All a man needs out of life is a place to sit ‘n’ spit in the fire.

Category: Pensamientos (Page 2 of 2)

Random thoughts, comments, should be short, a paragraph or less

The Wuxi Finger Hold

I don’t know exactly what the writers intended, but from what I can gather from "Kung Fu Panda" I think I have figured out the secret of the Wuxi finger hold.

There is no secret.

The Wuxi finger hold is a bluff.  The golden explosion at the end represents the last shreds of Tai Lung’s ego going skadoosh.  Tai Lung had bound up all his self-expectations in obtaining the scroll, and when he finally looks upon it  reflecting his own face, he says, "It’s nothing."

Skadoosh!

Po’s realization that there is no secret ingredient opens up numerous truths, among them that the Wuxi finger hold is a bluff designed to crush an opponent’s ego by using his fear against him.  The secret of the finger hold lies in belief of its power. Once Tai Lung realized he had been fooled and had quivered in fear in front of Po, his mojo went bye-bye.  Tai Lung was no more the big scary bad guy.

Tai Lung believed that the scroll held everything.  He believed he was nothing.  By this logic the Wuxi finger held nearly infinite power over him.

I figure Tai Lung didn’t die at the end of the movie though, the golden explosion simply a metaphor for his exploding ego.  Tai Lung realized for the first time that day he was lost.  Crushed and broken, without a sense of self, he is found limp and listless by the noodle duck.  "Why are you lying there, snow leopard?"

"I am not the dragon warrior.  I was defeated by a Panda.  I am nothing."

The duck replies, "Oh, come now, I need help in the noodle shop.  You would make a fine noodle chef.  Come with me."

Tai Lung eventually learns humility, and by serving others he begins to realize his true power.

A noodle cook becomes the dragon warrior, the presumed dragon warrior becomes a noodle cook. 

I’m still alive, but stuck. Throw me a branch or something

Sorry I haven’t kept up.  It’s always a pain to get it going here after a long vacation. 

For some reason all the momentum that I had heading into the holidays was just eaten up by a soft mushy substance.  We refer to it in engineering as a dampening material.  You rush with great speed into this pool of sticky stuff.  You collide with it at high speed and a single stupid low amplitude undulating wave makes its way only a few feet before it subsides, dragged back to the depths.  Some small perturbations emanate outward and dissipate in soft waves through the viscous liquid, but if they have any affect at all, it is only to increase the temperature imperceptibly.

You get extracted out of your normal flow and life just seems to slow down.  It slows down to the point where you’re like a fly caught in amber, stuck solid. 

That’s where I am now, stuck to the trunk in tree sap.  Get a little stick and pick me out, will you?

We’re all back in Puerto Rico now, trying to get back into the routine.   There’s lots of work to do.  I’ve got a couple of posts in my drafts, but I have to clean them up a bit.  They need a lot of proof reading.  I really don’t know what my deal is.  Perhaps I need more alcohol or something.  Coffee makes me edgy and difficult, but alcohol seems to release the inner joy.

Sigh.  Here’s to some inebriated posting in the near future.

Proper Perspective

The debate between terrorism and security theater has been built up on logical fallacy after logical fallacy. The victim? The truth, lost long ago, buried it was under the rubble of stupidity. I’ll start with the, "there are a million things worse or more dangerous than terrorism" line. It begins like this:

You have more chance of dying in a car crash than you do of a terrorist attack. Cue smug look. Oh how right you are little snarky fella. Why didn’t I think of that? Gosh, the terrorists would have to blow up ten World Trade centers for us to feel as safe as we do in our cars. Man, I feel stupid for being afraid.

Let me illustrate my sarcastic point with some details from my personal experience. Laura and I lived in the Basque Country of Spain for two years. While we were there, ETA was active. There was a car bomb that went off near our apartment. We witnessed riots, riot gear, marches, murders and political assassinations. It all sounds dire, but in fact, I felt "safer" in the Basque Country than I have felt ever in my life. "Crime" was virtually non-existent. Robberies, home invasions, car-jackings? Nobody had ever heard of such a thing. And apart from the targeted violence against agents of the Spanish state, life was extremely tranquil.

By contrast, I had a much better chance of being mugged, murdered, or car-jacked in New York, DC, or St. Louis.

The question now is, where would I rather live?

Me personally? I would rather live somewhere else besides the Basque Country. Yeah, you heard that right. The Basque Country’s ETA problem makes me madder than random violent crime… even a lot of it.

It’s not a mechanism of risk per se. My net risk of dying through crime or accident is much higher in the US than the Basque Country, but net risk of dying isn’t the main metric that I go by.

Your net risk of dying is much higher driving a car than going your office in the World Trade Center. Why did the country go crazy after 9-11? Why have we taken such extreme measures when surely the raw logical dispassionate numbers of the situation relegate it to a minor event?

I think it has to do with intent. I’d much rather be mugged randomly than targeted politically. If I were to live permanently in the Basque Country, I would have a political opinion. It would be my right to have an opinion and discuss it as I see fit with those whom I consider my friends. If I should run for political office, I would expect that if my opinion differed from those in the extreme that we would be able to discuss our differences like reasonable people. If your violence exists for the purposes of political coercion then it is deadlier than physical harm. If your violence is targeted at someone for the purposes of silencing them for what they say or think, then you are more deadly than a random car accident. There is malevolent intent far beyond the death of the individual involved.

The terrorist hopes to spread his influence far above his real capability as an individual. The terrorist’s target isn’t you. His target is the freedom of ideas in an open society.

That is why it is dangerous, more dangerous than a traffic accident. In a world where the worse possible thing you can lose is your life, then I guess they are more or less equivalent. But in a world where we value justice and liberty higher than individual life, that terrorist is a whole lot more dangerous than your car.

Security for Windows Guys

P.J. and I discussing some of the confounding requests we get from windows admins as we try to protect them from themselves:

"Yeah, it’s like, ‘I want you to secure it, but I also want be able to do every stupid thing I can think of.’"

P.J Cabrera

 And there you have it in a nutshell the security problems with Microsoft users.
 

A Deist’s Dream

Is it better to come upon a flower and to believe it was created for me, or to see the flower, know its blossom, and rejoice for I was there to see it.

Music to Save the World

The big question is how are we going to share the world.  Music is one of the good ways of conversing, because if I know what you love and you know what I love then we actually start a different kind of conversation.

Cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, on an episode of NPR’s Performance Today

 

I am Ready

A few weeks ago, I was driving Laura’s family’s green Mercury Mystique back to her father’s office.  Laura’s brother Carlos was coming back into town, back from a year in Iraq, and I was leaving the car for him.  Something caught my eye in the compartment below the radio, that little shelf for nick-nacks.  It was his basic bio info card from MIT Sloan.  I looked it over, it had things like: Your undergraduate school, your major, jobs you’ve held, activities, sports, hobbies, languages etc.  Then I got to one in the middle, “Word that best describes you,” and Carlos had written “Ready.”  I smiled in agreement.  I let it rattle around in my brain, bounce off the corners, clanging and jangling and knocking about.

How few of us are ready – really ready for anything, let alone a year in Iraq.  Let’s not put the bar too high, though, shall we?  Ready is a state, not of flaccid inactivity, like a garden hose waiting to be filled with water.  Ready does not imply inactivity, waitfullness, standby status, or lack of will.  Mohammad Ali said it best,

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

Bruce Lee had a similar mantra:

“Do not be tense, just be ready, not thinking but not dreaming, not being set but being flexible. It is being “wholly” and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.”

Let your state of inaction be one guided by the possibility of movement in any direction.  When the time for action comes, let it be swift, precise and guided by knowledge, training, wisdom, and purpose.

Wishing Everyone a Wonderful Holiday Season

I’m not gonna let Fox News ruin the holiday season by forcing me to call it all Christmas.  Here in Puerto Rico, Three Kings Day is at least as big as Christmas – so there!  All my life this Holiday Season thing has been a wonderful time.  From Thanksgiving to my birthday on Super Bowl Sunday… it’s all good, and most if it ain’t Christmas.  I love the whole season of cheer, good food, new beginnings, and old friends.

omalley_gorbea.jpg

I will say Merry Christmas when I feel like it.  I will not be made to feel like some scourge of humanity if I wish to say Happy Holidays and when I do say Merry Christmas, I don’t mean it as a political statement.   

Sure Christmas is great.  I like that we celebrate the birth of Christ, but let’s not get carried away folks.  Let’s not let Fox News ruin it for the rest of us, what with their "War on the Holidays."

Crackervision

Recently the Discovery channel hosted a "contest" to decide who was the most important American – like ever.  I’ll keep it short, *spoiler alert* Ronald Reagan won.  He beat out lots of great Americans, but Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?!?!  WHAT!  Are you smoking crack? I tore my hair out in chunks before I realized that the verdict says more about who watches the Whiteychannel than who was the greatest Amercian.

<voice style="comicguy">Best channel demographic research ever.</voice>

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