“I told him that I had a daughter and he told me he had one, too. And he said, “Never give up on family.” And I didn’t. I took his advice. My God, the universe is random, it’s not inevitable, it’s simple chaos. It’s subatomic particles in endless, aimless collision. That’s what science teaches us, but what does this say? What is it telling us that the very night that this man’s daughter dies, it’s me who is having a drink with him? I mean, how could that be random?” – Breaking Bad
The Mrs. took this picture during a particularly pernicious rainstorm. They tell the kids to stay inside during a thunderstorm. Meh. If I get hit by lightning I’m buying a lottery ticket.
So, this is the 100th post. I think the best way to deal with this is to skip the structure of wealth, wisdom, and health for this post. The discipline of structure is nice, and I’ve learned a lot of things by doing it, but it’s nice to vary from that structure from time to time to be spicy, like taco-flavored kisses. So, here are some random bits of fog from my brain. Some of these may end up as posts at some point . . .
- If someone is cloaking a concept in really, really confusing language, they’re lying or trying to cover something up. The desire to create an impression contrary to truth requires that they twist the language to the point of ripping. Using bigger words and confusing, academic phrasing are just camouflage for the lie. For example: At a dinner party, a gentleman was talking about overpopulation. His solution? Reduce the population by a billion or so through “caloric restriction.” He was confronted by another guest . . . “You want to starve a billion people to death?” Yup. Really happened, according to the article.
- If you depend on someone to give you money or things so you can live, they control you. This is why welfare is control. This is why parents get to make the rules. This is why bosses can be arbitrary, and the Hollywood predator gang could stay so safe, for so long.
- There is no objective morality without a belief in a higher power. Without that, we’re all just meat and cells.
- Children need enough privacy to grow, enough structure to grow well.
- Youth is rarely wise, but it might be smart. My brother, John Wilder (yes, we have the same name – just different parents – my family tree looks like an inkblot) talked about how his company had hired a 30 year old CFO.
Me: “He won’t last a year.”
Bro: “He’s smart.”
Me: “Yeah, but he’s got a LOT of growing up to do.”
The guy flamed out in a year.
- I don’t know why wisdom costs us so much pain and difficulty in life. Is it because, like divorce, it’s worth it?
How my family tree would look as a superhero. © Certainly DC Comics, Fair Use Claim, Will Remove on Request
- Liars lie. The only thing that stops them is when they get caught and something tragic happens, and mostly not even that. I’m not sure why they do it.
- Cowards are the most dangerous of men. They will quickly befriend you even when you don’t deserve it. They will desert you at the first sign of an angry mob. And they’ll join the mob.
- Being close to a coward is bad. But you can always count on a coward being a coward and acting like a coward. Having a liar close to you is worse. They might tell you pleasing lies for a time, and you might forget their nature.
- You are the average of your five closest friends. Choose wisely.
- People say, “Kids tell the truth! It’s natural.” Oops, I meant people who never seen an actual child say that. Kids lie as soon as they can figure it out, as any parent can tell you. No, I didn’t eat that cookie.
- Between the ages of 10 and 14 are the only times you really have to parent. Before that, it’s teaching. After that, it’s supporting. Something happens between the ages of 10 and 14 that determines whether or not the kid goes bad. They’ve learned how to inflict pain and but haven’t learned empathy or kindness or responsibility – they’re a group of snotty acne-covered psychopaths. This is why middle school age children are such miserable creatures, and once you win the battle as a parent you can hit the autopilot once they hit high school.
- Underarm hair grows back. A reputation doesn’t. In other words? One drop of snot ruins all the eggnog.
- Always take an offered breath mint.
- We waste a lot of time. (I include me in that.) Ben Franklin said, “If thou loveth lifeth, wasteth noteh time, for that is what life is made of.” And a big part of that waste is in pursuits that produce . . . nothing. I’ve been accused of being a “hillbilly” for fixing a faucet rather than buying a new one. In my defense, my name isn’t Billy. And I could fix the faucet for $5 and an hour of time, and some cussing and bruised knuckles. And I know how to fix a faucet now! A faucet that was last manufactured in 1980.
- Buy new faucets instead of fixing them.
- You can’t reason with someone who’s acting out of emotion. And you ESPECIALLY can’t reason with a crowd of people who are rioting. Fight reason with reason. Emotion with emotion. And rioters with force and/or Optimus Prime®. Thus the following is the best thing to wear to a riot (LINK) (and no, not getting paid for this link):
- Reason is something we use to convince ourselves that what we want is wise and, well, reasonable.
- Cultures aren’t all equal in the output they produce. Some cultures produce much more violence, less wealth, and much less freedom, and some even create all three negatives at once (Venezuela).
- I invented a gravity cannon. It consists of two huge counter-rotating cylinders of the matter from a neutron star (this stuff is denser than a Kardashian at 900 pyramids of weight for a single teaspoonful). Thick cylinders, but hollow. I think it would only require a dozen or so neutron stars to build. To shoot it, you have to jam the inner cylinder into the hollow outer cylinder. The result is a vortex of gravity that might stay stable enough (if the cylinders are rotating fast enough) to slam into your enemy – an invisible ring of gravity death travelling at them at whatever speed you slammed the cylinders together at. It would also create a massive black hole and a huge gamma ray outburst that would roast a turkey from 100 light years away. Is it impractical using a dozen solar masses and the approximate energy put out by our galaxy in any given year for one shot at an enemy? Possibly. But maybe I need a government grant to study it? We wouldn’t want Russia to have one and us not.
- There is bacteria growing on the space station. On the outside of the space station. While it’s in space. I sense a 1950’s B-Movie: The Fungus from Mars.
- Tip well. Show gratitude when it makes sense and when you can afford it. Give a hard working waitress a $10 tip on an $8 dollar bill? They’ll mention it for days. Where else can you make someone so happy for so little?
Hope you’ve enjoyed the first 100 as much as I have. See you Monday!