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!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Crazies on the Loose!

It’s possible to blow off the bluster, threats and incendiary rhetoric as schoolyard taunts – I dare you.  I double dare you.  I triple dare you.  But I’m taking these guys seriously.

Why?  This is not a rational argument.  We’re seeing two crazy people with egos bigger than common sense engage in a game of chicken with nothing less than the fate of the planet on the line.  And neither one can be counted on to blink first.  Or find a way around the impasse that avoids the use of military force.  So I’m taking these guys seriously.

As Stephen Colbert said: “These guys can get us all killed.”  No joke.  That our survival is in the hands of these crazies – Trump and Kim Jong-un – and what we can do is wring our hands in impotent frustration and hope for the best, is worse than a sad state of affairs.  It’s a recipe for disaster.  So I’m taking these guys seriously.

The crazies are on the loose.  They can’t be counted on to stop themselves.  But they have to be stopped.  So who will do it before it’s too late?  To be continued . . .

Have a nice day!

Monday, August 07, 2017

Breaking News!

About once an hour the cable news networks get all a twitter with some (often) inane piece of news they breathlessly call “Breaking News.”  Here are some Breaking News items you may have missed:

Residents who live on a private street in San Francisco have learned that the public spaces (like parking) on their private street are now owned by a couple from out of town.  Seems that the residents hadn’t paid fees to the city, so the public spaces were put up for auction.  Oh, Oh!  Someone wasn’t paying attention.  And now someone isn’t happy. 

The San Francisco Giants won two games in a row.  A miracle!

Europe is in the middle of a heat wave.  Some people in Spain say their air conditioning won’t work because the air is too hot to be conditioned.  If you understand what they’re talking about please enlighten me.

The last three presidents of Brazil have faced corruption charges.  Insightful observers note that a pattern seems to be emerging.

After 16 years our war in Afghanistan isn’t going well.  “Experts” are divided about what to do:  Send in more troops.  Pull out.  While they argue the Taliban gets stronger every day.  How about we let the Russians have another go at it?

While the White House is undergoing repairs, the West Wing staff has moved next door to the Executive Office Building.  Any bets on whether the change will improve their efficiency?

Nissan workers in Mississippi voted not unionize.  The UAW has seen better days.

Fountains in Rome are shutting down.  Not enough water and no end in sight for the drought.  Bummer!

Leeds kicked off the new season by beating Bolton 3-2.  About this result?  If you cared you already knew it.

Have a great day!