SoCS Saturday- April 30, 2022

 The prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “zip, zero, zilch.” Use one, use ’em all, bonus points if you use all three. Have fun!

My ability to zip my lips while expressing my opinion is zilch probably because I have zero interest in changing anyone’s mind and most interest in testing my own opinions by hearing the opinions and information others may have. (If I can add to their information or give them new angles, all the better.)
It’s invigorating.
If I find someone who wishes to do the same, it’s a wonderful thing.

I expect to respect anyone’s views, but I am willing to challenge and/or question their thought process. This happens because I spend a great deal of time on ‘fine tuning’ my own opinions (and often I change them). It’s a process.
I’m prone to spill over, often too energetically, with pre-planned rebuttals. All of this is a search of ‘the truth’ and never intended as a pursuit of a “win”. It’s quite clear that many people who engage in opinion sharing think there’s a competition going on! They’re amusing but not much fun because they get aggravated too easily and take everything as a personal assault on their ‘intelligence’. The term ‘immature’ seems appropriate for them.

IMHO…The worst thing I can do is lie to myself, so I spend a lot of time questioning my own positions.
I have zero respect for people who’d rather discuss the fairness or kindness of thoughts rather than the “truth” in them because they’re just ideas… put your big girl or boy pants on please.
My interest in impressing the other person is zilch too. Don’t flatter yourself.
And finally, I always learn something from conversations even if it’s my realization that the other person knows zip (at least about debating) from his/her inability to stay on topic.
Have a great Saturday! Keep asking questions and seeking input everyone.

SoCS – WHO do YOU trust?

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “start with who/whom” Begin your post with either “who” or “whom” and go from there. Have fun!

Who do you trust?
That’s a great question!
Let’s face it, we’re all human. And if your answer was “I trust myself most”.
I think many of us probably feel the same way.
None of us blindly trusts anyone else if we’re thinking clearly. We are well aware of human frailties and know that even the most well-meaning people can be fooled… even ourselves.
So, what are we to do?
Asking questions constantly seems a great start.
The person or persons we ought to question, first and foremost, is our self.
Writers, in particular, are prone to internal conversations and inquiries. We’re working things out when we aren’t making things up. Asking ourselves questions happens all the time. The most important person we should never lie to is numero uno. Yes, we all do that sometimes too.
A long time maxim has held that we must see things with our own eyes to believe them. I’ve always felt that was the best method but there’s one big problem. Our eyes lie to us all of the time and in this tech age there are forces working extremely hard to perfect the art of fooling our eyes. Have you heard about ‘deep fakes’?
Altering videos can be as minimal as removing a few frames to as extensive as dramatically altering whole videos using Hollywood-style special effects. The latter has been enabled by advances in artificial intelligence and “deep learning” technology. Deep learning makes it possible to create hyper-realistic though entirely fictional videos called “deepfakes.”

So “seeing is believing” is becoming an obsolete phrase in a hurry!
The removal (censorship) of information isn’t going to be the worst of what’s coming to manipulate us.
Media wants to control us and that’s the biggest threat to our country since the Cold War.
Yes, dividing us using identity politics is the current tool but there are others in the wings.
Asking questions and civilly engaging each other has never been more important!
I’ll finish by coming back to our most trusted friend, ourselves. Please watch the short video below.

Now, you may be more aware of the human tendency to focus on one thing at a time.
I consider how the media influences our focus, and outrage, and what they may not want us to see.
Keeping my information sources plentiful, and diverse, might be the most important thing that I do to find answers.
If you enjoyed that video look up the series Brain Games for yourselves. It’s fascinating and reveals our own cognitive strengths and weaknesses.
Who can you totally trust?
I guess an on-going scientific method of honestly questioning and comparing information, is my suggestion.

God bless.

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS April 3, 2021 | (

SoCS- March 20,2021 Calamity Jane

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “starts with cal.” Use a word starting with the letters “cal” as your prompt word. Have fun!


My first and persistent thought from our prompt was of Calamity Jane. I knew her name but nothing about her other than her handiness with guns.
When we read about the lives of historical figures, there are two ways we can interpret them.
One, is to attempt to build a ‘picture’ of a place and time. To briefly experience another, different, lifestyle and to empathize with dynamics we have never had to experience.
The second, is to gather information and place ourselves there. This, is as unnatural as cloning. Cloning can duplicate DNA but without identical life building experiences, there’s not ever a perfect match. Our modern selves are anachronyms to the past. The person we are now, would not have been the same then. To judge the past on our terms is intellectually dishonest and arrogant.
So, I looked up Ms. Martha Jane Cannary. Her past has many discrepancies and holes in it.
She was, however, the oldest of six children who became head of the household in her teens upon her father’s death as he was the last living parent.
She was known to wear men’s clothing. Well, we ladies of today know how much more functional pants are too.
When I got to the section about her taking many jobs, one being a prostitute for awhile, I paused, this was a gritty gal. She was a sharp shooter. And now, I was momentarily ashamed of her. But wait… her options to feed her siblings didn’t include food stamps. I yanked myself right out of my modern arrogance and looked at the whole of the time and the hardships that I couldn’t imagine. There, is where I could feel empathy without judgement. Besides, the historical references were not extremely reliable about her.
There were facts and there was rumor. This is not unlike our real time ‘news’ today.
Choosing our information wisely and refusing knee jerk judgements before any thorough investigation might be a good approach for us all to use?

For more on this courageous pioneer woman:
Calamity Jane – Wikipedia

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS March 20, 2021 | (

NATURE KNOWLEDGE: Hickory Tussock Moth

Aug 2011 033come to me

This fuzzy little guy is a Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar. Most caterpillars are discovered in mid to late summer. Usually, by then, they have reached a noticeable size from eating all season and growing from larva into full caterpillars. Below, is one common variety of Hickory Tussock Moth.

Lophocampa caryae
Lophocampa caryae (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many varieties of Tussock Moths. Their caterpillars vary in appearance too. All are about 2 inches long and fuzzy/spiky in appearance . They love eating Hickory trees but will settle for Elm, Ash, Oak and Willow trees too. They sometimes can cause the defoliation of these trees.

weird 001The one above, was brought to me by my daughter who had found it so curious looking. Thankfully, she did not handle it directly. I found this warning when making the identification:

“The Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar has poisonous hairs and spines that can cause skin rashes similar to poison ivy. If your child should rub his/her eyes or touches his/her nose after coming into contact with this caterpillar reactions can also include conjunctivitis (eyes), light sensitivity (eyes) and wheezing (nose).”

Under a microscope, those little hairs are barbed. Seems these little guys are “armed and dangerous” to most prey. Thankfully, most toads, small snakes and birds don’t mind a bit. We are very fortunate that Mother Nature holds everything in delicate balance!

PS.~ These caterpillars were photographed in New York State and Massachusetts. The link to the warning talks about Maine but they are here too!

Reference Books and the Curious

English: An adult male Downy Woodpecker, Picoi...
English: An adult male Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens in Ottawa, Ontario (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was at my woodland retreat this weekend when my cell phone rang with “Grandma answer the phone!” I had added my granddaughter’s voice as a ringtone and I smile each, and every time, I hear it. When I answered, Katherine excitedly started describing a new bird at her feeder. How I enjoy being her favorite reference for birding! After a fun talk, we decided she had seen a Downy Woodpecker. My questions about what she had seen, hopefully, schooled her about what to look for in the future.

Although I hope she never gives up on seeking my opinion, I realized that she needed a few reference books for those rare occasions when grandma does not have cell service or ,(rarer still) doesn’t know the answer.

Yes, the internet offers quick access to information BUT I think reference books have a different and equal value. First, looking things up, using your head, not a vague definition, can really challenge a young mind to filter information… people need a triage of sorts for describing things and narrowing down their searches. Too often, someone will call the information line for a phone number after exploring only one avenue for the yellow page listing. Lazy! Can’t find hair dresser?…try beautician…try hair salon… and so forth.

I have ordered Katherine a guide to Eastern US Birds from Amazon. On top of fine tuning her vocabulary, she may have fun with discovering new birds to be on the “look out” for. Many times I start a search for a specific bird (in a book) which ends, half an hour later, having been drawn into information about others.

Books are portable, personal and they smell good too! Never overlook what they can offer, above the computer, to the young and curious among us.

Kids are people too!

Katherine (age 6) was bewildered and frightened when asked not to get on her bus,as usual, yesterday. My daughter called her school and told them that Kat’s dad was going to pick her up for a change. Ellen specifically asked them to inform Katherine that her Daddy was coming.

The school office called Kat’s classroom and told her teacher to send Kat to the “walkers” exit. She was not to get on the bus. NO ONE TOLD KAT WHY. She was whimpering to herself until she saw her Dad. The change of plans without an explanation had her bewildered. THAT makes me angry!

It reminded me of my own experience the day President Kennedy was shot. I was just a little older than Katherine when I saw teachers congregating in our school hallway. They were crying. A voice came over the school intercom saying that we were all to go home immediately. This was almost an hour before ordinary dismissal. I ran home with my heart pounding and my eyes filled with tears. WHAT could be going on?

We had been schooled in the threat of nuclear attacks during the sixties and you can only imagine the possible scenarios that filled my head!

This is a post with a big message attached. Kids are people too! They are not mindless amoebas that litter a room. Tell them what’s going on you arrogant educators!

Whew…I feel better now. Have a nice day. 🙂


There are so many urban legends that are told and never corrected. One in particular is about what many Americans call a Daddy-Long Legs.

First , the correct term for these “creepy crawlies” is Harvestmen. Many people call assorted insects Daddy-Long Legs too, just because they notice long legs.

No they are not all male either but I haven’t a clue how to tell their gender.

These creatures are arachnids but are NOT spiders. (Consider how many kinds of birds there are…they are not all raptors though. There are many sub sets. I’ll discuss species,phylum, etc. another time.)

Harvestmen have only a couple of eyes on little stems…Spiders, most often have eight eyes.

Harvestmen only have one body segment…spiders have two. (Insects have three body segments, therefore, Spiders and Harvestmen are not insects.)

Most spiders have venom and produce silk…Harvestmen have no venom or silk. One of the most widely believed legends about Harvestmen is that they do have extremely toxic venom but cannot bite a person because their fangs are too small.  NOT TRUE.

Harvestmen live in the ground and have no webs. The lovely couple that I captured (above) is either in a fight or a mating embrace. I haven’t a clue which? Many mating rituals in the animal world resemble fights to people.

Funnel Weaver Spider (notice body has two sections)