Saturday, April 9, 2011

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts
Robert A. Hall

Some day I’m going to give the restaurant hostess this fake name, just to hear them announce over the PA system: “Ménage á Trois, Party of Three.”

Notice how many folks are again worried about the danger of nuclear power, when it has killed no one in the US so far, while coal has killed many thousands and even wind power has had many deaths due to accidents. But I remember after 9/11, people standing around smoking outside office buildings while vowing never to fly again, because it wasn’t safe. Annual deaths due to terror that year: under 3,000. Annual deaths due to tobacco: over 400,000.

People who know I have an eventually-terminal illness, Pulmonary Fibrosis (which kills as many and probably more people every year than breast cancer, but doesn’t get 10% of the research funds breast cancer gets, not being apolitical disease), ask me how I do so much. That is, I work full time, spend a couple of hours a night on this blog, still read a book a week, write a lot, deal with the usual chores like shopping and cat litter and cope with family stuff—despite a frequent bad cough and dragging an oxygen tank behind me. I answer with a line from the passing of John Quincy Adams: “When death finds me, it will be at the post of duty!” I think that sounds classier than, “Beats the hell out of me!”

Actually, the secret of my getting a lot done is that I watch almost no TV. Shows never, the news in the morning as I prepare for work, football with a book in my hand. I never saw an episode of American Idol, Jersey Shore, Glee, any of the reality shows or whatever else is currently the TV fad. I play no computer games, I don’t text my friends or tweet and I delete most e-mails with funny videos, cute sayings or inspirational messages. We all get 24 hours every day, but we don’t all use them productively. I try not to let other, well-meaning folks use up my time on trivia.

Leftist blog readers often tell me not to watch so much of Fox News. I almost never watch Fox or the other news stations because I find the panels shouting at each other unenlightening. They should tell me not to read so much.

Isn’t it funny how much the media frets over a backlash against Muslims and Islamophobia every time there is an Allah-murder or an attempt to kill people in the name of Islam, when the 2009 numbers show that there were about eight or nine religion-based hates crimes against Jews for every one against Muslims in the US? Hate crimes against Jews have been much higher for several years, despite the lack of Jewish murders of innocents in the name of God.

The people who should be “Islamophobic” are, of course, Muslims, because the vast majority of the victims of Allah-murder are other Muslims who just happened to believe slightly differently than the Jihadists, or were in the wrong place at the wrong martyrdom.

I had dinner with a Marine buddy recently who I last saw in December of 1965. We picked up where we left off, telling sea stories and jokes. Old friends are really the best.

The “Entitlement Riots” started in Greece, spread throughout Europe and are now taking place in the US. My prediction: they are going to get a lot worse as it dawns on people that the money has really run out.

The days are long, but, boy do the years get short when you get older.

Everytime Microsoft releases a new, improved program, I find it harder to use, because the things I want to do are now hidden and it's cluttered with thousands of things I'm not interested in doing.

Have you noticed that our side “passes” legislation, while the other side “rams it through”?

Despite all the talk of “Brave Freedom Fighters” on CNN, I haven’t yet heard from a Mohammad al-Washington in the Middle East.

Having lost four good friends in the past year, and with some others in health care battles where the issue is in doubt, I find that one of the burdens of growing older is the increasing number of really great people you know who are dead.

Doesn’t it seem like there are only about two hours between you saying, “Thank God it’s Friday” and the Monday morning alarm clock ringing?

I’ve reached the unfortunate age where indulging in a large glass of water can add three pounds.

When a leftist shows up and says, “I’m here to do good,” he’s usually there to do well.

When I was a teen, I couldn’t drink much beer because it was illegal, thus hard to get. When I was in the Marines, I often couldn’t drink beer because I couldn’t get it. When I was in College, I couldn’t drink much beer because I was poor. When I was in the Senate, I couldn’t drink much beer because I couldn’t afford to be seen over-indulging. Now I can’t drink much beer because of my weight. I suppose the next step is not being able to drink beer because I’m dead.

I have a small staff. I let them manage their own time and tell me what hours they worked on their pay cards. They are free to take off for family problems and make it up or take PTO time. The flexibility makes them much more efficient. I also tell them what the goals are, but not how to do their jobs. When they ask me what to do about something, I usually say, “What do you think?” 95% of the time, when they tell me I say, “Make it so.” As a result, I have a staff that is innovative, efficient and very productive. You will have noticed that I get these excellent results by doing less work myself. I think micromanagers that have to control every detail are basically insecure and feel threatened by people who can think and act independently. How’s my management style working out? I’ve managed several organizations in my career and each has been stronger and in better financial shape when I left than when I got there. Some people think I’m just lucky.

Organizations that try to do everything, do most things poorly.

People ask me why I have no tattoos, being a Marine. I say that when I was drunk enough to think about doing something permanent, I couldn’t walk to the place to get one. Besides, God made me ugly enough without my adding to it.

I’ve been known to buy a book I’ve already read, because I wanted to have it on the shelf. Having it in the Kindle doesn’t seem to have the same appeal, probably why I haven’t bought one. Yet.

Conservatives celebrating the far left attacking Obama might wonder if it’s just a re-election ploy to make him seem centrist to the independents.

Looking at misstatements, gaffes and errors by Bush, Palin, Obama and Biden reveals that how the media responds doesn’t depend on what you say, but who you are.

Ah, well, the old sayings are, “Freedom of the Press belongs to he who owns one,” and “Don’t pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.” I’m still smarting from the times I forgot the last one.

I don’t agree with all of it, but pound for pound, there is still more wisdom in Robert Heinlein’s “Notebooks of Lazarus Long” than anything else I’ve ever read.

People recoil at the thought of being permanently strapped to a bed, fed well by tubes and able to watch anything they desire on TV for entertainment. So how come so many of them want the government to take care of their every need? We are breeding Hothouse Humans.

Please Congress don’t stimulate us anymore—we can’t afford it.

There is now almost no functional difference between “propagandist” and “journalist,” as journalism schools have taught the profession’s responsibility is to advance an agenda, not factually report the news. Hence the distrust of the media.

The media have recently suppressed stories when the lives of journalists were at risk. I wish they cared as much about the lives of American troops.

Polls say the country views itself as 40% conservative, 40% moderate and 20% liberal. Think what the numbers would be if the vast majority of journalists and professors were not evangelical liberals.

A recent survey showed that 37% of college graduates were not able to reason logically and come to conclusions. I wonder if we weren’t better off when professors saw their duty as teaching students how to think, not what to think.

I remain firmly convinced that the country is headed for disaster. Obama didn’t do that, we all did, but he has certainly helped grease the skids. Bitter joke: I asked my stock broker what he was buying these days and he said, “Canned goods and ammo.”


  1. Insightful as ever.....I do hope your health is holding strong....I think of you often.

    All the Best


  2. I just read everything you wrote here, and can't disagree with a thing.

    Well said.