Tilting at Windmills

Today’s 2016 Election news — and remember, despite the clown car of candidates, the actual election is still over a year away — is perhaps the only time that Jim Webb will be the top story. He’s dropping out of the race. The next part is just bizarre. Reuters put this best:

Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb said on Tuesday he will drop his long-shot bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and explore an independent run for the White House.

Yeah. Low in the polls, but he claims that’s because Anderson Cooper is a big meanie who let Hillary talk twice as long as him. So even though by his own admission independents don’t win, he thinks he’s got a shot.

Maybe he should invest in lottery tickets instead. They’re a better bet.

In Closing: Love this guy’s art; it’s in the stars; Bronies are now apparently a subject of scholarly research; at the very least, taxpayers should not be funding unsafe activities for children; I still think PreCheck is a bad idea if the TSA is really trying to stop terrorists (and a brilliant one if they are really trying to control the masses); on the economy; oops! and pizza alternatives — most can be made vegetarian, a few can probably be done vegan, some can be done gluten free.

Is that the best you can do?

Today I came upon this image:

I agree that the news media often choose not to report things that are important in favor of things that get ratings. However, the list of “what you should know about” is focused on environmental issues and barely gives lip service to other important things the media isn’t covering. Here’s a few things you should know about that might not make your evening news:

  • The TPP isn’t dead yet; if it gets ratified, you will have fewer rights and corporations will be more powerful. Heck, you might not even know the TPP was a thing if you relied on the evening news.
  • The cops can use devices that force your cell phone to tell them where you are — unless a judge catches them.
  • You aren’t imagining. You are working harder for less.
  • Those politicians out there trying to earn votes for an election over a year from now are mostly bought and paid for by special interests.
  • There’s probably a kid that died in your metropolitan area, too.
  • There are multiple humanitarian crises going on in the world right now.
  • Over 40,000 Americans commit suicide each year. That works out to one every 13 minutes, and one a day in my city. You might be able to do something about that.
  • Since the list was a bit food centric, here’s a food item: Congress doesn’t think you need to know where your meat was raised.

And that’s just a short list.

In Closing: Liverpool; ramen; resume; then she should find a job that doesn’t require her to do things that conflict with her religion (oh, you thought I was talking about that marriage license thing?); not having the desired effect on his image;

A Couple More Random Things I Learned

I’ll keep it short but sweet.

So, I go to a Jewish school: I only recently learned that for purposes of kosher cuisine, fish is not considered meat. I should have figured this out when I was 3 and learned the joys of bagels, lox, and cream cheese. However, I grew up in the kind of household where kishka might well be served with pork roast.

On Diversity: Your eyes don’t look like mine. My hands don’t look like yours. That’s pretty obvious, right? What might not be obvious is that our other parts probably don’t look the same either. Most students learning anatomy use drawings and models that are somewhat idealized. Sometimes what you see in reality isn’t what you saw in your textbook. Not everyone realizes this until they are confronted by it.

A very very random thought

Ok, so it’s been pointed out multiple times that the Starbucks Trenta holds more than a typical human stomach.


In Closing: keeping the average man down, or rather beating him until he’s part of the underclass who knows his place (and spy on him if he seems like he might think about doing something illegal about his predicament); arguments against TPP (which will only make the previous point worse).


Some years ago, I read a book called the Inner Game of Music. In a manner of speaking, it was about getting out of your own way. Oddly enough, one of the things that stuck with me about this book was a peculiar concept: giving yourself permission to fail. Apparently many people have learned this lesson from many sources.

So yes, it can be a good habit to permit ourselves to fail. And although I am far from the first person to explore the concept, I would like to share why I think it is so.

Paying attention to failure teaches how to succeed. Of course, this only applies when we pay attention, and fail “mindfully.” The truth is that most of us fail a time or two when we are learning something new. One anecdote from the Inner Game of Music relays how when a pair of musicians tried to isolate when their duet went awry, suddenly it was perfect! When we pay attention to how, when, and why we fail, we come up with solutions.

Failure teaches us about ourselves and about reality. How we react to failure can give us insight to who we really are — but again, only if we are willing to pay attention. But more importantly, failure can be the beginning of discovery! Or, as Isaac Asimov put it, “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka’ but ‘That’s funny…'” Consider Alexander Fleming discovering that the “contamination” in his bacterial culture was actually exactly the exact bacteria-killer he’d been looking for. If he hadn’t been willing to learn, he might have thrown away that specimen and never discovered that antibiotic.

Sometimes, our failures fail spectacularly! No, I’m not talking about all those online videos we’ve watched many times of people doing stupid things on skateboards or motorcycles. I’m talking about a failure that turns out for the best. My favorite example occurred in the original Iron Chef series. Chen Kenichi was the chef who specialized in Chinese cuisine (a footnote, his father invented “shrimp in chili sauce”). A French challenger chef decided to take on Kenichi-san rather than the show’s French specialist, perhaps thinking this gave him an advantage. The secret ingredient was yogurt, unused in Chinese cuisine. You can see for yourself: between 8:30 and 9:00 minutes into the video, Kenichi-san gives himself permission to fail. After all, he’s never used this stuff, never even tasted it. But freed from the need to succeed, he experiments and innovates his way into one of his most memorable wins.

There’s nothing wrong with failing now and again, as long as you aren’t doing something colossally dangerous.

In Closing: milk fail; chart fail; vax fail (don’t do this one); wedding fail; jobs report fail; weight loss fail; just, fail; patient confidentiality fail; accidental paleontology win!

Eat It

Today’s question:

Do you tend to order the same thing at restaurants? Or do you like to jump around the menu?

Answer: yes. It depends where I am. There are places where I just want the one or two things that I know are awesome. There are other places where I am busy trying new things. Remember, Vegas is a world class food city! Sorry, I don’t have much more to say about the issue than that.

In Closing: no regard for the Supreme Court; catching the cold; one Indiana lawmaker doesn’t think you should have a choice whether you raise a child with severe disabilities; cybersecurity; doing the same thing and expecting different results; finally somebody said it out loud.

The Good, the Bad, and the Habitual

Today’s question:

Do you think you have more good habits or bad habits?

I thought about going a little zen on this question and simply saying “yes.” I have good habits, I have bad habits, I don’t know that I ever bothered comparing the two. I suppose I’d like to think I have more good than bad, and there are people who might disagree.

Sorry, not the best post. But hey, yesterday you got a good rant!

In Closing: Stingray; the London Stone; Women of the Senate; with more people identifying as liberal, I wonder when politicians will stop fearing the word; climate denial; policy; and the Real Johnny Appleseed.