Friday, November 23, 2007

The Benefits of Writing Things Down

Part of my morning routine is to do the 5 daily trivia quizzes found at I record my results, and I have noticed a curious phenomenon about this process. Every time I start anew, after missing a number of days, my overall "weekly" scores, once they get started again (they require 6 prior days of answering the questions), go upward each day. At the moment, my overall score has risen from the previous day on 12 out of the last 13 days!

This is too striking to be a product of random chance. I believe that as I write down more and more scores, it triggers greater concentration and resolve within me and somehow leads to steadily increasing scores. I noticed the same thing years ago when I used to record the results of my blitz chess games. Once my opponent saw I was writing down the results, he always started trying harder and concentrating more intently. The same principle applies to my daily checklist--the simple process of recording things I do focuses my attention better on these daily essentials.


Today's website:

For many years I have wanted blank maps, i.e., maps with the country boundaries filled in but not the country names, so that I could learn all the countries of the world. At one point I requested that Superior School Supply order some for me and some weeks later they called and said they were in. I went clear out on the far West side of town to pick them up. However, they turned out to have the continents on them, but not the countries! Boy was I disgusted!

Now, at long last, I have discovered a website which will display a country on a map and ask you to pick out which one it is. This is exactly what I have been looking for. Thanks to, I will eventually know every country.


Today's foreign word: kabary

According to an article in the Christian Science Monitor, kabary is "a form of traditional Malagasy oratory, based on the unhurried telling of ancestral proverbs, metaphors, and riddles, frequently in a dialogue using call and response." The cellphone, which requires one to get to he point quickly, is said to be the biggest enemy of kabary.

The CSM article goes on to state: "One of the main rules of kabary is that the subject or point of the conversation can never be broached directly – and in some instances cannot be stated at all. During a funeral or condolence call, for instance, uttering aloud the name of the deceased is taboo. To express that someone is missed, one might begin with a story about the short grass on the highlands plateau that a great grandfather once trod upon. Then, the speaker might embark on a tale about the pearls of the deep sea and how grass and great grandfather and sea have become torn apart."

On this day after Thanksgiving, it occurs to me that family gatherings are a time when unhurried reminiscences have their place, and are important to maintaining one's identity as part of an extended family and community.

No comments: