We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Monday, March 19. 2018
Saturday, April 21
With slightly more than a month to go, another reminder that Maggie's Annual Urban Hike is occurring! Come one, come all.
I have made no updates since this post on 2/27. We are always open to suggestions for additional stops. At this point, the hike is about 12 miles long, close to 4 hours of walking without stops. We will have stops, however, so let's call it 5 hours right now.
Also, give us a heads-up if you want to come. No need to use your name, but we'd like to anticipate rough numbers.
Friday, February 16. 2018
One more shooting. One more chance for the Progressives to screech and whine about gun control. I'm really tired of this cycle. Progressives complain about the cycle, too, because they want action, and they want it now. In 3 weeks they'll be bored again, or outraged about something new such as the fact that Trump doesn't have a dog and doesn't seem to care for them. Progressive try to make it seem like those of us who actually support freedom and the Constitution are uncaring, because we don't do something other than the one thing they deride - "Thoughts and Prayers". I've noticed some are taking a new tack. Not necessarily better. Like every other event, they trot out the same emotions, same flawed statistics, bizarre comparisons to nations without cultures remotely similar to ours, and then one or two tricks. Progressives are not old dogs. They are young dogs and haven't learned that new tricks aren't necessarily smarter or better.
I wrote about mass shootings, and school shootings in particular, slightly over 5 years ago. Have my views changed since then, and the presumed thousands of mass shootings that Progressives point out? No. Not in the least. Does the fact this involved children change my views? Nope. Am I cold and heartless? No. I'm just rational. Gun control won't stop this. People who want to kill will kill and they will use whatever method they can. The Progressive argument is "with guns, you can kill MORE" and that's just not proven to be true. It's an assumption based on incomplete data sets. What is the real issue that needs to be discussed after a shooting and the outrage is building?
Continue reading "Here We Are, Again. Or the Politics of Outrage"
Wednesday, February 14. 2018
Here we go - planning a Maggie's Farm Urban Hike is a great Valentine's Day conversation for your spouse, significant other, or someone you'd like to impress. It's time for the first glimpse of the 4th Annual Urban Hike Itinerary. As we ate pizza last year outside of Chelsea Market, there was a general consensus that we needed to see the sights a girl can see from Brooklyn Heights. As you know, there's nothing in Brooklyn aside from a bridge, some heights, and possibly Patty Duke's identical twin cousin. And for those of you into bad 1970's B movies, The Warriors. Fuhgeddaboudit. Leave the gun, take the cannoli (Clemenza's house is in Gravesend, Brooklyn, but Paulie was probably killed in NJ since we see the back of the Statue of Liberty).
As usual, all are invited and welcome. I expect this may be our most well-attended hike yet. Last year I was surprised to learn one couple was from my hometown (hope we see you again), while yet another travels quite a distance from the MidWest just to share a few hours with us. They've attended the last two, and I hope we see them again, as well (my wife and I speak about your wandering ways often). A number of people in my office heard about last year's hike and asked me to inform them about this upcoming one.
Last year we were all dazzled by the 'secret lair' of the Manhattan Contrarian (my wife is still gushing). I suspect we'll be equally dazzled by some new sights this year. So feel free to add comments, observations, or suggestions. Even if you're not plannning on joining us (please join!), but you have suggestions, we'll welcome them if they fit into the time span/distance. We encourage additions, we encourage any additional commentary during the walk which you find useful (last year we even managed to glom on to a professional tour at one location). This is all about knowledge sharing.
The current plan is to start in Manhattan, possibly at a Dunkin' Donuts on Fulton, by Gold, about 3 blocks from the Brooklyn Bridge. We'll walk over the bridge, then head north to Dumbo, east to Vinegar Hill, the Navy Yard, and Admiral's Row. We'll then double back to the Heights where we'll take a look at Roebling's apartment (I think I've got the right address - 110 Columbia Heights at Orange and Pineapple), a brownstone that isn't a brownstone, the Atlantic Avenue tunnel, the original Abraham & Straus (a New York thing, A&S was an iconic store), the Wyckoff Street Mosaic, Gowanus Ballroom, the Gowanus Canal, the Red Hook Warehouse and the Red Hook Grain Terminal. Some other places of note where there may be stops include 299 Sands St (King's County Distillery - but it's early in the hike so maybe not), 141 Lawrence (Circa Brewing), Cacao Prieto (chocolates!), Prospect Park (a bit of a stretch, but we'll see), 195 Centre St (Other Half Brewing), 40 Van Dyke (Sixpoint Brewing), and 218 Conover (Widow Jane's Distillery - great bourbon).
Monday, February 12. 2018
After last weekend's exciting trip to the Super Bowl, I was having some conversations with a good friend about our various superstitions. Invariably, big games include a conversation about how we're going to be managing ourselves, or how we behaved.. I've never hid, nor have I pretended to not have, my superstitions. They are a part of how I enjoy the game.
I told a workmate, prior to leaving, that I was seriously considering not attending since my nieces felt I was a jinx. After all, the team did quite well with me lying on the floor in front of my TV, why change what works? He laughed and said "You're the most rational person I know. I had no idea you were so superstitious. You do know you have no impact on the outcome of the game, right?" I looked at him and said "Maybe I don't. Maybe." Then I smiled and gave him a nod. Of course I have no impact. But I'll never believe I don't.
In 1997, I traveled to Scottsdale with friends to watch Syracuse play Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl. Syracuse took an early lead, relinquished it, and made a strong comeback in the second quarter. Things looked pretty good. I decided to go to the bathroom, and it was all downhill from there. My good friend was with me, and he explained to me my little trip was the problem. Obviously, I had to take care of business before the game starts, and just deal with it after that. Over the years, we've developed a good repertoire of what works and what doesn't. In 2003, when Syracuse won the Men's Basketball National Championship, I was communicating with him every step of the way. No missteps could take place on the part of anyone in our group, and none did.
Continue reading "Justifiably Irrational"
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:40 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, February 6. 2018
I’m basically a kid. Sure I’m 55 going on 56, and I am starting to feel the aches and pains which we associate with age. Herniated and bulging discs make moving difficult sometimes. I have to watch what I eat and work out regularly to keep weight off. I miss the days of eating as much as I want, and as indiscriminately as I did. Bags of chips, tubs of ice cream, a whole pizza. Those days are memories. But one thing keeps me young. Sports. I love sports of all kinds.
I played soccer and beach volleyball in my youth, but really enjoyed being team statistician for basketball. I love numbers, and sports are about numbers. Sabermetrics got me back into baseball after all the scandals and negative stories of the 80's and 90's caused me to lose interest. When you get right down to it, sports are a great combination of the things I love. Physical activity, competition, and data.
But one sport has always been my favorite. Football. Never played it, always loved it. Especially one team in particular, where the team is mostly religion.
Continue reading "36 Hours (of football)"
Wednesday, January 17. 2018
I was sent this video by a friend who was lamenting the decline of education in the US, particularly physical education. I was, briefly, sucked in. As usual, you have to do 'extra' work before you believe anything these days, and it's work he didn't do. I only did the legwork because....this was just too stupid for words, but completely believable in today's world. Thankfully, it's just satire. Although it wouldn't surprise me if it was actually taking place somewhere.
Monday, January 8. 2018
How to get out of super-tight parking spaces. When you've got someplace to be, and other cars have boxed you in...there's a way out!
Friday, January 5. 2018
Maggie's has run an "Urban Hike" for each of the last 3 years. We've gone north from the Battery and Delancey Street, in NYC, all the way up to as far as Grant's Tomb. We even have traveled south from Lincoln Center to Washington Square Park.
All along the way, we checked out interesting historical, literary, and geographic sites as we got to know each other just a little better. Maggie's audience is a fun and interesting group of people, and we get together because we enjoy learning and having a good time.
To that end, Bird Dog and I have loosely planned our Urban Hike for 2018 in late April. It should be warm and sunny enough. No date yet, we'll have that in a month or two.
Meantime - remember - BROOKLYN. If you have any fun facts or trivia that you'd like to share, post them below in comments. We'll start by hiking over Roebling's wonder, the Brooklyn Bridge, and after that? Who knows (yet)? I know if I can get the Red Hook or Brooklyn Breweries tacked on, as well as maybe Widow Jane's Distillery, I'll be in good shape to let Mrs. Bulldog drive home.
Friday, December 29. 2017
2017 was the "year ofBitcoin" and many ordinary Joes became millionaires, as a result. Some people believe this ride is over. Perhaps with Bitcoin it is (I do not believe it is, though 1,000% returns are definitely over for it...perhaps not for other cryptos, though), and at least one 'expert' thinks it is. I'm not an 'expert', but I've heard if you speak enough publicly about something, you can become one (not a joke, this is definitely true). So maybe I should speak more about cryptocurrencies and be an expert.
This much is true - I suggested cryptos could represent a move away from standard currencies and represent a new reserve, particularly for nations which aren't fond of the dollar. This seems to be exactly what is happening. Amidst all the speculative excess which surrounds some of them, there are more and more real-world firms adopting them, as well as the technology which surrounds their development. In fact, I have begun to find uses for blockchain tech in my own field, and we are beginning to pioneer new uses for it to defeat fraudulent activity (funny, because the one reason people fear cryptos is that they are often used to engage criminal activity. My son told me many of his friends who used to purchase illegal substances via the web used Bitcoin. I asked him how much they had left. He said none, they'd spent it all. I said "shows you how much value you get out of using drugs.") Point is, Bitcoin does have uses. I am aware of several people who entered the Cannabis growing business (legally, in states that allow it) and cater exclusively to cryptocurrency clientele.
Continue reading "Cryptocurrencies"
Monday, November 6. 2017
As we'd suspect, the shootings in Texas are being politicized by the anti-gun groups. It seems I can't turn around without some anti-gun nut calling for more laws, if not outright elimination of guns. As if that would actually stop these events. Of course, none of these people have called for elimination of autos or trucks, particularly after last week's events in NYC.
What we hear is 'but that was only 8 people killed by a truck while there were 58 in Vegas and 26 in Texas' as if scale is somehow meaningful. Frankly, I'm less concerned about numbers, and more concerned about means, motive and outcome. The assumption is that the means is a desire to use a weapon, so being concerned with autos is silly since few people use them as weapons. There is a massive flaw in this concept. Two flaws, really. First, they are used as weapons (Nice and London are just 2 recent examples, and ISIS has called for them to be used more...but I should add Charlottesville to the list) often enough to be of concern. Second, whether they are used as weapons or not, autos kill far more people every year than guns, and people aren't even trying. Imagine how the numbers would rise if they were. By any comparative measure, it's not even close. WE MUST BAN AUTOS AND TRUCKS!!
Continue reading "Musing on the Dangers of Guns"
Sunday, October 8. 2017
We don't have a "Sports" category, but maybe we should. I normally wouldn't call out a seemingly obscure sports obituary. However, it seems worthwhile, particularly in these 'racially troubled' times (let me be clear, I don't feel we are in any troubled times, but Connie Hawkins' story goes to show just how far we've come).
I was surprised to learn Hawkins passed away. In fact, I'd forgotten about him, more or less. Not an extremely well-known NBA player after the early 70's, in his early years he had been blacklisted by the NBA because he was implicated in a point shaving scandal. The problem, of course, was he was a freshman in college, ineligible to play, and couldn't have been involved in any point shaving. During the investigation, he was denied the right to legal counsel while being interviewed by NYC police.
As a result, he was expelled from school, and the NBA blackballed him. He played for the Globetrotters, the Wizards and eventually joined the fledgling ABA and proved he was every bit as good as expected. Unfortunately toward the end of the 1968-69 season, he injured his knee and it required surgery. That same year, his suit against the NBA's blackball was settled and he received a large payment as well as having his rights assigned to the Phoenix Suns.
His first season, he again set out to prove he was a top tier player. But after 8 years of being denied the right to play professionally, many of his best years were behind him. Despite this, he averaged 24.6 points per game, 10.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists. There's little doubt that, fully healthy, Hawkins would have been a premier talent, probably even an NBA legend, if not for circumstances lining up against him.
7 years later, his career was over. He remained a regular at Phoenix poker rooms for years, where his affable nature and celebrity kept him in good company. He was honored by the NBA and inducted into the Hall of Fame because of his overall contributions to the game, in 1992. The Phoenix Suns retired his number, 42.
In the genre of sports literature, 2 books stand out to me. Ball Four and Foul! The Connie Hawkins Story. I read both in my early teens, and they taught me as much about life as they did about sports and celebrity. They are, in various ways, classics and paved the way for all the stories in that genre which followed. They broke the rules of silence surrounding sports, exposing the soft underbelly and dirt which were previously ignored because athletes were icons, and sports leagues seemingly incorruptible (despite the Black Sox Scandal, Americans had a love affair with sports leagues and even today these flawed organizations are viewed as leaders and examples for young athletes). Hawkins was a victim, as opposed to a perpetrator (unlike Jim Bouton), of bad behavior.
What may have made him most well-known, toward the end of his injury-riddled NBA career, was a sketch on the second episode of Saturday Night Live, in which he played Paul Simon in a game of one-on-one.
Thursday, September 28. 2017
Now the claim regarding censorship is that speech itself shuts down free speech.
I didn't have to get too far into this to begin to see where it was going. Claims the Constitution is outdated, not suited for this era, etc.
It also presumes these things didn't exist prior to the internet era.
These tactics are not new. They are old. Kennedy put them to great use against Nixon, although his methods were not high-tech. These methods were used against van Buren, and even Grover Cleveland.
People tend to think technology changes the reasons for certain laws. In rare cases, it may. In the case of the Constitution, I have yet to see a decent example of a need for changes based on changing technology...but the Left will keep trying to make that case.
Tuesday, September 12. 2017
A $586.56 lawsuit in San Francisco could radically alter the 'gig economy' which much of the current tech growth depends upon.
I doubt the plaintiff will win. But if he does, the effects are potentially damaging to several firms worth billions of dollars.
Monday, September 11. 2017
Neil DeGrasse Tyson has opened up science to a whole new generation, and has expanded interest in communities which previously hadn't shown much. For that, we're eternally grateful. But there are limits to intelligence, and he, like many others, crosses that limit when he wades into climate science.
Having studied Economics, I compare climate science, as a science, to Economics. The level of predictability, due to the number of unknowns and variables, is very low. You can model all you want, and you can know how different parts of the economy impact to a very large degree, but still be far off. The same is true with climate. The various elements involved in developing climate models are fairly well known, but it's the stuff they don't know that's causing problems. I have yet to see a model that is remotely close to predicting anything. This doesn't make climate science less scientific. Science is about explaining, not predicting. Predicting is a nice benefit in constrained systems.
But Tyson's tweet is lauded as "destroying" a key claim of "deniers" (we aren't deniers, we are SKEPTICS, which is what most good scientists are whenever there is a lack of evidence or an inability to replicate results). Problem is, it destroys nothing. No skeptic ever complains about scientists agreeing. That, in itself, isn't even an issue. The question is why are they agreeing? In fact, Tyson's tweet opens more questions than it answers. If a standard scientific conference is indicative of the amount of disagreement that takes place, then clearly the wide level of agreement on this particular issue is an anomaly and you should wonder why this is taking place? Well, of course, the answer is politics. But Tyson, in crafting his guilt bomb, realizes if he doesn't support the massive Appeal to Authority which is the entire Manmade Climate Change argument, then he loses the game. So he pours it on hot and heavy, because he is the authority!
I was cleaning up this weekend and emptied out a backpack to find notes I'd written a year ago about topics of interest to me. While I traveled through Austria and the Czech Republic, the extended family took meals together and whenever something caught my ear, I'd write it down. One such topic was 'bog butter' - something I'd heard of, but knew little about.
The thought of it makes me wish to know as little as possible, in some ways. Yet it turns out to be an intriguing topic. We are all probably familiar with the remarkable capacity of peat to preserve just about anything. Peat has properties of preservation which are rather astounding. Apparently, old societies used peat to preserve their butter and occasionally forgot about it, lost it, or left it behind. Which means some archaeologists or bog workers are the lucky recipients of free butter. If they're willing to try it.
Its quality varies based on the kind of peat, how long it's been sitting, and what it's made of. I was told by someone who has seen some that it smells like old shoes, which may not make it the most appetizing of condiments. However, perhaps a better description is 'strong cheese'. I'm still not trying it, even if it is edible.
While these random finds are of little culinary value, they do provide insight into techniques of ancient food preparation and management. It has been noted that butter was a bit of a luxury, but was used for more than just food. It was also used to pay taxes, rents, fines and provide hospitality as well as helping out with healing. The quality of the butter would be an indicator of socio-economic status.
As for me, I'll stick with my Land O' Lakes, salted. Refrigerated, not stored in peat.
Thursday, September 7. 2017
It seems obvious, but for some people it isn't.
Plus, the article makes a political statement on Global Warming, so we know there's science involved.
Received this piece today on 10 tips to appear smarter. The key word is "appear" because it's not about actually being smarter. Just to get people to think you're smarter.
Most of it is common sense, anyway. Some is just plain silly. Don't have that extra drink of alcohol? OK, no problem. Wear nerd glasses? Thanks, I'll take a pass.
~Written by Bulldog T. Writer (the "T" stands for "The")
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:59 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, September 3. 2017
A great conversation.
Wednesday, August 23. 2017
“There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca
I'd say this sums up many of the problems we face as a nation today. The 'offense' felt by some is a construct based on apprehension and fear. Some claim our president sows this apprehension and fear. What he doesn't do is coddle people. While he is outrageous and lies quite a bit, I've heard every president engage false commentary (many of which have gone overlooked or many people shrugged about, particularly with Trump's predecessor). People claim Trump 'blames the press' for all his problems. He might, though certainly the press does quite a bit to earn that blame. On the other hand, few questioned Obama's 'blame Bush' approach to all his problems.
I'm no fan of Trump. I didn't vote for him (or Hillary). He does engage some policies which I consider outrageous and uninformed. So did Obama. What I do know is, despite the news suggesting Trump is the great evil we face today, that evil really lurks in the hearts of those who hate, on every side.
Thursday, August 17. 2017
I don't want to write a commentary on the violence in Charlottesville. What happened is terrible, wrong, and any discussion of violence begins and ends with the violent acts themselves, not the activity commentators choose to associate it with. I rarely take part in group protests or political gatherings because the likelihood of one outlier who wants to impart damage is very high and I neither want to be associated with, nor a victim of, poor individual choices.
I do want to write a commentary on the removal of icons and monuments. In Tuesday's morning news, Bird Dog posted an article about Confederate statues in the Capitol building.
Before I dig in, I want to point out that if a statue triggers your emotions, I suggest you think long and hard about why you're having an emotional response to an inanimate object. I'd further point out that if these emotions regarding the statue are related to taking offense, or increasing your anger or hatred, you may want to see a therapist. I'm not a psychologist or psychotherapist, and maybe one of our other writers who are in that field can elaborate (or even tell me I'm wrong) about this point.
Consider one fact. Since Monday, monuments around the US have been removed, sometimes forcibly, in an angry response to Charlottesville. Taking this further, New York's governor, and NYC's mayor, have decided to review and remove 'symbols of hate'. One NYC councilman said "if not hate, at least symbols of hurt." I'll have to send him my list of statues that 'hurt' me.
I think politicians, and people, get bent out of shape over strange things. When I see virtually any protest forming, I begin to think "Don't those people have better things to do?" It's been a long time since I marched or protested or did anything political in a group setting. I generally don't like aligning with large groups that claim to speak for me. But a bigger personal issue is the current mindset is the assumption that if you don't agree with removal, you must somehow be sympathetic to the white supremacists. Thought Police abound in today's society, driven by emotions of hurt and hate. Moral equivalency is employed with alarming regularity, often unnecessarily and ignorantly.
I'll relate one experience I had in which I'd have to admit I was emotionally 'triggered'. It was a great learning lesson. I was in college. I was working on a TV show about hunger for the college station. A speaker arrived and handed out leaflets. One person pasted several of them on the set. It was an elephant with "GOP" written across his chest, preparing to drop a nuclear bomb. This was 1984, I was 22 years old and Reagan was being protested regularly on campus. I stood up, stated my opposition to the leaflet on the set, saying it neither had anything to do with hunger, and had everything to do with politics which we weren't discussing. I was told to be quiet and do my job. I protested again, saying it "offended my sensibilities" and that I couldn't work on a project like this. The professor who managed the station walked over, put his arm around me and said "you will be asked to do difficult and uncomfortable things throughout your life, and on your job. If you allow your emotions to get the better of you, it will cost you your job. Today, if you walk off the set, you will fail the day's project." I walked off the set, took my "F" for the day and still got an "A" for the class. But I learned a lesson. Don't let your emotions overwhelm you. I could have done the work and still been effective at my job. Today, I guess I could've sued for a "hostile workplace."
Continue reading "Monuments, Identity and Race"
Wednesday, July 12. 2017
Sorry, not sorry. A neologism which I hear young people use frequently, and now people my age are adopting. It's a great phrase. People want you to be sorry for something you did, you feel you're in the right. Sorry, not sorry.
Urban Dictionary has its first reference to this in 2012. It became a Twitter hashtag at about that same time, maybe 2011. This was predated by an alt-punk song from an obscure band, Amen, titled Sorry Not Sorry, but it seems to have come into common usage around 2011/2012. Today it's used primarily as a sarcastic comeback or response, usually for humorous purposes.
There is another aspect to this, though. It revolves around empathy. At least, that's where I see it coming from. Mainly because I tend to have so little empathy (and I'm told that's a problem). Sorry, not sorry for lacking that empathy.
Point is, I don't know why we have to be sorry for so many things. President Obama was on an "I'm Sorry" tour for 8 years and what did it get us? Not much. If the US did it, he was sorry about it. Why? Saying "sorry" doesn't change the past. It doesn't even change the future. Stuff happened, and I wasn't involved, so don't judge me on that.
Many things he was sorry for occurred long ago. I'm sorry Hiroshima happened, it was terrible. I'm sorry for all the death and damage and horrific after-effects, but it was war, so I'm not going to quibble whether Hiroshima or Nagasaki were worse than Tokyo or Dresden. Death happens in warfare. We don't have to be sorry for killing people in warfare.
Continue reading "Sorry, Not Sorry"
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:27 | Comments (22) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, July 10. 2017
You learn things in the strangest ways...
We took a surprise trip to the NJ/PA border to look at some apartments for a friend. She lives in Georgia and is thinking of relocating. We decided to use this as an opportunity to go bike riding along the Delaware Canal, and make a day of it.
Bike rides aren't all that interesting but are great exercise both physically and mentally (riding gives you tons of time to concentrate). I spent a great deal of the ride thinking about a person we'd met at one apartment. She said was a writer and a professor. A writer of anything I might attempt to read? Why yes, it turns out. She is a 'futurist' and writes about Artificial Intelligence. A topic which is changing my job on a daily basis. I told her I knew quite about AI, and look forward to the day it replaces me. She looked at me quizzically and said "Really? That's strange, most people would fear it. Besides, we have to hope it comes with a Universal Basic Income."
I simply looked at her and said "No, I don't fear it. I've studied history enough to realize change is good. The Industrial Revolution destroyed some jobs, it's true. But it created many more, and those jobs paid better. It also created new industries altogether. I see the same thing with AI. After all, AI is great, but it will probably always be better with humans working in tandem, rather than as a standalone, though some standalone items may exist. Overall I see more jobs coming from it, not fewer. Training is what needs to improve, not payoffs to those who don't want to learn."
I didn't get into a deeper discussion, since I wanted to ride my bike. She seemed amazed I was so nonplussed. Actually, I think she was surprised to meet anyone willing to discuss the topic but shocked at my indifference to her perceived negative consequences. My reasons are based on economics, but also her personal story, which made my ride a mental exercise.. She espoused a point of view which may seem to make sense, but her behaviors told a very different story.
Continue reading "AI and Universal Basic Income"
Friday, June 16. 2017
Living in the NYC area, I have plenty of wacky Progressive friends. They are really wacky these days. Of course, my Republican friends can be just as nutty, at times. It all depends on what you're discussing, though this should go without saying.
What's really crazy, though, is how one Progressive friend mentioned to me that polarization has reached "fever pitch" and the basis of her comment was the recent Congressional shooting. I shrugged and said it had been at that level for 24 years, really, and she'd simply chosen not to notice. Now that she's energized politically, it matters to her. No, no, no, she replied, that can't be it. It most certainly is.
All my Progressive friends are members of the #Resist movement. I am not a Trump supporter, but I'm not suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, either. He's had mixed results so far. Nothing outlandish, nothing crazy. I think he's accomplished quite a bit (both better and worse) for not passing a single piece of major legislation. His bluster and hyperbole bug me, but that's just talk and Tweets. I've seen and heard worse from regular politicians. Yet it's these words that set off the #Resist people. They go bonkers over every little thing! It's fascinating.
Continue reading "Obstruction By Any Other Name"
Thursday, June 8. 2017
I can't say I agree with the conclusions drawn by this Harvard Business Review article. If office politics are only about influence, the premise is that being political is actually beneficial.
I see a significant difference between being social and being political.
Is that really true? Did I join a fraternity to be political and gain power and influence? Did my joining mean there were political implications? As a member of my church, is membership political? And to influence, must we have power? I have always been taught that influence is not power, but access to, and ability to, inform and shift power.
I can see how these memberships can morph into political alliances or positions, but they are not inherently political, we don't necessarily join social groups for political reasons (though I know plenty of people who joined country clubs for political reasons).
We have too many sociologists, psychologists and anthropologists over-analyzing behaviors and assigning them improper value. I completely understand the value and benefit of good work socialization. We need to maintain relationships and behaviors to not just garner influence, but to just to get jobs done effectively. But the maintenance isn't in itself political, most often (certainly in my case) it's genuine, sincere and geared toward generating productive and useful outcomes.
My perspective is that it becomes political when it is self-serving or guided by less than sincere or honest motives. When subterfuge, dissemination of false or bad information, and exclusion take place it becomes political. The author tries to differentiate these behaviors as Machiavellian, anathema to proper behavior in an office. Certainly they are - but they are far too common, particularly in large organizations, simply because people can get away with it. By lumping good social action in with political behavior, this author does employees a disservice.
Monday, June 5. 2017
Wow. David Blaine used to amaze me with his 'street' magic. Since he became more performance artist than magician, I've been less impressed with his stuff. But magic is fun if it's done well. I don't think I've seen it done this well in a very long time.
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