The Muse

Sunday, November 8, 2015

What’s That You Say?

The other day at the grocery store the checker remarked that he had gotten recognition for being the fastest checker that week. Did he get an award? He didn’t say, but he seemed proud of his accomplishment.

“Are they timing you?’ I asked.


At the grocery store?! Not them too.

I already know about emails from a large corporation. The respondents have eight minutes to answer an email, and one must go down the list in order of first written, even if the ship has already sailed. Sometimes to answer the question requires doing research. Whoops, no time for that. Sometimes the system breaks down or is slow. Too bad, you are still on the clock.

One solution is to shuffle that email off to another department. Clearing your docket is paramount, not answering the question.

Why all the rush? Why put people on a clock? It demoralizes them—except maybe the checker at the grocery store. It turns them into an assembly line mentality. Have happy customers? What a concept. Those grocery store checkers are so fast I hardly have time to unload my cart, slide the credit card, give them my reward card, and scribble my signature. That’s after I stood in line of course.

Do the efficiency experts go to school to learn how to drive employees insane? Faster makes more money--so it is believed. No wonder some people hate their jobs.

I understand we are a technologically based culture, and I remember when a computer needed an entire room for all its bells and whistles, and that computer had less memory that the lap top I am currently typing on. Let's not forget, however, that there are people attached to that computer, or standing in front of us waiting for eye contact. Have you ever stood in front of a clerk while  behind a computer screen you heard, "Click, click, clicky, click, click?"

Oh yes, and televisions in restaurants. Why? Didn’t we go out to escape the box or to visit with friends or to enjoy our meal in luxury?

Guess not.

Remember, some genius created a device to record television shows enabling them to be watched later.

I was wondering the other day if painting was out. You know, a brush, paints on canvas, sketching. Well, I watch Face Off on television and those people know how to sketch and sculpt, and fabricate in a day or two what it would normally take months to create so I know there are talented, skilled, creative  people out there, but when I see something like a Bionocle, a toy so complex you know a computer created it, it makes me wonder if a person with their simple little hands on materials has a chance anymore. CGI has replaced glass backgrounds movie backdrop painters used to paint by hand. Remember when the Disney corporation hand- painted all those cells used in their animated films? And the art of Bambi is so exquisite it should never be lost, although the sadness of Bambi could. It was my first movie and it scared me forever.

Those who have read me for a time know that I am conflicted. I want to be uplifting, encouraging and motivational, yet I feel that my years have given me a perspective that ought not to be lost. Again I ask, where is the medium? (I know, finding it “takes some share of wit, so tis a mark fools seldom hit”--Cooper.)

And I have noticed that the sweet by and by might get a nod, “That’s nice.” Ho hum. We do like something we can sink out teeth into. (Gosh isn’t blogging fun, we can throw out cliché’s. on a regular basis.)

We ought to look at what's important in our lives and what's not. What do we want to accomplish?  Has happiness eluded us? Let's get it back. 

I had an epiphany the other day driving home from Portland. Earlier I printed my mother’s Letters and interspersed mine among hers telling the family secret. Well, that’s over. I decided my mother deserves her own voice without being colored by mine, so I expunged all my commentary within the book. I did write a Foreword and Afterward, and I’m back to my water-color cover. I guess with winter coming I like the snow. And the book ends with snow falling in crystalline stars on my sister and my lapels.

The Foreword can be seen on

Still posting chapters on
The menu says Home Blog About, the book content is posted on Blog

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ain’t It the Truth?


Scientists search for it, yet, we hear that statistics can be skewed, tests can be manipulated, and the new, the unusual sometimes so threatens the establishment that their innovative ideas are blown away like so much chalk from the blackboard.

Lawyers and truth? The goal is to win, and whose “truth” can they trust anyway?  Reasonable doubt is often the best we can hope for.

Truth, the word, gets thrown around like broadcasting lawn seeds.

The earth is the center of the solar system. Nope.

Some people believe “The Bible, said it, I believe it, that settles it,” without understanding that long ago Monks painstakingly hand copied the Bible. Most Biblical scholars agree that there are “glosses,” that is marginal notes make by the copiers, became incorporated into the text by future copiers. 

Around the year 300 many religions were tossed about, many canons for the Bible existed, so old Roman Emperor Constantine said, “Enough already. These are the books for the Bible, and Christianity is the religion of the state.” And then years later someone unearthed a few old scrolls buried in the Dead Sea region that created cause for pause.

“What I said is not what your heard, and what I meant to say is not what came out of my mouth, and you weren’t listening anyway.”

Being clear is like hitting a bull’s eye.

Journalists endeavor to uncover the truth, but then the pundits, the naysayers, the opposition, attack their copy. Controversy ensues, and the truth gets lost under tons of oratory. So much doubt is cast upon their findings that soon the populist doesn’t remember what the initial question was.

I suppose we can count on gravity—we believe that to be a “truth” we’re pretty sure it exists, but then we went into space and had to be tied to our seats lest we float to the ceiling, or worse.

“Seeing is believing.” Optical illusionists made us go out and buy new glasses.

Some people think their idea of God is the truth, other people think theirs is.  For some their God is Love, others say that God directed them to terrorize their fellow human beings.

“Sell the sizzle and not the steak,” so say the advertisers. Tell a good story and people will buy your product. Amp it up, glorify it, make it shine.

And then what happened?  Along came philosophers, and writers such as Wayne Dyer who said “You’ll see it When You Believe It.” They ushered in the idea that perhaps we create according to our beliefs.

A few years ago I was involved with a woman’s group who often read esoteric material. After a week apart we would come together completely befuddled.   What to believe? What was the truth?  A conclusion grew out of our conversations. We had to trust out own inner guidance system. Did it “Ring true?” Did it resonate with our thought systems?

We were left trusting our feelings.

I saw the movie Truth last night with Robert Redford and Kate Blanchett, about Mary Mapes, the Producer of CBS, and Dan Rather the year he left the network. I think it ought to be mandatory showing in high schools, and for everyone else, and it lit a fire under me.

P.S. Still adding chapters from One Year on the Island to