BINGE LEARNING

I could easily say that, at my age, I don’t need to learn anything new. It would be untrue. To be alive requires we learn and change.

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I’m an immersion learner. If I’m interested in something, I read everything I can find about it … these days most likely on the Internet rather than in the library. The Internet is a great thing — an unlimited library with access to everyplace on earth where knowledge is stored. Terrific for binge learners like me who get obsessed and need to find out everything.

This is no recent phenomenon in my life. I’ve always been like this, reading about whatever has grabbed my attention until I felt I knew as much as I needed to know.

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That was what was wrong with school for me. We touched on everything, but rarely got an opportunity to delve. Later, when school was finished and I was working, I began to catch up with stuff I had just tasted in high school and college.

I’m still learning, still collecting information. And that’s at least half the reason I blog, because I have a head full of stuff and this is where I can make some arguably constructive use of it.

SHARE IF YOU ARE OLD TO ENOUGH TO REMEMBER …

This always makes me laugh … even though I’ve seen it several times before.

Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Did mom and dad let you hunt woolly mammoths after you finished your homework?

Did you have to walk ten miles for a small piece of flint?

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The kids have it so easy today. I remember …

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YOU’VE EITHER GOT IT OR NOT

Style, by Rich Paschall

Perhaps you have noticed that it seems to be dying out.  You are probably glad of it too.  You did not like it.  You may even have been insulted by it, so it is so long and farewell.  It should be like many style statements we have seen over recent generations.  It is here for a while, then reason sets in.

Of course, we are talking about that so-called “fashion trend” that saw young men wearing their baggy jeans below their rear ends so that we could see their boxer shorts.  I am sure this did as much for makers of boxer shorts as it did for sellers of baggy jeans.  Perhaps these guys have started to realize just how crazy this was.  There may have been some cheap thrill in letting us see their underwear, but as a practical point of view it could not have been dumber.  At least you know these guys were not going to cause trouble.  It is tough when you have to waddle away from the scene of the crime.

Maybe the lack of a Justin Bieber tour helped to kill this idea.  Let’s hope that his next tour does not bring it back or some equally strange wearing of clothes.  The alleged singer-songwriter will take his “Purpose” tour on the road this year.  We are not sure of the Purpose or style yet.

When I was younger we had our strange fashion trends, which I am sure were heavily influenced by the entertainment industry.  If someone looked cool in the movies or on television, then I guess we wanted to look cool too.  I was too young to be influenced by the first wave of the British Invasion.  It did not matter to me what John, Paul, George and Ringo were wearing.  For clothes choices, I got whatever my mother thought I should have.

As I got a little older I realized, as all kids do, that a little (or a lot) of whining would probably get me a few of the things I liked.  By high school, it was white Levis, madras shirts (plaid) and penny loafers.  I thought this ensemble was cool.  I guess I still do.  For a while it was “skinny jeans.”  I don’t think we called them that but they were the type that were difficult to put on and the opening at the bottom of the pants leg was barely big enough for your feet to go through.  I guess we thought we were sexy, like the boys showing off their boxers in more recent times.  Skinny jeans also seem to be quite popular at present.

It was just a few years and that whole “preppy” look I loved so much was out, and a whole collection of things that would not stand the test of time came in.  When skinny jeans gave way to “flares,” that is pants that had wider leg openings at the bottom, and then bell bottoms we had a whole new look.  Yes, I got those, including the “hip huggers” style.  Those had a lower cut.  Neither my parent nor my grandparents ever wore any such items.

Your wide pants might go with a variety of looks, but maybe not with your Nehru jackets or shirts.   These items may have retained their popularity in India, where they are named after  Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who served from 1947 to 1964, but they were a brief trend here.  The jackets and shirts with the “mandarin collar” would make you look like a priest if you wore something dark.

Your 70’s hippie look did need “tie dyed” t-shirts.  I guess those just keep coming back around the style block.  They were always popular with the Grateful Dead crowd and then with Phish, the Grateful Dead for the 21st Century.  I am glad to say I never owned one.  You may think that picture of you with beads, tie dye shirt, bell bottom pants and sandals that one of your friends posted on facebook on “throwback Thursday” looks really cool, but I have news for you…

All of this was followed by the regrettable trend we called “leisure suits.”  The polyester creations featured jackets that looked like shirts trying to be jackets.  Unfortunately, a number of pictures of my youthful self in these suits can be found.  My friends who escaped the camera at the time are pleased to point out how unfashionable that look is today, using one of my pictures as an example.  The worst looks were the ones with the leisure suits featuring polyester, flower patterned shirts with big collars.  Thanks to the internet and some Boys Club photo albums, I may never live that down.

It would have been easy to be an Urban Cowboy next.  Who does not love a classic American western look?  Following his success in making us all want to look like something out of Saturday Night Fever (which I saw more than once), John Travolta soon convinced us we should change to jeans and ride a mechanical bull.  Yes, the fashion bull kept galloping through our lives and many of us got trampled by it.

It probably would have been better to stick to standard looks that stay in fashion generation to generation.  Frank Sinatra always looked cool.  He has styled throughout the ages, even if it was all pretty much the same.  A sharp suit and a fedora hat would have been good, but not as good as a tux with carnation or other fresh flower and a hat tilted to the perfect angle.  If you do not understand, here’s your primer:

SWEPT AWAY BY CACTI AND SUNSET

The intrepid Armstrongs came from a small, New England town and were instantly converted to western pilgrims, smitten by the tall cactus and the red light of sunset

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It was a full conversion. Garry Armstrong, former mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan television station, was undaunted by warnings about snakes in the grass. “Dealt with those bastards for years,” he said. “At least these snakes warn you with rattles,” and kept shooting. Pictures. He shot pictures. Many hundred of pictures. Thousands, really.

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His wife was equally pixellated. “Oh wow,” she reiterated. Sometimes, she said “Oh wow, look at that!” or “Oh wow, that’s … amazing.”

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The peak of the experience came yesterday afternoon, whatever day it was, when at the Apache Land Museum, and old movie set containing memories of the days when western movies were shot nearby in the desert surround the Superstition Mountains.

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Not only did Garry Armstrong get slightly too up close and personal with a cactus, but the notorious husband and wife team got to ride a mule, reviving happy memories of when they both rode real horses in rings, trails, and the occasional rodeo.

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They also were able to listen to a concert given by one Henny Penny, internationally renowned performer on the toy xylophone.

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It was a long days journey into night, beginning with coffee, continuing with lunch in a ghost town name Goldfield, and ending with a big old pizza back at the hacienda of über host Ben.

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Yee haw!

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