New Low

I was thinking about how awful people can be towards one another. I was thinking about the lack of empathy in day to day dealings. I was thinking about the atrocities committed upon one country to another over resources and conflict. I was thinking about how most people can’t even overcome road rage yet we talk about unity and the myth of progress and I wrote this piece.

 

New Low

you are a new low

the kind of bottom

that drains laughter

from a playground

and steals tears

from the grieving.

 

tf

 

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When Your Fiction & Non-Fiction Line Up

Fiction might be make believe but that doesn’t mean the story and message of a fictitious book can’t be powerful and worthy of teaching a lesson. There is quite a bit of fiction that is based on real events. Take the books shown in the image above. Milkweed is fiction but it is based on historical events that happened in the Jewish ghettos of Poland. The author did real research to get information he needed to tell this fictional story.

The subject of Milkweed happens to line up with the subject of the other books I am reading at the moment, both of which are non-fiction. Liars by Glenn Beck is about the dangers of progressivism. It tells a history of socialism and the loss of liberty due to central planning. It is ripe with examples of racism and atrocities committed upon certain groups of people which happens to coincide with the story of Milkweed quite nicely. Then there is Facism: A Warning by Madeleine Albright which warns of the dangers of fascism and authoritarian dictators who gain too much power and inflict their beliefs and policies on entire nations only to have the long term effects be disastrous and ruinous to society and economy. This piece of non-fiction compliments Milkweed very well. When you combine a certain subject of non-fiction with a similar fictional story of the same subject you have a powerhouse of information upon which to gain knowledge. You get the best of the facts and research from non-fiction with the exquisite story telling of fiction.

If you have never read fiction and non-fiction of the same subject at the same time you should give it a try. You might find it a fantastic way to learn a particular subject. I like to read my non-fiction material during the day and leave my fiction material for the evening before bed. I soak in the facts and research during the day and let my imagination work before bed and during sleep. There is no right or wrong way to do this. You could read the fiction first then the non-fiction second or vice versa if you don’t want to read two or three books at the same time. It is up to you, but if you have never stacked up depth of a subject matter with multiple books on that particular subject then you should try it out and see how much knowledge you can gain.

Until next time, good reading.

 

Don’t be a Rupert Pupkin

I was thinking of all the people out there that have potential but are not doing anything with their potential. I was thinking of all the people who are critical of others but haven’t done anything themselves. I was thinking about all the opportunity that presents itself to us and how some people don’t even look out for such opportunity. I was thinking of all these things and Rupert Pupkin came to mind. He is the lead character in the movie The King of Comedy. If you don’t know who Rupert Pupkin is do yourself a favor and look it up right now. I wrote this piece based off of Rupert Pupkin.

Don’t be a Rupert Pupkin

do something, get moving

take a chance, take a risk

set the dream in motion

stop the excuses

cut the strings

be more

find challenge

get away from comfortable

put yourself in the uncomfortable

carve yourself out of the woodwork

quit binding your potential

shove past indignity

do something, NOW!

 

 

The Key is Multiple Viewpoints

I have said before on the blog that I will read all kinds of political authors, but I think it is worth repeating. The key to being an informed, knowledgeable person in society is to take in as many viewpoints as you can. Not everyone does this and the problem that occurs when you don’t seek out varying opinions is that you fall into the trap of confirmation bias. When you only look at information that you already agree with you are not really learning. You are only closing down your worldview. If you are not willing to have your ideas challenged, not willing to consume varying perspectives then you are not growing. You and your mind are stagnant. You and your mind are not running, thriving water, instead you’re lifeless. If you are not growing then you are dying.

In addition, when you commit confirmation bias and only look at information that you already agree with it bears the question if you really have an opinion of your own. If you turn on your news and repeat what they say, you are not spewing your own thought out opinion, you are just regurgitating the opinion of your news station. All kinds of people go around talking about how they are entitled to their own opinion, but is it their own opinion? If they didn’t seek out varying ideas and are repeating word for word someone else’s talking points then they don’t have their own opinion in the first place.

None of this is meant to sound or be harsh, it is meant to get you to think. If you are offended right away by a differing opinion then maybe your worldview is on too tight of a lockdown and whatever ideology you have swallowed is poisoning your ability to think. Rigid ideology is dangerous. Allow yourself the ability to bend a little. I like to say ideology is poison.

Introduce yourself to various perspectives. Don’t limit your brain. Take the image above, for example. You have a book by the former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and a book by former Fox News employee Glen Beck. These two don’t share the same position and opinion as each other, but by reading both you have just introduced yourself to multiple points of view. These multiple points of view will give you enough information to make up your own mind. Square the perspectives off against one another and investigate the notes/resources section of each book to see where they got some of the information. By doing this you will be on your way to your very own opinion. Your ideology won’t be rigid because you will remember what other information was and is available on the subject. And, try other books and authors other than bestsellers. Lesser known authors can often times provide insight and ideas that you have never heard presented before.

Don’t regurgitate. Think.

Until next time, good reading.

 

Library as Resource

My previous two posts have related to the library and it’s ability to be the source of your education. I figured why not make it a trilogy and add one more post illustrating just how resourceful the library can be in educating yourself.

It is a misnomer that you need an instructor or even a college to learn and become something. People who want to learn are going to learn. Ask any autodidact. I would argue that most institutions of learning are teaching more obedience and conformity than anything else. You don’t need to be told what to read or what to learn. It is much more important to question what you have been told. But why? Yes, question things, even that. Get your brain working for yourself, not just regurgitating what someone else has put in there.

So, your path to lifelong learning should include regular stops at the library. These bastions of knowledge are indispensable sources to your education and entertainment.

Almost anything you can learn at a college or school you can learn at a library. For example, lets say you want to learn computer code so you can be a programmer or develop apps, well, the library has books on just about all the programming languages. In addendum to the library, you can supplement this self-quest to code by watching open source videos on the internet. You can enroll in an opencourse university class for free. With this particular route, you can go at your own pace which means if you have the time and work hard enough you can surpass a college student learning the same material. It’s up to you. With that said, I know some people need the discipline that a learning institution provides but that shouldn’t be an excuse as to why you can’t succeed and educate yourself. Go the extra mile.

In the image above I have a few books that can be found at the library which can help you educate yourself. One book is on computer software. One book is a cookbook which can help you make meals not only for yourself but others as well. Maybe there is potential from your learning to cook better from books to help you launch a career or even business of your own. Another is on personal finance. There are plenty of people who make a living from finance blogs. You can get started with that if you so desire by finding books on finance at the library. Knowledge is a key requisite for many positions in the workforce. Arm yourself with the knowledge you need to get ahead by reading. Why put yourself into debt getting a degree that won’t be valuable to you or society when you can learn the same things for free from the nearest library. Don’t be that person that majors in women’s studies then can’t find a job after that will support a rudimentary lifestyle. Choose wisely, and take advantage of the information that is readily available to you. If women’s studies appeals to you, first be smart and find a career that makes you competitive in the market, then learn women’s studies on your own from the library. Who knows, your self-education in women’s studies may just provide you the right context that allows you a side business. Think for yourself. Question as much as you possibly can and hail the library as your continuing education source.

Until next time, good reading.

 

Worthless Degrees from the Valuable Ones

College. Tuition. Careers. Money.

Many of us don’t like to face reality in concern with these four things. We find a bubble of comforting illusion that we place ourselves in and we block out any information that doesn’t fit our nice comfortable worldview. Reality can be harsh. In my last post about the wonders of the library and the resources they offer us I mentioned all the current talk about free education, in particular, free college. Then I wrote that education is already free, it’s called the library. So, continuing with this idea, I thought it would be nice to present a book to you that you may not have heard of or read yet dealing with college and the major you decide on which all relates to the talk of free college. The book is called Worthless by Aaron Clarey. The subtitle is The Young Person’s Indispensable Guide to Choosing the Right Major.

This book is a harsh but much needed wake up call to all the people who are choosing and are about to choose a worthless major and end up with a degree that will do basically nothing for them. This is why the book is titled Worthless. People are spending big sums of money and most are even going into debt to get a degree in college that will never equal what they paid for it. This is one of the reasons why some people are against free college. They don’t think their tax dollars should go to a young person who wants to major in women’s studies or art history as the return on investment is so poor. There is much more to the debate than that but reading this book will help you understand what you should major in if you are deciding on college. It breaks down what degrees are essentially worthless and what degrees hold value and have demand.

The author cites a simple exercise he has had young people do in the beginning of the book that illustrates his point on worthless degrees. He has the young people list things that they want in the near future then list what their prospective majors will be. Then he boldly and realistically displays the gap between the two. The things people need and want relate to science, technology, engineering, and math but not to things like women’s studies or art history. If you want to do something that there is a demand for and provides value to the world then major in something like science, technology, engineering, or math. The author calls this STEM. Aaron Clarey, despite injecting some of his ideological opinion into the book does do a wonderful job separating worthless degrees from more valuable degrees.

Read the book to learn and decide for yourself. Recommend the book to any young person approaching college age so they can learn and decide for themselves. College and degrees are not what they used to be. If you want an education go to the library, it’s free. Like I’ve said before, people who want to learn are going to learn. They find a way and most of those ways are free, if not, really affordable. If you want a degree that will get you somewhere in our economy then choose wisely.

Until next time, good reading.

 

Hail the Library

The library.

My mecca.

Just the thought of the library, a library, any library for that matter, fills me with joyous yet intoxicating sentiment. I can’t even imagine life without libraries. If not for the library I would not know the works of Carl Sagan or Road Dahl or Ray Bradbury or Paulo Coelho or Lenny Bruce. I wouldn’t know Dune and the quote “fear is the mind killer.” I wouldn’t know as many artists and musicians as I do if not for the institution of the library. Everything that makes up my overall knowledge base would be lacking if not for the library and all the wonder it holds within. Knowledge and adventure is right there in that building called the “library.” Help with your homework, escape from the day to day grind, how-to advice, and so much more is available at the library. It is open-source paradise. Almost anything you want to learn or do can begin by making a trip to your nearest library. I can’t praise the institution enough. Libraries are invaluable centers of knowledge and hold the keys to doors of many other worlds. It is a time in the current climate when people are talking about free education. Free education already exists, it is called the library. People who want to learn are going to learn, and anyone willing to work hard and go to the library can and will learn more than anyone trying to get an education the way they are told and expected to do so. The library is your resource to knowledge and worlds. Use it, don’t take it for granted. Enrich yourself.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean is a book that takes my sentiment toward the library mentioned above and explores the concept on a broader and richer level. It is an investigation into libraries and librarians and the importance and significance they have in our lives. She weaves the story of the devastating fire of the Los Angeles public library in 1986 into the book. Orlean provides us a moving tribute to the grand institution of the library which you can get by the way, at the library.

When was your last visit to the library?

Until next time, good reading.

 

 

6 Word Stories

What kind of story can you tell with only six words? It is time once again for some of my six word stories. Enjoy.

 

Depression dancing on the ivory keys.

 

His intended use determined the legality.

 

Off the wagon.  Needle kisses flesh.

 

tf

 

Building Vocab While Reading

I just finished reading The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry. One of the things I was impressed with aside from the fun, mischievous story was the vocabulary in the book. For a book aimed at the young audience it contained a hefty lexicon.

In fact, Lowry even includes a “Glossary” at the end of the story. I think this is wonderful. She did not have to do that. It was obviously an integral decision aimed at helping her young audience discover new words.

This is one of the reasons why I love reading. You get to learn new words and build a better vocabulary which can only be of benefit to you in life. It is continuous skill building, and if you read on a regular basis it is automatic.

The Willoughbys is full of great words. Here are some of the words you will devour if you read this fun little book:

  • affable
  • auspicious
  • malevolent
  • ignominious
  • expostulation
  • obsequious
  • odious
  • villainous

May these words and the words in all your reading give wings to your communication so you can soar through expressing yourself.

Until next time, good reading.

 

 

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