A Brief Period of Time

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This past week was an emotional roller coaster. And I don’t mean I traveled to an amusement park. It was an internal, very emotional week. And one of relief.

 

First of all, I am part French. Maybe there are only a few Franco drops in my blood, but they are there. So I am quite happy that France won the World Cup. I should also mention if Mexico, Spain, or the US should have won, I would have been happy as well, as I share the genes of a Spaniard, a Mexican, and I was born here in the US. So I can claim victory from four different countries. Ah, the luxury of a mixed breed! 😉

 

Just in case this slipped by you, today is National Ice Cream Day. I celebrated appropriately. Ice cream – is there anything better that a soft, creamy, cold delight on a summer day?

 

Now for the final chapter in my cancer treatment. I went to my final colonoscopy on Tuesday. All the little boxes in the report were checked OK. Yeah!!! My cancer treatment start with this uncomfortable and invasive exam (I know it’s necessary!) and ended with the same procedure.

 

I got home about 1 PM and thought I was going to be able to get at least a few hours on my laptop. I have to mention that many good plans go to the wayside due to reality. Which was the anesthesia was still in my system and I took a long nap.

 

When it came out of my napping session I was able to a few things. But the big surprise was when I was finally getting ready for the night to sleep my usual six hours.

 

I started to think about the past 13 months. The cancer cost me lots of money. Which I know I can make it up. But the evil also cost me a year where I could not travel, or go the park or beach as much as I wanted, or do my regular running, even go out on a date. I didn’t have the energy or desire or aptitude to do so. A year of my life, gone forever! I can’t make that time up! Life is too short by any standard. Why this ugly thing shortened even it more??

 

My friends tell me I’m lucky. I know that. But emotions don’t always agree or follow reality. Anyway, I wept in bed. And let myself cry until my body felt satisfied

 

And in the morning, I woke up. Afresh and alive. I am looking forward to Knott’s Berry Farm later this month. And I’m taking a friend.

 

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It’s Magic!

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Since I was a little boy I’ve always enjoyed a good magic show.

 

I remember seeing the Doug Henning and his mystical magic on TV and just wondering how it was all done.

 

I’ve seen Penn and Teller in Las Vegas. I supposedly still have the used the ticket somewhere in my place. But it too was magical – it has disappeared.

 

James Randi, who I have met in person, is simply incredible; even when you know how the trick is (probably) done, you can’t see the solution.

 

And that applies to most stage magicians. Some of them are strictly professional, some are comical, some work with a partner, some add spiritual elements, some dress up in costumes, and some even act out a story.

It is simply a wonder to watch these illusionists perform on stage.

 

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I’ve tried my hand at close-up magic, but beyond a few card tricks, I’m an unmitigated failure at it.

 

It’s a problem with coordination; my fingers are rebellious – they don’t always do what my brain tells them to do.

 

But I still love to watch magic.

 

Recently I found a video on YouTube. I had found it earlier but like my used ticket for Penn and Teller, it too had disappeared.

 

OK, I made a link now so I don’t have to worry about finding the video again.

 

Anyway, the video stars Penn and Teller (yeah, you probably guessed that!) and a young magician trying to fool them. It is funny and shows a new persona a future magician might adapt.

 

Here is the link:

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-3fzp7hJrI

A child?

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Last week a friend asked me if I was interested in having children. At first I didn’t know why the question immediately put me on the edge. Then I remembered that so many people in my past emphasized that having children was important to the whole of community and a way of serving God’s plans.

 

Why do I listen to such rubbish and selfish talks?

 

But back to her question.

 

I love what I am doing. In my writings, in my studies, in helping and enjoying my friends (who I love and appreciate for all the wonderful things they have done for me).

 

If I was to have a child, I know it would a commitment in time, money, compassion, and education (the last two are my top two values in my world and my commitment to the world).

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I think I can do more for humanity in providing and sharing the knowledge I’ve gathered in my 50 years on this planet. Not just book learning, but learning life’s lessons in providing comfort and learning how to defend what I truly value (consult other posts in this blog to learn more).

 

And yet, I miss having a child. Is that selfish or part of my internal makeup? Maybe it’s part of everyone’s genetic makeup – to reproduce. Richard Dawkins’ ideas on evolution may have more value than just The Selfish Gene can scientifically present.

 

It is intriguing to suggest that our genes contribute more than just the color of our eyes. Maybe they do want to continue living after their hosts (that’s us) die off. So the genes programmed us to let them continue living through reproduction.

 

That is getting a bit off the subject. And perhaps a bizarre way to do so.

 

And yet, I can’t get away from disagreeing that the desire to reproduce is only a cultural thing. Maybe it is also an internal desire to share and spread our value systems. And if that is true, what is driving this internal desire?

 

I have a right not to have a child. And I cherish the people who support me in that right.

 

But I will help take care of at least one.

 

I have a niece who is just starting her way into adulthood.

 

And she is inquisitive. I like that.

Going Blonde

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I originally attended college in the 1980s to pursue electronics, computers, and psychology. Along the way I also dabbled in art, literature, philosophy, and swimming. All these things were of major interest to me.

 

But as I started working I noticed the great explosion in computer technology and their usefulness. I found now I could save my ideas on a hard drive, scan my drawings, and even print out some chess openings, my personal opinions on a variety of things, and even simple birthday cards.

 

And I wanted to go back to college and learn more about all this computer stuff.

 

So I did exactly that. My newest interest was graphic design, something I still find very useful today..

 

My return to college was many years ago. And I do want to re-return sometime later.

 

Anyway, back to original return to college time.

 

I was still young, and I seem to recall my hair being all black.

 

 

I liked it long, except during the summer when it (my hair and head) got hot (you see, the color black tends to attract heat – a problem I’ve always had until recently).

 

My jet black hair was also very thick. It contributed to the heat on the head.  That was about the only concern I had about my hair. Like everything else that I find bothersome, I made some jokes about it.

 

These next statements are hyperboles, but not by much.

 

It was so thick it also doubled as a helmet.

 

It was so thick it broke my barber’s scissors.

 

By cutting my hair, I would lose two pounds.

 

 

So I (sort of) like(d)  my hair.

 

But one thing I noticed during all the times at college was that there was preference of us male guys for the blonde girls on campus. I’ve always wondered if the reverse was true – do girls at college find blonde men more attractive than others?

 

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On day when I was walking to class, a young female student approached me. She was studying Cosmetology and needed some test subjects. She offered to change my hair color. I thought about for about 2 seconds (just to make sure I heard her right) and replied, “Yes”!

 

They needed to bleach my hair first. And my hair looked good just being a light brown. But I wanted to go all the way.

 

So they begin the applying the dye. And after some time (it was over an hour) I finally was able to see my new blonde hair in the mirror. It never occurred to me, but I got a high from hair color thing.

 

 

And interesting, I did come compliments from some of the girls at the college and some of the even approached me for some small talk (and one case – to flirt).

 

I didn’t tell them my hair was colorized. After all, I wanted to see far my experiment would go in answering my original question, “do girls at college find blonde men more attractive than others?” Besides I was enjoying the attention.

 

And I don’t know if these compliments were the result of my increased self-image or simply the result of the now blonde hair. I suspect it was mostly the latter.

 

The hair coloring lasted about six weeks. By then my natural jet black hair replaced the blonde.

 

I never repeated the experiment. I don’t know why. I think it was because I had a good experience. I had an answer to my question. And I appreciated the attention. And that was enough for me.

 

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While I was writing this blog, one question jumped out at me. Or rather two questions.

 

If you could change any physical attribute about yourself, such as height, weight, eye color, hair color, skin color, voice, etc., what would it be? And the second question is, why?

 

“X” Marks the Spot

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There are times I like to make lists of words, if for no other reasons other that I like words, and I am a nerd.

About a week ago, I was wondering how many (English, or at least used in English) words start with the letter X. I was wondering if I could get to 100 words.

Now, it’s pretty easy to find 2, 5, or even 10 words (try it!). But 100? I had to try.

Well, I think I did. It was struggle but I did it. (a smiley goes here 😉

Here are 100 words beginning with an “X”. Even more if you include plurals and conjugations.

 

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XANTHAN (+S)
XANTHATE (+S) [n. A chemical salt]
XANTHEIN (+S) [n. The part of the coloring matter in yellow flowers that is soluble in water]
XANTHENE (+S)
XANTHIC [adj. Having the color yellow; yellowish]
XANTHIN (+S)
XANTHINE (+S)
XANTHOCHROIA (+S) [n. A condition causing yellow patches]
XANTHOCHROIC [adj. Having a yellowish or fair complexion, (2) pertaining to people or races with light hair and pale complexions]
XANTHOCOMIC [adj. Yellow-haired]
XANTHOMA (+S or +TA) [n. A skin problem marked by the development of irregular yellow nodules on the eyelids, neck, and back]
XANTHOMETER (+S) [n. An instrument for measuring color of sea or lake water]
XANTHONE (+S)
XANTHOPHYLL (+S) [n. Yellow carotenoid pigments in plants and animal fats and egg yolks]
XANTHOPSIA (+S) [n. A visual defect in which objects appear to have a yellowish hue]
XANTHOUS [adj. (1) of the color intermediate between green and orange in the color spectrum, (2) Having light brown or yellowish skin, (3) Yellow or red-haired]
XAVIER [n. A male given name and surname, as in Saint Francis Xavier (a Roman Catholic missionary)]
XEBEC (+S) [n. A small, three-masted Mediterranean vessel used for pirating and trading]
XENIA (+S) [n. (1) The ancient Greek concept of hospitality, the generosity and courtesy shown to those who are strangers, (2) pl. of XENIUM, (3) The effect of the type of pollen on the characteristics of the endosperm, fruit, or seed of a plant.]
XENIAL [adj. Of or concerning hospitality towards guests]
XENIC
XENIUM (XENIA) [n. A gift made to a guest or ambassador; any compulsory gift]
XENOBIOTIC [adj. Relating to a substance foreign to the body or ecological system]
XENODIAGNOSIS (XENODIAGNOSES) [n. A diagnosis of disease by allowing laboratory-bred diseases to affect material]
XENODOCHEIONOLOGY [n. Love for and of hotels, motels, and inns]
XENODOCHIUM (+S or XENODOCHIA) [n. A room or building for the reception of strangers]
XENOGAMY (XENOGAMIES) [n. The transfer of pollen from one plant to another]
XENOGENEIC [adj. Derived or obtained from an organism of a different species]
XENOGENESIS (XENOGENESES) [n. Generation of offspring entirely unlike the parent]
XENOGENOUS [adj. Caused by a foreign body]
XENOGENY
XENOGLOSSIA [n. The alleged speaking or writing in a language entirely unknown to the speaker]
XENOGRAFT (+S) [n. Tissue from an animal of one species used as a temporary graft]
XENOLITH (+S) [n. A rock fragment embedded in magma or another rock]
XENOMANIA (+S) [n. An obsession for foreign things, customs, or people]
XENOMENIA (+S)
XENOMORPHIC [adj. (of a stone) Having a form not its own]
XENON (+S) [n. A colorless, odorless, inert gaseous element]
XENOPHILE (+S)
XENOPHOBE (+S)
XENOPHOBIA (+S) [n. An abnormal fear of foreigners]
XENOPHOBIC
XENOPUS (+ES) [n. An African clawed frog]
XENURINE [n. A species of armadillo]
XERANSIS (XERANSES) [n. The gradual loss of tissue moisture in a body]
XERARCH [adj. (of an organism) Developing or growing in a dry area]
XERASIA [n. Abnormal dryness of the hair]
XERIC [adj. Dry; lacking in moisture]
XERODERMIA (+S or +E) [n. Abnormal dryness and roughness of the skin]
XEROPHAGY (XEROPHAGIES) [n. (1) A Christian fast during holy times in which only bread, salt, water, and vegetables may be eaten, (2) A diet of bread and water]
XEROPHILE [n. A plant adapted for life with a limited supply of water]
XEROPHILY [adj. (of an organism) Adapting or flourishing in a very dry environment]
XEROPHTHALMIA (+S) [n. Abnormal dryness and soreness of the eyes]
XEROPHYTIC [adj. Adapted to a XERIC (or dry) environment]
XERORADIOGRAPHY (XERORADIOGRAPHIES) [n. A process for taking permanent pictures of X-ray images]
XEROSERE (+S) [n. A succession of ecological communities originating in a dry habitat]
XEROSIS (XEROSES) [n. Abnormal dryness, esp. of the skin, eyes, or mucous membranes]
XEROSTOMIA (+S) [n. Abnormal dryness of the mouth resulting from decreased secretion of saliva]
XEROTHERMIC [adj. Of or relating to the condition of being dry and hot, esp. of a climate or environment]
XEROTIC [adj. Abnormal dryness of a body part or tissue]
XEROTRIPSIS (XEROTRIPSES) [n. Dry friction, attrition, or abrasion of the body]
XEROX (+ED, +ING, +ES)
XERUS (+ES) [n. An African ground squirrel]
XERXES [n. One of several ancient Persian kings]
XI (+S) [n. The 14th letter of the Greek alphabet]
XIPHIAS [n. A swordfish]
XIPHISTERNUM (XIPHISTERNA) [n. The lowermost segment of the sternum]
XIPHOID (+S) [n. Same as XIPHISTERNUM, (2) adj. Shaped like a sword]
XIPHOPAGUS (XIPHOPAGI) [n. Conjoined twins joined by a band of flesh on the torso]
XIPHOPHYLLOUS [adj. Having sword-shaped leaves]
XIPHOSURAN (+S) [n. Any arthropod of the subclass Xiphosura, including the horseshoe crabs and many extinct forms]
XOANON (XOANA) [n. A primitive wooden statue sometimes overlaid with ivory and gold]
XRAY (+S) [n. A code word for the letter X in international radio communications]
XU [n. A monetary unit of Vietnam]
XYLAN (+S) [n. A gelatinous compound found in the cell walls of plants and wood]
XYLEM (+S) [n. Plant tissue] 
XYLENE (+S) [n. A colorless, flammable liquid]
XYLIDIN (+S) [n. Same as XYLIDINE]
XYLIDINE [n. A chemical compound used in blending gasoline]
XYLITOL (+S)
XYLOCARP (+S) [n. A hard, woody fruit, such as a coconut]
XYLOGENOUS [adj. Living or growing on wood]
XYLOGLYPHY [n. Wood-carving]
XYLOGRAPHY [n. (1) Wood engraving, (2) The art of engraving on wood, (3) The art of printing texts or illustrations, sometimes with color, from woodblocks, as distinct from typography]
XYLOID [adj. Resembling wood]
XYLOL (+S) [n. A colorless, flammable hydrocarbon]
XYLOLOGY (XYLOLOGIES) [n. The study of wood]
XYLOMETER (+S) [n. An instrument to measure the specific gravity of wood]
XYLOPHAGOUS [adj. Wood-eating]
XYLOPHILOUS [adj. (1) Fond of wood, (2) Living in or on wood]

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XYLOPHONE (+S)
XYLOPYROGRAPHY [n. The art, practice, or technique of engraving designs on wood with hot iron or poker]
XYLORIMBA [n. A pitched percussion instrument]
XYLOSE (+S) [n. Sugar found in plants]
XYLOTOMOUS [adj. (of certain insects, insect larvae, etc.) cutting or boring into wood]
XYLOTOMY (XYLOTOMIES) [n. The preparation of sections of wood for microscopic examination]
XYLOTYPOGRAPHIC [adj. (1) Of or relating to wooden type, (2) Printed from wooden type or from wood blocks]
XYLYL (+S)
XYST (+S) [n. Same as XYSTUS]
XYSTARCH (+S) [n. An ancient Greek officer in charge of gymnastic exercises]
XYSTER (+S) [n. A surgical instrument for scraping bones]
XYSTOS (XYSTOI) [n. Same as XYSTUS]
XYSTUS (XYSTI) [n. A roofed area where athletes trained in ancient Greece]

 

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That was eXciting! But I am sure, upon eXamination,  I  might have missed some words.

 

If you think of any that I missed, please email me. Or, if you want the world to know, please feel free to post a reply here.

 

Rob

 

Perfection

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The word perfect has two meanings. One is, “without error”. The other is “being complete”.

 

 It does not exist in the real world.

 

There are some that would argue their religion or their god is perfect. To that I would say that the fantasy world is not reality. I am defining fantasy here as, “a mental image”. It is neither good or bad, or without value. After all, we do use fantasy to sometimes solve (our) problems.

 

Mathematics and logic may be closer to perfection than religion. But they are also elements of fantasy; mental tools we use to solve problems.

 

And like all other elements of the fantasy universe, perfection is not something we will ever experience and perhaps never be aware of its existence. We can’t touch it, hear it, taste it, eat it, dig a ditch, cook a meal with it, or build a house with mere perfection.

 

The pursuit of perfection is something we can all strive for. The stress, tension, and the uncertainty of being on the right are all real things. But let’s argue if it is real. What does one do after reaching “perfection”? Is there anything better? No!

  

I am fond of this motto I created.

 

 “Those who limit themselves to perfection don’t advance any further.”

 

Instead I find people who believe they found perfection, whether in religion or a hobby, or an exercise program, or an academic pursuit, stop questioning, stop learning, and generally decline in spirituality, creativity, love (of their chosen goal and many times, of people), health, knowledge, academic pursuits, and even being normal.

 

 In extreme cases, such people can become nut cases.

  

 

So set a goal. Just don’t make the goal to be a perfect human being, or even perfect in some activity. You’ll never reach that goal. Plus, the stain you will place on yourself will increase the odds of a heart attack, stroke, an aneurysm, a viral infection, and as added bonus, you will find less joy in your life, even if these physical problems never manifest.

 

Instead I recommend that one have other pursuits. Like just enjoying all other things that life has to offer. Need a suggestion? A sunset, a walk, a book, hold hands, laugh, cheer up someone, play with a pet, go swimming, watch a video or movie, jump for joy, sing, write a blog, book, or novel, paint, draw, create an art project, eat a dessert. All for joy. How’s that for a change?

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