Sage 3

Seeking the wisdom of the past to explain the present…

News HeadlineWisdom (from the Ages)
Fox News cancels Lou Dobbs’ show; pro-Trump host not expected to be back on air. (LA Times)The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy: the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
— JK Galbraith
Trump’s attempts to overturn the election have cost taxpayers more than $519 million so far, Washington Post finds. (Business Insider)“He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.” 
Groucho Marx
(Rep. Marjorie Taylor) Greene apologizes to GOP colleagues — and gets standing ovation. (The Hill)“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” 
― Albert Einstein
‘No regrets’: Evangelicals and other faith leaders still support Trump after deadly US Capitol attack. (USA Today)“We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid.” 
― Christopher Hitchens
Poll: 64 percent of GOP voters say they would join a Trump-led new party (The Hill)“The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”  H.L. Mencken
Supreme Court Rules Against Calif., Doubles Down On Religious Rights Amid Pandemic (NPR)Nowadays, science provides better and more consistent answers, but people will always cling to religion, because it gives comfort, and they do not trust or understand science.—-Stephen Hawking
2 more Trump supporters who took a private jet to Washington, DC, have been charged in the Capitol riot. (Business Insider)“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”
― George Carlin

Senescence: Round 2

Some additional Pensées on the art of aging and other ruminations…Earlier Pensées found here

The best thing that we can receive are not presents, but simply “presence”.

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While I sadly accept the fate of lost friendships by death, I continually mourn lost friends due to distance, dispute or their disinterest. 

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Young broken hearts quickly recover; older hearts rarely…

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Memory is a funny thing. It vividly remembers the wink of an eye from a pretty girl 50 years ago but can’t remember what it had for lunch yesterday.

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In every real man, a child is hidden who…misses the comfort of hugs and reassurances of parents, siblings, relatives and friends no longer alive.

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As a young child, I treasured a pocket watch as my timepiece, today I just treasure peaceful time.

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One may try so hard to be liked by everyone that one can forget to take the time to like themselves.

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The average older guy’s daily wardrobe often can fit into the locker he had in high school.

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30 minutes of personal or phone conversation > dozens of text and Facebook messages

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On long solo walks, I find myself rarely traveling alone…

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40+years of marriage: Life accomplishment = .400 batting average: baseball. Both achievements deserve recognition in their respective Hall of Fames.

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Linus has his security blanket; older Americans, nostalgia.

Photo by Daniel Frese from Pixels

Muses on a Cold Winter Morning

My writing efforts resemble my pickleball game performances. Brief flashes of brilliance mixed with plenty of unforced errors and faults.

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The experience of watching televised college and pro sports during Covid is like viewing a sitcom without a laugh track.

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Parler: politics = Pornhub: love

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So who stands “in the dock” for the various atrocities and abuses to our democracy and laws committed in the past four years? A number of Trump sycophants, enablers and officials, in a bid to salvage their reputations and careers, finally bailed out from the “Herrenvolk.” Nikki Haley, Bill O’Reilly, Betty DeVos, Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell, John Kelly, John Bolton, Mike Pence and many other Trump supporters are fleeing from Trump like Melania avoids child refugee camps.

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Rush Limbaugh’s receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom is as appropriate as the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences awarding Bonzo its Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Professional sports championships are generally decided off-season and by General Managers and less by players. College championships are generally decided in recruiting, less on the field or court. 

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How Trumpism mimics the coronavirus: (1) Can damage or kill the host (U.S.)  if untreated or unopposed. (2) Moves quickly through the populace through spreader (campaign) events. (3) Spurs denials by naysayers as to its existence and dangers. (4) Adverse after effects continue for many months (years) after initial contagion. (4) Mutates frequently posing additional dangers.  (5) Remedied by inoculation (election results).

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The biggest editors when many write are psychological, concerns for acceptance and approval plus the fear of speaking one’s mind and upsetting a career and reputation. How freeing to be retired and of advanced age when those editors are not as binding! While I still value the opinions of others, it’s more important that I move ideas and thoughts from my brain to screen, while I can.

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Tell me how many books and what you you read on a topic  and I can tell you how seriously I value your opinions on that topic.

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As I get older what has tragically declined faster than my physical and mental capabilities has been my decline in trust for most people to simply do the right things, especially when it comes to acting in the best interests of the nation, community or fellow man. 

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Last Thoughts for 2020

2020 has been extended for another six month at least! More Covid deaths, more lost jobs, more families unable to pay their rent, more people hungry etc. If only life could be handled by TV remote, we would be pushing fast forward to arrive at better and safer times.

Sending $600 to Americans for covid relief has about the same benefits as throwing under inflated life preservers to drowning people thrown overboard in raging seas.

If we distributed needed supplies, weapons and armaments to our military in World War II as expeditiously as we currently are distributing the Covid 19 vaccines to our citizens, we all would be speaking German and purchasing groceries in yen.

What if Joe Biden expressed “buyer’s remorse” about entering the White House? He could complain that he was unable to do the proper due diligence and inspection as Trump officials refused to provide him necessary information and background.

Everyone should have a dream of making someone else’s dreams come true.

Masks have become fashion, medical, cultural and political statements. While they hide the nose and mouth of those who wear them they also expose the character and judgement of those who refuse to wear them. 

Definition of Misnomer- a misapplied or inappropriate name or designation. e.g. United States of America????

Why is it that content (podcasts, movies, music, websites, news shows, social media) is sandwiched between and among so much marketing and advertising? 

Menckenians

Listed below are my “Menckenians,” my observations and aphorisms about politics, sports and life in general… It is a homage to H.L. Mencken who was a renowned columnist, writer and critic of politics, religion, culture and business from 1920 to 1950. His observations from almost a century ago can be applied today. He was that era’s Hunter Thompson, irreverent, caustic and cynical.

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If John Paul II can be canonized  a saint and Rush Limbaugh can be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, then Pete Rose can be inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame.

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If a huge asteroid was hours away from devastating earth, Amazon would still be delivering orders, conspiracy theorists would be posting anti-science Facebook and social media posts, the S&P would rise 5% and Congress would be deadlocked in funding a military operation that would destroy the asteroid.

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If all our problems and issues could be tidied up and resolved just like all those at the end of a Hallmark movie.

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To document the decline in American “exceptionalism”, compare the behavior, sacrifice, leadership and patriotism of American citizens in 1942, after Pearl Harbor with our national leadership and citizenry today during covid.

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Are all Facebook friends, “friends?”

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I would not tell a religious person that there is no god with the same consideration that I would not tell a young child there is no Santa Claus.

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Alex Trebek worked almost to the moment of his death as host of Jeopardy because he valued education. Donald Trump has played golf, thrown Christmas parties and wasted money on ridiculous court challenges as thousand of Americans die from covid daily. Two men, only one worth the praise and support he is receiving.

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Does one become an author when one drafts and publishes a book or essay or until someone reads it? (If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound if no one is around?)

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Sin? Does it exist anymore?

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For Eagle fans excited about Jalen Hurts replacing Carson Wentz, I have the following words for you, A.J. Feely, Bobby Hoying, Mike Boryla, Koy Detmer..

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Sage 2

Aphorisms are rogue ideas. Susan Sontag

HeadlineWisdom
Trump refuses to accept Biden’s win as transition proceeds AP
It is hard for an empty sack to stand upright.
Ben Franklin 
Supreme Court Blocks New York’s Virus Imposed Limits to Religious Services (Justice Amy Coney Barrett played a decisive role) NY Times
“We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.” HL Mencken
Trump announces pardon for Michael Flynn in tweet CNN
The only valid political system is one that can handle an imbecile in power without suffering from it.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Trump legal team meets with Pa. lawmakers over election results Fox News
The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously. Hubert H Humphrey

Sage

While perusing through today’s headlines, I may be reminded of some ancient or recent adage that reflects an appropriate understanding or analysis to the news as shown below:

News HeadlinesWisdom and Analysis
Health officials make their final pleas for holiday caution as coronavirus cases spike. 
Washington Post

Weekend air travel hits pandemic-era record, despite health officials’ pleas to stay home
CNN
“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”
George Carlin
Man leaves $3K tip for a beer as restaurant closes for virus 
AP
Wishing good, merely, is a lukewarm charity; but doing good is divine. 
James Lendall Basford 
Fresno bishop warns Catholics against stem cell-based COVID vaccines, including Pfizer’s
Fresno Bee
All religions promise a reward for excellence is of the will or heart, but none for excellences of the head or understanding.
Schopenhauer

Profoundities

Insights, wisdom and thinking from books that I have read that resonate within me…

Autumn poses the question we all have to live with: How to hold one to the things we love even though we know that we and they are dying. How to see the world as it is, yet find light within that truth. 

Autumn Light by Pico Iyer

Religious and ideological dogmas are still highly attractive in our scientific age precisely because they offer us a safe haven from the frustrating complexity of reality. As we have zero scientific evidence that Eve was tempted by the serpent, that the souls of all infidels burn in hell after they die, or that the creator of the universe doesn’t like it when a Brahmin marries a Dalit—yet billions of people have believed in these stories for thousands of years. Some fake news lasts forever.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

But then again, I know very few people who have grown all the way up. The best most of us can do is manage intermittent maturity.

My Mistake by Daniel Menaker

People take sides in debates not on the basis of evidence or argument but on the basis of the side where they feel more at home.

However, just as you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink, so you can lead a mind to reason but you cannot make it think.

The Edge of Reason: A Rational Skeptic in an Irrational World by Julian Baggini

Somebody once defined the meaning of life as “the interruption of an otherwise peaceful nonexistence.”

Seasons in Hell: With Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog and, “the Worst Baseball Team in History”—The 1973–1975 Texas Rangers by Mike Shropshire

Where you die, and who is around you at the end, is a strong signal of your success or failure in life.

Invest in experiences over things. Drive a Hyundai, and take your wife to St. Barts.

The Algebra of Happiness by Scott Galloway

If religion makes people more moral, then why is America seemingly so immoral in its lack of concern for its poorest, most troubled citizens, notably its children?

The Moral Arc by Michael Shermer

Nowadays, science provides better and more consistent answers, but people will always cling to religion, because it gives comfort, and they do not trust or understand science.

Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking

Senescence

My pithy observations on maturity and the art of getting older…

Photo by Trang Pham from Pexels

We open our book of life to see there are not very many pages left.

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A great antidote to depression or melancholy is the comforting smile of a young child.

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As years grow longer, handshakes, hugs and kisses among friends are stronger.

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Those who are truly happy, if offered a chance to enter a time machine and go back to relive their lives, would decline and say, “I would not change a thing.”

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Songs trigger old memories—-some bring a smile, some bring a tear. 

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We wear fatigue like a thin blanket hanging loosely from our slightly stooped shoulders.

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One’s definition of “success’ matures with age. Success becomes not so much what one has but what one did with what one had.

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Past events that seemed so embarrassing and foolish then are accepted with a wry smile and a forgiving heart now.

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Add 20% to the time it usually took you to complete routine duties like taking out the trash, going grocery shopping, finding your keys and climbing the stairs.

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What we miss surpasses what we look forward to…

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Women retain their desirability by their humor, laughter and conversation; men by simply listening.

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Our nightmares are not events that could happen but did happen.

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What often frightens the young, amuses the mature.