Weekly Photo Challenge: Rise/Set

March 30, 2018 — This week’s photo challenge is rise/set.

Sun set at the Jersey Shore.
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Another Lost Art

March 26, 2018 – Cursive handwriting is on the decline and could be in danger of becoming extinct, Many schools have made the decision that cursive handwriting isn’t a necessary skill for the 21st century.

We live in an age where our younger generation is already lost to art of communication due to mobile phones and social media. To take another skill away will limit their communication abilities further. Can you imagine future generations not able to read Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution unless it was printed in a book or online?

As a graduate of Catholic school, the Palmer method of handwriting was ingrained in me at an early age. By second grade, printing gave way to handwriting, and now printing seems so foreign. Sure, I still have the ability to print, but it is my handwriting that is far more legible.

Does the end of cursive handwriting mean that beautifully penned wedding invitations  are on the way out too? That’s just as sad as love letters or letters in general that have succumbed to texting. I keep envisioning Daniel Day-Lewis’ character and those lovely thank you notes he wrote in The Age of Innocence. The calligraphy was almost a character in the movie, and it wouldn’t have been the same if he simply printed his name instead.

What about signatures? How will future adults approve tax forms, loan documents and important other papers that require you to sign your name? Your signature is supposed to be your unique identifier, so a simple X marks the spot won’t due.

Most likely the signature issue will be solved by scanning our retinas to give our approval. That’s even more depressing than the thought of losing the art of cursive handwriting.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Favorite Place

March 23, 2018 — This week’s photo challenge is favorite place.

There are two peaceful places I visit often to catch my breath, and they just happen to be two places that I’ve photographed the most over the last several years.

Sunset Beach in Cape May, N.J. where folks gather each night to watch the sun set.

Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, is beautiful all year round, especially in the spring.

Spring!

March 19, 2018 – Spring arrives in the northern hemisphere tomorrow.

For many of us spring signifies longer days, increasing as the season progresses and the temperatures begin to rise.

For the college student, spring means break, whether it’s home to Mom and Dad for a week, or off to a tropical island to celebrate time off.

For the gardener, spring equals rebirth. Seeds are planted in nurturing soil and bloom into colors so vibrant they put rainbows to shame.

For the religious, spring often means the renewal of faith.

For the poet, “A little madness in the spring is wholesome even for the king.” – Emily Dickinson

For the romantic, “Always its spring, and everyone’s in love and flowers pick themselves.” – e.e. cummings

For the literary, “Spring drew on . . . and a greenness grew over those garden beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

For the music lover, spring is Vivaldi.

And for the baseball fan, spring is the happiest season of all. Opening day is 13 days away…Go Phillies!

Is Ignorance the Key to Happiness?

March 12, 2018 – We’ve all heard the clichéd sayings that ignorance is bliss, and that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Do you believe that to be true? Are less intelligent people happier than super intelligent people? Is being uniformed the way to be happy? Is it better to be clueless?

That’s a lot of questions to throw at you at one time, but they all ask the same thing. To find an answer, let’s start with some statistics.

Results of a recent general social survey suggest that wealthier people tend to be happier than poor people. That’s hardly surprising news. If fact, the survey showed there was no one change that would make a person happier as much as moving from the bottom 5 on the income scale than to the top 5. Since most people with money are well-educated, let’s score one for the “informed” column.

However, statistics also show that people who do something as simple as switching off the evening news tend to be happier. After all, it’s difficult to listen to destruction and misery everyday and remain blissful. Maybe there is something to remaining clueless.

I could provide more examples, but we’d still be at a standoff because there are both good and bad points to being informed and remaining clueless, which leads to my next question.

What makes people happy? If you asked 50 people that question, you’d probably get several different answers. However, experts explain that happiness breaks down like this:

50% of a person’s ability to be happy comes from genetics, which means we all born with a happiness “set point”. 15% of our ability comes from our circumstances, such as health, where we live, what we do, etc. And 35% comes from the areas of our life which we can completely control, such as our attitude and how we react to situations around us.

So, we’re back to square one. It appears that we can control about half of what makes us happy, while the other half is determined for us. Genetics vs. circumstances/attitudes is just about as equal as being informed vs. remaining clueless. It seems that like most things in life, the answer is in the middle.

It’s interesting that we use the phrase “ignorance is bliss”, leaving out the second half of the quote, which is from a poem by Thomas Gray. He actually wrote, “While ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.”

We’re in the middle again.

I guess that means it’s wise to have a little balance in life.