Selective Hearing

Can you hear me?

Seriously, this old ad joke is relevant in the study of behavior.

There’s a popular understanding that women are ignored by men in meetings, especially in a corporate setting.

As a semi-retired manager, and having run a firm that had more than the average number of women, it’s true.  In meetings, men DO ignore women.  In those meetings, I took extra care to listen for their contribution, and if necessary, stop others from talking over those women so that their words could be heard.

Why does this happen?  All sorts of new-age reasons have been given, including machismo, sexism, aggression, and even our sex-hungry culture.  But there may be another reason.

I’ve also been in meetings where I am the only male.  Yes, me all alone.  And not necessarily the leader of the meeting.  And this is where it gets weird.  Because I’m not a shy guy.  I’m not afraid to make a point if I have one.  Heck, sometimes I make a point even if I don’t have one.

When I’m the only guy, and I start saying something, it’s like I don’t exist!  Another woman might start talking, and all the women immediately turn towards her.  When I started talking, they don’t quite hear me at first.  I found that I have to make quite a ruckus to get noticed.

What could be going on?

Rather than getting all conspiracy theory on myself, I think the simplest solution is the best.  Basically, as men and women, our brains are tuned to listen to those of our own gender.  Men lean towards the low end of the vocal spectrum, women are on the high end.

So, I conclude, it’s not sexism, it’s not even trying to keep people from climbing into the C-suite.  It’s basic biology.  It’s a million years of survival keeping our brains tuned to the noises that make the most sense.  Women listen to women, and men listen to men.

So the next time your main squeeze isn’t listening to you, don’t fret.  It’s not being done intentionally.  That’s biology!  Solution?

Yell louder.



Crazy Driver Tales

Does anyone else out there feel that drivers of today are way worse than of yesteryear?

I can remember when my mother got a ticket for not using her turn signal.  Today it doesn’t surprise me when I see a police car make a turn without using a signal.  Normal civilians only use them about half the time.

So, if you, my Gentle Readers, are interested, I’m going to start compiling a list of crazy driver types that I have cataloged over the years.

Today’s driver is the “Wide Body.”  A wide body driver is someone who drives like their car is verrrrrry wide.

I saw this happen while walking past the library.  There’s an admittedly sharp turn for cars to make there, but this gentleman driving a compact car made the turn as if he were a 48 foot semi.  He took his sweet time, he went very wide of his own lane, and drove in the opposite lane for about 50 feet before finally merging into his own lane.

If I hadn’t seen it I would have thought it was a joke.  If he had been driving a truck it would have been a sweet turn.  Perhaps he is a truck driver.  I’d like to think a professional could maneuver a vehicle in the right way, no matter what.

So keep an eye out.  I’m sure you’ll meet your own wide body soon.





Ping plus

There’s a famous sketch about how important it is for hospitals to have a machine that goes “ping.”  In fact, the better the ping, the more expensive your hospital.

Having returned from a hospital visit, I had the pleasure of sitting next to such a machine.  It was measuring heartbeat (hence the ping) and all sorts of other biological functions.

Just then I realized that in this era of personalized medicine, individual environments and extra-sensual coddling, we need to go beyond the ping.

Yes, beyond the ping.  Ping 2.0 if you will.

So imagine you’re in the hospital bed, and instead of that incessant ping for your heart, you could have:

“Greedeep, greedeep” of a croaking frog?

“Baa baa”

Guitar strings plucking out a tune?

“Om, Om” (or Aum Aum for you purists) in order to increase your meditative state?

Or a duck quack?

You get the picture.  Let’s have some fun.  Tell your doctor today you want the machine that goes beyond ping!  I’m sure it’ll get us better faster.


We are to Gaia, as …

Some time ago, this neat guy proposed that the Earth can be considered a living thing.  He called that “thing” Gaia.

It’s the kind of concept that some people feel is right and natural.  In fact, the concept is part of our most primitive vocabulary, as in Mother Nature.

As he was trying to convince scientists, he made his argument technical.  Most of them didn’t believe him, even though he used big words and had all sorts of evidence.

For fun, let’s embrace the concept.  First, we’ll consider all of humanity a single life form, a species.  Let’s also consider that the set of ALL species on our planet also constitutes a single life form.

Here’s the fun part.  For all of us nerds who dwell on things like AI and computers taking over humanity one way or another, consider this twist.

Humans create an AI to be our servant.  At some point that AI becomes self-aware and decides that it’s better than all the humans that created it.  At that point it harnesses all sorts of technology to systematically wipe out those humans, turning them into its servants.  The AI has become the master.


Think about Gaia as being the whole Earth representation of humanity.  It’s been around, in full flower, for a very very long time.

Now, think about humanity as the most recent creation of Gaia.  A new species that is supposed to help keep Gaia humming along for even longer.

Except something goes horribly wrong.  Gaia’s servant becomes self-aware, and decides that Gaia should be the servant, and it should become the master.  It begins waging a war upon Gaia.

Get it?  In this sense,




(We are to Gaia, as Skynet is to us.)

Singing for Sex

Driving to the gym, jamming to the tunes, and all the bands were men, all the lead singers were men, nothing but men.

And then I thought about the birds.  Especially the good singing birds.  Just like the music I was listening to, most of them are male as well.

What’s the deal?  Are you a young woman who feels a slight by the oversight?

Perhaps you shouldn’t.  It seems that music has everything to do with getting some; some sex, that is.  Yes, music can make us feel good in many other ways, but the rock bottom essential nature of music is to rock someone’s bottom.

Bad?  Good?  Neither.  Simply is.

But this knowledge means we can better understand cultures that adore certain types of music.  It means we can better explain why there are cultures that outright ban music, especially from young women.  And it means there is a darn good reason the music of your parents should not be the same kind of music you enjoy during your randy youth.

Me?  I’m sticking to Bach.


Running Joke

Our morning walk is delightful.  Down the street, into the park, back out and home.  Simple.  One way in, one way out.

A runner passed by us the other day, a lanky lad who wasn’t pushing too hard.  He had enough breath in him to say hello in response to our own greeting.

We were walking in the same direction he was running, just passing the stop sign at the corner.  He would go into the park, turn around, and come back up.  We’d see him again in a few minutes.

I smiled and we turned around, walking in the opposite direction.  After a few minutes, we turned again, approaching the same stop sign on the same corner.  And guess who was running up towards us.  You got it!

The look on his face was priceless, as he realized we were the same couple walking in the same direction we had been earlier.  He passed us, stopped, looked at his watch, looked at us again, and then kept going.

He probably thought he was The Flash, if only for a moment.  He would figure the truth out, eventually.  Being young, I’m sure he laughed and told his friends.  What an easy way to lighten the day!



No Butts, what?

Walking through a pristine park today and saw a butt: cigarette butt.

If a person thinks of their cancer stick as natural, what else might they be thinking?

  1. Nature is here for their personal pleasure, and trash container.
  2. That they are superior to me.
  3. They can beat me in a fight.
  4. They can grab my genitals, and I’ll like it.
  5. Even if I complain about 3 or 4, no one could prosecute them.

I saw the cigarette butt, thought of all this, and put it in the trash.  After all, I don’t want to start any fights.

Or do I?


Fun with Middling Names

My cousins don’t have middle names, they have initials.  Not sure why, just the way it is.

I’ve heard of celebrities giving their kids crazy names.  On those I think I’d pass.

But has anyone thought to put a HUGE wrench in paperwork by doing something like this?  I can’t find it, maybe you can.  In which case, you heard it here first.

First Example: Middle name is the same as your first and last name.

First name: John

Last name: Smith

Middle name: John Smith

So your full name is John John Smith Smith.  Fun, right?


Second Example: Middle name is “no middle name” .

First name: Jane

Last name: Jones

Middle name: no middle name

Fill name becomes, Jane no middle name Jones.

This second one also works for the word, “none” if you want to save space!


This should do it for now!  I can imagine all sorts of variants on these, including self-referent equations using the first and last names.  Like inserting a line of computer code.

Ta ta!


Four Movie Lists

Great movies are on my A list.  A great movie is one that you may not want to watch every day, but when you do it makes you feel great.  It only takes a few seconds of video or audio from the movie and you recognize it.

Good movies are on my B list.  The good movies are the ones you have fun watching again and again.  Don’t tell your friends, because there’s a chance they think it’s not a good movie.

Then there are the “bad but fun” movies reserved for the C list.  The campy movies from the 1950 fit well here.  These are the kind of fliks that are fun to sit and watch with a date and a bowl full of fresh popcorn.  And once you’ve seen it, you’re good.

But I also have a “Do Not C” list.  These are movies whose basic plots or premises are so outlandish that the only way I’d be able to stomach them would be to lubricate my stomach with alcohol, and even then I’d have to complain continuously to anyone within earshot.

How’s that for some definitions?  Let’s go watch a movie now.


Little Dog, Big Poop

I enjoy a daily walk.  Today, I quickly caught up to a big lady with a trowel hanging from her back.  “Hmmm” I thought.  “A serious gardener.”

As I was passing her, I saw her little poodle dog, black and friendly.  “Hi there Pooch!” I said.  They both said hi in return, each in their own way.

Several steps in front of them by now, the dog said goodbye, and I turned to return the favor, walking backwards.  I then saw her hand holding a large bag.  In big letters it said “poop.”

I looked at both of them with awe and wonder, said “Goodbye” again to Pooch, and quickened my pace.