Bits and Bobs Sunday (with Monday edits)

Critical Thinking Skills Are REQUIRED

Critical Thinking Skills Are REQUIRED (Photo credit: Woody Collins)

I subtitle my blog ‘Bits and Bobs’ because I am no storyteller. I have never excelled at creative writing although, when I was eight years old I won an award for a good story. No, I lie, I won a prize for a picture I drew.

My mother thought I had a “big imagination.” Some folks would describe this as being a little liar, but she recognized inventiveness when she saw it, and knew how to handle it.

As I was a noticing kind of person, I Inhabited the world of technical writing as an adult, especially statistically based writing. There is no room for creativity when you are doing social science, or so the experts tell me.

However, as one wag put it, Figures don’t lie, but liars figure. Or another thought, “lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Having spent my life trying to tease the truth from huge morasses of information, I find offense with those who view statistical efforts as “incomprehensible” or ‘too much information.” For me, this says more about the writer or speaker than anything else. (And how did you fare in math class?)

I had an artist friend, K, who could not understand anything mathematical. On a pleasure trip to NYC where she whipped through the MOMA and I took hours to view paintings, she called me a “bean-counter.” 

K and I are no longer friends, even though I own many of her less-than-perfect works of art. My bean counting gave me an income which I have never regretted as it allowed me to flee a bad marriage and buy art.  K’s art paid so little it forced her to return to her alcoholic husband, with whom she lives until this day. So much for bean counting.


The Washington Post reports the GED has had a makeover. The new test drops “out-of-date” items such as the classics and adds “basic” computer skills and “critical thinking.” If you can text on your cell phone, you can earn a GED. 

My daughter says the children she works with, many of whom will not earn a regular high school diploma, lack critical thinking skills.  Sadly, many adults also lack critical thinking skills, which require the ability to look at a problem from all sides, no matter how stupid you think those with whom you disagree. 

Lately, The Washington Post proved to me that it is making a concerted effort to employ writers with critical thinking and writing skills. Hence an article today on the shortcomings of our candidates (Democrat and Republican) for the office of governor (sadly, McConnell (R-VA) can not run again). This year, the Democrat candidate lacks executive experience (I will not vote for a novice), and the Republican is the darling of the Tea Party (I don’t like extreme positions). Charybdis and Scylla reign, or to use the GED vernacular, we are between a rock and a hard place. 


Yesterday, David and I had lunch with a fellow blogger, “Big Al” and his wife Patty. We discovered many things in common, including time spent in North Carolina, and children who graduated from UNC. A small world indeed.

Al asked if I had met any fellow bloggers, and I mentioned Mage in San Diego and GigiHawaii. I am looking forward to meeting the latter, destined to arrive here in the DC area with her husband, in August. As an extremely introverted person, I don’t go out of my way to meet others, but so far so good.


PS the photo in my header is a close-up of the Iris Pele, named for the Hawaiian volcano goddess. I love the colors and if the Windows uploader was working today, I would include the whole photo.  I did it!!!–>Iris 002  



21 thoughts on “Bits and Bobs Sunday (with Monday edits)

  1. I think it’s so sad when women cannot leave their husbands because they can’t afford to. What a sad life. Have a wonderful time with gigihawaii. I’m introverted too and nervous about meeting other bloggers although once I did, loved it!


  2. And a most pleasurable lunch for Patty and me. It was not only a delight to meet my favorite “blogging historian”, Dianne, but genuinely enjoyed hearing about David’s fascinating life. Looking forward to hearing more about you both through future blogs, Dianne.


  3. Now it is my turn to lose a whole note. Grrrr…

    Absolutely stunning iris. Very unusual colors that remind me of the islands.

    I too can’t do numbers. Much to my surprise at age 71, I find I can work though to how to do each problem even if I cannot see the numbers. There’s a retired teacher on OD that tutor’s in Maths. Arbi is struggling with a student at the moment. A great athlete but no maths. I like Arbi a lot.


  4. YOur introvert comment made me smile and nod. Many bloggers who are fascinating on paper tend to be shy and quiet when met in person. I have been so surprised in the past, but now I know that many people write so much differently than they speak. You see, I’m an extrovert where ever I go. I talk to everyone about everything, just like I do in my writing which is all over the place about so many things. I never know what to say when people ask what my blog is about. It’s about me! But that seems a bit egotistical. Oh well.


  5. I think being a “noticing kind of person” is probably the greatest strength a writer can have. Good editors can deal with much of the other stuff.

    Your 2nd graph was pure classic Dianne as was your “GED vernacular.” I always savor your bits and bobs. Far from NOT being a storyteller, you have the ability (and I am envious) to tell sparkling little gems of stories in few words. And that includes flower vignettes.

    My association with coastal and ocean researchers made me acutely conscious that the ability to “tease the truth out of huge morasses of information” does indeed require exceptional technical skills, but that strong creative streak and drive is present in all the researchers I knew who were most successful in uncovering “truth” and figuring out ways to use it to make positive change.


  6. You say you are an introvert, but each and every post you write reveals so much interaction between you and other people. I consider myself an ambivert, showing features of both introversion and extroversion. I tend to love solitude, indeed crave it, but now and then I do reach out to people. Looking forward to meeting you and David.


  7. When you talked about your artist friend who couldn’t understand math you could have been talking about me also. The first time I took algebra I thought the teacher had started talking in Chinese.My Mother had no faith in my artistic abilities and had me take typing,shorthand and bookkeeping. I would forget to type because I was so interested in what Mr. Jones was selling to Mr. Smith.,If I didn’t transcribe the shorthand notes before we went to lunch it was a lost cause., bookkeeping seemed to be the long way around to get an answer.Lots of arguments with the teacher. No I did not become a secretary.What did I become?? Jury is still out. If I were to have a headstone [which I won’t] it would probably read Sherry WTF excuse my French


    • I’m glad you realized you WERE NOT the artist friend I wrote about. You are a wonderful and creative friend, and I can see you getting lost in the thing you were transcribing.
      You are creative and funny and gave me laughter at time in life when I sorely needed it. And speaking of French, your epitaph should read “Joie De Vivre.” An alternative for you and many others was written by George Elliot a century ago. Check out the end of Middlemarch. D~


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