NoHotdogsOrApplePie


I am sad to hear that President Trump will be leading those who choose to celebrate Independence Day with a show of tanks and military air might. Instead of hotdogs, baseball and apple pie, we are representing our national pride by proclaiming to the world that our defensive and perhaps aggressive power is up to any challenge. Instead of wrapping our national pride in freedom and democracy, it is being symbolized by our biggest guns and fastest planes. Instead of a celebration to confirm and reassure, it is a message to reinforce the possibility if not the probability of war, a message to promote fear and trepidation. It is a bit like replacing Thanksgiving with a day of preparation.

Unfortunately, Erma Bombeck no longer has it right. Her gentle picture is just not there when the view is through President Trumps’ eyes. “You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”

I Believed

I am reluctantly considering the conclusion that much of what I have believed for as long as I have believed anything may represent far more hope than truth. Sure, I admit to taking it for granted that things actually are the way I have always thought they are, that my reality is valid and based on the true and factual, and that my sense of what’s real is correct and axiomatic. Naive? Simple-minded? Perhaps dangerous? Indeed. But nonetheless, I believed.

I take some comfort in knowing that a preference for belief over thoughtful consideration didn’t just start with me. The Roman philosopher Seneca observed that “Every man prefers belief to the exercise of judgment.” It’s likely that the “exercise” part of exercising judgment is the showstopper for many, if not most of us. For me at least, it has been easier to relax and believe.

Robert Brault got it right when he pointed out that “An old belief is like an old shoe. We so value its comfort that we fail to notice the hole in it.” To my surprise and disappointment, I am starting to notice cracks if not actual holes in some of my most trusted beliefs. The cause and solution may be as simple as E D Martin suggests, “It is easier to believe than to doubt.”

Laziness? Indifference? Bertrand Russell says it’s our inherent credulity. “Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.” Perhaps I should add gullibility to lazy and naive. The picture is not looking good.

Covering Up Mistakes

“A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional, and are the portals of discovery.” — James Joyce

This certainly puts a different twist on the concept. The only requirement is that one is “A man of genius.” If so, you don’t make mistakes, you merely commit errors, on purpose. Try that one the next time you screw up, “It’s no big deal. I just decided to make this mistake in order to open the portal for discovery.” You can also note that on your resume where you explain why you left your last job.

Niels Bohr said, “An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.” Of course, Bohr does qualify as a man of genius; but to assume that he too is suggesting that those mistakes are the portals for discovery is likely not correct. A little folk wisdom may be more to the point. “Why are things always in the last place you look?” “It’s because, once you find it, you quit looking.”

Confucius has a better perspective, “A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.” George Washington also joins in on the same side of the matter, “To err is nature, to rectify error is glory.” As you hustle to rectify those errors, it will help to allay your anxiety if you remember Robert Henry’s advice, “Don’t ever be afraid to admit you were wrong. It’s like saying you’re wiser today than you were yesterday.” While you’re at it, though, don’t overlook Frank Lloyd Wright’s insight, “A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.” Since you are the architect of your success, you would do well to minimize the number and size of the vines required to cover up your mistakes.

Now you know so there you go.

SignMyFirstPetition


I can say, with all candor, I have never been tempted to initiate or participate in a petition drive. Sure, there have been many situations and conditions I have disliked and some I have disliked intensely. Even so, the petition thing never popped into my conscious thought processes. Today is the day that all changed.

Why does the year start in January? I know; it’s when the bowl games are and it wouldn’t work having them other than at the end of the football season. That’s fine if you happen to live where January doesn’t bring ice and snow; but for the rest of us, football in January is silly. You’re right, there are domes and the like, but that only works for the handful of communities with their own domes. Since we don’t have one, football should be confined to September and maybe October but never after Halloween.

Ok, football is definitely not a good enough reason to have the year start in the middle of the winter. Then, what about parades? Need I say it? Parades in January are even sillier than football. Were it not for those bowl games, I doubt anyone would plan a parade when a blizzard is as likely as a sunny day. Yes, there is California and Florida is there too. Arizona and Hawaii are options as well. Good for them. They can have all the parades in January they please; but please stop acting like the rest of us should think majorettes in short skirts makes sense when the temp is nearing zero.

There’s also the calendar thing where, I suppose, this deal about the year starting in January began. There are other calendars but we are stuck with this year–starts–in–January nonsense. I just can’t believe we had choices and picked this one. Twelve choices and we chose the middle of the winter. Go figure, since I sure can’t.

That brings me to the point of my petition. It’s New Year’s Eve. NYE was made for partying. Is there a worse possible time for NYE than in the midst of the ice and snow? I think not. Barbecue is out, unless you are satisfied with someone else’s barbecue. Firing up the grill and throwing on some ribs is another one of those silly things when you have to wear a snow suit. Drinks around the pool are similarly out. No, I’m not going to explain. If you don’t get it, you may be one of those idiots who got us into this year–starting–in–January silliness to start with.

Just consider this. Let’s start the year in April. Instead of football, we would have baseball, a much more civil sport. Odds are we could have a parade without freezing, and barbecue and drinks around the pool would be doable, although even then, a dip in the pool would be out, except for the few who had already had too many drinks around the pool.

Everything is politics. I’ve heard that and maybe even knew it. My first petition and compromise is the only way to consensus. It boiled down to this. April is often too cold and it can snow then too. July and August are too hot; and no one would be around for NYE anyway, since most are on vacation.

It comes down to June 15. The weather is nearly perfect; school is out, Daylight Savings Time is there to improve the NYE party; it’s a good time for another holiday and a day off work. Barbecue is fine; drinks around the pool are refreshing; and the pool is there even for the non–liquor–challenged.

No, the year does not have to start on the first day of some month. It can start when we say it starts; and I say it starts on June 15. If you agree – and I am sure you do – please indicate your interest in joining my petition. I’m not clear about exactly how you do that but have confidence you will let me know. I also am not clear about who, if anyone, will be in a position to act on our petition but hope to figure that out next year, whenever that starts.

The Great Mouse May Have Met Her Match

Our intrepid hunters are again confronting the Great Mouse. They detected her in an alternative dimension, dangerously near the heart of the city. Their goal as always is to capture the Great Mouse, while protecting the human population of the Earth city. So, join me as we serve as neutral observers to the battle. Our role is to assure that the intrepid hunters strictly comply with the engagement rules of the cosmos Council, while fielding their most powerful weapons yet. Their newest fire power is indeed awesome.