Spontaneity and Stability

To live my life without a plan, or to become steady and unchanging, that is the question, although not for Hamlet to consider, this is what Fandango is asking today.  Would it be better to live a life of spontaneity, or one that is structured with stability?  Life is much too short to take away all the fun, so spontaneity sounds good to me, but without any type of plan, I could face eviction and end up living in my car.  I guess this is why Fandango refers to this as a provocative question, because there is a lot to think about here, and it is a tough one today.  I have fallen on hard times before and I lived in my car and I went to Food Banks to receive free food, which I am not proud of, but when the economy is bad, sometimes you have no choice.

Let’s get to the real question which is actually 3 questions and they are, “Do you consider yourself today to be more of a spontaneous person or more of a stable person?  Which characteristic in others, spontaneity or stability, do you prefer?  Why?”  When I was young, I never thought about my future and I had a live for today philosophy, but as I got older this changed.  Since the only stability in my life comes from Social Security deposits to my checking account and these payments are supposed to last for as long as I live, I will get by.  However, I read that Social Security benefits will be depleted by 2034, which is only 13 years away and if that happens, I will be in trouble.  The benefits will not abruptly end, as they will still be able to pay 78 percent of the benefits that I was entitled to, and if that happens, I will need to tighten up my belt a bit.

I am very accepting of other people, especially since I don’t have to support anyone else besides myself, so I have no preference if others live their lives with spontaneity or stability.  I can see advantages in both, as without spontaneity the world would be filled with robots, just going through the motions and this would be a serious loss of expression, which would affect music and art, but it would be better for the bottom line and then maybe my Social Security benefits would last longer.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #139.

Beyond My Control

There are many things that happen in my life which I am not satisfied with, and when I feel that I am not able to cannot change or influence these circumstances, then I am forced to accept them, which is another way of saying that I have settled.  However even though I accept the things that I can’t change, I could come to a compromise on stuff that is beyond my control and that would mean that I have settled on this stuff.  If I had a partner who was not perfect, but they made me happy, then I would be accepting their flaws, but if I stayed with a partner just so I didn’t have to be alone, I would be settling on a miserable life with them.  To summarize that, I accepted something that made me happy, but I settled on something that made me miserable, so I accept Joe Biden as being the President of the United States of America, but when Trump held that office, I settled on this being out of my control.  I was never OK with Trump being in charge, and I put up with him because he won the election over Hilary.  I never accepted him as being able to lead the country down a path that wasn’t for his own benefit.

If you are willing to settle for something, that means that you don’t mind getting the second best when you know that there is something better out there.  There is always a choice for different ways that you can live your life and one would be to drop out and give up, but there would be very little enjoyment in that.  Next is for you to choose between accepting your life for what you have made out of it, or settling with what life has given you.  It is easy to accept things when you know that you have done your best, but that should not stop you from questioning that maybe you could do better, but when you are happy, you should be grateful that things have worked out for you and this is the time for you to be enjoying your life.  Many people will settle for second best, even though they would have preferred something else.  These people will always be questioning their happiness, because they will sense that something is lacking.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #138 which asks, “Do you see a difference between settling for things and accepting the way things are?  If so, in what way are they different?  If not, why do you feel settling and accepting are the same?”

Open-Minded

I imagine it could be thrilling being around numerous naked bodies at a clothing optional resort, but I have never done that.  I guess clothing optional means that I can wear clothes and others can be naked as the day they were born.  I would be out of my comfort zone at one of these resorts, not knowing if it would it be OK for me to look at things that I don’t otherwise see every day, or would I have to keep my eyes lowered at the ground, so I am not staring at others.  Bringing my sunglasses to a resort like this, would help me get adjusted to looking at people being naked, without them feeling that I am staring at them.  I would definitely have to wear my clothes at first if I were to ever visit a place like this and I don’t think that I would have the courage to go to a nude-only resort.  I read that these places are for adults-only, which makes them different from nudist camps, which are geared more towards families.

It could work for me if I was not forced to be naked all the time and if I could keep some of my clothes on till I was ready to bare it all.  Since this would be a totally new environment for me, I would need to ease my way into it.  When in Rome do as the Romans do and I guess if everyone at the resort was naked that the novelty would wear off and I would probably get with the program, since I am here and this is the only chance that I would ever get to expose some of my body parts to the sun for the first time.  I would probably get naked in the hot tub, as the bubbles would hide everything that I want to keep hidden and nobody would see that much.  I read that most people carry around towels with them, which sounds like a good idea.  I don’t have any nudist experience, so I would probably never go to one of these places, unless I was asked to go by a significant other.

I actually dated this lady who wanted to go to a nude resort with me and her 25-year-old daughter, which I thought was strange.  It made nice pillow talk and we discussed this a lot, but we never finalized any plans.  This may have started the day her daughter was wearing these low-cut jeans and when she got out of the back seat of my car, her crack was on display for both of us to see and I said, “Very nice” and we both smiled at each other.  I regret not having done this with her, as I don’t think that I will ever get another chance to have an experience like this.  The older I get, the more open minded I become.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #137 which asks, “Have you ever been to a clothing-optional (nude) venue, such as a beach, resort, club, party, etc? If so, what did you think of the experience? Would you do it again? If not, would you ever consider going to a clothing-optional gathering? Why or why not?”

Forced To Choose

I am being a good sport and playing along with this impossible decision of whether I would rather live without the internet, or live without air conditioning and heating.  My choice is that would rather live without the internet, because I know that I could live without the internet because I have done that most of my life.  I have never lived without air conditioning and heating and I wouldn’t want to start doing that now or any time in the future, but people have survived that also.  If I have to live without either one, that would be a bitter pill to swallow and I would rather have both in my life, because I consider them all to be necessities, and they all provide comfort to me.  I have been in a lot of cars that never had air conditioning, but every house that I lived in had both air conditioning and heating.  When a person is forced to make a choice between two equally unpleasant alternatives, that becomes a dilemma, which can only be solved by reasoning.

I didn’t get my first home computer till 1990 and it had Windows which was around for a few years by then, but there wasn’t all that much you could do with it yet, as most of my early applications ran on MS-DOS.  I had a dial up modem that could be used to connect with the outside world and the internet had been around a few years longer than Windows.  The only time I used my modem was to check my email as there wasn’t that much information on the internet back then.  There were some early search engines around, but Google didn’t kick in till 1998 and that is when the internet started to move into high gear.  Thus, the first 45 years of my life were spent without the internet, but today it is an integral part of me and I would hate to have to live without it.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #136 which asks, “If you were forced to choose, would you rather live without the internet, or without air conditioning and heating.  Why?”

Early Humans

Biblical scholars have placed the Creation of man in 4004 BCE, and they dated the Great Deluge of Noah back to 2348 BCE.  Other creationists believe that God created the world roughly 6,000 years ago and that the flood of Noah was about 4400 years ago.  This makes me wonder if the Bible actually relates to accurate accounts of historical events.  Some fundamentalist Christians insist that the Bible is historically accurate, even if its events cannot be proven.  The long evolutionary journey that created modern humans began with a single step, or more accurately with their ability to walk on two legs.  Fossils show that Homo sapiens lived in Africa around 100,000 to 210,000 years ago.  This issue gets really complicated, as before we can place a date on anything historical, people would have to have known how to count and they would need to have developed a concept of time where a year consisted of 365 days.

The history of math is murky, but the idea of number and the process of counting goes back far beyond history began to be recorded.  Numbers were invented or discovered at the dawn of time, long before history was ever recorded.  Archeologists and historians estimate that numbers were first used around 32,000 years ago and there is some archeological evidence that suggests that humans were counting as far back as 50,000 years ago.  No individual can be credited with the invention or discovery of numbers as they evolved gradually over time.  Number systems were developed in ancient civilizations because people began to trade and individuals needed a way track of things.  It was necessary for traders to count their materials and the compensation they received.  Perhaps some shepherd invented numbers by utilizing a pile of stones or carving a set of notches on a stick to keep track of his flock of sheep.  Each stone or notch could represent a particular quantity (a sheep that went out to graze or a sheep that returned from grazing) which he was now able to count.  The shepherd who utilized these stones or cut the notches, was representing each of his sheep in a one-to-one correspondence.  Prehistoric tally sticks (memory aid device used to record and document numbers, quantities) notches incised on animal bones have been found in many locations around the world.

Before the Egyptians figured out how many days were in a year, the year was marked by annual flooding.  Thousands of years of observation led people to realize that the stars seemed to rise and fall over the course of a night in regular patterns.  Since some stars are brighter than others, these were used as reference points to locate other stars in these seeming patterns or constellations.  Sirius or Polaris were easily identified and then used by the viewer to orient (literally “face East”) themselves and then identify other stars and their constellations.  The concept of a month is based on phases of the Moon.  Most ancient cultures defined a month based know the sighting of a new moon.  A lunar month is actually 29.5 days, so 12 lunar months adds up to 354 lunar days, which left man 11 days short of a solar year.

The ancient Egyptians studied the stars, so they could calculate a more accurate measurement of what a year is.  They used Sirius, the Dog Star, to predict the annual flooding of the Nile.  By studying Sirius, the Egyptians became the first civilization that was able to switch from a lunar to a solar calendar.  The Egyptians were probably the first to adopt a mainly solar calendar.  This so-called ‘heliacal rising’ always preceded the flood by a few days.  Based on this knowledge, they devised a 365-day calendar that seems to have begun in 4236 B.C.E., the earliest recorded year in history.  A problem showed up because every four years Sirius was a day late.  This meat that the solar year is really closer to 365 days and six hours, which threw the calendar off, but eventually we came up with leap year and we added a day to February, every fourth year.

Now that we have established a basic idea of when humans learned to count and when they figured out what constituted a year.  The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, beginning with the Sumerian cuneiform script, with the oldest coherent texts from about 2600 BC.  Until recently most researchers felt that modern humans originated in Africa around 200,000 years ago, but new findings push that date back a lot further to 300,000 years ago.  Archaeological evidence of tools, artefacts, cave art seem to suggest that complex technology and cultures, evolved around 50,000-65,000 years ago, so it is possible that people were around longer, but just hadn’t developed tools and art before the “Great Leap”.  It’s estimated that our ancestors lived 260,000 to 350,000 years ago and that all living humans descend from those people.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #133 which asks, “Do you believe that modern human beings, Homo sapiens, evolved between 150,000 to 200,000 years ago from earlier species?  Or do you believe that God created humans in their present form within the past 10,000 years?  Or, if you believe something else, what is it?”

Sweat Like a Pig

Sweat is like urine, because it removes waste, but pigs don’t sweat, and this phrase was derived from the iron smelting process in which hot iron that is poured on sand cools and solidifies with the pieces resembling a sow and piglets.  I make sure to take a shower every month, whether I need it or not, no just kidding, as that is gross!  I am a sedentary person that stays inside most of the time, so there is no reason for me to shower every day, although in order to keep healthy, stay comfortable and prevent myself from getting sick, I take a shower at least every 3 days, and if I am too lazy to do that, I will jump into the swimming pool.  If I know that I am going anywhere, I will make sure that I have taken a shower and I always make sure that I wash my hands and face.  People need water and soap, to remove the dirt that gets on our skin, but years ago people showered a lot less often.  I realize that even if I don’t do any physical activity, that I will produce sweat, as this is part of being human.  We have three different types of sweat, because humans have three different types of sweat glands, eccrine, apocrine, and apoeccrine and everyone sweats differently.

Body sweat is the odorless type that pours off you during a workout, or when you stand out in the hot sun.  This type of sweat exists to help cool the skin and keep the body’s internal temperature as close to 98.6 degrees as possible.  You’ll notice it pretty much everywhere, but especially prevalent along the forehead and the spine.  Then, there’s perspiration that occurs mostly on the palms and soles of the feet.  This type of sweat helps to increase our adherence and grip, it’s the body’s response to a perceived threat that was passed down to us through evolution, allowing people to lose heat very efficiently.  In the beginning, man didn’t wear shoes, so sweaty feet helped us run or climb when we needed to.

Finally, there’s nasty sweat that’s emitted from the armpits and the genital area.  This is the type that produces so-called body odor, thanks to bacteria living in these places.  Nobody knows for sure what function this serves, but we think that it could be related to some pheromone-type of communication that is going on.  If one individual in a herd senses danger and starts to emit those strong smells, it could alert others around them.  Humans are different from other primates, because we have skin instead of fur, we walk upright, and are distinguished by our bigger brains.  It is not known why we lost our fur, but Darwin suggested it was due to sexual selection, where our ancestors preferred less-hairy mates, although others have argued fur loss helped deter hair-dwelling parasites like lice.  As humans evolved, we moved out of the rainforests into drier habitats where overheating was a serious risk.  Our ancestors that were better at sweating, developed more sweat glands and over time these traits became permanent fixtures.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #132 which asks, “Do you regularly shower or bathe daily?  If not, how often do you shower or bathe?  If you do shower or bathe daily, is there anything that might persuade you to do so less often?”

Hot and Cold

Obviously, I’m not a physicist, however I do understand that the average temperature of the Earth is an intensive thermodynamic variable that isn’t a specifically determinable quantity, thus making it rather difficult and perhaps impossible to define.  Even if the data was available and the measurements were very accurate, weather by its nature is a chaotic system, so the temperature on our planet is always changing.  Geologists have divided up the 4.6-billion-year existence of Earth into slices of time.  There have been at least five major ice ages that have occurred throughout Earth’s history, and the earliest one was over 2 billion years ago, while the most recent ice age began approximately 3 million years ago and ended 11,700 years ago and this is known as the Pleistocene Epoch.  Currently, we are in a warm interglacial that began about 11,000 years ago, which is called the Holocene Epoch, and this current stretch of geological time coincided with the Holocene glacial retreat and is split into three subdivisions.  We are now living in Meghalayan Age which began 4,250 years ago after a mega-drought crushed a number of civilizations worldwide.

For much of our planet’s history, it has been hotter, sometimes much hotter, than it is today.  While in its infancy, Earth would have experienced temperatures far higher than we humans could possibly survive.  But our planet has also been colder and these periods are identified as ice ages.  The curious thing about ice ages is that the temperature of Earth’s atmosphere doesn’t stay cold during the entire time.  Instead, the climate flip-flops between what scientists call “glacial periods” and “interglacial periods”.

I hear people say that, “This is the coldest winter that we’ve had in years, so that proves there is no such thing as global warming.”  These people are talking about weather which fluctuates day in, day out, whereas climate refers to long term trends.  Even scientists can’t all agree that climate change is a real thing, so why am I even bothering to try and answer Fandango’s question.  It is very likely that Earth will turn cold again, and this will possibly happen within the next several thousand years.  Many scientists insist that global warming, the term used for the observed century-scale rise in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system and its related effects, is a real thing.  They are more than 95% certain that nearly all of global warming is caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other human-caused emissions, thus human activities today are impacting the climate on a global scale.  Today, humans are emitting greenhouse gases at a far higher rate than any previous increase in history.

Over time the Earth’s surface, its crust and uppermost mantle tectonic plates which float over the Earth’s core which is very hot, and very dense center of our planet continued to drift and collide, so volcanic activity continues.  These volcanoes emit the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, so humans are not the only ones contributing to this.  Greenhouse gases trap heat and make the planet warmer and emissions also come from animals belching, as when a cow burps, it releases methane gas and cows tend to a lot of burping.  Human activities are responsible for almost all of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years.  The largest source of greenhouse gas emissions that are coming from human activities in the United States is because we are burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation.

I think Robert Hunter the lyricist for the Grateful Dead said this best when he composed their hit song ‘Touch of Grey’ and he wrote, “Cows are giving kerosene, The kid can’t read at seventeen, The words he knows are all obscene. But it’s alright”.  So, we have a lot of problems, but lessons can be learned from this and humans as a species will get by and we will survive.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #131 which asks, “Do you believe that human activity is a significant contributor to climate change or do you concur with those who believe that changes to the climate naturally occur from time to time?”

Worries

I took a health survey this morning to figure out my life expectancy which used the longevity calculator that is based on a detailed statistical analysis of NIH-AARP, in order to answer Fandango’s question today.  You can take the survey here at this website in case you are interested How Long Will I Live? – Life Expectancy Calculator (blueprintincome.com)  There is a 75% chance that I will live to be 72 and my expected life expectancy is 78, so in ten more years there will be little future left for me.  If I started to exercise the statistics say that I should live to be 80, adding 2 years to my life.  The survey that I took also stated that a person’s attitude about their health can affect their life expectancy and my answer was fair, but if this improved, then that could add another 2 and a half years to my life.  Oddly the survey said that I could add another half of a year to my life, if I would start drinking more alcohol.  This leave me looking at another 15 years of life, if things go well for me and I don’t get run over by a truck, or hit with a space rock from the Perseid Meteor shower, which I am planning to watch tonight.

I don’t have any children and I barely have any friends, so there is not all that much for me to worry about.  Climate change and global warming are concerns, but these are long term concerns and they should be left for younger people, as there is not much an old man like me can do about any of this.  Covid is also somewhat of a concern, but I did my part by getting vaccinated and I am still wearing my mask when I go out, although living in Florida which is under the control of Governor DeSantis is worrying, as this is one of the hot spots now.  DeSantis has three children under the age of five. all of whom I expect are not going to school yet.  Last month he signed an executive order to “protect the freedoms and rights of students and parents” by banning school districts from mandating masks and I don’t see his reasoning of how this is protecting any students, or their parents and if he is not helping, then he shouldn’t be getting involved, but he is a forever Trumper and I am pretty sure that this legislation was directed by that freak of nature that lives in Mar-a-Lago.  I guess my biggest worry about the future is that the orange dude will never being punished for the atrocities that he committed and he will come back to destroy my country.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #130 which asks, “What worries you the most about the future?  Why is that your biggest concern?  Or are you not that concerned about the future?”

Fat and Happy

I was waiting to come up with something, so I could respond to this prompt, but damn it I am a writer, not a waiter, so let’s do this.  I wish that I never got fat and out of shape, but this happened because I never ate healthy foods and I wasn’t interested in working out.  My motto was always, “If you don’t have any fat, then you are not having any fun.”  When I was young, I had no idea about what I wanted to do with my life, so I never planned anything.  I lived in the moment and now I realize that was a big mistake.  I was not fat when I was in High School, and my beer belly came later, from drinking too much beer.  I enjoyed partying which included smoking joints, drinking beer and listening to music, mostly the Grateful Dead.

It is possible that my metabolism had something to do with me getting fat, but I have to think that drinking beer contributed more to this.  I drank to excess every night and this was something that I was good at.  We used to go to this bar, two carloads of guys and we would sit at different tables and drink pitchers of beer.  It was a competition to see which table could consume more beer and the table that won, wouldn’t have to pay for the drinks, which was a big encouragement for me to drink as much as I could.

Another night in a different bar, this guy bet me that I couldn’t drink one glass of beer every minute for a whole hour.  The glass was only 4 ounces and I knew that I could chug that down in a few seconds, so I accepted the challenge.  Over the one-hour period this came to 240 ounces, which equaled 1.875 gallons of beer.  If you break this down into 12-ounce bottles of beer, that meant that I had to drink 20 bottles in an hour.  I did it, but the worst part was that since I have to drink that glass of beer every minute on the minute, I didn’t have time to go to the bathroom during this period.

Once you get fat, there is no coming back.  You can go on a diet, but most people who diet rarely have their bodies return to their former shape.  You can try to cut calories and start exercising, but most of the time this ends up as a losing battle.  Most people will go through stages where they will lose some weight, only to regain it later.  When I decreased my calorie intake, it triggered my body to go into starvation mode, which reduced the amount of energy that I naturally expended, making it even harder for me to lose weight.  My body like everyone else’s is continually creating new fat cells and the number of fat cells that a person has remains constant through their life.  New fat cells grow because of our genetics, this is a result of preventing people from starvation where our ancestors would store energy in times of famine, so it is not my fault that I am fat. It got to a point for me where I accepted that I am a hippopotamus and I know that I am supposed to be enormous.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #129 which asks, “What is the one thing you would like to change about yourself?  What would it be and why?”

Who Do You Love

When it comes to magnets, the opposite poles attract, but people are much more complicated than magnets are.  I think that it all boils down to timing and being ready to take a leap of faith and share your life with somebody else.  When a person is ready to be attracted to another, they will fall for the one that they feel is the best for them, whether that person is more like them, or more different from them.  People look for others that are the same religion, or have the same political interests, or have the same hobbies, or that like the same foods.  I made up my mind to marry my wife when I found out that she didn’t like onions and we got along very well for 25 years.

Differences are also good, as these can be used to complement one another, making the whole greater than the sum of its parts.  I think that you are more likely to find someone attractive if you can agree with their opinions.  Consider the Covid vaccine, if you are vaccinated, you probably wouldn’t date someone who refuses to get the shot.  Opposites attract mostly in fantasies, but in real life, it is the things that people have in common with one another that allows them to stay together.  Is she likes watching HGTV and you enjoy Westerns, that is why households have more than one TV set, but if she likes Trump and you refuse to swallow the Big Lie, then there is no hope for you staying together as a couple?

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #128 which asks, “Do you feel that people are more attracted to one another by their differences or by their commonalities? And why do you feel that way?”