Good holiday gifts
November 26th, 2014

I’ll make my usual offer of donating 30% of the price of my popular Afghan Hound memoir, Baltho, The Dog Who Owned a Man, and 20% of any of my other books, to any good cause, BUT ONLY WHEN you order directly from me on my site. I have no way of tracking otherwise. I’ve made this offer earlier. Please remember that it’s a standing offer. Just be sure to tell me when you order what you want me to donate to. www.thomasrameywatson.com/edit

These popular books make good gifts, by the way. Some buy extras to give to charitable events, fund-raising drives, and so on.

The books are also available on amazon.com and from other online outlets and local bookstores. www.thomasrameywatson.com/edit

These popular books make good gifts, by the way. Some buy extras to give to charitable events, fund-raising drives, and so on.

The books are also available on amazon.com and from other online outlets and local bookstores. BalthocovericonsizeLoveThreads_COVER_LSTRWatson_NecessityOfSymbols_cover

Ever wondered why your cat keeps rubbing against your leg? Or why kitty goes crazy over catnip? Well, you’re in luck.

A new YouTube video (above) from the American Chemical Society uses chemistry to answer these and other questions about familiar feline phenomena.

Watch.

from Beyond the argument that faith in God is irrational—and therefore illegitimate

In America, which sociologists often describe as a uniquely religious country compared with the rest of the Western world, a vast majority of people have faith. According to Pew, 86 percent of Millennials, or people aged 18-33, say they believe in God, and 94 percent of people 34 and older say the same. It’s true that a growing group say they’re “not certain” about this belief, and it’s also true thataffiliation with formal religious institutions is declining. But in terms of pure belief, self-described atheists and agnostics are a small minority, making up only six percent of the population.

The Western world in particular is probably less religious than it was 150 years ago, and the dynamics of belief and observance have certainly become more complex—the growing number of people who are unaffiliated with a specific religion is especially fascinating. But if the age of atheism started in 1882 as Watson claims, most people still haven’t caught on.

The Age of Atheists will likely stay confined to certain intellectual circles: The casual philosopher, the dogmatic non-believer, the coffee-table book collector. But insofar as its argument represents a broader pathology in contemporary conversations about belief, this book matters. Most people form their beliefs and live their lives somewhere in the middle of the so-called “culture divide” that outspoken atheists and believers shout across. The more these shouters shout, the more public discourse veers away from the subtle struggle of the average person’s attempt to be human.

More.

In her new book, Fields of Blood, Karen Armstrong argues against the idea that faith fuels wars.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The point, once again, is fairly straightforward: Humans start wars and slaughter their enemies and blow themselves up for complicated reasons. For a book with such an abundance of historical facts and analysis, Fields of Blood seems to be making a simple argument at an ambitiously macroscopic level—it’s an inevitably overwhelming sprint through nearly 7,000 years of history.

But maybe that’s the point: Humans talk in frameworks. People see the world through cultural associations and narratives of history, even if they’re not apparent; that’s why the attendees of Armstrong’s book talks can intellectually understand that religion hasn’t caused all the major wars in history while still almost subconsciously believing religion to be inherently violent. Fields of Blood can’t debunk the rhetoric about religion that has built up over decades, but “the point is to sow a little seed of doubt, to muddy the waters,” Armstrong told me. Perhaps that’s all one book can hope to do.

More.

Everything on this earth has its purpose. Some are just a little misunderstood.

 

Watch video.

Watch video.

There’s been a quote going around attributed to Robin Williams that goes as follows: “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” Here’s where it came from. He was performing at the Roxy in 1978 for a brand new comedy special on a little known network called HBO. In the audience were a surprising group of people. Henry Winkler (The Fonz), Tony Danza before he was famous, and even John Ritter, who does a weird round of improv with Williams at the end of the video.

Watch video.

Wonderful idea. More.

Kelly M. Flanagan, Clinical Psychologist, Writer, Blogger writes:

As a therapist, I can teach a couple how to communicate in an hour. It’s not complicated. But dealing with the troublemakers who started the fight? Well, that takes a lifetime.

And yet.

It’s a lifetime that forms us into people who are becoming ever more loving versions of ourselves, who can bear the weight of loneliness, who have released the weight of shame, who have traded in walls for bridges, who have embraced the mess of being alive, who risk empathy and forgive disappointments, who love everyone with equal fervor, who give and take and compromise, and who have dedicated themselves to a lifetime of presence and awareness and attentiveness.

And that’s a lifetime worth fighting for.

Read more of this insightful article.

I recently watched the film De-Lovely, a 2004 musical biopic of Cole Porter, from his first meeting with Linda Lee Thomas until his death. The Cole Porter songs throughout are a delight in themselves, and, because of the story, the ambiguity of many of the lyrics becomes clearer.

What I found most fascinating, from a counseling/coaching angle, is the lifelong love story between Thomas and Porter. By believing in him and accepting him for what he was, including his need to have sexual relations with males, she gave him himself and made him believe in himself and his talent. Creative people are a special breed with a deep need to explore various realms to foster nourish creativity. And Porter had heaps of that.

Because they had no secrets, Porter’s love for Thomas deepened and grew over time. Evidently her love for him was without strings and enduring from the start. He found that hard to believe, but she constantly proved it. (Of course she didn’t like everything he did and worried about his getting into a big scandal that would hurt both of them. But they weathered the storms and love lasted till the end.)

The importance of being open—and being able to have no secrets—with your spouse is essential. Not everyone can do that, and certainly depending upon the people involved, some aspects of character would rule out even trying. But people vary. What should destroy some relationships strengthens and deepens others and gives them themselves in much more profound ways that most might imagine.

While some people were not terribly enthusiastic about the film, Roger Ebert, I believe, grasped its significance. Read his review.

Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.

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