Heroic efforts

From Sam Harris’s “Free Will“:

To sit back and see what happens is itself a choice that will produce its own consequences. It is also extremely difficult to do: Just try staying in bed all day waiting for something to happen; you will find yourself assailed by the impulse to get up and do something, which will require increasingly heroic efforts to resist.

I think I know people like this.

Related: The Hail Satan Network

Kyle Kinane on Pot Culture

From Stop Podcasting Yourself 236 and a discussion on medical marijuana.

California has all the dispensaries, but you can’t keep telling me it’s medicine and then it’s called something like “DOCTOR DUDE’S FUN PALACE!” in Wavy Gravy font. Make it look like a legitimate place. No doctor’s office ever employed tie-dye this much. I’m fine with pot, but pot culture is the dumbest shit.

Why I don’t go in public

This sense of being at home is important to everyone’s well being. If you do not get enough of it, your happiness, resilience, energy, humor, and courage will decrease. It is a complex thing, an amalgam…Being at home feels safe; you have a sense of relief whenever you come home and close the door behind you, reduced fear of social and emotional dangers as well as physical ones. When you are home, you can let down your guard and take off your mask. Home is the one place in the world where you are safe from feeling put down or out, unentitled, or unwanted. It’s where you belong, or, as the poet said, the place where, when you of there, they have to take you in. Coming home is your major restorative in life.

Home Comforts, Cheryl Mendelson

Yuppie TV

In the years to come, America would get other glimpses of this culture in Mad About You, Ally McBeal, Frasier, and The West Wing, among others, but no show ever focused with the same laser intensity on the culture that thirtysomething depicted—understandably, because the people who live in that culture do not make up much of the audience for network television series, and those who are the core demographic for network television series are not particularly fond of the culture that thirtysomething portrayed. It was the emerging culture of the new upper class.

Murray, Charles, Coming Apart, Location 405. Kindle Edition1

I’d posit that this divide has gotten even wider since many of the yuppie tv shows are now on cable (Mad Men, almost everything on HBO) and network TV is filled with dancing and singing criticism.

Could also be why NBC gets low ratings: they target yuppies with shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation and get low viewership as a result.

As long as I’m throwing out TV generalizations, can we all agree that CBS is for old people? It even comes up in search autosuggests.


  1. There’s got to be a better way to cite Kindle books than this. 

Sitting Is Deadly

Okay, everybody up, right now. Let’s all take a brief stroll, for our health. I myself am going to run downstairs and have a cigarette, but, really, anything is better for you than sitting, which will kill you dead. DEAD. Also, have you ever tried working at a standing desk? Doesn’t it make you feel super-pretentious? Like, who am I, Arturo Toscanini?1 It just doesn’t do it for me.

Secondary Kill

A new idea was shaping in his mind and a new phrase with it—Secondary Kill. Of those that the Great Disaster had spared, many would fall victim to some trouble from which civilization had previously protected them. With unlimited liquor they would drink themselves to death. There had been, he guessed, murder; almost certainly there had been suicide. Some, like the old man, who ordinarily would have lived normal enough lives, would be pushed over the line into insanity by shock and the need of readjustment; such ones would probably not survive long. Some would meet with accident; being alone, they would die. Others would die of disease which no one was left to treat. He knew that, biologically speaking, there was a critical point in the numbers of any species—if the numbers were reduced below this point, the species could not recover. Was mankind going to survive? Well, that was one of those interesting points which gave him the will to live. But certainly the result of his day’s research gave him little confidence. In fact, if these survivors were typical, who would wish mankind to survive?

Earth Abides, George Stewart

One of my favorite parts from The Stand was the section in the expanded edition in which King tells all the stories indirectly brought on by the superflu: people getting locked in walk-in refrigerators, that sort of thing.

The thing that makes apocalypse stories interesting isn’t what caused the world to end (oftentimes it isn’t even explained), but what survivors are willing do to each other to keep living and what that says about our true inner selves.

Even if it is just fiction.

“I’m going to keep it to myself”

President Bill Clinton after Bill O’Reilly asked him why the press didn’t like Hillary Clinton in 2008:

I’m not going there. She is the Secretary of State. Nothing I say can be helpful on this. Yes I have an opinion and I’m going to keep it to myself.

I have to think like this more often.

Preventative Medicine

Jay Parkinson:

I’m trained in Preventive Medicine, one of the twenty four specialties recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Out of the nearly 16,000 medical students that graduate every year, only about 120 choose Preventive Medicine. Does that really mean that less than one percent of doctors think preventing disease is more important than treating it? I’m afraid so. Maybe it’s because our medical culture hasn’t figured out how to profit off health, rather than sickness? Or maybe it’s because our doctors simply aren’t creative enough to think beyond pills and scalpels? Of course it’s a mixture of both and many more, but I think the main reason is we’re absolutely clueless how to treat bad lifestyle from the confines of the 8 minute office visit. It’s a horribly outdated tool for the problem at hand.

When you eat soy

This is what you’re eating when you eat soy; an industrial waste product. Soy as it grows in the field is not actually a low-fat paragon. It’s about 30 percent fat. Once upon a time it was grown for its oil—not because people ate it, but because it was used for paint and glue. In 1913, the USDA listed soy as an industrial material, not as a food. Extracting the oil from soy leaves a defatted mass of protein. The question for industrial agriculture has been what to do with it. In 1975, a smart soy marketer said, “The quickest way to gain product acceptability in the less affluent society…is to have tho product consumed on its own merit in a more affluent society.”

Keith, Lierre. “Nutritional Vegetarians.” The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice and Sustainability. Crescent City, Ca.: Flashpoint, 2009. 224. Print.

Mormon Veracity

Those who would assail The Book of Mormon should bear in mind that its veracity is no more dubious than the veracity of the Bible, say, or the Qur’an, or the sacred texts of most other religions. The latter texts simply enjoy the considerable advantage of having made their public debut in the shadowy recesses of the ancient past, and are thus much harder to refute.

Jon Krakaeur — Under The Banner Of Heaven