UNLESS YOU’RE A SERIAL NUMBER, CORRUPTION MATTERS – Marilyn Armstrong

The entire quote is from Paul Krugman of The New York Times:


Why corruption matters.
Hint: It’s not the money, it’s the incentives.


When money corrupts the decision-makers, the decisions they make may ultimately have nothing to do with right or wrong, the public interest or private needs — or anything but how the decision affects a business interest or pay-day.

Vermin Supreme poster

If everything is about money, the moral and ethical elements that should be part of the decision-making process vanish. When the bottom line is the only line, decisions can be made by computers. And probably will be it they aren’t already.

QUEST OR HIKE? – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Friday: HIKE

So this is all about setting out on a quest. I’ll accept that life is a quest, but going for a hike — even as a group — is just exercise. Unless it happens you have Sauron’s One Ring To Rule Them All in your duffel and you’re on your way to Mordor and Mt. Doom where you and your duffel — and The Ring –are planning to leap into the cracks of Doom.

Otherwise, you’re out for a day of good, healthy exercise. It’s not a quest. It might even be a journey, but not a quest. I don’t know anyone who has quested. Long trips to foreign shores? Yes.

Quest? Not really.

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Maybe my mother was on a quest. She was always looking for the best prices on some really fine Italian wool and while she was at it, tried to determine what was the best things to buy in which cities of which countries. Maybe, for her, it was a quest … but personally, I think it was a series of great vacations with a lot of shopping.

Call me crazy. Sue Vincent goes on quests. She has a purpose and she is an active seeker. But she’s the only one I can think of offhand who really quests.

From Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

What happens when you come to the end of your quest? Because … every trip, journey, high, whatever you choose to call it will come to an end. You come to the top of the mountain, the end of the path. Even if you complete the final leg of your journey to enlightenment, at some point, it ends.

I hope you’ve got plan B set up.

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The ship comes into the harbor and ties up at the pier. The passengers depart, taking their gear with them. The hikers come home, put their feet up and start posting pictures on Instagram.

Even if you find ultimate enlightenment, life goes on.

AN OUTGOING TIDE WITH AN UNDERTOW – Marilyn Armstrong

It has been a tough couple of weeks, which is weird because there isn’t any specific crisis going on. I’m trying to get a grip on all the seemingly small things that feel like they are crowding in on me and pulling me down.

Our income is fixed. This means our income will never go up. It will stay the same until we die. Meanwhile, prices keep rising. We aren’t in a wildly inflationary period, but even so, I’m glad we don’t eat much. And I’m very glad my medications are generic. Every week, the same money buys a little less than it did the week before. Just a little bit.

I’m fighting an outgoing tide and an undertow.

Atlantic shore

I’m having trouble focusing. I want to pull a pillow over my head and vanish for a while. Unfortunately, that’s not possible. So I’m swimming like mad, but the tide’s going out while the undertow is pulling with it.

The breakers are pounding me on the head.

I nearly drowned in an outgoing tide and an undertow. It was in Herzliya, Israel. Unbelievably, It was also more than 30 years ago. I was swimming as hard as I could — which isn’t all that powerful. I can swim, but I have no kind of power in my stroke. So, I was making no headway. None.

I finally saved my life by just grabbing a lungful of air whenever I could and letting the waves push me onto the sand.

Maybe that’s what I need to do now. Except I have a feeling it worked out better in the Mediterranean than it would with life.

SPEAKING OF HOPE – Marilyn Armstrong

Much as I don’t like answering endless questions, I do like great quotes when I come across them. The problem with most quotes about “hope” is that they are treacly. Sweet and phony.

Hope is not a solution. It’s a key, something to keep you going when all you want to do is crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head. It manifests in various ways.

For me, it’s curiosity. I can’t bear the idea of not knowing what will happen. Many times when the world was a dark and dangerous place, my curiosity kept me moving towards … whatever. Good, bad, or indifferent, I want to know what it is.

Here’s one from Bradley Whitford (he was Josh on West Wing for those who remember the show).

Hope-Bradley Whitford
Thank you, Melanie!
Also, a poke at Rory who I think got this started.

And let me know what the other selections are. I will do them if I can. I do some challenges, but they are always writing challenges or photography.

What I do NOT do are the “oh look, another nomination that wants me to answer a lot of questions I’ve long since answered and then ask 473 people to participate.”

I don’t really know more than two people, you being one of them, who still does these. Trust me, there will come a time when you aren’t interested either. But – if the challenge is a challenge and not a chain letter … and it holds some interest for me, I can be cajoled.

Sometimes twice.

If anyone else feels like jumping in, please feel welcome.

Hope is a good thing to keep in your cupboards, much like canned soup. Just in case you run out of everything else, it’s good to have a casket of hope to fall back on.

WHAT’S A DAY WITHOUT A CHALLENGE? – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP #63 – CHALLENGE


Lately, every day is challenging. Life is a challenge.

Yesterday’s challenge was getting everything that needed doing, done. My son doesn’t have a lot of time off from work. It was the first of the month, which meant I had some money in the account. The freezer was heading towards empty and Garry is not allowed to haul groceries. This is not one of the things he sees as a challenge, so he had no problems with me taking care of it.

Testing, testing …

I want to make it clear that he is entirely capable of doing anything he wants to do, albeit rather more slowly than in earlier years. The hardest parts of my experience with Garry’s surgery is preventing him from exercising or doing anything strenuous. And NOT blowing his nose.

He is an exercise junkie. Since basic training in the Marine Corps, he needs that exercise and not doing it makes him feel weird and uncomfortable. I get that.

Right now, he can’t. No heavy living, no heavy hauling. He has one month — four weeks — when he can’t lift, haul — or blow his nose. He forgets about the nose blowing, so every time he does it (instinct wins over doctor’s notes), he feels as if his head will explode. That’s a hard-to-ignore reminder. Exercise is a different problem.

Garry digging out

We had it out the other night and I finally had to say: “This is your body, your ears. Your hearing. You’ve waited a lifetime for this miracle. Are you going to blow it to by secretly doing push-ups?” For me, this is a no-brainer. Obviously, we are in different head spaces on this.

He thinks I’m rejecting him. His male translation of my comments is that I don’t care what happens to him, but the truth is 180 degrees in the other direction. The idea of actually being able to have a conversation I don’t need to shout from three-inches away from his left ear makes my heart race.

That being said, I can’t follow him constantly reminding him of what he needs to do or more to the point, not do. Sort of like the ancient court jester and the king. I probably need different clothing and a bladder.

Garry reads the doctor’s notes every morning when he gets up, to remind himself of the instructions. I love him madly and want this to work for him, but he has to want it at least as much as I do. In the end, it’s not my body, not my issue.

It’s a bigger challenge for him than it would be for me. But for heaven’s sake — IT’S JUST FOUR WEEKS. His body will not disintegrate from lack of exercise after one month of skipping morning exercises. He can go back to two hundred push-ups before August is over. Yes, he really does 200 push-ups every morning along with other exercises.

That doesn’t seem like a huge price to pay for the privilege of hearing for the first time in his life. He can walk, do light work around the house — you know, the stuff I usually do — and watch as many baseball games as he can fit in a given day. And maybe fit in a movie or three. He could also take the camera and take a few hundred pictures. We could stroll in the park.

A challenge, I have concluded, is different for each of us. My biggest challenge is getting out of bed, then actually walking. The rest of my day is easier, but I have to get past that challenge.

Garry is far more complicated.

HOW DOES THE OCEAN CLEANUP TECHNOLOGY WORK?

This is one of the things they are doing to try to clean up the mess.

ScienceSwitch

Plastic was long considered to be a revolutionary material. But, what has it turned into now? A trash – and millions of tons of it end up in the ocean every year. Of course there are plenty of attempts to thwart this growing problem, but this approach by the Ocean Cleanup seems to be the most effective. Here’s how it works.

THIS IS COOL. I WANT TO LEARN SOMETHING ELSE, TOO!

Video via – The Ocean Cleanup
Further Readings And References @ ABC News, The Ocean Cleanup Technology, Plastic Oceans Foundation

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UNDOING IT

I want to undo anything that shoots. 


Gunpowder. TNT. Guns. Nuclear power. Anything that makes guns, modern weapons, and modern warfare possible. No landmines, howitzers, or automatic weapons.

I’m okay with  knives, swords, maces, bludgeons, ropes, and other weapons of personal, intimate destruction. I want to eliminate everything that blows up, shoots, explodes, or kills from a distance — or en mass.

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If you want to kill someone, you’ll have to do it face-to-face. Up close and personal. If you want to kill someone, stand up and fight. Beat him up. Have a knife fight. Gore is fine, but the blood will spray on you, too.

blood evidence

You can’t kill anyone from a distance. You can’t site your target with a sniper rifle from a rooftop. No sniper rifles exist. Not even a pistol.

Since I have this power to undo what has been done  — and I’m sure there’s time travel involved here — if you try to work around this, I’ll take away your bows-and-arrows too.

Behave yourselves and don’t run with scissors. It’s okay to stab your neighbor with a pair or beat his or her head in with a bat because hey, we’re human. Killing are us.