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!”
It’s hard to collect information without also picking up some misinformation. The open mind has to learn to be discerning as part of being open, and the curious individual needs to be on guard against filling their heads with things that sound plausible but are actually untrue. One would think that we could get accurate information from sources like the news and the government and scientists. Since they deal mostly in information, they must hold truth above all else, right?
Don’t laugh at me; I’m not really that naive. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt To Think #001 – Studies Show Statistics Are Wrong!”
One of the first things honest things I learned from an adult was CYA. That’s ‘cover your ass’, for those of you fortunate enough to have never encountered people who shirk responsibility and avoid accountability rather than step up. The principle differs for some of us, but it still applies to all of us. Even when we’re making friends, or having a chat with one we’ve already made, we might amend or add something to what we just said after having said it. In conversations, I playfully refer to such pronouncements as ‘disclaimers’.
In books, it’s a bit different. You’ve got to jump right in with a few words about what the rest of these words will be about, to grab the interest of the readers you’re after and push the others away in one carefully worded passage. This blog will be compiled into a book, and the foreword will read a lot like this introduction.
But this is a blog, so we’re calling this post the introduction. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt To Think #000 – An Introduction”