The Changing Seasons…

October 25, 2014

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When I glanced out one of the back windows this very crisp morning I was again reminded of the changing season and of the upcoming holidays.  The burning bush and the fir bush juxtapositioned next to each other was a red/green delight.

2014-10-11_08-11-13There’s another benefit to having this outlook. The developmental psychologist Carol Dweck has shown that having a growth mindset — where you think your outcomes come through effort rather than innate talent — leads to success for kids and grownups alike.

Thinking about your thinking dispositions — rather than how innately smart you are — helps cultivate that attitude.

SOURCE:  Harvard Says The Best Thinkers Have These 7 ‘Thinking Dispositions’ – Yahoo Finance.

Sometimes I am leery of what Harvard puts out as truth. After all don’t many of our high level political leaders have Harvard degrees? I suspect that the majority of the CEOs that almost caused the 2008 meltdown were also Harvard alumni. But this list does make sense to me and it seems to be very much opposite to typical Wall Street thinking.

I am going to give you a redacted version of the seven reasons given in the article the original version just had too many words in it that clouded the list itself. To me it almost turns the list into “Blah, blah, blah”. In order to keep things straight I wanted to separate my redacted list from the original quote above. So here goes…

1. Be broad and adventurous: Be open-minded, to explore alternative views; an alertness to narrow thinking; the ability to generate multiple options.

2. Sustained intellectual curiosity: The tendency to wonder, probe, find problems, a zest for inquiry; an alertness for anomalies; the ability to observe closely and formulate questions.

3. Clarify and seek understanding: A desire to understand clearly, to seek connections and explanations.

4. Be planful and strategic: The drive to set goals, to make and execute plans, to envision outcomes; alertness to lack of direction; the ability to formulate goals and plans.

5. Be intellectually careful: The urge for precision, organization, thoroughness; an alertness to possible error or inaccuracy; the ability to process information precisely.

6. To seek and evaluate reasons: The tendency to question the given, to demand justification; an alertness to the need for evidence; the ability to weigh and assess reasons.

7. Be Reflective: The tendency to be aware of and monitor the flow of one’s own thinking; alertness to complex thinking situations; the ability to exercise control of mental processes and to be reflective.

Maybe it is vanity rising up here but I kind of think that I have most of these qualities. :)  I definitely didn’t go to Harvard; I could never have afforded to pay for even a semester there let alone the time it takes to get a degree. My State college Purdue was fine with me.

I like to the think that some of my strongest qualities are that I am open-minded and can see narrow thinking from a mile away. As I have mentioned many times here the first thing that often pops into my mind is “why?”. I have a zest, maybe an infliction, for inquiry. That is what primarily drives this blog. So, as it turns out I can see I have 1,2 and 6 down pat and the other four to lesser degrees.

How about you? Where do you stand on this list?

2014-10-12_07-59-37Arrived in the Canada capital today. More sentiment here to be annexed by Mexico than by America. They know us too well. If we get any nation to join us it will have to be some stranger. We only have one reason for wanting Canada and a modification of the Volstead Act will eliminate it. Waiting instructions.

Will Rogers — 11 October 1926.

When we took our extended visit to eastern Canada a few years ago I kind of got the same feeling that Will did almost 100 years ago. Canada is happy to have put off the invasion by the U.S. in 1812. They see all our problems with guns, drugs, booze in Will’s day and healthcare issues today and rejoice that they pretty much solved all those things years ago. When we told some there how much we pay for our health insurance, even with Medicare, they were shocked.

Now don’t get me wrong, except maybe for the french speaking part :) they treated us Americans with friendly grace and cordiality.  Especially those taking our tourist dollars. If I couldn’t be an American even with all our solvable yet unsolved problems, I would want to be a Canadian. Where we are hyper about so much they seem to be calm and that is a nice state to be in.

2014-10-10_08-32-08“There’s a lot of people out here in the working field doing what Governor Walker wants us to do: he says he wants us to be out here working,” said Branch, who identified herself as a supporter of Burke. “I was hoping that Mr. Walker would see [the complaints] and take account of these workers out here … he just needs to take a walk in my shoes.”

SOURCE: This Is Scott Walker’s Idea Of A Living Wage.

I know that Scott Walker’s fellow Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan simply adores all of Ayn Rand’s teaching and a primary part of those teaching is that empathy has no place in a modern society. Empathy is basically about putting yourself in the shoes of others in order to understand their problems and handicaps. This article seems to indicate that Governor Walker believes the same thing.

To their, and Ayn Rand’s, mind empathizing with others is not one of the reasons they were put on this earth. But my hero is not Ayn Rand but instead Jesus Christ and he clearly told us that empathy is a critical important part of being one of his followers. He told us that all of life is about only two things: To love God and his creation, and to love each other. In my mind it is hard to have love without empathy.

Mr. Ryan says he is a devout Catholic but his words and actions seem to go against a primary teaching of that church. Of course it is not my, or anyone else’s place to judge Mr. Ryan or Mr. Walker but I would certainly like to hear both their apparent lack of caring for others and especially about government’s responsibility in those areas.

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I snagged this from a Facebook friend (thanks Joyce)

With all the politics going on here I need some less serious posts. Not that weight gain is less serious :)  but Garfield’s rationality is very amusing. But then again I do have a big head, both literally and figuratively…

We Cuss The Lawmakers….

October 21, 2014

2014-08-03_08-55-51“Well, we cuss the lawmakers . . . but I notice we’re always perfectly willin’ to share in any of the sums of money that they might distribute.” – Will Rogers, 7 April 1935

Being that we are coming up on an important election day in America I thought I would ramp up some of my feelings about politics here. I know for most, including me, this is a gutter issue in our country. We simply disdain those who we have currently chosen to represent us at the national level.

But as Will says in this quote. We seem to have disdain for all those other politicians but ours are OK as long as they get us more than our rightful share of the money they might distribute. By almost every poll taken in the last ten years we simply can’t stomach the goings-on in Washington but we seem to have no idea how to change that condition.

The first step in that  process is to accept that we are in denial when it comes to those we personally choose. In order to break the gridlock and dysfunction within the DC beltway means that we have to send a clear message to those folks. Attacking this problem around the edges has simply not had much of an effect. We send our local representative back to do the same thing over and over again and somehow expect a different result. How utterly stupid is that?

The only way things will change is to vote those currently in office out until they finally get the message. Yeah I know that might mean voting for someone who you don’t agree with on some or even many issues but you must hold your nose and do it anyway. I don’t think it would take more than a couple of total replacement for the candidates to get the message.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel in some of our current elections. It seems that an independent is leading the Kansas race. Kansas has never had a senator from a different part for over sixty years I think but that just might change this time around. If our friends in Kansas can do it surely the rest of us can also??

 

2014-10-19_08-26-11The instant the Ebola crisis hit American shores, the inevitable happened. The GOP blamed President Obama for it. First, it was the lame brained borderline racist charge that Obama either deliberately or through sheer incompetence did nothing to seal the borders to keep the virus at bay. The only slightly more intelligible attack was that Obama did nothing to command the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take panic measures to insure no incidence of the disease would turn up in the country. Then the GOP campaign strategists stepped in and had some of its top candidates suddenly parroting the kooky line that Obama was to blame for a supposedly porous and negligent CDC and border security lapse. Obama’s appointment of an “Ebola Czar” provided even more grist for the GOP hit mill on Obama. It was variously blown off as too little, too late or ridiculed as a desperate appointment of a supposedly medically unqualified political crony.

This is political gamesmanship of the lowest order, playing on media and public fears over a legitimate and terrifying health crisis, to again belittle Obama. And with the stakes sky high in the 2014 midterm elections, the dirty political pool by the GOP was totally predictable.

But the twist in the Ebola saga is that the dirty hit job has backfired. The attack opened the GOP wide open to media and public scrutiny of the galling fact that the GOP has systematically whittled away vital funding for dozens of health programs since 2010. The CDC, much the whipping agency for the supposed Obama health dereliction, was stripped of nearly $600 million; millions that could have gone to ramp up monitoring, screening, and education programs, as well as research on vaccines to deal with infectious and communicable diseases. The names of the more than two dozen Republicans who poleaxed the CDC budget have been published. And to no surprise the bulk of them are either directly affiliated with or have been in part bankrolled by tea party factions.

SOURCE: Republican’s Blame Ebola on Obama Ploy Backfires | Earl Ofari Hutchinson.

I know I vowed to stay away from politics at least for the most part but this latest fiasco from the GOP is just too “down in the gutter filthy” to ignore. I hope all of you who are not totally engrained in the Tea Party schemes will click on the source to see the article in its entirety.  We got to do what we can to send a message to these yahoos that this stuff will not be tolerated…..  enough said

Coexist Foundation

October 19, 2014

2014-10-02_14-25-24Coexist was founded in 2006 in the United Kingdom. The organization formed as a direct response to heightening tensions between religious and cultural groups across the world, as evidenced by a 2002 Gallup Poll of the Islamic world. As a result of the poll, Elgawhary says, “people got to see what opinions the Muslim world had of the outside world and the West, and also what people in Western countries thought of the Muslim world. There was a glaring disconnect of understanding and perceptions between the two.”

SOURCE:  Coexist Foundation – National Geographic Education.

The one thing that saddens me more than anything else is all the killing around the world that is done in the name of God. Not only do people get stuck in their current view of God but they are ready to kill those who have a different view. I have become totally convinced that absolutely none of us have a lock on God. We all cling to our own religious documents as proof that we worship the only true god. When others disagree with us it far too often leads to conflict and death.

I have become very aligned with the ideas of the Coexist foundation. If only all of us could agree to disagree about spiritual things we would make the world much closer to what God probably wants.  But that won’t happen within the hierarchies of our existing religious institutions. They are simply too engrained in their own rhetoric to be open to the possibility that they might not have it totally right about everything.  The idea of coexisting with other religious beliefs must happen at the grass roots level. It must be a ground swell that simply overwhelms our ever present religious establishment biases.

Religions to me are more about their self convinced truths than they are about God.  Surely deep in our hearts none of us really believe that God will utterly reject for eternity the vast majority of his human creation in favor of our very narrowly focused beliefs of him? Because of all this inter-religious strife I am currently very spiritual but not very religious and I think there are many others out there with the same mentality as me. As a matter of fact I believe that this is the primary reason that so many are currently leaving many church organization today or not even joining them in the first place.

When we die we just might come to learn that God loves all of us. Let’s all pledge to simply coexist with each other and wait for God to tell us his truths if he ever cares to do that….

What A Croc….

October 18, 2014

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I grabbed this picture off one of my friends Facebook pages. It made me LOL. ;)

I am somewhat new to Crocs, that is the shoes shown above. I just personally discovered them for myself this year. They are very practical for around the homestead in the warm weather months. I like to take strolls through my kingdom in the early morning after I have browsed the Internet and maybe penned a few posts for my blogs. When I do that there seems to be an ever present dew that thoroughly soaks my shoes. With crocs that is not a problem. When I am working in the garden and gotten mud on my shoes it is no problem, just take them off and hose them down.

I love my new found crocs….

Leaves of Grass…

October 17, 2014

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I recently got another copy of the book “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman. This one had a thorough description of the history around the book.  It is interesting to see that Whitman continued to edit the poems contained in the book throughout his lifetime.

Here is a little about that from my friends at Wikipedia:

2014-10-05_16-55-03Leaves of Grass is a poetry collection by the American poet Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Though the first edition was published in 1855, Whitman spent his entire life writing and re-writing Leaves of Grass, revising it in several editions until his death. This resulted in vastly different editions over four decades—the first a small book of twelve poems and the last a compilation of over 400 poems.

The poems of Leaves of Grass are loosely connected and each represents Whitman’s celebration of his philosophy of life and humanity. This book is notable for its discussion of delight in sensual pleasures during a time when such candid displays were considered immoral.

I must admit that I struggle with poetry, especially those that don’t rhyme. :)

The point of this post is not so much to discuss the poetry but the process. I, like Whitman, am a tinkerer of my words and thoughts. Sometimes when reviewing past posts I come across something that I believe “must” be changed. Maybe a particular word I chose when the post was published just doesn’t seem right now. Maybe an additional sentence is added.

I do the initial write of most of my posts at least a week before they are published. Changes are usually made right up to the date of release. I guess maybe I am a compulsive when it comes to my words. But I imagine all of us are compulsive in one matter or another. Some need to disagree with everything that didn’t come from them. The “Not invented here” syndrome is along those lines.  Some are compulsive about their beliefs of God.  Many are convinced that they are the only ones to truly know the heart of God so therefore all religions but theirs are just plain wrong. Some others have to have the order of things a very particular way. If it is not they HAVE to change it. I guess when it comes to compulsive things needing just the right words is not a bad one to have.  At least it doesn’t hurt other people.

In the coming weeks I will be working my way through the book “The Leaves of Grass”. I don’t know which addition I have but that doesn’t really matter to me.  I have a highly commentated version to help me interpret the meaning of Whitman’s words. I hope to gain some insight into this very popular author from more than a century ago.