• Kaboom
  • The Big Story
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  • Port Town
  • Port Town


  • February 27, 2023

    Human Conformity

    “What makes you think human beings are sentient and aware? There’s no evidence for it. Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told – and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare. Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight for their ‘beliefs.’ The reason is that beliefs guide behavior which has evolutionary importance among human beings. But at a time when our behavior may well lead us to extinction, I see no reason to assume we have any awareness at all. We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is just a self-congratulatory delusion. Next question.” – author Michael Crichton

  • February 1, 2023

    Why Water is Weird

    Of all the elements on earth, water is unique. Without it, life can not exist. It expands when it freezes, turns into steam when it’s hot, and as a liquid has surface tension that small insects can actually walk on. Read More HERE

  • January 31, 2023

    Rift Valley

    Go back far enough and we all came from the Rift Valley in Africa. That’s where human life began and that’s where we can find the common link that should unite us as a species. Read More HERE

  • January 30, 2023

    Following Directions or Kowtowing to the Man?


    There are people in this world who don’t like reading instructions or following rules that have been written down about some new complicated device – which these days can be a new car, a new stove, a new refrigerator, a new phone, or God help us, a new computer. I, on the other hand, was trained as an engineer, and so by nature I want to read all the materials that come with any new device before I even think about putting it together or using it.

    My wife, whose first action on getting something new is to throw away all those pesky directions that come with things, tells me this is strange, because I’m the guy who hates to follow the rules. It’s true. I don’t like people telling me what to do, and I sure as Hell don’t want some elected or appointed official sitting around making up rules to govern my daily life.

    I see rules and regulations as helpful guidelines to make it easier for everybody to get along. And to be honest, the more that other people follow all the rules, the easier it is for me to choose which rules I want to follow and which I choose to disregard.

    For example, I don’t stop and wait at traffic lights at 3 a.m. if there is no traffic in either direction and no cop cars in sight. Why would I? I’d just sit there feeling stupid. I don’t think it’s anybody else’s business what I choose to eat, drink, or smoke or how I choose to spend my money – especially not the government’s. And even though I consider myself a safe driver, if traffic conditions allow, I do not obey speed limits. But for some reason, I don’t extend this unwillingness to follow rules to following instructions. I’m sure they’re different, although my wife tells me I’m wrong about that.

    We recently bought a new dining room table that’s taller than our old table. It’s a splendid piece of furniture, but Carmela did not like the drab chairs that the retailer had suggested, so we ended up with a beautiful marble table that was too high for our old chairs.

    So, she went online, shopped around, and ordered some higher chairs that happened – like almost everything else these days – to come from China. They are very nice chairs, but let’s face it, anything you order from China is a crapshoot.

    The chairs came packed in a box with various pieces to put together and line-drawn pictures with a brochure in computer-translated English that misused adjectives and neglected prepositions altogether. I carefully read the directions, studied the drawings, sorted nuts and bolts into little glass dishes, and started putting the first chair together, following each step carefully.

    But when it came time to attach the braces at the top of the legs, nothing lined up. I’m not saying things needed a little elbow grease to bend the metal into place. I mean things were an inch or so off.

    I stared at the instructions and the line-drawing picture of the finished chair. In the picture, the bottom ring, where you rest your feet, was on the inside of the legs. Carmela didn’t look at the pictures or the instructions. She just said the foot ring should be on the outside of the legs – not inside.

    It was an obvious observation, but I was so busy studying the stupid, faulty instructions that I lost my way. Carmela didn’t even look at the instructions. She just used her common sense. Kind of like I do with rules and laws.

    Further, the seat – according to the instructions – was supposed to attach to the legs by four bolts. There was no way the four bolts lined up with the four holes on the bottom of the seat in which to screw in the bolts. I tried for a long time before I finally went online and read what other customers had to say. Nobody got all four bolts to line up. Three seemed to be the record; two was the norm.

    I attached three seats with two bolts each and got two chair to take three bolts. I tightened them down snugly, and the chairs seem to work. I will check them again to make sure they stay tight, but the chairs are both comfortable and look nice. And, they seem to provide the pop of color Carmela was looking for.

    But all this has got me thinking. Carmela says that reading and following instructions on how to put things together is the same thing as “kowtowing to the man,” something this child of the 60s still rails against. I’m not sure that’s really true, but she is insistent.

    She says it’s all just a matter of degree.

    – George Lee Cunningham

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  • January 12, 2023



    I don’t mean to be indelicate, but the older I get the more I find myself thinking about all kinds of weird s**t. If that offends you, that is not my intent, and please read no further.

    There are two things that bring this to mind. The first is an interest in words and their meaning. The second is frequent visits to doctors.

    I was watching a documentary on Mozart the other night and was surprised to find that he was quite earthy. In correspondence with his wife, Mozart would talk in very plain language about things such as bowel movements and other bodily functions.

    You have to understand that in Mozart’s time, even middle-class people didn’t have running water in their homes or apartments. They had to go down the hall to a common facility or they had chamber pots near the bed. And if they lived in the country, they might have to go to an outhouse to do their business.

    Today, we are blessed with indoor plumbing. We go to the bathroom, do our business, flush it away, and never think about it again. We’re not ashamed of what we have done. We just don’t need to talk about it.

    We haven’t, however, abandoned the word itself. I do believe that people today probably use the s**t word way more than they did in Mozart’s time. They don’t just get inebriated at a party, they get s**t-faced. If they disagree with somebody, they might tell them they are full of s**t. And if they think that somebody is pulling their leg, they might ask: “Are you s**ting me?”

    The second thing that brings the word “s**t” to mind is that as I grow older, doctors are more and more interested in what ends up in my toilet.

    As an old-school old man, I feel embarrassed about talking about my “product,” especially with women doctors. What color is it, what’s the consistency, how often does it show up, how painful is it when it does show up, and what does it smell like?

    When I was a kid, it was doo-doo or poop, but after about  six or seven years old, that sounded like baby talk. Feces is probably clinically correct, but doesn’t really sound like something that came from a human being’s butt. At the doctor’s office we mostly end up calling it “it.” What did “it” look like, how did “it” smell, was “it” soft or hard, and how often does “it” come around?

    Consequently, I find myself examining my s**t after every sit-down, number one to see how I’m doing and number two (no joke intended) so I can report back if necessary. There are certain frustrations to this. A lot of public restrooms now have toilets that automatically flush when you stand up.

    You get up, turn around for a quick look, and whoosh, it’s all gone. And what do I say when that happens?

    “Oh, s**t.”

    – George Lee Cunningham

    If you would like to subscribe to our work, you may contact me at george@georgeleecunningham.com and let me know and you will get an email reminder of blog postings. Your name will not be shared and you may cancel at any time.