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Good Mountain Press Presents DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#11c
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~ In Memoriam: Roger Williams (1924 -2011) ~
~~ His Song, "Autumn Leaves"
a No. 1 Hit in 1955
The only piano solo to Top Billboard Charts ~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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~~~ WELCOME TO DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#11c f or December, 2011 ~~~
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Quote for the Christmas Month of December:

Politics is the art of answered questions — education is the art of unanswered questions.
Bobby Matherne, from his September 22, 2000 Journal

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DIGESTWORLD

GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS Presents ISSUE#11c for December 2011
                  Archived Digests

             Table of Contents

1. December's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for December
3. On a Personal Note
       Featured Reviews
       Movie Blurbs

4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Fortuitous Stir Fry
6. Poem from Inner Reading and Inner Hearing:"An Amazing Reality"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for December:

  • ARJ2: The Black Swan — The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
8. Commentary on the World
      1. Padre Filius Cartoon
      2. Comments from Readers
      3. Freedom on the Half Shell Poem
      4. The Law of Requisite Variety
      5. Anger Speed Trace
      6. More on Anger Speed Trace
      7. Battery Meter and Dashboard Lights
      8. Matherne — Man at the Gate to the Dairy

9. Closing Notes — our mailing list, locating books, subscribing/unsubscribing to DIGESTWORLD
10. Gratitude

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DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#11c
== == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == == ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ON THE WEB  
~ ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ~
2000: INAUGURAL YEAR: Jun  
#1 Jul  #2, Aug  #3, Sept  #4, Oct  #5, Nov  #6, Dec  #7
2001: Jan  #8,  Feb  #9,  Mar #10, Apr #11, May #12, Jun #13, Jul #14, Aug #15, Sep #16, Oct #17, Nov #18, Dec #19
2002: Jan #20, Feb #21, Mar #22, Apr #23, May #24, Jun #25, Jul #26, Aug #27, Sep #28, Oct #29, Nov #30, Dec #31
2003: Jan #32, Feb #33, Mar #34, Apr #35, May #36, Jun #37, Jul #38, Aug #39, Sep #40, Oct #41, Nov #42, Dec #43
2004: Jan #44, Feb #45, Mar #46, Apr #47, May #48, Jun #49, Jul #50, Aug #51, Sep #52, Oct #53, Nov #54, Dec #55
2005: Jan#051,Feb#052,Mar#053,Apr#054,May#055,Jun#056,Jul#057,Aug#058,Sep#059,Oct#05a,Nov#05b,Dec#05c
2006: Jan#061,Feb#062,Mar#063,Apr#064,May#065,Jun#066,Jul#067,Aug#068,Sep#069,Oct#06a,Nov#06b,Dec#06c
2007: Jan#071,Feb#072,Mar#073,Apr#074,May#075,Jun#076,Jul#077,Aug#078,Sep#079,Oct#07a,Nov#07b,Dec#07c
2008: Jan#081,Feb#082,Mar#083,Apr#084,May#085,Jun#086,Jul#087,Aug#088,Sep#089,Oct#08a,Nov#08b,Dec#08c
2009: Jan#091,Feb#092,Mar#093,Apr#094,May#095,Jun#096,Jul#097,Aug#098,Sep#099,Oct#09a,Nov#09b,Dec#09c
2010: Jan#101,Feb#102,Mar#103,Apr#104,May#105,Jun#106,Jul#107,Aug#108,Sep#109,Oct#10a,Nov#10b,Dec#10c
2011: Jan#111,Feb#112,Mar#113,Apr#114,May#115,Jun#116,Jul#117,Aug#118,Sep#119,Oct#11a,Nov#11b,Dec#11c
2012: Jan#121,Feb#122,Mar#123,Apr#124,May#125,Jun#126,Jul#127,Aug#128,Sep#129,Oct#12a,Nov#12b,Dec#12c
2013: Jan#131,Feb#132,Mar#133,Apr#134,May#135,Jun#136,Jul#137,Aug#138,Sep#139,Oct#13a,Nov#13b,Dec#13c
2014: Jan#141,Feb#142,Mar#143,Apr#144,May#145,Jun#146,Jul#147,Aug#148,Sep#149,Oct#14a,Nov#14b,Dec#14c
2015: Jan#151,Feb#152,Mar#153,Apr#154,May#155,Jun#156,Jul#157,Aug#158,Sep#159,Oct#15a,Nov#15b,Dec#15c
2016: Jan#161,Feb#162,Mar#163,Apr#164,May#165,Jun#166,Jul#167,Aug#168,Sep#169,Oct#16a,Nov#16b,Dec#16c
2017: Jan#171,Feb#172,Mar#173,Apr#174,May#175

To Receive a Monthly DIGESTWORLD Reminder — Click Here.


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1. December Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
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For newcomers to the Digest, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons! Check it out at: http://www.doyletics.com/vjtoons.htm Also note the rotating calendar and clock that follows just to the right of your mouse pointer as you scroll down the page. You'll also see the clock on the 404 Error page if you make a mistake typing a URL while on the doyletics.com website.

The Violet-n-Joey Cartoon page is been divided into two pages: one low-speed and one high-speed access. If you have Do NOT Have High-Speed Access, you may try this Link which will load much faster and will allow you to load one cartoon at a time. Use this one for High-Speed Access.

This month Violet and Joey learn about Resistance.

#1 "Resistance" at http://www.doyletics.com/images/112311jv.gif

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2. HONORED READERS FOR December:
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Each month we choose to honor two Good Readers of our DIGESTWORLD from those all over the World. Here are the two worthy Honored Readers for December, 2011:

Borden Tidmore in New Orleans

Frances Matherne Cagle in Port Allen, LA

Congratulations, Borden and Frances!


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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:


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Out Our Way:

VIAGARA FALLS AND STUCK IN GREECE

We have had a torrent of innocent-looking emails from friends and relatives telling us about something wonderful if we will only open a link, e.g., Subject: Re: try it out for yourself... and body of message: "hey . . . I was in need of an alternative this helped me back to my feet this is proof that miracles do exist imagine what you could do." After the first couple of emails, it was easy to recognize the pattern of the SPAM which invariably leads to an ad for Viagara. The first ones came from AOL users, but soon they came from bellsouth.net, Yahoo.com users and others. The pattern is an email out of the blue from someone you know but haven't received an email from in months and there is likely a CC: to four or five other people.

November started off with an email from a friend of ours which went something like this, "We have been mugged in Athens, Greece and lost all our money. Our bank is unable to send us any funds." Then it went on with instructions of a number to call send money. Since our friend would have mentioned his name and his wife's name, but a SPAMMER is not able to know his wife's name, this was clearly SPAM. I sent him an email about the SPAM but his email account was already destroyed on Gmail.com along with his address book, so I didn't hear back from him and called him later in the day to confirm he was at home and not in Athens. He had begun receiving concerned phone calls at 6 AM at home. Here is the followup email we received from him:

Dear Friends,
I'm sure you have been scammed to send money for my relief in Athens, which I'm sure you were wise enough to ignore. My apologies for the inconvenience. The scammer destroyed all of my gmail records and address book. I've established a new account and email address.

This is a potential problem for users who allow an email service to maintain their address books for them. A hacker has more incentive to break into a large data base than a small one. So be aware and remember the three most important things about computing: BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP.

CUCUMBERS, BROCCOLI, WATERMELONS: STARS OF FALL GARDEN

My fall garden was going great guns in November with my second crop of cucumbers which began spontaneously from the seeds of a rotting cucumber from first crop apparently. Got as many from second crop as first crop, about 5 ten inch cucumbers a day for about 6 weeks. The second set of vines has died out by November, but a third set is now showing 1" cucumbers on them and should produce cucumbers until our first heavy frost. Everyday for three months we enjoyed a fresh cucumber salad, sliced with salt, pepper, and a tad of vinegar.

The broccoli and brussels sprouts plants are growing up over 3 feet tall and we have harvested 5 large heads of broccoli with the smallest of the plants now showing a large head. The broccoli will continue to grow all winter and we will be able to eat small sprigs of broccoli fresh from the plants until it finally goes to seed by winter's end. The brussels sprouts are nearing the picking stage and we will begin eating them in about two weeks or so.

My first ever watermelon crop has been fun, but unfortunately we have yet to enjoy a delicious slice of watermelon from the crop. The first one I harvested too soon, and the seeds, usually large black ones, were small and white, plus the flesh was pink instead of bright red as is common for Washington Parish watermelons. I have saved seeds from the ones we picked to plant earlier next year so as to be able to enjoy watermelons in season.

Kinda hard to consider eating watermelon when the weather is cold outside anyway. You want a warm summer day where you can enjoy the ice cold watermelon outside on the patio. The second large melon I picked based on information that the stem going directly into the melon should be dry and brown, indicated the melon was ready for picking. That one was full of water, its flesh having melted due to its being overripe apparently. There are still two large melons to try from this experimental crop.

I never had room for a watermelon vine before and my large mulch bed proved to be the perfect venue for one. It was fun looking for the tiny watermelons to appear, and finding out that when small, watermelons have white hairs growing out of the marble-sized melon. Must be the pollination conduits to the seeds inside the melon. The hairs are soon gone at about golf ball size. The vines are great at masking even very large watermelons from casual sight.

Another bonus crop was tomatoes. I normally don't plant tomatoes after the Creole tomatoes are done by July, but this year on the edge of my mulch bed's garden plot where I had planted the broccoli and brussels sprouts together with green onions, I noticed about thirty tiny seedlings which resembled tomato plants.

As they grew I thinned away all but two plants and one has grown about four feet high and is making a triangular array of cherry tomatoes. These must have come from store-bought tomatoes as I have never planted such tomatoes before. Amazing to see flowers opening at the tip of the array followed by progressively bigger tomatoes to stem-side. I have a parsley plant doing well, a Basil which has made a lot of insect friends, and a Bell pepper plant which has yet to bloom or fruit.

SERGEANT SAINT

Our nephew Dean Matherne is newly retired from the Louisiana National Guard and is an avid LSU and Saints football fan. Recently he bought and decorated a Black and Gold Jeep (Saints's Colors) and began dressing up as Sergeant Saint in charge of Domeland Security. At our first Saints Game together for me and Del this year, we decided to attempt to locate Dean and his wife Inge before the Tampa Bay game. This may be our last game together as a season ticket holder because no renewal is in the works for next year. The outrageously loud rap music which fills the Dome before the game and between plays is too much to take. There's 50,000 fans waiting for season tickets, so we're glad to let two lucky fans get our seats in Section 642.

We enjoy the Sunday noon games, but the night games are a hassle and hardly worth the trouble. With the Saints' success and more NFL night games on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights, the noon games have almost disappeared from the schedule. The Detroit game which was scheduled for noon has just been re-scheduled for a Sunday night game, for example.

We texted Inge and followed her instructions, finally locating City Blueprint's office on the corner of Poydras and Claiborne. "Behind there" she texted. We looked all over for Sergeant Saint Dean and Inge. Couldn't find them. Several acres of tailgating folks. Stopped and asked if they'd seen Sgt. Saint and no one knew of him. Del was ready to take short cut to Dome back the way we came and I said, "No, let's take a different route back" and as we reached the section near overpass, to our left I saw Dean waving to us. We went over and took photos of him and Inge and his Saints-outfitted Jeep. He had small helmets of other teams hanging from his Domeland Security uniform. I asked why the helmets, "Those are the teams we've beat so far this year." Like a Cavalry officer with Indian scalps, or a Cajun with a stringer of freshly caught sac-au-lait and bream, perhaps. Well, by the end of the day, Sgt. Saint was able to add a Tampa Bay scalp, er, helmet, to his stringer of catches, and by the next two weeks, an Atlanta Falcons and a New York Giants one also. The Saints are 8 wins and 3 losses and look to add several more helmets to the Sergeant's stringer before the season is over.

LAPTOPS AND PRINTERS

If you are so fortunate as to never have to upgrade a laptop or install a printer you can skip this section. For a short period of time after we got our HP Color Laserjet Printer, it worked fine connected via a local area Network to both my XP PC and her Vista Laptop. Then suddenly it stopped working and we couldn't figure out why. We had paid the Geek Squad to hook up the network which no longer worked between our computers and now the new printer was not working either, which meant every time Del needed a document printed we had copy it to a Memory Stick to transfer it to my PC and print it.

With my new System 7 PC, a 64-bit processor with Intel-7 chip and Windows 7, I noticed that the Homegroup function made the local area networks a snap to set up. I got Del a new Toshiba LT (with Windows 7) identical to mine (only 400 dollars) to replace her balky HP Vista system. Suddenly we had my new PC, my Toshiba LT, and her Toshiba LT all a Homegroup for easy file interchange. Next step was to get the Color LaserJet printer working. We called Bell Business Machines who sent out Mike who took the printer to his office to test. Came back with a reload of the formatting firmware and said the printer worked fine, but our power to the printer was dropping out of range so we needed a new line installed with dependable power. This didn't come as a surprise to me as I'd noticed the dimming of lights when printing with HP 4+, but the new Color Laserjet was more particular about the voltage level.

I called our electrician to come out, and before he arrived I made a fortuitous discovery: on the garage wall directly on the other side of the place I would want a new outlet installed was a power outlet that was never used. Its power was a strong 122 volts and was perfect for the printers to use, so I had him install a new outlet in the office, tapping off the unused outlet in the garage. When Mike came back to install the printers, he connected the HP1518ni Color printer to each of our computers and then turned off HP's built-in function to search and connect to a network every time it powered on. Geek Squad had not done that, and caused us to lose printer function after awhile. Now the HP Color printer works from our three LT's and two PC's.

Other problem was getting Del's address book and emails from Outlook on her Vista LapTop moved to her new Toshiba LapTop. One morning I tackled Del's old Vista LT with the goal of getting her fully working on new Toshiba. I checked and her copy of MS Office was already installed on Toshiba LT with Windows 7. Next I had to get the problem fixed on her Vista LT's Outlook.

The Calendar sync with Google Calendar was broken. Problem was a thrashing back and forth of the cursor which stopped her from using Outlook. Then it gave an error message saying to run Scanpst.exe and would not go further. I went to Google to locate instructions on how to do that, and I put a shortcut to Scanpst on her desktop. Turned off Outlook. Ran Scanpst and the sync problem went away. Next item up was to copy her entire Outlook data, contacts, and calendar to Toshiba LT. First, I exported the Outlook.pst file to her Memory Stick and tried to import it on her Toshiba LT. I got an error. Tried it several times, no luck. Finally, I located the Outlook.pst file (it's in different folders on Vista and Win 7, just to make things fun), copied it from the Vista LT directly to Memory Stick and then directly into Win 7 Toshiba LT's Outlook and it worked! Next step was she had to copy her other files over to Toshiba LT and once she did that, we loaded the new Quicken Premium. Now Del is free of the clumsy Vista LT which we have pressed into service to play Netflix Instant Play Movies in the Timberlane Screening Room. With my Toshiba LT no longer a movie slave, I can work on getting it ready for travel next year. With it's Windows 7 system, it can run all the new software I'm installing in my System 7 PC.

Two more additions to complete Del's new workspace were added. She wanted a larger slave monitor to replace the old small one, so I brought the new Westinghouse TV down from upstairs and plugged it into her Toshiba LT via the HDMI input port and it looks great. For an early Christmas present I bought her a Space Station fan platform — it raises her Toshiba LT an inch or so higher and tilts it at a slight angle for easier typing. The platform has two fans which are powered by a USB connection to the Toshiba LT and keeps the Toshiba LT cool.

Somewhere along the way of trying to get the Color Printer working, I unexpectedly installed a new HP Scanner Interface to replace the clumsy kludge necessitated by an XP System Pack modification by Microsoft five years ago. It required me to run Scanner software, which did nothing until I did an ALT-Space, which brought up a floating dialogue box with a Minimize on the Menu selection, I would click on Minimize twice, and then and only then I would get an entry on my Task Bar which could initiate a Scan! Five years after the upgrade to XP caused a FUBAR and the dumb kludge, I could just do a scan with the MAY I, PLEASE? steps.

The final piece of the puzzle to be completed was to get my HP LJ 4+ Duplex Printer capable of accepting documents via wireless. Mike suggested I buy a Wireless Parallel Port Server and install that. It gives us the capability of printing to the faster B&W Laser Jet printer from all five of our computers, the two PC's and the three LT's plus any of our eight kids' LT's when they are visiting.

All of these upgrades and fixes have been in the planning for almost a year and it was is a pleasure to have them all working finally.

SMART PARTY AND FIG PRESERVES

Southeast Medical Alliance had a SMART PLAN back when Del was their Development Director in 1990s. The company morphed into the Oath after Del left and eventually went out of business. But we remember fondly the many friends Del and I met during those days at SMA and so we were excited to get a message from the Admin. Asst. Del hired at SMA, Theresa Chatelain, that there was a party planned — a reunion of former SMA employees. It coincided with the 80th birthday of our good friend Mark Parker who was the Medical Director at SMA, and Ruth Ryan, who worked alongside Mark, brought a birthday cake for him, and we brought a bottle of wine. It was a joy to see so many old friends from SMA at Landry's Restaurant at Lakeshore that night. Can't think of a previous company reunion that I've ever been to, which highlights the camaraderie of the folks who worked with Del at SMA. Those who made the reunion were able to provide updates on those who are working out of state or were unable to attend. Laura Di Lorenza, Lydia Steele, Samantha , Jeanne Walker, Cynthia Waters, Doc Parker, Ruth Ryan (and hubbie Ted Graham), and John Dawes, among others.

This event had all of the fun of an after work party on Friday night. Drinks, appetizers, and good friends having a rousing good time. I suppose this was an "after-work" party, only it was some 15 years after work! Thank you, T-Chat, for helping to put this together. Great friends and great memories.

We miss our Celeste fig tree which was producing a lot of figs in mid-July every year at our previous house. I immediately planted a couple of Celeste fig trees, but they won't begin to bear till next year. I love to eat the fresh figs from the Celeste fig tree and make preserves from them as well. In the meantime, until our Celestine trees are fully bearing, I have come to enjoy the fig preserves which I make from the LSU-hybridized fig tree, a fig tree with two crops of figs a year, one in July and one in November!

The second crop is called a breba crop by horticulturists. This year a horrendous hailstorm, which accompanied a small tornado which passed a mile away from us, tore the leaves and blossoms from all our fruit trees in Spring. Our citrus trees were in full bloom and were completely stripped of blossoms, and as a result we had no citrus produce this year. We eventually had to replant with new citrus trees. Our LSU fig tree had its leaves shredded and our July crop of figs never showed up.

One of the wonders of the LSU fig tree is the new growth of leaves which presage the breba crop. Celeste fig trees begin to lose their leaves by August and are bare all winter. Our LSU fig tree loses it leaves after the July crop, but immediately begins growing new leaves which last into winter. Its green leaves and fresh figs in late Fall are a genuine treat, especially this year as our supply of fig preserves was getting depleted. My mother used to boil the jars in a big pot when she made preserves, but I find that a fresh pass through dishwasher on POT Cycle with the HEAT DRY on sterilizes the jars. I simply time the start of the dishwasher so that the end of the Cycle will happen when the figs are ready for the jars. This has worked great for more than 10 years. Occasionally a jar or two won't POP to a tight seal, and I simply put those in the fridge to eat first. Have never had a sealed jar of fig preserves go bad ever. Anyone who has grown up on home-preserved figs in South Louisiana will always prefer home-made over the store bought fig preserves.

THANKSGIVING CLEAN SLATE AND CLEAN PLATE

When this LSU football season began, I was optimistic as usual, but after the first four games, beating ranked Oregon and West Virginia handily, I began to get de ja vu all over again. I was a Freshman at LSU in 1958 when we had an undefeated season and this 2011 team brought me flashbacks of the great wins and close calls of that year's season. It had been fifty years since our 1908 team tore through its schedule and beat every team it faced. And now 53 years after our 1958 National Championship, we seemed to be on a path to a third unbeaten season. Seven ranked teams we whipped during the course of this year: a No. 3 Oregon, a No. 2 Alabama, and No. 3 Arkansas. Les Miles led his team through unchartered waters of off-field issues, and each new off-field challenge seemed to be surmounted and resulted in more wins back on the field.

My opinion of Les Miles was shaped by my living through the National Championship team of Coach Paul Dietzel, followed by the good, but not spectacular years of Coach Charlie MacClendon. Was Les going to be another Charlie Mac who won a lot of games, but always lost the big ones? Only this year, as the year progressed, did I come to realize that this LSU team was the one that Coach Les Miles had been building towards all these years. Through a fluke, he won a National Championship in 2007 with a team that was much less talented all-around than this year's team. That team snuck through the door to a championship; this 2011 team has kicked the door down to a championship by a clean slate of wins, many of them by large margins over ranked teams.

The job is not complete, but the Tiger team is still moving and growing better, their eyes on the prize, looking at the Crystal Ball, the Crystal Football, waiting for them after they win the next two post-season games. Along the way they will collect two more titles: SEC Champs and National Champs. Nothing is guaranteed, but this incredibly talented Tiger team has the tools to complete the job they started. Win or lose, no one can take their magnificent undefeated season away from them. They are No. 1 in the country, No. 1 in the BCS, and No. 1 in my heart and always will be. If you have never heard or seen the words of the LSU Alma Mater, I know it by heart and will type it here for you. It never fails to bring a tear of joy to my eyes to sing along when it is played:

Where shady oaks and broad magnolias
      Shade inspiring halls,
There stands our dear ole Alma Mater
      Whom to us recalls,

Fond memories that waken in
      Our hearts a tender glow,
And makes us happy for the love
      That we have come to know.

This Thanksgiving Day we dined with our wonderful Algiers Point friends, a short 10 minute drive away from where I sit, so we had no traffic congestion to deal with. Annie Kotch and Guntis Melbardis hosted the meal in their home and Burke Fountain, Candace Reed, Yuki, and Arianne joined me and Del in a delicious meal of turkey and all the fixings. Yuki is a Chinese foreign exchange student who celebrated her first Thanksgiving Day and ate her first turkey dinner. After the meal, we noticed a lot of clean plates all around.

LAST MINUTE ITEMS

Del had her investment club here on the Monday after Thanksgiving which required a white glove inspection and cleaning protocol, all of which she managed without our maid, Noemi, who took off the month of December for traveling out West and South to visit her children and relatives. Del, aka, Grama Claus has already filled the guest bedrooms with presents and wrapping materials, and we have received the schedule from the Matherne and Hatchett kids as to when they will be coming to visit. The Saints are on a roll this year at 8-3 and possibly headed to another Super Bowl, depending on how they handle next 5 weeks. If they win them all, they will have replicated their 2009 Super Bowl season with a 13-3 record, the only difference being it was 13 wins up front and 3 after they had sealed a home field advantage for playoffs. Unless someone beats Green Bay and San Francisco three or four times, the Saints will have to travel for at least one playoff game.

A GOOD LAUGH IN SIGHT

A week or so ago, I lost my new +.5 Diopters eyeglasses. These are essential for relaxing my eye muscles while I read my computer screens, which takes up a lot of my time. I can buy +1.0 D glasses at almost any drugstore, but the +.5 D lenses must be ordered. I use the +1.0 D for my normal reading of books as they tend to be a bit closer to my eyes than my comfortable reading and typing position on my PCs. Losing my +.5D's meant that I had to choose between being uncomfortably close to the PC screens or not wearing any Plus correction. Wearing Plus correction is an essential part of correcting my eyesight because over time it reduces my pseudomyopia. What is pseudmyopia? It is an iatrogenic process (iatrogenic is a polite way of saying oblivious eye doctors caused it) which results in mopia for someone whose only problem was reading too much as a child and young adult. Only 1 in 1,000 people (.1%) have true myopia at birth and they require minus Diopter corrective lenses (minus lenses) for distant seeing. The rest of the 50% of the people who are diagnosed as myopic today, the 49.1% huge majority of so-called myopes, have pseudomyopia. This consitutes a large number of people who support thousands of doctors who grow rich from prescribing minus lens for them, which has the side-effect of making their patients grow more myopic and requiring yearly exams and frequent changes of prescriptions. Since the straining eye muscles from reading and from wearing minus lenses cause all kinds of distortions (called astigmatism and other fancy technical terms), the doctors include corrections for those distortions as well.

What they rarely tell the patients is that the simple and inexpensive expediency of wearing store-bought plus lenses, what we call "reading glasses" will undo the pseudomyopia and all of the distortions, allowing you to have perfect distance vision with no glasses at all. That's my explanation of why I wear reading glasses even though I can read perfectly without them!

Often I will go outside as I just did a few minutes to take a break from several hours of typing and thinking at my PC screen. When I do, I often forget to remove the plus .5 D reading glasses, and when I arrive outside, I notice them and place them in my shirt pocket with one of the ear-pieces in the pencil slot which most of shirts have (which I never use for pens or pencils). I did that on that fateful morning and when I returned to my computers minutes later after having taken a walk around my LSU fig tree to pick a few figs, I noticed my new +.5 Ds were gone and walked outside to look for them. I looked all over the ground around the tree and no luck. When Del arrived home, I asked her to take her built-in GPS which can find almost anything and walk around the tree with me. She looked all around the ground surrounding the tree and no luck either. We both began examining the inside of the house where I might have walked and other parts of the garden with no luck.

During my most recent walk outside I walked around the fig tree looking for ripe figs and there, right at my shirt pocket level, perched on a fig limb, was my +.5 Diopter eyeglasses! I began laughing continuously at the thought that we had looked for them on the ground while they were hanging on a tree limb!

Apparently as I reached down to examine a fig for ripeness, a small limb went between my pocket and the eyeglasses and lifted the glasses away as I went further down, holding onto them as I arose to inspect other figs. That was a nifty pickpocket trick that my LSU fig tree pulled on me! Now my eyeglasses and I are happily reunited and I got a neat story of the experience to share with you.

SWEEP'S LUCK

Our first Chimney Sweep was an elfish size guy with a tuxedo-like suit and a top hat, the epitome of an old-time Sweep. He told me about "sweep's luck" which means "it's good luck to shake hands with a Chimney Sweep". The old adage made it into the famous "Mary Poppins" lyric, "Chim-chim-che-ree", "Good luck will rub off when I shake 'ands with you/Or blow me a kiss and that's lucky too." Our next Sweep was a gentle giant of a man, Joe Taylor, who helped us for several years until he retired. Now he has Josh and Erik taking his place and they came to inspect and sweep out chimney yesterday. I shook hands with both of them and when they were done Del wrote the check out for them. After they left, I asked her if she'd shook hands with them, and she said, "No", but she went to the door and blew them a kiss as they drove off.

SPROUTS AND TREES OF WINTER

The next morning, November 30, I picked a handful of our first brussels sprouts of the Fall garden. My green onions and broccoli are still growing as is a volunteer cherry tomato plant and a couple of cucumber vines with tiny cucumbers on them. On the last day of November Del and I met Virginia at Home Depot to buy a Frazer Fir for the Jefferson Children's Advocacy Center on Lavoisier Street, a mile or so from here. When we arrived in the Babe with the 7' tree in the pickup's bed, a tree stand was waiting for us on the porch. We installed it with dispatch and moved it into their reception area. I told the ladies there, "If the tree gets a headache, it's okay to give it an aspirin or two." Everyone seems to know that aspirin tablets help preserve a Christmas tree, but the Frazer Fir preserves itself with no needle drop if you keep it watered.

EVERY GOOD YEAR MUST COME TO A NEW BEGINNING . . .

The month of November brought us spam, veggies, watermelons, laptops, printers, Saints and LSU wins, reunions, fig preserves, dinners with friends, new subscribers to DIGESTWORLD and a whole world of things to be humbly thankful for.

Till January arrives with 2012 in tow and the promise of a New Year of Peace, God Willing — Enjoy the brisk weather of Winter or the balmy breezes of Summer, wherever in the world you and yours reside, in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, and Remember our motto:

Enjoy the present moment — it's the only Eternity you have and it's given to you for Free!

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Quotes Selected from quotes.htm this month:

  • Ideas come and go. Stories stay.
    Nassim Nicholas Taleb [Writer, Philosopher]

  • Most people lack ideas and repress them in others.
    Nassim Nicholas Taleb [Writer, Philosopher]

  • New Stuff about Website:
  • Five Jean Auel Reviews:

    1. Book One: Clan of Cave Bear .

    When I read Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, I swore that they couldn't make a movie out of a novel in which the main character and narrator was a mute Indian. After seeing the movie they made, I discovered that I was right! They made a movie about a different character who could talk. Jack Nicholson played that part and stole all the scenes. The Indian had only one good scene at the end of the movie. A good movie, but not the story in the book. Years later as I read this Auel book in which the entire cast of characters mostly grunted and gestured, I figured a similar fate lay in store for any attempts to make a movie of Clan of the Cave Bear. Actually they did a better job of bringing this story to the screen accurately. But so much had to be left out, that one has missed much who has settle only for the movie.

    This is a story about the evolution of consciousness in Northern Europe during the period between the Ice Ages. Ayla was a mutant, an advanced member of the human race. Abandoned at birth by her parents who were killed by an earthquake, she was nearly eaten by a Cave Lion and was later adopted by non-mutants, the grunters, who raised her as their own. As best as they could, given that she had capabilities "far in advance of mortal men," as a part of the radio script for Superman went. She wasn't able to "leap tall buildings at a single bound" since there were no tall buildings extant at the time, but she was able accurately throw a rock with a slingshot, a skill that meant the difference between life and death at the time. She could do it far better than the men could, which endangered her life because hunting with a slingshot was a feat that women were not allowed to do - hunting was the sole province of men of the Clan of the Cave Bear. Was she admired and respected for this skill? No, rather she was exorcized from the clan. Not only kicked out, but everyone treated her as if she were invisible, as if she were already dead. And for an ordinary woman of the Clan, she would be good as dead for she could not survive without a man to hunt for her food. Plus Ayla had just given birth to a baby. Plus it was winter in Northern Europe.

    As we look back on Ayla's predicament today, we realize that she was a Cro-Magnon woman raised by a family of Neanderthals. Her larger neocortex provided her with ideo-motor skills that far exceeded those of her adopted tribe. Her extra brain capacity allowed her to have detailed cognitive memories, to speak in clear syllables instead of grunts. Was she respected and prized for her advanced skills? No, in the custom of humanity, she was treated as a retard and ostracized for rebelling against the customs of the tribe, traditions that didn't make any sense for someone with her advanced capabilities. So they kicked her and her baby out, condemned them to death by starvation and freezing. But Ayla was able to survive and thrive, and it's a good thing she did, because there were going to be several books written about her adventures, The Valley of the Horses, The Mammoth Hunters, The Plains of Passage and The Shelters of Stone .

    2. Book Two: Valley of the Horses

    During the first book in the Earth's Children series, Ayla suffered ignominiously at the hands of brutish men of the Clan of the Cave Bear. Near the end of the book, she was cast out of the Clan because she dared to use a slingshot to hunt with, among other things.

    Raped, beat-up, scorned, and finally exiled by men, she was well on her way to becoming a man-hater by the end of the book. What made The Valley of the Horses a welcome relief because early in this book, she meets a man of her own kind and for the first time she admires a man, finds him interesting.

    Ayla could not get enough of looking at him, and she studied his face as though she were trying to satisfy all at one time her years of yearning for the sight of another human. . . . [from page facing Title Page]

    For the first time she meets someone who has a name that is not a series of grunts, someone with the hunting, thinking, and speaks skills that rival her own. Suddenly the prospect of actually enjoying sexual intercourse opens to her. On the plains, with horses, bountiful game, and a new mate, Jondalar, the dark desperation of her cave days is washed away in sunlight and happiness. Two adventurers on horseback at the dawn of humankind.

    The spark from her flint kindles a fire in the hearts of those she meets. She follows Jondalar to meet his people and wonders where her people are. "Who taught you to make fire that way?" someone asked her. "Ayla do," was her answer, as she struggled with a language that had no word to express her "I" — that fire, that "I" of Ayla shines through all of the Earth's Children series. Don't skip over this one!



    3. Book Three: The Mammoth Hunters

    In this third series, Ayla and Jondalar meet the Mamutoi, the mammoth hunters and join in their hunt. Jondalar meets some relatives of his and is welcomed. Ayla learns a new word "liar" and explains why she had never encountered the concept of lying before. When one uses gestures, both facial and bodily to express one's communication, there is no possibility for lying and no way to express the concept is required. When one speaks with words primarily and gestures secondarily, lying becomes a possibility. Here's how Ayla expressed her confusion when she encounters the concept of lying.

    [page 41] there was a strained silence. Ayla was looking from one to the other, confused. The word "liar" was unfamiliar to her, and she did not understand why Frebec said he didn't believe her. Ayla had grown up among people who communicated with movement. More than hand sign, the Clan language included posture and expressions to shade meanings and give nuances. It was impossible to lie effectively with the entire body. At best, one could refrain from mentioning and even that was known, though allowed for the sake of privacy. Ayla had never learned to lie.

    Auel's stories are wonderfully didactic in addition to be entertaining. Here's an example: beads. The making of beads provides an example for understanding cooperation, decoration, and invention.

    [page 376] Only a cooperative, well-organized group could plan and store enough necessities ahead to ensure the leisure to make beads. Therefore, the more beads they wore, the more it showed that the Lion Camp was a flourishing, desirable place to live, and the more respect and status they could command from the other Camps.

    4. Book Four: Plains of Passage

    In the "Clan of the Cave Bear" we met Ayla, the Cro-Magnon girl who had been clawed by a cave lion, separated from her parents, and abandoned in a small cave in ice age northern Europe. She was adopted by a Neanderthal tribe and endured many hardships until she left for the "Valley of the Horses." In that sequel Ayla domesticated two horses, a wolf, and a man, Jondalar, her mate-to-be. They joined the Mamutoi tribe in the "The Mammoth Hunters" and had fun killing mammoths and time while waiting for this book.

    Jondalar wants to return home to his Zelandonii kin and that trek will take him and Ayla west across the continent in the heart of an ice age winter. It will be their "Plains of Passage." Thus begins a gripping account of a European Winter Vacation for two people, two horses, and a wolf.

    The trip is punctuated by several near catastrophic river crossings, lost horses, lost wolf, separation of the two humans, kidnap and imprisonment by an Amazon tribe, healings by Ayla ( several broken bones set and lots of datura tea), visits to old friends of Jondalar, and a perilous trek across the glacier just before spring.

    Will Jondalar ever reach home? Will he and Ayla decide to found a hearth at one of their stops along the way? Will the horse hunters kill Whinny, Racer, and Jondalar? Will the Wolf Clan kill wolf and eat his flesh in their ritual sacrifice? Will Ayla rescue Jondalar from the Amazons in time? Will Jondalar be able to "find Ayla's mouth" one more time? Will they rest long enough for another steamy sexual romp in their sleeping furs? Will they make it across the glacier before the warm foehm winds form large crevasses in the ice? Will the horses be shot for food when their hooves begin to bleed on the glacier's surface? Will Ayla invent the wheel before the end of this book?

    These are samples of the questions I asked myself while reading and enjoying this book, maybe the best of the series. Auel's descriptions of life in the ice age are detailed and interesting. They add a didactic interest to an already enjoyable love story.


    5. Book Five: The Shelters of Stone

    After following Ayla through her childhood year with the Clan of the Cave Bear, her growing up in the Valley of the Horse, her near adoption by the Mammoth Hunters, through her Plains of Passage with Jondalar, I couldn't resist reading of her adventures as she joined Jondalar's people (the Zeladonii) who live in the Shelters of Stone. The shelters are built into large horizontal clefts in limestone cliffs which are partitioned off into family spaces with a central hearth near the opening. In this adventure we get to enter the white-walled cave of Lascaux with its remarkable polychrome paintings as Auel describes it to us as it might have looked during the interstadial warming period between the Ice Ages in which Ayla and Jondalar lived.

    Ayla confronts people who regard the Clan who raised her as animals. The Zeladonii avoided the Clan people and were amazed to find that Ayla was raised by them, that they could talk (albeit in sign language and gestures), and even that anyone could consider one of them "good-looking." Having lived through Ayla describing her foster parents from her perspective, in this story we get to see the same people from an outsiders perspective and listen as Ayla describes their ways and defends them against the few prejudiced and narrow-minded Zeladonii.

    Ayla is initiated by the women of Jondalar's cave when Marona presented Ayla a gift of clothes and, after she dons them, discovers she had been given a boy's winter underwear as a prank. Instead of discarding them, Ayla decides to wear them proudly because they were after all comfortable. This turns the table on Marona who was jealous of the attentions and love that her old boy friend bestowed on this strange-speaking woman.

    [page 126] The four women saw a large group crowded around someone, and when several people left, they could see Ayla at the center, still wearing the clothes they had given her. She hadn't even changed! Marona was shocked. She had been sure one of Jondalar's kin would have given the newcomer something more appropriate to wear — that is, if she dared to show her face again. But her plans to show up the strange woman that Jondalar brought back with him, after leaving her in the lurch with nothing but an empty promise, had instead shown what a spiteful and mean-spirited person she was. Marona's cruel joke had turned back on her, and she was fuming.

    The eponymous shelters of stone are described in this passage which illuminates how they provided excellent homes for Jondalar's people. They had, for one thing, a built-in solar heating system which protected them from the frigid winters and the hot summers if chosen carefully.

    [page 135, 136] Even during the Ice Age, when the leading edge of the nearest mass of ice was only a few hundred miles to the north, clear days could get quite hot at middle latitudes in the warm season. As the sun passed overhead, seeming to circle the great mother planet, it rode high in the southwest sky. The great protective overhanging cliff of the Ninth Cave, and others that faced south or southwest, cast a shadow beneath it in the heat of midday, offering a respite of enticing cool shade.

           And when the weather began to chill, heralding the severe season of intense cold in periglacial territories, they welcomed their more permanent and protected homes. During the glacial winters, though, sharp winds and temperatures well below freezing prevailed, the bitter cold days were often dry and clear. The shining orb hung low in the sky then, and the long rays of the afternoon sun could penetrate deep into a south-facing shelter to lay a kiss of solar warmth on the receptive stone. The great limestone abri [dugout or recessed area in a hillside] cherished its precious gift, holding it until evening, when the nip of frost bit deeper, and gave back its warmth to the protected space.

    Auel carefully explains the "memories" of the Clan of the Cave Bear who lived in a valley. Could it have been the Neander Vally [Thal in Geman] where the skull which came to be called "Neanderthal" was first found? As indicated by their sloping foreheads, those people had no neocortex outer layer of their brains. Lacking those outer folds, they had no cognitive memory, what we call just memory today. That would come later to the Cro-Magnon people whose skulls were more vertical, indicating the presence of a neocortex which signaled the advent of the quantum leap in consciousness we call cognitive memory. This form of memory allows us when we pass five years old to record permanent images and sounds of events which happen to us. It also provides the basis for our mathematical abilities and most of what we call intelligence in this age.

    The Clan had no such ability (or only an extremely limited form of cognitive memory), instead they had what they called "memories" — which one must be aware that the Clan used sign and gesture languages to point to the things they called "memories". That word "memories" was Ayla's word for what would otherwise be unexpressible in Clan communication as a word. Instead it would likely have been a grunt combined with a gesture. What they had was the ability to remember back over many reincarnations and these personal "memories" gave them abilities to know what to do automatically because they were born with memories of having done these things before. This is the type of memories animals are born with which we call instinct.

    In addition, the Clan had doylic memories, the type of memory that humans now have only until they are five years old when cognitive memory capability replaces it. The doylic memories provide thereafter the automatic recall of events before five years old upon appropriate triggering of some component of the memory. This form of memory provides the substrate for all human emotions, feelings, and various internal bodily states of respiration, circulatory rate, muscle tensions, and visceral organ homeostasis. For humans today, the science of doyletics (1) tells us that we undergo a memory transition age at five years old when we transit from doylic memory to cognitive memory capability. After five humans today can retrieve doylic memories, but cannot store new doylic memories. The humans of Ayla's Cave Bear Clan likely experienced no memory transition from doylic to cognitive at any age of maturation, but rather that they remained with doylic storage and retrieval capability for their entire lives. Thus, as Auel writes below, "once they learned something new, they never forgot." Doylic memory is powerful one-trial learning and is permanent, unless and until it is replaced by a cognitive memory, which the Clan did not have.

    [page 162, 163] As time went on, she grew to understand that their memory worked differently from hers. Though she didn't fully understand what they were, she knew that people of the Clan had "memories" that she did not have, not in the same way. In a form of instinct that had evolved along a somewhat divergent track, the people of the Clan were born with most of the knowledge they would need to survive, information that over time had been assimilated into the genes of their individual ancestors in the same way that instinctive knowledge was acquired by any animal, including the human one.
           Rather than having to learn and memorize, as Ayla did, Clan children only had to be "reminded" once in order to trigger their inherent racial memories. The people of the Clan knew a great deal about their ancient world and how to live in it, and once they learned something new, they never forgot; but unlike Ayla and her kind, they did not learn new things easily. Change was hard for them, but when the Others arrived in their land, they brought change with them.

    Auel's books are always crammed with amazing insights as to how things we know and do today were arrived at. Like Ayla's fire-stone which she carried like we carry a cigarette lighter today. A piece of flint struck against iron pyrite gives a long, hot spark which is enough to create a fire in some tinder. In this next passage she explains something I've always wondered, "How do left and right banks of rivers get named?" We have a town alongside a bayou in Louisiana called Bayou Gauche, which means "left bayou," but who decides which side is left and which is right? Auel to the rescue.

    [page 462] However, after a short distance, water hugged steep cliffs on the other side, the left bank, which was on the right-hand side as one traveled toward the source. "Left bank" and "right bank" were terms that always referred to the sides of rivers when going downstream in the direction of flowing current.

    Or it might be the naming of something as familiar as the Milky Way galaxy that fills our night sky.

    [page 506] By the time they started back to the camp of the Ninth Cave, the sun was dropping over the horizon in a blaze of gold coruscating in resplendent beams through red clouds. When they reached the bank of The River, flowing smoothly with hardly a ripple at that point, they continued upstream until they crossed the small creek that joined it. They stopped for a moment to watch the evening sky transform itself in a show of dazzling radiance as gold transmuted into shades of vermilion that waned into shimmering purple, then darkened to deep blue ,as the first glittering sky fires appeared. Soon the sooty black night became a backdrop to the multitude of blazing lights that filled the summer sky, with a concentrated accumulation wending its way like a path across, the vault above. Ayla recalled the line from the Mother's Song, "The Mother's hot milk laid a path through the sky." Is that how it was made? she wondered as they turned toward the welcoming fires of their nearby camp.

    Or how to make a cairn of rocks so that it will protect the contents from the weather as in this next passage.

    [page 611] She pointed to an arrangement of stones near the gate. It was a traveler's cairn that Kareja had made for her. Ayla only had to remove a few rocks to reach the space inside where she could keep a few things, like a leather riding blanket. The rocks were overlapped in such a way that rainwater would flow over the top and not seep inside. The leader of the Eleventh Cave showed her how to put them back to keep the inside dry. Similar cairns were placed along several well-used routes with emergency fire-making materials and often a warm cloak inside. Other cairns had dried food inside. Occasionally both would be in one cairn, but the food cairns were broken into more often, and bears, wolverines, or badgers, the most frequent offenders, usually vandalized and scattered everything.

    Or the origin of our quaint expression for getting married, "tying the knot". It should surprise no one that Ayla and Jondalar finally become married in this episode and settle down to have a baby in their own cave.

    [page 712, 713] Then Zelandoni held out both her arms, as though trying to embrace everyone there. "All the Caves of the Zelandonii," she said, her tone commanding attention. "Jondalar and Ayla have chosen each other. It has been agreed, and they have been accepted by the Ninth Cave. What do you say to this joining?".
           There was a roar of approval. If anyone had disagreed, the objection would have been drowned out. The donier waited for the noise to subside, then she said, "Doni, the Great Earth Mother, approves this joining otHer children. By Blessing Ayla, She has smiled on this union."

    At her signal, Ayla and Jondalar held hands and extended them toward the Zelandoni Who Was First. She took a simple leather thong, wrapped it around their joined hands, and tied it with a knot. When they returned from their trial period, they would return the thong whole, not cut, and in exchange they would be given matched necklaces, a gift from the zelandonia. That would be the signal that their joining was sanctioned and other gifts could now be given..
          "The knot has been tied. You are mated. May Doni always smile on you." The young couple circled around to face outward toward the people, and Zelandoni announced, "They are now Jondalar and Ayla of the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii."

    One of the adaptations that the human skull had to make to accommodate the larger neocortex is that it had to form itself into overlapping plates so that the larger skull could make it through the pelvic girdle of the mother. Like tectonic plates on the Earth the plates of the baby's skull slide apart after it's born to allow for the neocortex to come to full size by the age of three years old. The brain doubles in mass during this time and the place where the plates of the skull don't quite match up until that time are called the "soft-spot," which I recall being warned about when I was holding small babies growing up.

    If Auel is correct in this passage, the Neanderthal skulls did not have this tectonic plate adaptation because the smaller skulls (sans neocortex) did not require them. Thus a baby born from a mating of a Neanderthal father and a Cro-Magnon mother ("mixed spirits")would be a very difficult delivery due to the simultaneous occurrence of a large brain and an incomplete or absent tectonic plate adaptation ("they don't give as much").

    [page 850] "I think that also contributed to your difficulty. From what I understand, children of mixed spirits can be very difficult for women to deliver. It's something about their heads, I'm told. They are shaped differently, and too big. They don't give as much," Zelandoni said. "This baby may not be as hard for you, Ayla. You're doing fine, you know."

    Another marvelous read by Auel. Great stories, interaction between characters, touchingly beautiful episodes of intercourse (sharing pleasures) between Ayla and Jondalar, tales of people reacting to the first tame animals in history (two horses and a wolf), tales of jealousy, drunkenness, abandonment, support groups, marriage customs, and the daily activities of a people before history which are made to sound as comfortable and normal as country life today.

    ---------------------------- Footnotes -------------------------------

    Footnote 1. The science of doyletics owes a lot to Jean Auel's books. I came to see as I developed the science of doyletics that the memory transition age in modern humans today represents the interstadial time of human evolution when Ayla lived. Five years old is the time that humans today progress from Neanderthal to Cro-Magnon capability of human intelligence and cognition, in other words, we move from the Clan of the Cave Bear of Ayla's foster parents to the Zelandonii of her in-laws.

    Return to text directly before Footnote 1.

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    • New Stuff on the Internet:
    • Cajuns historically made their pirogues out of native Louisiana Cypress which grows with its base underwater and its harvested wood never rots. Here's a 14 minute clip offered for Home Viewing only showing Aldon Alleman making a dugout cypress canoe. This is a beautiful meditation on authentic Cajun life with scenes I lived through during my childhood watching my dad, Buster Matherne, making his pirogue out of more modern materials like plywood and Weldwood Glue in 1947. Sent to me by my woodworking brother Stephen Matherne. Turn the TV off, sit back, sip some drip coffee in a demitasse, and Enjoy . . . http://www.folkstreams.net/film,188
    • Enjoy model railways? Take a look at a model airport . . . Knuffingen Airport


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    Movies we watched this past month:

    Notes about our movies: Many of the movies we watch are foreign movies with subtitles. After years of watching movies in foreign languages, Arabic, French, Swedish, German, British English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and many other languages, sometimes two or three languages in the same movie, the subtitles have disappeared for us. If the movie is dubbed in English we go for the subtitles instead because we enjoy the live action and sounds of the real voices so much more than the dubbed. If you wonder where we get all these foreign movies from, the answer is simple: NetFlix. For a fixed price a month they mail us DVD movies from our on-line Queue, we watch them, pop them into a pre-paid mailer, and the postman effectively replaces all our gas-consuming and time-consuming trips to Blockbuster. To sign up for NetFlix, simply go to http://www.netflix.com/ and start adding all your requests for movies into your personal queue. If you've seen some in these movie blurbs, simply copy the name, click open your queue, and paste the name in the Search box on NetFlix and Select Add. Buy some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. You get to see your movies as the Director created them — NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, no commercial interruptions, and all of the original dialogue. Often you get the Director's Cut Edition which adds back excellent footage that was cut from the theater releases. With a plasma TV and Blu-Ray DVD's and a great sound system, you have theater experience without someone next to you talking on a cell phone during a movie plus a Pause button for rest room trips.
    P. S. Ask for Blu-Ray DVD movies from NetFlix.
    Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise ignore.):
    “Archangel” (2005) Daniel Craig plays an historian on the track of Stalin’s secret diaries and discovers a shocking plot to return Stalin to power. Has the dramatic flair of Girl with Dragon Tattoo.
    “Everything Must Go” (2010) for Will Ferrell, booze, job, booze, wife, kayak, booze, easy chair, booze, and his entire old life before something new and interesting can come in, like the 13th Step.
    “Henry’s Crime” (2010), his only crime was falling in love while his buddies robbed the bank. A great look at how stage plays mirror the life of the characters playing in them. Cherry Orchard, Chekov’s last play plays a part in the love action in Henry’s life. A DON’T MISS HIT !
    “Something Borrowed” (2011) and Something Blue, namely both the Groom and the Maid of Honor. Darcy latched onto Dex, snatched him from her best friend Rachal. Rachal allows her heart to be broken while Darcy and Dex rush to altar because of her lifelong friendship for Darcy. But such friendships rarely last into adulthood and Rachal has adulthood suddenly thrust upon her. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
    “Faster” (2010) is what Dwayne Johnson goes in this movie, out of jail with a list of informers to take care of. Gripping movie with a heart. Great combination.
    “The Hit List” (2010) a who lost his job and his wife on same day becomes a drunk doofus and writes down a list of five people he wishes were dead and one by one they die. Be careful what you wish for . . .
    “Inside Job” (2010) was the guys on the inside of the banks and brokers playing Razoo with the funds of the world and causing a global economic meltdown in 2008. Instead being sent to jail they were rewarded with hundred million dollar bonuses, board positions, and federal appointments in charge of money issues.
    “Victory” (1981) about soccer star (Michael Caine) who conjures up game between prisoners in German camp and the German national soccer team during WWII. Sylvester Stallone is the American loose cannon who escapes and returns to German custody twice during the movie, then escapes for good with the girl. Movie holds up well after 30 years. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
    “Night Flight” (1933) movie based on Novel by Saint-Exupery. Robert Montgomery and Clark Gable star as pioneer night-time pilots over the Andes and up the eastern coast of South America. I missed the sparkling prose of St-Ex which coruscated throughout the book and lit up the night skies.
    “Spy Game” (2001) Redford retires from CIA and Pitt his spy is kidnaped to secret prison in China where he will be executed in 24 hrs. Redford wants to save Pitt, but he’s stuck in a CIA briefing room answering questions where he helpless to do anything without losing his retirement. Or is he? A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
    “You Bet Your Life” (2004) with Billy Zane as zany Casino owner who picked out athletic compulsive gambler and bet him 2.5 million dollars he couldn’t survive 24 hours with Zane hunting him down. Betting his life, the man flees to Cleveland where the helicopter shooter finds him there. A light-hearted comedy atmosphere pervades this movie, aided by a lot of really bad shooting, and makes it a Hit.
    “Beautiful Boy” (2010) Sam, the only child of his parents, calls from college all troubled and in tears, but neither parent can hear the revealing tone of his voice and say goodbye. The next morning he walks into his college classroom and kills a dozen people and is killed. The parents are left to sort out the reasons in Sam, in themselves, in their parenting for this disaster.
    “Horrible Bosses” (2011) when three friends concoct a way to get rid of their bosses, the wheels come loose on their scheme and wreak havoc! Imagine the short actor being cast, “You’re going to be an assistant to dentist Jennifer Aniston who will be undressed and attack you sexually.” And he replying, “How much will this job cost me?” Enough fun for a Hit.
    “Hanna” (2011) an experiment in genetics goes awry and creates a super spy Hanna who must use all of her skills to prevent being exterminated. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !
    “In the Mood” (1987) Young Patrick Dempsey as the Woo-Woo Kid, a true story of a mid-teen marrying several older women in the 1940s. Delicious double-entendres in a much politer age.

    “Only the Lonely” (1991) adapted from Chayefsky’s ‘Marty’ starring John Candy, Maureen O’Hara, James Belushi, and Ally Sheedy, this is a marvelous feel-good love feast with great actors, great script, great directing and great music. A DON’T MISS HIT! ! !
    “Legends of the Fall” (1994) or what can happen when three brothers fall in love with one woman. Set in WW1 Montana on luscious prairies walled by majestic peaks, this epic saga of love, alienation, and reunion is a treat for the eyes and the heart.
    “Bride Flight” (2008) a luscious look at vintage New Zealand through the eyes of Holland three brides-to-be on a KLM flight to break the air speed record. Estelle scuttles marriage to become a Fashion Designer, Ada wife to puritan man, and the other a wife to Hans. The three women remain tied together for 40 years by a curious bond to each other which unfolds gracefully during the course of this delicately directed and superbly staged film. A DON’T MISS HIT ! ! !

    Misses (Avoid At All Costs):

    We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off.

    “Captain America: First Avenger” (2011) is a silly and boring comic strip movie. Would have wanted my dime back if I had bought and read it at age 7.
    “Trepass” (2011) Nicholas Cage and Nicole Kidman must have signed up for this movie because the other was in it and didn’t read the lousy script. Very little drama except how the idiots who broke in were going to end up killing each other. Were there diamonds? Did she sleep with security guard? Why did he remove money from safe? Confusing and inconsistent plot makes this an Avoid at all Costs!.



    Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:

    Skateland (2010) is fast-paced disco era roller skate rink, but the movement outside the rink is very slow, like waiting for a person with Parkinson’s to take another step. Will the guy get the girl? Will he ever leave Skateland for reality and take his turn around the floor of life? He does, so you can skip the slow parts now that you know.
    “Harsh Times” (2005) Christian Bale as Iraqi Vet who is having trouble getting on LAPD, but the FEDS take him for Colombia. His goodbye trip to his girl in Mexico ends up in a lot of ballistics including Bale himself. Object lesson on what not to do when friendship interferes with one’s safety.
    “Super 8” (2011) is Super Dumb— can you say remake of “E.T”? Young kids help an E.T. get home, saving it from 8mm-brained adults trying to kill it. Hey, why not let kids run the country completely? This E.T. has extra arms, acts like Rambo, and is omnivorous.
    “Father of Invention” (2010) Kevin Spacey as a spacey inventor of infomercial gadgets loses his wife and daughter when he goes to jail after one invention allows idiots to lop off their fingers and they blame him. Can he recover any semblance of a normal life when he gets out?


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    4. STORY:
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    Le Broussard Cajun Cottage, drawn by and Copyright 2011 by Paulette Purser, Used by Permission
    Cajun joke based on story sent by mon frere, T-Paul, from Opelousas.
    Broussard wanted to get his best friend Boudreaux a special present for his birthday and when he was in an electronics store in the big city of Lafayette, he saw a Robot Lie Detector. "Bon Dieu!" he thought, "dat's just wat Boudreaux needs wit' dat maudits teenage son wat's always lyin' about wat he done!" So he bought it and gave it to Boudreaux. Neither of dem read directions since all dat English is too much trouble, but Boudreaux was very impressed with his gift and told Broussard, "Ah'm gonna give dis t'ing the acid test tonight!"

    After Marie had set the table and Boudreaux had said grace, he pulled the Robot and placed it up on the center of the table. "Before we eat, T-Bob, Ah gots a question for you. Whar were you out so late last night?"

    "Mais, Ah was studying at the library." WHOP! ! The Robot slapped T-Bob across the face! T-Bob's face grew red and he said, "Ah was at a friend's house." The Robot looked on quietly. T-Bob took a deep breath and began to eat.

    Boudreaux got a big smile on his face thinking how much he liked with his new present, and den he got a thought and turned to T-Bob again. "Doing wat?" Boudreaux asked.

    "Watching a movie. 'Toy Story'." T-Bob barely got the words out, and WHOP! the Robot slapped him again. "Ok, ok! It was pornography. 'Debbie Does Dallas'" T-Bob cried in despair.

    Boudreaux went ballistic, "WHAT! When Ah was your age, I din't even know what porn was!" WHOP! the Robot slapped Boudreaux!

    Marie laughed and turned to Boudreaux, "He certainly is your son!" and WHOP! the Robot slapped Marie!

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    5. RECIPE of the MONTH for December, 2011 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
    (click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
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    Fortuitous Stir Fry

    Background on Fortuitous Stir Fry: After a large catered party at your house, what can you do with the luscious left-overs? We were faced with that conundrum at Timberlane and this is what Chef Bobby Jeaux conjured up for us. Del, his sous-chef, had instructed the catering crew to put each of the partially cooked and marinated veggies in separate bags and placed them in the fridge. Recognizing the possibility for a quick stir-fry the Chef whipped up this delicious meal for us.



    Ingredients
    1 quart Ziplock of Portobello mushrooms
    1 quart Ziplock of long slices of sweet Red Peppers
    1 quart Ziplock of chopped potatoes
    1 quart Ziplock of asparagus
    1 quart Ziplock of green beans

    Two stalks of Leeks
    Olive Oil
    1 tsp chopped garlic
    Cooked long grain and wild rice mixture

    Freshly picked:
    Sprigs of Basil and Parsley
    Half-head of Broccoli

    Preparation
    Chop the Leeks
    Separate Broccoli into small pieces
    Mince the sprigs of Basil and Parsley.
    Chop the veggies to suit your taste, at least in half: red peppers, green beans, mushrooms, potatoes, and asparagus.

    Cooking Instructions
    FIRST: Coat bottom of large Wok in Olive Oil. Sauté the chopped Leeks and garlic in with the freshly picked Basil, Parsley, and Broccoli. [Optional: also sauté the asparagus and green beans which are usually not thoroughly cooked when marinaded.]

    SECOND: Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir and cook until all ingredients are mixed together and warmed up. (5 to 10 minutes)

    Serving Suggestion
    Serve Veggies over the steamed wild/long grain rice and eat immediately.

    Other options
    Kikkoman's Soy Sauce can be added at the table for a bit of extra savor. Bon Apetit!



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    6. POETRY by BOBBY from Inner Reading and Inner Hearing:
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    This poem asks the question, If we live in a world of maya, i,.e., a world of images, reflections of reflections, like a maze of mirrors in the amusement park, how do we achieve then a world of reality from these reflections? If you wish an answer, read the Review for Inner Reading and Inner Hearing.

                       An Amazing Reality

    When you realize that life is just a maze of mirrors,
          it's amazing.

    When you reflect that life on a daily basis give us reflections upon reflections,
          it's amazing.

    When you analyze that life is what reflects from the surface of things,
          it's amazing.

    When you realize no full-blooded being lies in a mirror,
          it's amazing.

    When you realize you cannot place a vase upon the table in the mirror,
          it's amazing.

    When you realize your soul as you experience it on Earth
          is like the table in the mirror,
          it's amazing.

    When you philosophize and strive to pull the table
          from out of the mirror,
          it's amazing.

    Why philosophize when life
          is just a maze of mirrors?
          It's amazing.

    When you realize that when you philosophize
          you prepare your soul to enter the spiritual reality
          behind the world of lies,
          It's amazing.


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    7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for December:
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    And for my Good Readers, here’s the new reviews and articles for this month. The ARJ2 ones are new additions to the top of A Reader’s Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, and the ART ones to A Reader’s Treasury. NOTE: these Blurbs are condensations of the Full Reviews sans footnotes and many quoted passages.

    1.) ARJ2: The Black Swan — The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

    "All swans are white" was an unassailable truth up until the discovery of Australia — it was something everyone knew to be a fact. But it was neither true nor a fact. All it took was the sighting of one black swan in the new southern continent to turn the Old World upside down on its head. Taleb, a cagey Lebanese-born philosopher and thinker, has grabbed onto the "black swan" as a synecdoche for an abruptly appearing, totally unexpected event which has a great impact on the world, but for which the world conjures up ex post facto explanations which makes it all sound reasonable and predictable. Sure, antiseptic procedures for doctors sound reasonable today, but the black swan Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis was imprisoned in a mental institution by the head of his hospital, even after his procedures had saved over a hundred-thousand women in Vienna from dying in childbirth! I have made a vocation of seeking out such black swan innovators, both those like Semmelweis whose contributions grace history books and some whom I have been fortunate to meet and or converse with, such as Immanuel Velikovsky, Richard Bandler, John Grinder, Joseph Newman, Andrew Joseph Galambos, Doyle Philip Henderson, and Kaisu Viikari. Those that I have met only through books constitute a longer list, and I will mention their names in case you wish to look up their contributions as outliers in their unique fields of innovation and discovery: Alfred Korzybski, Rudolf Steiner, Gregor Mendel, Owen Barfield, Anastasia, Barbara McClintock, Carlos Castaneda, Jane Roberts, Thomas Kuhn, Paul Watzlawick, Gregory Bateson, Richard Feynman, Robert Axelrod, and Thomas Paine, among others. It is only fitting that I add the author of this book, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, to the list of black swans I have met through books because his coined phrase black swan will echo down the halls of time, much as Tom Kuhn's word paradigm which he rescued from obscurity and pumped new life into in 1962.

    In New Orleans in the Fall of 2005, my wife and I lived through the Black Swan known as Katrina. It appeared overnight and left in its wake a devastated metropolitan area. How did we react to Katrina? We restored our home on the West Bank and our fourplex apartments in New Orleans. I had ridden out Hurricane Betsy about 40 years before Katrina and seen the devastation left behind then, and I had heard of the Great Flood of 1927, about 40 years before Betsy. Knowing something about batting averages, it seems to me that the City of New Orleans needs a catastrophe about every 40 years. The first generation after the catastrophe remembers it and expects another catastrophe like it every year. The second generation only hears about it and never expects one, but the new third generation forty years later gets shook up by a new and unexpected catastrophe and the cycle starts over. I doubt that Taleb would accept my simple baseball metaphor of batting average for predicting a city's experience with catastrophes, but I offer it in the absence of any other explanation. It can bring a certain measure of comfort to those who might otherwise spend Spring through Fall of every year worrying about another Katrina.

    Here's how Taleb describes the dynamics of Black Swans and what might qualify as a Black Swan:

    [page viii] Just imagine how little your understanding of the world on the eve of the events of 1914 would have helped you guess what was to happen next. (Don't cheat by using the explanations drilled into your cranium by your dull high school teacher.) How about the rise of Hitler and the subsequent war? How about the precipitous demise of the Soviet bloc? How about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism? How about the spread of the Internet? How about the market crash of 1987 (and the more unexpected recovery)? Fads, epidemics, fashion, ideas, the emergence of art genres and schools. All follow these Black Swan dynamics. Literally, just about everything of significance around you might qualify.
          This combination of low predictability and large impact makes the Black Swan a great puzzle; but that is not yet the core concern of this book. Add to this phenomenon the fact that we tend to act as if it does not exist! I don't mean just you, your cousin Joey, and me, but almost all "social scientists" who, for over a century, have operated under the false belief that their tools could measure uncertainty.

    Taleb's forté is the world of finance and economics, and his advice is that no advice from anyone can predict Black Swans. He even gives you a way of discovering this truth he offers, an operation that many of you can easily perform to ascertain how oblivious the best informed experts in the world are to Black Swans.

    [page xviii] . . . the applications of the sciences of uncertainty to real-world problems has had ridiculous effects; I have been privileged to see it in finance and economics. Go ask your portfolio manager for his definition of "risk," and odds are that he will supply you with a measure that excludes the possibility of the Black Swan — hence one that has no better predictive value for assessing the total risks than astrology (we will see how they dress up the intellectual fraud with mathematics). This problem is endemic in social matters.

    Do you begin to feel as if a rug has been pulled out from under you, causing you to lose your level of comfort in the world? If not, you have not yet understood the problem, and you may gently pull yourself away from this review, dear Reader, and return to your favorite illusory world where Black Swans don't exist, where the world is uniform, slowly changing, and where manufacturing gasoline pumps will always be a prosperous business to invest in. You live in a world where no Black Swan will suddenly pop up to make oil a useless black goo best left underground.

    [page xix] The central idea of this book concerns our blindness with respect to randomness, particularly the large deviations: Why do we, scientists or nonscientists, hotshots or regular Joes, tend to see the pennies instead of the dollars? Why do we keep focusing on the minutiae, not the possible significant large events, in spite of the obvious evidence of their huge influence? And, if you follow my argument, why does reading the newspaper actually decrease your knowledge of the world?

    The world is out there, alive and throbbing, and the newspaper can only report a map of that territory which may be filled with unnoticed and unappreciated Black Swans birthing and growing up into maturity to surprise all of us. The so-called live news media are no better because the world they show us is a carefully selected world that is squeezed through a small lens pointed in only one direction at a time. Black Swans typically happen in the very direction no one is looking and every camera is pointed in the direction where some producer or director is expecting to find something. The very word "expecting" should raise the hair on your neck when you hear it or any of its synonyms from now on — because it means the possibility of being blind sided by events is present, the possibility that what is being shown on the TV screen is from a camera pointed in the wrong direction or in the wrong location. No one was looking at the Twin Towers until the first plane flew into it. What footage we have of the first plane crashing into a tower came from someone who was looking at something else. When a broker tells you what to expect in the market, fire him. You need help choosing the dramatic things that might happen that no one is expecting. Invest in one IBM, Microsoft, Google, etc, when they are cracking open their egg, and your own nest egg will be ensured. Yet, no broker can tell you when a company will soar out of its nest as a Black Swan and make you rich.

    [page xix] Black Swan logic makes what you don't know far more relevant than what you do know. Consider that many Black Swans, can be caused and exacerbated by their being unexpected.

    The most amazing collection of insights about life that I have found are in Sufi stories. People hear some of them only when they are converted into ordinary jokes, but most never bother to mine their riches. One such story involves two men who go on a hazardous journey through a desert region inhabited by brigands and wild carnivores. The first man, a Sufi, manages the journey quite well, finding water and food at an oasis when he needs it, and arrives safely at the end of his journey where no one gathered to meet him. The second man is set upon by robbers who try to steal money and he fights them bravely and chases them off even though he emerges from his fighting all bloody. He resumes his journey and a large lion pounces on him from the overhead rock outcropping in a passage through a hilly region and in the battle, the man manages to pull his knife and kill the lion, having to drink the lion's blood to quench his thirst as he had run out of water. When he arrives in the town where the Sufi is now resting in an inn, the man is greeted by a crowd of people who want to hear about the adventures he underwent during his treacherous journey. He is feted at a big dinner where all the dignitaries of the town come out. The question for you, dear Reader, is which man was the more successful, the lion-killer or the Sufi?

    [page xxii, xxiii] We remember the martyrs who died for a cause that we knew about, never those no less effective in their contribution but whose cause we were never aware of — precisely because they were successful.

    Taleb gives us an update on this Sufi story with a thought experiment where he runs the events of 9/11 twice: once with a man who prepared so well that nothing unusual happened on that day, and once without the man's contribution. Then he has us look at what likely happens to the prepared and successful man.

    [page xxiii] Assume that a legislator with courage, influence, intellect, vision, and perseverance manages to enact a law that goes into universal effect and employment on September 10, 2001; it imposes the continuously locked bulletproof doors in every cockpit (at high costs to the struggling airlines) — just in case terrorists decide to use planes to attack the World Trade Center in New York City. I know this is lunacy, but it is just a thought experiment (I am aware that there may be no such thing as a legislator with intellect, courage, vision, and perseverance; this is the point of the thought experiment). The legislation is not a popular measure among the airline personnel, as it complicates their lives. But it would certainly have prevented 9/11.

          The person who imposed locks on cockpit doors gets no statues in public squares, not so much as a quick mention of his contribution in his obituary, "Joe Smith, who helped avoid the disaster of 9/11, died of complications of liver disease." Seeing how superfluous his measure was, and how it squandered resources, the, public, with great help from airline pilots, might well boot him out of office. Vox clamantis in deserto. He will retire depressed, with a great sense of failure. He will die with the impression of having done nothing useful. I wish I could go attend his funeral, but, reader, I can't find him. And yet, recognition can be quite a pump. Believe me, even those who genuinely claim that they do not believe in recognition, and that they separate labor from the fruits of labor, actually get a serotonin kick from it. See how the silent hero is rewarded: even his own hormonal system will conspire to offer no reward.

    When one, like Joe Smith, is a Black Swan, one becomes a "voice crying in the desert" and is often beheaded as the Biblical voice in the desert was. If not beheaded literally, Joe’s voice will be ignored precisely because he is talking about unique situations that no one else has read about in the newspapers or heard about on the radio or seen on TV or the Internet.

    The people I listed in my first paragraph are Black Swans because they saw things few others saw or understood, even to this day. As a whole we treat these people like Joe Smith in the thought experiment above, we allow them to die in obscurity, only to have their contributions suddenly re-arise as a phoenix decades or centuries later. Barbara McClintock worked in obscurity for three decades while her colleagues ridiculed her "jumping gene" theory, right up to the moment she walked on stage to receive her Nobel Prize. Richard Feynman, also a Nobelist, was ridiculed when he put an O-ring in ice water to demonstrate the cause of the Challenger disaster. He was later proven to be right on. These were among the lucky few. Gregor Mendel's work with smooth and wrinkled peas sat unread for decades until William Bateson read it and decided to found the science he called genetics based on Mendel's work. Note how Bateson slighted Mendel by not naming the unit of hereditary transmission, the gene, after the discoverer.

    Joe Smith could have prevented the 9/11 catastrophe, but would have gotten only scant attention. But, if like Pogo said, "A national catastrophe gets an overwhelming majority", like certain infamous Presidents of the USA, they tend to be glorified and spread across the pages of history.

    [page xxiv] It is the same logic reversal we saw earlier with the value of what we don't know; everybody knows that you need more prevention than treatment, but few reward acts of prevention(1.1). We glorify those who left their names in history books at the expense of those contributors about whom our books are silent. We humans are not just a superficial race (this may be curable to some extent); we are a very unfair one.





    As a writer I am very much aware that few people read Introductions, Prefaces, or Prologues to books. They want to get right to the meat of the matter, as they might say if you asked them, as I have. But I am aware of the paradox of the bootstrap, having worked on primitive minicomputers in the 1960s when we had to fat-finger the code of the bootstrap program into our computers each time we turned them on. Our current word "boot" and "reboot" for computers comes from that bootstrap program. To get a program into a computer you simply turn on the program loader. Okay, that's simple, you say. But the program loader is a program. How does it get into the computer? There's the paradox. Starting a computer is like pulling yourself up by your own boot straps! It can't be done, but it is done. Learning a new subject or reading a new book involves a similar bootstrap paradox. It would sure help if you knew all about it before you started. Authors provide the "all about it before you start" in those prefatory sections called Introductions, Prefaces, or Prologues. That's why they are there — to provide you a hand up into the new knowledge presented in the book.

    Taleb's Prologue is full of wonderful bootstraps into the meat of his book, and for this reviewer it is a gold mine! For example, he introduces the Great Intellectual Fraud (GIF) which is otherwise named the Bell Curve. There is nothing fraudulent about the Bell Curve, but the way it is used presupposes the non-existence of Black Swans and thus it is the primary tool of real-life Intellectual Frauds, and Taleb spends much of his time explaining how to identify them and how to avoid being misled by their techniques. Skip the rest of book at the peril of losing every thing you own, no matter how rich you are, in fact, the richer you are the more in danger of that ignominious fate.

    The next life-saving concept Taleb offers us is the Platonic Fold. Before your eyes glaze over, let me tell you a quick story which happened to me. I was in my boss's office and he told me, "You know, Bob, in the Norwegian Boy Scout Handbook, in the section on map-reading, it stated, 'When the terrain differs from the map, believe the terrain.'" He grew up in Norway and was probably a Boy Scout as a child, and I could imagine him believing his map while ignoring the terrain and plunging 1200 feet into an icy fiord. It was good advice and prepared me well for later meeting the work of Alfred Korzybski who famously wrote, "The map is not the territory", a rather dry expression of the same insight as Per Holst shared with me years before. The Platonic Fold of Taleb is like a sudden drop into the "dangerously wide" gap of an icy fiord for someone who has believed in a map like the Bell Curve.

    [page xxv] The Platonic fold is the explosive boundary where the Platonic mindset enters in contact with messy reality, where the gap between what you know and what you think you know becomes dangerously wide. It is here that the Black Swan is produced.

    Few people understand what an essay is, lumping it together with theme, paper, and any other synonyms, thereby neutering the word and truncating their own ability to understand an essay when they read one. Taleb tells us in his Prologue that he is writing an essay which means he is stepping off the beaten path to communicate something original with this book. In an essay we must expect our notions about life to be challenged — in an essay we rarely find something written that would lead us to spout the epithet of shallow thinkers, "I know that."

    [page xxvi] This is an essay expressing a primary idea; it is neither the recycling nor repackaging of other people's thoughts. An essay is an impulsive meditation, not science reporting. I apologize if I skip a few obvious topics in this book out of the conviction that what is too dull for me to write about might be too dull for the reader to read. (Also, to avoid dullness may help to filter out the nonessential.)

    Decades ago, I noticed that on any given month I was buying more books than I read during that month. When people would ask why I have so many books in my library (bout 3,000) I would tell them, "My goal is to buy more books than I read in any given month and to live long enough to read them all." I meant it facetiously because most people don't understand that the unread books in my library are more valuable than the read ones.

    Each unread book represents a book whose contents I will need on the spur of the moment at some time in the future, and a short walk will allow me to read it or search its contents. The unread shelves are my research library and comprise about 2/3rds of my library volumes. The read books are mostly reviewed and have my marginalia in them containing ideas and concepts, many of which never made it into my reviews of them. Those handwritten comments and sketches are another treasure trove of research material which I want nearby. Several years ago, my wife would grimace every time a new box of books arrived. She began saying, "Bobby, you cannot bring another book into this house." I had to admit I was challenged to find places for the new books arriving, so I finally said, "Okay, Del. Maybe we should look for a bigger house." A few months later we were living in a home with lots of room for my books and no more grimacing.

    Taleb begins the meat of the book talking about Umberto Eco's Antilibrary, which he defines as the unread books on the shelves of Eco's 30,000 volume library, the research volumes. Like my visitors, people would come into Eco's home and notice the size of his library and ask him how many of the books he's read, as if that were the sole reason for owning a library, to read every book. That concept of antilibrary goes to the heart of Taleb's profession as he deems himself to be a skeptical empiricist.

    [page 2] Let us call an antischolar — someone who focuses on the unread books and makes an attempt not to treat his knowledge as a treasure, or even a possession, or even a self-esteem enhancement device — a skeptical empiricist.

    Before we actually reach the first page of Chapter One, we know all about Taleb in a thumbnail sketchy way so that we are well-prepared for the main course which will flesh out the menu explanations he has shared with us during his impressive Prologue. I don't know about you, but I wanted to order and digest every meal on his menu and was well-satisfied with my dining experience with him as I closed the book.

    I cannot tell all the many things I learned in this book, nor do I intend to try. We live in a world full of people who believe that eventually computers will figure out everything and predict everything which is going to happen. These are people who have not read or digested the material of this book, which is indeed an eponymous Black Swan among books and as such will likely be unread and misunderstood when read.

    Gregory Bateson, a Black Swan among thinkers and an eminent cyberneticist, was asked once by a student, "Professor Bateson, how will we know when computers have reached the level of human intelligence?" Bateson thought for a minute and answered, "We will ask the computer a question, and it will answer, 'That reminds me of a story.'" As Taleb writes on page xxvi of his Prologue, "Ideas come and go. Stories stay." Computers will never answer any questions with stories, and thus will never provide anything lasting, but Nassim Nicholas Taleb has provided a monument to his skeptical empiricism which will stand for all time to come. He explains to us what it means to be human in an inhuman world and how to survive given the reality of Black Swans.

    ~^~


    ---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------
    Footnote 1.1 One person in my list of Black Swans, Dr. Kaisu Viikari, M.D. Ph. D., devoted her life as a Doctor of Ophthalmology to the prevention of myopia and cure of migraine headaches by careful prescription of eye glasses, something the finite knowledge of the optical profession world-wide deems impossible. For her selfless devotion to the health of her patients, she has been exorcized by most of her colleagues, up until now. Read her description of her trials in The Struggle.

    Return to text directly before Footnote 1.1

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Read the Review at:
    http://www.doyletics.com/arj/blakswan.htm

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    I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.


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    8. COMMENTARY:
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    In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to coverse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.

    1. Padre Filius Reads the New Orleans Times-Picayune this Month:

    Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of the Digest to share with us some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.

    This month the good Padre reads a Headline about how businesses who keep secrets don't tell the truth.


    2.Comments from Readers:

    • EMAIL from Mar in Mexico:
      Mar wrote asking for help in learning the Speed Trace. As I usually do, I recommended a food dislike trace. She did one and got a very neat confirmed Speed Trace.
      I tried the food dislike (oysters) I couldn’t go to the supermarket and get some , but I looked up for some photos on the internet and believe me I didn’t have to have them as you might say “in flesh and blood”. Just the mere slimy fish (or whatever they are) picture in front of me made me feel sick to my stomach. I wanted to throw up. So then I started to do the speed trace. It was very difficult because I really felt sick. I got to the age of three. The nausea stopped there. And then I asked myself for the pausible question but I just saw myself in the kitchen as a little girl. I couldn’t find out what really happened. So I decided to do it again and it stopped at the age of three, but again I couldn’t find out anything. What really amazed me though is that when I saw the photos again I didn’t feel the same way . The feeling of throwing up has vanished. I don’t know if I did it the right way or not but something actually changed. I don’t know what comes next, but I hope you could help me a little bit more with my fear issues. Thank you very much for your help and also for subscribing me to the monthly reminder list.
      Note: it is not necessary for Mar to find out what happened in the kitchen because the doyle has already gone away. Something happened, perhaps she had a flu bug and walked in kitchen to see her dad eating these gross-looking oysters. The healing states of her body fighting the flu bug were stored in doylic memory. During her trace, that doylic memory in her lower brain led to a cognitive memory created in her higher brain. That cognitive memory was the event in the kitchen. That memory will be triggered instead of the sick feeling everytime she sees oysters from now on. This is an excellent demonstration of how the Speed Trace works. Thanks to Mar for giving us permission to use her description!
    • EMAIL from Winterhawk in Idaho:

    • NOTE: These are the Field Notes of a modern-day Thoreau, Lawrence Clark aka Winterhawk, Del's first cousin, published by permission . This report can give us a "feel for what Cajuns do when they move to the wild West (Northwest)", he writes. Niko is his Black Lab cross-breed, "the smartest dog he has ever owned", he claims. She knows 90 commands and words, and she can figure how what Winterhawk wants her to do most of the time.

      June 1st 2011,
      Ted Coddington, a good friend and paddler, arrived at my home, where we loaded his gear into the back of my Nissan truck, then lifted his canoe and placed it beside mine already tied down on the boat rack. We were ready to begin our trip to the Owyhee Reservoir located in Southeast Oregon. The drive seemed to take little time as we enjoyed good conversations. Ted is a good person to explore wild lands and remote areas, he is always well prepared for any trip. Niko, my black Lab, and best friend, rode in the extended cab behind Ted. Ted was in her seat and it was noticeable each time she was asked to kennel up from outside, she had a strong preference toward the front seat. We topped off the fuel tank in Ontario.Ore. and began following directional signs toward the Reservoir. I began to wonder about our route as we were on a large water course that we were following and it is too large to be Succor Creek, more like a river.

      We stopped to let Niko out to relieve herself and checked our Oregon Atlas Gazetteer map and determined we were actually driving South, but along the Owyhee River and driving toward the dam. Since neither of us had been to the dam site, we continued following the river. The road became very narrow as we crossed the dam to our right, continued along a winding road that paralleled the waters edge. We approached the "glory hole" a huge diameter overflow vertical pipe that drains the high water flows like this year, (when inflow is greater then outflow provided by the dam). It is a very scary to view this man made "water hole" that drops vertically, and would easily swallow any human, a canoe, and dog in less than a second. Other boater's mentioned they too felt the same un-easiness! We filled our several water containers at a camp ground along the lake, then we crossed back over the dam and located a decent camp site several miles downstream near the edge of the river. We selected this site as it well off the main road and a Big Sage thicket would provide protection for our tents from possible winds. Our camp set, we walked around the area, and discovered plenty of interesting rocks, some were fine grain basalt and brown chert.Stone tools can be made from both.

      June 2, 2011
      A light rain during the night left everything wet, and after a quick breakfast, we drove along the correct route toward Leslie Gulch. I now felt at home recognizing the reassuring landmarks along the way. We pulled off the main road to visit a unique natural spring that hold a great deal of pre-history evidence. The general area had been cleaned up since my last visit, even the main source of the spring had been both protected and improved. I thought Ted would enjoy visiting this site. Cattle still dominates the area and there is the usual heavy trampling of the soil and vegetation has been laid flat and further impacting downstream water quality. Later, at Leslie Gulch, and near the camp ground, we met Gary Cowers, of Raven Research West, who is conducting Eagle surveys along the Owyhee reservoir, using only a sea kayak, (sorry no motors for Gary) but with his great first class observation optics, Gary allowed us to view an active Bald Eagle nest and its eaglets in the nest! Near noon, Ted and I decided to enter the water with our canoes and paddle toward a site 4 to 5 water miles to a camp area I was aware of in a cottonwood tree grove for a good camp site. That general area is known as Echo Hot Springs, it is also an area the Native American have used and visited for 100's perhaps 1000's of years. It is a wonderful place! Nice to know but the head winds we encountered had other ideas, to say paddling was difficult is an understatement! Several grueling hours, but the final hot springs reward made to worth it! Following a quick strip down and dip we both felt much refreshed.

      We talked of where to set our camp. I remembered from earlier visits that a cottonwood tree grove was a little further upstream, where we might expect to have good cover from any harsh winds, shade and excellent firewood for our needs. (Despite, the lack of a written word the Native Americans passed along to others the important areas to visit, where to find food, stone for tools, and even the better camp sites.)

      We paddled toward the grove, and discovered most of the grove is presently under the unusual high water, yet we found a single very old and stately mature cottonwood that is above the high water. There is great shade here, dead and dried branches both hanging and fallen to the ground. We check the immediate ground for tent sites. Sadly this cottonwood's shade has attracted many cattle here in the past and they have left many cow pods (patties) from 2010 that must be removed. The lack of the required clean up truly shows what is really important to Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation in Oregon and other western states! For my part, I'm required to pack out any human waste, and with increased camping numbers along rivers I condone it. So the presence of the cow patties is a slap in the face. I have paddled this area before and encounter hundreds of dried cow pods floating on the surface of the water. There is something wrong with this picture! I have often wondered with the $$$$$$$ spent on just fencing by BLM, why can't the riparian areas and isolatedsprings be better protected by fencing!

      Enough of that — after having kicked the dried cow pods to gain a cleared spots for my tent I set up camp. Ted takes a walk and discovers an apparently ill Great White Pelican near the shore line, it appears nearly dead. There was nothing we could do to help or report of this poor bird from this location. Carp are active and jumping here but they but are not spawning in the shallows as we had expected to see. Ted has brought a hammock to sleep in, and with some good improvising he has it set up under the cottonwood tree. (Still had to remove the pods) And a great tree we have found. We are tired from fighting the constant winds of the day, I feel tightness in my left shoulder tonight but is well in the morning.

      June 3, 2011
      It rained hard last night, despite the clear skies of yesterdays evening. A test for Ted's hammock , but it has served him well. A ritual I enjoy is to make the first camp fire using a bow drill for ignition. Rather then the evening fire this would be for coffee and our morning breakfast meal. The fire also helped break the early morning damp chill. We are enjoying our time here a light wind seems to favor one direction keeping the cottonwood smoke in a predictable direction.

      We strung up both a longbow and a recurve, and we walked up and away from our campsite and the waters edge, entering a small wash and the beginning of canyons. We enjoyed shooting our arrows at a small clumps of sage, rabbit brush or a bare spot of soil. The further we walked from the easy reach areas by motorboat the less sign of man we found, less trash anyway. Cows sign dominate, even though they are not present, yet.

      Later back at camp, Eagle Man, Gary Clowers, arrives, visits with us briefly and then paddles his sea-kayak to a key location for viewing some red bluffs in search of a possible eagle nests.

      June 4, 2011
      Saturday the weekend begins, and the first of several jet boats come roaring up the reservoir toward some rallying point as they didn't return later in the day. The noise seems to disrupted the herons and the pelicans as many are flying about and over our camp. The herons use the cottonwood trees for nesting and the nesting activity is presently active. We place our day packs and drinking water in my canoe and plan on meeting Gary at his temporary camp, and maybe we'll get to see another eagle nest. As we paddled near the heron rookery, even our silent canoe caused the birds to squawk in alarm. We spot Gary waving at us from the far side. As we approach the shore line Niko is excited as she senses we are nearing land where plenty of critters live.

      While we are visiting with Gary, and I happen to glance down and notice a black rock that looks like it is obsidian, and it is an artifact. Closer examination, tells it is the broken projectile point (best guess it is either a dart point or small knife blade) as the forward section is missing. We enjoyed seeing even this broken point wonder if the obsidian came from Glass Butte many miles from here. Gary has to continue with his contract duties, so Ted and I with Niko on leash climb small hills looking for petroglphs. We find several and also evidence of tool making (knapping flakes) at several panels. On the walk back to our canoe we separated and I found another panel, which seems to portray a one man, one woman and two small children. We have photographed all panels that we able to find. It is very rocky here (basalt rock) dry and light colored grass. We saw several lizards, but no snakes. (That was OK with us but then I seem to drop my guard when I do not have an encounter)

      Our paddle back was much easier despite that we had an headwind, two paddlers make a big difference. At the big cottonwood, Gary has set his tent at our camp site and seems to relax. Ted asks if Gary would like to walk out a ways to see how the sick pelican is doing. the bird was near the same spot but had died. They returned to camp and when I saw this great bird I was very taken by just how large these birds really are, the bright white with black wing tips wings and a very orange beak are very impressive. Gary reported the birds location later using his cell phone. We enjoyed our visit with him, hearing about his life, his outdoor experiences, and impressive eagle knowledge and work. It seems that camp fires tend to create conversation amongst friends, even newly found friends.

      Sunday, June 5, 2011
      Gary has begun paddling back toward Leslie Gulch landing, we exchanged business cards and e-mail addresses before he left.. Another clear beautiful day, still very quiet and peaceful, no returning jet boats yet. We also saw a very sad wildlife experience, one that I'll never forget! A single white pelican circled near us and flies around this wide part of the lake, searching, searching, the female for her lost mate!

      Later that day, Ted and I found a rusty rectanglar shaped white gas can, back at camp I cut open the top on three edges, and folded this back for a lid, then placed into the can a modern buffalo chip that was barely smoldering (on fire on one edge). I closed the lid and looked occassionaly to see if it was still barely emitting smoke during that afternoon and evening. The next morning, 14 hours later, it was still smoldering, and we carefully removed the chip to discover that only 1/3 of it had turned to white ash. We placed a small bundle of dried inner cottonwood bark for tinder and the gentle breath brought the tinder into a flames. It is my understanding this called a "Slow Match" by Native American's. They used several similar methods to both save an glowing ember and carry the ember from one camp site to the next camp site. If you wish look it up, search under "primitive skills"! Punky semi-rotten wood, or a buffalo chip that is tighly wrapped in green leaves (cattail leaves) to reduce the amount of oxygen reaching the glowing ember would is a more ancient method.

      Ted took a long climb up out of camp with his Black Widow longbow, day pack and water. He was gone 2 to 3 hours. This country is bigger than it looks, as he was still climbing up a steep slope away from our camp site and as he slowly became a small dot, I would have never, guess that slope and elevation was so far away, a mile or further away. Distances here are very hard to estimate!

      June 5, 2011 (Monday)
      We began to break camp and plan on visiting the natural hot springs again on our way back to the landing.Ted is not quite ready and encourages me to meet him shortly at the hot springs. I leave and figure that would allow me to look around for artifacts, in other visits I have found evidence in and around the springs. I found several colors of chert and fine grain basalt flakes. I left the flakes but picked up the modern litter that other "users" seems unable to carry out. Why do people leave litter in modern times? My canoe will carry their trash out since their motorcraft could not! Ted's canoe arrives just as I step into the pool. Niko wants no part of the warm or hot water. We paddle back was without any headwind, very enjoyable the smooth water all the way to Lesilie Gulch landing.

      We had a quick lunch and drove North looking for another spot to camp one more night. We found none and turned East and camped at anther Big Sage patch on McBride Creek. We shot our bows here and watched a cattle drive go by our camp, cowboys all using ATV's to move their cows. About an hour before dark Ted and I walked to a very old cemetery, the markers have been cared for. From that site we noticed several very large boulders and decided to see if the spot had any evidence of pre-historic use. We did not find any evidence of such but as we turned toward camp walking side by side Niko on a leash. Ted suddenly made a very quick jump straight up and then seem to move backwards (almost flying backwards). His forward-moving boot had caught under a moving snake in the grass. The grass was only 4 to 5 inches tall and not thick, and how either of us had not spotted the snake to begin with is beyond either of us. The snake was dragged forward by Ted's foot movement. Thankfully it was a bull snake and not a 3- to 4- foot rattlesnake. The bull snake seemed unharmed and quickly made its escape toward the boulders.

      June 7,2011
      We broke camp, the tents are not wet so everything is dry and packed away. No hanging out to dry back on the home front. We stopped and had a greasy hamburger on the way back. I've paddled this section several times before, other than the difficult headwind this was an excellent outing.

    3. Poem from Freedom on the Half Shell: "Candlelight"


    Give me your poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free and I will give them taxes, regulations, restrictions, and every manner of unfairness ever created by persons saddled with the illusion that they can decide what is best for someone else's welfare. The individual, like the business professional, knows what's best in a given situation and, given the freedom, will take that action. The forces of coercion are prying open the shell that contains the living muscle and spirit of the American people — will we resist those forces and keep our muscles and spirit alive, free to open at will, or will we give up like the oyster and settle for "freedom on the half shell?" Here is another poem from Freedom on the Half Shell:


    Candlelight

    My candle burns at both ends
    It will not last the night —
    But, ah, my foes, and, oh, my friends —
    It gives a lovely light.

    — Edna Saint Vincent Millay
    Our foundering fathers
    Went out to sea with a bell of liberty —
    The USS Constitution's sides
          were rusting from the bilge below
    But the stars and bars were flying high
          so we ignored the crack in Pass and Stow.

    The flagship of freedom has entered the shoals
          and the Captain and the crew
          are not among the very few
          with their sights upon the Bill of Rights.

    Their eyes are not upon the sea,
          but socialized democracy —
          that opiate of the masses —
          of the upper and lower classes,
    Who haven't learned to: Just say, NO!

    NO! Beyond this point I will not go.

    I'll support my country and my kin
    But I'll decide both where and when.

    To the feudal lords of IRS:
    I'll pay your tribute nonetheless
    You burn our candles from both ends
    And though we're basking
          in the glowing light,
    We know it will not last the night.

    4. The Law of Requisite Variety

    I woke one morning thinking about the movie “Something Borrowed” I watched last night (See above) and the “The Law of Requisite Variety”. The way I recall this cybernetics law formulated by Ross Ashby as it applies to personal interaction is: “In any interaction, the person with the most options will be the controlling element.” In other words, the greater one’s variety of actions, the less likely one will be controlled by someone else, such as Rachal was by Darcy. Rachal allowed herself to be run over by Darcy because she restricted her own options due to her lifelong friendship for Darcy. Rachal notes at one point in the movie, "Few childhood friendships last into adulthood" and then comments on how her friendship with Darcy had defied the odds because Rachal had reached thirty already. Thirty, but not quite adulthood, as one sees as the movie's events unfold and the two girl friends split apart as Rachal discovers how she had been stopping herself from admitting and accepting Dex's love in deference to Darcy who simply grabbed him from the first meeting and headed to the altar.

    Occasionally I get emails asking for help with doing speed traces and the prominent complaint centers on a lack of variety. The person wants to do certain things, but doylic memories create unpleasant feelings in their body and cause them to back off, just as happened with Rachal. Is love a doyle? The kind of friendship love which Rachal had for Darcy? Love is not a doyle, in my opinion, but love can generate bodily states (doyles) which cause one to avoid some behavior. If that behavior would provide a benefit, such as allowing Rachal to express her feelings for Dex, then a speed trace to the remove the stopper doyle would be in order.

    In the movie Rachal took years to track down the source of her reluctance to be with Dex and how the reluctance was associated with her lifelong friendship with Darcy. Rachal did, in effect, an unconscious slow trace, over some six years. That slow trace surfaced to movie viewers when Rachal made the observation that "Few childhood friendships last into adulthood." She must have deeply wondered about why that is so. Her comment made me wonder about how none of the close friends of mine from my childhood are now close friends of mine, though I still call them friends when I bump into them in shopping centers or reunions, etc. Deeply wondering as Rachal did, and you can do, may lead into an unconscious speed trace, which I call a slow trace.

    Slow traces require no knowledge of doyletics — people do them all the time. I have noted how few people have food dislikes above the age of 40 or so. I recall my own food dislikes as a child. One of which was macaroni and cheese. I couldn't eat it. I went to bed hungry on nights when Mom served it. At twenty-something I discovered a whole world of cheeses which tasted good, and macaroni was fine by itself, and that led me to deeply wonder or as I say it now, "Do a slow trace." Soon I was able to eat macaroni and cheese, but still find little reason to eat it unless it's the only thing available which fits in my dietary requirements, and then I eat it and enjoy it.

    Note that my mother kept serving macaroni and cheese, but never to my conscious recollection did she ever serve sauerkraut. That was a food I hated — my gut would tense up and my face grimaced if I saw or smelled the vile stuff! How could I hate something I never ate? Never thought about that, before I did my first ever speed trace on a certain tone of voice which caused my wife Del pain in her gut it was so intense. After the speed trace I saw and heard my dad yelling, just the same way I had earlier yelled at Del.

    Weeks later I woke up from a dream in which I was happily eating sauerkraut! I knew immediately that my adverse reaction to sauerkraut was gone and I enjoyed a delicious Reuben sandwich (pastrami and sauerkraut) that very night. I asked my mom if she ever served sauerkraut and her answer was, "Once, and your dad didn't like it." Immediately I grasped the subtext of her statement to be this, she placed the sauerkraut on the table, my brothers and I were happily looking at it, smelling it, and eating it, and she placed it in front of Daddy, he roared something like this, "What is this crap!" — a statement that meant Mom was never to serve this food again. So consciously I never recalled eating it, but unconsiously I had stored a doyle associated with the sight, smell, and taste of sauerkraut.

    What was my doyle? Earlier I had probably been yelled at or heard Dad's voice use that tone and I learned to steel my gut to keep from feeling the pain it caused at first. Del had never learned to steel her gut like that, so when I used the same tone as Dad in her presence, she felt pain in her gut.

    Notice how the pieces of the doylic puzzle have fallen into place: My gut tensing doyle was fired off by my Dad's voice in the presence of the sensory stimulation of sauerkraut. Thereafter simply seeing, smelling, or tasting sauerkraut caused my gut to tense up. I thought my gut tensed up because I hated sauerkraut, but in reality, my gut tensing simply kept me from eating it! How can anyone eat something with a grimace on their face and their gut tensed up? Removal of the gut tensing doyle allowed me to thenceforth eat and enjoy sauerkraut. A slow trace worked on my macaroni and cheese dislike because Mom kept feeding it to us (apparently Daddy didn't dislike it or she only served it when he was working shift work and wasn't home for dinner). A speed trace was required to remove my sauerkraut because I had no conscious recollection of eating it past five years old because Mom wouldn't even dare to bring it into the house.

    Want to learn to do a speed trace? Best way is to do a food dislike trace. Doing speed traces on other things can remove a food dislike as the tone of voice trace did for me. If you don't have a food dislike, you can use some moldy or unpleasant or uneatable substance to trigger a grimace, jaw tension, gut tension and hold that tension and do your first speed trace quite easily. At some point below five years ago as you do down your time marks, the tension will relax and you will find you can no longer hold as it tightly because the doylic memory has been converted into a cognitive memory (plain old memory). That's what happened to me after my first speed trace when my gut tension relaxed and then I saw/heard my dad yelling. Try it for yourself. To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson talking about "surmounting a fear", "One has not learned a lesson of life who does not occasionally release an unwanted doylic memory."

    Want to maintain a requisite variety among your family, friends, and coworkers? Removing stopper doyles and other unwanted doyles which restrict the variety of responses you have available in your interactions with them is a great way to start.

    5. Anger Speed Trace

    After we moved the clocks back an hour, my hunger patterns stayed the same, but my clock-wise habits also remained the same, so I became very hungry at what seemed too early in the day, so I became very hungry when I waited to eat at my normal time, and in my rush to get my lunch prepared, I spilled the rice. I had taken two Tupperware containers, the new kind with cover designed for microwave use which do not fit tightly, but are simply set on top. While my red beans-eggplant étouffé over wild rice-long grain rice was warming up, I put the remaining rice mixture's small container on top of the étouffé's larger container. Holding the door of the large fridge with my right hand to keep it from opening all the way, I lifted the stacked containers into the fridge, trying to slide the bottom container in far enough to move the top container to another shelf, but the top container of rice got knocked off and fell KERSPLAT! on the floor.

    I yelled some favorite epithet at the top of my lungs and looked down at the mess of good rice spread across the floor! I was angry, upset both over the loss of the rice and the mess I would have clean up and I was still hungry! What to do? I did a Speed Trace! I couldn't re-enact the intense anger, but the seething portion of the anger was still there, so I walked away from the rice and closed my eyes and saw it on the floor and all the anger flooded back to me. HOLDing the tense shoulder and facial muscle and feeling the seething of the anger inside me I went down my time MARKS very quickly. At AGE= 4, the seething and muscle tension suddenly melted away! I went back over later after a quiet and relaxed lunch to look at the spilled rice and felt no anger or upsetness, merely thinking, "Okay, clean it up" and I did.

    My wife and I have both learned to never let a chance to do a Speed Trace slip away. While the anger or upset doyle is HOLDing you is the best time to a Speed Trace. The trick is to remember in the heat of the moment that a Speed Trace will remove those strong doyles the next time some similar thing happens to you. Learn to do a Speed Trace on something unimportant, such as Mar reported in her Email above that she did on a gross food, and you'll be ready whenever something riles you up, or otherwise upsets you, to Trace It Away in a minute. When in Doubt, Trace it Out! The only thing you can lose is your unwanted doyles.

    6. More on Anger Speed Traces

    George wrote to doyletics@topica.com List in response to my above post:
    Very instructive story about using the speed trace. I react that way too in similar circumstances, but anger is the one thing I have never tried to trace out, and this is by choice. I have always feared losing the ability to become angry, because I have always felt it might be useful some day when I am confronted by something that needed a ferocious response on my part.

    Dear Friends,

    George raised an interesting point, one that I have pondered myself. May I share with you my thoughts. Allow me to generalize a bit and include fear and anger. I do so because I have heard similar concerns about Fear from other people, e. g., a good healthy fear will get you instantly into action, so I don't wish to trace it away.

    Let us consider this question: Fear, Anger, and other strong reactions may have important survival benefits which may be useful someday, so why should we consider tracing them away?

    First, separate the anger into two aspects: something has caused you a concern, and that something has triggered a set of feelings (bodily states we call doyles) in you.

    You wish to answer the concern quickly and effectively and rationally, do you not?

    But suppose this something happens and you have a 3-year-old tugging at your pants leg crying! How can you respond appropriately? That 3-year-old is YOU! It is upset and classically conditioned bodily states (doyles) are flaring up inside of you, causing your voice's tone to change, your respiration rate to change, your gut to tense up, your face to get flushed, any or all of these may happen and these become signals which can cause doyles to fire off in the other persons in the interaction and exacerbate the very reaction you might wish to cool off!

    On the Main Page I have placed a quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson which says, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear." I might add to RWE's statement, "or an anger".

    What does it mean to surmount a fear or an anger? Simply this: to trace away all components of the situation which are not appropriate to the real-time moment. Someone has made you angry, and suddenly doyles are fired off from some incident below the Memory Transition Age of five years old. You are no longer in complete control because as a 3-year-old you experienced a flushed face or racing heart beat. Instead of being able to deal with the person who made you angry, you are flooded with all kinds of physiological changes, and each of these changes in you will likely cause a change in the other person. The situation can easily and often does get out of control. Let a 3-year-old drive your car and a similar thing happens — soon the situation gets out of control. Why let a 3-year-old drive your body then? If you do not trace the anger doyles away, you have given up control to all the under 5-year-old doyles you stored, if not complete control, you may have lost the ability to think clearly, to find out more data, to calm the other person down (which you cannot easily do, if you are not calm, can you?), and basically to handle the tense situation rationally and cool the situation down.

    As for the thrust into action required — which we think anger is good at doing, a presupposition of George's position — how can one jump into action if one has to deal with a wimpering 3-year-old inside which is hyper-ventilating and turning red in the face, for example?

    The absence of anger-triggered doyles can actually make your reaction quicker and unhampered and therefore more effective. Ferocity may be called for, and if so, it can be applied, but the danger from exacerbating the situation from ferocity is always present and third degree harm can come to both parties if ferocity is unleashed. Sometimes the best outcome is one in which nothing notable happened because the situation was defused by a calm doyle-free response rather than driven into harmful direction by a doylic ferocity.

    You have likely seen movies in which a man got so furious that he was unable to act quickly enough to protect himself from harm, have you not? Doylic reaction that he never traced.

    Or a woman got so frightened that she froze in her tracks as a slowly moving Mummy lumbered towards her? Doylic reaction that she never traced.

    Doyle Henderson complained to me one time, saying, "I have no good words to describe certain situations. I can't say upset, because I have no upset doyles. I can't say angry, because I have no anger doyles. I can only say, 'I am concerned' or something like that." I talked to him the day before Doyle passed out and collapsed in Big Bear, California, Dec. 27, 2010, and never recovered, dying the next day in Irvine at Kaiser Permante Hospital. He sounded as cheerful as ever, even though he nearly passed out just walking to the bathroom that morning. He said he was concerned and wished he'd never driven up to the 7,000 ft level of Big Bear so he could be with Norma for Christmas." No touch of fear, no doylic-driven emotional responses, just the facts.

    With Fear as with Anger, something has caused you a concern, and that something has triggered a set of feelings (bodily states we call doyles) in you. If you have traced away your major fear doyles, you will be able to assess the situation and take effective action which is not to stand frozen in fear, or take off running without considering which direction or even whether running is appropriate.

    Three-year-olds are full of emotions they have acquired from their parents. A boy that age might be playing with a roach and having fun when his mother comes in and screams at his actions because of a doyle she has never traced away in herself. The boy becomes frightened, not of his mother, but of the thing, the roach she screamed at! The shudders which went through his mother's body when she saw him playing with the roach were absorbed by the boy (who learned to match with his mother's responses from before birth) and will be stored as doyles that will run through his body whenever he sees a roach. Until he does a Speed Trace to extirpate the doyle, or after decades he does an unconscious speed trace and the fear goes away. If that fear kept his mother from running to the only fire escape because there were roaches on the floor, his mother could die from the untraced and still active roach fear she passed on doyletically to him.

    Thanks, George, for sharing. No one needs to trace a doyle. It's always a personal choice as to whether a doyle is unwanted. Your question has helped me to elaborate on a point that many other people have asked me about over the years. I very much appreciate your comments.

    I would encourage all of you to join and post to the Doyletics List to share your tracing successes and failures. Others can learn from your successes. Others can help you to learn from your failures. A failure is a simply a harbinger of some future success, rightly understood.

    most cordially,
    Bobby

    P. S. Remember our motto: When in Doubt, Trace it Out!

    7. Battery Meter and Dashboard Lights

    Anyone who has ever driven a vintage automobile from the middle 20th Century will have seen a Battery Meter. They were ubiquitous on the dashboard. If your car's generator (pre-70s) or alternator was charging, the voltage read over 12 volts on the Battery Meter; if not, the meter pinged to the left. My 1994 pickup truck has a Battery Meter (see at right). Simple and effective, it worked at all stages of battery and charging device's condition. Here in the 21st Century, the disappearance of the dashboard battery meter was driven home to me in this past year by having 3 successive failures of my 2000 vehicle's alternator. First time in March 2011, a month later in April 2011, and 7 months later in November 2011. Each time the alternator failed, I looked in vain for a dashboard light to indicate that the alternator had failed. Nothing, Nil, Nada! Instead I got curious flickerings of the AIR (airbag), or the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) lights. In March the car simply stopped working, suddenly the motor stopped running and I coasted to a halt. This month, the ABS came on, the CD stopped playing, and I immediately recognized the symptoms of a low battery due to alternator failure. I charged the battery and drove to the Service Department.

    An answer to my unanswered question about why is there no dashboard light for the alternator finally popped into my head as I was describing my problem to my good friend Abdul at the Service Department. Consider how the AIR and ABS lights had lit up when there was an alternator failure, but no actual problem with either the airbags or the braking system — if there were a dashboard light for an alternator failure, that alarm light itself would be undependable! ! ! It might not come on at all. The electronic communication systems which route signals at low DC voltages to dashboard indicators will likely fail at exactly the same time the alternator stops delivering voltage. An undependable signal is worse than no signal at all. Yes, I can imagine a solution could be found to indicate an alternator failure, but is a solution possible within the constraints of getting an independent signal to the dashboard? Maybe not. Srill I can stare at the Battery Meter on the Babe and wonder why Nissan cannot match the 1994 technology of my Ford F150.

    Till that day arrives, I will dream of the Battery Meter on the dashboard of my 1951 MG TD as I tooled along the back roads of New England listening to its mellifluous muffler sounds bouncing off the trees along the wooded roadsides.

    8. Matherne — At the Gate to the Dairy

    When my daughters went to Germany tracking down our genealogy, they found our earliest ancestor Johann Adam Matern in the records of Rosenheim in the Alsace Region of France. Rosenheim still has a German speaking population because it was once part of Germany. The transition from the name Matern to Matherne was easy to deduce as Johann registered about 1721 in the Hahnville Courthouse and the clerk likely knew only French and the added the "h" and "e" because they are silent when speaking French.

    That left me with the unanswered question for many years, what is the meaning of the name "Matern"? No one traces of an explanation came my way until I met a Basque expert Michel who when I met him, said immediately, "Matern" — in Basque the beginning "M" refers to Mister, the "at" means "a gate" and the "ern" means "a dairy". So your name means essentially a "Gate to the Dairy". So the Materns who left Rosenheim for the USA in 1721 had earlier migrated to Rosenheim from the Basque region between France and Spain.

    A little primer on how surnames are formed in various European cultures: most commonly the names are of the occupation of the man. Examples abound, such as Smith, Cooper, Scribe, Wright, and so on. There is only one European culture in which surnames are formed from everyday things found around the house and farm, the Basques. Later I asked him also about the Babin side of the family and he said it was also Basque. His point is that if your surnames does not have a meaning in its native country or language, and it does have a meaning in Basque, chances are that you are Basque. Basques also have the only source of O-Neg blood in the world, so having that blood type is another sure sign of Basque origin.

    The Basques were famous for their ship-building and navigating. The "ez" added to the end of a surname to indicate "of", e. g., the son of Martin would be Martinez. One easily spot these -ez surnames in Cortez, Galvez, and many of the explorers of the Americas and the ruling governors of many early territories and states in the New World, and all these were Basques.

    This new knowledge has added a bit of pride in my surname and I thank Michel and hope he continues to spread the word about the Basque culture and its descendants. The very word Creole can rightly be understood to mean a Basque descendant who came to the New World from Europe, maybe from Spain, Germany, or other countries, but whose ancestors originated from the Basque region around the Pyrennes Mountains between France and Spain.

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