Thursday, January 30, 2020

On Fish Mongers and Cows Faces

My son-in-law tells me I have a slangy way of talking...I sound like I am from a very small town. I just don't know how I sound. I do know that Alexa and Siri don't know what the heck I am talking about even after all these years. So he may be right.

I've been thinking lately about the way we talk from region to region here in the USA. While we sound very reasonable and educated to ourselves, others have a hard time knowing we are all about. Are we hicks, bigots or even worse. How is one to know?

That is where the fish monger and his wife come into play. I have never known a fish monger as such so when I speak of that person it is as though I am talking about dragons. Yet, when I was growing up, if a woman was loud and obnoxious, people would say she sounded "like a fish monger's wife". Is that bigotry? I am almost certain if I were in the market or on the water front people would take exception to the phrase and might indeed be wounded.

Do you see where I am going here? Maybe bigotry is act related to where you were reared. If you say things just to bring a picture to your mind but not said with any hatred, it is just words said in ignorance of the harm it can do. However, in the midst of the fish mongers the phrase said with anger becomes something else totally.

Now we know that there are thing that we simply cannot say or think anymore. There is no excuse. Period!

Many years ago I was chaperon for a group of students from eastern Oregon and western Idaho on a trip to the east coast. They were young and loud and, well, ignorant of their language. As we boarded the bus to be transported into New York City one student noticed that the driver was a black man. The words that came out of his mouth were not good. All the way into the city he continues to let his rural "bigotry" hang out. And he had no idea what he was doing. Hopefully, his supervisor took care of the problem. I just stayed away from him and had a word with my charges.

It is just a thought.

So now I want to talk about cow's faces. In my part of the world some people owned cows to milk and herds roamed the hill behind my parents garden. My husband would say things like "that hill is as steep as a cow's face" and you would know that it was a very steep hill and perhaps very tall since a cow's (and a horse's face) is very long.

My son told me that he used the phrase at a meeting with executives in his school in Shanghai China. What he said left everyone puzzles. One of the men (from NYC) immediately got on Google to find that the saying came guessed it eastern Oregon/Washington/Idaho. "A learning curve as steep as a cows face" is now in use in China.

Once I made the mistake of using a phrase my mother used in front of my grandchildren and they picked up on it at once. If a dog was useless (I am sorry but once in a while it just fits) she would say "He was not worth taking out in the back yard and shooting". I have no idea where it came from originally...maybe it was her very own. Even though it was normally used to describe a worthless dog, occasionally it would be applied to a human. When my grandchildren began using it I was in deep trouble with my daughter and I have not used it ever again...even to talk about a dog. It just slipped out. Sorry.

"As pretty as a penny", "As wise as an owl" "Smart as a whip" and on and on. Many were not kind. However, I never heard the "n" word used ever. We were a very diverse community and I think we were careful about that kind of thing.

So I suppose my son-in-law is right. I do have a "slangy" way of talking. Siri and Alexis are just going to have to get over it! :)

What about you? Did you grow up using phrases that you simply cannot use today?


Sunday, January 26, 2020

Do You Think that News People and Government Leaders Should Have a College Degree?

Note: A reader said that she did not get the point of this. So here is what I am getting at. We all can benefit from education however we get it. But when we listen to and are influenced by the news media and politicians, we need to be careful about who we follow.

I am such a pusher when it comes to education it is a problem sometimes. Being educated changes a person in so many ways I think....

But why? Does it earmark people as very smart and give them status? Maybe so. However, even an average person can excel in college and I think, many even come out with a more meaningful degree of knowledge and understanding. Studying does that. 

Some of the best informed people are not educated formally. But they are well read and well rounded people. In the end education can come in many forms. Letting ones self be challenged in their beliefs is what counts. 

But in service of our country as a Congressional Member, one expects an expanded knowledge that comes from a challenging and well rounded education. It is a big and important job.

I would expect the same thing of the news media that guides our information. These are the people that are having more and more influence on our view point so believing what they say should, I think, be based on their education and life experience. Just being able to talk fast or read is not enough.

The most poignant memory of college is a class I was required to take called Comparative Religions. That class taught the basic tenant of religions from throughout the world. I graduated from a small college in Oregon...Eastern Oregon University.

See, I had been raised in a very small community and the only show in town was our Methodist Church. We managed with a shared minister from nearby. One of our regular speakers was a Pentecostal minister that taught 8th grade in our local school. He was a lovely man and his daughter was my best friend. I played the piano for church services.

Had it not been for that college course that let me know that there are many religious beliefs and even Christian denominations I would have follow a very conservative path. I learned that all religions share the belief that people can be good.

But I can tell you the first day of class nearly brought me to my knees. I remember the professor coming outside to comfort me. He explained to me that he was not there to change my beliefs. He was there to educate me about the world.

It hasn't been until the last part of my life that I truly understood that opening ones eyes is what education is all about. Being thrown into the midst of people with different ideals is hard but necessary.

I suppose that people that attend a college of like minded people miss that opportunity. A religious college, for example, attracts people that have the same religious education. An unchallenged belief system leaves a person with a very narrow view.

Not finishing that education leaves your belief system unchallenged. It is the challenge that provides the breadth of knowledge that we need in a reasoned thinkers.

I am a "liberal" in the terms used to describe a political view today. I sometimes get sidetracked and forget that every issue, as I was taught, has many sides.

If I feel very strongly about something, that is the time that I need to educate myself on what is not seen or understood. The more strongly I react the less I know and understand. A knee jerk reaction does not make me proud of myself.

I am not a lawyer. It could be that all of those lawyer/congressmen have spent so much time arguing for issues they really don't believe in that they don't know right from wrong anymore. Those people are very educated. I realize that. But I watched Face the Nation this morning and listened to a senator evade answers and even the truth. He was slippery and deceptive. He was very "lawyerly".

The news media is not perfect either but I would expect that the talk show hosts would have an education and be speaking from a basis of knowledge. People that are not well informed depend on them to be truthful. In a recent Facebook post I found this. I did check to see if it was correct. The three gentlemen at the bottom the page are Fox employees and have varying degrees of education but all three did not finish their degrees.

Lessons learned today tell me that even people that are educated have managed to discount all of the other voices as less than worthy of notice. So, in the end, education is not enough and never will be. There is so much more.

What do you think?


Statistics on Colleges US Representatives attended

Thursday, January 23, 2020

What Do You Think? The mentally ill are dancing in the square!

Here in Arizona where the sun shines and the climate is perfect for someone living without a home, the homeless are invisible. In 2018 there were almost 10,000 people without homes in the state. Yet there is no sign of them here in Tucson. What is Arizona doing that is different? Where are those people? 

We all know about that time between sleep and awake...that extra few minutes of sleep that we all seem to crave. That is the time when I solve all of the troubles in this world. This morning it was homelessness that came to my mind.

I suppose that every citizen of Oregon has that same dream/nightmare. We are not afraid of being homeless. We are afraid that our state will become unlivable because the homeless are actually becoming more and more a visible problem. They live on the city streets, in the parks and even on the space between the freeway and private property. They are the visible homeless living in unsanitary awful conditions. Many are mentally ill.

Human feces can be found as well as garbage, tents and all those things that humans need to survive...on the streets in front of Nordstroms etc. It is so sad and, I think, inhumane to even allow our citizens to live like that. Children are even in tow. Teens run away and join the mass. The mentally ill dance in the square.

There has not been an outbreak of disease but it is looming on the horizon.

Portland has tried a number of measures but it would appear that nothing is working. In reality everyone has a solution and no one can agree on which way to turn. And, the truth is the problem is very like a toothpaste tube. The minute the group is pushed out they simply appear somewhere else. Going away totally is simply not possible.

Our city is very rich in so many ways. But as a result rent is very high and there is no rent control. If the state were to take on providing low rent housing it would need a whole community bigger than most of those in the state.

Back in the day there were poor houses and group homes for the mentally ill. That was a very grim prospect for people. The most frightening thing was a statement made by Trump. He said "I have a solution for homelessness. All Nancy Pelosi has to do is ask nice." Was he talking about camps like the ones the illegals were placed in? He is talking about decreasing federal money for affordable housing. That statistics show that a measure like that would put 37,000 of the lowest-income people are at risk of eviction in California alone. Article on his ideas here.

I have no idea what is to be done.

How are things around you?


Footnote: It all began back when Ronald Reagan was president. To have a president that does not believe in mental illness and had no insight as to what the end of the Vietnam war was going to mean was devastating to those people living on the margins. He was the one that came up with the catch phrases "double dipping" AND "homeless by choice". At the time veterans were denied a subsistence that let them live in a home when the administration did away government support for those people that were struggling.

Then when we had the collapse of our economy under GW Bush administration, people lost their homes, their job and their dignity. It was all gone. So many have never recovered or simply gave up.

Now high rent is an issue. And on and on....

Sunday, January 5, 2020

"The Sky is Falling" she said. And thirty-eight of the victims died.

When the little red hen warned that the sky was falling we all knew she was just plain wrong. The sky is not going to fall! Right?

Or at least that is what I thought until the sky fell.

It was a very hot summer day and something was in the air that I cannot describe...heavy, foreboding and very dark skies approached. Then it ball sized stones fell from the sky and the roar inside our home was deafening.

from Wikipedia
Now we don't live in tornado country so you really have to excuse my feint heart. Normally we don't run for cover because of the weather. It was something very new for me.

But, it wasn't until we began to repair the roof on our house the it began to sink in on me that things do fall out of the sky...very scary and dangerous thing. It is simple. What goes up does come down.

And so it was that we found a slug from a 38 handgun lodged in the roof of our house. I could only think "ouch"! Wouldn't that really hurt if it hit you on the way down even if the blunt side of the slug came first?

I began to wonder...are those bullets that people fire into the air when they celebrate lethal? Here is what I found:
[This information came from an ] article from the Los Angeles Times about the problem of falling bullets in L.A. around New Year’s and the Fourth of July. According to the article, doctors at King/Drew Medical Center, a major L.A. trauma center, published a report in a medical journal (Journal of Trauma, December 1994) saying that between 1985 and 1992 they treated 118 people for falling bullet injuries around New Year’s Eve or the Fourth of July. Thirty-eight of the victims died.
I don't know why I thought about this today...maybe our country looking a hornets nest in the eye left me feeling that maybe the sky will fall...maybe. And those folks in the middle east do fire bullets in the air to celebrate a lot.

What is on your mind today?


Saturday, January 4, 2020

Making it Up!

See the deal is I am 78 years old...I say that a lot because wrapping my mind around the reality of being a little bit old is just not happening. There you have it.

My husband was talking about a study he had read about on how people react to their age. It was a long study of a small group of people that are all dead now. Everyone of those people were content to let go but worried about their children being sad..all but one.

That one man that  I could relate to was not ready to die at 95 because he had stuff to do! He was a creative person that still had not lost the desire and will to create. I liked that a lot.

I suppose living a very long life can be boring in some ways. How many times do you get up in the morning and repeat the same routine day after day and finally think ENOUGH! I understand.

Still, if there is anything we can do to get us over the hump, I am very interested...not just for myself but for you too. That is where Kathy Gottberg comes in. She and her husband are very conscious of what there 365 days a year in our life is like and write a blog called Smart Living 365. Today they were launching a new VLOG on YouTube that captured my attention. The subject was the new year and what we can do to make 2020 a good year for you and me.

The first section was about making it up. Kathy pointed out that we get to make our life up each and every day. We get to decide what our attitudes will be. Life will, in fact, turn out the way you predict it will. I have always believed that in our lives it is not what happens but how you respond to that "what".

We also get to decide what to do each day...escaping the routine and even the boredom. Think about it. What if you just went to the library instead of sitting down at your computer and maybe even stopped in to a coffee house and had a a table and talked to other people. Life is interesting is you take a look around.

Making it up was only the beginning. And there was so much more. I really don't want to tell it all. Please go over and will not regret it. After all, if we do not embrace change and challenges, our ship is sunk. 

Thank you Kathy.

What kind of a day did you create for yourself today?


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