Writer’s Block

If you store up your words long enough… eventually you might have enough to write a novel…

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California’s Giant Sequoia ‘Tunnel Tree’ Is Destroyed by Storm

California’s Giant Sequoia ‘Tunnel Tree’ Is Destroyed by Storm

The Pioneer Cabin tree was hollowed out in the 1880s, and cars once drove through its ancient trunk.

If you were thinking (like I was) that someday, perhaps next summer you’d like to take a trip that would give you the opportunity to see that big tree, the Giant Sequoia. Maybe you pictured yourself walking through it, then standing in front or under the thing like the two guys in this picture and having your own picture to post on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram or just to show your friends.

Not gonna happen.

The first time I saw a picture of that tree, I was about ten. At first, I thought it was fake because it had a car going through it and surely either the tree or, more likely, the car was fake. My mother assured me it was real. She said, maybe someday we could go see it.

Never happened.

You’d think that with me living in California, right down the road so to speak, for a dozen years now, I’d have found a way to get up there (six hours driving away) and see it, get my picture taken and not have to cut and paste myself into it. But, like the woman I met in England years ago who told me she’d lived almost twenty years just six blocks from the Tower of London, but never managed to see it because it was so close and because there was always next weekend, I’ve been waiting for the right ‘next weekend’ to go see that tree.

Now that tree, as with so many things in life has fallen (pun intended) into the category of, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

Source: Giant Sequoia ‘Tunnel Tree’ in California Is Toppled by Storm – The New York Times

There Is Great Joy In Seeing an Old Man Being as Happy as a Child

There Is Great Joy In Seeing an Old Man Being as Happy as a Child

Watch the pure joy of this grandpa receiving light-up sneakers

At the end of this, you’ll find a link to a video where the man pictured on the right joyfully gets a pair of light-up sneakers. My first thought was, “either he is a child at heart or he jogs or walks a lot at night. Maybe that’s not important. What’s important is that someone in his family was paying attention to him. After all, eight years is a long time to want something, especially something that is usually thought of as a ‘kid’s sneaker,’ and yet year after year, nobody got them for him. Of course, it’s also very likely that nobody thought they were also made for adults or nobody noticed them and put two and two together. It’s wonderful that they did.

In the past I’ve often wondered why someone picked some gift or another out for me… something I thought “what could possibly have made them think I would want this?” I’d never say anything like that because #1, they did put some thought into it and I wouldn’t want to be a rude bore about it and chance hurting their feelings and #2, there have been times I’ve gotten something I didn’t think I would want, but eventually came to appreciate and was happy I had, happy someone got something for me that I would never have gotten for myself.

This year, for the fourth year in a row I did not get any of the things I told people I wanted and I thought, next year I’m not going to bother, but after seeing this video of thought better of it. Maybe they are listening but they just weren’t able to get what I was hoping for or perhaps they just had a better idea.

I’m sure I’m guilty of ignoring peoples’ requests, too. I put a lot of thought into picking out gifts and sometimes it’s very hard and sometimes, I’m sure what I’ve picked out is generating the, “What made him think I would ever want something like this.”

Now, in the event someone I know is reading this, a pair of light-up sneakers wouldn’t embarrass me at all.

Source: Watch the pure joy of this grandpa receiving light-up sneakers 

flummadiddle

flummadiddle

So many puppies. But none of them will be Word of the Year.

Clement, I wasn’t sure of its meaning, so I looked it up. That’s when I stumbled on this story on the Miriam Webster Dictionary site about popular word searches and the word of the year according to that site at least. 

Trending words this year included: Fascism. Misogyny. Acrimonious. Nasty. Bigot. Puppy?

However, the Miriam Webster website might have influenced the trending searches by asking its visitors to search for something other than the most searched for word: Fascism.

The site didn’t want Fascism to be its “Word of the year,” and it was looking like that was going to happen since the formula used to determine the Word of the year was simply the most searched for word.

After Miriam Webster asked its visitors to search for something else such as ‘Flumdiddle.’

I don’t know if I helped the cause at all, but I bit. I did not search for Fascism, but I did search for flummadiddle.

  1. something foolish or worthless:  nonsense, trash
  2. bauble, frill

 

Actually, there is a second, more important criteria that influenced Miriam Websters choice for their Word of the Year, and that is “words that show a greater year-over-year increase.” In other words, fascism won’t automatically be the choice for this year’s word. That means a word like ‘puppy, flummadiddle, sockdolager, or maybe even clement.

And by the way, I thought ‘clement’ meant easy or mild and I was right.

  1. inclined to be merciful: lenient <a clement judge>
  2. mild <clement weather for this time of year>

Source: In a Time of Uncertainty, a Divided Nation Searches for Puppies – Trending 12/2/2016 | Merriam-Webster

Quite a Sad Story: First, Because a Family Was Terrorized; Second, Because the Man Doing the Terrorizing Didn’t Even Know He Was Doing It!

Quite a Sad Story: First, Because a Family Was Terrorized; Second, Because the Man Doing the Terrorizing Didn’t Even Know He Was Doing It!

Oren Aharon Cohen told police he does not remember details of this incident because he was “black out drunk.”

The Washington Post reported this story about a family that woke up to find a stranger holding their two-year-old daughter. The man tossed the child on a sofa. He says he thought he was playing with a midget. He says he was so drunk he didn’t really know where he was or what he was actually doing.

Now, Cohen is in jail, charged with a number of crimes and wants to be deported. He feels he should be released because as far as he’s concerned all he did was go in the wrong door and play with a dwarf.

Whenever I read something like this I wonder, ‘Why do people do stupid stuff like this? ‘ Why would they want or allow themselves to get so drunk they don’t know what they’re doing. I have never understood why anyone would drink till they’ve lost control of themselves. I understand the idea of ‘getting buzzed.’ Sometimes it’s nice to feel lighter, to feel like we have fewer problems and worries, to feel a little better if only for a moment. But that often becomes the problem. The feeling is temporary. Then the feeling wears off, we get sober and we have to deal with the reason or reasons we wanted to get buzzed. Either that or we have to continue drinking (or do drugs) in order to continue dealing with our issues by not dealing with them.

No matter what a person’s reason for drinking till he or she loses control, the end result is almost always disappointing. Eventually, we have to face our problems or we continue not facing them until something much worse, often something terrible happens and we are forced to face our problems either in jail, in a hospital, or in a morgue.

I don’t know why Oren Aharon Cohen drank till he was ‘black out drunk,” but it resulted in a double tragedy. First, a family will likely be having nightmares or live in an amount of fear for awhile, maybe forever, and a man is in jail and probably going to be deported from a country he may not have been planning to leave. The saddest part about this is that Cohen doesn’t appear to realize he has a problem.

I worked with a Sport Reporter a number of years who was very good at his job, award worth;, but the rest of his life was a mess. As a result, he found any excuse to celebrate, which always meant drinking till he was ‘black out drunk.’ He often woke up in jail, having no idea how he got there. The worst though, was the night he pounded on the front door screaming for his wife to let him in. The problem was the house wasn’t his and he was 30 miles from home. He thought it was pretty funny. It took him awhile to face his problems, but it wasn’t until after he lost his wife and his job. A terrible tragedy because the first time I heard him I thought he would some day be working at a major market radio or TV station. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the path he chose and in the end, it’s all just a choice.

Source: A dad was awakened by his toddler’s crying. He found a stranger holding her in the living room. – The Washington Post

In Texas, a religious liberty battle rages at one school over quote from ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’

In Texas, a religious liberty battle rages at one school over quote from ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’

State and local officials are interpreting Texas’s Merry Christmas Law differently.

A scene from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

It will forever baffle me why people feel another person does not have the right to express a belief different from theirs in any public location. Simply by attempting to deny that person from expressing their belief is in itself an expression of belief.

Am I making sense here? Or am I far off base? The person who says you do not have the right to express your belief is saying, but I have the right to express my opposing belief.

The person who says you do not have the right to express your belief is also saying, but I have the right to express my opposing belief.

In this instance,  a school nurse expressed a religious belief – a religious meaning of Christmas – some parents apparently demanded that she take down a poster hanging on her office door and that she not be allowed to express her belief because the school was a public place and their children should not be exposed to such beliefs.

It baffles me why people are so afraid of an opposing belief. Simply by allowing someone to express that opposing belief does not mean you are accepting it or agreeing with it. Usually, you can take it or leave it. You can turn off the TV, change the channel, burn the paper, leave the room, or stop listening. Just because someone says or does something in your presence does not mean you are agreeing with what they are saying or doing. Even if they hold a gun to your head they cannot change what you truly believe.

Where children are concerned parents cannot watch over everything the child sees or does. They cannot micromanage the child. Good communication and time spent with the child will be much more effective than trying to control the child’s surroundings. Being open, honest, and understanding with the child will usually give the child the ability to decide for him or herself what is harmful and what is not, what should be believed and what should not.

I imagine most of the children in that school did not think one way or another about what the nurse had hanging on her door. They probably thought it was nice. They probably related to it because they had seen it on TV. They probably did not think there was anything right or wrong about it until some parents rather than have faith in their children’s ability to understand something for what it was, decided to take that ability away from their child.

The way I see it, those parents are poor parents. I doubt they communicate well with their child. I imagine they are authoritarian and afraid to let their children make their own choices. In other words, they want their children to be sheep, not shepherds.

Do you agree or disagree?

Source: In Texas, a religious liberty battle rages at one school over quote from ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ – The Washington Post