Henrietta Maddox Webloner

Is there a cure for stupidity?
December 14, 2011, 10:56 am
Filed under: Epiphany, journalism, Telling stories, Trivia | Tags: , , , , , ,

I saw this on The Daily Post (Topic #331) and thought it was an excellent question. The full question asked was:

Is there a cure for stupidity? If you had a million dollars to reduce stupidity where you live, how would you spend it?

Stupidity is the flip side of intelligence. Anyone who has grazed the basic rules of psychology will know that there is not one definition of intelligence and the same can be said of stupidity – leading to the question: What is it? There are many different kinds: all of which can be innate, assumed or reactive (e.g. from drinking, grief, stress etc).

Just because you are stupid in one way, doesn’t mean you are in another. Most of us are born with the gift of oblivion or lack of understanding in some form or shape. For instance, a rocket scientist may have difficulty communicating with people on any other topic than science or a cynical lawyer could find it hard to believe in a loving, altruistic gesture from another. However, in most cases there is always a chance to raise awareness for our faults – if we can learn to collaborate and question things.

If I had a million dollars to reduce stupidity in Hove, East Sussex I would concentrate on innate and reactive stupidity and spend it on creating more places for meet-up groups. Let me explain myself: Brighton & Hove is a very progressive place already. Known as the gay capital of UK, we are all about accepting you for who you are (anything goes unless your a Nazi), partying, yoga and all of the arts. These are just a few things I think of when I think of my home.

However, there are too many places to socialise to drink and not enough late-night hangouts for non-drinkers. My vision is of a massive space with lots of colourful sofas and comfy armchairs, where people can come and meet up with their clubs; find new interests and friends; and learn new things. There would be a long virgin cocktail bar where people could either relax with a virgin Mary or take lessons in bottle-flaring.

As discussed already, anyone can be slower than another (but not stupid) depending on the topic. So there would be mentors who you could always go to for advice. In addition, to relieve stress and increase endorphines (believe to have a powerful influence on intelligence) there would be an equally large dance studio on the second floor with exercise and meditation classes around the clock. Although we already have a great number of these  (in real life) they can be expensive and at awkward times.

There is no cure for stupidity. Like intelligence, humour or beauty, it is subjective. However, there is a way to enhance intelligence by making clean, vibrant living more accesible. Happy people = brighter, smarter people.

The Daily Post

Topic #331:

Is there a cure for stupidity? If you had a million dollars to reduce stupidity where you live, how would you spend it?

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A belated acceptance of the Versatile Blogger Award
December 14, 2011, 12:11 am
Filed under: Help Yourself, journalism, Mental Well Being, Physical Health, Trivia, Writing

When I received this award in August (would you believe) from the wonderful Chuck Allen, I had no idea what to write. The requirements of accepting the award are to reveal little known facts about yourself and then pass it on to another wonderful blogger.

To check out Chuck Allen’s random little facts click here. To find out facts about me, read on:

1. I would love to be an agony aunt

I’ve always thought I’d make a great agony aunt. After finishing my course in magazine journalism and completing some work experience at Brighton’s eco-mag Rocks, I was lucky enough to get an internship at Scarlet magazine. I hoped the experience with this leading mag in sex & relationships would get me on the route to success. However, it ended up sending me in a very different direction: creative writing.

2. Hot and steamy beginnings

My first short stories were in the genre of erotica. I didn’t attempt to write anything else until 2009. Most of my stories were for Scarlet but I also managed to get one of my stories published in a book called Ultimate Decadence – all proceeds still go to the Macmillan Fund for Breast Cancer. It was part of a sub-charity called Burlesque Against Breast Cancer.

3. Soap maker

Like @chuckallen I enjoy taking up new hobbies and on a constant mission to better myself. I believe this is a typical writer/artist thing to do because we love to experience new things and find new material. At the moment I am learning to make soap using some skills I have picked up over the years from mixing essential oils. So much fun! Next step is sculpting it.

4. Self-help lover

Whether I read the whole thing, the contests page or just the cover, I LOVE self help books. Love bettering myself and finding out new things to help others. My favourite one in the past few years have been A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, expressing the need to live in the moment. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus was the first one I read (I think) but I only read half of it because it tends to say the same thing in every chapter: let women talk their stress out, let men have their space. Not much more to it.

5. Secret Cinema obsession

I suddenly get very obsessive when I go to the cinema. I like to get there early so I don’t miss any trailers. Also, I like to sit in the centre of the fifth row because of some advert I saw over 15 years ago when the actor says, “The girl in the middle of the fifth row….” – I can’t even remember why or what he says 😉


I would like to give this award to @Helenscribbles. This will make her a versatile blog award winner THREE times!! Well done Helen. Helen’s website is filled with fascinating and unique stories. All with wonderful twists, interesting scenes and intriguing dialogue. I especially recommend her Flash Fiction and Tuesday Serials.

Right, I’m very tired – so off to bed. Hope this all makes sense. Thanks again Chuck Allen for my award. 🙂

Play it again, Arthur.
May 15, 2011, 9:21 pm
Filed under: Money, Trivia

People often say you get what you pay for. After seeing two plays last weekend, I would have to disagree.

On Saturday 7 May, Children’s Hour was playing its last day at The Comedy Theatre in Piccadilly Circus, directed by Ian Rickman and starring Ellen Burstyn, Keira Knightley and Elizabeth Moss. Although I’ve never been a fan of Keira Knightley, I hoped that her talent may be more for theatre than cinema. Admittedly, this was the best thing I’ve ever seen her it but her Boston accent flagged a little and if she got upset her British vowels echoed through. Althought not flawless, this play had some top-grade aspects.

The set design complemented the bleak plot with its wintery, cold blue tones and wooden floors. And could easily switch from the school room to the grandma’s house. By doing small slick manouvres such as pulling the cover from the sofa and the tatty rug from the elegant one, no one lost their suspension of disbelief.

The actor’s use of space seemed well choreographed. The children were all over each other with over-zealous playfulness. Barely teenagers, they were free from inhibition with innocence only just beginning to fade. And when the affects of malicious lies began to happen, people stood further and further apart. Another brilliant touch was only slightly dimming the lights for a set change and having actors mime at the forefront what was happening inbetween scenes. For instance, when naughty teenager, Mary (Bryony Hannah) runs away from home. You can see her borowing money from her classmates and waiting to the train station under a spotlight whilst backstage members – dressed in 30’s costumes – change the space around.

The problems came in the second half when it lost momentum. Perhaps, Moss and Knightley were rushing their final performance or maybe it was a recurring problem but the climax felt more like they were following stage directions. This was mainly due to a lack of tension between Moss and Knightley’s characters. Not to mention, a fizzling chemistry between them. Exit Moss, gun shot sound effect, she’s dead….enter Burstyn’s character filled with regret at all the hurt she has caused. At this point Keira finally showed the perfect mixture of shock and anger. But it was too late. The top-rate performance we had wanted was during the climax and that had passed. And we left without that buzz you should have when leaving the theatre; and with sore knees from squishy seats that should not be endured by any audience member.

Leg room was in abundance at the New Venture Theatre (NVT) the following night, sitting in £8 to watch an amateur dramatics production of All My Sons, by Arthur Miller. A well-known tale of the destructiveness of the American Dream, this was an impressive piece of theatre. From beginning to end, the actors gave you their full energy, even wiping their tears away as they bowed to their appreciative audience. Every conversation flowed, all the character were believable and the build up to the final intense moments worked perfectly with a powerful use of silence.

I am guessing that the set designers did not have the budget of Children’s Hour but it must have been led by someone resourceful. There was astro-turf  for the garden and a meticulously laid gravel path leading up to it. And for the night scene they’d hung fairy lights. Not too many, but enough to give the impression of stars. The costumes, hair and makeup were stunning and perfectly fitted with the era.

All in all an enjoyable weekend that makes you think a lot about art and creativity. Something that you can find the best of, when you least expect it.

Back to basics for staying warm

With gas and electric bills rumoured to go up £500 a year, you’re going to want to cut down on turning on the heating, using loads of hot water and spending hours on roasts. So here are my top tips for staying warm this winter without turning the heating on:

  • Hot Water Bottle – you can get them from Primark for £3. They are great for extra warmth in bed or on the sofa while you watch a film; when your ill or just want to get cosy with a glass of red wine.
  • Slippers – can also get from Primark for about £4. Keeping your feet warm is so important – it just makes sense.
  • Thick Warm Blanket – one word: snug
  • Cuppa Tea (use from the same kettle water as the bottle to save on energy) – if you want to feel even better make it a herbal one.

Will you pay or will I go now?

A psychological study recording salaries of 12,000 people over the past 20 years has found that men who hold traditional views get paid more than £5,000 extra than the modern man. Yes, the Journal of Applied Psychology findings imply what we have all suspected at some point: “The Man” still wants us women at home chained to the kitchen sink surrounded by screaming children.

But if you’re more of a Candace Bushnell than a Martha Stewart, then don’t be too disheartened. Women who believe in equal rights at work get paid slightly more. But only slightly – clearly, we still have a long way to go.

But where next? Do we just sit and hope things will change? Do we get extreme and suffragette our bosses arses? I don’t think the results mirror the state of society.

Divorce is no longer taboo. We have the lowest divorce rates but we also have the lowest marriage rates too. So many mothers are left holding the baby now. Whilst their men go off with other women to start afresh. Women need more pay. We can’t rely on the hunter-gatherer anymore.