Whenever - Whatever - Wherever

© 2018 P. Arthur Stuart
pastuart@pastuart.com
Updated -- September 5, 2021

As I started this "Whenever – Whatever – Wherever" Blog, I will not use personal examples of others, unless I know the person, I'm referring to won't recognize I'm talking about them; or it is a positive example, one they're likely to be proud of. Starting without getting into specifics, I had my share, and maybe some that should have been given to others, of problems with: the government, non-criminal type; marital and relationships; job and bosses; and a myriad of other typical ones—like everyone else.

Throughout this page, for the sake of understanding, let's start by establishing a common point of view. When I use the following terms, this is what I mean:
  • Everyone or Nobody means 1 to 5 in a million. My definition. Example -- Nobody wants the earth to explode and kill everyone, yet there are probably some out there that would think this is a great idea.
  • Large Number or Many: means 25 or more in a hundred. My definition.
  • Majority: means more than half.
  • A few: Less than ten percent. My definition.
  • Note: I was going to name this blog, My Dailies, but I knew I would never make an entry every day, so I thought perhaps, Weeklies, that also failed. I just didn't want to commit myself to, a sort of, rigid schedule. Okay, daily and weekly were out, that leaves monthly and beyond. I realized at this point that my thoughts would most likely be sporadic at best. So, I opted for, Whenever, because this is a pretty open period. The major difference between this and my Currents, which aren't flowing well, is that, this is about life, whereas, currents are about events.


    More On, "We Believe What We Want To Believe!"
    August 22, 2021
    Before reading this, please read We believe what we want to believe!

    Over the past several months, now that socializing is happening once again, I have come to a personal conclusion: people believe what they want to believe. In the vast majority of cases, it just doesn’t matter. I’ve ask people, “When is the Sun closest to the Earth?” Nearly all said during our summer, of course I’m speaking of people that live in America. The fact is we’re nearer the Sun sometime in January. The astronomical and science communities aside, it really doesn’t matter. Knowing when the Sun is closer doesn’t affect my life and I’ll probably never have a need for knowing it; it’s just trivia.
    Before getting into my discussion, I want to state, I won’t be debating or using religion. You can believe what you want, only don’t tell me what to believe. FYI: there are roughly 4,200 known religions worldwide.
    Also, I consider myself a true political independent. In fact, it pisses me off that people have created an Independent Party. If there is more than one person, it’s no longer independent, i.e., to be an independent there is no affiliation with or loyalty to an organization or political party. I may not do the greatest job; however, I do attempt to find out all I can about candidates and issues before I vote. Generally, I look for a candidate that most aligns with my values. In truth, I’m really a novice when it comes to politics. It’s only in the last few years that I took a real interest.
    From the movie “A Few Good Men,” Jack Nicholson’s statement, “You can’t handle the truth,” is so apropos in today’s world. The real question is, “What is the truth?” A movie that impressed me many, many years ago was, “Rashomon.” It was about the death of a samurai from the perspective of the three people involved. Each one gave their own version, which made them the hero, sort of. The movie ends with a forth witness not involved telling what really happened. I have recently watched a YouTube on the subject of the Rashomon Effect. It’s quiet interesting: How do you know what's true? by Sheila Marie Orfano - YouTube
    Months before the 2020 presidential election, proponents of Covid 19 being a hoax professed that a person that died in a vehicle accident would be classed as dying of Covid 19. They would say that the doctor and hospital would be paid a substantial sum by the government. Question: Would Trump and his regime allow this; I think not? I did some investigating and found that falsifying a death certificate was a felony and may include imprisonment. Furthermore, no one gets paid to fill out a death certificate. Yes, hospitals get paid, as do doctors, for treating Covid 19: the amount varies with the extent of care. If hospitals wanted to fake treatment to make money there are some treatments that cost up to one and a half million dollars. Fake one or two and it would likely be worth maybe fifty to a hundred Covid 19 cases. One more point, the people that pay are the insurance companies and Medicare, and both require validation, which includes testing. These payers are reluctant to pay in general and demand substantial proof-of-treatment and it’s need.
    Whether or not you agree with it, during the Trump administration, children were separated from the parents of illegal aliens. When this topic came up one individual said they were only taken from parents that couldn’t prove the children were theirs; they didn’t have birth certificates with them. I said it’s a good thing I wasn’t stopped because I couldn’t prove my kids were my kids when I travelled. And furthermore, a birth certificate isn’t really proof of who you or your children are. To which he said they have footprints—not true. I’ve never seen a birth certificate with foot or fingerprints on them. The real point is he fabricated this view to justify what was done. In everything I heard, read, or seen, regarding this subject, the mention of birth certificate or other means of proof was never raised or reported.
    While I was nursing my evening wine at my local hangout, someone said that Kamala Harris had admitted to being a prostitute because she wanted it to get out before it would hurt hers and Biden’s chances at winning the election. I ask her, “Did you actually hear her say that?” She told me yes. I asked could you show me the video. She said it was buried deep because “The Democrats” didn’t want everyone to know, which contradicts her statement that "Kamala did it to get it out." I sighed and let it go. To begin, Kamala is not a stupid woman, whether or not you like her. She would never make a confession of being a prostitute. And Biden would have drop her, so to speak, like a hot potato, if she made such a statement. Lastly, Trump and all his staff would have jumped on it like the proverbial bandwagon. If true it would have certainly won him the election. In her early years she dated the ex-mayor of San Francisco, an older man, for which she was called a whore. There is no record of her ever being an escort, which it was also expressed and of course if you’re an escort, you have to be a whore or gigolo.
    Let me give you a less volatile topic, although some people would go hyper. Some time back, I read a small piece, on my Facebook page, that some research had shown that bras caused breast cancer. First off, I don’t believe most of the stuff on Facebook. Nevertheless, I was intrigued and decided to research it for possible inclusion in a book I was writing. I found that the theory was not well substantiated and that there were many factors that could also be contributors. However, while I was doing the research, there was a large contingent that supported going braless for various reasons, like the breast became less droopy and didn’t sweat as much. Anyway, when I mention that there were many advocates that women should go braless, one woman said, “If I went braless my boobs would hang down to my belly.” Maybe she’s right; I really don’t know. My point is simple, she believed what she wanted to believe. Personally, when it comes to one's health, I think you should do research. Oh, I didn’t say more. If this item intrigues you, check out To Bra or Not To Bra; you may or may not agree but one never knows?
    Another excellent example of this behavior occurred a short time before the 2020 presidential election. I don’t remember how the conversation arose about Clinton and Monica. My friend, a female, said, “Clinton was abusive and took advantage of the girl. I asked, “What you are saying is that Clinton was responsible and the blame.” She agreed and said it wasn’t the woman’s fault. I asked, “Who’s responsible when Trump stated that he grab, women’s genitalia?” Without losing a beat she stated it was the women’s fault because they asked for it.” She was serious. The point is she would likely have reversed her view had her political alignment been the other way.
    Over the years, too many to count, I have found that this form of behavior is ubiquitous. While I was writing this piece, I have found that psychologist call this form of behavior “Cognitive Dissonance.” Essentially, it states that a person when faced with information that contradicts their beliefs, will usually disregard it, or if they believe it, will rationalize it away or will use another’s similar bad behavior to justify it, the 'others' will usually be someone they are opposed to; in politics is the other party. Some people, a rare few, will sometimes ask “what if it’s true?” and then research it. If you’re interested in learning more about “Cognitive Dissonance,” just YouTube the topic.

    We believe what we want to believe!
    May 2021

    Before I get into this discussion, I know and hope you know, “That everything on the internet, in books, on TV, and media in general is not always accurate or truthful.”

    I was discussing politics, in a truly friendly way, with a man I respect for his ability to talk about controversial topics without getting upset, like so many people do. The more I talked with him, I could detect that his biases overcame his objectivity. That is, he apparently accepted information, I have no idea where he gets it, that fit his beliefs. Let me give you examples of what he told me and when I checked I found it not to be accurate and how he viewed the situation.
    To start with my colleague doesn’t like Joe Biden. He stated that Joe Biden was a racist because he was against bussing, and a crook. I’m not a racist, yet I was against bussing. I didn’t believe it was the solution. I felt that more resources had to be put into schools in poverty areas and more family assistance provided. Furthermore, he said Joe Biden got a Ukraine prosecutor fired because the prosecutor was investigating Biden’s son. My research indicates that, Biden and a coalition of at least three other countries push for the prosecutor to be fired because he wasn’t doing anything to end government corruption. In essence, if the US was going to give the Ukraine government one billion dollars, we wanted it to go into helping the country and not the politicians’ pockets. At the time Hunter Biden was not under any investigation and has never been under Ukraine investigation. The company he was with, as well as other companies, were under investigation. What I’ve read, various papers, indicated that investigation of Joe Biden, stated there is no evidence of wrongdoing. I know, that doesn’t mean he’s innocent.
    In addition, he told me that Biden had gained his money dishonestly, although he didn’t specify how. My research indicates that he had a lucrative book deal, worth over eight million and at an average of one-hundred-thousand dollar per speaking engagement since leaving the white house are the sources of his wealth. All his tax papers are available and have been released.
    Staying with Biden, he also accused him of nepotism because of the job Hunter Biden got with a Ukraine oil company. While I believe that the primary reason Hunter was hired was due to his father being Vice President. However, there is no indication that Joe Biden solicited in any way to get his son hired. What I read so far is that the CEO offered Hunter the job; no doubt in my mind that it was because his father was Vice President. I don’t know much about Hunter and his qualifications. In general, most people would say nepotism is always wrong; I wonder, is it? For example, if your car needs repairs and someone in your family is a mechanic, who do you take the car to? I could give you hundreds, perhaps thousands of similar examples that people would have no problem with. So, under certain situation, nepotism is acceptable. For me, nepotism is wrong when a person is employed by a company, they don’t own, or in a government position and they use there influence to get someone hired when other more qualified people are available. Nevertheless, to accuse someone of nepotism is to label them negatively. What I have observed, subjectively, is that people that don’t like someone, affix a negative label on them, whether it true or not.
    Again, with Biden. He said he doesn’t think Biden is cognitive. Biden is, I think, is seventy-seven and I’m eighty-three. While Biden isn’t quite the orator that Clint, Obama, Reagan, and JFK were, he manages to say what needs to be said. Yes, he stumbles occasionally, I do the same thing; does that make me less cognitive? Good, bad, or otherwise, since I turned seventy-seven, I’ve written six complete books and have eight more in various stages. I’ve been paid a small amount, and I do mean small or rather minuscule, royalties and have not receive positive or negative responses. I maintain this website and solve math problems. My point is I believe I’m cognitive, although I may forget a word or two occasionally.
    When we talked about Hillary Clinton’s emails, he said she had destroyed, literally destroyed, her equipment to cover up evidence. When I check this out, the FBI reported that when Mrs. Clinton changed equipment, she had the old unit destroyed. When I upgrade my phone, I don’t quite go to that extreme, but I do my best to wipe it clean of personal information and my data; after transferring what I want. I suspect most people do the same. The report didn’t indicate whether she transferred, which I expect she did, data stored on the old device. The point is she didn’t have the equipment destroyed to hide evidence. And the equipment they’re talking about occurred before the email investigation started. In addition, a good technician can recover data we think was erased, so if you have secret and top-secret material, destroying equipment when no longer needed isn’t such a bad idea.
    And yet another. I don’t remember how we mentioned Dr. Fauci but he said he didn’t trust him because he once said masks are not needed. I checked and it was true. Dr. Fauci did say that but when you take things out of context it’s false by omission. An example: one of the republican advertisement show Joe Biden stating the following, “I’m going to raise taxes.” The advertisement implied taxes would go up for everyone. Biden did say that but what was missing was, “for everyone making over four-hundred-thousand dollars.” The same is true for Fauci’s mask statement. At the time it was believed not necessary for various factors, like the rate of spread was low at the time and masks were needed for first responders that were dealing with Covid patients. I don’t know all the details and analysis that went into recommendation. I believe in science and as data is accumulated things change. Things constantly change. The covid vaccine appears to be having a profound positive effect.
    For the record, it is not my intention to promote Biden, Fauci, or Clinton, they were simple a topic of discussion that fostered this item, but rather to show how easy it is to accept what we want to be, that which supports our view. My point is that we, you and I, have a choice, that is, to believe what supports us or to seek the true, which may in fact support what we believe.
    Let me end this rambling with, I believe that every president since I started voting, except for two, were good men and wanted what was best for our country. That does not mean they were right; it means that they did what they believed was best for the country. Whether they were good or bad remains to be seen.

    Socialism versus Capitalism versus Social Programs
    September 20, 2020

    Again, for the sake of understanding, let's start by establishing a common point of view. This is how I'm using the following:
  • Socialism: so·cial·ism, noun, a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. Per Google.
  • Capitalism: cap·i·tal·ism, noun, an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. Per Google.
  • Social Program: A program provided by the government, such as public grade and high schools, police and fire, military, and other programs deemed for the common good. My definition.

  • To start: I believe NOBODY, that is, American citizens, wants socialism as a form of government and EVERYONE wants capitalism within a democracy form of government.
    What many people want are social programs like higher education, which includes, specialty schools, such as, medical or dental tech, building trades, cosmetology, . . ., and health care. None of the aforementioned programs would be a direct benefit to me, I'm past the age where advanced training would be useful for me and I have health care, which I paid for and earned. However, I'm for these programs. I see them as an investment in our society and future, albeit not long for me.
    First lets discuss higher education. Studies have shown that college and specialty school graduates earn more and they pay more taxes. Furthermore, people that make more spend more, which means more work for others. I think it's a win-win. Another benefit is if people are working they don't need to commit crimes to survive. Wouldn't it be better to train people rather than having to put them in jail, which cost more than it would to educate them; think about that. Recently a university study revealed that there is a correlation between education and violent crime, the better educated are markedly less like a person to commit a violent crime.
    How about health care. I think I can safely say that healthy people can work, and sick people can't and shouldn't work; they frequently present a hazard to others. In addition, sick people are a burden to society if they don't have insurance. I'm sorry, but a society that says, so what, is truly lacking in humanity. Whether one likes it or not, these people cost the taxpayer money. Again, the money invested, and I do mean invested, in keeping our society healthy has payback, the same as advanced education does. Healthy people work, pay taxes, spend more, which benefits all of us.
    Just a few of the benefits from the above programs:
  • They pay more taxes.
  • They spend more, which requires more service and work. And it leads to more jobs and more taxes.
  • Less likely to commit crimes.
  • They're not a burden on society.

  • Addendum: Recently, I was watching a news program where a reporter asked a group of farmers about what Trump had done for them; they were diehard republicans and they were strongly anti-socialists. It struck me as funny when they said that Trump supported their subsidies. What strikes me funny is how if a social program that benefit someone, like farmer subsidies, is okay; good socialism. However, if the government helps people from dying, it's bad socialism. Makes me wonder? Oh, and the subsidies indirectly pay for the farmers' healthcare.

    Another Addendum: A while back a topic of discussion was pro-life. A Jesuit Catholic priest stated, “Pro-life is more than just about anti-abortion. View Father James Martin's YouTube video. It’s about keeping people alive and supporting healthcare.” I personally would add, “You can't claim you're pro-life if you don't care about the quality of the air people breathe or the water they drink, which by the way includes all of us.”

    Another Perspective On Colin Kaepernick Taking A Knee.
    September 15, 2020

    First, I want to state that I believe I'm a good person, that is I've worked hard, obey the law, care about people, care about the environment, and support various organizations that want to improve life. I believe that everyone should have equal opportunity in all areas and get equal treatment under the law. I also believe there is considerable police (and political) brutality, coercion, and bullying. For the most part, police are good, we just need to get rid of the so called, bad apples. I would also agree that there is substantial race, religion, and sexual bias. It is not my intention to defend any form of bias.
    I spent 22 years in the service. I was one of the lucky ones that came home. My risk was small because my duty was aboard ships. The wars being fought during my service were on land.
    I'm going to make two statements I think most would agree with.
  • One: "Lawful" peaceful protesting is the right of the people and is a good thing.
  • Two: Violent and destructive protesting is wrong and against the law.
  • If you don't agree you should stop here and exit this page.
    Some protesting actually fits between the two. For example, peaceful protestors blocking traffic on a highway, while not violent, it is disruptive to others and may in fact cause anger and/or harm, not to say it’s also against the law. They may stop a pregnant woman on the way to a hospital, an ambulance with a heart attack patient, someone on their way to a job interview, the list is endless. And as stated, it is against the law. I know it can be argued that we need to make people aware. Inconsiderate protesting isn't effective, for what I think are obvious reasons and likely leads to division rather than unity. Enough said.
    I would ask you, “If a person slaps or insults you and then shouts at you that you should do something in support of their cause.” How would you really respond. Even if it were right, would you want to do it. Like blocking the highway, I'm attempting to make a point there are many ways to do things, some better than others. If you want people to support you, don't start by offending them and then expect them to. My point is that there are good ways and bad ways, even if no laws are being broken.
    On several shows there was a clear support for Colin Kaepernick's taking a knee to protest the racism and police brutality which is so prevalent throughout our country. I agree it needs to be stopped. What the supporters fail to recognize is our “Flag” represents the values of what this country was founded on, not the way it is. Values that all men and women are created equal, except biologically between men and women, which is a good thing. I'm sorry to admit I was a chauvinistic pig, until my daughter was born and then my view changed. My values over the years, many years, have changed and I want to believe for the better.
    Like Michael Douglas states in the movie “The American President,” “Show me the man that would defend the rights of a person, that which he would spend a lifetime opposing. That's what America is about.” Or words to that effect. I would defend Kaepernick's right to take a knee in protest during the national anthem. Yet, I find it abhorrent because I served to protect, “Our Country's Values,” namely those in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, not the injustices that abound throughout our land. Many a person has died to protect what our country stands for. The flag is a symbol of those values. What all the supporters of Kaepernick taking a knee, fail to understand, is that he slapped those that sacrificed their lives, their families, and those of us that served our country and the values we believe in, in the face.
    Furthermore and unfortunately, what he did had an overall negative effect; we're still talking about taking a knee and his right to do so, not what he was protesting. Everyone in the military fraternal organization I belong to resented it. None disagree that it was his right to do it or what he was protesting. They just felt, he slapped us in the face. I don't know if this is true but I've been informed the NFL ratings went down. What he did was something, right or wrong, that divided people rather than unifying us. If he wanted to do something, he should have met with teammates, formed an organization, and put his money where his mouth is. Recently NBA players, and other sports figures, walked out, no one was offended and they made their point. Again, these wealthy athletes should put up or shut up. Just protesting is not enough, they need to get out there and do something. I honor those athletes and celebrities that take a stand and get involve. To quote the old cliché, “Action speaks louder than words.”

    You Can't Handle the Truth!
    June 29, 2020

    Over the years, I have found that people don't want to know they're wrong—regardless if it's important or it just doesn't matter. A quick example: I told a friend I had read, in a naval engineering text, about a principle related to steam turbine blades. He told me I must have read it wrong and that it was impossible. When I got home, I looked it up again, found I read it correctly. I'm not saying everything we read is correct; in fact, it scares me just how much is wrong, inaccurate, and pure BS. Anyway, it's not about the correctness of what was written but rather that it was written in a well-respected naval text. I told my friend that I rechecked and if he wanted to read it for himself, I would show it to him, the next time he came; I added, all he had to do was ask. He said, 'I'd like that. Okay.' He never asked. I have repeated this many times since, of course with different subject matter, and no one has ever taken me up on it.
    With today's technology, many opposing views can be resolved quickly with smart phones. Now, when I have an opposing view and it can't be resolved on the spot, I will research it. If I'm wrong, I will go back, apologize, and tell the person they're right. If I'm right, I just keep it to myself. What I'm saying is, I want to know what's right, not who's right. One small note, I'm referring to things that are not opinions or faith based, like politics and religion; I'm referring to things that have a definitive answer.

    Leo Tolstoy said it best:

    I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious if it be such that as it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they had proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into their lives.
    Tolstoy

    Things that make me want to, “&GB#&*!@+&%$#.”
    June 29, 2020

    Parents know what's best for their children:

    First, I want to distinguish between “Want and Know.” Wanting is desiring that your child achieves everything they are capable of and have a successful and happy life. Knowing is the idea that you know what will make them happy, successful, and healthy; of course, I'm assuming one wants their child to be happy, successful, and healthy. I've always wanted what was best for my children, and what that was I haven't a clue. That's not the same as knowing. I made plenty of mistakes thinking I knew what was best. It may not seem like I was wrong, when I pressured my kids to strive for college acceptance. I've learned that not all kids a college bound, nor do they want to go. Yes, a parent should encourage their child to do their absolute best and give the support they need. I'm saying, had I realized one of my kids had no desire to go to college, which to me was unfortunate, I would have supported what he wanted. I didn't know what he wanted at the time and that was my failing; I should have talk to him.

    People that use bad examples done by others to justify something they've done or another person they support did:

    It's the kid's argument, e.g., “Timmy's mom lets him stay up later and doesn't rag on him forgetting grades, 'D's or 'F's, so why can't I stay up later and get grades like Timmy?” I would hope that this appears to you as very childish and you would think, perhaps hope, by the time a person were in their twenties, they would stop using this type of rationalizing. A crime is a crime is a crime. It doesn't matter how many people did it before, and maybe got away with it, it's still a crime. Don't try to convince me that it's okay to have been a draft dodger because others were draft dodgers. I don't care if you want to consider the individual some sort of hero, just don't tell me what he or she did was okay because someone else did it, regardless of who that someone else is. Fortunately for society, there are more people that do the right thing.

    Discussing something rational with an irrational person:

    Let me explain, while I was writing my book, I came across a Facebook post that said, “Bras cause cancer.” It intrigued me, so I did some research. Without getting into all the details, some studies indicated it was possible. In addition, there were several medical groups and organizations that professed that not wearing a bra was generally good for health in several ways. I would encourage anyone that wears a bra to do the research and speak to a doctor about the possible benefits. Most agreed that if you need to wear a bra, a good support sports bra was the thing to wear. Yes, I would agree, it’s up to the individual. Whether or not to wear a bra is not the issue I'm talking about. When I happen to say, “I had read that not wearing a bra would prevent sagging.” A woman stated, “If I hadn't worn a bra, my breasts would be down to my waist.” I dropped the subject, no use starting a discussion, that would likely turn into an argument, that no one would win. When an individual is rooted in a belief, I have found it is impossible to discuss anything with them; they ignore provable facts, reasonable assertions, logic, and they will use fabricated rationale, "like they'd be hanging down to my belly." I guess I'm attempting to say it's like talking to a brick wall, only the wall doesn't call you names.

    For more about the subject of wearing a bra, read, “To Bra or Not to Bra?” Page.

    To Thine Own Self Be True*
    *William Shakespeare quote.
    The following taken from Life's Rules

    I have two personal axioms, “Never lie to yourself,” and “Take responsibility for your actions.”

    Axiom One—Never lie to yourself.

    I think, in one of William Shakespeare's plays he wrote, "To thy own self be true." Regardless of who said it, it is profoundly true. I know that there are many people that lie and cheat; and they appear to become successful. These people are usually extremely egotistical or sociopathic. They are the only ones that matter—to themselves. But for most of us that really care about others, and believe that lying and cheating is wrong, then this rule should be the number one to follow.

    Axiom Two—Take responsibility for your actions.
    Note: It's been pointed out that to do this, one needs to do axiom one..

    While I was working for a school district, I co-facilitated a seminar: "The Seven Habits of Effective People." "Be Proactive" was the first habit. I have come to the conclusion that being Proactive is the basic foundation of who we are. The stronger the foundation, the stronger the structure. When faced with a situation requiring action, there are three responses: Reactive, Proactive, and In-active.

    Scenario 1: You are in a small boat and you notice that it is beginning to leak.

    Reactive: You jump overboard and start swimming to shore. You also forgot your life jacket.

    Proactive: You evaluate the leak and put your hand or something else, like a rag, over it to stop or minimize it while you see if there is anything available to make a temporary fix. You're already wearing your life jacket.

    In-active: You just sit there, while the boat is sinking, and wait to see what's going to happen.

    Scenario 2: Someone begins to yell at you.

    Reactive: You yell back as loud as you can and threaten to punch them.

    Proactive: You remain calm. Determine what the person is saying. After you have determined what the problem is you respond calmly and do what you can to abate the problem.

    In-active: You just remain how you are and look off into space, while hoping they will go away.

    In summary -- reactive people act without thinking, proactive people take time to evaluate and respond, and in-active people do nothing. If there were only two rules to follow, they would be, "Never lie to yourself” and “Take responsibility for your actions."

    Perception
    (2020)

    Along time ago I concluded that a person's perception is their reality. With that in mind, I'll start. I was at my evening watering hole, enjoying my whine, I mean wine, when I got into a friendly discussion with another patron. I was asked if I were upset with them from the last time we talked; they had gotten the impression that I was. I said, “No. I don't have any idea why you would think I was.” The impression was based on my sitting on the furthest side of the horseshoe bar and it appeared I was avoiding them. We talked a while longer and I was also informed that I gave the impression that I didn't want to talk to others. I asked why they thought that. It was pointed out that I often sat on the other side of the bar and I have my earphones in; I sit away from others because I often write, and they didn't know I wasn't listening to anything and that I just kept them on in case I got a call. We talked. I explained my typical behavior and some of my quirks.
    When I first started visiting the club, I would sit away from everyone and write. About a month after I started my daily sojourn, one of the regulars came over and asked, “Are you writing a book?”
    I didn't take it as him being sarcastic, but rather to be funny. It's typical when someone is writing and you don't know what they're writing about. Courteously, I replied, “Yes, I am.”
    Not sure I was being truthful he stated, “Really?”
    I said, “Seriously, I am. It's a love story about a guy that meets a very wealthy and powerful woman. The title is Victoria.” Nodding that he believed me, he then struck up a conversation about basic personal things, like how long have you lived here and other typical, get to know you things.
    While I was the Chief Engineer of a hospital, I was accused of being a snob. I asked the person why they thought I was; I don't consider myself a snob. I was told that when I walked past them and they said hello, I ignored them. Fortunately, it was at a group meeting; fortunate because I could explain to everyone at once, instead of one by one. I explained that, I often concentrate so deeply that I'm not aware of the world around me. I told them I'm lucky I don't walk into a wall. Then I apologized and said if I don't say hello, it's because I'm in another world, so to speak. I told them, even if I dislike someone and they say hello, I will respond. In addition, I told them, that on occasion, I'd be a long way off when I realized what was said. When I stopped, the person would be gone and that I wasn't sure it happened. So, now when I meet new people, I explain up front.

    Uno Numero
    (January 2020)

    We were discussing the topic of relationships. My belief is, “If you make the people you care about happy, then you'll be happy.” One of the participants said, “You need to look out for 'Uno Numero' first.” His view is that if you're happy, then you can make others happy. To some measure I agree. If you're depressed and want to commit suicide, it's hard to make others around you happy. In many of these situations, if the person started thinking about how they were affecting others and what they meant to them, they might just realize their importance. Kirk Douglas is a prime example. Years ago, on the Today Show, he said after he had his stroke, he wanted to die. Then he said, “I began to think of how my dying would affect the people that loved me. I was important to them and that thought lifted me up. So, I stopped thinking about myself and focused on my family. A family I knew loved me. It changed my outlook and I started to deal with my recovery.” It was a long time ago that I saw the show, so please excuse me if Kirk's wording wasn't exactly like mine; I'm paraphrasing, as best I can remember.
    I know there are times when you attempt to make someone happy and they end up screwing you. For me, and I believe for most people, that have a loving relationship, it doesn't happen often, in fact it's rare. I really cannot think of a single time, when I did something for a loved one that later on treated me in a way that made me regret caring about them. My sister, whom I'm estranged from; that has treated me badly over the years, has not caused me to regret the things I did for her. I sincerely believe, “If you make the people you care about happy, you will be happy.” Albeit, in my sister's cases, the moments were short lived. However, I'd like to reiterate, I don't regret them for a moment.

    Choice

    I'm going to start with choice. When I was noticeably young – many, many years ago, I heard this saying, "Life makes the soft heart grow hard; and it makes the hard heart grow soft." I think it has to do with what we expect and what we get.
    I'm motivated to start with choice because I've been dealing with so many people that choose to dwell on the negative, instead of being positive. We all have had bad things happen to us. And we've also had a lot of good things. I've certainly had my share, both good and bad. My worst was losing my love—after 53 plus years. I'm dealing with it in my own way, a very personal way. I won't say it doesn't still hurt, some of life is learning to live with pain. I can't change it. Nobody else needs to know. I choose to focus on things I can do, things that make my life fulfilling—for me it's writing, jogging, and a bit of whining wine in the evening.
    The fact is, life isn't fair; if it were, I'd be handsome, younger, rich, smart, and have the ability to please a woman, as would every other male. All females would be beautiful, well built, independently wealthy, and, like they are, smarter than men. But in reality, life isn't unfair either, it's what it is. So, it's our choice on how we choose to live it, and whether or not to be positive or negative.
    I'm not going to say I don't ever talk about these things; that is my losses, disappointments, and problems. Sometimes in conversations, I refer to them when I think they're apropos. Normally, I just keep them to myself. In some cases, they were things I couldn't do anything about them. Other times I was the one that was totally responsible for the outcome and they were a mixed bag. What I can say, is that I learned something from each of them. Unfortunately, many people repeat some of the things, because they expect the world to change for them; it usually doesn't.
    Here's the choice we have: To be miserable or to live contently, if not happy. I ask myself, literally, ask, "Art, what are you going to do to be happy, or at least, positive?" I've chosen to be positive; and hopefully, be happy at times. I guess I have an advantage over some of the people I've dealt with. My children appear to be concerned about my wellbeing. I can't remember when we had a serious argument. This doesn't mean we agree on everything we just don't fight over things that really matter. This helps me. I guess we have a mutual respect. I'm proud of my kids. I have two personal things in my life that undoubtably help—running, albeit slow, very slow and writing. I write about almost anything. It's like talking to someone that's totally listening, understands, and doesn't argue or disagree.

    I've just started this topic, so I need to think some more on it.


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