Git’er Done

This just in:  Back in my Navy days, we had a saying, “You can expect what you can inspect.”  In other words, to be able to effectively judge something, you must be able to objectively measure it.

If someone tells you, “I worked really hard yesterday,” you really have no way to judge that unless you have the ability to measure what a day of hard work really is.

I know this is kind of obtuse, but it gets me to where I want to be: My Daily To-Do List.

Let’s back up a bit.

Two-hundred days ago, I woke up in a hotel and thought, “Life seems to have less meaning for me than it should. I’m wasting too much of my time reading news and such on the internet; all the while, not really accomplishing much.”

So I made a list.  This list consists of 20 items, each of which would add value to my life-experience if I did it.  I next set a goal.  I would work to achieve at least 50% of the items on that list every day.

What’s on the list?  Writing a blog is one item.  Push-ups is another.  Reading a book is on there as is meditating.  Hitting golf balls is there along with pull-ups, calling a family member and having 2 tablespoons of vinegar.  It’s very diverse but each item means something to me.

I keep a record of how I do.  This way, because I can inspect, I can expect.  I can set goals and see how I’m doing.

For example:  I give myself points for various activities.  1 point is equal to approximately 1 calorie.  I have made 95,000 points since the list started 200 days ago.  There are 95,000 calories in 27 pounds of fat.   In other words, I would be a bit fatter than I am now, unless I cut back on eating…and I hate to cut back on eating.

Yesterday, I went to Costco.  My wife is out of town so I had to fend for myself.  The result was that I had a 2-foot slab of ribs with a side of roasted chicken for lunch.

Anyway…back to my list…

In 200 days, I have done 5,700 pushups and 5,100 pull-ups.  I have not missed a single day of doing my core training and yoga (30 minutes every morning) that is supposed to keep my back healthy and me out of the ER.  I have completed over 100 hours of online lessons in physics, math and philosophy.

My weight is down about 7 or 8 pounds.  Not bad considering that I’m doing a lot of exercise and eating all that I want.  Not quite true…skipping desert is on my daily list.

I’m not saying you should make a list.  I think we’re all different.  Different things work for different people.  However, I will say this…ever since I make this list 200 days ago, I’ve never felt like I’m not adding value to my life experience every single day.  And…I feel physically healthier as well (an unintended side effect).

So there is my blog today.  I’ll take credit for that on my list.  Then…I’ll go and save the world.

Up, up and away…


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Why I think Kavanaugh is lying

This just in:  I don’t care what Kavanaugh did 35 years ago; at least not nearly as much as I care about what he is doing right now.  Right now, he is lying to Congress and that is a felony crime.

I think he is lying for a couple of reasons I’m going to lay out right now.

Reason #1:  He is acting like he is guilty.  If I’d been accused of the type of conduct he is being accused of, my first action, as an innocent person, would be to insist on a thorough investigation.  Anything short of that would leave lingering doubts about the type of person I was.

Saying there have been 6 Background Investigations is nonsense.  If a BI was so conclusive, why would there ever be a 2nd one, much less 5 more.  When conditions change, a new BI is warranted.

Saying, “We have signed notes from a couple of people” is about the same as saying, “I climbed a tree and nearly touched the moon.”

Reason #2: Kavanaugh has skin in the game; a lot of skin in the game. He will get the job of a lifetime if he is appointed so there is a lot riding on this.  Additionally, anything short of his getting the job will leave him tainted as “The man that lost the job because of a 35 year old sex offense.”  His reputation is on the line along with the job.

Reason #3: The woman has nothing to gain.  In fact, she has already lost a lot.  She’s lost her privacy.  She’s exposed herself to death threats and hate mail.  She is demonstrably non-political.

Reason #4: The Republican Party is rushing this through.  Why?  Because where there is smoke, there is fire.  The longer he is sitting on the hot seat, the more stuff about his past is likely to be exposed.  They act like it’s important to fill this seat on the SCOTUS as soon as possible.  This ignores the fact that they just allowed a seat to be left open for several months so that Trump, not then President Obama, could fill the seat.

Those are reasons I think he is lying.

Here are a couple of reasons I think he should not get the job:

  1. His opening statement yesterday made it clear that he is going to hold a grudge against the Democrats.  So much for non-partisan judges.
  2. He will end up Judging Trump which means that Trump is picking a SCOTUS justice that will get him off of the hook.
  3. He is emotionally unstable as demonstrated in yesterday’s hearing.
  4. He is lying to Congress.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…


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The Conservative Fantasy

This just in:  I sometimes write just to help my mind flush out an idea or solve a problem.  One thing that has always escaped me is, “Why do conservatives want to be conservative?”  Today, I’m going to explore that.

I may be right but I’m probably wrong.  So…let’s see what happens.

Republicans are seen as the party of “Conservatives”.  One of their rallying cries that never fails to gather enthusiasm from their base is “We are the party of family values!”

What does that mean?  Does it mean that only they value families?  Does it mean that they think marriage should be as it has been traditionally; between a man and a woman?  Does it mean that they long for the days of Leave it to Beaver; where there as a strong father figure and a woman that stays at home wearing pearls?

I read something yesterday that made the argument for the Leave it to Beaver scenario.

It went like this…

Family values means there is a strong male figure that leads the family.  He makes the tough decisions.  He earns the money.  The wife is subservient; her job is to keep house and raise the children.

Does this fit?

Conservatives tend to claim to be “God Fearing.”  This feels a lot like needing a strong father figure that will take care of things.

Conservatives tend to vote for authoritative figures; typically equating wealth with strength.  Could Trump be their “God” or their “Father”?  I certainly see a lot of parallels.  Trump acts like he is the boss.  He acts like his word is law.  He acts like only he can save us.  Sounds a lot like vision of what a Father should be to his family.

Suppose this is right.  Suppose conservatives do like to have someone or something they can look to as their “protector”.  Who cares?

I don’t.  At least I don’t until the politicians get involved.

Here is what happens…

The Republican Party rallies their base with “We are the party of Family Values.”

Recall that is says, “We can take care of you”.

Next, the Republicans say, “The government should be small”.

Now, this is the exact opposite of “We can take care of you” but it is exactly what you want your party to say if you are rich and want to have regulations relaxed and taxes dropped so that you can be even more richer.

I’m certain that the Republican base would disagree with this.  I’m equally certain that the Republican base loves Trump.  So…you can probably understand when I care very little about what the Republican base thinks.

I care only to the extent that I’m trying to understand.  Why are there any Republicans?  Why do they elect people that represent the exact opposite of what the base says they stand for?  Why do they change their views and principles to stay loyal to a president that shifts with the tides?

I must admit, I like the idea of Mom staying home and Dad going to work.  I equally like the idea of Dad staying home and Mom going to work.  I think a family does better if someone is there to raise the kids.

So, if this is what we want…what should we do?

I will give you two choices…

Choice #1: Do what the Republican Party is doing now.  They just passed a huge tax cut that does nothing for anyone that is not rich.  This further increases the income inequity between the rich and everyone else.  This causes poverty to spread even as the economy grows (because that growth is going to a very few people).  As poverty spreads, not only do both parents need to work, they need to work multiple jobs.  Plus, kids getting out of college are so far in debt that they can’t afford to start families; in fact, the often move back home.  Older people re-enter the workforce to pay for medical bills.  Etc…etc….  In short…we can have a small government that benefits a small portion of our citizens.

Choice #2:  Pass laws that end income inequality.  Tax the rich and redistribute that wealth throughout the country.  This is not stealing from the rich.  It’s putting an end to the rich stealing from the rest of us.

The true path to family values goes through a world where the middle class can afford to own a home and raise a family.  We are not on that path right now.


Having written all of that, I’m not sure I solved anything.  But…it does give me pause.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…


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How I Would Interview Trump

This just in: Trump says/does two things that I think he shouldn’t be allowed to get away with.

The first thing he does is make grandiose generalities about his performance; things like “I’m saving Social Security.  The Democrats want to destroy it” or “No other president has accomplished more than I have.”

The second thing he does is justify his positions by claiming some unseen crowd has told him that this or that is the right thing.  For example, “Sessions is a terrible Attorney General.  Many people have told me I should fire him” or “A lot of people are telling me that this North Korea thing has gotten much better since I stepped in.”

Let’s face it.  I could do this.  In fact, anyone could do it.  Any person on the street can tell you “I have done more to improve healthcare than anyone ever.  In fact, everyone I know agrees with me.”

See how easy that is?  It’s not true but it’s easy.

And it works because no one is challenging him.  This means that when he says and does ridiculous things that his supporters want to believe is true, there is no one standing up and saying, “The King has no clothes!”

This is where I come in.  I would be the best and toughest interviewer ever.  Lot’s of people have told me this.

Let’ do a trial run…

Trump:  I am saving Social Security.

Me:  What specifically are you doing to save it?

Trump:  Lot’s of stuff.  Stuff the Democrats hate.  I’m getting a lot of positive feedback on this.

Me:  Name a couple of people that are giving you this positive feedback for doing something that you are unable to describe.

Now, since Trump is making all of this up as he goes along, this could get to be really fun.

Trump: You know that Hillary wanted to crush Social Security.  They won’t tell you that.

Me:  How was she trying to crush Social Security?  Who won’t tell me that?

Trump has no idea how Social Security works.  He has no idea how healthcare works.  In fact, I would not be surprised if he knows less about every aspect of his job than say…a college freshman that is considering majoring in Political Science.

My point is…Trump is pretending to do his job and we are letting him get away with it.

Yes, it’s entertaining to watch…but is that enough to justify the long-term damage he is causing?

Someone needs to challenge him.  It won’t come from the right because, let’s face it…they fear his wrath.  They fear getting one of his pet names.  His base won’t challenge him because they want him to be right.  If they were to pay attention and discover that he is never right, then that would mean they have been following a false messiah.  It’s best to just keep pretending and not look too deeply into truth of things.

My hope is that the midterms toss out enough of the Trumpublicans that those remaining will take note; that they will say, “Hey!  This guy is dangerously incompetent and riding his coattails is not helping me keep my job.”

I know I’m right on this.  Everyone says so.

Up, up and away…



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Golf Tips From a Lifelong Hacker

This just in:  In keeping with my tradition of blogging about stuff I know nothing about, today I will talk golf.

My skill level?  On a bad day…I’ll shoot 105.  The last time I played, I shot a 92.  Tiger Woods has nothing to fear from me.

Here are my tips…written as if I know something.

If you golf right-handed, your right hand should be just tight enough so that it can move with the club.  Act as if you are holding an egg with it.  This “super soft” grip applies to the back swing as much as the downswing.  A tight grip may cause you to let that hand get involved with swinging the clubhead through…which is not what you want to happen.  The soft grip also reminds you to relax.  Tension at any point in the swing will change the path of the club.

On the driving range, spray foot powder on the club face.  It dries quickly into a white powder.  When you hit the ball, you can tell where it struck the club face.  Are you to close?  Is the ball too far forward in your stance?  This trick can help a lot.  Before, I would hit a good one and then a bad one and have no idea where I went wrong.  Turns out, this trick gives you a lot of information.  It’s the single best trick I have learned.

Take a lesson where they will digitize your shots.  I did this and told the instructor “I’m not looking for help.  I just want to see how far I hit each club when I hit the club well.”  The instructor spent the hour on his phone while I dialed in the correct distance for each club.  Now, if I want to go 150 yards, I don’t try to muscle a pitching wedge because I know a smoothly hit 9 iron is what I really need.

On your drive, stand with your feet no farther apart than they are when you hit your irons.  I used to have a super wide stance with my driver.   The plan was to have a strong stance so I wouldn’t come up and out of my shoes when I swung as hard as possible.  Turns out to be a bad idea.  A wider stance inhibits your rotation and thus…messes up your shot.

On the putting green, use two balls and ignore the flags.  Don’t putt at a hole/flag.  Instead, putt one ball at the other.  Since a ball is a much smaller target than a hole, you will have to be more accurate.  It’s been my experience that this alone shaves about 5 to 10 putts a round off of my score.

So, there you have it.  I don’t know what a real golfer would think of these hints.  It really doesn’t matter to me.  My game is becoming more and more consistent as a result.  So…at least these work for me.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…



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Trump’s 4 Loopholes

This just in:  The guy who wrote Art of the Deal is a fraud.  Very few people dispute this nowadays.   Trump has yet to negotiate breakfast, much less some international trade deal.

And yet…he seems to be doing quite a bit when it comes ruining our country by nearly every measurable standard.

How can he be doing this…when he can’t negotiate his way out of a paper bag?


These are legal means for accomplishing something when the normal route is blocked.

Let’s look at 4 of them.

The Executive Order: A rule or order issued by the president to an executive branch of the government and having the force of law.

Trump is signing 4.27 executive orders per month (Obama: 2.9/mos; Bush: 2.91/mos).  While most of his don’t get much notice, he is signing a lot of orders that open up the environment for exploitation along with some racism and islamophobia issues.  He seems to be using them to turn back Obama executive orders.

National Security.  The president can do just about anything if he claims it is a national security issue.  This is how he can impose tariffs when no economist in the world thinks it makes sound economic reasoning.  He is allowed to impose tariffs up to 25%.  So…Canada won’t give him free maple syrup so he claims “national security” and taxes their exports.

Pardons.  The president can pardon anyone he wants for whatever reason.  We often judge presidents by who they choose to bestoy this on.  Trump is threatening to pardon himself.  He’s been giving hints for months that anyone that stays loyal to him through the Mueller investigation may get a pardon.

Supreme Court Appointment.  Out of the entire country filled with qualified candidates, Trump’s pick for a Supreme Court position is a late entry.  Kavanaugh was added to Trump’s short list once it became clear that the Mueller probe was going to send Trump to jail for the rest of his life.  Why Kavanaugh?  This is a guy that has written that a president should not be bothered with legal proceedings against him while he is in office.   In short, Trump is trying to hire his own lawyer, one that will dismiss any charges the Mueller investigation may bring against him.

Now, there are those that will say, “These are not loopholes!  These are legal and every president uses them.”

I would agree.  But…let me give you an example of “abuse” vs. “use.”

In California, cars must stop for people in crosswalks.  This is intended to not kill people crossing the street.  However, I can stop traffic for a brief protest by walking out into the crosswalk and forcing cars to stop as I stand there holding up a sign.  This is an “abuse” of the crosswalk rule.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…


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My Ideal Candidate

This just in:  Election season is officially here.  There is probably no single candidate that agrees with me on everything.  However, I thought I would put down those campaign issues that get my support…in order of priority.

Get money out of politics.  This is the root cause of nearly every problem in D.C.  Politicians are spending half their time raising money and, in the end, vote in accordance with what their largest donors want.  Jon Stewart, yesterday, said that politics is no longer about governing; its about getting re-elected.  I agree.

Education.  We are not even in the top 15 when looking at global achievement in all areas of basic education.  We have a system designed in the early 1900’s that was intended to crank out people that would work within the framework of the industrial revolution.  Now we are in the digital age.  We’ve been here for some time.  We need to innovate.  We need to look at countries that are doing it right and learn what we should do.  We need to make education available and affordable to everyone.  We need a system that allows our citizens to achieve the highest level to which they aspire.  We don’t need to do this because we are benevolent.  We need to do this so we can remain on the top of the hill.

Healthcare.  If you tell me we can’t get this done, you don’t get my vote.  Obamacare was a baby step but it was better than nothing.  Universal healthcare works.  My view is that we not only provide healthcare, but we fund research.  So long as companies can maximize their profits by “treating” rather than “curing”, that is what they will do.

Income Inequality.  There is an abundance of evidence that says “The greater the inequality, the greater the social strife.”  I don’t begrudge anyone’s ability to make a ton of money.  I don’t want “their” money because of some Atlas Shrugged plot line.  We need to redistribute income because it makes us a stronger country overall.  We need high speed transportation.  We need education.  We need healthcare.  We need innovation.  We need so much.  Instead, we funnel money to they very rich in hopes that they will maybe create a new job; perhaps we can mow their lawn.

Taxation.  We need to have a progressive tax system that funds our national needs.  Cutting taxes does not create long-term growth and raising taxes will not create long-term stagnation.  Trickle-down economics is a scam created by those that would take advantage of the intellectually lazy.  The rich need to pay much, much more.  Stuff is not free.

Civil Rights.  We should treat all people equally.  I don’t care about your religion.  I don’t care about the color of your skin.  I don’t care about your social status.  I don’t care about where you came from.  I don’t care about your level of education. I don’t care about your sexual orientation.  I care about the content of your character.  That’s it.

Climate Change.  This appears to be real.  I’m not a scientist so I rely on scientists to tell me what’s going on.  They are saying, “This is real.  This is man-made and this is a problem that is getting worse.”  We can not only address this, but we can do it in ways that are extremely economically beneficial.  Fighting climate change is not a burden; it’s an opportunity.

Then there are a ton of other issues: Corruption in politics.  Immigration.  Gun Control.  Worker benefits and minimum wage. Abortion/Choice.  The truth. The military.  International relations.   These are all important.

So, if you find a candidate that fits all of these, point them out.  Those are the people that I want to follow.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…





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Fried Chicken and Navy Football

This just in:  I think I’ll try to stay away from politics today.  Trump and the Republican Party are so visibly inept that I don’t feel compelled to point that out in detail.

What’s really important was my dinner last night.

Trying to be helpful in the kitchen, I asked me wife, “Is there anything I can do?”

Before she answers, I’m already settling into my favorite chair to watch some television.

Surprisingly, she said, “Yes, you can start the chicken.”

I get up and lumber over to the counter where I find about 20 pieces of chicken.

My first thought is, “This woman really gets me.”  Then I start trying to get this all into a single frying pan.  I eventually succeed by standing pieces on end.  It’s not pretty but I’m going to eat like a king once this is all cooked.

So, the wife walks in and I hear, “Are you insane?!”

Surprised, I get back up from my throne and go in to take my punishment for whatever “kitchen crime” I may have committed.

Turns out, that chicken was supposed to last for the better part of a week.  She removed 16 of the 20 pieces and said, “We’ll have a salad with this and you will be fine.”

Now for some Navy football.

Yesterday, the Navy team beat last year’s AAC champion by a score of 22-21.  This is the Memphis team who scored 66 points the week before.

What is great about this is not how Navy managed to win the game.  What’s great is possibly only someone that went to the Naval Academy can understand.

These guy practice twice a day, like most college teams.  Last week they played in Hawaii in an evening game that was 6 time zones away.  It was like playing at midnight.  No big deal.

Here is the big deal…

When I went to the Academy, my first day of classes went like this…

Welcome to The History of Sea Power.  This 25lb book will cover the semester.  We will cover about 50 pages a day.  The first 50 were due today but since you just got the book, you now have to read 100 pages tonight.  There will probably be a test to make sure you studied.

Welcome to Chemistry.  Here are your two text books.  Each is meant to cover 1 year of Chemistry.  We will be completing both books this semester.  By the way, you are now 100 pages behind.  There will probably be a test to make sure you studied.

Welcome to Calculus.  You are behind.

Welcome to Thermodynamics….behind.

Welcome to Leadership…behind.

Welcome to Basic Programing…behind.

Attendance is mandatory for every single class.

Add 2 to 3 hours of sports a day to this scheduled.  Then add 3 formations a day.  Then add a few hours a week of watch (kind of like guard duty but really just standing and looking alert)

After the first 10 week grading period, I had 5 F’s and a D.  I had never studied in high school so you might say I was caught off guard.

This is what the football team returns to after practice.  In high school, they were their team captains with straight A’s.  At the academy…they are the norm.  In fact, when I went, I spent the first week thinking I was smarter than everyone else and then the next 4 years knowing they were all smarter than me.

Navy Football is the true home of Student Athletes.  Notice that “student” comes first.

There are other schools that hold their athletes to high standards as well.  I can’t speak to those.  I can only tell you that I would never have made it if I had the schedule that our football team has all year long.

If you watch a Navy football game this year, pick out a player and think…I bet that guy has an exam on Electrical Engineering on Monday morning.  You will probably be not to far off from being right.

Those guys will be the next generation to save the world.

Up, up and away…


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