The Da Vinci Syndrome

Introduction

mona-lisa-leonardo-da-vinci-la-gioconda-oil-painting-40997.jpeg     Ok, maybe this is not a real malady, but there is a reason it is named, even if only in urban legend, after Leonardo Da Vinci. He is a man revered as a genius, brilliant, and talented. He is often spoken of as the premier Renaissance man. He was a sculptor, painter, engineer, and inventor, but he is also known to history as a man who often left projects undone or took longer than needed to complete.

Once, a large amount of bronze was donated to him to complete a cast of a horse as a tribute. It would have been the third largest equestrian statue of his time. He never completed it. War was raging in Europe, and the battle was getting closer, so the bronze was used for making cannons for the defense of the city. Of this very cast, Michelangelo, Da Vinci’s contemporary, allegedly implied that Da Vinci would never complete it.

Pope Leo X commented of Da Vinci, “This man will never accomplish anything! He thinks of the end before the beginning.” Unfortunately, Da Vinci had to be threatened by many of the people he contracted with to finish the project or find his funds cut off. So was Da Vinci’s reputation.

According to the Free Online Dictionary, Medical Section, the definition of the Da Vinci Syndrome or DVS is thus:

“A popular term for a possible “condition” that may affect a highly creative person who gets new idea and visions faster than he or she can implement them, or even fully record or describe, leading  them to constantly start new projects without finishing the old ones.”

The Symptoms

Hmm. As I explored this further, I could not find this listed as an actual medical condition with diagnosed symptoms. However, as a fellow sufferer, I feel I am qualified to offer some possible indications and side effects of the condition. Some of these are based on the above-listed definition, some from personal experience, and some from “research” into this malady. See if any of these apply to you or someone you know.

  1. Highly creative
  2. Loves learning something new, has an inquisitive mind
  3. Has many interests
  4. Has many ideas
  5. Starts many projects
  6. Leaves projects undone
  7. Wants to make sure projects are completed correctly
  8. Sometimes cannot sleep at night because they just cannot get their brain to shut pexels-photo-959286.jpegdown
  9. Lose interest in projects if they lose their challenge…. Squirrel!
  10. Are frustrated if they forget their ideas or when reminded of their unfinished projects

Though this is not a complete list, it does serve as a starting foundation, and identifying a problem or condition is ninety percent of the cure. So, what is one to do in combating this syndrome? One option is to put it off until you can do it right. For example, I thought about finishing this article later when I was able to come up with a better answer, but that would be enabling myself to continue down this DVS road. The struggle is real. I’m just saying.

There is help

Here are my suggestions to combat, or help your loved ones combat DVS:green-attraction-war-museum.jpg

  1. Accept that this is how God made you. He has a reason for it.
  2. Write down your ideas as they come to you. If you can’t sleep, write down enough of what is in your head to get your mind clear enough to sleep. (That is what I am doing right now, even though I have to get up at 5:00 am, and it is midnight).
  3. Find time to think. Your thoughts will ruminate in your brain. If you take time to be still and ponder your ideas, then you will strip away all the dead wood and keep the good stuff.
  4. Realize that just because you think it is a grand idea that not everyone else will, because it really might not be.
  5. Set goals and stick to them. Review them regularly and get rid of unrealistic ones.
  6. Break the big tasks down into small tasks and stay with it until it is done, even if it is in small increments. Focus on one task at a time. The way you cover a roof is one shingle at a time (I don’t eat elephants, so I never really liked that analogy). Another one is, you cover a floor one tile at a time.
  7. Set a deadline for it to be done and stick to it.
  8. Set a reward to celebrate the achievement.
  9. Realize that completion will take hard work, but it will be worth it.
  10. Learn to say no.

Yes, there was a bit of whimsical and creative license in the way I wrote this article. It was in no wise meant to make fun of anyone in particular – well, maybe myself. If this hasn’t helped you in some way, maybe it successfully brought a smile to your face. If that was the case, then I successfully completed that project. Of course, I don’t know if you don’t tell me, especially if you put it off to a better time.

Why I Blog

What’s in a name?

You may wonder why the title “The Salty Eclectic?” Good question ( I like good questions). The overarching theme of my life is: I am a Christian. One with varied interests and likes. I see God’s world full of color and everything is beautiful in its own way (I think Ray Stevens was right). God designed this world with variety and creativity. We are to experience all that He meant for us.

Salty

food-kitchen-cooking-spices.jpgIn this world, Jesus meant for us to be like salt. Salt adds flavor to something already good and can make the bad more palatable. Salt also is a purifier. I personally like salt (see Why I Love Salt). Christians are to be all three.

One in a million

I once heard it said that since we are all one in a million that would mean there are 7,000 people just like us. I have also heard said the theme of certain people’s lives is that they have a diversity of interests, creativities, experiences, and knowledge. I couldn’t think of a better description of my life. And with this thinking, there must be at least 7,000 people who fit that description as well. They are eclectic and their diversity is the salt of life for them and for me.

My Goal

ice-hockey-goalie-goal-sport-39016.jpegIt is my aim to be the salt in this world by sharing the insights by my place in it. I believe that I am here at this time and this generation for a purpose. All my writing reflects this. I cannot stress this enough to people. I know it is a cliché, but it is true: If I can touch but one life through my writing; if I can bring one soul to a renewed life with God; if I have brought one person inspiration, then I have succeeded at my goal.

Why America is Christian in Name Only

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The title sounds a little pretentious, maybe even a little bold. A friend sent me a link to a Fox News report called “Where Have All the Christians Gone?” You can do an internet search and find it dated for 2009. (http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2009/09/25/bruce-feiler-christians-americans-gone.html)

The report states the number of people claiming to be Christians is dropping. Along those same lines, not too long ago our current president stated America is not a Christian nation. Could he be right? Honestly, I think so. Here’s why:

The Situation

The current generation of Americans wants to be entertained more than anything else – at work, at school, and at church. This is not unlike most every other civilization that has been decimated from the inside out. Part of this “wanting to be entertained” is due to apathetic and self-centered attitudes that revolve around an “it’s my right” mentality. Most Americans focus on what is rightfully theirs. We don’t have a problem telling someone what we think of them or what they have done. We don’t mind telling others what our opinions are and we don’t mind making it known when something belongs to us. However, “don’t tell me what you think of me or what I have done and certainly don’t tell me what your opinion is. How dare you!!”

The Problem

Adrian Rogers, well know evangelist and orator, once said that he believed the basic problem with America is the lack of civility. Americans, he explained, don’t even perform the basic acts of kindness or consideration for others. Is he right? Look at the models of society that is held up before us on a regular basis as the brightest, most talented, and best looking people in the world. Surely these people are the cream of the crop. It begs the question: “Does Hollywood and Washington reflect society as it is or does it influence it?” What civility or kindness do most of them espouse?

When selfish and apathetic attitudes are my primary focus, then being a Christian and all that it entails is not. Jesus is just too demanding today, one might say. No, not true. He is no more demanding today then he was when he walked the earth. He was too demanding for the selfish and apathetic then as well. Christ is not too demanding for a particular time, but for the selfish and apathetic, which is indicative of our time and our country. Just because someone calls themselves a Christian does not mean they are Christian in the truest sense. Jesus said, “Not everyone who calls me Lord shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

What’s in a Name?

We have bigger problems in America than naming ourselves a Christian in some survey. No, if America is a Christian nation it is name only. The attitudes, actions, and beliefs of her citizenry, which is shown in such surveys and studies, shows that America on the whole does not operate on Christian ideals. Our governments do not operate based on Christian principles. One look at Hollywood and/or Washington and/or most of our newspapers, large and small is proof enough. After all, who funds Hollywood by supporting these actors/ directors, and who is it that elects these officials to office and who is it that appears on the front page of the papers? We the people.

We the People

Psalms 33:12 says “Blessed is the nation whose god is the Lord.” We have been a blessed nation for over 240 years. Yet, we the people have let our Christian heritage erode and no longer hold accountable those in authority over us. The same reason for the decay is the same solution for the decay: we the people. When we get back to the basics of Christianity and run our daily affairs in a Christian manner with Christian principles, then our governments, local, state, and federal will operate on those principles and it can be said again of our nation that we are truly a Christian nation.

Out of the Fog: Ode to the C.S.S. Alabama

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On June 19, 1864,  commerce raider, the Confederate States Ship (CSS) Alabama was sunk off the coast of Cherbourg, France. She had an illustrious career of effectively badgering and frustrating the Union navy for several years. Her short history mirrors the fight of the Confederate States’ quest for independence.

**Don’t have time to read? Click on the audio above to listen to the author read this poem.**

 

Out of the fog, thick as night

Guns are readied for a fight

Prey caught in helpless flight

Crossing sea foam capped with white

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
On her prey she does bear down

Seeking silver, gold and crown

Across the vessel a warning sound

Onward comes the Southern hound

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Do they run or do they stay?

Do they die or bounties pay?

Perchance to live another day?

Quickly! Death cometh wearing gray

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Pockets are lighter, but lives are saved

Death and burning have been staved

Only loot and pillage craved

Bounty counted while Dixie’s waved

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Ah, Confederate prize yet again

Paid to Semmes and his men

Will terror of the sea ever end?

Sweet victory sails into the wind

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Why this commerce raider? Tell, what for?

She’s a Mavor pirate, no less no more.

Feeding rebellious chests of war

A lustrous guardian of hell’s double door.

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
She was like the South, fast and furious,

The cause she hailed a little spurious.

Many a merchant Yankee left furious.

Less drawn to battle, more to luxurious.

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Too little in skill, too much in fame,

Preying on unarmed and the lame,

Yankee cursing at sound of her name,

Men un-battle tested when it came.

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
One day off the coast of Cherbourg, France,

Accepting the invitation to the dance.

With a little skill, lots of hope in chance.

She came with great pomp and circumstance.

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
From Kerrsage broadsides cannon roared

Hot lead through Rebel mainsail soared

Sweet Union victory at last was scored

Damage final, complete, they’ll not board

The C.S.S. Alabama.

 
Mourn the end of this marauder,

This profitable Southern daughter,

The Gray Ghost, now lying underwater.

Should we sing her praises, shall we laud her?

The C.S.S. Alabama

 
Eight gongs were sounded on the bell,

The South’s great tide also, losing swell.

A yet oncoming quiet of Rebel yell.

A great symbol of cause remember well.

The C.S.S. Alabama.

Why I Like Salt

Salt
Click on our Blogcast player below for an audio version of this blog.

 

Saltaholic or supertaster?

I like salt. Those who truly know me know this fact about me. I have liked salt since I could remember. People have stopped chastising me about the use of too much salt. I simply raise my right hand and say, “Hi, my name is T.J. Allen and I am a saltaholic” though I might really be a supertaster.  I used to have salt cravings to the point I would pour salt in my hand and lick it. I would occasionally put the little salt packets from fast food places in my mouth and let them dissolve. It was a little different take on just a little pinch between the cheek and gums. My wife has accused me of salting everything. She has suspected me of salting my coffee (my second favorite thing). I haven’t, though I hear it will make it less bitter. My older brother, Bill is a salt lover too, but I feel not to the level I am. Still I think maybe he is to blame for my addiction.

Where it all began.

When we were younger, Bill and I would break off chunks of salt from the salt block our parents put out in the pasture for the horses and the cattle. The animals would lick it and it would create pointed corners which we cheerfully broke off and consumed. I did not do this deed on my own. My earliest recollections of salt recons started with following Bill’s lead. One time mom caught us breaking off the salt and demanded to know what we were doing. When we explained, she scolded us and explained that the animals licked the blocks and it was unhealthy and nasty. It hadn’t hurt us so far, but mom knows best. So we decided to be more sanitary and wash our new chunks of salt; where else but in the horse watering trough. It didn’t occur to our boyish brains that the horse trough with its green algae growing on the sides and backwash may have been just a little less sanitary than the salt licks. Hey, we survived.

I tried to quit, I really did.

When I was in basic training in the Army I decided to start eating right, whatever that meant. I had been told numerous times of the dangers of salt consumption, so I started there. I swore off salt once and for all. This was a fresh start and I reasoned I would gain enough salt from the master chefs in the mess hall. After all, it cost one million dollars to build this wonderful eating facility and surely only the best would be in the kitchen. That’s what our Drill Sergeants had told us over and over, so it must be true. To a new recruit the Drill Sergeant’s words are gospel.

The problem to this no-salt approach appeared two days later when I woke up with feet so swollen I couldn’t put my boots on. It was off to sick call for the day. I was interrogated by the physician’s assistant concerning my walking, exercise routine, and had I done anything different lately. I responded that other than joining the Army, I had stopped using salt. The PA scratched his head.

“You stopped using salt?” he asked.

“Yessir. I wanted to start eating healthy and I was told all my life that too much salt was bad for me.” I said.

“Hmm. That’s all you have been doing different?”

“Yessir. That’s all.”

“Hmm. Go back to using salt and let’s see how that goes.”

“The same amount as I used to use?” I asked.

“Yes. Go back to the same amount.” He said. I must have had that “are you sure” look about me since he repeated the command. With a “yessir”, I was out of there and on light duty until I could put my boots back on. Several days and salt fixes later my feet stopped swelling and I was back in action; boots on the feet and on the ground.

Salt, it’s not for everyone.

A few years ago my wife discovered from her research (Woman’s World and such) that there are minerals in ocean water you can only get from there. (See this article from Virginia Hopkins Health Watch). These minerals, plus the amount of natural salts in the water are good for rinsing of the sinuses, it was said. Sounded good to me. I have constant sinus issues and I was up for anything to keep my battle won. As a dutiful husband I accompanied my wife out into the Gulf of Mexico to retrieve this mineral laden miracle of sinus healing. I suspect it was just a ploy to make an extra trip to the beach, yet we went. We made sure we were far enough out into the gulf to capture the best; as if we knew what the best was. It had to be where no one was swimming or sand was stirring. Forget the idea that fish and other sea creatures live and die and void in the water. Hey, can’t be much different than a horse trough, right?

That night we tried our natural sea salt rinse. The next morning, I could hardly breathe at all, much less through my nose. The condition worsened into an all-out sinus infection that drove me to see my now familiar ENT. I explained everything to him about the sea salt and how it seemed to help my wife, but me, not so much.

“T.J.” he said, “There is a small population of people that have a reversed reaction to salt sinus rinses. Though this remedy works for the vast majority, it doesn’t work at all for some, and a small percentage has an adverse reaction. You are part of that small percentage where salt rinses affect you negatively.”

“Are you saying I am not normal?” I asked.

“Salt or no salt, I would never say you are normal.” He said with a smile.

“Thanks, Doc. You’re so reassuring.” I said. “Don’t quit your day job.”

“Oh, I won’t. It pays too well. You can check out at the receptionist desk.”

You are the salt of the earth.

My name is T.J. Allen and I like salt. In Matthew 5:13 Jesus says we are the salt of the earth. I think He especially had people like me in mind. Well, maybe not. It is still one of my favorite scripture verses. I just like salt; iodized, seasoned, rock, Himalayan, or block. I like salt. I especially like being the salt of the earth. Salt makes food zesty and flavorful. We too are to add the zest and flavor of God to the lives of others as we allow Him to make us such. Salt also helps by promoting healing. We are to live in such a way that our actions and our words heal. Go salt your world today. Someone out there will like you more.