Saturday, September 25, 2010

A positive outlook by turning off TV

Just like most people, occasionally my outlook changes from positive to negative. Sometimes it's the weather, sometimes it's a sore foot or other physical malady, sometimes it's a disagreement with someone, a close friends misfortune, you know what I mean. I'm not talking about depression or anything like that, just a little turn of the lips from a steady smile to a slight downturn instead. It usually doesn't last long at all, for the most part I have a very positive attitude and have a happy life irregardless of problems, I can usually handle anything that comes along. One evening recently, as I was slowly winding down from the days activities, sitting in the old easy chair, finishing up my reading with the TV news on in the background, I felt just a twinge of negativity and I couldn't detect any real reason for it. No arguments, no other than normal business situations, no financial problems, just another day in river city as far as I could tell. Then why the negativity all of a sudden? I put down the paper and sat for a moment to think about it, I didn't like it. At the end of the day I usually feel so good it's hard to settle down and get to sleep, but not for negative reasons, it is because I enjoyed the day so much I hate to see it end, I continue to savor it. Then, as I slowly became more aware of my surroundings it dawned on me, I'd broken a major rule of mine: I had a TV news program on.

A long time ago, in a magazine article of suggestions on how to fall asleep easier, front and center and of major importance was the statement that if you want a good night's sleep stay away from TV news programs for at least 4 hours before going to bed because they were so negative in their reporting. I'd abided by that rule ever since to the best of my ability. Here I sat, subconsciously being pelted with all these negative comments from some (rather pretty I must say) woman reporter, gently bobbing her head and creating facial expressions of sorrow, fear, dread of impending disaster and overwhelming hopelessness. I could feel it, the pull of my greatest fears being brought right into my living room by a group of people with trusting faces. I was being bombarded by all the negative aspects of every story while the positive elements were skipped over or completely overlooked. The world was on the edge of the Apocalypse!

Off went the TV! It took a short time to return to the real world. Problems and difficulties do come up from time to time, they have since the beginning of time. Mankind has survived it all albeit sometimes by the grace of God. We grow smarter and stronger with each generation. people die and people are born, sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. That's life. get over it and move on. That's the positive view. The negative view is that, except for the expensive and comforting trappings of the news room, the rest of the world is best avoided by staying home and watching the news instead of going out and living life to it's fullest. They even provide with the head shaking and facial expressions exactly how we should "feel" about the news. We don't even need to find our own emotions, they are all part of the show, just like a movie. Just like the article said, I don't need that.

I slept well last night. No TV news. It's not all bad but why take a chance. I'll just grab my trusty old newspaper, it doesn't shake or nod unless I'm doing the shaking or nodding. I'm positive about that.............................Joe

Friday, September 24, 2010

Katy Perry and Sesame Street

It's all over the web, Katy Perry's duet with Elmo gets dropped from program. Viewed as inappropriate by thousands of concerned parents around the country the producers took the right step and decided not to air it. Now the video is on YouTube, most believe that is where it belongs. Censorship? Not hardly. Simply doing what's right after making a not so good decision in the first place.

I read over hundreds of comments on a site dealing with just that issue. Most agreed that Sesame Street is supposed to be a bastion of safe programming for kids and this skit didn't fit that mold. Some bullies pulled the freedom card and said that any show should be able to present anything and it is the responsibility of the parents to guard the child from what they deem inappropriate. So much for the "It takes a community" theory in Hillary Clinton's book.

My take on it is that some places should be expected to air child friendly, non-controversial material. Leave them alone. They did the right thing. There is only one Sesame Street and it's for kids. There are hundreds, thousands of sit-Com's that show adult material every moment of the day. I suggest that those who enjoy Good old Katy Perry: Turn the channel, tell your kids that you just don't agree with the excellent programming on Sesame Street, you prefer the "anything goes, every parent for them self" programming.

Now, lets get on with the day. ArtPrize is here in Grand Rapids, the garden is filled to overflowing with ripe vegatables and the weekend is filled with sunshine. who could ask for anything more? Baseball and football are on the radio so I'll probably never turn on the TV all weekend long.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Free game. Brain food

Phew! The past couple of weeks I've been trying to tie up some loose ends concerning the 30th annual Silver Treasure Hunt. Riding my bicycle in search of the hiding spot for the elusive medallion has produced quite a few challenges this year due to considerable road construction. Mud, gravel, deep trenches, road blocks and closed except to local traffic obstructions are everywhere. But there is no need for concern. The long anticipated Riddle describing an obscure locality will be disclosed on the first Tuesday of November as usual. Once again thousands of treasure seekers will converge on the Greater Grand Rapids Michigan area to claim the prize of silver, the coveted inscribed winners mug and other mystery gifts.

The intent of this annual treasure hunt is to use your cognitive problem solving skills, enjoy the beauty of the area, have fun and also learn a thing or two about the danger of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. At last count there were over 40,000 participants in this free game. There is one prize for the first person to retrieve the metal medallion but in my opinion anyone that uses their mind in pursuit of it is a winner. Due to CO poisoning I lost my memory for two years and believe me, it's not easy living without a memory or the ability to think in a normal fashion that we all take for granted.

I hope you join in the fun beginning November 2nd 2010. I'll see you then. For more information go to Greg's game info sight at ............................Joe

Monday, September 20, 2010

High school classes

Having been far removed from high school for a few years now I'm not quite sure what courses they offer anymore. Math, as I knew it may very well be outdated with the availability of electronic brains everyone carries around lately. I learned plus, minus, times, and division in grade school. Then, in high school it was algebra, geometry and trigonometry. Calculus was hinted at but I never took it up. English, American and world history, literature, health class including proper manners, social studies, government and science pretty much covered the rest of my studies. There is one class I failed to sign up for on time that I believe would have been extremely beneficial throughout my life, Speech class. From what I understand it involved public speaking, speech preparation and getting up in front of the class and putting words together in an understandable fashion without being embarrassed out of your wits. Debate class was part of it I think too.

I have always been intelligent and ready to learn but my problem came in that I all too often refused to learn what I wasn't interested in. Speech class wasn't on my list of priorities at the time. Especially in light of my being shy almost to the point of the ridiculous at the time. In retrospect, speech class was probably the perfect antidote for that problem of mine. I still have an inert fear of public speaking and what many would refer to as "microphone fright." Following the theory that fear itself is our greatest enemy I have faced the situation for better or worse by speaking in public on dozens of occasions. Just in case, I always make sure I have a someone nearby to take over in the event of brain failure. Yes, there have been a few times when my mind simply went blank and they had to maintain the momentum until I returned to the land of reality.

Another gremlin I faced through my lifetime is confrontation. Being a guy I am faced with the legacy of: Fight or flight. I'm not talking about physical violence here but rather the male tendency to bring normal disagreements to a higher decibel discussion to prove a point. I think I'd prefer to have learned debate in a more structured environment in my high school years. It probably would have prevented a lot of hurt feelings and broken relationships.

Times have changed and the education community has experimented with myriads of different theories. Not all of which have been successful, perhaps not even the majority. If I was in high school right now I'm afraid I'd be extremely confused as to what exactly was meant by a proper education. At least back then I knew what I was missing out on. Probably another class of great benefit I skipped because I thought it was for girls would have been typing. I'm typing this posting with two fingers. Not so speedy either. Live and learn I guess..........................Joe

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Conservatives and Liberals

Controversy abounds between conservatives and liberals. Both groups consist of mostly good people but both also involve a few radicals. Both groups want what they feel is the right thing for all of us, a better life. Where they differ is just exactly what is involved in obtaining a better life. Here in the United States freedom is of primary concern to both groups. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to own property, freedom to pursue happiness, freedom from all sorts of things are a defining ingredient of American patriotism. So what's the big difference between the two groups? We're all part of the same melting pot, family environment aren't we? Here is one opinion in a nutshell.

Family usually consists of parents and children. Parents set certain rules and boundaries to maintain continuity of certain values and standards they believe are necessary to their continued survival as a family unit. The children on the other hand feel the world is changing as they grow older and they have new knowledge on just how to go about their own survival. If left to their own resources those children may get into a whole mess of trouble. The parents hold strong to their values so as to keep the children from destroying everything. The children are correct in that without change they will be left behind the rest of the world. The parents are correct in that if they embrace change without a solid reason they will be destroyed from within. Every change or lack of change has a consequence that must be taken into consideration or paid for later.

Conservatives are very much like the parents and liberals are very much like the children. Both have good ideas and both have bad ideas on just what direction to take. Sometimes the conservatives win and progress is slowed or halted in order to maintain the status quo and life remains unchanged. At other times the liberals win and progress increases at such a pace that proper boundaries are blurred to a point of anything goes. Both sides have a point. If their differences are balanced properly our advancement as a society/family advances at a tolerably desirable pace. If one side or the other has too much power the balance is destroyed and very possibly our cherished freedoms. Just like a family and it's values and way of life.

Parents and kids always have their disagreements, it's how we grow. So do liberals and conservatives. We experience that every day in a form of political tough love. That's one opinion of why it is so important that we pay attention to those things no matter which side you are on............Joe
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