Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Is Here! A Gardening Geek-Out.

Okay, so it's here...yet. But it's coming soon.

Now, for the geeking out.

The new seeds (dressed in white) and
the leftovers from last season to go in this year
We got our seeds for the garden today! Gardening Season Version 2.0 is upon us. Our second solo attempt at growing food, after the beta version when we lived with mom in summer of 2012 and tended her garden and got bit by the gardening bug.

Truth be told we come from a long line of gardeners, and had dabbled in the dark earthy arts of the dirt over the years, never with any success on our own...until last year. Which was more or less 75% successful, as you can read about at one of our other blogs if you'd like (, which is retiring from active duty this year in the interest of streamlining the writing into only one or two places. (it's all about organization, yeah?)

Anywayyyyyy...*continues to geek out*

We bought a lot of seeds. We would have bought more but for the space issue, and also...umm...two human bodies can only eat so much spoils from the garden. For goodness sake we're still eating spaghetti squash and beets from the last garden. So many seeds, it's a little crazy. For instance, the squash plants only need two seeds per hill, and we'll only be planting, at most, two hills per type. At 25 seeds per pack...we have enough seeds for the next...something like six years.

To most people it probably seems ridiculous that we're so excited about gardening, but there is nothing like something fresh from the garden, pulled from soil you know, from soil you've toiled over (and trust us, with our back problems, the toil can be days of pain - but it's totally worth it), that only your hands have touched. It's much better than some crap from the grocery store that's traveled over 1000 miles in a truck or rail car, or worse, ship or an airplane from another country several thousand miles away. Not to mention some of the seeds are organic/heirloom, which means no GMO. (As some regular readers know, we have a variety of issues with the upsurge in GMO everything, and it's not just from a poisoning perspective -

Gardening probably couldn't be easier for the average person either...there are apps for it. Seriously. APPS. And websites with videos and information. And software. And if you're into machines and many. machines. and. gadgets.

We're not into that stuff, the machines and gadgets (except for the gardening knife, obviously...), you can barely talk us into wearing a pair of gloves to weed most days. However, we did try out a The Old Farmer's Almanac Garden Planner ( just to make sure we could fit all the things we wanted into our two garden plots.

To start off, this is not a paid advertisement of any sort, we are not representing them, they are not paying us. This is just a cool feature of their website because
a) it's not software so it doesn't require any crazy downloads [you only need a recent version of Adobe Flash, which, if you don't already might as well leave the internet right now]
b) it's fun to play with because it automatically shows how much space you need around each thing you plant (as you'll see below)

They allow you to use it for free for 30 days, but you can only save one garden design. After the 30 days is up you then have the option of paying $25 a year (no credit card info required) or $40 for two years, for the features and benefits like being able to create up to five plans per year, continuous access to the garden plans, emailed reminders so you know when to sow and plant. Saving of plans to carry over for the next year's garden to remind what grew where the year(s) before, which enables you to quickly make the next year's plan, including removing things that didn't work out, or changing the location of things that might grow better in another spot. There are some other general features that come with it, and the trial version, you should just play with it and find out.

We played around with it before ordering seeds, because the order add$ up - we still have to wait for the potato (two varieties) and sweet potato "bulbs" which get shipped closer to the end of the frost season, and some things have to be purchased as plants and transplanted because the growing season is too short for some things (peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, broccoli and cauliflower.

This is the West Plot, which is 30 x 12, designed using the The Old Farmer's Almanac Garden Planner (, which is getting made larger when the guy we hire to plow the spots with his little tractor comes by after the frost season passes. It was just decided today, so we might be able to grow more tomatoes or peppers...and maybe some other things that can be dehydrated or canned for winter.

This is the South Plot, which is for more "late season" items, like winter squash, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and know, things that take longer to mature or ripen.


Okay, we're done geeking out.

Spring is close! It's time to get excited.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Critical Reflections on When Science Meets Religion - Part 2 of 5

Spring break is [finally] over. Let's just say, most of us cannot wait until graduation. (after next Spring Semester *fingers crosses*) - for so many reasons. For example...a completed second degree (in the last 10 years, at least 6 of them have been spent in higher education) and the potential for higher income, more time for (recreational) reading and writing,
Not to mention, we're planning on moving the edge.
Anyway, extensive winter weather, impotent culture and staying in one place for long periods has never been conducive to this wayward existence. It makes parts of the brain itchy.

While the final "grade" will not be received until tomorrow night for this...(let's be honest +s and -s are not grades by conventional standards) [update as of 3/26 : this got a "++" - an above high standards mark]...what follows is part of a series in a University class we're taking (<- click here for 1 of 5 to get context) about truth and reality. Come on. It'll be fun!)

Critical Reflection on ‘When Science Meets Religion’ by Ian G. Barbour
Chapter 3: The Implications of Quantum Physics

In the three interpretations of quantum uncertainties, Heisenberg’s theory of indeterminacy principle was more logical and attractive, particularly because it supports the concept of free will. As theoretical physics Micho Kaku says of the indeterminacy principle, it supports the notion that “no one can determine your future events given your past history. There’s always the wild card. There’s always the possibility of uncertainty in whatever we do”.  Barbour states that if we set the world back to point A, it would not necessarily end up at the previously actualized Z, because the potentiality of different events would change the course. (69) This seems like a good support for the concept of free will.

The conflict between religion and indeterminacy seems unnecessary. In a concept that supposes that everything is up to chance, there is room for “God-given” freedom, whereas in the deterministic concept, that says everything is preordained, there is no room for making your own choices and therefor no room to exercise the freedom purported by theologians. Again, even when scientific principles can get along with religious ones, religion has to argue about it. At the end, it’s just utter ridiculousness in the first place, because what some are arguing to defend is some “divine purpose” that comes down to being nothing more than creation for the sake of worship.

In the independence of science and religion, Barbour’s stance on Bohr’s Complimentary Principle models of phenomena that the concept is acceptable as long as “they refer to the same entity and are of the same logical type” (77) makes complete sense. For instance, one cannot compare a dog and a banana, though one might say that the molecules that make up the dog and the banana can be compared. On a logical level, it is hard to understand why anybody would argue for something so restraining in the scientific world. In addition, Complimentary Principle seems limited in that it insinuates that we can only choose between two things. Something can only be this or that, when in fact, it is possible for something to be this and that. Of course, if something could be both this and that, then inferred support for dialogue and integration in science and religion occurs, despite the different purposes they serve.

            The idea that something is not real until observed and/or recorded, as asserted by Wheeler in his “observer-created universe” theory, (79) while it could support a theory for a non-existent God almost appears preposterous. However, it actually brought to mind that philosophical question-turned-idiom, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” , to which one might ask, if you’re not in the forest and you hear a tree fall, was it a tree that fell.

            Staune’s supposition that quantum physics “cannot” fully explain reality (83) completely ignores the potentiality of it, that it can’t explain it yet, he doesn’t even assume that the possibility is there, just that because it can’t it opens up the dialogue for the existence of God. Had countless scientists came to this same conclusion, that because one field of science could not explain the thing it was attempting to explain now…“then God”, science would be nowhere. In this dialectic approach there is no need to continue attempts of discovery.

Western religions are not compatible with the integration of science and religion; their concepts are too rigid and unyielding. While Eastern religions may be more compatible, Barbour seems to present enough evidence to imply it would not be wholly compatible. (84-85) There can be no discussion of Western religion without addressing God. The Judeo Christian concept of God is that of a being which created the universe, has the ability to intervene and manipulate its creation (even though s/he/it clearly doesn’t), and has grand design for life. If they can shed the man-invented fantasy that humans were formed in the image of “their God”, and remove that level of egotism from the notion of a “divine being”, they are then free to look to concepts in quantum physics for a more realistic structure.  The quantum atom of quantum theory, which is “inaccessible to direct observation and unimaginable in terms of everyday properties” (67) brings to mind a concept of a God (not to be confused with Higgs Boson) that is far more realistic that a single being. Acceptance of such a theory and stripping away the man-designated name and image of “God”, would be the only way in which to integrate science and Western religion. Removing the personhood and supposed aspects in the concept of God, given that all things are made up of atoms, we can acknowledge that God is not a thing, but everything, worthy of admiration, respect and discovery, not praise and obedience. In this, then, can science and religion be integrated.

Ian, Barbour G. When Science Meets Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners. N.p.: HarperCollins, 2000. N. pag. Print.

Michio Kaku: Quantum Physics Ends the Free Will Debate - Atheist Nexus. Perf. Michio Kaku. Michio
Kaku: Quantum Physics Ends the Free Will Debate - Atheist Nexus., 24 June 2011. Web. 11 Mar. 2014. <>

...More From This Class: 
- Critical Reflections on When Science Meets Religion - Part 1 of 5 (

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Most Mind-Blowing Thing Watched Last Week: The Double Slit Experiment

Not being able to put things into words sucks. And Spring Break has not been conducive to brain relaxation...if anything it's making it itchy.
So, in the interest of being semi-active here, and providing something to consider and/or think about...
Last week in 'That Wednesday Class' part of the discussion was about this...(since the chapter being read was on implications of quantum physics in religion).
Check it out.
If you have a basic understanding of atoms, matter, and a very basic awareness of quantum physics, and have never seen this...your mind will be blown by the the possibilities.
Also, the chapter three reflection that will be posted about a week from now, that we wrote, touches on quantum atoms in a re-defined idea of what God is.
So, anyway...

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Real Cure For A Hangover

Monday, and more or less this entire weekend, is a big drinking holiday.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Yeah, we won't be doing anything special to celebrate it (a.k.a. leaving the house to drink), but that doesn't mean we can't talk about it.
Now, of course we're not going to advocate drinking. (that would be irresponsible...)
No. But we are advocating for not getting hangovers.
We found this video today, and thought you might like it.

HOW TO CURE YOUR HANGOVER (important stuff!)

Now, if you can't afford the guaranteed cure that this video promotes, which costs $250 (no, it's not an advertisement), we have a NUMBER ONE TIP to cure a hangover...but first, watch this video...

So here it is...our big reveal...

The solution is clear.
WATER. (ha, see what we did there...)
Drink lots of water before and during.
About 22oz within the 3 hours leading up to your binge drinking, and then at least 8oz every hour*. [Yes, you'll probably pee a lot, but at least you won't feel like a zombie who was the victim of a bloodsucking vampire the night before.]
This has long been a tried and true method that we've tried to promote for years in order to help friends we were drinking with (back when we had a social life) avoid those debilitating sometimes two-day hangovers. It even got us the nickname of "Water Nazi" at parties because people didn't appreciate constant suggestions that they should drink some water. Yeah, we hung out with some really mature people.
Honestly though, it had more to do with the fact that a) who wants to listen to a hungover person bitch about being hungover anyway and b) being the only person not hungover after a long day and night of drinking, especially on vacations, is a real drag.
Of course, they hardly ever listened, and even after realizing it works, would go back to the same bad behavior. Don't be dumb like that. Drink water and feel human the next day.
Another good tip is:
  • Avoid excessively sugary drinks, and make sure to eat a little something during your evening out. Even if it's just a handful of chips.
For more tips see How To Hold Your Liquor ->

Now you know, the real cure for a hangover is prevention...and it's a damn site cheaper than an IV.

Have a Happy and Safe St. Patrick's Day! Drink responsibly.

*There should be an implied disclaimer. But some people need things spelled out for them, so...
If you go out and drink and this doesn't work, or if you have adverse side effects, that's not our fucking problem. Take some responsibility for fuck sake.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Critical Reflections on When Science Meets Religion - Part 1 of 5

There are six chapters in 'When Science Meets Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners?' by Ian G. Barbour, each week the students of the class we attend are assigned reading assignments, this is the third book of four for the semester (below this entry are links to other writings from the other two). As opposed to the last book for the class (On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not by Robert Burton) where the students were assigned several chapters at a time, this book is being dissected one chapter at a time per week.

The content of 'When Science Meets Religion' is heavy. For instance, the critical reflection paper handed in tonight (which will be posted in two weeks) was on The Implications of Quantum Physics in religion. To say we know nothing about Quantum Physics would be an understatement - however, we know more now that we did before. So that's something.

To provide some bases for understanding, each chapter is set out with the idea that there are four ways in which science and religion can get along - Conflict, Independence, Dialogue and Integration. Each of these has implications and levels of potential cohesiveness (or, non cohesiveness, in the case of 'Conflict', which is most of ours' pet far...).
Within each of those views is a type of scientific study. For instance, chapter two is about astrology, Barbour sets astrology in each box [Conflict, Independence, Dialogue and Integration] and discusses how they can or can't work, using different examples from scientists in various fields.

The goal of the readings, the reflection papers, and the two hour class discussion each week, is to bounce ideas and theories off of each other, to broaden the approach and ways of thinking, to debate and philosophize new ideas and new thoughts. The class is based on Truth, Knowledge and Reality, after all. And how can one understand those without thinking about them on a basic (yet not so basic) level.

Since the topics are so heavy in nature, future entries will be one chapter at a time, but for today, we submit to you the first two chapters, to read, to contemplate, to comment on. Because open and respectful debate is a key to learning.

If you've even made it this far,'re an intellectual as far as we're concerned.
If you keep reading, you just might find a dick joke embedded in one of the chapter reflections. (the instructor thought it was funny). The two papers got a +, and a ++, respectively. [That'll make sense to the people who have read other things here from this class].


Critical Reflection on ‘When Science Meets Religion’ by Ian G. Barbour
Chapters 1 - Four Views of Science and Religion

According to Barbour, scientific materialism and biblical literalism “rival literal statements about the same domain” (11). Straight to the conflicts. There are so many, when there should not be any, and that is because people try to put science and religion in too much of the same domain. This will appear to be a hodge-podge of statements on various parts of chapter one, which will hopefully end in a cohesive analysis of my general opinion of what Barbour has set forth in chapter one.

Science and the Bible/Religion, in modern terms, are of different domains. It is true that at one time religion and the Bible were “the science of the age” used to explain the mysteries of the natural world, as well as serving as an alleged handbook to good behavior (more to come on that), but now we have…actual science…to explain the things of the world, and the Bible, as a historical literary work (some might say moral guidebook).

In the integration of religion and science, Barbour says the Theology of Nature states “God creates through the whole process of law and chance, not by intervening in the gaps of the process” (32). This sounds like…science. For what purpose would mankind need a creator with divine non-involvement. What then becomes the purpose of prayer in creation and maintenance by chance; and isn't “law and chance” the basic premise of scientific theory and The Big Bang, which was a chance happening involving scientific laws? The theology of nature sounds like science free of an active creator, which is to say, free of theology.

Don’t be mistaken, the Bible is a wonderful book of religion, a mesmerizing historical text and an often beautiful literary work, that is to say it is not a book of facts, or a book of scientific nature. The Bible can be studied for historical information, though given the nature of how often even historical “facts” of modern days often do not hold up against scrutiny and realism, one can be sure that the historical information within the pages of the Bible are prone to containing a clear bias and half-truths at best. The Bible provides a general snap-shot of a way of thinking among people of a particular a period of time. Books of the Bible serve as basic genealogy. Even further, books of the Bible offered a confused people explanations of weather (The Book of Job, Chapter 37), explanation of childbirth…

“As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.” Ecclesiastes 11:5 KJV

or maybe not…and even gave reason to why people from different geographical areas spoke different languages (The Tower of Bable).

The Bible, and therefore religion, also provided guides to being a good person, such as the parable of The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 KJV. What the Bible is not, is a book about tried and tested scientific hypothesis with measurable results. What instrumentalists say of science, I say of religion, that religion is a “convenient human construct” (21). People of biblical times used it as a way of understanding the world around them, but since then more sophisticated ways have been created to understand the stars, weather, reproduction and language. Therefore, as a “textbook” of actual scientific discovery, it has no grounds. As Barbour says, in the section on Conflict, preventing conflict is done by “separating science and religion to interpret then as languages that are unrelated because their functions are totally different” (19).

However, to some it is still essential as a way of getting meaning out of life, with constructed parables to illustrate and understand “good” human behavior. The bible provides a concept of evil to assist in the understanding of bad things that happen. For instance, if you are to believe that humans are just higher-developed animals, there is no “evil”, there are only people who act on their baser instincts with no remorse for their fellow beings; but if you are to believe humans are not animals, and even separate from them, then an explanation for the bad things they do must have a “villain” and “evil”…a Satan or Devil.

Strong arguments can be made over broad-stroke statements indicating the Bible is an illustration of human dignity, or that religion is good, given the atrocities carried out in history beneath the banner of ‘Religion’. In fact, at times, the Bible is full of pure contradiction, not to mention a handbook on who and how to hate. It is a book about starting wars, oppressing and mistreatment of ethnic groups (a.k.a. strangers to the land), and degrading women (as property and whores) while illustrating their untrustworthiness and “evil nature” (see: Adam and Eve, Samsun and Delilah), offering little demonstration in favor. It swings from interpretations of wealth and poverty, of war and peace. Anybody who has read the Bible knows there can be no literal interpretation not only for Science, but even as a guide on how to live, is a touch unsalable – the Bible is full of contradictions, false “science” and false “humanity” and is prone to cherry-picking to justify some of the most heinous of human indignities.

What I find most interesting in the science and religion debate is when the two overlap in theory, only then do the religious fundamentalists deny Bible “truth”. This is particularly seen in the area of climate change. If one was to analyze Revelations, and the stories in books and chapters related to it, in the Bible, it directly speaks about climate change, yet more often than not it’s the Christian (Republicans) that believe the concept of climate change to be a hoax, simply because scientific evidence supports it, despite their own guiding text hailing famine as part of the fourth seal. How do they imagine famine will fore come without the drought and floods produced by climate change? This is not to say I buy into the idea that “the end of the times” was foretold by men who lived in the desert thousands of years ago, or that climate change is even part of it. It is an interesting phenomenon that when parts of the Bible can “actually be backed up with scientific explanation” Biblical literalists/fundamentalists tend to deny the “truth” in it. Scientific Materialism, which states “scientific method is the only reliable path to knowledge” (11), is reminiscent of the knowledge of foretold by biblical apocalypse, according to some interpretations of Daniel 12:4. So, at the end of the day, it makes sense that religion fears or moves to distrust science on some level, because science is knowledge, the apple from the tree, an echo from the horn of the apocalypse.

Finally, I do not agree with the support for Independence from instrumentalism that states “scientific theories are not representative of reality by useful intellectual and practical tools” (21), as if Biblical fairytales are at all representative of reality themselves. I find the fact that anybody would consider religion and science happy bedfellows astounding. They have two different purposes: one is far more useful in gaining knowledge and an understanding of the world and people, and the other makes a mighty terrifying and seat-gripping bedtime story.

Chapter 2 - Astronomy and Creation

Three minutes before The Big Bang. Billions of years and it often comes down to arguments about those three minutes as proof of a creator by theologians, though, according to UW Astronomy professor Bruce Margon, "Only the first 10-43 seconds [now] remain obscure," 1. An inability to determine what happened in the exact moment persistently punches holes in both the theory of the Big Bang, and the theory of God. However, some may conclude that to the educated person the existence of God is less certain, because the idea of “a god” creates the desire for explaining first where God even came from, and second where s/he exited prior to creation. So much has there been a need to explain creation outside of The Big Bang that people like Christian and astronomer Hugh Ross found a need for the manifestation of an extra dimension to explain even the workings of the physical form of God as Jesus on earth. An eleventh dimension whereby the holy and divine existed, in biblical times; one more than purported by highly abstract and untestable string theory (47); which explains his ability to pass through closed doors and walking on water. Guess it beats high magic or sleight of hand trickery.

While I still, as of this chapter reflection, hold strongly that Science and Religion are destined to remain in the “conflict box” for the foreseeable future, I am not without understanding that at some point reconciliation is possible, if only they (and by they, I mean religious literalists) can embrace the two as separate functions. It is through adherence to biblical literalism in relation to Science, that conflict arises. As stated by David Kelsey, “science and religion […] address different questions, and those questions should not be confused” (50). Some might even say that the Bible does a poor job at addressing any questions. As for the “why” of things that the Bible is alleged to answer, the response usually ends at “because God”, and the “how” questions end much the same way in what is essentially a non-answer. What follows then, by me, is a full admission that Science also cannot answer the “whys”. Science can only help you understand only the how. For example, there is no “why” when someone gets cancer, there is only the how – the environmental and biological causes of it. There is no “why” to answer why a baby is born with defects, or someone dies at a young age. There is no real way to answer “why them and not someone else” on a spiritual or Scientific level. Therefore, Science can answer your questions more fully than can religion, which inevitably ends with the God answer. Independent they must stay, but on a level playing field they are not.

In terms of dialogue, more often than not, as stated before, Science and Religion get thrown back into the “conflict box”. There is hardly logical ground made between the two in conversation where there is an attempt to overlap them. For instance, Thomas Torrance’s claim for the potential of differently ordered world (through God’s creativity) contingent on God (53), and the claim that the world did not have to have the order that it did/does, either opens up possibility for more worlds - because if there is potential for different orders of things, then what holds true on earth to create and maintain life, does not have to remain true elsewhere. Essentially this does nothing but work towards disproving religious basis for “one world”, and/or at the same time disproves scientific laws which states very specific things had to happen in order for the world to come into being, because in scientific laws of nature there is only one “order of things”. If the creation of world was/is ultimately dependent on God, then could God, in his infinite creativity, not tamper with the scientific laws and re-order things whenever s/he wants? More pressing, if there was a divine creator of these laws and things, as supposed, why did he not impart the knowledge with the first theoretical bite of the sinful apple – it seems all the knowledge that the apple was supposed to impart, was very basic and for naught in the grand schemes of available infinite knowledge held by an all-knowing creator.

In the integration of Science and Religion, I become more insolent. God as a creator of all things, including science, still leaves the question of purpose hanging in the air. In the significance of humanity, Teilhard de Chardin says, “we should not measure significance by size and duration” (62). (It’s just like a man to make that claim). But is there a reason to measure significance at all? Does existence have to mean anything? And if it does, it seems more realistic that the earth was created spontaneously ex nihilo, without divine creator or purpose, than to think some mysterious being in a (potential) eleventh dimension, or “heavenly location”, created an entire world for the sole purpose of requesting that the more “intellectual” of creations worship her/him/it for the very act. That the belief of the creation of the world via God is the expression of the theories of “dependence” and “gratitude” (59) to God, as set forth by biblical text, is nothing more than a master-slave relationship. If that were true, that the whole purpose for existence was for the praise and worship of the being that created it, then that being pretty much takes narcissism to a new…dimension.

Ian, Barbour G. When Science Meets Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners. N.p.: HarperCollins, 2000. N. pag. Print.

1. Alles, David L. "Alles Introductory Biology Lectures: An Introduction to Science and Biology for Non-Majors." Lecture. Western Washington University, Bellingham. 4 Mar. 2014. Western Washington University. Web. 4 Mar. 2014. <>.

...More From This Class: 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Nonverbal Friday

In interpersonal communication class this week (and next week) the topic is nonverbal communication. That's everything from proxemics (how close or far you stand when communicating), kinesics (body position and motion, and touch), space (how you arrange your office or house to communicate who you are), paralingual attributes (tone, pitch and volume of voice), physiological responses (gestures, posture, facial eye contact and movement), appearance (what you wear), and to a lesser degree chrometics (what how you use time says about what you think), and so much more.

Nonverbal communication, the sending and receiving of communication through "wordless cues" - the stuff that tells the story you won't tell. It's actually a fascinating branch of communication study. According to some studies 65-93% of communication is nonverbal (1).

Nonverbal communication is something we sometimes struggle with on a personal level. James had often remarked early in the relationship that sometimes our face and tone did not math the words coming out of our mouth. While we are really good at reading nonverbal communication (sometimes scary good), it could probably be said that we're not good at controlling it. (A Face Full Of Emotion: A Journal Entry Nonverbal communication can reveal how you are feeling, even if it's not intentional.

We depend too much on it perhaps, as it's easier to covey a message using aspects of nonverbal communication than it is saying outright what it is on our mind. So, in public, instead of saying "Move out of my way bitch", everything that needs to be said we can do using our eyes, mouth and posture alone...sometimes unintentionally.

But nonverbal communication can also reveal lies you're telling, and maybe that's why we're not comfortable with lying, because our entire body demands honesty. This body will tell you the truth, and we know it will, so why bother lying. If that makes any sense. 

In any case, there were two videos in class today to illustrate and to facilitate the "book learning"...and it seemed they would be worth sharing. They come from TED Talks, which is an amazing series of professional lectures from all over the United States. If you're not familiar with TED Talks go ahead and Google them...they have a great website full of videos, there are loads, in all sorts of topics - they are generally short, informative/educational and interesting.

Here are the two from today. Initially the first video just really reminded us why we hate/dislike (most) people, and why communicating with people is terrifying (you can't trust people!). But then we remembered how fascinating communication is, and that's why it's our major.

So, enjoy...


(1) Burgoon, J.K. (1994). Nonverbal Signals. In M.L. Knapp & G.R. Miller (eds), Handbook of Interpersonal Communication. (p. 235). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

About A Dabble At Journalistic Writing

This past week we did something we've never done before.
We performed an interview, and wrote a "feature article".
It was for a media writing class. Of course we write, all sorts of things, and have for over 20 years now. But never this. And never around the context of an interview-based story. Every kind of writing is different. For instance, we are rubbish at writing fiction, but can pen decent poems/prose, and write some wicked essays and opinion pieces, so it was nice to experiment with journalistic writing.

At first we were really scared, not just nervous. Being social is intermittent, and the interview was with a local group of people in the town we moved to just a year ago. It was first contact! Aside from the next door neighbor, two people who work with James, and the chiropractor, anyway. Hey, that's probably, like, half the town actually.

It was an amazing experience, in that it was an exercise in "keeping our mouth shut" when it comes to writing. Turns out it was a lot easier than anticipated. It helped that the interview subjects were very friendly and genuine, and didn't say anything subversive that we would have wanted to pounce on or shove against.

Believe it or not, real journalism requires that the writer/reporter not interject their own bias or opinion into the piece of media they create. When they do, they are no longer a journalist, they are a news commentator (which it seems like most of them are these days anyway, even those under the guise of news journalism), often (usually) paid by one side or the other to give their bias opinion and push their agenda.

In any case, as any regular reader of this blog knows, keeping our opinions out of things isn't really a forte in our writing toolkit...but with this first major assignment, it seems it could be. As the instructor said today "sounds like you opened up a new vein"...which sounds about right for those who are fond of bleeding words.

The grade is still pending, but we have it on good authority that if it doesn't receive an 'A' the "professor has problems". [Special thanks to Charles Bivona #njpoet of, for the editing assistance]

Of course, when we suggested to James that maybe being a journalist was a possible career path...he said he'd probably file for divorce.