Day: August 15, 2014

Life’s little surprises, big & small

A Box of Soap by Don Vowell You’ll be surprised to learn that an encounter with black-legged Kittiwakes is the key to happiness.  I never saw it coming. Think back to a meeting, event, appointment, or date you were dreading that actually turned out to be a pleasure.  Think back also to an outing you eagerly looked forward to that turned out sort of hum-drum. That’s two kinds of happiness.  The anticipation can invigorate you for some time before the fact.  But the unexpected delight found where it was least expected is the more memorable by far. A recent Washington Post article attempted scientific explanation.  Neuroscientist Robb Rutledge of the Max Planck Institute, the author of the quoted study, said – “Happiness is not about how well you’re doing in general, but rather if you’re doing better than expected.” As the laziest person in America the immediate solution occurring to me was to simply lower expectations, but this level of pessimism might make you sort of unhappy in the space between surprises. If you finally get the chance to take a friend to a concert by your favorite artist in the world, your anticipation can increasingly buoy your mood for several days.  If the show doesn’t quite live up to your expectations, those several days of elevated mood are not lost. How you feel right now depends some on...

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Marking 69 years with nuclear bombs

Do you ever feel lucky to be alive?  Most people do, especially those who are well and happy, when they reflect on the notion from time to time that they are, as the colloquial expression goes, “glad to still be around.” I remind everyone that Aug. 6 marks the 69th anniversary of the first atomic bomb, a “simple” one named Little Boy, was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.  Three days later, on Aug. 9, 1945, another Japanese city, Nagasaki, received a more complicated bomb nicknamed Fat Man.  Afterwards, Japan soon surrendered and World War Two ended. What about being lucky?  The scientists who invented the ultimate bomb didn’t know, whether or not, when detonated, it would cause a chain reaction that would blow the entire planet to smithereens.  There were a lot of people in Los Alamos holding their breath the morning of the first drop and were probably, figuratively speaking, still holding it a few days later when the more sophisticated version exploded. However, what’s stunningly lucky for us earthlings is that, even though atomic and hydrogen bombs of earth-destroying magnitude are now known to be in the possession of the United Kingdom, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel, that another atomic or hydrogen bomb has not been dropped on city targets since 1945.  Of course, there were above-ground experimental detonations for years following 1945. On Aug. 6, 1945, the possibility of the apocalypse passed from the exclusive...

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Political cartoon tells wrong story

To the Editor: I was shocked to see in my local newspaper such a false representation of the nation of Israel and its leader Benjamin Netanyahu, posed as the perpetrators of violence in the recent conflict with the terror group Hamas. While Israel is not perfect, the current conflict is not a complicated one to understand (albeit the western media is never thorough). Thousands of rockets have been fired at Israeli citizens in recent weeks, from Hamas terrorists who commit double war crimes by using their Palestinian civilians as human shields and their schools, hospitals and mosques as the very place they hide and shoot their rockets from. What’s not told in the western media often enough, is that Israel sends out a warning to the people via text messages, phone calls, leaflets, and even a warning “knock” with a dud missile to tell the people living inside to get out, before Israel fires a missile to destroy the Hamas rocket launcher shooting from their location. The people living in Gaza are trapped by the bully Hamas, but Israel goes far and above to do its best to protect lives, even while destroying the arms and the weapons pointed at them. I’ve been to Israel, and to put it in perspective, Oregon is twice the size. If we had any rockets (let alone thousands) being fired from Lincoln City...

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November election in Keizer

To the Editor: How do you feel about having an election and you know the winner before you vote? I am referring to the election in Keizer when there may be no opposition for council positions and the mayoral spot. The people running for positions may be well suited for the job but it would be nice to have a choice. It would be worthwhile in knowing how many people don’t think the candidates are suited for the job. If only one person runs for a position the candidate might think they have a mandate and everyone supports them and their ideas. Perhaps we should consider all the people who don’t vote for them as a vote against them. I talked with several well educated Keizerites who don’t have a clue what the issues are in Keizer and they don’t care. They don’t take the time to study candidates either. For example, unless people read the Keizertimes or watch Channel 23, they don’t know how much compensation we pay our city management. Furthermore, they don’t have a hint as to how much tax money is spent on public art or money on Keizer parks. The only time most people pay attention is when their taxes are going up and not how their tax dollars are spent. Bill Quinn...

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