Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Pucker Up

Any guesses as to what this autumn fruit might be?

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Money Obsessed? Maybe. Maybe Not.

The question today: If you had to be obsessed with money, sex, sports, religion, or food, which one would you choose?

Sigh. Ok, maybe picking questions out of a book isn't a good idea, but it's what I'm doing for the moment.

I don't watch sports or care much for sports, so that one is out immediately. Sex - hell, I'm too old to be obsessed with that. That leaves money, religion, or food.

Apparently I'm already obsessed with food, since I am overweight and have trouble dieting. So I think the choice there maybe is already made. I eat sometimes because my mouth is lonely. If that isn't obsession, I don't know what is.

But money - isn't every citizen of the United States obsessed with money? Isn't that the American way, to want more more more of the green stuff, so we can buy more more more of the useless stuff? Do we even know when "enough" money is "enough" money? That should differ for everyone, I guess - a person with six children will need more money than I will, or so I would think.

What would we be like as a people if we weren't obsessed with money? Would we be kinder? Would we be nicer? Would we score higher on the happiness charts?

We score pretty low on the happy country charts:

This comes from this report called World Happiness Report. There's some interesting reading in that document if you've an open mind. There are reasons why we score 19th and Finland is number 1.

So money is not my choice, but it is the choice of where I live and, I suspect, the choice of most of the people who live in the United States.

I already know I'm obsessed with food, apparently. That leaves religion, which I am not obsessed with. I do have an interest in spirituality and in learning about various religions, but I am not obsessed with any particular religion or even with learning about the religions. It's something I do sometimes when I'm in "seek" mode. I never know what will strike me as being a good thought at any particular time.

Honestly, I would rather not be obsessed with any of these choices. I'd rather be obsessed with music, with learning in general, with healthy eating (maybe that is still a food obsession, I don't know) and exercise, and with living the best life I possibly can. I try to do the latter but I strongly suspect that's a fallible goal.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Would I Rather Lose a Hand?

I have a new version of The Book of Questions, by Gregory Stock, Ph.D. These are questions that make you think, contemplate your morality, and give your brain a workout.

The first question asks if you would rather "lose the use of all motorized vehicles, all telecommunication devices and computers, or one of your hands?"

This seems easy to me. I would lose all that stuff before I'd lose a hand. Good grief. I rather like my body parts, or at least the use of them, and hands are especially important. I remember how my husband was lost when he put his arm in the hay baler and couldn't use his hand for a long time. He still doesn't have full use of it - he can't pick up fine, tiny things, like a needle or small nail or something.

The question does force me to contemplate dependence upon certain things. For one thing, we live in a society where I drive to the grocery store once or twice a week. Sometimes that's the only place I go, but still. I don't grow a huge garden and can beans or otherwise worry about keeping a huge stock of food on hand. I keep enough things in cans here to get us through a week to 10 days in the event of bad weather or some other issue, but not enough to last a winter. Without a vehicle, we'd starve as it is a long walk to Daleville. I couldn't walk it, I don't think, although I suppose if I had to I would, pulling a little wagon behind me. But it would take a full day or longer. We don't have a horse and I can't ride a cow. Well, I've never tried but I am pretty sure that would be a failing effort.

To my mind the loss of a vehicle would be the greater loss of the things mentioned. I lived without a cellphone for years, and I don't need a computer. I could get by without a telephone at all, if I had to, and a computer. But a car? When I live far from a grocery store, a vehicle becomes a necessity.

That said, I spend a lot of time at the computer. I work on it, using it to write and make a living. I also play video games on it, use social media to keep in touch with people, and otherwise avail myself of the things it offers. I use the phone to talk to my friends, keep in touch with my husband when he's at work, and to check on my mother-in-law and other folks occasionally. Life would be lonelier without a telephone, for sure. (I still talk on the phone and don't simply text on it. Imagine!)

I do not watch a lot of TV, but TV wasn't mentioned specifically here. Is it considered a telecommunication device? How about a radio? I enjoy listening to music. It helps the day go by more quickly sometimes.

But in any event, none of these things are more important to me than my hand. Nor would I ask anyone else to give up a body part so that I might have these things.

In all honesty, this is a bad question. Losing your hand really has nothing to do with the items in question, except you use your hand to type or hit the keys on the phone. It's an either-or question that at its heart is irrelevant, unless you stop to analyze it a bit.

Not a good start, but we'll see what else is in the book.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Saturday 9: Heart to Heart

Heart to Heart (1982)

Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) With whom did you most recently have a "heart-to-heart" talk?

A. My doctor.

2) When this song was on the charts, audiences were tuning in to a TV show called Hart to Hart. Are you familiar with it?

A. No. We couldn't receive that channel.

3) In the music video, Kenny Loggins plays an illustrator. It’s said that the hardest thing to draw is a straight line, because all the joints in your hand have to work together in sync. Can you draw a straight line, without the aid of a ruler or a straight edge?

A. No. My art teacher told me the straight lines didn't matter.

4) This video also prominently features teddy bears. A 2018 article in the NY Post estimates that 4 in 10 adults has a plush toy of his/her own. Are you one of the 40%?

A. I have a kitty that sings "Soft Kitty" to me, so I guess I am.

5) Kenny Loggins performed in a tribute to Aretha Franklin at Carnegie Hall. Do you have a favorite Aretha Franklin song?


6) Kenny cowrote this song with Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers. You can also hear Michael on the background vocals. Do you have a favorite Doobie Brothers song?

A. Well now, let me tell you. I can get down on China Grove. I can play rhythm and lead on that song. It is a great song to just let it rip and beat the crap out of the guitar. It's in the key of E with some funky key changes and one intriguing rhythm change, and the lead involves a full note pull-up on the second string in the 12th fret (I think that's right, it's been a while since I jammed out. Now excuse me while I go jam out.).

7) The third cowriter is David Foster. 1982 was a big year for Foster, since Chicago had a big hit with another of his compositions, “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.” Do you have a favorite Chicago song?

A. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? is tied with 25 or 6 to 4.

8) In 1982, when this song was popular, Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide killed 7 people in Chicago. In response, tamper-proof packaging was introduced. What’s the last thing you opened that required you break a seal?

A. An envelope with the mail in it. If that doesn't count, then a vitamin pill package.

9) Random question – You’re having a party. Which guest annoys you most: the one who arrives 20 minutes early, or the one who shows up 20 minutes late?

A. I don't have parties except at Christmas and this year I'm not doing that because my husband will be in a cast for an ankle fusion. But in general, I don't care. Life is too short to get annoyed at things like that. The person who shows up 20 minutes early will be asked to help set the table, and the one who shows up 20 minutes late will be given a seat and leftovers.

I encourage you to visit other participants in Saturday 9 posts and leave a comment. Because there are no rules, it is your choice. Saturday 9 players hate rules. We love memes, however.  (#310)

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Thursday Thirteen

Bookish Questions and Deep Thoughts

1. In the novel Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly, who is really the monster? The man who created life from dead body parts, or the thing created?

2. In the Ann of Green Gable series, by L. M. Montgomery, Ann Shirley is a curious child. Her curiosity causes her lots of trouble. Is curiosity a good thing?

3. In the Lord of the Rings, Frodo makes a decision to leave his home in order to protect it from great evil. He gives up everything to ensure that goodness survives. Would you leave your home to protect someone else? What would you give up to ensure the safety and security of humanity?

4. In the Harry Potter series, Hermione is a bookish character who actually knows the spells that Harry does not and often needs. However, her contribution is downplayed although her loyalty to Harry and protecting others is not. Is knowledge less than loyalty?

5. In the Stephanie Plum series of books, Stephanie is frequently kidnapped, shot, knocked unconscious, or otherwise hurt. She rebounds very quickly and doesn't suffer from PTSD. Do you think there are people who would not be bothered by such trials? Or is this portrayal of a resilient character unrealistic?

6. In the Stone Barrington series of books by Stuart Woods, the main character always gets his man in the mystery. He also always gets the woman - a different woman in nearly every book. The women are generally stereotypical characters and not rounded out. Do you think this is the way men see women, or is this a writer's shortcut?

7. In the Alphabet mysteries by Sue Grafton, Kinsey Milhone, her lead character, is a tough woman detective who doesn't delve into fashion, bake cakes, do needlework, or do other "womanly" things. Do you think it is necessary for a women to lose her "womanly" notions in order to function in a man's world?

8. In the book Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author takes herself completely away from her world in order to restore order to her soul. Have you ever taken a journey to find yourself? Do you think such a quest is necessary in order to grow as a person?

9. In her memoir, In Pieces, Sally Fields reveals that she was molested by her stepfather and that she has mental health problems stemming from an abusive childhood. Yet she went on to become a famous actress. Do you think that Fields' and her success is the norm for people who experience childhood trauma? Or is she an aberration?

10. In A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle, three children leave home to save an adult. Do you think children are capable of doing such actions in this day and age? Or is this pure fantasy?

11. In Alice in Wonderland, Alice finds a strange new world that does not resemble anything she knows as reality. In modern physics, the many worlds theory advocates that each decision we make creates a different universe, so that there are in fact thousands upon thousands of universes in existence. Do you believe there could be different universes? Could the rabbit hole simply be a writer's device that creates a portal into another universe? Or is Alice only dreaming?

12. In Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens, the main character is a young girl of about 7 who raises herself alone in the marsh. Is this believable? Do you think a child that young could survive all alone without assistance? The same instance occurs in Island of the Blue Dolphins, but that book is set in the 1800s and the heroine is a little older. Which book seems more believable?

13. In The Hunger Games series by Susan Collins, Katniss must kill or be killed. Do you think her befriending others as a strategy to stay alive is feasible? Is this similar to the show Survivor, where people "make friends" and then stab one another in the back? What does this say about humanity, that we can be friendly to someone and then turn around and shoot them? Are we, really, human?

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while and this is my 628th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday. Or so sayth the Blogger counter, anyway.