readings (15)

1 December 2012

On popular genres - fiction/faction/non-fiction. If it's real, it's real, but still fiction...

This post asks a simple, yet compelling question - when is something fact and when is it fiction and when should a piece of literature be called fiction and when should it be called faction?

To start, here's a taste of what I think - if something is presented as real, some aspect of it has got to be fact.

However, although something may be presented as fiction, yet set in a factual context, it still isn't regarded as fact as it's fiction and therefore, isn't true.

Extending my question further, I ask is fiction isn't factual by definition, whereas non-fiction supposedly is, what is it when it's based on fact?

Consider for example whether something is presented as realistic, non-realistic, or semi-realistic and then of course, there's 'faction'.

If you were to look up the word "faction", you'll find that it's a "portmanteau" (a blend of two, or more, words or morphemes into one new word) in this case fiction and fact.

But is it fiction based on fact, or fact turned into fiction?

Whenever I read a fictional work that's set within a factual setting and with descriptions pertaining to factual events and factual sounding people, I have to ask myself whether it ought to be called fiction, part fact, part fiction, faction, or both.

What can I say? I ask questions...

10 September 2012

There's a path called life and we're all on it...thoughts on destiny and where it's taking us

There's a path called life and we're all on it - the choice is whether to keep keeping on, or just sit down and enjoy the view.

Some choose to do both at different intervals and some, it would seem, have an easier path than others.

There's always a different angle to approach it from too, but ultimately, we end up where we're going and that's where we were always meant to be.

We'll never know before we get there only when we get there.

I don't believe we choose the end either, but that it's chosen for us.

But can we choose the path?

Don't you think people who have it hard would choose to get off if they could?

Perhaps they're just too busy getting on with getting on to notice...

17 July 2012

Is "share" the new "like"? On the changing face of Facebook...

I'm not a massive Facebook(er), but I see it's potential and am fascinated by the variety of ways it is used by my Facebook friends.

When I first joined up, I had no idea what I was supposed to do and I set about increasing my friend count, employing various techniques to do so, none of which seemed to work with any major effect.
So I started to lose interest...
I ended up doing most of my networking on Twitter, which is where I still focus most of my time and energy.

I started to really like Twitter because I find it more interesting and more convenient for self-promotion - in my case, my recently finished MS.
Ironically, it was through Twitter that I started to check out Facebook again and that's when I discovered the "share" button...

"share" or "like"?

Is it easier and less committal to "like" on Facebook than it is to "share"?

In my opinion, sharing is more involving.
Although I'm not into all this nonsense about having to leave a comment just because there's a comment box and that apparently, is the difference - the comment box.

If I "like", I "share" and only if I really want to, I leave a comment.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading : )


11 July 2012

Fast food for thought 1 "Ain't never got no time for nothing no how!"...on never using multi-negatives..

Compare these two sentences...

"It wasn't too bad!"

"It was quite good!"

Do they mean the same thing?
I would say yes, more or less.

Do they come across in a similar way?
I would say no without question.

One is clearly negative, whereas the other is clearly positive.

I once had a conversation with a friend on the use of negatives in general conversation and the outcome was interesting in the simplest sense.

We agreed that through using negatives, what's reflected in speech is that the mind filters information differently - negatively as opposed to positively, which in turn gives a negative outward impression.

Why say one thing negatively when the same can be said positively?

So, next time someone asks "how are you today?", why not reply with "I'm fine!" as opposed to "not too bad!"

Who put the "gimme" in gimmickry? - on how to win business and infuence people...

"Hi! My name is John and I'm an..."

You can decide what I am, but please wait a moment until after you've read my post ; )

I've got a question - Are you any of the following:
- a consumer
- a customer
- a client
- a patient?

When are we any of these and how much power do we levy when we are?

As a consumer, I'm a user.
But how often is that out of necessity and how often out of pure indulgence, habit, or worst of all, addiction?
As a consumer, I'm classified in terms of what I use, need, or am addicted to.
Where does the producer fit into this?
How much of what is produced is actually needed - like water, air and food?

As a customer, I don't necessarily use.
Perhaps I buy to sell - to make a profit, to use the information I have to benefit from the needs, wants, habits or addictions of the consumer.
Perhaps I'm conscientious and do it as a service.

As a client, I'm put in a higher category of power. I'm a customer with financial and influential clout. I can make more decisions on what I buy. It's not a necessity thing, but rather part of the cycle of which I am integral.

As a patient, I am the end-product.
Perhaps I haven't got what I need, perhaps I'm trying to break some bad habit, or overcome an addiction.
I am also a bi-product of the cycle of winning business and influencing people.
I am out of the circle, I have no influence.
I am a basic consumer - my needs are to survive.

So, now back to my original question - which one are you and why?

Are you driven by basic needs, wants, habits or addictions?

Is gimmickry part and parcel of what makes you tick?

Are you an end, or a bi-product, or do you call the shots?

"Hi! My name is John and I'm an..."

Thanks for reading!


6 July 2012

A one sentence summary of my book "Honey have you seen my REALIA?"...

Book title:

Honey have you seen my REALIA?


Total fiction/Fancyful lit

One sentence summary:

Back in the valley where the children were taken, the Breed have lost hope as their leader Nor Bap dies and the task of finding the REALIA is passed on to his 7th wife Ma who takes the quest to the literate haven of Taws.

29 June 2012

Shooting from the hip - on blogs, bilge and missing the target...

Here's something I haven't done in a long time and should do more of - off the cuff posts about things that matter to me...

I read somewhere that blogging is therapy and this makes sense in a 'get it off your chest' sort of way.

As a youngster, I used to write a lot - it started with poetry, song lyrics and now as an adult, it's transmogrified into something more formidable like finishing my first manuscript.

Anyway, when the shit hits the fan, it's always served me well in the sense that I got said what was in my head and it's helped to unfurl those damned knots that get in there on many, many occasions.

Now my point here is this...

...who reads this stuff and does it matter?

There are people out there who'll never read this or anything I've ever written, but is this the point of writing, getting it all out?
I would say no and put at least about 80% of effort into saying it!

To take this further, let's consider the well-worn expression 'shooting from the hip' and explore it's meaning for a moment.

To you it probably means something else and you're probably right, but to me it means trying to hit something in such a hurry to shoot that you end up missing the target - sounds woefully pessimistic I know, but think about it...

...aren't the chances of hitting the target far greater if you take your time, aim carefully and then let fly?
Besides, if you do miss at the first, second, or even three times twenty attempt there's always the fall back that if at first you don't succeed, you can always try again...

Now think about how often you've practiced the calm, calculated, smirk-on-face approach and compare it to the times you've shot from the hip, let fly and missed.

Well, the outcome is completely different, isn't it?

Yes indeedy, when you shoot from the hip, the chances of hitting the target are greatly diminished, so why waste the shot?

Now, here's my point - the same can be asked of your blog, or anything you write for a particular audience, or target reader.

Why waste the shot?

As much as I agree with blogging as therapy and should serve no other reason -  we all know deep down that it does matter who and whether people read it or not - so why waste your shot?

In summary, I guess you could say that thoughtful, well aimed and well executed blogs will hit intended targets, whereas 'shot in the dark' blogs won't.

Having said that however, shooting from the hip may hit something you weren't expecting and why not do both?

In short, I'm a hip shooter and have been for for some time - if something gets me going, I'll let fly. Over time my aim has improved and I've hit more targets than before and you know, if I don't, there's always therapy!

Keep blogging and thanks for reading...



7 June 2012

Who was history written for? On quotation marks, ‘what ifs and buts’ and everything else that separates us from the Apes…Part 3

‘If I were you, I wouldn’t be me…’

Why would I even say this?

Better still, why should I even say this?

The answer lies in reflection – the ‘what if’s and buts’ of history, without which we’d never be able to reflect effectively…and this is what separates us from the Apes apparently – the ability to reflect, hypothesize, etc…

Take the need to quote others…

…in general, I’ve got a thing about quoting others, the use of proverbs, old wives tales, etc.

I wouldn’t say I’ve got a problem with people for doing it, I just wonder why we still feel the need to reflect on what someone said over 2000 years ago and still consider it relevant enough to live our lives accordingly.

Apparently, or so it’s told, some guy said a lot of stuff once that we’re still repeating and quoting…

…how mesmerizingly weird is that?

Of course, it starts and ends (sort of) with history, written, recorded history to be precise.
What's interesting about history in this context is that it’s as much part of our present as our past and this is because we bring it into our present – something the Apes don’t do…least not to the same extent anyway.

In short, history doesn’t go away because we don’t let it and we are forever recreating our past in light of what we know now.

In other words, we reflect and re-reflect through our and others experiences.

So what has this got to do with quoting others?


My issues with quotes is not necessarily in what was said at the time (I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion and to express it), but rather in the fact that someone else would feel the need to quote what was said by someone else to somehow make sense of their own situation.

The situation, or context, in which someone says something is not our own. So, why do we take what someone says IN context and repeat it OUT OF context?

I love History and always have. I find it fascinating and it does tell us something about who we are and helps us make sense of things in the present.
Some would argue that without the past, there would be no present and to a certain extent I agree, but why repeatedly dig it up and re-contextualize everything we have now in it's shadow?

I'm a revisionist. I critically assess my present in terms of the past, I reflect and I realign how I do and think in terms of what has happened.

But above all else, I'm a 'nower' as opposed to a 'knower'. I live in the now as much as is feasibly possible. Why spend time reflecting when you could spend it doing, living the moment?

It's a chewy topic and I'd love to offer you a bite!

Thanks for reading!


29 May 2012

On why inactivity while chasing after a ping-pong ball gets you nowhere.

I once had a blog, which was mildly interesting and having lost the blog through inactivity (I basically ignored reminders to renew it until it was gone), I was left feeling ever so slightly stupid.

On the positive side though (there’s always one if you look for it!), it’s also made me question what I and others generally do and don’t do and why…

...put another way, my inaction has lead me to reflect on my action.

Now, I mentioned I felt stupid, didn't I? 

Well, as we all know, stupidity is measured in terms of how other people see it! So, to cut to the chase, how do you feel when you actually feel stupid?
For a start, how do you know? 

You know because others have defined it for you in relation to whatever yardstick is being used at that time to measure your particular level of stupidity.

It strikes me that the yardstick has become as simple as your amount of inaction as opposed to your action.

Now, imagine this.

You’re happily playing ping-pong in a public place with plenty of people around. Nobody takes any notice because it's a normal thing to do until that is, you take a swing, miss the ball and it bounces away.

Now, if you’ve ever chased after a ping-pong ball, you’ll know where this is going.

You're first impulse is to chase after it so you can carry on with your game, so you do.
You chase it and chase it and the people stop to watch.
It’s funny seeing you chase that ping-pong ball and you start looking and feeling like an idiot. 
So you try to chase after it with as much inactivity as you can muster.
Problem is, inactivity while chasing after a ping-pong ball gets you nowhere, so what do you do?

Give up the chase?
Now, that would be stupid - least you can do is have something to show for the humiliation...
Besides, no ping-pong ball means no game of ping pong.

But you'd save face... this sense, inactivity gets you everywhere, but only if saving face is what's important to you in life.

It's true, be inactive and save face, but if you chase that ping-pong ball no matter how stupid it looks, think of the respect you'll get when you finally catch it!

You'll be remembered too - not for how stupid you looked, but for having the where-with-all to keep chasing...
There's a message in there somewhere and I'd love to hear what you think…

Thanks for reading!


25 May 2012

Who was History written for? On lies, hidden truth, ‘collateral damage’ and the interests of national security…Part 2

I dislike being lied to as much as anybody – it undermines trust, is grossly disrespectful and assaults my intelligence.
On top of that, it triggers all kinds of negative emotions when I find out.

Some would argue (and I’m one of them) that lies, or the subtle bending of the truth is a necessary evil in protecting our interests and those of the one’s we love – responsible lying!

Nevertheless, as an occasional truth-bender myself, I know that the flexibility, or bendability of the truth is determined by context, situation, the importance of the people involved…etc, etc.

Imagine you include or omit important information in or from your CV and you get the job as a result. Later, in line for promotion to a relatively important and responsible position, your credentials are reviewed and your CV checked out and low and behold, it comes to light that you’d lied.
In this situation, the consequences would be far greater than they’d have been if you’d told the truth in the first place – honesty is the best policy.
Likewise, if your recruitment officers had bothered to check your credentials at selection stage, the consequences back then would have been far less serious than now as your position in the company is of much higher value.

In general though, nobody likes being lied to and this dislike doesn’t just depend on the size, seriousness or consequences of the lie.
In basic terms, a lie is an abuse of trust and once that trust is lost, it is rarely if ever won back.
A lie is also a sign of a lack of respect.

So back to what I said about responsible lying - the subtle bending of the truth being a necessary evil in protecting our interests and those of the one’s we love.

What if even after it was discovered that you’d lied in your CV, it still turns out that you were and still very much are the best person for the job?
What if you were so good at your job that the company had made unprecedented advances in all things positive?
Would it be acceptable by virtue of the fact that the trust network was severed that you should be fired, or at best, be overlooked for promotion?

Why shouldn’t certain people at government and VIP level lie for the same reasons?

And if you think about it, how often do people embellish a tale to make it sound more palatable, digestible, acceptable, enjoyable, etc?

All the time!

So, if the truth is bent occasionally and stories are embellished, interpreted and re-told and the truth lies not in what’s actually happened, but in what’s told and passed on in the interests of the common good, where’s the harm?

Now, let’s take history and the following examples:

During a certain military campaign in the early 90’s, a phrase was used to describe the killing of civilians in attacks on military targets. The term used was ‘collateral damage’ which describes a certain view of events in a mildly acceptable way to the people back home who were not there.
Was this a lie, a bending of the truth, or an embellishment in the story telling sense?
Possibly all three, but is it any more or any less acceptable for the reasons mentioned above?

Furthermore, as there is no evidence to the contrary unless one checks it out, who are we to argue?
Besides, in this instance, surely the people who manufactured the tale know best. Surely they know that if people were given the gory details of the real act or event their very lives would be put in jeopardy – not least from any feelings of repulsion and moral outrage.
Surely they know that the acts would incite revolution, government overthrow and general mayhem.
I mean, we are not intelligent enough to digest the truth – we can’t handle it, right?
It’s not a new phenomenon either as the following report of a speech made on 19 June 1920 by British Army Lieutenant-Colonel Gerald Smyth to the ranks of the Listowel Royal Irish Constabulary in Ireland shows.

...If a police barracks is burned or if the barracks already occupied is not suitable, then the best house in the locality is to be commandeered, the occupants thrown into the gutter. Let them die there—the more the merrier. Should the order ("Hands Up") not be immediately obeyed, shoot and shoot with effect. If the persons approaching (a patrol) carry their hands in their pockets, or are in any way suspicious-looking, shoot them down. You may make mistakes occasionally and innocent persons may be shot, but that cannot be helped, and you are bound to get the right parties some time. The more you shoot, the better I will like you, and I assure you no policeman will get into trouble for shooting any man.
In light of what this example shows what the term ‘collateral damage’ aims to cover up, is it any more or less acceptable to hear the truth?

I recently heard a report on the news that certain data was withheld from the public by a certain well-known and ‘trusted’ government in the interests of ‘national security’

HA! Ha! Hahahahahaha…

At least it’s comforting to know that our friendly-faced-in-the-newspapers-come-election-time-public-representatives have our best interests at heart.

Was I surprised?

No, I wasn’t and isn’t that telling?

17 May 2012

Who was History written for? On identity theft, grave digging, revisionism and our obsession with finding the truth…Part 1

Who was History written for? On identity theft, grave digging, revisionism and our obsession with finding the truth…Part 1

Once upon a time in a land not so far away where the vast majority of people were illiterate, a letter was written by one who could write and sent to one who could read.
The writer of the first letter was a man and the person he sent it to was a woman.
She wrote back and a cycle of letter writing continued until each had a series of letters.
Over the years, the woman died in a house fire and everything was lost – letters, records, everything….
Some years later, the man died of a broken heart but had kept all the letters she’d written to him in a box.

Now, imagine this…

Years later, you stumble on someone’s diary and take a peek.

At first, you stop yourself from reading it because you know it’s personal. But out of curiosity, or weakness or both, you read on. In fact, you read until you’ve read it all and now you feel you know this person as well as you possibly could.

Now, imagine this…

You’re curious about some of the stuff you’ve found in that diary and you want to find out more. You no longer stumble on information, but actively seek it until one day you find some letters in a box.

As it turns out, the letters (though personal) belong to the same person whose diary you’ve read. 
So, as someone who claims to know enough about this person to consider yourself an expert, you decide it fit and proper to read this person’s personal letters as well and close this chapter of history.

Besides with all your knowledge, there are still things you know absolutely nothing about. So, in the interests of science,  you painstakingly piece together all the information in the letters and tie them in with entries into the diary and hey presto! You’ve got what you believe is an accurate profile of this person - a person you’ve never met, but one you feel you know better than anyone else alive. 
You’re probably right too because afterall, who’s left around to argue.

The writer of the letters turned out to be a man and the person he wrote the letters to always had the same name and she was a woman. There were things written in the letters that implied a love interest, so you hazard a guess that they were lovers. Of course, without her letters you can’t be sure, but now you’ve got enough to go spreading the word that he and she were lovers. The public who hear it start to believe it too because it makes sense and afterall, who’s going to question an expert?...

15 May 2012

Trying to log on to someone's blog...on the importance of leaving comments and why most people probably don't

This post is going to be short(ish) - why? Because that's what a comment is supposed to be.

Imagine you write a blog post you're really happy with and when it comes to publishing it, you're redirected to some crappy drop down window where you have to select which profile you'd like to use.

Bet it's happened to you when you've tried to leave a comment on someone's blog.

I mean, here's the thing.
You visit a blog for whatever reason (there are many!) and you like what you read, so you decide to let the author know by posting a comment.
Personally, I don't see the point of leaving a comment unless it's adding to what's been written, so I tend to give an opinion, an example maybe...
...having said that, it's really important to keep it light and on topic so as not to detract away from the great post you've just read.

So, you write your comment and try to publish it...

...and if it's happened to you (a couple of times to me now) where for whatever stupid technical reason, you can't publish your comment or retrieve it, what do you do?

Do you go through the motions again?

9 out of 10 times, that's probably a big NO.

So here's my take on this.
If you like someone's blog for whatever reason, join it if you can.
Yes, you'll have to go through the tedious steps of joining, but next time you want to leave a comment, it SHOULD be easier.

And let's be clear about this, everyone likes to read comments and if by the same token you like to read blog posts and get something from them - then I think it's fair to say you should leave a comment...

...I tried earlier and it didn't work which is why I'm posting this now!

Anyhooley, thanks for reading and please leave a comment : )


14 May 2012

You are what you tweet….not really! On facelessness and the importance of losing face to save face…

You are what you tweet….not really! On facelessness and the importance of losing face to save face…

How easy is it to lose face?  - pretty easy if handled correctly!

Take mine for example – going, going…not gone yet, but perhaps by the end of this post…and am I alone? NOPE!

Think about it.

There are millions of us out there doing it every time we meet, I mean, tweet.

So, what’s the easiest way to avoid losing face?
Well, you could try not having one to lose in the first place, or put another way, being faceless.

Think about it.

If you’ve got no face to lose, you won’t lose face, right?

So, how does one remain faceless? Well, it’s all in how we express our facelessness and this is done in a variety of ways, but to me, facelessness is expressed in the things we do, or don’t do, in order to save face.

Rewind back to what I said earlier that if you’ve got no face to lose, you won’t lose face, well the same principal applies to saving face too – try not having a face in the first place, or if you have, try losing the face to save face…

In short, if face is expressed and defined by what we wear, eat, who we hang out with, a crucial way of expressing facelessness is in avoiding things that might make us stand out.

Think about what ‘I’m so not doing that!’ types don’t do while wearing the selected fashion of the ‘in-crowd’ they’re in so they blend agreeably in with their selected surroundings.

In such ways, facelessness is expressed at every facet of society, or at least seen as such by others.
It is expressed in how we act, or more to the point, how we don’t act – because remember, it’s a lot easier to save face by not having one in the first place, so not acting is the easiest way not to lose face.

Now think about who you'd least want to lose face with?
The answer would probably revolve around an ‘in-group’ of some description - one you either want to be in, or one you want to stay in.
You don't care much about losing face to people you don't give a damn about, do you?

For this reason, facelessness is ‘expressed’ in ways that don’t express and expressing, or in most cases not expressing, emotion is a great place to start.

Think about the last time you felt you were too friendly.
You probably felt stupid just because the other person didn’t respond in a like manner.
They were faceless and you felt you’d lost face – weird, isn’t it?

Because being faceless involves no, or not much expression of face, the faceless have the upper hand.

Think about the last time you went in somewhere to buy something, to eat, or to order a coffee.
Did you by any chance encounter an ignorant faceless member of staff who refused to engage in the basics of common courtesy?

Simply ignoring the existence of others is a good way of remaining faceless and avoiding losing face.

Think of the last time you held the door open for someone who in return chose not to offer so much as a ‘thank you’ because they’ve so got a life and you haven’t!

Bet you felt stupid then as well…

The worst type of faceless person is the one who doesn’t act to help others in need for fear of losing face – sometimes literally if helping others involves incapacitating their dagger wielding attacker…

So, are you a faceless person, or if not, would you be willing to become faceless in order to avoid losing face?

We are all important, but then there are the VIP ‘people-with-lives’ types who’ll EXPECT you to hold the door open as they rush to have their ear-lobes manicured by Rusty over in the Mall...

I never feel stupid when I do that!

Thanks for reading and all comments will be very much treasured!


6 May 2012

How to see your way through another day at work

How to see your way through another day at work
So, you've made it in for another day at the office and done the rounds in order to be spotted - making sure everyone sees you're in.
"Good morning Mike!" you shout as loudly and as cheerily as you can across the corridor, so that even the cleaner who hates your guts waves back...albeit more of a 'f'off and leave me alone!' type of a wave than a genuinely friendly one... to set about that all important task - how to get the most out of your day!
The following sequence is taken from "The Art of Napping at Work" by Camille Anthony 
1: Announce your nap to yourself and your colleagues
Announcing that you're just closing your eyes for a few guilty moments won't cut it - you have to give yourself permission to nap to get the most out of it...
2: Collect your equipment
Blankets, pillows and, where possible, a foldout bed will ensure you get the most out of the rest, and help you separate nap-time from the rest of the day
3: Make sure you're not worried about waking up
Some people wake up naturally, but if you are worried, make sure you have an alarm. It's difficult to enjoy your 40 winks if you keep getting up to check the time after 15, 20 and 30 winks
4: Control your nap environment
There is nothing worse than being woken up mid-nap, so either tell everyone what you are doing, or take yourself off to somewhere you won't be disturbed. According to this survey, the loo and the car are the most popular options
5: Be prepared for grogginess when you wake up
Sleep is characterised by cycles of light and deep sleep. If you wake up in the middle of a deep sleep, you will feel groggy for 15 to 20 minutes. In most cases, if you sleep for less than 30 minutes, you won't enter deep sleep, but experiment to see what works for you
...finally, as you leave the office, make sure to wave goodbye - there's nothing more suspicious than a cheery employee in the morning and a grumpy one in the evening!
Thanks for reading and happy snoozing, er working!

1 May 2012

Let's have text...on how 'smart' phones have made us stupid.

Where I originated, they're called "mobile phones" or mobes for short and where I've ended up, "handy's", but let's not go there just yet.

Possibly where you are,  they're called "cell phones" or cells for short, but are they still and if not, what are they called now?

Doesn't it sound weird when someone asks 'have you got a mobile, cell, or handy?'  these days?
 Think about it.

Not so long ago it wasn't such an uncommon question, was it?
But now if you ask a youngster or even a WOTHOAP (way over the hill old age pensioner) that question, you get a look that suggests you've just come down from the trees (and possibly didn't even have the mental capacity to make the decision to do so either!)

These days, a 'normal' question would go more like a student of mine demonstrated recently.

She asked me whether I had a 'smart phone' to which I replied, 'well, sort of yes...'

...and after thinking about the question for a second, I added as a joke, 'well, it's a smart phone for stupid people,' which in my case is true! (I would never lie to my students...)

Giving it further thought, I'm lead to wonder what's so smart about a 'smart phone' and does it do what it claims?

In short, is modern telecommunication technology rendering us stupid, or more to the point, is having text all we think about?

Think about it.

What are the 3 things you NEVER leave home without - keys, money, phone?... I'm sure there are others, but let's keep it simple here.

To me, the first two on the list make some kind of sense in a 'survival of the species' way - keys for shelter and money for food...

...but phone?

Alright, so we're a social, group-minded species of ape and the need to communicate with others has been the subject of study in numerous social science and psychology fields, but would we die if we didn't have a smart phone? 

Here's the question then - would you rather have text than eat?

As evolved apes, our main purpose is still very much based on our instincts to survive and re-breed which still means eating, sleeping and copulating (another handy list of 3!) and although communication ranks high on the list of necessities, I'm sure you'd agree that not talking and not eating are at completely opposite ends of the park when it comes to survival.

So, back to my original question - are 'smart' phones rendering us stupid?

Think about this.

You end up in a jungle, desert, mountain top, some run down back-water, or a far corner of the Mall you've never been in before and don't know where to find the local tourist office.
'Not to worry', you think, 'I've got my 'smart' phone and it's got Apps!' 
Super smart phone to the rescue!
So, you switch it on and wait, but nothing happens.
'Did I charge this thing before I left the house this morning?' you ask yourself.
'Better go find a docking station!' and as you grow more frantic and start doing the headless chicken routine, the keys in your pocket jangle.
'Phew!' you say 'least I REMEMBERED THEM! Now where the hell is that docking station?'

Hours later...

...still no docking station, still no Apps.

'Stupid smart phone!' you spit and throw it away... you ain't feeling too smart now....