The More Things Don’t Change, the More They’re Bound To Stay the Same

The lack of new directions and the outright fall of justice darkens my entrance into old age. May be corny to bring up the FDR documentary,  but the comparisons are instructive. There were lots of warnings that “once some bad practice is enshrined in the Presidency it goes on and on” but I couldn’t bring myself to imagine wholesale the rot would continue. A very discouraging note on human nature and a daylight future.

Gary Hart: I Got Screwed!

I could not finish this epic blubberation about Hart. It merely furthers the myth he’s been pumping since day one of his downfall. I admit I think woulda-coulda-shoulda articles about history and politics are worthless even as just-so stories, but this is one that has an indisputable counter: If Gary Hart was the Great Man and Master Politician he and his apologists proclaim, he would not have been defeated and defined by a seedy affair with Donna Rice.

Why “Wait But Why”? Why Wait?

Now that I’ve finally updated my Blogroll (only screwed up three times), I’m going to add full comments on the entertaining blog by Tim Urban, “Wait But Why.”

Hesitations first:

1. Half the time, his stick-figure illustrations are not as illuminating/amusing as he wants them to be. (But hey, that means half the time they do work, so …)

2. I’m no question more of a vacationer than a traveler (unless I’m being paid for the trip), so I’m not as interested in the round-the-world journeys as a lot of folks might be, though I’ve found parts of all of them entertaining.

3. I understand how “Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy ” became the most popular post and it’s deft as far as it goes. But a more-devastating-than-usual complaint is that it reduces a massive problem with strong economic and political sources down to a generational-personality kink.

Congratulations next:

1. As regulars here know, I admire sharp, forceful, entrancing science writing and the “Wait But Why” treatment of “The Fermi Paradox” is the best nonspecialist one I’ve ever read. It’s gratifying also that it’s among the most popular posts. One sources of success is that, unlike virtually everyone else I can think of, Urban has not settled on a prime answer in advance. All the possibilities are laid out, weighted fairly by strength of evidence and rational argument. Impossible not to conclude that there’s something huge and fundamental about the universe we do not understand. Or a number of somethings.

2. The two posts about “Why Procrastinators Procrastinate” (and How to Beat It) are correctly touted around the interwebs as on-target funny workouts. Even as you laff — even as you laff with recognition — you absorb the danger and harm of procrastination. The most important is, c’mon, it makes you do way less than your freaking best work! And there’s a heap of haw-haw details — The Dark Playground is a classic.

3. “Wait But Why” offers several nuggets of wisdom worthy of a Cyber Ann Landers for today. The finest enduring relationships are lived through ordinary days, not rare, romantic eruptions. Lives are lived more by productive, progressive weeks than by Life Milestones or decade markers. Existence operates more like a pixel than a picture. Humans have a very poor and limited understanding of time.

There’s more. Keeps me coming back weekly. Encouraging that the comments sections, while sadly salted with an average number of folks who miss or honestly misconstrue the points of the posts, contain few wet-brain psychos who only try to make trouble or draw attention to their greatness.

Wonder Woman Restored

A rich and detailed history of the character, full of surprises.

I was aware that William Moulton Marston was quite the character, but the details rarely went much beyond that he helped develop the lie detector machine. And quick statements that Wonder Woman changed a lot when he died all too soon after she was created. She was innately a feminist figure, but always undercut, a token at best. Still, I loved the TV series and noted with interest the hints that Wonder Woman had more robust feminist roots than acknowledged. It was hard to ever see any of the early stories, though, and the one revelation was that the early days of WW had an undeniable bondage theme. This is the best journalism I’ve seen since that cover of MS.