Recent Articles

Reasons why heaven would disappoint you.

I don’t believe in heaven, but many people do, and they can’t wait to get there. But not so fast. What is heaven like? This article suggests that heaven is not all that it’s cracked up to be.

February 1, 2015 | By | 3 Replies More

Navy Seal guide to succeeding.

Eric Barker has offered another excellent batch of self-improvement advice, this time on the importance of grit. Here is the conclusion to his link-rich article:

Purpose and meaning. It’s easier to be persistent when what we’re doing is tied to something personally meaningful.
Make it a game. It’s the best way to stay in a competitive mindset without stressing yourself out.

Be confident — but realistic.

See the challenges honestly but believe in your own ability to take them on.

Prepare, prepare, prepare. Grit comes a lot easier when you’ve done the work to make sure you’re ready.

Focus on improvement. Every SEAL mission ends with a debrief focusing on what went wrong so they can improve.
Give help and get help.

Support from others helps keep you going, and giving others support does the same.

Celebrate small wins. You can’t wait to catch the big fish. Take joy where you can find it when good times are scarce.

Find a way to laugh. Rangers, SEALs, and scientists agree: a chuckle can help you cope with stress and keep you going.

February 1, 2015 | By | Reply More

Regulating Wall Street Banks is critical to saving the middle class

Regulating Wall Street Banks is critical to saving the middle class.

February 1, 2015 | By | Reply More

More of my favorite quotes

It’s been awhile, but here is another batch of some of my favorite quotes. To see all of them, follow this link.

“Christianity: Because you’re so awful you made God kill himself.”
Anon on Facebook

“The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.”
H. L. Mencken

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”
Albert Einstein

“When you get to be our age, you all of a sudden realize that you are being ruled by people you went to high school with,” noted the late novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. “You all of a sudden catch on that life is nothing but high school.”

“I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, not the hate them, but to understand them.”
Baruch Spinoza, Tractatus Politicus, 1676.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
Robert Swann

“When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.”
Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900).

“Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order, to efficiency of operation, to scientific advancement and the like”.
Justice William O. Douglas:

“Once the government can demand of a publisher the names of the purchasers of his publication, the free press as we know it disappears. Then the spectre of a government agent will look over the shoulder of everyone who reads. … Fear of criticism goes with every person into the bookstall. The subtle, imponderable pressures of the orthodox lay hold. Some will fear to read what is unpopular, what the powers-that-be dislike. … fear will take the place of freedom in the libraries, book stores, and homes in the land.”
Justice William O. Douglas:

“It’s just an accident that we happen to be on earth, enjoying our silly little moments, distracting ourselves as often as possible so we don’t have to really face up to the fact that, you know, we’re just temporary people with a very short time in a universe that will eventually be completely gone. And everything that you value, whether it’s Shakespeare, Beethoven, da Vinci, or whatever, will be gone. The earth will be gone. The sun will be gone. There’ll be nothing. The best you can do to get through life is distraction. Love works as a distraction. And work works as a distraction. You can distract yourself a billion different ways. But the key is to distract yourself. A guy will say, “Well, I make my luck.” And the same guy walks down the street and a piano that’s been hoisted drops on his head. The truth of the matter is your life is very much out of your control.”
Woody Allen

“The second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821 – 1881)

“The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.”
Ernest Hemingway, author and journalist, Nobel laureate (1899-1961)

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”
Galileo Galilei

January 28, 2015 | By | Reply More

Everything you need to know about ramen noodles

Everything you need to know about ramen noodles

January 28, 2015 | By | Reply More

Time to end legalized political corruption. Here is how.

We can root out corruption in politics. PLEASE watch this 4 minute video. You can be a big part of them movement that will bypass the current corrupt political process to get the job done. Liberals, moderates and conservatives support this measure by more than a 2/3 majority. Let’s get money out of politics.

January 27, 2015 | By | Reply More

40 Powerful Issue Ads

Many of these issue ads deliver a vivid jolt. As indicated by the title of the article, many of these do make me stop and think.

January 27, 2015 | By | Reply More

Heavenly unanimity

I was raised Catholic and I was taught to believe that God was actually three distinct persons in one, somehow, and this was nebulous.  But I was also told that there were a lot of other heavenly characters up there.   I don’t believe that prayer is communicating with any sentient being, but a lot of people do believe this.

It is interesting that whenever someone tells me that they prayed and that they received wisdom,  all members of the Trinity, and Mary, and all the saints and cherubim all agree with each other on all topics. It’s not like people seeking prayer guidance come away with this result: God says take the new job, whereas Jesus says wait a month and think about it, whereas Mary says go back to school, whereas the chorus of angels sings that you should give it all up and join a commune.   It seems like there is a lot of Groupthink going on up there . . .

January 25, 2015 | By | 1 Reply More

Have a nice day

Ever notice the way people use the phrase, “Have a nice day”? Or “Have a great week”? Or “Enjoy your vacation”?

These are all essentially wishes, secular prayers. There is no expense involved in saying these things to anyone other than the cheap breath we expend while saying them. This is definitely not paradigmatic expensive signaling explored by Zahavi.

Therefore, we might as well wish BIG. Shouldn’t we say, “Have a nice year”? Or even, “Have a nice lifetime”? Or I hope you live a good life for 1,000 more years”? Or, I hope that you and everyone you know, and everyone you don’t know, and people who aren’t even born yet, have ecstatic lives”? Or “I hope you and all present and future sentient life in the multi-verse enjoy your lives”? Or “If there is an afterlife, I hope that all of those sentient dead people in heaven and hell, and those formerly in limbo until that was abolished by the Pope, have great lives/afterlives”?

There is actually more going on than vapid wish-making. Notice that the length of time chosen by those who utter “Have a nice [choose a period of time] correlates with the next time that that person will communicate with you. A good friend might say, “Good luck with that project next week,” knowing that you will communicate to each other in a matter of weeks. What if you only see someone sporadically? Then you might say, “Have a great summer.” What if you might never see that person again? Then you might say,”Good luck with your new job” or “Good luck with that new diet.”

Regarding those who actually know you, then, “Have a nice day” or “Enjoy your weekend” often signal social or emotional closeness.

This is not the case with the checkout person at a big box store, who hands you your bags of purchases and utters the phrase required by her oppressive corporation: “Have a nice day.” I hate that these folks are forced to work like automatons, to the extent that they are made to utter canned phrases to customers. I like to break through that script, asking how their day is going, or whether they are working a long shift. If they are reciprocating, I “wish” them that they will enjoy the remainder of their evening. At least some phrase to break through the chatter we so often encounter, and make some semblance of a connection, looking them in the eyes and meaning it, when I tell them “Thank you.” But never, “Enjoy the remainder of your life, as the time-treadmill of oblivion moves you inexorably toward your demise.” That, of course, is a different topic.

January 25, 2015 | By | Reply More