Life, Love, Long Hair, Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth, and other mysteries

All this and more, from a semi-Serbian, slightly sane, former editor for physicians and surgeons, who is the mother of seven kids.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Consider Keeping Your Child From School

I saw this on the internet, written in 1999 by someone I don't know. It is a compilation of quotes that I believe are worth weighing when one is considering whether or not to allow their child to be involved in compulsory schooling or to keep them at home in the care of parents or guardians who love them.

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The reasons WHY many of us are working to deschool society is summed up nicely by the following collection of quotes are from "The Freethinker's Guide to the Educational Universe -- A Selection of Quotations on Education" Compiled by Roland Meighan, and published in 1994 by Educational Heretics Press, 113 Arundel Drive, Bramcote Hills. Nottingham NG9 3FQ:

My grandmother wanted me to have an education so she kept me out of school. -- Margaret Mead
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. -- W. B. Yeats

When you take the free will out of education, that turns it into schooling. -- John Taylor Gatto

What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child. -- George Bernard Shaw

Education is a weapon, whose effects depend on who holds it in his hand and at whom it is aimed. -- Joseph Stalin

The boy must be transformed into the man; in this school he must not only learn to obey, but must thereby acquire a basis for commanding later. He must learn to be silent not only when he is justly blamed, but must also learn, when necessary, to bear injustice in silence. -- Adolf Hitler

The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching consequence of submission to authority. -- Stanley Milgram

The best learning happens in real life with real problems and real people and not in classrooms. -- Charles Handy

The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things. -- Plato

Much of our expenditure on teachers and plant is wasted by attempting to teach people what they do not want to learn in a situation that they would rather not be involved in. -- Cohn Ward

It is the great triumph of compulsory government monopoly mass schooling that among even the best of my fellow teachers, and among even the best of my students¹ parents, only a small number can imagine a different way to do things. -- John Taylor Gatto

Nobody grew taller by being measured. -- Philip Gammage

When I was teaching in school, a man came to a parents¹ meeting and complained about the extraordinary mount of testing we were doing. His words went right to the heart of the matter: ³You¹re like a gardener who constantly pulls his plants up by the roots to see if they¹re growing.² -- John Holt

No teacher ever said: ŒDon¹t value uncertainty and tentativeness, don¹t question questions, above all don¹t think!¹ The message is communicated quietly, insidiously, relentlessly and efficiently through the structure of the classroom: through the role of the teacher, the role of the student, ... the doings¹ that are praised or censured. -- Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner

We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought. -- Bertrand Russell

Schools could become as obsolete as steam trains or paddle steamers. -- C. Everett

School is the Army for kids. Adults make them go there, and when they get there, adults tell them what to do, bribe and threaten them into doing it, and punish them when they don¹t. -- John Holt

My schooling not only failed to teach me what it professed to be teaching, but prevented me from being educated to an extent which infuriates me when I think of all I might have learned at home by myself. -- George Bernard Shaw

Home-schoolers as a rule have no quarrel with teachers. My own parents are both teachers; I¹ve seen a lot of work that teachers do, on their own time and out of their own pockets. Our reservations are about the system of schooling -- not the people who are doing their best within it. -- British Columbia Home-schooler

Do not confine your children to your own learning for they were born in another time. -- Old Hebrew Proverb

From my earliest memories of school (going back some 60 years) right up to the present, I am struck by how recurrent are the standard complaints and how little things change. Students are still locked into classrooms, still chained to desks, still herded through lessons that are far from reality and cruelly indifferent to individual differences in brains, background, talent and feelings. -- Gene Lehman

Obedient children go willingly to the trenches. -- Arthur Acton

Whatever their claims, schools are training most young people to be habitually subservient. -- Chris Shute

Education is indoctrination, if you are white - subjugation if you are black. -- James Baldwin

Of my two handicaps¹, being female put many more obstacles in my path than being black. -- Shirley Chisholm

We can no more ordain learning by order, coercion, and commandment than we can produce love by rape or threat. -- Peter Jones

American kids like watching violence on TV and in the movies because violence is being done to them, both at school and at home. It builds up a tremendous amount of anger... The problem is not violence on TV. That¹s a symptom... The real problem is the violence of anti-life, unaffectionate, and punitive homes, and disempowering, deadening compulsory schooling, all presented with an uncomprehending smile. -- Jerry Mintz

The prevention of free inquiry is unavoidable so long as the purpose of education is to produce belief rather than thought, to compel the young to hold positive opinions on doubtful matters rather than let them see the doubtfulness and be encouraged to independence of mind. Education ought to foster the wish for the truth, not the conviction that some particular creed is the truth. -- Bertrand Russell

Thousands of caring, humane people work in schools, as teachers, and aides and administrators, but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers do care and do work very, very hard, the institution is psychopathic; it has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to a different cell. -- John Taylor Gatto

Children are people; they grow into tomorrow only as they live today. -- John Dewey

School is established, not in order that it should be convenient for the children to study, but that teachers should be able to teach in comfort. The children¹s conversations, motion, merriment are not convenient for the teacher, and so in the schools, which are built on the plan of prisons, ... are prohibited. -- Tolstoy

There is nothing on earth intended for innocent people so horrible as a school. To begin with, it is a prison. But in some respects more cruel than a prison. In a prison, for instance, you are not forced to read books written by the prison warders and the governor. -- George Bernard Shaw

We no longer have to force-feed education to children: they live in a world in which they are surrounded by educative resources. There are around 500 hours each of the schools¹ television and radio every year in this country. There are several million books in public libraries. There are museums in every town. There is a constant flow of cheap or free information from a dozen media. There are home computers which are easily connected to phones and thus other computers...There are thousands of workplaces... There are... the old, the disabled, the very young all in need of children in their lives, all in need of the kind of help caring and careful youngsters can give, and all of them enriched sources of information about the world, and freely available to any child who isn¹t locked away in school. -- Richard North

The justification for school in its present form no longer exists. -- Philip Toogood

Deep in my bones I remain convinced that ultimately it will be the deschoolers who are proved right, and that far in the future our descendants will view the whole concept of the school with mirth and disbelief. -- Gerald Haigh

We may get our way but we don¹t get their learning. They may have to comply but they won¹t change. We have pushed out their goals with ours and stolen their purposes. It is a pernicious form of theft which kills off the will to learn. -- Charles Handy

It used to worry me that, as a teacher, I was engaged in what was essentially microscopic fascism. -- Chris Shute

Many parents I know put more hours into their golf games, or their wardrobes, or into accumulating enough capital for the purchase of unnecessary luxuries, than into their child¹s education. Because they are still children themselves, it simply does not occur to them to take an active role in their children¹s learning. -- David Guterson

There must be in the world many parents who, like the present author, have young children whom they are anxious to educate as well as possible, but reluctant to expose to the evils of existing educational institutions. -- Bertrand Russell

Getting it wrong is part of getting it right. -- Charles Handy

Truth springs from argument amongst friends. -- David Hume

The current education system has been hijacked by reactionaries and the emphasis on academic subjects has produced education that is mediocre, generally exhausting and virtually worthless. -- Mikell Billoki

The schools this country needs today must be institutions which abandon any and all attempts to limit the free pursuit of knowledge that every child, and every adult, engages in naturally, without any outside goading. -- Daniel Greenberg

The spontaneous wish to learn, which every normal child possesses, as shown in its efforts to walk and talk, should be the driving force in education. -- Bertrand Russell

Using school as a sorting mechanism, we appear to be on the way to creating a caste system, complete with untouchables who wander through subway trains begging and who steep upon the streets. -- John Taylor Gatto

To learn to know oneself, and to find a life worth living and work worth doing, is problem and challenge enough, without having to waste time on the fake and unworthy challenges of school - pleasing the teacher, staying out of trouble, fitting in with the gang, being popular, doing what everyone else does. -- John Holt

Most criticism of the old education, and the old concepts it conserves and transmits, from Paul Goodman to John Gardner, makes the point that the students who endure it come out as passive, acquiescent, dogmatic, intolerant, authoritarian, inflexible, conservative personalities who desperately need to resist change in an effort to keep their illusion of certainty intact. -- Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner

The skilled teacher, when a pupil is entrusted to his care, will first of all seek to discover his ability and natural disposition and will next observe how the mind of his pupil is to be handled ... for in this respect there is an unbelievable variety, and types of mind are no less numerous than types of body. -- Quintillian on Roman Education

Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it be called. -- John Stuart Mill

I believe that the computer presence will enable us to so modify the earning environment outside the classroom that much, if not all, the knowledge schools presently try to each with such pain and expense and much limited success will be learned, the child learns to walk, painlessly, successfully, and without organised instruction. This obviously implies that schools, as we know them today, will have no place in the future. But it is an open question whether they will adapt by transforming themselves into something new or whither away and be replaced. -- Seymour Papert

The new education has as its purpose the development of a new kind of person, one who - as a result of internalising a different set of concepts - is an active, inquiring, flexible, creative, innovative, tolerant, liberal personality, who can face uncertainty and ambiguity without disorientation, who can formulate viable new meanings to meet changes in the environment which threaten individual and mutual survival. The new education, in sum, is new because it consists of having students use the concepts most appropriate to the world in which we all must live. All of these concepts constitute the dynamics of the question-questioning, meaning-making process that can be called learning how to learn. -- Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner

If personal quality is to be preserved, definite teaching must be reduced to minimum, and criticism must never carried to such lengths as to produce timidity in self-expression. But these maxims are not likely to lead to work that will be pleasing to an inspector. -- Bertrand Russell

The only real object of education is to leave a man in the condition of continually asking questions. -- Tolstoy

Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist. -- John Taylor Gatto

Education is a Good Thing because man has an insatiable appetite to learn and understand and because prominent amongst the joys that console him on his earthly journey is the joy of communicating to others, and especially to the young, what he has learnt and understood, and even more, how he managed to come by the learning and understanding. -- Enoch Powell

The antithesis between a technical and a liberal education is fallacious. There can be no adequate technical education which is not liberal and no liberal education which is not technical. -- Alfred North Whitehead

There is, I believe, actually nothing more powerful to say about education than this: that all people, however young or old, have an enormous drive and capacity to learn; that many aspects of typical schooling get in the way of this, partly by assuming that the reverse is true; that learners really start to explore and exercise their potential only as they take charge of their lives; that the most effective teachers trust learners, enhance their self-esteem, have no need to control them, provide an unconditional support which doesn¹t go too far, and value all types of intelligence in all areas of learning. -- Paul Ginnis

People must be educated once more to know their place. -- UK Department of Education official responsible for National Curriculum planning

A school, like a fascist state, is about the business of compelling people to conform to a pattern of behaviour and a way of thinking decided by the few who hold power over them. -- Chris Shute

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. -- Derek Bok

Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein

The adults of today spent twenty-five hours of their young lives learning quadratic equations, with varying degrees of success. Was it time well spent? -- Philip Gammage

School is a twelve-year jail sentence where bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned. I teach school and win awards doing it. I should know. -- John Taylor Gatto

School is necessary to produce the habits and expectations of the managed consumer society. -- Ivan lllich

When we put together in one scheme such elements as a prescribed curriculum, similar assignments for all students, lecturing as almost the only mode of instruction, standard texts by which all students are externally evaluated, and instructor chosen grades as the measure of learning, then we can almost guarantee that meaningful learning will be at an absolute minimum. -- Carl Rogers

Assessment, more than religion, has become the opiate of the people. -- Patricia Broadfoot

A child born in the U.K. stands a ten times greater chance of being admitted to a mental hospital than to a university ... we are driving our children mad more effectively than we are genuinely educating them. -- R. D. Laing

The aim of education is to induce the largest amount of neurosis that an individual can bear without cracking up. -- W. H. Auden

Do we create conflict by conditioning our children to pledge their allegiance, obey and defend their country without question? ... Or is he or she, by the very face of his or her commitment to and identification with the fragmented nationalistic view, paradoxically the enemy of peace? -- Terrence Webster-Doyle

All sorts of intellectual systems -Christianity, Socialism, Patriotism etc., - are ready, like orphan asylums~ to give safety in return for servitude. A free mental life cannot be as warm and comfortable and sociable as a lift enveloped in a creed. -- Bertrand Russell

School has become the replacement for church in our secular society, and like church it requires that it teachings must be taken on faith. -- John Taylor Gatto

Show me a man who has enjoyed his schooldays and I¹ll show you a bully and a bore. -- Robert Morley

The starting point is wonder, curiosity and the joy of discovery, which external compulsion is more likely to extinguish than ignite. -- Philip Coggin

The most beautiful thing in the world is, precisely, the conjunction of learning and inspiration. Oh, the passion for research and the joy of discovery! -- Wanda Landowska

I have never allowed schooling to interfere with my education. -- Mark Twain

Here is another curiosity to think about. The home-schooling movement (USA) has quietly grown to a size where one and a half million young people are being educated entirely by their own parents; ... the education press reported the amazing news that children schooled at home seem to be five or even ten years ahead of their formally trained peers in their ability to think. -- John Taylor Gatto

What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children. -- John Dewey

A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in its students. -- John Ciardi

Education with inert ideas is not only useless; it is above all things harmful. -- Alfred North Whitehead

A child educated only at school is an uneducated child. -- George Santayana

Education is an admirable thing but it as well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught. -- Oscar Wilde

The authority of those who teach is very often a hindrance to those who wish to learn. -- Cicero

It follows logically from the banking notion of consciousness that the educator¹s role is to regulate the way the world Œenters into¹ the students. His task is to organise a process which already happens spontaneously, to Œfill¹ the students by making deposits of information which he considers constitute true knowledge. And since men Œ receive¹ the world as passive entities, education should make them more passive still, and adapt them to the world. The educated man is the adapted man, because he is more Œfit¹ for the world. Translated into practice, this concept is well suited to the purpose of the oppressors, whose tranquillity rests on how well men fit the world the oppressors have created, and how little they question it. -- Paulo Friere

The hard task of education is to liberate and strengthen a youth¹s initiative and at the same time to see to it that he knows what is necessary to cope with the ongoing activities and culture of society, so that his initiative can be relevant. It is absurd to think that this task can be accomplished by so much sitting in a box facing front, manipulating symbols at the direction of distant administrators. This is rather a way to regiment and brainwash. -- Paul Goodman

It is an iron law of education that rigid systems produce rigid people, and flexible systems produce flexible people. -- Roland Meighan

It is absurd and anti-life to move from cell to cell at the sound of a gong for every day of your natural youth in an institution that allows you no privacy and even follows you into the sanctuary of your home demanding that you do its Œhomework¹. -- John Taylor Gatto

The 145 year-old system we are still trying to use after 145 years of failure must be scrapped and replaced. Small improvements, even if attainable, will not stave off collapse. -- Leslie A. Hart

It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it. -- Jacob Brownowski

Education is a private matter between the person and the world of knowledge and experience, and has little to do with school or college. -- Lilian Smith

This intelligence-testing business reminds me of the way they used to weigh hogs in Texas. They would get a long plank, put it over a crossbar, and somehow tie the hog on one end of the plank. They¹d search all around till they found a stone that would balance the weight of the hog, and they¹d put it on the other end of the plank. Then they¹d guess the weight of the stone. -- John Dewey

The lesson of report cards, grades and tests is that children should not trust themselves or their parents but should rely instead on the evaluation of certified officials. -- John Taylor Gatto

People who can¹t think are ripe for dictatorships. -- Carl Rogers

What good fortune for those in power that people do not think. -- Adolf Hitler

Good teaching is that which leads the student to want to learn something more. -- Paul Goodman'

I deeply believe that traditional teaching is an almost completely futile, wasteful, overrated function in today¹s changing world. It is successful mostly in giving children who can¹t grasp the material, a sense of failure. -- Carl Rogers

It¹s not that I feel that school is a good idea gone wrong, but a wrong idea from the word go. It¹s a nutty notion that we can have a place where nothing but learning happens, cut off from the rest of life. -- John Holt

The wish to preserve the past rather than the hope of creating the future dominates the minds of those who control the teaching of the young. -- Bertrand Russell

But, good gracious you¹ve got to educate him first. You can¹t expect a boy to be vicious till he¹s been to a good school. -- ŒSaki¹ (Hector Hugh Munro)

The immediate case against compulsory school for adolescents is quite simply their barbarity: it is a triangle of hatred, humiliation and contempt. -- Frank Musgrove

True education does not quiet things down, it stirs them up. It awakens consciousness. It destroys myth. It empowers people. -- John Holt

Education ... has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading. -- George Macauley Trevelyan

My idea of education is to unsettle the minds of the young and inflame their intellects. -- Robert Maynard Hutchins

Happiness in childhood is absolutely necessary to the production of the best type of human being. -- Bertrand Russell

That children do not come to school by choice is another terrible indictment of our whole educational. system. -- John Kirkbride

There is no point ... in learning the Œanswers¹ for very soon there will be different answers. -- Paul Goodman

The chief object of education is not to learn things but to unlearn things. -- G. K. Chesterton

The greatest challenges facing both the arts and education are how to navigate the perilous course between adventure and discipline; how to respond to tradition without either becoming its slave or rejecting it. -- Robert Corrigan

All my own work as a teacher and learner has led me to believe that teaching is a very strong medicine, which like all strong medicines can quickly and easily turn into a poison. At the right time (i.e. when the student has asked for it) and in very small doses, it can indeed help learning. But at the wrong times, or in too large doses, it will slow down learning or prevent it altogether. -- John Holt

A boy will toil uphill with a toboggan for the sake of a few brief moments of bliss during the descent; no one has to urge him to be industrious, and however he may puff and pant he is still happy. -- Bertrand Russell

Schools have not necessarily much to do with education ... they are mainly institutions of control where certain basic habits must be instilled in the young. Education is quite different and has little place in school. -- Winston Churchill

The education of today is nothing more than drill ... children must become accustomed to obey, to believe, to think according to the social dogmas which govern us. -- Francisco Ferrer

Šmuch of so-called Œdiscipline¹ is founded on unusual and extraordinary behaviour patterns which prepare children for nothing much. The result is either a rejection of all adult authority as meaningless, or a blind acceptance that it is adults or others who tell you what to do, and you need not work it out for yourself. -- Lynn Davies

I owe more to my ability to fantasise than to any knowledge I¹ve ever acquired. -- Albert Einstein

To be caught up into the world of thought - that is being educated. -- Edith Hamilton

We don¹t need no thought control. -- Pink Floyd

The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn. -- Gloria Steinem

The ultimate victory of tomorrow is democracy, and through democracy with education, for no people in all the world can be kept eternally ignorant or eternally enslaved. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

All to often, in debates about education, the basic questions are ignored in favour of mere technical issues. We should always begin by asking, ŒWhat are we educating for?¹ ŒWhat sort of people are we expecting to produce?¹ ŒWhat kind of society do we envisage?¹ -- Clive Harber

Children who are lectured to, learn how to lecture; if they are admonished, they learn how to admonish; if scolded, they learn how to scold; if ridiculed, they learn how to ridicule; if humiliated, they learn how to humiliate; if their psyche is killed, they will learn how to kill - the only question is who will be killed: oneself, others or both. -- Alice Miller

The only form of society which facilitates the continued evolution of the human species is a democratic form of society, and furthermore, the development of such a democratic society is dependent to a large degree on the democratisation of schools and schooling. -- John Dewey

Democracy is not genetic. It is learned behaviour and it can equally be unlearned if education does not operate with democratic values, principles and methods. -- Clive Harber

Not only do students in school spend very little time working together, but in many cases they are actually working against each other in competition for grades. -- Susannah Sheffer

What the world now needs is not competition but organisation and cooperation; all belief in the utility of competition has become an anachronism. ... the emotions connected with it are the emotions of hostility and ruthlessness. The conception of society as an organic whole is very difficult for those whose minds have been steeped in competitive ideas. Ethically, therefore, no less than economically, it is undesirable to teach the young to be competitive. -- Bertrand Russell

Why not make schools into places in which children would be allowed, encouraged, and (if and when they asked) helped to explore and make sense of the world around them ... in ways that most interested them? -- John Holt

What we can learn best from good teachers is how to teach ourselves better. -- John HoIt

Among all the leading figures of the Third Reich, I have not been able to find a single one who did not have a strict and rigid upbringing. Shouldn¹t that give us a great deal of food for thought? -- Alice Miller

It gives us a very special, secret pleasure to see how unaware the people around us are of what is really happening to them. -- Adolf Hitler

Schools learned long ago that the way to keep children from thinking is to keep them busy. -- Everett Reimer

It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail. -- Albert Einstein

Instead of a National Curriculum for education what is really needed is an individual curriculum for every child, within common guidelines maybe, but given expression in a formal contract between the home and the school. -- Charles Handy

The only form of society which facilitates the continued evolution of the human species is a democratic form of society and furthermore that the development of such a society is dependent to a large degree on the democratisation of schools and schooling. -- John Dewey most schools should be resource centers for parents as they school their children... libraries, tutors, social centers, gymnasiums, meeting places.
But the idea of a teacher standing in front of a classroom "talking" to students is just absurd.
What a useless way to spend ages 6 to 18!

Monday, 3 September 2018

Sometimes Songs Let You Cry

"Sometimes people say a song made them cry when they mean a song let them cry."

I saw that quote on Twitter and couldn't get it out of my head all day.

I immediately thought of the song "My Immortal" by Evanescence.

I first heard My Immortal in 2004. I looked it up because it was on a list of songs my second child, CJ, then aged 10, had asked her younger sister, SF, to download for her when she came to my house.

CJ, formerly sharing a close and loving relationship with me since her birth, was deeply entrenched in a campaign of hatred against me, fed by her father (and his supporters) after I escaped from him. For over two years, she refused to visit me or even speak to me without hateful words. I soon found out there is a name for what was happening there: "Parental Alienation Syndrome". Though PAS is not an actual health condition, it is nonetheless a broken state of being that is not healthy for a child's development.

It is not healthy for the alienated parent, either.

Something inside of me got broken.

That was a long time ago, and the situation is better now. My daughter grew older and wiser, and she realized that the things being said about me were untrue. She learned to make her own choices, and has returned to me.

But for years, every time I heard "My Immortal", I'd take a deep breath and subconsciously ask myself, "So, are you going to make it through the song without crying this time?"

I'd nod my head and inwardly say, "Yes, I can do this."

I'd get through the nocturne piano intro played in the key of melancholy minor.

"I'm so tired of being here..." the female voice would sing.

"Suppressed by all my childish fears..."

And I'd daze out a bit, until it built into:

"These wounds won't seem to heal, this pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase..."
That was as far as I could get before the fight began to be lost.

"When you cried, I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream, I'd fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have all of me."

I'd think of so many times that I held my crying little girl, wiping tears from her face... and then I'd be wiping my own.

A sign of humanity.

Somewhere along the line, enough tears bled from my wounds to allow some kind of scar to form. Today I purposely tested it. In a somewhat noisy house, as the song filled my ears, I didn't cry, but I still felt the tracks of those tears, like tire ruts wanting to pull me in.

However, as I listened again later, while writing this blog post, when all was quiet and I was alone,  tears filled my eyes.

Still human.

I had to turn the song off because I don't want to cry right now.

Actually, I never want to, even though I understand some of the science and spirit behind its necessity.

Other devastations have happened over the years. My Immortal has been replaced by different songs that want to all but drown me. The songs start to play and I quickly switch them off, sometimes accompanied by a whispered "No. It hurts too much."

But maybe I need to listen and weep.

I've written a lot about tears in posts on another blog I have over at Wordpress. Here is a link for some: Posts that deal with tears .

And here is something (this link) written by a gentleman whose books helped me greatly in recovering from some traumas, Lundy Bancroft, on the topic of tears. You'll see that I commented at the end of the article, me being "Steenybopper".

In the back of my mind is the reminder that God keeps our tears in a bottle (Psalms 56:8). What exactly is meant by that, I only know darkly as through a glass, but I plan to know fully someday.

And then there's this: "...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Psalm 30:5)

And the normality of tears is pointed out in Ecclesiastes 3:4: "...A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance..."

And my favorite is from Revelation 21:4, from whence I take hope in knowing that someday God Himself will wipe away my tears. Peace, precious peace, at last.

There IS hope, but meanwhile there is the shedding of tears. <3

Thanking you for reading, 

Related posts:

They Who Feel Too Much

Feeling No Reason To Live

Friday, 31 August 2018

Three Dog Night Synchonicity

This blog entry starts with the end of a brief conversation in Facebook Messenger between a semi-new friend named Mike, whom I met through a longtime friend named Crews but hadn’t talked with much, which led to an even newer friendship with someone named Peggy, and a guest appearance by a mutual friend of Crews’s and mine named Laurianne.

The timestamps are important to the story’s coincidentiality (new word), so I include the significant ones.

MIKE (JUL 30, 2018 - 2:54 AM):
Heading towards the Pacific Northwest but not sure I'll be going into Canada this time around.

ME (taking a break from yard work, catching up on Messenger on my phone in my shed)
(JUL 30, 4:07 PM): Well, safe, uneventful travels to ya!

MIKE: (5:36 PM): Safe yea, but I want at least some events. We'll get a beer maybe next year as I travel up to Alaska.

ME (5:38 PM): Good events, hopefully. No flat tires, empty fuel tanks, or psycho drivers nearby. Alaska? Whereabouts? I lived there most of the 90s

My community is on the highway to Alaska. Various friends traveling from there to the lower 48 or back have stopped in

MIKE (5:38 PM): I dunno... Anywhere I guess. Anchorage seems like a destination for starters. It's what's between the cities though that make the trip.

I lived in Toronto in the 90's

ME (5:40 PM): True. The journey is a huge part of the destination.

Well, I've never been to Anchorage... (but I kinda like the music). :)

Toronto either. 

(Here I insert a link for the Three Dog Night song “Never Been To Spain”)

MIKE: (5:40 PM): Well, I've never been to Spain. They say the ladies are insane there.


ME (5:44 PM): Lol! Love that song


MIKE (5:46 PM): I just commented on his post about this song less than 5 minutes before you said it. So I assumed you saw that.

ME (5:48 PM): No, I had no idea. Will go look

I went to look on Crews’s wall, and the conversation continued over there as follows:

July 30, 2018 - 4:37 PM - Crews wrote:
This song came to mind out of nowhere. *Never Been to Spain* — Three Dog Night

It is one of those, “How the heck did we get here?” songs.

I mean, it starts a certain way, in this case, a single, pensive voice and a guitar; but by the end, that voice is yelling, drums are banging, a full band is jamming, a choir is singing, and the pensive mood has turned into downright rowdy.

I have been to parties like that. Neat when it happens in a song.

I wonder what songwriters are thinking. I think of it as “Filling in the silent spaces.”

Do they perceive music as an entire spectrum on a x-y diagram, and look at it and go, “I can add a choir over here, percussion down here, oh, and now I can add some crazy bass-line in this corner?”

I suppose the first time I noticed it was as a child hearing the *Orange Blossom Special* played on a fiddle. First, the distant train whistle by the lone and slow fiddle, then, joined by a snare, guitars, banjos, percussion, and more by the time that train rumbles by.

Same thing in these songs I heard today:

*Six Days on the Road* — Sawyer Brown

*I’d Love to Change the World* — Ten Years After (passing through Boogie-woogie on the way to *La Marseillaise!* Good grief!)

Except for the *Never Been to Spain,* the other examples make use of the building sound just as a story builds to a climax. But the lyrics of *Spain* do not tell such a story.

Strange song.

(Here he posted a link to the song.)

Comments on Crews's post:
Mike (Jul 30, 5:35 PM): What does it matter?

Crews (Jul 30, 5:51 PM): Exactly

Me (Taking a break while cooking dinner, looking at Facebook)
(Jul 30, 5:51 PM): Wow, Crews, this is weird. I was having a conversation with Mike a few moments ago and this song worked its way into the words. Timing. 

Crews: “Must be real it. Feels so good.” 

Mike (asking me): Did you tell Crews at some point you liked the the tune or is it a real coincidence? I haven't even heard the song for decades and all the sudden two people bring it up at the same time. 

Me: I have posted the song on my wall, several months ago, and we were interacting a bit about it, but not recently.

Crews: Real coincidence. Haven’t mentioned it to anyone, nor had it mentioned to me.

I saw the word, “Spain” in some political post from an unrelated friend yesterday, and the song came to mind then.

Today, I thought about it again and searched my library for it. Didn’t have it.

Pulled it up on YouTube to make sure the 3DN version was my favorite. It was, and downloaded from iTunes.

Only then did I think about how it was one of those songs that just kept adding *voices* as it went along until there was no room for more music, and how difficult I imagine writing such music must be.

And then, I wrote and posted.

Mike: Well that was pretty cool then. What are the odds?

Crews: Mike, what are the odds with Christine involved? About 50/50. I think we are connected even though we never actually met. 

Me: I'm fully expecting Laurianne to next be strangely involved in these shenanigans. 

Mike: Crews, yea but the odds of mentioning and elaborating on this long forgotten song are slim. 

Me: I feel this whole thing needs to become a blog post.

I go look up info on Three Dog Night having a concert anywhere nearby and I find a link for them planning a show at the upcoming Alaska State Fair, which I posted here:

My comment with the above link: That's not far away. Realistically, I don't think I could go, but with this craziness, anything's possible. 

Crews: Mike, yep. Can’t refuse it. 

Me: You guys are making me literally lol here! 

Crews: Christine, I was just thinking the same thing [about Laurianne].

She’ll probably post as soon as she gets back from the Waylon Jennings concert she is at.

(Then Crews included a link for Waylon’s version of Never Been To Spain.)

Me: I can tell my brother by the flowers in his eyes
On the road to Shambala...
Ah, hoooo... yeah yeah yeah ...

Oops, wrong 3DN song!

Me: I wish I could have seen Waylon before he died.
I have his version of that song on my phone, too. 

Me: I've never been to Shambala, but...

What does it matter?

Peggy (a friend of Crews and of Mike, who sent me a friend request during this conversation): Got tickets to see them at Alaska State Fair. I’ll think of you when they play it

Me: Well, things keep getting weirder. Mike and I started talking about that song while on the topic of Alaska. 

Me: Crews, Mike, and I should all go to the show in Alaska. 

Mike: I know right... A coincidence inside a coincidence. 

Peggy: See ya there? 

Crews: And this is how the story began in which Peggy, Mike, Christine, and Crews all ended up meeting!

Can’t wait to see how it ends!

Peggy: I would love that! 

Crews: Peggy, me too.

Me: Great post, by the way. Another one for the Collection of Crews's Muses you should compile. 

Me: Or wait... is that the wrong word? "Musings", really, but Crews's Muses rhymes.

Mike: Crews muses... Lol

Laurianne (aka “Munchkin”) Jul 31, 3:31 AM: "I was headed to Las Vegas...and I drove through fycking Needles.....

...I done drove through Oklahoma, but I really don't remember....

I was born in South Dee-troi-oit, but had to leave due to the riots....could have stayed but I'd have died there, cannot be white and survive there.

Been a driver of the highways....been across a thousand byways....garnered mem'ries that still a-ma-aze, earned the right to live life my way...."

Yup. With that addition, it is the story of my life 

Me (Jul 31, 8:26 AM): Munch, I laughed out loud at your first line! Love your additions to the song. :D


A few weeks later, after talking about other things here and there, but not the Three Dog Night stuff, Mike posts something on his wall and it starts up again. But look what else happens with Peggy in the italicized section!

Mike’s timeline post (Aug 28, 7:23 PM): Not much Wi-Fi or phone signal in the places I've been lately, but I got signal now.

So how 'bout the latest with all the politics, religion, and local sports team stuff... huh?

Comments on Mike's post:

Peggy (Aug 28, 6:38 PM): Kinda nuts out there isn’t it? 

Mike: Kinda whacky 

Me (Aug 28, 7:10 PM): I don't follow the latest anything, but I do still want to make a blog post out of that hilarious Three Dog Night fiasco that went on between you, Crews, and me. And I think Peggy, too. See, I'm already forgetting details. Been too busy.

(Here, I got a notification, at 7:12 PM, that Peggy, who lives in Alaska, had tagged me in a link she’d just uploaded for some footage she recorded a few days earlier at the Alaska State Fair, where she got to attend the Three Dog Night concert.)

Peggy said in that post: “Crews, Mike, and Christine [tagged us all]. Weren’t we just talking about this? LOL!”

I replied to her post: “I just brought it up again on Mike's wall a few minutes ago.

When is the Alaska State Fair that they are due to play at?”

Peggy replied: This is from their Sunday concert at the fair.

Mike commented: What the?....

Peggy answered Mike with: “I know right?” (and an emoji laughing hard with tears)

Crews came along a few hours later and added: “Can’t refuse it!”

And now back to Mike’s wall, for the rest of the comments.

Peggy (to me, at 7:14 PM): Did you see the video I just tagged you in ?

Me (7:16 PM): Yes, just now. Did you tag me in it AFTER you saw my comment here?? 

Peggy: No. I think we posted at the same time. Lol! Pretty interesting 

Peggy: Two minutes apart and it took about two minutes to upload 

Peggy: I couldn’t believe you hadn’t seen the video before you said that. 😳 

Me: Well, that'll need to be included in the blog post, too. How weird! 

Me: It's been at least a few weeks since I've talked about this with any of you guys, and then all of a sudden you and I bring it up at the same time.

Craziness. :D

Mike: What's with that 3 dog night tune having some kinda magic mojo or something? 

Peggy: Lol! Maybe. Weren’t you in that conversation we had about a month ago? It’s when I met Christine. 

Mike: Yea, Crews started it and it went round & round. Some kinda cosmic sh*t for a song I haven't even heard for decades. 

Peggy: Love that stuff.


Remember Mike asked whether Crews and I had talked about this song he'd not heard in decades? Well, I post the following conversation to answer that.

Timeline post by me, Mar 27, 2018 - 10:16 PM:
And now it is a Three Dog Night kind of night. This song has been stuck in my head for the past few days. Earworm much? Not a bad one to have, mind you:

Me: I wonder if this song was the inspiration behind the lyrics in "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything".

Crews: Wonderful song, but ends too soon. They seem to be getting all “jammy” at the end, but we don’t get hear where it went. 

Me: I'll have to listen to find out if it is a different version than what I have on my phone. Did it cut off? 

Crews: No. that is how I remember it ending— with a fade as the musicians begin to jam. 

Crews: There is answer to “What does it matter?”

You see, Oklahoma borders Texas on the north, but Arizona is separated from Heaven by a whole state— New Mexico. 

Me: I'll have to visit this place called Texas someday. You've painted it out to be so great.


And for whatever it's worth, in case you didn't know what the band's name "Three Dog Night" meant, it is an old-fashioned expression, before the days of in-house heating, to indicate how cold a night is by how many dogs you bring to bed. If you have to snuggle up with three dogs in order to keep warm, it's pretty darn cold.

Now go listen to some more Three Dog Night songs. There are a lot of other good ones besides this one, which might get stuck in your head now that I've brought it up.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Internet Bullies and Youtube's Authority

Misogyny: "woman-hater," from Greek "misos", meaning "hatred", + Greek "gunê" for "woman" (think "gynecology")

Not that any kind of hateful treatment from one human to another is acceptable, but this blog entry demonstrates a type of hatred I'm shocked to see happening in the world. The absence of respectful manners toward a fellow human being, coupled with unveiled hatred for women from this person named Shane is remiscent of the way my ex husband treated me - hence his "ex" status.

Because even the vilest of sinners can have a change of heart, I have chosen to hide full names. Besides, I'm making fun of him, and he doesn't need to know it. My intent is not to hurt, but to point out in a slightly lighthearted manner a flaw in society: the absence of respectful communication. 

I believe we all should take charge of our words and tones in an attempt to improve the world by first improving ourselves.

As you read this, think about how YOU would respond, and let me know in the comment section or whichever other way you have of reaching me. I'm curious how others would deal with such a situation - whether it be addressing a woman who apparently is seeking help, or responding to someone who has just dissed her.

Getting to the point, here is a screenshot of a question that was posted in a Dodge Ram trucks group on Facebook:

Elmira received a lot of mature, helpful replies. Most of the humans who responded had some understanding that not everyone knows how to take apart the headlamp on a truck. However, a boy named Shane chose to say something indicative of a misogynistic and immature mindset. Here is how his unhelpful comment went, along with its replies:

Note Shane's use of a "you statement" (for some info on that type of abuse-speak, see here: "You Statements") where he presumes to know what Elmira's intent is (" just want to be told instead of learning yourself"). A flag of immaturity glows red right there.

Shane's wording comes across as suggesting that it is somehow wrong to be "told" something, and that if one is TOLD, one isn't actually learning.

Hmm... doesn't learning often involve being told something? It looks like poor Shane hasn't yet learned how to use the word "woman" when referring to one woman, rather than "women", which is the plural form of woman, so using his logic, he should be looking that up on Youtube before writing a comment in a Facebook group.

I see Master Shane has also yet to discover the use of "too" in a sentence, but rather falls into the childish misuse of "to" when he writes "to lazy".

Assuming he meant "too lazy" and he has been too lazy to Youtube for help on correct word usage, I wonder what he considers to be research that isn't so lax... something less lazy and more strenuous, such as studying auto mechanics at a trade school for several weeks or even months, followed by undergoing an apprenticeship. Or better yet, rewinding time so one can go back and be tutored in person by another mechanic, perhaps their dad, an older relative, or a friend. That ought to qualify a person as non-lazy!

Oh, wait... Youtube is the final authority. That's what a "regular person" uses when needing answers. One must not interact on Facebook with questions when one is in a group for a common interest, unless one is completely knowledgeable in all aspects of that subject. If anyone with lesser knowledge dares to ask a question, if one thinks like Shane, it will be assumed that the questioner is either:

A. Stupid

B. Unschooled in the existence and use of Youtube
C. A woman

Sarcastically: Let's all be like Shane. He's REGULAR because he uses Youtube. Maybe he also eats extra oatmeal to keep that regularity flowing.

Kyle might be regular, too, as he is jumping on in support of Shane, although I see Kyle hasn't Youtubed to find out he should have used the word "themselves" and not split it into "them selves" like that.

All that aside, what Elmira did not mention (trust me here - I have it on good authority) is that she actually did look videos up on Youtube, a few of them, prior to even taking the first screw out. She learned how many screws and bolts there were supposed to be and their approximate location by watching those videos, and by watching the video she included in her post, you would see and hear as she pointed to the parts she already removed. 

If one would have watched Elmira's video and heard her narration, one might guess she made not a bad random guess for a woman with such low mechanical skills that she'd go to a group on Facebook to inquire for help. Or maybe she really did learn something from Youtube already.

I failed in my screen-shooting there. I will have to do some research on how to do it properly. Perhaps The Shane School Of Everything You Need To Know About Everything can help me. For now, here is the rest of that comment after I hit the "see more" part.

Bret is an admin in that group. He was responding to another post Elmira had put up, wherein she requested that an admin contact her. Here:

I see Bret and Elmira differ concerning what constitutes wrong.

When Elmira pointed out the rules from the group's pinned post, a few moments later that little conversation disappeared. One can surmise on the reasons behind why an admin chose to delete that thread, but I won't presume to read their lives.

I had already saved a screenshot, though, thinking this topic might make an interesting blog entry.

In case those rules show up as small and blurry for the reader, here is a zoomed-in version:

If anyone is secretly searching the internet for answers on how to treat others, because the Almighty Youtube was unable to fully educate you, and you've landed on this blog entry, I offer these words, which "Thumper" (along with most moms, myself included) quoted from someone else in Disney's Bambi:

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

Failing that, and you really want to rant, set yourself up with a blog and do what I just did by writing this. But please, respect the dignity of others by not using their full or real names, no matter how nauseatingly adolescent their communication may be.

Getting along with your neighbour is not rocket science. It can be done without a university degree or certificate from college or trade school. Heck, you don't even have to Youtube it, although you can if that makes you feel better.

It starts with whoever you call "me", and that goes for all of us. Are you willing to get along? I am.

Here, I'll throw in a quick link to a song on the world's premier source of education - Youtube - that will spell it out for you:

("Get Along", by Kenny Chesney)

EDITED TO ADD: I hadn't thought of this while writing the article, because it was not the point of the thing I witnessed. However, someone brought it to my attention that it could have been the other way around, and a woman might have been dissing a man. Yes. It could have been, perhaps in a different forum on another topic, but in this instance, I was only writing about this one experience. Had it been the other way around, and had I seen a woman demonstrating misandry to a man, I would have been disgusted by her, probably would have reported her to the admins (like I did in the case of Elmira's offender), and may well have also written a blog entry in defense of the man, from my perspective. NO abuse of another human being is acceptable.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Encouragement For Writing

The following is a comment written to me by my friend Chad in response to one of my blog posts (this one: Giving Up On Writing) . I found it so encouraging that I decided to put it in a document, highlighting a few points in Amazinga font, with the rest in Adobe Garamond Pro font, and to print it out and put it on my desk, so I can refer to it until it becomes ingrained. I also wanted to share it with others who might happen to find my blog. May it bless you as it has me.

"I felt like encouraging you to write at your leisure, and don’t let anybody dictate rules about that – not even you.

I’d suggest sitting down to write as often as you get the time, but notice that all I said was sit down to write I didn’t say actually write necessarily, nor create an obligation to write and then feel lousy if nothing happens.

I’ve received that same advice (with more detail) and it’s the closest thing I’ve done to being something enjoyable and productive. Notice again, that I didn’t say it was enjoyable and productive – just the closest thing to it that I’ve tried.

It’s enjoyable more often than not, though.

It’s also enjoyable more often than it’s productive, and that’s an important piece to ponder, should you desire to do so.

One hint I can give you is that when I sit down at my desk, I’m not creating a law to follow; about accomplishment of any kind. I’ve learned that that never is a positive experience and rarely if ever produces anything, positive or not.

But what I do, instead, is first, enjoy a tiny little pocket of orderor quiet, as it’s commonly known. It usually takes a while for my brain to reach a state that I can call quiet. But when it does I just give myself license to enjoy it.

With God.

Praying and writing are not things I separate very often.

Then I just decide that I’ll write or I won’t.

I ask God, but I don’t strain.

I just enjoy a moment with Him, and I let it go where it goes, and if I happen upon some part of that time that maybe could be written down, then I start.

Without expectations.

That’s the important part.

Peace is vital to the process, therefore laws and expectations are antithetical to it.

Since you do have a specific project in mind, maybe you can still just write whatever comes to you, and stay loose, and maybe you wander into your project, or maybe what you write spontaneously turns out to form an unexpected element of the main project? Or maybe it jars a memory loose that’s relevant to it, or maybe it inspires something unexpected… who knows? Not us, so why form expectations? It ruins the enjoyment, and it stifles creativity. It may never have anything to do with the book you’ve planned, but it may stand on its own as something you and others value for decades to come, and yet more, it may form the basis of a main project that you hadn’t previously even considered. But there’s only one way to find out what it’s going to be….

Prayer for me is a great way to enter the writing process, and writing is a great way to enjoy God. So I combine them, and I trust Him to lead the proceedings. And when I approach it that way, it’s much more peaceful and much more enjoyable, and more often fruitful – and in more than just one way. And if something is not enjoyable, and there’s no gun to your head, it’s not worth doing in large part because the fruit (product) won’t be as good as it will be if it were an immersive, transporting experience for you, to create it.

Well, that’s my opinion, anyway.

Maybe you’re already doing this but lack the time to engage in such pronounced dissociation, or maybe you’re a different enough personality type that it’s not your thing (although I highly doubt that, from knowing you to whatever extent I do!).

Maybe, however, there’s some use you can make of something or other I’ve said – that’s what I hope, anyway – but either way, I pray you find time, inspiration, and most of all, enjoyment, in the desire and effort to produce, and in the process itself.
Can’t go wrong if ya pray for someone, no matter the quality of your advice! ☺

PS I apologize for the disjointedness and rambling, but I didn’t prepare and I didn’t edit. I rarely do in contexts like this – though folks may occasionally wish I had done! ?"

Biggest takeaway for me is this:

"Peace is vital to the process".

Amen, so much amen, and aaaaaaaaamen! Yo!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

My First Apple Roses

This is not a recipe, so relax. If you want the recipe, here's the video: Apple Roses

This is my experience with making apple roses for the first time. The video I saw made it look so easy. It failed to warn that Grannysmith apples don't work well for this, though.

My 18-year-old daughter helped me. Here is her first attempt at rolling one:

In the background, you're seeing the strips of Tenderflake puff pastry dough we rolled out, with E.D. Smith's apricot/peach/passion fruit jam thinned with water spread on it. Right behind that failed apple rose is my first rose waiting to be rolled up.

There's my daughter's first attempt. The one to the right of it is MY first attempt, so I can't laugh too hard. Then there's my second attempt, on the front left. Beauty, eh!

And now, here is that beauty when it's cooked.

There is no point suffering through using stiff Grannysmith apples, as the end result isn't as pretty as when one uses apples with red skin, such as the Red Delicious recommended in the recipe.

So, we next sliced up a red apple, and it worked much better. The apples went properly tender when microwaving them in lemon and water, so they were able to curve easily when being rolled up in the strip of pastry dough.

Now, that's more rose-like. Next time, I will use Red Delicious and see how the petals look.

I was in exceedingly vocal awe when I took them out of the oven and saw how they turned out. Not bad for a first attempt.
"Oh, Mama! Let me get in on the pictures!" saith my youngest daughter.

I looked up a recipe on how to make puff pastry, but for the amount of work involved, and the cost of ingredients, I deem it worthwhile to buy Tenderflake again. And I do plan on making these puppies again, perhaps as a Christmas treat.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, they were drop-dead delicious, with the amazing texture of puff pastry layers almost melting in the mouth, the slightly gooey fruit paste, and the tartness of the apples.

If you want to make them yourself, again, here is the video recipe, or for a printable version, do a search online for "apple roses": Apple Roses video tutorial

Thursday, 17 September 2015

A Facebook Convo With A Smart Friend

It has been a long while since I have posted anything in my blog, and even more of a while since I posted some banter sessions. Sometimes I just want to share the banters because I think they should be seen beyond the original audience, which is limited to those on the friend list of whoever it was who hosted the discussion on their Facebook wall.

Here is one that might interest those who like to read more than a paragraph or two of writing, between a Smart Friend (not to be confused with Smart Cars or Smart Phones, and not to diminish the smartness of any of my other friends who are not being quoted here, for I do have a lot of smart friends, but I needed to give this one a pseudonym) and me. I have known this Smart Person for several years and we have had enough interesting conversations to form a book, but this one will do for today. And I do have his permission to publish this here.

My Smart Friend's Facebook status said this:

I love science. I love research articles. I don't believe half of what I see claimed and headlined in popular articles -- especially on the Internet.

For good reason: Less than half of it is verifiable.

Try expressing such skepticism on Facebook. You will get passionate, even hostile, responses from those who have no idea how the research was conducted, and have read no more than a headline.

Yeah. People are that shallow in their impassioned beliefs -- that easily misled. I don't want to be. 

I am, therefore, thrilled to see yet another article taking on popular scientific notions in a non-political way. Of course, this applies to politically-charged science headlines as well.
Case in point -- near to my heart...

A few years ago, I was attending a multi-week seminar on a personality disorder which I was studying because someone I loved suffered from it. There was not even a diagnosis for it back when I studied psychology.

The seminar was run by psychologists who specialized in that disorder; yet, THERE WAS NO TREATMENT -- NO CURE. So, they relied on traditional "talk-therapy" to assist their patients in minimizing their symptoms, mostly by helping the patients become more aware of them. 

The results had only short-term results, and these professionals knew it. I admired them. They looked on the suffering and specialized in simply "being there" for their (often hostile) patients they knew could not be cured. 

To my surprise, they "hot-boxed" me after class one night. Asked me to consider going back to college for a semester or two and adding to my own professional degree to specialize in their work with them -- because of my significant experience in dealing with persons so suffering.

I said, "No" -- because I did not think I could last in a field when not even *I* had hope for a patient.

A few months ago, I saw a journal article indicating that that disorder now had a treatment -- with dramatic positive results! I was overjoyed! 

I was looking through local college catalogs for classes in that technique -- useful in treating many disorders, not just the one I had studied; and considering my budget for tuition.
It turns out, the headline and article had no, (zero, zilch, nada) substance. That was an expensive career move I was contemplating -- and for reasons which engaged all my passions. It turns out that the research was entirely subjective, and of such duration that no claims for "cure" could possibly be reasonable.

But you have to know how research is done, and know the subject well enough to even know when to be skeptical. I was, so I kept digging -- even though I hated the answer I ended up having to admit.

Still, just in writing this... I realize my passions remain stirred, and even if I cannot cure, maybe...

Anyway, a central point from the article:

"But the point is that a single finding should never be taken as evidence, full-stop, of a given phenomenon — especially findings that make us smile or nod. 

"Everyone is falling into that trap too often. There are reasons other than scientific worthwhileness that some studies find their way into our Facebook feeds, while others languish in obscurity or are never published at all. "

My response:


Just kidding.

I read it. Good to see so many paragraphs on something about which you are passionate, even if you don't name the condition.

(I said "chirp" because we have this joke about writing things and not getting much, if any, response, other than crickets chirping.)

His next comment:

And you lead to an important point!

If I have a friend who believes (as a made-up example) that giving up drinking coffee and instead drinking a quart of mango juice every morning will cure his cancer -- then I am not crying "Bunk!"

They need the hope, and it is not for me to take it away.

Besides, placebo effect is useful -- just thinking something will work can have some (limited) benefit-- but it won't cure cancer.

Yet, when I see that friend cancel radiation and/or chemotherapy treatments and throw out their coffee pot to make counter-space for the case of cranberry juice-- I get upset.


For those reasons, I won't mention the disorder, but the treatment -- which HAS shown effective for MANY other disorders -- may still be valid. First it was CBT, then it was DBT, but neither is showing any lasting value to the patient.

Frankly, the lack of lasting results makes sense to me, but I did hope it would be otherwise.

For another too-common disorder, I have been reading and hearing about EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) -- but it just smacks of charlatan-ism to me -- yet some swear by it. I have read no compelling evidence.

Then there is LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin as potential *cures* for a common disorder -- when used clinically; yet studies are all but prohibited because of public fears of recreational uses.

The list of headlined promises based upon doubtful research is almost endless, (and that includes horses -- Yes, just being around horses). Pah-lease!

I am not sure if it is merely a desire to get noticed, and maybe to receive funding, or if it is the combined desperation of the therapists and patients to do SOMETHING.

But, for goodness sake, let's stick to the facts.

Because, leeches. ;)

He added this next:

And with that said, I am off to another round of Physical Therapy where a blonde lady of about a hundred pounds will pounce on my shoulders to help heal my back.


I feel like the only lab rat in a study.

(Back story: In a previous day's post, he told of an unconventional physiotherapy treatment he was receiving. Actually, just a sec... I'll post that conversation at the end of this one.) 


My next comment:

Indeed! What works for some, or even one, doesn't necessarily work for others.

Because, Pfizer.

His next comment:

That was the PERFECT response! 


I then went on to have another comment that ended with a short paragraph that said: 

"Because, black momba."

But I won't print that here on my blog because I don't want to offend the person to whom I was covertly referring, who my Smart Friend knows via my stories, and about whom we have had some stress-relieving laughs behind the scenes. However, if you are curious about it, please email me and I may or may not fill you in.


OK, as promised, here is not only the back story (no pun intended - you'll see what I mean) on the unconventional physiotherapy my Smart Friend is receiving, but also you get to find out a bit on the subject of crickets chirping.

An unusual afternoon. I just had my first Physical Therapy session for my sprained back this afternoon.

The kind, young, physical therapist could not have weighed even 100 lbs. Since I keep re-injuring it, I am a bit protective of my back, and not keen on being touched; but her slight size was hardly intimidating.

So, near the end, as I am beginning to trust her, she had me lie down, hold a position with my arms crossed and my tightly holding my own shoulders, and then asked me to close my eyes.

Close my eyes? Hmm.

The reason was so that I would not know (and therefore, not brace for it) that she was going to have to propel herself, in a standing leap, up over the table so that her entire mass could drop on me and force my back to do as she intended. 

It worked. A relaxing crackling sound cascaded from between my shoulder blades and down my spine. We both laughed at the sound-- and my surprise.

Very different, but I was reminded of a less intensive massage...

A joke shared between us back when I was married-- the one receiving a back and shoulder massage, at some point, would drowsily say, "I'll give you twenty minutes to stop that. Thirty minutes, tops." That joke just never got old. :) 

I don't think I would have enjoyed twenty minutes of what I got today. But I would pay money to have someone bear-hug me from behind, as she did, and lift my torso slightly from under my arms.

That was the best thirty seconds of my day.

A muscle relaxer, chased down with a beer, while chatting with a friend at a pub afterwards wasn't too shabby, either.

Next challenge: Since I always sleep flat on my back, I am under orders to sleep with a pillow under my knees to relieve the natural curve. I bet that pillow is kicked to the floor within five minutes of falling asleep. But, I'll give it a try.

Does anybody on the planet sleep that way? Sigh. 

I never understood how people sleep on their sides-- or for that matter, find sitting in chairs more comfortable than sitting cross-legged on the floor.

You Earthlings are weird.


He then went on to do what he often does in his Facebook posts - he included an unrelated image, designed to draw people in to read, since it seems that photos get more attention on Facebook than prose.

I forgot to add an unrelated image. Here you go.

(Here, he posted a black and white photo of some big old ship.)


I responded with this:

I respond with another unrelated image. I call him BeeFish.

Thank you for sharing yet another story to cause me to smile. I wish I could post stories about random daily events, but I hold back because I dread the crickets chirping.

(Here, I posted a picture of a toy plush fish that is yellow and black striped.)


His response was this:

They do chirp! My images get about five or six times the likes and comments as my writing.

When someone posts an hour-long YouTube I am interested in, I often look for a transcript-- because it is faster for me to digest than watching a video.

I prefer reading-- and prefer paragraphs at a minimum. Call me weird, but I find complete thoughts to be engaging.

That is just more evidence that I am from another planet. :)

I would have called it BumbleFish, but BeeFish looks well used and well loved.

Thanks for tuning in, my friend.


A comment of mine:

"I prefer reading-- and prefer paragraphs at a minimum. Call me weird, but I find complete thoughts to be engaging."

I totally relate. We might be from the same planet.


In case you are eager to read more from my Smart Friend, here is one last bit with which I will leave you:

In a recent Facebook status, he posted a link for this article:

And his comment beneath the article was this:

It is important for both patients and therapists.

Weekly, I read of a new therapy being heralded as the way to health.

I minored in statistics, my post-grad is in a field of psychology, I'm a Carl Jung fan, and I have continued my professional studies for twenty-five years -- so this hits the spot.

I am dubious of some therapies considered "Evidence Based." I am seeing them on Facebook as well as Psychology forums I read.

I believe my words concerning one such (very popular) claim last week was "On what planet and in what reality?" because I find the premise to be absurd.

A psycho-therapy based on acupuncture? Really? Or how you move your eyes while recalling an extreme trauma?

I'm seeing the VA approving stuff like this for PTSD patients -- and it looks like desperation -- science be damned.

Sugar-pills are cheaper -- and easier for the patient to dismiss as ineffective -- so that they continue the hard work that really does help.

Again and again, when I dig into one, I keep finding that the fad-of the-week has zero benefit without talk-based therapy and suspect they add nothing to that more common therapy beyond placebo.

So here is a man asking and answering some of the very questions I am asking --and anyone who stresses "footnotes" in analyzing research is someone who understands how it is done.

This is especially important in media reporting, when we know (or ought to know) that the reporter has no formal background in the subject -- and does not really care.

Or worse, YouTube videos and self-help books.

I want to help people. Charlatans want to make money pretending to help people. If I give advice, it is my job to know whether it is sound advice.

In a perfect world, someone in need of treatment ought to have access to data regarding effectiveness so they participate in the choice of a therapy that really can help.

This article is a primer in how to research a treatment or therapy.


My comment:

As for this:

"A psycho-therapy based on acupuncture? Really? Or how you move your eyes while recalling an extreme trauma?"

Well, I just want to say that although EMDR - (I'm guessing this is the therapy of which you speak that involves eye movement while recalling trauma?) - helped me deal with some of my most painful trauma memories, I am not sure that my understanding of why it worked for me would be scientific: What struck me while I was in EMDR therapy sessions was that while focusing on the traumas, I actually came up with some of my own solutions, some of them seemingly simple, as in "Why did I not think of that before?" kinds of things.

But, of course, EMDR may or may not help others. (Refer back to my "Because, Pfizer" comment in our earlier conversation!)


I will close with the sound of crickets (not to be confused with Buddy Holly and the Crickets, nor with the British game of Cricket), for all the people who are not reading this blog entry.