Wednesday, January 27, 2016


If it is true that defense wins championships, Denver should win the Super Bowl.  Won’t happen.  Carolina will thrash the Broncos.  Peyton’s last hurrah will be a painful one.

Trump and Cruz versus the rest.  Who is disconnected from whom?  Pundits analyze the phenomenon using history as a guide and wonder why it doesn’t make sense.  They forget that this is a new day and looking backward yields a distorted view.

The same rear view mirror is being used to try and explain why people around the world are blowing themselves up so that they can blow up others.  What is the motivation?  Is there a common thread?  No place is immune.  There are no answers to this one.  It is not because of Islam, or poverty or cultural alienation or the Internet, or even a combination of all the reasons being offered.  It’s a new paradigm that cannot be explained by looking for answers inside the old one.

Is the Chinese economy headed down the toilet?  Oh my, the experts say – it’s slowing down.  The sky is falling.  Right.  It’s going from 10% a year to a paltry 6%, or some such number.  While we limp along in the 2 to 3% range.  6% doesn’t look so bad to me.

Common sense says that when you have a product that sells for less than it did, and there is a glut of this product on the market, you will stop producing so much of it.  But the big oil producers don’t see the world through a prism of common sense.  We’re going to keep producing the Saudis say.  And we too, say the Iranians.  And most of the others.  What’s wrong with this picture?

Start with sports – finish with sports.  FIFA will elect a new president in a month.  Out with the old, corrupt Blatter regime.  In with the new clean guys.  So what is the talk around the subject?  Backroom deals to control votes.  Collusion between the favorites to assure that one wins.  Geographical coalitions to manage the process.  Sounds like same-old-same-old.  That’s because it is same-old-same-old.

Have a nice day!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

On the Lookout For!

What not to miss these days:

More light – earlier sunrises and later sunsets.  A good thing.

Inconvenience in San Francisco – based on the insane notion that being called the Super Bowl host city is a benefit, even though the game is 45 miles away in Santa Clara, because visitors will eat, drink and play here.  Who needs it?  Traffic, closed streets, clogging up everything.  Bah!

As the political season continues to heat up, so does the craziness.  Obsessive media coverage – 24/7.  Charges, counter-charges, lies, exaggerations, posturing, sound and fury signifying nothing.  Bah!

Looking for a safe place?  Forget it.  Every day the usual suspects report killings – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, and the rest.  And then, in a blink of the eye, new ones crop up – Istanbul, Indonesia, Furkina Faso and in every corner of the U.S. of A.  Bah!

Winter, and the homeless are cold.  The wealthiest country on the planet is unwilling to care for its poor.  Shameful.  Bah!

Demonstrators chain themselves together and tie up the Bay Bridge.  Their cause may be just.  Their tactics are counterproductive.  Inconveniencing the masses to make a point is so ‘old school.’  Find a better way, people.  Bah!

More light – earlier sunrises and later sunsets.  A good thing.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


I guess you can argue that opinions are important.  They are a way to express yourself.  If you are upset they give you something or someone to aim your anger at.  If you are happy, the reverse.  You can also argue that opinions are a waste of time.  They don’t make any difference.  They don’t change anything.  They are like hot air – they provide a temporary relief from the cold, but then it is cold again.

The news is the happy hunting ground for opinions.  They abound.  Today, for example:

Opinions from St. Louis:  Fans of the Rams are upset because their team and its owner have abandoned them for L.A.  Residents who aren’t fans see the benefit of not spending public money to further enrich a rich guy.  Guess what?  The team is leaving whether people like it or not.

Political opinions:  Trump, Cruz and their fans are upset with Nikki Haley for saying Republicans should stand for a common sense immigration policy.  Establishment Republicans are upset with Trump and Cruz, who they think will lose them the White House.  Guess what?  All this hot air is not going to change any minds.  You’re either for ‘em or agin’ ‘em.

Obama opinions:  His State of the Union was both thoughtful and appropriate or an hour of empty rhetoric – sound and fury signifying nothing.  The opinions on both sides are preconceived ideas that use the speech as an excuse to re-express themselves.

Economic opinions:  Income inequality does/does not pose a threat to the American way of life.  The power of money in politics is/is not a problem.  International trade agreements are good/bad for the American worker.  China is/is not a threat to us.  Taxes are/are not too high.

And so on . . . 

We are blessed by/drowning in an inexhaustible supply of opinions!

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Rain, Rain Don't Go Away!

Good news:  Lots of rain as El Niño comes to town.

More good news:

Obama may not get far with his effort to reduce the power of the NRA and modestly limit the proliferation of firearms, but that he has reached point in his presidency (and his life) in which he allows himself to express emotion in public is good to see.

The 49’ers fire their coach and (almost) admit that management incompetence is responsible for a franchise that is in the toilet.

Barry Bonds won’t make it to the Hall of Fame this time around, but finally a few voters are abandoning their knee jerk ‘no’ and are willing to take a look at his accomplishments on the field.

FIFA continues to punish and ban the criminals who have been running world football for decades.  Too little too late, but a start.

With their latest round of barbaric executions the Saudis have overplayed their hand.  Some day the U.S. will acknowledge that having this Wahhabi regime as an ally is an embarrassment.  Some day the U.S. may even see that those bad boy Iranians are not all bad.

While the Middle East is a disaster area and Europe is struggling, Asia is relatively peaceful and doing pretty well.  China size and power frighten their neighbors, but they are preoccupied with internal issues and pose no immediate threat.

Trump continues to be Trump.  That’s a good thing.   

Friday, January 01, 2016

Beyond Humans!

When a new year begins people like to look ahead and predict what’s coming next or on a personal level commit to doing things differently.  That’s all nice, but it’s also a waste of time.  For me, I’m happy to see what 2016 will bring as it unfolds, day by day.

Having said that, I invite you to consider the following: In the area of Artificial Intelligence the future is already here.  We have created machines that have the ability to outthink our human brains.  They are faster than we are.  They are more precise than we are.  Once they learn something or make a mistake, they can correct and improve themselves order of magnitude better than we can.

They are still behind when it comes to emotions.  But here too, they are catching up.  To assume that we have a unique capacity to outstrip them in this arena is wishful thinking.  

Some very smart people have their heads in the sand.  They think this challenge to our supremacy is not a danger because we can build in safeguards.  Not so.  We have lost/are losing the control that we have assumed is ours in perpetuity.  So a new paradigm, if there is to be one in which humans are relevant, is unthinkable at the moment, i.e., it is beyond our ability to conceive.  

There is no point in being pessimistic or cynical or resigned.  This is happening whether we like it – or not.  We might as well sit back and enjoy the ride - or not.

Happy New Year!