How to Handle Bullies 101

Lesson One

Almost as a rule, bullies are made of tissue paper. They project their false image of themselves on that tissue paper screen while working in the dark to tear down the world around them so as to feel important and powerful. The solution is to push back. Tissue paper kings flee when confronted by such blowback. Here’s an example of how it’s done…with class:

Bullied Michigan teen, nominated to homecoming court as a cruel joke, cheered as hero

Am I Rich?

The Fiscal Times has an article listing the 9 Must Have Status Symbols that Say “I’m Rich”. I’ve wondered about that, so here’s my opportunity to find out…

  1.  Swanky strollers? No.
  2. Designer fashions in my closet? Hahahahahahahahaha. Ah. No.
  3. Fine wines? If by “fine” you mean “doesn’t have a screw top and a straw taped to the outside,” then, yes. If you mean $20 a bottle, then, no.
  4. Specialty bikes. Yes, but. At 6’5″, getting anything to fit properly usually involves the word “custom.” My mountain bike is a Zinn custom so that I can actually ride the thing without bustin’ a kneecap on the handle bars. And then there is the Sammy Flyer, also sized to fit my frame. So, this one is a qualified “yes.”
  5. Fur clothes – real or faux? No.
  6. Expensive designer dogs? No. Here’s my pack. These are working dogs that warn me of encroachers and intruders so that me and Mr. Springfield can be alerted to any potential call to action.
  7. Fast cars? No. I’m built for comfort, not for speed.
  8. International travel? Since surfing the InterTubes probably doesn’t qualify, no.
  9. Bling? The closest I get to bling is when the burrito I’m eating spills out onto my shirt. So, no.

Well, it looks like I’m not rich. In fact, according to my score on this scale, I’m down right poverty stricken. Where’s my Federal help?

Dove Down

Stepping out onto the deck Sunday morning, my eye caught a glimpse of what I thought was a crow fly up into the Linden tree. But something about it wasn’t quite crow. Moving over to the tree, I saw a morning dove on the ground behaving like it had a broken wing – much like they behave when they have a nest nearby. The strategy is to distract a predator away from the nest by feigning an injury in a ploy to get the predator to chase the adult dove that is, in fact, healthy.

Dove DownBut it is too late in the season for doves to have a nest. Moving closer, it was clear this dove was indeed injured. And there, perched in the tree, what on first glimpse was a crow, was actually a hawk. The tuft of feathers nearby told the rest of the tale. The hawk had missed a clean kill of his quarry.

Moving closer to the dove to see how badly it had been injured, it took off but could barely fly enough to clear the fence into the part of the front yard that encloses my two terriers. They were on it, well, like a hawk. I got to them before they had time to do more than give it a good sniff. Lifting the dove, I could see that a good portion of it’s side had been gouged away by the hawk. Clearly, this bird was done for. I carefully lifted the dove and placed it next to a large stone on the outside of the fence.

My first thought was to put it there so the hawk could finish his task and nature would run its course for the zillionth time. What comes naturally for the hawk would have been an unpleasant task for me.

There was more to my thinking, but upon reflection, I thought to ask around and find out what friends and acquaintances would do. Leave the dove for the hawk or put it out of its misery and bury it? The answers are telling.

My thinking was leaving the dove for the hawk was the natural way. It was also a way for the dove’s life to serve a purpose other than dying. By serving as food for the hawk, the dove’s death serves a purpose closely aligned with the designs of nature. Much more so than if it had been hit by a car and left as road kill.

Ah, but wouldn’t the bugs in the soil be served by the dove’s carcass being buried? Yes, but the micro scavengers will still have their piece once the hawk has finished. Eventually, those same class of bugs will have their turn at the hawk. But for now, this meal belonged to the hawk. The scavengers would have to wait.

Good Intentions, Bad Results

In The Logic of Failure, Dietrich Dörner makes the following observation:

In our political environment, it would seem, we are surrounded on all sides with good intentions. But the nurturing of good intentions is an utterly undemanding mental exercise, while drafting plans to realize those worthy goals is another matter. Moreover, it is far from clear whether “good intentions plus stupidity” or “evil intentions plus intelligence” have wrought more harm in the world. People with good intentions usually have few qualms about pursuing their goals. As a result, incompetence that would otherwise have remained harmless often becomes dangerous, especially as incompetent people with good intentions rarely suffer the qualms of conscience that sometimes inhibit the doings of competent people with bad intentions. The conviction that our intentions are unquestionably good may sanctify the most questionable means. (emphasis added, Kindle location 133)

That sounds about right. To this I would add that incompetent people with good intentions rarely suffer the consequences of imposing their good intentions on others.

The distinguishing feature of a competent good intentioned individual and an incompetent good intentioned individual is the ability to predict and understand the consequences of their actions. Not just the immediate consequences, but the long term consequences as well. The really competent good intentioned individuals will also have a grasp of the systemic effects of acting on their intentions. The result is such individuals are deliberate in their actions and less likely to act or react emotionally to circumstances. And this, of course, is a source of great irritation for the Occupied With Self rabble.

There’s a Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve?

Why, yes. There is. It’s controlled by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers and $30 Million worth of the stuff has gone missing. Yikes, eh?

Update – 2012.10.06

Police Seize More Than 600 Barrels of Maple Syrup

The shipment of the pancake-topper was making its way back to Quebec in a heavily guarded convoy of 16 trailer-loads on Wednesday.

Well, THAT’S a relief.

The Awesomeness of Dogs

A screen capture from a news story about a man and his dog…

(Click for news story.)

The man is John Unger and the dog is Schoep. The photo was taken by Hannah Stonehouse Hudson. Reminded me of another dog named Shep, albeit spelled differently. I’ve known and pointed out to visitors the Boulder Turnpike Shep’s grave site for years. Growth in recent years resulted in the relocation of Boulder Turnpike Shep’s grave to a place that looks to be more permanent as well as easier to visit and maintain.

And then I’m reminded of the previously linked story of Kevin McClain and his dog Yurt: A Dying Man’s Last Wish. Kinda hard to keep the eyes dry after a story like that, eh?

Speaking of drying, I’d imagine with his years, Schoep gets towel dried after his time in the lake. For the young pups, there’s science involved: How the Wet-Dog Shake Gets Mammals Dry in No Time Flat

Generous Threats – Aussie Style

Seems more than a few Aussies are receiving fake death threats via SMS:

Police and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have warned that the messages – which typically read “Someone paid me to kill you. If you want me to spare you, I’ll give you two days to pay $5000. If you inform the police or anybody, you will die, I am monitoring you” – are fake.

I received something like this over four years ago and handled it in the only way that made sense: Email Noir. Alex, The Benevolent Assassin, gave me 72 hours. That was something like 40,000 hours ago. Looks like I chose wisely. Let’s hope all the good folks Down Under do likewise.


Over 200 Dead in Chicago…

so far this year. Murdered. Oh my. Clearly, the US should get out of Chicago. Or Chicago needs a gun control law or something.

Wait a minute…isn’t Chicago one of the cities with the strictest gun control laws? Makes me feel like taking the Springfield XD .45 ACP out to the range for a little practice. Not because I particularly like shooting the thing, but because I very much enjoy the right to own something that helps insure liberty, freedom, and security from individuals intent on praying on defenseless citizens.

Another Cup of Joe

High blood caffeine levels in older adults linked to avoidance of Alzheimer’s disease

Those cups of coffee that you drink every day to keep alert appear to have an extra perk – especially if you’re an older adult. A recent study monitoring the memory and thinking processes of people older than 65 found that all those with higher blood caffeine levels avoided the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in the two-to-four years of study follow-up. Moreover, coffee appeared to be the major or only source of caffeine for these individuals.

Well it’s a bit early (by about 15 years), but why wait? Time to pour another cup of midnight…

Question: What does it look like when voters show government unions the bird?

Answer: Wisconsin governor recall election

Scott Walker (53.2%) vs. Tom Barrett (46.3%)