Tag Archives: logic

five things that should be logical, but aren’t

1. My little girl was home from school sick last Friday. There’s a nasty cold virus running around these parts and, of course, it jumped on her. She’s coughed until she can’t talk, blows her nose constantly. “Mom, where does all this stuff COME from??” So, last Friday evening we get the obligatory automated phone call from school informing us that our daughter was absent from 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th periods. REALLY??????

It annoys me to no end that I get phone calls from school because of the parents whose kids are enrolled in school, don’t show up, and the parents don’t really care where their kids are. It’s called annoying the innocent for the misdeeds of the guilty.

2. As part of the treatment for her cold and our ongoinging allergies, we must purchase sudafed on a fairly regular basis, and we require a higher dosage that is no longer available on the shelf. Therefore, I have to stand in line at the pharmacy counter, prove my identity to the Walmart cashier, sign a state government form indicating that I am NOT a methamphetamine user or dealer in order to purchase a maximum of two packages of sudafed for a total cost of four bucks. See 1. above re: annoying the innocent, or punishing the many because of the crimes of the few.

But I don’t have to prove my identity to vote. Someone else could show up, say she’s me, have her name marked on the roll as having voted and vote. Then when I show up to vote, the roll would indicate that I’ve already voted. Why is that? And why, if I think that showing an ID for proof of identity for voting registration purposes would help eliminate voter fraud, am I labeled a racist of all things??

3. As I mentioned, also 1. above, little girl is still coughing her head off. This morning I asked her if she could take some cough drops to school. Then I thought, I’ll bet she can’t take cough drops to school because they are considered “drugs” due to the zero-tolerance drug policy. Sure enough, she can’t take cough drops to school. Actually, she could, IF she gives them to the school nurse and then goes to the nurse’s office each time she needs a cough drop. Convenient. Zero-tolerance = “you mean I have to think about the situation and decide if it’s breaking policy or not? forget it. policy is applied the same to everyone. no thought required. YEAH!”

These are the same state educators who think it is proper to dispense birth-control pills to little girl, without my knowledge, or give her information on abortion, again without my knowledge.

I guess it makes sense. If I’m so stupid that I can’t dispense cough drops to her, or teach her how to recognize when she might benefit from the use of a cough drop, I supposed there’s no way on God’s green Earth I have the wits about me to teach her about sex in its appropriate context. Even more so in light of our family’s stance on the sanctity of ALL life.

4. I love watching football on weekends, but I’ve learned to turn the volume down. In five minutes Saturday afternoon a commentator used phrases, “football field”, “football game”, “football player”. DUH!!! Was the field going to immediately morph into, what, a baseball field, soccer field, polo field, corn field perhaps??? Was a flue player going to leap onto the field at some point, discounting the band at half-time? Do they even still have bands at half-time, or have we gone completely into gyrating “performers” who have wardrobe malfunctions and are paid millions of dollars to sing badly, make incoherent political statements and teach our children to use profanity in multiple languages and vernaculars?

Relate “football player” back to number 3. and our stance on pro-life vs. pro-choice. The life being terminated is not, nor will it ever be, a puppy or a hydra, no more than the football player will ever morph midway through the game into a shuffleboard player.

A nearby county, urban, has one of the highest infant mortality rates in our state. Our children were born in the large medical center there, the only one in the county with a birth center. The infant mortality rate there has always been higher than the state average and the state officials haven’t been able to determine why. Last week the paper published an article on the changes in the infant mortality rate over the years. The last sentence of the article said: “When parents lose a child to infant mortality, we all lose.”

A few days later a response appeared on the opinion page. The writer wondered why the same isn’t true of each child lost to abortion.

I wonder that too.

5. When I was in college I was really surprised to learn how much I hadn’t learned in high school. More specifically, with respect to the Russian revolution and the rewriting of Russian history after the revolution. Not only did I not realize that the Soviet government had rewritten parts of the Russian past in order to cast a more sinister light on the Czarist rule, I also could not understand how the people of Russia, the people who had lived through the revolution, could let such a thing happen. They knew the truth. The knew the truth was being distorted, and then obliterated. How could they let it happen? How could they just “forget”?

Then I hear the president of Iran say that the Holocaust never happened.

I see what’s happening to our country, and I hear folks from all wavelengths of the political spectrum fret about how things could have gotten this bad when they, the very ones speaking, had their slimy fingers in the middle of the making of the mess.

And it starts to make sense.

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the absence of words

Everyone I’ve talked to recently who has been to the Grand Canyon says the same thing: “I can’t find the words to describe it.” Well, neither can I, so for now I’m not going to try. With the exception of business travel to Philadelphia, Charlotte and New York, my travel experience is limited to mission trips to the Dominican Republic and to the Gulf coast following hurricane Katrina. Vacation has always meant “beach” or “mountains”, both of which are abundant here in North Carolina. The first time I went to Santo Domingo I knew, immediately, that I would be coming back. I’d like to say that I know I’ll be going back to Arizona. I can say that my brain is already busy thinking about different ways to accomplish a return trip.

But, my brain is busier thinking about something else. Before we left I was journaling one morning and I noticed that it was becoming increasingly difficult to put words together. I think it started in earnest during the spring when I was involved in the Walking in this World class. Call it whatever: writer’s block, pressure, performance anxiety…or probably something more like just plain old apathy. Doesn’t matter; the end result is that I can’t find words.

I lied just now. I can find them just fine. What I can’t do is express them. A very strange thing happened when I was a working girl in the early 90’s. March was the traditional month for performance reviews and merit increases based on job performance for the previous year. I happened to go out on maternity leave in early January one year and returned in early March, just in time for my performance review for the previous year, which had been a doozy. We were redesigning an entire system and during that previous year I had learned new system, new programming languages, new techniques, you name it. One of those new languages was learned on the fly when the author of a big chunck of code went out on, you guessed it, maternity leave, earlier than anticipated. We were in system test. I walked into work on a Monday morning to find a hard copy of her program (all 200,000 lines of it) and a pile of system test error reports, and a note that said something like “Have fun!” And I did. Learned Algol on the fly, corrected the errors, made changes, kept my own programs up to date, yak yak yak, survived the holidays and then had a baby.

Then March came, I went back to work and immediately had a performance review that went something like this: “You did a great job last year, but your salary raise will be delayed for 8 weeks.” Funny thing, I was just out on maternity for 8 weeks. The review continued: “I know it looks like we’re delaying your raise because you were out on maternity the first two months of this year, but we aren’t.” I had to ask. “So, why are you delaying it?” The answer was: “Well, it’s NOT because you were out on maternity. And it’s NOT because of any problem with your performance during the past year, because you did a great job.” Huh? “So what you’re saying is that my raise is being delayed because I did a great job and the delay has nothing to do w/ my maternity leave which just happens to have been the same duration as the delay in my raise, right?” Right.

Kinda hard to argue with that logic. There aren’t words. Here’s another, much less complicated example. Suppose someone hits your thumb with a hammer. Hard. And then that someone says to you, “I know you think that your thumb hurts because I hit it with a hammer, but it doesn’t. Not only does it not hurt because I hit it, in reality it actually doesn’t hurt you at all. You just think it does.” Could have fooled me. Oh, and that bruise looks pretty darned real to me too, but that’s just an optical illusion created by sunlight reflecting on the swamp gas hovering above my hand.

Did I even have a point to this?

Emotions. Feelings. They are what they are. Sometimes they hurt and sometimes they feel pretty darned good. Sometimes the logic behind them doesn’t make any sense. But to say that someone isn’t feeling a particular emotion when it’s obvious that they are is a lie. Don’t tell me that I’m not feeling what I’m feeling, even if what I’m feeling makes no logical sense to you or to me. I may understand in my head that what I’m feeling doesn’t make any sense. And I can take steps to adjust my emotional reactions to whatever so that they are more in tune with the logic of the situation.

But for the moment, if something hurts, please don’t tell me that it really doesn’t. I know it probably won’t hurt as much tomorrow, or next week. But it hurts today.

There’s a list of things going on right now. Some are good, some are not so good. Some are scary, some are exciting. I’ve used writing, journaling, in the past to work through a lot of stuff and I need to do it now. But I can’t find the words. I think I have them and then when I read them back to myself I hear other voices saying things like “you can’t feel that way” or “you shouldn’t feel that way” or “you know your whole reaction to that is wrong” or my personal favorite: “Nobody would ever feel that way about what you’re experiencing so there must be something wrong with you.” I love that one.

I’m still not sure I had a point. Or maybe I did. There’s so much that needs to be said, about the trip, about getting the kids ready for college and high school and the added responsibilites that both of them are facing, about facing mid-life and mapping out the next path in life, about my personal successes or (probably more noteworthy) failures in dealing with any of this stuff. I think I have a handle on something, have some words wrapped around it that make sense. But then I hear myself thinking that my words might be misunderstood or might make someone angry or confused or whatever and it becomes so much more about making sure I don’t cross anyone else’s boundaries, real or perceived.

The end result is that I file the words away and say nothing.

No, it really doesn’t hurt.

Remember Yosemite Sam, when he inherited a million dollars and Bugs Bunny came to see if he was worty of receiving it? All Sam had to do was hold his temper in check because, if he lost his temper, he lost some of his inheritance. It took Bugs doing varous painful things to Sam through the entire cartoon, but finally Sam got his temper under control and, no matter what crappy thing happened to him, he just laughed and said “I like it!” Unfortunately it cost him the entire inheritance to get to that point. The things Bugs did to Sam were painful, but Sam wasn’t allowed to say “ouch!” or fight back. So he clammed up, smiled and said “hurt me again, it’s ok.”

Kind of like that.

a cure for the global warming crisis

So, this afternoon the family piled into the car (not the big ‘ol van, because its carbon footprint is Sasquatch-sized) and headed to Costco for strawberries and an iPod accessory. When we finished our shopping and headed back to the car we found the vehicle parked next to us with plenty of bumper stickers on the back.

“Another family for peace”

“IRAN(Q)’

OK, everyone is entitled to their opinion on the war. But, the following sticker started quite a conversation in the Cielo-mobile:

“After we rebuild Iraq, can we rebuild our schools?” and had a picture of a child at a desk with his hand raised. Well, where do I start?

Yesterday I heard a report on revisionist textbooks currently being used in public middle-and-high school Social Studies classes in Maryland schools. Here’s an excerpt from the Charlotte Examiner’s article:

Sewall complains the word jihad has gone through an “amazing cultural reorchestration” in textbooks, losing any connotation of violence. He cites Houghton Mifflin’s popular middle school text, “Across the Centuries,” which has been approved for use in Montgomery County Schools. It defines “jihad” as a struggle “to do one’s best to resist temptation and overcome evil.”

When I do an internet search on the word jihad I get this:
  1. Islam. An individual’s striving for spiritual self-perfection.
  2. Islam. A Muslim holy war or spiritual struggle against infidels.
  3. A crusade or struggle: “The war against smoking is turning into a jihad against people who smoke” (Fortune).

Oh, another bumper sticker from the same vehicle was the chestnut “If going to church makes you a Christian, does going to the garage make you a car?” Little girl didn’t quite understand the logic of that one, so we started explaining it to her in terms she could understand.

Mom: Remember the report on Seattle’s proposed ban on bonfires because they contribute to global warming? It’s that kind of logic. If bonfires on the beaches of Seattle contribute to global warming, then doesn’t it stand to reason that forest fires contribute even more to global warming?

LG: Oh, yeah. I get it now.

Well, we decided to push that logic to it’s inevitable conclusion and Ta-Da! we solved the global warming crisis. Really, we did. Follow me here.

Yes, it is true that forest fires contribute more to the crisis than Seattle’s bonfires. Most forest fires are started by lightning. So, logically, shouldn’t we ban lightning too?

But, we can’t ban lightning until we ban thunderstorms, because they are the generators of the electricity that manifests itself as lightning, causing forest fires that contribute to global warming.

But, we can’t ban thunderstorms until we ban condensation, because it creates the storm clouds that generate the electricty that manifests itself as lightning, causing the forest fires that contribute to global warming.

But, we can’t ban condensation until we ban evaporation, because the water molecules that condense into the clouds that generate the electricity that manifests itself as lightning, that causes the forest fires that contribute to global warming, must first evaporate.

Well, how do we ban evaporation? Seems to me like we need to ban water, and the world’s limited water resources are recycled through the circle of rain, evaporation and condensation. Everyone knows that rainforests act as the world’s thermostat by regulating temperatures and weather patterns. But how do they do this?

Well, trees in the rainforest breathe carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (that’s good, it’s using some of the CO2 greenhouse gasses) and give off oxygen into the atmosphere. That oxygen combines with hydrogen to create, WATER. The water then evaporates into the atmosphere, where it condenses, forming thunder clouds that generate electricty that manifests itself as lightning that strikes the earth’s surface, starting forest fires that contribute to global warming by putting CO2 into the atmosphere. 

Of course, the rainforests are supposed to remove that CO2 from the atmosphere, but since they helped put it there in the first place, (see logic above) then, if we remove them they can’t participate in the great circle of global warming contribution.

SO, LOGICALLY, if we ban rainforests we’ll be well on our way to solving the global warming crisis.

Under normal circumstances I would be donning my flame-retardant suit in anticipation of the flaming arrows that are inevitably coming my way as a result of this post. But, before you launch one in my direction, remember that fire contributes to global warming.

Insane, isn’t it? But no more insane than making sweeping generalizations about a war that began in 2003 causing the destruction of our school systems, when public school education has been in decline for, oh, at least 40 years prior to the beginning of the war that started in 2003 that has destroyed American public education. Or the sweeping generalizations about what does or does not make someone a Christian.

Back to the revised definition of jihad. While it is technically true that one of the definitions of jihad does not contain references to violence, one must also look at the meaning of the word in the context of its application. The jihad applied to New York and Washington that caused the war was certainly NOT non-violent. When we don’t use context to understand the world around us, we wind up with stupid arguments over warped logic.

Here’s another bumper sticker: “Am I liberal, or just well-educated?” You mean I can’t be well-educated if I disagree with everything liberal?

Where do I start?