Posted tagged ‘perspectives’

Useta

May 19, 2022

happy_birthday_to_youLooking back a bit on the eve of my 78th birthday …

I useta get up the day after a marathon with legs so sore I could hardly walk.  Now I don’t need the marathon.

I useta think my wife was lucky to have me.   Now I know that I’m the lucky one and that spending fifty years with her is the best thing in my life.

I useta solve complex mathematical and statistical problems.   Now I do Wordle and figure out how to fix the shutters in our office.

I useta ride a bike fifty miles a week.  Now I ride a stationary bike that goes nowhere for 30 minutes.

I useta think that people were basically good.   Now I look around at what’s going on in the world and I’m not so sure. That makes me very sad.

I useta be an engineer who thought he was meant to be a writer.   Now I am a writer who useta engineer.

I useta do triathlons … swim, bike and run.   Now do the old guy triathlon … I walk on the track at the gym, ride the stationary bike and shower.

I useta be a liberal.  Then I was a moderate.   Then a conservative.  Now I’m not so sure I want to be associated with any of them.

I useta think that 78 sounded very old.   Now I know I wasn’t wrong.

I useta know the words to virtually every song I loved.   Now I still do but I can’t always remember who sang them.

It useta make me sad that no one seemed to feel music like I do.    Now I know it is a gift that brings me untold joy and connects me to the Infinite.

I useta think I’d never move to Utah.   Now I am happily living there, ten minutes from my grandkids with a view of the mountains.

I useta be a seeker.   I still am and will be to the day I die.   I’m OK with that.

Navigating the News

April 25, 2022

Breaking-NewsOne of the books I read a page from (almost) every morning is 365 Prescriptions for the Soul by Dr. Bernie S. Siegel.  Dr. Siegel is a writer and retired pediatric and general surgeon who writes and teaches about mind-body medicine and the relationship between the patient and the healing process.  I find his one page essays on living a good way to start the day, even on days when I don’t agree with his suggestions.  A few weeks ago, in an essay titled The News, he suggested that I should Never watch the news before you go to bed, after you wake up or during the day and you’ll live a longer happier life.   I’ve been thinking about his advice on and off since I read it. (more…)

Not MyTube

April 19, 2022

UtubeYesterday, I posted about how much I enjoy listening to live music on YouTube and how well their algorithms seem to find similar music and similar artists that I enjoy.   I concluded by saying that, at least when it comes to music, YouTube is MyTube.   On topics other than music, however, the YouTube algorithms seem to miss their mark as to what I’d like to see. (more…)

(Anti-)Social

March 1, 2022

socialPicture this, if you will.  Everyone’s electronic devices … phones, computers, tablets … are connected to a massive computer that monitors everything they do and uses that information to control what they believe, think and do.  Or.  Imagine that your devices and everything you do on them is displayed to a team of managers whose job it is to keep you online as long as possible and to drive you to look at certain advertisers’ information.  Sounds like a 1990s science fiction film, but it’s not.  These are two of the images the film, The Social Dilemma, uses to illustrate the ways that social media like Facebook and Instagram are damaging our society through manipulating what we look at based upon our actions online.  The film offers three areas of concern: mental health because studies show a decline in mental health and life satisfaction greater use of social media; decline of democracy because of disinformation campaigns on social media; and rising extremism because the majority of people in extremist groups were steered there by social media. (more…)

Oh My, Omicron

December 28, 2021

covidIs anyone else tired of reading about Covid-19 and its variants?   How about reading different and conflicting accounts of how dangerous the new and improved (from the virus’ point of view) omicron variant will turn out to be?  After all, in South Africa, the onslaught seems to have petered out but reliable sources tell me that won’t necessarily be the case here.  So, here I am again, trying to decide whether I should attend activities in our over 55 community or be one of the small percentage of (mostly) seniors wearing masks in the market.  With two vaccinations and a booster for both my wife and I, life seemed to be returning to a semblance of normalcy and, sure, I’m glad to hear that this provides some protection against omicron … but how much some is enough?  Sometimes, I wish I was brain-dead enough to follow the Q-Anons down the conspiracy theory rat hole and dismiss the entire thing as a hoax.  But seventy-seven years have left my brain still functioning, at least enough to dismiss idiotic theories. (more…)

Rich Guys in Space

December 12, 2021

(Almost) space, the (almost) final frontier.  These are the brief trips of the (almost) starship New Shepard.  It’s continuing mission: to stoke the egos of billionaires; to explore absolutely nothing except new ways to waste money; to briefly go where quite a few men have gone before (and they had a genuine scientific purpose!)

blue originOnce again this week the news is punctuated with the latest flight of Rich Guys in Space.  This time it’s Blue Origin’s ship, the New Shepard, that carried six passengers, including football player Micheal Strahan and the daughter of (real) astronaut, Alan Shepard, on a sub-orbital joyride.  According to Insider, the six space tourists experienced a few minutes of weightlessness 62 miles above Earth, widely considered the edge of space, before floating back to Earth in a pressurized capsule that detaches from the rocket.  The reports on the flight are filled with exclamations about exploration and missions and the crew but for the most part, these are paying passengers and invited guests … and the flight is a mini-vacation.   What says exploration more than a football player and the offspring of a real astronaut.  What says mission more than one seat on a future flight selling at $28 million dollars in auction or science more than bringing along (on a previous flight) the guy who played a captain of the Starship Enterprise on Star Trek. (more…)

Stupid? Or Not?

August 31, 2021

dunceToday a friend sent me an article from the Wall Street Journal by Lance Morrow titled You Are Living in the Golden Age of Stupidity.  The article pretty much describes everything that has happened for the last four plus years as stupid, regardless of political party.  We live in a golden age of stupidity, he says.  It is everywhere. President Biden’s conduct of the withdrawal from Afghanistan will be remembered as a defining stupidity of our time—one of many. The refusal of tens of millions of people to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus will be analyzed as a textbook case of stupidity en masse. Stupid is as stupid does, or, in the case of vaccination, as it doesn’t do.  Every buffoonery of the president and his people was answered by an idiocy from the other side, which in its own style was just as sinister and just as clownish. (more…)

COVID Roulette

August 5, 2021

covidEverybody, I assume, has heard of Russian Roulette , the game you play with a revolver pistol for thrills (in this case the thrill of risking your life).   You need a revolver, a bullet and at least two players (I suppose you can play with one but in that case you might as well load six bullets and get it over with).   You put the bullet in one chamber, spin the cylinder, then the first player puts the barrel to his head and pulls the trigger.  The odds are 1 in 6 that the gun will fire and end his life.  At this point there are two variants of the game … the gun can be passed to the the next player without re-spinning the cylinder, in which case his chances of blowing his head off is 1 in 5.   You can see where this goes … on each turn that the gun doesn’t fire, the odds of the next player dying increases.   OR, the players can spin the cylinder before each turn, in which their odds of dying are the same each time.

I bring this up because it seems to me that many people in this beautiful country of ours are playing COVID Roulette, a game in which you choose not to not be vaccinated, risking illness or death for no good reason at all.   Yes, I know the odds of dying are much smaller than with a bullet and I know that it is your fundamental right as an American to risk your life if you want.   But here’s the thing … unlike Russian Roulette, COVID Roulette risks the lives of others.   What?  You say they can get vaccinated if they want to reduce the risk.   That might be a pretty good argument if it weren’t for the COVID variants you’ve probably been reading about.   Let me talk to you about variants for a moment**. (more…)

Where to Go?

June 17, 2021

clark park

Back when I worked for big industry, Hughes Aircraft Company, to be exact, I used stop at Craig Park in Fullerton, CA on my way to work to do my reading, writing and  sometimes-meditation.   Craig Park is one of the beautiful and expansive parks in the Orange County Regional Park system, this one built into a hilly piece of land near the 57 Freeway.  Every morning, a small brown woman in a traditional saree would walk slowly by, stopping to say, Good morning, Sir.   She shuffled more than walked and up close I’d have guessed she was in her eighties but she still navigated the three mile perimeter of the park everyday.   After a while, we began to talk, her about her family here in California or her life in India before moving here to live with her son, I about what I did sitting in my car by the lake every morning and what I did for a living.   Her name was Hasna, and we became friends, even though she always approached my car as if she were afraid to interrupt and never stopped calling me Sir.   She told me that it was hard living with her son because her daughter-in-law didn’t like her, which was why she walked so much.   Still, most times when I asked, How are you doing? she would simply respond, Oh, I’m alright for a woman my age in an Indian accent so heavy that I sometimes had to ask her to repeat herself several times. (more…)

Memorial Day

May 31, 2021

This is has become my traditional Memorial Day Post.  I think it captures the spirit intended for the holiday.

I have traveled the political spectrum from fairly far left to fairly far right and back toward the middle in my seventy-six years.   But as I traveled that broad spectrum, I think I’ve always been a patriot in the sense that I love my country dearly and believe for any faults it may have, it is unique in the world.   When I was protesting the war and voting for George McGovern, I believed My Country Right or Wrong, but not America – Love It or Leave It or America, Fix It or &%$* It.  Every Memorial Day, I get to think back on my decision to seek a deferment from the draft based upon my employment in the defense industry, a decision that might lead some to question my claim of patriotism.   I won’t deny that my motivation wasn’t entirely selfless but I’d offer that some of the systems I helped develop for keeping track of Soviet submarines during the dark days of the Cold War contributed substantially to our National Defense.  Just watch The Hunt for Red October.  Still, sometimes I feel a little guilt that others served in my place.   At seventy-seven, I simultaneously abhor the realities of war (brought to us in gruesome detail by modern media) and resign myself to its necessity in what is, more than ever, a dangerous world.   Some of our military excursions have been essential, others have turned out to be unwise.  Both fall at the feet of our leaders, those of us that elect them and, sadly, those that don’t bother to vote. (more…)