Fight, Flight, or Freeze

Fight or Flight, That’s the recognized responses to “perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.” How was freeze left out of the discussion?

You’re familiar with “deer in the headlights”? Maybe you’ve seen one. Perhaps you’ve seen another animal, a rabbit maybe, frozen, waiting. A flight may follow, but freeze comes first.

Perhaps, also, you’ve seen people in high-stress situations just curl up. They follow the path of no-action as a response to the harmful event or perceived threat.

Why this doesn’t get more recognition and attention is a mystery to me.


If you’ve ever set out to learn a foreign language you know how tricky translation can be. Even professionals have a tough time. This Vox video details some of the problems faced around the world when translators took on Harry Potter.

The Pillow Book of Sei ShoĚ„nagon has been translated from Japanese to English multiple times. It is interesting to compare translations. I’m currently doing just that, with the versions by Ivan Morris from Columbia University Press and Meredith McKinney of Penguin Classics.

Differences appear from the very beginning.


In spring, the dawn — when the slowly paling mountain rim is tinged in red, and wisps of faintly crimson-purple cloud float in teh sky.


In spring it is the dawn that is most beautiful. As the light creeps over the hills, their outlines are dyed a faint red and wisps of purplish cloud train over them.

Great translators are a gift.

A Gift of Dog Songs

Today’s mail brought a copy of Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs: thirty-five dog songs and one essay. This is a book of poems about dogs, all of them lovely and loved. The poems are accompanied by pen and ink drawing by illustrator John Burgoyne.

This is a heartwarming book that we decided to buy while reading a library copy. The used copy we received is in pristine condition. It does not seem to have ever been read. If it has been read, not extensively. Inside there was a note.

A gift from:
Sara J Cobb
Hi Rob, Happy BDay! I feel as if I know you yet not enough yet. But I hope you like M. O. My fav is pg 31.
I wish you the best of birthdays. Meeting you was one of the best blessings of 2013. Hugs!
From S.

It seems Rob did not enjoy the book. Did he even read it once? Here’s hoping life has worked out well for the two of them, especially the thoughtful Sara.

The favorite poem she cites is this:

Benjamin. Who came from who knows where

What shall I do?
When I pick up the broom
      he leaves the room.
While I fuss with kindling he
      runs for the yard.
Then he’s back, and we
      hug for a long time.
In his low-to-the-ground chest
      I can hear his heart slowing down.
Then I rub his shoulders and
      kiss his feet
and fondle his long hound ears.
      Benny, I say,
don’t worry. I also know the way
      the old life haunts the new.

Note: we did not buy this book via Amazon.

Fun, Fun, Fun

Want something to play but not seriously watch? The 5 Minute Crafts channel on YouTube is a delight. No dialog, not exhortations to like and share, just gobs of craft tricks, suggestions, ideas, and such shown with bubbly background music.

Mental junk food yes. Well, except there’s some genius useful thing every few minutes. So your time isn’t totally wasted away.

Poetry and Stoicism

What do they have in common?
Both have stereotypes fueling strong misunderstandings about their nature.
Maybe it’s just me.

To check on the alignment of stoicism and your beliefs about it visit the Daily Stoic website.

Poetry is a very side sea. Perhaps reading The Poets Laureate Anthology will provide an experience base. Or choose a poet, perhaps the accessible Billy Colliins and browse their books. Or perhaps listen to Billy Colliins reading a pair of poems. I found the Wikipedia Poetry page to be a bit dry, though I won’t fault it for lack of comprehension.

You have your life and it is filled with your concerns. Perhaps these will fit into it.

Reading is

What is reading to you? A high school English teach once described “escapist literature” and my righteous teenage self railed against the insult to Nobel Wonderful Books. This mini library, on Holgate Boulevard in Portland, Oregon, states “Reading is a magic key to take you where you want to be.”

Where is your next book taking you?

Magic Key mini library
Magic Key mini library