bad, Bad, BAD “Grooming”

 

With all of the recent, front page reportage exposing sexual predators who infest our entertainment industry and political arenas… with many of their victims now speaking openly of how they were abused… I suppose it’s only natural that an old memory of mine has resurfaced.

This incident had to have occurred when I was a 10 or 11-year-old… a public school fifth grader. This was at a stage in my life just prior to entering puberty… a time when I was still totally naive about sexual matters… or more to the point… unaware of the existence of sexual deviants.

You see, the common parental wisdom of that 1960s era, small-town America was childhood ignorance is bliss. Little did they know that kids living in cocoons is every sexual predator’s dream come true.

That certainly set the stage for something awful. In my case, it involved an affable, well respected, “happily married”, veteran schoolteacher, Mr. K… who (no big shocker) also attended the same Catholic church I did. True, I wasn’t officially one of his students. But, since he was also a playground monitor, we soon became pals.

His grooming routine consisted of his ear to ear, grinned greetings and never ending repertoire of silly jokes. His “What’s the good word” catchphrase certainly was a conversation starter, too. His pockets bulging with a never ending supply of chewing gum and candy all but ensured he’d always have tons of kiddies constantly swarming around him.

One day, Mr. K entered the boys lavatory and stood at a urinal near the one I was using. It was just the two of us. At first I didn’t think this was any big deal… but…

Within mere minutes, he turned left… aimed his sticking straight out penis right at me and spewed forth what I believed to be pee. Looking back at it now through my adult eyes, there was no way in hell that that had been urine. Even if it had been, why the need for his messy, abrupt, 90 degree pivot? Huh?

My reaction that day, fortunately, was to totally skip the hand washing routine and bolt for the door. While what Mr. K had done did seem rather odd to me, I simply could not connect the dots… realize that this pervert had just gotten off while, perhaps, even fantasizing about me?

And what if I hadn’t successfully escaped? What would he have done next? Would he have targeted me further in the future?

Well, I did act less friendly towards him afterwards. The very fact that I had run away also must’ve worried him… forced him to believe that I was totally on to him… rattled his cage to the point where he never bothered me again. Back in the here and now, I cannot help but wonder if he ever did the same thing… or worse… to any of my classmates?

Because this had been an isolated incident and sans any physical contact, I’d rank my level of psychological damage to be low. Yet, since I did remember this all so vividly… more than a half century later… I cannot help but wonder if, perhaps, I’m actually underrating it?

 

Read a related article HERE.

 

 

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Guest Blogger: My Late Father, George

 

On this day, 29 years ago, my father died at dawn. For 37 years, he had been the consummate educator… delivering his Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Mathematics lectures to two generations of teenage students residing in Minnesota and Michigan.

As a sophomore and junior I had answered, “Here” during each of Dad’s Monday – Friday morning role calls… as a senior I had been his lab assistant. Of course, I had also benefited from his home schooling, which encompassed life’s lessons.

As most of us know, historically, public school teachers have been underpaid and under-appreciated. So, to supplement his meager income, Dad expanded his lecture circuit… his byline appearing beneath our weekly, local newspaper’s front page column: “The Science Corner”.

Had Dad been born a bit later and lived longer than his 75 years, I’m positive he’d now be an enthusiastic blogger… perhaps even setting up his “lectern” right here @WordPress. I know he’d be thrilled by the prospects of his wisdom and wit spreading outward… at the speed of light… to all four corners of the Earth.

Keeping all the above in mind and with my saved and cherished, time-yellowed, brittle, actual hard copy newspaper propped up before me, I’ve decided to transcribe one of Dad’s lectures. And since 23 of my 46 chromosomes are my father’s… in a sense… 5 of my 10 fingers are his as I… no strike that… as we both… type it out.

I cannot think of a more fitting way to honor my father this day… than to afford him a bit of Internet immortality… resurrect his thoughts… restore his “voice”…  allow him to mind-meld with countless other minds, anew.

 

The Science Corner

DATELINE Thursday, July 2, 1953

 

The age old question – which was first, the chicken or the egg – has been used as a debate-ender, a counter dilemma, and even as a joke. If one discounts the dissertations of the debaters and philosophers and the quips of the comedians and truly strives for a scientific answer, then both the meaning and answer become crystal clear.

All living things, both plants and animals, are made up of tiny bits of protoplasm (living matter which looks very much like raw eggwhite). These bits of protoplasm are called cells. In animals, including the chicken, there are skin cells, muscle cells, bone cells, sperm cells and egg cells – to name just a few. All of the types of cells mentioned above except sperm and egg cells are ordinary body cells and are called somatic cells. The sperm and egg cells (collectively called germ cells) differ from the somatic cells in that the former are used to perpetuate life.

When a sperm cell unites with an egg cell, fertilization takes place. All cells, including new somatic cells and new sperm or egg cells, originate from the fertilized egg cell through processes of division and differentiation. In keeping with these principles, both the new chicken (somatic cells) and all of the eggs (germ cells) that the new chicken will ever lay come from the same egg. To put it still another way, the fertilized egg produces both the body cells which will make up the new chicken and all of the new eggs which the new chicken will lay during its lifetime.

The answer, then, to the original question is: the egg must have been first, because it came necessarily from the previous egg and not from the new chicken.

This concept, first enunciated by the German biologist – August Weismann, is known as the continuity of germplasm theory. According to this concept, the germ cells are immortal if reproduction takes place.

Next Week: Why Does Smoke Rise in a Chimney?

 

 

My Word Document / Nightlight Website?

 

Typically I don’t obsess over my WordPress daily statistical reports. However… what they’ve been telling me has been baffling and I need to make some sense out of this. So here goes.

I do know the vast majority of you, my readers, are arriving at my homepage. Now, unless you’re merely using my layout’s white background as a brilliant nightlight… that means you’re here to read. And I do thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for deeming me worthy of your precious time.

While that’s the good news, the bad can be summed up thusly…

I’ve been experiencing a lack of “blog likes” disproportional to my fairly respectable posting day traffic.

Recently, it occurred to me how readers could wind up scrolling down my entire homepage… viewing hundreds of my posts… without ever seeing even one clickable “like button”.

While it’s common knowledge that one must click onto each blog’s title to even find that “button”, in the first place, is everyone remembering to do so? More to the point… is not seeing that “like button” not prompting that reaction?

Perhaps another technical issue exists, too? If my understanding is correct, it’s impossible for readers, sans WordPress accounts, to register such “likes”. Additionally, professionals, who’ve opened business accounts on this platform, cannot interact in this manner, either.

Now that we’ve quickly brushed aside the nuts and bolts aspects, let’s explore some possible flesh and blood explanations…

  1. Sociability Factor: Social networks are no different than real world communities. To make and maintain good friendships you must be a good friend. Admittedly, I’ve not been the best WordPress neighbor. I’ve not been viewing and liking my followers’ posts as much as I’d really like to. For that… I am truly sorry. All I can offer, in my feeble defense, is that not all is going well in my real world… and being a private person, I guess I’ll just have to leave it at that. It’s not that I don’t care or have lost interest in you. I’ve been impressed by your limitless talents… appropriately laughed and cried… even audibly whispered my “oh wows”… while experiencing your eloquent prose, poetry and stunning imagery. Trust me, your blogs have far more to offer than mine.
  2. Longwinded Factor: In short, in our say it on a bumper sticker… say it in 140 characters or less world… my posts do run long. Even so, I’ve got to believe that somebody, somewhere out there can still savor a long read.
  3. Shifting Winds Factor: In short, the dinosaur… a.k.a. liberalism… is likely headed for extinction. In short… if mainly right leaning readers are stopping by to visit, they’re finding my left leaning content unappealing and unlikeable.
  4. Fear Factor: My stats also indicate my readership includes many, who reside in far less democratic societies… where my politics would undoubtedly rub the glowering, intolerant powers-that-be the wrong way. Might some of my readers fear top-down reprisal… ranging from their tyrannical leaders to their likeminded next-door neighbors? If that were the case, it’d be best for them not to “like” me… I’d not want my readers to ever wind up pummeled, punished and/or imprisoned.

And I do feel their pain, too. Stunningly, my homeland is finding out, too late, how rapidly a once-upon-a-time free society deteriorates when misled by an avaricious, vengeful, ill-tempered, capricious, so-called leader who eggs on his rabid devotees to commit deadly acts of violence… emboldens them to embrace all of humanity’s worst possible, character flaws.

Hell, even my own sibling, a successful, independent businesswoman, has confided that while she shares my liberal POV, she oft refrains from openly “liking” my blogs out of her all too legitimate concerns that she’ll lose clientele.

 

SIDEBAR: I might as well mention another related phenomenon, which no stats could ever begin to help me figure out. Almost invariably, when someone first starts following me, they don’t click any blog “likes”. Ergo… I’m totally clueless as to why they’ve opted to follow me (don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for their doing so). Anyway, I’ll oft pay them a visit, too… in some cases, even clicking some likes on their posts. Then I wait and wait… never to hear from them again.

 

Well, I believe I’ve explored this issue honestly, inclusive of taking some personal responsibility for my lack of “likes”. Not that two wrongs would ever make one right, but…

I’ve got to wonder about the sites that boast multiple thousands of followers. There’s no way those webmasters could ever, possibly, give sufficient, personal attention to each and every one of their followers… yet… their readership thrives.

To wrap up this lack of “likes” , still unresolved conundrum…

I’ll now turn to the world of music to feed my soul, sort out and shed some light on my feelings. Specifically, I’ll be paraphrasing the following lyrical couplet to excise some mild, seventies era, male chauvinism from the otherwise wisely penned song, Every Kind of People.

Each and every one of us is the same… we want the sunshine in our name.

Folks, here at WordPress that’s the sunshine, which streams onto bloggers courtesy of those “like stars”.

Forgive me if my long-windedness, once again, has persisted. I’m just trying to figure out why, typically, my blogs cannot even muster enough stars to form the bowl of the Big Dipper… while some my blogging colleagues wind up with enough to create a virtual galaxy.

Most Importantly: You, my readers, must never feel any obligation to click a “like”… or worse yet, to do so out of pity. Click “like” only if you’ve truly found my blogs elevating, enlightening, entertaining and/or enjoyable.

Your honest appraisals are what will help me figure out what topics are of interest to you and to hone my subject matter accordingly. Perhaps, I’ll even wind up growing my audience and following? Increase those “like” responses, too?

So, what if I still wind up with a lack of “likes”?

I’ll either have to pack it all in or be content that my website has been and, perhaps, shall forever be little more than an online word document and/or nightlight.

While I’ve said this before, it does bear repeating…

I am neither God’s gift to the www nor do I ever expect to be. But… with your help… with your honest feedback as my guide, I just might become a wee bit better?

 

The “Heads I Win/Heads I Win” South Dakota Coin Toss

Blog Subtitle: Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?

 

Musical interlude time! First, give this catchy li’l tune a listen… then we’ll chat…

 

Say you and a buddy need a quick way to decide something… it matters not what. So… what options are at your disposal? In no particular order, here are several recommendations…

  1. High Playing Card Draw
  2. Rock – Paper – Scissors
  3. Eenie-Meenie-Miny-Moe
  4. U.S. Supreme Court (STRIKE THAT… DISABLE THAT LINK… BAD IDEA1)
  5. Coin Toss

If you’re opting for #5, do exercise a reasonable amount of caution. Be you an American or a stateside tourist (unaffected by the unamerican [sic] travel ban), when fishing out your pocket change, make sure you closely examine your 25¢ pieces!

In the spirit of fair play, if your quarter is part of the America the Beautiful commemorative coin series, avoid the one featuring South Dakota! Why?

Well, unless you call the toss, “heads”… most assuredly…

YOU WILL LOSE!

You see, to the best of this numismatist-blogger’s knowledge, ever since it was minted in 2013, that particular, peculiar coin became…

America’s, first ever, heads on both sides, legal tender quarter!

On the obverse, per usual (ever since 1932), appears President George Washington… BUT… on the reverse… well… that’s where we discover a zoomed-in, partial image of Mt. Rushmore where not only does gentleman George reappear but so does President Thomas Jefferson!

I do hope this heads-up (not meant to be taken totally serious) blog has helped everyone make heads or tails out of the chancy, “Heads I Win/Heads I Win” South Dakota Coin Toss”. The fate of the entire, decision-making free world just might, someday, hang in the balance??? 😉 (JK)

 

 

Footnote:

1 Considering how five of those nine SCOTUS judges (the Floundering, UnFounding Fathers / muthas) are legislating from the bench… i.e. are hell bent on green-lighting all signed into law, U.S. Constitution gutting legislation… especially (f)laws, which deny average Jane and Joe citizens our freedoms… they would be far too busy to ever help us settle any garden-variety issues. Oh, btw… if you opt to watch this footnote’s linked video, you can save a bit of time by fast forwarding to the juicy details starting at 5:26.

 

 

 

 

Skin & Bones Beauty? (One Quick Limerick #029)

 

Greet Hollywood film stars at their dain-ti-est,

Meet catwalk cadavers at their dead-li-est,

A woman’s healthy physique,

Need not be Barbie Doll™ sleek,

Such narrow parameters! Don’t get possessed!

 

Read more about it here

 

An Alternative Version…

 

With rail thin film actresses, don’t be impressed,

With catwalk cadavers, please, don’t get possessed,

A woman’s healthy physique,

Need not be Barbie Doll™ sleek,

Such narrow parameters aren’t always best!

 

 

You can access more original limericks, poetry and lyrical parodies by clicking onto my poetry category.

 

Message in a Bottle

 

John Donne (1572-1631) once said, “No man is an island.” Indeed, it is damned near impossible for humans to thrive when isolated from one another.

Since it’s inception, our worldwide web’s ability to draw humanity closer together has been nothing short of a miracle. And I wholeheartedly ditto such sentiments when describing the intriguing and extraordinary experience of my blogging here @WordPress.

Each and every time each of us clicks that azure “publish button”, our thoughts instantaneously rush outward, all across our global social network. We’re potentially touching the minds, hearts and souls of our followers as well as the folks who we’ve yet to meet.

As most of us would concur, some of our followers wind up being causal acquaintances while others, in time, may even drift off… to never pass our way again… two ships that pass in the night as it were. Only those of us who wind up mind melding with a kindred spirit or two can truly claim our lives have been enriched… (or for the religiously minded) perhaps even blessed.

Until such virtual meetings occur, what are we bloggers but castaways all… shipwrecked and stranded on our small, uncharted virtual islands… each of us repeatedly tossing our proverbial message in a bottle onto the vast, azure ocean… fully knowing the odds are slim to none that anyone will ever find and read our words… yet still feeling that glimmer of hope that someone, someday, will come to our rescue.

Such rescues begin every time we train our “spyglasses” onto that “little red dot” in the upper right hand corner of our screens. We can take comfort… perhaps even feel jubilation that someone is responding… be it with their LIKE… be it with their FOLLOW.

That on-top-of-the-world moment is akin to seeing the tall ship appearing over the horizon… it’s billowing white sails fluttering in the tropical breezes.

As I frantically wave to you, aboard your approaching virtual vessels, I want to shout out my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has ever reacted to my posts with a LIKE and/or a FOLLOW! Each time this obscure blogger / castaway, lost in the vast sea of humanity, receives such responses to my tossed “message in a bottle” I do feel rescued.

Now, to momentarily set aside all metaphors… I find such input invaluable in helping me figure out what subject matter most interests you. After all, consistently presenting good quality blog content is the best way for any blogger to build and retain one’s following. Without your help, how could I ever expect to become a better blogger?

On a technical note, those of you, who arrive at my site’s homepage won’t automatically be finding any LIKE buttons and comment boxes unless you first click onto each of my blog titles. BUT…

It’s most important that you NEVER, EVER feel any sense of obligation to click any LIKE, or worse yet, do so out of pity. Your honest reaction is paramount, here, so click LIKE ONLY if you’ve really, Really, REALLY found my blogs elevating, enlightening, entertaining and/or enjoyable.

To keep it entirely real… I am neither God’s gift to the blogosphere nor do I ever expect to be. But… with your help, I just might become a wee bit better?

 

 

Wouldn’t Touch That With a 10-Foot Pole?

 

Nearly four decades ago, on a cold, grey, rainy, overcast day, I found myself pounding the pavement ISO employment totally irrelevant to my God given talents. If all went “well” I’d soon be punching retail world’s time clock and giving my all to some employer who’d be giving me next to nothing in return… paying me $2.65 per hour minimum wage. With unemployment being at a then all-time high, I was fully expecting to wind up “drowning” in the sea of applicant faces.

It was late that afternoon, while filling out my application (along with a couple of other wannabes) when, Diane, our prospective boss, came over to chat with us. She had a problem. As it turned out, the three of us comprised fifty percent of all who had shown up for the entire day! She was wondering if we could remember some of the specific details of her help wanted ad’s content.

While reaching into my suit coat’s inner pocket I cheerfully said, “I can do better than that,” adding, “How about all of the details?” as I produced the actual, neatly clipped out newspaper ad.

Long blog short, I got the job. Logically, I had attributed my “success” to the fact that so few people had applied… but that wasn’t really the case. Following the second run of my boss’s help wanted ad, applicant response had been far better.

Well, it wasn’t until about six months afterwards when I found out the real reason. On that day, as Diane and I chatted while unpacking and merchandising a new shipment of Levis™, she told me that she had considered my pre-interview, eager to help attitude (even without any guarantee that she’d be hiring me), the living embodiment of the excellent customer service I’d be providing on the selling floor. And I spent the next 20 years working for the same company… amply proving her assessment of my character had been spot-on.

My overall point being? Each and every day, without even consciously doing so, each and everyone of us winds up putting our true character on display… and the people we meet can and do evaluate us when we’re least expecting it.

Case in point? My 90-year-young next-door neighbors1 have employed a professional groundskeeper. The man usually parks in front of my house and uses my lower driveway to enter their property perched atop his rider lawnmower.

Well, a few days ago, following an overnight, gusty rainstorm, a thin, 3 m / 10 ft. long branch… weighing a scant 0.9 kg / 2 lbs. (tops)… had fallen and blocked access to my driveway. This left that lawn care dude the following options:

  1. Easily snap the branch in half and toss it onto his truck’s long empty trailer.
  2. Quickly slide the branch onto my lawn to get it out of his way.
  3. Totally avoid all the “extra work” and use his clients’ driveway instead.

Had our roles been reversed, at the very least, I would’ve opted for choice “2”.

Need I even say that he chose option “3”? True, I fully realize he was under no obligation to do any work for any non-paying customer… but he did demonstrate to me a level of pettiness, which is most unbecoming of any truly professional businessperson. Moreover, might such an attitude be a reflection of his overall work ethic? After all… don’t customer care and lawn care go hand in hand?

Now, just for the record, I’m neither a lazy man nor did I even come close to working up a sweat re the disposal of that downed branch.

Nonetheless, this incident did provide me an excellent study in human nature… and I did learn much. Needless to say, I was not impressed.

You see, there may come a time, as I get older, where I might need to hire someone to maintain my lawn. And I’m not entirely sure my neighbor’s groundskeeper would be my first choice anymore.

How that guy dealt with that 10 foot long branch begs the question… would I… would you… choose to “touch” such a petty lawn care service (or any other such business firm) with a 10 foot pole?

 

 

1 I say “young” because upon meeting them, you’d judge them to be in their 60s.