Saturday, April 27, 2024

"It Is Inevitable..."

"We do not rest satisfied with the present. We anticipate the future as too slow in coming, as if in order to hasten its course; or we recall the past, to stop its too rapid flight. So imprudent are we that we wander in the times which are not ours, and do not think of the only one which belongs to us; and so idle are we that we dream of those times which are no more, and thoughtlessly overlook that which alone exists. For the present is generally painful to us. We conceal it from our sight, because it troubles us; and if it be delightful to us, we regret to see it pass away. We try to sustain it by the future, and think of arranging matters which are not in our power, for a time which we have no certainty of reaching. Let each one examine his thoughts, and he will find them all occupied with the past and the future. We scarcely ever think of the present; and if we think of it, it is only to take light from it to arrange the future. The present is never our end. The past and the present are our means; the future alone is our end. So we never live, but we hope to live; and, as we are always preparing to be happy, it is inevitable we should never be so."
- Blaise Pascal

"The Definition Of Hell..."




- CP, a happy N.A. Choctaw/Euro mongrel, 
in case you ever wondered LOL

Musical Interlude: Gnomusy (David Caballero), "Footprints On The Sea"

Gnomusy (David Caballero), 
"Footprints On The Sea"

"A Look to the Heavens"

"In silhouette against a crowded star field along the tail of the arachnalogical constellation Scorpius, this dusty cosmic cloud evokes for some the image of an ominous dark tower.
In fact, clumps of dust and molecular gas collapsing to form stars may well lurk within the dark nebula, a structure that spans almost 40 light-years across this gorgeous telescopic portrait. Known as a cometary globule, the swept-back cloud, is shaped by intense ultraviolet radiation from the OB association of very hot stars in NGC 6231, off the upper edge of the scene. That energetic ultraviolet light also powers the globule's bordering reddish glow of hydrogen gas. Hot stars embedded in the dust can be seen as bluish reflection nebulae. This dark tower, NGC 6231, and associated nebulae are about 5,000 light-years away."

This I Believe..."

“This I believe: That the free, exploring mind of the individual
human is the most valuable thing in the world.
And this I would fight for:
the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected.
And this I must fight against:
any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.”
- John Steinbeck

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.
That myth is more potent than history.
I believe that dreams are more powerful than facts.
That hope always triumphs over experience.
That laughter is the only cure for grief.
And I believe that love is stronger than death.”
- Robert Fulghum

“Some Things You Need To Know”

“Some Things You Need To Know”
by Marc Chernoff

“I know you’re reading this. And I want you to know I’m writing this for you. Others will be confused. They will think I’m writing this for them. But I’m not. This one’s for you.

I want you to know that life is not easy. Every day is an unpredictable challenge. Some days it can be difficult to simply get out of bed in the morning. To face reality and put on that smile. But I want you to know, your smile has kept me going on more days than I can count. Never forget that, even through the toughest times, you are incredible. You really are. So smile more often. You have so many reasons to. Time and again, my reason is you.

You won’t always be perfect. Neither will I. Because nobody is perfect, and nobody deserves to be perfect. Nobody has it easy, everybody has issues. You will never know exactly what I’m going through. And I will never know exactly what you’re going through. We are all fighting our own unique war. But we are fighting through it simultaneously, together.

Whenever somebody discredits you, and tells you that you can’t do something, keep in mind that they are speaking from within the boundaries of their own limitations. Ignore them. Don’t give in. In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your awesome self. And when they laugh at you for being different, laugh back at them for being the same.

Remember, our courage doesn’t always roar aloud. Sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering, “I will try again tomorrow.” So stand strong. Things turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out. And I am committed to making the best of it along with you.”
Full screen recommended.
Jason Mraz, "I Won't Give Up"

"Geography Is Destiny"

"Geography Is Destiny"
by Brian Maher

"If you seek understanding of a nation’s foreign policy - and its political orientation - please consult a map. That is because the map - nine times of 10 - will yield you your answer. The map makes a mockery of theory. See the map and the scales will then go falling from your eyes. The map clarifies.

Why did Germany pick two mighty fights last century? Why is neighboring Switzerland so docile? Why is Russia so given to paranoia? Why did liberty sink root in the fertile political soil of Great Britain and its New World castoffs? Again, the map supplies the answers. Let us first consider the aforesaid Germany…

Naked Upon the North European Plain: Germany inhabits the North European Plain. This plain is a defenseless and nearly infinite expanse stretching from the English Channel in the West clear through to Russia’s Ural Mountains in the East. The geography is a massively extended pancake. Its flatness affords Germany little natural defense. Thus Germany stands exposed, naked upon the North European Plain.

To her southwest lies formidable France. To her east snarls the menacing Russian bear. Hence she is squeezed between the French and Russian vise, squeezed between two rivals. A conundrum!

Germany’s 1871 unification - with its vast military and industrial potential - alarmed both France and Russia. Sandwiched between them both, this French and Russian alarm in turn alarmed Germany. What if they leagued together… and besieged her from two sides? It is no exaggeration to argue that The Great War and its 1939 sequel represented German efforts to solve the riddle - to escape the vise grip. Historians decry the Kaiser and the moustached Austrian corporal for initiating both conflagrations. They might first blame the German geography.

Geography and Liberty: What about neighboring Switzerland? Why does she lack the bloodlusting aggression of her Teutonic neighbor? Again, geography holds the answer. Switzerland is heavily alpine, and famously so. And mountains are murder on marauders. These Alps form very high walls, behind which the Swiss can shelter. Switzerland has been trespassed by foreign armies, it is true. Yet the geographical explanation for her listless nonaggression remains valid. Is it any wonder then that liberty flourished so beautifully in Switzerland?

Unlike exposed-on-two sides Germany… vulnerable upon the North European Plain… Switzerland’s alpine defenses largely relieve it of invasion fears. In that geography liberty can plant itself. A people situated therein enjoys the luxury of peaceful pursuits under liberty’s reign. Liberty is unlikely to plant itself in a land perpetually subject to invasion. This land’s residents cannot afford the luxury of liberty. They must be forever on watch. They must adopt a more collective orientation. Again, geography forms a heavy influence. Shall we consider the Russian example?

The Mongols, the French, the Germans, Oh My: Like Germany, Russia sits on the open North European Plain. This of course exposes her to western invasion. Messieurs Bonaparte and Hitler exploited fully this vulnerability - the former in 1812 - the latter in 1941.

And to the east? Russia’s nearly infinite steppes stretch clear through to Mongolia. For what is Mongolia best known? Genghis Khan and the Golden Horde of marauding horsemen who terrorized Eurasia. Crossing these grassy seas, Mongol invaders besieged and conquered Russia. Thus Russia stands vulnerable to invasion from both east and west alike. History has demonstrated this fact to high effect.

Is it any wonder then why Russia appears so paranoid of territorial transgression? Is it any wonder why Russia is so jealous of its influence over Ukraine - and why the prospect of Ukrainian absorption into a western military alliance freezes Russia’s blood? We hazard it is no wonder whatsoever. This paranoia springs from Russian history. And Russian history has been written largely by geography. Let us now take up a geographical consideration of the United States…

God Smiles Upon the United States: God filled two oceans - Atlantic to the right, Pacific to the left - to moat it off from marauders. Russia may have its “General Winter,” it is true. The abovesaid Bonaparte and Hitler can attest to his superior generalship. Yet Russia’s General Winter is nothing against Admirals Atlantic and Pacific of the United States Navy. They keep any invader at length.

Meantime, God emplaced two geopolitical blanks against American land borders, two punchless bantams. One squats to the north, Canada. One sits to the south, Mexico. Imagine a cat bordered north and south by mice. That is the American position - a cat bordered by two mice.

God furthermore blessed the United States with vast tracts of fertile, bountiful land… an extended capillary system of internal waterways… natural harbors from which to send things out… and to take things in. What other nation has enjoyed such natural, God-granted riches? None can approach it. “God has a special providence for fools, drunkards and the United States of America,” concluded Germany’s Otto von Bismarck.

All available evidence indicates it is true. And of these God-blessed categories, we conclude God has most blessed the United States of America. She has absorbed more divine favor than the most foolish fool or the drunkest drunkard.

God’s Sense of Humor: Has God given the United States a Baltimore… a Detroit… a Cleveland? Has He populated its capital with rogues, rascals, cadges, chiselers, grifters and swindlers, with fools and drunkards? Well, friends, maybe He has. We must conclude that He has a mischievous, even puckish sense of humor, this God. He delights in pulling noses. Yet the central fact remains: He has nonetheless showered America with such immense natural extravagance.

In quiet moments, often in the small hours of night, we often marvel…Why are we so fortunate as to reside in this Eden, this El Dorado, this Elysium? Countless others in the world’s various hells are infinitely more deserving. But to proceed…

Much like Switzerland, the American geography sprouts people free to focus on freedom. Of course these people are free to make jackasses of themselves. They often do. But let it go for now. America’s liberty-leaning she shares with her mother, Great Britain. And again, here geography offers us insight.

English Liberty Because of the English Channel: The English Channel has proven an excellent moat. When was England last invaded? 1066? It is no surprise then that Great Britain gave us the Magna Carta. Its geography affords a freedom against invasion - and like Switzerland, an orientation toward political liberality.

Geography likewise blesses the Commonwealth it hatched. New Zealand is an island nation and Australia is a continent. Neither faces foreign harassment. And both like to talk about liberty (whether they mean it or not. Their COVID-era raids upon liberty were among the most extravagant on Earth). Would Great Britain or any of its offshoots soak themselves in liberty if their geographies were different? We hazard they would not. Imagine any of them sharing the German geography or the Russian geography. Their orientations would be more German or Russian than English, American, New Zealander or Australian.

We must conclude that a map will teach you far more about this world than a groaning bookcase of encyclopedias will teach you about this world. Is demographics destiny? Well then, geography is destiny. Close the book, we say - and open a map."

"I Cannot Believe..."

"I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be “happy.” I think
the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate.
It is, above all, to matter and to count, to stand for something,
to have made some difference that you lived at all.”
- Leo C. Rosten

The Daily "Near You?"

Winder, Georgia, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

The Poet: Mary Oliver, “Evidence”


“Where do I live?

If I had no address, as many people do not,
I could nevertheless say that I lived in the 
same town as the lilies of the field,
and the still waters.

Spring, and all through the neighborhood 
now there are
 strong men tending flowers.
Beauty without purpose is beauty without virtue.

But all beautiful things, inherently, have this function -

to excite the viewers toward sublime thought.

Glory to the world, that good teacher.

Among the swans there is none 
called the least,
 or the greatest.
I believe in kindness. Also in mischief.
Also in singing, 
especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.

As for the body, 
it is solid and strong and curious and full of detail;
it wants to polish itself; it wants to love another body;

it is the only vessel in the world that can hold,
in a mix of power and sweetness:

words, song, gesture, passion, ideas,
devotion, merriment, vanity, and virtue.
Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”

- Mary Oliver
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for! To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life! of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless - of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer: That you are here - that life exists, and that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
- “Dead Poets Society”

"What If..."

What if when you die they ask, "How was Heaven?"
~ Author Unknown

A truly terrifying thought...

"The Odds Are Stacked Against Us..."

"Our world is not safe. It is a toxic swamp populated by predators and parasites. The odds are stacked against us from the moment of conception. We survive only because we fight the elements, hunger, disease, each other. And, although civilization promises us safe harbor, that promise is a fairy tale. Only the storm is real. It comes for each of us. And we cannot win. We can only choose how we will suffer our defeat. We can meekly take our beatings, and die like lemmings, finding solace in the belief that we shall one day inherit the earth. Or, we can plunge into the chaos with eyes wide open, taking comfort instead from the bruises, scars, and broken bones which prove that we fought to live and die as gods."
 - J.K. Franko, "Life for Life

"The worst part is wondering how you'll find the strength tomorrow to go on doing what you did today and have been doing for much too long, where you'll find the strength for all that stupid running around, those projects that come to nothing, those attempts to escape from crushing necessity, which always founder and serve only to convince you one more time that destiny is implacable, that every night will find you down and out, crushed by the dread of more and more sordid and insecure tomorrows. And maybe it's treacherous old age coming on, threatening the worst. Not much music left inside us for life to dance to. Our youth has gone to the ends of the earth to die in the silence of the truth. And where, I ask you, can a man escape to, when he hasn't enough madness left inside him? The truth is an endless death agony. The truth is death. You have to choose: death or lies. I've never been able to kill myself."
- Louis-Ferdinand Celineo

"How It Really Is"

Yeah, we remember...

"I'd Still Swim..."

“If I were dropped out of a plane into the ocean and told the nearest land was
a thousand miles away, I'd still swim. And I’d despise the one who gave up.”
- Abraham Maslow

"In The Last Few Years..."

"In the last few years, the very idea of telling the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth is dredged up only as a final resort when the
alternative options of deception, threat and bribery have all been exhausted."
- Michael Musto

"Oh! What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive"
- Sir Walter Scott, "Marmion"

Dan, I Allegedly, "People Can’t Find Jobs"

Full screen recommended.
Dan, I Allegedly, AM 4/27/24
"People Can’t Find Jobs"
"Facing the harsh realities of 2024's worsening job market? I dive deep into the growing crisis as we explore why finding stable, full-time employment has become a daunting challenge for many. From aging workers to fresh graduates, the struggle is real and it’s impacting everyone. Filmed at the stunning Carl'sbad flower fields, this video isn’t just a feast for the eyes - it’s a crucial conversation starter about our economic future."
Comments here:

Adventures With Danno,, "Grocery Prices At Walmart Are Getting Ridiculous!"

Full screen recommended.
Adventures With Danno, 4/27/24
"Grocery Prices At Walmart Are Getting Ridiculous!"
"In today's vlog, we are at Walmart and are noticing a lot of the grocery prices are becoming very unaffordable!  Many families continue to struggle to put food on the table, and it's getting harder to find any deals."
Comments here:
Meanwhile, elsewhere...
Full screen recommended.
Travelling with Russell, 4/27/24
"Russian Typical (German Owned) 
Supermarket Tour: Globus"
What does a Russian typical supermarket look like inside? Join me 
on a tour of a German owned supermarket in Moscow, Russia.
Comments here:

Just like where you live in America, right Good Citizen? Right?
Look at the people, what do you see? Not one has their face jammed into an iPhone!
Isn't that interesting?

Friday, April 26, 2024

Musical Interlude: Yanni, "The Storm"; "Prelude and Nostalgia"

Full screen recommended.
Yanni, "The Storm"
Full screen recommended.
Yanni, "Prelude and Nostalgia"

"A Look to the Heavens"

"A gorgeous spiral galaxy, M104 is famous for its nearly edge-on profile featuring a broad ring of obscuring dust lanes. Seen in silhouette against an extensive central bulge of stars, the swath of cosmic dust lends a broad brimmed hat-like appearance to the galaxy suggesting a more popular moniker, the Sombrero Galaxy. This sharp optical view of the well-known galaxy made from ground-based image data was processed to preserve details often lost in overwhelming glare of M104's bright central bulge. 
Also known as NGC 4594, the Sombrero galaxy can be seen across the spectrum, and is host to a central supermassive black hole. About 50,000 light-years across and 28 million light-years away, M104 is one of the largest galaxies at the southern edge of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster. Still the colorful spiky foreground stars in this field of view lie well within our own Milky Way galaxy. "

The Poet: Carl Sandburg, "Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind "

"Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind"

The past is a bucket of ashes.

 "The woman named Tomorrow
sits with a hairpin in her teeth
and takes her time
and does her hair the way she wants it,
and fastens at last the last braid and coil
and puts the hairpin where it belongs
and turns and drawls: Well, what of it?
My grandmother, Yesterday, is gone.
What of it? Let the dead be dead.

The doors were cedar
and the panels strips of gold,
and the girls were golden girls
and the panels read and the girls chanted:
We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation:
nothing like us ever was.

The doors are twisted on broken hinges.
Sheets of rain swish through on the wind
where the golden girls ran and the panels read:
We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation,
nothing like us ever was.

It has happened before.
Strong men put up a city and got
a nation together,
And paid singers to sing and women
to warble: We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation,
nothing like us ever was.

And while the singers sang
and the strong men listened
and paid the singers well
and felt good about it all,
there were rats and lizards who listened
and the only listeners left now
are the rats and the lizards.

And there are black crows
crying, Caw, caw,
bringing mud and sticks
building a nest
over the words carved
on the doors where the panels were cedar
and the strips on the panels were gold
and the golden girls came singing:
We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation:
nothing like us ever was.

The only singers now are crows crying, Caw, caw,
And the sheets of rain whine in the wind and doorways.
And the only listeners now are the rats and the lizards.

The feet of the rats
scribble on the door sills;
the hieroglyphs of the rat footprints
chatter the pedigrees of the rats,
and babble of the blood
and gabble of the breed
of the grandfathers and the great-grandfathers
of the rats.

And the wind shifts
and the dust on a door sill shifts,
and even the writing of the rat footprints
tells us nothing, nothing at all
about the greatest city, the greatest nation
where the strong men listened
and the women warbled: Nothing like us ever was."

- Carl Sandburg, 1878 -1967
"Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind"

"The World Breaks Everyone..."


“The 12 Rules of Survival”

The 12 Rules of Survival”
by Laurence Gonzales

“As a journalist, I’ve been writing about accidents for more than thirty years. In the last 15 or so years, I’ve concentrated on accidents in outdoor recreation, in an effort to understand who lives, who dies, and why. To my surprise, I found an eerie uniformity in the way people survive seemingly impossible circumstances. Decades and sometimes centuries apart, separated by culture, geography, race, language, and tradition, the most successful survivors–those who practice what I call “deep survival” – go through the same patterns of thought and behavior, the same transformation and spiritual discovery, in the course of keeping themselves alive.

Not only that but it doesn’t seem to matter whether they are surviving being lost in the wilderness or battling cancer, whether they’re struggling through divorce or facing a business catastrophe – the strategies remain the same. Survival should be thought of as a journey, a vision quest of the sort that Native Americans have had as a rite of passage for thousands of years. Once you’re past the precipitating event – you’re cast away at sea or told you have cancer– you have been enrolled in one of the oldest schools in history. Here are a few things I’ve learned that can help you pass the final exam.

1. Perceive and Believe: Don’t fall into the deadly trap of denial or of immobilizing fear. Admit it: You’re really in trouble and you’re going to have to get yourself out. Many people who in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, died simply because they told themselves that everything was going to be all right. Others panicked. Panic doesn’t necessarily mean screaming and running around. Often it means simply doing nothing. Survivors don’t candy-coat the truth, but they also don’t give in to hopelessness in the face of it. Survivors see opportunity, even good, in their situation, however grim. After the ordeal is over, people may be surprised to hear them say it was the best thing that ever happened to them.

Viktor Frankl, who spent three years in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps, describes comforting a woman who was dying. She told him, “I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard. In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously.” The phases of the survival journey roughly parallel the five stages of death once described by Elizabeth Kubler Ross in her book "On Death and Dying": Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In dire circumstances, a survivor moves through those stages rapidly to acceptance of his situation, then resolves to do something to save himself. Survival depends on telling yourself, “Okay, I’m here. This is really happening. Now I’m going to do the next right thing to get myself out.” Whether you succeed or not ultimately becomes irrelevant. It is in acting well – even suffering well – that you give meaning to whatever life you have to live.

2. Stay Calm – Use Your Anger: In the initial crisis, survivors are not ruled by fear; instead, they make use of it. Their fear often feels like (and turns into) anger, which motivates them and makes them feel sharper. Aron Ralston, the hiker who had to cut off his hand to free himself from a stone that had trapped him in a slot canyon in Utah, initially panicked and began slamming himself over and over against the boulder that had caught his hand. But very quickly, he stopped himself, did some deep breathing, and began thinking about his options. He eventually spent five days progressing through the stages necessary to convince him of what decisive action he had to take to save his own life.

When Lance Armstrong, six-time winner of the Tour de France, awoke from brain surgery for his cancer, he first felt gratitude. “But then I felt a second wave, of anger… I was alive, and I was mad.” When friends asked him how he was doing, he responded, “I’m doing great… I like it like this. I like the odds stacked against me… I don’t know any other way.” That’s survivor thinking. Survivors also manage pain well. As a bike racer, Armstrong had had long training in enduring pain, even learning to love it. James Stockdale, a fighter pilot who was shot down in Vietnam and spent eight years in the Hanoi Hilton, as his prison camp was known, advised those who would learn to survive: “One should include a course of familiarization with pain. You have to practice hurting. There is no question about it.”

3. Think, Analyze, and Plan: Survivors quickly organize, set up routines, and institute discipline. When Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with cancer, he organized his fight against it the way he would organize his training for a race. He read everything he could about it, put himself on a training schedule, and put together a team from among friends, family, and doctors to support his efforts. Such conscious, organized effort in the face of grave danger requires a split between reason and emotion in which reason gives direction and emotion provides the power source. Survivors often report experiencing reason as an audible “voice.”

Steve Callahan, a sailor and boat designer, was rammed by a whale and sunk while on a solo voyage in 1982. Adrift in the Atlantic for 76 days in a five-and-a-half-foot raft, he experienced his survival voyage as taking place under the command of a “captain,” who gave him his orders and kept him on his water ration, even as his own mutinous (emotional) spirit complained. His captain routinely lectured “the crew.” Thus under strict control, he was able to push away thoughts that his situation was hopeless and take the necessary first steps of the survival journey: to think clearly, analyze his situation, and formulate a plan.

4. Take Correct, Decisive Action: Survivors are willing to take risks to save themselves and others. But they are simultaneously bold and cautious in what they will do. Lauren Elder was the only survivor of a light plane crash in high sierra. Stranded on a peak above 12,000 feet, one arm broken, she could see the San Joaquin Valley in California below, but a vast wilderness and sheer and icy cliffs separated her from it. Wearing a wrap-around skirt and blouse, with two-inch heeled boots and not even wearing underwear, she crawled “on all fours, doing a kind of sideways spiderwalk,” as she put it later, “balancing myself on the ice crust, punching through it with my hands and feet.” She had 36 hours of climbing ahead of her– a seemingly impossible task. But Elder allowed herself to think only as far as the next big rock. Survivors break down large jobs into small, manageable tasks. They set attainable goals and develop short-term plans to reach them. They are meticulous about doing those tasks well. Elder tested each hold before moving forward and stopped frequently to rest. They make very few mistakes. They handle what is within their power to deal with from moment to moment, hour to hour, day to day.

5. Celebrate your success: Survivors take great joy from even their smallest successes. This helps keep motivation high and prevents a lethal plunge into hopelessness. It also provides relief from the unspeakable strain of a life-threatening situation. Elder said that once she had completed her descent of the first pitch, she looked up at the impossibly steep slope and thought, “Look what you’ve done…Exhilarated, I gave a whoop that echoed down the silent pass.” Even with a broken arm, joy was Elder’s constant companion. A good survivor always tells herself: count your blessings– you’re alive. Viktor Frankl wrote of how he felt at times in Auschwitz: “How content we were; happy in spite of everything.”

6. Be a Rescuer, Not a Victim: Survivors are always doing what they do for someone else, even if that someone is thousands of miles away. There are numerous strategies for doing this. When Antoine Saint-Exupery was stranded in the Libyan desert after his mail plane suffered an engine failure, he thought of how his wife would suffer if he gave up and didn’t return. Yossi Ghinsberg, a young Israeli hiker, was lost in the Bolivian jungle for more than two weeks after becoming separated from his friends. He hallucinated a beautiful companion with whom he slept each night as he traveled. Everything he did, he did for her. People cannot survive for themselves alone; their must be a higher motive. Viktor Frankl put it this way: “Don’t aim at success– the more you aim at it and make it a target,the more you are going to miss it.” He suggests taking it as “the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”

7. Enjoy the Survival Journey: It may seem counterintuitive, but even in the worst circumstances, survivors find something to enjoy, some way to play and laugh. Survival can be tedious, and waiting itself is an art. Elder found herself laughing out loud when she started to worry that someone might see up her skirt as she climbed. Even as Callahan’s boat was sinking, he stopped to laugh at himself as he clutched a knife in his teeth like a pirate while trying to get into his life raft. And Viktor Frankl ordered some of his companions in Auschwitz who were threatening to give up hope to force themselves to think of one funny thing each day. Survivors also use the intellect to stimulate, calm, and entertain the mind.

While moving across a near-vertical cliff face in Peru, Joe Simpson developed a rhythmic pattern of placing his ax, plunging his other arm into the snow face, and then making a frightening little hop with his good leg. “I meticulously repeated the pattern,” he wrote later. “I began to feel detached from everything around me.” Singing, playing mind games, reciting poetry, counting anything, and doing mathematical problems in your head can make waiting possible and even pleasant, even while heightening perception and quieting fear. Stockdale wrote, “The person who came into this experiment with reams of already memorized poetry was the bearer of great gifts.”

Lost in the Bolivian jungle, Yossi Ghinsberg reported, “When I found myself feeling hopeless, I whispered my mantra, ‘Man of action, man of action.’ I don’t know where I had gotten the phrase… I repeated it over and over: A man of action does whatever he must, isn’t afraid, and doesn’t worry.” Survivors engage their crisis almost as an athlete engages a sport. They cling to talismans. They discover the sense of flow of the expert performer, the “zone” in which emotion and thought balance each other in producing fluid action. A playful approach to a critical situation also leads to invention, and invention may lead to a new technique, strategy, or design that could save you.

8. See the Beauty: Survivors are attuned to the wonder of their world, especially in the face of mortal danger. The appreciation of beauty, the feeling of awe, opens the senses to the environment. (When you see something beautiful, your pupils actually dilate.) Debbie Kiley and four others were adrift in the Atlantic after their boat sank in a hurricane in 1982. They had no supplies, no water, and would die without rescue. Two of the crew members drank sea water and went mad. When one of them jumped overboard and was being eaten by sharks directly under their dinghy, Kiley felt as if she, too, were going mad, and told herself, “Focus on the sky, on the beauty there.”

When Saint-Exupery’s plane went down in the Libyan Desert, he was certain that he was doomed, but he carried on in this spirit: “Here we are, condemned to death, and still the certainty of dying cannot compare with the pleasure I am feeling. The joy I take from this half an orange which I am holding in my hand is one of the greatest joys I have ever known.” At no time did he stop to bemoan his fate, or if he did, it was only to laugh at himself.

9. Believe That You Will Succeed: It is at this point, following what I call “the vision,” that the survivor’s will to live becomes firmly fixed. Fear of dying falls away, and a new strength fills them with the power to go on. “During the final two days of my entrapment,” Ralston recalled, “I felt an increasing reserve of energy, even though I had run out of food and water.” Elder said, “I felt rested and filled with a peculiar energy.” And: “It was as if I had been granted an unlimited supply of energy.”

10. Surrender: Yes you might die. In fact, you will die – we all do. But perhaps it doesn’t have to be today. Don’t let it worry you. Forget about rescue. Everything you need is inside you already. Dougal Robertson, a sailor who was cast away at sea for thirty-eight days after his boat sank, advised thinking of survival this way: “Rescue will come as a welcome interruption of… the survival voyage.” One survival psychologist calls that “resignation without giving up. It is survival by surrender.” Simpson reported, “I would probably die out there amid those boulders. The thought didn’t alarm me… the horror of dying no longer affected me.” The Tao Te Ching explains how this surrender leads to survival:

“The rhinoceros has no place to jab its horn,
The tiger has no place to fasten its claws,
Weapons have no place to admit their blades.
Now, what is the reason for this?
Because on him there are no mortal spots.”

11. Do Whatever Is Necessary: Elder down-climbed vertical ice and rock faces with no experience and no equipment. In the black of night, Callahan dove into the flooded saloon of his sinking boat, at once risking and saving his life. Aron Ralston cut off his own arm to free himself. A cancer patient allows herself to be nearly killed by chemotherapy in order to live. Survivors have a reason to live and are willing to bet everything on themselves. They have what psychologists call meta-knowledge: They know their abilities and do not over–or underestimate them. They believe that anything is possible and act accordingly.

12. Never Give Up: When Apollo 13′s oxygen tank exploded, apparently dooming the crew, Commander Jim Lovell chose to keep on transmitting whatever data he could back to mission control, even as they burned up on re-entry. Simpson, Elder, Callahan, Kiley, Stockdale, Ginsberg – were all equally determined and knew this final truth: If you’re still alive, there is always one more thing that you can do. Survivors are not easily discouraged by setbacks. They accept that the environment is constantly changing and know that they must adapt. When they fall, they pick themselves up and start the entire process over again, breaking it down into manageable bits. Survivors always have a clear reason for going on. They keep their spirits up by developing an alternate world, created from rich memories, into which they can escape. They see opportunity in adversity.

In the aftermath, survivors learn from and are grateful for the experiences that they’ve had. As Elder told me once, “I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. And sometimes I even miss it. I miss the clarity of knowing exactly what you have to do next.” Those who would survive the hazards of our world, whether at play or in business or at war, through illness or financial calamity, will do so through a journey of transformation. But that transcendent state doesn’t miraculously appear when it is needed. It wells up from a lifetime of experiences, attitudes, and practices form one’s personality, a core from which the necessary strength is drawn. A survival experpierience is an incomparable gift: It will tell you who you really are.”
Laurence Gonzales is the author of Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why” (W.W. Norton & Co., New York) and contributing editor for “National Geographic Adventure” magazine. The winner of numerous awards, he has written for Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly, Conde Nast Traveler, Rolling Stone, among others. He has published a dozen books, including two award-winning collections of essays, three novels, and the book-length essay, “One Zero Charlie” published by Simon & Schuster. For more, go to

"Dave Ramsey Giving Dangerous Advice Again; New Economic Crash Will Make 2008 Look Like A Picnic"

Jeremiah Babe, 4/26/24
"Dave Ramsey Giving Dangerous Advice Again; 
New Economic Crash Will Make 2008 Look Like A Picnic"
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The Daily "Near You?"

Wimberley, Texas, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

"The Dunning-Kruger Effect - Cognitive Bias - Why Incompetent People Think They Are Competent"

Full screen recommended.
"The Dunning-Kruger Effect - Cognitive Bias - 
Why Incompetent People Think They Are Competent"

"I Seek The Truth..."

“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.”
- Marcus Aurelius

"The Curse of Interesting Times"

"The Curse of Interesting Times"
Things are the most interesting they've been
 in 80 years, 250 years, and, well, ever.
by Contemplations on the Tree of Woe

"The Chinese curse their enemies with the phrase “may you live in interesting times.” Or, rather, Americans think that Chinese curse their enemies like that; according to Infogalactic, “despite being widely attributed as a Chinese curse, there is no equivalent expression in Chinese.”

Fortunately, there’s an actual Chinese phrase that’s much more interesting. It’s found in a 1627 short story collection by Feng Menglong called "Stories to Awaken the World," and it states "better to be a dog in a peaceful time, than to be a human in a chaotic times.” And to be a dog in 17th China didn’t mean being a beloved fur baby with your own YouTube channel. It meant being a workbeast that got eaten when times were lean. The Chinese still have an annual dog meat festival.

Whichever adage you prefer, our times are both chaotic and interesting. In fact, they are monumentally interesting - they are so interesting as to beggar coherent description, to put to shame historical comparison, so remarkable that every single one of us would be justified in screaming from the rooftops in shock and awe. And yet we don’t. We keep calm and carry on, sturdily gripped by our bias for normalcy, by our human ability to adapt to even the most bizarre circumstances. It’ll be fine, we tell ourselves. This is fine.

But what if we put aside our normalcy bias for a moment and look at how just how “interesting” our times really are? What do we see then?

Once Every 80 Years…Once every 80 years, a country enters a crisis. That is, at least, the assertion of Strauss-Howe Generational Theory. According to Strauss and Howe, human history is organized into repeating patterns marked by four “turnings”: the High, the Awakening, the Unraveling, and the Crisis. Each turning is approximately 20 years long, and an entire cycle of four turnings is therefore about 80 years long. According to Strauss and Howe, American history looks something like this:

○ American Revolutionary Crisis, 1765 - 1785
○ American Civil War Crisis, 1855 - 1875
○ Great Depression and World War II Crisis, 1930 - 1950
○ You Are Here, 2010 - 2030

If we believe Strauss-Howe Generational Theory, we are in the midst of what they call a Fourth Turning - a moment of Crisis.

Are we in a Fourth Turning? I certainly believe so. As I documented in "Running on Empty," the United States now stands at a financial precipice. US inflation is at its worst in 40 years because the monetary system we established under Truman and rejuvenated under Nixon is now about to collapse. With that crisis have come challenges from a resurgent Russia and burgeoning China that could lead to a Third World War or, at best, a post-American world order. The Thucydides Trap has never been so close to springing. It’s no wonder then that US fears of nuclear war have surged to levels not seen since the Cold War. But unlike the Cold War, no one wants to ‘ask what they can do for their country’ anymore. US Army recruitment is at its worst in 50 years. And why would they want to serve? Our nation is divided into warring camps. US partisan distrust of the opposing party is at its worst in 30 years.

All right. That all sounds bad. But if Strauss-Howe Generational Theory is true, the Fourth Turning will be over in about 5-10 years and we’ll move into the next Turning, the High. And those are awesome! But what if we won’t be heading into another high?"
Full, fascinating, most highly recommended article is here:
Freely download "Stories to Awaken the World", 
by Feng Menglong, here: