Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Fwd: Waltz of the Flowers

​I watched the (1) BigGeekDad video linked below and set to the Waltz of the Flowers.  Very worth seeing.  The music got me in the mood for Tchaikovsky.  My sophomore year of college was when my roommate played Capriccio Italien  ​and that music has since often given me a strong lift.  It turns me into a young Russian traveling in Italy where the sun is warm and life rolls along merrily.  I hadn't heard that music in a while.  Here is a good YouTube link to it:

Subject: RE: Waltz of the Flowers

We just watched it.  Wow!  That is amazing.  Thanks


Subject: Waltz of the Flowers


Everyone enjoy this one.  AMAZING!!!


This has to be the most brilliant chain reaction display ever created with marble and magnets as it is synchronized to the music perfectly.


Prepare to be amazed as you watch a series of moves by marbles and magnets set to the song "Waltz of the Flowers" by Tchaikovsky.





Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Modern miracles of communication

It is difficult to communicate with people.  There are so many ads and scams that people are reluctant to look at email or answer phones.  Generally, communication needs to be two-way to be useful.  If I drive to your house and we sit in the living room and talk, I can see your body language and you can see mine.  If I don't understand something you say, I can apologize for my limited hearing and ask you to repeat yourself.  I can get closer to you and show in several ways that I am interested in what you are saying and that I am trying to listen fully. 

When I phone you, you have gotten rid of your landline.  If I am lucky, I may get you live on the phone but our phones are not quick at switching from one of us to the other.  You are shopping in the local market at the time and are reluctant to discuss problems with your friend and his temper aloud among the produce shoppers.  You tend to move the phone off to the side while you bag some broccoli crowns with wet hands.  Then, I can't hear you and you can't hear me.  Your phone is easy to switch off by accident and when you realize it is off, you turn it on.  Before we can reconnect, you get a reminder about tomorrow's dental appointment and an ad about a great sale in the store next door. 

The next time I call you, you have set your phone to go to voicemail on every call in an attempt to be interrupted less often. So, I don't get to hear your voice.  That's ok. I write you an email explaining it all.  But that email address has been put on the back burner.  The software is slow and subject to spam filters and some of my messages don't get through to your mailbox.  There is another email address or two that you are using these days and you get a ton of email in them.  That means that the old email address I had and used is rarely checked.  How come we aren't in touch more?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Worry, mothers and gender

Everything is going to be ok.
Well, everything that matters.
What matters?
I don't know.  Just don't worry.

I have been noticing that most of the worries I hear about are stated by women.  Guys care about women and they feel that worrying is less pleasant than not worrying.  So, they urge their wives, mothers and sisters not to worry. Thoreau said that men lead lives of quiet desperation, but I think many men figure the odds, or feel the odds, but proceed as though they will do all right. A guy can simply decide to charge ahead, disregarding enemy gunfire or the blazing forest.  He may end up dead but he can do that.

My psychologist and counselor friends say that telling someone who is worrying not worry is not an effective way to halt their worrying.  I think they are right.  If someone is worried that we are too low on milk, I find that they can quickly switch to worrying that we will run out of eggs. Today's high communication world provides us with a very long list of potential worries.  

What about the money supply?  Is the atmosphere getting polluted?  What is Russia going to do?  Is it true that she is pregnant?  Is it true that she can't get pregnant?

My theory is that feminine worry is part of the equipment nature provides to continue the species.  Some women never bear a child but most seem to be basically designed for motherhood.  If a woman does become a mother, it is the next five years that are sensitive to the child's future.  Is the child going to catch a bad disease?  Is the child sleeping well?  The mother may be young but she is much more adult than the newborn.  The mother is often the main person for keeping an eye on the child, literally and figuratively.  

A newborn is famously helpless.  A mother who watches and worries may keep the child warm, well-nourished, safe and both loved and aware of being loved.  A father may just assume that the child is warm enough, has been sufficiently fed and is safe.

An important characteristic of women is their interest in others.  Men are also interested in others, but they seem likely to be quite interested in independence.  I wouldn't offer help to another man unless I felt there was a cleared indicated need for help.  I have read of a big difference between women and men in their ability to ask for help.  With male hormones and a male life, I am likely to feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness, a big no-no for men.  Since everyone needs help at times, those with less obstacles to asking for and accepting help can have an advantage.  

Of course, we pioneer Americans know the value of figuring out how to live without help.  When we are out in the wilderness and there is no one to help us, we have to chop out a living on our own.  

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Rib lost, rib found

This is a rib.  Not that kind of rib.  The kind that Lynn uses to mold and smooth clay.  Clay has to be kneaded to get the air out.  Then, it is a big lump.  This was a favorite tool to smooth and level the clay to be ready to work with.  Actually, that is not true at all, she tells me as I read what I have written.  The tool is important to roughen any two surfaces that are going to be joined by plastic clay.  The roughing makes for a better stronger join.

There are clay bits, and smears and chunkettes clinging to the rib after each use.  So, put it in the pail of water to loosen and dissolve the clay to clean the rib.  That pail water can be quite full of clay bits which we don't want in our plumbing.  So she takes the pail outside, twirls it to get the clayish water stirred up and tosses the water on the ground.  Clay back to clay, so to speak. 

This beloved tool was nowhere to be found.  There are many pots and boxes of tools in the working area.  All got checked and that rib was not there.  Oh, no, what if the rib was in the clayish water and got tossed out in the snow.  Hope not.  It is so thin and the snow is deep enough that we won't find it until late April or whenever the snow melts.  Then, we will see a small, shiny metal plate on the ground.  She will have to order a new one.

Why not take a look?  Odds are against finding it but wait!  What's that little bright line in the snow?  The rib!  Found it!

So pleasant!  So satisfying!  The errant tool is returned.  Yes, three dollars saved but that is not the point.  The point is what was lost, sadly and irritatingly lost, is found, recovered, returned.  Yay!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Gold standard, science and individuals

You may know that supposedly the "gold standard" in science and research is the doubly randomized trial.  Humans are very smart and sensitive so when I try out the turnip cure for the heebie-jeebies, I need a group of people who don't get my turnips and a group who does.  To meet the gold standard, it would be best if I draw names from the entire human population randomly.  Put everyone's name in a really big jar and mix them well and draw out, maybe 1000 or ten thousand names for the control group and an equal number for the experimental group that gets my turnips.  I need to run the whole operation is such a way that neither the people nor the food servers know which is which or who is who. 

But even after I do all that and my turnip treatment does marvelous things, there is much more.  For instance, check out the work of Prof. John Ioannidis.  He is the guy who has shown repeatedly that over time, the entire medical and health establishment, here and elsewhere, can expect that the worth of my turnip treatment for the heebie jeebies can be expected to fall.  Today, it really helps.  Ten years from now, not so much.  We try to capture unyielding, reliable truth with my experiment but as the Buddhists say: Everything changes.  

We change.  Heebie-jeebies change.  Turnips change.  Scientific tests change and experiment procedures change.  

So, what can we do?  The same thing we always do: think, try, work at lessening the negative impact and suffering caused by heebie-jeebies.  Improve our ability to live with heebie-jeebies.  Maybe find ways to enjoy heebie-jeebies.  Maybe find ways to profit by them.  

I am an individual.  I am unique, not uniquer than you, though.  There is no one else born where I was born, sitting now where I am sitting, just my age, with just my internal and external make-up and history.  You are unique.  We are individuals.  In truth, we can be divided but we conceptualize ourselves as fundamental units, unlike (in some ways) any other.  So, maybe we will improve our ways of understanding me and my heebie jeebies, my suffering and my ways of living.  Maybe in the case of the heebie-jeebies or anything else, we will learn to understand me and understand you more deeply, more quickly, more completely.  We may develop alternative standards for treating individuals based more on the unique combinations we are.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Getting breathed

We get breathed all the time, starting with that first cry we made on emerging from Mom to now.  I write "get breathed" because it can really feel that way.  From several sources, I learned that using my abdomen to open my lungs increases my capacity to inhale.  Consciously taking action to "improve" seems natural but to sit quite quietly and relax enough to feel my body take its own breath in its own time, to its own depth, is surprising.  When I drop any effort to change my breathing and just feel it happening, it is very clear that something other than the conscious director ME is deciding when to breathe, how long to inhale, how long to rest and how to exhale.  

All sorts of descriptions and observations can be made about the breath.  Recommendations and alterations can be created and tried.  Various breathing specialists counsel deeper breaths, more complete exhalations, slower breaths, quieter breaths, faster breaths, noisier breaths.  If I try for the highest number of breaths per minute that I can muster, the "breath of fire" (not the video game but the yoga practice) is the thing.  It can shake me up and energize my whole body.  There are some good YouTube videos on breath of fire and many others on breathing.

A common piece of advice for meditation is to "follow the breath".  Having just listened to Dr. Andrew Weil, I much prefer the wording "observe your breath."  We could say "Get into your breath."  If you sit quietly and relax and let your body decide when to take a breath, it is amazing.  Something in you knows it is time.  You can feel your lungs take in air and you can feel your exhalation. If you want, you can get all worried.  Will there be another arising?  What if the force forgets?  Then, happily, another breath arises.  And this has been going on 24 hours a day since you were born!  How can you not be stunned by your amazing self?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Shamed or ashamed

I learned a while back that some thinkers have thought that primitive cultures have relied on shame as a social tool while more advanced ones have used guilt.  I got to thinking about shame today. 

I have not been conscious of being shamed at any time in my life.  Meaning there has not been a time when a group whose opinion I cared about told me that I was a poor excuse for a human being and should be ashamed of being so…..whatever: lazy, corrupt, indifferent to my duties or something along that line.  If I myself hold the opinion that I am ugly, a loser or a failure in carrying out my duties, I am ashamed of myself. 

When you and your friends or some other group hisses and jeers, you are shaming me.  If I take your low opinions of me as a compliment because I feel you guys are stupid, wrong-thinking, duped, your name-calling and talking to others about my poor performance, my poor essential worth or my deserving of a low level of social rank might not mean too much.  I realize that if you get some big contributors who have bags of money to put negative words about me on tv, in the papers, and on the internet, I may suffer.  However, I may not feel ashamed.  I may feel emboldened and vindicated in my way of life and my opinions.

However, I feel Ashamed, if I make my own personal judgment that I am wrong, evil and bad, that is a very different kettle of fish, it seems to me.  It is a horse of a different color.

At first, Adam and Eve were both unclothed but they were not ashamed.  As some commentators have noted, why should they be?  They had not designed themselves and they were designed by the great Designer so their design was pretty good, no? But after eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they 1) knew they were naked and 2) they were ashamed and felt the need to cover you-know-what with leaves, maybe fig leaves.  

Genesis says that the couple hid from God and explained their behavior to him saying they were naked and felt the need to cover up.  He asked them,"Who told you that you were naked?"  Well, Sir, it was the woman and it was the snake and it was the fruit we ate, the fruit you told us not to eat.

There seems to have been a sudden conviction that they should not have been parading around without "aprons" (Genesis 3:7, KJV).  I have read that God or evolution must be a sanitation engineer since only someone with that background would run sewer lines through such a recreation area.

So, our bodies, our behavior, our failures, the difference between what we feel we must do and be vs. our actual record: it is not that difficult to find discord between the record and our plans.  Sometimes, it is the plans our parents or others had for us.  But we can usually find something to be ashamed of.

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