Monthly Archives: July 2017

Write Your Story…DNA

DNA Manipulation – A Love Story

Submitted by Patricia Eng , Union City Library member

When I was a kid, I remember watching Lola Falana on a talk show.  She was a Vegas-type entertainer who was popular in the 70’s.  She spoke extensively about choosing a husband to maximize the physical beauty of her children.  Even at age 8, with my crooked teeth and glasses, I thought that was silly and shallow.

While I was in college, I took an anthropology class that required us to read a book called The Selfish Gene. It said something about how we are compelled to make life choices to assure that our genes survive and multiply.  My classmates and I were skeptical and joked about how our genes decided who was hot.  I laughed as I adjusted my glasses, my retainer wire shining as I smiled.

At the age of 28, I was single and starting to feel the bloom of youth fading.  My friend Jinah and I drove down to L.A. seeking adventure and escape from dead end jobs and relationships.  We ended up at a Korean boarding house that she found in the newspaper.  The main house had a communal living room and a kitchen where a huge pot of soup sat on the stove and rice stayed warm in a restaurant sized rice cooker.  When you opened the refrig

erator, a deliciously pungent aroma of garlic and kimchee smacked you in the face.

There were four cozy bedrooms in the main house.  We stayed in one of three make-shift rooms in a converted in-law apartment in the back yard.  The other inhabitants were a mixture of business people and secretive wanderers.  I was the only one who didn’t speak Korean.

One day, Jinah and I were lounging in the living room when a new boarder arrived.  I was immediately attracted to him.  Kwang-Min had big brown eyes and perfectly aligned teeth.  Later I found out he had 20/20 vision.  He was in America seeking business opportunit

ies.  Little did he know that he would find a new life…with me.

It’s been over 20 years since we met.  Our daughter has straight teeth and perfect vision.  Our son has braces and glasses.

 

Redesigning People

 

Submitted by Dennis Smith, Union City Library member

Probably every parent has at some time wished that they could change something about their child.  Parents of children born with a disability surly wish there had been a way to prevent it.  But many parents of healthy “normal” children are not satisfied with them and whish they could have changed something in their child’s make up.

Fathers often wish that their sons were taller, faster, stronger, generally more athletic.  Mothers hope their daughters will be attractive, with nice hair and not prone to weight gain.

Science is close to offering us both, prevention of many congenital disabilities, and perhaps customizing a child to the parent’s preferences.

No one would argue with eliminating a disability.  In a family prone to diabetes, a little genetic adjustment could end it.  Many other birth defects might be circumvented as well.  That would be wonderful if it works, but disastrous if the fix goes wrong.

 

Even if genetic alterations can eliminate some birth defects, it is the “next step” which should concern us.  Should parents be allowed to determine any of their child’s characteristics?

 

Suppose a father is allowed to design his son to be the football player he always wished he had been.  The son grows to be strong, and a fast runner, but his intellect and psychology lead him to pursue a career in music or medicine where his athletic abilities are not important.  A surgeon’s hands need dexterity not size.  What if he developed a love for horse racing?  Linebackers don’t make good jockeys.

Write Your Story @ Union City Library

Join our library group, headed by Bruce Hasse, for an   informal gathering of aspiring writers of all types of genres. Your writing can be memoirs, creative non-fiction, poetry, song lyrics, science fiction, plays,essays, you name it!  We just want to hear what you have written and support each other as we grow as writers.

Third Tuesday of the Month: August 15,  September 19 , and  October 17                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   1 p.m. — 3 p.m.

 

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Write Your Story…Alen Alda’s quest for a better communication

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? : My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Award-winning actor Alan Alda tells the fascinating story of his quest to learn how to communicate better, and to teach others to do the same. With his trademark humor and candor, he explores how to develop empathy as the key factor.

Alan Alda has been on a decades-long journey to discover new ways to help people communicate and relate to one another more effectively. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? is the warm, witty, and informative chronicle of how Alda found inspiration in everything from cutting-edge science to classic acting methods. His search began when he was host of PBS’s Scientific American Frontiers, where he interviewed thousands of scientists and developed a knack for helping them communicate complex ideas in ways a wide audience could understand—and Alda wondered if those techniques held a clue to better communication for the rest of us.

In his wry and wise voice, Alda reflects on moments of miscommunication in his own life, when an absence of understanding resulted in problems both big and small. He guides us through his discoveries, showing how communication can be improved through learning to relate to the other person: listening with our eyes, looking for clues in another’s face, using the power of a compelling story, avoiding jargon, and reading another person so well that you become “in sync” with them, and know what they are thinking and feeling—especially when you’re talking about the hard stuff.

Drawing on improvisation training, theater, and storytelling techniques from a life of acting, and with insights from recent scientific studies, Alda describes ways we can build empathy, nurture our innate mind-reading abilities, and improve the way we relate and talk with others. Exploring empathy-boosting games and exercises, If I Understood You is a funny, thought-provoking guide that can be used by all of us, in every aspect of our lives—with our friends, lovers, and families, with our doctors, in business settings, and beyond.

“Alda uses his trademark humor and a well-honed ability to get to the point, to help us all learn how to leverage the better communicator inside each of us.”—Forbes

“Communicating is at the heart of connectedness. Alda, with his laudable curiosity, has learned something you and I can use right now.”—Charlie Rose

“Sit back and enjoy Alan Alda’s scientific journey of communication.”—Barbara Walters

Write Your Story @ Union City Library

Join our library group, headed by Bruce Hasse, for an   informal gathering of aspiring writers of all types of genres. Your writing can be memoirs, creative non-fiction, poetry, song lyrics, science fiction, plays,essays, you name it!  We just want to hear what you have written and support each other as we grow as writers.

Third Tuesday of the Month: July 18 , August 15, & September 19                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 p.m. — 3 p.m.

 

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