Shower Thoughts

I very much support the work being done in extending healthy old age.  I even think finding a cure for death is probably a good idea.

However.  What about the Ears and Nose Problem.   Our noses and ears keep growing all of our life.  You may have noticed.  Or not.

fs-old-young-gif-aging

But you will notice if we are able to extend life dramatically.  Another 100 years of nose and ear growth will turn us into veritable elephants.

Everyone focuses on wrinkles, but honestly – the nose – ear issue is interesting.   If no one dies eventually the vast majority of the population will be older than 70.

Will giant noses and ears be the new beautiful?   Will ears that hit your shoulders be considered a sign of sexual vitality?

Or will we sensibly give up sexual obsession upon discovering that we can pick our nose with our tongues?

I have to say, I’m in favor of the latter, not the former.  I’m an old fashioned girl I guess.  I can’t imagine finding elephant faces to be sexually attractive.  But what do I know.  Maybe time will change that.

Eh.  Probably Plastic Surgery Shops will be as common as Starbucks.  It will be done by anyone who is willing to get the certificate from the local e-college.  39.99 for the nose and 59.99 for the ears.

There will be a whole group of people who think leaving noses and ears natural is the only honest and right thing and they will be known as Elephants.

 

 

So many Bad Ideas come so easily…

I am addicted to gardening channels although the most I can muster is a few pots on a balcony.  One of the channels is a permaculture nursery that started raising chickens on compost. He gathers food scraps from a couple of restaurants he trusts.  Dumps it into the coop.  They eat it, poop on it and it degrades into compost over time.  He adds wood chips and leaves and a bit of bio char.  And his interesting addition is a bit of seed so the chickens will kick around for sprouts.    It’s amazing.  The chickens kick around the compost, helping it develop.  They poop, helping it.  And he gets nearly free chicken feed and eggs.

Winter was a bit of a problem for him.  He lives in upper NY.  It gets really cold.  Chickens don’t love cold.   So his compost system, while a pile of warmness didn’t always work in the winter months for chickens who refused to leave the warmth of the coop.  So he built a polytunnel and began dispersing his compost in the polytunnel.  The hot compost heats the tunnel and the chickens are VERY HAPPY.

happy chickens

His only downside is it’s not comfortable for him.  He has to turn the compost for the chickens daily.  And it’s tight and awkward.  A batch of  viewers think he created this tunnel to keep his chickens warm and have come up with several creative fire hazards for him to try instead of his successful tunnel.  They haven’t been watching since the beginning.  I know those chickens have a lovely warm coop with a heated water dish.  They aren’t needing a warm home.

He has chicken workers creating compost.  And he needs the workers to show up at work when it’s cold.  So he created a comfortable place for them to work.  They could refuse to participate and he would still give them grain in their coop, just as he has in previous winters.

What is interesting is that suggestion brigade is so oblivious.  The entire video shows extremely contented chickens kicking about in the leaf litter and compost while it’s 20 degrees outside.  They LOVE the new poly-tunnel.  The only one suffering is it’s creator and he already said during the video that the awkwardness is worth it to have content and working chickens.   He called them his workers at least 3 times.

There are of course several practical suggestions from people who listened and know the situation.  Those suggestions are the reason the internet is such a boon to society.  He can get suggestions from people in Russia or Canada or China.  Chickens are everywhere.  In fact I believe they out number us by a factor or two.

So many people have ideas.  And the internet makes it so easy to spew them.  Sometimes this is a great thing.  People are helped.  Sometimes it’s just the garbage of an uninformed mind.  I think the problem is in the person receiving the ideas.  Can they discern the garbage from the practical advice?  Sometimes that is hard. Int his case, I think it’s going to be obvious.

I’ve been all of the above. The person spewing a random but informed idea that entered my head.  I’ve been the person with experience and knowledge who offered advice.  I’ve been the person receiving the barrage of good and terrible suggestions.  I think I have learned to curb my desire to share whatever uninformed thought enters my head.  But probably I will do it again.  I do think I’m pretty good at distinguishing the seed from the chaff on the advice that comes at me.

The internet is a marvel.  But with marvel came a lot of garbage.  I am sorry that it works that way, but it is inevitable considering humans.  So it seems to me the only solution is to teach people how to sift the good seed from the chaff.

 

 

If only you spoke Hovitos.

It’s the classic Indiana Jones Evil Villain Wins line.

But it’s also shorthand for: if only you knew the terrain and the culture better. ie – if only you studied a bit harder.  It’s a brutal own.

It’s also real.  If you know more, you can leverage it better.  It’s the same strategy that gets Jones out of Egypt when the Nazis are chasing him.  He knows more.  He has more connections.

But it’s real in life too.  Most of us just know whatever is necessary for us to cope with our job.  We don’t try to know more.  We don’t want to know what other people in our company do.  We don’t want to know what happens before and after us in the work flow.  We don’t question why we have to do things the way we do.

But the way I have done well in jobs is to know more.  To work hard and understand how what I do matters.  To understand the bigger context.  I ask a lot of questions.  Sometimes that gets perceived as a judgement by the people I’m asking.  But if you ask outside of problem situations or ask people not responsible for the problem, mostly people want to talk about what they do and what they know.  Asking them is just easy.  Listening and Learning and recognizing the pattern in the knowledge is what is helpful.

The next time you wonder why things aren’t going well at work.  Ask yourself – Do you speak Hovitos?

Admittedly, it requires patience. Don’t be afraid to ask – even if you don’t know the knowledge holder. It also requires effort at proving you are somebody worthy of respect.  If they think you slack all day they will not be as forthcoming with anything but gripes.  Which also have value but don’t teach as much.  You have to earn respect by working.  Doing small extra things that make another person’s job easier, is also helpful at making them want to share knowledge when asked.

But once you speak Hovitos, it helps in so many ways.  And the absolutely PRIMARY one is that it makes the job feel more meaningful.  It makes what you do matter more.  I used to get satisfaction from feeling like I was helping people with a fundamental need in their life, financial security.

Now I work for a transportation company.  It feels far less important.  At first I wondered how I would feel that was meaningful beyond keeping me from being homeless.   But it turns out, it’s almost easier.

A)  Travel is a direct impact experience.  How well I do my job directly affects how well someone’s day is going to be.  And if you’ve ever missed a plane, you know exactly how meaningful that impact is.

B) How I do my job affects other people at the company.  And I think we don’t emphasize that enough.  Skipping a thing you think is small and unimportant can cause a great deal of undue frustration to someone downstream in the workflow.  Doing your job well makes a huge difference to someone else’s job / day going well. Often the things that seem oddly silly and useless are designed to make someone’s job downstream far easier.  Both of those things have direct impacts on the lives of people. Doing them right is important. Those things make my job meaningful.

But I only am aware of that because I speak Hovitos.  ie. I took the time to think and ask about it.

It matters.  Speak Hovitos.  Not just because your career will be better. MOSTLY because how you feel about your job and therefore your life will improve by magnitudes.  SPEAK HOVITOS.

The life I live in my imagination

It varies.

Sometimes I have a snug little homestead of 3-10 acres.  It has an orchard with apples, pears, peaches and maples.

It has a small bit of land for wheat – because I’m insane and dream of growing my own bread.

It has a magnificent vegetable and herb garden.

And naturally it has chickens.  They are content chickens doing chicken sorts of things and helping me make compost.

But sometimes, I dream of living aboard a boat.  This is nearly the antithesis of a homestead.  I want to wander about the world on my boat.  Perhaps I will have a fairly anemic tomato or a small effort at herbs.  But that sort of thing really doesn’t work on a boat.

My ideal boat doesn’t exist.  I want the boat to be able to navigate rivers and canals as well as oceans.  In case you didn’t know those are things that require different sorts of boats.  Sometimes just because humans have built bridges too low and mostly because a boat safe at ocean should have a minimum draft so it doesn’t capsize in high seas.  That doesn’t always work in inland waterways.

I want it all.  I want to have a boat with a garden that can cross the pacific and travel up the Yangtze or the Danube or the Thames.  And then I want it to be able to cross into those fabulous man made waterways that are left from a bygone era but that show you the insides of a country in ways that natural rivers don’t dream of.

Sadly most of the man made canals are no longer navigable.  Few countries invested money in their maintenance after their commercial value was nil.   But some still exist and call the boater to the interior of a country, where the fields and wilderness border the canal.

It’s my dream.  To travel indefinitely around the world by water.

Of course, neither plan is practical to my lived life.  I don’t have the money and will never be forced to decide between boats and homesteading.  And the imaginary boat that can cross oceans and glide easily in narrow shallow canals is sadly mythical.

But let’s assume all options are available.  And I’m suddenly the winner of a lottery.  I wonder if I would choose the boat.  It’s risk.  It’s constant unending change.  The homestead is safe and warm and if not utterly predictable, it has more stability than the the boating life.  I fear that given all my dreams, I might easily choose the safest option.

I’m a creature of tradition and safety.  I would choose practical reality.

But at night, as I’m falling asleep, I imagine my trip through the Grand Canal of China or the winding relaxation of a trip through Great Britain’s canals or the gorgeous views from Europe’s waterways.

Image result for uk canals

But don’t discount the homestead.  It’s a satisfying and good life.

It may not be gorgeous lights and locales but there is something deeply satisfying in working with natural rhythm of things to make food.

Image result for chicken yard making compost edible acres

I could be happy either way.  However unbrave I may be, either option is worthy in it’s own right.

Sharing your Mother with the internet

Over on tumblr everyone is sharing stories about their mom.  Most of them are affectionate and grateful.

Some are justifiable not.

It brings to mind the fact that being a mother is not a sanctifying event.  Any one with the working organs and a sperm donor can be one.  Indeed, anyone who adopts or fosters can be one.  For millennia it has been a role given by default rather than intent as though parenting isn’t one of the most important roles a human can have.

One of the more inane defenses of Huckabee Sanders is “She’s a mother.”  As though that has ANYTHING AT ALL to do with criticism aimed at her.  As though being a mother is get of out a mess free card.

But of course it’s not.  Nor are women naturally predisposed to be great mothers.  Motherhood is a daunting, exhausting, psychologically and emotionally scarring role and there is little preparation given to the VAST MAJORITY of women who become mothers.  The fact that so many of them do it well enough to continue the species and for that species to have achieved what it has to date, is the greatest achievement of women as a whole.  But it is NOT the only thing any individual woman is.

It’s daunting to be handed the responsibility for another life when your own feels out of control.  And many face motherhood on those terms.

It’s daunting to raise a contributing member of society when no one did the same for you and you struggle merely to make it through a day.  There is no escape from motherhood except in death.  You mostly can’t quit unless you do it up front.

I’m not a mother.  I was raised by one who faced the daunting task under the burden of alcoholism.  It did not always go well.  But she managed it.   And she taught me a great many things that I still hold inside me as foundations of who I am.  And in the end, she managed to dry out and I met my mother at age 21, someone different than I had lived with in childhood.   The person who overcame addiction and redirected her life was not just a mother.  She was a woman.  Who had children and did her best with them.

I worry when we reduce women to motherhood.  To some unattainable sainthood that has little depth and no soul.  A woman, can also be a mother.  But motherhood is only part of who she is.  She is a complexity of things and sometimes those things make motherhood a mess. Sometimes they make it wonderful.

Some of us aren’t mothers.  But we are assumed to be.  I got wished Happy Mothers Day 3 times today.  I’m a middle aged woman.  It is assumed that I must be a mother.

People assume this because we have reduced women to a monostate that doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of her.   We have raised motherhood to a state of sanctity that no woman could achieve and quite a number dismally fail.  We would be better off as a civilization if we treated motherhood as a hard role, that requires training and support.  Instead we pretend they are born with the knowledge. No one can see the souls and hearts and the dreams of the women raising our species because the reflection off the shiny MOTHER ideal dazzles us.

 

 

How many people does it take to stop the fire alarm from beeping every minute?

Today I got to work and the fire alarm was beeping in that “my battery is dead” beep.  I told the dispatcher and said that if he could change the battery it would probably save the life of the person I would kill if I ended up listening to it all morning.

He and company’s general dogsbody guy went in and opened up the alarm.  No battery.  It’s hooked up directly to the electric.  There was no button to push to turn it off.  It just continued to beep.

So they called the owner.  He came in and was sure he knew the solution.  But couldn’t figure it out.  One of the general managers showed up and spent sometime in there with the owner, at one point falling off a ladder but not getting hurt.  Several drivers gave pointless commentary.

So the owner called the fire alarm company.   Turning off the electricity was tried on multiple occasions.  He even went so far as to turn off the electricity in the entire building.  That fucking thing just kept beeping in the dark.    The fire alarm company told him it couldn’t be beeping if they turned off the electricity, despite the very reality that it was in fact beeping.

He called in an electrician.  He and the electrician spent 2 hours searching for a sensor that could be beeping.  Finally the electrician gave up and left.  It was still beeping.

You know – in the old days this beeping would have been competently handled by the dogsbody.  He would have replaced the battery.  The owner would not even have been aware that the dogsbody did it until Monday morning, if then.  It would have been that trivial.

Instead highly paid people spent 6+ hours trying to fix it and failing.  And I’m not really sure we have that much greater advantage to this fire alarm system than the old independent battery operated units being set up every so many per number of square feet.

When I left it was still beeping.  Tomorrow the fire alarm people will show up and attempt to fix it.  I don’t hold out much hope.  I think the building could burn down and that fucker would still be beeping every minute.

Stereotyping

A couple of weeks ago someone left a phone on one of our charter buses.  They called in and said the tracker said it was at our location.  The calltaker asked a dispatcher to check.  Dispatcher sent a driver.  Driver came in saying – No phone.  Calltaker asked dispatcher to check again.  Dispatcher went himself, came in – No phone.

Calltaker, exasperated with both of these men, went out herself.  Got the phone.  The look on the dispatcher’s face was exactly this comic when she showed him the phone.

tumblr_p636108aRM1qg51mgo1_540
tahilalats.com 

One of the gender stereotypes we perpetuate is that men are apparently blind when looking for a thing that is right in front of them and women are not.  It’s funny because we all know a story that aligns with the stereotype.

But I must be the exception if that is true that women see things men don’t because I am often blindly staring at things I am looking for.    I think many women are.

So many gender stereotypes are funny.  A way to bond with our friends over stories.  But they remain problematic.

Because so many of them are either patently untrue, or perpetuate a social norm that is harmful to both society and individuals.  So many of the roles and norms we assign to masculinity are negative and harmful.  Men don’t have feelings.  Men don’t don’t need help, they are self reliant and strong.  Men fight they don’t hug.   Men don’t clean.  Men can’t find anything.

So many things that we accept are very hard on men and women.  But we have somehow normalized them.  It’s odd how easy it is to find something toxic or just plain incorrect to be normal and right.

 

The evolution of a word

Today I wrote a comment on a blog that was just the word “Gorgeous!”.

And I realized as a typed it that it has the word ‘gorge’ in it.  How odd.  They seems such distinct meanings.  So I looked it up.

According to Eymonline:

gorgeous (adj.)
c. 1500, “splendid, showy, sumptuously adorned” (of clothing), from Middle French gorgias “elegant, fashionable,” of unknown origin; perhaps a special use of gorgias “necklace” (and thus “fond of or resembling jewelry”), from Old French gorge “throat,” also “something adorning the throat” (see gorge (n.)). A connection to the Greek proper name Gorgias (supposedly in reference to a notorious sophist) also has been proposed.

Gorge is from the word throat in old french.  Which I can also feel the relationship to our present use of the word related to canyon in English, even if it is quite remote.

Which is the thing – so often one can FEEL the roots of a word.  It’s tenuous relationship to the old word is so thready and knotted but it somehow got transmitted in meaning enough that I hear the etymology and can say  – OK.  Yeah.  I can get that.

Words evolve.  Sometimes very quickly and bizarrely.  Imagine how oddly someone from the 15th century would feel about how we use the word “cool” today.  We still hold onto the meaning they understand but it’s far more common use has no real relationship they can understand to the word.

cool (adj.)
Applied since 1728 to large sums of money to give emphasis to amount. Meaning “calmly audacious” is from 1825. Slang use for “fashionable” is 1933, originally African-American vernacular; modern use as a general term of approval is from late 1940s, probably from bop talk and originally in reference to a style of jazz; said to have been popularized in jazz circles by tenor saxophonist Lester Young.

All the slang meanings have intertwined in my mind.  Each of them bringing a nuance to the various ways I use the word cool.  In fact I can think of another meaning that is not mentioned here.  It is often used as an agreement word.  I can also feel how the slang meanings are still related to its traditional meaning of chilly.  But those complexity of meanings are very hard to express,  except by saying the word.  All of its complexity is so neatly wrapped in one small word.

And now it’s being morphed again into kewl!

Language pedants often criticize people for their “wrong” use of words.  But this is just the nature of language.  It gets used and it evolves in it’s use until over time it’s a whole new meaning.   This is why humans, who all evolved from one group are now using thousands of different languages.  Because language evolves, just like humans, but much faster.   A thousand years ago people spoke English.  But we probably wouldn’t understand much of it.

 

 

 

 

 

You vote for the Problem if you don’t vote.

I’m a bit concerned about this Flouncy Mood I’ve been seeing lately among liberals online.  They are angry at Democrats in Congress for not doing more to stop Trump.  I guess shutting down the government isn’t too far.

I’ve seen quite a few of people express that if Democrat Politicians don’t try harder, they aren’t going to vote for them.   While their views certainly represent a serious lack of understanding on how our government actually runs, it’s also a foolish idealism.

Let’s GET REAL.  LIfe and Politics do not  happen in ideals.  I’m 52 and I’ve never voted for my ideal.

You vote for practical gritty reality.  

You vote for the best option.

Right now, Democrats, whatever their weakness, are the best option.

This is not a game.  Human lives are at stake.  Prancing about refusing to vote for anything but perfection will not save lives.  Voting for the best option, even when not ideal, is what saves lives.

womens-march-sign-1We don’t have time for Moods.  We need to fight with the weapons we are handed.

You vote for the problem if you don’t vote.

Oprah Winfrey is NOT qualified to be President of the United States

I love her, but NO.

Being more qualified than Trump does NOT equal Qualified. 

Donald Trump is a bar so low a mouse could step across it.  He is not the bar we should measure candidates on.

Can we stop pretending that our government is Reality TV?

It’s not.

Can we stop confusing celebrity with experience and fitness for the job???

We need to fix the system that would allow us to vote stupidly for people because we see them on TV and therefore think this makes them qualified.

It was a nice speech.  BUT BEING PRESIDENT OF THE US is not an equivalent to being a great entertainer or even a great business person.

IT IS A DIFFERENT THING.

We deserve the apocalypse we get if we vote in another celebrity.  I have no patience for anyone who would vote for Oprah Winfrey.

There are great qualified candidates out in the world.  They just didn’t have a TV show or win a golden globe.

You want to drag in a qualified liberal candidate?  Convince Elizabeth Warren to run.  That is what qualified looks like.

Or – how about Kamala Harris – she is probably going to run.  GET YOUR LIBERAL ASS OUT OF YOUR MOUTH AND TALK HER UP.

Or if you prefer men – Tim Kaine.  You loved him as VP candidate, bet you can love him as POTUS.

OR if you like your men old and wildly liberal but mildly delusional – Sanders.

ALL of these candidates are WAY more qualified for the office than Winfrey.

We need to fix this system and put a set of REAL minimum qualifications into the job of POTUS.  Right now you just have to be 35 years old and have lived in the country for the previous 14 years and be a natural born citizen.  That’s it.  Only qualifications necessary.

Having a law background, or some previous government experience is utterly unrequired.  Being able to pass some basic ethical requirements also unnecessary.  We put appointees through a more rigorous reviews than we do the people we put up for elected officials.

We deserve the mess we get.