Genuine Memories

Today Fandango asks, although this is supposedly a revisited question, “How do you know which of your memories are genuine and which have been altered over time or even made up?”

I didn’t catch this question the first time it was asked and it looks like fun, so I will give it my best shot today.  I imagine that a lot of people who are suffering with dementia may not know which of their memories are real and which ones are made up, but these people are in a mental void and as long as they are happy, I guess that is OK, however I don’t think that Fandango is asking about people with conditions, as he said that this question popped up because he thinks that his memory is getting worse almost to the point of where it may be incredibly unreliable.  A quick search revealed that, “There is currently no way to distinguish, in the absence of independent evidence, whether a particular memory is true or false.  Even memories which are detailed and vivid and held with 100 percent conviction can be completely false.”

This makes me wonder if memories can be trusted, since we can all have true memories and false memories.  A true memory is the real retrieval of an event of any nature, be it visual, verbal, or otherwise, but these true memories are constantly being rewritten (re-encoding) inside of our brains for some reason or another.  A false memory is defined as the recollection of an event that did not happen or a distortion of an event that indeed occurred.  Your memories can be erased or manipulated and we are constantly being exposed to new information.  The human brain can undergo memory reconsolidation which is the process of previously consolidated memories being recalled and actively consolidated.  It is a distinct process that serves to maintain, strengthen and modify memories that are already stored in the long-term memory.

How in the hell did I let Fandango send me down this rabbit hole, well let’s try to get to the bottom of this issue?  It takes a while for the memory to take hold inside of your brain, and this happens through the process of reconsolidation.  Memories aren’t just written once, but every time we remember them, so every time you remember an event from the past, your brain networks change in ways that can alter the later recall of the event.  This means, somewhat ironically, that the act of remembering something creates a critical window in which memories can be erased or manipulated and that your memories can change every time you remember something.

The same way that stories change when you play the telephone game (where a story gets passed from one person to the next), your memory can change events and what you believe to be or wish was true can be very different from what actually occurred in reality.  There is this thing called your mind’s eye, which is actually the place in your head where images are recalled and created, and everything you’ve ever pictured or imagined has come from your mind’s eye and this gives you a mental picture of what happened.  Most people will see images that are slightly unclear or hazy, as if they are looking at them through a dirty piece of glass, and I think this is what is happening to Fandango, but some other people have a condition called Aphantasia and they are unable to picture things in their mind’s eye.

People with this condition would probably excel in math or logic dominated fields, because they can take a more analytical approach to things.  Aphantasia is a phenomenon, but people with this condition will most likely have a stronger spatial memory because of the absence of visual memory.  Their minds are not cluttered with all the images that normal people perceive and they can describe objects, explain concepts, and even rattle off facts that they know, but they would not have any sort of mental image to accompany this knowledge.  This is not an all or nothing, as people can exhibit varying degrees of Aphantasia.  Getting back to Fandango’s question and speaking only for myself who I feel that I do have some degree of Aphantasia, I feel that most of my memories are genuine.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #17 revisited.

They All Did It

Murder was committed on the Orient Express because the criminal had escaped justice and everyone felt that this was a necessary evil.  The passengers on the train seemed like strangers, but they all had something in common, a connection to the Armstrong family and they were there to take their revenge out on the man who kidnapped and murdered an American toddler named Daisy Armstrong.  The widow was actually Daisy’s grandmother.  The countess was her aunt.  The doctor worked with her father.  The car salesman was the family chauffeur.  All 12 of them coordinated getting onboard the same train so they could murder Cassetti and frame it on a mysterious man they’ll claim they heard sneaking aboard the train.  An airtight alibi for all of them, until by sheer coincidence, the world’s most famous detective Agatha Christie’s fictional Hercule Poirot happens to be on the very same train.

It was probably not a big surprise when Poirot figured out the ridiculous and implausible plot, where everyone of them got to stab the man who escaped justice.  Daisy’s mother, who was pregnant at the time, miscarried and died due to complications, her father died by suicide, and Cassetti got off scot free and they were not going to stand for that, so his death became a necessary evil.  Necessary evil is always justified by the greater good.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #115 which asks, “Is there really such a thing as a necessary evil, or is it just a way for us to rationalize or justify doing something bad?”

Good Question

Do you think that there is any chance that the U.S. Congress will ever take decisive, bipartisan action to pass and enact nationwide common sense gun laws to try and stem the tide of mass shootings, or is the best that the American Congress will ever do is to send thoughts and prayers to the families of loved ones killed in mass shooting incidents?

Not this Congress, but maybe in the future hopefully something will be done.  This Congress seems more interested in staying divided, than in trying to help the citizens.  Maybe a better question would have been, “Can gun control be achieved without bipartisan support?”  Republicans and Democrats have found some rare common ground on certain gun policy proposals in the U.S.  Large majorities in both parties continue to favor preventing people with mental illnesses from buying guns, barring gun purchases by people on the federal no-fly or watch lists, and instituting background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows.  There are some sharp partisan differences on several other issues, mostly involving whether to let people carry concealed guns in more places and the idea of allowing teachers and officials to carry guns in K-12 schools.  Republicans support arming school officials, and expanding concealed carry.

Both parties feel that the ease with which people can illegally obtain guns contributes a great deal or a fair amount to gun violence.  Democrats want to make it harder for people to legally obtain guns, but Republicans don’t think that this will have an effect on mass shootings.  The Democrats feel that this is a big problem that needs to be addressed immediately and the Republicans don’t see it the same way.  They are split on an assault weapons ban and common sense tells me that nobody needs assault weapons, unless they are part of the military or in law enforcement.  This issue comes up all the time on whether or not we should be trying to control gun ownership, or protect gun rights and nothing ever comes out of it.  Sending thoughts and prayers is probably the best thing that they can do, that is until this country becomes less divided, or unless the National Rifle Association NRA decides that they are tired of making money and they stop buying politicians.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #114 which is shown above.

Double Vaccinated

I got the Pfizer vaccine twice, 22 days apart.  I didn’t have any negative symptoms, except after my second vaccine which I received in my left arm, it was still a tiny bit sore after a few days.  I don’t think that my life will change all that much till everyone else gets vaccinated, but I do feel much safer now.  I went to a community meeting on Monday morning because I am the editor of the newsletter and the topic of vaccines came up.  This one lady who was vaccinated was speaking about her trip to NYC to visit her sister who was not vaccinated and she said that her sister was jealous because Florida has such a great governor and that is why everyone is vaccinated here.  Personally, I am not a fan of Gov. Ron DeSantis and I didn’t want to hear any more Republicans kissing up to the governor, so I spoke up saying, “I heard that DeSantis is under investigation for setting up pop-up vaccination sites that favored wealthy ZIP codes which were connected to his political donors”, and this immediately shut her up.

DeSantis keeps on touting his success on his handling of the coronavirus in Florida, but the pandemic is still going on and it is way too early to take a victory lap.  I am not sure that he should be praised for being lucky, and most Floridians are elderly and they have enough brains to stay socially distanced, wear their masks and they don’t really mind being isolated.  He never issued a state wide mask mandate and he left that up to the local leaders.  Close to 4 million Floridians have received at least one vaccine which is less than 20% of the state’s population.  DeSantis is expected to welcome visitors to Florida, which is a big part of our economy and let them view us as being a fully open state, free even from mask-wearing and this is just asking for trouble.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #113 which asks, “Have you gotten vaccinated for COVID-19 yet? If not, are you planning to? If you have, or are planning to, how do you think your life will change afterwards? If you’re not planning to get vaccinated, why not?”

Gender Identity

Since Marjorie Taylor Greene has declared that there are only two genders and she says that we must trust the science, I need to go into a short discussion on Biology.  In the beginning, boys and girls are the same and up until about week 7 to week 8 of pregnancy, both sexes have what’s known as a “genital ridge”, which is described as being an identical preliminary set of genitalia that will eventually differentiate to become either male or female sex organs.  That means that all our sex organs come from the same foundations, with the testes in men being equivalent to labia and ovaries in women, and the penis is the equivalent of the clitoris.  All human individuals, whether they have an XX, an XY, or an atypical sex chromosome combination (hey stuff happens), begin their sexual development from the same starting point.  During early development the gonads of the fetus remain undifferentiated, thus they are all fetal genitalia are the same and are phenotypically female.  After approximately 6 to 7 weeks of gestation, however, the expression of a gene on the Y chromosome induces changes that result in the development of the testes.

The basic differences between the sexes begins in the womb although the sex of a baby is determined by its chromosome make-up at conception.  An embryo with two X chromosomes will become a girl, while an embryo with an X-Y combination results in a boy.  Medical researchers have made a new discovery about how a baby’s sex is determined, saying that it’s not just about the X-Y chromosomes, but involves a “regulator” that increases or decreases the activity of genes, and this is what decides if we become male or female.  At around 18 to 22 weeks of pregnancy, a level 2 anatomy ultrasound can determine whether a baby is male or female by looking for a penis.

OK, Biology lesson is over, now on to what is a boy and what is a girl.  From the moment a baby is born, people start classifying them into two groups depending on which gender they have, but physical anatomical gender differences aren’t the only variances between the sexes.  Brain development has been found to be about the same, but their behavior is dependent on life experiences and girls are given pink clothes, bows and dolls, while boys are given blue clothes, toy cars and plastic swords in an effort to make them more feminine or more masculine.  At a young age, boys typically play with other boys and girls typically play with other girls to conform to standards of what is thought to be “right” and “wrong”, and this forces children to fit the role of their respective gender.

Society puts people into particular boxes where they are supposed to belong, and if they choose to step out of this box, they will immediately be seen as being different or abnormal.  If a girl wants to do something that a boy does, it seems weird, so they must continue to play with their dolls, or else their behavior will be perceived as wrong.  Time changes everything, and some of us don’t want to be stuck in the same mold for our whole lives.  Some people do not see gender as an either/or option and they might feel like they are both guy and girl, but that does not classify them as being neither.  It gets more and more complicated every year and choosing a sex that you want to identify with should be all about how it makes you feel.

If a guy wants to wear make-up like blush, foundation, lipstick, or dye his hair purple, or wear feminine undergarments, as long as he is not hurting anyone else, then it would not bother me.  More than 40 percent of transgender or “gender non-conforming” people have attempted suicide and this stems mostly from being bullied at school.  Same-sex marriage was yesterday’s battle to redefine gender roles and privileges, and transgender rights is what we are facing today, but this is still in a transformational stage.  This topic is splintering into a division of the entire human race on what it takes to be a male, or a female, or something else.  Maybe it is time to choose a different color besides blue and pink.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #111 which asks, “Do you believe that a person’s gender is inextricably tied to his or her sex at birth, or do you believe that a person can legitimately identify as a gender different from his or her birth gender?  Why do you believe what you believe?”

Awkward

Warning: Don’t read this, unless you want a good laugh!

This is embarrassing, but I do want to talk about my sex life, because I know that something better is out there for me and I am hoping that this effort of talking about my sex life will improve things for me.  If I were going to rate my current sex life on a scale of 1 to 10 (where a 1 equals poor and 10 equals mind-blowing) by judging the frequency, intimacy, passion, overall satisfaction and freedom, I would give it a 2, because being without a partner limits the stuff that I can do, and that makes it rather boring.  I am stuck in a pattern right now and I would like to create a better sex life

Having solo sex can be a wonderful way to connect to your body, become more confident in your body, and experience pleasure, but I have been there and done that way too many times now.  It is quick and easy and masturbating helps me to sleep.  I don’t need to seduce myself by turning down the lights and lighting candles.  I get a firm hold on things and go for it.  I know what feels good, so I stick with that.  The intensity is not the same as in partnered sex, but it is always good to check to see if my parts are still working.  Consistency is the key to achieving an orgasm.

I have heard that anal play can stimulate your prostate, but that is not in my repertoire, unless I have a partner doing that.  I am not into toys and I don’t need to look at myself in the mirror and I am certainly not going to do this on cam.  Porn can help, but there are so many computer viruses out there that you really have to be careful.  For now, while we are still in this pandemic where I can’t meet anyone new, as long as this solo sex acts makes me feel good, I am going to keep on stroking.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #110 which asks, “How is your sex life?”

Why Would Anyone Want To Be Me

Some hacker took control of my email and he also has my facebook page, which I have not been on in over two years.  I don’t really care about that, but he changed my password and facebook wants me to either upload a copy of my driver’s license, or contact 4 friends on facebook to verify that I am me, to get control of my account again.  I am not interested in doing any of this, so now there are two of us Jim Adams people that are out there, the fake one and me.  The world does not need another me, as one of me should be all this planet can handle.  The good thing about having a new email address if that I am not getting any spam and that hacker is welcome to all of my junk mail.

I spend most of my time on blogging-related activities and the majority of that is on research, as I enjoy challenging prompts.  I guess this takes up about eight hours out of every one of my days, because I also spend a lot of time reading what the other bloggers have written.  I like to write about music and I want to publish posts that I am proud of.  Sure, I get ideas from websites that I am on when I am doing my research and a lot of times, I copy it and paste it into my posts, but it is never a direct copy, as I like to use my own words and I alter it enough, so it is not plagiarism.

I try to write ahead and this can only be done for certain prompts, one of which is Love Is In The Blog, which takes place in February and another on is April A-Z.  I have completed the first 24 posts for Love Is In The Blog so I only have 4 left to write and I have already picked out my month of posts for April A-Z, but I have not written any yet.  After April things here on WordPress usually settle down and I will get back to doing more daily prompts.

This Friday I will host the MM Music Challenge and I basically have my post written already on the song ‘Gee’ by Crows for Challenge #176, but I usually pair this up with another song which I think will be ‘Vaya Con Dios’ by Les Paul & Mary Ford, because it is from the same year 1953 when I was born, but I have not done any writing on this post yet.  I also picked out a song for my other challenge Song Lyric Sunday and this will be ‘Blue Jay Way’ by the Beatles, but I also have not started that post yet.  I will be looking forward to Paula’s Thursday Inspiration tomorrow and Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, but I can only do so much.

Blogging occupies a lot of my time, but I picked up a new hobby lately, which is being the editor of the community newsletter and this takes up 12 to 16 hours of my time every month.  At the last meeting I volunteered to help the guy who is running the paint committee by setting up a spreadsheet for him, as I happen to be an expert with Excel.  I guess if I didn’t spend so much of my time blogging, that I would read some books, as I have 5 e-books that I want to get to.  I could always write another book, but for now blogging keeps me busy and if I stay busy that will keep me from turning into Dory.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #109 which asks, “How many hours, on average, do you spend per day (or per week) on blogging-related activities?  And, what do you think you might do with your time if you didn’t spend it on those blogging-related activities?”

Failure at Love

I don’t like Valentine’s Day, as I never knew what to do for it.  In High School as a Freshman, before I had a steady girlfriend, I sent some Valentine cards out to a few girls that I liked, because the school was promoting the holiday, but it just turned into an embarrassing situation for the girls who received them and then they took it out on me, calling me a jerk.  I never understood women, they were like a foreign language to me, even after I was married.  When my wife had a miscarriage, I didn’t realize why she became so devastated by this.  I guess it was because the baby was growing inside of her body and once the sperm left my body, I knew that I could always make more, so it was not a big deal, but she cried for a long time.  I was not conditioned to cry and I tried to cheer her up, but it seemed to me that she was crying for no reason.

Some other things that I never understood were periods, change of life menopause and hot flashes as none of this was ever explained to me.  I guess that I should have been more sympathetic, but I just didn’t know any better.  I never forgot our anniversary or her birthday and I always got her something for Valentine’s Day, at least a card.  I remember when we first started dating and she baked a cake for me and I took it to work and left it in the coffee room and everybody complimented me on what a sweet girlfriend I had.  I guess that Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark Holiday, but they are in the business of selling cards, so they depend on this income.  I have never felt pressured to give my wife anything, as it was more about seeing her be happy that I remembered her and thought about her, than trying to impress her or to stay on her good side.

She was never a fan of candy, but I did get her flowers, and take her out to dinner.  The expensive jewelry was reserved for her birthdays.  When you don’t have a significant other, Valentine’s Day is just a pain in the ass, as it makes you feel like you are a loser.  Is it better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all?  I tend to think that any relationship that you are involved in makes you better at handling the next one that comes down the road, shaping you into the person that you want to be.  I have no plans for Valentine’s Day this year, except for reading a lot of posts on Song Lyric Sunday where the prompt is Brain/Mind/Think.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #108 which asks, “How do you feel about Valentine’s Day? Do you consider it to be a special day, one where you express your deep love and appreciation for your significant other? Or is it just a commercialized “Hallmark Holiday” where you feel pressured to spend money on cards, flowers, candy, jewelry, and/or expensive dinners in order to stay on the good side of the one you love? Either way, what, if anything, are your plans for Valentine’s Day this year?”

Nothing is Gonna Bring Him Back

Fandango asks, “Do you think Donald Trump should be allowed back on social media now that he’s no longer in office?”, which surely is a provocative question.  If he were to ask, “Should pedophiles be allowed around children?”, everybody would say unanimously, “No, of course not”, and that would be the end of it.   Trump is gone, but not before he brought shame to the whole nation, and the only thing that will ever bring him back is a social media presence, so if there is any justice in the world, he should never have a platform that allows him to spew his lies anymore.  People are dead because of him (Covid-19 mishandling and the insurrection) and our country has never been so divided before.  While Trump was in office, he behaved with complete disregard for Democracy and the norms that have held our country together.

He was and is a disgrace of a man, sucking up to Kim Jong Un and showing his love for the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.  He is the only president to ever be impeached twice and we must learn a lesson from this, being that if the country suffered so badly under Trump once, that it is possible for him to return again and even be worse the next time.  Personally, I don’t have a social media presence, so it wouldn’t really bother me, if he was allowed back on, as I would never listen to him, but the radical right is still looking for his supposed leadership, and it won’t take that much to rile them up again.  My hope is that he will be put on trial and never allowed to run for any office again.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #105.

Math History

I think that in order for students to be able to comprehend mathematics, that they should know how this subject developed.  If students knew why people started counting things, this would help grasp, why they need to know the number line.  History is a lot easier to teach than math, because some students get bored with numbers, but if they were taught how the great breakthroughs came about, this would help to gain their interest, instead of just throwing all of these numbers and complicated terms at them.

I did this in my third, as yet still unpublished book titled So You Want To Learn Calculus, because there are a lot of bad math teachers out there.  I had three semesters of Calculus in College and although I could solve the problems because I was able to see the patterns, I never really knew what this subject was about.  If Math is taught correctly, it can be a fascinating subject.  My book is not for everyone and nobody has ever read it and it is possible that nobody ever will, but you can’t just throw students into this ocean of information, before they know how to swim.

Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #104 which asks, “What do you think is the one subject (or thing) that should be taught in school that isn’t?”