Human Nature Nuggets

Unlike sheer instinct, human nature involves individual thought as to how we should handle or improve various situations. As homo sapiens, we never know what will happen as a result, but each of us tries by doing what we think is the best solution. Here are some examples…

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Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

I am a writer at heart, a proofreader by trade, but without a soul if it were not for the nuthatches crawling down my trees, the robins, chickadees, cardinals, and yes, the much-maligned jibbering starlings that create their own unique concerts. I have wildflowers and perennials squeezed into my front and back yards and along the curb of my house in the city. My greatest job: I was a reporter for a locally-based newspaper, where I wrote human interest and news articles, but now I am a freelance writer, both online and in print. See MY ONLINE ARTICLES on how to ATTRACT BIRDS and BUTTERFLIES, and the HEALTHIEST NATURAL FOODS at my contributor page

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving: How It Can Bring Out the Worst in Us

I was caught in a traffic jam inside a grocery store last week—a jam-up of people so intent on buying food for their Thanksgiving festivities, they were rudely trying to force themselves and their carts ahead of everyone else.

The usual amenities of going up on one side of a main aisle and down on the other didn’t exist, and soon everyone was at a face-off—one solid mass of people coming from one direction, confronting another solid mass going the other way. The crowd was at a standstill, because nobody was willing to back up. Rounding the corner from a side aisle, I had inadvertently entered the mess and become trapped. Tempers began flaring, as the urgency of getting home so they could relax and have fun built up.

My human nature is to help others, so I struggled to shift my cart aside so a bewildered-looking woman facing me could get through. This, in turn, would have allowed a group of shoppers behind her to get through too, and ease the congestion. But a young man to my left rammed his cart against mine and snarled, “Haven’t you got any brains? Shove her cart out of the way so we can go!”

I wanted to tell the dummy how he was making matters worse, and that if he moved his cart momentarily, he and everyone else would be free to go. I wanted to tell him that he was probably 30 years younger than her, and for sure wasn’t being a gentleman. I wanted to (let’s just say physical assault on him entered my mind, even though he was at least six inches taller than me). I scanned the faces closest to him…no support there. They had become infected by his words. The woman tried to pull her cart back, but couldn’t. Too much “piggy syndrome” in the faces closest to us on her side, too. One wrong move on my part, and there seriously would have been a riot. As for the people further behind on both sides, they were oblivious to the situation. Impatience ruled.

All of this, because of a holiday meant to give thanks for our bounty. I’m not going to say what I actually did. Instead, put yourself in my situation. How would you have reacted, and what would you have done?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Thanksgiving Tribute to those who are currently or have fought for Liberty and Freedom, wherever you are

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for what we have. This means not only being thankful for the food we have on our table, the clothes we have on our backs, or for having our family members and friends, but for the freedoms we have due to the efforts of others.

This site is not intended to be political. How we individually regard our quests for liberty and freedom is simply one form of human nature. Therefore, I am including a video clip that, although I found it on Veterans' Day, I feel is appropos now too, on this holiday when we most express our overall gratitude.

Whether you like war or not (and who in actuality does?), sometimes wars have to be fought to protect or save or free other people, or ourselves. I'm using this clip, which doesn't take any sides, to merely extend a thanks-giving to each and every person, who was, or is, in the armed forces, whatever your personal beliefs.

Go to Dale’s “Meanderings and Musings from Mimico.” When you get to these archived pages from November 2005, scroll down to his Nov. 11 post, turn up your sound, and click on “please click on this link.”

Thank you, Dale, and also a wholehearted thanks to Anvilcloud at "Raindrops" for informing me about this clip through his Nov. 11 post.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Creating Our Own Small-Town America in the Big City—We Can Make It Happen!

I cherish the block I live on, along with my neighbors, because we have created a small-town haven amidst what others deem “the crime and corruption” of life in a major city, compared with life in the suburbs. True, there are neighborhoods here which aren’t safe, as there are in all major cities, but people tend to generalize big cities, or even particular streets within them, as being “crime-ridden,” when in fact there are many areas in those cities, or along vast stretches of those streets, where it has been proven that it’s safe to walk alone at night, and everyone who lives there sincerely cares about each other. We feel as if we’re living in small-town America.

Just as an example: Because the weatherman had forecasted rain later in the day, and the likelihood of snow during the upcoming week, all of us were out raking our leaves today. I couldn’t help reveling in the glory of it all. Besides the many hues of the leaves themselves—copper, orange, crimson and yellow—the very air was golden. There was a soft swish as we swept the leaves into piles, and an earthy scent as we scooped them into our bags and crushed them down.

Several young neighborhood boys had been taking turns pulling each other up and down the sidewalk in a wagon, when we saw a fire engine quietly driving towards our block, returning to the nearby station. Immediately a cry went up: “Fire truck coming!” The boys and we adults waved as the truck went past us, and the firemen inside waved back. Then one of them leaned out the window and called out, “Why don’t you kids help rake the leaves?” Seconds later, the boys were racing toward their parents to get rakes, and soon were taking up the fireman’s suggestion—reminiscent of Tom Sawyer’s fence-painting ploy.

Perhaps the best example of life on my block: We all chip in for a permit to block off our street and hold block parties—setting up grills, tables and chairs in the middle of the street, and bringing an array of food—not only on “National Night Out,” but during the spring and fall. During some winters, one of the neighbors often invites everyone over for a “soup party,” and we’ll share a couple steaming pots of soup, along with wine, cheese and crackers.

This didn’t just magically happen. One of my neighbors instigated our camaraderie, someone who was willing to take the time to make up flyers and put them in our mailboxes, and leave a contact phone number. After that another neighbor joined her quest, and now we all partake under their leadership.

If you aren’t fortunate to have a “small-town America” on your block, I urge you to create one. Most people today are so impersonal and isolated, they often don’t even know their next-door neighbors’ names. All it takes is dropping off a note in all your neighbors’ mailboxes along with your phone number, and if they’re interested, they’ll help you make the dream a reality. The instigators on my block, and my neighbors as a whole, have made my life richer and fuller, so that now, every time I pull into my driveway, I’m truly glad to be back where I belong—on “my block” back home.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Bread—the “Staff of Life”

Most of us tend to take this everyday food item for granted, yet bread is a definitive piece of every culture, and every religion and country in the world, if I’m not mistaken. Whatever its shape, size or name, not only has it been a principal form of food from earliest times, but it has been a staple in the lives of mankind throughout history.

"Loaves and rolls have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs," according to, the history of bread. "In the British Museum's Egyptian galleries you can see actual loaves which were made and baked over 5,000 years ago. Also on display are grains of wheat which ripened in those ancient summers under the Pharaohs. Wheat has been found in pits where human settlements flourished 8,000 years ago. Bread, both leavened and unleavened, is mentioned in the Bible many times. The ancient Greeks and Romans knew bread for a staple food, and even in those days people argued whether white or brown bread was best."

Also, according to the site, "Further back, in the Stone Age, people made solid cakes from stone-crushed barley and wheat. A millstone used for grinding corn has been found, that is thought to be 7,500 years old. The ability to sow and reap cereals may be one of the chief causes which led man to dwell in communities, rather than to live a wandering life hunting and herding cattle."

There’s a plethora of terms associated with bread, such as “the staff of life.” To “break bread” signifies a sense of sharing and camaraderie, and it is also used while doing a blessing over the bread. We often picture a humble family with little or no worldly goods saying, “At least we have bread on the table.” Bread and water has become known as a staple for prisoners, but we also bring a loaf of bread as a gift when we’re invited to someone’s home.

Often, specific types of bread symbolize a particular nation or religion, or are used for specific rituals. For example, Christians use bread to symbolize the body of Christ. Jewish people eat matzoh on Passover to signify the unleavened bread the Israelites made and ate while fleeing persecution from Pharaoh. They also serve a good challah during special occasions over the year to connotate warmth and friendship.

There are German and Swiss rye breads, and Italian rustic breads, while people from India are known for their naan Then there’s the American Indian North American Indian Fry Bread, or
pita bread in the Mid-East.

As such, I’d say bread has an impact on our human nature. Also, since it’s my human nature to learn more, I checked on the hidden and obscure taxes we in the U.S. have to pay for our bread. According to an editorial written by Don Stott,, written in 1991 mind you,

“One loaf of bread bought in a grocery store or bakery has property taxes for the farmer, bakery, garage for the delivery trucks, oil refinery, truck factory, tire factory, and the factories for every single part in the truck, tractor, and various pieces of machinery that go into making and delivering the bread.

“There are taxes on the property and workers for the milling of the flour, egg producer, maker of yeast, milk, wrappers, slicers, ovens, and even the printers who print the wrappers, and ink that goes into them. All these factories, shippers, farmers, stores, etc. have labor and property taxes to pay as well as telephone, fuel, and a host of other taxes, all of which add to the cost of that single loaf of bread. One economist, 30 years ago, said that a $1.00 loaf of bread had $.95 in taxes.”

I consider this “food for thought.” Don’t you?