Songs on Saturday ~ Annie Lennox

my whole life is cracked, and nobody can put me back together again

I live in an empty room with a teddy bear called Marmaduke, everyone else in my life I have loved has cut me down.

Don’t tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass.

Love is like glass, the brighter the glitter, the more easily broken.

Please listen responsibly.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

the sea, a winter mirror

seen through a glass, darkly

 

 

Bad Weather

there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather

Snow in New Mexico

As far as I’m concerned the weather here is bad today ~ gale force winds and driving rain, courtesy of an Atlantic storm sweeping in from the south-south-west.  Some fool decided that severe storms here should have names, and this one is called Erik ~ pathetic.  Hurricanes should have names, minor storms over the British Isles shouldn’t.  (Actually it’s Met Éireann, the Irish Meteorological Office which names storms here ~pathetic.)

For all of history, today, and into the foreseeable future mankind’s activities have been /are / will be dependent upon the weather.  Agriculture relies on the right kind of weather at the right time, travel can be disrupted due to high winds rain, and snow, and power consumption rises if the weather is too hot or too cold.

Right now 70 million Americans across the Midwest are bracing themselves for dangerous storms bringing high winds, cold, rain, hail, and the possibility of a tornado or two.  Now that’s really bad weather.  But then America does have extremes of climate.

Weather refers to what’s going on in the atmosphere at a particular place, over a short period of time; temperature, humidity, wind, rain / snow, clouds, visibility…..  Climate is the long-term weather pattern over a large area over many, many years ~ long enough to generate meaningful statistical data ~ say a hundred years or more.

Which is why all this brouhaha over catastrophic anthropogenic climate change is just so much crap.  If global temperatures show a significant warming over the next 30 years or so, then maybe there may be something to it ~ or more likely it’s still just changes in long-term weather patterns driven by the usual suspects.

Our weather is created by the sun, and sometimes catastrophically modified by rare events such as a very major volcanic eruption, (Krakatoa), or a comet / meteorite hitting the surface of the earth, (whatever killed off the dinosaurs).  Occasionally local weather can be catastrophically changed by the actions of man; the Great London Smogs for example, but those events are rare and temporary.

Some say that man is killing the planet.  And that we need to stop using cars, aeroplanes, electricity, living in houses, and definitely stop eating meat.  All I know is that every now and again Chicken Little runs around screaming that the sky is falling.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

snow on the high plains isn’t so very rare

 

Neuroplasticity

we are shaped by our thoughts, we become what we think and believe

Neuroplasticity is the ability your brain has to rewire and restructure itself according to usage and needs.  The more we use certain parts of our brain, the stronger they get.  Conversely, the less we use certain parts of our brain the weaker they get.  So, if your brain spends a lot of its time being depressed, then the part of your brain / body that is depressed, that creates sadness, melancholy, and hopelessness in you, will become stronger and larger.  You will get better and better at being depressed.

Whereas, if you fill your life with joy, companionship, and happiness, then the part of your brain / body that deals with those things will become stronger and larger ~ you will become better and better at pleasure, satisfaction, and elation.

Weird, but that’s the way it really works.

If you learn a new and difficult skill, particularly one which involves both the mind and body; golf, tennis, touch typing, knitting, carpentry, learning to drive…..  then your brain will change, enlarge, and strengthen to allow you to get good at your chosen pastime or occupation.

Because of the power of neuroplasticity, you can, in fact, reframe your world and rewire your brain so that you are more objective.  You have the power to see things as they are so that you can respond thoughtfully, deliberately, and effectively to everything you experience.  ~  Elizabeth Thornton.

The really interesting part is that we can use neuroplasticity on purpose to create and reinforce a change in ourselves.  With each repetition of  thought or feeling we reinforce a particular set of neural pathways.  These small changes, frequently enough repeated, lead to changes in how our brains work.  Neuroplasticity offers us the opportunity to make real and lasting psychological changes in the way our brain / body works.

There are a number of exercises we can use to enhance the interconnectedness of our neural pathways, and they are both intellectual and physical.  For example, regularly only using your ‘wrong’ hand promotes left / right brain connectedness, while reading a good, difficult, and stimulating book promotes the efficiency of the intellectual and memory parts of the brain.

The key is repetition and keeping on practicing until whatever it that you want becomes a habit and your normal way of life.  If you want to stop being jealous, then practice being tolerant, accepting, trusting and understanding.  As they say in AA; ‘fake it to make it’.

Some say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  And that once a sinner, always a sinner.  All I know is that the phenomenon of neuroplasticity allows us to be whoever and whatever we want to be.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

you can change and strengthen your brain / body so you could build anything

Food on Friday ~ Spicy

food for the body is not enough ~ there should also be food for the soul

Everyone’s definition of what constitutes spicy food is different.  Some people think a dash of black pepper is sufficient, whereas others like the red hot chili peppers, (and that’s a very overrated band).

Personally I prefer a little subtlety in my spice palette.

First up this week we have a dish with good old-fashioned mustard from Diane’s Kitchen.  I think you should be able to make this Honey Mustard Chicken in about a half-hour, maybe serve it with a baked potato.

Honey Mustard Chicken

Next we have a vegan recipe from Cookie + kate, and this Spicy Black Bean Soup with a Cuban twist should be in your bowl in about 45 minutes.  Obviously this would be great to take to work the following day, and Kate says it freezes well in Mason jars ~ hmmmm, I’d never freeze a glass jar.

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats has this brilliant recipe for Ginger Scallion Noodle Bowls ~ ginger is the Queen of Spices, it’s good for just about whatever ails you, as well as providing a great pick-me-up.

Ginger Scallion Noodle Bowls

Half Baked Harvest is a site for some really pretty dishes, and this 30 Minute Vietnamese Beef and Crispy Rice Bowl is no exception.  I really like the look of this recipe and it’s on my list to try in the very near future ~ I like 30 minute recipes.

30 Minute Vietnamese Beef and Crispy Rice Bowl

Next to last for this week, from Amanda at Chez le Rêve Français, there’s this Chilli and Ginger Glazed Salmon ~ what’s not to like about this dish?

Chilli and Ginger Glazed Salmon

This week’s collection is from Olive Magazine, with their 25 Best Ever Hot and Spicy Recipes.  I’ve chosen to feature this Sri Lankan Veggie Curry partly because it’s vegetarian, but mostly because I love Sri Lankan food ~ it’s far, far better than Thai.

Sri Lankan Veggie Curry

~

jack collier

jackcollier@talktalk.net

 

Chinese 5 Spice Beef and Ginger Stir Fry

from Vacation Food

the map is not the territory

to change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions

A friend said; ‘I’ve learned that what I see isn’t always what I’m seeing…..’

Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.  ~  Einstein

Everything we experience is filtered through our own internal maps, rules, preconceptions, prejudices, mores, ethics, and past experiences.  Which is why we can’t always believe what we see, hear, read, and are told by others.  An Australian may see a naked black man and just think that he’s a blackfella gone walkabout.  Whereas an elderly American woman from Virginia may see a naked black man and be so mortally afraid that she’ll call the police.  (I could go on but it get’s rude so use your own imagination…..  See what I mean?)

Nothing has meaning until we interpret the experience through the entirety of our subconscious mind and all the shit that’s in there.  Every single thing you experience is meaningless in its own right.  Only after we have applied all the filters we have learned since before we were even born does a sensory experience actually have any meaning whatsoever.

This is useful, because it means that we don’t have to relearn everything every single time it happens.  If you didn’t know what the dawn meant and how it happens you’d get pretty shocked at daybreak.  And this is one reason we all live in our comfort zones and tend to avoid genuinely new experiences.  The new and unknown can be surprising and scary.

But, this filtering of experiences through the entirety of our unconscious, subconscious, and conscious minds is also bad.  It means that we are closed-minded, never open to seeing the other chap’s point of view, and if we do have an unexpected and new experience we tend to dismiss it out of hand.  For example, if you believe in catastrophic anthropogenic climate change, then you will never be open to the argument that there isn’t any such thing ~ no matter the evidence.

What this means that we should always question the evidence of our own eyes; what you see isn’t always what you get.

And maybe 1% of the people on this planet would ever be willing to do that because it requires brutal self-honesty.  Before you can truly see the world, you first have to truly see yourself.

Some say they won’t get fooled again.  And that their point of view is the only point of view worth having.  All I know is that she seems to have invisible touches.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

the wheels in your mind are in perpetual motion

Who Am I?

I was born alone, but I carry the spirit and blood of my ancestors.

I know my name.  I know where and when I was born.  I firmly believe that I knew who my parents were.  I know that in my life I have had money, wealth, property ~ all resulting from working hard in my chosen profession.  I don’t know very much about myself at all.

Like many men I have been disappointed and dissatisfied with Life ~ especially in matters of the heart.  Like many men I have gone through Life thinking that there should be more, and that I should do better.

Much of these vague feelings of dissatisfaction were a result of my brain and mind not functioning as nature intended as a result of unhealthy stress.  Too much bad, unhealthy stress results in reduced Gamma wave activity, reduced mental acuity, pessimism, negativity, fatigue, and ill-health.  No wonder many of us have felt disappointed and dissatisfied for much of our lives.

At it’s heart bad, toxic, unhealthy stress is a result of fear.  However, now I shall have a fearless engagement with Life that shall be the core condition for satisfaction, high performance, constructive relationships, and greater well-being.

This will take a fundamental change in attitude to rewire my brain and reprogram my subconscious mind until this fearless and confident attitude becomes second nature

This is a very difficult thing to do, requiring a total reexamination of just who the hell and am and just who the hell I want to be.  What foundations am I building this new Life upon?  What are going to be my building blocks for a strong, solid, and fearless Life?

There are some words; kind, caring, compassionate, polite, gentlemanly, generous, focus, faithfulness, brave, fearless, determined, confident, cool, peaceful…..  But perhaps I just need one word which encompasses all of that ~ and ‘good isn’t good enough.

However, I am one small step closer to knowing exactly what needs to be done to unburden myself of the emotional and spiritual obstacles I have been hiding behind.  I’m not seeking instant gratification, nor some advantage over others.  I am seeking to become a superior man ~ in comparison with what has gone before.

It has taken much hard work to bring me to where I am today, but this is not the moment to rest.  There are challenges ahead and I have a strong desire to manifest real and successful change through hard work and dedication to a long-term plan.

Some say that I really don’t know who I am.  And that sometimes I just don’t give a fuck.  All I know is that I can rebuild myself, better than before.  This man can build just about anything.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

I made this car

 

we are not all crazy

Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country.  ~  Theodore Roosevelt

Due to a bout of insomnia I found myself listening to President Trump’ State of the Union address.  What an uninspiring speaker that man is.   Having said that, I am in no doubt that Mr. Trump will be re-elected for a second term in office.

One of his controversial standpoints concerns the building of a security wall / fence along the southern border of the USA with Mexico ~ to prevent illegal immigration, people smuggling, drugs and gun smuggling.  The Democrats / Liberal Left are especially incensed by this policy, as are the liberal left in the United Kingdom incredibly angry about our referendum’s requirement that immigration into the UK from Europe and elsewhere be immediately curbed.

There is no doubt that one of the main reasons the British people voted decisively in 2016 to leave the European Union was to drastically cut immigration of all kinds, illegal and otherwise.  This is not xenophobia, it’s common sense.  Other than very skilled individuals, where there is an immediate job waiting, immigrants offer nothing whatsoever to their new country.  In fact they are a net drain on scarce resources.  There is also compelling evidence that immigrants are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime.

Things were different before this modern technological era, and now that population pressure is a very serious issue.  In the past immigrants filled valuable roles in society, but today even ditch diggers have to be able to drive a back-hoe.

Theodore Roosevelt’s words are still applicable today.  When I travel to the Southern United States it’s noticeable how many people have Spanish as their first / only language.  In parts of England many Asian female immigrants cannot speak English.  It’s sad, but one cannot be a true member of society if you don’t routinely speak the language.  In this modern technological world, one cannot be a valuable member of society if you don’t speak English.

Some say that we should welcome ethnic diversity.  And that opposing unfettered immigration is racist.  All I know is that you’d have to be crazy to allow all and sundry to live in your home.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

immigrants do fill lots of roles in the hospitality industry.

 

sunrise silences

the breeze at dawn has secrets to whisper

~

golden dawn’s

silent bright morning

caresses the silent horizon

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

it had been a restless night

undiscovered abilities

believe in yourself and your own abilities

And some believed that a man could fly.

I believe that each of us has abilities, skills, and talents we have never fully utilised.  Some of us we have abilities we aren’t even aware of, either because they have been discouraged from childhood, or they just don’t seem to fit within our comfort zone.  Well, perhaps t’s time we found those talents and abilities and allowed them to shine out into the world.

To do that we have to become outgoing, confident, and perhaps show off a little ~ to get noticed in a positive way.  Don’t appear arrogant nor over-confident, but neither hide away and ignore what is innately within us.

Pay attention to ways we can possibly progress in our chosen career, or hobbies and pastimes, relationships, aims, desires, goals and dreams.

Probably we will need some help to fully realise our undiscovered abilities, skills, and talents ~ so this may be the time to find a new friend, teacher, collaborator.  I my own case it may be that I have some weird psychic skills which have thus far manifested in a small way through Tarot ~ but there’s no way I can find out if I can actually read the cards without a really skilled teacher / collaborator.

And, as it goes, I don’t believe that reading Tarot cards is my true undiscovered ability.  I believe there is something far more profound hiding away in my subconsciousness.  I’m going to develop a plan to discover whatever hidden abilities I may have.  It will undoubtedly mean trying new and interesting things and experiences.

Some say that what you see is what you get.  And that they are honest, open, and fully developed as a person.  All I know is that I can make things happen just by staying open-minded.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

each of us must find their own dawn

 

Tunes on Tuesday ~ Blues Brothers

it’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, it’s dark out, and we’re wearing sunglasses

Not only do I like the movie, I also like Ray Charles, and this song, and the street dancers.

Please listen and dance responsibly.

The Men in Black?  I’ve seen Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith do it better.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

if you hit Route 66 in Chicago

eventually you’ll end up here

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