Archive for the ‘feeling older’ category

Tomorrow. Vote.

November 5, 2018

electionTomorrow will bring an end to a long midterm election campaign season, none to early to suit me.  Our phone has been ringing regularly with robo calls and soundbite messages of what will happen if I don’t vote for so-and-so.   This year, I have gotten an average of 5 texts a day offering the same thing.  At one point I decided that I would not vote for any candidate who texted me but by now I realize that would mean not voting.  So,  I will sit down today with the voter handbook and review the candidates resumes and the ballot initiative summaries and decide.   Initiatives are particularly difficult because the TV ads incorporate more scare tactics than information.  Of course, so do the  ads for political candidates.  This year the message mostly seems to involve President Trump.   As he himself would say, Sad.  Sad that our elections, a centerpiece of democracy, become a personality contest about one personality. (more…)

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Biased … Again

October 29, 2018

I posted this before here and on my other blog, Both Sides Now, but reading the news this morning, it seemed more appropriate than ever. It seems to me that if we don’t harness our tendency to find evidence supporting what we already believe (confirmation bias), we will tear our nation apart.

biasI like to begin my day with a cup of coffee at my side and my tablet in front of me, seeing what is going on in the world from the various news outlets. I have searched for years for a source of unbiased news (a phrase that should be a truism but turns out to be an oxymoron) but have finally settled on reading biased news from a variety of sources, then drawing my own conclusion. Over in the blogosphere or on social media, it is worse. Opinions masquerading as facts may not win the day but they dominate it. It is as if we are pre-programmed to be biased, which we are. The culprit is not some brain-hacker out of The Matrix but a fundamental characteristic of our species known as Confirmation Bias. Our Creator (or Evolution, you choose) has endowed us with a very strong tendency to sort through the array of information available to us at any instant and choose that which supports our currenttiger2 opinions, thus strengthening our belief. Some scientists explain that for our ancestors, dealing with simpler (but more critical) situations (like Is that a Sabre-Toothed Tiger and is it likely to eat me?), reaching a quick decision in the face of sensory overload was a matter of life or death. If this is the case, then Confirmation Bias is strongly linked to our Flight or Fight Response, becoming strongest when the situation seems threatening.

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Phases

October 23, 2018

stagesOne of the primary reasons I write is that it leads me to insights that get lost in the maelstrom of thoughts often swirling in my mind.   An insight can appear at any time, dropping unexpectedly into the a.m. ramblings I call Morning Pages or appearing in a nostalgic piece on my high school years.   The latter was the case this week on my legacy blog, A Dad’s Legacy, also known as the best written blog nobody reads (yeah, I know … call the whaaambulance).  Looking back on my high school years coming to an end, I wrote, I don’t recall graduation as a big deal because I have always been a man who is ready to move on to the next phase of life.    (more…)

Mountain Retreat

October 9, 2018

trees.jpgFriday afternoon, my wife Muri and I packed our suitcases in the car and headed to Lake Arrowhead.   It was time for my Autumn Men’s Retreat at Arrowhead Ranch, and … as it turns out, our friend Sue has a log cabin home a few minutes away from the retreat center where Muri could visit while I retreat with the guys.   The retreat center is remote, Sue’s cabin is remoter.  Though it is only a few minutes from Arrowhead Ranch, it is up the hill on a winding not-quite single lane road through the pines.  I’m not sure I’d want to drive alone, I remember thinking as we followed her there.  More on that later. (more…)

Time and Music

October 4, 2018

Many people die with their music still in them. . . . Oliver Wendell Holmes

quietOne of my favorite authors (at least of inspirational non-fiction) is David Kundtz, author of  Mind – One Minute MindfulnessOne Minute Mindfulness is a collection of short essays describing what Kundtz calls stillpoints, very short exercises to stop your mind during the day, mini-meditations that can keep you centered when meditation isn’t an option (of course, it always is, except in our heads, but that another post).  The quote above is from an essay titled Time Runs Out.  Of course, he’s not suggesting everyone speaks the language of music … he means whatever music dwells in our souls; be it the music of accounting, the harmony of teaching, the notes of repairing, the symphonies of poetry, the melodies of marketing, the tunes of programming, the rhapsodies of selling, and on and on through the whole gamut of human states, activities, and gifts.  Why do they die with their music in them?   Because, Holmes continues, too often . . . because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.  Time running out … a remote notion at 21 but a companion at 74. (more…)

Driving to the Park

September 25, 2018

If this post looks familiar, there’s a reason. I accidentally published it before it was finished. So, now, I’ve finished it and am publishing with a new title.

PSX_20180924_232233As I age, I become more of an observer of life and (perhaps) less of a participant, although I prefer to think that I participate in kinder and more considerate ways. Even when the forty year old in my head conspires with my Inner Curmudgeon try to agitate me into repeating the actions of my youth … say, flipping off the driver who cut me off … I resist. Most times successfully. Sometimes, the behaviors of our strange species that I observe are exactly what sets off my forty year old and my Inner Curmudgeon and my brain becomes a battleground between Look at that. Isn’t that interesting, and Look at that idiot. I should give him a piece of my mind (a truly odd saying, if you think about it). (more…)

Meet Claude

September 14, 2018

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For months now, I have been volunteering at Cats in Need, a local cat rescue. I clean cages and cat boxes, feed the cats and (best of all) I get to play with the temporary residents. I try to take a photo of every cat I meet there but I’ve probably missed a few. What is gratifying is to see cats, especially older cats, go home with a new owner. But I admit, in addition to helping the Cats in Need, I had an ulterior motive. A while back, my son’s cat, Elvis, was diagnosed with a massive tumor and had to be put down. While I got over the loss of Elvis, I was keeping an eye open at the rescue for my next cat, who would really be my first cat. The cats in my past have belonged to my mother and my kids. They are, in order, Bambi, Purry, Norman, Mr. B, Kitty, Mr. P and Elvis. Last Saturday, I brought home Claude, six year old Tuxedo.

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