Saying ‘Happy Memorial Day’ Seems Oxymoronic

Memorial Day gratitudeHappy Birthday! I get it. Happy Mother’s Day! I get it. Happy Memorial Day? I don’t get it.

Whenever I see someone post ‘Happy Memorial Day’ it makes me cringe. It seems like a disrespectful oxymoron.

Sure Memorial Day is a day off for many. Sure it’s a day to spend BBQing and rumpusing outdoors with family and friends. Sure it’s a day to catch stale tootsie rolls at a local parade.

But it’s so much more than that.

Me·mo·ri·al Day (noun)

a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered, traditionally observed on May 30 but now officially observed on the last Monday in May.

See above. It’s a day to remember those who died in active military service.   What is happy about that? Shouldn’t we be reflective, full of gratitude, or even reverent on this day?

Have fun; enjoy your festivities, no one is suggesting you shouldn’t – just think twice before wishing someone a HAPPY Memorial Day.

BTW, Veteran’s day is in November.  Some get Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day mixed up. Veterans Day honors people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces (dead or alive). Memorial Day is to remember those who died.

While I do not believe those who have passed have the ability to read my blog, I do want to say Thank You to the families of service members who sacrificed their lives. Your loved ones are not forgotten. 

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Are Deception Experts Deceiving You?

crystal ballBeware of False Claims

Understand that in a matter of moments you can find a number of YouTube videos and books from people claiming to be body language experts and whom purport they can tell when someone is lying. There is an abundance of unsubstantiated lore out there when it comes to deception. More than a few so-called experts regularly make false claims.

Consider alternatives

For example, listen carefully the next time you hear someone say “[This] means he is probably lying.” Some of the self-proclaimed pundits will use the words: probably, may, could be. They won’t commit to the validity of that claim and cover their tracks by sliding in that it probably means they aren’t being truthful.

Or worse yet “[This] means he is lying.” Nope, not necessarily. [This] could mean he is uncomfortable (we certainly know how uncomfortable it can be sitting in the witness chair). [This] could also be his baseline – the way he normally behaves.

I recently saw a video where the “expert” was trying to say that when the witness or juror is sworn in, she looks at how the person holds their right hand. She made all sorts of claims that wide fingers meant they were scared; closed fingers meant you’d have to pry information out; curled hand means they will not be truthful. Hogwash! She failed to take into consideration the person could have arthritic hands, or tendon damage or could have been raking leaves for hours and simply had sore hands. Continue reading

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Facial Expressions of Emotions are Not Culturally Universal?

ekman challenge

A recent study has been carried out by Lisa Feldman Barrett that is attempting to gain attention to her work in the field of universality of emotion.

Unfortunately the research efforts were misdirected as they only looked at one aspect of the ability of an isolated Himba tribe in Namibia, South Africa; the ability to recognise emotional expressions.

The outcomes of that study were then used to challenge Paul Ekman’s findings that emotions are universally expressed. There have been over 75 studies that have demonstrated that these very same facial expressions are produced when emotions are elicited spontaneously (Matsumoto, Keltner, Shiota, Frank, & O’Sullivan, 2008). Ironically this was published in the Handbook of Emotions in p215 (2008) – edited by Lisa Feldman Barrett et al.

This is a serious disconnect that good research should have addressed. This seems to have been supported by the rejection of the Namibia study by the respected journal, Science. Barrett reported in July 2013 to Shannon Fischer, in a Boston Magazine interview that “Clearly people don’t give a shit about data, because if they did, I wouldn’t have this battle on my hands.” Maybe the data needs to connect with more relevance to the claims made. Continue reading

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