If You Think Like an Imposter, You’ll Be an Imposter

Most of us have a tendency to compare our talents and abilities to others, and get down on ourselves when we don’t measure up. While striving to be better is a good thing, it’s also important to be proud of our abilities and achievements, and not get discouraged by unrealistic expectations.Nicole Antoinette at A Life Less Bullshit breaks it down:

via If You Think Like an Imposter, You’ll Be an Imposter.

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When the Supreme Court is this wrong, it’s time to overrule them

Surveys show that a large majority of American citizens across the political spectrum oppose the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that opened the door to unlimited political spending by global corporations and powerful unions. Yet when asked about the prospect of passing a constitutional amendment to reverse the decision, too many people argue that it would be “too hard,” even “impossible.”This argument lacks historical perspective. Every step on the path to fulfill the promise of the American Revolution was “too hard,” but Americans did it anyway. Hard, yes; yet constitutional amendments have come in waves during times of challenge — and Supreme Court obstinacy — much like our own.

via When the Supreme Court is this wrong, it’s time to overrule them.

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Literature as Teacher: Conrad’s “Youth”

I just re-read Conrad’s “Youth,” a short story. Marlow, the narrator and an old sailor tells a story to old drinking mates. He does a beautiful job of showing the energy and audacity of youth in contrast to the perspective of age and wisdom. Marlow has submitted to fate as good sailors must. He does not regret any misdirections he took in youth. Youth does what youth does. He doesn’t see folly in his youth, just the facts of energetic, essential innocence. Age has its essential experience. If youth had foresight, a man would have no youth. Hindsight given right wisdom should bring serenity and gratitude that you survived a burning ship. The image of a slow burning fire in the hold is powerful, grippingly present. What a motivator — a fire in the hold known only by insidious smoke and steam from below.  David Milliken

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Galapagos tortoise dies at Akron Zoo

AKRON — A female Galapagos tortoise that has been at the Akron Zoo since October 1992 has died.

Azul, which weighed 165 pounds and was 32 inches long, would have been 26 years old this June. Her shell was 16 inches tall.

She was one of two on exhibit at the Akron Zoo.

Zoo officials say animal care staff noticed a change in Azul’s behavior last week. After performing a CT scan and ultrasound, it was found that she had a “larger than normal amount of fluid around her heart.”

The fluid was removed and Azul was treated with antibiotics as staff monitored her heart daily. — more —

via Galapagos tortoise dies at Akron Zoo.

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Governor Brownback, Let Us Bust One Sod at a Time

o-STRESS-TIPS-570Once upon a time, all Americans busted sod, even in Ohio where I was reared.  Because my stepmother told me that comparisons are odious, I’m not going to put either of my states down, but there are useful comparisons and contrasts when it comes to selecting a model. Brownback loves Texas and I will get to that awe-inspiring state in a minute.

First, there’s Ohio: history of agriculture and industry, especially heavy machinery and automobiles — commerce connected with big coal, big steel in New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan — Rust Belt state suffered great job and population loss — benefits from river and lake commerce — labor-management strife — ethnically diverse —excellent location — drive-through Ohio on the way to somewhere else — Ohioans are roamers and love Florida — emerging from fly over status — professional athletics in big stadiums — Go Bucks! — beautiful scenery — good urban rural mix — nice place to live, not flashy — never been a hot spot — comfortable, temperate climate — bellwether microcosm — liberal-conservative balance — dense population — three dominating cities — income tax. Has its challenges and discontents.

Next, there’s Kansas — big time agriculture — fly over image — never been a hot spot — Go Jayhawks and Wildcats! — nice  place to live and work, but not flashy — sunflower summers — sunsets and skies to die for — moderate  winters and windy — sparse population — rural and suburban mix  —. big time FRIENDLY state — Republican bias — no dominating city — Tall Grass prairie — culturally dependent on Kansas City(Missouri)  excellent schools — fiercely independent —  Income tax. Has its challenges and discontents but nice place.

Both Ohio and Kansas like most states have “best kept secrets” and undervalued assets, i.e. know us to love us.   Flat Kansas resembles flat Texas without Dallas, Houston and the Gulf of Mexico. Varied Ohio resembles varied New York without New York City. In Kansas many love to hate Texas.  Many Ohioans love to hate Michigan.  Most likely both Buckeyes and Wolverines are content with their likes and dislikes and don’t care who hates them.  Texas will never be California and Ohio will never be New York and Kansas will never be Texas, so maybe work on national, mutual admiration should be a goal?  Let us not covet what each other has and, much lament what each other does not have.

I know little about Ohio’s governor.  I assume all Americans get what they vote for.  In Kansas some got what they voted for. Most voted for a politician who wants Kansas to be like Texas, especially income tax free.  I suspect that Gov. Brownback would be happy to see Overland Park -Wichita become Dallas-Ft. Worth. Such an expectation is not unrealistic for this man.  I believe Gov. Brownback covets Texas. I believe that is a problem.  I tend to covet John Steinbeck and that is a problem. Over expectations can be debilitating and belittling of what assets one has.

Before Brownback dreamed about being more like Texas and hallucinated about ending Kansas income tax overnight, Kansas had its problems, particularly funding education and job growth — just like every other state.   Ohio had a near constitutional crisis over its schools and job loss has plagued the entire Rust Belt.  Too many folks moved south and southwest. No news there.

Unless Brownback has a way to move beautiful mountains, an ocean, Silicone Valley and the Las Vegas Strip to Kansas, I think it’s time for him to make peace and settle for just a better home on the range or a bluff overlooking the Ohio River.  Be a happy Midwesterner, Sam, or move to Texas.  We are what we are, also what we can become..  .

By all means, Governor, work a lean, mean, progressive budget. Work hard to provide for the poor and the elderly. Make a generous state and they will come.  Keep our education among the best. But let’s do it our way, huh?  Bust one sod at a time, chop it down, rake it fine, water and fertilize it. Bless the seasons. Ad Astra per Aspera. You want the Presidency, but many of us, if any, do not.

David Milliken

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All the Befores and Afters Lead to Now: Thinking about the Absurd

o-STRESS-TIPS-570When you are seventy, there is one helluva  lot of “afters.”  And historically speaking there are just as many “befores.” Futuristically speaking, there will always be a diminishing supply of both.  Inevitably such  considerations lead to the absurd, even ridiculous, which can be depressing or amusing — sufficiently so that one wonders why bother with such thoughts. Without caution and discipline a man can make of his Golden Years either a heaven or a hell.  Retirement can be either opportune or inopportune for discovering the absurd.

My dictionary of philosophy and religion does not define absurd which seems absurd in itself.  The term must not be considered philosophical or religious so let’s go with Wikipedia which says “absurdism” expresses the conflict between human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and human inability to find any. Oops, I changed the word,  Very well, I changed the word, but the idea is still with us.  Anyway, this is what I want to write about: absurdism.  So why, you ask, are you considering this at seventy?  The answer may be that I thought too much in the sixty-nine years before or I haven’t settled on a good story to explain life, yet I know I have.  I’ll get to this. Oh, I would add that the absurd must also be unreasonable and incongruous.

I have to admit that I have been obsessed with a need for inherent value and meaning in life.  And I haven’t been entirely satisfied in finding anything absolute either. Perhaps, meaning can only come through imagination. Oh, I can see meaning in being fruitful, multiplying and parenting, in being soldier or policeman, lawyer or pharmacist, in farming, teaching, in short in most any calling or decent human endeavor.

It has taken me a lifetime and perhaps to this very moment, to realize that all of these specific, relative and contingent callings give life its meaning and value.  Teaching a dog to play ball has its value. and inherent meaning.  A taste for the little in life is required.

We value the befores for the promise of accomplishment.  In the before we begin naively, perhaps romantically, and then in the after take reward in the triumph of experience and realism and that we survived from before to after.  The before is a place of mystery and illusion that gives way to truth and understanding.  The process is what makes regret absurd.

No, it is the pursuit of absolutes that makes life messy and us miserable; and desperate whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim.  In the afters we learn children can be mean, priests sinful, parents ignorant, teachers wrong, soldiers savage, politicians lying and ourselves silly — so on it goes.

By seventy I have learned that logic and reason also fail. I shall always be incredulous regarding Immaculate Conception, Resurrection, Damnation, Beatification, Incarnation et cetera. As Spock would say, “They are not logical.”

” But Spock, the logical fails, too.”

After logic, reason and  the absolutes all fail, what remains is story,  narrative, gospel.  Nothing explains the afters and befores better than the story if it be a good story.  And only the story makes sense of Now.

David Milliken

 

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Man Alone

dreamstime_8445313-1.11x1.67inBorn alone. Live alone. Die alone. That’s the trinity of man alone. Someone has said that God is an imaginary friend.. Consider that the Imagination may not be only a childish behavior. It is certainly the life and spiritual blood of the artist, philosopher and theologian. Consider that Imagination, while something other than reason and logic, may be another pathway to another kind of knowledge, knowledge of the intuition and aesthetic faculties. Some say the Story of Jesus is a fairy tale. Fairy tales work when “adult” truth is beyond a child’s mind. We have to “grown into wiser thoughts” What are we to a Divine Mind, but children, humans alone. Fairy tales help chase away the loneliness of a child. Later on art does it. Man has invented fables throughout his entire existence. Is that drive somehow a testimony to the fact that we are not alone? If we are only creatures of logic, reason and science, we neglect the possibilities in the non-rational, non-logical and non-reasonable. Truly we must be as little children.  David Milliken
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The Beauty by Thomas Hardy | Poetry Cat

The Beauty

A poem by Thomas Hardy

O do not praise my beauty more,

In such word-wild degree,

And say I am one all eyes adore;

For these things harass me!

But do for ever softly say:

“From now unto the end

Come weal, come wanzing, come what may,

Dear, I will be your friend.”

I hate my beauty in the glass:

My beauty is not I:

I wear it: none cares whether, alas,

Its wearer live or die!

The inner I O care for, then,

Yea, me and what I am,

And shall be at the gray hour when

My cheek begins to clam.

via The Beauty by Thomas Hardy | Poetry Cat.

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Thank You, Kansas City Royals!

It’s what the Royals did for all of us that matters now. And what they will do tomorrow and tomorrow. Today we are all Kansas Citians, living in a magnificent city.  Thanks, Royals, you’re no fly over team and we love you. Because of you the world knows about our stuff: tough, persistent, persevering, resilient; and the way we go about our work — whistling.  It all goes back to the men and women who busted this sod, year after year after year through drought, blizzard, blazing sun and wind.  Be Royal!  Miss ya already, but see you next Spring.  Be Royal!

David Milliken

 

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