Unconscious bias and that damn red car

Not sure if anyone out there in the world wide web wondered why I haven’t posted here in awhile but here you go , I have been caught in the lovely  morass of reading and reading and one book leads to another, leads to a conversation which adds to my to be read list and it is wonderful and daunting at the same time.

The Red Queen is a theory that you move fast just to stay at the same place.  Too simple I am sure but this lead to re-reading Alice in wonderland ( or the bits that had to do with her Majesty) and then we headed to The Black Swan.  Another theory , another book or 10. If you have never seen a black swan and then you do is it a one off, an anomaly or did you just not get out much.

And in amongst all of this.  If you buy a red car of a certain make you suddenly see it everywhere and you never saw them before.  You probably did but your poor brain does triage and  keeps re-filing things based on their seeming importance and , waiting for it frequency which leads to books and articles about Frequency Illusion.

Again , way too simple and probably if a load of people found this post I would get corrections and hate mail but, I am rolling through all of the reading, so there is no stopping me now.

Some how I  got to Philosophy which lead to the Middle Ages which lead to Boethius which blew my mind and I had to put away because I went to Plato and that led to Kant which led me to back track to Hannah Arendt.  whew this headed me back towards books on unconscious bias and wondered why male bank tellers tend to go to branch manager and why no one asks teenagers for help in a store but assumes the older person is the manager..and on and on   And, just to put a spanner in the works,  someone mentioned Rumer Godden.

I have read Kingfisher Catches Fire and loved it but she wrote hundreds of books and then someone mentioned that they are working their way through reading all of one authors works.

In a matter of a few weeks I have arrived at book jenga. 

The pile of books that is threatening to topple when I pull out or put in one more book.

Ain’t life grand

Keep reading



Newspaper clippings


It doesn’t matter how connected I am to the world wide web I still enjoy clipping out articles from newspapers.  Yes, newspapers are still printed and on newsprint.  I know some millennials might be asking – what the heck is that ?

I find some of the best tidbits for later perusing in the columns of the local and national papers.  I highly recommend scanning all types of newspapers to anyone with  a sense of curiosity .  Just grab a pair of scissors and an open mind. Scissor help with clipping as newsprint does not rip horizontally (just a tip for future use).

My latest clips were;  the rise of laundromats as places to socialize.  In Japan I think.  At least where space is at a premium and washing machines are cheap,  Do we have these social hubs where I live?  I know there are a few laundromats but, is there a sub culture around lattes and red wine while the dryer cycle is going?  Great clipping to add to future consideration.

The second clipping made me sad and glad.  Glad that this young person has turned around his life, sad that things have happened.  He posted in the Public Notice  of a neighbouring community newspaper , an apology to family and friends for bast behaviour and letting them know that he loved them. He also noted his most recent address , a youth shelter in the area.

Sad and glad , I felt a little like a voyeur clipping it but, I have pulled it out a number of times to remind myself – this too shall pass.

Just keep reading and if you want to start a latte club at the local laundromat – call me


Frequency Illusion and the red car

Stop reading now if you think I might be an expert on this , I am not.

I have been caught in the vortex as any curiosity cat might be.  The frequency illusion, red car theory, Badger-Meinhoff theory has to do with seeing something and then suddenly seeing alot of it.  In terms of red car.  You never see a say Cherry Red Toyota Prius and decide to buy one of those and suddenly a week later you can’t find your car in the parking lot because of the number of red Prii (plural for Prius?)

You get the idea.

Once your brain prioritizes things for you when you see something again it goes to the tip of the brain pile and then more reinforcement more focus and on.  It may be that everyone is buying a red car the year you do but, it also might mean that if you bought purple cars you would see those (we hope not , no offense purple lovers).

And reading voraciously ramps all of this up as I love research. Journals, books, old newspaper articles and yes the world wide web.

My frequency illusion vortex and what is keeping me making notes and keeping files and generally being more distracted then usual has been a hunt on the family tree.

My tree as presented by elderly relatives is okay not earthshaking, no billionaires, a few people with interesting lives but family trees are essentially linear.

I am not so much on the linear thinking line, I think more along the line of post it notes and highlighters.

There is a sister in law of my great great grandmother that was locked in a mental institution for ;  wait for it – NOT PERFORMING HER WIFELY DUTIES.  She died 2 years into her lock up from ‘exhaustion from mania’.

Frequency Illusion alert.

 I have now found a million references to middle aged women and mental health, friends who struggle and are medicated or should be, a society who says celebrities are eccentric but Josephine Average housewife is probably a bad mother and a worse partner .  Okay I am begin very judgmental here

This vortex is going to keep me writing for awhile , I am in the middle of it and the notes are flying.

I was also looking at; the Murder and intrigue with my Irish ancestors ; Murder in West Cork and Murder at Bandon County.  Tally sticks or bata scoirs,, which side of the Protestant , Catholic history my relatives fell on but, for now I am saving those for the next vortex.

Just keep reading


Cynical or Thoughtful


I am not sure which but, I would say that my book stack generally reflects what I am thinking of.

The books I am drawn to at any one time might be a psychotherapists’ dream or, it could just be the cycle of reading.  I prefer to think I get my inner angst an djoy out when picking books.

This week;

Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat By Philip Lymbery and Isabel Oakeshott

Higher Gossip By John Updike

Responsibility and Judgement By Hannah Arendt

and re-reading To Kill a Mocking Bird By Harper Lee

I just finished Don’t Call me Princess Essays on Girls, Women, Sex and Life by Peggy Orenstein

The next books I am hoping for might be; (if there is such a thing)  an analogy of the Sound of Music or the Seuss classic ;  Horton Hears a Who but, depending on the mindset even those can be dissected and analysed.

Reality TV , celebrity books?

Nah, I think I will ride out the current wave and just keep reading.



The data collector


On a good day I would say ; I am a data collector, via book geek and someone who is permanently curious (or nosy if you prefer).  On a not so organized day, I would say my little bits of paper, assorted books and note to self look like the above.

My dream would be (wait for it , this shows my age) to organize my mind like the Dewey decimal system


Not happening any time soon but, part of the fun is collecting odd bits here and there.

Some quotes and lines I have collected this week include;

“…she was a pudding faced old lady in ill-fitting jumpers and sneakers. Her voice, which in it’s timbre could verge on squeaky, conveyed no hypnotic majesty.”

This is from Eyes on The Street By Robert Kanigel and the book is really an ode to Jane Jacobs.  Full disclosure , she was a super hero in disguise.

I also, reminded myself this week of the Lewis Carroll quote:

“One can’t believe impossible things,” Alice said, “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen.  “When I was your age. I always did it for half an hour a day. Why sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Sadly, or with a show of control by the local library system, I maxed out my monthly limit of free ebooks from the local library in one weekend , which probably led to my notebook  bulging with little tidbits that I have gathered here.

Maybe, I can be termed an information crow ; picking up little bits of information and literary gems from here and there.

The to be read list this week looks like this;

Lots of Candles and Plenty of Cake A Memoir By Anna Quindlen

I’m Just a Person By Tig Notaro

Clod Farming in Wales By Rhys Hughes

Tango An Argentine Love Story By Camille Cusumanto

Oh well, just keep reading