Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Humor


The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7pm. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7pm at the First Presbyterian Church.
Please use large double door at the side entrance.
The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday:
"I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours".

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Some marriage truisms

By Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

There are four indisputable, qualifications that give me the right (obligation?) to write this essay. I have been happily married for over 45 years. If that one qualification does not suffice, there are three others that offer sufficiency as well.

A second qualification is that my college textbook, Communicating Effectively, 10e (McGraw-Hill, 2012), includes two chapters on interpersonal communication which give suggestions and advice to college students about how to have solid, committed, long-term relationships.

A third reason is that my college textbook, Understanding Interpersonal Communication, 7e (HarperCollins, 1996) had a number of chapters that related to dating effectiveness, relationship success, and family development and maintenance

A fourth reason is that I taught interpersonal communication twice a year to over 700 upper-level college students (350 per semester) for more than ten years. That unit of the course that was most popular for all of those years was that period of time when we discussed relationships. It was similar to a "Dear Abby" situation because students could ask me any relationship-related question they wanted, and I would conduct a classroom discussion on those questions I thought most relevant, pertinent, and interesting. The questions were posed anonymously at each class meeting on half-sheet responses, and at home I could pick and choose those I wanted to use, and when presented publicly students’ names were never used.

The point of these four paragraphs is simply to underscore my credibility. I have been dealing with marriage, and marriage-related issues, for all of my professional life and most of my personal life as well.

There is no order to these truisms; I offer them here as I think of them.

The first truism is one that I have made clear in all my textbooks, lectures, and when teaching interpersonal communication: Marriage is not a good way of life for the weak, the selfish, or the insecure. If you cannot get your own house in order first, you should not pursue any relationship, much less (much, much less!) marriage. One reason for the high divorce rate is that the weak, the selfish, and the insecure pursued marriage and should not have done so.

With the statistics arguing against successful, long-term marriages, you often hear people say, "My marriage failed." That is never the case; marriages don’t fail, people do. That is an essential element. Married individuals can adjust, adapt, and change. People in marriages don’t have to fail.

What everyone needs to recognize is that any two people can get married; that’s the easy part. It’s what they do the next 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, or 70 years that will determine how successful the marriage will be. It is also true, however, that the pattern set early in a relationship regarding communication, division of labor, and balance of power is likely to be a template for the future of the relationship. No, it is not set in stone, that’s why communication is included in the formula. Those characteristics that are important, too, include adaptability, flexibility, and adjustability since relationships are never stagnant.

One of the things I discovered in discussing interpersonal relationships with upper-class college students, and, in addition, having personal experience with a number of them, I have discovered that women hope men will change after marriage. Often, the opposite happens. That is, those traits women find in men that are most objectionable before marriage, become more pronounced afterwards. If asked, men would say, "But you knew that before we got married."

Men, on the other hand, hope women won’t change after marriage, but they do. Actually, what happens is twofold: 1) Men weren’t that observant before marriage, thus, women are just being themselves afterwards, and men perceive it as a change. 2) Women do change after marriage because at that time, they have a dual responsibility—to become a better person themselves and to make their husband a better person to whom they actually want to be married.

A successful marriage is one in which you fall in love many times, always with the same person. There are small moments, medium-sized moments, and large moments—but they all add up to a continuous relationship bathed in love—and if not bathed in, at least sprinkled with love.

There are a number of strategies that lead to a stronger marriage. Because you cannot avoid conflicts, I have discovered one way to solve them before they erupt. This is especially tough for men, but if your marriage is worth it, simply admit that you’re wrong. "I’m sorry, I screwed up."

In a relationship, the results of a kind word or deed are immeasurable. I have found the opposite results for a harsh word or deed.

We have raised four children, and I found it has been consistently true that it is best to spoil your spouse, not your children. I try to do everything I can, at all points that I can, in every way that I can to help my wife, make her life better and more comfortable, and to please her. My feeling is simple: The better my wife feels about her life, the more likely it is that my life (and, thus, our life) will be stronger and more satisfying.

Finally, it must be understood by relationship partners, that marriage is not a 50-50 relationship. It is best not to put a number on it: 60-40, 70-30, or 80-20. The best chance for long-term success is when both relationship partners make the relationship a priority and give all that they can to make it work. They should never worry whether or not they, or their partner, is giving more to the relationship. It may require that; all relationships are different and require differential levels of commitment and effort. Partners must give what they can and what is important to make the relationship successful.

There are many advantages to having a committed, solid, long-lasting relationship. It helps you avoid cancer, keeps you healthier and out of trouble, and helps you live longer, too—among other benefits. And the obvious conclusion, when you realize what can be gained, is that there is no wealth like a good life. Having a good marriage is what the good life is all about.

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At msn, in an essay called, "8 Things No One Tells You About Marriage," Ylonda Gault Caviness discusses eight truths about marriage that are worth reading about. Caviness writes, "Sometimes it’‘s the least romantic parts of marriage that have the most to teach you about yourself, your partner, and the nature of love."

"10 Hard Truths About Marriage" at the Psychology Today website, by Kaja Perina is fabulous. These ten hard truths should be read by every couple approaching marriage, by newlyweds, and even by those ensconced in marriages. This is a wonderful essay.

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Copyright August, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

The moment you wake up is the instant you realize that the teacher is in you and that all your happiness, as well as all of your problems, are your own.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

And Then Some News

Dr. Weaver's Thursday essay is called, "Some marriage truisms," and his first paragraph reads:

There are four indisputable, qualifications that give me the right (obligation?) to write this essay. I have been happily married for over 45 years. If that one qualification does not suffice, there are three others that offer sufficiency as well.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Tell to win: Connect, persuade, and triumph with the hidden power of story

By Peter Guber

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

This is a delightful, compelling book that is a "must read" for all public speakers or for those about to engage in a public-speaking effort. It reads easily and comfortably because Guber follows his own advice and allows stories to propel the narrative.

What is especially interesting throughout the narrative is Guber’s unbelievable connectivity: whom he knows. Because of his numerous positions and Hollywood notoriety, he came into contact with so many people with whom you will quickly recognize, whether they are the story maker or a subject of one of Guber’s many stories.

Another thing that, for me, made this book outstanding was that Guber is a professor at UCLA, and he often told stories about the classes he taught, the stories he told to his students, and some of their reactions.

Just as an aside that in no way affects my judgment of this book, in case you might be interested, the picture of Peter Guber on the inside of the back flyleaf in no way resembles the picture of Peter Guber used at Wikipedia. I looked back-and-forth between the pictures to see if I could see any resemblance, and I found none. It is almost as if the publisher used someone else’s picture to promote the book. Of course, Guber would probably contend that the picture in the book is a very early picture of himself, but it doesn’t even have similar characteristics to the much older picture at Wikipedia.

One of the reasons I sought out this book was that treated a subject that has been dear to my heart (and my livelihood) for my entire professional life: public speaking. Including all of the editions of my books on communication, I have written well over 30, and my latest book, Communicating Effectively, 10e (McGraw-Hill, 2012), is in its tenth edition as I write this review. Many of these books include sections on public speaking, and the book above includes 5 out of 16 chapters on this topic.

Communicating Effectively includes a "Consider This" box in every chapter that is designed to enhance, explain, or further illustrate the textual information; thus, I am always in search of material to use in these boxes. Guber has supplied a great deal of potential information which, when it comes to writing an eleventh edition, may come in handy. His material on listening, how to construct stories, and the importance of the story to public-speaking success are relevant and important sections.

One of the great things about Guber is that he readily reveals some of his failures as well as his numerous successes. That is part of the fun in reading what he has to say. Of course, this book could have been narrowed down to a few key elements: storytelling is not that difficult or complex even though, it is true, that some people are not, have never been, and will never be storytellers. Guber talks about those people as well.

It is all the stories that make this book a compelling read. It is well-written, moves quickly, is definitely lightweight, covers no real new ground, but it is a "fun selection" nonetheless.




Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Humor


The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
This evening at 7pm there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come
prepared to sin.
Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10am. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall
after the B. S. Is done.
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday. --------------------------
Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7pm. Please use the back door.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Going solo works!

By Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

Having directed a large, basic, required speech-communication course in which small-group work was required for all students, and a grade was given on their group work that was part of the final grade in the course, I regularly received comments from students in their course evaluations regarding their perception of the small-group unit. A number hated working in groups and having part of their grade determined, in part, by others in their small discussion group.

I felt exactly the same way as these complaining students throughout my entire educational career. Oh, I was aware of the importance of small-group work, the effectiveness of most small-group efforts (depending on the task), and how small-group work may result in a higher-quality product.

My complaints about small-group work were always the same and never wavered: 1) I always thought I could do whatever was necessary faster by myself, 2) I thought I could come up with a higher-quality product working by myself, and 3) I thought group members often did not live up to their responsibilities regarding being prepared, being an active participant, and being a thoughtful and responsive group member.

It was early in my formal educational career that I realized I could work faster and better by myself. When I realized—and it was a true discovery!—that I was responsible for my own education (that the teacher was inside ME!), I wanted full and complete control. Others simply mucked-up the situation and were regularly irresponsible, untrustworthy, and sometimes even incompetent.

As an aside here, I have to admit that my wife and I find it much easier to go to the movies, go out to eat, or do anything at all, by ourselves—tied, in no way, to others. I realize this is a selfish attitude; however, as soon as we try to coordinate activities with others, complications beyond our control occur and scheduling difficulties become complex and sometimes difficult.

Going into the area/discipline of speech communication really complimented my feelings since preparing for and delivering a public speech is primarily (with the exception of interviews with others for research purposes) an individual job. When I prepared to teach my classes, to deliver my lectures, and even to do my writing, it has always been me working solo—and, as you would guess, working with a great deal of pleasure.

When I was first asked to write a textbook with my co-author, Saundra Hybels, I said "yes" without a great deal of hesitation or deliberation. It sounded like a good idea at the time. What I immediately discovered as we began to work together, was that she did not produce material as quickly as I did, and her work was not nearly of the same quality. In the early editions, I spent time going over her work so that it more closely resembled my own. In that way, readers would not have a jolt between the sections, or, even more important (we thought), they would not be able to distinguish between chapters written by her and chapters written by me.

Fortunately, the quality of her work improved (although she never worked as quickly as I did). At times, she could not meet the writing deadlines established for us (and agreed upon by us!) set by our publishing company, but I have to add to this, it always worked out in the end.

In 1999, Saundra Hybels died unexpetedly. Suddenly, I was the sole author of the textbook, Communicating Effectively, 10e (McGraw-Hill, 2012). For four editions (we are on a three-year turn-around) I have been the sole author of the book.

All at once, I was going solo! Now, I have to tell you that I wrote several previous college textbooks, most of which were solo efforts. It wasn’t that I was unprepared to accept the responsibility! Actually, I relished the new situation. Oh, of course, I was sorry about Saundra’s sudden death, but if you knew her you would quickly know how that situation evolved. She smoked heavily, she never exercised, she was diabetic, and she was excessively overweight. She told me one time that she knew she would die early, but there was nothing she could do about it except accept it!

When I chose to take early retirement from teaching, I made the choice to spend a greater amount of time writing—something I had wanted to do for most of my teaching career. I couldn’t afford to do it earlier, because I couldn’t afford it financially.

What I did not fully understand when I took early retirement, however, was that I would be able to do far more independent—individual—work than ever before. I wanted more time at the computer, and I got it!

First, I wrote essays for The (Toledo) Blade. Sixteen were published.

Second, I established a blog <>>, and I wrote book reviews (close to 300 at this writing) and essays (more than 300 written).

Third, I wrote books. I began by putting my best essays into a single book titled, And Then Some: Essays to Entertain, Motivate, & Inspire (And Then Some Publishing LLC, 2007).

There were two other books in this proposed series, and those collections were completed, and ISBN numbers were even ascribed before an executive decision was made not to continue with publishing those two follow-up volumes.

The second book, Public Speaking Rules! All You Need for a GREAT speech! (And Then Some Publishing LLC, 2008), designed for a general audience, was based on the several public-speaking college textbooks I wrote and published with several different publishers.

The third book, You Rules - Caution: Contents Leads to a Better Life! (And Then Some Publishing LLC, 2008) was a solid, well-defined, specific illustration of my philosophy and approach to a prosperous, healthy, creative, and satisfying life.

My fourth book, SMOERS—Self Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules: Daily Reminders for Outstanding Living (And Then Some Publishing LLC, 2009) is a collection of motivational quotations you can use on a daily basis to inspire an effective, committed, and satisfying lifestyle.

Relationship Rules: For Long-term Happiness, Security, and Commitment (And Then Some Publishing LLC, 2009) was my fifth book and related to more than 20 years of teaching interpersonal communication and writing a college textbook on the subject that went through seven editions with HarperCollins publisher.

The sixth book, Exotic Destinations: Stories of Adventures from Around the World (And Then Some Publishing LLC, 2011) is a collection of my travel essays, some from my blog and some written just for this book.

Going solo, for me, has been enormously profitable. It works! It has absorbed my time and effort, but more important than that, it has brought tremendous pleasure and satisfaction.

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At there is a TOEFL essay: "Working individually or working in groups." The essay gives advantages of both. About working individually, the essay says: "Working individually also gives you many advantages. The first thing is that it makes you more independent. When you work alone, you have to solve your assignment by yourself and you can’t rely on anybody. The way you do , the method you use, or even the manner you present, these are all your work and you have to choose how better to do. This process gives you not only many experiences but also the confident to make your decisions in the future. Moreover, you can manage your time better when you work by yourself. You can do your work anytime that is best for you and you also don’t have to depend on others to have only an agreement. You can schedule your work includes your timetable and only follow your plan. That will save your time a lot. "

At ScienceDaily, the essay there, "Working Alone May Be The Key To Better Productivity, New Research Suggests," the author quotes Dr. Tim Welsh, University of Calgary, Faculty of Kinesiology, as saying: "In a situation where speed and accuracy in performing a certain task are important, I think an argument could be made for a work setting in which people work in isolation -- or at least with people who doing very similar tasks,’ he said. ‘That will remove the involuntary modeling of - - -another's behaviour, potentially improving speed and likely accuracy.’"

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Copyright August, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

It takes many, many tiny efforts to achieve anything worthwhile.

Age is the time when your wisdom reflects sound, practical judgment.

Whenever good fortune occurs, you make it valuable.

The best years are those you have earned through the years.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

And Then Some News

Dr. Weaver's Thursday essay is entitled, "Going solo works!," and the first paragraph of the essay reads like this:

Having directed a large, basic, required speech-communication course in which small-group work was required for all students, and a grade was given on their group work that was part of the final grade in the course, I regularly received comments from students in their course evaluations regarding their perception of the small-group unit. A number hated working in groups and having part of their grade determined, in part, by others in their small discussion group.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The forest for the trees: An editor’s advice to writers

By Betsy Lerner

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

As I begin this review I have just read Lerner’s "Introduction," and Chapter 1, "The Ambivalent Writer." I like to get my thoughts down in writing so I don’t forget them as I read on. As an active writer myself, I identified closely with the thoughts Lerner expressed in both of these sections. I am contemplating giving talks at the local libraries on writing, and Lerner offers so many answers to questions I have not even been asked: How do you deal with the fear? How should I start? How do I keep going? What is the process of writing like?

I loved her last paragraph in Chapter 1 for its deep insight: "Writers take note: your struggle to produce a piece of writing of interest and value means nothing to the reader. The reader doesn’t care what you went through to produce your work. He only cares if the piece succeeds" (p.29). And her last sentences, "You must have a belief in your vision and voice that is nothing short of fierce. In other words, you must turn your ambivalence into something unequivocal" (p. 29). So true, so true!

Having closely read her opening two segments merely whetted my appetite for more. Lerner is an excellent writer, and her experiences as an editor are not just important, but motivating as well. Writers beware: Lerner rocks!

The story about Jodie Foster’s acceptance speech for one of her Academy Awards was truly priceless: "[She] thanked her mother, who, she said, acted as if every drawing she brought home from school were a Picasso. In an ideal world, everyone should be thus encouraged for any creative effort" (p. 32). What terrific advice!

Lerner’s description of and examples regarding "natural talent" were excellent. I have often thought that one’s own judgments about talent — whether one has it or not — should be irrelevant to one’s works or products. That is, why waste time making such assessments? Get on with it. If you want to be a writer, start early, practice often, share your efforts, listen to other’s comments, make changes, and be persistent. These are my views as a writer, not those of Lerner.

I have always enjoyed reading about (or reading directly) other writers viewpoints, and one of the great parts of Lerner’s book — and she does it throughout the book — is quote other writers. Lerner is incredibly well-connected and well-read, as you might expect from an editor. But, it adds a great deal of credibility for her and to what she is discussing. It just makes you feel secure in what she is talking about and confident about her advice. It is, coincidentally, like having an editor looking over your shoulder!

After discussing a number of writing rituals by a variety of authors, Lerner arrives at this conclusion (with which I totally agree): "I don’t think a writer, or any artist for that matter, should need a whip other than the one inside that drives him to create. The more you indulge in any neurotic notions about a set of necessary conditions that will enable you to write, the colder the trail will get. The problem is, none of this is writing. It’s stalling" (p. 97). What a terrific insight!

With respect to a writing routine or gaining a structure that will support active writing, what Lerner says is especially important, if not a law: "Developing a successful formula for getting pages written can make a crucial difference" (p. 99). As a writer with a structure, I would claim that it not just makes a difference, it is a doctrine, a canon, or even a commandment.

Lerner divides her book into two parts, the first on writing, and the second part is on publishing. I thought her comments on writing were, for the most part, accurate and informative — even though, I have to admit, that throughout all my years of writing, I have never used alcohol, drugs, voodoo, therapy, or writing coaches to stimulate my writing. That is why I admired Lerner’s emphasis that writing is a personal experience that demands commitment, discipline, Lerner writes: "the essential truth of all great writing: it brooks no provisions" (p. 96).

Lerner’s ideas on how to write a query letter, how to handle agents, an agent’s responsibilities, how to handle rejection, what editors look for, and what authors want. She accurately conveys the thoughts of all those involved in the publishing business, and one thing readers will quickly understand from reading this book — Lerner knows what she is talking about. If you want the basics, and if you want a precise examination of the entire process, this is a very worthwhile book.

Not to diminish the hopes and dreams of potential writers, what Lerner writes in her chapter entitled "The Book" is worth considering: "What most writers don’t understand but learn all too quickly and painfully, is that landing a contract and being published do not guarantee the fulfillment of all their hopes and dreams" (p. 232). She continues by expanding on this thought, but you get the idea here about how direct and honest she is. If an honest approach scares you, or if accuracy about the entire publishing process simply generates more fear, then this book is not for you.

For all writers, whether just starting out or already engaged in the process, this book is a "must read." For those on the outside, who do not want to or intend to be a writer, this book would be an good selection if you want to understand what writing and publishing is all about. I loved this book.













Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Humor


At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of
some older ones.
Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
Potluck supper Sunday at 5pm - prayer and medication to follow.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I’m a political junkie

By Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

As I was listening intently to Barack Obama’s 2012 "State of the Union" address, I suddenly realized that I was a political junkie. I put aside another essay I was writing at the time, moved from my computer over to my desk, leaned back in my dark brown, high-back, comfortable, leather, office chair, and thoroughly enjoyed listening to the entire speech—one hour and five minutes without doing anything else. I even listened as Mitch Daniels, governor of Indiana, gave the Republican response—which, I might add, Paul Begala described as a glass of warm milk with a fly in it. (Begala is a CNN commentator and writes for Newsweek.)

This may not come as a surprise to many of my blog readers, but I had never put a label on it—and I seldom discuss politics in the essays on my blog.

There is likely to be a good explanation for my position as a political junkie. My parents were dyed-in-the-wool democrats, but I don’t ever remember having any long conversations about politics around my house. I’m not sure I ever really knew their political affiliation; however, I think it was embedded in my genes!

Once I was finished with college, my wife and I left Indiana University for the University of Massachusetts. I never really knew—because it never directly affected me in any way—that university professors were generally democrats. I would hear some discussion of politics in the halls, and when my wife and I would go to parties, politics was sometimes mentioned; however, there were seldom any full-blown discussions—and no partisan arguments.

For all of this time (through most of my life), I was a reader of daily newspapers and weekly news magazines; thus, I was never far from current events and always up-to-date on the current political situation.

What I think had the most influence on my life with respect to being a political junkie was my wife. Fortunately, she is of the same political persuasion as I am, but there is no doubt she is more committed to being a political junkie than I am. We have daily, regular, discussions about politics. (Often, she begins her day watching "Morning Joe" on MSNBC.)

There are two things that are highly pronounced in my life with respect to being a political junkie: 1) I find reading the editorial pages of The (Toledo) Blade and USA Today the most enjoyable portion of the paper, and on those two pages in each paper, reading the op-ed columnists brings me the most pleasure. 2) I find watching MSNBC (probably the most honest, straightforward, news presentations on television) to be more enjoyable than watching anything else—besides college football (especially when the University of Michigan is playing).

I will choose MSNBC over any other network television shows. Now, when there are specials such as the Emmys, Golden Globes, or Academy Awards, I may leave the comfort of the Reverend Al Sharpton (my least favorite MSNBC commentator), Chris Matthews, Ed, Rachel Maddow, or Lawrence O’Donnell for a night, but I always return.

There is another factor that reinforces and encourages my junkie behavior. My wife’s father is 98 years old (at this writing), and we visit him for one hour every day. Fortunately, again, he is a democrat. And, fortunately as well, he loves to talk politics. We will always spend a portion of our hour together discussing the latest events.

This political season (since the fall of 2011 actually) has been a remarkable one in political history. Trying to keep track of which Republican is ahead, or which one won the latest debate, or which one has dropped out (and why), has been fodder for great discussions.

Currently my father-in-law and I are in a betting mood. We will say (HE started it!), "If you had a million dollars to bet, would you bet that Romney or Gingrich will be the Republican nominee?" And, to be honest, right now, it is hard to tell! We are both betting on Romney for two reasons: 1) He has more money. 2) He has a better organization.

The fact is, the American public doesn’t think much of Newt Gingrich! The op-ed column in today’s The (Toledo) Blade by Eugene Robinson says it all, "America Knows Gingrich But Doesn’t Like Him" (January 25, 2012, p. 7A). This is the kind of material that leads to fun discussions. My father-in-law absolutely hates—detests—Newt Gingrich!

This season is really another factor that reinforces and encourages my junkie behavior. When in the entire history of our country, have we witnessed such divisiveness (the bitterness in Congress in which Republicans in the House and Senate, will not allow Barack Obama to have any win that might contribute, even in a small way, to a victory in the general election, November, 2012)? When in the history of our country have this many potential Republican presidential candidates risen to the top in the polls only to plummet rapidly afterward? When have we witnessed a Republican party that had three different candidates win the first three Republican primaries/caucuses (i.e., Iowa-Santorum, New Hampshire-Romney, and South Carolina-Gingrich)? When have we had a Republican party so unable to agree upon a single candidate (e.g., Mitt Romney—even with his money and organization) for the presidency? —he has seldom been able to rise out of the twenty-percentile arena when it comes to Republican favorability.

On October 30, 2004, The (Toledo) Blade published an op-ed essay I wrote entitled, "Distrust, apathy are some reasons so few vote, but all should." In that essay, I offered readers a number of justifications for not voting. The voting scene has changed since that essay with the passage by the Supreme Court’s decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. What I said in 2004, "Some people resent the fact that voting tends to attract the resource rich. . . " may ring truer for many people. This decision erased the wall that has stood for centuries between corporations and electoral politics. The founders of our nation warned about the dangers of corporate influence, and this decision has freed corporations to contribute whatever sums they wish and remain anonymous to boot. That is enough to make the common person skeptical, if not repulsed!

Now, however, you begin to see why being a "political junkie" especially at this time in American history is an easy choice. All the news factors—especially if you watch the news—encourage it. Being actively involved in the democratic process, as I said in my 2004 essay, "preserves the society that permits and protects our right to vote. A vote [and I would add involvement in politics] suggests that we want to see no erosion of our liberties, no manipulation of our freedoms, and no decay of our current way of life."

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At the ThirdAge website, in the essay, "Are you a political junkie?" you’ll find this written there: "To me, not caring about politics is like not caring about other it or not, deny it or not, the United States is a powerful, powerful government that dramatically impacts not only life here but also greatly influences life everywhere on this planet. Deciding not to really care or think about the government's policies is, in my mind, a little bit selfish. Maybe you think it doesn't affect you or that your opinion doesn't matter, but that just isn't true. You owe it to those that are struggling to understand the issues affecting the country and vote, and I'm baffled that so many people can so willingly hate congress yet few take the time to even learn the names of their congressmen, never mind what they stand for."

At the New York Times website, in a piece entitled, "The Court’s Blow to Democracy" (January 21, 2010), the last paragraph includes this statement, "The real solution [to dealing with Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission] lies in getting the court’s ruling overturned. The four dissenters made an eloquent case for why the decision was wrong on the law and dangerous. With one more vote, they could rescue democracy."

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Copyright August, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

Anxiety is the feeling of apprehension you have before doing anything to which you are unaccustomed, and the best way you have of reducing your nervousness is by active and continuous preparation so that whatever it is you want to accomplish is approached with a feeling of complete confidence and assurance.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

And Then Some News

Thursday's essay, "I’m a political junkie," has the following as its first paragraph:

As I was listening intently to Barack Obama’s 2012 "State of the Union" address, I suddenly realized that I was a political junkie. I put aside another essay I was writing at the time, moved from my computer over to my desk, leaned back in my dark brown, high-back, comfortable, leather, office chair, and thoroughly enjoyed listening to the entire speech—one hour and five minutes without doing anything else. I even listened as Mitch Daniels, governor of Indiana, gave the Republican response—which, I might add, Paul Begala described as a glass of warm milk with a fly in it. (Begala is a CNN commentator and writes for Newsweek.)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Oceana: Our endangered oceans and what we can do to save them

By Ted Danson

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

This is an absolutely beautiful, well-written, well-constructed, and thoroughly researched book. You can purchase this book for the message. You can buy this book for the effective narrative. But, one of the outstanding reasons for having this book on your living room coffee table is for the pictures.

The message in this book is clarified throughout this book in sections labeled,

"What You Can Do." Danson includes specific ideas for taking action that are both reasonable and extensive.

There are highlighted sections on statistics, sections set aside on heros who have made significant contributions, sections that explain specific aspects of ocean effects, as well as sections that include conversations about certain ocean conditions such as "Overfishing."

There is so much information in this book: history and background, unique circumstances and stories, and insights and opinions. If you read this book, I guarantee you will come out a changed person. It cannot be helped. The argument that our oceans need to be saved is well presented and well argued. From reading this book, you will not only know what needs to be done to save the endangered oceans, "but," as Dansen says in the preface, "you’ll know how to do it, and you’ll be determined to turn what you know into action" (p. xv).

This book should be required reading in schools across the country; it should be put on all "must read" lists for concerned citizens; and it should be essential reading for all politicians at all levels (local, state, and national). It is simply outstanding.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Humor


Mrs.Bonnie Talley sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs. --------------------------
Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in
their school days.
A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

Realize that how we understand the whole of human history, comprehend all that humans know of themselves, and discover new evidence and theories regarding the future of humans on this earth, is because of an understanding of and a belief in science and the process of scientific investigation.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

And Then Some News

Thursday's essay by Richard L. Weaver II, is entitled, "The problem with men."  The first paragraph of the essay follows:

In the tenth edition of my college textbook, Communicating Effectively, 10e (McGraw-Hill, 2012), I have a section called "Essential Elements of Good Relationships," which includes the following elements: verbal skills, emotional expressiveness, conversational focus, nonverbal analysis, conversational encouragement, care and appreciation, commitment, and adaptation. (pp. 169-173) This section has received excellent reviews from adopters of the book, and what is interesting is that with respect to most of these, men have difficulty. As a sample of what I say in these sections, let this be an example (since I don’t have the space to discuss each or cite all of the statements I make): ". . . males need to alter their perception of relationships as stable, static commodities that never need discussion or reexamination" (p. 170).

Monday, August 5, 2013

Your medical mind: How to decide what is right for you

By Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

There are many people who can use, need, and will eventually treasure this book. It is not sophisticated nor analytical. It is just a simple, practical, easy-to-understand set of standards and principles that people need to understand when they are dealing with anyone in the medical community.

Having faced a couple of the problems Groopman and Hartzband discuss, such as high cholesterol and the death of a relative, I felt that their advice is accurate, specific, and to the point.

The book is easy to understand and speaks directly to readers. I loved their explanation of the difference between anecdotal evidence and statistics. Yes, anecdotes are delightful to read and incredibly convincing — even persuasive enough to change behavior — but the authors warn they are not statistics and should, instead, cause people to seek out more evidence. That is important information.

Having said that, readers should note that this book is full of anecdotal material. These medical doctors cite story after story of people involved in making medical decisions — and, it is important to note — the outcomes of those decisions. This makes a very enjoyable reading experience, and many readers who have some background with making medical decisions for themselves or for others, will identify with many of these stories.

How should patients weigh a doctor’s advice? How should patients treat advice when it is contradictory? How should patients weigh advice that goes against their basic values and beliefs? It what point should patients concede personal interests and desires to expert advice and counsel? I’ve never read such practical and specific advice.

If nothing else, Groopman and Hartzband will leave you with this idea that they use to begin their "Conclusion": "If medicine were an exact science, like mathematics, there would be one correct answer for each problem. Your preferences about treatment would be irrelevant to what is ‘right.’ But medicine is an uncertain science" (p. 211)> And that is precisely what these authors do so effectively: they lay out the various dilemmas that people face when having to make medical decisions. Medicine is about estimates, uncertainty, and choices: "Your preferences about treatment do matter. They provide a foundation so that you can choose the right treatment, the one that fits your values and way of living. Understanding your preferences begins with reflecting on your mind-set" (p. 212).

Their "Conclusion" to the book is fantastic for it helps people determine their own mind-set. It offers several specific continua on which readers can locate themselves. What is truly exceptional about the "Conclusion" is simply that it gives readers a better understanding of themselves and why they do (or might) make the decisions they do.




Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Humor


The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals...
The sermon this morning: Jesus Walks on the Water.
The sermon tonight: Searching for Jesus.
Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house.
Bring your husbands.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell'
to someone who doesn't care much about you...

Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mental Aerobics

A colleague and I began writing about mental aerobics more than 25 years ago. Our articles on the subject were published in academic journals such as Innovative Higher Education and Educational Horizons.. Our article, "Mental Aerobics: Directed Discussion," was the lead article in the Journal of Communication Studies (Volume 7, Number 2, February, 1989, pp. 1-8).

Our most recent article on the topic appeared in The Clearing House (Volume 65, Number 3, January-February, 1992) and it was titled, "Mental Aerobics: Just for the Fun of It."

Our definition of mental aerobics—one that we created—was "the stimulation (oxygenation) of the mind through well-planned, specific, and direct exercise routines." That definition, too, will work for the kind of exercises I want to discuss in this essay—although I have changed the focus from college-classroom activities to personal exercises designed to stimulate the brain.

There are two important things to know before reading this essay. First, exercises aimed specifically at boosting brain power have been proven effective. Second, the earlier one begins these activities, the more likely that they will become habitual. There is no reason people need to wait until they are older before beginning to boost brain power.

It was around 1980 that Dr. Gary Small, Director of the UCLA Center on Aging, said that scientists discovered that aging of the brain is not inevitable. According the the MSNBC website on "Maintaining Your Memory" alzheimers_disease/t/workout-your-brain/> in an essay titled, "A Workout for Your Brain," Jacqueline Stenson writes, "Research has demonstrated, for example, that higher levels of education and plenty of mental stimulation throughout life are associated with lower rates of Alzheimer’s, [Dr. Gary Small] notes." The important thing to note in this quotation is "plenty of mental stimulation throughout life." "It’s the use-it-or-lose-it theory," Small says. "If you keep your brain cells active it improves their efficiency. You develop what we believe is a cognitive reserve."

What you need to know is that there is a direct correlation between physical exercise and brain stimulation. How much? The current (2012) public-health recommendation is 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise—like walking or biking—most days of the week.

Why does this physical exercise matter? Stenson answers: "Such activity keeps arteries fit and can promote healthy blood flow to the brain . . . and there’s some evidence it may even cause the release of nerve growth factors that create new connections in the brain. Exercise also appears to help by regulating blood sugar, which seems to play a key role in brain health, according to Dr. Antonio Convit, medical director of the Center for Brain Health at New York University."

At the website Joyful Aging , the page is titled "Reading and Mental Aerobics—Your Mind: Use It or Lose It." The essay on this page by Larry Hartweg, is called "Lifelong Learning In An Ever Expanding Universe of Endless Possibilities."

Hartweg writes, "Exposure to novel and interesting mental material (concepts, and situations) strengthens our cognitive capacity. Our minds grow stronger by reading, creative writing, vocabulary and concept expansion, seeking unconventional/unfamiliar points of view, complex thinking, problem solving, social interaction and exploratory research in libraries, challenging lectures, Internet materials, etc.)."

Hartweg offers his readers "Simple Mental Aerobic exercise examples:

Try eating your food with the other hand.
Eat an unfamiliar healthy food.
Read an article or book or research on an unfamiliar subject.
Seek counterintuitive interesting concepts that fly in the face of conventional thinking.
Temporarily ignore reality. Daydream or fantasize about a happy unfamiliar frivolous situation.
Take a concept from one context and playfully imagine it somewhere that it never appears.
Listen to (or try to play) an unfamiliar style of music.
Add new words to your vocabulary—study their source, meaning, and usage.
Learn a new challenging skill, sport, exercise, or dance pattern.
Take a calculated risk and pay attention to how you react to the unpredictable outcome.
Take a less-than-optimal path home, which you have never traveled before.
Stop somewhere you have never been and pay attention to often-overlooked details.
Become an actor for a day and significantly after a long-help personality trait (in a good way).
Discuss a new experience with someone you just met and don’t know very well.
Try to make a new subject interesting to someone else who has never heard of it.
Listen closely and learn from interpersonal feedback.
Seek and genuinely appreciate constructive criticism.

I place all of Hartweg’s ideas here because they are so good—good for everyone no matter their age. He writes, "Your brain should be delighted, especially with unpredictable surprises. Your mind will become incrementally stronger and happier than it was before. Intellectual boredom atrophies the physical capacity of the brain and your ability to improve your life." I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

Scientific American Frontiers , offers a great motivational paragraph in its essay, "Get Fit With Mental Aerobics," quoted from Gary Small’s Memory Bible: "Just as physical activity can keep your body strong, mental activity can keep your mind sharp and agile. You can continue to challenge yourself by using a variety of approaches. You might consider exploring a new hobby, learning a foreign language, or perhaps taking up a musical instrument. Making a change in your leisure reading - perhaps switching from romance novels to biographies or mysteries could potentially tweak your dendrites."

Larry Hartweg, cited earlier, provides a great way to end this essay. He writes: "A lazy, declining mind seeks things that reinforce obsolete, inaccurate stereotypes and rejects and resists change. In essence, such people atrophy into "non-learning entities" (NLE’s) that emotionally reject facts that disagree with their inaccurate stereotypes. NLE’s emotionally reject constructive criticism, and thus lose the ability to learn. A healthy mind must be open, flexible and adaptable, without being unstable or chaotically confused." The way to achieve this is the regular exercise of mental aerobics.

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The Mental Aerobics website , will introduce you to the person who claims to have coined these words. Dr. Bert Hyslip writes, "Mental Aerobics is my own idea, developed in 1993 while I was working as a mental health counselor in a senior center, for use with older adults in a group setting." In addition to a conversation about academic studies regarding mental aerobics, Hyslip offers a number of sample specific activities to help readers increase their brain power but, in addition, a number of hyperlinks to sites that offer more brain play.

At Resources for Science Learning , in a fabulous essay, "What’s Your Brain Grade?" There is so much information at this site, that one quotation will not (can not!) do the essay justice, but here is one that I liked: "Throughout life, your neural networks reorganize and reinforce themselves in response to new stimuli and learning experiences. This body-mind interaction is what stimulates brain cells to grow and connect with each other in complex ways. They do so by extending branches of intricate nerve fibers called dendrites (from the Latin word for "tree"). These are the antennas through which neurons receive communication from each other."

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Copyright August, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC