Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sir Ken Robinson!

I suggest you visit Charley Rose's website and watch his recent interview with Sir Ken Robinson, author of "Finding Your Element - How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life."

You'll find it interesting, entertaining and useful.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Santideva Says . . .

The news is preoccupied with suffering.  Today’s post is a change of pace from all that.

I’ve been viewing a series of lectures called “The Meaning of Life.”  Professor Jay Garfield is the lecturer and his focus is on Great Intellectual Traditions from around the world.  The other day his subject was Santideva, a Buddhist teacher who lived in the 8th century, who wrote “How to Lead an Awakened Life.”  Here are a few thoughts from Santideva:

We are often overcome by greed, fear and selfishness, which make our lives sordid and meaningless.  A concern for others would make our lives more meaningful.

Our lives are conditioned by a fear of death.  Only by embarking on a path of virtue can we overcome this fear and the suffering it causes.

Santideva’s virtuous path consists of generosity, mindfulness and patience.

Generosity enables us to reduce our attachment to things and to the self, which view places us at the center of the universe and is an obstacle to altruism.

Unmindfulness is like a mad elephant, stampeding and causing destruction wherever it goes.  Our mind creates this mad elephant.  So we can lead better lives not be transforming the world around us, but by transforming our minds.

Patience is the answer to anger.  A single moment of anger can devastate lifelong relationships or commitments.  Respond to those who make us angry with compassion.  If we are going to benefit others we must help them overcome irrationality, not pile our own irrational anger on top of theirs.

The wisdom to know that anger is bad and patience is good allows for the manifestation of compassionate action.

Have a nice day.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


For years I’ve been making an annual pilgrimage to Yosemite the week before Memorial Day.  If there is a more stunning example of awe-inspiring natural beauty on this planet I don’t know where it is.

Iconic vistas.  Waterfalls cascade down thousands of feet.  Granite cliffs rise thousands of feet.  Half Dome.  El Capitan.  Glacier Point.  Yosemite Falls.  The big trees at Mariposa Grove.  Tioga Pass.  The Ahwahnee Hotel.  Waterfalls – Bridalveil,  Vernal, Nevada, Horsetail, Ribbon – and more.


I returned, as always, grateful for the chance to be in Yosemite every year.  I’ve already made my reservations for 2014.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Let's Change the Subject!

I’m tired of all the talk about cover-ups and scandals, charges and countercharges and the rest.  So let’s leave Benghazi and snooping on journalists and the IRS and all the other controversies aside for today.  What else is there to talk about?

There’s some good breakthroughs in stem cell research.
More states are legalizing same-sex marriage.
Housing prices are up.
The stock markets are in record-breaking territory.
Google Maps announced some new features that we’ll like.
Recent U.S. deficit numbers are much better than predicted.
California has a large budget surplus.
Juventus won the Scudetto for the 29th time.  Go Juve!
Barcelona won La Liga.  Go Barca!
Manchester United won the Premier League.  Go Reds!
Beckham is retiring on top.   Go Becks!
So is Alex Ferguson.  Go Sir Alex!
I’ll be making my annual pilgrimage to Yosemite next week.
Jack Bauer and “24” will be back next year.
So will Downton Abbey.

See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Thursday, May 09, 2013

It Never Stops!

Partisanship has been a staple of politics forever.  But these days the practice has risen to a whole new level.  It is partisanship uber alles:
n  Partisanship over the good of the country
n  Partisanship over common sense
n  Partisanship over integrity
n  Partisanship over what the people want
n  Partisanship over solving problems
n  Partisanship to make the other side look bad, no matter what . . .

It is fair to accuse the Democrats of being partisans.  But they’re not in the same league as the Republicans.  Totally outclassed in the world of partisan gamesmanship.

McCain discussing Syria is all about what Obama should have done/what he isn’t doing/what he’s doing wrong.  It’s about scoring political points, not constructive criticism or coming up with solutions.

It’s the same on the Benghazi witchhunt.  Gotta find someone to blame.  Gotta prove there’s been a coverup.  Gotta prove Obama’s lying.  And certainly gotta make Hillary look bad.  Put it in the treasure chest to bring up against her in 2016.

Everywhere you look it’s the same.  On the budget, on the deficit, on immigration, on gun control, on the environment, on abortion, on same-sex marriage, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum.

It never stops! 

Friday, May 03, 2013


What is it about fads that cause many people to buy into them, to be part of the crowd that embraces this or that fad?

They come in many forms:
n  A Christmas toy that I must get for my kid
n  A movie I’ve got to see
n  The latest iPhone or iPad or Android phone or whatever mobile device is hot
n  That really cool new ice cream flavor
n  The latest, greatest diet, guaranteed to help you slim down
n  Blaming Muslims for everything that is wrong in the world
n  Blaming Obama for everything that is wrong in the world
n  And on and on and on . . .

There are many possible explanations for the fad phenomenon:
n  I want to demonstrate that I’m leading the way, not lagging behind
n  I want to be part of the ‘in’ crowd
n  All my friends are doing it
n  If I don’t they’ll think I’m old fashioned
n  Peer pressure

How about those who deliberately avoid fads:
n  I’ll prove I’ve got a mind of my own
n  I don’t blindly follow the crowd
n  It’s a temporary mania and will be old news soon
n  It’s an advertising gimmick
n  This craze is mass idiocy

Will fads go away any time soon?  Not a chance!