Question Time Over Coffee-11-19-22

Have you ever been on an extended vacation/holiday road trip? If so, when and where and for how long?

My nuclear family took some vacations to the Atlantic Ocean when I was a kid. We lived (and I still live) in Western New England so the trips took about 4 hours from home to destination. I wouldn’t call that an extended road trip, but it surely felt LONG to this kid.
We didn’t have video games or movies to entertain us then and although I would have loved having them, I’m pleased now that we didn’t. My Mom would sometimes read out loud to us, sometimes we’d sing songs together or play ‘car bingo’ to entertain ourselves. I had my own game that I came up with too. It was called, “Never going to see THAT again”. As we traveled, I would look out my window and focus on a single leaf or bird. It was a way of embracing a moment in time that fate had made. I was there and something ordinary was there. There was no way I would ‘lay my eyes on’ those things ever again. It felt magical and eternal!
I get the same ‘thrill’ when I find fossils in crushed stone at our campsite. Possibly (probably) no other human being had ever looked at the small, fossilized relic EVER! Humbling doesn’t even cover that moment sufficiently.


When was the last time you visited an actual bookshop, and what, if any, new/old/secondhand titles did you buy?

We have a local Thrift Shop close to our summer place. This gal goes directly to the book section. While I was homeschooling my granddaughter, there was a wealth of obscure children’s material, as well as interesting titles for me. Book junkies can identify with the fact that there are many still on my shelf waiting to be rediscovered this winter.
Before the Thrift Shop, there was a Flea Market in the same town. “The Book Guy” (that’s what we called him) was always there. He had a large, well organized, display of books. Sadly, The Book Guy passed away a few years ago and the Flea Market has almost disappeared without his presence. I miss the man as much as his books.

How do you feel about the new WP Dashboard 7-day highlights Statistics?
I almost never look at those stats. I’m not writing in any way to compete with anyone or build a following.

How do you feel about all the Russian nuclear sabre rattling?
It seems a normal thing for competing powers to do. There’s no way-No Way- that I trust any media outlet to explain what is going on utilizing factual information. So, I cannot impact what’s going on, I have no way of knowing what’s really going on and can only hope that peace breaks out in spite of a handful evil actors seeking wealth and power.

If you could go back or travel to an age of your choice and live or relive a previous era for a day, what age would you pick and why?

There are many but since our Thanksgiving holiday is near, I would like to experience the first Thanksgiving witnessing the real-time attitudes and hopes. [Then I’d come back and separate myth from facts.]

Do you have a favourite coat? [Outdoor/Indoor/Business/Social] What makes it unique to you, OR is a coat just a coat?

Not anymore but during my 30s I had a long Peacoat that I adorned with pins. Some were favorite sports teams and American flags, but others were gifts that held personal meaning. Once I had a lapel full, my friends and family happily surprised me with more. I probably had 50 of them at the height of my collecting.

Do you enjoy learning something new every day or week?

Oh my! I live to learn. My email starts with curiousue for a reason.

Are you more comfortable in your skin today than you were in the youth of your yesterdays?
Why and how so?

Absolutely more each day. I was an odd kid in the way that I related to all kinds of people. I think about it now and believe that it was from a genuineness that I projected. To be genuine requires a level of self- confidence which comes from liking who you are. I suspect that ‘seed’ was always there.

Have you ever kept a hardback diary or a journal as opposed to an online digital one? When did you first start to journal your life?

No but my daughter has kept one for 17+ years.

How do you feel about Eggplant/Aubergine/Guinea Squash as a vegetable? Is it something you enjoy having in your meals?

I enjoy most every squash. Eggplant is not one I ever use but memories of my Italian immigrant grandmother making eggplant parmigiana are good ones.

What film could you watch over and over again and why?

Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story
This movie is extremely inspirational! A mother’s enduring love and commitment to wise choices…Self- reliance and imagination…and a guide to pursuing excellence. My day care kids watched it multiple times and always asked to go straight to the library after each viewing.

What concert, show, or event would you love tickets for if you could get them?

I don’t do crowds. Noise, standing in line, and (since 2020) pandemic nonsense are the reasons. It has nothing to do with fears or phobias. I do enjoy talking with people in general, though, but not in that venue.

Would your teenage self be impressed with who you are today and what you have achieved so far in your/their life?

I think so. I had many basic plans for my life even as a teen and I’ve accomplished the most important ones.

Which online behaviours do you find the most annoying in blogging?

I’m not easily or often annoyed. But when I interact with others and find them concerned with what I consider “nonsense”, I tend to move along.

https://earthlycomforts.uk/2022/11/19/question-time-over-coffee-5/


Mocking the Ridiculous is GOOD

It seems that our current news cycles are filled with ideas and concerns that I deem ridiculous.
The fact that ALL media organizations are eerily reporting these things in unison is my first concern.
Certainly, others can disagree with my label, but I fear the proposing of coordinated ridiculousness is on one level a media driven desensitization of our population to fact and reason.
In this wide world, which has more available topics and information than ever in human history, our attention is directed to myopic themes. Does that sound a bit like propaganda to you? It does to me.
Consider all the things ‘accepted’ as normal, or at least ordinary, today that 10 years ago would have made our chins hit the floor.
What? Boys can decide to be girls (or vice versa) and the medical community will dutifully mess with their healthy bodies.
What? A biological male is being considered as Woman Athlete of the Year.
What? We’re all gonna die in ten years from an ever so slight warming of the planet.
What? The marriage of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez is noteworthy because…
If you actually think those things make sense, fine.
But how should I react to you when my personal opinion of those things is “that’s ridiculous.”?
Here’s the ‘meat’ of my message today:
I laugh and sometimes poke fun at it.
Yikes! That isn’t “nice”.
Well, how might I otherwise express my opinion?
Should I shout at you or cancel you? Maybe attack you?
Or should I opt for “nice” silence when expressing my opinion might empower others to speak up, or at least, pause and think?
NO. I won’t do any of those things.
Laughing at, even mocking, perceived ridiculousness is not unkind, it’s actually pure honesty. Silence does nothing good. It denies who you are, and everyone’s opinion has value either as a good or bad example. [You decide which one it is. Don’t let the media or Twitter mob do that. 😉 ]
I want to know what you think, though I won’t guarantee that I won’t chuckle. 🙂
For those who think a humorous reaction of disapproval or disbelief is “hate”. Grow up.
You don’t need to care what others think but you’d be wise to get to know how others think.

There’s a silencing and redefining of our language and even our humanity going on and this isn’t going to end well if we buy the premise that expressing disapproval makes someone a ‘bad person’.
Don’t accept shame.
The same goes for blame.
Individual human opinions cannot destroy a civilization. But “group think”, which is inspired by a lack of diversity of ideas, certainly can.
Other people can label you all they want; you aren’t really talking to them once they do. You’re speaking for those who are hesitant or overwhelmed. You should especially protect the speech of those who you deem have ridiculous tendencies…It will test your ideas and should strengthen your opinions or possibly even change your mind. That’s how it works people.
I think we should express ourselves more, especially in person.
Don’t fully trust any media outlet to frame what’s real or important. THINK for yourself.
Remember, we’re all in this together! God bless.




Fandango’s Provocative Question #163- Semantics

There are so many tangents this question can produce. It’s taken me a long time to work out my thoughts toward the briefest and least complex answer to the exact question.
There’s a whole intellectual course of study on “semantics”. Our human ability for language, as remarkable as it is, has its own ‘minefields’. There are cultural divides when it comes to understanding each other, as well as many nuances in defining our most human complex concepts. I simply cannot keep up with modern efforts at redefining once widely held understandings!
Here’s my thought process on the question (It is thoroughly a scientific method examination of the language not a judgement on the concepts we’re using.)
A previous discussion I had with our friend Fandango, produced an interesting difference in our understanding of this language. As many emotionally charged topics do, I think that we each jumped back and forth from the meaning of words into the endless quagmire of the meaning of a higher Truth. A darn dangerous leap for sure! I don’t think either of us claimed we were ‘correct’ and left the discussion on the understanding that we were simply “talking past each other”.
Do you believe that atheism is a set of religious beliefs or is a religion in any sense? If so, why? If not, why not? Or, do you have no opinion on the matter or just don’t care one way or the other?
My answer is: Yes, it’s a religious belief and I’m not sure whether it could be called a ‘religion’. Atheism’s ‘believers’ (Making a definitive conclusion on an unprovable concept is a belief.) certainly ‘take on’ some of the qualities of religious people (certainty, easily offended by disapproval, somewhat organized) but it doesn’t really have tangible tenants. So, I’ll claim unsure on that.
As for my opinion that atheism is a ‘religious belief’? It comes down to my understanding that it’s a position, belief, or claim within (and regarding) the topic of religion. That, in my world, is a ‘religious belief’.
The example I used to explain a similar dynamic was the concept of politics. One simply cannot have an opinion on politics that isn’t-by default- a ‘political opinion/belief’. An apolitical person, with no opinion on politics, is the opposite of one who is political. In the same way, an agnostic person (who doesn’t want to enter into a religious discussion) is the true opposite of holding a ‘religious belief’.
It seems an unpleasant, unfriendly, conclusion made only according to my understanding of the semantics because an atheist basically wants to be anything but religious. Saying that technically-when applying the rules of language- their position is a ‘religious’ one, obviously would inspire push back and reaction. No offense is intended. It’s only an opinion with reasons. 😉
One of my statements during the discussion that inspired this wonderful question bears repeating… “No one has the power to offend or change you, if you don’t give it to them.”

https://fivedotoh.com/2022/03/30/fandangos-provocative-question-163/


“Experts” are Overrated.

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There are certain titles either given, or self-appointed, that assault my sensibilities.
For the record, no human being knows everything. Even the ones who have access to expansive amounts of information, have varying degrees of ‘good character’ and intelligence. We know for a fact that doctors can know their science, but many have lousy bedside manners. You want a skilled surgeon on your case but you can still think they don’t ‘measure up’ as doctors because great doctors have great medical skills and excellent “people skills”. Teachers are the same. They can have a large resume’ of all the child psychology courses, the teacher conferences, many degrees, and the newest technology tools, but if they can’t relate to kids, their credentials don’t mean much.
‘The proof is in the pudding’ is an appropriate axiom. Those receiving the products, or services, are the actual judges, so why is so much emphasis put on listening [ in a religious manner] to so called “experts”? There are a number of irritating (ignorant) people these days who won’t allow you to question any ‘expert’ unless your credentials are greater.
Really?
Do I need to own a restaurant to recognize one I wouldn’t eat at, Karen?
Do I have to be an elephant in Africa before I voice an intelligent opinion on poaching?
As a woman, do I absolutely have to embrace anything Hillary Clinton says is ‘womanly’ because she ‘speaks for me’? Heck NO.

The term “expert” has no universal meaning. It’s just a title arbitrarily assigned to people, primarily those who have degrees. Yep… impressed I’m not, by credentials, and there are many topics that no one can legitimately claim expertise on.
CNN throws the ‘expert’ label around a lot. I guess they believe most people snap to attention when they hear it. Their panels are always called political ‘experts’. Most have never held office, run a successful campaign, or even guessed correct former political outcomes. What is their expertise? Must be that they like to talk about politics.
Heck… I talk about politics often. I must be an EXPERT. 😀

I think many women of my grandmothers’ generation were experts at throwing together hearty meals on sparse groceries. Their expertise was gained by doing. In fact, most people who are ‘experts’ are older than 40 because, it’s not the ‘study of’ but the ‘doing of’ that creates expertise. So show me what you can do and convince me that you know what you’re talking about, not your paperwork, please. Your title isn’t enough.


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Pay Attention but Mind Your Own Business

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My schedule has changed a bit so my weekends are relatively ‘blogging free’. During that time, my inquisitive mind is usually playing with ideas. One thing that has perplexed (even irritated ) me lately, is the amount of outspoken time people seem to use critiquing what everyone else is doing, or the irritating part, voicing what others SHOULD be doing.

In the United States, the comforts and relative safety we enjoy has offered many the luxury to be ‘nosy’. I’ve always said that people who are struggling to feed and protect themselves from imminent danger, on a daily basis, would not be likely to spare the time for “Saving The Whales” or worrying about personal pronouns. So, it takes a bit of affluence to take on societal and philosophical crusades.

If the U.S. hadn’t become a super power and a country with an economic ‘cushion’, its ability to render the assistance needed to stop Hitler would have been zero. So, getting involved can absolutely be a positive, at least as a country. (Even that can be overdone though.)

But back to people, the less they have to do, the more likely they are to stick their noses where they don’t belong. Add to that, a culture that doesn’t value everyone as intellectual equals unless they have credentials or status, and you get groups who actually convince themselves that ‘they alone’ know the ‘good’, ‘virtuous’, and ‘proper’ way for EVERYONE to behave. That, initially well-intended, attitude doesn’t take much of a nudge to become one of totalitarian control. And, unless you live in a cave, you can see the fist of big government tightening around Lady Liberty’s throat.

There’s a great saying; “What others think of me is none of my business.”. I believe that’s a freeing and confident philosophy. It works well except when people start forcing and imposing themselves on others. I never thought in our beautiful, free, society that holding an opinion that is distasteful to a small group of more powerful people, would EVER be grounds for being fired (even arrested). What has happened?!

We’re currently in the clutches of bigoted, intolerant, fascistic, and incompetent ‘elites’. Actual TV faux journalists have called for those who disagree with them to be ‘reeducated’ .
People are scrambling to ‘virtue signal’, some of them think they’ll be spared the weight of the elite mob in doing so, but they’re wrong. (German citizens tried hanging signs on their businesses that said “Aryan Owned” and still had them burned.) This will not end well. The powerful are emboldened to a point where they no longer even try to hide their condescension for their citizens and workers.
Our Constitution, based on individual liberty, is being disregarded and shredded. Our unelected bureaucracies, a handful of companies, intelligence agencies, and Universities are imposing their will on a population that has sadly relinquished their own power to stop them.

The new Nosy Types are the minions of the runaway controlling ‘elites’, and some don’t even know it. It’s YOU I’m addressing in this post. It’s not your business to scorn, shame, and cancel anyone and when you do, you’re working for bringing our Free Country down.
If you’re doing it intentionally, HOW DARE YOU!
If you’re doing it to ‘help’, please stop it. You’re not our parents.
If you’re minding your own business just trying to ‘live and let live’, HIGH FIVE … let’s join hands and give those ‘elites’ the ‘boot’. 😉





The Lost Art of Adult Discussion

I love exchanging ideas, thoughts, and opinions with people!
The absolute most useful question is, “Can you explain why or how you developed that idea?”.
Nowadays, it seems that that question is considered as an ‘assault’ or ‘insult’ to many.

Read it again, and ask yourself, if there’s anything wrong or dangerous about the question?

Yet, that question separates the intellectually honest from ‘immature’ actors.

If that question, elicits a compilation of links and YouTube videos, you may just want to graciously move on. The person obviously hasn’t thought about the concept enough to use his/her own words.
If that question, elicits an opinion portrayed as a fact, moving on is also recommended. Opinions are good but have little value in critical analysis.
And, if the question, elicits a challenge to your intelligence or integrity rather than any rational ‘ideas’ in the person’s own words, move on immediately.

The best method in conversation is to always explain what YOU believe and avoid telling others, what THEY should believe. (Actually, if you think you’re (or anyone else) is the authority on what every person should think, you’re automatically too immature to have an ‘adult’ exchange with.)
The second method, is to find samples of things that they’ve said that make sense and tell them you agree. Even if you think their premises are flawed, make an effort to tell them “You’re not alone in that.” or “I know many other intelligent people who say that.”. Then, offer your oppositional facts or opinions. At this point, the ‘adults’ will wonder about your evidence. The immature will likely talk about ‘information sources’ or say “get educated”. You likely should tell them “Have a nice day.” and save your breath. Being called ‘stupid’ ruins any ‘adult’ conversation.
Be advised, ending the discussion is what many ‘immature’ intellects actual want. They enjoy whatever conclusions they have made and find questions uncomfortable.

Obviously, the best sign of intellectual honesty is an absolute willingness to amend your opinions based on well presented arguments and new factual information. Anyone who suggests “I’m correct and you’re not.” doesn’t have enough integrity and humility to talk with.

We used to have debate assignments in grade school. That was an excellent training for making well-thought arguments. I don’t believe that the public schools teach that any longer. Sadly, the number of ‘adult’ conversations have suffered for that. I only know a handful of people who realize that disagreeing is not an assault but a request for more conversation.

I really want to know what others’ think. It helps me challenge and amend how I think. Testing our opinions either makes them stronger or makes us change them. There is no place for conclusions in Science or Public Opinion.
IMO… we’ll remain hopelessly divided until people, in general, ‘grow up’. I’m not holding my breath but have learned how to save it. 😉

Girls will be girls…

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I’ve watched small children for almost 40 years (as a Family Day Care Provider) and there are some “stereotypes” that, I must admit, are true.

Little girls and little boys are definitely “wired” differently.

This post is motivated by my anxiousness about the, soon to happen, summer school vacation. My 7-year-old granddaughter, her 6-year-old (girl) cousin and a 3 1/2-year-old girl, will be in my care every weekday throughout the summer.  I am still recovering from the week-long Spring break with this trio.

Throughout my day care years, I was blessed by groups with more boys than girls. Don’t get me wrong, little girls make the better companions when alone. They are much more verbal and enjoy engaging with adults, a bit more. But, put them in a group, and there is competition without limits.

My scientific curiosity, about human behavior, always stems from Nature and, our similarities to animals. Females compete for the reason of propagating the human species. It is simply hard-wired into their nature, in my opinion. This further explains the many girls who find keeping “male friends” much more satisfying and less complicated through their early years. For me, the valuing of female friendships didn’t appear until after I was married with children. The “drama” created by groups of females always detracted from the uncomplicated “rough and tumble” play that I enjoyed most.

Many may feel this post is terribly sexist…to those who think this, I say, “Men and women are different. Instead of ignoring this, I suggest we embrace and value those differences.”

I am speaking from years of experience. Personally, it’s been a life-long study with irrefutable results.

The competitiveness of girls seems to be, grounded in, their superb awareness of non-verbal clues and their delightful social abilities. One example that I remember clearly:

A 4-year-old girl was sitting in a pout over not getting her way. I asked a 4-year-old boy to offer her some apple slices for snack. The girl turned her head away from the offer, since she wasn’t yet over her disappointment. The boy reacted with a shrug and happily kept the extra portion for himself. Then I asked a 3-year-old girl to make the same offer to the “pouter”. (There was “bad blood” between these two girls from other competitive moments but I hoped it might be the first step in getting them to be friendlier with each other.) The 3-year-old, happily offered the girl some apples. Miss Pout rolled her eyes and folded her arms refusing the apples. Without hesitation, the younger girl threw the apple slices in her lap and stormed away.

The boy was not at all insulted…even at 3, the girl who was offering the apples, knew she had been snubbed and, furthermore, took it quite personally.

I find the experiment quite interesting and don’t think a world made, from all of either reaction, would be fun. The boy’s reaction was far easier for me though! The girls battled daily after that and to my distraction.

Of course, these reactions can happen from either sex. Some boys are wound tighter and some girls are not as easily insulted. I am just offering a well-studied norm for your consideration. Actually, being aware of this tendency has allowed me to avoid putting girls “at odds” with each other and has reminded me to offer boys more “How do you think they feel?” moments too.

So my plans for summer are many well thought out activities. There will be well-defined consequences for extreme bickering and rewards for showing good-sportsmanship and sharing. Keeping decisions fewer and options greater may be my only salvation!