CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

December 31, 2015

The Scientific Method: Advantages and Disadvantages

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD:

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

Fifi, the Flea, Guest Writer

NOTE:

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS is now located at Carolyn’s Online Magazine.

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 NOTE: I found the following undated paper, titled The Scientific Method: Its Advantages and Disadvantages, in my files. It was written for a philosophy class while I was a college student. It received a P+ grade.

Hi! My name is Fifi, the Famous Flea. I’m a unique flea—because I’m a thinking flea. This seeming absurdity enables me to observe Man and come to some objective conclusions about His “way of life.” Let me begin with what Man considers His greatest asset to progress in the 20th century—namely, the scientific method.

The scientific method is particularly responsible for Man’s modern position—and His dilemma.

To apply the scientific method, there must first be DOUBT, or inquiry, either in the form of an original question or in the form of questioning another man’s truths.

Man, to find an answer to that doubt, evolved the SCIENTIFIC METHOD, in which EXPERIMENT (that is, observation and reason)) plays a prominent role. How does Man apply this procedure? Let me use examples from one Man’s diary—Dr. X.

Dr. X notices some phenomena in another man, Z. A question arises: Is Z in good health or not? There is doubt. Dr. X, using the scientific method, has universally accepted facts, proven previously by the scientific method. (Otherwise, a lifetime would be taken up repeating experiments that have already proven to be true.) This is acceptable on the basis that, should He ever have any doubt about a fact, He can set up an experiment of his own and either confirm or deny the truth in question.

Observations are made by Dr. X and his assistant: Z has extremely flushed skin, a temperature of 106 degrees F, and a white cell count of 2.5 times the norm. Dr. X reasons and concludes, on the basis of these known facts, that Z is not in good health.

A new question has arisen from the answer to the first question. What is the cause of Z’s ill health?

Dr. X makes an educated guess: Z has an infection. This raises another question—What kind of infection?

Again, reason enters and a method must be devised to attain the truth. Pathological bacteria cause infections. Test for bacteria. Tests prove there are bacteria present in Z’s throat.

Previous experiments have shown that antibiotics can kill the pathological bacteria. Treat Z with the proper antibiotic. Observation: Z’s phenomena disappear within 24 hours. Reason concludes that the diagnosis was correct and Z is on the road to recovery. However, if the phenomena had not subsided further questions would arise. For example, Was the treatment correct or could the infection have arisen elsewhere?

There is a key factor in Man’s scientific method: Man is searching for an absolute truth, which can be disproved with only one negative test result. Science is never absolutely certain of its result because it is impossible to check every infection there ever was, so the one negative case might never be found. It is impossible to universally check any fact. Thus Man never has the complete reassurance of truth. (more…)

January 8, 2015

Old Man Winter Sleeps in Until 1/7/2015

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

NOTE: Considering the trials and delays in beginning my new blog site (read Problems Creating a New WordPress Blog ) I decided to continue posting on this site until the issues are resolved. Thank you all for bearing with me.

OLD MAN WINTER SLEEPS IN

He Doesn’t Arrive Until January 7, 2015150106 IMG_5985E1 On January 7, 2015, Old Man Winter

is startled awake

as his alarm clock bbbrrriiiinnngggsss.  

“Dang,” he says surprizedly. “I slept in.”*

Not only is the weather bitter cold, It is the first big snowfall. Motorists sometimes just don’t know how to handle the first several snowfalls until they get used to driving in snow again, according to PennDOT spokeswoman Juliann Sheldon.***

As I pushed our cats out the door I admired the artwork on the frosted windows and noticed the temperature on our little protected step-in porch: 180 Fahrenheit. Brrr. I shivered as I reminded myself the cats are wore the cutest fur coats—King’s a beautiful shade of gray, Little Dog’s white with calico markings.

150106 IMG_5986E1I poured myself a hot cup of coffee and sat down to review my January 7th file folder, which contained journals of January 7ths past. The tree lights were lit for their final morning display, soft music was playing on the radio, as I reviewed the papers in the folder.

150108 IMG_6010E1On January 2, 1998,I’d flown to Bangor, Maine, where my mother was in the hospital. Unfortunately, she didn’t survive, so I’d traveled with siblings to her hometown, Presque Isle, where I spent the past few days.

Maine winters aren’t known for being gentle. Caribou, Maine, a short distance from Presque Isle, has been reported on no few occasions to be the coldest spot in the nation.

No, Maine winters aren’t gentle, and 1998 was no exception.

I take that statement back. It was an exception. I flew into Maine during a massive ice storm that covered the northeast from Pennsylvania north. Although the storm had passed the ice remained, creating cold and hazardous conditions.

Landing in Boston en route to Maine---tien ice storm had arrived

Landing in Boston en route to Maine—tien ice storm had arrived

On January 6, after spending several days in Presque Isle, I drove south to Bangor in the backseat of my niece’s sports car, which I could barely squeeze my body into. Down the icy highway we went, and I stayed in a room at the hospital’s inn.

On January 7 I took a cab to the airport. There was ice everywhere. Old man winter was still wreaking havoc. My flight was delayed and delayed until it was cancelled and the airline put the passengers up in a hotel for the night. The next day I was able to fly to Boston, then to Buffalo, New York, where my husband met me and we visited with family.1998-0103-14E1

(more…)

December 9, 2014

International Friends Share Our Life Journey — Part 2

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDS SHARE OUR LIFE JOURNEY

Part 2

The following piece was written between July 1985 and summer 1988. It has been updated from then to include relationships to the present date.

During our children’s growing up years they met special people from foreign countries, people who joined their life journey to ours. This is Part 2 of their stories. Read Part 1 at

germany-map-travel_2

David, an 18-year-old exchange student from Germany. We co-hosted him with our then neighbors Rhonda and Tom—we had the sleeping space, they did the high school activities with their children and they cooked dinner regularly. David learned a lot during his stay with us—how to do his laundry, how to iron, how to tie a tie. He was great at skateboarding. But most of all, he held a baby, my great-niece Haleigh, for the first time. He returned to Germany at the end of the school year.

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Another good friend came from my paternal grandmother’s country, Sweden. We met Roy through a fellow writer, the late Diane Potter. On each of his visits we hung the Swedish flag, which delighted him. He often told the story about dynamite being invented in Sweden, and went with us to a St. Lucia program at the Church of the Savior in Cleveland Heights, Ohio (my son’s church). Read about it at  Sancta Lucia: Swedish Christmas Tradition with Italian Roots

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In recent years I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Holocaust survivors Bob Mendler and Janet Singer, perhaps the only two child survivors of (more…)

December 6, 2014

Gone Off My Christmas Card List—But Not Forgotten

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

“GONE” OFF MY CHRISTMAS CARD LIST“BUT NOT FORGOTTEN”

Note: This article is a cheat, as it combines two 2014 WordPress challenges:

listing, and gone but not forgotten.

‘Tis the season for suspense-building lists, the December 2 daily challenge began. Everybody loves (or at least loves to hate) a list…I invite you to breathe new life into the established genre of the end-of-year countdown list.

Then on December 5, before I tackled the above challenge, the WordPress weekly photo challenge asked writers to show us what “gone, but not forgotten” means to you.

Hmmm, I thought. I’m just about to tackle my Christmas card list. Over the years many persons have been “gone” off this list—persons who have died, but are not forgotten. I decided to make a list of these persons, with some photographs, and to write one sentence about them. The first ones will include photographs: gone but not forgotten.

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Albert and May Isabelle Briskay, my grandparents, who cared for my older sister and I until we were about 7 and 9 years old; I recall his sitting in a chair smoking cigars and her making me stand on a stool while she pinned the hem of a dress she was making me.

BRISKAY, MAE ISABELLE WALKER

Albert Adam Briskay (Borinsky)

Albert Adam Briskay (Borinsky)

Nancy Lipsius, my mother, died too early, since she was just beginning to share her life stories with me—it had been a slow journey getting her to talk about her life.

My mother, Nancy Briskay Cornell Lipsius

My mother, Nancy Briskay Cornell Lipsius

Robert Cornell, Chief Photographer in the Navy, my father—whom I only met twice and not until I passed age 30—is remembered for his tremendous photography.

Chief Navy Photographer Robert William Cornell

Chief Navy Photographer Robert William Cornell

Photo by Chief Navy Photographer Robert W. Cornell

Photo by Chief Navy Photographer Robert W. Cornell

(more…)

November 18, 2014

International Friends Share Our Life Journey — Part 1

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDS SHARE OUR LIFE JOURNEY

Part 1

The following piece was written between July 1985 and summer 1988. It has been updated from then to include relationships to the present date.

During our children’s growing up years they met special people from foreign countries, people who joined their life journey to ours. Below are some of their stories.

singapore_sm_2014

One such person was Hung Pheng Tan, a graduate student at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where my husband Monte taught. We were his American host family, and when we relocated from SUNY@Buffalo to Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania, he visited our new community. He was the first international person our daughter Sandy met—although I’m certain she doesn’t recall knowing him back then, as she was only a few months old. Hung Pheng was present at her baptism. She remet him (and his wife) when the couple visited us in 1988, and my son Nolan met him for the first time.

Whether from Singapore or America, we all feel joy

Whether from Singapore or America, we all feel joy

When they visited us in July 2014 Sandy could introduce him, his wife, and his college-age son to her daughter, a sweet sixteen.

map-of-cameroon

Joseph, a Cameroon (Africa) native, lodged with us for a short time while studying at Slippery Rock University. He needed work and we needed help in our country-style life—especially with planting trees. When he moved on he left behind a young boy—our son—who, for almost two years, rejected the use of silverware in favor of fingers.  This was the result of the effects of an African dish meant to be eaten with the fingers, a technique Nolan applied to almost all foods.

When Joseph’s wife Susanne came to the United States to join him and to study here, she left their son in their native country. While here she also became a special friend. Susanne became pregnant just before we left for Atlanta, Georgia, where my husband Monte studied for the ministry. Understandably they lacked many needed items. Our family prepared a pond-side baby shower for Susanne, complete with a warm-weather swim to cool off. In attendance were several elderly neighbors as well as younger folk, all of whom were exposed to her Cameroon culture. Her son arrived a month later while we were in Atlanta.

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During our three-year sojourn in Atlanta Samir and Farial, from Egypt, joined our life journey. We met through a program that connected foreign visitors with (more…)

November 13, 2014

My Sister & I: Like Oil and Water

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS is now located at Carolyn’s Online Magazine.

After reading about the sisters I invite you to visit the new site.

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

MY SISTER AND I:

LIKE OIL AND WATER

Lee

Lee

 Carolyn

Carolyn

If we had met as teenagers or later in life I doubt we’d have the strong relationship we have today. After all, my older sister Lee and I are very different—we’re like oil meeting water. Perhaps it can be said we are polar opposites.

The few outsiders who have been guests in our respective homes observe one polar difference between us. You enter her home and it is so neat and orderly. You enter my home and…well, I must remove the clutter from the chairs so you have a place to sit…I have to pile up the papers etc. on my table in order to serve you tea. You can read a more detailed comparison between a near neatnik and an almost hoarder by clicking on My Sister and I: Cluttered Versus Neat Home .

Then there is our workplace demeanor. My sister would never walk into her workplace office wearing a fuzzy maroon bathrobe, matching fuzzy maroon sneakers, no makeup, and unkempt hair—looking for all the world like she just rolled out of bed. And yes, I did just that. It was justified, if I say so myself. It was in retaliation for my boss challenging me to (more…)

November 6, 2014

The Owl

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THE OWL

 Bo Brocious, guest poet

The January 5, 2015, WordPress prompt is Daring DoTell us about the time you rescued someone else (person or animal) from a dangerous situation. How did you prevail?

As I groggily aroused myself from my mid-afternoon siesta my husband Monte rushed into the family room, retrieved his garden-soiled sneakers, and quickly slipped them on his feet.

 “There’s a bird caught in the deer netting (around our garden),” he said, grabbing a pair of scissors. The grogginess disappeared with my adrenalin rush. I slipped on my shoes, grabbed my camera, and raced to the garden. Sure enough, there was a bird in the netting. A big bird.

“It’s an owl,” Monte said, hesitatingly moving towards it to examine the situation. The black netting was wrapped around the bird’s feet tightly enough that Monte might need a surgeon’s skill to cut it without injuring the bird. He poked it gently with the handle of the umbrella he’d grabbed on the way to the garden.

091107 IMG_9023Ee

Still, he had to try. While using an umbrella handle to stabilize the owl he gingerly began snipping at the netting with pink-handled scissors. The owl, equally intimidated by us as we were of it, kept trying to reach its beak to where it could nip Monte’s hands.

My task was easier. Since I wasn’t going to risk the bird’s beak I stood back, waiting to offer Monte medical attention if it were necessary. And I studied the owl, wondering if it was one of the screech owls I kept hearing in the wee hours of the night—a noise that, when I initially heard it, made me want to call 911 to rescue whatever woman was being beaten. Then my trigger finger took hold as I attempted to shoot a prize winning photograph, which was difficult as I was repeatedly startled by the owl’s wildly flapping wings.

“Calm down,” I said—as if the owl could understand. However, it looked at me as if to say “what’s happening?” and calmed down somewhat.

After a harrowing ten minutes Monte freed the owl’s feet, but its beak-hold on the netting kept him trapped. It took a few minutes before it realized that if it loosened its grip it could free itself to leave. Standing back we watched it fly few feet. Its lift wasn’t high enough so it flew into the netting on the opposite side of the garden. We thought we would have to free it again, but this time, with a little trouble, it cleared the netting and flew into a tree and rested for a moment.

“It’s probably pretty exhausted,” Monte said as it opened its wings, gathered steam, and rose to become hidden by the trees.

When Bo Brocius read about this owl experience in the article It’s Been an Animal Day she responded by (more…)

October 21, 2014

Finite Creatures We Are

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

FINITE CREATURES WE ARE

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cemetery in East Lamoine, Maine

I’m eyeing the stone of Louis and Mary Googins des Isles, circa 1794-1825

Interesting this WordPress prompt, finite creatures, appeared the day I after I did research on deaths and funerals in Downeast Maine in the 1790s-1800s. Lest you think I’m strange for picking this topic I’d better inform you that I was researching it for my novel, in which one character, Mary, must deal with having her husband Louis sail for France in 1812 and never being heard from again (oops—there is a surprise in this true life story that mimics the later well-known epoch written by Tennyson, Enoch Ardon).

Thus, mortality has been on my mind these days.

The prompt asks At what age did you realize you were a finite creature, that you not immortal? How did you react to that discovery?

Two of my earliest memories are of death.

Our family dog, a cocker spaniel named Buffy, died after being hit by a car.

BUFFY B

The man whose car hit him made a pine box for his burial. Buffy was buried under what is now an addition to 29 Spring Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I don’t recall my age but I might have been 5 or 6 years old. During a burial “service” I ran about the yard laughing. Was this an apartness from death or a (more…)

October 19, 2014

Angel Rescues Traveler in Massachusetts

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

ANGEL RESCUES TRAVELER IN MASSACHUSETTS

031018 P1010295E2

A Night Time Ride to Safety

Along a Circuitous Path as

Angel Rescues Traveler in Massachusetts

(A Devotion)

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 40:23, 41:9    23. But (even after all that) the chief butler gave no thought to Joseph, but forgot (all about) him. 9. Then the chief butler said to Pharoah, I remember my faults today. (AMP)

Luke 17:18   Was there no one found to return and to recognize and give thanks and praise to God except this alien? (Amp)

Related Scripture:   Luke 17:12-19

REFLECTION:  Gratitude. For major events. And most commonly rudely forgotten.

For Joseph, who interpreted the dream for the chief butler and whose request to be recognized to the Pharaoh was “forgotten.” For Jesus, nine healed lepers neglected to thank him.

I, too, can be ungrateful. I don’t express gratitude often enough.

Sometimes, though, verbal thanks seems insufficient.

I traveled to New England by myself in the spring of 1996, and left Brocton, Massachusetts after 7 p. m., unconcerned about finding a hotel. I would be on a main road. No problem. I’d drive towards Merrimack, New Hampshire and stop along the way.

Wrong! I was traveling through a “bedroom community.” No motels!

At 8:45 p. m. I stopped at a drugstore in a strange town not too far from Framingham. “Are there any motels around?” I asked the pharmacist. Neither he nor the customers knew of any.

One customer said she felt bad. She had a spare room, but she also had company. She knew a place in Framingham but the dark night, the late hour and the heavy construction would create travel difficulties, particularly to a stranger. But she knew of a Bed & Breakfast out in the country. She’d call from her car phone.

A room was available! She drew me a land-marked map, then said (more…)

October 7, 2014

Traveling on a Greyhound Bus with Children

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

TRAVELING CROSS COUNTRY ON A GREYHOUND BUS

(WITH TWO SMALL CHILDREN)

Our trip of a lifetime almost didn’t happen. You’ll understand after reading about its first two laps.

1974-0801

In 1974 my husband Monte received a grant to attend an energy conference in Berkeley, California. Our children, Sandy 4 and Nolan 2, stayed in Slippery Rock with me for the first five weeks. In the sixth week we traveled to California, from where the four of us would travel back to Slippery Rock.

Our mode of transportation — Greyhound bus, which offered a 30-day Ameripass ticket for $50, entitling purchasers to unlimited riding to any destination served by the company.

Shirl, Diane, Nolan & Sandy (l-r)

Shirl, Diane, Nolan & Sandy (l-r)

Our good friend Shirl Murray drove us from our Slippery Rock home to the bus station , which was an hour away in Youngstown, Ohio. We made it with time to spare. The kids waited anxiously for “their” bus to arrive, then waited in line to board. A youngish man wearing the Greyhound uniform punched our ticket.

It was a cross country bus, so we settled in for our long journey. The passengers were a mix of humanity. A young couple and an elderly man seated themselves up front. Several teenagers seated themselves in the back of the bus. A frail woman sat in the middle. Most of the seats were filled with passengers boarding in towns the bus drove through en route from New York City to Youngstown.

The driver boarded, set his briefcase on the floor, situated himself in the driver’s seat, and shut the door. Suddenly the bus engine purred and he skillfully backed out of the parking place. All was well in the small community encased in what only can be described as an oversized tuna can.

The kids occupied themselves watching the Ohio country speed by while I arranged their things so they could entertain themselves when they tired of the scenery.

I sat back in my seat and pulled out a magazine, hoping I could finish an article before the kids needed me. The animated conversation interspersed with laughter coming from the young girls provided a pleasant backdrop.

At first I didn’t notice the frail woman, several rows down, but gradually her under-breath muttering pierced (more…)

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