Saturday, July 29, 2006

Within Each Adversity

I was busy recovering from the recent scam which preoccupied me and was feeling sorry for myself. I had forgotten the quote from Napoleon Hill (at least for a while): "Within each adversity lies the seeds of an at least equal benefit." When I first read this, my reaction was ,"Yah. Right." Since then I have found that what he said is indeed true. Today I am focusing on other opportunities opened up by the dead end which faced me yesterday. Sometimes it just takes a while to get back on my feet and get moving again.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Learning to Trust Again

I was recently scammed regarding my publishing efforts. In addition to being disappointed that I had wasted my time, I also felt stupid for allowing someone to take advantage of me. Now I am more wary, at least as far as the world of books goes. I thought of all the ways people are used and how hard it is for them to get up again, feel good about themselves and learn to trust again. Sometimes I wonder how much it takes for people to decide it is just not worth it and to never trust anyone again. Fortunately I am not at that point.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

World Conflict and World Community

Our technological advances, particularly with computers and the internet, have tied us closer together. People all over the world are rubbing elbows at least cybernetically. I wondered whether this increasing closeness has something to do with the many conflicts between peoples around the world. When two people first live together, they quickly become aware of traits in each other which become quite annoying. They can leave, try to change each other to be like themselves or learn to understand and accept their differences. I wonder if we have the same options as peoples living together in the same world. Are there some options which might not lead to attempts to destroy each other but rather toward mutual acceptance?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Musings about connections

Every time I pick up the paper, I am bombarded by accounts of how we are trying to destroy each other. I think of how I learned that human intelligence is what separates us from other animals. Yet I think of how much of our creativity has gone toward improving methods of killing each other. I think of the concept of world community and wonder whether we can achieve it. I tend to be an optimistic person, but sometimes it's hard.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The importance of listening

My brother told me recently that his friend invited him over to his house. His friend's daughter had recently died and my brother didn't know what he could do or say which would help. As it happened, his friend only wanted him to listen which he did most of the day. His friend felt much better when he left. Sometimes it is just enough to be there.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Stigma turned inward

I have been writing about stigma lately in my columns, signs that others are diffferent from us and in our minds inferior. I have been suggesting that people stop to consider their own stigmas and see what they can learn from others rather than stigmatizing them. I realized that in the process, I did not take my own advice and look at stigmas I may have. As I think about it, there are several I have setting me off from at least some groups: being retired, getting older, not being in the best physical shape, being more dovish than hawkish. I am sure I could think of a bunch more, but I don't want to be too hard on myself.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Respect and Violence

I was reading about a murder recently. The purported reason was that someone looked at the murderer's girlfriend without respect. Although an extreme response in my view, I began to wonder how much of the violence in our society was related to a feeling of not being respected. If you can't gain respect, you can at least get others to fear you and keep out of your way. I started wondering if there is a way we can all respect each other and as a result decrease the level of violence in our society. I am going to have to wonder about this one for a while.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tilting at Windmills

I have felt like Sancho Panza lately while driving through the nearby town of Stafford. Although I am not required to carry any lances for Don Quixote, the signs "No wind turbines" along Route 5 make me think of the good Don and his futile attacks on windmills. The newspapers also carry fearful protests of how windmills (or turbines) will destroy civilization as we know it. Rather than focusing on how terrible they are, it seems to me it would be better to consider their contribution to lessening our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, where they should be located if not in Stafford and what other approaches might make sense. But I guess fear is a natural response to anything new.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Old Spaces

I was at another concert last night given by the Swing N Jazz Quartet. It was in one of the oldest parts of Batavia, an alley behind some of the few buildings in Batavia which did not fall to the urban renewal craze. The space now has a stage and lights. People bring their lawn chairs and sit facing the stage leaving room for the dance space used to varying degrees and by various ages depending on the type of music. There is something nostalgic about seeing thispaces used in a creative way rather than ignored or paved over for a parking lot. It gave me a sense of history and was a reminder that there was life here in past as well.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Car Touching

I was at another concert last night featuring Big Wheelie and the Hubcaps, active in the Buffalo area for many years. They played many hits from the fifties and delighted everyone with old memories. It was hard to find a place to park. I did find a spot just big enough for my car close to the park. It was on Main Street and was a little busy as I was maneuvering into the spot with my somewhat rusty parallel parking skills. In the process, my back bumper touched the license plate of the car behind me. Out of nowhere rushed the owner, concerned that his prize possesion may have been marred. It wasn't. He brushed off a spot on his bumper where he thought my car might have touched his. He did not want any of my dust on his car. Then he left in a huff and advised the owner of the car in front of him that he should check his car for damage as well. It reminded me of the relative values we all have. I was left with one thought. If he died tonight, how much would my car touching his matter?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Ray of Hope

In reading the newspaper lately, I am tempted to think the wheels are coming off the world and that it will soon grind to a halt. I was considering this on Tuesday night at Tom Wahl's restaurant in Avon, waiting for Paulson, Baker and Garvey to start playing their music. They played many of my favorite songs from years ago.

As the evening progressed, a few five year old girls started dancing, and were later joined by some young boys. By the end of the evening, serveral young couples and eighty-five year old couples were dancing with the children as well as a mother holding her infant.

It occurred to me that if we can dance together, maybe we can learn to live with each other.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

First Post

I am beginning this blog to share some of my ideas about Commonsense Wisdom. I write a biweekly column on this topic and have self published a book, Commonsense Wisdom for Everyday Life (see my web site I am currently working on another book, Commonsense Wisdom for Teens-When Chicken Soup Isn't Enough. This book is for teens struggling with serious issues. I am looking for life stories by teens with serious issues, either written by them or told to me in an interview. Let me know if you are a teen interested, or know of one who might be.