To Paddle or Not?

disciplineIt’s disconcerting to be 63 and still find so much of human behavior unintelligible. Yet I do.

It’s disconcerting to be 63 and find myself pondering a subject that doesn’t apply to me personally at all. I really have better things to do.

It’s disconcerting to be 63 and find so many people so woefully out of touch with reality with no desire to enter into it.

Yet, here I find myself.

And as I ponder the realities of life, I guess I end up thinking I’m among the more fortunate of the human race to date, for I think at least that I possess the skills and tools necessary to see the world as it is rather than how I want it to be.

That means, for me at least, that I can work toward improving that world. If your worldview is faulty, then of course, you have no hope of effecting a change since you misjudge from the start.

I have learned that I will never reach China by digging away in the backyard with my sandbox shovel. Too many of those I know have not learned that yet it seems.

It all started here:

spankingThis was posted by a guy I went to high school with.

It is, as you note, one of those Facebook memes that travels from person to person. There is supposed to be some point. And there is supposed to be something one assumes that this addresses.

It seems to address that “fact” that the poster doesn’t think that the world is a very good place anymore, though it once was.

It seems that we aren’t spanking any more, but we should. It seems to address the criticisms of spanking, with “evidence” that contradicts those criticisms.

Of course it does none of the above.

Before I get into that, let me say that I responded to my classmate with a generalized thought that I thought spanking wasn’t particularly helpful and that hitting kids didn’t teach good lessons and that what the world needs is more peace and perhaps the home was a good place to start.

I was met by a universal condemnation, mostly having to do with “spanking isn’t beating”. This was accompanied by more anecdotal testimonials that “spanking never hurt me.” It was met finally with a pointed jab of “how many children have you raised?” I cited a statement by professionals whose business it is to understand the psychology of child rearing. No response to that, just more claims that I was wrong.

Then this was posted:

spanking3That really threw me, for as anyone with an ounce of critical thinking skills would see, there is no attempt, nor can there be, to show that violence in the world is in any way directly linked to the physical discipline of children.

In fact, the implied premise is wildly wrong.

There was not “less violence when it was normal to give your kid an ass whooping.” Violence has pretty steadily decreased over time in the world.

To the degree that people physically discipline their children less today than they did say 30-40 years ago, is more a symptom of this, and perhaps of the studies that show that pain-causing discipline doesn’t help, and often harms children.

What we have here is a complete and utter failure to read and think critically.

Let’s examine some of the faulty thinking:

  1. I’m okay and I was spanked, so there is nothing wrong with it. True enough for a lot of people, however anecdotal testimonials are not evidence, they are what they are. Statistically they mean nothing and prove nothing. There are always exceptions to any rule, sometimes many, but the rule remains the rule. The considered opinion of child experts is that there are too many bad effects and virtually no good effects, so the practice remains ineffective period.
  2. There is more violence in today’s society than there was “when I was a kid”. This is fallacious as the statistics again prove out. It should be noted that the overall crime rate in this country has dropped significantly. However, the perception is that is has not.
  3. Children who were “spanked” or otherwise physically disciplined, grow up to be more law-abiding and more respectful human beings. Somehow today’s ills wouldn’t be as bad or wouldn’t exist at all if we were still physically disciplining our children at the perceived rate that we did in the fifties or sixties. Except that is demonstrably not true based on studies, crime statistics and the total lack of evidence to support this assumption.
  4. One must be a parent in order to know anything about proper disciplinary choices. This is simply too ludicrous to respond to, and bespeaks the most obvious type of knee-jerk, non-thinking response imaginable. There is no such requirement to becoming  an expert in child care or the psychology involving the child. Most families are dysfunctional to one degree or another. Obviously one doesn’t learn parenting skills simply by giving birth or donating sperm. This is non-critical thinking at its worst.

So how does one explain that some people want to think that spanking is the answer, and that more of it should be done? (As you might expect the requisite fundamentalist piped in with resort to the highly misunderstood, “spare the rod, spoil the child” response).

Can we conclude that such people are just poorly educated and grasping at the only thing they can think of to “right the world” they see as having gone awry? Perhaps. At least it accounts for the fact that in this example, there is a stunning and appalling lack of critical thinking attached. The FIRST question should be, why would causing pain to a child make them a better person? And then you actually start doing research. Obviously our high schools do a terrible job of teaching these skills and a large percentage of our population is thus prey to the simplistic answer.

Perhaps we can conclude that most people see their own upbringing over time as more rosy than it was. Given that the times are different today, they seem worse. There is probably much truth here. Teapartiers and others from the Right Wing do tend to long for a past that was not real, but seems so to them. This is well documented today with our penchant for rewriting history regarding our founding, i.e., being a Christian nation, and our “freedoms” being eroded, all without real documentation.

In fact, I suspect that those who “support” spanking as discipline are probably more conservative than those who don’t. This then becomes just another on a long list of items that have and are destroying the “American way of life.”

ADDENDUM: The next issue that has arisen is an urgent plea to spread around a letter documenting all the terrible things Jane Fonda did during the Vietnam war era. It claims that Barbara Walters has condemned her as a “traitor” and that President Obama is going to honor her as one of the 100 most Influential Women of the Century. Write immediately to stop this atrocity! This urban legend started before Obama was president. In fact Walters did honor Fonda for the above back in 1999. This legend resurrects every year or so, and seems to have popped up again since Fonda had the temerity to play Nancy Reagan in The Butler, something the RIght cannot stand. I suggest that the statement within the “letter” suggesting that Barbara Walters  had publicly called Fonda a traitor, would to the critical eye, suggest immediately that this was most unlikely and required further researcher. The same poster, again failed to see the obvious issue and do so.

I sometimes feel like I’m traveling through the woods stomping out small fires. Help our educational system!

spanking1

It’s Good News Thursday!

happyDon’t worry, be happy. I’m just oodly happy today. Don’t know why, no good reason. Just breathing in and saying hey, lungs fill up with this OX-y-Jin!

No, I’m not on pain killers nor other mind-altering substances. I’m just finding the news particularly upbeat today.

First, let me tootle my own horn just a tiny bit. I finished Jonathan Haidt’s book, The Righteous Mind, and you can read my review here. It’s a humbling book I gotta tell you. Being smart and well-educated doesn’t necessarily make you any more open-minded. What it may do, as I surmise is make you more aware of just how much we intuit our  beliefs and then come up with “evidence” to substantiate it. Knowing that, we can, I hope, be more vigilant in being open, if you get my drift.

Secondly, I found out that neither rich, poor, religious or not, we all mostly look out for Number One, we can all be altruistic to our “tribe”, we all cheat if we can get away with it to a greater or lesser degree (the rich the most), and we all worry about what others think of us (the conservative more-so than liberals). At least those were big take-aways for me. And it suggested to me that the claim that conservatives give more of their money and time to charitable concerns may be the result of inflated self-reporting than anything else. I do admit that that conclusion is the result of (1) a desire on my part that it be so, (2) the knowledge that conservatives worry excessively about their reputations, and (3) anecdotal evidence that the only people who ever tell me about their charitable largess or right wingers. So it’s my extrapolation and may not be accurate. Do tell what your experience has been.

Anyway, my bottom line? Professor Haidt’s revelations are perhaps as anger provoking to liberals as they are to conservatives. And that means it’s probably important to read and understand. I am fairly convinced that he makes some good points about what liberals miss and what some conservatives bring to the table. I would argue that nothing much good comes from the tea Idiots however, but that again is my elephant in full control. (read the book and you will get the reference).

So, the other good news for me at least is this:

I adore Glee. I say that with a certain degree of embarrassment because we didn’t watch it for a couple of years. Thought it was for kids. But kept hearing all the raves about it. So tuned it one evening and we’ve been hooked ever since. Silly as all get out. Nobody ever in life went to a high school like this, but we all should have. And it’s great fun. And it sends a very important message about being WHO YOU ARE, and about being accepted for WHO YOU ARE, even when that can be just down right a horse’s ass. The most important point they make, and you have to watch for a while to get it, is that seemingly mean people have soft undersides, and very nice people have dark hearts. And we all have to make allowances for each other, and support each other just because we are all really freakin’ human and being human is freakin’ hard a lot of the time.

So anyway, the good news is that my darling boy Adam Lambert is joining the cast this fall. Adam, is drop-dead boy toy gorgeous if you didn’t know. adam

And he’s so young that for me to get excited means I’m a sick woman. So I only from a distance say, damn that is one fine lookin’ child, and no more.

And if you listen to him, he’s not dumb either, which is something that seems to often unfairly attach or not to people who are that good-looking.

Johnny Depp is another exception, being fabulously gorgeous, closer to my own age, and not dumb as a rock either.

So, I can hardly wait until fall. And I know I shouldn’t be that way, because at my age, wishing time to pass is surely not a good thing.

Speaking of gay.

Oh, yes we were!

All kinds of crappy shit is going on in Pennsylvania these days but here is some good news.

The AG for PA, (has a snappy sound no?) has apparently said that she has no intention of defending against the lawsuit filed by a gay couple challenging the ban on gay-marriage statute in that state.  So says Joe.My.God, who so says the Washington Post.

It appears that the thing about gay marriage has turned a corner, or as we science-oriented types like to say, passed over the event horizon, meaning nothing in the known universe can turn back the procession to full equality for our friends who are other-oriented than me. I for one couldn’t be more happy. It seems that the latest polling in PA suggests that well more than half of the population in that state now favors marriage equality, which is why the AG perhaps decided what she did.

Anyway, hurrah, hurrah.

Those of you in the know, know that Scott Walker, Guv from Wisconsin has been a real pain in the rear for women. He pushed through a repeal of women’s right to equal pay, has essentially defunded PPH, and has signed a number of bills making abortion rights much much harder for women to exercise. Sarah Silverman, comedienne, tweeted: “I’d very much like to anally probe @govwalker each time he needs to make an “informed decision” “.

The Right-wing has gone bonkers over this, accusing Ms. Silverman of wanting to “rape” the governor. Breitbart was suitably chagrined.   (read the comments which quickly degenerate to Hitler’s death camps I promise you). Anyway, pissing off the right just makes me joyful. It’s my great happiness to know they are turning purple in the face. It makes me happy, and this IS happy day.

Taken by a British Photographer (Austin?)

Taken by a British Photographer (Austin?)

 

What a Difference a Mind Makes

witchcraftYou know it’s really funny. Prepare you face for it. To laugh that is.

When I talk about faith or religion here, it brings out the new atheists and their smarmy yak-yak about believing in fairy tales. When I talk about faith or religion on my actual religion blog, Walking in the Shadows, I sometimes get folks who deign to explain to me that I’m not practicing the right kind of Christianity from their point of view.

Yesterday, I was asked, after making a number of statements regarding various fairly technical aspects of Christian theology (atonement theory, faith/works), the sort of things that some of us love to discuss, whether I was a “follower” of Jesus.

I guess it caught me oddly since I can’t imagine why anyone would spend all that much time on a subject of which they had no interest. But then I thought of a few rather well-known scholars who had started their studies in faith, and then lost it, and remained in the discipline. So I guess it wasn’t so odd.

Which brought me to the well-known principle that on just about every subject known to man and woman, people see things very differently. To this person’s mind at least, because I didn’t believe as she did, I must not be a follower of Jesus as she was. There was one way to follow Jesus, and I wasn’t doing it.

Similarly, whether it be economics or climate change, or any of a host of human and worldly problems, you discover that people have views that seem idiotic to you. Yet, when you talk to them, they have the same passion as you do. They are just as sure. Well, I guess that’s not totally true. I always figure that I’m never totally sure about much of anything. Doubt to me is part of the package. Those who are diametrically opposed to what I think, they seem to be very sure.

Therein lies the rub as Shakespeare was wont to say. The “follower of Jesus” if asked, would assure me that her belief is absolute, without question. That seems to me to be the total opposite of faith. For to me, faith is such in the face of doubt. It’s a choosing to believe even when there is no proof that you are right, just no proof that you are wrong.

It led me to conclude that that is probably true about most people who are given to being “absolutely sure”.  I’m also engaged with a very reactionary type who is “very sure” there is no such thing as global warming. Even though logically he can’t be, since he has no training in any science even remotely related to the subject. He is adamant that he is right, because the people he aligns himself with say what he wants to be true.

A scientist will tell you that you can’t be absolutely sure that the sun will rise tomorrow. Something catastrophic could always happen. Is it true that only the reactionary right are “sure” about things? I wonder.

I’m not completely sure where this comes from. One can refer to the fundamentalist mind. People think it refers to super conservative church people, but it actually is a mindset. It refers to a person who likes things in neat little boxes, all tidy and a whole world gets constructed of rights and wrongs. Once they have established this nice world, they can finally relax, they have all the answers. Nobody is allowed to jeopardize that with actual facts to the contrary. They must be defeated, and they are, by naming them as suspect. They are “purveyors of lies”, they are “Marxists” or “socialists” or “one-world government” nuts. They are hucksters conspiring  to obtain grants based on known falsehoods, for the “money”. (of course nobody explains how tens of thousands are all in on this conspiracy and waste their careers getting grants to do things they know already are false). Nobody explains the lack of logic of it all.

One can refer to self-interest, and that explains a lot too. When you poke at the angry all too sure person, they generally erupt in a retort of “we’re going to be taxed to death, and all for nothing!” That is the crux of the issue when you puncture the pus-filled wound they carry around with them. They hate taxes, hate everything they perceive is keeping them from retaining every dime they make.

That is why the GOP mantra is so attractive. They not only support the angry right and it’s desire to pay less taxes, they give them all the reasoning as to why they need not feel guilty about it either. If you show them statistics that prove that raising the minimum wages doesn’t result in an uptick in the unemployment numbers and that it results in raising up the wages of all workers, they retort with a firm “no it doesn’t, all it does it deny poor black kids a chance at a job, and perpetuate poverty, which is all Democrats want because then they have a ready-made electorate who want those handouts.”

It’s so nice when people tell you aren’t racist, or sexist, or homophobic, or wrong period. It’s nice to be told that you are right in denying full rights to gay couples because “God wants it that way.” Nice to deny SNAP to women and children because it just “encourages laziness and relying on the government”. It’s nice to  leave the planet in a mess to the next generation because a few opportunists are willing to assure you that it’s really okay and you shouldn’t be scammed by and forced to pay more taxes to encourage green technology.

So, add another point to how to determine when you are hearing the truth, or when you are hearing what somebody wants you to believe for their own purposes. Are they sure? If they are, and they don’t have the background to make that determination, look for something else at play, and tread carefully when you make your decision of what you believe.

Belief and surety are not the same.

Wackos of the World Unite: You Have Nothing to Lose But Moronic Thinking

I was recently called donald-trump-duck1a wacko. Nothing could be truer and if the person who so named me, had known me well, I would have laughed in agreement. But he knows nothing but a smidgen of my politics, and his opprobrium was limited to that fact alone.  To that sir, I take umbrage!

I have heard, and it seems to be folk wisdom, that one becomes more conservative with age. I guess it stems from an accumulation of anecdotal observances of friends and family as they age.

It may well be true.

I know it was nearly true of me.

At one point in my life, I found my life in a place that was not pleasing. I was living in an urban setting in a city known for violence. I was tired of house break-ins, and all the petty crime that life entailed. I was tired of my job, tired of the people I worked with and we were embroiled in a fight within our organization over wages and rights.

And I found myself slipping into conservative mode. I wanted out, and that required savings, and anything that impinged on my ability to save money was something I was against.

Life got better. And it continued to be so.

I realized something as life got sweeter. My normal liberalism was returning. My life is great today. And my liberalism is flaming, in fact I’m not sure I’m not sliding well into anarchism. (please do look that up before you report me to the FBI–I’m a Chomsky type anarachist and I’m just beginning that journey of discovery, so don’t hold me to it. Being the eclectic I am, I am always trying to learn something new. I almost became a nun for goodness sake!)

Which suggests that something more is at work here.

I’ve become involved in some discussions with old school mates as of late. The discussions have often involved issues of the day. And I find a very curious thing. Perhaps I’m reading the tea leaves wrong, but well, judge for yourself.

I view the Tea Party as a loose amalgamation of disparate spirits. There are your fiscal deficit hawks. There are your, don’t tax me (but do fix the pot holes). There are the “it smacks of socialism/fascism/communism” to me even though I can’t actually tell you which is which, but I don’t like it. There are your basic racists and any anti-Democratic group sounds good to me given that THAT guy is in the White House types. There are your basic survivalists who just hate government, but are also itching to shoot it up. There are your religionists/fundamentalists who think the US of A ought to be based on the bible as they interpret it, along with all their ideas of social living arrangements made mandatory by God, speaking through them. There are probably more.

It makes for a messy group.

But in discussions, I find that those who are most impossible to engage in anything other than sound bites direct from Breitbots, Daily Caller, Blaze, WND, and the ever reliable bellicose grifters, Coulter, Limbaugh, Hannity, and so on, are people who over time, you perceive to be just really really unhappy individuals. They have fallen into their conservationism as a defense to their miserable lives.

I paint this portrait with the proviso that not all need apply, but as they say, if you find yourself answering yes to three or more, you may have a problem that is leading you to be a Conservative:

  1. You are divorced or separated, and you feel that you are not at fault, having spent your life working to provide for your spouse who is an ungrateful _________.
  2. You have no education past high school, or if you do, it was toward a trade or low-level technical job.
  3. You are self-employed and have no more than six people who work for you.
  4. You have long given up an dreams of opening a second shop, franchising your business, or crossing that threshold to being a “businessman”. In other words, you still are working along with your employees.
  5. You work long hours, and while you make a decent living, you still can’t afford all the things you dreamed of having at this point.
  6. Every dime you pay in taxes becomes a dime that keeps you that must further away from “retirement”, and a chance to finally enjoy life. Emphasis on finally because you don’t expect to enjoy life until you have “made it”.
  7. You have few hobbies or enjoyable down time, because you “don’t have time” or can’t afford it.
  8. Life has definitely not turned out the way you expected it to, and you are close or at retirement age.
  9. You increasingly see that most people don’t work as hard as you do, yet they “get stuff” for free because they are a minority, a woman, an undocumented worker (illegal).
  10. You know that if the government didn’t take your money, you could have been wealthy like all the rich people you so admire. You’ve read all their books, and you know you are just like them.

What this all leads to is extreme anger. It’s not my fault I’m not living the life I deserve. It’s __________ fault. It’s got to be somebody’s fault you see. I just has to be. For it cannot be mine. I work too hard for it to be mine.

Of course, it begs the question that you have perhaps listened to the wrong people. I could explain that you are believing exactly what the corporate masters desire you to believe. You are blaming who they wish you to blame. You are mired in self-pity, because it is not your fault. And it truly isn’t your fault. You simply based your beliefs on those whose interest it is to keep your striving in place,  and misdirecting your anger away from them.

So I think of it as a badge of honor to be a liberal at my age. I have successfully avoided the pitfalls of self-interest in the name of what I call being human. I see the human experience as one of striving to be more human, and that means being more open and giving and sharing with the lives that surround me. There is nothing so very noble about it. It’s a constant struggle to pull away from purely selfish interest to include “the other”. I don’t always win that battle, but the struggle enhances my ability to win more than I lose. And as a citizen of planet of earth, I find that a positive step forward.

Evolution is about change over time. Try to be mindfully engaged in that process. I think God likes that. But that’s me, the wacko speaking.

Do You Like Sport?

funny-sports-12Are we getting it yet?

Are you still enthralled with your favorite hero? Is it Clay Matthews or LeBron James? Is it Wayne Gretzky or Miguel Cabrera? You do realize they are humans and they are flawed don’t you?

Lance Armstrong is so flawed he deserves to be in his own hall of fame of worst possible human being in the entire 20th and 21st century. I mean, he stands back and admits to all the things he’s been accused of for years, without batting an eye, oblivious EMOTIONALLY to all the pain he has caused others. He’s a sociopath, and in another life would be a mass murderer. Instead he’s just a mass cheater, liar, and life wrecker.

Manti Ta’o? The kid from Notre Dame with the strange story about the girlfriend he had never met and may never have existed? Oh, I have no clue if Manti was in on the hoax or a victim of it. Having spend more hours than I wish to admit to on the old IRC back in the day, I know so many stories like this that I’m inclined to give the kid the benefit of the doubt. I knew people who feel deeply in love with personas that were not even close to truth. I knew men who fell in love with men who thought they were women. Truly it happens. Or it did.  .  .  . back in the day at least.

Never happened to me. Back before the Contrarian, I met a lot of men via the Internet, and physically met close to a half dozen. They were all who they purported to be. I was lucky I guess. I met the Contrarian via the Internet, and in a display of utter dumbness, or incredibly acute intuition, gave up my apartment and hired a moving company before I had laid eyes on the man. But we are now into thirteen years of marriage, and a happy one at that. Don’t use me as measure however of the safety of this medium of communication. I am quite sure if you x-ray my skull, you will find the alien implant that suggests I’m just on loan from Planet Glix for an earthly experiment. I think my real occupation, when not being a test subject (think 2 years government service equivalency), is as an online psychic charlatan on the run from three known law suits, and three hybrid brides who were left at the altar.

See, that stuff floats through my head, and just must be when the old implant goes into a defib mode for a few seconds.

Anyway, either Manti or Lance serve once again to remind us that we should never place our adoration at the foot of most any human, for they are just always going to disappoint you in the end by being ALL TOO HUMAN. Or maybe less human in the case of Lance.

Which begs the question, where does one lay one’s adoration? Some find elegance in the medium of mathematics, and indeed I can appreciate the elegance of that. Or the universe itself which has a majesty that is enough for 3,000 lifetimes. One can find enough to adore in the soft breathing of a newborn, a new-born of any species actually. Awe is part of adoration after all, and life awes.

I find a single dandelion growing through the crack in an old sidewalk worthy of adoration. After all, talk about tenacity. Tenacity seems worthy of adoration.

So symmetry,  the miracle of life, and tenacity are in the mix. How about longevity?

Old-Man

There is much to be admired in a face like this. A worn face, a face that has worked, loved, cried, laughed, and somehow continued on.

Eyes that hold a library full of stories.

Hands that have caressed a woman’s cheek and then tightened around a wrench and heaved loose a nut.

Shall we trip the light fantastic and delve into the realm of mystery? Shall we glimpse the ineffable, the transcendent? Are we not in the place of adoration?

Shall we imagine the temperatures and pressures that brought into being the pebble that you walk upon? That came from the rock, that came from the mountain, long broken and sunk back into the landscape? Adore it?

Did all this start in a giggle of a thought about Mitt Romney and his reference to liking “sport” instead of “sports?”

Can we adore the mind that can move across such distance of space and subject,  and still remain stable enough to shop for groceries and watch 30Rock?

You tell me.

Oh Please, Not Again!

Since before the time when Archimedes ran naked through the streets of Syracuse yelling “Eureka!” humanity has been on a quest of self-improvement and determination to follow through.

Okay, so Archimedes has zero to do with this. So sue me. Better yet, make a New Year’s Resolution about it.

I have, in the past, noted that I stopped participating in this archaic and largely illusory exercise some years ago. Sort of. It remains as a painful pleasure to those masochists out there who enjoy setting themselves up for failure. Please note that the more you insist on listing  TEN, the more masochistic you are.

Now, I have little doubt that early humans, while looking out of the cave upon a new year resolved to change a few things. Like being more careful when sharpening spears, and not volunteering so much as lead in the Wooly Mammoth hunt.

And down through the ages, people, ever confident have continued this stupid practice of thinking that by sheer will, and the turn of a day on the calendar, magically they could transform their lives into that which they had always dreamed of.

No one would argue that the number one resolution historically is to diet. Yes, it never fails. In fact, the commercial world, dumb as it is, always runs some ads telling us to eat this or that in order to “fit into that swimsuit” come June.

So popular is this little resolution, that supermarkets quite regularly run out of Lean Cuisine on January 2 of every year, and the garbage retrieval companies report a larger than usual dumpage of old-freezer killed packages of same around December 30 or so. (depending on your pick-up date of course).

So unsuccessful is this resolution that it is being noted by planetary scientists world-wide. It has been known for some time that America is “weightier” than any other nation in the world. All the resolution in the world seems to have no effect. Scientists now note that the weight imbalance on our side of the globe is increasing to a degree that it is starting to throw the axis of the earth out of alignment, and that if this continues, we shall roll right out of our orbit.

 It is projected that our next stop will be as a satellite of Saturn. Having watched old episodes of Buck Rogers, I can tell you that the Saturnians are a most unpleasant sort of people, and it is ill-advised to join their system.

Going hat-in-hand with dieting is of course exercise. This causes the usual run on tennis shoes and other work-out wear, but most get so little use, that often it can be re-used the following year.

The median resoluteness of these two grand desires is approximately 2.3 weeks, slightly longer if there is a membership in a weight losing scheme such as Wiggles and Jiggles BeGone or Max’s Pain and Torture Emporium. Then the resolute period is a whopping 3.4 weeks.

Next on the list of “I’m working on me” is those things that actually improve one’s mind. Learn it or lose it, or something like that. This often is considered before the actual resolution date, and is requested as a gift at Christmas time. No dreams of sugar plums in these heads, but rather of looms and needles, and fabrics, and such. Believe me, I know all about this one. I have a room full of barely started projects to prove it. And if you are honest, so do you. Don’t bite this bait again.

Nothing compares to our resolve to become better read, and so most lists include a promise to “read more.” It is most important that you leave it general like this. While it is true that when you wrote it, you meant things like reading Plutarch and Pliny, or something by Steven Hawking, trust me, no more than thirty pages of any of these will be consumed. Truly, that is the average that anyone actually plows through.

No, if you leave it at “read more” you can talk yourself into believing that comic books, the captions on pictures in People, and the ingredients on a cereal box all count. See, success!

My favorite are the even more ephemeral ones like “making a difference in somebody’s life each day.” Now you can cross this one off as a success even before you start. You do make a difference in somebody’s life every day, as long as you don’t hold yourself to the requirement that it be a positive one. I assure you, you got this one. Move on.

People often decide that they are going to take better control of their finances as a resolution of sorts. And you can too. Just don’t start figuring out this one, until you have finished paying off the books and supplies needed to accomplish all the other resolutions you made already. It is important to keep this one at the end of the list. Comprendé?

So, if you plan carefully, you can beat this game that defeats almost everyone else. Stay away from dieting and exercise. Substitute more general terms like “eat better” (use one pat less of butter per week is technically “eating better!”) and “moving” more which can be contorting yourself to scratch your own back rather than reach for the backscratcher. Movement is movement after all.

The rest? Well, I think you get the template here. GENERALLY BE GENERAL, or GBG as we in the experienced trade call it.

You too can be a Resolution success story!

I Always Knew I Was Right, NO! Not Right, Right, But Correct

We’ve had the argument about violence more than once here. Are we by nature violent? Or was it learned behavior.  I’m of the latter persuasion surely.

Plenty of factors contribute to our willingness to harm others in pursuit of our own interests, and I found this article a few days ago and found it quite informative on the issue.

Take a look at Why is There Peace? written by Harvard professor Steven Pinker. I have voiced a number of his arguments at one time or another, but I think he puts it all together quite well. Take a look and see if you agree.

(I thought the pic would appeal to the creationists who no doubt recognize humans using their dinosaurs in pursuit of warfare.)

Congressional Republicans continue to act like dodo birds. Did anyone tell them that that bird is now extinct?

As some other blogger (sorry, forgot who) said, a job creator is not a job creator until they creat: JOBS!

Class warfare? Oh yeah, picking on 1% of the population is now class warfare. Keep on with that argument robot generic GOP stooge.

But another example of Islamophobia: 

 

 Oh and don’t miss the sponsor listed as ATLASSHRUGS.COM.  You go Paul Ryan. This is what you support eh?

Oh happy stupid days. This just made me laugh my moneymaker off. It seems that disgraced evangelical and sometimes gay man, Ted Haggard is so down and out that he has signed up for “Celebrity Wife Swap.” No doubt Haggard misunderstood and thought it meant something quite kinky. But then again, it could. Turns out he’s swapping wimmmin with none other than Gary (I even look crazy) Busey.

One almost–I did say almost, wants to watch this. Almost.

Beeryblog has something to say about the Troy Davis execution, and if you are smart you’ll go read it. Beery can write, he makes me jealous of his talent. I can only try harder to say less and more at the same time. Damn good writing. Damn good thinking.

Boehner’s butt cheeks are now as orange as his face, given the spanking he got by his own party TeaNutz®.

Michele Bachmann says another stupid, mindless, inaccurate thing in Iowa. Oh wait, this blog is about NEWS.  Nothing to see folks, move along.

New game: watch the GOP thingie called a debate and see which candidate is trying the hardest to channel Reagan. Is he the ONLY hero they have?

Oh, the $16 muffin scandal at the DOJ was all a myth. It was just a shorthanded means of invoicing by the hotel, who was given a budget, and didn’t want to list every piece of food, so stuck the charges under just a few categories.

Don’t look for the GOP to change their tune though. They are loving them so muffin-gate.

The “Ground Zero Mosque, which was really a Community center, had its official grand opening with nary a protestor in site. The first event was an exhibit of children’s pictures against hate.

God, also known as God, Allah, Yahweh, Higher Power, and other endless appellations, was seen touring the photograph and thoroughly enjoying His/Her self.

Here’s some “strict constructionism” that makes the Crazy Right just search for that vibrator cuz it TURNS THEM ON: This from that icon of logic against all common sense, JustUS Antonin Scalia:

There is no basis in text, tradition, or even in contemporary practice (if that were enough), for finding in the Constitution a right to demand judicial consideration of newly discovered evidence of innocence brought forward after conviction.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it. You convict ‘em, we kill ‘em, no questions asked or answered.

What’s on the stove? Oh some high falutin’ chicken breasty thing with white wine, goat cheese, oven-dried tomatoes, garlic and butter, lots of butter. Along with steamed new potatoes and broccoli steamed as well.  If the chickeny thing turns out as good as it sounds, I’ll be posting that recipe, maybe even today.

Stay tuned.