Think! Sunday, Jan 22 2017 

Many decades ago in a journalism class, I learned about media gatekeepers. Gatekeepers are the controllers of what and how the public thinks.Every level of the media participates in gatekeeping to some degree.From reporter to publisher, each person determines not only what information is to be promoted, but also the content and spin.The higher up on the gatekeeper ladder, the more that step controls.

Gatekeeping may be subtle or overt. Even the most unbiased reporter can’t help but be partial to a degree. Turn to any media source, and we note a more distinct angle. We recognize what side of the fence they sit on. Their view of how the world should be is injected into every story.

So much of our news coverage is speculation about what might happen. The emotional spin on possible outcomes creates public stress, anxiety, and anger rather than peace, unity, and positive action.

Know that when one story or clip is shown repeatedly, someone is manipulating our emotions. It is a form of propaganda. Think about the motive behind repeatedly projecting that piece into our minds. Why would someone want you to see that taken out of context?

It is all of our responsibility to seek the whole truth, to dig deeper. We must find more than the handful of stories we repeatedly are shown. To understand a complete story or situation we need to check multiple sources. Check out “facts” (rumors) on credible sources such as Snopes.com. At the very least, if you can’t or won’t verify your information, don’t pass it on.

(See info on my books on my website and all my posts on my author Facebook page.)

The Election Aftermath Friday, Nov 11 2016 

Being of a mature age, I’ve had the privilege of voting in numerous presidential elections. One thing I know for sure is that voters are always disappointed when their candidate does not win. But, we pick up our feet, regroup, and move on.

I was concerned after several elections because the president-elect did not align with my ideals or beliefs. I was particularly shocked and baffled by Bill Clinton’s second term. He was re-elected in the midst of appalling scandals and controversies. I couldn’t understand why so many continued to support him.

This year’s campaign was perhaps more intense in emotions and hostility.We, who voted, took our decision very seriously. It came with considerable contemplation, evaluation, and research. Few of us fully trusted either candidate to fulfill our hopes in leading our beloved nation to peace and prosperity. What we disliked about a candidate played as much of a role in our decision as what we approved of.

In the end, the public has spoken. Donald Trump is our president-elect. He, and our country, needs our prayers and support. Our leaders have tremendous responsibilities in this very fragile world. And we have a responsibility to promote peace, equality, and happiness everywhere, every day with our words and actions.If we want a better tomorrow, we are the ones who must make it happen.

(For posts relating to topics in regards to my books, see my blog: Mary K Doyle Books)

Not Voting is Voting Friday, Oct 14 2016 

The current presidential campaign is not a proud moment in American history. Although there are voters who strongly favor one or the other of the candidates, many, perhaps the majority, find ourselves in a quandary. We dislike both candidates so much that we defend the one we believe to be the lesser of two evils. We are placing our hope for the future in someone we cautiously think will do the least harm to our economy, security, principles, and image.

The current point of contention between the candidates’ is their treatment of women. Both are trying to draw women voters to their side, not because of what they will do for women, but the despicable manner in which the other candidate treats them. One has video and sound tracks making demeaning comments about women and allegations of groping. The other is accused of bullying and intimidation after numerous women claimed her husband sexually assaulted them, causing a double-punch to those victims.

So many voters are so unhappy with both candidates that they will not vote at all. However, that does not change our responsibility to do so. In fact, it is as powerful as casting a vote because not voting is voting for the winner.

We can’t get out of our responsibility to participate in this election. We have to make a decision.

Please God, bless America.

Want Some Bugs with That Cake? Saturday, Apr 23 2016 

The concept of red velvet cake escapes me. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a fan of the flavors. But what’s wrong with chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting without dying the cake red?

Red velvet cake requires 2-4 tablespoons of red food coloring to transform the brown chocolate to red. And do you know what that red food coloring is made from? Bugs.

Red food colorants are typically made from chocineal, carmine, or carminic acid, all of which are made from crushed carcasses of a South and Central American insect known as the female dactylopious coccus. It takes about 70,000 insects to make one pound of cochineal.

The Aztecs and Mayans produced the red dye for coloring fabrics as far back as the 15th century. It became popularly used in foods in recent times as a safer alternative to those found to be carcinogenic. Today FD&C Red Dye #40 is also used. This dye is not made from insects but rather coal.

Red food coloring is used in most red drinks and candies as well as red velvet cakes. Check the labels to know for sure.And enjoy those tasty treats.

(Follow my posts on Mary K Doye Books and my Facebook author and book pages)

©2016, Mary K. Doyle

 

The Dawn of Spring Saturday, Mar 19 2016 

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Color returning to our baby’s cheeks. The price of gasoline going down. Greenery poking through the dark earth. We search for signs of hope, and the dawn of spring does that in the gentlest ways.

Today marks the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere, its earliest arrival since 1896. The season corresponds with the vernal equinox, the day when day and night are nearly the same. Equinox comes from the Latin aequus and nox, meaning equal night. Earth’s two hemispheres receive the sun’s rays nearly the same amount of time because the tilt of the Earth is zero relative to the Sun. The equinox occurs at the identical moment worldwide regardless of the time on the clock.

Nature responds to the increasing sunlight with birds singing, trees budding, crocus blooming, and temperatures climbing. Resurrection, new beginnings, and life anew. Our spirit is lifted in anticipation of happy, sunny days.

©2016, Mary K Doyle

Every Vote Counts Saturday, Feb 27 2016 

The Illinois primary election is fast approaching, and I’m not sure how I will vote. Unfortunately, I’m not excited about anyone in the race.

In my opinion, few of the 11 presidents who served in my lifetime, including the present one, were exceptional leaders. The public vote has spoken otherwise, however. Either they found these presidents more than acceptable or that they were the best candidates on the ballot.

Regardless, I accept the decision of the democracy, and I will vote every opportunity that I have. It is my privilege and obligation to step forward and note my choice. Voting is not a God-given right. Many countries around the world limit that opportunity.

It can be difficult to sift through the media noise surrounding the elections but important to do our best to listen, read, and discern for ourselves. May you use your power wisely, the elected make us proud, and God bless America.

©2016, Mary K Doyle

Statistics and Magician’s Wife Tuesday, Feb 23 2016 

 

Storytelling throughout history was the passing on of the essence of an event. Specific details were not necessary. It was a person’s emotional interpretation of a significant occurrence. The heart of the story was what was important.

These stories would get passed down by word of mouth, so they altered along the way. I recently heard on the science program, Nova, that every time we recall a memory, we edit it. It becomes less and less accurate because our imagination fills in bits and pieces of things that may have happened, and then those imagined additions become part of the memory.

Today, we do more reporting than storytelling. We want specific details—time, dates, and numbers. When I wrote Sunday feature articles for the Chicago Tribune, three things were to be included: real voices, meaningful quotes, and statistics. Stories needed to be about people with real concerns, told in their own words, and backed up with relevant data.

Statics are an important element in substantiating a story. They tell a level of truth in numbers. Although it was my least favorite college class, I do realize its significance from sports and politics to science and demographics. However, in all reality, even those numbers are a matter of interpretation and can be twisted.

WordPress offers a stats page for each of my blogs. It shows the number of views, likes, visitors, and comments for every post and even where those viewers are located. These numbers give me an idea of who is reading my blogs and whether they are of interest to anyone. There is a wide variation of numbers for many reasons including relevancy of content, writing style, and the time and day of posting.

My most viewed post ran back on August 19, 2013. It had 777 views on WordPress plus countless others via Facebook reposting.

For those who might like to re-read it, and those who never saw it, here it is again:Top 10 Ways You Know You Are a Magicians Wife

©2016, Mary K Doyle

Writing on the Wall Sunday, Jan 31 2016 

 

You know you’ve been warned when the writing’s on the wall, but do you know where the saying came from?

I remember the morning I was in church and made the biblical connection. I sat straight up and listened closely to the Book of Daniel, “Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the wall of the royal palace, next to the lampstand” (5:5).

The story goes on as to how the king’s face turned pale and cried out that whoever could read the writing on the wall would be clothed in purple and rank third in the kingdom. Daniel was the only one who could read it.

The message said that King Belshazzar and Babylon’s days were over. Belshazzar was proud and praised the gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone rather than the one true God, even though he knew what happened to his father who acted in a similar way.

From antiquity until today, we live by phrases and sayings such as this that have proven the test of time. And dozens of them have biblical roots.

Here are a few others:

By the skin of my teeth – “My bones cling to my skin and to my flesh, and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth” (Job 19:20).

Out of the mouths of babes – “Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger” (Psalm 8:2).

Eat, drink, and be merry – “And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry” (Luke 12:19. See also Tobit 7:10)

In the twinkling of an eye – “. . . in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52).

Go the extra mile – “. . . and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:40-42).

Put words in your mouth – “And Joab put the words into her mouth” (2 Samuel 14:3. See also Exodus 4:15, Deuteronomy 18:18, 2 Samuel 14:19, Isaiah 51:16, Isaiah 59:21, and Jeremiah 1:9).

Root of the matter – “If you say, ‘How we will persecute him!’ and, ‘The root of the matter is found in him . . .’” (Job 19:28).

Signs of the times – “And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3).

At their wits’ end – “. . . they reeled and staggered like drunkards, and were at their wits’ end” (Psalm 107:27).

Wolves in sheep’s clothing – “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

And my favorite:

Arise and shine – “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).

©2016 Mary K. Doyle

Diminishing Workforce Thursday, Dec 10 2015 

For the first time in 65 years, the word’s working population is declining. Most of my life, global overpopulation was a concern. We are now at a point where it is the opposite, at least in regards to the workforce and consumerism.

What does that mean? Globally, we will have, and are predicted to have, for some time, too few workers and customers.

Most countries are aging due to lower fertility rates and longevity. The majority of the population in most countries soon will be middle to late age. As a population ages, so does their needs. Focus shifts to services rather than durable goods. We tend to save more and spend less with age. The elderly need more medical care and pharmaceuticals than household products, cars, and luxury homes. Companies that market to teens and younger adults diminish, while others such as pharmaceutical companies, grow under these circumstances.

The economy no longer will need as many employees. And yet, finding the right employee in some positions and also to replace those retiring will be increasingly more difficult. Young entries will not have the necessary experience. And companies also will be more challenged to meet pensions, as so many of their previous employees will be retired.

In 2050, India will be the most populous country with Nigeria and Indonesia close behind. However, overall they will continue to be in the lower-income category. In fact, low-income countries will make up 14% of the world population in 2050 as opposed to today’s 9%. Recruiting from these countries may be an option.

To increase the numbers of future employees, this past October China eliminated their one-child policy.Countries including Singapore, Australia, and Canada’s Quebec are encouraging cash grants to encourage bigger families and more generous child support for working mothers in the hopes of boosting the desire for more children. Robots also will fill in to increase productivity.

Worldwide, we will have to update our perception of aging to allow the experienced senior employees to remain in the field. We are healthier than our counterparts even a decade ago. There will be more reasons to continue working than not, and therefore some accommodations will be necessary. Businesses will have to adapt the workplace to the joint and vision needs of their older employees.

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

In a Different Time Saturday, Jun 27 2015 

 

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One of my life’s blessings was to meet a group of friends in High School that are as dear to me today as they were then. Mary Ellen, Sally, and Susie are intelligent, witty, courageous, and compassionate women who’ve stood strong with me through thick and thin.

I recently came across a book, If for Girls, written by Jean Kyler McManus and Illustrated by Liselotte Malnar, that these friends gave me on my sixteenth birthday. It’s a sweet, palm-sized book with delicate pastel drawings and text in cursive.

It’s written in verse with each page beginning with “If you.” The book begins:

If you can live each day

with the assurance

That “A girl” is something

wonderful to be

 

If you can find a way

to meet your problems

with courage and with

true maturity

The book goes on by suggesting “girls” reject vulgar style and what is worthless, guard one’s principles, and not complain. It encourages standing up for what’s right, comforting those in need, and making firm decisions. It concludes:

If you can practice all the

Arts of living

With real integrity

You’re bound to be a

Happy person, always

And the lovely woman you were meant to be

I’m not sure how many teens today would encourage their friends to live such principles. I’m fortunate my friends did and have followed their own guidance. They truly are the lovely women they were meant to be.

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

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