Thoughts My Brain Made

Strategy is based on assumptions. Erroneous assumptions make bad strategy.

Also, keep your political disagreements separate from your personal disagreements. Your feeeeelz are not the proper subject for public policy debate.

Always Look on the Blight Side of Life

“A pessimist is never disappointed.”

How many times have you heard that crock? Tactical pessimists say it as if fate — or whatever disinterested cosmic entity decides what fresh hell awaits around the corner — wants only to know what they expect, so it can surprise them.

Amateurs.

Fate, karma, the universe, whatever you call it — doesn’t care what you’re expecting. It doesn’t give a damn about surprising you. It doesn’t care about you at all.

There is no capricious entity out there throwing random surprises at you just to keep you on your toes. To believe there is, is just about the most cockeyed optimistic thing you can do — and that fact makes liars out of every tactical pessimist you can ever meet.

If you want to see real pessimism, look for the guy who is always looking for a way to right the boat after it has capsized, who is always ready to keep fighting when all around him have declared defeat inevitable.

He doesn’t count on his victorious enemy to have mercy on him. He doesn’t waste time hoping the sharks just aren’t hungry today. He knows there is no one coming to his rescue, and it’s up to him and him alone.

Tactical pessimists sneer at his apparent optimism in trying to make a dire situation survivable, but he’s the one who has looked fate in the eye and seen that it is not his friend.

Same Old Song

Well, no. I mean, of course they’re not new songs, because I don’t listen to the radio — broadcast or satellite — these days, so I have no way of finding out about new music. Last time I heard a new (by my standards) song in the wild that ended up in my collection, it was an (actually older by her standards) Adele track I heard in the supermarket, back when supermarkets were playing actual songs for customers. Anyway, they’re new to my collection, but what has really changed is how I get reminded of an old favorite that I haven’t previously acquired.

See, it used to be that I’d read about a song or an artist on Dustbury, the much missed blog operated by the late Charles Hill, but when he passed away tragically in 2019 that memory jog ended. For a while after that I didn’t add much to my music collection. Once at a barbecue joint I heard a Brooks & Dunn tune I liked and decided to get, but 2020 happened and getting out to hear random songs, new or otherwise, became a rare thing.

That changed, though, because — well — 2020 happened. I started checking out music-related videos on YouTube, such as those posted by Rick Beato at first, and now also by Adam Reader, and Grady Smith.

Beato specializes in digging into the guts and gristle of great music and showing why it’s great. His lists don’t always match my opinions, but he always has good reasons to support his. Reader, as “Professor of Rock,” is more of a historian of the genre, and between him and Beato I’ve bought quite a lot of rock music (by my standards) in recent months. Grady Smith talks about country music, and actually spurred me to add to my already oversized Alan Jackson collection while also talking about a new strain of neotraditionalism in country music lately. If I can find an Atlanta-area station that plays the tunes he’s referring to, I may turn the radio on again.

However I find new music, or get reminded of old music, that I want to own, it still honors my late friend Charles, who first got me in the habit of raiding the digital music market to add to what I had already ripped from the CDs I bought in the 1990s. Others may be providing the hints now, but the original inspiration was his.

Thoughts My Brain Made

If you flunked your IQ test, don’t drive.

Governments are like compost heaps — if you don’t turn them over regularly, all they’re ever going to do is lie there and stink.

Think of institutions in general as being like dairy products — they go bad quickly and need to be replaced.

Hubris

A utopia of 10,000 years, if one were ever to exist, would end when a new generation looks upon all the peace and prosperity bequeathed them by their elders and sneers, "We would have done it better." And once they age into power, they try, and destroy it all.

How can anyone wonder, then, that there never has been a utopia of even one generation, let alone thousands?

Preserve Your Sanity: Keep It Simple

If you want to keep from driving yourself crazy “fixing” the rules to keep up with how people get around them, stop trying.

Boundaries are not there just to be boundaries. They are there to serve as warnings of potential harm to come. Let the consequence of the boundary-crossing be whatever that harm is, not some malum prohibitum tome of penalties completely unrelated to the reason the boundary is there.

You can’t protect the snowflakes forever; they have to grow up sometime. Healing up from self-inflicted bruises is a necessary part of that.