God Has A Tiger By The Tail, Reading List

Here are three recent books, any one of which might give you nightmares. They’re a follow-up on my first post of 2016, “God Has A Tiger By The Tail.”

  • “Flash Points: The Emerging Crisis in Europe,” by George Friedman, published 2015.
  • “Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath,” by Ted Koppel, published 2015.
  • “This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate,” by Naomi Klein, which was included in the New York Times Book Review list of 100 Notable Books of 2014.

The subtitles above are self-explanatory. The authors need no introduction. Continue reading

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Bernie Sanders Gaining In Iowa

“I have been in Iowa for nine months now, and everywhere I go I see signs that Bernie is going to win. I see Bernie buttons on cashiers in checkout lines, and anytime I have Bernie gear on people compliment it.

When I cover various political events, a lot of the crowd is usually undecided or checking out the candidate. Not at Bernie events, where the crowds are excited and committed to the Bern.”

Reported by a clearly biased observer in Iowa. His view tends to support news reported in the MSM. From a post by Scott Galindez. Read his full post here.

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January 17, 2016 · 1:10 am

Is The Tiny House Movement A Big Lie?   — You can read all about it over at the Tree Hugger Blog. Click on the big red link above.

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January 15, 2016 · 1:49 am

My Washing Machine

Well. This post explains nearly everything about our consumer economy. Plus nearly everything about the aggravation of daily life. It explains why buying more appliances doesn’t necessarily make daily life more simple. Appliances are just as likely to complicate life as to simplify it. The post would probably explain road rage, if it were possible to have road rage when operating or repairing a stackable washer and dryer. I’m usually tempted to throw it out rather than try to fix it. Thank you to Almost Iowa.

Almost Iowa

Machovka-Washing-machine-3Our washer quit again.

The little guy has his happy days and his sad days but too many of his days are spent sulking and refusing to work.

I wish I understood his moods better.

For much of this, I blame my wife (a common enough reflex for me) because she likes to fiddle with the settings.

After she has dialed the temperature to cold and the cycle to delicates, I come along with a dozen grease stained jeans and a pile of sweatshirts that smell more like my dog than my dog does – and when I push the START button, the washer gags and shrieks – then in a huff worthy of a petulant teenager, it quits and refuses to start again.

Normally when this happens, I simply unplug it.

In the world of appliances therapy, pulling the plug is the equivalent of electroshock.  It erasers the memory and reboots the attitude of wayward gadgets- but like any treatment, it has its…

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Medical Research May Cause Heartburn

So now we learn that Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid, to name a few brand-name proton pump inhibitor drugs — used to treat acid reflux — might be related to chronic kidney disease and heart attacks.

The research on kidney disease (Johns Hopkins) and heart attacks (Stanford) was reported in The Washington Post on Jan. 12, 2016. The research does not establish a cause-and-effect relationship; only a statistical association, as I understand it. (Truth too tell, I don’t understand scientific and medical information at all. It makes me queasy. I think I need to lie down. But reclining makes it easier for the acid to reflux.)

I take omeprazole, the generic of Prilosec. Therefore, I resent the implications of this research. I mean, I take it personally. Does this suggest that we need to choose between kidney disease and/or heart attack, and acid reflux?

It’s worth noting that acid reflux, untreated, can result in damage to the esophagus. Just thinking about  this stuff gives me heartburn.

A possible alternative to omeprazole would be to give up pizza and chocolate. Or I could stop reading the newspaper and watching news on cable TV.

I’ll think about it tomorrow.

— John Hayden

 

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No Time For Boring Books

Once I started reading a book, I didn’t want to quit. I wanted to see it through to the end.

Not anymore! Not at age 67.

In recent years, I’ve set aside books half-read. I know there’s a good possibility I might be missing something worthwhile toward the end, but . . .

I’ve reached the point where time waits for no book.

Recently, I’ve come to have limited patience even with a favorite author, when a new book doesn’t measure up to standards.

For example: I enjoyed “The Good Luck Of Right Now” and “The Silver Linings Playbook,” two novels with surprising stories, unique characters and positive messages. Both “Good Luck” and “Silver Linings” are by Matthew Quick.

But I lost interest in his new novel, “Love May Fail.” This one also has interesting characters and a compelling storyline. But it felt like Quick  was reusing a tried and true formula that worked so well when it was fresh in the two earlier books. Been there, done that. Boring.

Since I didn’t read it all the way through, I can’t pass judgment on “Love May Fail.” I’m painfully aware that I’m possibly missing something great in the second half of the book.

Too late now. “Flash Points, The Emerging Crisis in Europe,” by George Friedman, has captured my attention.

— John Hayden

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State and Warfare

I don’t know if this perspective on the changing nature of war is 100 percent correct, or not. It certainly provides food for thought in this second decade of the 21st century.

I’m uncertain about the term “consumerist warfare.” This would seem to imply that the warfare is designed to protect a consumer-driven economy.  I need to think about this some more.

As we view the final season of “Downton Abbey,” it’s as if many in America and the U.K. and Canada are caught up in an extended meditation on the old order slipping away and a new and unknown order going forward. Ready or not! The many posts pondering the end (or at least evolution) of the western nation-state over at Clarissa’s Blog also cause us to think about changing times writ large.

Clarissa's Blog

The manner of waging war transforms with every transformation of the state model (Many people say that it’s the other way round: the state form follows the changes in the ways of waging war. Ultimately, the warfare methods are indissolubly linked to the state model, no matter what “comes first.”)

As we discussed before, the nation-state model arose, to a significant degree, in response to a need to find a less costly way than any that had existed before to wage war on an unprecedented scale. This goal was achieved in full, as we all know from the example of the two world wars. Without the nation-state, this kind of warfare would not be possible.

As the nation-state withers away and a new state form comes to replace it, warfare changes as well. Today we are seeing a gradual consolidation of what I call “consumerist warfare.” (This is just my own…

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One Thousand Blog Followers

followed-blog-1000-2x

 

How the blogosphere has evolved since 2007!  WordPress.com logged 660 million blog posts in 2015, according to the Year In Review report, published this week. However, I often wonder if blogging, which was the big new thing in the first decade of the century, has peaked. Every year brings more online competition. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, podcasts, on and on. Continue reading

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God Has A Tiger By The Tail

It’s as if God has a tiger by the tail.

Do you feel like the world is spinning out of control? That the center cannot hold? Or that the universe is spinning so fast it will self-destruct by centrifugal force? Or some other, as yet unidentified, force? 

The scary thoughts I’m having at the end of one bad year and the start of an unknowable New Year were sparked by seeing the movie, “Star Wars.” However, this witches’ brew has been bubbling in my brain for some time.

Change comes fast and furious, and I wonder if we are near a convergence of forces that could bring on catastrophic change. I’m flashing on the Age of Aquarius, but this is not what hippies and free thinkers were hoping for in 1967-1969.

Think about it. All Black Swan scenarios are on the table.

War.

Global warming.

Technology off the leash.

Government. Or worse, the absence of government.

Economic collapse.

Social upheaval.

Mass migration(s).

Epidemics or pandemic.

Water scarcity.

Starvation.

Revolution.

Fascism.

Anarchy.

Chaos.

“Star Wars” is a brilliant, futuristic story of the battle between Good and Evil. The Light side and the Dark side.

(Aside: Does Star Wars glamorize war?  Don’t worry, this won’t be on the final exam.)

Back to the battle. Is it a battle between Good and Evil, or between God and Satan? I suppose it depends on whether you have a religious point of view, or a secular point of view.

Maybe it’s not a battle so much between Good and Evil, but rather, a battle between Truth and Lie. Or Truth and Illusion?

In 21st century political discourse, we have difficulty agreeing on facts. Maybe it’s a battle between Fact and Falsehood? Or Fact and Ignorance? Love and Fear?  These are some of my disorderly thoughts at the turn of the year, questions sparked by Star Wars. I should not wade too far into philosophy or theology, lest I be in over my head.

That’s enough uncensored thinking for the first day of the year.

What say you? A tiger by the tail? Spinning out of control?

— John Hayden

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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