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Things I wonder about, things I do, and some random links I’ve collected lately (with an emphasis on weirdness)

AKA “A Monday Ramble.”


Things I wonder about

1. When will we stop saying “Google” when we mean “search online”? I don’t want to think that such an evil organization will be immortalized in the language. But saying, “I DuckDuckGoed it” or “I StartPaged it” doesn’t have that same ring. And you certainly can’t say, “I Ducked it.”

“I Binged it” might do — if you want to immortalize another slightly less evil company and you don’t mind your online searches being confused with drinking until you pass out. Yes, I know we could just go back to saying “search,” but we need something catchy to draw tiny little Twitterpated minds away from automatic Googlethink.

2. Why do politicians and social movements get credit for things they didn’t do? “FDR ended the Depression.” (Yeah, only eight+ years into his administration, and then with a war and new forms of privation.) “Street protests ended the Vietnam war.” (Lessee: Begun in 1964, 1968 was their biggest year, U.S. didn’t get out of Vietnam until 1975. Nope.) “Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves.” (Only if you believe we really had to be the only nation on earth to conduct a bloody war to do what the entire civilized world was already coming around to; only if you believe the Emancipation Proclamation was anything other than a PR gesture meant to undermine the South’s war effort; only if you pretend not to notice that Lincoln continued to preside over four slave states himself and excluded them from the so-called emancipation.) And once established, these gigantic urban myths never seem to get debunked.

3. Why do so many people believe politicians who begin sentences with “It will never …” or “It will only affect …” For example: “Your Social Security number will never be used as national ID”; “The income tax will only affect the rich”; “Expanded requirements for drivers licenses will only affect commercial licensees” (until the very next session of Congress, when we’ll quietly strike the word “commercial” from the law.)

4. Why do media outlets keep saying, “Biden’s policy is …” or “Biden thinks … or “Biden’s view on the crisis …” or “Biden plans …”? C’mon. Biden more likely sits in a locked room in the White House drooling on his bib. Even he, with what’s left of his mind, has repeatedly referred to how even something as simple as speaking freely to the public will get him in trouble with his behind-the-scenes handlers. The emperor has no &^%$#! clothes “policy” or “views” or “plans.” Why are we all supposed to pretend otherwise?

Ah well. Who knows? And merely saying, “Because people are stoooopid!” doesn’t explain it.

Things I do

Something I haven’t done in a long while is artwork. The last real piece of art I did was that portrait of the border collie, Brandy, that I’m still quite fond of. But that was a tough one to do and after it I took a “short break” that’s stretched almost four years.

A couple days ago I picked up an art pad and was noodling with a way to depict animals more as graphic designs than in realistic portraits. Then the very next morning I received a call for submissions from a regional maritime museum that wanted artwork of some very specific sea critters. One was a starfish. Which immediately flashed into that graphical framework I was noodling.

I spent the weekend painting this.

I knew when I sketched it out that starfish (or sea stars as they’re more properly called, these days) couldn’t bend themselves as that lower leg is bent, but I liked the angle, designwise, and told myself, “It’s not an actual starfish; it’s a design based on a starfish.”

Now it’s bugging me. Ah well. Overall it looks much better in person than it does in that photo. And I tested new techniques and materials, so that’s worth something. (Also, I was wrong about starfish not being able to bend like that, as Simon Templar showed me.)

Random links

Okay, only a few of these are actually weird (as the title of this post promises). Some aren’t weird at all. But if politicians can get away with centuries of BS, surely you can let me have a minute or two of it.

Here goes:

(Not weird; thought-provoking, in fact.) “On Shadow Careers and Turning Pro.” Toirdhealbheach Beucail on finding your calling vs getting lost in small daily addictions.

(Also not weird.) Seven things parents do to raise smart, resilient Kids. But it sounds to me as if this is also a way of raising exceptionally driven kids, which could be a mixed blessing.

(Weird; definitely.) Mammals have the ability to breathe through their intestines.

(Not weird; bacon.) Here’s a recipe for bacon-cheddar-chive biscuits. MUST try this!

(Only a little weird.) “Joe Biden Gets Mugged by Events.” Rather, his puppetmasters do. (Whoever thought we’d luck and and have a president that makes Jimmy Carter look like a genius leader?)

(Weird.) Human and animal roles reversed. Although ridden with animal-rights messages, these cartoons are well-done and bizarrely compelling.


  1. Simon Templar
    Simon Templar May 17, 2021 11:50 am
  2. Claire
    Claire May 17, 2021 11:54 am

    Oh my! Sea stars are more versatile than I thought! When I looked for images, I was struck by how many different varieties of stars there are — shapes, colors, markings! But I didn’t see a single one curling their little toesies 😉 like that. You’ve made me feel sooooooo much better, Simon Templar.

  3. Comrade X
    Comrade X May 17, 2021 12:00 pm

    1.) Go and turn over a rock (very similar to what you might find on the internet while searching)

    2.) The key is don’t give politicians credit for anything

    3.) Don’t believe politicians about anything (methinks I’s got something going here)

    4.) When it comes to media, to play on Timothy; turn off, tune it out and drop into your life instead

    And your artwork is exactly what dropping into your life is about!


  4. Claire
    Claire May 17, 2021 1:03 pm

    1.) Go and turn over a rock (very similar to what you might find on the internet while searching)

    Ha! I may try that. “I turned over a rock yesterday and found the latest pronouncements from Dr. Fauci.” “I turned over a rock the other day and discovered that the global money supply has increased three gazillion percent.” “I turned over a rock and heard that Harry and Meghan are now complaining that …”

    Yeah, I like it.

    2.) The key is don’t give politicians credit for anything

    You and me? Nevah! Now to persuade all those other people.

  5. Myself
    Myself May 17, 2021 4:03 pm

    Most of what you wonder about is simply because most people ignore nuance. Street protest played a role in ending the U.S. war on Vietnam, just like the U.S. war on Vietnam played a role in Ruby Ridge, as did the Manson Family,.
    And Vietnam ( notice how I abbreviated) and Ruby Ridge, and Rodney King played a role in the O.J. Simpson verdicts
    Human nature

  6. jed
    jed May 17, 2021 7:34 pm

    “If you’re dissatisfied with your current life, ask yourself what your current life is a metaphor for. The metaphor will point you towards your true calling.”

    I don’t even know what that means. Probably works better for the arts / writer types Pressfield’s book seems targeted towards. It’s difficult to imagine a metaphor for dissatisfaction that points to a “true” calling.

  7. Toirdhealbheach Beucail
    Toirdhealbheach Beucail May 17, 2021 9:51 pm

    Claire – Without even getting to the bottom of the list, the first thought out of my head was “Because people are foolish”. I then got to the bottom of the list, where you effectively say the same thing. Would it be a fair thing to replace “foolish” with “Short Sighted and Short Memoried”? We establish phrases like “Googled” because it is easy, not realizing we are creating language ruts. We think people “solved” things or we will not be impacted by things, because we do not look much far over the horizon or we forget how things worked in the past (After all, history is hard and old). It is not that we (well, not the “we” we reading this) are these things – it is just actually pondering and thinking about such things is hard and takes time. And we, as a society, neither value or promote thought and pondering the way we should (I would have said “used to”, but has a society ever really truly valued its philosophers and thinkers? Socrates was killed by popular demand, and that was over 2400 years ago).

    Also, you sea star is very lovely (and quite colorful!). I have always admired people who can do physical art, as I have absolutely no talent in the field at all (I can color in coloring books. With crayons. Or maybe colored pencils. But very slowly. And always within the lines).

    Jed – Agreed that Pressfield is largely writing for an audience that deals in art. That said, to read Pressfield’s backstory (and it is worth a read. There seems no-one less likely to be a best selling author based on his background), his life reads as a metaphor. He was dissatisfied – and once he found the cause of his dissatisfaction, he realized what he needed to do. So I suppose the question I am constantly examining is why am I dissatisfied with my life? In the nature of that dis-satisfaction lie the seeds of what I should actually be doing.

    (For myself, finding the actual cause of dissatisfaction, not the proximate cause, is the issue. I am constantly getting trapped down rabbit holes that lead nowhere).)

    Your Obedient Servant, Toirdhealbheach Beucail

  8. John Wilder
    John Wilder May 18, 2021 8:56 pm

    Nice picture!

    I ditched the Alphabet search. To be fair, they ditched me first . . .

  9. Toirdhealbheach Beucail
    Toirdhealbheach Beucail May 19, 2021 5:59 am

    John Wilder – The remarkable thing is that there are now plenty of options out there but in many cases it seems like the majority continue to That Which Shall Not Be Named. The fact that I am sure among that group are many that would consider themselves to be independent thinkers is perhaps one of the great ironies of our day.

  10. larryarnold
    larryarnold May 19, 2021 3:45 pm

    Great sea star. Color me green with envy. My little brother inherited all the drawing genes from our parents.

    a way of raising exceptionally driven kids
    Yup. Not a lot of balance there. In particular, you don’t see kids who become celebrity stars, and peak in their 20s, doing much afterward. (There are notable exceptions. Consider the looming California governor election circus.)

    Re. Biden: A much tougher test is how you handle unforeseen difficulties as they arise,
    “Unforeseen,” really? How can anyone look at the cities progressives run and believe in the advertised “benefits.”

    I suppose this revokes my Mole Card: Amici Brief States.pdf
    Pgs. v and 4.
    But it’s For the Cause.

  11. larryarnold
    larryarnold May 19, 2021 3:47 pm

    Sorry, the link broke. Add ” Amici Brief States.pdf”

  12. Val E. Forge
    Val E. Forge May 19, 2021 9:55 pm

    Anyone familiar with Sponge Bob’s best pal knows that sea stars are highly intelligent, even geniuses!

  13. Comrade X
    Comrade X May 20, 2021 7:45 am

    Larry, agitators are just as important as the moles!

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