Have your hobby?

First, some feedback on the walking post: you may have read in fitness magazines about doing a warmup routine; the same goes for ‘hitting your stride’ in walking and running. Give your body time to shift into overdrive. Breathing is something to gauge as well; walk or run only as fast as your athletic condition allows without losing your breath completely. The more frequently you walk or run the more of a jock you will become! Remember Forrest Gump?

Today’s topic:

How is the reader doing with finding a hobby and displacing reality by becoming totally engrossed in that hobby? If the reader hasn’t pursued this idea, find it quickly; things seem not to be getting better. Here are some suggestions for hobbies that will engross:

֎ You know in your heart that your home is at risk from tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding or fire. An engrossing hobby today is finding somewhere else to live.

֎ You are dependent on prescriptions. Solve the answer to the puzzle half the nation must solve: avoid the doughnut hole.

֎ For readers that like abstract thinking, is there inflation or is there recession? Further, develop a solution for how your bank savings will support your lifestyle at 4 cents interest for each $1,000 every 30 days.

֎ For the car buffs, buy an all-electric vehicle within the next twelve months and drive 3,000 miles in any direction – totally engrossing.

֎ Invest in cryptocurrency.

Join an aggressive organization whose cause is to form a new nation. Choose autocracy or democracy or try racism or misogyny or immigration or join a housing association.

֎ Become a green advocate and actively try to shut down the fossil fuel industry, or the chemical waste industry or the lumber industry or climate change itself. All are engrossing.

Mariner has chosen gardening.

Ancient Mariner


Mariner has not had much physical exercise for the last two weeks because he had a houseful of guests. Today he decided he better start walking to the Post Office again because he felt aches and pains all over, that is, stiffness, muscle complaints and loss of gumption.

So he walked to the Post Office – a  brisk 10 minute walk each way. While walking he felt no unusual discomfort; true, he wouldn’t make the Olympic team but generally, it was a pleasant experience – until he arrived back at the house. Exhaustion set in and general malaise. The next hour or so he simply sat in his chair.

He is reminded of a post he wrote some time ago that suggested walking or running was good for a human. This is because when walking or running, the brainstem takes over bodily functions in such a way that the functions of the body (blood pressure, breathing, circulation, etc.) focus on sustaining the needs of walking or running. Only afterward are deficiencies dealt with.

Anthropologists have identified this deference to walking and running as a survival trait during the days in the Rift Valley and the Serengeti in Africa. In those times, we didn’t have houses, cars, roads, chairs, grocery stores or telephones. Survival meant chasing down food that often ran faster than humans.

What transpired in evolution was that the brain adapted a way to sustain walking and running – sort of putting the body in overdrive. This included perspiration and adapting various body functions so that sustained running and walking received maximum support.

What is fascinating is that the brainstem, one of oldest parts of the brain, still retains an on-off switch that switches on only when we walk or run. When the switch is on, the entire chemistry of the body gets a workout.

Mariner is sorry that the early humans didn’t have a chair to flop into when it was over.

Ancient Mariner

The art of subconscious reasoning

Mariner has a pet phrase he often uses in the humid summers of Iowa: “I’m sweating like a fish!” On rare occasions a listener may come back with “Fish don’t sweat!”

“Of course they do” he responds, “where do you think the oceans came from?” As the listener pauses in confusion, mariner continues his argument: “And now there’s global warming and the fish are sweating too much. That’s why the oceans are rising.”

It all makes sense, doesn’t it? No facts needed, no historical dependencies, no social accountability. Not only does it make sense, there is no blame to be assumed.

Lest the reader become ‘holier than thou’ everyone thinks this way to some degree or another. Subconscious reasoning is the source of prejudice of every kind, even simple opinions and is the cause of every abusive behavior.

There is skill involved, though. The more central to one’s life and anxieties, the more elaborate the narrative becomes – and more denial of reality. This is how an attractive young lady can be a Trumpist. When given Donald’s illegal and immoral behaviors by a journalist, she is able to say, “I don’t care.”

Because internal, often unknown thoughts frequently are promoted by the cerebellum, the brain becomes very obedient to its opinions because the cerebellum’s job is to survive. Survival is important internally, of course, but externally as well when social integration or other threats occur – hence subconscious reasoning.

Perhaps this explains the Supreme Court’s reasoning.

Ancient Mariner


Reset your awareness

It is perfectly normal for everyone to adapt to what is real, what is happening now, how one survives generally. The mind pays close attention to how life plays out on a second by second basis. The skills needed to sustain status quo are memorized not unlike the muscle memory of pianist Jon Baptiste when his fingers know just where to go in the midst of a rapid jazz piece.

The brain is so quick to learn what counts that it can subconsciously drive your car for you while you do meditation because there is nothing to think about.

What do you do to occupy yourself while the dishwasher does the dishes, the clothes washer/drier does the clothes, the furnace creates heat, the air conditioner cools, the car walks for you, cabinet doors close themselves, cars will soon drive themselves, the grocery store provides food and elementary school teachers need not talk to students anymore because a computer screen does it for them.[1]

More than likely, you have chunk time to watch television (while the mind tends to other things.) No fault is intended to ourselves. We live the way our environment suggests we live. Our awareness becomes fixed on present circumstances. Mariner suggests that disconnecting that fixation, sort of like taking off your reading glasses, and focusing on another existential reality may be an interesting experience. For example, what if there were no electricity, public water systems or grocery stores? Not even bicycles?

Plough Magazine has published an article that focuses on that very idea. It is an essay written by Mark Boyle, an economist who decided to live without money.[2] Here is a paragraph:

“I came to the sobering conclusion that at the heart of our ecological, geopolitical, social, and cultural malaise was our extreme disconnection from the sources of what we consume. Money, I reasoned, allowed us to never have to come eye-to-eye with the consequences of our consumerist ways. The wider the degrees of separation, the more room for abuse.”


“. . . surprisingly, over time I found my reasons slowly change. They now have less to do with saving the world, and much more to do with savoring the world. The world needs savoring.”

“it’s off to the spring to fetch the day’s washing and drinking water. Along the way I meet and chat with neighbors. After that it could be any number of things: making cider, hauling logs from the forest, sawing and chopping them by hand, foraging plants and berries, manuring vegetable beds, planting trees, skinning a roadkill pheasant or deer, planting seeds, weeding the herb garden, washing in the lake, whittling a spoon. Or any of a hundred other things modernity had once done for me.”

Mariner is sympathetic to preindustrial society, feeling that industrialization destroys the biosphere as much as it simplifies human life. For example, human activity has driven over 16,000 species to extinction and now the planet itself isn’t too happy. He had a pleasant read of the article and urges the reader to read it as well:


Ancient Mariner


[1] Mothers with toddlers, oddly enough, seem to have no modern replacement for childcare thereby requiring the mind to take care of itself.

[2] The Way Home: Tales from a Life without Technology (Oneworld, 2019) , on which this article is based. He lives in Ireland.

A new legal consultant

WASHINGTON (AP) — “Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona Democrat who single-handedly thwarted her party’s longtime goal of raising taxes on wealthy investors, received nearly $1 million over the past year from private equity professionals, hedge fund managers and venture capitalists whose taxes would have increased under the plan.”

Who says the nation isn’t a plutocracy – or maybe a corporatocracy? Forget ‘one person, one vote’, let’s you and mariner and a couple of our friends pool together a few million to see if we can change tax laws.

Mariner read this comment from European sources: “The West is having a hard time dealing with a nation with a failing society that is supposed to be the leader of the democratic world and at the same time is the leader of the democratic world.”

But don’t worry readers; a new law firm is taking over control of our human disarray. The Congress wasn’t interested, state governments weren’t interested, the Supreme Court didn’t know things were in disarray and the President (previous and present) are incapable of handling the world’s woes.

Planet Earth has decided to take the case.

– – – –

Mariner feels obliged to report some good news given his reputation for doom and gloom.

Despite a terrible spring for gardening and mariner’s bout with influenza (not Covid), the gardens have taken it upon themselves to give a good display despite the abundance of weeds. Slowly, limited by lack of twenty-year-old energy, he is restoring order to the garden section by section.

Despite the woes of traveling in a world of convoluted airline scheduling and gas prices, the next few months will provide visits from seldom seen friends and relatives and a giant family gathering in Utah.

This post suggests at least one positive circumstance: The world is crashing around us but there is salvation in family unity and friendship.

Ancient Mariner


Tit for tat

֎ Europe recently passed the Digital Services Act which is expected to come into force around the end of next year. Among other things, the Digital Services Act will ban targeted advertising aimed at children and will allow European governments to tell social media companies to take down illegal content, with fines that could range into the billions if companies don’t obey.

One wonders whether parents will be able to make good decisions in behalf of their children without the assistance of targeted advertising . . .

֎ Mariner knows the end is near. In a farm supply store today, mariner saw a family of Amish, fully replete with straw hats, kerchiefs, beards, coveralls, floor length dresses and boots. He left the store right behind them to see them get into two full-cab pickup trucks . . .

[Footnote] Regarding the mechanization of the Amish, the transition is active across the United States. Two colonies, one in Kalona, Iowa and another in Somerset Pennsylvania are as fully modernized as any home or farm can be. Sadly, the Amish will pay the price we all have – a community-based balance of capitalism (sustainability), socialism (empathy), and communism (unity).

֎ A couple of philosophical analogies:

Modern society, like an airplane, can command distance, productivity through speed and by flying faster, can command more distance and more productivity; speed is the absolute driver – more and more – because if speed slows down, the airplane will crash.

It is said that it takes money to make money. This is true but reality can’t afford to give everyone money. This leads to an inevitable imbalance. Every dollar acquired by a money maker means one less dollar to be shared among 100 of those without money.

Ancient Mariner


Cars learn more than students

֎ Politico – Cars are capable of amassing data on nearly every aspect of a drive, from road conditions to whether or not you’ve gained weight since the last time you sat in the driver’s seat. If you connect your phone to the car’s Bluetooth system, it’s also capable of knowing your contacts.

And while most of the data that cars collect is about the vehicle itself, like the engine temperature or the tire pressure, there’s a growing market for more personal driver data, such as the driver’s name and location, driven by industries like insurance, marketing and car repairs.

Where are mariner’s ponies when he needs them? As far as he is concerned, his 2002 Silverado just went up in value.

– – – –

We may think we’re smart, maybe . . . But we certainly aren’t educated.

Mariner’s wife found this British test given to 11-year-olds for acceptance to higher education schools. Having read the test, one wonders what school children do all day in today’s schools.

֎ As a service to Spectator [magazine] readers who still have any doubts about the decline in educational standards, we are printing these exam papers taken by 11-year-olds applying for places to King Edward’s School in Birmingham in 1898.


  1. Write out in your best handwriting:-

‘O Mary, go and call the cattle home,

And call the cattle home,

And call the cattle home,

Across the sands o’ Dee.’

The western wind was wild and dank with foam,

And all alone went she.


The western tide crept up along the sand,

And o’er and o’er the sand,

And round and round the sand,

As far as eye could see.

The rolling mist came down and hid the land –

And never home came she.

  1. Parse fully ‘And call the cattle home.’
  2. Explain the meaning of o’ Dee, dank with foam, western tide, round and round the sand, the rolling mist.
  3. Write out separately the simple sentences in the last two lines of the above passage and analyse them.
  4. Write out what you consider to be the meaning of the above passage.


  1. On the outline map provided, mark the position of Carlisle, Canterbury, Plymouth, Hull, Gloucester, Swansea, Southampton, Worcester, Leeds, Leicester and Norwich; Morecambe Bay, The Wash, Solent, Menai Straits and Lyme Bay; St Bees Head, The Naze, Lizard Point; the rivers Trent and Severn; Whernside, the North Downs, and Plinlimmon; and state on a separate paper what the towns named above are noted for.
  2. Where are silver, platinum, tin, wool, wheat, palm oil, furs and cacao got from?
  3. Name the conditions upon which the climate of a country depends, and explain the reason of any one of them.
  4. Name the British possessions in America with the chief town in each. Which is the most important?
  5. Where are Omdurman, Wai-Hei-Wai, Crete, Santiago, and West Key, and what are they noted for?


  1. Write in columns the nominative singular, genitive plural, gender, and meaning of:- operibus, principe, imperatori, genere, apro, nivem, vires, frondi, muri.
  2. Give the comparative of noxius, acer, male, diu; the superlative of piger, humilis, fortiter, multum; the English and genitive sing. of solus, uter, quisque.
  3. Write these phrases in a column and put opposite to each its Latin: he will go; he may wish; he had; he had been; he will be heard; and give in a column the English of fore, amatum, regendus, monetor.
  4. Give in columns the perfect Indic. and active supine of ago, pono, dono, cedo, jungo, claudo.

Mention one example each of verbs followed by the nominative, the accusative, the genitive, the dative, the ablative.

  1. Translate into Latin:-
  2. The general’s little son was loved by the soldiers.
  3. Let no bodies be buried within this city.
  4. Ask Tullius who found the lions.
  5. He said that the city had been taken, and, the war being finished, the forces would return.
  6. Translate into English:-

Exceptus est imperatoris adventus incredibili honore atque amore: tum primum enim veniebat ab illo Aegypti bello. Nihil relinquebatur quod ad ornatum locorum omnium qua iturus erat excogitari posset.


  1. What kings of England began to reign in the years 871, 1135, 1216, 1377, 1422, 1509, 1625, 1685, 1727, 1830?
  2. Give some account of Egbert, William II, Richard III, Robert Blake, Lord Nelson.
  3. State what you know of – Henry II’s quarrel with Becket, the taking of Calais by Edward III, the attempt to make Lady Jane Grey queen, the trial of the Seven bishops, the Gordon riots.
  4. What important results followed – the raising of the siege of Orleans, the Gunpowder plot, the Scottish rebellion of 1639, the surrender at Yorktown, the battles of Bannockburn, Bosworth, Ethandune, La Hogue, Plassey, and Vittoria?
  5. How are the following persons connected with English History,- Harold Hardrada, Saladin, James IV of Scotland, Philip II of Spain, Frederick the Elector Palatine?



  1. Multiply 642035 by 24506.
  2. Add together £132 4s. 1d., £243 7s. 2d., £303 16s 2d., and £1.030 5s. 3d.; and divide the sum by 17. (Two answers to be given.)
  3. Write out Length Measure, and reduce 217204 inches to miles, &c.
  4. Find the G.C.M. of 13621 and 159848.
  5. Find, by Practice, the cost of 537 things at £5 3s. 71/2d. each.
  6. Subtract 37/16 from 51/4; multiply 63/4 by 5/36; divide 43/8 by 11/6; and find the value of 21/4 of 12/3 of 13/5.
  7. Five horses and 28 sheep cost £126 14s., and 16 sheep cost £22 8s.; find the total cost of 2 horses and 10 sheep.
  8. Subtract 3.25741 from 3.3; multiply 28.436 by 8.245; and divide .86655 by 26.5.
  9. Simplify 183/4 – 22/3 ÷ 11/5 – 31/2 x 4/7.
  10. Find the square root of 5.185,440,100.
  11. Find the cost of papering the walls of a room 16ft long, 13ft 6in. wide, and 9ft high, with paper 11/2ft wide at 2s. 3d. a piece of 12yds in length.
  12. A and B rent a number of fields between them for a year, the rent and other expenses amounting to £108 17s. 6d. A puts in 2 horses, 5 oxen and 10 sheep; and B puts in 4 horses, 1 ox, and 27 sheep. If a horse eats as much as 3 sheep and an ox as much as 2 sheep, how much should A and B each pay?

These papers were kindly sent in by Humphrey Stanbury, whose father took the exam, and passed.


[The next post will present a standard 1954 civics test on the U.S. Constitution. Most schools no longer teach civics – perhaps one of the reasons democracy is threatened today.]


All the fuss today is about the metaverse, how it is a three-dimensional version of reality. Around the world trillions of dollars are flooding into this commercially-focused technology. When one considers why the public is interested in the metaverse, it appears the metaverse is just a three-dimension version of social media and entertainment. Very few of us may remember when silent movies gained sound, later color and today computerized graphics; shortly the metaverse will introduce interactive watching. All in all, the metaverse still will be entertainment with a huge snack bar. A customer needn’t go to a mall with movie theaters, one soon will be able to go to a theater that has a shopping mall – and stay home as well!

In other words, humans will continue to experience a whirlwind of new services, entertainment and gossip but life at the street level still will be the same.

But a true shift in human culture is coming – not through metaverse, avatars and emoji, rather through a new computing age called quantum computing. Quantum computing, already a growing industry, will make today’s computational speed seem like an old Smith-Corona manual typewriter. The speed, along with miniaturized storage, will allow computers not only to run stock market trading as they do now but computers will run governments in a similar fashion. Computers will manage supply chains and huge corporations – automatically with minimal human attention.

In short, computers will become our policy makers. Congress can’t keep up with today’s computational speeds; will Congress even be needed when computers figure out policy at the speed of light?

What quantum computing gives to computers is a primitive version of consciousness. They can do their own research, learning and decision-making. It will take a generation or two to iron out stable, human oriented parameters (a sort of automated Supreme Court) but after that, politics may not be a front row influence.

The danger, of course, is the power that Lord Acton talked about will be in the hands of even fewer humans. This is evidenced today in the stock market where a few corporations control parameters for the computers that do the buying and selling instantly before any human notices a change. Conversely, common investors like us don’t have a chance. Will this be the world of quantum computing?

The missing element, which we live with today, is emotional judgment. Scruples and fairness require more than speed-of-light analogs and algorithms. Run by capitalists, oligarchs, dictators, socialists or communists, will the quantum age simply automate today’s inadequacies?

Ancient Mariner


Around the town square

֎ It turns out there is a big war between oligarchs about what will be the primary energy source for the future: Lithium or Hydrogen. Mariner suggests the reader put their money on Hydrogen; there are ways to produce Hydrogen but Lithium, a mined resource, already is in short supply.

֎ On another national front, yesterday in a speech Donald laid out his perception of what changes should be made in the US government. This paragraph is from the Atlantic:

“Trump sketched out a vision that a new Republican Congress could enact sweeping new emergency powers for the next Republican president. The president would be empowered to disregard state jurisdiction over criminal law. The president would be allowed to push aside a “weak, foolish, and stupid governor,” and to fire “radical and racist prosecutors”—racist here meaning “anti-white.” The president could federalize state National Guards for law-enforcement duties, stop and frisk suspects for illegal weapons, and impose death sentences on drug dealers after expedited trials.”

֎ Venture capitalists and big data corporations are caught debating a peculiar form of ethics. It seems that there must be rules of behavior between corporations in order to make the metaverse work. To quote Derek Robertson of Politico, “That means that whatever the standards-setting process for the metaverse ends up looking like, it’ll have to be profitable for the deep-pocketed companies building it.” Who looks out for the minions that use it?

֎ Some insight from Axios:

The stakes: The benefits of knowing thy neighbor abound.

Lives saved: In well-connected neighborhoods, fewer lives are lost in tragedies, including natural disasters and mass shootings.

Happier aging: Older adults who know their neighbors report a far higher sense of psychological wellbeing.

Safer streets: Tight-knit neighborhoods have lower rates of gun violence.

Boosted wellbeing: People who know their neighbors are generally cheerier, healthier, and spend more time outside.

Ancient Mariner

A _o_ to pik

It is true that the hearing impaired can be a nuisance, causing the speaker to repeat words and phrases and often requiring moving around so sound waves are not distorted by walls or distance and may require lip reading and over enunciated spelling of each word. Television is a show stopper; hearing aids cannot focus between sources talking simultaneously.

The hearing impaired are as bothered by this as much as the nonhearing impaired. But the difficulties don’t entirely lie at the ear of the hearing impaired.

Unlike the Germans and Russians who love to pound out soft consonants, the Americans pretend to say their soft consonants. Oh, there may be a lip gesture or a soft noise deep in the throat but the rhythm of syllables is lost as the word becomes a slurred reference to any properly articulated word or phrase. To hear English properly spoken, tune into CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley; odds are the reader speaks three times faster than Jane – on-the-scene reporters perhaps four times as fast.

What follows is a sample or two that emulates what the hearing impaired may hear. It replaces supposedly spoken consonants, words and phrases with an underscore (_). For those who like puzzles, mariner will not provide an interpretation.

The _o_ was caught in _  _o_  _cause of _  _o_. I used _  _o_ to bring a _ow truck.

The _rolu_ is you _int lock _ door this _or_. You _oly were _stract_.

Along with mariner’s lifelong friend, a philologist, together we used to collect some really lackadaisical speech patterns. Here’s a few with impaired hearing added:

_kowe_      skoeet, let’s go eat

_roly          probably

Jeetjet       did you eat yet?

In addition to word enunciation, many speakers significantly drop their volume on a predicate phrase – whole phrases are not heard.

Mariner hopes this illustrates the difficulties of impaired hearing versus hurried, inarticulate speaking. As the impaired listen, their brains, for tiny milliseconds, must stop listening and do a dictionary search for probable meanings. In that millisecond, a conscious link with the conversation is lost, likely will be halted and require the speaker to start over again.

Achint Manner