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Posts from the ‘Creative Whacks!’ Category

21
Mar

Creative Whack #16: See the Obvious

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a “Creative Whack,” those wonderful and inspiring cards by Roger Von Oech.

This particular card, See the Obvious, reminds me that seeing the obvious is easier said than done, especially if you are unable to see the most obvious due to the little-known phenomenon, Facial Blindness.

This phenomenon was recently discussed on the television program, 60 Minutes.   If you’ve never heard about Facial Blindness, you’re not alone.  Unlike Color Blindness, Facial Blindness is a rare condition in which another person’s features are completely unrecognizable to the person who suffers with the condition.  Imagine not being able to recognize your wife or husband, or your children and parents?  Every one is a stranger.  Everyone.

Seeing the 60 Minutes program got me thinking about what life would be like if EVERYONE had facial blindness?  Can you imagine meeting a family member, or best friend for a lunch date and be unable to recognize who you’re supposed to meet?

Would the world be more peaceful if we were unable to recognize our enemies?

How would we know who to hate?  Or, would we hate everyone?

I’d like to think that society would be much more pleasant because we’d look our “enemies” in the face and they’d be unrecognizable.

Now, wouldn’t that be something!

9
Feb

Creative Whack #15: Let Your Mind Wander – mostly to the left

It’s been a while since I posted a Creative Whack.  This is number 15 of the 64 marvelous cards created by Roger von Oechhttp://www.creativewhack.com/

This particular card, Let Your Mind Wander, is a very good mind-tussle for me today.  It’s timely since there are many startling and mind-bending things happening in the news lately and I have so much to say!  I have more to say than I can write here…  I’m going to try to get most of it, out.

One of the things I’ve wanted to write about is the mind-bending topic of the crazy, bordering on obscene, GOP primaries.  This whole GOP primary is a fiasco bordering on madness. Does anyone expect Newt or Romney or Santorum to be taken seriously?   If it weren’t for the fact that it’s really happening, it would be a huge joke, and a great movie. It would be like one of those “Focker” movies.  The Fockers are a focked up family who…..

Anyway…..How anyone over the age of 40 could actually vote for Newt Gingrich, after his despicable history in congress and as Speaker, is mind-numbing.

If Newt was president, wouldn’t you be afraid that he’d treat the U.S. and its allies like he treated his former wives?  Wouldn’t you be afraid that he’d bring back his proposal to send the children of people on welfare to orphanages?  Don’t laugh.  That was a Newt proposal during his dismal “Contract ‘against’ America” days. Maybe he’d try to make school-children janitors, after all.

If the inane ideas of some (not all) of the people in the GOP weren’t bad enough, their religiosity drives me crazy!   And yet, the GOP, with their heavy reliance on family values, are not even holding their collective noses when it comes to Newt.  Now that surprises me.  Unless it’s a matter of the GOP realizing that Newt can’t possibly win anyway.  Maybe the GOP just doesn’t want to play with Newt.  I don’t really think they like Mitt too much either.

But, really, to the GOP who would back Newt, I’d ask, “What about your marriage and family values? How does fig the Newt stack up with those principles?”

And now there’s Rick Santorum who, in the last three primaries, has trampled over both Newt and Mitt (Romney).  Last week Newt and Mitt were the players to beat in Florida.  Now Rick thinks that because he won Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, he’s joined the big boys….

Um, does anyone actually believe that Rick has a chance to be the GOP candidate?

Back to Newt and Mitt.… (There’s something about the iteration of those two names together…..  When I think of Newt and Mitt I think of the Little Rascal in Spanky and the Gang.)  

Newt and Mitt, they recall (for me) the days of Ozzie and Harriet, Denice the Menace cartoons, coming out of the 1960′s and segregation to be bowled over by the surprises of the seventies…. another story, the 70′s.

The Newt and Mitt Show.  The Mitt and Newt Show… No matter how you say it, it’s a lousy sounding title.  It doesn’t sell.  Neither does The Newt Show.  Or The Mitt Show.  Can’t take either seriously.  One sounds like it could be another Sid the Science Kid show with cookie commercials, and the other sounds like a story about a kitten who looses his mittens…..

With Newt and Mitt, or Rick – frightening men each one – in Washington, would Civil Rights be pushed back 50 years?  That’s what I am afraid of should either one win the presidency.

I was reading a book about the history of America yesterday.  From the Civil War, to WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, and all through the struggle for Civil Rights in this country.

And, I am reminded anew of the hard-fought battles for Civil Rights and equality for all.   And, not only did I realize that the lead-up into the Great Depression mirrors where we are today in our Great Rescission, but I realized that the GLBT is fighting just as hard for equality today as blacks (and women and other minorities), mostly blacks, fought for their rights.  It’s the same type of battle.  And the economy issues are the same issues today as the Great Depression.  There are many, many similarities!  Hoover’s failed state until FDRs New Deal… the rich v. poor, the banks, and on and on the similarities between today and the Great Depression continue!

The Hitler / Stalin Pact. Japan.  How this country treated Japanese American’s after Pearl Harbor is such a terrible blight, such a huge sore that festered until the US finally apologized, in 1988, I believe.  Can you imagine that happening now?  No?  I can.  You know why?  The people – not the government so much – the people of this country who are filled with hate and rage against “Muslim” or “Islam” that such isolation could happen all over again, like it did to the Japanese in this country.   I hate to think that… but, if we don’t remember our history, we’re bound to repeat it.

I pray we never forget the horrors that we put the innocent American Japanese through. I pray we continue to teach the bitter and ugly history of slavery.  I hope we continue to teach about what led to the murder of 6 millions, mostly Jewish, people. I hope we teach our children what hate does to people, to countries, and to us all.

Remember FDR?  He was a Democrat.  He followed Hoover who ran this country into the Great Depression.  FDR and the New Deal (and the lead up to WWII) got this country going again.  Anyway, FDR promised us that we need to hold sacred four freedoms:

The freedom of speech and expression.

The freedom of worship.

The freedom from want, and

The freedom from fear.

FDR's 4 Freedoms, painted by Norman Rockwell

FDR, of course, and his congress were not perfect.  Far from it.  But, FDR understood oppression.  He understood the need for equality.  FDR knew about fear when he consoled the American people by saying:  “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”

Whereas the Bush administration badly wanted an America who stood afraid so he could better control it, FDR wanted to warn AGAINST fear when he said, on January 6, 1941, in his speech that is now known as “The Four Freedoms” speech, the following:

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want — which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor– anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

To that new order we oppose the greater conception — the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.

So, yes.  We must remember history.  We must believe in the bottom of our hearts that all men and women are created equal.  We MUST put religion back into the living rooms of our homes and in our churches or temples, where it rightfully belongs.  We MUST not care if a man loves another man, or a woman another woman, or if a man born a man but meant to be a woman, becomes a woman not by choice, but by necessity.  It is not our business.  Be happy for the men and women who marry each other.  There is no greater thing than the ability to be happy for someone else’s happiness.

There are mean and unhappy people in this world who wear their hate like a duck wears its feathers.  These people let happiness and thoughts of equality drop off of them like water on a ducks back. The trick is to deny them an audience – let them swim in a pond of their own making.  Ignore those who would wish ill on another person.

Our sanity depends on it.

February is Black History month, which reminds me of the enormous struggle, years in the making, that raged and raged, and to a large degree, still must rage.

However….. can it be there is light in the distance?

A wonderful and amazing and beautiful thing happened just the other day with regards to Civil Rights:  California’s Proposition 8′s ban on same-sex marriage was declared unconstitutional!  Which of course it is.

Other states, we hope, will follow suit and realize that equal treatment for all, means equal treatment for all.

Equal means just that.  Equality doesn’t measure sexual persuasion or gender into its equation.

The US Constitution never mentions the bedroom or the bed, now does it?  Does the Constitution mention sex at all?  Nope.

So, I would tell Mr. or Mrs. Jane and John Doe in Idaho who rails against abortion, same-sex marriage, and all GLTB issues —>  Keep your nose out of other people’s bedrooms, keep your hands off my female body, let me chose the contraception I alone want to use, and for Gods sake stay out of the marriage argument!

The only marriage argument any one person should have needs to pertain to their own marriage.  How dare anyone try to relegate my marriage?  I don’t think Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Doe would like to be told who they can or cannot marry.  Equal means equal.  It doesn’t mean equal for everyone but GLBT and women!

Oh, and while we’re at it, can we please remember to treat Muslims with the same respect we give our Christian brothers and sisters?  That would be wonderful.

And so, as I think about this 15th Creative Whack: Let Your Mind Wander, I think, well, this is a good exercise for opening the mind to the acceptance of other ideals or values that are different from our own.

For instance, I just read that Bill O’Reilly, the loud and wild man on Fox News who I am loath to listen to, recently stood up for Ellen DeGeneres .  Yes, he is on record, saying that to fire Ellen or to treat her differently because of her sexuality is akin to McCarthyism.  My, my, my!  Who would have thunk that O’Reilly would have such a heart?

I heart Bill O’Reilly!!!  Well, today anyway.

I think, therefore, we all can have new thoughts, just like Bill O’Reilly did!  If we use creative associations that trigger thoughts and beliefs that are potentially loving and kinder towards groups that have historically been targets of hate, it’s a great start!  After all, no one wants to continue to see children bullied to death or to suicide due to their sexual identity, right?

So, think of the children. Think of poor Robert Champion who was “hazed” to death by FAMU students.  Think of humanity…… Think of the Ugandan government who believes so strongly in Western religion they tried to pass a law to give homosexuals who are “caught” either a life sentence in jail, or the death sentence.  (Their legislation is “dead” but is still being “reviewed” by the government as of today.)

To start with, this creative whack uses the example of Work and goes on to compare it to play.  You’d think that work and play would be opposite, right?  Not true.  To be creative and make work meaningful, there are strong elements of “play” (though some would disagree).

Anyway, the trick here is to keep our thoughts positive and kind….

So, when we say:

Marriage, let’s associate it with Anyone.

When we say: Equal, let’s say Same Sex

When we say: Homosexual, say Love;

Equality: Everyone;

Children: Protection;

Reproduction: Women’s rights;

Differences: Blessings;

Religion: To each their own.

Respect: Women’s bodies; laws; rights of others; differences…….

And on and on we go!

4
Jan

Creative Whack #14: Look to the Past (JFK style)

So, last night Iowa reminded us all that it’s an election year.

I believe that 2012, if history repeats itself, will bode well for the economy and for jobs.  Optimism has flourished during Presidential election cycles over the years.  Optimism is my cry for 2012.

Hope in 2012 is on the collective minds of the American people who are, at this moment, suffering.  We have to hope, the opposite of hope is not an option.

To the homeless and the thousands of people who are hungry, jobless and without unemployment benefits (while fat-cat politicians wine and dine heavy-hitting money-makers to pay for another opponent-smearing TV ad), I’d soberly say, we need to hope, but we can’t hang our hats on that alone.

We can’t trust only in God without taking action ourselves.  God is good, yes, but He can’t pay the rent – unless someone pays us to preach.

When I hear people in desperate situations say, “It’s in God’s hands,” while the kids are hungry, it drives me nuts.  When in the world did that become a tactic for survival?

Massive homelessness and hunger was something I never believed could occur in the United States – that was when I was younger and more naive.

Still, I would never depend on God to fix the problems we face as a nation.   But, that’s a real problem today in Presidential elections – many people in this country want to elect a God, not a smart, honest and fair person to run the country.

God has nothing to do with the work of a politician or US President.

Should it matter that a President goes to church or temple? NO!

Should we care how often they pray?   NO, no, a thousand times NO!!!

I don’t much like Presidential politics.  I especially don’t like politics when religion is in the mix.

But, I really don’t like the nasty attacks and the lamb-to-slaughter advertising we see these days.

You’d think politicians would want to advertise the good work they’ve done in office, not just trash the opponent. But, constant trash-talk?  Well, that’s the name of the game now.  The candidates must now suck-up to royal Got-Rock-Backers to pay for ads that slime the opponent.

Created by Roger von Oech

The issue of campaign finance and slimy ads is a non partisan beef of mine, by the way.  Democrats play this game, too, although generally to a lesser degree.

I tend to get cynical around Presidential election years.  I despise the television ads and don’t trust most politicians.

I don’t want to believe that the Make-the-Other-Guy-A-Slime-Ball game even exists.  But it does – the game has been years in the making, too.

Yeap.  The game must be played.  When a candidate today doesn’t play the game and get backed by a Mr. or Mrs. Got-Rocks with a slimy agenda, say bye-bye to that candidate.

The winner of an election, it seems to me, goes to whomever can out-spend and out-slime the other guy.

Game-winners are those able to pay clever writers who craft wild stories out of whole-cloth.

Remember a time when “Swift-Boating” ads and tactics didnt‘t win elections?   I can’t.

“Swift-boating,” though not in Webster’s dictionary – is defined, depending on how you look at it, as either whistle-blowing on a bad-guy, or re-writing the history of a good guy.

Regardless, it is now an election-year strategy that is bought and paid for by the American people, in more ways than one. Blood sport, really.  Power is at stake.

Anyway, getting back to what I intended to write about: Looking to the past.  Here is my short look-back at the words of John F. Kennedy (JFK):

The voters selected us, in short, because they had confidence in our judgement and our ability to exercise that judgement from a position where we could determine what were their own best interest, as a part of the nation’s interest.  From JFK’s Profiles in Courage, 1956.

The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word “crisis”. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger — but recognize the opportunity.  1959 Speech

The New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises — it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them.  Acceptance Speech as the Democratic presidential nominee

If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.” 1960 speech in New York.

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility — I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.  And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

And finally, this….

For of those to whom much is given, much is required. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each of us—recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state—our success or failure, in whatever office we hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions:

  • First, were we truly men of courage—with the courage to stand up to one’s enemies—and the courage to stand up, when necessary, to one’s associates—the courage to resist public pressure, as well as private greed?
  • Secondly, were we truly men of judgment—with perceptive judgment of the future as well as the past—of our mistakes as well as the mistakes of others—with enough wisdom to know what we did not know and enough candor to admit it?
  • Third, were we truly men of integrity—men who never ran out on either the principles in which we believed or the men who believed in us—men whom neither financial gain nor political ambition could ever divert from the fulfillment of our sacred trust?
  • Finally, were we truly men of dedication—with an honor mortgaged to no single individual or group, and comprised of no private obligation or aim, but devoted solely to serving the public good and the national interest?

Courage—judgment—integrity—dedication—these are the historic qualities … which, with God’s help … will characterize our Government’s conduct in the 4 stormy years that lie ahead.  1961 speech.

“Courage—judgment—integrity—dedication,” said JFK, are the qualities that should define us.   I believe our current President is the embodiment of these qualities.

I believe Obama is both the hope and the keeper of faith that the American People need now.

And that’s my look to the past and to the future.

26
Dec

Creative Whack # 13: Look to Nature

Maybe it’s a result of being on vacation, but I’ve had to drag myself from off the couch to open my laptop.  I’m being very lazy.  But, it’s rather nice. It’s plenty nice!

I’m not even keeping track of the news this week…. My brother gets the New York Times every day.  I opened it only once this week.

I needed a break from all the bad news anyway.

Tonight we were watching old re-runs of 60 Minutes, and after about an hour, or so of watching, I got very depressed.  It was painful to be reminded of how horrible the economy is; how gloomy the job-market has looked – though it’s getting better.   But hearing all the sad stories of people without any money, no jobs, being foreclosed on…..  Although it is always upsetting to hear these heartbreaking stories, it was especially very upsetting tonight.

Even though I am not worried about finding work, it’s very unnerving to hear the stories of people who have been laid-off for over a year and still have no work.  And I actually RESIGNED from a job!

I thought for a moment tonight: Am I nuts?  And I answered myself: Well yes, just a little!

Seriously, I’m not really nuts.  And it was not nutty to resign from the horrible job I had!  Truly, that job would send me to the grave earlier than necessary had I stayed one day longer.  Either that, or I fought the system via the EEOC.  I really didn’t want to do that.

I couldn’t pretend to be happy working there anymore.  Just because it’s a job, is not enough for me I can’t just have a “job” for the sake of a job.  Why should I spend my working hours being miserable, working with people who are miserable – and with people who are just miserable period?  It felt dishonest and it felt like I was purposely hurting myself.

A lot of people hate work.  I want to love my work.  I have always loved my work, and I still do.  I was allowing the environment – the negative and demeaning environment – to cause me to hate my work, and to not want to give my best.  I began to resent giving them my best work, when I realized that I knew I had to get out of there.

Too many people stay at a job because they think they have no choice but to stay.  I understand that, but I cannot do it.  It goes against my nature.  And, if I don’t care about my well-being, who will?

So, that leads me to Creative Whack 13, Look to Nature.  These Creative Whacks, you may recall, were

Designed by Roger von Oech

created by Roger von Oech, who has a few wonderful products that stimulate creative thinking.  I love his Creative Whack Pack and plan to discuss all 64 of them here, eventually.

So, what does look to nature mean?  To me, it means many things.  Most importantly it means, not denying or defying your own nature and instincts.

“Let nature by your guide,” is the first sentence on the card.  It’s taken me a while, but I understand now that I must follow my instincts.  When I don’t follow my instincts I get into trouble.

It’s not easy to allow nature or intuition be the guide.  I certainly don’t always make the right decisions or take the right road, that’s for sure.  And, I can be impulsive.  I always work on that.

My decision to leave a job that was making me so unhappy was something I had to do despite all the risks. I had to ask myself if I was being impulsive.  I truly can say: No, I was not. I’ve spent the last four and a half years being miserable – too long.

What I need help with is strength.  Staying strong.  Staying the course without undermining my success with fear of the unknown; or maybe, fear of success?

In order for nature to help, it’s important to clarify what the problem is.

I do need to think with a bit more clarity about what problem I need to solve.   I’m pretty sure it’s going to be strength to get me to my next job – my next big thing.

The roots of trees say strength to me.  I love trees, especially the big, old ones

The root systems that support the great Cypress trees and support all the things that live within the branches of the tree:  The birds.  The bird nests.  The leaves.  The squirrels that make the tree home.  The animals and the insects that trust the tree.  That is a good model  for me.

Trust.

Now, there’s something I need…..

14
Dec

and that door slammed so good

It was a marvelous day!

I thought I would wake up with some regret at resigning yesterday from my “real” job.  I didn’t!   Not a one.

Well, the paycheck…. ?   Nope.    Not even that has me worried.

I did the absolute right thing by resigning.  The moment I decided to stand up and walk out was not something I even thought about doing before it happened.  It was as if my entire being, all of my senses, converged in that moment and empowered me with a certainty and a conviction that I rarely have experienced.

It needed to happen.  If I were a man, you could say I’d “grown a pair” in that moment.  Hah!   :)

That workplace had become far too toxic.  It has been from the beginning, five and a half years ago, but I always hoped it would change.  Waiting …. Waiting…. Waiting…. Nothing……….

After five years, I think it’s a forgone conclusion that change won’t happen. Employees will continue to be treated horribly, nothing will ever change until the leaders are held accountable for the messes they make.

The leadership is old-fashioned and ultra conservative. But, it doesn’t fit with what’s going on in the academic side of the university.  I always wondered how the administration  could be so backwards and old-fashioned when the university is so forward-focused…

The Vice President of the university I worked for, has a conservative 1980′s mindset.  She’s stuck there too.  The kind of training and development she expected was what we were doing in the 1990′s, when we didn’t have any tools, and our (the industry’s) understanding of Adult Learning in the workplace was just beginning to make sense.

When people don’t know what they don’t know, it’s one thing, and it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ignorant.  It means they have a deep refusal to change, or improve or adapt.  It may mean that they have not been exposed to new ways of thinking…. maybe.   But, when people know they don’t know something and still make no effort to change, or understand, it’s either ignorance, stupidity, or laziness – probably it’s all the above – in toxic amounts.  Regardless, it’s not an effective way to run a business in today’s changing world.

At my level in the organization, to be “written up” for being two to three minutes late, when I work well over 50 hours a week, is beyond the pale.  I guess I have come a long way, baby…..   I’ve taken a big step with regards to self-respect.  No one will demean me the way they’d demeaned so many other employees for such a long time.

Can you imagine?  They have actually fired people for being a minute late more than three times?!!!

I kid you not.

Maybe that’s why they thought it was no big deal to write me up?  I think that’s why they tried to talk me into staying.  Did they think giving me a “write-up” is the best way to handle an issue that happened more than a month ago?   It’s true.   They actually think it’s a positive thing!

You see why I had to resign?

If I had stayed there, my self-respect would have flown right out the door.

I slammed the door behind me as I left.  Like Nora in Ibsen’s The Doll’s House.  I did it.  I had my say.

And that is why today was a VERY good day!

12
Dec

drop an assumption, whack #8

I have a total of 64 more Creative Whacks to post.  At this rate, it will be 2064 until I finish!

So, here’s another one. It’s a good one, too.

Creative Whack number 9 is:  drop an assumption.

There is a great deal of wisdom in this card.  I know I am guilty of making quick assumptions, though I try not to, it’s inevitable that I do.

My assumptions drive me crazy and usually involve me second-guessing myself.  It has a lot to do with self-confidence.  I don’t have issues with those big assumptions that result in generalizations.  Fortunately I am open-minded enough to not allow that to happen.

I make stupid assumptions that have to do (usually) with relationships.  When I was younger it was a big struggle.  I had this inner dialog going on that was a marathon of back and forth quarreling with myself.   It would go something like this:

Positive realization:  I haven’t talked to John in so long.  I should call him.

Negative assumption:  Well, he hasn’t called me.  What if he’s too busy to talk to me?  Or maybe he really would rather not talk to me?  I’d be embarrassed if I disturbed him. Maybe he’d think I’m needy?  Or, maybe he has a girlfriend he didn’t tell me about and maybe he thinks I’m trying to come-on to him?  That would really be embarrassing.

Positive realization:  No no no no no Andrea!  That’s crazy.

Negative assumption:  We had a nice date, but what if he doesn’t think of me as a possible girlfriend?  He’s a great guy, too.  He wouldn’t be interested in me.  And, who knows if I’m really interested in him?  Was he being himself on our date?  Was he being distant?  What if we get serious?  I couldn’t take it if he dropped me. Maybe he’s trying to tell me something by his silence and not calling?  Should I wait until he calls me?

Positive realization:  Oh God, you dumb-ass, Andrea!  Call him!  Give him a call – if he’s busy he’ll tell you he is and then you can decide on a time to get together, or a time to talk on the phone!

Negative assumption:  It would be easier to leave him a voice mail.  Shit!  I wish I could just text him, that’s so much easier than talking in situations like this!  Maybe I could call him, and if he answers I could pretend that I dialed him by mistake – tell him I was really calling Jane and got his number mixed up, but it’s nice to talk to him!  And, if he doesn’t answer, I could leave a message…..

And on and on and on… I would go back and forth.

I still quarrel with myself, but not nearly as badly as I used to.  Thankfully.

Assumptions are terribly limiting.  The best thing we can do is test the validity of every assumption we make.  I try to.

Would the photo below qualify as an assumption?

Maybe. Maybe not.  I think it’s close enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a reminder that the brilliant Creative Whack cards are by Roger von Oech.   The  Creative Whack Pack is a 64 card deck of inspirational ways to encourage creative thinking.

30
Nov

try a random idea, whack #8

Could I create a new map for my self?  Definitely.  Would I?  Well…..

I want to believe I am a risk taker.  But I’m really not.

Creative Whack Pack: Roger von Oech, creator

Although I am very quick at recognizing good and random ideas … I just have trouble following through because of my full-time work schedule. Ah…. but is that merely an excuse?

That messes me up.

I have lot’s of random ideas and many dreams.  Creating this blog was a spur of the moment random process – a dream that was at first scary.    I sat down one Saturday and started a blog.  Never heard of WordPress until I Googled Blogging.   I had no idea what I was doing I just really wanted to do it – whatever “it” was.  I jumped in.

I do a lot of spur of the moment writing.  It’s like impetuous creativity born of passion versus logic with a lot of right-brain thinking.

Passion drives my impetuousness, when I let it.   I can kill it just as quickly and that’s what keeps me up at night.

All I really want to do, though this is not so random, is write.   There’s a book in my head, a play too.  I have the passion but not the nerve.

The universe keeps putting signs in front of me, as if trying to wake me up with tips and ideas.  It’s in my face at times, almost  screaming at me  GO FOR IT ANDREA!!!

Really. I’m not kidding, that happens every day.  Drives me nuts.

I keep seeing articles and messages everywhere about “going for it and taking that risk to follow your dreams….” So???  Why not?   Well…. (stand by, here come the buts).

I have student loans to pay, a mortgage and a car payment and well, you know, just a lot of bills.

I need to take a piece of leather and create a new map of my world.

I think it’s good to reinvent – I truly believe that it is.  The problem is, it takes courage and I feel like Dorothy’s lion.  I’ve got the heart and the brain….

Oh great and powerful OZ, hand me some courage – FAST!

 

21
Nov

See the big picture, whack #7 as applied to Casey Anthony jurors

I like to talk about big pictures and today’s Creative Whack #7 is right on the money.

Jeff Ashton, one of the Prosecutors in the recent Casey Anthony case, makes a point that the Anthony jurors, in finding Casey Anthony not guilty of murder, totally missed the big picture.

I completely agree with Mr. Ashton’s assessment.  I would add, though, that the jurors also completely ignored the chain of evidence.  Those chain links should have come together very neatly for the jurors, that is if they even attempted to consider their solemn oath and the Golden Rule of jury service:  review the evidence!

Each each chain link of circumstantial and forensic evidence should have wound around Casey’s wrists and ankles for a very long time to come.  That’s even true in Fairy Tales, but not in this tale.

The fact that Casey Anthony got away with murder despite so much evidence is no Fairy Tale.  It’s unbelievable – incredible.  It certainly seemed like the perfect storm happened when these jurors were put together, as fate would have it, in Pinellas County.  How twelve completely like-minded people could come together without any dissenting  opinion is eerie.

Was it a matter of “GroupThink” where the threat of thinking differently from the group is too upsetting to an individual?  When in the throes of  GroupThink, it’s nearly impossible to stray from the one mind that has developed in a group.

Just like the Iowa farmer saw only tracks and trains, the simple jurors seemed to hang their not guilty verdict on the Medical Examiner’s inability to state a cause of death.  This is perfectly understandable since little Caylee Marie’s body was completely skeletonized.

Since there was no cause of death, did the jurors think a murder couldn’t be proven and therefore never happened?

Even though the manner of little Caylee Marie Anthony’s death was determined to be homicide, it also stated “by undetermined means.”   Did the jurors question whether a homicide even happened as a result of the “undetermined means” part?

So, had the jurors looked at each piece of the chain – like the train tracks and the locomotive follow a path – they would have known:

  • 100 percent of the time people cal 911 for help in drowning situations.
  • Only a mother guilty of a crime against a child fails to report their child missing.
  • Children are not double bagged and dumped in a swamp with duct tape around their face.  That is murder plain and simple.  Whether it was strangulation or drugging doesn’t really matter in the big picture, it’s still murder.
  • When forensic experts, multiple law enforcement personnel, cadaver dogs, and others familiar with the distinct smell of human decomposition and testify that death was in the trunk of Casey Anthony’s car, that should be proof-positive that it was not the odor of a bag of garbage.
  • When it is proved that a strand of Caylee Anthony’s hair showing dark banding at the root because of decomposition, it should mean the child was in the trunk.
  • When NO evidence is produced linking George Anthony to Caylee’s death, it means he should not be considered as a murderer.
  • When NO evidence is provided that remotely suggests George Anthony molested his daughter, it means that is not a factor in deciding guilt.
  • When a mother whose daughter is missing for a very long time gets a tattoo that means “Beautiful Life” it would suggest things are better without the daughter.
  • High levels of chloroform found in air samples from the trunk of the mother’s car and mixed with the odor of decomposition, suggests it is reasonable to believe chloroform  was used to subdue little Caylee Marie.
  • When a Google search and page hit about “How to make chloroform” is found on the unallocated file space of the mother’s computer, chances are good that chloroform was used in the murder.

There are more factors that taken together, provide a clear picture AND a complete picture frame around this murder.  The jurors should have painted such a big picture for themselves and come to the only conclusion possible:  Murder.

This jury, rather than paint the big picture, inhaled the paint fumes and in the end couldn’t even paint by the numbers.

20
Nov

change viewpoints, whack #6

I think this Creative Whack, by Roger von Oech, works well as today’s post, and here’s why:  I’d been thinking about changing the look and feel of my bl;og (yes, again!), but I had to pay for this blog theme, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that.   But I really liked it.  So, after going back and forth for about two weeks, and because life is good to me, I changed my mind!

So, here it is, my new blog site! Tah Daaaaah!

I’m also working on a website, too, but that won’t be finished for a while.  I’m developing the site it in Joomla! which is the free, open-source software for building websites.  It’s not too difficult, but it’s very time intensive.  And, time and patience are exactly what it’s going to take me to build it.

To be honest, I am one of those people who loves change.

Art and life are always changing.  So should ideas and viewpoints.   I don’t think it’s wise to be stuck in a rut – immoveable to change.  Whether it’s views or beliefs, when the mind is open to new possibilities, it’s possible to change old belief systems.

For instance, the people who talk about “Obama Care” like it was a threat, usually have no idea what it even means!

When people say they don’t want Obama Care they are mouthing what Republican politicians want them to say – blindly and with distaste.

The truth, I believe, is that Republican politicians came up with the phrase “Obama Care” because they are on the side of insurance and drug companies who could lose some money as a result of the plan.

But, honestly…. The percentage of Americans who snarl about Obama Care are those who haven’t got a clue what it’s about!

It’s so easy to do a few minutes of homework on a topic before speaking about it.  Think of all the millions of American children and mothers and fathers without any healthcare.  That’s what I care about, and that’s one reason why I believe in helping people, not insurance companies.  And, it’s not “socialized” medicine.

Many people I know are like me, we have health insurance through work which means any changes will not impact us.  However, I wish people would do a bit of research on the topic before stepping on the idea.

The lesser than two evils

This Creative Whack is bizarre!  Imagine coming up with those two solutions?  One solution is certainly better than the other (putting food in the coffin versus a stake through the heart), but food in a coffin is obviously a wacko idea, too.

I know it happens when there is a critical decision to make about something important, we are sometimes faced with the lessor of two evils.  I think this Creative Whack is warning us that it’s easy to settle for a bad idea, especially if it’s easy.  It’s important to look at the outcome and the impact of decisions large and small because life is much too short.

Tainted viewpoints

It seems like every day I hear ignorant comments about Islam. It’s not a triangle:  Muslim/Islam/Terrorism.  They do not go hand in hand.  It’s simply not true.

It’s terrible to put people into a box based upon faith.  To think that Terrorism has anything at all to do with Islam, has no basis in truth.  Heck, there are Christian serial murderers, though we don’t call them Terrorists, that’s what they are.   It should go without saying that all the religions have their share of murderers and rapists – bad American people acting like terrorists.  There is no reason in the world to fear Muslim people in this country.  None!

It’s really about fear and fear closes so many doors; stops many opportunities for further research; kills creativity, too.

FDR’s words, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” should continue to ring a bell between all our collective ears.

Change is good.

Yes, change is good, but I think I’ll keep this blog design for a while!

16
Nov

dig deeper, whack # 5

 

I have so many things I want to talk about, but I don’t have much time because I’ve had my nose in the Nook reading Jeff Ashton’s book, which I am enjoying so much.  

I love his attitude toward the sickening defense and their inane theories, especially the George Anthony lie, which the State called the Nuclear Lie.

I am enjoying reading about the back story regarding the defense’s obnoxious Discovery violations, and all the excuses Baez made.  I love how Mr. Ashton describes the situation in which Baez stipulated about the Dr. Vass testimony, and then like a petulant child, said he was coerced into signing it  except it was Dorothy Sims who wrote it for Baez to sign!

And there are many other interesting stories and thoughts that are fascinating in retrospect.

Anyway, I have another Creative Whack to share!  This one is titled, Dig Deeper, and it’s one of my favorites, and absolutely true in every sense:

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it’s the only one you have.  ~ Emile’ Chartier

I would like to make a button with those words and wear it on my lapel every day at work…. but that would be rude.

Better to tape it to my forehead!

15
Nov

look somewhere else, whack #4

Here’s another Creative Whack from Roger von Oech, creator of the Creative Whack Pack – a deck of 64 amazing cards to “whack” us out of old and habitual ways of thinking, allowing us to see with fresh eyes and an open mind. 

I like the message of this card in particular.  I don’t know about you, but I get into ruts from time to time.  I am in a pesky rut these past couple of weeks as a result of allowing negative people in the workplace get to me.  People who are so old-fashioned and stiff, I feel like I have to salute them.

Needless to say, my workplace operates with a very old-fashioned mindset.  The work I am doing now is the same kind of work people were doing in the early 1980′s.  Not only are the tools I have to work with antiquated, so is the vision of some people in my workplace.  That’s what happens, I guess, when the leaders in an organization stay in positions for years and years.  It’s always good when outside perspectives are allowed in.  Allowed is the operative word, however.  Therein lies the rub.

It’s like how Jeff Ashton describes the personalities of Cindy and Casey Anthony in his new book, Imperfect Justice.  (Which I am really enjoying but only half way through.) When you refuse to accept new ideas; if you refuse to see the reality of your current state of affairs, any new idea or new vision is exorcised in favor of the habitual comfort of old ways of thinking.  Cindy Anthony grew so used to Casey’s lies, she began to accept them as reality so as not to shake the boat.

Jeff Ashton writes:

From all that we’d seen of their interactions and heard from those around Cindy, it was unlikely that she would ever admit the unvarnished truth about Casey.  It was a lethally toxic co-dependent relationship.  One person was skilled at lying to others, while the other was skilled at lying to herself.

Cindy Anthony would not allow herself to see the truth about Casey: “Cindy was in denial about her daughter on a colossal scale,” wrote Jeff Ashton.

That is why this message is so important.  We have to look beyond what we know and discover new ways of seeing.  If we continue to do the things that are comfortable, we grow complacent, dull, and miss the really important stuff, like pretending the smell of human decomposition is really pizza.

 

10
Nov

get out of your box, whack #3

This is a very topical Whack.  I agree it’s necessary to get out of your box to look for unusual possibilities in usual places!

It’s limiting to be defined by a single box because, as human beings, we are constantly evolving and evolution will happen whether we like it or not.  The world will go on with or without us.  And if we’re lucky – if our children’s children are lucky, we will continue to evolve as a human race and stop making wars because we don’t like our neighbors religion, or we want their land, or their weapons or even their people.

It’s unhealthy to be in a box  Life in a box is no life at all.  Thoughts outside of the four walls of the box are far more interesting, don’t you think?  Going outside of the box involves risk.  And an open mind.  Opening the mind is not easy when prejudices interfere.  And being risk-adverse is nearly as sad as not accepting or appreciating people for their differences.

99.9% of all DNA in a human being is identical.  Yet, we are afraid of a seeing a Muslim or Arab person in an airport!  There is nothing so horrible as that kind of disrespect.  People who accept the Islam faith are not different than people who accept the Christian faith.  There are horrible people and there are loving and beautiful people in both beliefs.

Most people have two eyes, a nose, teeth, arms and hands with usually five fingers and five toes on the end of two feet that are at the end of their two legs.  Chances are, though, if you happen to be one of the brave individuals who jumped on the “Mission Possible” boat with criminal George W. Bush, you may no longer have arms or legs.

If you sacrificed your body as a result to the big lie, I am so sorry.  Americans know your reasons for fighting were honorable.  Unfortunately, you were led by a criminal into a war that was based on fiction and lies.

Criminal George W. lied to Congress and the American people for his own political interests. Criminal George W. lied and attacked the people of Iraq in March of 2003 without provocation.  It had nothing to do with 9/11 either.  As most of us are aware, it had been proven that Iraq had no role in those attacks.

We attacked Iraq because the Bush Crime Family, with their deep family ties in Saudi Arabia, had their eye on a bigger prize:  Oil. Texans must have their oil.

So, this Get out of Your Box Whack refers to beliefs, culture, and how we should look at the world not by our rules, but by a set of truths different from our own.

Truth?  Hah!

There are person (s) who call themselves Christians and post on this blog to fight, and to lecture me (and others) about our religious views.

I’ve learned there are two kinds of “Christians” – the people who go to church because it fills them up with things they value and enjoy believing in.  And those who are fanatics about religion with one goal in life – to tell “non-believers” like me how horrible we are because we question “religion” and because we don’t believe in their religious brand, we are not the chosen ones.

Sorry, folks, but demeaning non-believers is not Christian.  It’s just annoying and hypocritical in the extreme.

I think it’s beyond the beyond of wonderful that you love your religion, but I don’t like it jammed down my throat in mean or demeaning ways.  So, leave me alone!   If I wanted to become a Holy Christian person I would!  But, I don’t want to.  I like what I think and I will go on thinking this way, too.  Get the message?  I don’t like being boxed in.

I enjoy reading about the history of religion, of all religions and I don’t like one over the other.  I like the diversity of many religions!  Who can say there is just one GOD?  I bet GOD is a SHE.

Oh, and I believe in evolution which tends to be the opposite of what the loud Christians believe.

I believe in Islam. I believe in Judaism.  I believe in Buddhism (I practiced Buddhism for a couple of years until life got in the way.)  I believe in your religion, whatever it is because I am able to get out of the box with curiosity and find something good in what you believe.  But I don’t want what you have, okay?  So, you can go away now.

You’ve already told me you’re the chosen one….and you’ve explained how I am nothing and I will not get into the Kingdom, and when I die I’ll be on the wrong side death’s door, or something inane like that and blah blah blah.  When I hear all of that I have to ask, who’s the hater?

I never answer the door when the religious people come knocking on Saturday, all dressed to the nines in 90 degree weather.   I won’t respond to people who attack me because I don’t care about their religion.  I would love to talk about anyone’s religion, but NEVER ever will I entertain insults.  I don’t trust people who want to push religion on anyone.  Religion should be lovely, personal and enlightening, right?  Dumb me.  I thought the study of religion would result in wisdom, sensitivity, acceptance.

Speaking of wisdom….

Did you know more and more children are being born without wisdom teeth?  A professor told a class I was in that because more and more people are born without wisdom teeth, it is due to the evolutionary process of discarding human traits that are superfluous, or not needed.

I found that fascinating – to be witness to evolution as it is happening.  However, there are two schools of thought on this. One school says that if a person does not have wisdom teeth as a result of genetics, that trait will be passed on, and on, and on.   Evolution, on the other hand, will cause traits that are not useful in an environment to slowly disappear.  The differences are not so different in my view… but I am hardly a scientist or anthropologist.

However, my professor could be right, and he could be wrong because scientists are not quite certain.  The point here, then, we cannot dismiss either possibility because the truth is still evolving and it changes…..

We all have roots extending back 200,000 years to the emergence of the first modern humans in Africa, and back more than 6 million years to the evolution of the earliest human species in Africa. This amazing story of adaptation and survival is written in the language of our genes, in every cell of our bodies—as well as in the fossil and behavioral evidence.  http://humanorigins.si.edu/

Regarding “Get out of Your Box,” the message is as clear as day.  Wouldn’t you agree that thinking in a box is incredibly limiting?  Being in a box means to accept only what we know – or think we know.  Like Hamlet said to his friend Horatio:

There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.   Shakespeare, Hamlet,  Act I, Scene V.

8
Nov

ask “why?” Whack #2

Ask “why?”    Why is not always easy to answer – and you will never be able to get inside someone’s head to discover the “why?” of the “why.”

 Leonardo da Vinci…..

I roamed the countryside searching for answers to things I did not understand.  Why shells exist on the tops of mountains along with imprints of plants usually found in the sea.  Why thunder lasts longer than that which causes it.  How circles of water form around the spot which has been struck by a stone. And how a bird suspends itself in the air.  Questions like these engaged my thoughts throughout my life.   ~ Leonardo da Vinci

What are you curious about?  What probing questions can you ask? Where can you ask “Why?”

It’s necessary to ask why!  Why are shells on the tops of mountains?  Why are imprints of plants – usually found in the sea – found on mountaintops?

Was the earth so hot after the Big Bang that water formed and then flowed to cool what eventually became the earth?   Were there many Big Bangs?  Were there second and third Big Bangs so the entire universe could evolve, as it’s still evolving?   Could be.

What about the story of  “Adam and Eve” and the tree and the serpent and knowledge and all that silliness?

That Adam and Eve story sounds like a perfectly reasonable “Why?” to me.

(Yes, I am irreverent tonight…..Why?)

Why not!

7
Nov

whack on the side of the head #1

The Internet has gifts that inform, delight and definitely enlighten….There is so much to learn in its vastness!  (I wonder how big the Internet is now? I wonder can it be measured?)

It’s funny how often I’ll be reading something on the Internet, and click on somethings else that seems interesting, and then find something I never intended to look for, that I never knew I needed or wanted, but suddenly HAVE to have!   It’s kind of like going to the grocery store for milk and eggs and coming back with $200 worth of things I never realized I wanted!

That’s what occurred a couple of days ago when I was reading The Chronicle of Higher Education.  One article led to another that led somehow to an article about Roger von Oech, who developed the “The Creative Whack Pack,” a 64 card deck of inspirational and innovative ways to encourage creative thinking.

by Roger von Oech

I enjoy using brain teasers and fun games in the classroom when I teach – it breaks the monotony and livens things up.   This Creative Whack Pack is terrific!  There are interesting and provocative messages in the 64 cards. Oh, and the artwork is divine!  Fantastic stuff!

The intent of the 64 cards –  each containing a different message – serves to coax people out of old, habitual ways of thinking to see things with fresh eyes.

I’m going to share all 64 of them here.  I think everyone will find something thought provoking to use in daily life.

The first one is titled “Give Yourself a Whack on the Side of the Head.” Since it may be difficult to read the message on the card (pictured below), I’ve included it here for you:

The more often you do something in the same way, the more difficult it is to think about doing it in any other way.  Break out of this “prison of familiarity” by disrupting your habitual thought patterns.  Write a love poem in the middle of the night.  Eat ice cream for breakfast.  Wear red sox.  Visit a junk yard.  Work the weekend.  Take the slow way home.  Sleep on the other side of the bed.  Such jolts to your routines will lead to new ideas.  How can you whack your thinking?

Doing this kind of thing might be easier said than done – but it also makes perfect sense!

Aren’t we such creatures of habit?   There’s no doubt about the rituals and habits in our daily lives….routine things like brushing your teeth before bedtime, paying bills – mundane things that we need to repeat as part of our routine. (I don’t think you can make teeth-brushing very creative, do you?!)

I think the message of this card is about how freeing it is to do something totally different from the norm because it can be invigorating, eye opening, and definitely a learning experience.  And, learning is like air…  can’t live without it.

Using these cards in the workplace to encourage new ways of looking at old practices, is terrific.  This is a helpful tool for a project team to use as a tool to challenge people to think outside the box – get away from the tendency to relax in a “group-think” type of complacency – which is a dead-end and boring way to approach new challenges.

What will I do to whack my thinking?  Hmm….

I’m sure I could eat ice cream for breakfast!  How about you?!

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