Dag Hammarskjold, Tough Mentor in “Markings”

Only tell others what is of importance to them.  Only ask them what you need to know.  In both cases, that is, limit the conversation to what the speaker really possesses — Argue only in order to reach a conclusion. Think aloud only with those to whom this means something.  Don’t let small talk fill up the time and the silence except  as a medium for bearing unexpressed messages between two people who are attuned to each other.  A dietary for those who have learned by experience the truth of the saying, “For every idle word . . . ” But hardly popular in social life.

– – – Dag Hammarskjold, Markings, p.44

“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

– – – Matthew 12: 36-37

I do not recall when I first read Dag Hammarskjold’s Markings, but his words have been with me for years.  I may have been a teenager or certainly a college sophomore.  My copy of Markings has nearly more bookmarks than pages which means his every thought struck me as profound.  Hammarskjold has had an honored place in my bed stand.  He was profoundly spiritual, poetic and a great man of state.

Dietary? Yes and a lean one at that.  And Matthew’s words, also, are austere and tough as well.  Obviously neither man had much truck with gossip and idle drivel.  But does it mean we are not to enjoy a little small talk, hanging out with friends?  No, enjoy it seems, if friends can attune to each other.  That’s the meaning of hearing unexpressed messages.  What expectations for friendship!  On some rare occasions I may have been attuned in this manner.  Still, how can a man be sure he has truly understood an “unexpressed message?”  Anyway, who has time for judicious language, let alone thought? There’s danger here.  Best to chat about the Chiefs or the Royals, eh?

By our words we are both justified and condemned.  Think what this means these days when stupid use of words flows daily in torrents of misuse, abuse, intent and non-intent.  No, serious, careful, judicious speech is colorless and boring.  So what is “telling it like it is?’  Who can presume to know truth?

David Milliken


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Rich people don’t create jobs.

“This argument ignores the fact that taxes on entrepreneurs and investors are already historically low, even after this year’s modest increases. And it ignores the assertions of many investors and entrepreneurs (like me) that they would work just as hard to build companies even if taxes were higher. But, more importantly, this argument perpetuates a myth that some well-off Americans use to justify today’s record inequality—the idea that rich people create jobs.”

via Rich people don’t create jobs..

Time was when I was younger and believed that there are certain political “leaders,”  who mostly told the truth.  Today I’m a wiser man and while I still do believe that many politicians are not exactly liars  They do not,  however,  consistently  tell the whole truth — just as many sales people do not.  That’s why caveat emptor is wisdom.  Voters and consumers alike must be smart buyers through comparison shopping, reading reviews and asking around.  That’s why education is so important.

Nothing is more slippery than language and that fact enhances the slipperiness of politicians in touting their own interest.  Perhaps it was in the interest of Obama to leave unsaid many things about the ACA.  Perhaps it was in the interest of Republicans to claim voluntary dis-employment as job loss and not noting that voluntarily dropping of jobs opens up opportunities for the unemployed.  No politician as  no sales person is obligated to mouth  the pitch of the competition.  Ford salespeople may  know that GM uses better whatsamajigs in its engines than does Chevy.  Promoters are smart to leave such discoveries up to the consumer.  Besides so much is a matter of opinion between multiple choices.  Better the monkey is on your back and not mine.  To each his own pitch.

And so, while it may be true that some  really rich folks are creating new jobs by investing in new enterprise directly or through investments, that creation is only a percentage.  Is it a tithe, one percent or 20 %.  Besides, if high taxes are throttling business, why is business so good in New York?  Planetary experience with human nature leads me to believe that some other percentage goes into casino gambling.  True, going to the casino supports dealers, bartenders and servers, but this investment is not like investing in a new computer parts factory where value is really added to raw material.

The attached article reminds us that most of what we hear, really and truthfully is not likely to be wholly true.

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Troglodyte Envy, a PC Troubleshooting Story

Technologically speaking last weekend came from hell.  The tech support people were all very patient and so was I,  after finally finding  a human being.  I’ve learned that belligerence and techno-troubleshooting are a bad mix.  Patience and good listening are the only ways of preserving civility in this cyber world.  And so says  C. Tobin Tortoise; thus,  I resolved to be civil.

Printing an envelope should not require three hours of keyboard chat and watching my cursor being manipulated remotely by a man from India   — no offense to India or Indians.  I’d done the task before through Open Office, but that was on an HP 1018, the best printer I’ve ever had.  My new printer is an HP 4500 ENVY — nothing wrong with it either except that both were designed by geniuses to be operated by stupids.  I read the instructions for Open Office 4 and HP4500.  I managed to get one envelope printed out of ten tries.  After the one success, I  couldn’t remember the steps.  So I called support.

Support found another problem. The print spooler was a mess and I would require a new driver and disk clean up.  At last,  something besides myself to blame — even though I had been negligent in disk clean up for many weeks. And after months of satisfaction with both Avast Antivirus and MBAM working happily together,  I was told they were not to be installed at the same time.  Avast and MBAM both claim compatibility.  Nevertheless,  the tech removed MBAM and fixed a bunch of other  stuff.  However, three hours later I still could not print an envelope.  I fussed about the  loss of MBAM and the impending return of the Adware Army.  Finally, after a night’s sleep I printed an envelope.  I printed FIVE envelopes.  I was happy.

Next I tried to sign up for HP’s printer ink deal.  Here, after a long search for a human, I learned that one must have a wireless setup.  I had one of those over a year ago, but for some forgotten  reason I switched back to a wired system.  Maybe Seniors are just happier with wired things.  HP offered to set me up wireless.  That, however, would have required hauling out the old, dubious wireless router.  HP said it would only require ten minutes to set up and they would help.  By then I was tech weary.  It also occurred to me that I actually needed to do some work,  i.e. get some letters out.  So I dropped out of the HP ink program and now will have to pay more for ink.

Initially the troglodytes were prehistoric or fabulous creatures who lived in caves, dens and holes.  C. Tobin Tortoise identifies with them.  They are sometimes tagged as reclusive, reactionary, out-of-date and brutish.  They are happy underground. Toby who spends lots of time in his hide tells me its a nice existence — especially the hibernation period.  And after my weekend from hell, I confess my affinities with Toby and the troglodytes —  and especially some empathy with them. Now, to reinstall or not to reinstall Malware Bytes Anti-Malware, that is the question.

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Patience and the PC

TORTU by Carolyn MillikenThere’s one tortoise trait that I really envy.  Constitutionally my Tobin is slow, tending to the cumbersome as his gait reveals; but he’s also steadfast and cautious.  Toby perseveres methodically.  Because of this he’s especially vulnerable to many threats, especially the quick, pouncing attack and succumbing to haste generated by the influence of others or a situation.  He can’t run from anything.   Like all creatures, however, his vulnerability often gives him strength.  Knowing the futility of fleeing, the tortoise and his turtle cousin, rely heavily on vigilance.  They’re always  alert for bad vibes from potential enemies like soup makers with nets.  These reptiles have a keen sense of the slightest rustle or motion helps.  It makes tortoises sneaky. These reptiles possess a portable hiding place, a shell that blends easily with earth and undergrowth.  A snapping turtle has a special weapon in his long, reptilian neck.  Never reach for a snapping turtle from behind.  He can get you.  When he’s out of water, the snapping turtle becomes very touchy  — like a lot of humans I know. All creatures are at home somewhere, but jerk them out of an accustomed setting and they get feisty — like me in Techy Land.

That’s the way I am with computers in environs where Geeks are happy.  Oh, I’ve made some progress, but the path has been arduous,  marked by impatience, frustration and emotional outbreaks.  For example, I am obsessed with ridding my life of any malware that sneaks into my PC.  I cannot tolerate violation of my cyber space.  I spend hours finding the means of extracting them.  Something called “conduit” disguising itself as  “Safe Search” has been the most recent pest, doubly so because it harassed me once before.  I hate this vermin so much that it has forced me to overcome fearing of using Regedit, a place where an amateur  can bring down even worse calamity than many a virus or PUP can deliver.  Ah, but to emerge from Regedit with a success is like surviving in a wilderness area.

I’m still timid about tinkering with technology, but with each foray I gain a little more confidence  and Toby’s  motto of “Steadfast and Cautious” leads me on in this alien cyberspace.

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