Books and Conversation

Feel good conversation

Another recent observation I want to share with you. Perhaps you too are changing or you have observed these behaviors in others? We are modifying our social habits again and we want to be more physically present when talking to each other. Relationships via electronics are found lacking.

Live social interaction

From my microcosm of a coffee shop, I see social change happening quickly. We, go to our local coffee shop for social and personal interaction. I see people chatting, reading, studying, and a few texting and writing. The coffee shop is somewhere between a library and a party. Being at a coffee shop is both relaxing and socially fulfilling.

Books and magazines are growing in popularity

My favorite coffee hangouts are places with books and magazines. Conversations are active and topics change often. No point in my interjecting a comment on something if it is second or third hand delivery to start with. I find a magazine that interests me, and I wait until the conversation returns to a topic I may participate in. Magazines fill the dead space.

BooksBooks are becoming popular again

Books, judging by the numbers of people reading them, besides myself, books are making a comeback. I know a few hardcore read-a-holics” who use their electronic reader, but they are hardcore readers. They do not want to go any amount of time without a book to read. They prefer not to carry around a second book to read when they finish their first book.

Books are more durable than electronics

My book can fall off a table without hurting it. I flip through pages quickly to find what I am looking for. I enjoy holding a book in my hands because paper is warmer than metal. I can drop my book to the the floor from the bed without harming it. My book will dry out if I spill coffee on it. I can reread my book a month, year or decade from now.

No batteries required

I do not need batteries. Almost any light is good light to read by. I can use my electronics when I want to look up something I am reading about. I can loan out my book. Losing my book it is not a tragedy in the making. Book lights are cheap and plentiful. I can continue reading in most cases if my book light batteries run down.

Value in sharing books

Loaning and trading books is socially important. Donating books helps us feel good. Most book readers are part of social circles of people who also read the same types of books. Only a few people share electronic readers for obvious reasons.

Books are friendly

It feels good to trade books with someone else. Trading . Trading books leads to conversation. Talking about our books leads to conversation about other subjects. Some books are sexy in the right hands.


Plugged in and Isolated

Plugged in and isolated

I see fewer young people who are totally plugged in and alone. Those I do see have Facebook, twitter, and other social media programs on their laptop screens. Their smart phones listing unimportant unread text messages as they listen to music. They Facebook while talking to someone on their phone. And these people look miserable. Thankfully, we are getting smarter about what makes us happy, and too much electronics is not it.

We are both physical and social animals

We are social creatures, but we are also physical creatures. We need to be looked at by the person we are talking to. We need some type of physical contact with the person we are talking too. A touch on the shoulder, a punch on the arm, a handshake when meeting or leaving. Sight and touch during conversation is almost as important as the actual conversation we are having.

One way crafted conversations

One way, loud one way conversations are really annoying. I appreciate the person who is holding a phone conversation through their bluetooth receiver. You can hear them mumble, but it is so quiet, I at least really have no clue what the conversation is about.

Distracting noise makers

On the other hand there are they skypers, the face time crowd, and other electronic conversation makers. They are loud, and annoying. Occasionally, I feel I want to join their conversation which they are freely sharing with the whole room.

Adding to feelings of loneliness and separation

Some of these conversations going on in coffee shops are genuine important exchanges of information. For many, electronic conversations are attempts to thwart feeling lonely. These people should shut off their toys, and talk to the person sitting a table away who is also trying to stave off feelings of loneliness and isolation. They both would find chatting face to face more rewarding and satisfying.

Present in the conversation

Think of how much better it is to actually sit across from someone, speak to them, be able to watch their body language, their facial expressions, and hear the nuance in their voice. Much better than sending out and receiving carefully crafted blurbs of text, or short, cutesy one liners with no real meaning attached to their text messages. Text with no real meaning is not only not being present, it is wasted time and space.

Reversing social behaviors

In my microcosm view of the the world as seen in a coffee shop, our social behavior is again changing. We completed the experiment of being wrapped in electronics, and most of us are now going back to our warmer more physical world of people.

We prefer to sit with the people we talk with. We want to hold a book in our hands. We want to share. We want to return to our roots, and be real people, not actors. We are moving away from the world of the cyborg, sitting alone, surrounded by electronics, never touched, never touching.

Make more friends

A behavior which I picked up on came from a bit of trivia from a behavioral study. Young people have about 20% less friends than their parents did at the same age. I used to see groups of people standing in a circle, texting people who are somewhere else. Standing alone in a crowd texting someone else who is also probably alone in a crowd. Having a few physical friends are more rewarding than one hundred electronic friends.

What about personal electronics

The question now is what should our electronics to do for us? How do we mix living in a world of physical sensations – sight, touch, and smell, what do our electronics need to do to complete the picture. I wish I knew, I would be the next billionaire.

Oil Industry Year Around Scam?

Have you noticed the cyclic trend in gasoline pricing?

There appears to be a trend between the price of gasoline and your local economy. There appears to be a firm relationship between gasoline prices and the general cost of living over a payday length period.

I first started noticing gasoline prices going up in anticipation of a formal holiday. It was odd to me gasoline prices went up before the holiday, and not after high holiday demand reduced the gasoline supply.

Here is what I think goes on:

Is there a formal holiday coming up?

In the past [years ago] gasoline prices went up on Friday before the long holiday weekend. My thinking was people leaving town for the weekend filled up their tanks on Friday and Sunday, which would drive up gasoline prices due to supply and demand. As years went by, I noticed gasoline prices going up on Thursday instead of Friday.

At the same time television news reporters were asking Gas Station Owners, ‘Why are gasoline was going up on Thursday?’ The pat answer was, ‘People are getting smarter, and filling up their tanks on Thursday instead of Friday.’

The fallacy is when gasoline prices go up is we blindly accept gasoline prices going up in anticipation of demand. We pay more for gasoline that is already at the station.

Is Fall and Winter weather warmer than the seasonal average?

If the weather is warmer than average for a period, there is a trend of gasoline prices going up.

I am not sure how many days weather has to be warmer than normal. I am guessing at least two weeks – the period between paychecks.

When Fall or Winter weather is warmer than normal, we do not pay as much for heating our homes. We have extra money to pay more for gasoline.

Is Summer weather cooler than the seasonal average?

If Summer weather is cooler than average for a period, there is a trend of gasoline prices going up. I am not aware of how many days weather has to be cooler than normal, or how much cooler.

When Summer weather is cooler than normal, we do not pay as much to keep cool. We have extra money to pay more for gasoline as utilities are low.

Is it early summer?

Early Summer is one of the most worn out excuses for gasoline prices rising sharply. It is summer time and everyone is going on vacation and driving more so there is less gasoline to meet the demand.

When early summer arrives, utilities are at their lowest point for the year. This time of year we can use extra money for our pared down driving vacation. We do have extra money to pay more for gasoline rather than vacation enjoyment.

Are food prices low right now?

If food is less expensive than average for a period, there is a trend of gasoline prices going up. This is a localized trend however. In some parts of the country food prices seldom go lower.

When food costs are lower than normal, we can eat for less, or eat better quality food. We do however have extra money to pay more for gasoline if we eat the same foods we always eat.

Have gasoline prices remained low for a period of time?

When gasoline prices remain lower than average for a period of time, get ready for sharp increase in gasoline pump prices. Suddenly demand will be outpacing supply.

The usual excuse is, China, India, or other heavily populated country suddenly has more drivers on the road and demand is outpacing supply. No explanation given of how these new drivers could afford cars and extra money to buy more gasoline.

This was a time we could pay off bills we accrued over the year. Instead we have extra money to pay more for gasoline.

Who crunches what numbers?

It may be true Big Oil Companies pay a fleet of carpet dwellers to crunch numbers on the daily cost of living in differing areas of our country.

I expect these cost indicators to gasoline price adjusting takes some serious computation. Several variables are compared to determine how much gasoline prices should rise. In other words, how much more we can afford to pay in the short term for gasoline. I am guessing at least a two week to three period – almost the time period between paychecks.

What is the correct ratio of low verses high indicators against short term cost of living? I do not know. Big Oil companies never seem to miss though. They are always on winning side of price adjustments, and always upward price adjustments.

I do know that a ball park formula should be fairly easy to reverse engineer. Increases in gasoline prices are weighed against various markers of area economies. If more markers go down than up, gasoline prices go up by that approximate amount.

Do Big Oil Companies miss profit expectations?

I am not a follower of stock prices of Big Oil companies. In fact I do not recall Big Oil companies ever making the news, except for two reasons.

  • There was an oil based catastrophe of epic proportions
  • Record Profits were announced

Is this my attempt at humor?

You might think this is a satire type of post, or maybe as usual I am seeing things where they do not exist. It may be I am. It may also be we are being scammed, and we sit around like sheep waiting for the next shearing.

Senator Smith from Big Business Special Interests

We have many serious problems looming over us as a country. I am tired of passing off our Country’s debt to the next generation. I think the buck needs to stop and it needs to stop now. I have a whole list of problems I would like to see addressed, but this one tops my list. If we do not take action on our overspending, it will reach a point where the next generation will not be able to manage overspending.

Pick a topic or two that you feel strongly about and read along.

Is time running out?

Is time running out?

We each have our topics of concern. We feel strongly about this  problem and some of us work our way up the chain by sending email, making phone calls, personal visits, whatever is the most effective means of communication to elected officials. No matter who you email, speak to, write, or see, they all give you their word they are working as hard on this problem as they can given their limited influence. Of course if they had their way, it would be solved already.

This rhetoric goes all the way up to the President. Of course each department and political party is blaming the other. I was wondering why my elected officials sit in their House or Senate chairs or offices, and seemingly take no action whatsoever to do anything more than pay lip service.

I became more curious when a Senator went go on national television as one did today and stated (paraphrased): ….if their party were to go along with the Presidents plan or suggestion it would be a coup for the Democratic President, and might help the Democrats hoist another candidate into the presidency at the next election.

I thought about his statement. Nothing in it about how whatever he was against is harmful, not fairly thought out, carried out, or implemented. Not a word along those lines about what could be wrong with the idea in general.

Nor did this Senator say or pledge he would work hard to ensure a better plan is found, introduced, and passed. That was an important omission I thought.

In fact I did not hear anything about the Senator’s, or his parties interest in seeing any sort of legislation of the type he was against come into being at all! The only statement made was allowing the measure to be passed into law would be a coup for the President and the Democratic Party.

Think about the previous paragraphs for a few seconds and let me know if they makes you angry? I was angry after hearing it. The Senator and his Party have no interest in creating or modifying any suggested plan?

I do not know how you feel, but to me that rhetoric was spoken by a man who draws a bigger paycheck from other sources than he does from the constituents who elected him!

Is this Senator’s Capitol Hill office the Golden Egg? Did he arrive in the promised land? His paycheck collected as tax from citizens like you and me must chicken feed compared to the real money he is receiving to be so arrogant and distant. After all what could a petty paycheck be to an ocean of money offered for not taking action, or deliberately blocking legislation?

If monies from “Special Interests” makes a Senators pay check seem small, where does that leave the American People? Should we research a companies political, environmental, and social views before we buy their product?  Do we have a say in a companies financial political contributions? I think we do.

Government was created mostly for business and business interests. Unless there is about to be a nationwide riot, Government spends the least amount of money required for the general welfare of the most people. Most of our government expenses are directed at keeping, gaining, and creating new markets for American Business ventures, not for a new vacation hot spot for Americans.

From the Environment, to Interstate Highways to Airports, to our Railways, it’s all about Big Business needs and imperatives. The thought that Joe taxpayer benefits a little after paying so much is a by product.

I used to think our elected officials had our best interests in mind when they went to Capitol Hill. There they would create and pass legislation to benefit the American People. Those days are long gone. Now days anyone who even mentions helping the average American is branded as wasteful, out of touch, and maybe even un-American.

The little guy (you and me) are just another third world country with nothing worth having inside its borders except a labor force. I am tired of feeling this way. Maybe these minor party politicians are not as whacky as we are led to believe they are by the media. Perhaps they do have a clear picture of what is wrong and how to fix it? I am going to look at them closer the next election.

I am only one person and one vote. Special Interests has no real interest in my welfare. What about you and your welfare? The more I think about this, it seems that this Senator, and others like him have little interest in making America better, perhaps their focus is in only promoting their own financial agenda.


Green Smoothie Creation Help

Make your Green Smoothies at least two hours after you have last eaten, and do not eat anything else for about an hour afterward. This is a firm rule. The purpose is to let your stomach digest the Green Smoothie before you put anything else into it.

Here is a simple recipe to follow:

1 or more fruits, not to exceed 60% of the Green Smoothie. The other 40 – 50% (not more) is made of vegetables listed below. The rest is water. I added salt and pepper at first, but stopped after the first week as I lost my taste for salt.

Fresh greens and fruits are best. They have the most nutrients. Second choice is frozen. Canned fruits have too much downside from what I read.

Fruit you can use for your Green Smoothie:






Orange – I am on the fence about oranges. As a note, citrus and non citrus fruit do not mix well together in a smoothie.






Any other fruit you may like

Any leafy green cruciferous vegetable (as of this posting my opinions are added after some:

Kale (strong tasting at first)

Spinach – Good

Broccoli – Good

Romaine lettuce – Not iceberg, butter, or other salad lettuce, they have little nutrition

Red lettuce

Dandelion greens

Arugula (also called arrow greens or something like that)

Bok Choy (haven’t tried yet)

Swiss Chard  (haven’t tried yet)

Beet Greens – Good

Collard Greens (haven’t tried yet)

Carrot Tops (haven’t tried yet)

Celery (Strong tasting). Add a small piece in a Green Smoothie as an adder to the main vegetable. Otherwise it may be overpowering.

Parsley (use very little, only for taste)

Mustard Greens – Taste like horseradish and hot chili with some chemical added to me

You can add peeled cucumber if you want, I like the flavor sometimes.

No root vegetables except maybe 1/2 carrot per smoothie. Kale, Spinach, and Broccoli are the Queens of nutrition. That’s why I haven’t explored further yet. Root vegetables (carrot, beet, potato, etc) and squash are lower in nutrients and high in carbs, so they are not good a choice for Green Smoothies.

Also, dairy is not really recommended for Green Smoothies. I understand you may have gas so bad, you won’t be able to stand yourself. Even though a lot of smoothie recipes on the web add yogurt or milk, you may not like the effects. Also greens have more than enough calcium by themselves.

Four ounces of Broccoli has more protein than four ounces of steak. Another way of looking at is per calorie broccoli has more nutrition than beef.

Here is what you do to make a Green Smoothie:

1. Cut the green leaf vegetables and (carrot if you add some) into blender size pieces and place them in the blender. Add ice if you want it colder, and a little water. Ice also helps greens blend smaller. Turn your blender on Puree or whatever is your highest speed and it can handle it. You may need to pre chop larger pieces into smaller sizes.

When you get the mixture right, it will be thick green sludge of pureed vegetable. Not really that appetizing yet, but it will make you drool in a couple of weeks I bet!

2. Add at least 1/2 banana. Now add your fruit. If it is a dry fruit like banana you will need to add more water. If it is apple or other wet fruit, you may not need to. All you want to do now is mix it together and make it fairly smooth. A few bits of fruit are won’t be as bad as a few bigger bits of vegetable.

3. Practice until you end up with between 24 to 32 ounces of Green Smoothie. When you do, you have the proportions right. You should drink all of it in 15 – 20 minutes. There is a lot of fiber to help you feel full longer.