Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Typical "Journalism" Malpractice In One Photo.

Now, the article itself is what you'd expect, feel free to read it (or don't, it's crap) by clicking on the image, but it's the picture that I spotted immediately as a fraud. The commenters were all over it, too: those are cooling towers and the white "smoke" you see is water vapor. That's all. No emissions, no carbon dioxide, or carbon at all. Typical crap yellow journalism from the Independent. Buried in the story is a photo slideshow showing how we are Killing the Planet full of stock Getty images with stupid captions, led off by, you guessed it: cooling towers accused of polluting. It would be embarrassing if The Independent had any shame at all.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dreams, Dreams, Dreams

I had another memorable dream, enough to share....

I was in a sketchy-ish part of town, on foot, similar to a route I take to pick up one of my kids from school, but the dream version of it. Not much to recall from the first part, but I ended up running (for exercise: in this dream, I was a runner, which I am not currently) and met some local kids, not sure what they were up to, maybe no good, maybe just hanging out, so I engaged them in conversation (as I do), and invited them on my run to give them something constructive to do, and to train them about how to run.

I am not a runner, but, as previously mentioned, I am a volunteer coach and have been one for a long time. This dream made me out to know enough about running and training for whatever I was training for to be a mentor running coach for the brief run before the alarm went off. We ran through some vacant buildings, industrial-ish, in the neighborhood. Dodged some adults that would have wondered what we were doing!

So, if there is meaning, I assume it will present itself eventually, but I do think I need to break out the new pair of Adidas I bought because they were on sale a few months ago...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dream A Little Dream

This story starts with another story, from a while back in my college days.

A professor of Literature, in this case of a newly-created class on archetypes in literature, started by describing a dream in which he was standing over a field, planted some seeds (if memory serves), and knelt to tend and wave his hands over the seedlings so that they would grow. I can see him kneeling on the classroom floor. He then assumed that this was about this new class and his students, a brilliant lead-in to archetypes. Great class, learned a lot.

The other night I had a dream, now getting dimmer, about being out and about and running into 2 boys and some parents, that we didn't know, but, as I do, I engaged them in conversation. One of the boys said something about being bad at something (a sport or school, now I can't remember! argh) and I immediately said "you can do it, of course you can.: I encouraged him to keep working. It felt right, perfect, and good.

There is some context, of course, that may have caused the dream, or affected it. My older son was just cut from the pool of basketball hopefuls, and there was talk of the life lesson there; sometimes you work very hard for something and still don't achieve it. My younger son and I (the coach) lost in the first round of our soccer tournament, ending our season rather abruptly. Also, I was talking to a colleague that is on the facility staff, she cleans up. She's a single mother and we chat fairly often about life ans stuff and I gave her a little pep talk about life stuff recently, joking that I'm preparing for my career as a Motivational Speaker. She replied that I should totally do that.

So, what's in a dream? Is the dream a reflection of my experiences, or is it a message? Is it a distillation of my experiences into some sort of lesson, or is just a reaction?

Not sure, but it sure felt like a revelation to me, that my ability to make people feel better about themselves, their circumstances and their abilities is what I'm supposed to be doing in life.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Women Are Frustrating...but not for the reasons you think.

I have come across a few news items and articles that gather into a theme (as they tend to do, it's how human brains work) that is a little, well, let me put it this way: after reading this, you will come to the completely erroneous conclusion that I am sexist. Unless you read the whole thing, then you'll see that I am not.

Preface: I believe that women and men are different, and if you don't recognize that, you are a fool. If you think we are the same, you should just stop reading and leave this blog.  Cognitive functions are unique, listening and attention habits, even skeletal identifiers point to subtle and blatant differences between human males and females.

Rapper T.I. got in trouble for his rash statement that the "world ain't ready for a female President" (how dare he!) which seems to me to be more a critique of the world than female candidates, but he may have a point when you see the reactions of the Women Of The View to the Democrat debate Tuesday 10/13/15:

It got worse:

COLLINS: We’ll get to O’Malley. We’ll get to O’Malley because there are some pictures, ladies, everyone gird your loins. That O'Malley, let me tell you something, if I wasn’t voting with my head, I think we know who would be getting my vote. I am in love. Look he his abs. That’s no dad bod. 
BEHAR: He has boobs. Those are boobs, aren't they? 
PAULA FARIS: Those are not boobs. Those are not boobs. 
COLLINS: Those are rock hard man things. 

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. These insightful comments have been brought to you by estrogen, I guess, until you readers find another cause.

This was just icing on the cake I was already baking in my head. My liberal female FB friends are all up in arms (get it?) about gun violence, and I let them be, but then some actual research comes by my Twitter timeline and reminds me that GUN CRIMES ARE ACTUALLY DECREASING BY A HUGE AMOUNT! Of course, the fact that most people don't know it is the real problem, thank you American media. Here's a nice video explanation, with a good Part Two as well.

How embarrassing for Moms Demanding Action, if they got embarrassed. It turns out that the President ordered the CDC to study the use of firearms, and the results weren't what they expected entirely.

This information wouldn't matter at all to my liberal FB friends, I know, so I don't even bother, They know what they  know, kids are dying, and something must be done about it.

This emotional response isn't limited to women, please don't misunderstand me, but it is essentially a feminine response, and one that has spread via the liberal philosophy. Let me also state that "getting in touch with your feminine side" is not a bad thing, either. I think fathers are involved in their children's lives in ways now that are fantastic and unimaginable in other eras, but we have lost some masculinity in the process, making The Art of Manliness necessary! Another symptom of this I see from the ladies and the progressive/liberals is projection of feelings and supposition of motive onto others.

This leads me to the next story that I was bothered by, the Engineering Student Who Appreciates Women. This guy expertly manipulated the emotions of females worldwide, and they loved him for it. The attention he received is crazy, and predictable: "aw, what a sensitive guy, I wish more guys were like him" from the ladies, and "what a wussy" from the men. The men instinctively know 2 things about this: the guy is hoping to get sympathy sex from women and it's not going to work. The women don't see this. (he also has a GoFundME page, which I won't link to. Clearly he has self-serving motives. Just because he is disabled doesn't mean he's a saint.)

This frustration with the female tendency to fall for any kind of emotional manipulation was then met with a story linked on Drudge about Pick Up artists training guys on their techniques. AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH! These guys are gross, and that drives home my point: what is it with women that they don't see through this crap? Why are they so manipulable? What kind of life have you had as a girl that any of those freaks is at all appealing, and that you have such low self-esteem that you would say "sure, I'll make out with him." AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH. Their "tricks" work because they understand how to manipulate the emotions of the women in the clubs and they are willing to do it.

As a sidebar, at least one of the guys acknowledged that the men that he was training were just painfully LONELY. So, they need Hitch, not the pink haired freakboy. Gross.

I worked, briefly one summer, at a local concert venue, and the guys that worked security, disgusting fat ones even, had stories of girls offering sex and blow jobs to get backstage. Every time a woman complains about double standards and how awful men are, I think "you have to be joking, no guy would do what a girl would do just to have the chance to get backstage." Sometimes I even tell them the story I just told you. Girls can be stupid just like guys can, just about different things.

There is some hope, though, there are some conservative women out there that see through the B.S.

@carolsjroth, for example laughingly pointed out during the debate that Hilary was apparently running on the fact that she is female, and Obama isn't. "Hilary has lady parts, in case you didn't know #DemDebate" and "Don't vote for me because of my last name, vote for me because I AM WOMAN. HEAR ME ROAR. #DemDebate"  @DLoesch tweeted "Hilary doesn't want you to vote for her because of her last name, but because of her anatomy #DemDebate"  They get it.

Lastly, because you stuck with me, know that this is because I love my wife and daughter, and don't want either of them to get scammed because their emotions were manipulated. I think they're ok, but you never know. This is for them. As they say at one of my son's schools, the unofficial motto is "Don't Be a Dumbass." Amen, sister.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Maxims, Guidance, Vision Walls, Affirmations, And The Like.

I have a favorite fitness guru, and he drives me crazy sometimes. If he knew me, I'd drive him nuts, too, by the way, because I've been reading his emails and stuff for years and never do any of it, so my life is the same it was before because of my laziness. That's a different post!

Why does he drive me crazy? Because he mixes fantastic content with crappy affiliate marketing crap. Argh.

Today's combo of the two was this email which then linked to his for-sale program somewhere at the bottom of one of the longest email marketing letters (that AWAI probably taught him to write, which was the marketing email I got three times from his sites last week) followed closely by this other email from his main site with great life advice.  That linked to his 12 rules, which are also good.

So the score is 3 great bits of info and 5 crap marketing crap. IF I had his ear for a moment, I'd beg him to kill the affiliate scam-style links, but that's how everyone is making heir money I suppose.

I agree with this especially:

The philosopher Immanuel Kant believed that we must all have maxims, a short list of essential rules for living, that should be strictly adhered to and followed for the rest of one’s life.
That is the Paradox of Success. More Structure = More Freedom. The freedom that people so desperately seek in life comes only from having more structure in your days. Celebrated author Paulo Coelho articulates it better, “Discipline and freedom are not mutually exclusive but mutually dependent because otherwise, you’d sink into chaos.”

I was just saying to someone last week that we, as humans, tend to forget our life lessons over and over again, and it is only by creating ways to remind ourselves, be it daily prayer, affirmations, vision walls or boards, or whatever, that we keep them in the forefront of our minds and then are able to live them.

This came up in church yesterday, funny how that works.... Wesleys' Simple Rules were:

  1. Do No Harm
  2. Do Good
  3. Stay in Love with God
Not easy, but simple.....

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Did I Mention I'm 50?

So, I've spent some time this morning thinking about what I can offer the world that's not what I'm currently doing, and I wanted to drop this thought: I've been 50 for two months and have nothing to show for it. Time to step up the game, David!

This morning's Youtube watching is this guy

So, I signed up for his site, started asking the 27 questions, blah blah blah, and in reading the comments on the video saw that he just died this past weekend in a climbing accident on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Typical Dave timing, like requesting information about being an extra on a local movie the day after the open call. Moron.

Ok, I shouldn't call myself a moron. Bad self talk is bad.

Most importantly, condolences to his wife and family, RIP.

Now, on to the self-help for me.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

VW THING THURSDAY!! I'ts Been A While....

So, I just found this Thing on Craigslist, which looks awfully familiar...

Asking $9000???????????

Seems like yesterday he was asking a LOT less..... $3800 or $3600 depending upon the post. Wow.

"This one has been hanging around on CL for a while, with several different links, and photos and prices.....

Needs body work
White with Green Fenders
No top
JOE (239) 249-0128

I've posted it before, too."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Water! Drink More Water! Wait, What?

Actual science happening here, try not to be too shocked. Thanks to the ususally spurious Yahoo! news for this: now you can be shocked!

For The Last Time, You Don't Need To Drink 8 Glasses Of Water A Day
In a New York Times article published today (Aug. 24), Aaron Carroll, MD, urges readers to forget about aiming for 64 ounces and instead listen to their bodies. He’s debunked the eight-cups-a-day myth over and over, to no avail. Others have spoken out against it as well — the recommendation is “thoroughly debunked nonsense,” one doctor wrote in the British Medical Journal in 2011.

Monday, August 10, 2015

What? Media Writes Crappy Headlines, Film At Eleven!

It's been particularly frustrating lately, especially here at home with the race-baiting headlines and the stark manipulations from the press.

I'll start with the national news, one that I think is pretty demonstrative of the typical way these things happen, and one that #1 has elucidated very effectively today (8/10/15).

Donald Trump said yet another stupid thing after the Republican Presidential Candidate's debate last Thursday, expressing his feelings about the moderator, Megyn Kelly pretty inarticulately (shocking!) and I have to tell you, that based on the tweets, FB posts, and headlines, for three days, until this morning, I thought he said this:

"She had blood coming out of her whatever"

Because of quotes like this from this CNN article: "Donald Trump's feud with Megyn Kelly escalated Friday night when he said the Fox News host had "blood coming out of her wherever" at this week's Republican debate, resulting in swift condemnation from conservatives and a major political event pulling its invitation to him." 

When, in fact, he said ""You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes," Trump told CNN's Don Lemon on Friday night. "Blood coming out of her wherever." (same article as above)

Watch the link and you'll see he was just struggling to get some words out and move on to the next topic. Trump is a personality, a loud, brash, self-aggrandizing creature of the American culture. I have no regard for him, never have, he's the type of Cait-kardashian-Kanye-honey boo boo-reality ilk that is a scourge upon our species, much less our culture, but he's getting totally hosed on this.


His poll numbers are up, so who gets the last word on this?

He has defended his remarks specifically that it's the hearers that implied something he didn't infer. Good for him.

Other stuff.

Ok, our local Fox affiliate has used this headline about a "19 year old college football player that was black and was shot by a police trainee": 
Trainee officer shoots unarmed college football player
The AP article begins: "An unarmed college football player was shot dead at a suburban Dallas car dealership by a trainee police officer during a middle-of-the-night burglary call. The death of 19-year-old Christian Taylor has raised some of the same questions as other recent police shootings involving unarmed suspects."

The article is so bad that I can't stand to read it, but it never explicitly states that the "victim" was committing a crime at the time (allegedly) but is sure to get some speculation from his father. This CNN article is better, using the AP story as its basis (or did the Fox affiliate edit it down to garbage? good question) getting around to the things he did that attracted police attention, but needlessly linking the Ferguson shooting of a year ago in attempt to paint it as racial (even though the Justice Dept came to the opposite conclusion).


Lastly, a University of Cincinnati cop killed a guy the other week, and he's being dragged through the mud. I'm not going to defend him, because he had no reason to shoot the guy. I have a couple of observations, of course.

If you watch the video, he wasn't being confrontational, or jerky in any way to the guy he stopped. The guy was being a little low-grade difficult, but it escalated in a flash when he told the guy he wanted him to get out of the car. We had just seen both of the officer's hands, so the speed at which he ended up pulling his gun and shooting it is shocking.

Why? I have an answer for that, I think with all the anti-police media attention over the last year especially (thanks to the drive-by media's Ferguson fiasco) coupled with the targeting and killing of cops including one here in Cincinnati, cops are on edge. It's causing the rate of cops killing people to spike rather than decrease because they are rightly SCARED.

Now, to the specifics of the case, I think that he's going to get off on the murder charge because the tape doesn't show what he may or may not have suspected, smelled, or seen in the car as he talked to the victim who was, as it turns out, in addition to the legitimate reasons for the stop and questioning (no front plate, no driver's license on him), had a bottle of "air freshener" to cover the scent of the drugs and cash that was in the car.... Which is why the guy was a little evasive, didn't want to get out of the car, and did, in fact start to attempt to flee before he was needlessly shot. 

Let me repeat that: needlessly shot. He was a guy doing bad things, but the officer should not have shot him. 

His family placed flowers as a memorial on the campus of my alma mater, which is interesting as I don't think he was ever a student there, so why memorialize him there? Because the officer that killed him was a UC cop? I just think the location is weird, that's all, clearly the family should so something to memorialize him regardless of the the circumstances of his death. Allowing it on the campus, though, I think is an error as he was in possession of pot and cash; driving without a license in his possession; driving without a front plate at the time of his shooting. If that makes me some kind of monster, I can live with that.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Have I Mentioned That Journalism Is Dead?

Journalism is dead, especially in my city.

Case in point: someone on Facebook, I think, linked to an article that they agreed with (I assume) about changing a street name here in Cincinnati. Why? T'was named after a horrible segregationist racist Vice President!!!!  The horror!

Original letter to the editor: It's time to dump Calhoun Street
Calhoun Street was named after John C. Calhoun, a two-time vice president of the United States (under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson), a U.S. senator from South Carolina, and a staunch supporter of slavery and states' rights. He is credited by many with having started the Civil War, even though he died in 1850.
I have wondered how a major city in a free state came to name a street after such a man, who had zero local ties. Quick searches of Google reveal that in 1828, a city in Illinois changed its name from Calhoun to Springfield; a bike shop in Minnesota is changing its name from Calhoun Bikes and op-eds are being published in the Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) suggesting that it rename its Calhoun Street.
The realignment of Taft Road and Calhoun Street in the middle of the last century has presented a great opportunity to fairly easily drop "Calhoun" in favor of native son, President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft.
As an added bonus, it would be a great opportunity to more publicly feature the statue of Taft that now stands outside the University of Cincinnati's College of Law at the current corner of Calhoun and Clifton Avenue.
The time to do this is now.

Jack Martin, Clifton Heights

I, ever trusting my instincts, thought "BS' and tried in vain to locate some research online that either corroborated or refuted the claim. The comments were, of course, hilarious and frustratingly stupid, but there was some back and forth about who the namesake actually was.

Then, when attempting another web search for truth, I found that the paper finally, after the fact was informed that the writer WAS WRONG!

Editor's note, 9:20 a.m. Monday: Kevin Grace, head of archives and rare books at the University of Cincinnati, says the letter writer is incorrect: "There's no historical evidence at all for it being named for John C. Calhoun. There is some evidence that it was named for a Revolutionary War pensioner named Calhoun who was allocated a parcel of land that abutted the McMillan subdivison." Military veterans were often given the opportunity to buy land, Grace said. The street on the south border of the UC campus was called Calhoun before John C. Calhoun came into prominence, he said.

I was not shocked, after all, why would the have place a few phone calls to actual historians to be sure BEFORE they published the editorial letter, right? Crazy! Actually perform journalism? Ha!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Big Birthday Has Come and Gone

50 has arrived, and I'm none the worse for the wear (although the weekend of celebration reminded me how easy weight can return), and as I haven't posted for a while, I thought I'd take a few minutes to say Hi!

It was fun to have a little celebration, to sing a little, eat a lot, and get some unexpected gifts from some unexpected folks. I recommend it whole-heartedly.

All in all, remember one thing: getting older beats the alternative!

Here's a picture of Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch to ponder as a reminder that I received Go Set A Watchman as a gift, and the dvd of the movie from which the photo comes!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Target Fail, Kroger Win? Nutrition Label Fun

This really belongs on my other blog, but it's also inline with my cynical commentary here: nutrition labels are crap!

I essentially gave up drinking pop (soda for those in other regions) three years ago  after giving it up for Lent. Maybe one a month since then, not a truly hard and fast rule ("more of a guideline, really") and mostly the hard stuff like Creme Soda when I bother, no diet crap if I'm drinking a pop now! A lot of Lipton's Diet Green Tea Mixed Berry.

I do drink these single sleeve energy put-in-your-water-bottle drinks, although never as directed. I use a big bottle, more like 30 oz.

 I started with Crystal Light's Energy brand, but they are never on sale it seems, so I switched primarily to Kroger's brand (btw, the "Yumberry" isn't). Today when charting my breakfast as a part of my 50 Days To 50 Years Old countdown,

I pulled out the Target brand my wife had purchased and discovered the old trick: nutrition labeling a serving that's not a whole serving. Kroger FTW:

You see that correctly, Target has the serving as a half packet so that they can say "5 calories per serving" on the front of the box. Wow. Just. Wow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I Have These Ideas and then see them on TV...

Actually this idea came from a combination of a casting notice I submitted to, an old idea to raise money to get a VW Thing, and my recent binge-watching previously mentioned in the next most recent post.
One thing that kept me awake last night was born of binge-watching Long Way Round and starting Long Way Down: taking a 48-state trip in a VW Thing, like I mentioned last August. I seriously would love to take a college buddy pal (as he says, "friends are friends and pals are pals, but buddies sleep together) on that trip, as we love food (we wrote a restaurant review column back in the day) and cars and stuff. Maybe a 2-car trip, him in a Mustang and me in a Thing! Film it, sell it as a show on whatever cable channel carries car/food/road shows....

The last August post read like this:
A flight of fancy had me considering a crazy Kickstarter campaign to raise cash to buy, fix up, and drive a VW Thing to all 48 contiguous United States. Film it, post updates from the road, then write a book to accompany the film. Whatd'ya think? 
Here are some maps created by others for this very task:

 Totally doable.

Last night, watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, I saw a commercial for this summer offering on Food Network, and they are driving a Jeep around the south! Not a Thing, but COME ON!!!!

First thought: they stole my idea! (not really, of course, you can't steal something that was just in my head and on this blog).

I had actually submitted Doug and myself to a reality show in February but never heard back, and my second thought after seeing the commercial was "that was the show I submitted to," but now that I see it's Paula Deen's sons that have already had a show, it may not have been the case.

Here's that description:

So, I got a notice via my talent agency about a food show that screams "far boys talk grub part two, the sequel" and wondered if you'd be interested if I submit for it: 

Have you and a friend/mate/sibling always dreamt of going on the ultimate ‘Foodie’ road adventure. Yes?!? You may become the hosts of our new TV series!!! High Noon Entertainment is casting for charismatic host duos for a new series for a major cable network. Our two hosts can be buddies, siblings, couples – just as long as you both have a strong history with each other, some sort of food background and have fun personalities with awesome on-screen charisma. This is a ‘road trip’ style show where our two hosts will travel to different cities and experience how America’s favorite snack foods are made, while getting a feel for the city itself. Food and fun….what more can you ask for!!! High Noon Entertainment, one of America's leading television production companies. We produce high-quality programming for networks such as HGTV, Discovery, TLC, Travel Channel, Reelz, Weather Channel, truTV, Cooking Channel and Food Network.

Not the same, but I bet it gets scrapped because of the Deen show.

I get what Joke and Biagio are saying: it helps if you are already known to get a new reality show made. Bankable personalities win over unknowns, duh.

Nevertheless, I think my idea is different enough, yet similar enough that it may have legs. Wonder what network would air it? Cars, travel, food, and ? Hmmmm

Monday, June 1, 2015

50 Days To 50 Years.

Today being June 1st, I realized this morning ( a day late and a dollar short as usual) that yesterday was 50 days until I turn 50 (I had to do the rhyme in my head, "thirty days has September,..) on the 19th of July.

I love stupid crap like this, so, it's going to be a thing, of course. I shaved last night, so I can pretend that was the start of whatever the "thing" is, I suppose. BTW, here's me:

Over on the other blog, I added some comments about using the remaining 49 days to drop more than just facial hair, but that's for over there.

So, let's prepare for the big 5-0 in 50 (well, 49) days!

One thing that kept me awake last night was born of binge-watching Long Way Round and starting Long Way Down: taking a 48-state trip in a VW Thing, like I mentioned last August. I seriously would love to take a college buddy pal (as he says, "friends are friends and pals are pals, but buddies sleep together) on that trip, as we love food (we wrote a restaurant review column back in the day) and cars and stuff. Maybe a 2-car trip, him in a Mustang and me in a Thing! Film it, sell it as a show on whatever cable channel carries car/food/road shows....

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Philosophy, Cognitive Psychology, Religion, and Happiness

I've been reading a fair amount of cognitive psych lately, catch as catch can, and mostly second-hand (that is, I'm not reading original scholarship, just other people's writings about it), and wanted to dump some links here so I can come back to them, as well as dump a little bit of writing I've done today here, too.

This guy is of like mind. In some ways at least. Here are some more links to his stuff.

Try You Are Not So Smart on as well, plenty of good thoughts there.

Alan Watts: “This is the real secret of life, to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now….”

You see, the thing is, all the answers of your problems have probably already been found. I know we are all unique individuals in this universe, but we are also all a part of the ocean of humanity that has existed for years upon years. Ultimately, our lives are so much more similar than they are different, no? That is why we read and re-read works of literature that are hundreds and thousands of years old: the basic themes of being a person haven’t changed. To love and be loved, to eat, to have shelter and freedom, or whatever other hopes and needs and wants that you can imagine which a Mesopotamian or Hittite or Incan (or whatever name you want to assign to any ancient people) was able to imagine just the same as you.

The “thing” is that it is no “secret,” especially not in this modern age of information literally at your fingertips. The “thing” is that so much of our drama, our comedy, our music, our art is telling you the “secret” all the time. So is our science! All you have to do is listen.
Listen. Listen to your heart, that “still, small voice” inside you that philosophy and religion will tell you connects to all humanity, to the Universe, even. Listen to the voices of the past and the present, and be open to the voices of the future, but know that you already know the answers, if you are brave enough to listen.

Alan Watts’ quote above sounds easy, and for some it is, I suppose. For most, it will be the most difficult undertaking they will ever attempt. What does it mean to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now?

I believe that you make your own reality. Let me explain. Cognitive psychology shows us that our perceptions are flawed and because of things like confirmation bias, hindsight bias, the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy, among other problems with our ability to sort of irrelevant from relevant data in front of us, we believe, indeed, we think that we know things that simply are not so. Essentially, we tend to focus on the things that we give our attention to, and give our attention to that which we focus on. Sounds like a load of crap, right? I mean, I just said the same thing forwards and backwards, right? Not exactly. The best example I can give you involves pregnant women and new cars. Not at the same time, silly people!

If you have ever been pregnant (or been a part of “we’re pregnant” if you know what I mean), or shopped for a new car (new or used, but new to you) you already know what I mean, right? By the time you finished reading that sentence you went “oh, yes, I get it,” but just in case, let’s elaborate briefly: when you or your spouse, partner, whomever, was pregnant for the first time, suddenly you saw pregnant women everywhere! You were surrounded! There was no escaping. It was like a nightmare scene from a movie (or a dream sequence, I suppose, if you weren’t’ scared of the impending chaos of parenthood?) Same for the new car, right? My family plays a game similar to the old “punch bug” or “slug bug” game with VWs, called Cheesy Squeezy, which we got from a friend, in which you squeeze someone in the car on the arm, knee, leg, when you see a cheesy-yellow car. Suddenly, there were lots of yellow cars I never noticed before!

The thing is, they were already there, of course. It’s just that we hadn’t noticed, we weren’t “attending to” the expectant moms or yellow cars or Hyundais until we were focused on them for selfish reasons.

So, I have a few questions for you. What are you attending to? (I know, never end a sentence with a preposition. To what are you attending? BTW, that grammar rule is totally arbitrary, it was Dryden’s folly). Where is your focus? What affects your focus? That one, I’ll answer: all kinds of input, much of which is both out of your control and, if I may use a controversial term, subliminal. We can talk about “priming” another time. Why are you attending to that? Is it urgent? Important? Does it make you happy? Does it give you pleasure? Joy? Or, rather, does it give you stress, anxiety, or even pain?

In my quest for how to say the things that history, philosophy, religion, science, and existence have taught us so that you can benefit from the accumulated learning of the ages (not a big deal, right?), there are a few themes that emerge.

  1. While common, it is also individual. Your conclusion are yours because you are, as I like to say, the “sum of your life experiences to date, including this right now.” You can’t step in the same stream twice, and you aren’t the same person you were yesterday because you’ve had another day of being you to add to the ingredients that make up you.
  2. Being a “searcher” leads to unhappiness, because it’s ultimately disappointing. “Let go, let God” is actually more peace-inducing, much like “everything has a beginning, has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well.”
  3. Another Buddha quote says “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” Or perhaps you prefer “The mind is everything. What you think you become.” I like that one. Our thinking defines our reality, just ask a paranoid schizophrenic. This may be the most important thing, really. Try this one: “It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” Dale Carnegie said that. Go read Norman Vincent Peale. You make your own reality.
I want to talk about that a bit. I read a story of a lady that was being taken to her retirement unit in the home by her son, telling him how much she was going to like it, he interrupted “Mom, how do you know? You’ve never even seen the place. The room could be tiny, the residents could be mean.” She replied, “It doesn’t matter, I’ve made up my mind that I will enjoy myself there, that I will meet new people and have a good time there.”  You can choose how you go about your days, it’s not a matter of which side of the bed you get up on! Choosing to have a good day is something you can do.

Happy people don’t have more pleasant things happen to them than unhappy people, they just attend to the good and let go the bad, so the overall impression of their life experiences is one of happiness! It really is that simple ultimately. Do things that make you happy, avoid the things that make you unhappy.

Monday, March 23, 2015

New Mustangs And Other Vehicles

Well, there's this:

That's right, it's a new old Mustang, upgraded but classic.

Pretty sweet. Starting about $120,000, not unreasonable compared to what other similar-ish vehicles cost. I tagged my best college pal, Doug Clark of Garage Knights and he replied "back to the good old days. Well, I'm down to just 5 of them now and only 2 run LMAO" (to which I answered, "I'll take one off your hands if you like; let me count my change jar...LOLOL").

That was fun. Somehow I ended up looking at motorcycles on Craigslist. (you know that I was looking at Things, right?) Now, I'm not in the market, shoot, I don't even have motorcycle temps, but here's some old bikes I like.

"1982 Honda 250 Custom. No title. Needs carburetor work. Easily repaired or used for parts. $400"

"I have owned this for MANY years! It has been in inside storage until 3 days ago and now it must go. If you are looking to restore it nothing is frozen. It rolls with ease and the cables are not frozen. Or you can part it out on eBay. There is no title but I will provide a bill of sale. It has been so long that I do not remember the year or CC of the bike. I have no interest in it anymore, it came out of storage and the first one to get here takes it home. $250"

"Honda CB360 for sale. Clean title, good cosmetic shape for a bike of this age. New brakes, brake lines, points, condensers, battery, rectifier/regulator. $1400."

Somehow I found my way to a page about these, and thought that it's right up my alley: a good beginner bike, on and off road, 70+ MPG. Reminds me of the Scramblers I like so much.

Let's retrace the steps, for fun:

A Supercompressor article about the aforementioned Mustangs led to

Please God, Let Jeep Make These Concept 4X4s which led to

Keanu Reeves' Motorcycle Company Debuts First Bike (I think) which came from this page of links.

However, my search history has me thinking that I just clicked on this Yahoo story after logging off my email. Not as much fun, eh?

I then Googled the TW200 and found this story and thought, "that's a bike I could ride!" There are plenty available on Craigslist, and they can be had pretty reasonably, if you ask me. New ones are around $4500.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Drive-by Media Strikes Again and Again and....

So, this is making the rounds today: Gay activist faked own kidnapping.

Let me say but one thing: the fact that he is a "gay activist" has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE STORY as far as we can tell at this time. That, however, is the headline.

Like the 3 students killed at UNC over a parking space, the media grabs the most sellable part of the story, even if it's not a part of the story, to entice the idiots.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

How Little We Know

A couple of stories came by my internetting today, one from NASA regarding the sun, one about the deepest borehole in the world, and one about the oceans' role in ending the Ice Age.

We all know the Sun is a big burning ball of gas, but the text in this article reveals something to me (remember, by the way, the principle of Confirmation Bias: I don't believe humans cause global climate change, so these things jump out at me): we don't understand the sun very well.
“The images that have all the pretty loops and arches are extremely hot material,” physicist Dean Pesnell said in an interview with Yahoo News. “We would like to understand where all those arches come from. They are filled with things that are about 2 million degrees. The sun itself is just about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.”
The borehole article is filled with things we didn't know, and it's from Mother Nature Network, no doubt a bastion of "humans are killing the planet" thinking (caveat: I haven't checked that claim).

Before the hole was drilled, geologists could only hypothesize about the composition of the Earth's crust. Needless to say, the amount of geological data produced by the project was unprecedented. Mostly, it revealed just how little we really know about our planet.
For instance, one of the most surprising findings was the absence of the transition from granite to basalt at a depth between 3 and 6 kilometers below the surface. Previously, scientists had used seismic waves to glean information about the composition of the crust. They had discovered that a discontinuity existed at this depth, which they assumed was due to a transition in rock type. But the borehole drillers found no such transition; instead they found only more granite. It turns out that the discontinuity revealed by the seismic waves was actually due to a metamorphic change in the rock, rather than a change in rock type. It was a humbling realization for theorists, to say the least.
Even more surprising, the rock had been thoroughly fractured and was saturated with water. Free water was not supposed to exist at such depths. Geologists now surmise that the water consists of hydrogen and oxygen atoms that were squeezed out of the surrounding rock by enormous pressure, and is retained there due to a layer of impermeable rock above.
Researchers also described the mud that flowed out of the hole as "boiling" with hydrogen. The discovery of such large quantities of hydrogen gas was highly unexpected.
By far the most riveting discovery from the project, however, was the detection of microscopic plankton fossils in rocks over 2 billion years old, found four miles beneath the surface. These "microfossils" represented about 24 ancient species, and were encased in organic compounds which somehow survived the extreme pressures and temperatures that exist so far beneath the Earth.
The final mystery revealed by the borehole was the reason drilling operations had to be abandoned. Once the drill reached depths in excess of about 10,000 feet, the temperature gradient suddenly began to increase unexpectedly. At the hole's maximum depth, temperatures skyrocketed to 356 degrees Fahrenheit, which was much higher than the 212 degrees Fahrenheit originally predicted. The drill was rendered useless at such temperatures.
The project was officially closed down in 2005, and the site has since fallen into disrepair. The hole itself was welded shut by the rusted metal cap that today covers it, as if to permanently hide the hole's many mysteries from the surface world. 
 Though the hole's depth is impressive, it's a small fraction of the distance to the center of the Earth, which is estimated to be nearly 4,000 miles deep. By comparison, the Voyager 1 spacecraft, which has reached the outer layers of our solar system, has relayed information from over 10 billion miles away. The human race truly understands less about the ground beneath its very feet than it does about the cosmos that abound. It's humbling to realize just how much mystery still exists right here on our little blue world.

Lastly, let's peruse the article about the oceans.

"The oceans are leaking carbon dioxide to the atmosphere," said study co-author Gavin Foster from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom.
The findings suggest these regions were pumping carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The gas concentrations in the two regions spiked at different times, hinting that different processes underlie the rise in ocean carbon, the researchers said. However, in both cases the scientists think carbon dioxide levels in these two regions jumped because water rich in carbon and nutrients welled up from the deep ocean. 
Yet scientists still puzzle over what triggered these giant burps in greenhouse gas. Leading theories include changes in ocean currents or wind patterns. Some researchers recently suggested that sea-level drops triggered underwater volcanoes to erupt more vigorously, belching carbon dioxide in the process.
"We don't know the ultimate case," Foster said. "[But] we're one step toward the answer."
The researchers plan to test additional sites and examine how carbon dioxide levels changed through the glacial cycle, he said.

Not man, certainly 10,000 years ago. They. Don't. Know. There is also no Cause/Effect relationship proven between CO2 and temperature ("proven" being the important word there, by the way)

Seriously, readers, don't get fussed and have your tubes tied or something. We don't know everything we think we know.