Dave Stancliff 2012-10-21 blogarama.com

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Cult of the Nug: Professional Pot trimmer Shares Stories about the Job

How many people who obtain perfectly manicured buds from a dispensary consider the steps involved in its preparation?

They may give some thought to the role of the grower, but who thinks about the trim crew?

People come from all over the world to trim cannabis during the harvest season in California. Between early October and mid-November they swell the population of Mendocino, Humboldt, and other counties. Many others work on indoor grows year round, all over the state.

There are young adults —high school drop-outs and college graduates— looking for work. There are local moms clipping to help pay the bills. There are Mexican families who come every year from down south. Trimmers come from all walks of life.  You find yourself taking part in interesting conversations —a good fringe benefit.

Cultivators generally want workers they are acquainted with, who have trimmed before, and are trustworthy.  Training someone new takes time, and the novices tend to work slowly at first. (Read the rest of the story here)

Honda introduces car designed just for women

    Good Day World!

Politicians aren’t the only ones trying to get women’s attention these days. Honda has taken a big step to attract the ladies, by producing a totally pink vehicle.

It’ll be interesting to see how well this blatant marketing strategy turns out. Whatever it takes to stimulate this economy I say…

“The auto industry has traditionally been male-dominated but Honda has rolled out a new model it to have specifically designed with women in mind.

The Fit She’s is a pretty-in-pink version of the maker’s familiar subcompact that offers a few niceties the maker believes will specifically appeal to distaff buyers, such as a windshield designed to block skin-wrinkling ultraviolet rays.

But will women actually care? While the new Honda subcompact may be the only car currently on the road specifically targeting women there’s a good reason.  Previous feminine offerings, such as the old Dodge LaFemme, met with little more than indifference and, in some cases, outright hostility.”

Read the rest of the story here

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, October 26, 2012

Politics Today: Copyright case could threaten eBay and garage sales

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a case to be argued Monday, wades into a controversy over federal copyright law that could determine the legal rights of American consumers to sell thousands of used products on eBay and at garage sales and flea markets.

The legal battle involves Supap Kirtsaeng, a student from Thailand who was surprised by the high cost of academic textbooks when he arrived in the U.S. to attend college.  He asked his parents to search bookstores back home and send him much cheaper versions -- published overseas and sold at a fraction of the price -- of the same texts.

He was soon running what amounted to a small business out of his apartment, helping to pay his way through school by selling textbooks on eBay. The exact amount of his profit is unclear, but court records say it was around $100,000. The textbooks his family shipped him each bore this warning: "Exportation from or importation of this book to another region without the publisher's authorization is illegal," but Kirtsaeng wasn't bothered.  He concluded -- based on a search of articles on the Internet -- that he was in no legal jeopardy. 

The publisher of some of the books he sold, John Wiley & Sons, didn't see it that way. It sued him in federal court, and a New York jury ordered him in 2009 to pay $600,000 in damages.  When he said he had nowhere near that kind of money, he had to hand over personal property, including his computer, printer and golf clubs. A federal appeals court last year upheld the verdict.

Kirtsaeng was caught between two federal laws, and he's now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to see it his way.

One longstanding provision says when the holder of a copyright offers a work for sale, its legal interest in that specific copy evaporates as the item is sold. It's called the first-sale doctrine, and it means that if you buy the latest John Grisham novel, you can sell it on a website or give it away to the church library without violating copyright laws.

But another law prohibits importing works "acquired outside the United States ... without the authority of the owner of copyright."  Applying that statue, the federal courts ruled against Kirtsaeng, reasoning that "the first-sale doctrine does not apply to copies manufactured outside of the United States."          

A who's who of companies and groups involved in selling used merchandise is urging the Supreme Court to overturn the publisher's victory.

EBay warns that leaving the ruling intact would be a blow to "trade, consumers, secondary markets, e-commerce, small businesses, and jobs."  Goodwill Industries says the ruling would have "a catastrophic effect on the viability of the secondary market and, consequently, on Goodwill's ability to provide needed community-based services."

"There are enough copyright owners out there -- and enough crazy copyright lawsuits," says a group of book store operators in a friend of court brief. "No one should be put to the choice of violating the law and hoping they don't get caught, and losing their business."

The effect of a victory for the publisher, according to some experts in copyright law, would extend far beyond the market for books and other published materials.  It could also affect sales of thousands of used consumer electronic products made outside the U.S. that contain copyrighted software, perhaps even used cars.

Kirtsaeng's lawyer makes the same expansive claim in his Supreme Court brief.  "Even cherished American traditions, such as flea markets, garage sales, and swapping dog-eared books are vulnerable to copyright challenge" under the appeals court ruling, argues Josh Rosenkranz of New York.

But could that really be the outcome? (Read the rest of the story here)

Tis the season: Sleuth finds the truth in ghost stories

 Good Day World!

Here’s an interesting story to go with the season. A ghostly nod to Halloween, which is a mere five days away:

Paranormal investigator Joe Nickell has busted a lot of ghostly myths over the past 40 years — but the spookiest part of his job comes when he actually catches a ghost red-handed.

No, we're not talking about spirits of the dead: These "ghosts" are hotel clerks who flick the lights to keep the guests talking about the place's ghost story, or a mischievous child who plays tricks on his parents. Or maybe a camera crew catching weird-looking "orbs" floating through the frame — orbs they didn't notice until they looked at the pictures later.

"Much of what so-called ghost hunters are detecting is themselves," Nickell, the author of "The Science of Ghosts," told me this week. "If they go through a haunted house and stir up a lot of dust, they shouldn't be surprised if they get a lot of orbs in their photographs."

The orbs are actually out-of-focus reflections from a camera flash, created by dust particles floating in front of the lens. The clumping noises that ghost hunters hear often turn out to be the footsteps of crew members elsewhere in the building, or even someone on a stairway next door. And those weird readings they pick up with thermal imagers? They're typically left behind by the flesh-and-blood visitors.

Tracking down the truth behind spooky sightings is a tough job, but somebody's got to do it, Nickell said.

"It takes only a moment for someone to say that they saw something," he said, "but it can take a huge expenditure for someone to fly somewhere, and they might never re-create that one little moment."

Nickell, a former professional magician and detective, has been that someone for Skeptical Inquirer magazine and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry since the 1970s. "I've been in more haunted houses than Casper," he joked. And the truth is that there are worse jobs in the world.

"I wouldn't want anyone ever to know this, but it really is a great deal of fun to do what I do," Nickell said.

In "The Science of Ghosts," Nickell spins a series of tales about his worldwide travels. His first haunted-house investigation, in 1972, took place at Toronto's Mackenzie House, where residents reported seeing apparitions hovering over their bed, and hearing footsteps when no one else was in the house. Nickell ascribed the apparitions to "waking dreams," a phenomenon that leads people to see things when they're half-asleep or in an idle reverie. And as for those footsteps: Nickell found out that there was an iron staircase in the building next door. The strange sounds were traced to a late-night cleanup crew tromping up and down those stairs.

Nickell learned a lot from that first case. "You must go on site, and you must investigate just like any other piece of detective work," Nickell said. "You can treat the house as a sort of crime scene."

Other cases involved spirit photographs, such as the ones that show orbs or bright streaks. One family called Nickell in to explain a series of pictures that showed bright, hazy loops of energy in the foreground. Nickell eventually figured out that the loops were created when a flash bounced off a camera strap dangling in front of the lens. "Now we know about the camera-strap effect," Nickell said.

Nickell also takes on psychic mediums who claim to speak with the dead. In the book, he traces his encounters with TV-show medium John Edward, who uses so-called "cold reading" techniques to draw information out of a crowd. (For example, "I feel like someone with a J- or G-sounding name has recently passed. ...")

"The people who profess to be able to talk to the dead tend to be either fantasy-prone personalities, or charlatans, or possibly a bit of both," Nickell declared. "They would be harmless if they didn't mislead so many people."

Nickell totally understands why a belief in ghosts and the afterlife is so important to people. "If ghosts exist, then we don't really die, and that's huge. ... It appeals to our hearts," he said. "We don't want our loved ones to die. We have this whole culture that we're brought up with, that encourages this belief in ghosts."

Once a ghost story gets attached to a place or a situation, then almost anything that happens can be interpreted as supporting that story, he said. That's one reason why ghostbusting can be a thankless job. Another reason is that it's so hard to wrap your arms around the evidence — or, more appropriately, the lack thereof.

"No one is bringing you a ghost trapped in a bottle," Nickell said. "What they're offering is, 'I don't know.' Over and over, they're saying something like this: 'We don't know what the noise in the old house was, or the white shape in the photo. So it must be a ghost.' These are examples of what's called an argument from ignorance. You can't make an argument from a lack of knowledge. You can't say, 'I don't know, therefore I do know.'... If I could just teach people a little bit about the argument from ignorance, I think we could give the ghosts their long-needed rest."

Do you agree? Or do you have some truly spooky ghost stories to share for the Halloween season? (source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shark falls from sky onto golf course

Nobody yelled "Fore!" at a Southern California golf course when a 2-foot-long shark dropped out of the sky and flopped around on the 12th tee.

The 2-pound leopard shark was apparently plucked from the ocean by a bird then dropped on San Juan Hills Golf Club, Melissa McCormack, director of club operations, said Thursday.

No one was teeing up when the shark fell Monday afternoon, although some golfers had just left the area, she said. A course marshal, who makes sure players maintain an appropriate pace, saw something moving around on the tee and went to investigate. He found the shark bleeding with puncture wounds, where it seems the bird had held it in its grasp.

The marshal put the shark in his golf cart and drove it back to the clubhouse. "He went above and beyond," McCormack said. The marshal, McCormack and employee Bryan Stizer wanted to help the small shark, so they stuck it in a bucket of water. Then somebody remembered it wasn't a fresh water animal, so they stirred up some "homemade sea water" using sea salt from the kitchen, she said.

"We knew we had to get it to the ocean as fast as possible," McCormack said. She grabbed a photo of the shark before Stizer headed to the sea. "When Brian put it in the water, it didn't move," she said, "but then it flipped and took off." It's the first time anyone could remember a shark falling from the sky at the golf course.

"We have your typical coyotes, skunks and the occasional mountain lion, but nothing like a shark," McCormack said. (source)

Study finds climate-changing methane 'rapidly destabilizing' off East Coast

      Good Day World!

The following story stunned me when I realized the magnitude of what the scientists are talking about.I don’t care what people want to call our changing earth’s issues, the fact of the matter is things are rapidly changing for the worse and we’re not helping matters spewing massive amounts of pollutants into the atmosphere.

“A changing Gulf Stream off the East Coast has destabilized frozen methane deposits trapped under nearly 4,000 square miles of seafloor, scientists reported Wednesday. And since methane is even more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas, the researchers said, any large-scale release could have significant climate impacts.

Temperature changes in the Gulf Stream are "rapidly destabilizing methane hydrate along a broad swathe of the North American margin," the experts said in a study published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.

Using seismic records and ocean models, the team estimated that 2.5 gigatonnes of frozen methane hydrate are being destabilized and could separate into methane gas and water. It is not clear if that is happening yet, but that methane gas would have the potential to rise up through the ocean and into the atmosphere, where it would add to the greenhouse gases warming Earth.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

This is some scary stuff…

For thousands of years, permafrost has trapped Siberia's carbon-rich soil, a compost of Ice Age plant and animal remains.

But global warming is melting the permafrost and exposing the soil, causing highly flammable methane to seep out. NBC's Jim Maceda reports.

(Read the rest of the story here.)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Veterans finally get debate mention but was it too little too late?

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The word “veteran” was uttered seven times during Monday night’s debate – each time by President Barack Obama.

Good Day World!

It’s been a couple of days since the last presidential debate and I’m still digesting what was said..and what was NOT SAID about our American veterans.

Romney apparently was advised not to say the word “veteran” by his handlers because he never uttered it in the course of the debate.

At least Obama spoke up about veteran’s needs. It was the first time either candidate said anything substantive since the campaign started.

That, in itself is troubling. I wasn’t exactly encouraged by this late minute charge for veterans since it was spurred by numerous veterans groups who talked Obama’s speech writers into finally saying something. Perhaps they convinced him veterans were an ace-in-the-hole if things started going badly. Here’s an article on the last debate:

“The word “veteran” was uttered seven times during Monday night’s debate – each time by President Barack Obama. Republican nominee Mitt Romney did not use the word although he did say: “We're blessed with terrific soldiers.”

Three times, including his closing remarks, Obama veered momentarily into economic and health concerns facing the tens of thousands of men and women returning from war and those ex-service members trying to crack into the civilian work force. He mentioned recently having lunch with a veteran in Minnesota who, due to medical-certification procedures, can’t simply transfer the skills he learned as a combat medic to become a licensed civilian nurse. And he cited work done by First Lady Michelle Obama on the “Joining Forces” initiative, through which 2,000 companies have hired or trained 125,000 veterans or military spouses.

“After a decade of war, it's time to do some nation-building here at home. And what we can now do is free up some resources to, for example, put Americans back to work, especially our veterans ...” Obama said. “Making sure that, you know, our veterans are getting the care that they need when it comes to post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, making sure that the certifications that they need for good jobs of the future are in place.”

Those shout outs marked the first substantive attention either candidate has paid to former service members during their three debates – and they came 19 days after a leading veterans group urged the contenders to start discussing some of the home-front costs of two American wars, including a higher unemployment rate among ex-troops and battle-related anxiety symptoms linked to an alarming military suicide rate.

On the day after the final direct, verbal showdown between Romney and Obama, four veterans offered their reactions.

Paul Rieckhoff, chief executive officer and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a nonpartisan nonprofit with more than 200,000 members:

Q: What is the most critical issue facing military members?

A: Unemployment, but we've yet to hear either candidate address the scope of the problem – let alone smart solutions. In September, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans was two percentage points above the general public at 9.7 percent, and even worse for female veterans at 19.9 percent. We must do better.

Q: Did you hear what you needed to hear about that issue?

A: In last night's debate, veteran unemployment briefly became a subject of discussion – finally.

Q: What is your takeaway from last night's debate?

A: The new veteran community needs real leadership and commitment from our next president to reverse negative trends in unemployment, suicide and (Department of Veterans Affairs) services. We haven't seen either candidate step up to the plate, so we'll keep asking the tough questions until November 6th.

Jason Thigpen, founder and president of the Student Veterans Advocacy Group and a student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. As a U.S. Army sergeant, he earned a Purple Heart medal for combat wounds he sustained in Iraq in 2009:

Q: What is the most critical issue facing military members?

A: The budgetary cutbacks on defense spending leading to nearly a million service members losing their jobs, which will send them to the unemployment line. Additional cutbacks in veteran-appropriated budgets by way of education and medical benefits will invariably leave many with unfulfilled promises made to them for their service to our nation, while our government creates more lenient guidelines for illegal immigrants.

Q: Did you hear what you needed to hear about that issue?

A: No, but I do feel as though our efforts to raise awareness of the detrimental impacts facing our veterans, and how that affects our national economy, both now and in the future, are being heard.

Q: What is your takeaway from last night's debate?

A: While I'm not enthusiastic about the lack of bipartisan efforts from our federal legislators, (and) neither party looks appealing to me, I personally think the president has wiped the floor with Governor Romney in every debate. Although I've always considered myself a Republican, I don't feel it's in the best interest to elect Governor Romney as president. Electing Governor Romney will give Republicans control of the House, Senate, and presidency, which doesn't seem like much of a democracy to me, especially with a group of federal legislators whom can't seem to agree on much of anything except the end of a work-day or session.”

Read the rest of the article here.

It’s time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Report: Employers seemingly scared of PTSD risks among 'workplace warriors'

           Good Day World!

As a Vietnam veteran, I’m distressed to see that our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are facing the same stigma we were: discrimination against veterans with PTSD. Of course back in my time no one was talking about PTSD – it was an unknown subject – but veterans who came back and had problems adjusting to civilian life quickly became stigmatized.

A small amount of these thousands of returning combat veterans became violent and “freaked out” – killing innocent civilians. The media at the time seized on the idea of “crazed killer vets” roaming America’s streets and terrorizing people.

One thing really stands out to me; back in the early 70s, after I got out of the Army, I made sure not to mention my military service on job applications, unless specifically asked. The stigma of being a “crazed vet” would have hurt my chance at getting a job. I saw it happen to too many people that I actually knew who couldn’t find jobs because they mentioned they served in Vietnam during interviews.

That’s why I was so distressed when I read this article. It’s all happening again. When the hell will we learn? Our warriors deserve better. Read about how hard it is for our veterans to get jobs compared to the rest of society.

“A think tank convened to gauge the financial well-being of “workplace warriors” says home-front job prospects remain “discouraging” for ex-service members, with many hiring managers seemingly scared off by the possibility that candidates have post-traumatic stress disorder.

For even casual watchers of the ex-military vocational plight, the larger conclusion is hardly striking: the “combat-to-corporate” path has long been paved with good intentions, but clogged by application dead ends. What’s more, the group’s downbeat assessment comes amid some rays of improvement. Last month, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans finally nudged lower, to 9.7 percent, two full points below the jobless pace during than the same month in 2011, according to federal figures.

But, the experts contend, too many American companies have failed to boost their own internal ranks of former troops, ignoring the military-friendly examples set by Walmart, the Hartford, Citi and several other businesses under the "hire our heroes" mantra.

"Few employers are fully prepared to meet the needs of disabled veterans in the workplace, according to research from Cornell University and the Society for Human Resources Management," think tank members wrote.  "... Nearly 20 percent of service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan screened positive for PTSD." (That reported military-PTSD rate has decreased during the past five years, Cornell scientists have found, noting the drop is due largely to interventions by the U.S. military.)

The 2012 Workplace Warriors Think Tank, composed by business, military and health leaders, originally gathered in 2007 — before the Great Recession — to examine the same lag in ex-military hiring. Since then, the nation’s slow economic recovery has sidelined tens of thousands of veterans along with millions of other American workers. “But I’m sure, in the case of some employers, the economy is an excuse for them just to say ‘no’ to veterans,” said the report’s editor, Marcia Carruthers.

And while the think tank does see threads of tangible progress in the private sector, such as the 100,000 Jobs Mission, it added that: “The fruits of these efforts have yet to fully materialize. More needs to be done” to open opportunities for civilian soldiers and full-time military members.

In large part, that’s because just below the simple math of supply and demand, a dark group-psychology seems to be at play, Carruthers said. Battle-related mental illness — diagnosed in some returning veterans but apparently associated with all of them — is tainting many or most job-hunting veterans.

“The stigma of PTSD is at the top of the list,” said Carruthers, president and CEO of the Disability Management Employer Coalition, a nonprofit.

“These veterans are exactly the kinds of people you’d want to hire — they’re used to working as a team; they’re loyal; you give them an order and they follow through,” Carruthers said. “So some of this is related to the types of injuries we’re seeing — and, I would say, really, due to the fear of employers in terms of bringing back these people. If they were coming home with broken legs, it would be a different thing. There’s a fear factor.”

Among veteran-friendly companies with representatives on the think tank are insurance provider MetLife and technology consultant Booz Allen Hamilton. While some large U.S. companies are clearing space to bring veterans in house, it’s the “smaller organizations that often struggle,” Carruthers said.

“They don’t have many employees, and not many of their people have been deployed. They also may not have HR departments that are aggressively seeking diversity,” she added. “So it’s more the smaller organizations that are just not as aware of this issue — or that don’t feel they have the resources. But it’s small business that definitely make up our economy.” (article source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, October 22, 2012

This week’s Top 10 Learnist Boards Popular with Teachers – Guess who has the number #1 Board?

It’s election time. This week’s Top 10 Learnist Boards will provide some resources to learn more about or teach the election. They were particularly tough to choose this week because there is so much political material on Learnist, much created by experts.

Of particular interest this week are “parent boards” and “paired boards.” A parent board is a board that embeds other boards—this week’s example is the parent board on the 2012 Presidential and VP Debates by Crystal Morgan. As a teacher, I find these to be extremely useful in curating information from separate boards and organizing it in one board for my students. It allows me to credit the boards’ authors and synthesize the material I want for my students. Paired boards are boards on the same topic from different perspectives or authors. I use these in class all the time to ask students to identify and analyze points of view, which is a skill addressed in the Common Core State Standards.

1. Presidential Election 2012

Retired newspaper editor Dave Stancliff created this board on the 2012 elections. It covers the candidates and several issues contested in the Presidential election.

2. The Electoral College

Amelia Hamilton discusses the reasons behind the creation of the electoral college and how it affects the United States’ presidential election.

3. Youth Activism

In this board, activist Jack Ori shows examples of youth activism, showing the issues young voters hold closest to their hearts.

4. 2012 Presidential and VP Debates

Crystal Morgan compiled this parent board—a collection of boards housed under one board. This contains all the boards from all the debates, including boards from many perspectives. (Note: 3 of the Learnings are by Dave Stancliff)

5. Decoding the Rhetoric

GOP political strategist Dina Fraioli helps educate us on what the candidates are really saying—with so much by way of stumping, spin, rhetoric and regurgitation, it’s tough to know what it all means—Dina sorts it out.

6. Politics in the Age of Social Media

Activist Jack Ori shows the impact of social media on elections in an age where we can interact with the parties and candidates on the issues that matter most to us in real time.

7. Voting Against Your Own Economic Self-Interest

Jake Becker stirs up some controversy in this board by positing the question “Why do voters vote in ways that do not benefit them?” The comment section shows the full potential of Learnist—the comments are alive on this one, showing that part of the learning is to spark the debate and conversation on tough topics.

8. Religion’s Role in the 2012 Presidential Election

Dave Stancliff analyzes the role of religion in current and past elections, providing information on areas where God and Politics intersect in the minds of voters.

9. The Vice-Presidential Debates: A Conservative View

Life-long Republican and author of the children’s book One Nation Under God: A Book for Little Patriots Amelia Hamilton takes the conservative approach to the debates.

10. Biden vs. Ryan Debate: A Liberal View

Dave Stancliff takes the opposing view when creating his VP debate board—this is one of the great things about using Learnist—the experts curate the materials, but the learner can find many perspectives on the same issue.

SourceEdudemic  View all of Dave’s Boards here.

Here are some interesting, but true facts, that you may or may not have known…

                   Good Day World!

Let’s warm up with some unusual facts to get things going:

1. The Statue of Liberty's index finger is eight feet long.
2. Rain has never been recorded in some parts of the Atacama Desert in Chile.
3. A 75 year old person will have slept about 23 years.
4. Boeing 747's wing span is longer than the Wright brother's first flight. The Wright brother's invented the airplane.
5. There are as many chickens on earth as there are humans.
6. One type of hummingbird weighs less than a penny.
7. The word "set" has the most number of definitions in the English language; 192 Slugs have four noses.
8. Sharks can live up to 100 years.
9. Mosquitos are more attracted to the color blue than any other color.
10. Kangaroos can't walk backwards.


11. About 75 acres of pizza are eaten in in the U.S. everyday.
12. The largest recorded snowflake was 15 Inch wide and 8 Inch thick. It fell in Montana in 1887.
13. The tip of a bullwhip moves so fast that the sound it makes is actually a tiny sonic boom.
14. Former president Bill Clinton only sent 2 emails in his entire 8 year presidency.
15. Koalas and humans are the only animals that have finger prints.
16. There are 200,000,000 insects for every one human.
17. It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery had in it to begin with.
18. The world's largest Montessori school is in India, with 26,312 students in 2002.
19. Octopus have three hearts.

20. If you ate too many carrots, you would turn orange.
21. The average person spends two weeks waiting for a traffic light to change.
22. 1 in 2,000,000,000 people will live to be 116 or old.
23. The body has 2-3 million sweat glands.

24. Sperm whales have the biggest brains; 20 lbs.
25. Tiger shark embroyos fight each other in their mother's womb. The survivor is born.
26. Most cats are left pawed.

27. 250 people have fallen off the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

28. A Blue whale's tongue weighs more than an elephant.

29. You use 14 muscles to smile and 43 to frown. Keep Smiling!

30. Bamboo can grow up to 3 ft in 24 hours.

31. An eyeball weighs about 1 ounce.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, October 21, 2012

AS IT STANDS: Death, mortality and having a good day

 

  By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard  
  Do you treat each day like it might be your last?
  I asked myself that question when my Mother (Margaret Jane Stancliff) died unexpectedly on October 3rd.
Or, like most people, are you too busy to even think that today might be your last hours of life? 
The California Healthcare Foundation released a study (2/12) titled, “Snapshot - Final Chapter: Californians’ Attitudes and Experiences with Death or Dying.” The study reveals 41 percent of Californians’ say they have “too many other things to think about right now” instead of talking about death. (http://www.PDF download.org ).

I try to get the most out of every day. It’s not easy. Giving in to the negativity that surrounds me everyday is easier than trying to be positive about what I see and hear. It takes more muscles to smile, but the end result can light up the world around me for a moment.
I don’t adhere to any one ideology, philosophy, or religion when it comes to how I approach each day. Instead, I motivate myself in many ways. I look for stories about people who do take each day as a gift in their lives.
Memories of friends and loved ones who passed too soon urge me to slow down and smell the proverbial flowers. I sometimes imagine it is my last day on earth and how I should spend it.
This helps me shake off the lethargy of living, and look at hours and days as more precious than any amount of gold or material things. It helps me refocus when I get thrown off track, something that happens to the happiest of us.

 It’s not a perfect world and that’s okay. It shouldn’t affect your day. If you’re healthy and can get about and do various activities, you should take advantage of that as a way to enrich your life and to give each day more meaning.
Millions of people are handicapped in one way or another. Their stories of survival and later thriving energizes me to the core. I often look at their daily challenges and their bravery in making the best of their conditions, as a way of motivation.
 An epiphany sometimes comes after experiencing the loss of a loved one. You realize there’s no guarantee you won’t die today, or tomorrow. The sky is suddenly bluer. The birds songs inspirational. The grass is greener, and the world has taken on a new luster.
My opinion on how important today is - as opposed to yesterday or tomorrow - comes from a lifetime of experience. I’ve done years of research on subjects ranging from the power of positive thinking, to oriental religions and disciplines to maximize my days.

  I learned a long time ago, there will be bad days in my life and it is up to me to cope with them. That’s life. That’s reality. Bad things happen to all of us, regardless of how rich or poor, or how religious we are.
  Because every person’s circumstances are different, having a nice day can have a broad definition. Someone working in a lumber mill for eight hours who comes home to a good hearty hot meal, would probably say they had a good day.
  They made money and were productive. Someone re-learning how to walk after an accident who manages to take a few extra steps one day, would call that a good day. A child who was able to eat a full meal one day, would consider that a good day if he/she was among the starving children of the world.
  I admit that decades ago, when I heard people use the line, “Have a good day,” I thought that was a shallow statement. A mental picture of a round yellow happy face accompanied the thought.

Funny how things change. Now when someone says “Have a good day,” I enjoy hearing it and quickly wish the same for the speaker. Somewhere along the line I managed to become less skeptical of everything in life.
As we all know, life is an ever evolving situation. We can choose to grow and bloom, or wither on the vine of negativity. It does come down to personal choice, despite what life hands us.


  As It Stands, there’s nothing wrong with thinking about death and your mortality as one way to have a better day.