Boredom

I can’t remember ever being bored. When I was a child, I must have been bored at least once. Maybe I said the word but didn’t mean it. After all, a lot of people talk about being bored, especially children.

In an interview, the teenage pop-singer songwriter I admire the most even mentioned being bored. I was surprised. How could anyone as talented as her be bored?

Looking for a reason why people get bored, I looked up the definition and the first one I found offered no help. The first definition was “The state of feeling bored.”

Huh?

I wondered if the person that came up with that one was bored when they wrote it, so I found another one, and Merriam-Webster at least tried to come up with a more interesting one.

“The state of being weary and restless through lack of interest – the boredom of a long car trip.”

I can’t remember ever being bored on a long car trip. My legs and back get stiff. I might get sleepy, but never bored. The scenery grabs my attention. It doesn’t matter if it is in the mountains, desert, farmland, a forest, there is so much to see that I’d rather let someone else drive so I’m free to explore with my eyes, and I always take audiobooks on long car trips and the stories keep me focused and awake because I want to find out what’s happening to the characters in the stories.

The video above mentions one writer who said, “Boredom has historically been an important source of creativity, well-being and our very sense of self.”

After hearing that I thought, maybe I’ve been bored but didn’t know it.

That’s where my overactive imagination comes in. When there is nothing else to do, my imagination fills the empty time with amazing or frightening stuff. Then I have my woodshop with all those tools and the house I’m renovating.

As a child, when I had nothing else to do, instead of sitting around complaining about being bored, I went outside and let my imagination carry me away to other places and times. I literally became a time machine where I could become anyone I wanted to be at any time in history, even the future.

Scientific American says, “There is no universally accepted definition of boredom. But whatever it is, researchers argue, it is not simply another name for depression or apathy. It seems to be a specific mental state that people find unpleasant—a lack of stimulation that leaves them craving relief, with a host of behavioural, medical and social consequences.”

The narrator in the video with this post also said, “People who are often bored are at greater risk of developing anxiety, depression, and drug or alcohol addiction; displaying anger, aggressive behavior and lack of interpersonal skills …”

After reading the last two paragraphs, I was glad I never feel bored.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Failing at Dating the Third Time around at Seventy-Two

When I joined Plenty of Fish (POF) in 2016, I paid for several months, and eventually dropped my membership, because I decided it wasn’t worth it.  There were not enough choices that came even close to my lifestyle.

Why would a tall, slim vegan that doesn’t drink alcohol, party, travel the world, or do drugs of any kind, doctor prescribed medication or illegal, want to date an overweight, unhealthy, meat eating, party animal with a desire to travel the world?

And why would a rare healthy woman in her fifties or sixties — trust me, there are not that many of them — want to date a man in his seventies no matter how healthy his lifestyle was?  A woman that healthy and in great shape probably has her pick of younger men that still look healthy.

Then I paid and joined Match for a few months thinking it would offer a better experience but it didn’t.  I dropped out there too.

My third experiment with dating was with eHarmony, but that site also did not match my expectations.  Last month, I cancelled my membership so it will not automatically renew. Until later in April 2018, I’m still a paying member of this dating site but then … no more.  That will be the end of my “failed” internet dating experiment.


“It’s obvious that no matter how old men are, they go after younger women,” and “The higher a man’s salary, the more women will like him.”

Seriously, many of the profiles of women POF and Match recommended for me had photos of women drinking booze and traveling the world even when they were decades younger than me and not interested in a man my age. Do you have any idea how much it costs to be a global trotting, older tourist supporting a young trophy wife in her forties, fifties or sixties that still craves that life?  And imagine her medical costs if she doesn’t have her own medical care?

I do not want to be a younger or older woman’s bank account or credit card generating debt machine.

Then again, maybe this dating experiment failed because I’m too picky. That’s what my former wife said – that I’m too picky.  We divorced in 2015 but are still friends. She’s dating again as long as the man she’s dating pays for those meals at expensive restaurants.

Or maybe those experiments at dating failed because I do not want to belong to a religion and most of the profiles of women of all ages all three of the dating sites sent me belonged to religions I wasn’t interested in being part of. I divorced the guilt ridden, always forgiven Catholic religion I was born into back in my twenties and pledged to myself, “Never again!”

I also don’t party, don’t drink, don’t smoke, and I live a strict vegan lifestyle. I think being really healthy is much better than living a fast paced nightclub, cruise ship, globetrotting, theme park lifestyle, and it is obvious that most people at my age are not willing to give up that lifestyle that also often comes with doctor prescribed medications to help mask all the health problems that come with it.

It seems that most women, no matter what their age, dream of an Eat Pray Love lifestyle that most of them can’t afford so they want someone else to pay for it.

I don’t travel a lot because I’ve had my fill of other countries. I’ve been there and done that enough. I still enjoy the occasional causal hike near my house that’s away from the urban sprawl, and there are still a lot of great outdoor locations in the United States and Canada I haven’t visited. I also enjoy working on the house I’m renovating.

There will be no more internet dating sites for me. Was it a waste of money? No, because it was a worthy experience that taught me a lesson. It isn’t easy at my age to find someone I want to be with who wants to be with me too. Then there is the fact, that I do not fake a smile for photographs. My smiles have to be natural and unexpected, and I do smile but not on demand in front of a camera lens.

What I learned?  I enjoy my life. I like who I am. I’m okay with living out the rest of my life alone.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Thank President Trump and his Deplorable supporters for a future without Chocolate and Coffee

My January blues didn’t kick in until I read these stories.  All chocolate lovers and/or addicts take a long, deep calming breath before reading further … especially if you are young enough to be still around in thirty-two years.

The Mirror reports, “World could RUN OUT of chocolate by 2050 as cacao plants struggle to cope with effects of climate change.”

Sigh, and Business Insider says, “Most of the world’s best places for coffee will be gone by 2050” because of the climate change that isn’t happening according to U.S. President and Liar-in-Chief Donald Trump (who made 1,950 false or misleading claims over 347 days).

After all, Trump is the deplorable idiot that is convinced global warming and climate change is a hoax. Do you think he will be around in 2050?

Imagine a world without chocolate and coffee.

That’s just 32 years from now.

Wait, I don’t think I will be around in 2050. I’d have to be 104 to reach 2050. Maybe I won’t have to live without chocolate and coffee during my lifetime. but I think I should start stockpiling a supply now so it lasts to my last breath even after the shortages begin and the prices skyrocket until only billionaires — that are getting most of the tax cuts from Trump and the Republican Party — will be able afford the luxury of chocolate and coffee.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Where to Buy

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I am a very boring guy

Recently I was asked this question: “Do you take weekends off to do some fun things? I hope you take a break once in a while.”

Here’s my rambling reply (with a few revisions):

Do I take weekends off to do some fun things?

No. Everything I do is fun to me. I enjoy building things. I enjoy exercise. I enjoy reading books, and I enjoy writing them. I enjoy going out to see a movie at the theater (mostly alone). I don’t pay for cable TV, because I can’t stand all the advertisements and news that is almost always depressing especially with Donald Trump as the President of the United States. Trump is nothing but a pile of vile orange turkey crap. Why let him ruin my day? If I watch anything on a TV, it is after 8 PM and it is always from a DVD.

In short, I enjoy life, because every day is a holiday to me and has been since I retired more than twelve years ago. Sometimes I go out to eat alone and sometimes with a friend or friends. I enjoy eating alone or with friends as long as the food is healthy and my definition of healthy food doesn’t match most people, because I’m a vegan and have been for thirty-five years. Most American’s would not go one day without meat, sugar, sodas, sugar, dairy products, or sugar.

Going out to dance would not be fun for me so I don’t do that. Going out to party is not fun to me, and I don’t go to bars because drinking booze or beer is not fun to me. Paying to go and watch a football game or any sports would not be fun to me.

Celebrating my birthday is not fun to me. Celebrating any holiday is not fun to me, because every day is a holiday to me. If I get through a day without pain, loss or an injury that is a good day and most of my days are good ones.  And even when I injure myself, I do what I have to do to treat the wound, and return to what I was doing when I injured myself. Since I’m a woodworker and have a lot of dangerous power tools, I do cut myself and all I do is clean the wound, pack it with cayenne pepper, bandage the wound, and get back to work. The cayenne pepper stops the bleeding, protects the cut from infection and blocks the pain from the cut so I don’t feel it. It also speeds up the healing process.

If I had to go back to work to a job with a boss, that probably would not be fun because during the 45-years I worked and had bosses most of them were tyrants and/or were incompetent, and I even hated a few of them. But since I retired, every day is a fun day just because I’m alive and healthy to enjoy it. I have no desire to spend money just to have fun. For instance, I have no desire to visit theme parks like Disneyland. To me, that is an expensive waste of time. In addition, even though I was once a gambler and card counter, I don’t gamble today. Even though it isn’t illegal, there is too much stress counting cards in a casino and avoiding getting caught. I did that for several years and always won more than I lost, but the stress wasn’t worth it.

I take and enjoy life one day at a time no matter what I’m doing. I see no difference between any official holiday and all the other days of the year. They are all equal to me. I think most people have been programed to spend too much money on official holidays, but spending money to make someone else wealthier, isn’t fun to me.

I enjoy listening to music and right now that music is from Grace VanderWaal or Angelina Jordan, the eleven-year-old Norwegian jazz singer. For instance, this video of Angelina singing is incredible and I never get tired of watching it.


Every time I watch this video, I have fun because of Angelina’s amazing voice. Wow!

And I’ve watched Grace VanderWaal’s first concert for her first concert tour so many times, that I have lost count. Every time I watch her first Austin City Limits Music Festival concert for her own fans, I enjoyed stopping the replay to scan the crowd looking for expressions of joy and there was a lot to enjoy. For me, that is fun. And Grace’s expressions of joy are fun to watch too. It’s obvious that she is having fun providing music for her fans.

I have a vast choice of things to do every day that I enjoy doing. The list is so long that I have to manage it so I don’t spend too much time doing one thing. For instance, I just got in from doing two hours of yard work and I enjoyed the results and the fact that it was also free exercise. Now I’m writing this post and when I’m done, I’ll work on a chapter for my next book.

Why pay someone to mow my lawn while my body rots? It is a fact that if we don’t use our bodies, our bones will become brittle and we will lose muscle mass. Why should I pay someone to do the yard work for me and then pay to join a gym and exercise when I can do it for free?

For those two hours mowing, trimming and cleaning the yard, I was constantly on the move and I think that counts the same as a two-hour walk. I know going out to drink and dance is fun to many people, but I don’t pay to go out and drink booze and beer and dance. That is not fun to me. I will probably never pay to go on a cruise and eat too much bad food and gain ten or twenty pounds because that is not fun to me. The only winery I want to visit is a castle in the Napa Valley called Castello di Amorosa. I wouldn’t visit it to sample the wine or buy any wine. I’d visit it to see the castle. I like castles, and that is one trip I wouldn’t mind taking.  I’m even willing to travel to Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Germany, and Portugal to visit their castles. I wouldn’t go for the food or the alcohol. Why is eating unhealthy food and drinking alcohol considered fun to so many people?

Yep, I’m a really boring guy because I don’t do what many people think is fun.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Columns of Ants Invaded Right on Schedule

The season for invading ants arrived, and the best defense I’ve been using for decades is an environment friendly attack with help from Trader Joes.

For decades, I’ve suspected it was the weather and years ago I stumbled on the best method, for me, to control the ant invasions.  I spray the ants with Trader Joes Fruit and Vegetable Wash.  It kills the ants the instant the spray hits them and ants that enter later tend to avoid the area that was sprayed because it appears that just walking across TJ’s F&V Wash while it is still wet is enough to not only disrupt the trail but kill those ants too.  If you can find the entry point and spray that, it forces the ants to find another way in or they don’t return.

I don’t use pesticides inside my house. Can’t stand the stuff. Instead, I use TJ’s Fruit and Vegetable Wash and it is non-toxic.  I learned about this product designed to safely clean what we eat by accident. I grabbed the only spray in sight and haven’t stopped using it since. The neat thing is: it is formulated to remove waxes, pesticides, and chemicals.

After decades of winning these invasions and driving the ants out of my houses, curious, I finally Googled the topic to find out if my suspicions were correct, and discovered from a study out of Stanford that they were.

The Stanford News Service reports, “Household ant invasions are determined by weather, not pesticide use, new study finds … “Ants are most likely to enter homes in cold, wet conditions, typically in the winter in Northern California,” they write, noting that a smaller peak in the level of infestation occurs during hot, dry conditions — typically in August and September.”

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Donald Trump is a Real Threat to the Survival of the Human Species

Alan Singer at the Huffington Post writes about the Trump Team Revives McCarthyism in War on the Environment.  Singer writes, “Climate change deniers argue that the Earth’s climate sensitivity is so low that humans can use the atmosphere as a garbage dump pumping out carbon dioxide without worrying about global warming. Donald Trump has called climate change a ‘hoax’ and tweeted that ‘global warming’ is a plot by the Chinese ‘to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.’”

Here’s what I have a problem with. I can’t understand why almost everyone from both sides of the climate change issue only focuses on climate change and/or global warming, and ignores all of the other damage caused by the products of the fossil fuel industry: coal, oil, gasoline, diesel, etc.

Let’s take a break from flogging the ignorant, deplorable climate change deniers like Donald Trump, and his deplorable supporters and focus on the other dangers caused by the fossil fuel industry that can’t be denied.

Carbon emissions are also toxic to human health and lifespans.  Without efforts to clean the air, this threat to our health will only increase.

A study from Stanford linked carbon dioxide emissions to increased deaths.

Acid rain, caused by fossil fuel emissions, kills life in lakes, rivers, the oceans, damages top soil, and cuts crop yields, etc.

The Policy Almanac reports, “Acid rain causes acidification of lakes and streams and contributes to damage of trees at high elevations (for example, red spruce trees above 2,000 feet) and many sensitive forest soils. In addition, acid rain accelerates the decay of building materials and paints, including irreplaceable buildings, statues, and sculptures that are part of our nation’s cultural heritage. Prior to falling to the earth, SO2 and NOx gases and their particulate matter derivatives, sulfates and nitrates, contribute to visibility degradation and harm public health.”

Then there is Carbon Monoxide poising. If you are the fossil fuel industry, Kremlin candidate like Donald Trump is, and you deny this danger, then I want you to sleep in your car with the engine running in a closed garage. Plan your funeral before you try that out.


The gains we learn about from this video is in danger from Donald Trump, and his deplorable followers

The CDC teaches us all about the symptoms of CO poisoning.

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you. People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms.

Who is at risk from CO poisoning?

Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Infants, the elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.

Then there is acidification of Earth’s oceans that are crucial to our health and survival as a species.

National Geographic teaches us that “For tens of millions of years, Earth’s oceans have maintained a relatively stable acidity level. It’s within this steady environment that the rich and varied web of life in today’s seas has arisen and flourished. But research shows that this ancient balance is being undone by a recent and rapid drop in surface pH that could have devastating global consequences.”

There is also another balancing act taking place inside of our bodies that’s even more sensitive and explains why the average lifespan in the United States has reversed.

Humans also have a pH balance just like the environment, and if the pH balances of the environment we live in changes, the pH balance inside our body is at risk. The results are rampant disease and significantly reduced lifespan.

If you don’t believe that our pH balance is important, explain why Living Near Freeways Hurts Kids’ lungs.

The Washington Post reports, “Children growing up alongside freeways risk having their lung development impaired, which can increase the likelihood of serious respiratory diseases later in life, researchers report.”

“Exposure from tailpipe emissions from motor vehicles potentially carries chronic health risks to children’s lung development,” said lead researcher W. James Gauderman, an assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. “We found that kids who live closer to freeways had significantly less lung capacity, compared with kids who lived further from freeways.”

And Donald Trump’s administration wants to get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency that protects all of us, not just the balance of the Earth’s environment that we all need to survive. Climate change/global warming is one thing but what about the survival of the human species and life as we know it that’s being ignored?  I have no doubts that if only the earth was warming up, some humans would survive somewhere on the planet but no humans will survive if the delicate balance that supports our existence is destroyed.

I don’t think most if any rich people live near freeways and since so many of the wealthy are narcissists and psychopaths, they have no empathy for the suffering of children and families that live near freeways.

Why did the fossil fuel industry focus only on climate change and ignore all the other dangers that their products pose to life on Earth?

The evidence is overwhelming that climate change denial was a tactic to get our minds off of all the other dangers the fossil fuel industry’s products cause to our health, the quality of life, and our very existence.

U.S. life expectancy declines for the first time since 1993.

Who stops Donald Trump will go down in the history books as a global hero or heroes?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

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It’s that time of year when the United States celebrates, and contributes to disease

Would you buy your child a costume so they could snort cocaine or worse?

While I enjoy seeing kids and adults in cute Halloween costumes, I abhor the TREAT factor of Halloween. As an ignorant child and teen, I went trick or treating, wore costumes, and went to Halloween parties.

And as a teacher in the early 1970s, I dressed in a dark suit, and wore a Richard Nixon mask to school.  All day I flashed the two-finger victory salute with my hands and said, “I’m not a crook.”  My students loved it.

Then in the early 1980s I changed my lifestyle drastically and became health conscious. That was the last time I gave out unhealthy sweet treats. First, I gave out small boxes of organic raisins until a child’s mouthy mother accused me of being cheap, because I didn’t hand out treats loaded with processed sugar: those bulky bags full of miniature Snickers, Twix, M&M’s, Juicy Fruits, Tootsie Rolls, Oh Henry!, Butterfinger, Starbursts, Hershey’s, Reese’s, Skittles, Kit Kat, Milky Way, etc.

Thirty years of teaching kids that consumed too much sugar is another reason why I stopped handing out sugar drenched treats on Halloween, because I witnessed what too much sugar did to my students: too much hyper energy; then lethargy leading to inattention and mood swings. It’s a real challenge to teach a student who drank a sixty-ounce Pepsi for lunch and comes to class with eyes glazed over and no energy.

In fact, many children and teens of today even hate drinking water because it isn’t sweet, and that is because they are addicted to the sugar. Forbes.com reported, “Research supports the theory that high-fat/high-sugar foods stimulate the brain in the same way that drugs do,” (Neuroscientist Joseph) Schroeder said. “It may explain why some people can’t resist these foods despite the fact that they know they are bad for them.”

Most people think that heroin and methamphetamine are the most addictive illegal drugs, followed by cocaine, pentobarbital, nicotine, alcohol and caffeine, and they don’t know that sugar should be on that list too.

Sugar is addictive and destructive. When the researchers “used immunohistochemistry to measure the expression of a protein called c-Fos in the brain’s ‘pleasure center,’” they found that “the Oreos activated significantly more neurons than cocaine or morphine.”

In addition to being more addictive than cocaine or morphine, sugar is a killer?

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), kids are getting way too much added sugar in their diets and that could raise their risk for obesity and chronic diseases. “Consuming added sugars has been tied to an increased risk for heart disease among adolescents and cholesterol problems.”

Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine, the University of California-Berkeley, and the University of California-San Francisco said, “After accounting for obesity and a large array of other factors, the researchers found that increased sugar in a population’s food supply was linked to higher diabetes rates, independent of obesity rates.”

Diabetes affects all parts of the body, particularly adult onset diabetes. If left uncontrolled, it becomes a killer, which destroys every organ in the body including the heart and brain.

According to the American Diabetes Association, “Diabetes is a disease that affects the whole family, especially when a child is diagnosed.”

Diabetes is a lifestyle disease, and eating too much sugar through soda and candy is a lifestyle choice.

Don’t expect the sugar industry to stop advertising and selling sugar products. The leading companies that produce and sell candy and soda employ more than 47,000 workers and have annual revenues of $49 billion. This industry spends millions of dollars on lobbying in Washington DC to stop any proposed consumer protection regulations. Source: IBIS World.com and Sunlight Foundation.com

It’s obvious that what’s called Confectionary Wholesaling, the sugar industry, doesn’t want anyone to know how dangerous their products are.

Maybe it’s time to take the sugar out of Halloween and just keep the costumes and healthy activities. Until parents wake up and fight back, my house will stay dark with locked doors that don’t open to anyone on Halloween, because I don’t want to contribute to someone else’s poor lifestyle choices.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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