Oddly Comforting

Opera Singers

Opera Singers (Photo credit: rh_photo)

It’s all kind of comical, aggravating and oddly comforting. Life.

~ unfetteredbs


This is a comment from one of my favourite bloggers in response to a reply I made to her concerning the opposing topics of opera and lawn mowing. Seems she has some wacky neighbours–one who likes to belt out opera in the mid-afternoon, and another who cuts his lawn at night. Her reply sums up life perfectly: comical, aggravating, and the vagaries “oddly comforting.”


Another definition of life I like is this: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  Albert Einstein is attributed with these words of wisdom. If I had to choose, I would like to live my life as though everything is a miracle—even if it includes off kilter opera singers, and people who mow their lawns when the sun don’t shine. With all our quirks, we are the people who make up this life—and I agree with unfetteredbs, it is oddly comforting that we are a little bit weird and strange.

Published in: on September 8, 2013 at 12:29 pm  Comments (24)  
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~ Everything is a Miracle ~ or ~ Some Not Totally Disparate Thoughts

English: A antique chandelier lit up by candle...

An antique chandelier lit up by candles. I believe this to be both useful and beautiful. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These paragraphs were taken out of the weekly column I write for my home town newspaper. Taken at random–they are complete thoughts unto themselves without the context of the full article:

1. “There are only two ways to live your life. One as though nothing is a miracle. The other as though everything is a miracle.”  ~ Albert Einstein

If, as Einstein says, there are the only two ways to live your life, I am opting to live as “though everything is a miracle.”

2. If you want to live simply, you could follow the edicts of Loretta Moore, who stated that “There are only two things in life that I have to do: breathe and quit breathing, everything else is optional.”  That in a nutshell certainly describes life at its simplest, but it also provides us with all kinds of options. I think the point she was making is that we have choices. So the over-riding philosophy of choosing the simple life is just one option. It should not be a crusade, religion, or movement—it should be a choice. I am not opting out of the idea of a simple life, but I do think there can be a balance.

3. The philosophy I follow can be summed up in the words of Christopher Morely, who believes that “There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way.” Couple  that with what Editor and Publisher, Alexander Chalmers says are the three grand essentials of happiness: “something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for”, and I think I have the makings for a life, be it simple, complicated, or somewhere in between.

4. I think that the author, William Norris got it right when he said: “If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it. Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

I think he has hit the right balance–what do you think?

Quotes are from derived from Google

S is for Smart (it is also for Stupid ~ but we are not going there)

Einstein's high school transcript

Einstein’s high school transcript (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quote # 1: It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”~ Albert Einstein

Smart. It is something I have always wanted to be. I was pretty smart in school, except for when I wasn’t.

Actually, unlike Einstein, I have always thought of myself as smart ~ even that one particular year at school when I was trying to prove otherwise. It was pretty easy to do. I did not do my homework. I hid a novel in my math book and read during math class. I did not study. I missed my bus a lot. And then at the end of the year when I had to face the consequences—I was, of all things, surprised. Because I thought I was smart.

If I had followed Einstein’s lead and just stayed with my problems longer then I could be as humble as he was. It is easy to say you are not “so smart” when you are a genius!

Quote # 2:  “I wish my name was Brian because maybe sometimes people would misspell my name and call me Brain. That’s like a free compliment and you don’t even gotta be smart to notice it.” ~ Mitch Hedberg

Mitch is really on to something here. I have a friend whose name is Brian and whenever I email him, nine times out of ten I type Brain first.

Published in: on September 20, 2012 at 12:47 pm  Comments (47)  
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I Learn Therefore I Am

“A genius! For thirty-seven years I’ve practiced fourteen hours a day, and now they call me a genius!” ~ Pablo Sarasate, Spanish composer and violinist

Picked up a book on the weekend called “Study Smarter, Not Harder” by Kevin Paul.  Now, I was not really looking for a book of this genre—but it sort of made itself known to me while I was looking through a stack of books in the reference section of the bookstore I was “visiting”. (I don’t just go to bookstores or the library, I visit them—I feel at home among books).  

My youngest son is entering second year at college, and he has asked me the same question on numerous occasions: “how do I study?” Now, of course you are thinking, the kid got to second year in college—he must know how to study. And he does, but he does not feel his methods are totally effective. He thinks that there must be a better way—a way where he learns, not painlessly (though true learning should not be painful), but in a better and more effectual way. (Yes, I have told him to turn off his music when he studies). This book kind of “popped out” at me (ever notice things have a habit of doing that—sometimes life just hands you what you need, even if you did not know you needed it) so I sat down and looked through it to see if it was worth buying.

As I was flipping through it, I came to a section called, “You Can Learn Anything”. Well, I don’t know about you, but I am pretty sure there are a few doors shut (and locked) to me, such as quantum physics and brain surgery—but I was willing to give this chapter a chance. After all, if it didn’t convince me, would it convince my son? The author made a rather outrageous statement. Unequivocally he stated: “You are a genius”. According to Paul, “Acquiring a language and walking are two of the most complex activities in which humans engage.” (This is good news—I can talk and walk–sometimes at the same time!) He goes on to say that “it is not yet possible to get enough computing power to synthesize these basic human achievements. It takes a very sophisticated learning capability to achieve language and walking”. Research also shows that “even driving a car takes more brain power than piloting the lunar excursion modual that landed on the moon.”

Spanish composer and violinist of note, Pablo Sarasate made an astute observation in his statement that his genius took “practice”, which illustrates that untapped, genius is undiscovered. Paul believes that we need tap into our genius, and he provides some pretty good information about our three brains: the reptilian or most primitive part of our brain and home to our famous “fight or flight” response to danger—which is our safety and survival instinct, to the limbic brain, which is where our emotions live. Then there is the cortical brain—or our “thinking” brain, where we reason, set goals, make plans, develop language and “conceive abstractly”.
Paul is convinced that we all have “the same brain capacity and potential as Einstein or da Vinci” and geniuses can be “made.” I don’t know about you, but I find this all very comforting. And although I picked this book up for my son, I am going to give it a thorough read through (as opposed to my original thought of just perusing it superficially and handing it over with the simple instruction: Read It).
The author says that if spending countless hours in front of the television can lower your IQ, then it just follows that by heeding his advice, your IQ can be “coached into the positive.” He answers the question of “why should I bother” by saying that “being a successful learner is no longer a matter of choice or mere preference. It is a necessity in order to survive and thrive in the ‘information age’.” And he says “it is never too late to increase your intelligence”. That is good news for those of us no longer in school, but still involved in the process of never ending learning.

“Common sense is genius dressed up in working clothes.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson