Weird Things About Traffic

August 20, 2018 – Traffic is a real head scratcher.

You’re driving along at a normal speed, and all of the sudden you’re moving slower than a three-toed sloth. There’s no indication why. No merging. No accidents. No school busses. You try to figure out the physics behind it, but you’re only fooling yourself. You were never good at math or science anyway, so you simply accept that traffic will always be a complete mystery.

Once upon a time I enjoyed getting caught in traffic. Between working and raising my son, my traffic time was my alone time. If traffic moved at the pace of a sloth, it meant more time listening to music or spending time with my thoughts. Now, he’s grown and I still have a hefty commute each day. Traffic is no longer what I desire, but it is a little more understandable thanks to this list of weird things about traffic from Listverse.com.

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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.

The Kindness Gene

November 27, 2017 – When Blanche Dubois uttered her famous line, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” in A Streetcar Named Desire, I bet she didn’t know that one day there would be a scientific theory to explain why. Or rather, to explain that we can spot kindness in people we don’t know, and maybe she was drawn to strangers she sensed were kind.

According to research data published in 2011, people with a certain gene trait are known to be more kind and caring than people without it. Who knew?

This isn’t earth-shattering news, but what’s interesting about the research is that they’ve proven that if we have the kindness gene, it can be easily and quickly picked up by people who don’t even know us.

The research was conducted on average people, and not folks who go through life pinching babies and kicking dogs, where it is more than obvious they’re missing the kindness gene. Researchers at Oregon State University devised an experiment in which 23 couples, whose genotypes were known to them but not to observers were studied. These observers were asked to watch them converse in groups of two, and with the sound turned off, identify which listener had the kindness gene and which did not. In most cases the observers chose correctly.

Finally, an explanation why I’m always selected for jury duty.

A bedtime snack?

April 24, 2017 — I used to work with a woman who bragged about giving her kids Benadryl before long car trips to make them sleep.

If she’d known about Kush Cakes, she could have saved herself from the awful stares of her co-workers when she told us about it.

Kush Cakes, advertised as the ultimate psychedelic brownie, are made with ingredients that are legal in every state by a licensed pharmacist and with a formula to help support relaxation and sleep. They also contain hemp protein, melatonin, valerian root and coco, and have a logo that resembles another hemp product that you might be familiar with.

Although the manufacturer says that the brownies are for adults only, especially those who need to relax after consuming energy drinks to fuel themselves at work all day, I’m sure the Benadryl mom would have an easier time giving her kids a brownie with rather than a teaspoonful of nasty tasting medicine.

I like the idea of eating a brownie before bed over popping an Ambien. At least Kush Cakes don’t have a history of making people do weird things like sleepwalk in the nude, or eat everything in the kitchen without any recollection. However, they are pricey.

Find out more about these delectable goodies at www.mykushcakes.com.

Need a Good Laugh? Surf the Web.

March 13, 2017 – The beauty of the Internet is that there is always something new to discover.

I came across a site appropriately named watchitbackwards.com, which is devoted to providing a good laugh to movie and television fans.

The premise is that story lines in reverse create a completely different and humorous outcome. Some plot lines even improve. For example:

“If you watch The Wizard Of Oz backwards, it’s about Dorothy escaping Oz by running away from the Emerald City and getting home to Kansas in a flying house.”

Or, “if you watch Pretty Woman backwards, it’s about Richard Gere transforming Julia Roberts into a hooker.”

And my favorite, “if you watch Scarface backwards, it’s about a man who gives up cocaine and crime to follow his dream of becoming a dishwasher to earn enough money so he can visit Cuba.”

The site is updated frequently, so even the latest Oscar nominations have been added. And if you’re clever enough to come up with your own backwards movie or television show, the site welcomes submissions.

Listening to the Silence

silence5February 27, 2017 – When I worked in PR and advertising back in the day, we spent a lot of time assembling media packages. My co-workers and I would amuse ourselves by discussing the deeper questions in life while working the assembly line of brochures, trinkets, and press releases. It helped pass the time.

I once posed the question – would you rather lose your sight or your hearing – and received a witty response from a co-worker. He said, “My hearing, so I don’t have to listen to this absurd conversation.”

We chuckled; he had a quick sense of humor. Still, the go to response for most people would be to keep their sight. Getting through life without it would be difficult. However, the thought of never hearing a baby’s laugh or a beautiful piece of music is enough to make me at least ponder the question.

I began to take notice of how often I was surrounded by silence after that conversation. In the office, I sit at my desk surrounded by white noise and the sound of my co-workers typing on their keyboards; in my car I listen to the radio; At home, it’s conversation, the television or music. Even when I go to bed at night, the sounds of the ceiling fan or the humidifier fill the room.

The last time I drove to work in silence was several years ago when my battery light came on as I was driving onto I-95. I managed to pull over and quickly restart, but fearing it would happen again, I pulled back on the road after turning off the music. I surrounded myself with the sounds of silence, and because the windows were shut, even the traffic seemed hushed.

It made me ultra-aware of what is going on around me, and affected me in other places outside of my car; the clock in work that sits above my desk, for instance, began to drive me crazy. Oddly, I could hear it tick, and had to turn on music to drown it out. I’d never noticed it before.

There is something about silence that is appealing. As long as there isn’t an annoying clock ticking in the background to spoil it.

It Does a Body Good

imagesJanuary 27, 2011 – Quick! Name a sound more appealing than a baby’s laughter.

I don’t think you can.

Laughter is important both mentally and physically, whether you are a child or an adult, because it instantly improves your mood. It also works your abs, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, boosts your immune system, and reduces pain by releasing endorphins.

It’s documented that people who have a positive outlook on life—those who tend to laugh freely—are better equipped to fight disease. Like crying, laughter also releases pent-up emotions, and brings more oxygen into the body, which makes the Joni Mitchell lyric ring true… “Laughing and crying, it’s the same release.”

A wise man once said, “We don’t stop laughing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop laughing.” Here’s a little something to keep you young.