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Monday, August 20, 2018

This and that... and 76 ducklings

Every good blog needs a "grabber" to pique your interest. So how are 76 ducklings all in a row? "Aww... " you say?

It's good to say "Aww" once in a while, but with no adorable cat pictures handy, how is that possible? That's where76 ducklings with one mama duck comes in. I'll tell you all about the ducklings in a minute. 

Newspapers use to do this all the time... catch your broader interest, I mean. I remember newspapers. Big and bulky pages with ink that sometimes gets on your hands or clothes, lots of words, lots of stories big and small, (and a comics section in most) almost always reported in greater depth than in social media and television (if they even made the cut).

Some of the tid-bits I read in newspapers lately:

  • Almost one in five teachers quit teaching within their first five years. And it's not because they made so much money that they could retire. Sadly, few teachers are, in this vital full time profession, able to support a family on that salary. As a people, we value education highly, but almost never vote to fund for the value it is.
  • The common border we share with Canada is the longest international boundary in the world... and as a P.S., Canada also has a Muslim population of more than one million. 
  • Sharks can turn their stomachs inside-out.
  • Venezuela's inflation rate is expected to exceed one million percent by year's end.
  • An impressive home in the west just went on the market for $14,999,999.99. I'll bet people will be jumping on a chance to buy this place for less than $15 million, because who can afford a $15 million house? And like that, a home in 'The Hamptons' sold a while back for $137 million--the highest price so far for a U.S. home. And I hear it was bought as a tear-down.
  • Mary Ellis died at 101... she flew 400 Spitfire fighter planes and 76 other aircraft to the front lines in World War II."Everyone was flabbergasted that a little girl like me could fly these big airplanes."  and Doris Arndt, who was a well known circus animal trainer commanding tigers and lions and bears, (Oh, my...), died at 88. Wonder Women have always been with us but it seems so many still have not noticed.
  • And you get the most interesting classified ads:

 See what you can learn in newspapers that you might miss elsewhere

Oh, about the mama duck and ducklings.... they are common mergansers and females lay their eggs in multiple nests to be incubated and cared for. It's like a day care system called a creche where a few matriarchal females watch after things while newer mama's molt... or celebrate with a big party, I guess. To have 76 ducklings under one care is, however, quite unusual. Ostriches also creche.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

NO YOU CAN'T! Yes you can! Yes you can! Yes you can! yes you can! Yes you can! Yes you can!

Debbie Downer played by SNL's Rachel Dracht

Studies over the years have shown that it takes six to nine positive affirmations to counter one negative thought or expression to our equilibrium.

... and it might take more than that! Just ask Debbie Downer.

Debbie Downer is a Saturday Night Live character acted by comedian Rachel Dracht over the years... a classic negative affirmation speaker. She can bring a house down faster than an earthquake.Take a look at what I mean in this SNL clip.

It is amazing that the influence of the negative is so powerful. It's like watching the news and wondering if there are any decent people left. Good doesn't often make headlines because it more represents us as we normally are. Negative affirmations feed a distorted imprint that can be depressing and even habit-forming in the way we see ourselves.

Cynics love Debbie Downers. Modern cynicism has been defined as an attitude of distrust toward claimed ethical and social values. It is pessimistic and damaging to the good of our hearts and minds and calls for a greater positive effort to get back to middle ground.

In today's world, being positive sometimes is hard, but being negative is a slippery slope than that creates a misguided mindset and takes us down. While I love hearing the raspy, soft voice of classic songstress Peggy Lee singing "Is that all there is." I think the Beetles had it more right with "Here comes the sun."

We all deserve more than anything a Debbie Downer has to say. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Best Quote Ever... EVER!

A few years back, an Italian journalist asked Pope Francis how he might act as a confessor to a gay person. He responded, "Who am I to judge."

He further said, "I am glad we are talking about homosexual people because before all else comes the individual person in his wholeness and dignity... people should not be defined only by their sexual tendencies: let us not forget that God loves all his creatures and we are destined to receive His infinite love."

Now about this being the best quote ever, it is not because it was said by Pope Francis, though that certainly adds emphasis, it is because it is true to all, even if it is not espoused. Kings judge, dictators and tyrants judge, religions judge and wars are fought because of judgements, but we are humans with flaws and frailties. We have been known, however, to strive to be above the worst of us.

 If you do read the bible or other religious texts, you will see wording and expressions saying, in effect, "Judge not lest you be judged."

One of the first rules of living is that you are the person most responsible to yourself... the only one who can directly affect your moral outcome. So why is it our job to judge anyone as worse or different than us as being less than us. We are all more alike than different.

If you can make even one small gesture of that understanding today, you will have made the world--and your moral self--better. What power is that!