Monthly Archives: December 2013

A few differences between cats and dogs

puppy and kitten1.  95% of dogs will help their owners clean by licking up food dropped on the floor.    12% of cats will deign to sniff it before walking away.

2.   92% of dogs will protect their owners by barking at strangers.  1% of cats will protect their owners if they feel like it.cats vs dogs

3.      71% of dogs are trained to sit on command.   100% of cats will sit when they feel like it.

Okay–what did you think of this?  Are dogs better than cats because of their habits?   Here’s the background.  A friend posted an article on Facebook comparing the habits of two groups of people.   It was obvious the writer greatly preferred one group,  looked down on the other, and hope to influence the reader to agree.   For that reason,  I decided to write this blog because this is  often done and we are so easily manipulated.

Reading an column, we should look at who the writer is and what that writer’s point of view is.   The writer of those three comparisions between dogs and cats seems fairly obviously a dog person. (For the sake of fairness, I have to admit that I am the person who wrote this–as if you haven’t guessed– and really love both canines and felines.)

fact check star treckFact check.  Did these statistics come from the writer’s brain, a trusted and professional study, or a study done by Dogs-Who-Hate-Cats?   Don’t be manipulated by a prejudiced writer or by facts and figures that may not be based on anything other than that they fit with our ideas and we like to find someone else who agrees.

Ask yourself:  are there other factors that could explain these?  Well, of course, more dogs back than cats because they ARE dogs!

Here’s another and different examples:  What do you think could explain bath vs showerthis difference in habits?  Again, numbers are made up.   75% of men  shower once a  day.   23% women do.    We could jump to the conclusion that men are cleaner than women.  But the truth could also be  1)  Many women prefer to take a bath  or  2)  Some women shower twice a day.

In this age of great divisions with each group claim their own set of facts, I believe it is more important than ever to read responsibly, to check out the “facts” given, and to decide if this is information you need to consider or ill-founded propaganda.


What more can one say about Christmas?

What are the hardest sermons for a minister to prepare? I have it on woman preachergood authority that the most difficult to prepare are for Christmas and Easter.

Why? . . . . . . (I’m giving you a few seconds to think why this may be)

1)    Because the scriptures are used every year.  Everyone in the congregation has heard them and has their own idea what they mean.   Miracle of ChristmasWith Christmas, the story has been read to us since we were very young.  We’ve been in and watched pageant.  We’ve sung the caroles and hymns and presented the special music, a cantata here and there.  What NEW can a preacher say that isn’t said better by a bunch of cute children dressed as angels and animals?

2)    The message of Christmas is JOY!   How many ways can one say that?   Joy is an emotion we all understand.  Joy is a fairly straightforward feeling that doesn’t have to be explained.  “I’m worried” can be explained various ways as can, “I’m afraid.” But, “I’m happy”?  We all know what that means so a Christmas sermon about joy can be boring or repetitious–try to imagine yourself preaching  twenty minutes on joy.

3)    There is little suspense.  At other times of the year, a minister may preach on a section from Judges or a minor prophet or one of the pastoral epistles and we’re surprised.  We didn’t know that was in the Bible.  But we could all recite the part about angle appearing to Mary, about Joseph taking his betrothed  to Bethlehem, and the innkeeper and the shepherds and the birth.  We know all that.

And yet, every year there is a newness to the words we have read so today in the city of Davidoften.    We experience  the amazing discovery that we are so greatly loved  the Creator of the Universe is sending a Savior to me!  Oh, to you, too. of course, to all of us.  This is both a very personal and a completely universal blessing.  Every Christmas the enormity and grandness of that love astounds me.    The words may be old but the miracle is new every year, that unto us in the city of David has been born to us a Savior who is  Christ the Lord.

How can we take such love in all at once?  That’s why that message must be preacher over and over so we can understand it a bit more every year, live it more sincerely every day.

What kind of shoes do nuns wear?

the sound of musicDid anyone watch The Sound of Music live?  I didn’t think I’d like it but discovered those songs make up for a lot.

There was one part, one thing I was very picky about.  When Maria first came to the Von Trapp estate, she’s supposed to be dress very horribly beause she’s a nun–okay, a novice.  Julie Andrews looked terrible and dowdy.  The dress Carrie Underwood  wore was pretty nice.   It had great lines and looked terrific  and most un-nunly on her body.    However, I was able to suspend my disbelief–beause of those song–and pretended that nicely cut dress was exactly what a poor nun would wear.    Then I saw Maria’s shoeshoes.  They were nice and probably comfortable pumps.  Light brown, almost blending with her skin color with heels between 2 1/2 to 3 inches tall.  They made me feel that Miss Underwood wasn’t totally commited to her part.    I can forgive a great deal if I like the music, but those shoes bothered me everytime.   Everytime I’ve seen a nun, she’s weaings flat, lace-up shoes in a dark color.  Yes, I could accept alot as long as the cast kept singing–but   the anachronism of those pretty shoes on a nun bothered me every time.  And, yes, I know I’m shallow.  And picky.

What bothers you more than it should?

I am the unemployed

Well, I’m not really all the unemployed but I thought that title sounded very author-y.   And yet,  I have been unemployed–on unemployment unemployed maninsurance two times.  I’m not lazy or a leech. I don’t want to become dependent on  government handouts and live unemployed for the rest of my life.  I wanted a job both because  I wanted to work as I always had and because unemployment pays less than fifty percent of what any of my jobs paid.  However, I couldn’t find a job.  I substitue taught but wasn’t hired to teach.  I applied for many jobs because that’s part of receiving unemployment:  you have to show that you are looking for a job.   Wanting to work but not being able to find work is the story of the kid filling out job applicationmajority–if not all–the unemployed today.

Why are the unemployed called “unemployed”?  Because they were at one time employed and then something happened which made them “unemployed.”  Yes. the very term “unemployed” means that these people were working, were employed, had held down a job, earned money, supported themselves and their families.

Then they lost their jobs.  Why?   Could be because their job moved overseas, just got up and left.  Could be because when the depression hit, EIGHT million jobs disappeared into the air.  They are no longer available, no longer exist.   No one can apply or be hired for  one of those jobs.   I was laid off because the non-profit had a huge deficit and they had to cut jobs.   After jobs of  low-salary employees were trimmed,  I was next because I made a fair salary and had only worked there seven months.     Not my fault.

The first time I was unemployed, we lived in a small town in West Texas where the only jobs were fast food and nursing.  I have nothing against working in fast food but, physically, I can’t stand for any length of time.   To become a nurse,  I would have to go back to school which would take years and money we didn’t have.   I was unemploysed for a year, until we moved to Houston where there were lots of jobs.

If you haven’t been employed, if you have a job now, please don’t judge the great number of those without work.  It’s hard out there.  For every job, there are three application.  When a Wal-Mart opened in DC, there were six-hundred job opening.  Seventeen-THOUSAND applied!

What are your thoughts?  I’d like to know.

I know I’m picky but . . .

I’m picky.  I know that.   I try not to be but I am.  If I see something wrong on television or in a move, it bothers me.  I haven’t finished some books because I find errors I can’t accept, that distract me from the story..

A recent example:  I was watching a really terrible Richard Gere movie. richard gere He’d been an assassin but retired twenty years before the story began and became a CIA agent working against terrorism.   However, he had to return to killing people.  I don’t remember the reason or if there even was one–it was not a good movie so I don’t know if he had a motivation–but he did.

WatchHis method  was novel.   He had a watch with a thin wire inside which he used to garrote people.   He activated this by pulling out the stem of the watch to which the wire was attached and easily pulled the length of wire from inside.  The wire was so thin it left a bloody cut in the throat.  After the victim died, Gere simply let go of the watch stem and the wire would contract back inside, ready to kill again.  At no time did he clean the wire.

This left me with two questions I’d really like your opinion on.    1)    Wouldn’t the dried blood on the wire make it difficult to pull it out when the time came for the next murder?   2)   He’d been using this watch for twenty-five years.  Wouldn’t an unpleasant odor come from the blood inside?

Just wondering.  Because I’m picky and things like this bother me.

Thank you.



Nelson Mandela

mandelaLike most people around the world, Nelson Mandela has always been a hero to me.   I started a blog on why I admire him and realized he possessed more strengths and contradictions than I could address in a blog.   I also realized that I’m unable to write about him because my skills aren’t up to it.   And what I wrote was boring.  For that reason, I started over.  Here’s my second effort.

Mr. Mandela changed his tactics over the years, from peaceful protest to more militant means until he became the man who freed and led his resentmentcountry.  He had friends some  in the United States still don’t like beause they don’t realize  why he had them.   He wasn’t a perfect man but he was a man of immense courage, compelled to free his people.

Instead of writing more,  I’m going to share this quote.  Mr. Mandela’s words define him far more than anything I could write.   I’d like to hear your thoughts.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.  The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquer that fear.”     Nelson Mandela


Where are you at? I mean, literally?

I taught Spanish for many years.  Some of my students were fascinated by the Royal Spanish Academy.   Composed of the best writers, grammarians and real academiaintellectuals, the group decides the rules of the language, if they changed or stay the same. They publish dictionaries and grammar texts containing  the correct grammar rules and word usage.  I have one, a very old one.  The reason is an effort to keep the language from changing too much so, centuries latr, literature can be read and undertood, so people distant from each other can still chat without a translator.

Americans  have a populist view of grammar and change the rules as we go.   Although I cringe when I hear, “Where’s it at?” or “Do you want to go with?”  I realize that’s just how we roll.

literally2We’ve even changed words to accomodate people who use them incorrectly.  For example:  literally.  Up until recently, literally meant truely or actually, as in:  I was literally holding my breath until he left.

However, over the past years, people have not understood this useage and began to say things like, “I literally turned blue from holding my breath.”    It seems to add emphasis.

So what did the publishers of dictionaries do?   They added the second meaning:  perceived as true.   So now we literally have a word that means the opposite of itself:  truely and not actually.  But that’s how we roll.

What words or uses drive you crazy?  Have you learned to accept change?