Monthly Archives: March 2011

Chaos Theory, Jeff Goldblum Sucks, & Siddhartha Gautama

 

 

Best Experienced With:   Arcade Fire & David Bowie;  Wake Up

(please right click on the link below to open the suggested ideal background song to this evening’s treatise on life, love, fractals, business, and Chaos Theory.   Damn fine tune. “You gotta look out below!”  Indeed.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-wEBmLht5g

At its very core, and in the most simplistic terms, life is messy.   Not the “slosh your latte over the top of the Starbucks cup and get vanilla flavoring on your hand” messy.    The “three year old getting into the grape jelly and spreading it all over your new white living room furniture” messy.     Life is random and whenever you have randomness, you get a mess.

Science and mathematics embrace this messiness and there are thousands of books and scholarly articles on Chaos Theory.    The fundamental precept of Chaos Theory is that underlying all the disordered and chaotic systems, there is order.  We may never, ever see it….yet there is order.    In Mr. Lorenz’s research described below, the order presented itslef in the form of a double helix with enough data points.    There is always order in chaos.   If you saw Jurassic Park and were equally entertained and annoyed by Jeff Goldbum’s character, Dr. Ian Malcolm, you had an introduction to Chaos Theory.

Have always found it interesting that anyone hires Jeff Goldblum to “act” in movies; primarily because he is the same character in each and every one of his movies.   Same facial expressions, same intonation, same delivery, same everything.   Watch The Fly, Jurassic Park, and The Big Chill  and Independence Day in an eight hour movie marathon and you will see that Jeff Goldblum is the same character in each and every one of those movies.  

It’s a wonder Jeff Goldblum gets new jobs.   Same with Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson, Andrew McCarthy, Ally Sheedy, and Molly Ringwald.    John Hughes had it easy because he knew that each of those actors would deliver anything he wrote precisely the same way.    In fact, if you have three televisions, cue up The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo’s Fire, and Sixteen Candles, one on each television.   Invite over friends who have seen none of the John Hughes movies and run them from room to room, changing rooms every four minutes.    Odds are good that your friends will think they have seen one single John Hughes movie in three different rooms.   

Back to Dr. Ian Malcom in Jurrasic Park.   He has one of the best lines in the flick when he said “life finds a way” in that eerie, foreshadowing voice that was the same intonation and delivery as each and every other line Jeff Goldblum has ever uttered in a movie.  Dr. Malcom was correct because nature is complex and unpredictable, like everything in life, love, and business.

Up until Edward Lorenz was playing with a weather predicting model on his computer at MIT in 1961, most businesses, governments, and people believed that everything in the universe was directly caused by other things.    Lorenz (and many others who followed him in math, biology, economics, ad infinitum) proved the sensitive dependence on initial conditions which postulates (and proves mathematically) that just a minute change in the initial conditions can drastically change the long-term behavior of a system.   Instead of typing .506127, Lorenz typed only .506 and the results veered drastically from the normal pattern described when he typed in .506127.   Theoretically, the results should not have been that far off from the predicted pattern because those last three digits are impossible to measure using reasonable methods.

Chaos Theory was born of this and many brilliant folks followed with applications in other disciplines.   John May in biology with populations growth rates, Helge von Koch with the Koch curve in mathematics, and Ray Bradbury in his time travel short story A Sound of Thunder.  A Sound of Thunder coined the phrases “ripple effect” and “the butterfly effect which we’ve all heard or seen in the movie The Butterfly Effect.    Which did not have Jeff Goldblum.   Thank God.

“The flapping of a single butterfly’s wing today produces a tiny change in the state of the atmosphere. Over a period of time, what the atmosphere actually does diverges from what it would have done. So, in a month’s time, a tornado that would have devastated the Indonesian coast doesn’t happen. Or maybe one that wasn’t going to happen, does.” (Ian Stewart, Does God Play Dice? The Mathematics of Chaos, pg. 141)

Sigmund Freud’s theories and therapy nonsense are disproven by Chaos Theory.   Dr. Freud and his psychoanalysis followers would have us believe that malfunctions in the mind are the results of traumas suffered in the past. Regression would allow us to stroll down memory lane, pinpoint the sore spot and rub it away with Freud’s healing techniques that were again based on linear cause and effect.  Chaos Theory, however, teaches us that nature most often works in patterns, which are caused by the sum of many tiny pulses.  Chaos Theory makes a eunuch out of Freudian psychology. 

The Random smashed me into the antidote to Freudian psychoanalysis and when I was in Nepal during a work hiatus a few years back.    In order to get the most out of my month in Nepal, I asked the concierge at my Kathmandu hotel to please hook me up with two younger tour guides for a week:  one Hindu and one Buddhist.   Was Catholic at the time (this was before my anti-pedophile priest epiphany) and wanted to get a good feel for the Nepalese religions while seeing the sites.   Hindus and Buddhists live peacefully side by side in Nepal and you’ll find their ridiculously cool temples side by side in Kathmandu.    And monkeys!    Shitloads of monkeys!  None of them tossing their poop indiscriminantly…;iving peacefully at the Kathmandu temples with no poop throwing.  Fascinating!            I digress.

At its very core, and in the most simplistic terms, Buddhism embraces the fact that life is messy.   According to the Buddhist doctrine birth is suffering.  Sickness, old age and death are all suffering.  Suffering also arises out of frustrated desire and our habit of grasping.   All pain and suffering is caused by grasping.  If we don’t get what we want we suffer. If we lose something we suffer.  Desire, even when satisfied, may lead to suffering as we may lose the object that satisfies that desire. Everything and everyone is transient.   When we cease to grasp, we begin to find enlightenment, skipping down that path to the end of suffering.

Siddhartha Gautama and Edward Lorenz would have gotten along swimmingly and I like to picture them smashing their blue Foster’s oil cans together while making a toast of “Freud was a slap dick and Jeff Goldblum sucks”.  The ideal religion for Chaos Theory adherents is Buddhism.  Mr. Lorenz and Siddhartha Gautama would then have a fun discussion about how messy life, love and business are.   Each would then laugh uproariously and yell “of course they are” in unison while digging into the nachos they ordered.

The song you cued up above there is solid example of Freudian cause and effect silliness.   I’m going to see Arcade Fire play at the Orpheum Theater on April 28th in Memphis Tennessee.  Cool little old theater venue that will surely blow apart at the seams when Arcade Fire cranks up the tune you cued up when you started reading.    That’s going to be a great show.    Going to think about Mr. Lorenz and Siddhartha Gautama when Arcade Fire sings “We’re just a million little clouds causing rain storms turning every good thing to rust…I guess we’ll just have to adjust.” 

 

Because that Arcade Fire lyric, Chaos Theory, and Buddhism each teach us how to deal with life, business, and love.  You treat the highs and lows the same….much like they used to throw out the Russian and United States scores during the Olympic gymnastics competition in the 1970’s and 1980’s.    Let go and allow the chaos to show itself in order down the road.    And look out below.

What Mr. Lorentz found…….

Good night.

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Reading the Last Page of the Book First

 

 

 

Best Experienced With:          The Bolshoi;                  Away

(Please right click on the link below to open the suggested background music for this evening’s St. Patrick’s Eve gathering in a new browser window.   Damn fine tune.  Goes with the Beckett.    You’d be silly not to right click on the link below.  Pinky promise.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEdCQVyIQwI&feature=related

 

Saint Patrick’s Day.    The holiest of all holy days, best experienced with Beckett and Bolshoi….”oh yeah, she had a baby:  it was painful, it was worth it.”

Indeed.                                                    On with the Beckett and the Bolshoi

Cascando:  Samuel Beckett (1936)

1

why not merely the despaired of
occasion of
wordshed

is it not better abort than be barren

the hours after you are gone are so leaden
they will always start dragging too soon
the grapples clawing blindly the bed of want
bringing up the bones the old loves
sockets filled once with eyes like yours
all always is it better too soon than never
the black want splashing their faces
saying again nine days never floated the loved
nor nine months
nor nine lives

2

saying again
if you do not teach me I shall not learn
saying again there is a last
even of last times
last times of begging
last times of loving
of knowing not knowing pretending
a last even of last times of saying
if you do not love me I shall not be loved
if I do not love you I shall not love

the churn of stale words in the heart again
love love love thud of the old plunger
pestling the unalterable
whey of words

terrified again
of not loving
of loving and not you
of being loved and not by you
of knowing not knowing pretending
pretending

I and all the others that will love you
if they love you

3

unless they love you

 

Fine….

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Why I Love Women

 

 

Best Experienced With:       Motley Crue;            Same Old Situation

(Please right click on the link below to open the suggested background music in a new browser window.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXG0q0qesRw

Why I love women….

Not the normal reasons.    They tend to smell quite nice.   On the whole, they are far, far, far, far better looking than the male half of the population.   Women have the power to procreate.   They are the only group who can properly do the hair flip thing, Justin Bieber notwithstanding.  My love for women is partly based on those normal reasons and thousands more of the normal reasons.    The primary reason I love women is a follows.

I love women because, when given the opportunity, their execution tends to be flawless.  Given the opportunity, women move mountains.

Attended the annual Friends of Animal County Shelter annual meeting this weekend and, as per usual, was impressed by the reported numbers.   Over two hundred older dogs placed directly from the San Diego shelters into forever homes.    Almost nine hundred dogs and cats placed with short term foster families and then into forever homes in 2010.   More than a thousand animals saved from the gas chamber because of one woman, Peggy Howell.   More on that in a bit.

Last Wednesday, March 8, was International Women’s Day 2011, a worldwide celebration of women’s political, economic, and social achievements.   Interestingly enough, despite the appearance of overabundance of women being elected into Congress in the 2010 election, the number of women in Congress dropped for the first time in thirty years.  The United States is ranked 90th in terms of the proportion of women in elected positions.    The United States trails Cuba and Afghanistan   In 2010, women held precisely 14.4% of the Executive Officer positions at Fortune 500 companies.    The United States is run by The Man and The Man is an older white man.   Damn The Man.

I married later in life and it was a fun filled three years.  Looking back, there were two primary reasons I chose the person I chose.   First, she knew the lyrics to every song in the Motley Crue album library.   Every song:  not just the popular Motley Crue songs.     Our first real date was the Warrant concert at the Dallas House of Blues.   Not the good Warrent either, the 2002, out of shape, fat Warrant.   There were five midgets at that Warrant concert.   The midgets were not there as a group.  That was odd.  One midget got quite angry with me in the restroom when I asked if he was there with some of the other midgets, too.    Seemed like a logical question given that I have never seen more than one midget at a concert at a time and I go to concerts every week.    Such is my love of music.    The second primary reason I chose to marry her was she knew the lyrics to Metallica’s “One” and could throw the “darkness, imprisonate me” part flawlessly and in tune.   Love music and love women.

Back to this morning’s FOCAS meeting.    As you may have noticed in that photo up there, Madeleine Pickens was the keynote speaker, focusing on her Saving America’s Mustangs Foundation.    She began her portion of the meeting by explaining how she chose to charter planes to rescue eight hundred dogs and cats from the Katrina floods back in 2005.   Saw a doggy swimming in the water on CNN, chartered a plane, headed to Wal Mart for supplies and then saved the lives of eight hundred dogs and cats.   Evacuated them here to San Diego where they were either reunited with their families or adopted into forever homes.  In her words, Madeline Pickens “saw something I could change and then I was willing to do something about it.”

See why I love women?   And there is more.

Ms. Pickens then chose to start Saving America’s Mustangs and is currently through sheer force of will shepherding a bill through Congress that will stop the wholesale slaughter of wild Mustangs on government property.   Her “ask” at the FOCAS meeting was to spread the word and now several thousand of you will see the “ask”.   Please visit the web site below and watch the third video down.   If your spirit is moved, please then click the link in the upper right corner that says “Madeleine’s Pony Express”

http://www.madeleinepickens.com/

Back to Friends of County Animal Shelter and my love of women.    Looked around the room yesterday morning and noticed that 90% of the folks at the meeting were women.    The FOCAS volunteer Board of Directors is composed of mostly women.   FOCAS was founded by a woman, Peggy Howell.     Peggy’s story is below and she has flawlessly executed on changing the status quo for over thirty years here in San Diego.    Not only are the dogs and cats who find forever homes instead of the gas chamber better off, all of  us who have benefitted from having these dogs and cats in our homes are better off because of one woman’s dream.   If you believe that “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”, then Peggy Howell has also made a significant impact on society in general.

This is Peggy’s story from the Friends of County Animal Shelter web site:

“On that day in 1977, the fate of stray dogs was not a priority with me as I walked my Fox Terrier in the park. Then I saw him — a terrified red dog, obviously lost or abandoned, frantically searching for someone who cared. It struck me how helpless animals are in today’s busy world! Later, at the county pound, I realized this was where the “red dogs” ended up–most never to come out. I learned from a caring employee, Gloria Blevins (who reunited the dog with his owner), that the Department of Animal Services had little time or money for an adoption program, but would welcome help.”

 

“Many of us made preliminary, individual efforts during the next few years; and finally, in 1986, at the suggestion of Mrs. Sue Geller, we decided to join together to form an organization to provide volunteers and donations toward a strong adoption program at the shelters as a viable alternative to euthanasia. We arranged bake sales, fairs, Easter and Christmas events, and soon were joined by others who recognized the need. We helped fund an adoption counselor and an adoption van, paid for answering machines and newspaper ads, and provided help for needy owners to retrieve impounded pets or to take their injured or sick animals to the veterinarian.”

See why I love women?     Flawless execution.   Happy belated International Women’s Day, all you women out there.    Were it up to me, you’d have the reins.

And since I’ve already checked the boxes marked “knows the lyrics to all the Motley Crue songs” and “knows the lyrics to Metallica’s ‘One’” on my marriage sheet, am going to raise the bar for the next possible go round.    Going to see what I can do about cloning Madeleine Pickens because she is already spoken for.          Right after I finish my time machine.

Thanks for doing what you do daily, women.   I love you.

 

Please spay and neuter your animals and encourage everyone you know to spay and neuter your animals.    And beat to death those who choose not to spay and neuter their animals.    If you need some extra smiling on a day to day basis, feel free to sign up as a foster home at the Friends of County Animal Shelters link below.    You cannot have a bad day with puppies or kittens running around your home.    

http://www.focas-sandiego.org/

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Dylan Marlais Thomas & Governor Pat Quinn

 

 

 

 

Best Experienced With: The Bee Gees;    I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You

(Please right click on the link below to open the suggested background music to this evening’s gathering in a new browser window)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RUjnqH3kMw

 

 

An Death Shall Have No Dominion

 

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan’t crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

 

 

In My Craft Or Sullen Art

 

In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.

 

Well done on abolishing the death penalty and commuting all death penalty sentences to life without the possibility of parole today, Illinois.    Well done, indeed.    Japan and the United States remain the only two members of the G8 to retain the death penalty.     If Charles Sheen were a well armed kitten, that’s what Charles Sheen would look like this evening.    Again, well done Illinios.

http://blog.soros.org/2011/03/illinois-death-penalty-repeal-has-national-implications/

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Oh, Hell No (& Charles Sheen, drug fueled sex orgies)

 

 

Best Experienced With:          NERD;                  Lap Dance

(Please right click on the link below to open the suggested music for this evening’s treatise in a new browser window.    That’s a tasty little Pharrell tune.  I got something chrome….and I got it from home…..and it ain’t a microphone.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cyh32i1rJLU

 

A close and brilliant friend teaches negotiation, business law and ethics here in San Diego at the University of San Diego.  In the friend aquarium I keep, an aquarium stocked with amusing and brilliant fish, this close and brilliant friend is most certainly one of the most brilliant and amusing fish.   He is unique and the lessons he imparts to his classes are ridiculously unique.

In the interest of privacy and decency, we will refer to the aforementioned University of San Diego professor as “Tim”.   Not a normal type of “Tim”, though….the “”Tim” from Monty Python’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail.   As you read through the following missive, whenever you see “Tim” say “Tim in the Monty Python enchanter fashion:   specifically, like this…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AisrwPaRAbY

When my brain cramps, as it is wont to do, and when “Tim” will allow me to attend, I will sit through his evening graduate classes.  It works like pouring a capful of gasoline into a dry carburetor while pulling spastically on a rip cord on a two stroke engine.  This “Tim” offense works quite well. 

Last week, in a Monday evening graduate class, “Tim’s” class watched a film on the 1968 Memphis garbage strike.   The Memphis garbage people’s strike that pulled the Reverend Martin Luther King in and, eventually, led to Mr. King’s death.  “Tim” also handed out an outstanding article to the class about how China chooses to treat its manual laborers.  Far worse than Memphis treated its garbage collectors back in 1968.   Far, far worse.

At some point in every business person’s life they will be asked to make a decision on sourcing to a low cost country.  Despite the lemming like, deafening screams of “WE NEED JOBS” in the last election, our society remains coasted in a thick vanilla frosting-like layer of hypocrisy when it comes to actually behaving in a fashion that would actually create jobs.

When asked at my current career adventure what my thoughts were on choosing China as a low cost manufacturing option, my answer was the same as it has been for twenty years.   You’d get the same reply if you asked me if my beloved Cleveland Cavaliers will be in the NBA playoffs this year.

“Oh, hell no.”

Choosing China as your low cost manufacturing country is as wise as choosing Charlie Sheen as the ideal dating partner for your sister.   Just as there are significant benefits to choosing China as your low cost manufacturing country, there are significant benefits to choosing Charlie Sheen as the ideal dating partner for your sister.  Charlie remains relatively attractive and engaging at an advanced age, with a low BMI.  Charlie is a multimillionaire, guaranteeing your sister that most gifts in the first year will show up in those baby blue, Tiffany’s boxes.  Charlie is well read, has a rock solid sense of humor, and dating him will get your sister “front of the line” privileges at both MOOD and Vanguard in Hollywood…..seven nights of the week.

Your sister dating Charlie Sheen would also mean that your sister will most certainly stumble upon drug fueled sex orgies when she stops by on Sunday morning to take Charlie to champagne brunch.   Drug fueled sex orgies that began on the previous Thursday.    At noon(ish).   Given past history, odds are your sister will also get threatened with a knife, shot in the arm, and beaten soundly about the head and shoulders.   She will also have to sit next to Charlie, smiling in a contrite fashion, during Dateline while Charlie explains why he chose to drive his car one hundred and six miles per hour through the farmer’s market in Santa Monica because the accelerator “stuck”.

Charlie Sheen’s behavior is well documented, predictable, and consistent.    China’s behavior is also well documented, predictable, and consistent.    

Well back at the beginning, Mr. Mao allowed for some dissention during the Hundred Flowers Campaign.   As the intellectuals then called for greater freedom in China, Mr. Mao persecuted them, tossed them into reeducation camps, and killed off a bunch of them.   To warm up for the Hundred Flowers Campaign, China and Mr. Mao took over Tibet, kicking out his Holiness the Dali Lama and bitch slapping the Buddhist proletariat and monks through this every day.  Know what kept them out of Nepal and India?    Really, really, really, really big mountains.

My first hands on experience with China was when thousands of peaceful Chinese students and intellectuals decided to protest in 1989 and China did what most peaceful, understanding governments would do.   They sent in tanks and soldiers, banned the foreign press, opened up with live fire and shot at least six hundred civilians.  Clearly remember sitting in The Land of Cleve watching those tanks pull into Tiananmen Square and thinking to myself “if ever asked ‘do you want to outsource to China’ I will answer ‘oh, hell no’”.

In 1948, most of the civilized nations in the world agreed to and signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The beginning reads as follows:  “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.  Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.”  No one expresses tyranny, oppression, and the repression of dignity like China.  Which leads us to two three pronged tests.

Three pronged test as to whether my sister can date Charlie Sheen:

  1. The odds are less than 50% that my sister would walk in on a drug fueled sex orgy when picking up Charlie for Sunday brunch
  2. The odds are less than 50% that I would be at aforementioned drug fueled sex orgy
  3. The odds that the quid pro quo would be me dating Denise Richards

Three pronged test as to whether a country is my ideal choice for a low cost manufacturing country:

  1. Does that country observe and adhere to the United Nation’s “Universal Declaration on Human Rights”?
  2. Can that country’s people freely practice their religion of choice
  3. Has that country’s military massacred anyone in the last thirty years?

 

Three pronged tests make decisions relatively easy.    And when the decision is not so easy, simply jump from your chair with arms spread….muttering:

“WINNER”.

 

 

While I remain on the sidelines, saying….

“Oh, hell no…..”

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