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Mark Hoffmann:

Answer the previous question. Be interesting rather than accurate. Write well, use all your skill as a writer.

Then post a new question.

If someone beats you to it, reply anyway. By that I mean, if while you are crafting your erudite answer, someone else responds, then go ahead and post your reply too. However, don't ask a second question, let the first responder's question stand.

Why, when it comes to animals, do we cherish rarity? Is, for example, a woodpecker any more beautiful than a goldfinch? Probably not, but when a woodpecker is seen on the bird feeder there is excitement simply because it is rare. Same with ducks and egrets. There are lots of ducks and little excitement. There are few egrets and hence much pointing and oohing and aahing.

Spell Chick:
It really is all about the novelty. In a world where everything is right at one's fingertips, there is little left to excite. Want to see the Taj Mahal, pull it up on the web. Want to see the Grand Canyon, ask Google. However, when seen in person, all one can say is that the pictures don't do it justice.

So the rare bird that alights on the bird feeder is more interesting. Frankly, I think all male birds are more interesting with their bright plumage. Female birds are just duller. They don't need to show off to attract a mate.


How can we encourage healthy behavior? No matter how much we natter on about bad food, sedentary life styles, smoking, or licit or illicit drugs (including alcohol), they all remain popular. With so many people suffering the consequences of their bad habits, why don't the bad habits change?

Mark Hoffmann:
That's easy: you can't. For someone to choose healthy behaviour, 3 things are needed: 1) Information about the consequences of doing an unhealthy thing. 2) A rational mind that can process that information. 3) The motivation to act; overcoming inertia.

Governments can deal with 1, but even when they do that well, there are still many individuals who fail at 2 and 3.

You could also argue that people in a free society have the right to be unhealthy. The counter to that is the cost to society of their lifestyles. But that's an issue with how governments chose to spend tax. If they ring-fenced tax on tobacco and alcohol and increased tax on sugar and legalised and taxed drugs, billions could be invested on healthcare for those who paid the tax. Of course, they'd rather spend the taxes collected on pointless trains or new palaces (e.g. Westminster upgrade.)
Why are countries/states being so slow to adopt euthanasia for the terminally ill?

Spell Chick:
Life at any cost!!!!!

We are so afraid of death when we are healthy that we forget that death is a release when we aren't. We are so selfish that we want Mom or Dad to live even if they are miserable in their life because we can't imagine a world without them. Suffering seems to be universal, so, hold on for as long as you can.

Our knowledge of the finality and certainty of death has brought about fear and religion and this postponement. We "play God" if we end a life but we aren't "playing God" when we interfere with the natural course of death and destruction.


What has been the most advantageous part of this damn pandemic?

I hope it's okay that I choose to personalize rather than generalize with this one.

On our two-week road trip to Montana, in May of 2020, my friend, Lori and I, traveled up the Pacific Coast Highway from Cambria, California up to Florence, Oregon before we cut across from Oregon to Idaho. It took us 14 days to get to Montana because we stopped and took in all of the scenery and visited with some of her family in Idaho for a few nights. Taking the time to stop everywhere I want to is something I don't normally get to do because I always seem to be in a rush to get from point A to point B.

The highway was more or less empty. No traffic, no problems parking, hardly any people. It was wonderful. You could actually see everything because we weren't fighting hoards of other people. Cannery Row in Monterey, California was like a ghost town - eerie and beautiful. I'll never forget it.

We were traveling on Memorial Day Weekend when we crossed from California into Brookings, Oregon on the coast, and although the campground closures were inconvenient, we ended up camping one night on Bureau of Land Management property on the Chetco River where we met a wonderful couple who sold their home and took up living on the road with their dog, Broodle the Labradoodle, in a van the couple had converted. They have a following at, One AdVanture at a Time. They were a lovely couple we made friends and exchanged information with. The story behind their adventure was moving. No pun intended but I'm keeping it.

To sum it up, the lack of crowds on the coast made that trip up the coast a dream come true. The road trip and the stay in Montana brought me back to who I am by myself after spending 26 years as a mother and wife where I seem to have to fit into other people's ideas of who I am. I like myself better for it and grew as a person.


What experience has reshaped your life for the better and why?


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