| Go/Return to
||may offend some persons.
||When Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6),
maybe he simply meant that the abusive way he was treated showed the true nature of the
society he lived in, and that anyone who did not "play the game" should expect a similarly unhappy biography. Each person's
life is: evidence.|
"Webelos stands for 'WE'll BE LOyal Scouts'.
Webelos Scouts are Cub Scouts preparing to be Boy
But isn't it just possible it also means (perhaps "unconsciously"...):
"We belows" -- we who are lower
in the Scouting hierarchy than
the lowest Boy Scout? (People take offense when I propose that Scouting is preparation of young Americans
for fascist obedience to hierarchical command -- contrast with
democratic collegiality among [ungraded, unlabelled...]
|"Excuse me, Can I bother you?...."
Why don't "people" "get" that, just by asking that question, they already have "bothered me",
so the question does not give me a real choice, and therefore is not really a question?
Don't they realize they have put me in a "double-bind"?|
There are at least three (3) cases: (1) What I am doing is "mission critical", and I must
not put it aside to do something else. In this case, the person probably has not bothered me seriously,
because I have a mandate to focus on what I am doing, no matter what happens, which I will
continue to act on, and they will just have to wait. (3) I have nothing I have to do.
In this case, the person probably has not bothered me seriously,
because they are not distracting me from some other task, and so I can focus
unambivalently on their request.
(2) I was working on something frustrating but not "mission critical". That's the case
where the person really has bothered me, because what I am doing is not so much working
on "what I am doing", as endeavoring to cease to be frustrated.
Their request presents me with the "lose-lose" choice of continuing to be frustrated
by what I was previously working on while I address their question, or
being frustrated by the prospect of not being
able to "breathe freely again" after I finish with the first activity, because I know that then I'll have to deal
with a new source of frustration (their problem).
It wouldn't be so bad if they asked instead, something like: "I know this is an intrusion on
you, but I really need [whatever]." That would at least constitute an
admission that they know what they are doing and accept responsibility for it.
If they don't really need what they
are going to ask me for, if I look like I am pre-occupied with something
else, they could say -- and mean it! --, something like: "Excuse me. I see you are already
working on something. When you are finished and don't have something
else you need to do, and have rested up again, could
you please help me with [whatever]? I really don't want to disturb you."
I know a person who works for Planned Parenthood, and has 3 biological offspring (aka children).
I am made to feel I am impolite when I point out how many children this person has, rather
than the person apologizing for having brought so many new persons into our overcrowded world.
"Planned Parenthood" need not imply any commitment to reining in population growth.
Current world population is: 6,509,465,592 (13 April 2006) [Office of Population Research,
Princeton University]. U.S. population: 298,348,069.|
|Stop at one!
Say "Yes!" to a more commodious world:
Say "Yes!" to Negative population growth!|
||Thinking outside the trap.
I finally figured out, this morning (09Apr05) how a mouse
can get the food (aka "bait") in a mousetrap, without risking getting caught in the
trap, even presuming that mice do not use tools. The mouse approaches the trap, and bangs into a side of the
base, hard enough to spring the trap. The mouse can then eat the bait at his or her leisure. (The
flip side of this is that when the human sets the trap, he or she has to place the
trap of the floor very gently, or else the jiggle of the trap making contact with the
floor will "trip it" without any mouse.)|
||Laws that are easy to obey will be obeyed.
On my way to work, just before I get there, there is a big intersection with a
traffic light. I often get there before 6AM, when there is no traffic, so that
going thru the red light is totally harmless (a "crime without a victim"). I can tell when the light is about to change
several seconds before it changes, by watching a pedestrian "Don't walk" signal
on the other side of the road. If the light does not change for 2 or 3 minutes, I start
thinking of going thru it even though it is red. But if, as I approach the
intersection, I see the pedestrian signal starting to flash "Don't walk", I
peacefully wait the few seconds until my light turns green.|
||Problems breed more problems.
When the computer gets all gummed up -- I describe it as: "the computer just oozes" --, I tend to reclick menu options
I've already clicked but that aren't responding, retype text that isn't appearing,
try to bring up some window other than the one I was working on
and type something there to try to get the computer moving again, or try to make progress with some
other task on the same computer (which latter task generally will, in its turn, also not respond).... The
more I do, almost the only thing I accomplish is to back up more sh-t behind whatever the
computer's intestinal obstruction du jour is, and raise my blood-pressure as I become more frustrated, etc.
When finally the computer starts responding again,
some but not necessarily all this stuff I've entered executes helter-skelter, often leaving me worrying if/how I've screwed up my data.|
This is all dysfunctional (counter-productive). A similar thing happens when I
can't figure out what's wrong with something on the computer, and I start changing things
that seem implausible but "possible" and which I know will likely be totally off the mark, in hopes
of doing something that will remove the problem. When, finally, the computer gets unscrewed up (often due to some
problem getting put back right that had nothing to do with me!),
often I'm not sure what all I changed, and so I can't get myself back to where I had been
when things started to go wrong.... (This is like if the neighborhood electric power grid goes dead and you start tearing up
the wiring in your house to find what's wrong.)
Of course I generally try to take backups and keep track of what I've changed, but my
Ariadne's thread often breaks before it has led me safely back to my previous
peaceable situation (the "status quo ante"). Sometimes I feel so bad that I try to console myself
with Cervantes' dictum that all memories fade away and no pain lasts beyond one's death.
I really need to not only accomplish what I intend to do, but also be confident that nothing is messed up
anywhere (like a surgeon needs to be confident he or she didn't leave any surgical instruments
inside the patient).
What do I recommend? (1) Over-engineer computer systems so that they gum up and mess up as seldom as possible.
If this means the user doing more manual work to accomplish a given task, as long as that extra work
makes sense, that's not always unacceptable to me (I like manual transmissions on cars). But: (2) When the computer gums up anyway and
starts "oozing" in my face, company policy should be to stop whatever one is
doing [don't muddy the waters, etc.], and: (i) go take a long lunch with a couple glasses of good wine
on the company's tab, or: (ii) just walk away from it and go home and forget about it until the next morning.
(2a) In the rare cases that it's something that really can't wait (i.e., something persons' lives depend on,
or that risks damage or destruction of important assets, not
just managers' egos!), then I would propose that policy still be to stop what one is doing.
In these cases, however, instead of leaving the premises, I would have other persons come to offer material aid and also
emotional comfort, and to help keep one from doing anything "hasty", and, of course, if something genuinely
helpful does seem to get figured out, to help clear obstacles out of the way -- after:
"measuring twice before cutting once".
My main interest in crossword puzzles is not finishing them, since I can only
finish ones that are not too difficult for me to do. What I "like", is when: (1) No matter how
hard I try, I can fill in only a very few words in a puzzle [or a part of one]. But, when, after
turning away from the puzzle and doing other things, I return to it
hours later or the next day: (2) I find I now can fill in a significant
chunk of what was impossible the first time. I use this phenomenon of successfully accomplishing after previously "getting nowhere",
regarding crossword puzzles, to try to make myself feel less discouraged about
computer programming job assignments that initially seem "hopeless" to me.
[The reason this is a concern is that I always fear that if I fail to accomplish
an impossible job assignment I will lose my job and become destitute; I do not have
the resources to be able to "just walk away from it".] ~ Time (entirely
distinct from effort!) does sometimes help solve a problem. Don't just "take a break": Sleep on it....|
||When pigs fly....|
|Good fun turns ugly....
My teacher Louis Forsdale once told me about an impromptu afternoon baseball game he observed at the
art college his then future wife was attending, just before WWII: The first 7 or so innings went
well, with everyone having good fun clowning around and playing with the rules
of the game (this was an art school!). But then,
one side (aka team) noticed it was leading in the score....|
Forsdale said that, suddenly, all the fun went out of the game. The one side started seriously
trying to "play to win", and making everyone stick to the rules. And the other side, consequently, was forced to stop clowning around, and try
not to lose. Forsdale said the game ended with bad feelings, whereas, up until the one side started taking the "game"
seriously, everyone had been enjoying themselves in a spirit of good comaraderie.
||Bush administration acts to protect the people's right
freely to engage in contractual relations (Apocryphal):
The 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed as a 59th birthday present to
Beloved Leader George W Bush:
"No child's behind shall be required to be innoculated with vaccine against any dread disease. The
people's right to contract polio shall not be abridged."|
||Bon mot from NPR Car Talk (30Apr05):
||Adventures in Recycling.
Sunday, 10Jun07, about noon, I put out at the curb of the new house the recycling bin with
the week's newspapers in it. On top I placed the smaller plastic bin I use for
cans and bottles. At the side I tucked a couple flattened cardboard boxes. (This is my usual
routine for putting out the recycling). Around 3PM, however, I looked out and saw
that the bin with the newspapers was gone, and the smaller bin with the
cans and bottles was sitting on the ground where the bin had been, with the two flatttened cardboard boxes
behind it. I looked up and down the street but did not see anything. A week later,
the bin has not returned (Recycling is picked up about 7AM on Monday morning,
and the recycling people always leave the empty bin, albeit sometimes thrown
a distance from where I left it). I was "glad" that at least the thieves did not just
take the bin and dump the paper all over the street. (My only consolation
is that the bottom of the bin already had some cracks and holes, so maybe
it was nearing the end of its useful life anyway.)|
someone steal a standard plastic recycling bin (almost every house has one or more)?
Were they looking for stuff to steal my identity? Any guesses?
|A different kind of re-cycling
(going around in circles...). Monday 27 August, I left the house to go to work,
in the dark at 5AM, with a big bag of garbage,
a smaller bag of lunch, and my laptop computer in my hands. I sat the computer down next to the rear
door of the car while I put the trash in the trashcan (Monday is trash pickup day, so I had
to take the garbage out). About 3/4 way to work, I suddenly realized that I had left the computer
sitting on the driveway. I zoomed back the 12 or so miles home, angry at myself for forgetting the computer, and
hoping nobody would have taken it (unlikely, since it was still dark, and where I left it
is not visible from the street -- Could I however have run over it and smashed it as I drove off ??)...|
I got back home and, to my great relief, the computer was still
there. I put it in the car and started back to work. About a mile from the house, I realized
my badges for work were missing. I remembered I had them on my lap when I got out of the
car to get the computer. I turned around again, and went back home again, and, again fortunately, the badges
were lying in the driveway. I then proceeded to work with nothing more adventurous than
encountering a garbage pickup truck with its hi-beam headlights on in my lane of the
narrow road. I saw the truck in time not to run into it, and I went slowly around it. Fortunately
no trashmen were in the other side of the road in the dark, because I would not
have seen them (jail time)....
The next Tuesday (the day after the Labor Day holiday) I had
my computer to bring in again and possibly trash to take out. To try to head off a repeat,
I laid a rag on my steering wheel as a "aide-mémoire" in case I forget