Saturday, October 30, 2010

Life Forces - Chapter 6 - Sadness

Image result for sadness  Probably one of the most diversified emotions is Sadness because it can be triggered by a myriad of reasons including the other emotions.  It's secondary emotions are Suffering, Disappointment, Shame, Neglect and Sympathy.  If we didn't have Sadness, we wouldn't have the empathy for others that makes us human.  The downside of this emotion is that if it goes out of control, it can lead to depression which is not a healthy situation. 
  There are several somewhat mystical and/or scientific factors that some consider have bearing on our emotions, i.e. state of mind, which include biorhythms, astrology, chemical imbalance, as well as others.  Bottom line is, we are very complicated creatures, indeed.  Consequently, we need to be patient with everyone including ourselves during this sojourn on Earth!

Grief and sadness knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can; and common sufferings are far stronger than common joys. - Alphonse de Lamartine

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Blast From The Past - Part 1

Image result for popsicles icicles the murmaids  Who me?  Dwell on the past?  Nah!  Well, okay, maybe a little bit.  Reminiscing gives you warm fuzzy feelings.  There are a handful of songs that are my all time favourites and this is one of them.  It just gives me a happy feeling.  It was written by David Gates who was a popular singer in the '70's with the group Bread.


(Words & Music : David Gates)
The Murmaids - 1963

Popsicles, icicles, baseball and fancy clothes
These are a few of the things he loves
He loves Levis and brown eyes
And wind blowin' through his hair
These are a part of the boy I love

If you put them all together
Much to your surprise (oh tell me what)
You'll find a bit of heaven
Right before your eyes

Bright stars and guitars and
Drive-ins on Friday night
These are a few of the things we love

(May be) silly but still he is
Just what I dream about
Yes, he's the boy that I love

If you put them all together
Much to your surprise (oh tell me what)
You'll find a bit of heaven
Right before your eyes

Bright stars and guitars and
Drive-ins on Friday night
These are a few of the things we love

(May be) silly but still he is
Just what I dreamed about
Yes, he's the boy that I love

Popsicles, icicles
Popsicles, icicles, hmmm

Saturday, October 23, 2010


  Even though I was born in Virginia, I consider Maine my home since I spent most of my growing up years there.  We are spending this weekend in Kennebunk where I experienced my teenage years and graduated from Kennebunk High (go Rams).  I am very glad my grandparents (whom I was living with) chose to move to Kennebunk as it is always a great place to be all year around except you are tripping over tourists through the summer.  It is a lovely small town on the coast and I wouldn't mind being back here permanently if circumstances permitted it.  Carol and Kristen are always great hosts whenever we visit.  Oh, Angus and Sass are great furry footrests, too.
  Normally when we travel from upstate New York, we fire across the Massachusetts Turnpike then up I-95 but occasionally we go cross country through Vermont and New Hampshire and that is a more pleasant way to go.  There is something a little magical about going through Vermont because the colours of the grass and trees are more vivid then in the surrounding states.  There are no billboards and life's pace is just a tick slower.  New Hampshire always has a rural feel to it, even when you are in it's cities and the roundabouts are frequent which I like because it reminds me of England, except you are not driving clockwise.
  The weekends go so fast and before you know it, we have to head back to our not-so-favoured home, but always ready to return to Maine..  We are already planning to come back for Christmas which we often do.  If you have never been to Maine, or New England for that matter, you really should, it is easy to fall in love with the place.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Life Forces - Chapter 5 - Surprise

Image result for surprise  Today's basic emotion is Surprise.  I don't have many thoughts on that except that I can see two categories; negative responses and positive responses.  Again, we can connect to other emotions, if the surprise frightens or alarms, then it would associate to Fear, such as discovering a spider on your arm.  If the result is happiness, then we have Joy, for example, you reach into your pocket and find money you didn't know you had.
  Pretty cut and dry, and now you can be surprised that I am finished and won't bore you with a lot of rhetoric!

I doubt whether the world holds for any one a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice-cream. - Heywood Broun

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Please Pass The Bunsen Burner....

  There it is, the Periodic Table of Elements.  Anyone that took Chemistry in high school will see it and groan.  Actually it is a fascinating piece of architecture when you think about it.  Everything known to Man is comprised of molecules made from these basic elements, so far.  I say that because things change, including how many elements we have discovered.  When I took high school Chemistry in 1965, there were only 104 elements, now look, there are 118.   The worse part of the class was having to memorize the valence tables, ugh, what a pain, but Mr. Trefethen was big on hydrocarbons and made us do it.  There were fun parts, however, things like making Phenolphthalein colourless by changing its pH or learning about ketones which smelled like different fruits or getting partnered with the pretty girl in class for lab.  But you always learned important stuff that would help you in life, for example, the chemical formula for table sugar was C12H22O11 or table salt was NaCl.  And if you should happen to have a piece of pure sodium, never put it into water.  Actually there was good stuff to know; I always remembered the little ditty Do As You Oughta, Add Acid To Water.  That was helpful to know when working with car batteries or cleaning bricks.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Life Forces - Chapter 4 - Fear

  As we approach Halloween, it is only appropriate that we talk about Fear, another basic emotion.  Once a year in particular, some of us feed on Fear, probably for the rush or the high of the sensation.  Secondary emotions are horror, and Nervousness.  I suppose that Fear is a tool of our instinct for self-preservation, a necessary part of our make-up.  We need Fear to prevent us from taking unnecessary risk.  It is interesting that Fear can be used for entertainment, i.e. horror movies and can also be used for ulterior motives during criminal activities. 
  Besides the fear of physical harm, there is also fear that affects our mental health, whether it be mental abuse or the fear of wondering where the next meal is coming from.  Fear can be derived from a myriad of reasons related to stress and worry and the loss of a sense of well-being.
  This is getting depressing, I think it is time for some chocolate!

Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil. - Aristotle

Monday, October 18, 2010

My First Embarrassing Moment (But not my last)

  How many of you remember your very first embarrassing moment?  The one I remember was in kindergarten so I have to assume it was my first one, at least the first one I remember.  Setting the stage, it was 1955 at Frisbee Elementary School, Kittery, Maine.  The class had been outside for recess and I got carried away and spent too much time in the snow and became soaked.  Back inside, my teacher, I believe it was Mrs. Philbrick, saw that I was wet and had me take off my pants and sit at my desk with a a blanket over my lap.  I was mortified because everyone could see my underwear through the back of the chair.  I was probably marred for life!  Those of you that know me must be thinking "that explains a lot!".
  So there you have it, a confession of a deep, dark secret!  But that is just between you and me, okay?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Life Forces - Chapter 3 - Trust

  Trust is an endangered species, a rare commodity that is hard to come by.  It is also one of the basic emotions.  By definition we have:

- the willingness of one party (trustor) to be vulnerable to the actions of another party (trustee)
- reasonable expectation (confidence) of the trustor that the trustee will behave in a way beneficial to the trustor
- risk of harm to the trustor if the trustee will not behave accordingly
- the absence of trustor's enforcement or control over actions performed by the trustee

  Wow, that sounds pretty dry, doesn't it?  We live in a society where we assume everyone has an ulterior motive for everything and nothing is more important then the bottom line and what's in it for me.  So naturally everyone is skeptical when they are dealing with a person that appears trustworthy.  At the same time, everyone wants to find someone trustworthy.  A paradox.  When we were young, we were naturally trusting and through experience, we learned to doubt.  Unfortunately, that is the way our society is structured so we have to live with it.  But occasionally we can trust someone implicitly and that is a wonderful thing.  Trust is an associated emotion with Love so intuitively we would trust our mate, a basic building block in any relationship.  As long as we can have trust (and of course Love and Joy) in our families, we can cope with what goes on in the world around us.

Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him. - Booker T. Washington

Saturday, October 16, 2010

England In Retrospect

  While I was a new 'boot' still in training in the Air Force, we were told to fill out our 'dream sheet'.  This was a document that indicated where we would like to be stationed after training.  It was called a 'dream sheet' because no one really thought they would go where they wanted.  For my first choice I put England and for my second, Germany.  Well, as luck would have it, my first permanent station was England.  First year in at RAF Mildenhall and second year at USAF High Wycombe which has since closed.
  I really enjoyed England, and this entry is about the various things I liked there.  Now bear in mind, it was the late '60's when I was there and I haven't been since, so I suspect many things have changed.  Unlike popular belief, it does not rain all the time, but it was overcast much of the time.  The countryside is quite green and lush and the country roads are often lined with a hedge of sort so viewing said countryside was sometimes difficult.  There was only one motorway that I recollect, the M1 but many have been added.  Driving on the left side of the road was easy enough to adapt to, the only time I had problems was when I came home on leave and had to remember to drive on the right side.
  I had a 1949 MG.  It was called a 'salon' which is equivelant to a sedan, and it was the very first car I owned.  It was black, four doors, sun roof, a little curtain that could cover the rear window, a built in jack system and a 1.25 litre engine.  The floor was made of wood and there was a crank that I could start the engine with if the starter should fail me.  It was where my initial car mechanical experience was derived from.  I rebuilt the engine and replaced the wooden floor, replaced the shocks (they called them hydraulic dampeners) and did body work on it after I was hit by a deaf-mute (don't ask).  It was a fun car.
  The British were very interesting as well as their accents.  When I was stationed at Mildenhall, the bases (including neighbouring RAF Lakenheath) were quite large and mostly Americans, and the associated villages were quite small.  Consequently, the locals weren't terribly fond of the yanks because we were everywhere.  As one put it "Americans are all mouth and all money".  On the other hand, when I was stationed at High Wycombe, we were a small air station on a hill at the edge of a fairly good sized city.  There they loved us.
  My first Christmas there, I was invited to spend it with a family that had a little farm outside of Cambridge.  At the end of Christmas Eve, we retired and I was asked if I would like to have a bed warmer warm my bed.  It was a pan with a hinged cover on a long stick that contained hot coals.  Being a tough guy, I politely declined.  When I climbed into bed I went into a state of shock, recoiled into a fetal position and stayed that way all night, freezing to near death.  Those farm house bedrooms were so cold!  The only source of heat was a small coal fireplace in the living room.  Otherwise it was a very nice English Christmas.  And, yes, the children do have rosy red cheeks as mentioned in Roger Miller's song.
  The laborours such as those working on the roads often wore suit coats which I thought was curious and bicycles were as common as cars (which were always small) for transportation.
  It took me awhile to get use to the money system which has since changed.  The smallest coin was a half pence (pronounced haypenny) then the pence then three pence (prounced thrupence [short 'u']) then six pence then the shilling (12 pence).  Half Crown (2 shillings sixpence) and Crown (5 shillings).  Then it went to paper currency, ten bob (10 shillings), quid (one pound or 20 shillings), then 5 pounds, etc.  There was a curious amount which wasn't a coin or currency but both, called a Guinea which was one pound, one shilling.  It took me awhile to get the hang of it.  After two years I was transferred to Turkey for a year and when I came through England, again, they had converted to decimal and I had to learn it all over again.  I suspect sometime in the future they are going to have to give in to the majority of Europe and convert to Euro.
  I occasionally went to London and in Piccadilly Circus it was the peak of the Flower Child era, bell bottoms, paisley, mini skirts, hot pants, long hair, etc.  In Trafalgar Square is where I saw my first stage production, Fiddler On The Roof.
  An Air Force buddy of mine and I took a holiday tour of southern England.  We started at High Wycombe, went to London then south to Brighton and followed the coast to Land's End (where I went for a swim in April, brrrr!) at the most western tip and then returned.  Bed and Breakfast places are much more interesting then hotels and especially motels.
  England was great and I would really like to get back for a visit sometime.  What is really nice is that I have a little bit of England at home because my wife is from England!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Life Forces - Chapter 2 - Joy

Image result for joy  Whenever I think of Joy, I think of children's faces, and happy puppies.  As we get older, we seem to lose some of that magic, but that is okay because when we do have Joy it just makes it even more special.  As I mentioned in a previous entry, Joy is linked to Love for obvious reasons.  The tertiary emotions that are associated with Joy are Cheerfulness, Zest, Contentment, Pride, Optimism, Enthralment, and Relief.  I think of Joy as that occasional dose of medicine that we all need once in awhile.  It can be a reoccurring event like Christmas or a random event like seeing a loved one after a long absence.  If we don't have these occasional moments of being 'up', we would fall into an opposite basic emotion which is Sadness.  It is fascinating to me how our state of mind can directly affect our physical health.  It has been medically proven that depression diminishes our immune system and we are at greater risk of becoming sick.
  There are many things that can enhance and motivate the experience of Joy;  Being with family or being in love, fair weather and sunshine, being financially secure, being self-confident or good at what you do, being free of guilt or sin, having personal freedoms and living in a free land, the list can go on.  Of course the opposite scenarios would bring on the opposite emotion of Sadness.
  Joy is something we all want and are all entitled to so feel free to receive it and feel free to share it!

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. - Buddha

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things....

File:Lincoln Logs sawmill.jpg
Lincoln Logs
For some reason, when I woke up this morning, I was thinking about my favourite toys I had when I was a kid.  Probably the one foremost in my mind was my top of the line Erector Set, it was the Ferris Wheel edition.  I had other Erector sets but this one was the best.  Other things that kept my hands busy when I was a child were Lincoln Logs, American Plastic Bricks and Tinker Toys.  During my growing up, I would spend countless hours building things, so much that it might have slowed down the development of my social skills I fear!
  As some of you might know, I have an avid interest in radios and the very first radio I ever had was a Remco Crystal Radio when I was very young.  In fact, I couldn't read the instructions well enough, so I built it by looking at the pictures.  A couple years later, I had a Philmore Crystal Radio. Another fun toy was the Bridge and Turnpike Building Set. During my childhood I had a few electrical and electronic building sets as well.  Most, if not all, of these educational toys were given to me by my grandparents.  I was very fortunate that they fostered my interests and talents.