Monthly Archives: June 2022

Relief Art

Feeling anxious or upset?  A number of things exist to help you out – reading, walking, meditation, exercise.  But have you ever thought of visiting a museum to ease that apprehension?  Turns out that patronizing a museum might be one avenue of relief for anguished souls.  A University of Pennsylvania study entitled “Art Museums as Institutions for Human Flourishing” published in the Journal of Positive Psychology indicates as much.

The relatively new field of “positive psychology” studies “the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive.”  It draws on research from a variety of academic disciplines while examining how the arts and humanities affect the human condition.

“We believe our collaborative and interdisciplinary work is all the more vital at a time when so many individuals and communities lack the levels of well-being they need to thrive,” said James O. Pawelski of UPenn.

Pawelski and colleague Katherine Cotter had already planned to study the effects of museums on people’s mental health when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.  Since so many museums were forced to shut down, the duo compiled and reviewed over 100 research articles and government and foundation reports.

They discovered that visiting a museum reduced stress levels, frequent visits decreased anxiety, and viewing figurative art lowered blood pressure. They also found that museum visits lowered the intensity of chronic pain, increased a person’s life span, and lessened the likelihood of being diagnosed with dementia.  And those living with dementia saw mental and physical benefits as well: Spending time in a museum induced more dynamic stress responses, higher cognitive function, and improvements in the symptoms of depression.

Going to a museum also left elementary schoolers feeling “restored” and even made medical residents feel less emotionally exhausted.

To most artists, this shouldn’t be surprising.  Writers, painters, musicians and the like have always had the ability to unite people when politicians couldn’t.  And now, our desires to make people’s lives better has been vindicated once again.

Image: Dallas Museum of Art

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Retro Quote – Jimi Hendrix

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

Jimi Hendrix

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Word of the Week – June 25, 2022

Ratiocinate

[rash-ee-OH-sin-ate]

Verb

Latin, 17th century

Form judgments by a process of logic. Reason.

This word comes from the Latin word “ratiocinat,” which means “deliberated; calculated.”  To ratiocinate, you must develop your critical and logical thinking skills.

Example: In working through my science fiction novel, I have to ratiocinate through the menagerie of characters and situations I’ve created.

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Political Ad of the Week – June 25, 2022

Eric Greitens, a U.S. Senate candidate from Missouri, has a strange sense of humor.  But he’s a conservative Republican, so who’s surprised?  In an online campaign ad, he suggests fellow conservatives “go out and hunt” so-called RINOs – an acronym for “Republicans in Name Only”.  It’s meant as a derogatory term for any Republican political candidate who’s even slightly left of far right, or one step to the left of Adolf Hitler.

With its strong violent overtones, the ad speaks for itself and what the contemporary Republican Party is all about.

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Video of the Week – June 25, 2022

Rep. Adam Kinzinger

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Political Cartoon of the Week – June 25, 2022

Khalil Bendib

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Photo of the Week – June 25, 2022

Whoever put up this sign on the front door of the Harry Reed Insurance Agency in Millinocket, Maine last Monday, June 20, either wasn’t happy about the new Juneteenth federal holiday or they didn’t care.  Regardless, the agency is now trying to backtrack after word of the sign hit the media and went viral.  To my non-American friends, fried chicken and collard greens are often stereotypically associated with African-Americans, so the verbiage on the sign boasts a racist bent.  And, as often happens when people don’t think before they speak, act or write, the Reed agency has lost its contracts with at least three major insurance conglomerates.  As the negative fallout grew, the associate who posted the sign has publicly apologized by declaring, in part: “I am so sorry for any pain I have caused and the negative attention it has brought to our beautiful community.”

Beautiful or not, I’d hate to see what they’d say if Hispanics get a national holiday!

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Stupidest Quote of the Week – June 25, 2022

“If you don’t believe in the country, leave and go somewhere else.  If it’s the worst state, why are you here?  Why don’t you leave?  Go to another – there’s what, 51 more other states you can go to.  You don’t have to be here.”

Herschel Walker, on the conservative podcast The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, about Stacy Abrams, former gubernatorial candidate for Georgia

Last month Abrams had said Georgia was the “worst state in the country to live” because of poor health care and high incarceration rates.

Walker added: “It was totally insulting.  You said it was the worst state that you know of, and yet you’re running for office here…If you want to get this Georgia back together, you want to get this country back together, you’ve got to vote for the people who believe in this country.”

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Worst Quotes of the Week – June 25, 2022

“For that reason, in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”

Justice Clarence Thomas, after the High Court overturned Roe vs. Wade

Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell are three of the most seminal decisions the Supreme Court has made.  Liberals and moderates are already warning that these and other rulings are now under threat from the Court’s conservative majority.

“The deal on ‘Gun Control’ currently being structured and pushed in the Senate by the Radical Left Democrats, with the help of Mitch McConnell, RINO Senator John Cornyn of Texas, and others, will go down in history as the first step in the movement to TAKE YOUR GUNS AWAY. Republicans, be careful what you wish for!!!”

Donald Trump, about the new gun deal passed by the U.S. Senate, on his social platform Truth Social

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Best Quotes of the Week – June 25, 2022

“With sorrow – for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection – we dissent.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in their dissent of the decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade

The trio warned that abortion opponents now could pursue a nationwide ban “from the moment of conception and without exceptions for rape or incest.”

“Thirty years, murder after murder, suicide after suicide, mass shooting after mass shooting, Congress did nothing.  This week we have a chance to break this 30-year period of silence with a bill that changes our laws in a way that will save thousands of lives.”

Sen. Chris Murphy, after passage of a bill to address gun violence in the U.S.

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