Monday, October 26, 2015

Very Superstitious....

A superstition is a belief that powers out of our hands, maybe supernatural causes, can make things happen.

Did you ever cross your fingers for luck, or knock on wood, or have a 'lucky' shirt that you wear when you need to have a good day? Have you felt guilty for stepping on a crack on the sidewalk? Do you think you have lucky numbers?

If you have, then you have participated in superstitions.

But how did some of these things get started???

It's thought that there are two basic sources for superstitions: religion or folklore. When we say 'religious reasons,' we're talking about people who believed that if you didn't do something a certain way, you would be punished by God or by The Gods. This also branches out into any kind of religion, maybe even including voodoo.

Folklore includes ideas passed down generation to generation and across communities. Beginning when education was scarce, rumors could be spread throughout a community, so if someone started the notion that it was bad luck to wear yellow, let's say, that could spread by word of mouth until it was an accepted fear, even though there was no basis for it. Here are some common superstitions:
  • Cross your fingers for luck: It seems this is a way to have the sign of the cross, for Christians; you are in essence blessing yourself.
  • Knock on wood: Wood being a long-lasting material, it's thought that people started to 'knock on wood' to ensure success, that is, the wish they expressed would be as solid as wood.
  • Lucky charms-you may have some object you think is lucky, whether it's a small object or a piece of clothing you wear when you want to do well. These things can be traced to voodoo, where objects were 'given' power. Obviously, this is strictly in the mind of the charm-holder.
  • Black cats being bad luck: When witchcraft was a feared part of life, cats that belonged to 'witches' were thought to bring bad luck.

  • Walking under a ladder brings bad luck: It was thought that since an open ladder forms 3 sides, it represented the Trinity in Christianity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) so if you walk under the ladder you are breaking the Trinity.
  • Breaking a mirror: People used to believe a mirror actually held some of your soul, so logically (to them) if you broke one, you were destroying part of yourself. Why 7 years of bad luck, who knows.
  • Spilling salt, then throwing some over your shoulder: Salt used to be very valuable, as it was used to preserve food. If you spilled some, it was considered very bad luck. The idea was to take some that you spilled and throw it over your left shoulder for luck. Why the left shoulder? Because that was the side the Devil supposedly sat on. The idea was to throw the salt in the Devil's eyes. In fact, the word 'sinister' means 'left.'

  • Have you heard the saying, "Break a Leg" as something you say to a performer about to go on stage? There are a number of possible explanations, one being that all the understudies for a part hoped that the star would break a leg so one of them could go on. Another is that Shakespeare referred to bowing after a performance as Breaking a Leg. Here is a link for a few other ideas:

  • And what of Friday the 13th being unlucky? This is thought to have originated from the number of people at the Last Supper of Jesus. It was held on a Thursday, and the following day, Jesus was crucified. There have been two Fridays the 13th so far in 2015 and there is another on November 13th.

WOW for 10-26-2015: Talisman

  • It's considered unlucky to open an umbrella inside. Why? It's thought that originally umbrellas were used in ancient times to keep the sun off; if you opened it inside you might offend the sun gods. It doesn't matter, however, if the umbrella has been used and you're just trying to dry it off. People used to believe that if you were a single woman and placed an umbrella on a table, you would never marry.

  • Two people take hold of a wishbone, one on either end, and pull it apart. The one with the larger piece will have good luck.

  • It's considered bad luck to put a pair of shoes on the table. This may be explained by the idea that when burying a body, people used to put all new clothing on the person and then have the body 'lying in state' at home, where their friends and relatives would visit. It seemed to tempt fate somehow to have shoes on a table, not to mention that shoes used to be hammered together with nails, and the nails could damage the table.
  • When opening gifts at a bridal shower, it's an old tale that the number of ribbons the bride breaks will be the number of children she will have.

Do you have any rituals, lucky things, or superstitions? Share them with others (if you dare)....Or make up something new. Who knows, maybe only hitting "Snooze" twice will mean you'll have a good day....

    Monday, October 19, 2015

    I Had This Weird Dream.....

    Have you ever wondered what your dreams mean?

    Here are some common dreams and their supposed meanings:

    Being chased: You may be afraid of a new experience, or that you can't keep up with everything

    Falling off a cliff or high building: You may be fearful of a new risk or new situation or crisis in your life.

    Being lost: This might mean you are overwhelmed with life and don't know how to sort it out, or that you are embarking on something new that you don't understand yet

    Dreams about animals, let's say snakes in particular: You perceive a threat in your life

    Being Late:  You might be anxious that you are disappointing someone

    Water: Water usually signifies change and renewal in your life

    Car out of control: You feel your life is out of control, and it's out of your hands

    Unable to complete a phone call: You're disconnected somewhere in some way in your life

    Here is the cycle of sleep for most people:

    You are most likely to remember a dream if you are awakened during the REM portion of sleep.

    A dream can last from a few seconds up to 20-30 minutes.

    How do drugs affect your dreams?
    • Smoking marijuana can seriously impair the REM stage of sleep, when you sleep deeply and dream
    • Anti-depressant medication can interrupt your sleep patterns
    • Anti-anxiety medication such as Valium  can also affect sleep patterns

    People who suffer from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) often times suffer from nightmares, possibly from changes in their brains and also from medications they are given to manage their condition.

    Other things than can affect your sleep include
    • Pregnancy
    • Sounds
    • Quitting Smoking
    • Going to bed hungry
    • Watching a scary movie before you go to bed


    If you need some tips on getting to sleep and staying asleep, check out Triogenius "Must Get Sleep," November 5, 2012.

    Monday, October 12, 2015

    25 College Hacks: What if I Need.......


     Free graphing calculator

     Playlists for studying:

     Ambient noise such as surf, night, nature

    Timer for study breaks:

     Cite your sources-when you write a paper, you have to give credit to your sources:

    **WOW 10-5-2015: : Ambient: **

    Dictionary, Thesaurus, What's the Plural of, and word games:


    Make your own flash cards for lots of subjects
    Internet Public Library-if you can't go there in person
     Getting and saving ideas to write about stuff
     Medical research that could be useful for a report
     Math and science homework help from teachers:
    Academic planner:
    Another planner:
    Virtual visits to colleges, and college life articles:
    Money management
    Alarm clock: “Alarmy”: It won’t turn off until you get out of bed and take a picture that matches the alarm clock’s picture: Apple or IOS:   Android:
    Study help, reminders, and links to other similar stuff:
    Math, social science, humanities:
     A plethora of stuff at
    Free courses, interviews, all kinds of stuff
    Advice on finances
    Financial calculators-how long will it take to pay off that amount??
     Easy cooking in your dorm
    20 ways to memorize stuff:

    Do you know of a site that's helped you? Leave it in the comments so others can benefit!

    Monday, October 5, 2015

    Music: More Than Just a Playlist

    You're sure to have some songs or artists that always get your attention; maybe you have a song you play over and over in your playlist, or songs that make you think of something that happened in your life. But did you know that music has far-ranging power?? Check this out:
    Music, and learning music....
    • Fights depression and reduces stress
    • Raises the level of Serotonin in your brain (lowering the level leads to depression)
    • Keeps you alert
    • Improves your ability to learn
    • Increases your level of concentration
    • Increases your memory
    • Learning to read music is very similar to learning a new language
    • Helps you be more creative
    • Helps you to learn anything faster
    • Gives you increased problem-solving skills
    • Helps you sleep better
    • Increases endorphins (the 'feel good' hormone, see it explained here: ). Endorphins are also secreted when you exercise.
    • You may eat less when listening to music
    • Increases your endurance
    • Helps you heal faster
    • When shopping, stores have music playing to get the shoppers to relax and stay longer
    • The music is too loud (see Triogenius 4-6-15 about noise pollution and how too-loud music damages your hearing)
    • The music is too harsh
    • It may bother you if it is too high-pitched
    • It has a dissonant (clashing) sound rather than harmony
    • There is too much music coming at you at once
    Someone who reads music can translate this for you......
    You might also consider a career in Music Therapy:
    (Interview with a Music Therapist, Triogenius May 7, 2012)

    New feature: Word of the Week. Every week we'll learn a word that has to do with the blog.....
    WOW for 10-5-2015: Libretto

    Worth a try:
    • Ask your parents or even your grandparents what their favorite singers/groups were, when they were your age.
    • Listen to a type of music you never had listened to before. Try New Age, Jazz, Big Band, Opera, or music from another country such as Ireland, India, or South America. Check out a violinist or a trumpet player. You don't have to love it....just give it a listen. Go to Youtube and see what you can find that's not familiar....and remember, there's a huge variety of CDs you can borrow for free at your local library.
    • Try singing in a group, maybe with your friends, if you never have.
    • Really listen to lyrics: Are they saying something you agree with? Are they unimaginative or do they say exactly how you feel? Are they insensitive or mean-spirited or even violent? Do they portray women with disrespect? Is that OK with you...or not?
    • Try playing an instrument. Can a friend or family member teach you?
    • Write a song--words and/or music. Or, dance...maybe dance to something new?
    • Watch a musical. If you haven't seen Les Mis, The Sound of Music, Phantom of the Opera,'ve missed a lot! Again, many of these (videos or soundtracks) are available to borrow at the library for free.
    • Pay attention to what sort of music you hear at the mall, the doctor's office, maybe in a lab at school. Does it soothe you? Would you rather have silence?
    • Imagine life without music. Wouldn't that be sad??


    A cellist and a street dancer?? Fascinating. Yo-Yo Ma and Li'l Buck: The song is "The Swan," by Saint-Saens. Li'l Buck's style is called 'Jookin.'

    Random Act of Culture: "West Side Story" at the Miami Airport.

    Jethro Tull's "Kashmir"...on violin??? Yep, and this violinist is excellent: Lucia Micarelli

    Maybe some blues: Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

    *Also worth discussing: Do you think music should be censored, or should there be a 'parental advisory' on music? Why or why not?

    Share a cool music video by posting it in the comments section below!