Last week, I mentioned my dad and Katy Perry in the same breath. For those of you that missed it, let’s recap.
When I was a kid, my dad made it clear in many ways that being a broad-minded person has a lot of benefits. Mostly, it was by setting an example that I didn’t appreciate until I got older; but sometimes he made a real effort to hammer a lesson he had learned into my thick skull, and there’s really only one way to do that. You’ve got to remind a person, over and over, that certain things are not to be taken for granted…even if the person you are reminding is yourself.
My dad used to say it, whenever the occasion called for it; and over the years I’ve made it a practice to keep pointing it out to myself.
“You live in a bubble!” Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt To Think #011 – Everybody Lives in a Bubble! Bubble!”
Not too long ago, my family found ourselves under an evacuation order. There was a dam having problems upstream from us, and our town was one of the places in danger of being flooded. It was a real worst case scenario they were entertaining, and the proper steps were taken to avoid that possibility…but it got me thinking, and doing a little research. It’s amazing how many things come to your attention when you’re writing a blog called ‘Thoughts That Hurt to Think’ every week, and the universe has spoken to me in a number of ways to bring me fresh ideas.
Honestly, though…I never thought I would get an automated phone call telling me it was time to evacuate. Being the person that I am, I started asking some questions. It turns out that this is one of the best examples of thoughts that hurt to think that I could possibly come up with, and I never would have thought of it if we hadn’t been evacuated. Now I wanted to know what that worse case scenario was, how likely it is, and what measures are being taken to avoid it.
It turns out that catastrophe is coming, that it’s inevitable, and that not much is being done about it at all. If you think I’m being dramatic, read on…then do your research, and correct me if I’m wrong. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt To Think #010 – That’s a Big Dam Problem!”
There are a lot of people out there that seem to think that they are selfless, or that many of their actions are. That kind of thinking can be as harmful as it is delusional, and it’s important to realize that most productive and intelligent people have a healthy view of their own selfish nature. It’s also important to realize that it isn’t just muddled thinking that leads to selfish people viewing themselves as selfless; this country has always been a little shaky on the definitions of those words. It’s no wonder that so many Americans are confused as to what these words mean, when they get used improperly so often.
Most dictionaries tell us that selfish people act in their own best interest, with little or no thought given to the consequences of those actions. I was a little shocked when I first read something like that, since one part of the sentence is totally contradictory to the other. Anyone who has ever deliberately endeavored to act in their own best interest knows that consequences always have to be considered. If you don’t consider the consequences of your actions, you aren’t acting in your own best interest; the two are, quite obviously, inextricably connected. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt To Think #009 – Everyone is Selfish!”
I do not begrudge the fact that I grew up in rural Montana, or try to pretend it never happened. Many of the lessons that cities had to teach me in adulthood were put in a certain perspective given that rural upbringing, and I wouldn’t trade what I have learned from both to only have a mind full of memories from one. Country life has different things to teach than city life, and I continue to feel that they each have a lot to offer. Even if the main thing that we learn by changing our environment is that people vary a lot more widely than we once supposed, it’s a valuable thing to learn.
One of those variances is how food is viewed, in the many stages it must exist before it makes it into a person’s belly. It was strange to move into an area where almost no one I met had any experience in hunting or gardening, as was realizing that many people found one repugnant while seeing the other as a hobby usually dedicated to growing flowers that no one ate. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt To Think #008 – They’re Eating Our Pets!”
There’s that old saying, that says it takes a village to raise a child. There’s another assumption about villages, that each of them has their own idiot. I think we can agree with that, if we concede that each village likely has its own genius as well. The genius is probably a man, which will hopefully delight men; but the idiot is most likely a man as well, so maybe that’s one for the ladies.
I don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter.
What does matter is that very few people live in villages these days. It’s easy to assume that we can modify that old saying, and say it takes a town or a city to raise a child, but what if we’re wrong? What if the people that made up that saying in the first place were not cautioning us against raising our young in a familial bubble, but that they were warning us against the dangers of raising kids in densely populated areas? Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt To Think #007 – It Takes A Village!”
For a long time I didn’t know that cocaine had medical benefits, or that various forms of the drug found in the coca plant were being used every day in American medicine. All I knew is that rats in laboratories would choose cocaine over food until they died of starvation. I heard that statistic way back when I was a kid, when my little brain was hungry for anything that might present itself as knowledge. It freaked me out, and made me terrified of any mention of the drug. When I found out that it was a medicine, and a commonly used one at that, I did a little more research.
It turns out that the rat study is wrong, in that the premise itself is fundamentally flawed. But we’ll get to that.
First, let’s talk about the coca plant. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt To Think #006 – Cocaine or Freedom?”
You may or may not know this by now, but I am very interested in the actual literal meaning of words. If the goal is to use complete accuracy in the way I express myself, I have to admit that I fall short even as I strive in that direction. There are a lot of words that get misused in our country, and that misuse leads to actual changes in their definitions. It’s hard to find a modern dictionary that tells us what one would have told us just a few years ago if you looked up certain terms.
Take, for example, the words we use to insult people that we don’t think are as smart as they should be. You have surely heard people use words like ‘idiot’, ‘moron’ or ‘imbecile’ in these instances; but you might not have realized that it was the accuser’s knowledge that was more likely lacking than the other person’s intellect, when they did. These originated as psychological terms, with very specific definitions, and it turns out that many people don’t realize that. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt To Think #005 -Most Idiots are Men!”
When everyone was telling me that I was too young to drink, I felt compelled to act out against the restriction. I didn’t understand that this was a natural reaction to having someone tell you they can do something but you can’t; I just knew that the other kids in high school were drinking too. ‘Keggers’ were parties that we usually had in the woods in Montana, even when it was well below freezing. We kept warm by hovering around a bonfire, cuddling with other drunk kids, and drinking from the keg of beer that was often buried partially in the snow.
I liked getting drunk, but I hated the taste of beer. Instead, I decided that my drink of choice would be a cheap but popular brand of American whiskey. I would name it, but just typing it out might make me feel a little nauseous. I’d drink the stuff until I was good and loaded, and then I would keep drinking. It didn’t just make me feel tipsy, it made me feel like an adult.
Only they were allowed to drink, after all. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt To Think #004 – All Booze is Brandy!”
The last few months, a certain phrase has come to be used quite a bit. The phrase starts out as ‘Half of Americans…’ or ‘Forty-nine percent of Americans…’ and ends a variety of ways, most of them unflattering.
There’s no reason to address the childish accusations made by one side against the other in these endless examples, or by the other side against the one. That would take a lot more conversations about those misconceptions than we have room for here. The thing that needs to be addressed is that nearly everyone starting a sentence that way ends it with a complete loss of accuracy and its accompanying credibility. They don’t speak for half of the people in the United States, any more than they take the time to understand them. Instead, they discount a large portion of the population just by starting a sentence that way.
Let’s look at some actual numbers, and allow a little margin for error when we do. After all, simply landing somewhere in the ballpark is far better than pulling a huge number like forty-nine percent out of left field. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt To Think #003 – 49% of Americans”
When the Earth was first getting started, it was a real fixer-upper. It began as nothing more than a glorified rock floating in space, and grew as more rocks smashed into it and clung together. Once the mass resulting from these collisions got to a certain point, they started attracting bigger and bigger masses. Those masses clung together, as well; and after quite some time, they formed a mass that could be called a planet. There were very few of the natural resources that we rely so heavily on back then, as most of them were brought here by other chunks of rock floating about in space. Many of the precious metals that we mine on our planet are leftover chunks of meteor ore, and much of Earth’s topography was profoundly affected by these interstellar collisions. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt To Think #002 – Water is Alien!”