Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

C is for Cranial Contortions

I am interrupting my regularly scheduled program to make two announcements.

First let me say Happy Birthday to my sweetie, Stan the Man.

Second I'm up to like 83 followers! This is a REMINDER. When I get to 100 there will be a wonderful unique contest with wonderful unique prizes! I only need 17 more....

And now back to the A to Z Challenge. Today it's

Cranial: Middle Latin from the Greek kranion; akin to the Greek kara for head.
Contortion: Latin contortus, past participle of contorquere, from com+torquere meaning to twist.

One can see the word torque is related to contortion. Ominously the dictionary says, "more at torture."

For me there are two forms of Cranial Contortions.

Mental gymnastics: as in doing crossword puzzles, or cyphers, or sudoku. There are a ton out there. A quick search on the web brought up lots of sites where one can play free word games. It's official, playing games such as these work the brain and actually create new synopses. Playing games keeps the brain flexible, otherwise it atrophies. And we all know that leads to senility and/or Alzheimer's.

Throughout my life my father did two things that inspired me. 1.) He read the dictionary. He'd pick up our great huge book open it at random He wasn't looking up a particular word, he was reading. He'd read a page or two at a time. 2.) He did crossword puzzles in ink. The harder the better. He particularly liked the ones from the Sunday London Times because it would have British colloquialisms and plays on words that stretched his brain. Puzzles of various kinds were a part of our lives, a way of passing the time since for so many years we didn't have electricity or TV. If we weren't reading, or playing a board game, or putting a jigsaw puzzle together, my sister Erva and I had our noses in puzzle books. I get a feeling of withdrawl, of nervousness, if I don't get my daily puzzle fix.

The second Cranial Contortion is/are:
Mind games. I'm sure we've all met or know a person who plays mind games; as in saying one thing and doing another. These people are manipulative. Alot of the so-called "reality" shows seen on TV thrive on mind games. They drive me nuts. I question, if children are watching these shows, that they aren't learning how to be devious and manipulative. For me people like that are an energy drain. My basic optimism (though I must admit I get misanthropic from time to time) causes me to want to take people at face value. I want to believe they are who they say they are. However if I am ill-used, if they hand me rotten fruit while insisting it's perfectly good, I will turn my back on them and never look back.

Another kind of mind game is the one we play on ourselves. It's that nagging, creative destroying voice that whispers sour nothings in our ears.

Like: I can't. I'm an idiot. I'm stupid/this is stupid. It's all been written before. Why bother? Who am I fooling?

The list is long and I'm sure each of us could write our own. Which is not a bad exercise if you write down after each negative the opposite positive affirmation.
I'm an idiot/I'm brilliant
I'm stupid/I'm smart
It's all been written before/It's never been written quite like I write it
Why bother?/Why not try?
Who am I fooling?/Who am I teaching?

So play word games to keep the mind subtle. In keeping the mind subtle you'll be able to spot mind gamers more rapidly.

Do you work crossword puzzles or cyphers or other such games?


  1. I've never understood the 'It's been done' argument. Sure it's been done -- everything has been done. But it can never be done the same way twice because situations keep evolving and every writer will have a slightly different take on things. I'm arrogant enough to assume that my own interpretation will be different enough to be deemed a fresh take.

    If puzzles and dictionaries keep you from getting Alzheimer's, I'm in good shape. I fear genetics might trump mental exercises, but I'd love to be wrong about that.

  2. Hmm Cranial Contortions...I like that!

  3. Cranial Contoritions I love it!!! Yes I love to do soduku and crossword puzzles I'm not excellent at it but I am pretty good! I do enjoy playing and I know the more and more you play the better you are!!!

    Yay for 80+ followers! You're well on your way!

  4. Your blog post title made me giggle for some reason! Cranial contortions!!
    I still love Word Bubbles, play a few times a day.
    Happy Birthday to Stan your man!

  5. I love crossword puzzles. They are the best when done in groups, like by the whole family. Then everyone can learn together.

    Mind games and negative thinking "self talk" are BS. They're both easy traps to fall into though.

  6. Happy Birthday to Stan the Man! Hope he has a great day.

    Your Dad sounds like my Mom, who still reads dictionaries and does her crosswords puzzles in ink. And never play Trivial Pursuit with her, because she always gets the most obscure questions right! :)

    Mind games are like reality shows: can't stand 'em!

  7. I love crossword puzzles, and I've recently been introduced to sudoku and enjoying it. I've always liked trivia, not that it's necessarily a mind game, but it does make you flex some forgotten memories.

  8. I love those positive affirmations--what an excellent idea to write them down when the sour ones pop up!
    My dad once offered me $20 to read the dictionary. I thought he was nuts. Now, of course, I have a dog-eared dictionary that I'd never be without. I wonder who first had the concept of creating a dictionary? You probably know. ;)
    *runs off to google*

  9. Whenever I've begun any kind of puzzle, mind, crossword, word search, 20 piece, I find that I lack one thing that'll get me through it- patience. I have NO patience. Patience impared. Which explaines why I kept sending my ms out prematurely to agents;)

  10. LOL Cranial contortions, definitely sounds painful.

    I've never been into jigsaw puzzles or crossword puzzles. Don't know why. Maybe I'm afraid I'll fail. Only recently did I start trying to do jigsaw puzzles. The 25-200 piece kind. In otherwords, my kids'. Baby steps. It's all about those baby steps.

    Great post!

  11. Happy Birthday Stan! Perhaps you and Bish will do some cranial contortions to celebrate.

  12. Oh, I hate sour nothings! But I do enjoy crossword puzzles once in a while! :-)

  13. I'm probably more prone to the second type of cranial contortions. It's awful and it makes life difficult, but it is what it is I guess. Perhaps some day I will stop it with that mind game and do more crossword puzzles ;) That said, I used to play a game called Text Twist where you had to come up with as many words as possible from a set of 5 or 6 letters in a certain time frame. Now I just make up words. It's more fun ;)

  14. I LOVE word and math puzzles, the harder the better.

  15. I love doing jigsaw puzzles and word find with my daughter. She has moved up to doing 500 piece puzzles. Very addictive! Excellent post. :o)


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