longer use speech laws against its opponents, it would do the next best thing—it would threaten, harass, and intimidate its opponents out of participation.”

And last but not least and probably the most relevant piece to this blog . . . I love this one!

The 2016 Election and the Demise of Journalistic Standards (May/June 2017)

“Last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale—that most of what you read, watch, and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility.”

That’s it guys, for the Imprimis Digest, just a sampling. There may be a Part III for this topic (haven’t decided yet). I hope you found this information to be informative and enlightening.

BTO: Takin Care of Business
Picture credit: Schroders is a British multinational asset management company, founded in 1804. The inscription means “Evolve your investor nature.” Beyond that I don’t know the picture artist, but note that those are his hands in the picture. Very cool!

Adam & Eve in Love!

March 31, 2017

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Tine Turner: What’s Love Got to Do with It?

The idea for this blog dawned on me in SoCal (southern California) on one of our many trips down to visit relatives and of course get away from the @#$%^&* rain for a few days – I do love that natural  vitamin D! One morning I was enjoying an early breakfast and reading the Wall Street Journal (provided by the hotel). In the “Review”, section was an essay written by Bruce Feiler. It was adapted from his forthcoming book (March 21), The First Love Story: Adam and Eve and Us.

By the way, my recommendation is that you read the article if you’re a WSJ subscriber, or just use this link and check out the video interview with Bruce Feiler. I think the essay is a very thought provoking piece, especially if you’re married and (hopefully) in love or perhaps recently fallen in love. Rather than get off on a side trail about my opinion of how important love is or what it means, I’ll just let Bruce Feiler’s ideas speak for themselves. I may summarize his ideas along the way. Also, if you have a Bible handy, it might help you to better understand if you read Genesis chapters 1 and 2 and for good measure 1 Corinthians 13 (the “love” chapter) in the New Testament. It’s a lot to digest, but I’ll provide some bullet points that might help.

Here’s a totally irrelevant (but wonderful) quote to get you started. I saw this on a napkin dispenser at MOD Pizza in Beaverton, Oregon on March 28th while I was eating my pizza, enjoying a beer, and making some notes in my blog notebook.

Bob Dylan, Poet Laureate and Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016:
“May you’re your heart be always joyful.
May your song always be sung.
And may you stay young forever.”
Karen O and the Kids: All is Love (from Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack)

Quoting from Bruce Feiler’s Essay

“In December 1867, Mark Twain was touring Jerusalem when he visited a room in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre identified as Adam’s tomb. He was overcome with emotion. ‘The fountain of my filial affection was stirred to its profoundest depths,’ he wrote. Twain became obsessed with his oldest ancestor, at one point urging planners in New York to replace the Statue of Liberty with a monument to Adam. He went on to write a half-dozen pieces about the first couple, including Extracts from Adam’s Diary and an Autobiography of Eve.”

“Adam, in Twain’s retelling, is initially uncomfortable with Eve. It used to be so pleasant and quiet here, he says, ‘I foresee trouble. Will emigrate.’ Eve is equally unimpressed with Adam. ‘He talks very little. Perhaps it is because he is not bright, and is sensitive about it.’ (who says Twain didn’t have a sense of humor!) But slowly the two come around. ‘I see I should be lonesome and depressed without her’, Adam says. Eve echoes his feelings: ‘I love him with all the strength of my passionate nature…It is my prayer, it is my longing, that we may pass from this life together.’”

Patti; Tuck & Patti: Love is the Key

Adam and Eve in love? Really? Who would think such a thing?”

Feiler goes on to say that several very famous people would agree that, yes, they were in love, and that, given the transitional state of the family for the last 30 centuries – major changes with high divorce rates, lifestyles in our hyperconnected world – maybe Adam and Eve could offer some guidance.

Some Bullet Points in Summary of Feiler’s Ideas

Obviously taken out of context (you really need to buy the book or get a copy of the WSJ essay), here are some more thoughts, quoted and/or paraphrased from the essay.

  • The first couple have been victims of a long campaign of character assassination. One reason is that we rarely read the opening chapters of Genesis with the idea that Adam and Eve might be in love. He goes on to explain this important point in detail.
  • Who is God’s chosen sex, man or woman? If you read and compare Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, the answer appears different. Feiler elaborates, then concludes by saying they are entirely equal.
  • In support of the equality idea, if you look at Michelangelo’s famous painting in the Sistine Chapel, it is Eve, not Adam and not God who occupies the exact center of the room. In the third panel, the two figures (Adam and Eve) reach together for the forbidden fruit. They are not estranged, they are partners.
  • Milton’s Paradise Lost was a step-by-step argument that Adam and Eve were equal.
  • In Shakespeare’s words, “Love is not avoiding conflict; it is about overcoming it”.
  • The most underappreciated aspect of Adam and Eve is how they continually return to each other after periods of separation. They start life united, then Eve goes off alone. She could remain apart but instead returns to Adam. Once out of Eden, they could split, but instead they stay together.
Beatles: And I Love Her

Some Final Thoughts

The Bible is the first to put a man and a woman at the start of the human line. God can’t procreate. He needs human partners – starting with Adam and Eve – for humanity to succeed.

Feiler concludes his essay by saying that the first couple struggled too, yet they found a way to heal their wounds and forgive their wrongs.

Some More Music

Eagles: Love Will Keep Us Alive (Hell Freezes Over album)
Del Shannon: Sea of Love (really old song)
Karen O and the Kids: Building All is Love (from Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack)

noah_loves_the_beach_cropped

Is It Time to Vote Yet?

October 25, 2016

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Rob Dougan: Furious Angel (music from The Matrix)

Do the Right Thing

What could be more timely and apropos than a blog about the 2016 national election, eh! I’ve been reading (actually listening) to a Tom Robbins book titled Tibetan Peach Pie (2014). What a treat! Long time since I read Another Roadside Attraction or Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. Robbins is 84 and living in La Conner, Washington, more or less in my neck of the woods.I only mention him because he was a newspaperman for many years and talked a bit about how much fun journalists have with writing headlines for their articles.

I was thinking about what the title for this piece should be:

  • Election 2016: Anyone Have a Good Write-in Candidate
  • Synonyms for the Word “Circus”
  • My Namesake (Bernie) Dropped Out of the Race – Dammit!

As an aside, let’s look at the word “circus” as in political circus. According to Merriam-Webster (MW) online one of its definitions is: “a place of uproar or confusion”. Some of the synonyms are:

“Babel, bedlam, madhouse, scrum (British), and three-ring circus”.

The Related Words are even more interesting and nonetheless applicable to what we, as Americans, have been subjected to in this election year:

“Bustle, commotion, pandemonium, racket, ruckus, tumult, turmoil, brouhaha, clamor, clatter, din, hubbub, noise; chaos, confusion, disarrangement, disarray, disorder, havoc, hell, mess, muss, shambles.”

I hear a voice saying, what’s the point. Be patient.

What’s My Take On It?

In the days when I was working in an office – I’m more or less retired now – I felt that my political and religious beliefs were personal and therefore not up for discussion or debate. Besides, have you ever noticed that when you discuss politics or religion with anyone, close relative, friend, or total stranger, the discussion is usually one-sided or unidirectional? The other person talks, stops talking, and you talk, but they’re not really listening to what you say, they’re thinking about what they want to say next to reinforce or emphasize THEIR point.

However, having said that, I think we all have a moral obligation to examine the issues and stick to our own beliefs. You may alienate or disagree with a friend or relative by taking a stand, but that shouldn’t matter. As someone once said, “do the right thing”.

To restate my main point, should we vote our conscience regardless of any distracting and probably very biased information about the issues and the persons for whom we are casting our votes? (Anyone know of a good write-in candidate for president?) Spoiler alert – beyond that last question, I’m not telling you who I’m voting for, as I said, it’s personal.

How Does One Make an Intelligent Choice?

I could do an entire blog on information sources, can you trust the media, etc. etc., but I’ll do that one later. In the following short list, I’m including links to an Oregon site (voter’s guide) and some non-local sites, including one about media. There is so much out there (in the internet universe), but obviously, not all sources will be trustworthy and/or unbiased.

A Few Sources You Can Look At

Oregon Family Council Voter’s Guide

League of Women Voters Education Fund (very informative and user friendly source of national election information)

Independent Online News Sources (good information about independent news sources)

A Closing Poem

This poem was sent to me by a close relative, it has nothing to do with politics, but take it to heart. This poem is best read outside, in a loud voice, with your arms out-stretched. Lowercase letters and punctuation were intentional by the poet. Enjoy.

e.e. cummings (1894–1962)
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening inimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
Canned Heat: Let’s Work Together

The Blogger’s Dilemma: What’s the Hook?

July 22, 2014

The “hook” is a journalistic reference to the part of an article that grabs and holds the reader’s attention. Without a hook, the article may only get skimmed or not read at all. The hooks for any of my blog posts hopefully will get your attention long enough to have you benefit from what is written, to learn something, or perhaps be entertained. That’s a tall order, and admittedly, sometimes I just write for the pleasure of writing. I do like poetry too, and dabble in it just for the fun of it.

Ferns proliferate.
Ferns are cool and lush.
Ferns catch the rain.
Ferns catch the wind.
Ferns catch the light.
Ferns are a green carpet.
Ferns take root.
Ferns fill the void in the earth.

Did I mention that this is also an experiment for me or better said an audience survey? I have always approached social media hesitantly thinking that I may not want the world to read my writings, baring my soul. Perhaps if my subject matter is consistently informative, inspiring, and entertaining, then it will have served a purpose, and I should not worry about baring my soul. So, I’ll go with that. I suppose “Rule#11” was an introduction to my blog, and this post sets the tone for future blogs.

I will end with some thoughts from a Silent Unity publication that I read every day. The following is an excerpt from the Daily Word reading, July 20, 2014. Actually, I’ll give you their definition of “affirmations” first.

“Affirmations are positive statements of Truth. Each time we pray affirmatively, we are lifted into a consciousness of Oneness, calling forth the divine activity within us.”

Here’s the affirmation for July 20th:

“Divine Order: I joyously participate in the orderly unfoldment of good.

Divine order is always at work. It is the eternal and exquisite process by which all things come into existence. My very life is evidence of the graceful movement of God.

Each one of us is an essential participant in Spirits orderly creation. We each have a role to play in the creative process – the dynamic and continuing manifestation of God’s infinite good.

I surrender to divine order by aligning myself with Spirit. Through a regular practice of prayer and meditation, I intentionally open my life as a channel through which God’s order, love, and light radiate into the world.”

The Bible verse given is Romans 1:20. My fingers are tired, so you’ll have to look that up. This was all of the July 20th reading, not just an excerpt.


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