Category Archives: distractions

Staying true

I have a problem. I can stay true to the evidence or I can stay true to the plot. Sometimes, they’re polar opposites.

Watching Longmire. It’s a Netflix series set in Wyoming. The Sherriff commutes from his Ranch in New Mexico, 90 m north of Santa Fe. Wait, no? Oh, well he supposedly lives in Wyoming near the Montana Border within the view of the Absaroka part of the Rocky Mountains. The series is set in Wyoming, but most of the location scenes are shot in New Mexico. Somehow, he drives to Denver in 5 hours. He’s really MOVING!

Now recall that I am a fan of procedural shows such as CSI, Criminal Minds, NCIS… Longmire’s deputy has been found dead in a stream having been shot in the face by a shotgun. In his truck is his folded uniform. He has texted his old girlfriend with multiple apologies and has left a suicide note on his computer which he left running in his house.

“Click” goes my mind.

  1. Did he take off all his clothes, wander into the middle of the stream, sit down on the rocks and pull the trigger with his foot? (Gibbs would have noticed that.)
  2. Since he has powder burns on his face, he missed his mouth, yes? The muzzle of the gun would have had to be at least a few inches outside of his face to leave that type of wound. I think it would be daunting to look into the barrel and still be willing to pull the trigger rather than putting it in your mouth. Therefore is it really possible to contort yourself into a position like that to pull the trigger? (Dexter would have noticed that.)
  3. Longmire tries to sift for missing BBs to see if he shot himself in the river. There were 196 BBs in his face which means that some of them either blew out the back of his head or missed him entirely. But there were only 6 missing. If you swallow the barrel, wouldn’t all the BBs be inside the mouth or the inside of the skull and more than 6 would have blown through the back of his head. (Temperance Brennan would have noticed that.)
  4. Where did they find the shotgun? Wouldn’t his fingerprints have been on the barrel rather than the trigger and the stock? If the shotgun was in the water and washed off the fingerprints, how did the dirt inside the shell in the gun stay dry? (Horatio Caine would have noticed that.)
  5. If, as Walt noted, Barlow (Branch’s Dad) killed him, texted Longmire’s daughter, removed the cameras and evidence from Branch’s house, moved the body to the river in Branch’s truck and rode his mountain bike back to his house, there should have been evidence everywhere! (Monk would have noticed that.)
  6. There would have been bicycle tracks near the truck. There would have been blood evidence in the truck (head wounds bleed a LOT!). What did he do with the bloody clothes and whatever he wrapped up Branch’s body in? Wouldn’t Barlow’s fingerprints have been on Branch’s phone? Wouldn’t there have been river mud on the bicycle? Wouldn’t there have been river mud on Barlow’s boots and pants? How did he clean up the blood at the scene of the murder (the skeet shooting range)? How did a man of his age ride a mountain bike all the way to his home and still be able to walk the next day? (Grissom would have noticed that.)

The plot is that we don’t know who did it, and Longmire has to puzzle it out. He wants to believe Nighthorse (the owner of the big casino going up) is behind the murder of his wife and now Branch, his deputy. It would still mean that the body would have been moved and posed. Nighthorse had done this with David Ridge, the guy who’d murdered the meth head that had been hired to kill Longmire’s wife. David faked his suicide and Nighthorse helped him fake his cremation. David was an employee of Nighthorse, but was lent to Barlow (Branch’s Dad) to kill the meth head and as Barlow and Nighthorse were notoriously at odds, if they identified David as the murderer, his association would lead back to Nighthorse and not Barlow. They tried to frame Longmire, then Hector, then Henry.

David’s calling card was a peyote soaked crow feather. When Branch was trying to get the DNA from David’s cremation, David shot him and inserted this crow feather into Branch’s wound, and later, he left one stuck in the meth head’s throat, but there wasn’t one when he killed Hector. And Hector, being found dying in a cave, identified David as his killer. OK, now it’s getting confusing because David is seen alive and walking around after his death. In fact, he tries to kill Longmire and lands on Longmire’s knife so he has 2 funerals.

If they’d followed the evidence and had applied logic to the situation, they would have identified Barlow sooner.

This is what messes with my head though: Barlow shot his only son, the heir to his legacy in the face!!!! That is extremely personal. His last words to his son were, “I’m too old to start over and make my fortune. But I’m not to old to have another son.” Blam! He was afraid that the evidence his son had found would send him to jail and ruin his businesses. In the end, he had no son and his insurance would have gone to his brother Lucien as the next of kin. If he had a will, he couldn’t have predicted he’d have to murder his own son, so his legacy would be in probate for decades.

I kinda like it when the evidence and the plot are coordinated. Otherwise, I process this completely differently and it keeps me up at night.

Spring in Nebraska

Spring in Nebraska

How do I know?

I just found a Robin…

Dead in the snow

Spring in Nebraska

How would you know?

Tomorrow’ll be 90 or

40 below.

Spring in Nebraska

How does it go?

Parka above

Flip Flops below!

Spring in Nebraska?

It isn’t slow

2 minutes in and

1 minute to go!

And…

SUMMER!

Incongruence

“You’re weird.” I think that started in Kindergarten. I had to wear corrective shoes, so not sneakers. I immediately stood out from the crowd. I had a vast vocabulary as a first grader, but I didn’t start reading chapter books until Fifth Grade…The Robe by Douglas Lloyd. I heard that phrase “You’re so weird!” every day, multiple times a day, for all of elementary school. I was imbued with the connections between subjects, music and art, art and history, history and literature, literature and math, math and science, science and music, and around and around and around it goes. I took for granted that everyone thought this way. They don’t. People didn’t understand my jokes. I was (and am) loud when I get excited. When we started on the SRA reading program in fifth grade, I zoomed ahead and got through all of the fifth grade requirements, the sixth grade, seventh, eighth, and ninth grade requirements. There were one or two others in the class that did that too. That would be two or three of us out of a class of thirty that reached ninth grade level in fifth grade.

Because our elementary school was a lab school, we were the mice they experimented on. No one in public school got as many standardized tests as we did. Where the rest of the class was worried about content, I learned how to take tests. You didn’t have to have a whole lot of content mastery to do well on the test. This surprised some teachers. I was the exception, not the rule, though. Therefore, they didn’t have to make adjustments. I was the outlier. I was weird.

Somewhere along the way, weird translated to stupid. I transferred to public school in seventh grade because my teacher at the lab school was psycho. I was in tears Every Day with this woman! Remember that I hadn’t started reading chapter books until fifth grade? I decided for my 1000-page per month book-reading requirement that I was going to read David Copperfield (850 pages). My psycho teacher said I couldn’t do it, so, of course, I did and wrote a book report on it. She accused me of cheating even though I could quote her passages and explain the whole plot to her without notes. My folks adamantly denied I had cheated. It made no difference. She flunked me on that project. I transferred before the winter break. At this time, I’d already studied Spanish for 3 1/2 years, so vocabulary words in my English class were easy–Latin roots etc. made new English words easy to understand. Though in the fifth grade classroom at the lab school, we had experimented with the “New Math,” the public school seventh graders where I now found myself were just getting into it. My teacher was not very familiar with “New Math.” They discouraged mental flexibility and solving problems without pencil and paper. For the tests, I wrote the answer and then went back and did all the steps.

The question I had to answer was this: 12 – x = 7.

  • Soooo in my head it came out in English. What’s the difference between 12 and 7? The answer is 5. I couldn’t just write 5 and go on to the next question though. So on the bottom line I wrote “5 = x”
  • Then I filled in all the steps: 12 – x – 7 = 7 – 7
  • 12 – x – 7 = (7 – 7) = 0
  • 12 – x – 7 = (12 – 7) – x
  • (12 – 7) – x + x = 0 + x
  • (12 – 7) + (-x + x) = 0 + x
  • 12 – 7 + 0 = x
  • 5 + 0 = x
  • 5 = x

QED

NOW go on to the next question. What a horrendous way to spend twenty minutes. Only one other person in that class was done in twenty minutes. He was the smartest kid in the class. Everyone else took the full fifty minutes. My teacher assumed I’d given up and was surprised there were any answers on my test when I turned it in. Then She accused me of cheating. I wanted to issue a challenge to the other kid that had finished in twenty minutes, but this was public school. You don’t have competitions to improve your skill. It might make someone in the class feel bad. I asked her how I could have “given up” after twenty minutes and a full thirty minutes before those sitting around me and copied from people who didn’t pass the test and still get a 95% on it? The look on her face confirmed she was unfamiliar with logical debate. From then on, we had to bring our work up to the teacher’s desk as we finished it instead of just passing it forward at the end of class. It was a race now between me and the other bright kid, and we were always first and second. Sometimes he won, sometimes I did. Now I was REALLY weird. Girls are not supposed to be good at Math–we were supposed to be brilliant at English and Spelling and Social Studies. Julie and Paula and I were also good at science. Julie and Paula got a pass because they were smart. (?) I was weird so I wasn’t supposed to be smart? I was loud and obnoxious, so I couldn’t be smart.

OK, everything will be different when I go to college…oh well. Nope.

I could hear better than anyone in the music department. I could even identify metronome beats per minute without looking at it. So it would go tick tick tick tick and I’d say, “Ah, that’s 84 beats per minute,” and be right. This is a trick. This is not a tool. It not a skill that anyone would want to acquire. I took the final exam for ear training and sight singing and passed it without taking the class. I was once again accused of cheating. I was now expecting this type of reaction. I invited them to test me again on any other song they chose. They didn’t. But then they had me as “dropped from course” instead of passing it. I didn’t even realize they’d done that until I went back to school in ’86 and got a look at my transcript. Every time I did well in a course, regardless of the subject matter, I was accused of cheating. I guess it is suspicious to have someone that was weird be good at anything. I took Calculus, Fortran IV (dark ages with punch cards!) and Assembly language computer programming classes and they thought my boyfriend was doing my homework and were surprised when I got an A on the final exam. I took Renaissance History and Renaissance Literature, and they were surprised that a music major would get A’s on the final tests. I only had to take English Composition and Grammar once and apparently that’s unusual among music majors.

Then I went to get a second degree in Business, and when I did well on the accounting classes and the business law classes, they were surprised that I had another degree in Music (the horror!) I took a Geology class and not expected to do well because business majors didn’t take Geology classes. I took advanced statistics and business majors were mostly into marketing so when I did well there and was actually tutoring some of the other students, it was because I was cheating–my husband was helping me write the computer programs that I wrote in Basic to do my homework and check my students’. (Remember the boyfriend from earlier? Same guy. We got married!) Nope I didn’t cheat; that was all me. And I was pregnant. I was weird because I actually liked Macro and Micro Economics. I took the GMAT and got 650+ and that did not surprise anyone. They were surprised that I took the test at all. After all, business majors who are mothers of four kids do not usually go back for a masters’ degree. And, I didn’t. We moved and I hadn’t been accepted into any Masters programs. It reinforced my belief that maybe I wasn’t as special as I thought I was.

I have been head-butting the “you’re weird, you can’t be innovative or smart or wise” all my life. It’s only been in the last 10 or so years that I quit fighting. I had looked back on my life and realized that it didn’t matter how much I knew, how long I’d studied, how well I remembered things, or how I expressed my wisdom. I was not at all as special as I thought myself to be. If the first thing EVERYONE thought was that I was not very bright, that I was a goof off, that I was a trouble maker, or that I was an arrogant self-centered narcissist, MAYBE THEY WERE RIGHT. I tried not to stick out. I tried not to show what I knew while secretly hoping someone would see me for me besides my husband.

Long-term friends now recognize that I have a lot of intelligence and skill in a wide variety of subjects. But most people’s first impression of me is that I’m not very smart. I still get that look of shock when I speak from the perspective of a fairly intelligent being with an integrated approach to things physical, mental and spiritual. I guess I’ve spoken about this before.

Unfortunately, I am extremely intolerant of ignorant people. Given the overload of information that is currently from a multitude of sources, I find that people that latch onto the things that make absolutely no sense MADDENING! I cannot understand how anyone could fact check the things they see online or hear on TV or Radio espoused as the “truth” and ignore (hence ignorant) the facts and the context of said information. So sometimes I let my “intelligence, wisdom, and factual grounding” blow-up on the screen. It’s like I’m reading or listening to something really foolish and I say or post, “Wait just a dam minute! Do you hear what you’re saying?!!! Shut up and do some detective work before you start spouting off stuff you clearly do not understand! You are making yourself look like a foo… Wait? you got 500 likes and people agreeing with you in the first minute since you posted something this stupid?” And from the ignorant person I get, “Where’d that come from? I thought you were enlightened! You’re just as delusional as ______________(fill in the blank with the most esteemed expert in whatever area you want to discuss)” So now I get blasted by all of my ignorant friends and all HIS ignorant friends as someone who’s obviously been deceived. I’m now a member of the sheeple? Excuse me? So given a choice between overwhelming factual proof and incontrovertible evidence versus the overwhelming negative responses and personal attacks what should I do? Unfriend a person because they’re ignorant? I keep backing myself into the patronizing activity of these doofuses with the head patting, “It’s ok, I like you even if you are woefully uninformed about the FACT that the earth really is flat…” Once again, I’m not as smart and informed and wise as I think I am. I feel like I don’t belong here.

Yes, I still want to see their cute kids and their latest fur baby antics. I love their vacation pictures. But I wish they’d stay out of philosophy and science and politics and religion because on the ladder of awareness and scientific study and theological background, they are not even on the third rung. When they expose their lack of understanding, I have to show extreme restraint to keep from pouring slime all over their heads. I realize I’m not at the top of the ladder and someone above me might be fighting the same urge to pour on me. But I think I’m miles above them. And this is my problem. I am weird. My greatest fear is that I’m only on the fourth rung.

What this is demonstrates the fact that where I think of myself on an intellectual and philosophical scale may be incongruent with my actual position.

Caped Jerks

Yes, I’ve been watching “The Boys” about some crusaders who object to super heroes murdering people. It’s a very sneaky plot. The super heroes save people and get justice except when they’re high. They are just as likely to kill the bad guy and everyone in the vicinity as they are to actually save the day. If they mess up, (let off a laser-eye attack in the cockpit of the airliner destroying all the instruments) they’re just as likely to escape and cut the plane in half and blame the terrorists. And sometimes they demand sexual favors for payment. The corporation pays them handsomely and runs polls like Nielson Ratings and arranges for special events and promotions to bring in more gigs. They decide they want to be part of the military, and the only way to get them into that position is if one of the heroes comes up with a synthetic serum that turns ordinary people into super heroes, but since he sells it to the terrorists (incognito of course!) they create super villains. In that way, the only solution to super villains is the superheroes in the military. Et Voila! ANYWAY… It’s lots of blood and sex and gore and ridiculous situations, some of which have that Seth Rogen touch.

My question is this: Who does their laundry? Every single episode, they’re all wearing the same clothes. The end of the episode, the hero has blood spatter and tissue all over his outfit, and the next episode, same outfit, all clean and shiny. Does he change clothes between calls? Can you imagine him dressed like Captain America (they call him Homelander) and dropping in on a bank robbery with blood and guts all over him?

Homelander: Hey guys! Robbing a Bank?

Bad guys: Dammmmmm! What is that stench?

H: Oh probably some small colon and a bit of brain and blood…

B: gags

H: Just drop the money and surrender.

B: still gagging

H walks up to the sick one and that poor guy just starts throwing up.

Wonder Woman clone called Maeve walks up.

M: Homelander? Couldn’t you shower before you came here?

H: WW! Glad you could join us! I’m going to take this teller into the vault to see if anything else is missing.

M: I’ll hold down the fort. I wonder if I can juggle these three guys?

We hear three thuds like breaking watermelons and then M calls out: Guess not…

Then we see H coming out of the vault adjusting his trousers, and the teller straightening her skirt with obvious signs of transferred blood and goo. So obviously, these jerks need to be taken down and exposed and that’s why we have “The Boys” who try to combat these guys even though they do not have any super powers of their own. They have recruited 2 super heroines who keep saving them from the jerks, and I guess we’ll see if they stick with them.

The whole series is like that. It’s like a really bad car wreck. You can’t look away and you’re not sure if you should laugh or cringe. Will I watch the next season? Yes. Why? I don’t know!

Weird Dream

When I have dreams, some stick in my mind until morning and some don’t. I know I dream every night but my dreams have changed in my *ahem ahem* years. Instead of action dreams where someone or something is chasing me or I’m going someplace or fighting some battle, I’m having Emotion Dreams. I’m not a fan of emotions. They are difficult to interpret and hard to control. There are times when I yearn for Vulcan philosophy or for a chip I could turn off like Data’s. They’re messy and complicate things that should be simple.

What do I mean? Well, yesterday, for instance, I was working on a project and the Things I Used To Do that were simple and straight-forward were now multi-step processes. I was writing a workbook and after rewriting it and editing it, I saved it. I needed to retrieve it for my meeting, and went to click it and it says, “Cannot find this file, did you rename it or delete it?” And THERE, RIGHT THERE, I was looking at 4 different copies. I clicked on all of them and got the same message. It was getting down to the wire and I was getting mad. I did a search for the thing and nothing came up. I had sent copies of this workbook to everyone in the meeting, including me (which showed amazing foresight on my part), and clicked on that link and it popped right up. After I taught that night’s session, I wanted to go back into my directory and eliminate all the false leads. I couldn’t just click a box and hit the delete button. It was like Mickey Mouse and the brooms in Fantasia. I’d click on it, get the “did you change this?” message, and then it added itself to my already over-populated directory. So I went to the help section and looked up how to delete a file.

The instructions came with a video, but of course, clicking on the video just started the video and it was 2″ by 3″ so I couldn’t actually see anything. And the instructions included those dreadful words: You simply… If it were simple, would I be in the help section? You SIMPLY go to the dashboard, select the file, and hit delete. It will go to your recycle bin. My dashboard doesn’t look anything like their dashboard. So No, I haven’t figured out how to clean up my list of amazing tomes.

I want something unimproved that doesn’t “help” me by doing stuff I know how to do. I want to push a button and have stuff happen, and not have messages saying that what I’m doing could be done quicker and easier by adding another 21 steps! I was mad and frustrated. I wanted to throw things. I scrolled through FaceBook for another hour and then crawled into bed.

So, my dream:

I go to the bathroom and I notice the roll of toilet paper not mounted on the dispenser. I take a good look at it and discover that it has been dropped in the toilet and quickly retrieved. I also deduce that the toilet water was not unspoiled as the paper is discolored and has a slight odor. (EWWWW) By fishing out the roll and putting it back on the dispenser without mounting it, I now have a puddle on the floor and a streak where the water (and other stuff) dripped down the wall. I feel Mad and Confused. I cannot fathom the logic of someone thinking you could use partially wet, definitely soiled toilet paper. I’m upset because it’s a mess I dread cleaning up as it makes me gag to even think of it.

The previous day, I had watched episodes of Dexter, the 1st 2 episodes of Game of Thrones, Forged in Steel and Forged in Fire episodes showing wicked swords and daggers, and finally the latest episode of Supernatural. You’d think I’d be dreaming of solving crimes, running a D&D scenario, catching Dexter (and surviving), and rewriting all the Sam and Dean stories without the “We have to kill God and his Sister” themes. But no, I dream of dirty toilet paper.

Worst Song EVER!

Think about it. What is the worst song you’ve ever heard? What were the qualities that made it awful? Was it the chord progressions? The idiotic lyrics? The ridiculous premise? The bad singing? The elementary solos that a 4th grader could do? Now think about this: If this song was so awful, how did you ever hear it? How did it get on the radio? Why would anyone listen to it twice?

I submit it was because the writer or the band leader sold his soul to the devil, and devil said, “Sure! Now I can torture hundreds of thousands at the SAME TIME! AND, bonus, I get your soul.” Granted, his soul was probably really tiny and would go for pennies on the dollar at the discount store, but a soul is a soul.

My Nomination for WORST SONG EVER is “The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band.

Some people call me the space cowboy, yeah
Some call me the gangster of love
Some people call me Maurice
‘Cause I speak of the pompatus of love

Space cowboy? More like space cadet. The gangster of love? He can’t afford to buy it so he steals it. Some people call him Maurice? His name is Steve and he’s so forgettable that people call him the wrong name! Pompatus? OMG He just made up that word. His vocabulary is so limited he needed a 3-syllable word that described love and couldn’t think of any! USE A FREAKIN’ THESAURUS YOU DOOF!

People talk about me, baby
Say I’m doin’ you wrong, doin’ you wrong
Well, don’t you worry, baby, don’t worry
‘Cause I’m right here, right here, right here, right here at home

If they’re talking about him, it’s because they realize he’s a loser. He IS doing you wrong…He’s at home while you’re out working? Chillin’ in front of Jerry Springer and Reality TV because he has no life other than sitting in your living room waiting to pounce on you when you get home.

‘Cause I’m a picker, I’m a grinner
I’m a lover, and I’m a sinner
I play my music in the sun
I’m a joker, I’m a smoker
I’m a midnight toker
I sure don’t want to hurt no one
.

THAT’S Pickin’ and Grinnin’

He wouldn’t pass the audition to get onto Hee Haw…He does No picking and he grins like a 2-year-old that just filled his pants. My guess is that he is no lover because he has no idea what it means to love. He’s definitely a sinner, because so far, he’s exhibited nothing but narcissism and sociopathic behavior. He does what he wants, when he wants, which, in and of itself, isn’t bad unless it interferes with those people around him. He is trying to interfere with this girl… He plays his music in the sun. 1st of all, he only knows 3 chords. He plays outside where others can be inflicted by his lack of melodic sense and innovation. The song is repetitive and mostly focuses on himself. Nobody cares about that! A joker? He’s as funny as Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck. He Smokes! So again, ew. A midnight toker? It means he pretends he’s one thing during the day and sneaks around at night for a buzz. It’s why your couch smells so funky in the morning and all those burn holes in the upholstery. Since he doesn’t want to hurt no one, grammatically speaking, he wants to hurt everyone. I’m not sure that he thought these lyrics out. Or, they came to him sometime after midnight…Draw your own conclusion.

You’re the cutest thing that I ever did see
I really love your peaches, want to shake your tree
Lovey-dovey, lovey-dovey, lovey-dovey all the time
Ooh-wee baby, I’ll sure show you good time

Cutest thing…OMG. Look at puppy and kitten pictures. He loves her peaches? Does he realize that when he “shakes her tree” her peaches will fall off? I’m not sure I’d want to engage with someone if I knew that my boobs would fall off. Lovey-dovey… flashbacks of Thurston Howell on Gilligan’s island. So when this girl is at home, he intends to occupy all her time by shaking her peaches off. That sounds really stupid. Now if he were going to show her a good time, he’d take her to a concert or a movie or dinner or something first.

‘Cause I’m a picker, I’m a grinner
I’m a lover, and I’m a sinner
I play my music in the sun
I’m a joker, I’m a smoker
I’m a midnight toker
I get my lovin’ on the run.

Wait, check out that last line! So he’s there with this cute girl, hanging around all day, playing his 3 chords, smelling up her couch at midnight, shaking her peaches off, and he’s doing it ON THE RUN? People say he’s doing her wrong and he says “No, because I’m right here at home…” except when he goes on the road again and finds another cute peach girl. What a JERK!

The song continues for another 2 1/2 min and he has absolutely nothing else to say, so he repeats the 1st part of the song. He does change Ooh-wee baby to C’mon baby. He’s still trying to convince her she should make out with him. About this time, she should have called her brothers to beat the snot out of him.

The Chord progression he uses is G, C, D, C and a base run to G again. Over and over and over again. The melody is simple, repetitive, almost but not quite pentatonic so you can’t sing a wrong note and the way he’s got it harmonized is unimaginative. And yet… the oldies station we listen to in the morning will play that at least once between 5:45 and 6:45 AM EVERY FREAKIN’ DAY. How in the Hell did it even get a second playing? How the hell did it get on a “Best” list at all?

This is from Wikipedia:

The Joker” is a song by the Steve Miller Band from their 1973 album The Joker. It is one of two Steve Miller Band songs that feature the nonce word “pompatus“. The song topped the US Billboard Hot 100 in early 1974.[1]

More than 16 years later, in September 1990, it reached number one in the UK Singles Chart for two weeks[2] after being used in “Great Deal”, a Hugh Johnson-directed television advertisement for Levi’s, thus holding the record for the longest gap between transatlantic chart-toppers. This reissue of “The Joker” also topped the Irish Singles Chart,[3] the New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart,[4] the Dutch Nationale Top 100[5] and the Dutch Top 40.

My question is: WHY? It has absolutely no value! I’m going to stick to my premise: He sold his soul and Now WE have to pay the interest on it.

It goes a little like this…

I have been watching artists doing live performances from their homes. They have to introduce their songs themselves, naturally, and they say, “I’m going to play this favorite of mine, Danny Boy, and it sounds something like this:”

Wait.

What is he comparing it to? It’s like saying, “It sounds something like Mozart,” and then playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Well? It sounds EXACTLY like that. Is he comparing it to something he hears in his head? Then how would we know that is not exactly what it sounds like in his head? We wouldn’t. So why would he tell us? Extraneous information.

Now a sculptor could finish a piece, and say, “It looks something like David of David and Goliath.” And it would if David was in his 20s and not Jewish. You could say that this image you have created is something from your own imagination and not a factual representation since you never met David or even saw him from a distance. In the same way, a composer has an aural image of his music and recreates it on the instruments of his choice. But if, as a composer, it’s in your head, why wouldn’t you reproduce it the way you hear it?

Why not say instead, “This is a song I wrote called ‘My Hideaway’ and I hope you like it.” You could jazz it up and say, “This song, ‘My Hideaway’ was originally conceived with a totally different instrumentation, but I’m going to play it on solo piano for you. I like this version very much! See what you think.”

And if what you’re going to play is only a little like how you wrote it, why not give it a different name? It’s like that gag in Monty Python…and now for something completely different. “Tonight, I’m going to play a variation on ‘My Hideaway’ that I call ‘Her Hideaway’ and though it has some common elements, it’s so far removed from the original that I changed the name.”

It sounds a little like this…” and “It sounds something like this…” are cliches we’ve had for ages, and if you take a cold, hard look at them, they make NO sense. Learn some new introductions guys!

 

The More you know

The More you know, the less you don’t know.

The More you know, the more you know what you don’t know.

The More you know, the less smart your friends look.

The More you know, the more you want to know.

The More you No, the less you Yes.

Oops, that last one slipped in there.

The More you know, the less stupid you feel.

The More you know, seems like a good idea, right? Do you ache to find out where you saw that actor in the show? I saw Sean Murray in a JAG episode who was a ne’er-do-well kid whose mom pleaded with the judge to have him remanded into her custody. The JAG asked the judge to remand him to the custody of the Navy! All he needed was discipline. Sean’s final line was that he might go into the Judge Advocate General program. Well, he goes to John Hopkins and MIT and gets into NCIS… Oh wait, we’re not supposed to know that.

So maybe that doesn’t make you curious. I have a student that is taking Arabic lessons. I’d love to learn Arabic! I have another student that raises sheep, and I’d love to spin my own yarn. I have a friend that could teach me. I have another student that loves history and we were talking about the 1st American War…the Revolutionary War. It wasn’t.

In colonial New England, King Philip’s War began when a band of Wampanoag warriors raided the border settlement of Swansea, Massachusetts, and massacred the English colonists there. King Philip was the Chief of the Wampanoag. The article cited there gives the whole story. How do I know that? I had a relative that was wounded there. So this happened 100 years before the Revolutionary War. So, no, the Pilgrims and the Natives were not in blissful peace until the French and Indian War 80 years later and 10 years before the Revolutionary War.

I’m beginning to see a pattern. But was it because they didn’t know more? If I post this will more people know more?

Yet we tend to denigrate those curious people, those smart people, those founts of information. Egg-heads, Geeks, Idiot-Savants… It’s not good to be smart in America. We need to change that. Because THE MORE YOU KNOW…

The Plot thickens!

If you wanted to undermine a society, what types of things would you have to curtail?

First of all, you’d have to disrupt communication. That doesn’t mean closing news stations and banning magazines and newspapers. That would be too obvious. But if the news doesn’t agree across the board, then you have several different VERSIONS of the news. We’re not talking editorializing as part of the news, we’re talking presenting completely differing facts.

You introduce a plague that disrupts communication by shifting the main method from verbal face-to-face to virtual. The phone is not a major means of discussion, it’s social media, and that provides anonymity. Why rant into a phone or on a Zoom platform when you can hit all your 1000s of followers on social media at once? Anonymity provides courage for some people to express things they would never say in a physical venue. There is no “sarcasm” button when you’re posting something. That’s the outbound communication.

Inbound communication, where we get our information, is relegated to outside news sources. When the pandemic hit, we knew about it in China. We took no action specifically to combat an epidemic that would affect our country. We never actually got facts, we got opinions of the facts. We needed to curtail exposure to the dread disease so we had to self isolate. If everyone had done that immediately, the threat would have extinguished itself within about 4 weeks. But it didn’t happen. Because the symptoms don’t show up until 4 days after you have contracted the disease, and is contagious before symptoms show up, you don’t know to whom the disease has been spread. So, are you sick? You don’t know. If you get it, there’s a 10-15% chance you could die from it.

How did we respond? We bought every single roll of toilet paper in every store.

“You need masks,” so all the masks disappeared off the shelves.

“You need hand sanitizer,” so all of THAT disappeared off the shelves.

“You need to stay home,”

“What? Then how do I get masks and hand sanitizer and toilet paper? I have to leave the house because I have an essential job! I work at a fast-food restaurant. I stock the shelves with toilet paper. I’m the janitor at the hospital. Life will grind to a halt if I don’t deliver products with my truck!” And they’re all correct. WE CANNOT stop everything for a month. But we have greatly curtailed the people going to work and shifted the work environment from a cube farm to a house. We have closed restaurants so people are buying more groceries and cooking at home. We have closed all the entertainment venues and canceled graduations and sports events.

This was the first chink in the armor. We didn’t know which “facts” to believe about the virus. We had no definitive action to take. We didn’t have an acknowledged expert to give us direction. We were adrift and having to cobble together something that would work. All of the misinformation and missed information made these workarounds temporary at best. We distrusted the news, we distrusted the experts because they gave us conflicting information. We distrusted our government. We increased the distrust we already had in the disparity between classes. We had now reached the first level of confusion and loss of confidence in everything we had previously trusted. We’ve accomplished the objective of isolating the citizens from each other.

What is the second step? Increase violence to further isolate the population.

Let’s take the George Floyd incident. If both had been white, or both had been black, would it have made the news?  It might have. It was the murder of a subdued subject by a cop. No, more than that… It was the murder of a subdued subject by a cop, on camera, with other cops and bystanders that should have intervened. Did you know that both the victim and the cop knew each other? That they worked together? If you take the uniforms out of the equation, do you end up with a completely different outcome? The guy with the uniform, gun, and badge obviously has institutional power over the civilian. The victim had no choice but to submit to the person in the uniform and allow himself to be cuffed. This is obviously a huge disadvantage! The point of getting a person into the facedown position with the knee to the upper back (Not the neck you doofus!) is to position the man’s hands to be cuffed. It doesn’t take that long to cuff a person. After the person is cuffed, it is very difficult for him to resist arrest. Why, then, was the victim held in this position for over 5 minutes? over 3 minutes? Why was he held on the ground at all if the man was already cuffed when he went down? This was a personal assault and one of the people just happened to be a cop.

What happens when the assault and subsequent murder hit the news? We don’t trust the institution of the police who are supposed to protect and serve. We don’t trust people who are a different race than we are because they’re obviously violent. There are statistics at the Bureau of Justice that can give you insight into this behavior. We don’t trust the news because it’s not just facts, it’s a political agenda driven by money and power.

When you disrupt communication and cause distrust in what was once considered the most trustworthy of institutions, both the news and the police, you upset people’s support network. Who can they trust now? Just the conspiracy theorists on  FaceBook? Cousin Bob’s wife’s hairdresser’s best friend’s neighbor knows the true story behind events. Why not just take the short cut and ask Kevin Bacon directly? You have effectively isolated the whole population.

But you can’t keep a good mob down. No, they showed up in droves to protest their masks and the self-quarantines and of course, the COVID 19 cases shot up proportionately. Then they showed up in droves to protest

  1. actions of someone who didn’t represent the cops in their town
  2. the general attributions of a whole class of people (all cops are racist and all blacks are criminals)
  3. being locked up in their houses and not knowing whether to leave with a gun or a mask or both

Riots in Omaha, San Antonio, and all across the country, ended up destroying businesses and causing injuries or death and did not promote a change in behavior for the parties they were purporting to support. Did it panic people? Yes. Did it get people off the street? Law-abiding, passive, fearful people stayed home. Incensed, mad, frustrated people went out to protest this injustice. Where was I? Safe at home posting angry comments. I know my actions will not change the behavior of those responsible for this injustice, but I also know breaking windows and attacking bystanders won’t either. The protesters weren’t out to burn down the cities, there were instigators onsite. Looters and anarchists were there to cause damage unrelated to the protests. So they hid in plain sight among the protesters and did what they do: destroy and obscure the purpose of the protest. And of course, since we cannot discern between well-crafted narrative and true events, the facts are obscured and we only get a version of the truth. Sooo, with incomplete information and a skewed sense of what is true and what isn’t, the bottom line is that we will have MORE violence and MORE cases of the virus. The problem isn’t getting solved, it is getting inflamed.

The more I write, the more insidious this sounds. I may have to continue this tomorrow!

ADHD or Autistic

Isn’t it strange that every little kid in elementary school is on drugs to BECOME autistic? No, the teachers don’t want to teach autistic kids. That would be really hard! But if the 5-year-old can’t sit at his desk and quietly do his school work for 6 hours a day, he needs drugs. If your kid is daydreaming, we need to get him on drugs. If he’s laser-focused and suddenly starts rocking back and forth and jumps when someone touches him, he needs drugs.

All the genius detectives out there are slightly autistic or OCD or Sociopaths. If there are as many genius villains out there, YOU WILL NEVER CATCH THEM! They’re all smarter than you are! And yet…since we don’t want ADHD kids or Autistic kids in school, we try to drug the ADHD kids to focus more and the Autistic kids to focus less. They’re the anomalies. But remember how I once said that there is no normal? Where do you draw the line? Well, in the Normal Curve, 68.27% of people should be considered normal, about 14% are above normal and below normal, and the tiniest sliver (2%) are genius-level and way below normal. Kids are expected to act autistic and not be autistic, and Autistic kids have to learn to act ADHD to keep from being ostracized by “normal” people.

According to APA (American Psychiatric Association) the number of kids who are ADHD is in the 5% range, but the CDC puts it at 11%. The number of geniuses is about 1-2%, but they don’t know for sure because geniuses are ostracized and bullied and ignored by teachers because nobody knows what to do with them. There should be about 6 million geniuses in the US. How many do we know about?

I have had to work with a variety of students…from painfully shy and withdrawn to bouncing off the walls, from IQs of 60 to IQs of 140, from painfully dull to technicolor imaginations. Everyone learns differently, and yet, I haven’t run into a single person that couldn’t be taught.

I’m teaching 2 brothers. One is 8 and has been taking lessons for 4 years, and his little brother is almost 5 and just starting. The older one has a laser focus but only for a short time. But he didn’t use to be able to finish a song during his lessons. He would stop in the middle and ask me if all the planets were round. He’d stop on the next to the last note of the song and have to tell me what he learned in his history lesson. He plays Beethoven now. The younger one believes that any note that he plays with his thumb is a C. Each note in his book has a weird-looking alien that represents it. The green alien is C, the Blue is B, the Red is F. He remembers all their names but not the names of the notes on the page. He doesn’t focus on position, he focuses on color and facial expressions. Do I teach him using the alien method? No, but he will remember the aliens long after I’ve finished teaching him in 20 years. He will learn auditorially faster than visually. His ability to focus will get better and he will be able to focus for longer periods of time.

I have another student that will sit down to practice 15 min every day, and find that 2 hours have gone by. He’s always surprised that he’s lost time. See? I am glad I have these students on a one on one basis rather than sitting like little dolls on boxes. We don’t want to teach them to be JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER LITTLE KID. Because there is no “normal” type of behavior. We don’t want them medicated to act like “normal” kids because that is impossible. Enjoy them just the way they are. Why? Because that kid you bully may be the next serial killer, and he’s coming after you first.