1 September 2014

HANDS UP…! DON’T SHOOT…!

0000 by Jeff Hess

This internal thread concerning events in and about Ferguson, Missouri,
is stuck to the top of the blog, newer, less vital, posts appear below.

ferguson hands up 140830

Hands up. Don’t shoot. The image of black men and women repeating this simple action at protests in Ferguson, Missouri – and across the globe – generates its power from what happens before that moment.

In Ferguson and too many places, police are more likely to pull over people of color for driving – indeed, often for simply being a person of color.

But there is lasting power in the stories people never forget. They are stories of “broken” taillights, of police brutality that doesn’t show up in an arrest report because there never was one, of no justice because nobody knew where to turn.

To help reach beyond Ferguson, the opinion departments of Guardian US and the St Louis Post-Dispatch partnered to gather hundreds of reader experiences. Our hope is that this sampling will help spur empathy – and then action, everywhere. These are your stories, lightly edited for space, privacy and clarity, and your hope for what’s next.

Tony Messenger and Matt Sullivan writing in ‘I could have been Mike Brown’: your stories of racial profiling by the world’s police for The Guardian.

Continue Reading »

1 September 2014

ROLDO RIGHTS ON 2014, HOW ARE WE DOING…?

1400 by Jeff Hess

roldo carl stokes 140901Cleveland Mayor Carl Burton Stokes

We are powerless. We are leaderless.

There seem to be no real voices of protest.

Thus no anger to play off. No squeaky wheel to arouse.

Not a media voice of even mild condemnation of what is. Or what should be.

A newspaper lacking even the pretense of debate or interest in the underdog. No critical voices rise.

Dull, disappointing, yawning. Only cheerleading expected or accepted. Crucial issues avoided.

Carl Stokes, a man of political passion so missing today, once said this about us succinctly. It still resonates.

We have in Cleveland developed the art of accenting the positive to the exclusion of remedying the negative. How difficult it is, but necessary, to advocate as a remedy the accenting of the negative. How else to strike at and endeavor to dispel the deep, almost indigenous false sense of security and accomplishment that pervades this city.

Or we can go back to Langston Hughes, who lived in Cleveland, and his question:

What happens to a raisin in the sun?

Where the explosion? Does it come when least expected?

We don’t like the thought. We’re directed elsewhere.

All out sports distraction. Yeah team! Johnny & LeBron Continue Reading »

1 September 2014

HEURISTICS AND PRODUCTIVITY…

0800 by Jeff Hess

Experience has taught me that there’s a significant problem attached to being the kind of person who gets excited by productivity systems – to-do lists, time management techniques, personal organisers, expensive notebooks and the like. Two problems, in fact, if you count the one about being ostracised by friends and widely regarded as not quite right. But, for now, let’s focus on the other one, which is that an obsession with productivity is, of course, anti-productive: a day spent tinkering with your system for getting things done is another day when you didn’t get anything done. Faced with books and websites offering a multiplicity of methods for living life more effectively and happily, the temptation is to borrow bits from each until you’ve built some huge, Byzantine structure with the twin disadvantages of requiring hours of maintenance and being useless.

So I’m pleased to report the arrival, on the web, of a backlash – not from the smug, non-anally-retentive people who gambol spontaneously through life like lambs, but from within the ranks of the nerds themselves. This is a radically stripped-down approach to productivity, championed above all by the blog Zen Habits (zenhabits.net), which focuses not on grand systems but on heuristics. A heuristic, loosely defined, is a rule of thumb: a very simple behavioural guideline, easy to remember and implement, which, when repeated over and over, will end up helping you achieve your aims. The idea is to drop all your finickity systems and just live by one or two of these principles. Here, culled from various blogs, are some of the most promising

Oliver Burkeman writing in This column will change your life for The Guardian.

1 September 2014

HAVE COFFEE WILL WRITE WAS FIRST JEREMY…

0730 by Jeff Hess

zits 060421 140901
Have Coffee Will Write: Dinner conversation with a few good friends…

1 September 2014

FEAR IS THE MIND KILLER, I WILL FACE MY FEAR

0700 by Jeff Hess

Real procrastination, which afflicts an estimated 20% of us, isn’t the same as laziness, being disorganised, or putting off boring chores. It’s an active avoidance strategy, and because it’s usually rooted in the fear of failure, or success, or loss of control, it most affects exactly those things that really matter to us, not the chores. Personally, I’ve spent many hours procrastinating by reading books and websites on combating procrastination—with the handy side-effect that I can summarise here what I reckon are the only three genuinely useful pieces of advice they contain:

  1. Motivation follows action—What if you dropped the requirement of feeling good, accepted that you felt bad and just started anyway? Motivation usually shows up quickly thereafter. (See the work of psychologist Shoma Morita.)
  2. Resistance is a signpost—You could adopt “Do whatever you’re resisting the most” as a philosophy of life.
  3. Schedule leisure, not work—If you plan in advance to do “x” hours of work in a day, anything less becomes a failure; if you make no such plans, every minute worked counts as a success.

Oliver Burkeman writing in Pro-active procrastination for The Guardian.

1 September 2014

HAPPY LABOR DAY…

0630 by Jeff Hess

non sequitur 140901

1 September 2014

RULE NO. 61: SERVE THE VEGETABLES FIRST …

0600 by Jeff Hess

Rule No. 61 – Serve the Vegetables First.

From Food Rules, an eater’s manual by Michael Pollan

Previously…

Found in my electronic chapbook. See also Eating Mindfully by Jan Chozen Bey.

1 September 2014

THE REAL DOG-EAT-DOG WORLD: NO. 9…

0530 by Jeff Hess

dogs i 140810The Janitors…

From my dad, of course…

1 September 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Hoping for sun
Phone leads police to robbery suspect
Common Core debate continues
Agriculture rescue training
Festival volunteer enjoys helping

Top Headlines Poll: Now that it’s done what’s your opinion of the revamped Pike and Acme streets intersection?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

31 August 2014

OHIO’S CARPET BAGGING TEA BAGGER…

0900 by Jeff Hess

It comes as no surprise to discover that Congressman Bill Johnson might be reluctant to engage in an honest, one-on-one, debate with his Democrat opponent before the November 4 election. Johnson wants to rely instead upon the tried-and-true tea party tactic of staged “town-hall” meetings (where his pals can make him look good by restricting participation and posing pre-packaged “friendly” questions). Some of Johnson’s public appearances in the region—where he likes to claim credit for “creating” jobs that were actually created by others (or created despite of Bill’s obstructionist actions in Washington)—might remind history buffs of the gimmick used in 18th century Russia by Grigory Potemkin, Catherine the Great’s slippery Interior Minister, who created fake “villages” in the Ukraine in an effort to convince the Empress that all was well in the hinterlands.

So what is Bill Johnson hiding? Let’s look at his background—fully authenticated from newspaper accounts in Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, and Ohio.

In 2010, Johnson (a native of North Carolina) moved his base of operations to Marietta to take advantage of the newly Gerrymandered 6th District (which runs along the Ohio from Youngstown to Gallipolis) and, backed by local tea-party extremists, ran for Congress promising to be a “job-creator.” Before that he was a 26-year veteran of the Air Force (and we thank him for his service) and a slightly less-than-scrupulous purveyor of IT equipment to the military. In 2007, the State of Florida (which is not known for being especially strict regarding business dealings) revoked the license of Johnson’s J-2 Associates for failing to file required paperwork. Bill moved to Mahoning County, Ohio and became Chief Information Officer of Stoneridge Inc., an IT firm that originated in Sarasota, Florida. According to accounts in the Bradenton Herald, Stoneridge fired 300 employees in 2008 and shipped their jobs to Mexico, Estonia, Continue Reading »

31 August 2014

BUSINESS: PROTECT US FROM THE FREE MARKET…!

0800 by Jeff Hess

When they can’t compete, corporations scramble for government protection.

The US telecoms industry called on the Federal Communications Commission on Friday to block two cities’ plans to expand high-speed internet services to their residents.

USTelecom, which represents telecoms giants Verizon, AT&T and others, wants the FCC to block expansion of two popular municipally owned high-speed internet networks, one in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the other in Wilson, North Carolina.

“The success of public broadband is a mixed record, with numerous examples of failures,” USTelecom said in a blogpost. “With state taxpayers on the financial hook when a municipal broadband network goes under, it is entirely reasonable for state legislatures to be cautious in limiting or even prohibiting that activity.”

Chattanooga has the largest high-speed internet service in the US, offering customers access to speeds of 1 gigabit per second – about 50 times faster than the US average. The service, provided by municipally owned EPB, has sparked a tech boom in the city and attracted international attention. EPB is now petitioning the FCC to expand its territory. Comcast and other companies have previously sued unsuccessfully to stop EPB’s fibre optic roll out.

31 August 2014

EMBRACING THE TWO-MINUTE DRILL…

0700 by Jeff Hess

So perhaps we [email] addicts should go easier on ourselves. If you can’t stop checking, don’t try to wage war on your impulses: just have a simple system to deal with the interruption swiftly. Here I’ll invoke (not for the first time) the productivity expert David Allen: if an email can be dealt with in under two minutes, deal with it. If not, have a single list where you keep a record of undone tasks. The point isn’t to get a million things done – it’s to know exactly what you’re not doing. Half the time, Allen says, our stress is due to the nagging worry that we ought to be somewhere else, doing something else. When you know that’s not true, you can get on with living life instead.

Oliver Burkeman writing in Email junkies for The Guardian.

31 August 2014

RULE NO. 60: CONSULT YOUR GUT…

0600 by Jeff Hess

Rule No. 60 – Consult Your Gut.

From Food Rules, an eater’s manual by Michael Pollan

Previously…

Found in my electronic chapbook. See also Eating Mindfully by Jan Chozen Bey.

31 August 2014

THE REAL DOG-EAT-DOG WORLD: NO. 8…

0530 by Jeff Hess

dogs h 140810The Security Guard…

From my dad, of course…

31 August 2014

NOT THE (SUNDAY) MARIETTA TIMES…

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S PARKERSBURG NEWS AND SENTINEL FRONT PAGE

(Note: Newseum doesn’t usually update the front pages unit 0630 or so)

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Fair Kicks Off
Cracker drives property interest
Odebrecht continues development
Volunteers drive success of memorial wall
Smart Networks aims to expands

Top Headlines Poll: Has news of break-ins and theft in the Mid-Ohio Valley changed your habits, such as locking car or house doors?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

30 August 2014

GAWD, I DO MISS PLAYING RUGBY…

0830 by Jeff Hess

30 August 2014

DOES MINDFULNESS RELATE TO WILLPOWER…?

0800 by Jeff Hess

Our basic practice is the practice of generating the energy [Is Nhat Hahn speaking of willpower here? Is it possible to substitute willpower in every, or most, instances, for energy? JH] of mindfulness, concentration and insight. Insight will bring compassion, love, harmony and peace. p. 96

From Good Citizens: Creating Enlightened Society by Thich Nhat Hanh

Previously…

Found in my electronic chapbook.

30 August 2014

TO AVOID BEING KICKED IN THE DICK…

0730 by Jeff Hess

30 August 2014

MEDITATION ON KURT VONNEGUT: VIII…

0700 by Jeff Hess

As a teacher, I was usually pretty good at helping people become what they wanted to become. I didn’t try to make them resemble me.

– to Mark Vonnegut on 20 March 1972, p. 180.

Kurt Vonnegut: Letters.

The challenge here is to help students decide what they want to become. Vonnegut was working with post-graduate students at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, a select group of individuals who know what they want to become.

How do we, as educators (or parents/family members), clear away some of the brush from the path to self-discovery? I’ve known a tiny circle of people who really knew at an early age what they wanted to be when they grew up. I certainly didn’t (along the way aerospace engineer, forest ranger, history teacher, journalist and writer were all on my short list).

The word passion gets thrown about quite a lot, and that may be at the center, but I don’t know that everyone is capable of passion in the way the term gets generally used. Feeling passionate at 12 or 18 or 25 holds different meanings at different stages of our lives.

How do we proceed?

30 August 2014

YOU CAN SLEEP WHEN YOU’RE DEAD…

0630 by Jeff Hess

zits 140830 060104

Previously

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