5 Things: Five Of My Favorite Albums

In no particular order:

1) Peter Gabriel’s So album.

2) R.E.M.’s Life’s Rich Pageant album

3) Suzanne Vega’s (self-titled) first album

4) Godspell Soundtrack (1971 Off-Broadway Cast)

5) The Damned’s Phantasmagoria album

Looking at these, I do see a pattern. Well, except for the Godspell album. The rest of the listed albums came out in 1985/1986.  I have owned these on cassette, as well as vinyl; and now CD.  I don’t have anything profound to share. At least, nothing that would mean anything to anyone else.  These albums resonate in my memory. They take me back to my early college years.  I was quite the raging idiot in those days.  Luckily, I have come a long way since that time.

AUTHOR SIDE NOTE: The play, GODSPELL, is religious.  It is based on the Book Of Matthew, which is the section of the Bible that has to do with the life of Christ. My appreciation for this album is based on the incredible music, meaningful lyrics, and clever presentation. For the record, my spiritual path took a different direction over time. I am not proselytizing, nor do I seek to be subjected to the process. I believe everyone is responsible for their own spiritual choices. For those seeking enlightenment, please consult your local priest/minister/Imam/Shaman/ Priestess/Wise woman/ etc.

Finding A Workplace That Does Not Suck Series Concept #2: Morale

Whether you work for a Mom-and-Pop business or a massive corporation, you will encounter and experience the effects of morale.  High morale can be momentum to get you through the down time at work, as well as provide mental anesthesia for the rough times. Little to no morale at a workplace can be stressful, and have one reading the Classified Ads in the break room at lunch time.

As I have mentioned, it can’t be artificially generated.  Corporate meetings and memos will not make it manifest itself in the workplace.  There are a few factors that can have a direct bearing on whether or not it exists.

I think the biggest factor is how realistic the work load is for each employee.  A worker must have the perception that they can get the daily tasks completed. Some slack should be given if the person is training  or is still orienting to the new role, of course.  However, we have all had coworkers who have an easily managed list of tasks that they can never seem to get done – even with generous amounts of sneaky delegation or avoidance of some jobs to others.  Other workers have the incredible ability to easily handling their own workload, then either look for more work to keep busy OR cover for others to avoid seeing anyone (or their department) in trouble.  The lazy workers are enabled, as they are not likely confronted.  Those actually working get frustrated or angered at working harder than they have, to cover the slackers. That is definitely a morale killer.  Add in the potential dynamic of a lazy coworker that everyone, including the manager, knows about but refused to confront – that is even worse for morale.  Morale can also suffer when the workload is impossible, but management either does not care or – worse yet – actively takes steps to take away resources which make the job even harder.  Water cooler talk ends up being gripe sessions. Venting about a tough day becomes complaining.  While one may bond with coworkers over a tough time, it makes it harder to carry around your own stress – as well as the stress of friends during such times.

The last thing that can kill morale is the unfair application of the rules. As we all know, the employee handbook is something that we likely sign-off on upon hire.  However, some may not know that it is a legally binding agreement.  Your employment is a contractual agreement with terms that have to be met by both parties.  For those companies that do not have handbooks or a Human Resource department, the employer is still bound by Federal laws around fair hiring and employment practices.  Unfortunately, working for a company that does not fairly apply rewards or consequences to all of its employees usually means having to leave to escape the problems.  Confronting the problem makes you vulnerable to potentially being singled out and targeted for arbitrary things to write you up.  Even if you legitimately have a grievance – especially one that breaks Federal law; pursuing it makes your relationship with your current employer adversarial.  You may or may not get justice, but going after an employer with litigation essentially ends your job.  Which, for those who are emotionally close to coworkers, means losing your “work family.”   Choosing whether to stay or to go can be very tough. However, my suggestion is that if one does decide to leave an employer; it should be done discretely and thoroughly.  Research to find out the requirements of how much notice to give, along with what the process is around leaving.  Give your two weeks (or whatever) notice on paper. Be polite. Be civil. Say nothing negative or bash your current situation.  Line up references. Move on. When it comes to the new employer, remember the phrase, “I am exploring new opportunities.” This comes in really handy when the new employer asks why you left, esp. if you have been at the rough job for a long time.

Paranormal Investigations Should Be More Than Jittery Night Vision Video

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I will admit this out loud: I find many supernatural topics, especially the concept of ghosts, interesting.

However, my education and training in the education and medical fields requires me to consider such things as the scientific process, logic, and the avoidance of assumptions.   The entertainment value drops significantly when any paranormal show becomes a video collage of untrained, emotionally volatile and easily scattered people leap around in allegedly haunted places.  Television shows like T.A.P.S. and Paranormal State are more aligned with my need for some application of a systematic approach.  The T.A.P.S. members include those who were in HVAC or some such related field that allows them to understand the science of what might be causing some phenomenons in their research.  I also appreciate their approach as cynics; “Is there a logical, perhaps easy explanation for what the homeowner is experiencing?”  Paranormal State, which as far as I know is no longer on the air, also had some reasoning behind the investigations.  They would do research on the site, but not necessarily reveal anything to the owners until after the investigation.  They would also not tell their mediums (who would do readings of the alleged haunted areas) the background or history either.  I will say that Chip (the guest medium on Paranormal State) was overly dramatic, most of the time.  Oops, I think I spoke too soon. Apparently, Paranormal State was caught faking an investigation.  

I have watched The Haunting, which are like documentaries about various supernatural events.  When Ghosts Attack is another show that I have watched.  Then there is one on the Animal Planet Channel that features animals that react to alleged supernatural events.  Those tend to be less dramatic than The Haunting show.

Anyway, my point was more about Zak Bagans. I believe he is part of a show called Ghost Adventures.  He and his buddies find an alleged scary place, lock themselves in for the night, record stuff, then present their findings.  Zak Bagans, who looks more like someone who spends a great deal of time in gyms looking at his own reflection, does little to dispel that notion.  His background includes graduating from a film school, and being a Wedding DJ in the Las Vegas area.  There was no mention of formal training in any science field that I saw on his website.  I have seen the show, but really can’t get past the jittery night vision filming.  He and his cast members react to alleged supernatural interactions, such as objects moving or hearing voices.  They also experience the supernatural as alleged scratches, or goosebumps on their skin.  The Electronic Voice Phenomenons (EVPs) do not strike me as being all that clear.  I have yet to see anything on their video clips that appears to be truly supernatural.  As for assumptions, Zak makes them by the truck load.  When he is not blathering his way through an investigation, he is antagonizing ghosts by mocking them.  Essentially, locker room trash talk – a theme that I am sure he is familiar with – with his buddies during lifting sessions at the gym.  I am guessing that the ghosts he’s trying to contact are probably just ignoring him, at that point.

Personally, I think that the probability of some type of spiritual residue may be left in this realm when people die.  I do not know if we are not destined to ever interact with those forces, much like not likely being able to travel anywhere near the speed of light. However, it is interesting to speculate on the possibilities.  I have spent some evenings going through youtube videos of alleged apparitions/poltergeists/etc. Some videos seem more legitimate than others, but it does get you thinking. Either way, Zak Bagans is….well, I will let you put your own word here.

-D

 

The Ghosts at Eastern State Penitentiary Must Only Work Night Shift

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Eastern State Penitentiary was an interesting place to tour.  For those who are not familiar with it, this facility opened 1829 to house criminals.  It was designed to become the model for incarceration.  The “Pennsylvania Model” was to house criminals in solitary confinement, with no interaction among inmates allowed.  Initially, the jail was created to allow criminals to reform by giving them time to think to be able to tap into what it was like to be good again.  Sentences were generally 2 years or less.  Some were as long as 8 years. Over time, the emphasis became warehousing, rather than penitence.   Over time, it suffered from insufficient funding and overcrowding.  It was eventually closed permanently in 1971.  It did house some famous criminals, including Al Capone.

It does have the reputation of being haunted.  While interested in exploring the supernatural aspects of this building, our tour was in the day time.  We also discovered that the evening tours do not occur until the Fall.

Still, it was interesting to see the structure and learn how inmates carried on their lives.  They do offer audio-guided tours, but only one that is lead by a tour guide (at 2:00 pm during the weekday).  Along with having some areas being restored, a few cells featured interesting art and research on what life was like in jail.

I know that life behind bars is not supposed to be appealing, but I can’t imagine the level of punishment (especially solitary confinement which has data to back up how incredibly detrimental it is) being beneficial to society.  The psychic damage done to inmates is probably why it is likely haunted.  I did not hear or see anything supernatural, although what they charge for parking ANYWHERE in Philly is definitely scary.  The parking lot right next door did charge $8 dollars for up to two hours (which is plenty of time to see everything at Eastern State Penitentiary).

Study: Men Who Post Tons of Selfies Have Psychopathic Tendencies

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I have already found it annoying that people who initiate conversation with me, then use their phones during that conversation, to be annoying.  I have also been somewhat creeped out by people who can’t seem to get enough of their own photos.  It’s like being your own paparazzi. You love yourself in a celebrity-like way, as well as tapping into the zeal of those who chase that celeb around.  Narcissism never had it so good.

Here is the Jezebel article that references the study

Top 10 Things That I Love About Nursing

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10) Patient Education –  I have always wanted to be a teacher.  As it turns out, nursing includes quite a bit of that.  The good news is that the audience is only patients and/or their families, instead of 35 bored, distracted teenagers.

9) Patient Advocacy – There is something very empowering about being the voice of a patient, especially one that is not able to speak up for themselves.

8) Teamwork – There is something very synergistic about working with others, especially if there is a good sense of teamwork.  Coworkers go beyond being other people at work.  They become friends (or work family, at times) and everyone looks out for each other.  The support and encouragement from them can give you more energy to get through a rough shift, as well as make an smoother shift seem even better.  It is also empowering to be able to share insight and discuss how to manage new issues as they arise.  Unfortunately, not all employers provide and/or maintain this kind of environment. Sometimes, you have to work to find them.

7) Scrubs – Having spent decades in the corporate world, I can speak from experience that dress clothes and neckties suck.  Scrubs rock.

6) Improved Time Management Skills – The constant practice of assessing the situation, available resources, and knowing how long it takes to complete a task carries over into my personal life.  Juggling family demands, as well as academic and social demands seems easier, if that makes any sense.

5) Confidence – I am far from being an experienced or expert nurse, but I have faced down some fairly emergent situations that do provide some perspective on what it means to be in a crisis.

4) Doing Something Meaningful – Some people look to make a difference in the world. It is not a requirement, but when applicable, can add an extra layer of satisfaction.

3) Respect – Nurses rank as the most respected and most trusted profession.  I chose nursing because of the overwhelming desire to take care of others.  However, it is nice that I am in a profession that is respected.  It can be troubling, and sometimes annoying when new acquaintances (and even strangers) solicit me for my medical opinion.  A cashier at a gas station, one morning, started rambling on about changing medications. I did not know her.  I just wanted to finish my drive home to get some sleep.  I told her to ask her primary care physician.

2) Evidence-based practice – Anything a nurse does is based on evidence-based practice. In other words, nurses study an issue…..do research….test the findings….then use that data to shape our practice.  Not only does science rock, nurses use it to support their work.

1)Plenty of opportunities to learn – There are so many aspects and layers to nursing that the learning process is always on-going.  Our profession requires continuing education credits, but there is always formal training at work (on-line/in-person classes) as well as informal training (getting a patient with an illness/injury that you’ve never seen before).  For those of us who pursue more education, there are always classes toward a bachelors, masters, or even doctorate.

Good Morning America Blows (the lid off the teens-using-apps phenom)!


Good Morning America, once again, brings their “A-game” to the journalistic table. This same hard-hitting, no-holes-barred reporting has brought us stories about how celebrities cope with paper cuts, which dresses are the shiniest on their stations other shows, and playing all those viral youtube videos.

Congratulations. You have become the televised version of People magazine.

Some Of Us Are Choosing Option #2, Mr. Trump


Just saw this commercial from Trump on CNN. It seems the greatamericapac.com only offers the option of expressing outrage that Trump is having forces align against him.  It’s not the establishment trying to keep you out. It’s not the rules be unfair.  The forces that are aligning against you because some of us don’t believe you have the skill set to be a President. It speaks volumes that you are not offering an option to offer conflicting opinion.

#optiontwo

#buildawallaroundTrump

#dontvotefortheorangeman