Sunday, February 12, 2017

Stories, Why They're Influential, and Why I'm not Writing Them...

...yet. I'm studying to write stories, but it's very lonely independent study, because I don't know anyone who teaches what the world has not yet learned.

The adult world has not yet learned to tell or hear the kinds of stories where people are people. Instead, we have stories with heroes and villains--even superheroes and supervillains, even though we know that no people in the real world have superpowers or super-morality--because those are the kinds of characters and the kinds of conflicts that make stories interesting to people. Heroes, villains and conflicts make stories marketable. Stories that are too different don't sell.

If someone writes a novel (whatever possible use that could be...) that doesn't follow an accepted format of what publishers want to see in a particular kind of novel, it's just another wannabe novelist being told that a publisher doesn't currently have a place for that novel. That happens so much it's a cliché, which is ironic. A cliché is an un-original idea, so getting a rejection letter from a publisher because the ideas in the writing were too different, and that whole scenario being so common as to be cliché, is ironic. Irony is...oh, skip it. We aren't a dictionary. We're just trying to convey an idea that is so odd, we are sure we can't explain what it's going to take for us to promote this much-needed idea in storytelling, and that storytelling affects everyone's world-view.

I've found my way not to be the writer in the photo to the left. For a start, I write and publish here, online. No one tells me what to write and no one has to buy my writing, ever. The pressures of a novelist trying to get published do not apply to me. I write. Nothing really stops me except not finding the words to convey the ideas which are my own ideas. As long as I can think in words (I don't always. I also think in pictures, feelings and music) and can tap keys on the keyboard, I don't get writer's block. The only other challenge is reader's block. My writing is (obviously) an effort to connect through words with another person: right now, you, because you're reading. My only real challenge at the moment is keeping your interest.

So let's discuss some stories that might be familiar to you, but let's try to look at these stories in a particular way. Let's look at fiction stories to find truth in them.

I can come up with two stories I think will be familiar to readers of my blog: One is Star Trek and the other is Lord of the Rings.

Like many other people who were teenagers in the 1970s, I read the Lord of the Rings books, starting with The Hobbit, which wasn't part of the trilogy, but was the book that got many young readers interested in reading the other books. Since it is a trilogy-plus-one, it's quite a long story. I won't waste time trying to summarize it. Instead, I'm going to focus in on one set of details: in the LOTR story, there are several races of sentient, human-like beings, and a certain consistency in how they're described; all the different kinds of "people"--whether they are hobbits, elves, dwarves, orcs or men--each have a racially-linked basic character. Hobbits can't help being into a leisurely life, dwarves are industrious workers, elves are lovely and magical, orcs are ugly, coarse, stupid and evil, and men are strong, brave conquerors and rulers; all of these qualities are shown consistently in the LOTR stories as character traits that are entirely due to the race to which an individual belongs. The basic character of each and every character in LOTR is determined by their respective races.

I'm not the first person to notice or describe this. I'm just very concise in my description.

LOTR was very likely written as an analogy for World War Two, which was an era when most people had no issues at all with dividing the entire world into races, nationalities and racial/national character. Orcs were Nazis and axis nations. LOTR presented a world in which we could all think of Germans and Japanese as pure, irredeemable evil, and that the allied forces (of good...) really had no choice but to destroy these orc-like peoples. The big war ended before LOTR was published, but LOTR found its initial audience among readers in the English-speaking world who had recently been slaying orcs and dethroning Sauron.

That's about all the time I have for writing today. The other thing that keeps me from being the classic frustrated writer is that I have a family that loves me and needs me around. I choose not to sequester myself for days at a stretch, imagining that writing is more important than anything else in my life. It's important, I'll keep doing it, and that's what I have for today's session.

Stay tuned if you want. Next time I'll be writing about how to revolutionize storytelling and being human. It's the good part.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Video of Drumming in Near Dark

January 2017, Dog Beach, Chicago.

Posted by Richard Wallace on Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sunday, January 29, 2017

On Cellularity and Choosing

It's one of those strange ideas I get. I've given it several years to either flesh itself out or go away, and it didn't go away. It's time to let it grow.

This idea first started to form in my head some years ago when I was pondering several seemingly unrelated ideas and activities. These things included social music making, finding connecting points with others even in the face of differences of opinion that seemed insurmountable, musing about what life is in its most basic form, gardening and how to tend a garden, and good old trying to better understand living on a suitably deep level.

The core of the idea, stated as simply as possible, is that all life is cellular. As you might guess, since it is an idea that makes an effort to think in big-picture terms, it gets quite a bit more complicated, but it retains that core of simplicity.

I should say--not for the first or the last time--that it is not an interest of mine ever to tell anyone what to think. Take a minute to let that sink in, because it's unusual. A lot of things you could read will try to tell you what to think. I am only here with what I feel are some helpful ideas to assist you in thinking productively for yourself. Even if I could make all the sense in the world, every mind that thinks needs the ability to make sense on its own. We each have our own lives and our own things that we need to do and our own things to figure out for ourselves. My selfish part here is that I hope to live among people who know how to make sense for themselves.

So let's get into it.

It starts with elementary biology. Every living thing is either a single cell or is a bunch of cells that make up a complex organism. You and I are both complex organisms. All humans are. No matter where any of us came from or are going or are living right now; no matter whether we are male or female, or what language we speak or what color our skin is; no matter if we have a religious or political affiliation or point-of-view; no matter even whether or not we care about how our lives originated--important though those details may be--every one of us is made up of cells, and it is productive to understand what cells do and how they work to make life.

Meaning in life is quite a separate question, beyond the scope or the needs of this piece of writing. This is about the simple fact of life. Life exists and is made of cells.

A cell in its most basic form has an inside where the life exists, an outside which is the environment in which the life lives, and a cell membrane which separates the inside from the outside. I'm glad I gave myself time to think about this. I'm finding the simplicity.

The most basic life forms are single cells, and they are the lives with the greatest limitations. Protozoans and amoebas can't move around much, can't perceive much of their environment except on a purely chemical level (if we can think of that as awareness at all) can't reproduce sexually, and therefore can't really develop themselves from one generation to the next, can't learn much (no brain) and are really completely at the mercy of the environment they just happen to be in. If the environment in which a single-celled creature lives turns hostile to that creature's life, the single-celled creature simply dies. It can't decide to get on the bus and go to a nicer place. It has nearly zero choices in life.

Now I'm using scary words. Some people don't take kindly to words like "choice". Try to be courageous. I promise I'm not going to write about birth control or whether or not we have free will. Those are areas of opinion, speculation and philosophy. That's not what we're doing.

Maybe you noticed that I said a single cell creature has nearly zero choices. It's zero choices if you think of it in the way people normally think about choices, but a single cell makes chemical or molecular choices by the chemical/molecular composition of its membrane. The membrane of a cell "knows" what to take in as nourishment, what to keep inside as part of itself and what to excrete as a waste product. It "knows" these things chemically and molecularly.

Let's zoom out at this point to a more familiar magnitude. We've been looking through a microscope at tiny life. Let's look the same way at life that is the size of us. We're made of the same kind of stuff on a bigger scale. Our cells are specialized to specific functions in our bodies. One important difference: our cells team up to make the bigger and more complex organism that is a human being. One important thing is exactly the same: our cells still have that basic chemical and molecular ability to choose what comes in, what is kept out, what is kept in and what is let out. Another vitally important difference: our cells--individually--die off and regenerate all the time, and we, as complex multi-celled organisms, don't die when our individual cells die. To recap this vital point, if an amoeba experiences the death of a cell, that's a dead amoeba. One cell was all it was. By being a multi-celled creature, we get to live much longer than we could if we were just one cell. Multi-cellularism is a survival strategy, courtesy of our biology. Thanks biology!!

Somehow (remember, we're foregoing speculation here...) life develops into something more complex and longer-living, but still retains its cellular basis. Along with more complexity to the organism comes more complexity in how choices are made and a much bigger range of possible choices. At this point, please try to refrain from jumping to any absolute statements or ideas about choosing. We still die some time. Choosing, from the point of view in which I find myself living, does not seem absolute. As much as I'd like to, I cannot choose to eat any and all available matter to fuel my body; I cannot simply choose to live forever as the body in which I live now. As a physical creature, I still have limitations, but I have far fewer limitations than an amoeba has. Thanks biology!! I really mean it. I'm grateful I'm a human. Being an eagle looks fun too, at least the soaring high in the sky part. Eating rodents that aren't cooked or seasoned doesn't seem like it would be all that enjoyable. I suppose there are positives and negatives to everything. All in all, I'm happy to be a human.

Being a human means--among other things--that I was born with an organic (yep, cellular) computing organ in my head, and much of the programming of this computer is programming I get to do for myself, according to the needs in my own life. That's an awesome thing about being a human. Maybe I still don't have every choice in the universe, but I'm not stuck dying just because one of my cells dies and I don't have to eat raw rodents for a living. My life as a human lets me make choices on a scale far beyond single-cell choosing or even eagle- lion- or dog-choices. As a human with a self-programmable mind, I can choose whether or not or how much the "membrane" of my life and my mind are open to my environment. I can choose to close myself off from the world.


Except for that thing where I have to perceive and interact with the world (my environment. Every life lives in an environment) just to survive. If I don't take nourishment into my body, I will starve and die. If (yep, you guessed it: this is what I've been leading up to) I try to close off my mind from the world, I cannot learn, and my mind will die.

I have heard people say that if you have an open mind, all of your knowledge might fall out. It honestly doesn't work that way, just as cells, the basis of all of life, don't work that way. A mind, living according to the basic rule of all of life, knows what to take in, what to keep, what to keep out, what to push out as waste and what to put out as work produced. It is built into everything your organic computing organ is made of. It is a wisdom of the body, like breathing, like your heart beating without you telling your heart to beat, like hunger telling you when to eat or tiredness telling you when to rest.

An "open" mind gains knowledge through perceptions of the environment outside the body.

You would almost think that an open mind would be hard-wired, standard equipment on all models of humans, but oddly, we get to choose whether or not and how much our minds should open.

With as much truth as I am able to know, we don't have every choice in the universe. I think it's good to make the choices we do have count, and that some of the best words ever spoken are


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Near-Unknown Facebooker Calls it Quits, No One Notices.

By B.D., Drumming in the Dark Staph Righter

At some time in the past two months (the exact date and time is impossible to pinpoint due to apathy) a once-hopeful, enthusiastic, positive, smart, persistent poster to facebook simply stopped posting--citing "because who gives a drunk fuck?" as the main reason.
As of this time an estimated 700 million facebook users have not noticed any difference whatsoever in thier social networking experience that could be attributed to this change. Sarah X, a facebooker from Shitswallowsville, S.C. sums it up this way: "who quit facebook? sum loser dude? idk wtf ur takking abowt. hey, check out my hawt new profile pic!"

In another comment on what meaning there might be in the departure of Bob "Zilla" DeVore (age 52, from Chicago, IL) from the social network, Zack Gnarly from Greasy Palms, NV said: "Who cares? Quitting is gay. Hey, check out this awesome video!"    
According to a self-described "friend" of Zilla, he "wrote the best comments. He always had something witty to say. I read some of his blogs and I didn't always get what he was talking about, but he was a really good speller."
No other information is available on this story. We would post updates in the future as more information becomes available, but who would give a drunk fuck?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I knew it wasn't about ME...

...or "Cleaning off my desktop"

About 3 weeks ago I heard the old Carly Simon song You're So Vain on the radio. Yes, I still listen to oldies on broadcast radio.

I remembered that I always liked the song, primarily because of the quirky bass intro and a great guitar solo. I know I'm supposed to enjoy pop songs for the lyrics, but that's how I am: it hits me musically or it doesn't hit me.

I wanted to know the names of the musicians. I Googled and Wikipedia-ed.

The info that came easily through my search was all about how Carly Simon had never revealed who the song was about. Did I care about that? It's a SONG. Why do I need to get caught up in entertainment gossip just because I like a song?

I searched a little past the surface and found the names of the crew:

album "No Secrets"
Produced By Richard Perry
Jim Gordon – drums
Richard Perry – percussion (Cowbell. In precisely the right amount. It DID NOT need any more cowbell. I love cowbell played tastefully in the proper place and the right amount. I like comedy too. Enough cowbell is enough.)
Mick Jagger – backing vocals
Jimmy Ryan – acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Klaus Voormann – bass

The possibly-apocryphal story behind Mick Jagger's rare backing vocal on this song runs thus: Carly Simon is in the studio rehearsing vocals with Harry Nilsson, Mick Jagger walks in and says "Wha choo doin?"--I guess if you're Mick, you can just walk into anyone's studio--Carly says "Hey Harry Nilsson, would you excuse Mick Jagger and me for a few minutes? I have an idea." Harry says "Of course, Carly Simon. I think Mick Jagger would be a MUCH better backing vocalist for this song than I."

So we had ""Yo so vayne, I betchoo thaynk the song is abow choo, don choo?"

Warren Beatty was so vain he thought it was about him.

Here's an easy guitar transcription:

Am (2)

You walked into the party

F Am
Like you were walking onto a yacht

Am (2)
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye

F Am
Your scarf it was apricot

F (½) G (½) C (½) (Am) (½)
You had one eye in the mirror as


you watched yourself gavotte

G (½) F (2)
And all the girls dreamed that they'd be your partner, they'd be your partner, and


C (2)
You're so vain

Dm7 C
You probably think this song is about you

You're so vain (you're so vain)

F G (2)
I'll bet you think this song is about you--Don't you? Don't you?

Am (2)
You had me several years ago

F Am
When I was still quite naive

Am (2)
Well, you said that we made such a pretty pair

F Am
And that you would never leave

F (½) G (½) C (½) (Am) (½)
But you gave away the things you loved

And one of them was me

G (½) F (2)
I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee, and


Instrumental Verse (sing last line):

G (½) F (2)
I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee, and


Am (2)

Well, I hear you went up to Saratoga

F Am
And your horse naturally won

Am (2)
Then you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia

F Am
To see the total eclipse of the sun

F (½) G (½) C (½) (Am) (½)
Well, you're where you should be all the time

And when you're not, you're with
G (½) F (2)

Some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend, wife of a close friend, and


/ C - - - / - - - - / Dm7 - - - / C - - - /

C (2)
You're so vain

Dm7 C
You probably think this song is about you
C (2)
You're so vain

Dm7 C
You probably think this song is about you

/ C - - - / - - - - / Dm7 - - - / G (hold) /

and a video:

So then--after like 30 years and about a week after I started thinking about it--Carly Simon finally comes out and tells the world that You're So Vain was about David Geffin. As though we really wanted to know.

I've always had the gift of these of precognitions, but only about really trivial things.

The fun thing about pop songs like You're So Vain is making up your own lyrics:

...clowns in my cornflakes...underwear spy...what the heck is a gavotte?...

...or mathematical analysis: if a man has two eyes to start with and one is strategically hat-dipped while the other is in the mirror, he has zero eyes left for seeing Carly Simon as she looks at him and comments on how vain he is.

Now there's one less thing on my desktop.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Review of Banana Shpeel

I don't get paid to write entertainment reviews. I'll write a review if some piece of entertainment moves me in some way; if it gives me feelings that I want to process in writing; if it makes me think.

I went to see Cirque du Soleil's Banana Shpeel--written and directed by David Shiner--at the Chicago Theater because I was invited by my friend Mike Smith. He had won a contest on Facebook. He entered a video of himself playing trombone while hula-hooping.

The prize was that he got to perform in the lobby of the theater before the show and free tickets for a bunch of friends. Since I was the appreciative friend with a car, I drove Mike to the theater that night, arriving about an hour before the show started.

While we were hanging out before showtime, we chatted with a few theater and Cirque employees. One told us confidentially that "There's a reason vaudeville went away." The reason wasn't stated at that time, so I was left to ponder why vaudeville--THE most popular entertainment of its time in the 1920's and 30's--had gone away.

I didn't have to wonder for very long. Banana Shpeel led me to the answer. As often happens, one good answer led to more questions. So I write.

One of the first questions was why the promoters of Banana Shpeel would solicit performers on Facebook then give away a bunch of free tickets. I think it was to generate a buzz and fill some seats. The Chicago Theater had lots of empty seats that night, even though the FOMS (about 50 Friends Of Mike Smith) made a good, high-spirited effort to fill as many seats as they could.

My second question is a little more difficult to ask, let alone answer. It has to do with the entertainment world in general and vaudeville more specifically. From its inception in the late 1870s, vaudeville was designed to appeal to a broad-social-spectrum audience. Vaudeville and circus were the original "something for everyone" shows. Cirque du Soleil was a reinventing of circus and Banana Shpeel was--I suppose--conceived as a different direction and new offshoot of Cirque. They made circus into something new and exciting; now they are trying to do the same for vaudeville.

One of the problems of circus was that people knew that animal performers were treated badly, so Cirque du Soleil omitted animal acts from their shows. One of the problems of vaudeville was that people knew that human performers were treated badly--that in front of a restless, jaded audience, entertainers had just a few moments to do something spectacular; that they were generally over-worked and under-paid, that dancers and acrobats would push themselves to the limits of their abilities, often causing themselves disabling injuries in the process and then...well, a broken performer is an out-of-work performer. Many circus and vaudeville performers ended their careers with something that went approximately like "You gave your all for the show and now you have nothing left. Buh-bye!"

Banana Shpeel begins with a pair of clowns (Daniel Passer and Wayne Wilson) who introduce the premise, the "story" and the evil vaudeville producer--the "been there, seen that, you've got ten seconds to impress me" Marty Schmelky, played gloriously over-the-top by Arlington Heights native Jerry Kernion. Schmelky is ridiculously costumed in the colors of money and is purposely loud and mean. Once Schmelky has come to the stage, I begin to put the pieces together: the two clowns aspire to be more like Schmelky. Their slapstick is mean-spirited and they are obviously in awe of Schmelky's wealth and power. These are all intentional parts of the show. Banana Shpeel is trying to tell me something about the seedy world of mass-market entertainment in the context of a mass-market show. It's the perfect irony if they can pull it off.

To waste just a few more of the seconds that I have to impress you, I have a little something to say about critics. To watch a skilled, hard-working performer and then rant about how much you didn't like what that person did is one of the most pitiful and useless things in the world of entertainment. Our world is afflicted with dislikia. It's too easy for us to say what we don't like. I guess critics feel some responsibility to their readers to steer people away from bad entertainment: to tell people when it seems necessary "don't waste your money on this one, folks." If show business is an ocean and performers are fish-in-the-sea, critics are bottom-feeding algae. I'm a freelance reviewer: still a bottom-feeder, but more of the catfish variety.

After setting up the premise of open auditions for Shmelky's Follies, the clowns call out seat numbers. Of course, the people who come to the stage are cast members, but we are supposed to believe that they are just people from the audience. I actually did have a moment of "Gee, I hope they don't call MY seat number." I wanted to believe the premise.

First up is a wacky Brazilian guy, played charmingly by wacky Brazilian guy Claudio Carneiro. He does some sort of shtick that is immediately rejected by Shmelky and is told to leave the stage. Next an elderly guy (Gordon White) with a walker is summoned. He moves very slowly to his position, then very slowly reveals that he will perform as a mime. We see Shmelky's impatience right away and the old guy character becomes someone we sympathize with. He too is rejected and asked to leave the stage, but before he makes his excruciatingly slow exit, he tries once more: he's not just any mime. He's also a ventriloquist. A ventriloquist mime. At that point, the slow pacing helps. It takes the audience a few seconds to put those pieces together and respond with the show's first big laugh.

Brazilian guy comes back with a fake mustache and some slightly different shtick, but we recognize him because of his beaming smile. Thus far, the two "rejects" are considerably more fun and charming than the clowns or the producer. Yes, this show is definitely trying to say something.

There's a chase scene to get Claudio offstage so that the auditions can continue. Next up is a strange little guy whose bare legs are visible beneath his trench coat: another easy-to-identify character. He's a flasher/pervert, played by Patrick de Valette. Once again, in spite of our knowing that he will be immediately rejected and berated by Shmelky and in spite of our identifying him as a social outcast, he is fun and funny. Shedding his coat to reveal a wiry underwear-clad body, he launches into a ridiculous (but quite skillful!) "interpretive dance" that becomes an uproarious chase scene. He eventually disappears behind the curtain.

The comedic tale is thus set up. The clowns and the producer are the villains, the social outcasts are the heroes, the audience has no idea what will happen next. So far so good.

What happens next is that the elderly mime/ventriloquist's dummy comes to life in the form of a diminutive painted clown played by Tuan Le. He does a hat juggling routine that keeps getting more and more amazing. My jaw was on the floor. I've seen some pretty great juggling before. I've worked with a few pretty great jugglers. This guy was simply the best juggler I have ever seen anywhere at any time.

Now I begin to get it: the ironic comedy and the mean-hearted slapstick are just stage-setting for the real entertainment. After the incredible hat juggling there's a musical number (featuring a really great band. I wasn't able to find the names of any of the musicians. They deserve lots of credit for making the show work) and a great dance number featuring brother-sister tap duo of Joseph and Josette Wiggan. When the slapstick comes back, it is annoying. By then, I am seeing what the show is capable of and it is really great entertainment. That is UNTIL it gets stopped by the clowns.

Daniel and Wayne are the two characters whose names are revealed to the audience. I had to look up the names of the other performers. Daniel and Wayne are both great at what they do and are (to me) obviously highly skilled actor/dancer clowns. It is the show that forces them to be annoying characters.

This is foot juggler Vanessa Alvarez. She's great too. Awesome, in fact, and swell to look at. But her act and costume reminded me that vaudeville might at any moment degenerate into a girly show. Not that there's anything wrong with that...but here's a highly-skilled performer--world-class talent even!--and I'm looking at her scantily-clad spread legs...maybe it's just me...

This is either acrobat/pole dancer Dima Shine or Russian hand balancer Dmitry Bulkin. The man-on-the-pole who performed the night I was there was nothing short of incredible, but neither the Cirque nor the Web told me exactly what his name is.

I couldn't find a photo of gymnast/balancers Jeff Retzlanff and Kelsey Wiens, but I thought their routine was breathtaking.

The show also features vocalist Alexis Sims, sister-brother tap dance duo, Joseph and Josette Wiggan, singer-actor-dancers Robyn Baltzer, Alex Ellis, Adrienne Jean Fisher, DeWitt Fleming Jr., Luke Hawkins, Kathleen Hennessey, Adrienne Reid, Anthony J. Russo, Melissa Schott, and Steven T. Williams.

Plus a really great band! Band Leader Robert Cookman directs the Banana Shpeel band featuring drummer Iohann Laliberté, bassist Bobby Brennan, multi-instumentalist James Campagnola (who mostly plays keyboards in this show), cellist Peter Sachon and a horn section composed of Roland Barber on trombone, Jean-François Ouellet on saxophone and Scott Steen on trumpet.

I had two main motivations for writing a review: one was that I wanted to have a written record of the names of all the great performers. The Cirque's website didn't tell me who these people are, so I found as many names and photos as I could. These people deserve credit.

My second reason for writing this review is to say the long version of: "Parts of Banana Shpeel were AWESOME!!! Other parts...meh."

All in all, this show is full of wonderful performers who are trapped in a show that holds them back from their potential. The clowns are great, but in the context of the show, they are forced to be annoying. The circus performers are spectacular, but in the context of the show, they're unknown bit-players.

On closer examination, Banana Shpeel is camp: it pokes fun at its own art form. It presents a vaudeville show as a way of displaying the inherent evils of the vaudeville form. It attempts to do to vaudeville what Little Shop of Horrors did to movie musicals: it tries to make fun of itself and let the audience in on the joke.

I get it.

But where Little Shop of Horrors succeeded, Banana Shpeel fails. LSoH let its talent shine. Shpeel holds its talent back.

I wouldn't have gone to Banana Shpeel if I hadn't gotten in for free. As it was, it was an enjoyable night with great friends. If I had gone alone and paid to get in, I'd have been tempted to ask for my money back.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Personality Test

This test is posted here for informational purposes only. You may read and answer the questions if you wish--including copying and pasting it elsewhere--but no personal information will be gathered here and no results will be given.

To be clear: this test is here for YOUR information and entertainment ONLY

1) Do you make thoughtless remarks or accusations which later you regret?

2) When others are getting rattled, do you remain fairly composed?

3) Do you browse through railway timetables, directories, or dictionaries just for pleasure?

4) When asked to make a decision, would you be swayed by your like or dislike of the personality involved?

5) Do you intend two or less children in your family even though your health and income will permit more?

6) Do you get occasional twitches of your muscles, when there is no logical reason for it?

7) Would you prefer to be in a position where you did not have the responsibilities of making decisions?

8) Are your actions considered unpredictable by other people?

9) Do you consider more money should be spent on social security?

10) Do other people interest you very much?

11) Is your voice monotonous, rather than varied in pitch?

12) Do you normally let the other person start the conversation?

13) Are you readily interested in other people's conversations?

14) Would the idea of inflicting pain on game, small animals or fish prevent you from hunting or fishing?

15) Are you often impulsive in your behavior?

16) Do you speak slowly?

17) Are you usually concerned about the need to protect your health?

18) Does an unexpected action cause your muscles to twitch?

19) Are you normally considerate in your demands on your employees, relatives or pupils?

20) Do you consider that you could give a valid "snap judgment"?

21) Do your past failures still worry you?

22) Do you find yourself being extra-active for periods lasting several days?

23) Do you resent the efforts of others to tell you what to do?

24) Is it normally hard for you to "own up and take the blame"?

25) Do you have a small circle of close friends, rather than a large number of friends, speaking acquaintances?

26) Is your life a constant struggle for survival?

27) Do you often sing or whistle just for the fun of it?

28) Are you considered warm-hearted by your friends?

29) Would you rather give orders than take them?

30) Do you enjoy telling people the latest scandal about your associates?

31) Could you agree to strict discipline?

32) Would the idea of making a complete new start cause you much concern?

33) Do you make efforts to get others to laugh and smile?

34) Do you find it easy to express your emotions?

35) Do you refrain from complaining when the other person is late for an appointment?

36) Are you sometimes considered by others a "spoilsport"?

37) Do you consider there are other people who are definitely unfriendly toward you and work against you?

38) Would you admit you were wrong just to "keep the peace"?

39) Do you have only a few people of whom you are really fond?

40) Are you rarely happy, unless you have a special reason?

41) Do you "circulate around" at a social gathering?

42) Do you take reasonable precaution to prevent accidents?

43) Does the idea of talking in front of people make you nervous?

44) If you saw an article in a shop obviously mistakenly marked lower than its correct price, would you try to get it at that price?

45) Do you often feel that people are looking at you or talking about you behind your back?

46) Are you "always getting into trouble"?

47) Have you any particular hate or fear?

48) Do you prefer to be an onlooker rather than participate in any active sport?

49) Do you find it easy to be impartial?

50) Have you a definitely set standard of courteous behavior in front of other members of your family?

51) Can you "start the ball rolling" at a social gathering?

52) Would you "buy on credit" with the hope that you can keep up the payments?

53) Do you get an after-reaction when something unexpected such as an accident or other disturbing incident takes place?

54) Do you consider the good of all concerned rather than your own personal advantages?

55) When hearing a lecturer, do you sometimes experience the idea that the speaker is referring entirely to you?

56) Does "external noise" rarely interfere with your concentration?

57) Are you usually "up-to-date" on everyday affairs?

58) Can you confidently plan and work towards carrying out an event in six months time?

59) Do you consider the modern "prisons without bars system" doomed to failure?

60) Do you tend to be careless?

61) Do you ever get a "dreamlike" feeling toward life when it all seems unreal?

62) Do you speedily recover from the effects of bad news?

63) When you criticize - do you at the same time try to encourage?

64) Are you normally considered "cold"?

65) Are your opinions insufficiently important to tell other people?

66) Are you so self-assured that sometimes you annoy others?

67) Do you keep "close contact" on articles of yours which you have loaned to friends?

68) Do you enjoy activities of your own choosing?

69) Does emotional music have quite an effect on you?

70) Do you completely condemn a person because he is rival or opponent in some aspect of your relations with him?

71) Do you often "sit and think" about death, sickness, pain and sorrow?

72) Are you perturbed at the idea of loss of dignity?

73) Are you always collecting things which "might be useful"?

74) Would you criticize faults and point out the bad points on someone else's character or handiwork?

75) Are you openly appreciative of beautiful things?

76) Do you sometimes give away articles which strictly speaking do not belong to you?

77) Do you greet people effusively?

78) Do you often ponder on previous misfortunes?

79) Are you sometimes considered forceful in your actions and opinions?

80) Do you accept criticism easily and without resentment?

81) Are you usually undisturbed by "noises off" when you are trying to rest?

82) Are you likely to be jealous?

83) Do you tend to put off doing things and then discover it is too late?

84) Do you prefer to abide by the wishes of others rather than seek to have your own way?

85) Do you find it easy to get yourself started on a project?

86) Do you bite your fingernails or chew the end of your pencil?

87) Do you "turn up the volume" of your emotions just to create an effect?

88) If we were invading another country, would you feel sympathetic towards conscientious objectors in this country?

89) Are there some things about yourself on which you are touchy?

90) Do you have few interests and activities that are your own choice?

91) Do you ever get a single thought which hangs around for days?

92) Are you a slow eater?

93) Can you be a stabilizing influence when others get panicky?

94) Would you stop and find out whether a person needed help even though they had not directly asked you for it?

95) Are you prejudiced in favor of your own school, college, club or team, etc.?

96) Do you pay your debts and keep your promises when it is possible?

97) Do you sleep well?

98) Would you use corporal punishment on a child aged ten if it refused to obey you?

99) Do you prefer to take a passive role in any club or organization to which you belong?

100) Are you logical and scientific in your thinking?

101) Does the youth of today have more opportunity than that of a generation ago?

102) Do you throw things away only to discover that you need them later?

103) Would you give up easily on a given course if it were causing you a considerable amount of inconvenience?

104) Do you "wax enthusiastic" about only a few subjects?

105) Do you rarely suspect the actions of others?

106) Do you sometimes wonder if anyone really cares about you?

107) Do you turn down responsibility because you doubt your fitness to cope?

108) Do you sometimes feel compelled to repeat some interesting item or tidbit?

109) Do you tend to exaggerate a justifiable grievance?

110) Is your facial expression varied rather than set?

111) Do you usually need to justify or back up an opinion once stated?

112) Do you openly and sincerely admire beauty in other people?

113) Would it take a definite effort on your part to consider the subject of suicide?

114) Would you consider yourself energetic in your attitude toward life?

115) Would a disagreement affect your general relationship with another person?

116) Does a minor failure on your part rarely trouble you?

117) Do you sometimes feel that you talk too much?

118) Do you smile much?

119) Are you easily pleased?

120) When met with direct opposition would you still seek to have your own way rather than give in?

121) Provided the distance were not too great, would you still prefer to ride than walk?

122) Do you ever get disturbed by the noise of the wind or a "house settling down"?

123) Is your opinion influenced by looking at things from the standpoint of your experiences, occupation or training?

124) Do you often make tactless blunders?

125) Are you suspicious of people who ask to borrow money from you?

126) Are your decisions swayed by personal interests?

127) Can you get quite enthusiastic over "some simple little thing"?

128) Do you frequently take action even though you know your own good judgment would indicate otherwise?

129) Are you in favor of color bar and class distinction?

130) Are you aware of any habitual physical mannerisms such as pulling your hair, nose, ears, or such like?

131) Can you quickly adapt and make use of new conditions and situations even though they may be difficult?

132) Do some noises "set your teeth on edge"?

133) Can you see the other fellow's point of view when you wish to?

134) Do you go to bed when you want to, rather than "by the clock"?

135) Do the "petty foibles" of others make you impatient?

136) Do children irritate you?

137) Are you less talkative than your associates?

138) Do you usually carry out assignments promptly and systematically?

139) Would you assist a fellow traveler rather than leave it to the officials?

140) When voting, do you vote the same party ticket straight rather than studying the candidates and issues?

141) Do you frequently dwell on your past illnesses or painful experiences?

142) Do you get very ill at ease in disordered surroundings?

143) Do you usually criticize a film or show that you see or a book that you read?

144) When recounting some amusing incident can you easily imitate the mannerisms or the dialect in the original incident?

145) In subjects about which you are not expert, are your own ideas of sufficient importance as to tell others?

146) Do you have a tendency to tidy up a disorder of somebody else's household?

147) Can you accept defeat easily without the necessity of "swallowing your disappointment"?

148) Do you often feel depressed?

149) Are you ever ill at ease in the company of children?

150) Do you get frustrated at not being able to do something rather than finding a substitute activity or system?

151) Are you sometimes completely unable to enter the spirit of things?

152) Do you rarely express your grievances?

153) Do you work in "spurts", being relatively inactive and then furiously active for a day or two?

154) Does the number of uncompleted jobs you have on hand bother you?

155) Do people enjoy being in your company?

156) Could you allow someone to finish those "final two words" in a crossword puzzle without interfering?

157) Do you consider the best points of most people and only rarely speak slightingly of them?

158) Do you laugh or smile quite readily?

159) Are you definite and emphatic in voice and manner?

160) Are you effusive only to close friends if at all?

161) Are your interests and fields of knowledge so important as to give little time for anything else?

162) Would you like to "start a new activity" in the area in which you live?

163) Would you make the necessary actions to kill an animal in order to put it out of pain?

164) Is it easy for you to relax?

165) Do you have little regret on past misfortunes and failures?

166) Does the idea of fear or apprehension give you a physical reaction?

167) Can you trust the decision of your judgment in an emotional situation in which you are involved?

168) Could someone else consider that you were really active?

169) Do you find it hard to get started on a task that needs to be done?

170) Are you opposed to the "probation system" for criminals?

171) Do you spend much time on needless worries?

172) In a disagreement do you find it hard to understand how the other person fails to see your side, and thus agree with you?

173) Do you cope with everyday problems of living quite well?

174) Are you usually truthful to others?

175) Would you rather "wait for something to happen" as opposed to you causing it?

176) Do you spend too freely in relation to your income?

177) Can you take a "calculated risk" without too much worry?

178) If you were involved in a slight car accident, would you really take trouble to see that any damage you did was made good?

179) Do others push you around?

180) Do you make allowances for your friends where with others you might judge more severely?

181) Do you often ponder over your own inferiority?

182) Do people criticize you to others?

183) Are you embarrassed by a hearty greeting such as a kiss, hug, or pat on the back, if done in public?

184) Do you frequently not do something you want to do because of other people's desires?

185) Are you sometimes convinced of the correctness of your opinions about a subject even though you are not an expert?

186) Do you often find yourself "going off in all directions at once"?

187) Do your acquaintances seem to think more of your abilities than you do?

188) Is the idea of death or even reminders of death abhorrent to you?

189) Having settled an argument out do you continue to feel disgruntled for a while?

190) Are you friendly in voice, attitude, and expression?

191) Does life seem rather vague and unreal to you?

192) Do you often feel upset about the fate of war victims and political refugees?

193) Do "mere acquaintances" appeal to you for aid or advice in their personal difficulties?

194) If you lose an article, do you get the idea that "someone must have stolen or mislaid it"?
195) If you thought that someone was suspicious of you and your actions, would you tackle them on the subject rather than leaving them to work it out?

196) Do you sometimes feel that your age is against you (too young or too old)?

197) Do you have spells of being sad and depressed for no apparent reason?

198) Do you do much grumbling about conditions you have to face in life?

199) Do you tend to hide your feelings?

200) Do you consider you have many warm friends?