The white bird and the spies — I mean, birdwatchers

“You were right. It was an egret.” Mercedes greeted me this way when we met on the abandoned railroad track. Lest you think we are spies — exchanging passphrases as we rendezvous to hand over the microfilm — I’ll quickly let you know that those days are far behind me. But, seriously … Mercedes andContinue reading “The white bird and the spies — I mean, birdwatchers”

3 rewards in social media debates

How often do social media debates change someone’s mind? It’s nearly as rare as lightning striking a purple carrot during a solar eclipse. If we aim to convince someone else of our point of view, we don’t get very far, very often. That’s not necessarily an assessment of our argument skills; it’s just the wayContinue reading “3 rewards in social media debates”

What my YouTube recommendations tell me

I just went to YouTube, and it is recommending these videos to me: Snowstorm & Crackling Fireplace Sounds Milan, Italy, Walking Tour Dueling Professors — John Lennox & Peter Atkins Right up my alley! Of course, YouTube knows this because I watch this sort of thing all the time. During the lockdown, a cozy cabinContinue reading “What my YouTube recommendations tell me”

Don’t lose focus on the *real* issue

“Blueberries keep falling out of the wheelbarrow.” Jack was frustrated. He pulled his wool scarf up over his ears, which was odd considering it was August. Jill glanced skyward and shook her head. “Birds keep eating the blueberries.” She didn’t add “you simpleton”, but it was implied. “That’s not the point, Jill. It’s like you’reContinue reading “Don’t lose focus on the *real* issue”

Protesters are …

Protesters are … Black people are … White people are … Police officers are … Politicians are … Reporters are … Christians are … Muslims are … Jews are … Celebrities are … Men are … Women are … Americans are … If you’re about to end any of these sentences with something other thanContinue reading “Protesters are …”

Winsome or lose some

If you want to push people away, shut them down, and make them dig their heels in … criticize them, not just their viewpoint or behavior get angry or impatient use sarcasm don’t play fair use deception If you want to draw people in, open them up, and maybe even persuade them of your wayContinue reading “Winsome or lose some”

Shoot first, and ask questions never?

“I’ve seen more _________ attack me for my decision to _________ than ask me why.” I read this in a news story yesterday. What goes in the blanks? birds / attempt flying elves / take down the Christmas lights fashion stylists / combine argyle with paisley I’ll leave you hanging, because it doesn’t really matter. Regardless ofContinue reading “Shoot first, and ask questions never?”

Pundit attacks comedian and loses — the argument

It was all going so well. A comedian tweeted his viewpoint regarding lockdown protesters. A pundit retweeted it, adding his viewpoint. The first two sentences comprised a valid argument. Then came the third sentence. “We can’t all be wealthy overrated comedians.” It took a hard turn from a valid argument straight into a personal attack.Continue reading “Pundit attacks comedian and loses — the argument”

DIY nature therapy

Due to the current unpleasantness, our local meetup community is not gathering. One of the activities we do is nature therapy. More and more evidence shows that time in nature is healthy for our minds. It can lift our mood, improve our focus, lower stress and anxiety, and promote clearer thinking. As we bask inContinue reading “DIY nature therapy”

What do we mean by “tolerance”?

“I like him personally; we have a different view on this.” I heard this on NPR today. A congressman said it about another congressman, each of whom was interviewed about the situation between the US and Iran. It’s a great example of classical tolerance: egalitarianism toward persons, and elitism toward ideas. Congressman A made aContinue reading “What do we mean by “tolerance”?”