Tag Archives: modern life

Unwilling Learners

Ever taught an unwilling learner? They are the ones that question the validity of the subject matter, question the expertise of the teacher, and/or refuse to do the homework because of priorities in their lives. I was a band director. I required practice from my band students. I got calls from parents accusing me of being unreasonable to require 20 minutes of practice EVERY NIGHT for band students.

“How DARE you require daily practice! Kids have sports, homework, and chores to do every night!”

“Oh? They never take their books home with them. I know, I watch them as they leave. They’re in 6th grade, how often and how long are their football practices? Oh? They’re not in football yet? Oh, they ARE in football but it’s club football, not school football, so practices once or twice a week for an hour? So you mean to tell me that on the nights they don’t have practice, they’re doing homework for two hours and chores for three to four hours and going to bed at 9:00? Too bad they won’t get to play Football in High school. How will they EVER squeeze in time for the mandatory two-hour practices for football every night? High School homework is what, two to three hours a night? And they’ll have part-time jobs as well in High School.  So unless they work only on weekends, they get home after football practice at about 6:00 PM, do three to four hours of chores, homework for two to three hours, puts them in bed at 1:00 AM.”

“What? You’re going to keep them out of Football because they won’t practice for your stupid band?”

This is a conversation I had many, many times. They refused to give their kids any sense of responsibility.  Of COURSE, they weren’t doing chores around the house. Of COURSE, they weren’t doing two hours of homework every night. They were watching TV, playing video games, hanging out. It was amazing that the students ever learned enough music to fill out a concert.

There was one 6th grade band that did so badly (because I had 0 support from the parents) that I made them play the concert anyway. They got 1/2 way through their third song and just basically quit because they were all lost. I explained to the parents (and the children that were upset behind me) that with band practice once a week, we only got together for 14 lessons. 14 lessons should give them at least 14 notes they could play, plus the ability to play in two different time signatures, and the ability to follow a director. But for the days between lessons, without practice, the students lost about 20% per day of what they had been taught, lost the endurance and strength in the muscles that allowed them to play more than five minutes on their instruments, did not improve or maintain the eye-hand coordination necessary to process the information on the page and could not improve their listening skills so they could be in tune and play together. That’s why practice between band lessons is important and it’s important that these kids learn this concept and that you, the parents, learn this. Ya, I got fired.

“Why don’t we teach tax preparation and finance in school?” We do.  Do you think that the tax laws remain the same from year to year? Do you think your kids will completely reject your advice about money and ignore the advice from banks and other financial institutions that profit from people’s ignorance when it comes to money management? Or do you think you have all the money issues figured out because of what your Insurance Agent told you was a good investment?

“When will I ever need algebra and geometry? I have my iPhone.” Which bag of flour is the better value? Which car is the best for my money? How long does it take to get to work? Why does my shed keep falling down? Where do I put the jack on my car when I have a flat? Show me on your iPhone how you would input that information to get the answers to those questions.

“Why do I have to learn this Olde English Shakespeare stuff?” Ever watch Game of Thrones? Where do you expand your vocabulary? Can you communicate in phrases that are longer than 140 characters? Can you make a point? Can you win a debate? Can you logically defend a choice?

“What do YOU know about math? (English, Statistics, Computer Science…fill in a subject)” I know more than you. I know where to look to get the information I need to fill in your gaps. Do you?

The culture has changed. Kids don’t HAVE chores. They can’t have fun unless it is regulated by parents. Playdates? Really? Organized sports for 5-year-olds? Video games and educational programs on a tablet for kids under 4? What is WRONG with us?!!! If we want to immerse kids into a love of learning, they have to be surrounded by people that love learning. Because we denigrate learning to something that only happens during the first 12 years in school, and we abhor reading or going to concerts or seminars, what have we taught the children? Learning is a CHORE to be endured. Maybe we should establish mandatory boarding schools!

Welcome to the House of Husker.  There are 4 teams: Crimson, Cream, Black, and Runza. Their respective Beasts are the Crimson Pegasus, the Cream Cow, the Black Spectre, and the Runza Dragon. Each team will be responsible for learning basic life skills such as Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Geography, Physical and Biological Sciences, American and World History, Civics, and Visual and Fine Arts. Each team will be responsible for a farm consisting of garden and farm animals including pigs, goats, chickens, and cattle. Each team will be responsible for the finances and business management of their farms and other related ventures. There will be related businesses such as cottage industries that specialize in industrial technology such as carpentry, metal work, small and large engine repair, information technology, and animal husbandry, etc. Each class in each team will be responsible for cooking for the whole team one weekend of every month. (7th graders–Breakfast, 8th graders–Lunch, 9th graders–supper on Saturdays, 10th graders–Breakfast, 12th graders–Dinner, and 11th graders–Supper on Sundays.) Homework will include a mandatory hour for every class taken and an hour’s practice in the Arts course in which the student has enrolled. The heads of teams will be two faculty members per team, a senior student leader, a vice-leader, a business manager, a project manager, and representatives from all the classes in that team. Each team will wear student robes with the team uniform during class time. Intramural competitions will be encouraged.

Applications accepted on a first come, first served basis.

 

Update: I have had NO applications up to now, 5/10/19. I thought I’d have at least a dozen!

Update: I STILL have no applications as of 7/17/2019. What is WRONG with people!

 

 

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Giving stuff up for Lent

This has been the most painful, the most difficult Lenten season I can remember.  You’re asking yourself, “Did you give up chocolate?  Pizza? Pop?”  It always seems to revolve around food, doesn’t it?  One year, I gave up speeding.  I had to make extensive use of my cruise control.  I changed my behavior and haven’t gotten a speeding ticket in years! After working in fast food for 5 years (boy did that seem like ages!), I gave up cursing for Lent.  I had called it Hardee-speak.  There were lots of blanks and long pauses in my speaking pattern from self-censoring.  I sounded like a cd with skips.  But as hard as both of those actions were at the time, they’re nothing compared to this year.

Got you curious now, huh!  I gave up…

ranting at people.  I can only rant at inanimate objects. My brain is fizzling out.  I had no idea what a rampant behavior this was in my character! I live in Lake Nebraska on a little island called Omaha. I can rant at the rain, the flood, the winds, and the blizzards. Plenty to rant at right? But I cannot rant at all the people that look at these pictures and have no other adjectives other than, “It’s so sad.” Get a freakin’ thesaurus. (Notice the self-censorship?  It’s getting harder!) “You cannot make light of these tragedies you cruel, insensitive jerk!” I say to myself. “People do not understand gallows humor,” I explain to myself. Should we all tear our clothes, put ashes on our heads, and wail for the next 2 years while they fix our infrastructure? In my humble (or not so humble) opinion, Heck No!  We’re Nebraskans.  We take this in stride. We knew the job was dangerous when we took it. I understand; some are still in shock. The whole country should be in shock. Heck! (self-censoring again) We should be getting aid from Africa, India, Japan, China, Europe, Malaysia, Kuwait, Middle East…all those disasters we went in to help clean up.

*Warning!  Gallows humor follows. Move to a safe part of your brain and suspend your disbelief at the incredibly inappropriate humor.*

We should expect Russia, who has such a vested interest in this country, to be at the front of the line when it comes to aid.  We’re not talking loans here, we’re talking

  • people with shovels,
  • volunteers with buckets and mops,
  • bridge building engineers and equipment,
  • road construction crews and materials

–real help.  Yeah, I thought so. Just going to get pity parties from the rest of the people outside the MidWest. (Yay South Dakota, Texas, Kansas!) We’ll get viral views of the floods and blizzards all over Facebook with 216,042 comments all saying, “How Sad.”

We got it. We’ll handle it without fanfare, without the national news.  We’re a fly-over state, and now a fly-over lake.

I cannot rant against idiot drivers, who honk at me when I’m avoiding a pothole that would swallow a bus. I cannot rant at people who park on both sides of the street so the snowplow cannot get to our road. I cannot rant at the guy who had to go out of his way to ding my car with his pick-up truck door and hit it so hard it dented and left lovely red and white paint on my navy colored Buick. I cannot rail at the people who see pictures of our president in jeans and a t-shirt and a MAGA cap rescuing cats from a flood and not wonder how he lost 30 pounds and 40 years, gained muscular forearms and was in Iowa during the 2008 flood. (Which would have been before the MAGA hat) Then they suggest that that picture is from the current flood and think this is a believable situation. Where are his Secret Service guards? The President as the office holder cannot spend time getting into the water with the victims.  That’s not his job.  The President as a person, Mr. Trump, may own a pair of jeans, but he wears a $1000 jacket and a shirt with cufflinks with them. He may feel for the victims, but though he might send someone to help rescue cats; he wouldn’t do it himself. That’s not in his character.

I cannot rant against the President, the Congress, or the local politicians.  I cannot rant against the referees and the umpires and the Little League parents.  I cannot rant against the unethical salespeople, the telemarketers, the frauds that take advantage of people in the midst of a natural disaster.  I cannot rant against the people that robbed the flooded houses instead of cleaning them up (though that’s a rare case in Nebraska.)

I can only rant at inanimate objects. I may not make it to Easter.

 

HOW DO YOU TURN IT OFF?!!!!

I am co-writing a book:  “Spotlight on the Art of Generating Energy.”  I am also editing said book which means I have to read all the contributions.  One of the chapters is about the interplay of all the energies–intellectual, creative, and emotional.  Fascinating theories!  If any one aspect of energy takes control to the exclusion of all others, your brain may be overwhelmed, your body might be compromised, or you could spiral emotionally (either up or down by the way!)

Unfortunately, I have experienced what happens when two of the energy sources conspire against me.  Yup…  In addition to editing this book, I am running for a district office within an organization to which I belong.  I am actively marketing my skills and my qualifications and vision for the organization so I am making use of both my intellectual and creative energy sources.  You may or may not have read my stuff in either this blog or my other one.  You know how creative and intellectual I can get.  Let me put it in perspective.

I had coffee with dinner, a couple of cups, about 8:00 last night.  Then I watched NCIS, 3 episodes in a row.  I was nodding off during the last one.  I thought, “I’ll just head upstairs and check the weather and go to bed.”  3 hours later…

Creative energy Creature: “Hey!  That’s a great idea for promotion!  Let’s go to all the contests and provide a one-sheet and meet the folks at the contest so they get to know you.”

Intellectual energy Imp:  “Ya!  Did you see your competition’s flyer?  She listed her grandkids by name as part of her qualifications for the position!”

CC: “How does that help?  She procreated kids that were also able to procreate and she remembers their names…so she doesn’t have memory problems?”

II: “Our stuff is better.”

CC: “We could add all the Girl Scout information…We could name all our students…we could perform the Bach Prelude that we learned at age 9 to prove our memory capacity!”

II: “We have plenty of good stuff in our flyer.  We’re good.”

Me:  “Ok, good.  We have that settled, let’s go to sleep.”

II: “Did you hear about the guy that felt so bad about the Girl Scouts standing out in the cold selling cookies at their booth that he bought them all? $500 worth!  Then he was arrested for drug trafficking!”

CC:  “Hahaha!  It makes perfect sense!  You KNOW how addictive those cookies can be!  He was shipping the cookies back to the Cartel!”

II:  “You mean…trading one addiction for another!  Oh wait!  Maybe the cookies were how he was getting drugs into the country!  He ships them down, they alter them and ship them back!  Hey Kid!  you want some peanut butter patties?”

CC:  “Well that would explain why you can’t have just one box of Thin Mints!”

II:  “I had two boxes of Thin Mints and I’m still 50 pounds overweight.  Is that false advertising?”

Physical Energy Phiend (Fiend see?): “Shut UP!  I’m tired!  I want to sleep!”

Emotional Energy Elf: “I don’t know how I feel about that: forcibly shutting down two other energy sources to serve your needs.”

PP: “Well if you want to get UP in the morning, we have to turn them off!”

EE: “I’m still not convinced.  Some of our best ideas happen when those two pull an all-nighter.”

PP: “Do we ever remember what they did overnight?”

II and CC:  “Hey!”

EE: “Ok, I see your point.  Could you two tone it down a bit?”

II: “I will if she will.”

CC: “I can be totally silent.  How well do you sign?”

PP: “Her eyes are closed, idiot.  II can’t see a thing if her eyes are closed.”

EE: “Please try to be civil.”

PP: “I’M TIRED!  I’M TRYING TO SLEEP!”

II: whispers “Remember to get the flyers from the printer and stop by the college to get the Speaker’s and the Conference ads for tonight.”

CC: whispers “I really don’t think the Conference advert is very good–too busy and too much information.”

II: low voice “And the wrong information…it doesn’t have start times.  We could redesign it…”

EE: low voice “But how would Colleen feel about our stepping in and fixing it?”

PP: low voice “So tomorrow, breakfast, Bible study, pick up flyers from college, go to printers and pick up personal flyers, deliver print instructions for conference flyers…100 enough?”

II: normal voice “to start with I think.  It will cost more due to having to print both sides.  And don’t forget we need to stop at Wally World to get frames.”

PP:  “Yup.  Then drive to contest…Says it’s a little over an hour’s drive, but with traffic, could be longer than that.”

II: “Take the Prairie View Road instead of the interstate, less traffic that way, and it’s prettier country.”

PP: “Contest starts at 5:30, and since it’s Area level, only 4-6 contestants in either contest.  Figure we’ll be done by 8:30 by the time we get our glad-handing and clean-up done, then an hour home.  Figure 314 Joules.”

II: “That would convert to 75 calories.”

PP: “So the minimum amount of sleep would be…”

II: “Figure about 6-7 hours.”

Me, still awake, and I check the clock.  “Guys, it’s 1:30 AM.  We get up in 5 hours.”

PP and II stare at each other.  CC jumps in to the rescue.

CC: “We can take a nap after we get home!”

EE: “Um wha?  Did somebody say something?  Weren’t you complaining about all the noise, PP?”

PP blushes.

Momentary silence.  I drift off to sleep…

II: “Did you see that snow forecast?  It just went around our city!”

CC:  “Gandalf was standing on the interstate saying, ‘You SHALL NOT PASS!'”

II: giggles “Maybe one of the wind turbines got turned on and blew it away!”

CC:  “I wonder if they’re maneuverable remotely.  Hey!  It’s Hot over there!  Aim them that way!”

II: “I heard that they tell the wind farm tourists in Texas precisely that!  *with a Texas drawl* ‘Yep, gets up to 110 we turn them puppies on and they’ll pretty much cool Austin and Fort Worth.  Dallas is a whole nuther story though.'”

PP: “HEY!!!”

EE: “What?  What’s going on?  Why is PP yelling?”

Me:  It’s 3 AM!  Go to sleep!

CC, II, PP, and EE, ashamed, do not answer.

II:  whispers, “Did you know her husband snores?”

CC, PP, EE and I shout: SHUT UP!

Husband wakes and turns on the reading lamp just as the alarm goes off.  It’s going to be a long day.

 

Everyone Dabbles

They dabble at playing guitar or piano or maybe they have dreams of fronting a band.  They dabble in crafts, papier-mache, needlework or yarn work, maybe painting cute little sayings on distressed wood.  They dabble in art, in web design, in programming, in psychology.  My Facebook is jammed up with people dabbling in Philosophy and Politics.  Seth Godin categorizes these as “Non-Dentist” jobs.  To be a dentist or someone in the law profession or medical profession, or in finance, you have to have passed a rigorous test and gotten certified by the state or the bar association.  Nobody dabbles in dentistry, yet, people still dabble in law, medicine, and finance!  REALLY????!!!!  C’mon!

I see it though.  You’re a parent and little Billy has fallen off his bike again.  You got this.  A little antibiotic ointment on the scratch and a band-aid, and he’s fine.  Your sister is married to a jerk and you tell her about her legal choices.  “No thanks, we’re fine, we do our own investing.”  Of course, they’re $20k in debt, upside down in their house, just bought a car and are wondering why they’re paying 21% on their loan.

I do not have a law degree, but I read legal documents for financial contracts.  I have a degree in finance, certified and licensed in insurance, and licensed as an Investment Adviser Representative.  I’m also certified as a John Maxwell Speaker/Trainer/Coach.  I’m a Distinguished Toastmaster.  I have a degree in Music…and 160 college hours in music and music education.  It only takes 60 college hours to get a bachelor’s in Math.  It only takes 120 hours of college credits to graduate,  I had 147.  Of those 147 hours, 80 of them were in music.  I clocked in an additional 80 hours since my BME degree.  Then, I got a 2nd degree in finance.  I’ve gotten lots of hours outside a degree program, obviously.

I’m not trying to be braggadocious, but I ask you:  How many people have that much intensive study in anything?  Why do I bring this up?  I am not a dentist.  To quote Mr. Godin again, “If you’re doing one of these non-dentist jobs, the best approach is to be extraordinarily good at it. So much better than an amateur that there’s really no room for discussion. You don’t have to justify yourself. Your work justifies you.” I am extraordinarily good at what I do.  The feeling I get from most people is that if I can do it, it must be easy.  Nobody can have that much talent, and nobody can really get that much education in multiple areas.  It must not be that hard.  

NEWS FLASH!  It is that hard.  If you are getting an education in something that people perceive as unimportant, then they will downgrade the difficulty.  We can agree that finance is important, but most people do not believe they need a degree in finance to balance their checkbook.  Most will not do enough loans to understand the nuances of those contracts.  A majority will not consider that life insurance is a priority and since it is all gobbledygook in the contract, they’ll just sign on the bottom line and trust the salesman and hope to GOD that they’ll never see the bugger again.  Since everyone lives paycheck to paycheck, and they hate the rich, and the rich are the only ones in the stock market which people regard as gambling writ large, these people that really and truly need some financial education will not seek it.

Everyone knows that music is unimportant.  It is only the background for movies and TV where the emotion is amplified by the score.  It is only the jingle you can’t get out of your head.  It is only the music that makes you want to buy more ugly sweaters at the store.  It is only one of the largest sectors in the entertainment industry.  It permeates every single second of your day whether you turn on the radio when you jump in your car or while you are on interminable hold on the phone.  If someone happens to be good at music, it’s because they have “talent.”  Talent gets your toe in the door.  It takes enormous amounts of work to be good as a teacher or performer.  It’s like the duck parable:  calm and serene on the surface and pedaling like crazy underneath.  People who are really good at music have to make an effort to make what they do look effortless.

Do you know scales?  There are 12 major scales.  There are 3 minor scales associated with each major scale (Natural, Harmonic and Melodic minors).  You have to be able to play or sing any of these without having to concentrate.  That’s 48 scales.  There is a chord that is associated with each pitch in the scale, and inversions of each chord.  Then there are augmentations such as adding a 7th degree, or a 9th degree, or up to or even beyond a 13th degree, and then there are alterations like flatting or sharping one or more of the degrees of the scale, and not only do you have to be able to play them, you must recognize them when you see them in the music and know what they sound like before you hear them.  That’s just the reading part.  Oh, and there are various voicings to each chord too.

Can you match a pitch regardless of the instrument you’re playing?  Oh, and by the way, oboe, bassoon, flute, trombone and tuba read C in music and it sounds C when they play.  French horn reads C and it sounds like F, Saxophone reads C and it sounds either Eb or Bb,  as does Clarinet.  And the fingerings for low register clarinet are different than the upper register.  Trumpet and Clarinet read C and it sounds Bb.  Given this diversity in pitch and fingerings, can you improvise a counter melody or a harmony without seeing the music?  Can you tell the difference between Frank Zappa and Tchaikovsky by sound?  If you are in a group, can you tell which individual is singing or playing out of tune and whether they are sharp or flat–high or low?  Can you tell, if they sound sharp, if it is the actual pitch or the pronunciation of the vowel and the timbre that makes it sound out of tune?  Can you apply the awareness you have gained in listening and performing music to any other area of life?  Of COURSE!  So do all musicians have that awareness outside of music?  OF COURSE NOT!!

It is assumed that if you are majoring in music, you take Algebra I in math and very basic English classes.  You are a musician after all, and these things are beyond you.  You have more important things to do…like practice and study your scales!  People always assume that if you’re a musician, you don’t have any interests outside of music.  In fact, most musicians couldn’t give a flying…well fill in your own word here…about math or English.  And yet, the awareness I transfer from music to the world around me connects dots that no one else can connect.  I can see the Stock Market as a large orchestra.  I see the study of sociology as a macro of a choir.  I see composition as an allegory to metaphysics.  Am I now interested in sociology (and therefore statistics), investment in both the technical analysis and the trend marketing, and the study of physics and religion as extensions of my music studies?  Of Course!  So yes, I have studied all those things.  Would being a musician be helpful if I wanted to be a dentist?  or an architect? or a rocket scientist?  More than you’d think!

But music is not important.  Therefore none of the information I have gathered and synthesized is of any use, so I am dismissed as just a musician.  I guess you could say that I’m extraordinarily good at things everyone else dabbles in.  Being extraordinarily good at something that is unimportant is not an advantage.  Truth be told, if you were to ask anyone, it is a useless thing to be good at.

Greyhound Customer Service

I did not think that I was booking a complicated trip.  Bus service is supposed to be for the common folk, not the kind of “Coach” tours that you have in Europe or the VIP tours you have in the US where they have mapped out all the stops and once you pay your tour fee, you’re relieved of all your worry.  I don’t get to see my oldest son very much as he lives several states away, and though he’s busy, he’s not gainfully employed.  So on the holidays, if I don’t send him a bus ticket, he can’t come.  Thanksgiving!  Woohoo!  Time to get online and get all the details done.

A month ahead of when you want to take the trip, you get on the Greyhound website and pick your dates.  You do this for the same reason you buy your plane tickets 3-4 months in advance:  the price goes up as you get closer to your departure date.  I have Tuesdays mostly free, so I figured if he could arrive on a Tuesday it would accommodate my schedule.  You get onto the site and it asks you for the dates you want outbound and inbound.  I set the dates.  It asks you to choose which route, and I choose one that makes it more likely that my son can get a ride to the bus station and one that allows me to take him to the local station at a reasonable hour for him to go home.  Then it asks you for your coupon code.  I leave that blank, I have no coupon code.  Then it asks for you email and your payment details.  Checked that off.  For some reason, it doesn’t ask for the name of the passenger.  Maybe it’s on the next page.  I hit “submit.”  The transaction doesn’t go through.  Search through all the page to find anything highlighted.  Nothing highlighted, it just doesn’t go through.  Check the whole document and for some reason, it’s put my email address into the coupon code and says it’s an invalid code.  Well OF COURSE IT’S AN INVALID CODE!  It’s my EMAIL!  I erase the email address, scroll to the bottom of the document and push submit again.  There isn’t a 2nd page that gives details on the passenger, and I get an email confirmation that I WILL BE TRAVELING.  I’m not traveling, my son is.  I recheck the document. I call customer service.

After 2 minutes of waiting for someone to answer the phone, I notice a chat feature on the site.  I push Chat.  I get the little time indicator saying my request for a chat is being processed.  2 more minutes waiting for someone to answer the phone.  I get a question on the chat, “What can I help you with?”  It’s one of those phrases that chat help puts up automatically.  You KNOW the person at the other end of the line doesn’t want to type that out every time some person wants to chat.  They hit the button and the initial question automatically pops up.  How do I know that?  Because if there WAS a person at the other end of the chat, it wouldn’t take so long to answer your question.  Still no answer on the phone.  I hang up.  “For some reason, when I submitted my payment for the ticket, it didn’t put the right name on the passenger.  It has my name on it instead.  How can I fix this?”  Wait… wait… wait…  See?  I knew this chat wasn’t Live the way we understand it.  It leads me to one conclusion:  Customer Service Chat uses zombies.  I go to Face Book to pass the time while the little back and forth dots indicate that someone might answer my question.  2 minutes later.  “Tickets are nontransferable and nonrefundable.”  I know that.  So I type back, “That doesn’t help me with my problem.”  “Didn’t you read the directions?  You have to put the name of the passenger on the form.”  “There was no place to put it.”  “You missed it.  Did you check the box that said the ticket was a gift?”  “Where was that?” “Right beneath the scheduling details.”  “I didn’t see it.”  “Well that’s where it was.”  “How do I make sure that my son can make the trip then?”  “Tickets are nontransferable and nonrefundable.”  “So I just made a donation to Greyhound?”  “Yes.”  “So if I didn’t have enough money to pay for two trips, I’d be out of luck?”  “Yes, you have to read the directions.”  “So….not your problem?”  “Not my problem that you refuse to read directions.  You can’t blame me if you’re incapable of following simple directions.”  What. A. Bastid!  He must have had a bad day.

Start the whole process over.  Found the stupid box.  Did you know they charge extra if you don’t use the ticket yourself?  Oh, and after you enter your email address, you MUST go up and take your email out of the coupon box. It automatically shows up there every time because you don’t know how to turn off the Chrome autofill feature that is supposed to make things easier.  Now that that’s been cleared, you have to re-fill out the information and re-enter the gift recipient’s name or it defaults to your name again.  HA!  Not going to get me this time!!!  Submit.  It submits!  Yay!  Send tickets to son.  Repeat process for Christmas trip.  I have now spent $700+ so my son can see his family for the holidays, $262 of which was a donation to Greyhound to keep their profits in the black.  Since it is a private company instead of publicly traded, the only information that’s available is the earnings report.  Their profit was down 16,000,000 British Pounds since the same time last year.  Well now, I’ve contributed to their bottom line.

So the story’s over right?  NOOOOO.  What?  There’s More?

I didn’t check on the actual route my son was taking.  He was to leave at 10:30 AM or so, travel from Norman to OKC to Tulsa to KCMO to Des Moines to Omaha.  4 different buses, one without plugins or wifi.  I had to pick him up Wednesday Morning at 1:30.  Remember that I had Tuesday as my chosen date of arrival?  He spent 14 hours on the bus.  I hadn’t chosen Tuesday for the arrival date, I’d chosen it as his departure date from OK.  I picked him up and found an IHOP where he got to eat for the 1st time since lunch the previous day.  We got home about 3:00 AM.  This is the day before Thanksgiving.  So if there’s going to be food tomorrow, I have to cook today.  I get up about 9:00 and start.  Turkey is frozen solid so I set it in the sink.  (I had put the turkey in the refrigerator on Saturday per instructions of the FDA…liars.)  My son spends the whole day in bed recovering.  14 hour bus trips are not the best way to spend a day.  Thursday, we have our Thanksgiving dinner and watch our football.  I have my Turkey Coma nap.  Friday we see little indications that our son is alive and well and truly visiting his loving parents.  “Hi Mom.  Hi Dad.”  Hello son.  About midnight, he comes up and says, “I’ve missed my bus…”  

Now I find out the rest of the story, he’d also missed his initial bus in Norman, it didn’t come.  What he didn’t know was that there are two bus stops in Norman, and he was at the wrong one.  Norman has a population of about 110k people.  Why does it have 2 bus stops?  His friend had to drive him to Oklahoma City to catch the next leg of his trip.  I was confused about him missing the bus from Omaha though.  He showed me his ticket.  It said Boarding at 11:41 PM Saturday. This was Friday.  Then he showed me the next ticket on his transfer in Kansas City.  Boarding at 8:00 AM Saturday.  I checked his tickets again.  Departure was 12:01 AM Saturday, not Sunday.  If he left Omaha Saturday night, how could he leave Kansas City on Saturday morning?  If he didn’t catch the bus in Kansas City, he’d have to stay here until January.  I’d be out another $183 for a new one way ticket if we got him another trip for a later time this week, or he’d miss getting his bills paid and might be in danger of having utilities shut off and losing his apartment.  So since his KC bus was leaving at 8:00 AM Saturday and it was a 3 hour drive…we jumped in the car at 3:00 AM and drove.  It cost me $45 in gas and $30 for breakfast at St. Joe, and 7 hours of driving.   His tickets for December are the same, pick him up Monday morning at  O Dark Thirty and send him to the bus station a day before his ticket says…(Wednesday at 12:01 AM is when his bus leaves, so I have to get him there Tuesday at 11:40 instead of Wednesday 11:40.)

So Greyhound!  Get your act together!  Print the tickets correctly!

Thongs are not consent

So this Irishman is acquitted for raping a 17 year old girl because she was wearing a thong.

How does that justify rape?  Was it because the other foot was bare?

“Oh Heck no.  Not that kind of thong you idiot.”

It was the only kind of thong I could think of that anyone would see.  Would the rapist run up and down the streets and flip up all the skirts and de-pant all the girls until he found someone with sexy underwear?  News flash:  Not every seventeen year old girl wears thong underwear.  Are they saying that if you wear granny underwear you’ll be safe from rapists?  What a load of crap.

RAPE IS ABOUT POWER NOT SEX!  In fact if you look at serial murders, they refer to the knife as a penetrating weapon in some cases…a substitute for sex.  Rapists are using other things to penetrate (and I don’t mean that euphemistically) as a substitute for murder.  Women have been raped and sodomized by broom handles, coke bottles, and any manner of hardware in addition to men’s genitalia.  Rapists don’t care what kind of underwear she’s wearing any more than a serial killer only murders people because of the way they’re dressed.  “That jacket was SO 80’s, it was a crime against fashion!  I had to kill him!  So I stabbed him right in the ill-fitting polyester, turquoise, inside pocket.”

So unless ALL she was wearing was the thong and everyone could see it, she wasn’t consenting to anything.  In fact, if she doesn’t lean into your window and ask for money or accost you on the street, she’s not asking for it.  Prostitutes make it a business process– marketing if you will–and you wouldn’t know they were prostitutes unless they talked to you because they dress like a lot of other women.  They will stake out a territory and read men to see who would be looking and which man they’d be willing to engage because prostitutes have a choice too.  So, yes!  Prostitutes can be raped.  Their business is sex, and they dress for sex, but it doesn’t mean they consent to every man.  It is therefore NOT the clothes that incite rape.  It is Hate and a Craving for Power.

What I don’t understand is this:  Why didn’t the prosecution use this argument?!!!!  Does he/she deep down think it is possible for the victim to invite rape?

Women, we have to educate people!  We are just as likely to blame victims as everyone else, right up to the point where we are raped.  Is it so hard to imagine someone using sex as a weapon?  We use sex for entrapment, for bargaining, for blackmail, for selling cars and deodorant, manipulating men to get us what we want. The men, then, see women using sex as a weapon.  Men use sex to mark territory, to assert power, to intimidate rivals.  Women see men using sex as a weapon.  Sex is NOT a weapon.With society’s cavalier attitude about sex before marriage, we get shamed for being virgins at our weddings.  “What?  this is the third date and you haven’t had sex yet?  You’re going to lose him!”  Men get shamed if they’re virgins past age 20.  “What?  you haven’t been laid yet?  We gotta get you a piece!” That isn’t the purpose of sex!  It is for the expression of love beyond the love of friends and family.  It’s something only the two of you share.

Anything in the world that is good and pure and right can be perverted into something dank and dark and demeaning.  Anything can be used as a weapon of manipulation.  We just have to recognize the weapon for what it is.  Take it in context.  Don’t take away the responsibility for the crime from the perpetrator.  No one asks to be robbed or mugged or beaten or killed.  No one asks to be raped.

Flower Duet

You’ve never heard of it, but you’ve heard it…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf42IP__ipw

This duet is featured in Piranha 3D, Meet the Parents, Superman Returns (Kevin Spacey’s scene), Bronson (with Tom Hardy), Carlito’s Way, True Romance,  and The Hunger.  Hmmm, only seen Meet the Parents and Superman returns.  Then there’s the Trout Quintet.  That was in Sherlock Holmes, Game of Shadows.  The villain, Moriarity uses that song to torture Holmes.  Over and Over and Over we see Classical music being the music of choice for the villains.  Why is that?

It is the music of the elite.  Rap, Punk, Metal… yes those bands are expensive, but there are only a few members of each band.  An orchestra though, that’s some heavy stage production!  What if you wanted to cut it down to one or two people…Bach Cello Prelude comes to mind, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGgG-0lOJjk.  Look at the look on his face!  He’s transported!       

Fur Elise  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1iZXyWLnXg is another solo you might request.  But when it comes to performing these songs, it takes years of practice and study to play them as they were meant to be played.  It’s not something you can just play.  So the music is not music of the common person.  It is relegated to those who have the time to listen, truly listen and appreciate this type of music.

Fine art is the same way…Modern, Renaissance, Impressionistic art, is appreciated with time and study.

  Is this sculpture modern or ancient?  Is it a work in progress or finished?  What does it mean?  How was it conceived?  Who was the artist?  Fine art, whether it is Modern, Renaissance, Impressionistic art, is appreciated with time and study.

Classical Dance, same story:  you can go to the ballet, but unless you understand what you’re seeing, there is no appreciation.  All the finest art is for those few with the inclination to study and become familiar with the forms, and the time to expend on the appreciation.

If you look at the portraits in the Louvre, those are not primitive photos.  Most think of the Mona Lisa as a rather large painting.  It’s not.  It’s only 20″ X 30″

Each painting reveals the subject’s place in time, their character, the character of the artist, and the perspective unique to the piece.  The photographic portraits reveal the skill of the photographer to get the subject to sit still for 20 seconds.  In fact those really aren’t portraits; they’re just pictures.  A modern artist in photographic portraits spends a lot of time placing, posing and dressing the subject and the background to achieve art.

Do you understand why the best actors prefer the live stage to the movie or t.v. set?  It’s continuous acting!  Engaging oneself for the duration of the play and intense interaction with the other players and the audience as well.  In those plays that have long runs, the dynamic on the stage and with the audience changes each time it is performed and makes it critical to fully engage in every performance as if it was Opening Night.  The appreciation of this interaction by members of the audience takes an understanding of the play, the players, the direction and the venue.

This appreciation takes education in areas not normally associated with the common man.  “Common men” have no interest in art for art’s sake, no curiosity in the finer things in life.  They don’t need a higher level of education, and I’m not talking about degrees and certifications.  You will find “common men” with PhD’s.  They thirst for knowledge, but not knowing.  They focus on intellect not understanding.  “Common men” do not ponder.  Highly intelligent people think differently than Smart people.  Smart people can regurgitate facts and statistics and fascinating trivia, but they cannot interpret this information in a way that opens new insights into how the universe works.  Highly intelligent people, on the other hand, see connections that link seemingly unconnected things.

Most have heard the butterfly effect.  Tiny, almost inconsequential differences in initial conditions can result in vastly different ending conditions.  The ripples of change brought about by nearly unnoticeable actions of so many different sources makes things that would seem random to actually be traced, action for action, second for second back to a set of initial conditions that due to the “randomness that is our existence” cannot be duplicated.

Benjamin Franklin

“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”

― Benjamin Franklin

All the Cumulative stories like that one and “The House that Jack Built” told to children are impressing on children that some things that happen without apparent reason can actually be traced back to the actions of one person or event.  What the “common man” sees appears random, and what the “Smart man” sees is interesting, but what the “Highly Intelligent man” sees is turns of events.
So the “Highly Intelligent man” craves the understanding of the arts, not because it is elite but because he thinks beyond the ordinary.  Classical music, visual arts and performance arts take mundane subjects and changes them into metaphysical expressions, and takes the metaphysical and translates it into a language that can be understood by few.
To further our understanding, let us define villain then.  Not all criminals are villains.  A villain is a criminal that is so self serving and so psychopathic that he’s more interested in the reaction to his crime than the actual monetary or emotional gain derived from his illegal acts.  He seeks the elite.  He looks at the victims of his crimes as a scientist would look at his experimental rats.  He doesn’t derive emotional satisfaction from his crimes.  His emotional, spiritual, and physical fulfillment is found in outside sources such as the fine arts…experiences that are usually restricted to an elite group of people.  They find beauty in the architecture of Rome, the music of Bach and Mozart, the ballet of Diaghilev,  the art of Raphael and Salvador Dali, the poems of Robert Frost, the cuisine of Le Gabriel restaurant in Paris.  They seek out new cultural experiences, read prolifically, and listen to music in all types of venues.  They study color and composition to appreciate art.  So this highly intelligent man will seek the same appreciation as the members of this elite group.
I’m not saying that these pursuits are restricted to the elite; they are most certainly not.  Anyone can turn on a classical station or go to a concert or a ballet or an opera.  It is the cost of a ticket to see great art in a museum.  It is a library card away from books about art and music and any other cultural medium.  It is just a click away on the internet to access some of the most beautiful poetry ever written.  What I am saying is that most people do not want to make the effort.  The villains do because the only beauty they will find in life is outside of themselves.  They crave what they cannot find in themselves.  They look for evidence of Heaven on earth because they know they will never experience the real thing.
Except…
This may be an artifice that Hollywood has come up with.  Is there any research that proves that the music of choice in villains is classical, or proves that they have a higher appreciation for beauty and art than heroes?  Yes, Hitler loved Wagner, but that’s because Wagner wrote about Teutonic gods and heroes.  I find it difficult to believe that evil people can love beautiful music or art.  You cannot love something you cannot relate to, can you?
We, who have an abundance of beauty within us and surrounding us, do not make the effort to cultivate these longings for the extraordinary beauty that is available because good is good enough.  We let “good” eclipse “extraordinary” much to our loss.

But there’s MORE!

I have discovered the secret to Weblogs!  I’m going to be stinking rich!  And I can help you discover this marvelous way to make money too!

But first, let me tell you how I discovered this amazing money machine.

I’m FAT.  I even gave my fat a name:  Obie.  Obie is sentient.  As a result, I have dieted and exercised and taken all sorts of supplements to get me back to my fighting weight.  Haha.  I’ve been on a Keto diet for the better part of a year, but I don’t do it right.  There should be no carbs at all.  Somehow, I’m over my carb limit by 40-75 g EVERY DAY!  My diet should consist of meat and vegies and NOTHING ELSE.  But somehow, carbs sneak in.  (Sneak?  I should say I seek them out and force them onto my plate.)  I have cut my intake to 1200 cal/day for nearly 4 years.  Every calorie over 1500 adds a pound.

I have exercised and walked and gotten a trainer at the gym.  My last walk was a 3 mile hike around this lovely lake.  I got so sore toward the end of the hike I wasn’t sure I could make it back to my car.  In an epic fail, I posted this to my status in Facebook, and scared the crap out of my kids.

I have taken pills with meals, worn patches and drunk (yuck!!!!) protein shakes.  I tell you the truth:  There is no amount of shaking this powder plus milk or water that can make this goop palatable.  Imagine chewing something that you drink.  Ew.

As a result of all my attempts, I have gone to the internet in search of reasons why none of these works.  This is how I got introduced to weblogs.  The pitch is simple.

“You’ve tried everything to lose those pesky extra pounds and nothing works?  It’s because these exercises that are recommended for YOU, PERSONALLY, are the wrong exercises!”

“You’ve tried everything to lose those pesky extra pounds and nothing works?  It’s not the carbs and the fats you consume.  So your diet is not going to work!  It’s because the bacteria in your gut has been compromised!  You need to adjust your diet to make the correct bacteria!”

“You’ve tried everything to lose those pesky extra pounds and nothing works?  That’s because you’re eating to maintain your energy levels.  And that’s the wrong reason to eat!  This lovely patch and this regimen will make sure your energy stays up and lowers your appetite!”

But there’s MORE.  Just read (or listen while they flash the words on the screen) the rest of the story.  For ages, the answer to your problem was…Blah blah blah for another 5 min.  Wait, that’s important information!  Why are you blah blah blahing it?  Because the research and the history really do not matter!  Make up your own history.  Make it a conspiracy and more people will side with you.  Make it a basic fact that everybody knows and nobody applies.  It doesn’t matter.  The only purpose of this part of the Weblog is to add credibility and purpose to your premise.  Will they bother to research these claims?  No because interspersed in this message is the claim:  “Congratulations!  You’re one of the few who really want to know how to proceed.  We commend you on your search for the right answers and that you have taken the effort to take the quiz, do the survey, whatever you did to get onto the site.”  Now you feel special and you continue to listen to the pitch.

Now before I give you the answer to how to make gazillions of dollars doing a weblog, let me tell you about how other web based businesses make money.  They get you hooked on the value of the results of their products.  They never say how odious the process is.  It’s so simple a baby could do it.  It’s so easy and convenient.  In 6 weeks you will lose 50 pounds, or will have 6-pack abs, or will have so much energy that your power company will wonder how you heat/cool your house!  All you have to do is click this button:

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OK! Sign me up!

I’m going to give you a free demonstration of one method of making gazillions of dollars with your own weblog.  But before I get started, let me tell you how I discovered it.  I thought you could just say that you had a solution to a problem and then tell them how much it costs.  Boy was I wrong!  Then I discovered the secret!  I will show it to you at the end of this presentation, but first, let me tell you how much effort went into finding this secret.  I spent months doing research, talking to experts, trial and error, and sleepless nights coming up with the best way to keep my head above water.  Everything I learned was so formulaic and only worked about 15% of the time.  After about 6 months of fruitless work, I was ready to chuck it and go back to being a regular 9-5’er.  Then I noticed something that all the other sites were doing.

But there’s more!  Not only were they leaving out an incredibly obvious technique, they were not giving anyone information that they didn’t already have!  It’s like telling people the sky is blue or that water is wet.  Why were they making so much money?  Because they wanted their readers to think they alone were smart enough to realize these very common assumptions.  Yes!  You’re fat because you have elephant genes!  Of COURSE!  That’s the answer!  It’s so self evident!  I wondered why my nose was getting longer.  The doctors said it wasn’t Pinocchio Syndrome. Why has no one ever figured this out?!  With my patented gene therapy you can…Then they give you the pitch and the price.  Or they SAY they’re going to give you the price.

But first, how much do you think this information is worth?  $5000?  $2500?  Now they’ve set you up for the actual price.  Then they go and find information that costs $10,000, or because you have to have a degree in chemical engineering and a medical doctor’s degree it would cost you $100,000 to develop this information.  Do you have time or inclination to get those degrees?  To do that research?  No?  Well I have and I will give it to you for the unbelievable price of $39.99/month for the rest of your life.  Or you could make one easy payment of $1000 now.  For the cost of 2 year’s worth of product, coaching sessions, whatever, you can have this amazing whatzidoodle for life!  But there’s more!  With this watzidoodle, you get a free copy of “What the Whatzidoodle did for Me” and this amazing mug that says “I use Whatzidoodle, How about you?” that when heated liquid goes into it changes the message to “It works!  It really works!”

So the keys in making gazillions of dollars using your weblog are 2 phrases:

“But first… “(if you get bored with that you can alternate that with “But before I tell you this…”)

“But there’s More!”  There’s no substitute for this last phrase.  You must use it multiple times near the end of your presentation.  Use one in the introduction of the concept, a couple in the credibility section in a negative manner. (These evil companies did this unthinkable thing, but there’s more!)  Then each time you present your product in the last few minutes of your weblog, you use it nearly every sentence.

Are you rich yet?  No?  Well you haven’t seen the best ideas yet!  For just $12,486.47, you can have the keys to making a gazillion dollars.  Just hit this start button!

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Love and other mysteries

“Unless it’s mad, passionate, extraordinary love, it’s a waste of your time>  There are too many mediocre things in life.  Love shouldn’t be one of them.” ~Dreams for an Insomniac

I read this and looked at the background picture of two very pretty people laughing and kissing each other and I thought…wait.

Now I’m not a prude.  I’m just old.  I know a few things.  That kind of love is unsustainable and destined for failure.  You may have good memories for a while, but those fade.

Love is

Holding hands in the theater

Snuggling on the couch

Making love in the tent

The hug and kiss at the door

Giggling in the car

Going to the concerts

The band contests

The conventions

Love is

Not defined by a scale

Not defined by prowess.

Love changes the lovers.

You become a better you when

you are with the one you love.

Love, by definition, IS NEVER

mediocre

It’s dynamic and ever growing

and changing.

Love is

Better than any scale

Because it’s the true expression

of your deepest self and

your response to your

lover’s true expression.

 

 

 

 

Um huh?

So we were having a meeting at a grocery store…yes they have meetings there.  They have to train people remember!  And of course there’s a potty break.  1 bathroom for 15-20 women…

Never mind the logistics, this was what was weird:  There was a poster inside the door that said, “Look before you flush.”  Well that was intriguing.  Aren’t we supposed to look before we sit?  That would make more sense.  Some kid might have thrown a matchbox car in there.  But no, food store restroom…so not likely.  I read the poster.  It described poo.  Yup.  Consistency, shape, and illustrations.  (Really?!!!)  And then it compared the picture to items of food!  Jelly beans, sausage, hot dogs, soup.  ACK!  I guess that’s appropriate if you’re working with food.  Makes you look at carrots differently the rest of the day though.  The poster then grouped them and suggested remedies…drink more water, check for fever, etc.

Very educational poster, but not sure why it’s in a food store bathroom.  Now here’s the thing:  the toilet had an automatic flush.  How do you look when the “product” is already down the hole before you turn around?

Imagine walking by the bathroom and hearing, “Wait!  WAIT!!!  Dammit!  OK then, I’ll be back after lunch!  Stupid toilet!”