"indecision may or may not be my problem."
totally out of context, this random youtube recommendation made me smile this evening. also reminded me to go back to dance latin dances this winter.
i pretty much agree with all ten, and fi anything, i feel that the ones i do not implement in my own life are things i would like to get better at.
here's a sampler:
[W]hen you are doing something in a recurring way to diminish risk or doing it in the same way as you have done it before, it is clear why professionalism is not enough. After all, what is required in our field, more than anything else, is the continuous transgression. Professionalism does not allow for that because transgression has to encompass the possibility of failure and if you are professional your instinct is not to fail, it is to repeat success. So professionalism as a lifetime aspiration is a limited goal.
LESS IS NOT NECESSARILY MORE.
Being a child of modernism I have heard this mantra all my life. Less is more. One morning upon awakening I realised that it was total nonsense, it is an absurd proposition and also fairly meaningless.
HOW YOU LIVE CHANGES YOUR BRAIN.
[T]he brain is susceptible, in a way that we are not fully conscious of, to almost every experience of our life and every encounter we have.
I am convinced that if someone was to yell at me from across the street my brain could be affected and my life might changed.
Some years ago I read a most remarkable thing about love, that also applies to the nature of co-existing with others. It was a quotation from Iris Murdoch in her obituary. It read Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real. Isnt that fantastic! The best insight on the subject of love that one can imagine.
dropping off a friend at the airport today i once more realized what bullshit this whole airport security really is. better people than me agree with my longstanding claim that most of the measures that the t.s.a takes to secure flights are nothing but snakeoil. and today i experienced two new examples for that.
without going into details, for about 45 minutes i engaged in what by all means is an unusual and suspcious behavior at logan airport this morning. i had my reasons, but i was sure that within minutes someone would approach me and try to figure out what's going on. no such thing. t.s.a officers walked by and didn't even seem to care. i guess they were busy ridding people of their toothpaste.
what they don't understand is that there's only two kinds of airline security: one - trying to find the terrorists long before they're at the airport. this is done using intelligence, be it surveillance or snitches. two - if you really failed to find them in time, the best thing you can do at the airport is to detect suspicious activity and investigate it.
unfortunately, there is no 'trick' for that. you need to observe people, know what's normal, and try to spot when something's fishy. like, for example, me, today.
the problem is that this is totally opposed to the american way of doing things, especially in these kinds of underpaid jobs. here, everything must follow rules. if something changes, new rules must be drawn up, they come into effect and everyone starts to follow them.
unfortunately, this is perfectly useless for the task at hand. as soon as they are rules, perpetrators can change their behavior to adapt to the new rules. what you need is not rules, but an eye for human behavior, and some honed people-reading skills. and in a culture that favors eye-aversion, this is not an easy feat.
to top things off, my friend, who was traveling with a computer in his check-in luggage was told that no computing equipment can be shipped. after all, we know how dangerous computers can be. even cellphones apparently can crash a plane.
but the best part comes later: after much discussion, they agreed to check his computer, under the condition that he removed the c.p.u from the machine. now there's security for you! sigh. also, i'm sure the t.s.a officer was in a perfect position to judge whether my friend actually removed the c.p.u.
as part of my 'possibly last year in america' catching-up campaign, i made this the other day:
i'm not an american. by law and by plan i am but a temporary visitor in this country, and i appreciate the hospitality i'm afforded here. still, after over 4 years of residency here, and with all the humility of accepting that it is really none of my goddamn business, i feel entitled to at least comment on what seems to be a horrendous turn in one of the most admirable aspects of american political principle.
the american political system grew out of suspicion towards government. i believe that history shows us that this suspicion is based. many times in the past have political groups in power increased their power 'for stability' just to abuse it within a short amount of time.
this week it seems that a particuarly unbelievable undermining of some of the most basic constitutional rights has been signed into law, and as g.w.u law professor jonathan turley said "the strange thing is, weve become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. I mean, the Congress just gave the president despotic powers, and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to, you know, Dancing with the Stars. I mean, its otherworldly."
on another topic, i was surprised that many people don't know keith olbermann, who i consider one of the sharper political pundits on the left side of the spectrum (although he does look like a ken doll...). so killing two birds with one stone, watch olbermann's special comment on the military commissions act, and his interview of turley.
via the rude pundit.
"it turns out that we don't think the way we think we think!"
Jordan B. Pollack, 'Mindless Intelligence'
during a recent conversation at a fancy boston restaurant, in a scene so ironic, it might have just been lifted straight out of a mike leigh movie - i noted that the big trend these days was for not-do-gooder types to "do good". the non-hippie hippie, the good samaritan capitalist. since this phrasing was met by some surprise by my co-diners, i thought i'd say a little something about it here, too.
so yeah - if you want to know what the hippest thing in america these days is, it's charity and changing the world. everyone who's someone is into it, and it's so trendy that even the biggest and coolest corporations are digging their hands deep into the do-gooder game. but don't confuse it with dreamy-eyed hippies. the deciding factor about the new do-gooder movement is that they're also looking out for themselves. turning a buck while saving a life, so to speak.
it's a strange blend between extreme capitalism and light tree-hugging. apple is doing it, bp is doing it, fucking timberland has now become a world leader in sustainability, and of course the list is endless - these are just the latest three examples i've seen in the last 24 hours.
timberland's slogan really captures this new trend: "make it better" - the vague "it", meaning: make great and expensive shoes, but also make the world better. no need for birkenstock, ma'am.
wherever you go in the high-powered circles in which i seem to commute these days, every over-privileged person i meet is working on some sort of idea on how to make the world a better place. this seems to come especially from people with professions that have not traditionally been connected to the love-and-peace crowd: investment bankers, economists, tax attorneys, and venture capitalists. they all emphasize the 'pragmatic' side of it, making sure i understand that this is not some lefty bullshit, but that there's a lot of money in it. as in: "i just want to say one word to you...just one word." -- "yes, sir."-- "are you listening?" -- "yes, sir. i am." -- "solar energy".
one of the reasons this new trend is possible is exactly that new twist on doing good: you can still look out for yourself, work in a top-notch creative job, get rich and famous, eat in fancy restaurants, and have only the nicest champagne at home. it's even part of the image!
another crowd that's drawn to the samaritan table is the designer crowd. the coolest names in design are all donating some of their time to good causes. some visionaries have caught on early, but designer houses around the country are catching on rapidly. here is the designer version of this trend: no need for crummy xerox prints of shiva drawn by untalented hippies. now the finest looking stuff in true haute fashion can be counted towards your global karma.
the trend has two big slogans. one is "like you give a damn", emphasizing the combination of caring and cool. the other is "doing good". you will see these come back over and over again.
it seems that this movement has been born out of a rebound from two extremes, meeting in the middle. on one hand people have become disillusioned from being unrealistic hippies (many have just gotten into the 30-something bracket, which requires a little more selfishness), and on the other hand people are getting a little sick with their selfish and empty lives after realizing that there's little satifsaction in choosing a great-earning or superficially hip or fun career. even the frequent dinners at the best bars in town are not helping. so the fusion of these two rebounds, has become this new 'good' movement.
i've been thinking about this for a while now, but it finally really hit me how big this has become, when i realized that the movement now even has their own wired-style magazine. and this is what their first editorial statement said:
We see a growing number of people tied together not by age, career, background, or circumstance, but by a shared interest. This revolves around a passion for potential mixed with fierce pragmatism and creative engagement. We sum all this up as the sensibility of giving a damn. But to shorten it, let's call it GOOD. We're here to push this movement and cover its realization.
afterword: i realize that this is a much bigger and more complex issue, which i have only touched on very lightly and from one angle. maybe at some later stage i'll write something a little more thoughtful on it.
if you happen to vote in nevada, vote to legalize marijuana. not much else to say on this topic. oh, maybe this: you must be a total idiot if you support the criminalization of weed. maybe nevada will lead the way to normalize the rest of us.
just came back from a great show at the lizard lounge. i was tempted by the playbill appearance of john medeski, who i long admire, but the band hosting him, club d'elf were the real treat. i'm a fan.
so -- go see them when you get a chance.
for the new yorkers among you, they are actually playing with medeski again on wednesday at the tonic in the lower east side, and later that week in great barrington, a cute little town on the mass/ny state line.
and while we're at it - i made another musical discovery last night (really a comedy discovery i guess): flight of the conchords. watched it for the 4th time now and it's still cracking me up. youtube has more where that come from.
you gotta hand it to the brits. following yankee pitcher cory lidle's crash yesterday, the times of london gave you the view you couldn't get in the american mainstream media, which was very careful about praising the deceased.
it's hard to not raise an eyebrow at a title like 'cory lidle's crash caps bad week for yankees', but the real prize is in the follow-up:
Born in California, where he lived, Lidle was a 34-year-old journeyman starting pitcher who enjoyed a nine-year Major League Baseball career but was not respected by some colleagues because he was a replacement player during the 1994 strike. "The only thing Cory Lidle wants to do is fly around in his airplane and gamble. He doesnt have a work ethic", Arthur Rhodes, a former teammate, said.
Married with one son, he was traded in July from the Philadelphia Phillies to the New York Yankees, and his most recent performance came last Saturday in Michigan, when he pitched terribly, giving up three runs in just over one inning as the Yankees were eliminated from the play-offs by the Detroit Tigers.
this post is long overdue. it concerns the horrendous conception and execution of the 'charlie ticket' project for the boston subway system.
i mean, where to begin? how about with the simple fact that there was *nothing* broken with the previous fare system, or at least nothing that was fixed with the new one. if someone can point me to a single acquired benefit of the new system except profit for the developers (who i'm sure are friends of some mbta officials) and employment for their workers, please let me know.
to the uninitiated, the boston transport authority (mbta) has, in what seems to be another case of new-york penis envy, converted its token- and change-based system to a new system which includes stored-value magnetic paper cards. in parallel it has replaced the turnstile system with stupid-ass glass gates that already look like they're some 1980s joke on futuristic design (and notice the slight misalignment of the gates. this station is no exception, apparently it's part of the bad design).
but what's really wrong with the new system:
in short - everything in the new system is fucked up and useless. the people behind it should be investigated, and probably fired, and i'm sure the dig will uncover some huge conspiracy there at some point involving mitt romney's favorite prostitute's brother.
coz, while admittedly slow and unreliable (and closing early), the one nice thing about the t was its informal fare system, with the free buddy ride on the weekends and the it's-ok-if-you're-a-nickel-short attitude for exact change. now they killed that, too with what will probably go down in history as the worst fare system conversion in any mass transit system ever.
i probably forgot some additionaly annoyanced, so feel free to chime in.
don't know if this is all over the web already or not, but i liked it.
Most Profound Man in Iraq -- an unidentified farmer in a fairly remote area who, after being asked by Reconnaissance Marines if he had seen any foreign fighters in the area replied "Yes, you."
Most Surprising Thing I Don't Miss -- Beer. Perhaps being half-stunned by lack of sleep makes up for it.
with a headline like "Venezuela's Chavez: Recovering Castro prepared to die", and given our experience with communism, and my personal affinity for conspiracy theories, one must wonder.
is he alive? is he dead? did chavez kill him? is chavez really castro in a fat-suit?
and most importantly, who will sit in the tribuna antiimperialista in the next u.s.a-cuba beisbol match?
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content here by guy hoffman .. as seen times since march 2004