Saturday, November 21, 2009

Brown Bear

Brown bear by her nature cannot live together with man the predator. She is big, huge really, and covered with thick fur which protects her from the cold and snow and renders her mostly invulnerable to man unless he uses his most predatory tools like guns or arrows. These can strike silently and from a distance beyond which brown bear can defend.

God equipped her with large paws with long claws and sharp teeth. She did not choose this. It is the result of evolution which was part of God's plan. It is not her fault.

Brown bear loves to eat many kinds of plants, but she is big, huge really, and must therefore eat a certain amount of meat. She prefers to scavenge and eat carcass dead a while which gives it a stronger odor which she likes and also makes it easier to find. Occasionally she may kill a larger animal such as a deer but not often as they are much faster than she. During the salmon runs brown bear loves to play in the streams and feast on the fatty fish. Brown bear really doesn't care for the man taste. The flesh tastes a bit like dog and the idea of eating the flesh of so evil an animal is a bit revolting.

Man comes long distances from his stinking noisy cities to hunt brown bear. He doesn't really hunt for food as he has plenty of that. He just likes to kill brown bear because she is big, huge really, and very beautiful. It really is no challenge to kill brown bear. Man simply approaches from downwind, a great distance, very quietly so she cannot see hear or smell him. Then man fires a gun.

This is very frustrating for brown bear. She has no way to protect herself or her cubs. They just fall to the ground and then there is a loud bang. She gets so angry that if one of those man hunters ever gets close to her she will kill it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bupkis for Bikes

Cash for clunkers, jets for junkets, BUPKIS FOR BIKES?? While reading this article I wondered how many new bike commuters would be created if the government offered to pay $4500 in exchange for a promise to ride to work? Would that save more gas per dollar of handout money than scrapping clunkers (many of which might not even be on the road before scrapping). The problem of course is that putting people on bikes makes healthier, friendlier neighborhoods and cities but does not scale up the GDP like cars and jets and roads and airports. This is what happens when the wrong measure of value is chosen. The genius of the bicycle is that while the rider gets tremendous benefit, everyone else benefits too. It is the ultimate "pay it forward" machine.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Balance and Excellence

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Living simply is not necessarily about giving up things; but is concerned with finding balance. It is a process and there are no rules. I offer a simple list of simple things we can simply do to the degree we are comfortable. They cost nothing and add value to our lives and the lives of those around us. I'm sure there are many more.

1. Separate wet and dry garbage.

2. Walk short distances.

3. Get off mailing lists.

4. Save and pay cash.

5. Don’t take the newspaper.

6. Do things yourself, rather than outsource to others.

7. Learn a non-service skill you can use in daily life.

8. Stand affirmatively for issues which have value.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


The hard part is not whether we can make do with less for surely we can. The difficulty is to develop a principled basis for living which helps us find the balance between not enough and too much. How do we find the balance? These are suggestions, not of answers but of approach. Some may seem trivial, obvious or you may not agree with them. Humor me.

It is simple. Do not strive to render complex all that can be made complex. Let go. Let it be as simple as it can be. There is only so much which can be done and only some of that is necessary or helpful. Do the simple part. Do not become absorbed in the rest or your thoughts about the rest.

Work to improve but not for more things. Be satisfied with what you have. When you want a thing ask why. Don’t seek it until you understand the practical and useful answer to that question.

Listen to others and try to understand what they are saying and why. Talk to others about what they are saying.

Help others, but this rarely means money. Understand their actual needs and actually help them. This does not mean lip service but actual help through work.

Appreciate differences in perspective. There is no single correct point of view. Every person is at a different place in life and has different views and goals. If there were a single correct point of view it would almost certainly not be yours or mine. Even my view changes over time.

Laugh a little. Most of it, especially the part involving actions between people is partly humorous. This is not critical laughter but the laughter which reflects the pleasure of observation and understanding. It is the smile of an amused infant.

Conserve your personal resources, physical, emotional, financial and others. Not from cheapness but so these resources can be applied to accomplish something or assist someone. Much of what we have and do is unnecessary. Eliminate this. Consume only what you need. Look at the frugal and effective use of resources in simple cultures. Use the whole buffalo. Catch only the fish you can eat. Build a small fire and sit close. My forebearers lived frugally. Someday my descendants will also. There is no reason I should be an exception.

Never lie. This is impossible but must be the standard we aspire to. We will be ambiguous or unclear even with the best intentions, but an outright falsehood is a direct and unequivocal message to the hearer. It says “I cannot be trusted.” After a few such experiences even the most loyal will suspend belief and trust. Communication is strained and everything is double checked. Confidences are not shared because they may not be treated appropriately. This is a waste of resources. Honesty is not only the best policy, it is the only acceptable policy.

The only value based measures of time are two. The day and the lifetime. The rest, years, months, hours, minutes, seconds are counting creations, as a bookkeeper counts beans. Time counting was invented by priests to compute the time to pray. The invented measures are mainly useful to compare one thing with another which is very much like the first. Is it morning? Then it’s time to wake up and do something. Is it evening? Then it’s time to rest. What did you do today? What will you do tomorrow? The individual hours don’t matter except to the bookkeepers. When you do anything in a way which creates or has value you are wisely spending your day and your lifetime. This is why excellence, helping others, teaching, solving problems and watching a sunset all have value. An hour of hard work is often a burden. A day well spent is a joy. Live joyously each day. You will have enough.

Keep working at it. Living lightly and with grace is a process not a rule. Keep in mind the Gross National Product includes expenditures on atomic bombs, rebuilding burned out cities, prisons and police, but does not include the value of a spring morning or an oriole’s song or a starry night.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hard Times

Hard times is real. There's work if you'll have it but there's no profit in it. Still we worked all we could, like working more would make the hard times end. Hard times is like a drought. There's nothing to be done to end it. The dust blows and the crops die and the young people leave the small towns for the bigger towns where there is more opportunity. Really no more opportunity, just more loose money. The young people don't make a profit in the city but they make enough money to buy food and shelter. Here in the small town we have food and shelter but no money. That's hard times when you have no money. So the young people think times are easier in the city because they have a little money, enough to buy shelter and food, but they could have that here.

They drink because times are hard. Since they drink they have just enough money for food and a one room apartment in the half basement of an old building. I went there once. You feel the brokeness of it. It ain't like hard times in our small town, it's worse much worse.

On some holidays they drink a lot. They drink a lot on St. Patrick's Day though no one is Irish. They drink a lot on Independence Day, to celebrate their independence I guess. They drink a lot on Halloween for fear of gouls. And they drink a lot at Christmas. I never understood the reason for that. They drink when things are good like on payday which is really just like any other day except they have a little money for a while. They drink when bad things happen like someone loses a job. When you add it all up drinking is their main activity if you don't count work. I'm not sayin' it's wrong, I drank a lot too when I was younger, but now I can't and times is hard.

I was something of a rounder then, sometimes drinking, sometimes brawling, sometimes both but not so much. When you're drinking your brawling suffers. My drinking went on years after my brawling ended. I'd like to have those years back. None of the people I thought friends then are around any more, at least I never see them. Even the folks I thought then were real close are gone. I hear about them some. They're still drinking. I guess times are hard for them too.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Big Time Leg Shavers on Twitter

@lancearmstrong ………. Lance Armstrong 
@dzabriskie ………………. David Zabriskie 
@ivanbasso ………………. Ivan Basso 
@ghincapie ……………….. George Hincapie 
@taylorphinney …………. Taylor Phinney 
@christianmeier ………… Christian Meier 
@ronswilliams …………… Ron Williams 
@SamBewley ……………. Sam Bewley 
@BenKing89 …………….. Ben King 
@janibrajkovic …………… Jani Brajkovic 
@dcasey ………………….. Dylan Casey 
@axelmerckx …………….. Axel Merckx 
@kmoerenhout …………. Koos Moerenhout 
@carlossastre ………….. Carlos Sastre 
@Liz_Hatch ……………… Liz Hatch
@mikefriedman2 ............ Mike Friedman
@trainright ………………. Chris Carmichael 
@johanbruyneel ………. Johan Bruyneel

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Worth Believing (reposted from 9/27/07)

Certain things that may or may not be true
are the things we need to believe in most.

People are basically good.
Honor, courage, and virtue mean everything.
Power and money mean nothing.
Good always triumphs over evil.

And remember this,
Love... true love never dies.
Remember that whether it's true or not.

We choose to believe these things,
because they are the things worth believing in.