If we examine our opinions, we can trace the tpuzzle seams between where we've been and what we truly know. I strive to be responsible with my opinions. Feed them a balanced diet of facts, perspective, narrative and whimsy. My opinions don't aspire to be big and strong. Just healthy. They don't yearn to be popular or franchised, just authentic and, hopefully, sturdy.
Even when they appear to match, opinions have unique owners. "Defending" our opinions should mean sketching their lineage: origin, influences, close relatives, familial mergers, adoptions and a nod to the season they spent "discovering themselves." Opinions offer shorthand for our emotions, experiences and unasked questions.
Question your opinions.
Test them in private to see if they can answer for themselves. If they're nervous or insecure. Are they loud? Lazy? Misinformed? People pleasers? How do your opinions respond to inspection or opposition? Are they holding a grudge? Wearing th…
What could be more innocuous than a light bulb? Sure, its discovery careened the Industrial Revolution into hyper drive but, at the end of a modern day, it's just a light bulb. The heart of the porch light. The glow filling the lamp shade above my reading chair. A box to check off on my next trip to the store.
The light bulb. Who would imagine there was a cartel in its history?
Well, there is.
In 1924, several of the world's leading manufacturers met in Geneva to hammer out a pact: they would produce inferior products. Specifically, each company agreed to engineer bulbs with shorter life spans. Prior to this convening, light bulbs burned for up to 2,500 hours. By 1930, bulbs around the world lasted for a mere 1,000 hours. The Phoebus cartel, as they named themselves, was comprised of seven companies hailing from six different countries (General Electric included). This tiny consortium authorized themselves to redesign the industry landscape with the express goal of increasing s…
One: Last year during my trip to Botswana, a local woman did a double take after hearing me speak.
"Where are you from?" she asked.
"US," I said.
"Agh!" She perked with surprise. "You look like Botswana woman. You have Botswana fi-gaah."
Two: Arriving in Botswana this year, the customs agent droned her questions: nature of visit, number of days, country of residence, country of birth. Hearing me say "USA" twice, I noticed that she hovered above a thought before deciding to speak it aloud.
"You look African."
I thanked her and asked what would distinguish an African woman from a black American woman.
"Your fee-chaas," she said, using an index finger to make a circular motion around her face. I thanked her again, smiling.
Three: Chatting with my hosts as we were leaving a cafe, I overheard two ladies comment as we passed their table about being surprised at my accent (funny. me. from Wisconsin. with an accent) and that…