Wednesday, September 13, 2017


I notice that I’m ambivalent about a few things these days:

Where is the line between intolerable hate speech and free speech?  What views should be allowed to be expressed on college campuses and elsewhere, even if the views are repugnant?  I’m not sure.

What should the rules be on immigration?  Allowing only a few in is too restrictive.  Having no controls is too broad minded.  I’m on the side of encouraging people to come here but am unsure about what the limits should be.

I’m a free trade advocate who believes the playing field should be level.  Restrictive tariffs and trade wars make no sense.  Putting up barriers to trade in the name of “America First” and saving American jobs is a short-sighted, counterproductive canard.  Having said that, the rules of the game should not create an unfair advantage for one country over another.

The woeful 2017 San Francisco Giants are in a race to the bottom, competing with the Phillies and White Sox for the worst record in all of baseball.  Winning the race is an advantage in the next player draft.  Losing the race preserves at least a small amount of self-respect.  Should I want us to win or lose these last few games?  I think I vote for losing, unless we’re playing the Dodgers.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017


Every year’s the same.  I welcome Memorial Day and the arrival of summer.  More daylight.  No school.  Vacations.  Warm days and July-August San Francisco fog.  Baseball every day.  Welcome to summer.

And then, in a blink of an eye, it’s Labor Day and summer is on the way out.  The change is slow but inexorable.  Shorter days, cooler, and winter is coming.  Where did summer go?  It seems like Memorial Day was just yesterday.

It’s not all bad of course.  A change of seasons has its charm.  Fall colors are beautiful.  But still, the arrival of summer is a special event.  And then, before I realize it, it is gone.  And I tell myself I should have paid more attention while it was here.

Every year’s the same!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cosmic Meaning!

I rarely agree with the Wall Street Journal’s politics, but their daily book reviews are usually worth reading.  So it was today when they reviewed “The Human Predicament,” by David Benatar.  His message is that while we spend time searching for meaning, ultimately our lives are meaningless, evolution is blind and in a cosmic sense we live for less than a blip of time.

The reviewer, Joanna Bourke, dives into the details, which I won’t do.  I just want to highlight what she says near the end of the piece:

He tells a tale about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson going camping.  Asleep in their tent, they both suddenly wake up.  Holmes tells Watson to “look up and tell me what you see.”  Watson replies, “I see the starry heavens above.”  Holmes asks him, “And what do you deduce from that?”  Watson thinks for a moment, then says: “I deduce that we are small and insignificant beings in a vast cosmos.”  An exasperated Holmes shouts, “No, you fucking moron!  Somebody stole our tent.”

We are wasting our time thinking about the human predicament and the unimaginable vastness of the sky: What is really staring us in the face is the need to prepare breakfast.

Have a nice day!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Don't Tell Me!

Some things I’d rather not know:

Once the President enters the nuclear codes to order a strike the missiles will be on their way in four minutes.

Alaska’s permafrost is melting faster than predicted.  As it melts the carbon stored in it is released in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, exacerbating the negative impact on our climate.

New meds that are easier to get than the old ones are being used to execute people.  Proponents of state-sponsored murder are pleased because now the killing process can proceed faster.

A neuropathologist has examined the brains of 111 N.F.L. players – and 110 were found to have C.T.E., a degenerative disease linked to repeated blows to the head.

Hillary Clinton’s new book will tell how she thinks she lost the election.  I’ll probably read it, but I really don’t want to relive 2016.  Painful!

Most developed countries are ahead of us in providing health care, reducing income inequality, raising math and reading levels, and more.  Expert analyses of why this is so don’t help.  Talk to me when we take steps to fix it.

Don’t tell me the Democrats need something more than “Trump is Bad.”  Don’t tell me they need a compelling narrative that speaks to where people really are, that gets them in the gut.  Don’t tell me they need new faces and new issue and then send out Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to harangue crowds with more of the same.  I’m ready to listen.  Tell me something new! 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cheer Up!

Cheer up!  There are some bright spots – maybe hard to find when deluged with “it gets worse every day,” but take a look:

Football (the round kind) is up and running in Europe.
Medical breakthroughs, like gene editing, are transforming health.
In more and more places pot is legal.
The eclipse on Monday has everyone a twitter.
The salmon season looks promising.
No drought in California this year.
Business leaders are standing up to Trump.
The sun is shining in San Francisco today.
There are more and more good TV shows to watch.
Our blessings are everywhere – we just need to look for them.

Cheer Up!