Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I am afraid of the future. I'm not afraid of the past and I have no beef with the present. Because of all of that, I fear risk. Risk to me is the unknown future. If I'm comfortable with the here & now, I don't have to take risks on an uncertain outcome.

Unfortunately not everyone feels the same about the past and they let it determine how to judge both the present and the future. Don't you people ever read the prospectus on your mutual funds? Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. It's boilerplate. I think, in some situations, the past can feed our conscience and fear of the past can lead to guilt. But how far back should we allow ourselves to go? If we carry a childhood regret, I think we should likewise carry a childhood fondness. What is the statute of limitations on guilt?

[This is where I started searching for quotations from wiser persons than myself...]

"Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to error that counts." --Nikki Giovanni

This is what my therapist has been trying to tell me. There is no such thing as failure if you learn from those times in which you did not succeed. And there is just as much risk in doing nothing as attempting.

"Shame is closely related to guilt, but there is a key qualitative difference. No audience is needed for feelings of guilt, no one else need know, for the guilty person is his own judge. Not so for shame. The humiliation of shame requires disapproval or ridicule by others. If no one ever learns of a misdeed there will be no shame, but there still might be guilt. Of course, there may be both. The distinction between shame and guilt is very important, since these two emotions may tear a person in opposite directions. The wish to relieve guilt may motivate a confession, but the wish to avoid the humiliation of shame may prevent it." --Paul Ekman

"What do you regard as most humane? To spare someone shame. Whom do you call bad? Those who always want to induce shame." --Friedrich Nietzsche

I thought these two were interesting, not from the perspective of risk but of the human tendency (for those of us with at least a little modesty and/or humility) to see ourselves through other people's eyes. I think we get to choose whose eyes we see ourselves through.

"A man's conscience and his judgement is the same thing; and as the judgement, so also the conscience, may be erroneous." --Thomas Hobbes

What's the moral of the story? Maybe it's: Take chances, live in the present, feel no shame, and don't sweat the small stuff.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Tell Me

What does "risk" mean to you? What comes to mind?

-Risky actions
-Risky inaction
-Risk of saying the wrong thing
-Risk in saying the right thing
-Risk of not saying anything
-Risky thoughts

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Anatomy of a good weekend

It was a weekend filled with the arts. There was art and the performing arts, sport and haute cuisine. And by haute cuisine, of course I mean there was another footlong involved and she took it like a champ. There's a photo around here somewhere of her lips wrapped around it (VERY HOT, mind you) but this is a family blog (Ed.: since when?) and I'm not set up for paypal.

At some point I got a LOT older which must be why I'm so tired and achey. Even the sight of her expertly handling those blue balls didn't restore my vim & vigor, but I bought her a drink and we went a second time that afternoon right in full-view of everyone. (Ed.: Vim & vigor? Who talks like that?) No matter how wet it got, I refused to wear a rainhat though.

This should suffice for now. I'll write more innuendo and half-truths later. Thanks for all the eCards and well wishes.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Damn, that really screwed up my momentum, but thanks to all for the outpouring of sympathy. The deceased was a Shetland Sheepdog (aka Sheltie) that, although belonging to my parents, had a very special bond with me. She was a brilliant pup in her day, learning to ask to be let out into the backyard by ringing a hotel deskclerk bell. I taught her the difference between speaking and talking. (Speaking was a simple bark. Talking was a kind of friendly growl that ended with her tongue sticking out and was the funniest thing you never saw.) I was the only one who ever sat on the floor at her level, so she'd thank me by head-butting me, a recurring theme in my family. She, like most shelties, hated the water and got revenge on me once for threatening to throw her in the pool by peeing on me. In later life she became a therapy dog, visiting hospitals and nursing homes until she could no longer manage it. At the end she was stone deaf, her vision (and other bodily functions) failing, and badly arthritic. She was with us 15 1/2 years, but I still remember her as a little puff-ball gnawing furiously on my ankle, the highest point she could then reach.

I'm not as inconsolable as it might seem though. Unfortunately, most of you only get to see what little of my life I blog anymore. Mostly I'm just tired now. And hot. It's gotta be 95-degrees in here, but I can't get the A/C to come on for more than a minute or two because the thermostat is downstairs and it's already cool down there. Pain.in.the.ass.

I've been watching most of the new fall shows. I'm not going to link them here (because I'm lazy), but among the new shows that I like are (in no particular order): Studio 60, Heroes, Brothers & Sisters, and Six Degrees. I'm so-so about 30 Rock, The Nine, Ugly Betty, Men In Trees, and Jericho. I liked (the now cancelled) Smith and I hated (the still airing) The Class. None of the other new shows interested me. Not that you needed to know all of that.

I've also been listening to a lot of new music, none of which I'll list here (still lazy). Actually I'm not lazy, I'm stupid. This post was 'recovered' because I typed it all out once, then shut down the computer without saving it. There was a lot more, but now I'm just in a foul mood and am ending this.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Sleep, little Baby, sleep,
The holy Angels love thee,
And guard thy bed, and keep
A blessed watch above thee.
No spirit can come near
Nor evil beast to harm thee:
Sleep, Sweet, devoid of fear
Where nothing need alarm thee.

The Love which doth not sleep,
The eternal arms around thee:
The shepherd of the sheep
In perfect love has found thee.
Sleep through the holy night,
Christ-kept from snare and sorrow,
Until thou wake to light
And love and warmth to-morrow.
Holy Innocents -Christina Georgina Rossetti

Monday, October 02, 2006

Heal Thyself

I've started seeing a new therapist. We're still getting to know each other, so I'm not yet convinced that I'm going to stay with him long-term. Getting to know someone new is always awkward, and there are always questions like:
- Can I trust this guy?
- What is his psychoanalytical style/methodology?
- On which side do the noses go when we kiss?

But I do believe in the theraputic value of counseling so I'm going to give it a couple of sessions before I make a decision.

He started out by asking a few basic questions about me and why I had decided to seek help. I've already admitted to you my occasional bouts of depression, though I don't think that's my chief complaint these days. He then went on and on for about 20 minutes giving me a bunch of background info and his initial diagnosis. That he talked so long is one of the things I'm not so crazy about, but he promised to listen more next time. One of the things he asked me to work on for next time is what do I want him to know about me?

At first I thought this would be an easy question. I could just print out a couple pages from the blog at which point he would suggest a full-time, in-patient facility. On the other hand, I don't think I want him reading the blog (I'm no Steve-the-mildly-unwell, after all) and, of course, printing out webpages onto paper is just silly and I can't abide anyone who would do such a thing.

The more I think about it, the more I think he needs to know about me, and I've gone from writing a short paragraph to an entire lecture series with slides and full-color handouts (in a convenient 3-ring binder, with extra room for notes or doodles and one of those bitchin' ruler/paper-guides). But the session is only an hour and I need to allow time for a Q&A at the end, so I'll have to self-edit wisely. How would you approach this question?

Could this guy LOOK like a bigger dork?Know your World Leaders: (#4 in the series)
I feel I should clarify. There are only two nations with a singular head of state who are also sovereigns, and both are sultanates. Although the previous leader is the Dragon King and titular (*snicker*) head of state, he is not the head of government. So when I introduce to you to a world leader who is a king or queen, such as today's entry King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, please pay him his due honors but kindly address statutory matters to the appropriate elected official (in this case, Prime Minister Hans Göran Persson). Thank you.

Among the many interesting facts about His Highness is the fact that his last name is NOT Gustaf, it is Bernadotte, but royals never use their last name. I think it's because they don't want you googling them and finding out all sorts of embarassing stuff like first cousins marrying. Also, since the roman numerals are not at the end of his name, we can safely assume that they are not roman numerals and that they are intended to be pronounced. My guess is that it sounds something like "skvee" (although the Swedes probably make it more like "schkveh"). One little known fact is that with 4 Godmothers and 6 Godfathers, he is the real-life inspiration for the main character of this book. Finally, in addition to having your face on the money, the other cool thing about being monarch is getting to call your children "issue" (of which his high kinginess has 3 -- check out the youngest, Madeleine. Hubba hubba!).

[Next Time: A different world leader]