The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life     
. . . still studying and learning how to live
Friday, June 29, 2012
Personal Reflections ... Society ...

I recently watched a movie that I vaguely remember seeing when I was seven years old. The film in question is Sink The Bismarck, a 1960 British release about the early WW2 battles between the Royal Navy and the newest and most powerful German battleship, the Bismarck. The movie became a surprise hit here in the USA, and my father, being a former US Navy guy, wanted to see it. I was at the ripe age of 7, and a big fan of war adventure TV shows and movies (there were plenty of them back then). Thus I looked forward to watching the evil Bismarck get what it deserved from the Limey’s on the high seas.

Back in those days, war was depicted as a grueling but ultimately satisfying endeavor. Yes, some of the good guys would take a few bullets, but they ultimately gave the bad guys (the Nazis, the Japs, the Commies, even space aliens) their due. And when they did, it was always a thrilling moment, such as when an enemy plane went down in flames or when their tanks were smashed or ships were torpedoed and blown up. War seemed like fun, so long as you could put up with occasional (and possibly painful) set-backs. But even when one of your own guys got hit by a bullet, it wasn’t terribly gruesome. The unlucky guy was usually off to the medical tent in quick fashion to be patched up.

We suburban children of the 60’s had no idea that this was a totally bogus picture of war. We obviously weren’t ready  »  continue reading …

◊   posted by Jim G @ 3:03 pm       Read Comment (1) / Leave a Comment
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Photo ...

My cell phone is old and has a crummy camera. But it’s still good for capturing something of those boring moments of ordinary life, the moments that you wouldn’t normally think to bring a camera to record. Like waiting in line at a supermarket.

But hey, life is what you make of it. Boring moments are better than no moments. Life has a lot of different flavors, and sometimes the flavor of the moment is boredom. Sometimes we do feel “Lost in the Supermarket”, as the Clash song goes.

But remember, you’re still alive, you’re still part of the ultimate network of time and space and consciousness — a bigger, more highly dimensional version of the digital social network that the guy in the pic is accessing with his smart phone. I don’t mind supermarket lines; it’s all part of the big space-time network of real life, of being.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 2:01 pm       Read Comments (2) / Leave a Comment
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Philosophy ... Religion ... Science ...

As I’ve discussed before on this blog, my little digital homestead within the greater “social network” of cyberspace, I really like science. As a kid, my parents gave me chemistry sets and How-And-Why Wonder books and electrical training boards that you could make into a low-power radio transmitter (and I did, but only under my father’s close supervision; pirate radio stations would not be condoned in his house!). I had a telescope to watch the heavens, and I was glued to the TV whenever a manned rocket was launched (back in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo days; the Space Shuttle got boring quite quickly). I went to Newark College of Engineering after high school and learned a lot of math, chemistry, physics and material sciences before turning to management courses.

And so, even though my career direction eventually veered away from science (which I sometimes regret), I never lost my interest in it. I still read Scientific American from cover to cover each month, I have a poster explaining the Standard Particle Model on the wall of my office (which no one else there understands), and I watch Teaching Company videos on things like dark matter and dark energy (which I’ve been going through lately, after finishing other courses on Chaos Theory and Einstein’s Relativity). I definitely think that science is one of the best things that the human race has come up with.

And yet . . . I know that science is not the whole story. There’s a lot more to our lives and to our existence than science can define and understand. But science is a seductive mistress, and  »  continue reading …

◊   posted by Jim G @ 3:14 pm       Read Comments (2) / Leave a Comment
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Photo ...

A few shots from the front yard, of one of the many, many, fat and hungry squirrels in our neighborhood. These guys can be real pests, and I have no great love for them. But at least this one is earning his food honestly, like a squirrel should, by keeping his nose to the ground. It’s when squirrels become innovative around humankind’s various interventions (garbage cans, bird feeders, cookout supplies, etc.) that the trouble begins. Ah, we do bring out the worst in nature sometimes.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 7:59 pm       Read Comments (2) / Leave a Comment
Monday, June 18, 2012
Politics ...

President Obama has had some bad breaks over the past two weeks, and allegedly some Democrats are starting to worry about his prospects for re-election this November. There was the politically naive statement that “the private sector is doing just fine” following a series of discouraging economic reports, the refusal of prominent Democrats to support Obama’s vilification of Bain Capital, reports on strong GOP fundraising for the fall, polls showing Romney and Obama running neck and neck (not a good sign given that Obama is by now a well-known commodity, whereas Romney still has a chance to sell himself to the public), the resounding victory of Republican Scott Walker in the Wisconsin governor recall election, and the real possibility that the Supreme Court will soon vitiate the heart of Obama’s signature first-term achievement, i.e. the Health Care Reform Act.

That doesn’t sound good. But as some pundits point out, November is still months away and a lot can happen in the meantime. In fact, I read two things this past week that could tilt things back in Obama’s favor. They aren’t so much positive features of Obama so much as they are foibles of today’s Republican Party. First off, it turns out that the Libertarian Party has a candidate, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who might actually get some attention by Election Day. Johnson hopes to attract the GOP faction that fell in love with Ron Paul and gave him almost 10% of the vote in the GOP primaries. So, if Mr. Johnson runs a good third party candidacy and picks off 1% of the vote, well you know that 1% was NOT going to otherwise go for Obama; quite the opposite. If the present polls are any indication, the upcoming election will be a very close one, and just a 1% tilt away from Romney could lock-in a second Obama term.

The other shadow over Romney’s prospects regards his VP pick. At least one observer believes that the VP horserace is coming down to Rob Portman and Paul Ryan.  »  continue reading …

◊   posted by Jim G @ 12:30 am       Read Comment (1) / Leave a Comment
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Health / Nutrition ... Society ...

I’m one of those people who want to ignore birthdays. Well, my own birthday, anyway. When I was a kid it was great, a small version of Christmas, the promise of loot and bounty! As well as a bit of attention.

But after college, the attraction started to wear off for me. The attention from others was nice, but I started to see the irony of being appreciated on one day out of the year. I used to call it “queen for a day” (I was thinking of an old afternoon TV show from the 1960s, not a gay thing). Come the day after, it’s back to being just another schmoe. Add 1 to the date of your birthday, and that’s “Happy Schmoe-dom” Day.

Then you hit 40 and 50, and every birthday serves to rub it in that “life passes swiftly by and  »  continue reading …

◊   posted by Jim G @ 3:37 pm       Read Comment (1) / Leave a Comment
Friday, June 8, 2012
Current Affairs ... Society ...

I still haven’t set up a Facebook page for myself. I have my reasons, and I’m interested in comparing my motives with those of other people who have stayed off “THE Social Network”. Here are some articles that came up on a search of “why I’m not on Facebook”, along with my response to them.

Article 1:
Surveillance by government agencies, especially the US Dept of Homeland Security. (Not impossible;  »  continue reading …

◊   posted by Jim G @ 9:09 pm       Read Comments (2) / Leave a Comment
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Music ... Society ...

Two thoughts for tonight, neither seem very substantial at first glance. I composed these thoughts on the first hot day of the summer season here in NJ, and my mind was not running on all 8 cylinders at the time. But let’s have a look, nonetheless . . .

I was listening to the radio the other day and had it tuned to a classic rock station. That was just for a few minutes while my main station, WDHA, was going thru its 12 minute cycle of uninterrupted commercials. WDHA fashions itself as a new rock station, but it still plays plenty of Zeppelin and Van Halen, with Kiss and Dio thrown in the stew. That’s what the DHA people now think that rock really was in the old days. Rock revisionism, you could say.

Anyway, after zooming over to a station that takes a broader view of what ‘rock n roll’ once was, I heard a tune that hasn’t been on the airwaves in the New York metro area in a long time: Billy Joel’s “Miami 2017”, better known as  »  continue reading …

◊   posted by Jim G @ 12:01 am       Read Comment (1) / Leave a Comment
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