February 12, 2014

The up side of down

by admin — Categories: Feeding the SoulLeave a comment

I like to understand how things work and I thrive on streamlining whatever the action is to the point that I can’t improve it any further.  I’m fairly sure this must be the very definition of anal.  My dad was the same way.  He was a boat designer/builder/commercial fisherman and the work he did was as close to perfect as it was possible for him to get.  He was always analyzing to improve so I must have inherited my anal gene from him.  I can’t count the number of times my husband has told me over the 40 years we’ve been married “it doesn’t have to float” though my father’s ideal is my unconscious standard of perfection.  Floating means we stay alive when the seas get rough.  Perfection means I’m finished and I can let it go because it’s as good as I can make it.  Efficient flow satisfies the inner me.  Yup, totally anal, that’s me.  I want perfect and I want my perfect to be replicable.

One of the CATO podcasts I listened to this morning was Caleb Brown’s interview of Megan McArtle, author of The Up Side of Down and Learning From Failure.  It was excellent, full of insight, the kind of stuff that advances my understanding of how I think.  It’s a bonus when the insightful stuff is also timely.

One of the activities I enjoy is World of Warcraft.  I’m fairly new to the game and my learning curve is finally starting to level just a bit.  I don’t feel nearly so overwhelmed which I see as improvement.  I still make mistakes and my characters die fairly regularly but each occurrence is a learning experience and I only kick myself when it’s a multiple repeat of stupid.  On the down side, the analysis of what happened appears to be driving those I’m associating with nuts and that’s been bothering me.  Feedback is part of learning and I’m not getting it.  If I suck, I want to know how to fix it.  Ignore isn’t the new neutral.  I need feedback to analyze.  I’ve been struggling with understanding this lack of feedback and generally being depressed.  I think McArtle’s interview provided a connection.

They say understanding is acceptance.


March 27, 2013

Weather vane mentality

by Nori — Categories: Feeding the Soul, Religion, Social networking, Wising upComments Off

Something I read this morning sparked a thought.  We know me.  That’s always dangerous and often amusing in a “can you believe it” way.  This morning’s fireworks sparkler can be attributed to an article by IowaHawk on Breitbart on same sex marriage.  First, it’s the kind of writing I love, expressing obvious common sense with humor and wit.  That’s always a plus.  I love connect-the-dots writing, even if it’s dots I had connected only peripherally or subconsciously.  You know what I mean.  Somebody will say something and you have that momentary recognition of the truth or validity of what was said.

So this morning, in IowaHawk’s article he said “If there’s anything that gives me pause about SSM, it’s the thuggish tactics of some of its most vocal proponents. It’s hard to take a “human rights activist” seriously while he’s beating someone over the head with a “NOH8″ placard for holding the same position Barack Obama held until 5 minutes ago.”  And just that quickly and easily he summarized what had been bothering me about the same sex marriage argument AND pointed out the weather vane mentality of any movement’s sycophantic followers.

Read the article.  Tell me what you think.  Did IowaHawk nail it?  I think so.

February 26, 2013

It’s all about what is disgusting

by Nori — Categories: Feeding the Soul, Politics, Social networking, Wising upComments Off

I just watch the most fascinating talk about how our tolerance for disgust determines our politics.  It’s one of those illuminating discussion, one that I will watch a number of times.

This is the second really illuminating thing I’ve run into in the last two weeks.  I’m on a roll!

February 13, 2013

Life altering events

by Nori — Categories: Wising upComments Off

You never really know what you’re capable of until you face a crisis.  You never really understand that statement . . . until you face a crisis.  Been there.

Enter my life altering event . . . my very best friend in the whole world had a massive stroke.  For four months I fussed over her, cared for her, worried about her and did everything I could to make her life better.  I literally set my life aside to care for my friend and support her family.  Even now I cannot imagine having done any other thing.  As I mourn her passing, I would not trade the time I spent caring for her for anything.

It’s hard to understand the depth of our hearts until they’ve been tested.  My husband stepped up and did so much for me and my friend.  I am blessed to have that heart in my life.

February 7, 2013

Who knew?!

by Nori — Categories: Wising upComments Off

Did you know there’s a site that track retractions of scholarly papers?  The latest report has a German professor losing her PhD over plagiarism.  Ouch.

So, here’s your warning.  Just because it was published in something high-brow and scholarly doesn’t necessarily make it good, true or worth reading.  The site counts the number of retractions for any given person/entity as it reports the retraction.  Yup, it’s a new amusement for me.

December 18, 2012

Rephrasing the argument

by Nori — Categories: Economics, Government, Taxing the American Public, Wising upComments Off

This morning the Tea Party’s Facebook feed has another “bad Obama” posting.  Various conservative groups run this sort of thing almost weekly.  The latest is a repeat of how “bad” Obama is because he vacations in Hawaii and he’s off to do it again soon and it costs $4 million and “ew, isn’t that horrible”.  It reads like something you’d find in a sensationalist rag right below the newest bat boy sighting; rhetoric that attracts lemmings and does nothing to change minds.

I listened to a CATO podcast last week entitled “Be Charitable to Your Opponents’ Views” and it changed the way I argue about things like this. It’s my hope that all who listen get as much out of it as I did.  It made such a huge impact in the way I think I’ve left it in my RSS feed to listen to again.

This latest Tea Party posting is an excellent example of how we (fiscal conservatives) are phrasing arguments without insight or intelligence.  Instead of arguing on an emotional level, we need to make reasoned arguments on why we see the philosophy behind the behavior is misguided.  We need to make the opportunity (and argument) to change minds instead of just collecting nods from those who already agree with how we feel.

Here’s the cut to the chase piece on this “Obama wasting tax payer money on vacation” rhetoric.  Before we can hope to make a reasoned argument about it, we must understand how Obama thinks.  He believes in wealth redistribution and Keynesian principals of stimulus. When we start with that premise, we understand he thinks he’s doing a good thing, stimulating the economy.  By shortsightedly couching the argument as “Bad Obama”, we’re spouting unconvincing conservative rhetoric.  People who don’t think the way we do immediately stop listening and we’ve lost the argument.

So, the conversation needs to be rephrased. We need to make the reasoned Hayek versus Keynes argument.  We need to educate.  We need to explain why spending of tax payer money on vacations (or most everything else the government does) is based on proven flawed reasoning and the result is a reduced economy.

We’re failing because we’re voicing the message ineffectively. We need to argue the principles behind the philosophy and why they’re wrong.  We need to shy away from the bat boy sighting rhetoric.

November 1, 2012

Setting traditional education on its ear

by Nori — Categories: Feeding the Soul, Wising upComments Off

In my Reason 24/7 RSS feed this morning was a link to an article about Ethiopian kids getting Motorola Zoom tablets.  To keep this in perspective, these kids had NEVER seen a printed word.  EVER, as had most of the adults in the village.  In five months, with no outside instruction, the kids had not only taught themselves to read, they had hacked the devices and re-enabled the onboard cameras.

Makes you rethink our current educational system, doesn’t it.


October 24, 2012

Totally off the point

by Nori — Categories: Politics, Wising upComments Off

One of the things that really bothers me in political discourse is this type of thing.  This excerpt is from a TAC article by Florence King.

Everybody knows who Joan Walsh is. To liberals she’s a saint, and they just might have a point: her TV guest spots have established her as Joan of Fallen Archness. Editor-at-Large of Salon, she regularly turns up on the People’s Republic of MSNBC, wearing her trademark simper and oozing coyness, and obsequiously recites, “Yes, Reverend Al” to the honkyphobic views of Al Sharpton.

Why are attacks on the person so universally accepted?  Isn’t this type of thing usually reserved for the paparazzi?  The person’s ideology should be at issue, not their personality.  When an article starts out like this, I stop reading.  This type of political “reporting” is catty, bitchy, low-brow and pointless.  It’s sole purpose seems to be to attract other low-brow and petty people’s acknowledgement.  Picture me wincing.

October 20, 2012

Stop wasting my time

by Nori — Categories: General, Wising upComments Off
desultory adj : marked by lack of definite plan or regularity or purpose; jumping from one thing to another; “desultory thoughts”; “the desultory conversation characteristic of cocktail parties”

Because up to now I have led a fairly desultory life, I haven’t taken a lot of exception to the amount of time I’ve spent filtering through . . . uh . . . crap.  Using the word makes me wince, but however high brow we normally are, sometimes it’s the really simple words that describe things best.

One of my very best friends, a woman who has acted both as best friend and mother, is now in a skilled care facility recovering from a massive stoke.  Because of my lack of a regimented life, I am free to spend time caring for her and acting as her advocate.  I see it as a vital job until such time as she is able to communicate clearly.  As a result, I have much less time for what has been life’s normal clutter.

Let me give you an example.  Chris Matthews proves how incredibly uneducated he is on the Constitution because he says it protects the President from rudeness.  Really?  This is news?  We already know Matthews is an ignorant shill.  It’s no longer news and hasn’t been for a very long time.

I use the Bloglines RSS reader for news and to keep me abreast of things that interest me.  To find the jewels, the bits of information I need to stay current on government overreach, political races, legislation pending in congress, major world news and the like, I have to filter through a tide of . . . well . . . crap.  This includes anything about Lindsay Lohan’s latest arrest, anyone with the Hollywood frame of mind ignorantly commenting on politics, all the various pundits’ take on the Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates, the continuing climate change hysteria, the latest in Halloween costumes and anything I can even loosely define as gossip.

While I might find the latest fete on Elizabeth Warren’s purported native ancestry amusing (the woman does know how to shovel the odoriferous offal that continues to ooze into the hole she’s dug for herself), it really isn’t, in the face of my current situation, important enough to warrant a glance.  When it finally drowns her, now that will be news.

This morning, one of three or four mornings a week where my responsibilities to my friend are absorbed by others, I have nearly 600 entries in my RSS feed.  A few of those are CATO event videos I want to make time to watch (the list is growing because I haven’t been able to make time), and a few are articles I’ve been meaning to make time to read.  The vast majority of those ~600 entries will be deleted en masse still unviewed.  I think this is what we call “priority.”

July 31, 2012

Milton Friedman’s 100th

by Nori — Categories: Economics, Government, Politics, Taxing the American Public, Wising upComments Off

Today is Milton Friedman’s 100th birthday.  There are few people for whom I have as much respect, nor any I laud more frequently.  In celebration of his birthday, I’d like to extend this idea.

What if, in the process of writing new legislation, a short treatise was required that referenced all the prior related legislation, what it was intended to do, where it failed or wasn’t being enforced and how the new legislation was going to fix the problem the previous legislation was unable to.

If we forced our legislators to look at the big picture, maybe we could get some to grasp reality and stop pushing out new legislation like so many deformed babies.  Over-regulation is killing our business, our country and our freedom.

Milton Friedman said “The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.”  Wise words from a very wise man.

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