Friday, May 17, 2019

Psychology, Recovery and Mental Health - select readings

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Music Playlist - Spring 2019

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Some serious concerns about driver distracting behaviors on our work bus

Skills of Central Pennsylvania, Benner Pike, State College
Centre County Transportation, Milesburg, Pennsylvania
To whom it may concern,
I have pressing concerns about unwholesome habits being demonstrated by some Skills workers on our Centre County Transportation work commuter bus. These have become so out of hand that they frequently distract our dedicated bus drivers.

As a Skills Program worker over the past year, I’m grateful for the training I’m paid for, as well as the supplementary bus rides between my residence and work. This has made a big difference and improvement in my life.

And I like to think I can carry these precious skills onward and upward to other aspects of my life. I believe positive attitudes and outlooks can overlap, influence and rub off onto fellow colleagues; therefore it strikes me as disheartening when I experience negative ones as manifested in the following scenario which repeats itself so much that it’s become predictable:
First, the bus driver travels over a bump and somebody sitting in the back shouts over our whole group that he’s going to kill, strangle, beat, or otherwise disfigure the driver if they don’t slow down more. Then, others chime in angrily, saying it can’t be helped and that they will then kill or maim the complainer someway. Everything heats up more, as riders commence shooting personal insults to each other from several angles. Often this unhealthy banter gets recharged over the next bump and continues boisterously for the full bus ride or at least until involved passengers depart. Not only that, but there are other standard protocols of politeness that some Skills workers disregard daily, such as leaving the aisle seat open and properly securing their safety belts, even after the driver asks for this.
bus.jpg

On the bright day I learned of my bus riding approval I received a memo which included the guideline: “Passengers must conduct themselves in an orderly and polite manner when riding in county vehicles.”  Presumably, the other riders and / or guardians received the same memo.
I feel that if I say nothing about this unacceptable societal failure, then it follows I’m giving my sanction that it’s okay. The last straw occurred recently at lunch one day when a Skills staff manager made a similar comment in jest about killing someone. This was in response to a minor question from a co-worker when Ms. ____ __ answered “I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you!”  An old worn out joke for sure, but not one that everyone at Skills comprehends. Half-shocked to hear this myself, I sensed the surprise and confusion coming from the young woman who asked the question, and then soon left (to cry?) And certainly a grievous trigger point for others who have lost loved ones to violence. Indeed, our widespread TSA agents arrest and interrogate glib travelers for lesser offhand ‘jokes.’ about violent acts.

If integrating Skills workers into the community is still part of Skills mission, as I’m told it is, then I would like to point out another pertinent observation: In my vast experience of finding respectable employment over the past forty-five years the majority of the better jobs I’ve discovered came through personal contact or via word of mouth. Many workers I’ve met have experienced this same serendipity. Even now, it’s likely that someone on the bus or even the driver is or knows of homeowners or businesses looking for decent help with various chores, e.g.: gardening, grass cutting, dog-walking, gutter cleaning, cooking, leaf raking, trash- recycle sorting, garage sweeping, knitting, vacuuming, sewing, fruit-picking, stable cleaning, fetching tools, folding tarps, painting, snow-shoveling, furniture rearranging,  brush removal, etc. The odd job list is long...

But if potential job hirers that we encounter experience a constant sea of Skills disharmony, seeing perpetually rude and disorderly behaviors, this impression immediately dissuades those prospective employers and that bad imprint gets shared with others.

I have faith in my work colleagues that several of them will see the light right away when this is explained by someone with the proper timing and authority. Other good news is that at least one bus driver has already vowed to keep the bus atmosphere ship-shape, and starting by requiring window seat placement for those first on, when additional riders are expected.

Posting a sign on the bus could help remind riders that bus privileges come along with the responsibility of respecting other commuters.

At Skills we have occasional days off when no work is scheduled, and here we help with volunteer projects instead. Why not consider a few hours of one of those days for training or a refresher course about courteousness, even if it’s just done in small groups? Tacking on a small challenge for Skills workers to use to their imaginations to say something complimentary about each other would be a nice start.

I’m impressed by the safety standards our Commonwealth of Pennsylvania uses in other important niches now, such as automatically cancelling registrations when drivers insurances lapse, and implementing brief back road closures for migrating turtle egg-layers. Bus services themselves may have already set aside funds for safety programs which dissuade driver distraction, and if so, may offer to go in half when approached with an idea for a brief annual refresher meeting or class to remind riders of their respectful responsibilities. Such a gesture could go a long way in helping mend these inappropriate and outlandish driver-distracting behavioral patterns.
Thank you,
JB
c.c. Centre County Transportation
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, safety division.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Cavalcade of Heroes

Monday, January 28, 2008

Emil Sitka - The Fourth Stooge

"Hold hands, you lovebirds"
From Wikipedia:
Emil Sitka's first Three Stooges film—and Curly Howard's last
Half-Wits Holiday dealt with the idea of two professors betting on the outcome of turning the Three Stooges into gentlemen—with predictable results. Emil Sitka played Sappington, the upper-crust butler, who was an excellent foil for the Three Stooges—and the target of several pies as well.
In the 1947 Three Stooges short Brideless Groom, Shemp Howard must be married before 6:00 p.m. in order to inherit $500,000.00. After striking out, Shemp finally finds a girl willing to marry him, and they rush off to a justice of the peace, played by Emil Sitka. As Sitka starts the ceremony, telling the couple to "hold hands, you lovebirds", the other girls that turned down Shemp's proposal burst in, having heard of the inheritance. A free-for-all then ensues, with poor Sitka being struck again and again, attempting to start the ceremony, each time more disheveled and his "hold hands, you lovebirds" a little weaker. Because of the widespread distribution of this short (it is one of four Three Stooges shorts that slipped into public domain), this scene is the one that Sitka has become best known for. Notably, a clip of this short is featured in Pulp Fiction, for which Sitka's name even appears in the credits as "Hold Hands You Lovebirds".
Later years:
Emil Sitka continued with the acting career, more out of love for acting than the need for money, appearing in films as late as 1992. He was in demand at various Three Stooges conventions, and had numerous requests from Three Stooges fans to appear at their wedding to say "Hold hands, you lovebirds!" Emil Sitka died on January 16, 1998 in Camarillo, California, USA, from complications from a stroke. He is survived by four daughters and two sons. One of his sons, Saxon, has created the official Emil Sitka website in his honor —- http://www.emilsitka.com. Saxon carries on his father's legacy by appearing at Stooge conventions as often as possible. On his father's gravestone, the engraving "Hold hands, you lovebirds!" appears.
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ἣρως
"There are men, wrote Aristotle, so godlike, so exceptional, that they naturally, by right of their extraordinary gifts, transcend all moral judgment or constitutional control: 'There is no law which embraces men of that calibre: they are themselves law.'" (Hughes-Hallett, Lucy. Heroes. Alfred A. Knopf, 2004.)


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Sunday, April 28, 2019

A most improbable bullseye

I was presenting a project in eighth grade science ecology class when a most improbable event occurred:

As I turned from the chalkboard where I had drawn some doodlebug Volkswagens and was preparing to explain a safety issue, one middle school colleague from the back row tossed his sharp paper airplane toward me, which I did not notice until it landed bullseye, sticking and staying bent in the double bridge and drooping between my eyeglass lenses and in so hard that I had to remove them to yank it out, which when I did revealed a pink dot mark right between the eyes.

The full class erupted in laughter as such a surprising impossible shot, which transcended the teacher even trying to apprehend the back row winning clown, as he and I both joined in the loud cacophonous laughter.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns


 From Wikipedia


From Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns (1995), a report published by the Board of Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association:
Individuals differ from one another in their ability to understand complex ideas, to adapt effectively to the environment, to learn from experience, to engage in various forms of reasoning, to overcome obstacles by taking thought. Although these individual differences can be substantial, they are never entirely consistent: a given person's intellectual performance will vary on different occasions, in different domains, as judged by different criteria. Concepts of "intelligence" are attempts to clarify and organize this complex set of phenomena. Although considerable clarity has been achieved in some areas, no such conceptualization has yet answered all the important questions, and none commands universal assent. Indeed, when two dozen prominent theorists were recently asked to define intelligence, they gave two dozen, somewhat different, definitions.[8]
 
Besides those definitions, psychology and learning researchers also have suggested definitions of intelligence such as:
Researcher Quotation
Alfred Binet Judgment, otherwise called "good sense", "practical sense", "initiative", the faculty of adapting one's self to circumstances ... auto-critique.[9]
David Wechsler The aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with his environment.[10]
Lloyd Humphreys "...the resultant of the process of acquiring, storing in memory, retrieving, combining, comparing, and using in new contexts information and conceptual skills".[11]
Howard Gardner To my mind, a human intellectual competence must entail a set of skills of problem solving — enabling the individual to resolve genuine problems or difficulties that he or she encounters and, when appropriate, to create an effective product — and must also entail the potential for finding or creating problems — and thereby laying the groundwork for the acquisition of new knowledge.[12]
Linda Gottfredson The ability to deal with cognitive complexity.[13]
Robert Sternberg & William Salter Goal-directed adaptive behavior.[14]
Reuven Feuerstein The theory of Structural Cognitive Modifiability describes intelligence as "the unique propensity of human beings to change or modify the structure of their cognitive functioning to adapt to the changing demands of a life situation".[15]
Shane Legg & Marcus Hutter A synthesis of 70+ definitions from psychology, philosophy, and AI researchers: "Intelligence measures an agent's ability to achieve goals in a wide range of environments",[5] which has been mathematically formalized.[16]
Alexander Wissner-Gross F = T ∇ S[17] "Intelligence is a force, F, that acts so as to maximize future freedom of action. It acts to maximize future freedom of action, or keep options open, with some strength T, with the diversity of possible accessible futures, S, up to some future time horizon, τ. In short, intelligence doesn't like to get trapped".

Monday, April 15, 2019

I stumbled into a pal in France recently...



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue7wM0QC5LE Jim Banholzer
Je suis tombé sur un copain récemment, qui a souligné que certains bébés essaieraient de vous dire qu'ils n'aiment tout simplement pas les Trois Stooges. Ces filles pensent que les seules fois où ces tasses mettent "les dames" sur un piédestal, c’est quand elles ont accidentellement relâché des souris dans une pièce. Je dis, "Ne fais pas attention à ce boiteux qui t'appelle bébé, idiot, tu n'as pas encore assez regardé les épisodes." Appelez-moi un malheureux, mais j'ai vu à plusieurs reprises des filles prétendant être anti-Stooge, améliorer leur vision de la vie avec un bon endoctrinement de la part de Drs. Howard et bien.


 
Mon amie Laura, une aficionado des Stooges récemment convertie. Elle avait catégoriquement affirmé qu'il n'y avait rien de sympathique à propos de ces ignorants. Puis un jour un épisode de cheval de swayback est venu à la télévision. Être une cavalière pour la vie, cela a attiré son attention. Les trois meilleurs jockeys étaient tous accrochés au même cheval pour leur vie bien garnie - galopant sauvagement dans des cercles à mouvements rapides, autour d’une arène des années 1920. Un craquement sourd émanant des lèvres de Laura se mit à éclater de rire, provoquant une conversion stupéfiante de son attitude envers les Stooges.

J'ai rencontré une autre fille en ville qui travaille dans un magasin vendant de la musique et des DVD. Elle est une greffe récente du sud de la France et a à peine entendu parler de Stooges high-jinx. Qu'est-ce qui a jamais incité les Français à filtrer les Stooges d'Amérique? Ils adorent Jerry Lewis, mais ne savent pas pour Moe? Se faisant passer pour un professeur de bonheur, je montrais quelques astuces astucieuses avec mes poings, en expliquant comment ils se frappaient jusqu'à atteindre une épiphanie "poirfect". Après avoir ajouté quelques nyuck-nyucks, elle aussi montra un léger amusement. Déterminée à ne pas faire partie de ces poussins "ne m'appelez pas poussin", j'ai senti un rayon d'espoir pour la TVHD en vue de son plaisir futur d'être assaillie par des Curley tourbillonnantes hilarantes.
 
Des volumes ont été écrits sur le pouvoir de guérison convaincant de la comédie. Les personnes en deuil qui ont perdu un être cher - certaines personnes qui ne rient plus depuis un an ou plus sont parfois doucement ramenées dans un monde plus supportable avec l'aide de la bonne essence de térébenthine de Staphe. Si plus de spectacles de cette nature sont illuminés par les théâtres du monde, peut-être que les parties adverses pourraient poser leurs bras fatigués, se détendre les doigts et partager quelques gloussements robustes. Nous pourrions même apprendre que glisser des tartes à la crème non ordonnées sur le visage de chacun ne fait que créer un désordre horrible à éponger.
Les dessinateurs et les humoristes jonglent parfois avec les clés de puissants véhicules de paix sans même s'en rendre compte. Tout comme les phares d’illumination uniques que poètes, artistes et athlètes rivalisent vaillamment, ce sera un parcours chaotique et chaotique qui dévalera les frontières robotiques avant que des lunkheads étouffés puissent égaler la véritable force de résistance des Stooges originaux. Si les Stooges pouvaient revenir, à quel point riraient-ils des générateurs de plaisanteries aléatoires d'aujourd'hui? Auraient-ils gaffaw avec moi pour être assez stupide de penser qu'ils riraient de mes singeries?
 
Récemment, les frères Farrelly (de la renommée Dumb & Dumber) et 20th Century Fox ont tenu des négociations positives, permettant à un nouveau film sur Three Stooges de faire un pas de plus vers une réalité saisissante. Une partie de leur scénario a été peaufinée il y a quelques étés ici dans l'atmosphère d'écriture sérieuse de Sun Valley, notamment des répétitions d'une opération sur une religieuse utilisant une brosse à dents électrique et un aspirateur dans l'une des chambres du pavillon. Une scène de chatouilles avec les côtes se développe avec la découverte d'un triangle dans la nonne semi-consciente. Cela s'ensuit lors d'une bagarre sur la table d'examen pour séparer le plus gros morceau de chance.
 
Ce n'est pas la première connexion à Idaho dans l'histoire de Stooges. Leur dernier film était "Kooks 'Tour", tourné dans le désert du Montana et de l’Idaho en 1970.
 
Les magasins locaux de l’Idaho qui louent ou vendent des CD et des DVD peuvent vous commander des serviettes chaudes remplies d’épisodes Stooges. J'espère que cette chronique a rassemblé les potentiels convertis pour faire basculer le sens du cheval chez le bébé français. Quand elle reviendra dans la France affamée de Stooge, elle pourra commencer à encourager son monde à s’arrêter, à regarder et à écouter la profondeur des paroles et des actes simples et bien pensés de ces trois sages. Peut-être même que les magistrats faisant autorité qui supervisent Médecins sans frontières vont commencer à recommander: "Prenez deux DVD Stooge et appelez-moi demain matin."
 
Dédié à Mattie 'Dudeges' Mckenzie - le meilleur imitateur Curley de l'Idaho.

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