Tag Archives: Metacognition

What Stupid People Think About

Let me begin by reminding you that the only head I have to explore as an example of what I am talking about in this essay is my own stupid head.

So, this is not an insult post. This is self-deprecating humor. And therefore, the contents of your own stupid head are completely safe.

Now, there is considerable evidence in the books already that Mickey is not, and has not been, particularly stupid for a large portion of his time on earth. He got college scholarships based on his ACT and SAT scores to get his undergraduate degree for free (in the 1970’s when it was significantly cheaper than now). And he has been both a teacher in a gifted program and the middle-school coordinator of that same gifted program. So, Mickey has effectively fooled everybody into thinking he is not stupid. But consider for a moment where the laughs come from when watching Stephen Urkel on TV, or the four nerds from Big Bang Theory. Smart people do stupid things and are very awkward at times, proving that, no matter how smart they are, smart people are capable of being quite stupid.

What, then, is the stupid thinking in Mickey’s stupid head?

Well, there are a number of things. Mickey is, as you may know if you read any of his nudity blogs, obsessed with nakedness. He was assaulted as a child in a way that caused him to be afraid of nudity and slow-developing in sexuality. As he grew older, he had to compensate for this lack of natural development. So, he has reached an age where his brain stupidly rejects guard-rails when talking about nudity and sex. He has convinced himself that he wants to be a nudist, and writes about nudity constantly, as evidenced by this very paragraph. When Mark Twain was in his seventies, he did leave the house without remembering to wear clothes more than once. The neighbors did not compliment him for doing that. That and worse is probably in Mickey’s near future.

And sex, as a subject sloshing around in a brain awash with hormones and other nightmare chemical imbalances, leads to a rash of stupid decisions. Of course, Mickey is old and has had chronic prostatitis long enough to eliminate the possibility of making a stupid decision about infidelity since those body parts don’t actually work anymore, but it leads to buying numerous things sold by marketers using sex as a way to sell things. Cabinets full of hair gel and cologne and Herbalife products that can never be used up is the result. And the wife is frustrated with the foods Mickey is constantly addicted to. “Why so much chips and salsa, Mickey?” Chips and salsa? Hubba hubba!

And Mickey’s old brain, full of a vast quantity of useless trivia-type knowledge, random wisdom floating around in a disconnected fashion, and prejudices formed by a bizarre obsession with things like nudism, Disney movies, comic books, model trains, and doll-collecting, becomes strangely creative. He begins to believe weird things.

For example, he thinks rabbits, if they were suddenly transformed into people, would make better people than people ever do. They are mostly quiet most of the time. They eat an all-vegetable, healthy diet. And they don’t vote Republican.

He obsessively also thinks about how his mind is working and how thinking about thinking is likely to improve thinking. He even realizes that the map of his head, provided above, doesn’t accurately reflect the many branching corridors and dead-end hallways of his actually-complicated-yet-stupid mind. He thinks that thinking too much about thinking makes you stupid.

I have illustrated this entire piece without uploading any new art… What a stupid thing is that?

And finally, Mickey is left with a sense of wonder about how it is entirely possible that everybody is stupid at least part of the time. And he wonders what possible things that you, dear reader, are thinking about that you consider at least somewhat stupid? You are welcome to tell him in the comments. But remember, this post is about stupid thoughts in Mickey’s head. You are perfectly free not to worry about your own stupidity.

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What to Write About Today…

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I have to admit it.  I am pretty goofy.

Probably not Harpo Marx levels of goofy.

But close.

So, I have gone back and looked at what I  have been writing about during the course of my relentless three-year write-a-thon.  I am artist enough to recognize patterns.  At least, I can recognize the big and obvious ones.  Okay, I admit it, sometimes, while thinking, I am really only pretending to think.  That makes me kinda like Harpo, doesn’t it?

I reread one of what I think are my best works just now because somebody viewed it online for some reason I will never know.  The essay is Toccata and Fugue in D Minor written on March 23rd of 2017.  In that essay, I compare a super-condensed version of my life story to Johan Sebastian Bach’s masterwork, one that is represented in Disney’s masterwork Fantasia. My thesis was basically, “Living life is like a piece of classical music.”  Yep, total nonsense.

But that is not nearly as nonsensical as the nonsense I wrote in The Dancing Poultry Conspiracy Theory.  That one should make me ashamed of myself.  Not to mention the danger inherent in revealing a thing that governments of the world have worked so hard to suppress the knowledge of.  There is something seriously wrong with any government who would let wackos use the mysterious martial art of Ententanz Fu on anybody.

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I also fairly recently wrote a poem about writing poetry.  It was called The Secret Behind Poetry and in the course of the poem I carefully reason out that I have no idea at all what the secret behind poetry is.

I am epically good at writing bad poetry.  That is why I was chosen to host the Interstellar Bad Poetry Challenge which I did badly, getting no entries at all from Planet Earth, and being forced to settle on the submissions I posted in The Ixcanixian Bad Poetry Challenge

As I have not yet been vaporized by Ixcanixian skortch rays, then I guess I did the challenge badly enough to satisfy the intergalactic poetry lords of Ixcanix.  I offer that here as proof that I am really pretty bad at writing poetry.

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I am also pretty good at taking an idea and turning it upside down to get a good look at its bottom and to flatten its top a bit.  I did that in an essay called Pessimism as a Super Power.

I suppose it is really about losing a writing contest, but the thesis is valid.  One can save themselves a lot of grief by always expecting the worst outcome to happen.  You are never disappointed according to what you expected unless it is turned into a pleasant surprise.  I also admit that is really a Benjamin Franklin idea, but if you turn Ben upside down, he’s already a bit flat on the top of his bald head and he has an interesting pantalooned bottom.  (That is supposed to be a joke, so try not to be too disgusted with me.)

So, what will I actually write about today?  What is the pattern I am supposed to follow?  Well, it seems pretty obvious, I am basically unpredictable.  So maybe today I will just recycle some old posts and pretend I have been thinking.

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Daily Magic

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Daily Magic

The world all around us is magic…

And magic encompasses all,

But sadly the world is not permanent

And tomorrow the darkness may fall.

So here is the magic of daylight

The sun has arisen from pall

And at least for a moment the true light

Is the sun as it voices its call.

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Never Explain

You should never have to explain a poem…

It is there for all to see…

And whether ’tis sick, or happy, or bad…

It is its own reason to be.

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Never Explain… The Sequel

You should never have to explain a joke…

Whether stupid, or ribald, or punny…

Because reasons all melt with explaining…

And, if you do, it’s not really funny.

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Pearls in the Dark

Swim down into deepening darkness.

Do you truly want to find a pearl?

Fish around in oysters and dark places.

Risk your fingers, your hand… hold your breath.

The deeper you dive, the more you risk, the brighter the pearl.

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Write This One Too, Doofus!

Where did these poems suddenly come from?

You are not a poet…

And you already know it…

You meant to write one…

You wrote five…

How was so much doggerel in you?

Goofy wisdom…

Silly rhythm…

Random rhyme?

You’ve been writing these poems all your life…

Every action…

Every footstep…

Every joke…

Is a pearl from the oyster of your soul…

Some are beautiful…

Some are ugly…

All have value…

So don’t question the magic, you fool.

 

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The Be-Bop Beat of Mickey’s Brain

Truthfully, when I look back at the string of posts in the picket fence of this daily blog, I fail to see the overall map of it in any semblance of pattern or order.  Honestly, I did not set out to be purposefully wacky.

I did, however, set out to be purposefully surreal.  I mean it, I consciously put bizarrely dissimilar things together in an attempt to find parallels and connections  in unlike things because, not only is it funny and surprising, but is a comic act that serves to keep the mind nimble and never numb.  I do think quite a lot.  And I try to see connections between things where others wouldn’t.  For instance, the Coppertone girl with her bare butt and Bullwinkle with his unicycle are both being threatened in a way that is both comic, and taking advantage of their inherent image of innocence.  Neither will lose anything by it.  The girl stands to brown her pale white behind in the sun, while Bullwinkle will probably land on his head and it will make a decent cushion to preserve him because of it’s empty and rubbery qualities.

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Pie makes everything better.  MMMM!  Pie!

I must also admit to a bit of the old telling of stretchers, the misrepresentation of the truth, the loquacious layer-onner of lies.  Not Trumpian lies that land on you like elephants dropped like bombs out of B-52’s.  Instead, fictions that entertain and elucidate.  It is the most likely reason I keep saying connecting words and phrases like “truthfully” and “honestly” and “I mean it”.  Those are words that liars love.

Yes fiction writers like me tell little white lies.

I have now published my novel Recipes for Gingerbread Children.  It is a novel based on real people I have known and loved and listened to.  It is about an old German woman, a survivor of WWII concentration camps, who loves to tell stories to children and bake gingerbread cookies, especially gingerbread men.  It features a pair of teenage nudist girls who believe in going completely naked whenever you are indoors, even if you are in someone else’s house.  It features Nazis, both in flashback and ghostly forms.  It also features fairies from the Hidden Kingdom of Tellosia, a fairy kingdom filled with little three-inch tall magical people living under our very noses.  And it has a werewolf in it, though admittedly a very young one.  It is a comedy with its requisite sad parts, and it is definitely an example of surrealism.  It is also full of lies… err, I mean fiction.

But the real purpose of this supposedly be-bop brain fart in blog-post form is not so much to explain my blog (because how do you explain a blog that goes from Flashbacks and Foobah to telling about Madman Trump to Another novel part… #37 to Centaurs to a book and movie review, to this eccentric and eclectic thing, which probably exists more to make alliteration jokes than anything else in the most musical beat I can bang out?) but to prove that I do often think about thinking and how things fit together and what it all means… and how to write a run-on sentence that adds to the effect rather than simply annoys.  And, yeah, I’m doing that.  And it feels like a good thing to do.

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Ponderously Pondering the Imponderable

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Now that I have retired as a school teacher, I have so many spare thinks to think which I do not have to use to guide the future of school children, that I begin to wonder what I am really going to do with all those closets and suitcases full of spare thinks beyond allowing them to simply pile up.

A lot of those spare thinks lately have been taken up by the imponderable primate that has taken over the government of our little country.  I am keenly aware that, in the arc of history, nations and countries and even peoples reach the eventual end of the road and simply are no more.  Our country could very well be headed the way of the Roman Empire, the Maurya Empire, the Mongol Empire, and the Abbasid Caliphate.  They all ended with a mixture of violence and upheaval and suffering.  And did you even know that they existed?  Did you know that the Roman Empire was the smallest one on my list?

The imponderable primate has also moved the Doomsday Clock thirty seconds closer to midnight.  The threats posed by nuclear war and global warming are made greater now because the hand on the ship’s wheel of the most powerful ship of state in the modern world is a tiny, unsteady hand controlled by a “really good brain”.  That’s why my Stardusters novel is a comedy about the end of the world and uses parodies of conservative politicians from our world to play the roles of lizard men intent on destroying their own planet.

I had intended to write a piece today about naked people, a light and breezy essay in more ways than one.  But I don’t want to let that turn into soft core porn or anything.  It needs to be more carefully planned and carried out.  Naked people really aren’t the danger that conservative and born-again Christians fear that they are, but you have to be careful of people’s sensibilities anyway.  Especially when you are mentally writing stuff with no metaphorical clothes on.  So I put that aside for the moment and spent some time this morning pondering the nature of pondering, what I think about thinking.  And so, while sorting through baskets and suitcases and a packed garage full of spare thinks, I wrote this essay instead, to write about nothing in a way that might actually mean something.  And if you believe that, it is no wonder the orange fellow was able to fool us all.

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The Silent Sonata

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Being a writer is a life of music that happens only in your head.  You hear voices constantly.  They pulse rhythmically with insights and ideas that have to be written down and remembered.  Otherwise  the music turns clashing-cymbals dark and depressing.  Monday I wrote a deeply personal thank you to the Methodist minister who saved my life when I was a boy.  I posted a YouTube music video by the acapella group Pentatonix with that essay in a vain attempt to give you an idea of the music in my head when I composed that very difficult piece to give myself a measure of peace.

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I realize that I am not writing poetry here.  Poetry can so easily slip into melody and music because of rhythm and meter and rhyme.  And yet, words to me are always about singing, about performing, about doing tricks with metaphor and meaning, rhythm, convoluted sentence structure, and other sneaky things that snake-oil salesman do to get you to think what you are hearing is precisely what you needed to hear.  The Sonata of Silence…  did you notice the alliteration of the silvery letter “S” in that title?  The beat of the syllables?  Da-daah-da a da-da?  The way a mere suggestion of music can bring symphonic sounds to your ear of imagination as you read?  The way a simple metaphor, writing is music, can be wrapped into an essay like a single refrain in a symphonic piece?

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A sonata is a musical exercise in three or four movements that is basically instrumental in nature.  You may have noticed that the movements are loosely defined here by the accompanying pictures, of which there are three.  And it is silent only in the way that the instruments I am using themselves make no noise in the physical world.  The only sounds as I type these words are the hum of an old air conditioner and the whirr of my electric fan.  Yet my mind is filled with crescendos of violins and cellos, bold brass, and soft woodwinds.  The voice saying these words aloud only in my head is me.  Not the me you hear when I talk or the me I can hear on recordings of my own voice, but rather the me that I always hear from the inside.  And the voice is not so much “saying” as “singing”.

Writing makes music.  The writer can hear it.  The reader can too.  And whether I croon it to make you cry, or trill it to make you laugh, I am playing the instrument.  And so, the final notes of the sonata are these.  Be happy.  Be well.  And listen for the music.

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The Irony of Regular Blogging

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This is an old artwork I have never shared before.

There are many things that I have noticed about being a blogger that are the opposite of what you might expect.  Let me list a few…

  • Listing stuff makes a daily post easier.
  • I have posted something on WordPress as a blogger ever day for twenty two and a half months.  I will soon hit two years without missing a day.
  • Writing every day makes the ideas flow more easily rather than running out of ideas.  The well refills faster than I can drink its waters.
  • My most popular post is Be Naked More , which gets views practically every day, but including artistic nudes randomly in a post does not increase its views and popularity even when I put “naked” and “nude” in the tags.

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  • Reproducing artwork on a blog is difficult when you draw things too big for your little scanner/printer.  No matter how good the camera and how bright the lighting, white becomes gray and the sparkle and luster of good colored pencil color is lost.
  • Good writing becomes more about writing less.  But it also has to be more carefully crafted.  The more I brew prose in my black cauldron of a blog, the more it seems to boil down to poetry.
  • Readers don’t seem to object to metaphors and purple paisley prose as much as editors and book reviewers do.
  • I like writing purple paisley prose (over-complicated grammatical structures with alliteration, metaphor, and asides that interrupt the flow like this one… taken to the extreme for humorous effect).

  • Art pieces can be manipulated and re-used or re-combined to make something new out of something old.  Computers make art-editing infinitely easier.
  • Most people don’t actually read your blog all the way through.  Some just like it for the pictures.  If you actually read this far, you can let me know with a smiley face in the comments.
  • There are many, many good writers on WordPress… as I am sure there are on other blog sites as well.  I despair of being able to find and read them all.  If you are reading this bullet point, you are probably one of the ones I have found and read and liked.  Blogging becomes a mirror that shows you your own self more naked than naked… not just what is under your clothes, but what you look like to yourself in your own head.  And the more you walk around WordPress naked like that, the more you want to show it all off.  (How’s that for an idea that will pull in the readers from the lonely parts of Siberia?)

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