Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Reading and Listening to Books

Books on tape are great!

I still love to sit on the couch with an actual paper and ink book and read. However, since I am in the car an awful lot books on tape or CD have been wonderful. Reading allows for re-reading and underlining and referring back a few pages, which is always good. The availability of books in audio has doubled the input my brain can get.

I am reading "The Tipping Point" an interesting book about the dynamics of epidemics, of both the social and illness types. I am listening to "To Sail the Dark Wine Sea - Why the Greeks Still Matter." Usually I just read detective novels and go to sleep. I do not know what kicked off this interest in non-fiction, but I am learning a lot.

The book about the Greeks is cool for a few reasons. One reason I like it is because I got into quite a debate in an education class about what an educated person should know. Too many folks think an education is just something to prepare you for a career. Aarrrggghhh! An educated person is a valuable human being not the employee of the month at Starbucks! Learning about Homer and Aeschylus etc. has benefits even in 2005. I also learned that the word "symposium" means a meeting for drinking large quantities of wine. The next time I am invited to an education symposium I'm going!

The latest column is at this address:

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Complaining through the ages

I think I have passed over into the OLD generation. I am seeing more and more things that I think were better when I was a kid. Television was better. There are things I like, but there are fewer things. The hot new music is unintelligable to me much of the time. I grumble and grouse in a much different way. As a kid you whine and do odd body gyrations to show your parents you are bored to death as they shop in the grocery store. As a teenager you loudly complain and have the egocentric idea that no one has the problems you have. As a young adult the complaining is done in small groups as you talk about how tough it is to make a living with something as useless as a liberal arts degree. I am now at the stage where I sigh a lot and grumble under my breath. "Grumble, grumble, darn kids never close the stupid doors, grumble, grumble, grumble, freakin' dog is always barking, grumble grumble, grumble, damn government can't get anything right, grumble, grumble, grumble."

Yep, I am in that generation. I truly do not mind it though. There are many, many things right with my life, but it is still oddly enjoyabe to grumble - somewhat cathartic.

Grumbling is allowed, but don't forget to enjoy the good things...

If you interested the latest column by yours truly appearing in the Dodge City Daily Globe is at the following address:

Monday, February 07, 2005

Thinking can be complex

I hate it when people make lame excuses for not getting tasks accomplished. So I will not regale you with all the reasons I have not blogged recently (writing for the Globe, getting things done for Imum Pancy, things for the Legend are beginning to bounce, I am still married with three children...sorry).

I have been reading fascinating stuff recently. Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink has really cool insights into how people think and why they think the things they do. Did you know that a disproportionate number of top CEOs are not only white and male (no surprise) but they are also tall. The things you think without realizing it push you in all sorts of directions that may or may not be good for you. Did you know that just making angry faces without having things that have truly pissed you off can make you feel angry? If you hold a pen in your teeth, thus making it easier for your face to smile, while watching cartoons makes them more enjoyable. If you hold a pen between your lips, thus making it hard to impossible to smile, while watching cartoons makes them less enjoyable. If you put a person in a certain frame of mind they will act in that frame of mind even in situations that would normally cause different reactions.

The human mind is an amazing bad too few of us use it on a regular basis. Others overuse it and need to let it do more of its stuff on its own. The well-trained gut reaction is often more valuable than the highly dissected, re-thought, re-hashed, and highly researched decision.