It’s election season, which means the people of California once again have the chance to inflict grievous harm upon their beloved state via the initiative process. As I explained in the first edition of Mad Props
, as a native Californian and lifelong student of politics, I’ve come to view statewide ballot measures as something of a menace. In several elections, I’ve voted NO
on every single proposition; any given measure has a very steep uphill climb to convince me it’s worth a YES
This time around, there are five propositions worth voting for. Here, then, are my recommendations, and remember, by “recommendations,” I mean, “vote this way or you’re part of the problem”:
Proposition 1A: High-Speed Rail. (info @ Ballotpedia)
You Should Vote: YES
Why: Make no mistake, this proposition represents California’s last chance at building a high-speed rail link between the Bay Area and Southern …
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Esquire’s list of The 75 Skills Every Man Should Master
is surprisingly good. (Also surprising: They present it all on one Web page.)
It seems I score a 53, or 70%. A few data points:
Things I am proud to be able to do: score a baseball game, recite a poem from memory, build a campfire, iron a shirt, give advice that matters in one sentence, cook meat somewhere other than the grill, dress a wound, caress a woman’s neck, and know my poison, without standing there, pondering like a dope.
Things I have not mastered (or have not tried) and am ambivalent about: play gin with an old guy, deliver a eulogy, throw a punch, and understand quantum physics well enough to accept that a quarter might, at some point, pass straight through the table when dropped.
Things I wish I could do: tell a woman’s dress size, hit …
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Yesterday: Laid off by my employer.
Tomorrow: My first-ever trip to Hawaii.
In between: Completely reacquainted myself with the unstoppable combined powers of the dharma, meditation, and the deep and abiding love of many wonderful people who care for me so much it’s beyond humbling.
New chapters await. An overdue reshuffling of priorities. Already, this soon, excitement is overtaking fear …
(Ka is a wheel!)
It seems that in Macedonia, you can sue an animal. So when a bear ransacked a beekeeper’s hives, said beekeeper took the bear to court, suing for damages. And won
. You may ask: Uh, who will pay? Don’t you worry, Macedonian courts think of everything:
A court in the city of Bitola found the bear guilty, and since it had no owner and belonged to a protected species, ordered the state to pay the 140,000 denars (1,726 pounds) [roughly US$3500] damage it caused to the hives.
There is a ‘politics’ category on this blog for a simple reason: I am a lifelong student of the subject. This is partly due to circumstance. My father is a professor of political science—meaning, for instance, that back in the 80s, when I was wee, come a Friday night, the household’s singular television would spend half an hour tuned to PBS
’s Washington Week in Review
before we could move on to the “good stuff” (like Night Flight
). But over time, dammit, political and current-events programming became the “good stuff” as far as I was concerned, and so it was, when I got to college, that studying literature wasn’t enough; I had to study literature and
political science—thus leading to the unforgettable moment on the phone when dear old dad laughed and noted that I had chosen “not one, but two
completely useless majors.” Ahem.
As a lifelong student …!-->
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The “Can a plane on a treadmill take off?” debate returned to BoingBoing
yesterday. More than a hundred comments so far. Everybody thinks they’re right; some of them are certainly wrong. Luckily, we get to find out who’s wrong Wednesday night on MythBusters
, a show I’ve never seen on some cable network I never watch—but I will, because I want to see happen what I know will happen: The plane will take off. Why? Because Cecil Adams says so
“Harry, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just … let it happen. Could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or … two cups of good, hot, black coffee.”
— FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper
, I took my birthday off from work. That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. If you can, you should take your birthday off. Period. And do what you want to do. Which, today, I did. And it was wonderful.
Among a great many other things, I returned, for the first time in years, to a place
that fills me with great wonder and great emotion, a place that is, in many ways, my own personal Dark Tower. I stood at the gate today and I commanded it to open to me. It opened. And the end of the story is one that I keep to myself, but I tell you this: As with any really good ending, it was really more of a beginning.
“Ka is a wheel.”
— Roland Deschain, of Gilead
To all who showered me with gifts and great, great love …
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