Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Book Smart

I find it amazing how some of the smartest people can exhibit almost no sense when it come to general knowledge. Maybe someone that becomes really book smart loses something in their education. I can certainly support that theory because I was feeling really smart when I graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a bachelor degree in science. But after later graduating with an MBA, I somehow felt ... less smart.

My job entails training prospective helicopter pilots for the US Army. Specifically, I teach academic subjects about all the systems that make a helicopter fly. Recently, I had a student in one of our classes that had an engineering degree. Each new concept I would explain to the class (made up mostly of students that have very little scientific or physics background) but could not move on because my engineer student would ask numerous questions. While I do understand that some of the subjects covered are complex, I do explain them in a way I feel every student can easily understand. Of course, there is some information I withhold for the sake of brevity, and also because it is information simply not needed to fly the dang helicopter. I mean, come on, I'm trying to teach these students to make simple decisions while wiggling a stick, not reassemble the craft from a million little pieces. But I digress.

If I talked about bearings mounted along a shaft, this student would follow with a question as to how the bearings were supported within the structure. At one point I almost went to the dry-erase board and drew an outline of a turbine engine, and inside wrote "magic" to denote how the thing operates.

I guess my question then: is it possible to become so intelligent that one loses themselves in the details? Of course you know I must relate everything to writing so I say that I sometimes delve into vast amounts of research for a project. One of my current projects involve a murder that transpires through poisoning. A man is given a small amount of liquid from a spotted water hemlock plant in his drink. I've learn more than I ever really wanted to know about spotted water hemlock. I know what it looks like. I know where it grows. I know its mortality rate on all species from dogs to cows to humans. I know what parts to extract oil from to make the most potent poison.

With all that being said, I still will only provide a small sample of the information I found in my story. I figure the average reader only wants to know how the character got the information and how they use it, nothing more.

I sometimes wish that people who do much study could find a way to turn it off sometimes and go back to thinking on a lower level.

I don't know exactly where I was going with this. I guess I can classify this post as a rant.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

You Still Here?

Me too. Well, it looks like we all made it through the rapture. Wait, isn't the idea of the rapture that you WANT to get swept up? The good thing is, Harold Camping is still here too, so we've got someone to blame.

I don't know though, he looks to me like he could go any day now.

Wait. Does this mean that we are all sinners? Have we all been left behind? I guess we'll never know. That is ... until 2012.

The terrible thing about this whole situation is that I believed in it just enough to put off mowing the yard yesterday, and I have to do it on a Sunday.  I'll probably do the same thing on December 21st, 2012 when our planet is believed to be crossing the galactic center of our universe and become subject to the forces of the black hole ejecta.

Okay, so maybe I'll go ahead and put on some sunscreen that day too - just in case.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sicker 'n a Dog

Sorry. Haven't posted in awhile. Been very busy, and then sicker than a dog the last few days.

Don't worry, I'll be back in gear soon.

Speaking of being sicker than a dog, ever wonder where that term came from? I've done a little research, and as far as I can tell, the term dates back at least as far as the seventeenth century when dogs were not fed Purina puppy chow as today, but table scraps (if any) that were left on a plate.

Therefore, dogs were a little like the modern day "Tom" or "Barn" cat, given a few morsels now and again but, more or less, left to fend for themselves.

As most of you know, dogs will eat just about anything. If they eat something that does not agree with them, say a sun dried and partially decomposed armadillo, they will first attempt to soothe their wretching intestines with some grass, and then proceed to come in your house (usually at dinner time) take a seat next to the person most likely to sneak them scraps at the table, and vomit the old stanky armadillo up.

In English circles, if someone is sick the way we think of it in America, they are said to feel "ill." But, if they are sick, in English terms, then it means they are, or have, vomited.

So, if one said they were "Sick as a dog" or "Sicker than a dog" it meant that they were so sick that they vomited.

Well, I haven't been THAT sick, but I have had a head cold or allergies, or something.

Anyway, stick around. I'm just chuck-full of useless information about things you might not have ever thought about, or even been concerned about in your entire life.

That's just how I roll!