The “Marks”, As In Exclamation!

I’ve been accused of overusing exclamation marks. So, I asked my long lost cousin his thoughts on the subject. Now, my cousin believes the world has gone bonkers with too many rules. He believes that he is filling a space in this world that no one else can fill, because he is unique. Because of this, his opinions, he believes, should be highly regarded.

So, I asked him the following questions, and got the following answers:

Q. What do you think of exclamation marks?

A. I love them. I love the look of them on the stark white paper. The more the better.

Q. Do you think, as my psychiatrist thinks, exclamation marks are therapeutic?

A. By all means, it is a way of getting your pent up feelings out. Get rid of those inner demons.

Q. But what about the rules of punctuation?

A. Well, you know my feelings about rules. I feel that anyone who derides the “ Marks”, is probably a funless, overly fastidious person.

Q. What is your definition of the “ Marks”?

A. Words of strong feeling need the “ Marks” after them. This shows excitement, anger, pain, surprise, fright and happiness. I am always excited when I write, hence the “Marks”.

Q. Someone told me that in the old days of manual typewriters, people didn’t use the “Marks” much. Do you why?

A. Yes, I do know. The old manual typewriters were not equipped with an exclamation mark key. So it was just too much trouble to have to type a full stop, then back space, then push the shift key and then type an apostrophe! What a-to-do!

Q. Why do you think the use of the “ Marks” has increased lately?

A. Well, people nowadays with the internet, want to express themselves more and get noticed. When I put a lot of the “ Marks” in my writing, I feel I’m getting a lot of attention.

Q. So, in conclusion, my cousin, would you be inclined to tell me and the world to continue using many “ Marks” ?

A. Absolutely! No question about it. The King’s English will be better for it. Apparently, the exclamation mark is derived from the Latin word for joy. More joy, that’s what I say.

“ Well, thank you, my cousin, for this enlightenment.”

“ You are entirely welcome!” he smiled.

The bottom line, my friends, is that the “ Marks” are valuable tools to show emphasis and excitement.

WOW! With all this white paper, I’m getting excited!!!

Picture Perfect

My wife and I were looking for a picture for one of our lounge walls. I was in favour of leaving it blank to avoid clutter.  Anyway, I liked the colour of the wallpaper and didn’t want to cover up any part of it.

No! We had to have something to fill that space, dictated my wife. So, one rainy afternoon, I found myself in an art gallery.

Now, I don’t usually go into art galleries because I never really learned “ how to look” at a painting. There was a course like that at the YMCA, I remembered. It was listed under Adult Education. I didn’t enrol.

I never appreciated the “ Mona Lisa”. I thought if some woman was sitting alone at my local bar who looked like the “ Lisa”, I wouldn’t buy her a drink.

When my wife said she wanted something on that wall, I suggested a calendar. One with beautiful landscapes for every month. That was not chic, said my wife.

So, here I am, cocking my head back and forth, staring at paintings and mumbling to myself.

The woman owner of the gallery came over to us and said: “Do you like that painting?”

“ Yes,” I said. I lied. The painting we were looking at was a multicoloured object. Streaks of all colours were going off in all directions. My wife said it was just the right size for our wall. I thought even my long lost cousin wouldn’t like this picture.

The owner of the gallery smiled and said: “ The nice thing about this painting is that you can hang it any way and it looks good.”

She proceeded to turn the picture around in all directions to prove it to us.

Now, I knew I was ignorant of visual art. But, I would never turn the picture of my Grandfather upside down. It would be too scary.

“ Very interesting,” I said.

“ This picture is on sale for only £1000,” she smiled.

I gulped. My wife was silent. It probably wasn’t such a bad deal considering you could hang it in any direction.

I said we would think about it and I steered my wife towards the door.

Next week, I’m going to a calendar shop, with my long lost cousin!

Progress , Stop!!!

My cousin, my long lost cousin, he lives in the USA, just popped up one day in cyberspace. Now, don’t ask me the details about his arrival, because it was a while ago, and I have a very unreliable memory. But, this man, my cousin, is amazing, he has more problems and gripes than people.

My long lost cousin has the wisdom of Solomon. He says, progress doesn’t have to be the automatic consequence of accumulated knowledge and science development, because of the problems progress creates. Slow it all down! We would be happier.

Should we go back to the horse and buggy? He’s not sure. But, look at the damage and pollution cars, planes and weapons of war has caused. My cousin says, it’s the side effects that we have to withstand that gets to us.

Let me give you an example. This is about his disdain for technological progress. Let’s get to some specifics that my cousin has related to me by electronic mail. He said he has lost thousands of $ to tech advances in the last 25 years or so. It’s not just the money, he says, but the fact that he loved his old things!

First, “ they” took his 8 track tapes. You remember those? They were those large clunky reels of tape. “ They” made them cassette tapes, then into CD’s, then MP3’s.

Then his movie collection got changed. Beta, then VHS, DVD;s to Blue Ray. What next, he says, holograms in the middle of his lounge?

Now, he still has his old 8 track tape player, but can’t get it repaired. “ They” say it’s too old, no parts available. It’s an antique!

One good thing, he tells me, is that he kept his old crank phonograph player, so at least he can play his 78 rpm records.

My cousin says, people need to have their progress slowly. Everything today is much too rapid.

If tech advances were taken gradually, step by step, my cousin probably would still be playing his cherished 8 track tapes.

Anyway, he believes the world has gone progress bonkers, crazy, mad!!!

I really feel for him, don’t you?

Assertiveness Equals Strength

Do you want to be strong in your dealings with other people? Of course, you say. Then you want to assert yourself.

What is assertiveness? It is the ability to communicate clearly and confidently your needs, wants, ideas, opinions and feelings. When you accept that not everyone in the world will be kind and caring toward you, you realize the need for assertiveness.

To be assertive:

  1. It means leaving a strong impression on others. You can handle criticism and exploitation and eventually master the situation. Strength is the name of the game and people respect you more when you are strong in your ideas and opinions and you feel you are a worthy, effective person.
  2.  The assertive person doesn’t want or need to ask permission to speak, to think, or to need approval from others, although it’s nice to get it.
  3. Use your posture and body language to communicate self-confidence. Stand tall and sit erect. Have eye contact and speak in a firm voice.
  4. You will actively seek out what you want. The assertive person will find the work he wants to do, hobbies that interest him and friends who stimulate and support.

In dealing with life, we need high self-esteem and being assertive will give you this. Being assertive is also having courage, the willingness to confront fear and to stand up to it.

When you assert yourself, first you think, then you do, and after you do, you know and understand.

There are exceptions to that statement:

Life is like moving a glass vase. The most important thing is not to drop it. You need to understand that BEFORE you act! Afterwards, you may come to understand how you came to drop it, but the damage is done.

It’s like that when you deal with people’s feelings. If you damage them, it may take a long time just to repair the damage and you may never achieve that!

There is one question about assertiveness that keeps popping up:

“ Can you be assertive and humble at the same time?”

Sometimes gentleness is the best attitude, then nobody feels threatened. Some weak people wouldn’t relate well to an assertive person. So, it would be wonderful if we could combine assertiveness with humility.

Assertion can be attained by being forceful and confident without being contemptuous of others. You can still have reverence for others.

Happily, we can be humble and assertive at the same time, if you are smart enough to choose your words and attitude to prove something without being hostile.

So, you feel good when you are strong, and assertiveness equals strength!

Buy Another Lottery Ticket!

I was sitting at the bar in my favourite watering hole, contemplating my next move in my life’s journey, when I heard some swearing two stools down. Apparently, the lottery numbers were just announced on the TV. No one won the jackpot, at least not at this tavern.

I was asked by one irate loser why I was so calm. I told him:

“ Unlike the rest of you fools, I was sure I wasn’t going to win!”

“ Don’t you have any hope of winning? Anyone with a ticket has a chance to win.”

“ The powers that be, rig the lottery, so people like me don’t have a ghost of a chance to win.”

I shifted on my stool and smiled at their blank expressions.

“ People like me can’t win the lottery!”

“ Why’s that?”

“ The powers that be, don’t like my character traits, my likes and dislikes. I’ll give you an example: Take Hawaii, I hate Hawaii, but a lot of people that win big always say they’re going to Hawaii. I don’t like fire dances or pigs cooked in holes in the ground!”

The whole bar was listening by this time, all with unbelieving looks on their faces. But I continued on with my story.

“ Winners always say they’re going to buy a new house, furniture or car. The whole kit-and-ka-bootle! But I’d keep all my old stuff!”

A guy at the end of the bar yelled, “ Your wife wouldn’t like that.”

“ Right, so I would announce I’m going to retain a divorce lawyer and get rid of her as soon as possible.”

The same guy at the end shouted, “ That’s terrible of you, considering all those years she’s given you!”

“ Actually, it’s quite decent of me. Because I wouldn’t hire a hitman to bump her off. I also wouldn’t share any of my new wealth with family or friends.”

Someone shouted, “ That’s a terrible statement to make.” The entire tavern, now, was in an uproar. They were all glaring at me!

I know it’s terrible, but that’s me, and people like me don’t win the lottery. I probably would tell my family and friends to get lost and don’t bother me about my money.”

The bartender said, “ You can’t be serious.”

“ Yes, I’m very serious. I would be content to live without family and friends if I won. I would just enjoy myself to the limit!”

“ You couldn’t spend your whole life as a good time Charley!”

“ Why not? There has to be one lottery winner that says, “ I’m going to keep my old house, shed my friends, dump my wife and do all the things I want to do.”

They all shouted in unison, “ You would bring shame on the lottery!”

“ You may be right. So, If I ever win, which I don’t think I ever will, but if I do, I will change Plan A to Plan B. I’ll stay with my wife. Are you all happy now?”

They all started clapping and shouting, “ Good for you!”

“ Yes, and I’ll get three young lovers on the side!!!”

To Suffer Or Not To Suffer, That Is The Diet Question

I’ve been very stressed-out lately! I’ve just been reading the latest diet book and I have very negative emotions about it. There are so many diet crackpots around.

My doctor says I need to lose a few pounds. How do I accomplish that feat? I love my food! Every time I eat something I enjoy, I feel guilty, it might be too fattening.

In fact, I’ve been having memory problems recently and the Doc says, because of my stress about my weight and what diet I should follow, I might be developing mild cognitive impairment!!!

Now, I am of Biblical Age and because of my love of food I’m starting to worry, not only about my weight but looming dementia also!

So, I have embarked on the “ To Suffer And Be Miserable Diet”.

The rule of thumb is: If I like it, I can’t have it; if I don’t like it, I can eat all I want.

So, I eat a lot of mashed up green vegetables. I don’t like green vegetables, but I eat them. Consequently, I don’t gain an ounce!

The only vegetable I like is the baked potato, heaped with butter, sour cream and melted cheese. It tastes wonderful. But I can’t eat it, therefore, I suffer.

Now, I love Italian food, so when I go to my favourite Italian restaurant, I salivate reading the menu. The thing I like is the lasagne or spaghetti carbonara with a bottle of red wine. Can’t have it! So, I order fish with mineral water.

This rule applies even when you go shopping. When you walk down the aisle of the supermarket and you see something that makes you hungry, don’t put it in your trolley. If you see something that makes you sick, take a half-a-dozen of them!

So, ladies and gentlemen, stick to my “ Suffer And Be Miserable Diet” and you’ll lose weight.

The problem is, you might end up with mild cognitive impairment, aka losing your mind!!!

Article–Change versus Security

We are all changing constantly! We live from day to day and our bodies and our brains are changing, growing, renewing, and replacing their cells. Changing, not only physically but emotionally and psychologically.

So,we are literally different people as time goes by. How can we maintain a sense of security with all this going on?

“ No man is free who is not master of himself,” said the ancient philosopher, Epictetus. But to be master of yourself, you have to deal with change effectively and understand the nature of security. Change and security are opposites. Change is the natural law of life. But in this changing world, you need some security for balance.

Change handled positively equals growth. Security, in the right form and amount equals stability.

External security refers to outside guarantees, such as money, house, car, and job. The guarantee that all external things in your world will be okay forever. is impossible in a changing world. You can only have partial external security.

Internal security is the ability to trust yourself and being content in your present life. Having the knowledge that you can handle problems when they arise. This kind of security can be obtained. Only the internally insecure strive for complete external security.

There are three attitudes toward change. The neurotic is characterised by panic and inertia. The normal is what most of us do, cope and strive. The master of self is a person who welcomes change, because that’s the way they enjoy life with growth and new horizons.

Change is going on all around us:

First, there are natural changes. We go through biological changes, birth, childhood, puberty to old age. These changes are forced on us and we have to adapt.

Other changes forced on us are, loosing a loved one, friend, parent, or unexpected redundancy, etc.

Then there is choice change, changes we choose for ourselves. Such as, marriage, new interests, job change, etc. These changes come about through the power of choice.

Virtually, everything we do entails some security and insecurity. If you stand up to an argumentative person, you may be outwardly full of confidence, but you may be, also, shaking inside. We have moments of security and insecurity. We tread the middle ground.

We need a positive view of change.We have a need to understand ourselves  and a need for growth. It’s only through this journey of self-discovery that we develop the flexibility and awareness to deal with life and live it enjoyably and productively.

A negative view of change makes a person unable to grow and learn. They are frightened that change will shatter everything they know.

When your life changes you must adapt to the new situation and accept reality.

If change is inevitable, and it is, we have to live with it positively.We need to set goals and decide what’s best for us and work out how to do it.

When you have the inner security to deal with change, you will be master of yourself. When yourlife changes and you have the inner security to see it positively, there is a new beginning. And that is what an enjoyable, productive life is all about:

New Beginnings and Happy Expectations

For Today and Tomorrow