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Monday, March 31, 2014

Bookworms

A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library.
~ Shelby Foote
- - - - -

After doing some brief research, I found out that the usage of the word "bookworm" as a book lover came BEFORE "bookworm" in terms of things that eat pages in books.  Also, in terms of the latter, they are not actually worms.  They are different  kinds of bugs.  I guess, also in terms of the former, they are not actually worms.  They are different kinds of people.

Wouldn't it be funny if bookworms destroyed all the books on fishing in a library?  That would be like poetic justice.  Especially if there was a poetry book on fishing.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Communication

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it takes place.
~ George Bernard Shaw
- - - - - 

I think it is amazing how communication works.  People communicate in lots of ways.  Verbally.  Non-verbally.  Psychically.  Emotionally.  In writing.  Animals do, too.  And insects.  We don't always understand each other.  Like bees don't understand that I'm saying, "Please stay away from my head."  Squirrels don't understand that I'm saying, "Stand still.  I want to take your picture."  Snakes don't understand that I'm saying, "You startled me!"

I'm glad I don't understand their communication, though.  I bet a lot of it is either, "AH!  You scared the CRAP out of me!" or "RRRR!  I'm going to have you for dinner!"  And that would get redundant after a while.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

America

America is great because she is good.  If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
~ Alexis de Tocqueville

- - - - -

I love history.  I like the people and the stories and the way that it leads us to today.  Of course there are people who are not likable and stories which are not good.  As people we are the sum of our past experiences.  And more than that.  As a country we are the same.  

Greater than the sum of our parts.

The reality is that we need to acknowledge the bad things.  The difficult parts.  The shameful things.  We wouldn't be the country we are without those mistakes.

But we shouldn't wallow in our mistakes.  We need to celebrate our victories and successes and goodness, too.  We are not simply a sum of our failures or our successes.  We need to focus on not one or the other, but on what they make as parts of a larger whole.

No coasting on success.
No wallowing in failure.

Instead we should wallow in chocolate pudding.  I know, you're pretending it is gross, but you're kind of liking the idea.  I know you are.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Obey

I don't do what I'm told, but I might do what you want if you ask me nicely.
~ Cassandra Clare
- - - - -

I like this sign.  It says to me, "Warning obey the load limit or this bridge will be closed."  It also says to me, "We know you haven't been obeying the load limit, so shape up or you can't use this bridge.  And we are SERIOUS.  See how we put that limbo bar across the bridge?  That's so if you want to take heavy loads across this bridge you're gonna have to use some weird short and squat big load hauler.  We are NOT joking.  Does this look like a joke?  It's not."

Sometimes I read between the lines.  And around the lines.  And by rearranging letters into new lines.  

And sometimes I don't read at all and I just make crap up.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sandwich

Enjoy every sandwich.
~ Warren Zevon
- - - - -

The other day Sara and Joe and I were working on a project at a local restaurant.  I would say, "at a local eatery," but that sounds pretentious.  And we are a lot of things, but I don't think we're pretentious.  

Anyway, then this happened...

Sara:  Do they have rye toast here?
Me:  Do mean W. R. Y. toast?
Joe:  (at exactly the same time as I responded) Is that toast with a subtle sense of humor?

I feel sorry for Sara sometimes.  Mostly I feel happy for her that she gets to work with Joe and me.  (pause)  Yes, mostly almost all happy is what I feel.  

And they did not have rye toast.  And she didn't even follow up to ask if they had wry toast.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cold

Water.  Like a blanket.  Dark.  Intoxicating.  Cold.
~ Shannon Celebi
- - - - -

It was a long and very cold winter.  We had a lot of snow.  I shoveled a lot of snow.  There was one day when I was shoveling that every time I'd break up a chunk of snow and ice, it was in the shape of a state.  And it was always in the shape of Wisconsin.

I thought to myself, "That's kind of funny.  Wisconsin can get a lot of snow from time to time.  Wisconsin has had a cold winter this year, too.  Wisconsin could appreciate snow chunks in the shape of itself."

Then I thought, "Maybe you don't know the shape of very many states."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Creativity


Creativity takes courage.
~ Henri Matisse
- - - - -

I love creativity.  I like it when someone looks at things in a way I would never think to look at things.  Sometimes it is humorous.  Sometimes distracting.  Sometimes disturbing.  Sometimes it just makes me stop and think.  I like that.

And I respect the fact that not everyone's creativity resonates with every individual.  If we were all the same, it would be boring.  For example, Leslie doesn't particularly care for "Precious Moments" figurines.  I think there are a few she likes or at least some that have sentimental meaning to her.  Maybe just one, I forget.  But overall, it's not her favorite genre of tchotchke.

I think instead of little children or animals hanging out and being cute and doing kid things, she might enjoy figurines of kids creating art or changing the world or moving beyond the expectations the world has of them - or, more importantly, moving beyond the expectations the kids have of themselves.

I think if I make those figurines, I'll call them "Precocious Moments."  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Proper

Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.
~ Plutarch
- - - - -

I think silence is often a much better approach than speaking up.  Often.  Very, very often.  A lot of people don't use that approach.  And - we all know - that even one person not using silence when silence is necessary and good can disrupt a moment, a meeting or a month.  Or longer.

I don't necessarily believe that all things ought to go unsaid, however.  Like on Downton Abbey.  There are times when those people could communicate a little better, I believe.  But they're so focused on being proper that they don't always communicate well.

Of course if they weren't so focused on being proper they could lose control.  Then it would become Wanton Abbey.  (pause)  Which a lot of people would probably still watch.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Worms


I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird 
and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
- - - - - -
Sara gave us worms for the holidays.  Literally.  It's a long story about why she did that, but she did.  And we really appreciated them.  And, you know what?  You learn a lot about a person when he gets a worm.  About his character.  His level of generosity and selflessness and kindness - as is reflected in this conversation...
Wayne:  I just want to touch this.
Joe:  No.
Wayne:  I can't touch your worm?
Joe:  No.
(pause)
And that conversation taken out of context would be disturbing.  That conversation taken in context is merely strange and somewhat uncomfortable.  Okay, maybe it's disturbing.

Incidentally, I was going to post this on Sara's birthday, but she said it was December 32nd and I missed it.  Then she told me the real date. 

I really have no control over these people.  

Which is as it should be.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Stories


After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.
~ Phillip Pullman
- - - - -

I like that idea.  That stories are what we need after nourishment, shelter and companionship.  It puts a new spin on the hierarchy of needs.  Stories matter.  Stories change.  We can't ever know everyone else's stories.  Which is good.  That would be a heavy burden to bear.  Plus, even if we could hear and hold everyone else's stories, we probably couldn't really make meaning of them without having the lived experience of each individual.

I can make meaning of your lived experience only through the lens of my lived experience.  It's a good meaning, but not the only meaning and probably not the "truest" meaning.  But then our truths are subjective, too, right?  

I do believe that every life has a story and a moral and lessons and warnings and gifts.  As for yours, well, I don't know the moral of the story because I don't know the story.

As for mine, well, you wouldn't get it.

It's pretty awesome, though.  I'll just leave it at that.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Connections

Only connect!
~ E. M. Forster
- - - - -

Connections are important.  Connections matter.  We can't go where we need to go alone.  We can't live the lives we're meant to live in isolation.  We can't experience the whole when we are only small parts.  Small parts in isolation are isotopes.  I think that's what isotopes are.  I'm no scientist.  I need to be connected with scientists who understand isotopes.  Otherwise, I might as well live in a vacuum.  The big vacuous nothingness kind of vacuum.  Not like a Hoover.  Not like a Hooverville.  Not like Whoville.  Those are all different things.  I know more about Hoovervilles and Whovilles than isotopes, though.  It takes all kinds of us to make the world what it is and to make it what it could be.  Together the possibilities are endless.  Alone the possibilities are endful.

My point is that without connections we are disconnected.  And disconnection is bad.  Because it starts with the word "disco."  And disco is bad.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Good

If I can't do something for the public good, what the hell am I doing?
~ Anita Roddick
- - - - -

I think we all can do things for the public good.  I believe in gratitude and faith and hope.  I believe that when you give good things they return to you in more enormous ways than you could even imagine.  I believe in power and beauty and grace in small acts and that those small acts are more significant in creating change than the grand gestures.

I also think that we are obligated to look for things to make us happy if we want to be happy.  I believe it takes work.  Effort and experimentation.  You have to try a variety of approaches.  You have to shop around to find what works for you.

Like the other day when I was shopping and Anita Baker was singing in the grocery store.  Well, I have to believe it was a recording of her, as I find it unlikely that she would hold a concert at a Hy-Vee in Ames, Iowa at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning.  But I don't know her that well.  I could be mistaken.

Anyway, afterward I posted that I appreciated hearing her sing while I was shopping.  A few people liked it and commented.  Maybe - even though they hadn't heard her where and when I heard her - maybe they still thought of her and her music.  Maybe my paying attention in order to be happy and sharing what I discovered brought some happiness to others.  I would like that.

Leslie commented and said, "At first I thought it said Anita Bryant."

Silly Leslie.  I only hear Anita Bryant when I'm around citrus.

Which is fruit.  Ironically.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hay

It's better to make hay while the sun shines.
~ Xander Berkeley
- - - - -

So I looked up the etymology of the word "bale" and it seems to come from the Germanic for "ball."  (pause)  You'd think I could have figured that out on my own.

In my defense the first hay bales I would have seen were probably square.  And there aren't very many square balls.  Unless you're a quaderback.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Like

I do not like you, Sabidius; I cannot say why.  This only can I say: I do not like you.
~ Marcus Valerius Martial
- - - - -

That is one of my favorite quotes of all time.  I don't remember how I first came upon it.  I know I first read it in a BOOK copy of Bartlett's Quotations.  Back when books were a thing.  I know they are still a thing, but back when they were the main thing that kept hold of words.  Besides people.

Anyway, I don't know who Sabidius was, but I think for the quote to have lasted for about 2000 years, well, he must have been something.  Of course, maybe Martial didn't like many people.  I'm not sure.

I think it is interesting why people like or do not like other people.  Some people like almost no one.  You know those kind of people?  The people who say, "Really?" when you share you like someone or enjoy their company.  Or the people who say, "Hm.  Well, I think he's a whack job" no matter whom you mention.  

I usually first question my own ability to assess the positive qualities of others, but when I hear negative comments from someone EVERY time a mention a new person, then I begin to realize that maybe the person who is providing the negative critique might be the person with the issue.

Of course, we all value different things in other people.  I appreciate humor and creativity and kindness and intelligence.  I value less hoity-toityism or condescension or insecurity.  Of course, I'm not sure who exactly values that, but there must be some people who value it because there are some people like that.

But others might value people who are really friendly in the morning or who are brilliant at small talk or who know a lot about child beauty pageants.  Those people probably don't like me all that much because I'm not particularly friendly in the morning or good at small talk and I know virtually nothing about child beauty pageants.

The other day I walked into Sara's office and she said, "You know what I like about you?"  I thought for a moment that she might comment on my integrity or my ability to build a team or my humor.  Instead she said, "You don't whip out your camera every time you walk in here to take a picture of the fact that I've organized my jelly beans by color like Joe does."

(pause)

I guess that's nice, too.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sharing

There is luck in sharing a thing.
~ Irish Proverb
- - - - -

There are lots of sayings about luck.  And about sharing.  And about things.  There are lots of sayings.

I do agree that sharing a thing is good.  Even if you are sharing with a little reluctance.  Maybe that's how most of us are at first when we think about sharing or asked to share.

But then we decide to share because it is what's best.  And then the sun is a little sunnier.  And the day is sunny and sharing.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Contagious

You don't always get what you ask for, but you never get what you don't ask for…  unless it's contagious!
~ Beverly Sills
- - - - -

Sometimes I wish I could build a fence around me to kill all the germs other people have.  I don't mean figurative germs of hate or ignorance or cruelty - though if they made those kind of fences, I'd look into building them, as well.  I mean germs of being sick.

The other day I was at a lunch meeting and the woman sitting next to me was coughing and hacking.  I knew she was sick and I was worried I might get sick.  I forgot to take a superdose of vitamin C that night.  The next day - almost exactly 24 hours later - I had a tickle in my throat and by that evening I was feverish and tired.  I took a superdose of vitamin C then, and the next morning, but I had clearly gotten ill.

I'm not happy about it.  She could have done more not to spit and sneeze and cough her germs all over our luncheon table.  I understand she didn't choose to be sick, but still.  

Anyway, I also believe in karma.  And when I stabbed that green bean and it shot green bean juice at her, well I don't feel as bad about that as I did at the time.  It's not like she's going to catch green bean fever, but maybe it was the universe's way of telling her she need to be watching what she was exposing the rest of us to.

And green bean fever sounds pretty bad.  Most things sound bad if you add "fever" to the end of them. Except Saturday night.  That sounds MAGICAL when you add fever to the end of it.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Machines

The typewriting machine, when played with expression, is no more annoying than the piano when played by a sister or a near relation
~ Oscar Wilde
- - - - -

I remember one time when the girls and I had a competition to see who could identify the songs on the radio the fastest.  I am pretty good at that.  I like music a lot.  And I got practice with Julie and Monica and Monica when I lived in Iowa City a long time ago.

Anyway, they were doing remarkably well and beat me on the race a number of times.  Then I realized that they had Elizabeth's iPad out and were using an app which told them the names of the songs.  To my credit I DID beat the iPad more often than it beat me.

I was thinking about that the other day and I was reminded of a research paper I did in school about John Henry racing the steam engine.  And I thought about how much like John Henry I was - we were both trying to beat machines.  We both were trying to prove that humans are always going to be better and more important than steam engines or iPads or whatever kind of technology.  And we both have become something of folk heroes for our amazing feats.

(pause)

One of us may be slightly better known than the other, but still...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fast

Doors to beautiful things do not remain open forever.  Be fast to enter inside.
~ Mehmet Muran ildan
- - - - -
One must act quickly to make the most of moments or else they become memories.  Not only is he who hesitates lost, but she who hesitates is lost and ze who hesitates is lost.  Lesson: person who hesitates is lost. 

I know this was true when I was a kid and we would drive around somewhere for vacation or to go fishing or to find something we hadn't found before.  If we hesitated too long and drove too randomly before looking at the map - you guessed it:  We would be lost.

Ideas are like that, too.  I have ideas for blogs all the time.  ALL the time.  Unfortunately - as I've mentioned before - I don't always capture enought to know what I was going to blog about that particular thought later on.  Some examples include:
"I was initially calling him a magician, but he's not really a magician."

"Heir supply."

"I don't like Ayn Rand.  Just take what she did and burn it and move on."

"Some foods are not photogenic."

"Quoit welcome."

"Vertigo in a porta potty sitting on a sligt incline."

"Professor heal thyself.  Unbridled pleasure."

See?  I'm thinking those were some pretty interesting ideas.  Now they are just a list.  Not a list like Mike found in our classroom the other night.  That was the list to beat all lists.  I need to get a copy of it.  Until them I'll be listless. 

Well, not really.  I have some other lists.  Just not THE list.  

You might be wondering if I keep a list of people I like and one of people I don't like.  I bet you are wondering that.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Reactions

(photo by Natalie Gelman)
Music happens to be an art form that transcends language.
~ Herbie Hancock
- - - - -

Yesterday I posted a list of songs I compiled for Aurora.  This is the photo Natalie sent me along with a message that Aurora had fallen asleep listening to "Puff the Magic Dragon."

I heard a story the other day that by exposing babies and little kids to music, you increase their abilities to be musical - potentially to have perfect pitch - when they grow up.  That makes sense to me.  I'm not saying I gave the CD to Aurora for Valentine's Day as some sort of experiment.  I'm not saying I didn't.  If it is an experiment, though, I certainly haven't controlled for all variables or gotten appropriate IRB approval and consent.

But I digress.

I am interested in what songs babies like.  When I chose the songs for this CD, I chose based on a combination of lyrics, rhythm, melody and a diversity of styles and artists.  I like to think the reaction captured here is what she'll look like when she hears "Enter Sandman" by Metallica for the first time.  

I didn't include that song on the CD.

I'm saving it for the next one.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Music

Words make you think.  Music makes you feel.  
A song makes you feel a thought.
~ Yip Harburg
- - - - - 

Here is a playlist I made for the baby:

Puff the Magic Dragon - Peter, Paul and Mary
Tippy Toeing - The Harden Trio
Bungle in the Jungle - Jethro Tull
Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby - Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch
Baby Driver - Simon & Garfunkel
Pied Piper - Crispian St. Peters
Hey, Soul Sister - Train
No Matter What - Def Leppard
That's Amore - Dean Martin
What's New Pussycat - Tom Jones
Three Little Birds - Bob Marley & the Wailers
Squeeze Box - The Who
Mamma Mia - ABBA
Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash
Pink Moon - Nick Drake
Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas
Forever Young - Audra Mae & the Forrest Rangers
Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses
Somebody's Crying - Chris Isaak
Particle Man - They Might Be Giants
Good Luck Charm - Elvis Presley
Mama, I'm Coming Home - Ozzy Osbourne
Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
You Are My Sunshine - Ray Charles

The baby is not covering her face because she hates the playlist.  She is covering her face because she is overcome with emotion and doesn't know how to thank me.

I should get a job making playlists for babies.  I'm sure there's huge money in that.  Well, not a LOT of money.  Babies aren't rich in terms of dollars, but they are rich in terms of scents.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Storm

I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead without it.
~ Jonathan Winters
- - - - -
Sometimes I'm more comfortable with being in the middle of a struggle than when things are going well.  When you're in a storm, you deal with the storm on hand instead of worrying about storm on its way.  Or - more likely - you don't worry about the MANY storms which will never find you.  You deal.  You get help or struggle on alone.  You cope.
Storms pass.  So does the beautiful weather.  I tend to worry more when things are beautiful because there is no constant.  There is no forever.  The beauty will pass or at least be troubled.  If I could learn to appreciate the moments as they are and not worry about the future, I'd be more at peace. 
I'd probably be poor, too.  Why save money for tomorrow?  Just enjoy today.  I guess you have to find a good balance.
It's like the fable of the tortoise and the turtle.  The tortoise worked slowly toward his goal.  He didn't goof around.  And he achieved his goal.  And the turtle did the same thing and she achieved her goal, too.

(pause)

It's not as popular as some other fables with tortoises in them, but still I think we can learn a valuable lesson from this story.  

It's important to have a shell so you can carry your home on your back.  That way when you achieve your goal - and you will - you can just curl up inside your house and take a nap.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tree

Love the trees until their leaves fall off,
then encourage them to try again next year.
~ Chad Sugg
- - - - - 

I love trees.  Really almost any kind of tree.  I love the trees that change colors in the fall.  I love pine trees.  I love palm trees.  They are peaceful and persistent and tokens of time.  They mark moments and locations and stand in tribute to things from before now.  Like yesterday.  Or the day before yesterday.  Or even longer ago than that.

I used to climb them a lot when I was a kid.  There was a tree at my elementary school I climbed one time.  Then when I went to get down, I got my foot stuck.  The kids had to go get a teacher to help me get my foot unstuck.

The next year there was a rule in the school rulebook that said kids weren't allowed to climb trees.

I've pretty much been pretty involved in the creation of educational policies my entire life.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Indiana

 At the Sex Institute in Bloomington, Indiana, they were a tremendous help, too.
~ Liam Neeson
- - - - -

There are a lot of online tests right now that people are taking and posting their results.  "What kind of potato chip are you?"  "What kind of crayon are you?"  "What kind of quiz do you like taking the most?"

The other day there was one, "In which state should you live?"  I took it.  I got Indiana.  That is not what I expected.  I am not sure what I expected.  Washington, maybe?  Or New Mexico?  I don't know.  But I got Indiana.  

I'm okay with that.  I've had some very nice times in Indiana.  I have a very good friend who is from Indiana.

(pause)

I think that's all I have to say about Indiana right now.  Other than I can see I in Indiana.  Twice even.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Life

A traveler has a right to relate and embellish his adventures as he pleases, and it is very impolite to refuse that the deference and applause they deserve.
~ Baron Munchausen
- - - - -

I think that we tell more about our truths through our embellishments than through our accurately retelling of our adventures.  We may not capture the play-by-play of our lives with 100% accuracy (as if that was even possible), but we do reveal what is important to us.

If we tell of pain and suffering and sadness, we expose that those are things to which we are drawn.  If we tell of joy and happiness, then those are the compelling themes of our lives.  If we talk of music and friendship, those are our foundations.  If we talk of children and beauty and nature, then those are the places where we find peace.

And if we obsess about chicken wings and loud music and bodily functions, we are probably 13 year old boys.  

I think maybe the theme of my life focuses on photography and humor and the themes of life.  Which is different than the circle of life.  I'm not lion.

(pause)

I'm really sorry I typed that.  Not sorry enough to erase it, but sorry nonetheless.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Mmmm

My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy the ice cream while it's on your plate.
~ Thornton Wilder
- - - - -
Ice cream is a pretty great creation.  And all the ways we work with it and create with it and build upon it.  You can do a lot with ice cream.  Some people really like it.  A LOT.  Some people kind of like it.  a little.  Others can't have it because they are lactose intolerant.  Which I hate.  I can't stand intolerance.

At the end of the year there is a peppermint ice cream that Leslie really likes.  She rarely eats ice cream.  Or any dessert.  But she likes this particular ice cream.  Last year was the first time I had tried it. 

"Mmmm," she said.  "Isn't it so good?" 

I nodded.

"It's better than West Virginia," she added.

"What?" I asked only because her comment made no sense to me.

"West Virginia is almost heaven.  This is better."

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Deference

 Deference gets you friends, honesty gets you hated.
~ Terence
- - - - -

When I asked for a book, she said that wasn't the book I needed. I insisted that it was and that I knew best what kind of book I needed. She frowned and shook her head. She said that she knew what book I needed. I insisted, but she just gave me the book she wanted me to have.

Then I realized I wasn't working with a deference librarian.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Selection

Natural selection is anything but random.
~ Ricahrd Dawkins
- - - - -

I saw this sign when I was in Arizona a couple of years ago.  I understand that it is good to protect soil and wildlife, but I don't understand why we fight so hard against natural selection.  Which is why I also am not sure I'm in favor of stoplights, flammability warnings, or hospitals.

You know what?  I think it is very revealing that when I was typing the first sentence of this entry I accidentally typed "wildfire" instead of "wildlife."  I am not sure what that reveals and I don't want to know, but I'm sure it gives me insight into something about myself. 

Sometimes we choose not to look too closely.  You look too closely at why the buffalo are stampeding and you get stampeded.  And that is natural selection.  And that is why I try to maintain professional distance in my research.  Well, at least my buffalo research.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Unplugged

We get sucked into the internet and streaming information, and it's time to just unplug and look within.
~ Jonathan Cain
- - - - -

I heard a thing on the radio not too long ago about "unplugged getaways" and how businesses are specializing in that.  It is interesting to me that people need help finding places to get away from electronic communication.  How about just unplugging things at home and turning off your phone?  Or going on vacation and not turning the TV or your cell phone on?

I see people in restaurants and we're all on our mobile devices.  Do we even know how to just be?  How to talk with one another?  How to listen?  Or how to sit in silence?

I don't think we do.  Not really.

I can sit and be silent.  I do that in meetings sometimes.  I try not to look at my phone or iPad or whatever when I'm in a meeting because I think it's disrespectful.  So I sit there quietly.  I try to be engaged.  I try to respect the purpose of whatever the meeting is.  I sit and think, "I wonder what is happening on Twitter."

Just kidding.

I think, "I wonder what's happening on Facebook."

Monday, March 3, 2014

Messages

There is a hidden message in every waterfall.
It says if you are flexible, falling will not hurt you!
~ Mehmet Murat ildan
- - - - -
I think this quote is a good example of the power of nature and how we use it to make meaning or draw stories or understand ourselves in the context of the larger world.  We're always talking about the significance of trees or air or water or earth.  Well, not always.  Sometimes we sleep and do our jobs and forget to talk and think about those things.  Which is sad.  Well, not that we sleep.  We need to sleep.

My point is that there are amazing messages in nature if we take the time to look at and listen to them.  The knowledge we need for our own peace - and the peace of others - is all around us.  We just fail to capitalize on it sometimes.  But there are moments - maybe few, certainly precious - when the we realize that the natural world does make sense.

I do think we need to share these things with children.  To help them understand the importance of nature.  But we need to be careful doing that.  The above quote, for example...  A child who hasn't developed critical thinking skills might think that it means that literally falling over a waterfall won't hurt her.  It will, child.  It will.  You may be flexible, but those rocks and stuff aren't.
I guess there is a message in that, too.  There are people and events and behaviors in our lives which are rocks.  They can guide us, but they can hurt us, too.  Rock stars can do that, as well.  Yes you, Dave Navarro.  You know what you did.

Another hidden message in "every waterfall" is: "Feel Wary? Travel." Also "Wave, Ferret Ally!" But that doesn't make a lot of sense.

In summary:  enjoy nature, teach your children well, and words are toys.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Seuss

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.  Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life though the wrong end of a telescope.  Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities.
~ Dr. Seuss
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I saw this on a recent walk.  I'm not sure this little fish was laughing at all of life's realities.  Then, I guess, if you think about it most of us don't do that.  At least not in the moment.  I heard someone say one time:

Tragedy + Time = Comedy

In the case of this fish, though, I think tragedy plus time equals dead fish.  We learn from everything, though.  Some people might see this and think about how valuable life is.  Others might think about the environment.  Others might think about how we are all a part of the world around us.  Others might think, "gross."

Dr. Seuss might think, "I need to write a book called One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish."

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Spectators

It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.
~ Oscar Wilde
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I have posted several photos of this giant duck.  I love it.  It is symbolic of childhood and play and cleanness and ducks and water and floating and color and it is tactile.  A lot of us know what it feels like to hold a rubber duck.
And it resonates with us.
We are drawn to it.  Sometimes we fear things that are big - problems, natural disasters, dinosaurs.  But I don't think most people are afraid of a giant rubber duck.  At least these people didn't seem afraid of it.
After all, rubber ducky, we're awfully fond of you.  And we have so much to learn from you.  To just keep floating.  To be quiet.  And, like the song says, "When I squeeze you, you make noise."  Is that not also true of us as human beings?  (pause)  Yes.  Yes it is.