Human Element

Most of you should have heard the news of an almost perfect game that was pitched this week. It is a bad call that cannot be corrected, but that is how MLB wants it because according to them the fans want the human element in the game. I am not a baseball expert and have most of the information from sports radio, it seems this did not cause a lot of controversy… it has been mostly about man hugs and I’m sorry.

I have no idea why baseball is so behind. I know that tennis started to try to take the line judge’s human factor out of play back in the 1970s. They seem to be doing quite well with electronic line judges. Why can baseball do something similar? I know we have the technology.

Is baseball one of those secret things kind of like grocery shopping?

I remember being simply dumbfounded when during my time in college I heard that a test pilot for “smart” shopping carts in a grocery store was killed because people hated to be told where stuff was. I mean the cart woudl keep track of your items, how much you spent and would take you to the right isle. I had a chance to talk to the manager of the store where they tested it and he simply said, to be honest a lot of older people shop at this store and fear of technology was a huge factor.

I certainly don’t believe that explanation because I game with a couple of people over 60, and if they can slay digital dragons and my ancient friend XO can manage to blog, that is just simply a bad excuse and just trying to blame it on age.

I refuse to believe that sentimentalism or pure fear can keep us from moving forward. Or maybe it is the only explanation… I mean, don’t you love that the human factor is ever present in so many aspects of our lives?

Intellectual Partnership

Hit Coffee is one of my favorite blogs because of how many subject it covers, even though will can at times very private, he is also very introspective in his writing. Posts there have inspired me quite a bit, and recently he was written a lot about dating and being a geek. It got me thinking about attraction and intelligence.

Intellect is a catch all term that covers a lot of different aspects of thinking, reasoning and even the capability of learning. It is a topic that most people don’t like to talk about because most see it as a rating, like IQ, when in reality you can be smart about a lot of things and different things. I value intelligent conversation in relationships, but also think being able to laugh at a stupid joke just as important. Common sense and street smarts are also things to value and would make a person interesting in my eyes.

What separates us from animals is our mind. We all have instincts to be enticed by simply the visual and the physical aspect of looking at an “attractive” person. What floats my boat might set yours on fire. When around guys I am just as capable of being a pig as any other, but when it comes to relationships and love I have always placed intellect higher than just looks. Chemistry has to be there first, attraction has to be there, but the other side of the relationships has to be interesting or I personally will move on.

I have talked to many smart woman in my life and most of them at one point or another have suppressed their smarts so they can actually date. Many have told me that they let the guy feel smarter simply because relationships seem to end very quickly if the guy realizes that they are more educated or money savvy. When watching transformers there was more drool than popcorn on the floor, but would she be just as hot if she was not “smoking hot” and still able to wrench a car?

I am personally not intimidated by a smart woman, in fact I find my wife to be smarter than me in many subjects. She is way more educated than I am, has read a lot more and dominates 3 languages. I love those things as much as I love looking at her beautiful eyes. I could have never dated Jessica Simpson, even if her “ditsiness” is all a a front, and I am not that attracted to blonds anyway. I get the swimsuit edition of Sports illustrated and enjoy looking at beautiful woman, but I find their life story or personality to be more interesting.

Beauty wears off, intellect keeps on being build. We are all getting older every day and when it comes to a long lasting relationship the important thing is to find each other’s jokes funny and conversations engaging. Attraction and sex are very important but we spend more time interacting with one another in a relationship than awake under the sheets. When looking for a mate you truly want an intellectual partner or the relationship will face issues.

I have always been surprised by couples that call the other person “dumb” behind their backs. My first assumption is that there is some type of insecurity or control issue going on, but I have never gotten very deep down that road because I find people like that not very interesting to being with. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, and if you don’t feel comfortable posting your name, go ahead and use Anon. Have you dated (or married) someone less intelligent than you in every way? Do you currently dumb yourself down for your partner?

Elders

We have a neighbor that is well into her 80s. We are always conflicted as to how involved we should get. We have had a couple of good conversations with the lady and have learned lots about her life. Every time we have offered help she has been polite to decline it and seems to be a private person even though she has shared some of her life story with us. The conflict comes from both Bea and I coming from a society where our elders were not just part of our lives, they were integral parts of our formation as human beings. Elders are not just respected but rather revered. I cannot forget the first time I went to an “old folks home” back in Colombia when I was a kid and thinking about how it was like an orphanage but for older people. I never imagined that in the society that I would become an adult, a “retirement community” was not the exception but pretty close to the rule.

This society is geared towards individualism and youth. Every day industries promote the fountain of youth and how people are living longer, but also how obsessed people are with staying young. The 40s are the new 30s and so on. Many people are scared of getting older in all societies, but getting older in the U.S. can be right down terrifying.

My paternal grandfather passed away in 2006 and my maternal grandfather is getting older each day. My Mom and I have talked about how my grandfather’s light is not shinning as bright as it used to. This is the man that taught me how to play chess and was always very assertive and successful business man. Now his days are full of anxiety about his illness and all he seems to look forward to now are his yearly trips to Colombia to escape the winter. The cold that to him is killing him might be related more to the coldness of this society has towards the elder rather than the temperature on the thermometer. He would gladly spend the rest of his life back in Colombia, but my grandma who is over a decade younger than him wants to be here where all of our family is. Read more…

Hamburger Helper and SpaghettiOs

Dehydrated and canned foods are not very common in Colombia. I think the only thing I ever saw come out of a can there was tuna and back then I was really not much of a fan. Out of a box the only thing I can remember eating is Jell-o.

Back in College one of my friend that was Italian mentioned that he had never had SpaghettiOs to everyone else amazement. I stayed quiet and observed the rest of the conversation, but for many of my other friends growing up was full of canned, quick foods. I tasted SpaguettiOs once and almost puked. I am not adverse to ramen noodles or mac and cheese, both of which I learn to eat during my college years.

My family does not eat out very often. Not just my immediate family, but also my extended one too. The food we eat at home is excellent an home cooked meals are great, but learning about other foods from all over the word has certainly enriched my life. Hamburger Helper is not bad, is something quick and it does not taste horrible. I know most chain restaurants use similar ingredients for some of the meals you get, and cooked fresh is pretty relative in most places you eat out at.

I have not had Hamburger Helper in some time now, not even home cooked mac and cheese (can any of these foods be considered home cooked?) but am also pretty used to canned beans now and think they taste pretty similar to regular beans depending on how they are prepared. TV dinners are something I tried but did not like at all and have never really been part of my diet. So I am pretty curious now. For us our quick dinners are either pasta or rice and beans. What are some of your default dinners? do they include canned, frozen or out of a box food?

Asking For Help

My Grandfather was a wise man, one of the many lessons he shared with my father and made it all the way down to me was the saying “bring me a sick man, not a dead man.” It was a simple way to rationalize that you don’t let problems get out of hand before you ask for help.

I grew up being very independent and it is a big part of my nature. I experienced life for many years just trying to do things on my own and professing self reliance as the best way to accomplish things. American society certainly fosters the growth of individualism and can do attitude. Then different events in my life made me realize that I was never alone and that even when someone says “you can do it!” just the simple fact of cheering you on is help you are receiving. There is no rule that you have to accomplish everything in life alone.

Community is a concept that I think was lost completely during the 80s and 90s. When Hilary said “It takes a village to raise a child” and people nodded someone should have slapped them. We need to be able to know these common sense things and not have them feed to us by politicians, we should be getting them from our own family or support structure. Our society should not wait until their kids get to college to get their “world view” and learn about diversity, community and other people. We need to recapture our sense of community.

I had a very interesting conversation with Melinda’s husband that left me with many thoughts, one of them that I wish we would have had more time to chat. We discussed how agricultural communities needed one another throughout the year and self reliance was not part of the deal. You needed your neighbors during harvest season. The true kicker though is that community is more significant than just someone to help with the heavy listing. Your health and quality of life are improved thanks your community.

I am a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell as an author to the point that I was even accused of joining a cult after reviewing Blink. On his book Outliers talks about the phenomenon of how a community made a group of people very healthy. I have also read an article about how having a true friend to have a beer with and discuss your problems with makes you happier than being rich. All of this is pretty irrelevant if you don’t know how or when to ask for help.

Relay on those around you, share your thoughts and gain perspective. I believe blogs and online interaction are changing the word by creating new virtual communities that provide not just a sense of belonging but a group of people that care. I am super excited that my friend Dan is having a child this week, maybe even as soon as later on today! and thankful that he is one of the many people that are part of my community and extended family. Don’t wait until your problems or worries become to big, share them with those around you. It is one of the keys to happiness.

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