Teasing or Bullying

I am presently in the process of writing a book. The two characters involved in the conversation at the moment have broached the subject of teasing and bullying. Now, though this is a fictional, lighthearted take on what a pit-bull and a skunk might discuss in a conversation upon encountering each other, the subject of teasing and bullying should, I feel, be given the serious analysis it warrants.

Since a significant portion of the audience will skew younger and be of an age whereby, teasing and bullying will be a very serious matter at this stage of their experience and social development, I believe the matter of teasing and bullying is no simple thing and needs to be researched and considered as thoroughly as possible.

My purpose here is to have a conversation and exchange of opinions that will explore teasing and bullying from as many angles as can be considered, and I would like to invite anyone, and everyone, interested in joining the discussion, to participate.

I am including here, the conversation of the characters in the present draft; and, the outline I am using to explore the matter of teasing and bullying. I would be glad to have you comment on either or both, or any other thoughts they might engender; or, any thoughts you may have on the matter whatsoever. Do join the conversation.

Text of the conversation at this stage of the draft:

It’s like we are family, and you know what? He teases me just like your family teases you. It’s a lot like that, but I don’t mind. Ha!” Chocolate laughs, “I kid him back, and then we laugh, so it works out. It’s just another one of the fun things we do. You know, maybe the next time your family teases you, you should just tease them back. You’ll see. It makes it more fun if you do it back to them.”

“I hope you’re right; because it sure wasn’t any fun when I was the only one being teased,” Maggie notes.

“Well, that’s the funny thing. Only friends and family who tease each other can tease each other; both have to play the teasing game; teasing each other; or else, it isn’t teasing anymore. They have to do it equally for it to be fun. If only one of them does the teasing, then it’s something that can become what is called bullying, and it’s just plain mean,” Chocolate tries to explain. “So, if you tease somebody, but they don’t want to play at the teasing game and tease you back, then you should stop teasing them because they don’t want to play the teasing game. Only good friends can play the teasing game; and, sometimes your friends just don’t want to play, so you just have to stop and do something else that’s fun.

“Gees! You know, it seems to be getting so complicated. Why don’t we just stop teasing each other; because, it causes too much trouble.

“You are right. Teasing is a complicated thing. It is a game we play, that is a tool that we use to get something. It can be used for good or bad. It really depends on who is doing the teasing, and what their motives are.” Chocolate explains.

“A game; a tool?” Mags questions.

“Yeauhhh,” Chocolate affirms with what seems more like a questioning ‘Yeah’; and, then she continues, “A tool is something the animals that walk on their hind legs use to do things better than they can without a tool; like digging a hole. They use something they call a shovel; and, it works. They can make much bigger holes than they ever could with their paws. They make bigger holes than I can make, and I’m a much better digger than they are.”

“Wow, I wish I had a shovel, I’m sure I could dig up so many more grubs if I had a shovel;” Maggie was enthralled with the idea of a shovel “but, what kind of tool can teasing possibly be, and what can it possibly be used for?”.

“Well, it is a game, that is a tool we use to figure out if somebody is a friend; or, not. A true friend; a real friend; or, not.” Chocolate thought for a moment and then continued, “If somebody is teasing you; they want something. They use teasing to accomplish that thing. While we are teasing, and being teased, it gives us a chance to figure out just what it is they want; and, it allows them to figure out what we want. That way we can know each other’s motives for doing the teasing.

Some people don’t have good motives for teasing you. Some people don’t want to be your friend; or, they don’t care about you. They might want to hurt you.”

The outline of factors to consider:

Teasing:

What is it?
Aggression; gently done.

Purpose:
Test mettle of associates
How and how well, does one handle it
Take the measure of associates

Reasons we tease:
If somebody teases you they want something.
The purpose of using the tool that the game of teasing is, is to accomplish something.

General background:

We are safer by being a part of the group; but, there is also danger from the group, or members, if hostile toward you.
“The most dangerous thing to you there is, another member of your species.”
We all crave connection; even, if only minimal
To be accepted into the group, and included; not shunned or excluded or attacked.

The quality of teasing is rated by its’ level of gentleness.
If it is gentle it signals intentions of being gentle toward the teased.
The more aggressive it is, the less likely it is friendly

Can’t be defended with an argument.

An Attempt to (use conversation to):

It is a conversation. It is a negotiation, it’s a game we play, a tool to test each other.
Separate co-operation or co-existence from contention.
Demonstrates whether you can get along, or not

It is a test and demonstration of cleverness.
We just want to be clever.
Cleverness may very well be the most powerful weapon in the echelon of weapons.
It can beat brawn.
You don’t want to be outsmarted.
It can put you in danger.

Teasing is a gentler, safer form of aggression.
It is a safer way to challenge and assess each other. It gently crosses boundaries.

It’s a way of having a conversation about something without things getting serious.
Serious might be too dangerous.

Float a proposition without serious disappointment.
You test to see if you can; and, see to what extent you can let down your guard with teasing

An alpha teaser invites someone to challenge back, or not, to decide and designate primacy.

Mini or Middle Hierarchy:

Acceptance in the group.
Are you part of the group or not, and if so…
…It has to do with one’s rank in the hierarchy
What the relationship between the teasers is.
A lesser teaser is doing the same thing in an effort to determine rank in the hierarchy.
Or, test to find sameness: equality, mutual interest, like-minded, buddies, etc.

Bystanders and observers can assess the participants

Teasing Says:

Let’s do this the easy way, so we don’t have to do this the hard way.
“I like things the easy way.”
Don’t make me be afraid. Answer; and, treat me gently.

Test the situation to see if it’s safe to interact any further

Fish out a response without the possibility of a hard no.

General:

What are they going to do about it? How do they react?

Can’t be defended with an argument.

You can measure the other’s character.
Aggressive
Compliant
Mild Mannered
Agreeable

Reaction to pressure.
Acquiescence.
Push back.
Steadfast

It is really about the motives of the teaser. This is what separates teasing
from bullying or ill will toward the teased.
Are their feeling toward the teased benevolent; or,
(and I believe, this is the crux of the matter)
are their intentions to harm the teased.

There is always a motive involved.
It has interior motives, or ulterior motives, something like that.
Can’t be defended with an argument.

Good Motives:
To connect in friendship
How much more, or less, power does one have?
Are we equal? What difference in rank are we?

Bad motives:
Manipulate
Control
Weaken the teased ones’ position

Damage or undermine.
Strength or Power
Feelings
Reputation

Unawares:
Unskilled or inept teasing.
Sometimes a bully doesn’t know they are a bully.
Their intentions aren’t ill toward the teased; but, meant
to assuage an internal deficit or turmoil within themselves.

Form of Pornography:
Trains you to handle a threat without any danger; except, to your ego or feelings.
I guess it just exposes and measures how much you have invested in your ego.
It toughens you up. Prepares you for contention.
You practice an encounter that involves some vulnerabilities.

Dissipates the energy of seriousness.
Teasing separates you from seriousness.
It breaks the tension. Lightens the mood.

It allows me to gauge; how I’m going to get serious with someone.
A boy might want to get serious with a girl; but, that serious could turn out to be bad instead of good;
so, he’ll tease at it instead of being serious right away, to get a feel of which direction it might go.

The target:
You have to judge how they will take it.
If you tease someone and they accept it, they consider you equal
If they don’t consider you an equal they could be insulted or pained.

It’s reciprocal.
You and your nemesis are the same(equal) or at least similar.
Emotions
Beliefs
Attitudes, etc.

Teasing can only be done: face to face. If this requirement is not met
it is not teasing
Teasing: to qualify as reciprocal, must allow for a response from the teased, to defend their side in the game.

The other things it could be:
Bullying
Threat

How to assess the effect of teasing:
Off-record markers?

“I didn’t think it was funny at first, but I have to confess, I laughed later, when I was alone, and thought about it; it was funny.”

“Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.”

The Battery Experiment

In the middle of navigating a few pages on my web browser, my mouse pointer started to get erratic in its performance. It started stalling as I attempted to move it across the page.

I immediately assumed it might be attributable to the pages that I had just opened. This is also after I had just powered off my computer because of the slowing of the system I had attributed to playing so many U-Tube videos, which I have noticed seems to slow down the system after a substantial amount of video play.

So, I closed the pages I had opened, then powered down and restarted my computer again. Immediately I could see that this did not solve the problem. With that, I figured it was time to clean and inspect the mouse itself. I noticed that the power in the mouse was, indeed, failing.

I removed the old batteries and grabbed the new batteries, but before I installed the new batteries I decided to test the voltage on the used batteries and compare it to the voltage in the new batteries. The voltage in the old batteries measured 0.9 volts (V), which is just about one half the 1.6V of the new batteries.

I noted that I was getting usage from one half the voltage available from a new battery and proceeded to put the new batteries in my mouse when it immediately arose in my mind, the question I had already been pondering, how can I get more use from the power still locked inside a used battery? I would only be getting the use of half the available power in the battery otherwise. That is quite a waste of energy.

So I thought, what if I put a new battery in the mouse paired with one of the old batteries? So, I paired one new battery and one old battery in my mouse and turned it on. My mouse performs as well as two new batteries make it perform as far as I can tell. Now, it is for me to observe how long, from this date, 3/19/2019, this pairing will make my mouse’s performance serviceable.

On 3/30/2019 my mouse failed to work again. I took the batteries out of the mouse and tested them for voltage. The new battery was 1.4V. The old battery was 0.57V. I cleaned the batteries and placed them back in the mouse; as sometimes, this is sufficient enough to get more use out of them.

The mouse attempted to function, but, then immediately failed. I removed the batteries from the mouse and measured the old battery. It measured 0.35V. Now, this is an interesting development. Remember, before we cleaned the battery and placed it back in the mouse to retest its useful capacity, it measured 0.57V. What this change in voltage illustrates is that the measurement of the voltage in a battery can be deceptive if not done while at work, not at rest. It is called testing the battery under load.

You see, voltage is not energy. You can have a voltage that has a large source of energy to tap into, or a small source of energy to tap into; and of course, you’ll get different results when that voltage is applied to a circuit.

Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is with an analogy. Let us say, you are sitting on the couch resting. A friend comes by and asks you how you’re doing. You say you feel fine. Why wouldn’t you? You’re sitting on the couch resting. Your energy level feels just fine. You feel like you have all the energy you would ever need. By taking note of the level of energy you are experiencing you are, in essence, measuring your energy level. But remember, you are taking this measurement at rest.

Now your friend says, “Great, then you should have no problem helping me move some boxes up to the attic.” You reply enthusiastically, “I would be happy to help you do that.”

So you get up, you grab one of the boxes, and you start up the stairs on your way to deposit it in the attic. About halfway up the stairs, you start feeling tired. You’re feeling a little weak. By the time you are three-quarters of the way up, you are exhausted. You can’t go any further. Taking measure of your available energy you realize, you have very little. The feeling of ample energy you had on the couch was misleading. You can see, of course, that the energy you have while working would be the real measure of your energy. Not the energy you feel resting.

This is why, when a battery that measured 0.57V at one moment tested only 0.35V after being retested by the load of trying to make the mouse work. Although, when remeasured, the battery was measured at rest, not under load, it illustrates the effect the load has on the measurement of the voltage. The battery being tested under load would probably measure something more like 0.2V. This would take a meter made to test batteries while under load, and it is a more accurate way to measure a batteries voltage.

That being said, stressing the batteries under the load of the mouse and then taking it out and measuring it, gives us a good enough idea of its true voltage for our purposes here.

So, when we started this experiment the mouse stopped functioning when the two batteries in it measured 0.9V. The two batteries together, joined together, one at its positive terminal and one at its negative terminal, and measured at the positive and negative terminals on the outside ends would double the voltage to 1.8V. So, we know that the mouse stopped working at a combined voltage of 1.8V, so when we pair up batteries to place in the mouse, the voltage of the two batteries together has to be more than 1.8V to make it work.

To continue the experiment on 04/04/2019, I placed the .35V in the mouse with a new 1.6V battery. It tried to work but quickly failed. The old battery had dropped to 0.2V when taken back out and measured. Do you remember that phenomenon; and also, remember that our batteries, when joined together in the mouse, fail at a combined voltage of 1.8V? The combined voltage of the batteries now measures 1.8V. This is consistent with our previous measurement of failure at 1.8V.

I then placed a relatively new 1.4V battery and an older 0.78V battery in the mouse, totaling roughly 2.2V. It is 04/04/2019. When my mouse, once again, starts to show signs of failing, I will remove the batteries and measure their voltage to see how much more of the available voltage I was able to access from the previously used battery.

But, up to this point, we can see that we were able to get eleven more days (03/19/2019 to 03/30/2019) and from 0.9V we got the use of about 0.6V to 0.7V more out of the battery, taking our battery down to 0.3V or possibly 0.2V. I put it aside to experiment on it further, in a continuing effort to see how much more use I can get out of these used batteries. I will continue the experiment from there and update this report on my results. If you are interested in the outcome of this experiment, keep an eye out for updates which I’ll be posting here, in future posts. See you then.

To be continued…

I’m Back

My Comeback

I’m back? Where have I been and why have I been away for so long? These are likely the questions sure to come to mind if you’re reading this post. These questions and others will be the subject of this second inaugural blog entry.

Now, back in January of 2018, I was beginning this journey into the process of writing Chocolate’s book; and, developing this web presence to facilitate the process. I was gifted with this opportunity to have my own blog, as is the usual with websites these days. So, I wrote the inaugural post as an introduction, with its explanation of my reasons and purposes regarding this endeavor.

I ended it with the declaration that my next installment was going to involve the viability of the water that we drink and bathe in. With that, I proceeded to begin my research into the matter of water and what is the matter with our water these days. I was not too deep in the process when I began to realize what an expansive undertaking it was to become. Water is so much more complicated and involved than one would imagine at first glance.

Well, I am continuing my research into the purity of our water and all the ramifications that involve. It will take some time to do the subject matter the justice it’s due. I’ve even considered the possibility that it will deserve a whole book unto itself; it most certainly does deserve as much. However, the time I’ve invested in that research isn’t the only reason for my time away from my writing here.

It turns out, that while Chocolate was succumbing to the ravages of Kidney Disease I was suffering from a chronic illness myself. It had been progressing for years as it turned out.  Insidiously creeping me, inch by inch, downward into fatigue and pain that I had attributed to getting old, and letting myself get out of shape. This turned out to be a trap I highly recommend everyone getting on in years to be on the lookout for, and not allow themselves to fall into. Getting older doesn’t mean you should start falling apart and it shouldn’t be a catch-all for all the things that might start going wrong with your body. I will get into this subject more in depth in a future post but, for now, it is just part of the story of my absence from this forum in the last year.

This is just to let you know that I’m back and I have been working behind the scene, through my illness, doing my research into water, learning how to make a better website, write better copy, research better and learn all I can about anything that will make what I am trying to accomplish here better.

Anyway, here I am again and my next installment will be about an experiment I’m doing to see how I can get more useful life out of my batteries. See you then.

Lessons Learned-The Begining

In this inaugural blog, I am going to tell you, the reader, the intended purpose of this blog, the reasons for that purpose and what I hope to accomplish here, with you. As you can see from the title this is going to be a blog about lessons. Lessons learned. Lessons learned from the mistakes I consider myself to have made while trying to handle my best friend Chocolate’s descent through Kidney Disease, to the inevitable end. With the analysis of those mistakes and research based on, and in the facilitation of that analysis, and just plain old curiosity, I will explore the questions raised when we go through such sudden and troubling events.

What could have caused it? What could have exasperated it? What could I have done to prevent it? What toxins might have been involved, and so forth. Together, you and I will explore all these questions, and more. Think of our questions as signposts delineating the different paths we will take on our quest for answers. As you can see there will be many possible routes to the answers we are seeking on this journey.

Our primary questions arise from the story this website is devoted to, and particularly due to the fact that Chocolate died of Kidney Disease. Back in October, Chocolate’s life came to a precipitous end; when, what was years of problems with her kidneys, came to a head, and she was diagnosed with what amounted to be the final stages of Kidney Disease. At that point, the end came pretty quickly. The toxins in her blood could not even be measured by the machines. They were off the charts; literally (not the cliche). All that could be done for her was give her fluids intravenously just to get her re-hydrated.

So, she spent about four days in the hospital. I couldn’t believe the difference it made in her appearance. She had not eaten anything substantial in about a month and she had seriously wasted away. Indeed, they describe it as anorexia in the list of symptoms. After the fluids, she plumped up to what looked like normal. I didn’t realize how much her loss had been fluid. Unfortunately, as she urinated, which was a lot and often, I watched her deflating back to skin and bones right in front of my eyes. She still wouldn’t eat. She would never take food again. But all this is covered in the story of her life. It is at the core of this website. This blog is more about the questions raised by the circumstances of that situation.

The purpose of this blog will be to explore and discuss all the possible answers to these questions and allow you, the reader, to raise and discuss any questions you might have. For me, the question that rises to the top of the list is the questions of toxins and the part they could possibly have played in her illness. As I wrap up this first installment I’ll leave you with a couple of sources, you may find pertinent and interesting, on the question of toxins in our environment and their possible effects on our animals’ health.

The first source is on the matter of fluoride in our water. I find it amazing how the general public thoughtlessly accepts the government line, “Oh, it’s harmless. It’s good for you. You won’t get cavities.” Well, I brush my teeth and go to the Dentist to prevent cavities. When I go to the tap I go there for the purest, cleanest, unadulterated water I can get to quench my thirst, cook or wash.
Follow this link: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/11/dr-bill-osmunson-on-fluoride.aspx to get a different perspective on the matter, and let me know what you think.

Another angle to approach these matters from is the analysis of the claims of these other sources we will be accessing and evaluating. A case in point is the advent of The Clean Label Project (CLP). I first became aware of what they were doing on the news at KPIX Channel 5 in the San Francisco Bay area. It caught my attention immediately, of course, and it would be absolutely pertinent to the discussion we are having here. What with the numerous claims of contaminated treats and pet foods causing illness and death in some of our most beloved family members, I was ecstatic to hear that someone was taking the search for answers into the lab and doing a serious scientific analysis of the claims.

After seeing the report a few months ago and at the year-end revisit I decided to go to the KPIX web-page http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/05/24/lead-mercury-arsenic-cadmium-found-in-popular-pet-foods/ and take a closer look. I had already done a search and some internet research on The Clean Label Projects claims and had taken note of some troubling problems with their veracity and/or reliability of their claims. After perusing the CLP’s presentation I clicked on the critics of their work and found that they found the same things to be problematic that I did: A lack of presentation of any real data. No specifics on the participants in their testing and research. Follow this link for more on that: http://www.chadhayesmd.com/the-clean-label-project-is-playing-dirty/

The Clean Label Project writes it off as not wanting to overwhelm the consumer with data. They claim their intent is to make a simple way for consumers to judge products they’ve tested with a five-star rating system, which as we all know is a marketing ploy, not a method of scientific discourse. A statement made in the KPIX5 report is telling:
The Clean Label Project plans to launch a fee-based certification program. It will randomly test foods from participating brands for a variety of contaminants. That being done, they will then give those that pass a seal – similar to Good Housekeeping.

That’s not science, that’s marketing.
To see how a white paper is presented that is quite a bit more informative on the matter of contaminants go here:
https://cbssanfran.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/champion-petfoods-white-paper-heavy-metals.pdf.
So, we’ve begun. If you care to join us on this journey of discovery I would like very much for you to join in the conversation. In our next post, we’ll talk about water. I hope to hear from you.