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Tuesday, 31 December 2019

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve (1947) by Ella Fitzgerald



When the bells all ring and the horns all blow
And the couples we know are fondly kissing
Will I be with you or will I be among the missing?

Maybe it's much too early in the game
Ah, but I thought I'd ask you just the same
What are you doing New Year's, New Year's Eve?

Wonder whose arms will hold you good and tight
When it's exactly twelve o'clock that night
Welcoming in the New Year, New Year's Eve

Maybe I'm crazy to suppose
I'd ever be the one you chose
Out of the thousand invitations you received

Ah, but in case I stand one little chance
Here comes the jackpot question in advance
What are you doing New Year's, New Year's Eve?
Oh, what are you doing New Year's, New Year's Eve?

Monday, 30 December 2019

Can't Get It Out Of My Head

 Can't Get It Out Of My Head (1974) by Electric Light Orchestra




[Verse 1]
Midnight on the water
Staring as she called my name

[Chorus]
'Cause I can't get it out of my head

[Verse 2]
Breakdown on the shoreline
Morning don't get here till night
Searching for her silver light

[Chorus]
'Cause I can't get it out of my head, no no


[Verse 3]
Sitting till the sun goes down

[Chorus]
'Cause I can't get it out of my head, no no

'Cause I can't get it out of my head, no no

'Cause I can't get it out of my head, no no no no

Sunday, 29 December 2019

The Load Out + Stay

The Load Out + Stay (1977) by Jackson Browne



Now the seats are all empty
They'll set it up in another town
And when they got up on their feet they made the show
And that was sweet ...
But I can hear the sound

Cause when it comes to moving me
You guys are the champs
But when that last guitar's been packed away
You know that I still want to play

[Steel Guitar Solo: David Lindley]

But the band's on the bus
And they're waiting to go
And these towns all look the same
We just pass the time in our hotel rooms
And wander 'round backstage
And we remember why we came

Now we got country and western on the bus, R&B
We got rural scenes and magazines

We got time to think of the ones we love
While the miles roll away

You can sit there and wait
You know you can't go wrong
Cause when that morning sun comes beating down

We want to play -- just a little bit longer
If we take a little time
And we leave it all behind and sing

Oh won’t you stay
Just a little bit longer
Oh won’t you stay
Just a little bit longer

And the promoter don’t mind
And the roadies don’t mind
If we take a little time
And we leave it all behind and sing
One more song

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Sara Smile

Sara Smile (1976) by Hall & Oates



[Verse 1]
Baby hair, with a woman's eyes
I can feel you watching in the night
All alone with me and we're waiting for the sunlight

[Pre-Chorus]
When I feel cold, you warm me
And when I feel I can't go on
You come and hold me
It's you and me forever

[Chorus]
Sara, smile
Oh, won't you smile awhile for me, Sara

[Verse 2]
If you feel like leaving, you know you can go
But why don't you stay until tomorrow
If you want to be free
You know all you got to do is say so

[Pre-Chorus 2]
When you feel cold, I'll warm you
And when you feel you can't go on
I'll come and hold you
It's you and me forever

[Chorus]
Sara, smile
Oh, won't you smile awhile for me, Sara
Sara, smile
Oh, won't you smile awhile, Sara

[Outro]
Smile awhile
Oh, won't you smile awhile for me, Sara
Oh, smile awhile
Won't you laugh, Sara
Thank you for making me feel like a man
Not keeping me crazy, crazy
Smile awhile

Friday, 27 December 2019

Roller Coaster

Roller Coaster (2019) by Danny Vera


[Verse 1]
Here we go
On this rollercoaster life we know
With those crazy highs and real deep lows
I really don't know why
And I will go
To the farthest place on earth I know
I can travel all the road, you see
Cause I know you there with me

[Hook]
You don’t have to slow me down
Cause I will always be around
I will find my way back home
Where magnolia grows, where magnolia grows

[Verse 2]
But I guess you know
Why I do what I do and where I go
I try to fill an empty space inside
But I can't do that without you
You're even with me in my dreams
I see a sail, the seven seas
I will try to find my way
You’re always there tomorrow, you're always there tomorrow




[Chorus]
Here we go
On this rollercoaster life we know
With those crazy heights and real deep lows
I really don't know why
And I will go
To the farthest place on earth I know
I can travel all the road, you see
Cause I know you there with me
You don't have to slow me down
Cause I will always be around
I will find my way back home
Where magnolia grows, where magnolia grows

[Chorus]
Here we go
On this rollercoaster life we know
With those crazy heights and real deep lows
I really don't know why
And I will go
To the farthest place on earth I know
I can travel all the road, you see
Cause I know you there with me

[Post-Chorus]
Here we go
On this rollercoaster life we know
I can travel all the road, you see
Cause I know you there with me
Cause I know, oh know
You there with me

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Papa, Can You Hear Me?

Papa, Can You Hear Me? (1983) by Barbra Streisand
from the OST of the 1983 movie Yentl




God - our heavenly Father
Oh God - and my father
Who is also in heaven
May the light
Of this flickering candle
Illuminate the night the way
Your spirit illuminates my soul

Papa, can you hear me?
Papa, can you see me?
Papa, can you find me in the night?

Papa, are you near me?
Papa, can you hear me?
Papa,can you help me not be
Frightened?

Looking at the skies
I seem to see a million eyes
Which ones are yours?
Where are you now that yesterday
Has waved goodbye
And closed its doors?
The night is so much darker
The wind is so much colder

The world I see is so much bigger
Now that I'm alone

Papa, please forgive me
Try to understand me
Papa, don't you know I had no choice?

Can you hear me praying
Anything I'm saying
Even though the night is filled
With voices?

I remember ev'rything you taught me
Ev'ry book I've ever read
Can all the words in all the books
Help me to face what lies ahead?
The trees are so much taller
And I feel so much smaller
The moon is twice as lonely
And the stars are half as bright

Papa, how I love you
Papa, how I need you
Papa, how I miss you
Kissing me goodnight

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

My 35 all-time best songs in the Top 2000

"The Top 2000 is an annual marathon radio program, that plays the 2000 most popular songs of all time. The show runs 24 hours a day, starting Christmas and ending on New Year's Eve. Hosted by Dutch national radio station NPO Radio 2, over half of the population of the Netherlands listens to the broadcast each year." (Wiki) For online listening, click this URL: NPO Radio 2.

These are my 35 all-time best songs for the 2019 edition of the Top 2000:
  1. ABBA - Eagle (video)
  2. Alicia Keys - Fallin’ (video)
  3. Babys - Isn’t it time (my 2019 blog)
  4. Beach Boys - God only knows (video)
  5. Beatles - Let it be (video)
  6. Black Keys - Lonely boy (my 2017 blog)
  7. Bløf - Blauwe ruis (video)
  8. Cranberries - Linger (video)
  9. Damien Rice - I don’t want to change you (my 2016 blog)
  10. Danny Vera - Roller coaster (my December 27 blog)
  11. Eagles - Hotel California (video)
  12. Elbow - Magnificent she says (my December 24 blog
  13. ELO - Can’t get it out of my head (my December 30 blog)
  14. Fleetwood Mac - Go your own way (my 2016 blog)
  15. Foreigner - Cold as ice (my 2018 blog)
  16. Hall & Oates - Sara smile (my December 28 blog)
  17. Jackson Browne - Load out + Stay (my December 29 blog)
  18. Kate Bush & Peter Gabriel - Don’t give up (my 2016 blog)
  19. Little River Band - Long way there (my 2018 blog)
  20. Marvin Gaye - What’s going on (my 2015 blog)
  21. Michael Kiwanuka - Cold little heart (my 2016 blog)
  22. Neil Diamond - I am I said (video)
  23. Neil Young - Old man (Lizz Wright cover)
  24. Nick Cave - Into my arms (my 2017 blog)
  25. Paolo Nutini - Iron sky (my 2015 blog)
  26. Pink Floyd - Wish you were here (video)
  27. Queen + Bowie - Under pressure (my 2015 blog)
  28. Simon & Garfunkel - Sound of silence (my 2015 blog)
  29. Steve Miller - Fly like an eagle (my 2019 blog)
  30. Stevie Wonder - Superstition (my 2019 blog)
  31. Supertramp - Fool’s overture (my 2019 blog)
  32. 10CC - I’m not in love (my 2017 blog)
  33. U2 - I will follow (video)
  34. The War On Drugs - Thinking of a place (my 2017 blog)
  35. Young Gun Silver Fox - Long way back (my 2016 blog)

Jesus Is Just Alright

Jesus Is Just Alright, a 1972 cover song by The Doobie Brothers



Jesus Is Just Alright (1966) by The Art Reynolds Singers
the 1966 original gospel (rock) song



Jesus is just alright with me
Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
Jesus is just alright with me
Jesus is just alright

I don't care what they may say
I don't care what they may do
I don't care what they may say
Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
Jesus is just alright, oh whoa

Doo doo doo, doo doo, doo doo doo
Doo doo doo, doo doo, doo doo doo
Doo doo doo, doo doo, doo doo doo
Doo doo doo, doo doo, doo

Jesus is just alright with me
Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
Jesus is just alright with me
Jesus is just alright

Hope you [Incomprehensible]

I don't care what they may know
I don't care where they may go
I don't care what they may know
Jesus is just alright, oh yeah

Jesus, He's my friend
I said Jesus, He's my friend now
Take me by the hand
Take me far from this land
Jesus, talking 'bout Jesus, He's my friend now
Help me somebody

Jesus is just alright with me
Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
Jesus is just alright with me
Jesus is just alright

I don't care what they may say
I don't care what they may do
I don't care what they may say
Jesus is just alright, oh yeah

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Don't ask questions if you don't want to hear the answer

On August 20, I wrote my blog One question says more than a thousand answers. Questions never lie but answers can easily fool you. There is another pitfall when asking questions: after hearing the answer, sometimes you wish you had not asked the question. Some answers reveal a truth you don't want to hear, and you can only be hurt by the truth.

The above happened about a week ago. After a chat with a Possibly Maybe, I suggested to her that she might want to reconsider chatting with me. She didn't pick up my clue. After some time, she concluded that it was better not to continue chatting - for certain reasons. I told her that I agreed with her conclusion but on different grounds.

After a pause, she asked me on which grounds. I told her that she should not ask me questions if she doesn't want to hear my answer. This time, she understood my clue. She replied that she could imagine my answer after having read some of my blogs. I decided to stay silent.

Sometimes, it's the other way around: asking questions to hear the inconvenient truth that hurts. Last Sunday, someone came back into my life, asking for my advice - yet again. I know her for some 10 years. She has never accepted my perspective but keeps coming back to hear it. I suppose, she knows deep down that my words are true.

From the outside, she is a beautiful young woman with a university degree. From the inside, she is (totally) messed up. She is a know-it-all who has no appetite to learn from the school-of-life. This time, I called her an obnoxious child-woman. She thanked me for my advice and said that she will consider my words. She knows she must change, if only for one (good) reason.

In general, I don't ask too many questions, unless it is necessary for helping someone figuring out something. Moreover, I prefer asking open-ended questions rather than asking closed questions that will suffice with a "maybe", "no", or a "yes" answer.

The answer that I trust the least is: "I don't know". I think, feel and believe that we often do know the answer(s) to questions. We prefer replying by saying (or texting) "IDK" rather than the truth. The (self-) confronting truth often hurts.

Mid 2014, Joan asked me about the reasons for my 2013 burn-out while I was still recovering from it. Her question irritated me because I was still struggling finding the answers myself. I replied by making an analogy with Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Then I received a Eureka sensation and all pieces of the complex puzzle in my mind came together as one.

I admit that I had preferred answering Joan with "I don't know". I knew, however, such an answer wasn't true. It's difficult for me evading the truth. I prefer confronting it. Hence, I decided to give it a go. The reward for my attempt was magnificent.

Magnificent (She Says) - 2016 - Elbow

[Chorus] 
It's all gonna be magnificent, she says 
It's all gonna be magnificent 
It's all gonna be magnificent, she says 
It's all gonna be magnificent


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

Monday, 23 December 2019

You cannot be everyone's friend, else you will lose yourself

About 2 weeks ago, radio DJ Shay Kreuger was reading some apps from one of her listeners. His messages to her were rather negative. I wrote to Shay to support her. Shay decided reading one of my messages out loud: "You cannot be everyone's friend, else you will ultimately lose yourself". She said to her audience: "Wow, that's harsh". I only wondered: is it really?

Perhaps, I've touched upon a classic difference between a man and a woman. I've noticed that women often aim to stay friends with all people around them, and in particular other women. Often, men seem to be more selective in choosing their male friends (eg, networking) and their female friends (eg, possibly maybe).

In my view, it's impossible to be everyone's friend. Reasons may vary between conflict of interest, disinterest, dislike, previous experiences, etc. Often, you must choose who is your friend and who is not. Unfortunately, a great way of losing friends is choosing sides in a conflict (eg, marital tensions, divorce). Staying neutral in such situations isn't always an option.

Pleasing everyone (eg, changing Shay! into Shay) will imply losing part(s) of your identity. Hence, ultimately you will be losing yourself in the process of pleasing others. I noticed some relevant and interesting articles, which were written by women: How Women Can Overcome People-Pleasing and Perfectionism and Pleaser Women Always Lose out.

Psych Central: "While people-pleasing and perfectionism aren’t exclusively women’s issues, women are socialized in many cultures to be caretakers, put other people’s needs before their own, and be passive. They worry about what other people think of them; they don’t want to displease or be seen as “difficult” or “high maintenance.” So, they say “yes” and don’t make any waves."

It might seem that my recent blog You get what you give contradicts the above. If you give friendship then you should get friendship. In and of itself, this is true unless friendship is no longer exclusive. A person who is everyone's "friend" may become a person who is nobody's friend.

Friendship is not a commodity but our rare gift to some people only, who we admire as a human being for a mix of qualifications (eg, availability, discretion, friendliness, integrity, loyalty). I suppose this is the worship part in Oscar Wilde's quote about friendship between men and women.

The Carpenters may have touched upon the key issue of friendship: They long to be close to you.

(They Long to Be) Close to You (1970) by The Carpenters

Why do birds suddenly appear 
Every time you are near? 
Just like me, they long to be 
Close to you


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Chinese corporate debt is the ‘biggest threat’ to the global economy, says Moody’s chief economist (CNBC)

CNBC title: Chinese corporate debt is the ‘biggest threat’ to the global economy, says Moody’s chief economist

Date of publication: 17 December 2019


KEY POINTS
  • While corporate debt is a “fault line in the financial system and the broader economy,” Moody’s Chief Economist Mark Zandi flagged Chinese indebted companies as the “biggest threat.”
  • A similar warning by Fitch Ratings last week said that private companies in China have defaulted on their debts at a record pace this year.
  • In an October report, the ratings agency put it down to a tightening of credit as a result of the government’s deleveraging efforts.

"Chinese corporate debt is the “biggest threat” to the global economy, warned a Moody’s Analytics economist, who described such risks as a “very significant fault line.”

That followed similar comments by Fitch Ratings last week, which said that private companies in China have defaulted on their debts at a record pace this year.

While corporate debt is a “fault line in the financial system and the broader economy,” Moody’s Chief Economist Mark Zandi flagged indebted Chinese companies as the larger risk.

“I would point to Chinese corporate debt as the biggest threat,” he said, adding that it’s growing very rapidly in China.

Zandi explained that many companies are struggling to deal with a slowdown in growth stemming from the trade war and other factors.

“In the United States, it’s similar kind of picture — not to the same degree — but we have seen very significant increase in so-called leveraged lending, as in lending to highly indebted companies, and they are vulnerable if the economy were to slow,” Zandi said.

Debt has been a problem in the world’s second largest economy, which has been trying to reduce its reliance on it by tightening regulations to speed up deleveraging — or the process of reducing debt.

However, the trade war is putting a dent in its efforts to pare its massive debt levels as China seeks ways to boost its slowing economy, which has been hit by U.S. tariffs on Chinese exports.

The country has this year more or less paused its deleveraging efforts and put in place more stimulus.

Fitch Ratings said last week that a record high of 4.9% of China’s private issuers defaulted on onshore bond payments — or yuan-denominated bonds — in the first 11 months of 2019, a jump from 0.6% in 2014.

In an October report, the ratings agency put it down to a tightening of credit as a result of the government’s deleveraging efforts.

Local governments have also shown a “greater tolerance” towards defaults, it said.

“Around 80% of the onshore defaults by both issuer count and principal amount were from the private sector, being more vulnerable than state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to external funding market volatilities — and therefore face greater liquidity and/or refinancing risk under tight credit conditions,” the report said."


Sources:
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/17/chinas-corporate-debt-is-biggest-threat-to-global-economy-moodys.html
Fitch Ratings, October 2019: China CorporateBond MarketBlue Book

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Common hair products linked to cancer risk, says breaking new study (Big Think)

Big Think title: Common hair products linked to cancer risk, says breaking new study

Big Think subtitle: Embracing signs of age might be the road to a longer life after all.

Date of publication: 6 December 2019


[Bullet point summary:]
  • New research found that hair dyes and chemical straighteners might significantly increase the risk of breast cancer.
  • According to the study, black women who used permanent dyes at least every 5-8 weeks raised their risk of developing cancer by 60 percent.
  • This isn't the first time beauty products have been found to contain cancerous chemicals.

"Earlier this week, a disturbing report came out showing that permanent hair dye is heavily associated with cancer risk.

In a study published in the Journal of Cancer, findings show that hair dyes and chemical straighteners might significantly increase the risk of breast cancer. This is because they contain hormone-disrupting compounds and carcinogens that might be connected to the development of breast cancer, particularly in black women.

The link between hair products and cancer
While the link between breast cancer and permanent hair dye has been hypothesized in the past, prior findings had been inconclusive until now.

This new study looked at 46,709 women living in the United States between the ages of 35 and 74 between 2003 and 2009. Although none of the participants had breast cancer at the beginning of the study, all had at least one sister who had breast cancer and were, therefore, at elevated risk. Over the course of the study, 2,794 breast cancers were identified in the participants.

One of the most disturbing elements of the study was the stark contrast between the elevated risk of cancer between black women and white women who permanently dyed their hair. While past research on hair dye use and breast cancer risk had largely been limited to white women, this study found that black women who used permanent dyes at least every 5-8 weeks raised their risk of developing cancer by a shocking 60 percent compared to those who didn't. White women, on the other hand, raised their risk by only 8 percent. This might be because, as previous studies have shown, hair products that are designed for use by black women may contain more endocrine‐disrupting chemicals.

Additionally, women who used chemical straighteners at least every 5-8 weeks were 30 percent more likely to develop breast cancer. This was a cosmetic practice more commonly used by black women. The study found that 74 percent of black women had used chemical straighteners as opposed to 3 percent of white women. The researchers suggest that this could be because the treatment uses a concoction of chemicals that might include formaldehydea known carcinogen—as an active ingredient.

What the experts are saying
It's been estimated that more than a third of women past the age of 18 in the United States use hair dye. And hair products contain more than 5,000 chemicals, including some with properties that may disrupt hormones and cause genetic mutations.

Robin Dodson, a research scientist who studies environmental risks to women's health at the Silent Spring Institute, told The New York Times that most products that are on the market today are not sufficiently tested for safety, and that they aren't tested for additives that may disrupt the body's hormone production. Specifically, she's identified chemicals that imitate estrogen, which can fuel some types of breast cancer, in hair straighteners used more often by black women.

One of the authors of the study noted to the Times that the risks of dye use are still relatively small. Although the findings were more concerning for black women, this demographic only made up 9 percent of the study's participants, which is too small a sample size to know how real the risks are.

Embracing age to live longer
Ironically, adhering to certain values and beliefs that idolize youth may end up causing fatal illnesses that shorten life. Could the path of least resistance when it comes to signs of age be the road to longevity?

Fortunately, thanks in part to recent challenges to conventional beauty standards that have long fetishized youth, grey hair is trending right now. Take, for instance, Instagram accounts like @grombre, which celebrates women showing off their fresh new silver strands. Since embracing signs of added years rams into some deeply rooted cultural ideas about beauty and age, there's been a proliferation of online support groups and how-to blogs for women trying to transfer to an au naturale grey head of hair.

This isn't the first time beauty products have been found to contain cancerous chemicals. Back in 2015 a worrying report by the Breast Cancer Fund's Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that some popular anti-aging creams use an ingredient called PFOA, a chemical linked to cancer and endocrine disruption.

There's a cultural irony at hand: Are certain markers of a youthful appearance worth more than actual years of life? Fighting the aging process is expensive, energy draining, time consuming, and arguably futile. Maybe it's time we prioritize the living part of life, rather than looking like we've lived less of it."


Sources:

Friday, 20 December 2019

What if Senate Republicans decide to drop Trump

On 18 December 2019, the House of Representatives voted to impeach the 45th U.S. President. Everyone now expects that the Republican dominated Senate will save Trump from impeachment. What if the Senate votes Trump out?

The above may seem farfetched. Rob de Wijk, Professor of International Relations and Security at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs at Leiden University, disagrees. His Dutch newspaper column of 22 November 2019 was clear: If they can drop Trump, important Republicans will do so.

Mr De Wijk presents compelling arguments for his case: Trump was chosen against the wishes of his own Republican party. It lasted until January 2019 before the Republican chair of the House (ie, Paul Ryan) started supporting Trump.

Mr De Wijk is convinced that Trump made Republican enemies for life due to the way he came to power. Some day, Trump's day of reckoning will arrive. The opportunity of a House approved impeachment might become that moment.

The number of Republicans, who are retiring from political life, is becoming higher and higher. This might just be another wave of people who all joined the Republican GOP many years ago. However, they might also know something that we do not yet know, like a Senate impeachment.

In 2019, Republican Mitch McConnell, vowed to U.S. Congress: "Think of me as the Grim Reaper". If there's any person Trump should be worried about, then it's Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. Impeaching Trump and promoting the Vice President might well be in his interest.

Trump has alienated Republicans over several contentious issues:
- Trump's trade war with China;
- Trump's admiration for autocrats in China, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey;
- Trump's continuous fighting with allies while protecting U.S. enemies;
- Trump's recent decision to turn his back on the U.S. Army supported Kurds.

In general, what-if questions (eg, my 2016 blog) are hypothetical because such situations do not occur in real life (eg, a different decision in the past). Politics is the realm of the unexpected and impeachments rarely happen. Only two presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, have been impeached before Trump. Richard Nixon resigned himself. (eg, HistoryNet)

I doubt there will ever come a better moment for Senate Republicans to drop Trump.

(Don't Fear) The Reaper (1976) by Blue Öyster Cult 

All our times have come 
Here, but now they're gone 
Seasons don't fear the reaper 
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

Thursday, 19 December 2019

"All media are liberal-left"

Recently, my son (21) made an interesting comment: "All media are liberal-left". I agree with him. It's very difficult finding serious conservative-right media. I think, feel and believe that bipartisanship and subsequent polarisation have caused a vacuum at the conservative-right, which was filled by populist, nationalist, or extremist media. None of these are serious.

In my view, the cause is rather fundamental and relates to arrogance versus ignorance (my blogs). Please have a look at my 2017 blogs on the arrogance of Left and ignorance of Right and the ignorance of Nationalism and arrogance of Globalism. Hence, there are simply not enough readers or viewers at the serious conservative-right. Fox News "click-baited" them.

Moreover, the arrogant liberal-left know-it-all has always been more interested in reading; especially about the confirmation of her/his own opinion. Blaming the liberal-left for having a higher volume of interested readers - and thus an omnipresence - is ignorant. Unfortunately, right-wing media often do blame left-liberal bias for having an omnipresence.

It's difficult presenting a solution for this Catch-22 situation. My personal approach is reading liberal-left media and dissecting their arguments on being biasedflawed, incomplete, irrelevant, or plain invalid. The downside is that it takes more time. The upside is that I can use their arguments and build a better case. Latter is always fun.

My son and I also agree that the political correctness of the liberal-left is probably their most annoying attitude. I don't mind that they have different opinions. That's fine with me as liberal stands for liberty and freedom of (economic, philosophical, political, religious, sexual) choice. I do mind the umbrella of political correctness on top of their opinions.

Political correctness aims to restrict free speech. Any opposite opinion might be factually right but is morally wrong. Political correctness forces the liberal-left into convergence to one (1) subjective truth. However, this truth usually does not find firm ground due to the liberal-left's habit of arguing - or fighting - with each other. Ultimately, they remain a group of know-it-all's.

The irony of the liberal-left's use of political correctness is that it has built opposition coalitions. The election of the (arrogant and ignorant) 45th U.S. president was the result of previously unlikely social coalitions (eg, churchgoers, nationalists, populists, and the serious conservative-right).

“Political correctness is America's newest form of intolerance, and it is especially pernicious because it comes disguised as tolerance. It presents itself as fairness, yet attempts to restrict and control people's language with strict codes and rigid rules. I'm not sure that's the way to fight discrimination. I'm not sure silencing people or forcing them to alter their speech is the best method for solving problems that go much deeper than speech.” A quote by George Carlin from his 2004 book When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?

 Pissed Off and Mad About It (2010) by the Texas Hippie Coalition


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Ghosting on friends

A recent Quartz email newsletter had an interesting topic, which was borrowed from The Lily, "a place for the curious minded": "Ghosting is occasionally necessary. It’s not cowardly, because we all reach our breaking point eventually." After some reflection, I realised that I also ghost on some people, and that some people are ghosting on me.

In one instance, the ghosting is mutual. Indeed, we both seem to have reached our breaking point. I told her that I'm okay being her lightning rod and/or punching bag - at least for a while. She hasn't even read my last message, wishing her good luck with yet another doctor's appointment. I am in no mood soliciting for her new punches. Negativity is dangerous for me.

My former girlfriend (2010-2014) is also ghosting on me. She once told me, ghosting is her default habit. For some time, I was the exception to her rule. Not anymore. It has taken me quite a while to accept our sudden 2014 break-up. I now finally realise that we are both better off going our separate ways. I suppose she understood that (much) earlier than I did.

It's much easier to ghost on acquaintances rather than on friends. As soon as acquaintances show any sign of disinterest then I'm eager to ghost on them (too). Ghosting on new people, who are playing hard to get (see yesterday's blog), is even easier than acquaintances.

For a long time, I was the one reactivating dormant friendships. Today, my life is about Less = More, including dormant friendships. Either people are in my life - or out. There is little grey / gray in between. They are, however, always welcome to return.

In my other instances of ghosting on people, I seem to have reached my "breaking point". Actually, being fed up is a better description for that feeling. Moreover, because "breaking point" suggests a permanent state (eg, bend or break), while "fed up" suggests a temporary state of the mind (and of the stomach).

The article's heading in the Lily uses two words that may need some further elaboration: necessary and not cowardly. I agree with the writer's (ie, Bianca Xunise) choice of words. Avoiding someone may indeed seem cowardly when taken at face value. Avoiding a close friend is like preparing for a fight or confrontation. There's no cowardly behaviour involved.

This confrontation is necessary in order to clear the air between friends. Being friends often implies sucking up differences (eg, of opinion) rather than addressing these. Hence, tensions will slowly build. Sometimes, even between close friends, it's better going separate ways.

Separate Ways (1972) by Elvis Presley

Love has slipped away left us only friends 
We almost seem like strangers 
All that's left between us are the memories we share 
Of times we thought we cared for each other

[Chorus] 
There's nothing left to do but go our separate ways 
And pick up all the pieces left behind us 
And maybe someday, somewhere along the way 
Another love will find us



Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Boris' binary choice: Leave EU or Remain in UK

The outcome of the 2019 UK general election points to a binary choice: either leaving the EU or remaining in the UK. BoJo's victory is a pyrrhic one due to the electoral success of the Scottish National Party (SNP). I doubt BoJo dares breaking up the United Kingdom. Hence, the ultimate outcome might still be: staying in the EU for rescuing the UK.

The Labour leader came with a most pathetic public comment in the Guardian: "We won the argument, but I regret we didn’t convert that into a majority for change".

The British elections had been, in the words of a Dutch correspondent, a choice between "the illusionist and the neo-marxist". "Who will it be: the day-dreamer who thinks that Britain will rule the waves once again, or the nasty radical who only declares gibberish?" It's amazing that non-English newspapers actually believed that Labour stood a chance.

Labour may have ample principles but BoJo has none. This implies that any outcome is still possible. Maintaining his own position will be the benchmark for any conflict. The SNP's demand for a new Scottish referendum on leaving the UK is a major accident waiting to happen. Delaying that Scottish referendum may hurt more than agreeing to it. Why? The SNP might lose again.

Wiki: "The Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland fought dozens of battles with each other. They fought typically over land, and the Anglo-Scottish border frequently changed as a result. [] In 1603, England and Scotland were joined in a "personal union" [of the Crowns] when King James VI of Scotland succeeded to the throne of England as King James I. War between the two states largely ceased []".

Queen Elizabeth's stance towards Brexit has been the subject of (many) rumours. Her 2016 public comment was both explained as pro Leave and pro Remain. A potential breakup of the union of the Crowns may result in a less ambivalent comment by Queen Elizabeth II

BoJo's pragmatism - and/or lack of principles - may create a unique situation: a reversal on the 2016 Brexit referendum outcome and declaring himself a winner for saving the Crown and the UK.

In my view, the Brits understood the danger of electing a (very) principled man as their new PM, and voted strategically for someone who lacks any principles. A pivotal moment may have been Labour's use of "leaked" UK-US trade documents "showing" that the NHS was "up for sale". FT, 7 December 2019: "Russian operation believed to be ‘tied to’ leaked UK trade documents".

"I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world". A quote by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), an Irish poet and playwright.

Principles of Lust (1991) by Enigma
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

The principles of lust are easy to understand...



Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

Monday, 16 December 2019

The game of playing hard to get

Two recent events made me wonder if the game of "playing hard to get" can be successful. A Google search revealed a 2014 Psychology Today article: When Should You Play Hard to Get? This article mentions a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental PsychologyWhen does playing hard to get increase romantic attraction?

This study confirms my own attitude towards the game of "playing hard to get". In general, I neither like this game nor the person playing it, unless the game is being played by a woman whom I already know and like. In latter case, her game will indeed increase my attention and my efforts towards her.

Hence, playing hard to get can be a successful strategy between acquaintances and/or friends but not between strangers.

Abstract from 2014 Chinese University of Hong Kong study:
"Folk wisdom suggests playing hard to get is an effective strategy in romantic attraction. However, prior research has yielded little support for this belief. This article seeks to reconcile these contrasting views by investigating how 2 hitherto unconsidered factors, (a) the asymmetry between wanting (motivational) and liking (affective) responses and (b) the degree of psychological commitment, can determine the efficacy of playing hard to get." Note: link in quote added by LO.

In my view, the above mentioned folk wisdom must relate to people who already knew each other because the means of communication and transport were (very) limited in those days. Projecting ancient folk wisdom to this day and age, will probably always suggest "contrasting views".

Interestingly, the opposite of playing "hard to get" is also true: playing "easy to get" increases - rather than decreases - someone's likeability. I suspect the same applies to same sex meetings (eg, at sport, study or at work): "individuals who act engaged and interested [] are seen as more positive and likable". Note LO: this quote has been amended from past tense to present tense.

Hence, the above is just another example of my recent blog: You get what you give. If you give people your attention then you may get their interest. However, if you give them a game of "playing hard to get" then you will get their dislike. Once people know and like you, romantic attraction may indeed occur in the right circumstances (eg, available, single).

"Some people like the chase but ultimately, people who play hard to get are also hard to want. If she is actively making it more difficult to date her then I'll find someone else." Cosmopolitan.

Hard To Get (2019) by KUN (a.k.a. Cai Xukun)


Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise