Monday, January 26, 2015


We're all so busy living our lives that we seldom take the time to step back and really look at things.  Not the big stuff upon which our existence depends, but on those millions and millions of trivialities that surround us every minute and yet go ignored. It is these little things which fascinate me. 

"Such as," you ask? Well, such as the following:

I enjoy picking out left-handed people at a play or concert: left handers clap their left hands into their right; right handers clap their right hands into their left.

Tap the lip of a cup lightly with a spoon as you fill the cup with hot water and listen to the change in pitch as the cup fills. (It doesn't work quite as well using cold water, interestingly.)

Lay two sheets of paper in front of you on a desk. Take a pencil in each hand and without concentrating or looking at what you're doing, write your name simultaneously with both. Your dominant hand will, of course, write your name correctly. The other hand will write it backwards.

Runway models always cross one foot slightly in front of the other as they walk. 

Female celebrities have the annoying habit of posing one hand on hip far, far more often than would naturally occur, apparently assuming this to be somehow seductive. It is not.

Notice, the next time you are in a government office, how many of the employees charged with dealing with the public seem completely certain they are the government.

If you've followed my blogs for any length of time, you know of my ongoing ranting about the very real demand that actors in commercials prominently display a wedding ring to subliminally show the viewer that he is a "family man" and therefore can be trusted. Unmarried actors or those who do not normally wear a wedding ring are often actually required to put one on for the commercial. And, again, you will never see an adult male alone in a commercial with a young child unless the man is wearing a wedding ring, lest the viewer think the man is a pedophile.

New York subway cars are almost half again as long as Chicago subway cars and have three sets of doors as opposed to the two sets on Chicago cars. Some modern European subway trains are articulated and have no divisions at all between cars.

The next time you are at a museum featuring classical ancient Egyptian paintings or sculptures, note that statues of standing figures all have their arms rigidly against their sides, their hands clasped into a fist around what appears to be a short stick but which, I realized, is only something to fill the gap between the thumb and clenched fingers.  And all standing figures have their left foot extended beyond their right.

In Egyptian wall paintings, eyes and torsos are always painted as if being viewed head-on, despite the position of the rest of the body. It is very rare to see a body portrayed from the side, or in any other position.

Classical Greek statues have no bridge to the nose...the ridge of the nose is a straight line from forehead to tip.

Etruscan sarcophagi often feature sculptures of the dead propped up on one arm, but always turned to the right, and the right knee often bent and raised slightly. 

How can I...or you...become bored when just opening our eyes and looking at things as though they are being seen for the first time presents such a wealth of things to wonder about and be in awe of? Try it and see.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (


Kage Alan said...

And this, dear sir, is why you write mysteries; because you look, observe, and file away. Most people don't. It's like when I'm amazed by folks who can do a cold reading of a person and make some extremely interesting observations few would consider on their own.

Helena said...

I clapped my hands and did it the wrong way!! But I can remember once clapping for a long time at a play and realising that I could do it another way, so maybe I've been swapping it about ever since.

As well as the hand on hip pose, it seems to be the thing for any woman being photographed to show her outfit (i.e. models. and normal people writing about their clothes) to stand with their toes turned in. Girls posing with their friends do it too. When I first spotted it I thought it was weird, since I can remember people worrying about whether young children were pigeon-toed as they walked (that's what it was called then). I still find it odd, and not very appealing, but it's definitely done on purpose. Is it thought to make their legs look better? Or to look child-like and therefore "sweet"?