Do No Harm

Today’s question:

Hippocrates famously said: “Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm.” Add one more important habit to his list.

Never mind that he didn’t actually say any such thing….

But as long as doing helpful things and refraining from doing harmful things is the topic, let’s go back to another ancient source, a fellow named Siddhartha Gautama. He taught that we would be happier if we followed eight habits, including seeing the world as it really is, paying attention why we want things, saying the right things (not saying bad things), doing the right things (again, not doing bad things), having a job that is good for the community or mankind (yeah, maybe “assassin” isn’t a proper career path), putting a good effort into all we do, being aware, and focusing on things where appropriate.

You don’t have to believe everything he said to think those are good ideas.

In Closing: keep looking up; a research problem; unfortunately I doubt they mean it; finally somebody thought about it (at least a little); Dayton; civil rights; words.

5150 Shorties Way

Let’s clean up some tabs here…. It’s supposed to be cold in Vegas tonight. First person to say that disproves global warning gets smacked upside the head.

It’s called “math”:  Someone notices that rent can be more than a mortgage these days. Funny thing, your landlord is entitled to a profit over paying his own mortgage!

Go ahead, opt out. They dare you: The TSA. And be sure you have an ID with your age on it if you look young.

Drink Up: Red wine seemingly increases testosterone, and reduces the amount peed away.

Musique Concrete: How Dr. Who changed music.

That leaves 1-3 hours for eating, pooping, demanding attention, and running around like a fuzzy maniac: Cats spend the rest of the time sleeping and grooming.

Defused: The latest school shooting rampage was not stopped by “a good guy with a gun.” It was stopped by a teacher talking him into laying down the weapon. Hmm.

Free Gift!: You can now play CDs you bought from Amazon from the cloud in many cases. Even if you bought them 15 years ago. Surprise!

Dave Johnson: He tends to be a bit long winded, but he’s correct.

Too Big To Fail must be Too Big To Exist: Robert Reich.

Didn’t anybody else think the headline didn’t make sense?: It turns out there was a lot more to the story of the woman fired for being too attractive.

And now back to their usual silliness: The American Academy of Pediatrics thinks it would be wonderful to have a doctor in every school. Well sure it would, particularly since I’m sure they would want that doctor to be one of their members! I’m not sure where they think these doctors are going to come from, since there is a shortage which will only get worse as Baby Boomers retire. And I’m certainly not sure where they think school districts will come up with the money. After all, average (median?) pay for a pediatrician is $156,000, and that’s one of the low salary specialties. That kind of money could pay for at least 3 teachers. Which do you think will give the district the most bang for the buck in this age of budget cuts?

Last but not least: The best time to buy almost anything.

A Really Bad Week for Music

In the last week, we have lost a bunch of fine musicians.

First, Dave Brubeck.

Then, Jenni Rivera — with whom I was not familiar prior to her unfortunate death.

Yesterday, Russian born Soprano Galina Vishnevskaya.

And today, Ravi Shankar. Apparently, somebody forgot to tell him these things happen in threes.

In Closing: turns out the Feds did good on this investment; the return of on the job training (waaah, it costs more than miraculously finding people who already have the skills!); the right to work for less; record period of no freezing in Vegas couldn’t possibly be because of global warming!; reinventing the wheel; even Wal-Mart is feeling it; if you can, give a hand to JP; and congrats to Ornery Bastard.

Happy Thanksgiving


In Closing: That would be bad; Googlegator; Japan Crush; Rolling Jubilee gets more press; the last cooler than average month was during the Reagan Administration (maybe hell froze over when he compromised with Democrats or raised taxes?); Lost Decade, American Style; Forbes and USA Today disagree on the buyer, but agree that somebody will make your freaking Twinkies (and screw workers in the process); of course, you could just make your own freaking Twinkies; maybe if the so-called adults made it clear that we must treat others with respect, this wouldn’t be a problem; vintage pictures of Japan; Susie’s right; so is Robert.

Yin and Yang of Healthy Living, Part 2

You will never get in shape through diet, and you will never control your weight through exercise.

Yesterday, we talked about diet. Today we talk about exercise. Together they work like two halves of a fitness and health puzzle that fit together perfectly.

To clarify my initial statement, exercise makes a great part of a weight loss strategy. However, if all you do is add a few workouts to a crappy diet, you won’t get good results. It would be more accurate and less pithy to say that you will never control your weight through exercise alone.

Visualize with me, if you will, a table with 3 legs. It will look a lot like this one from Amazon:

A Table With Three Legs

Now, imagine that we label these legs strength, cardio, and flexibility. Each of these is an important part of fitness. Strength, briefly, is your ability to lift and move things. That includes moving your own body. Cardio is shorthand for cardiovascular or cardio-resperatory fitness, your ability to provide oxygenated blood to your muscles while you move. Flexibility is the ability to move your joints through a complete range of motion — for example, moving your arm around in a big circle or lifting your leg up in front of you and putting it back down again.

At this point, some people violently disagree with me. “What about endurance? Agility? Speed? Coordination? Balance? Accuracy? Sports performance? You idiot!” Here’s my answer: all those are abilities you put on top of the table, like you’d put books or a vase on a real-life table. They’ll slide off if you don’t already have 3 legs to support it!

Let’s say you have to go to the grocery store to buy a 20 pound bag of something: cat food, rice, water softener salt, bag of ice, whatever, it doesn’t matter. You will still need to be able to walk through the store, because these things are invariably near the back. You’ll have to kneel down to pick it up, because it’s on the bottom shelf (wouldn’t want it falling on someone). You’ll have to lift it and carry it to the cashier, then out to your car. To do those things, you need cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility. If you don’t have that, it doesn’t matter how fast you can do it, how long you can carry the bag, how precisely you can lay it down on the cashier’s conveyor belt, or anything else.

So, not surprisingly, an exercise regimen for a beginner must focus on becoming more strong, getting a healthier heart through cardio training, and becoming more flexible through activities like stretching or yoga. An exercise regimen for someone more advanced can certainly include training for such qualities as endurance, speed, and agility.

In Closing: on a related note; the important part; she’s right; stalagmites and climate change; don’t forget; and Death Valley Volcano.

It worked out so well for King Saul


Making sure a Convent’s mortgage bill is paid off? That’s a worthy mission from God. Getting food and medical supplies to kids in a war zone? That’s a worthy mission from God. Disaster relief? Worthy mission from God. Providing medical care to kids with cancer or congenital defects? Worthy mission from God. Charity work in general? A worthy mission from God.

Becoming — arguably — the most powerful man in the world? NOT a worthy mission from God!

Let’s make this perfectly clear. God doesn’t send those kind of messages anymore. He hasn’t since John the Baptist, and that didn’t work out so well either. We don’t do “Divine Right of Kings” in the United States of America. The very existence of the United States of America denies the concept of Divine Right of Kings. The idea that someone is actually running for President and saying in public that it’s because God wants him to should scare the hell out of all of us, whether we believe God exists or no.

Only dangerous men and madmen claim that God wants them to seize power. I’ve even heard preachers say that from the pulpit.

Way back in 2007 I pointed out that even a divinely appointed government can be corrupt, and it seems clear that Herman Cain is somewhat less than a paragon of virtue.

Listen, Herman. You want to make this country better? Go back to creating jobs making crappy pizzas. The only industry you will help as President will be comedy writers.

In Closing: if “global climate change” is a hoax, why is every big company preparing for it? [or, “Not without my bourbon!”]; loss of faith; never give up; tyranny of pr0-“life”; Child Rape in an Infotainment World; I guess I gotta hold my nose to vote; in summary; banks will just lie to follow new rules; and “Oh F***, the Internet is here!”

Reform. For Freedom.

We have officially gotten to the point where corporations control us.

They control how much money we are allowed to make. They control our finances on the national, international, and personal level — badly. They control our health care in a system that is doomed to collapse under the weight of its own expense real soon now. Worst of all, they play by whatever rules they like while squeezing ordinary people to desperation. Now they have a green light to even more openly control our government.

And unless this worthless Congress remembers that the one thing corporations can’t do — yet, anyway — is vote, things are going to get worse rather than better. We desperately need real financial reform now, the kind that restores rules that worked through most of the 20th century and not the kind so riddled with loopholes as to be a gift to the financial services industry. We need insurance reform that puts more of our health care dollars to work providing health care and curtailing the abuse of patients who foolishly want the care they think they (or their bosses) are paying for, not a “reform” that forces everyone to participate in a broken system through mandatory coverage.

I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free,” the song goes. Free to do what? Free to get involved in staged protests of issues we don’t understand? Free to loudly proclaim “facts” with no basis in reality? Free to watch propaganda dressed up as news? Free to owe everything to the companies that hire us, care for us, and mis-manage our money with no hope of anything else?

If you don’t mind, I’d prefer a different flavor of freedom.

In Closing: Roman Army Knife; “Um, because it was the right thing to do and we didn’t want any lawyers saying we did wrong later? Was the 5th Amendment repealed while I wasn’t looking?”; nice to see that we are going to count job losses more honestly, but it’s a shame that Mr. Obama will be blamed for “losing” these jobs when he merely counted Bush Administration losses correctly; I couldn’t have said it better either; at least child abuse is down!; where genetic testing and “pro-life” collide; trees are loving global warming (much more so than the polar bears); and Americans are drinking more, but we’re not paying for the Good Stuff. So, uh, maybe the price of Scotch will return to rational levels? No? I thought not.