What was it that killed the neighbor’s kitty?

Curiosity killed the cat, caught the catfish and fed Fred. Curiosity is the key to change, discovery and the next thing. Without curiosity there would be nothing new; there would be no joy, no one to read these words. Curiosity feeds fin, fowl and the hairy beast; it draws us to the stars and transforms chimps to champs as the pursuit of solutions straightens the back, calms the brow and finds more and more uses for finger dexterity.

Curiosity compels those who possess it to improve; it enhances desire and defines progress. Plato possessed it. You possess it. So do I. So does the rat in the Skinner cage. Curiosity gives way to discovery, change and an opportunity to gather knowledge. What will we learn? Can we depend on what we learn? Knowledge often disappoints. Today’s knowledge is soon replaced or enhanced by tomorrow’s startling revelation. We depend heavily on that which promises to fulfill our need for Truth. Failure to do so often results in supplanting knowledge with belief. Knowledge depends on measurable, observable events. Belief can be supported by knowledge but more often relies simply upon habit or on faith. If the supply of observable events is low, the believer may seek information which seems to support a preferred theory. The most readily available tool for adding strength to these methods is the tool of Affirmation. Where Curiosity is a means of Discovering Reality, Affirmation supplies a method for Creating Reality.

Though gathering knowledge brings with it the joy of discovery and the alluring thrill of adventure, it is also very stressful; we are incapable of spending all our waking hours in pursuit of new and better answers to the questions which assail our brains even as we sleep. Life does not provide enough time for gathering a supply of information adequate to the task of bolstering the confidence of those who seek it. There is only one immediate reward, the alluring promise of Truth. However, one who is experienced in the techniques of gathering information understands the temporary nature of that which appears to be a revealed “Truth”. The ardent researcher realizes that the quality of this objectively acquired “information” is dependent to some degree on additional “News” as yet undiscovered. Some of us can live with that; most of us cannot. We need something reliable, something Never-changing. Some of us can satisfy this need with a philosophy of observable, behavioral principles of social behavior. Some need something more reliable, something which though difficult to prove is equally difficult to disprove, therefore somewhat defensible. In this category can be found the religious and the atheists of the world, both intent on securing the title of Most Knowledgeable on the subject of God. The greatest of their differences seems to be whether to capitalize God’s name.

“Seek and ye shall find” says Scripture. “Wait long enough and you will be provided with plenty of support for whatever you choose to believe” taunts the Scholar. There are testimonials supporting every idea known to mankind.

The religious among us argue for the virtue of Faith. Yet a well founded religion built over time already has all the answers. Some might argue that a much greater degree of faith is needed on order to live the life of a Scholar. The Scholar, unlike those whose Rock is contained in their religion, lacks the reassurance of “the Group”. This individual has already observed Change. The Scholar has very little to depend on, in the way of Timeless Information and must maintain an extremely high level of Integrity. The Scholar is motivated by adventure and knows the Joy of Discovery discarded by many of us as we leave our childhood behind.

In order to maintain the level of integrity required to live such a life, the Scholar must face the possibility of living out an existence filled with loneliness. It is much more difficult to build a society around a concept of “Lack” than of “Abundance”. Only the Religious have “All the Answers”. The Scholar is faced with the temporary nature of discovered information. The religious among us have for the most part, an explanation of life which supplies them with a hope of “Life Everlasting”. The Scholar must settle for knowing that though he will not be provided with enough answers to turn this lifetime or anything to follow into Nirvana, there is a well supported belief that Science and sound thinking can and must improve the lot of all mankind. The same can be said for those whose life is supported by their Religion.

If the reader was expecting to be persuaded to one or the other method of gathering information, I apologize. And to those who fit into neither category, I offer my condolences. To know only a desire to satisfy the most temporary needs of the moment must be the most desperate approach to life, though I doubt that such knowledge is disturbing to chimps.

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Humongous (Humoungus, Humungus, Houmungus)

First posted on 6 March 2012

Yesterday………………… “We walked on. He hit the next pole more gently; we listened to the musical tone that resulted from the blow and I reproduce the musical note with my vocal chords. By the time we returned home Bill’s wrist was swollen and we had arrived singing a melody made of the notes that had erupted from the vibrating light poles that my pole playing son had produced with his pole bat.

On the next walk we sang that melody until memorized and eventually created a silly set of lyrics; no need for ASCAP membership yet but it was a lot of fun. Tomorrow I will tell you a story that I will entitle Humongous.”

One year later: My son Bill and I were on our first walk of the season. We had determined that since winter had left us and since we were tired of working out at School gyms that we should walk all the way to downtown Phoenix and back. On our way we began to make up words. Inspired by my son’s growing love of salty linguistics, we decided that it might be a good idea to create some more acceptable replacements. “Pistalvistard”, volunteered my suddenly inspired offspring. “Oynt-never-never”, I replied.

“Humbug”, said Bill and I reminded him that we had agreed to create new words. “Fungus”, he blurted with a sureness about his demeanor that dared me to challenge him.

“You didn’t make that up”, I declared.

“Sure I did. This isn’t the fungus that grows on old bread. This is Fungus as in Fungus Amongus.” He pronounced both Gs. I thought that this was a great word but that it didn’t qualify. Humungus. I asked him what Humungus meant and he laughed and said that it meant a really big bungus. We laughed and laughed and laughed.

And suddenly I had an inspiration. Over the next week we would do two things. We would ask everyone we met if they had ever heard this word and we’d write down the names of each person that we asked.

A week later we met on the patio before our walk and tallied the results. No one had ever heard of Humongous. Bill had spoken with 123 people. I had spoken with 72. We multiplied the total of 195 times 52 weeks and squared the answer to determine how many people would have an opportunity to hear this new word in one year. With 10 million exposures we would surely hear this word within a year or two. We were stunned to discover that it was only a matter of weeks before we heard this word from the lips of a stranger and in less than a year we heard it on KDKB. There eventually came a time when Humungous was more popular than the F bomb that was rapidly infecting the vocabularies of children, eliminating the need for substitutes.

Did you notice the various ways I spelled Humoungus?

It really is a word these days. It is in the Merriam Webster Dictionary spelled Humongous.

And yes I know. Bill and I are not the only declared originators of Humongous. That wasn’t why we did it. We simply wondered how long it would take to spread. That was valuable information in those days. But today? There are more bloggers in the world than there were people in our hoped-for audience. So, from now on I’m not standing in line for a new truth. It’ll be obsolete in the blink of an eye. Just point me to the next thing and ask me to do it.

 

Music Makes Everything Better.

First posted on March 5, 2012

When my son was a child (he will surely be a grandfather soon), he and I enjoyed taking long, evening walks together during the summer months. When we began this tradition we found we had little to say to each other. Remarkably, we stuck it out, eventually discovering some very creative ways of entertaining ourselves and each other. One evening as we walked, Bill picked up a stick along the way. The discarded piece of lumber was as long as he was tall, smaller than a one by four and larger than a one by two; I don’t remember how tall he was but he was six or seven years old. We had just arrived in Phoenix from Oklahoma City and everything we did, Bill and I and his sisters Mary and Dixie and his mother, was an adventure of the best kind.

As we approached a metal light pole, Bill raised his stick like a bat and creeping up as if to attack an unsuspecting animal standing there waiting to become dinner, Bill swung the stick and with a resounding ring, the vibration of which traveled back up the stick and through the bones in his small body, landed him squarely on the sidewalk. The greatest stress to my boy was the surprise of an inanimate object fighting back. The second was to the ulna of his right arm with considerable pain centering in the wrist. I removed my shirt and then my tee-shirt, put the outer layer back on, cut and tore the tee into three-inch wide strips using a 200-year old knife that had lived in the pockets of several generations of Broom men, wrapping the resulting field bandage around his wrist. When I picked up the stick, Bill told me in a very firm tone that I should give it to him and I obeyed.

We walked on. He hit the next pole more gently; we listened to the musical tone that resulted from the blow and I reproduce the musical note with my vocal chords. By the time we returned home Bill’s wrist was swollen and we had arrived singing a melody made of the notes that had erupted from the vibrating light poles that my pole playing son had produced with his pole bat.

On the next walk we sang that melody until memorized and eventually created a silly set of lyrics; no need for ASCAP membership yet but it was a lot of fun. Tomorrow I will tell you another Father and Son story that I will entitle Humongous.

 

On Knowing (Gautama Buddha)

“I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.” -Gerry Spence

ON KNOWING

Buddha (563 B.C.- 483 B.C)

Do not believe what you have heard.

Do not believe in tradition just because it is handed down from many generations.

Do not believe in anything just because it has been spoken of many times.

Do not believe simply because the words come from some old sage.

Do not believe in conjecture.

Do not believe in authority or teachers or elders.

But after careful observation and analysis, when it agrees with reason and it will benefit one and all, then accept it and live by it.

A Few Basics

A Few Basics.

CuriousAbner.wordpress.com

I am not The Lemming. During the last couple of physically aggravating weeks I was encouraged and empowered by following these basic bits of advice.

 

1; Question everything or live the life of The Lemming.  Mother

2: Look it up in World Book. Father

3: Do what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it (and don’t do what you’re not supposed to).  Jim.

4: Trust God and do the Next Thing.  Meister Eckhart.

5: Spiritual, emotional and physical wellness are the rewards of reason tempered with faith. Approval? Not so much.. Lee.

6: Nobody warned me.  The Lemming

Humongous (Humoungus, Humungus, Houmungus)

Yesterday………………… “We walked on. He hit the next pole more gently; we listened to the musical tone that resulted from the blow and I reproduce the musical note with my vocal chords. By the time we returned home Bill’s wrist was swollen and we had arrived singing a melody made of the notes that had erupted from the vibrating light poles that my pole playing son had produced with his pole bat.

On the next walk we sang that melody until memorized and eventually created a silly set of lyrics; no need for ASCAP membership yet but it was a lot of fun. Tomorrow I will tell you a story that I will entitle Humongous.”

One year later: My son Bill and I were on our first walk of the season. We had determined that since winter had left us and since we were tired of working out at School gyms that we should walk all the way to downtown Phoenix and back. On our way we began to make up words. Inspired by my son’s growing love of salty linguistics, we decided that it might be a good idea to create some more acceptable replacements. “Pistalvistard”, volunteered my suddenly inspired offspring. “Oynt-never-never”, I replied.

“Humbug”, said Bill and I reminded him that we had agreed to create new words. “Fungus”, he blurted with a sureness about his demeanor that dared me to challenge him.

“You didn’t make that up”, I declared.

“Sure I did. This isn’t the fungus that grows on old bread. This is Fungus as in Fungus Amongus.” He pronounced both Gs. I thought that this was a great word but that it didn’t qualify. Humungus. I asked him what Humungus meant and he laughed and said that it meant a really big bungus. We laughed and laughed and laughed.

And suddenly I had an inspiration. Over the next week we would do two things. We would ask everyone we met if they had ever heard this word and we’d write down the names of each person that we asked.

A week later we met on the patio before our walk and tallied the results. No one had ever heard of Humongous. Bill had spoken with 123 people. I had spoken with 72. We multiplied the total of 195 times 52 weeks and squared the answer to determine how many people would have an opportunity to hear this new word in one year. With 10 million exposures we would surely hear this word within a year or two. We were stunned to discover that it was only a matter of weeks before we heard this word from the lips of a stranger and in less than a year we heard it on KDKB. There eventually came a time when Humungous was more popular than the F bomb that was rapidly infecting the vocabularies of children, eliminating the need for substitutes.

Did you notice the various ways I spelled Humoungus?

It really is a word these days. It is in the Merriam Webster Dictionary spelled Humongous.

And yes I know. Bill and I are not the only declared originators of Humongous. That wasn’t why we did it. We simply wondered how long it would take to spread. That was valuable information in those days. But today? There are more bloggers in the world than there were people in our hoped-for audience. So, from now on I’m not standing in line for a new truth. It’ll be obsolete in the blink of an eye. Just point me to the next thing and ask me to do it.

Music makes everything better.

When my son was a child (he will surely be a grandfather soon), he and I enjoyed taking long, evening walks together during the summer months. When we began this tradition we found we had little to say to each other. Remarkably, we stuck it out, eventually discovering some very creative ways of entertaining ourselves and each other. One evening as we walked, Bill picked up a stick along the way. The discarded piece of lumber was as long as he was tall, smaller than a one by four and larger than a one by two; I don’t remember how tall he was but he was six or seven years old. We had just arrived in Phoenix from Oklahoma City and everything we did, Bill and I and his sisters Mary and Dixie and his mother, was an adventure of the best kind.

As we approached a metal light pole, Bill raised his stick like a bat and creeping up as if to attack an unsuspecting animal standing there waiting to become dinner, Bill swung the stick and with a resounding ring, the vibration of which traveled back up the stick and through the bones in his small body, landed him squarely on the sidewalk. The greatest stress to my boy was the surprise of an inanimate object fighting back. The second was to the ulna of his right arm with considerable pain centering in the wrist. I removed my shirt and then my tee-shirt, put the outer layer back on, cut and tore the tee into three-inch wide strips using a 200 -year old knife that had lived in the pockets of several generations of Broom men,  wrapping the resulting field bandage around his wrist. When I picked up the stick, Bill told me in a very firm tone that I should give it to him and I obeyed.

We walked on. He hit the next pole more gently; we listened to the musical tone that resulted from the blow and I reproduce the musical note with my vocal chords. By the time we returned home Bill’s wrist was swollen and we had arrived singing a melody made of the notes that had erupted from the vibrating light poles that my pole playing son had produced with his pole bat.

On the next walk we sang that melody until memorized and eventually created a silly set of lyrics; no need for ASCAP membership yet but it was a lot of fun. Tomorrow I will tell you a story that I will entitle Humongous.