(under construction)

Week 1- fact Week 2 – perplex Week 3- manhandle Week 4- hazard


“Just give me the facts, ma’m, just the facts.” This is a classic sentence from the old Dragnet TV series about investigating crime in Los Angeles. Sergeant Joe Friday, played by Jack Webb, was an LA police investigator who used the line in multiple episodes. Fact was all that the sergeant wanted his witnesses to give him. He did not want opinion or observations by the witnesses, just facts. It is a good idea to know the facts before running off at the mouth!


“They did it, and that’s a fact.” Any question of fact hinges on its evidence. Fact has four slightly different meanings, but one stands out more than the others: the quality of being actual. Many times we use fact in the sense of “a piece of information presented as having objective reality.” Other uses are a thing done as a feat, a crime or an action. Any fact will live or die by the reality of the evidence presented. Just thinking something is real does not make it a fact!


“NASA is proof that space exploration is now a fact.” Another meaning of fact that might raise some questions is “something that has actual existence.” We might ask, what symptoms or evidence can we observe to answer the question “what is actual existence?” NASA performs the action of putting objects into space. We see periodic evidence of “space junk” that reenters Earth’s atmosphere and burns up. We see astronauts communicating from an object in space and showing us views of earth we cannot otherwise see. To see if a fact is real, look for the evidence!


“His attorney was able to prove the fact of damage.” In this example, we see that “fact” has provided a tangible result. In this case, the fact of damage was able to provide a true piece of information. The attorney was able to use that fact to prove his client had a solid claim and the result was a financial settlement for the damage done. When facts are used wisely, they are able to produce good results!


“This new book on relationships is filled with interesting facts and figures.” In our world today many “experts” are putting out new theories and “ways” to improve relationships. Do not be gullible and swallow everything they say about how a relationship should work. Some ideas are good and some are just warped without a solid basis for what they put in print. Take new “ways” of doing relationships with a grain of salt and fact check as much as you can!

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“Today’s choice of a presidential candidate is very perplexing.” This week’s word is ‘perplex’ which has a Latin origin. It also hints at some of the turmoil that is happening in the choices for president we will have in the coming general election. When you try to sort out the facts about each candidate, it is confusing. If our electoral process works correctly, we will have only one candidate from each party as choices in the November general election. Do your best to resolve what is perplexing about your presidential choices!


“These latest math lessons perplex me.” This example sentence directs us to the most often used meaning of perplex: “to make one unable to grasp something clearly or to think logically and decisively about something.” The second meaning helps to clarify the first meaning: as in “to make intricate or involved.” We see that both meanings apply to our example sentence. Be sure you grasp what is really perplexing to you!


“Questions about the meaning of life have always perplexed humankind.” This is indeed a question that perplexes. But, let’s look at some symptoms of things that perplex. It is when we face life events that we are unable to explain that raise questions that we feel need to be answered. If we cannot find or do not readily see facts or evidence that leads us to an answer, we find ourselves in the arena of being “perplexed.” Some symptoms that are signs of such condition might be worry and uncertainty when you are trying to make an important decision. The condition of ‘perplexity’ adds to the burden of making decisions!


“It was her odd behavior that perplexed her friends.” When we see a person’s actions that are somewhat abnormal it tends to cause confusion. The inquisitive human mind wants answers to things that are out of the norm. In this case, odd behavior, is presenting an issue which is that of irregular actions. It is perplexing to us when we see something that seems illogical and we don’t know the reason for it. Indecision is a frustrating and difficult behavior pattern for us to deal with!


“If you have a relationship that perplexes you, that should raise a red flag.” One rule of a good relationship is that it should be open and without hidden and unclear actions. If one feels the need to hide something from another in a relationship that can create a potential problem. Such problems create an atmosphere of distrust. Lack of openness puts restraints and unneeded burdens that can add perplexities to a relationship. Minimize perplexities by having open relationships!

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“The governor’s security forces manhandled the heckler for his abusive language.” Our word this week is not a very nice one. When used, it has a very negative sense to it. We have seen the results of manhandling in the way some security forces have handled protesters with some of the presidential candidates. It gives us the sense that something is wrong in our society when freedom of speech is so violently resisted by barbaric intruders. To ‘manhandle’ someone is not a good sign!


“The movers manhandled the heavy boxes onto the truck.” This word ‘manhandle’ is an intransitive verb and has two basic senses in meaning: 1. to handle roughly, and 2. to move or manage by human force. The definition is simple, but a couple of synonyms might help in how we use it. These are: maul, maltreat, or rough up. These words amplify the negative way in which ‘manhandle’ is used and there is nothing nice in what it means. Manhandle is usually associated with very bad treatment!


“The boy claimed that he was manhandled by his neighbor.” The evidence in this case would need to be examined, i.e. did the boy have any bruises or evidence of injury? Were there any eyewitnesses to the incident? Without witnesses and any physical evidence, this would be a case of a “verbal” claim. The boy would need to give a precise statement of exactly what happened and how he was ‘manhandled.’ The man would need to do the same. Verbal claims of being “manhandled” should be supported by evidence, not just words!


“The teacher manhandled the unruly child as she took her to the principal’s office.” It is obvious that this child was not going to go to the principal’s office willingly. In this example, the teacher was using human force to get the misbehaving child to her final destination. The child was not voluntarily or by her own consent going to accept discipline for her unruly actions. The teacher was determined to do otherwise even if it meant a little manhandling to achieve the discipline the girl needed!


“If you manhandle your relationship, you will suffer for doing it.” Relationships are sometimes strange things. In normal relationships trying to manhandle the other person will turn out badly. Only abnormal people will tolerate manhandling. It is physically and mentally difficult to tolerate. Be considerate of the relationship and resist trying to ‘manhandle’ demanding circumstances!

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“In today’s putrid political climate, presidential candidates run the hazard of character assassination.” Politically, a candidate is open game for the media to dig up anything from the past that can be presented as a negative. Today’s media is morally corrupt and will use anything – even if they have to invent or pervert – something from that candidate’s past. There is no such thing as HONEST news. Every media source has their own agenda and will do whatever they can to succeed in their goals. News today is very hazardous to your mental health!


“He played like a pro today and avoided the difficult hazard on the 7th hole.” One of the challenges of golf is to avoid the hazards. A ‘hazard’ is one of things that make golf interesting and is also one of the meanings of the word. More precisely, hazard is “a source of danger.” Likewise, another meaning is that of a “chance event.” To gamblers, hazard is “a game of chance like craps played with two dice.” There are many ‘hazards’ in life whether in golf, gambling or risky activities. With preparation you can avoid many of life’s hazards!


“The tumbledown old barn was considered a fire hazard.” Old rundown structures can be a real source of danger. For our children and family members we need to find and remove any such risky areas. Taking proper action beforehand can remove a potential source of heartache and grief. Be responsible and reduce things that are a potential hazard!


“If it was an actual hazard, the sensors built into his uniform would have warned him.” In this example sentence, we see ‘hazard’ used in the sense of a physical danger like when one runs an obstacle course. But there are also hazards that are non-physical that we cannot see with the naked eye. In this case, it requires a lot of mental preparation to identify what might be a hazard. Sci-fi devices like the uniform with sensors might work for physical hazards, but will leave us vulnerable to non-physical dangers. We need to be prepared for both kinds of hazards!


“Any relationship can be subject to a number of hazards.” One wrong word used thoughtlessly can be a hazard to a relationship. Emotions are a part of the human character and emotions can create a minefield of dangers. The things that can be associated with a ‘word’ can inject touchiness in a relationship that may be hard to detect. It is in such emotionally charged words that unknown hazards may exist. Especially in newly formed associations, one needs to develop “a sensitivity” to some words that inject danger in the relationship. Walk softly and be sensitive to “word” hazards!

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