Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, January 13, 2017

Three Things

1. We got more snow last week and I did well by doing good, thanks to my three-year-old son. At home with him Friday, while my daughter was in kindergarten, I took him outside to play with the snow. Almost at once, the sun peeked out from behind some clouds. "That's sparkly," he said, smiling, and causing me to enjoy again the wonder of snow through the eyes of a child.

After observing me brush off the cars while we were outside, he also spoke up to offer me a good idea for the first time. I was showing him how he could loosen show from his boots by kicking at the steps. He said I should just use the brush. That made me smile, too.

This isn't the first time my son has offered me solid help: He is good enough at remembering where things are that, if I am unsure, I can often ask him where something is and have him come back with it, moments later.

2. My wife and I have a movie night planned in the near future -- but It's her turn to pick, and she wants the new Star Wars movie. Intrigued by favorable reviews of La La Land on HBL (but afraid it might not be in theaters when my turn to pick comes), I made time to catch a matinee showing. This was one of the few times I didn't consult Scott Holleran before watching a movie I picked. But I did look up his review afterwards and found him to be spot-on, as usual:

La La Land comes with realism. This film is not escapism, despite those minimizing it as such. In fact, what's most distinctive about this picture is its blended, balanced sense of a whole life, specifically, the whole life of one who creates. [Director Damien] Chazelle delves into how hard it is to create; how it's lonely, stressful and agonizing, including why it costs and why the artist's life is going to be to some degree cruel, not kind. Like the title, La La Land imports what haters regard as artificial about LA and strips it bare, showing that it's where the artist creates work that adds value, power and life. [bold added]
I highly recommend the movie and, with the desire to see it out of my system, I plan to enjoy Rogue One on its own terms this weekend. But remember: If you do see La La Land, make sure you turn off your oven before you leave home.

3. I encountered the following fun fact while conducting some research: there is a strain of bacteria that can live off caffeine:
[Ryan] Summers and his colleagues found these caffeine-feeding bacteria lolling in a flowerbed on the University of Iowa campus. Although that hardly seems like a logical place for such a stimulated species, Summers explained that it is far from jolting. "Due to the extensive presence of caffeine in the environment, it is not surprising that there are bacteria that can 'eat' this molecule for growth and reproduction," he wrote in a summary of his new research, set to be presented May 24 [2011 --ed] at the 111th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans.
These are related to a strain that was modified to become the first patented organism in the world.

Weekend Reading

"Every person plays a role in someone else's life, and if their personality changes, so too will that role." -- Michael Hurd, in "Not Everybody Welcomes Change" at The Delaware Wave

"By refusing to labor under the delusion that you'll 'finally' be caught up, you'll get the same things done -- minus all the nervous baggage." -- Michael Hurd, in "You'll Never 'Catch Up'" at The Delaware Coast Press

"What is news that the Democrats and their friends in media, and academia, openly talk about Russian hacking as if there's actual proof that it happened." -- Michael Hurd, in "Dems Sore Losers With Election Hack Outrage" at Newsmax

"If offending others is taboo, then free speech isn't a right, it's a privilege exercised at the sufferance of whoever has the thinnest skin." -- Steve Simpson, in "Charlie Hebdo Two Years Later: Will America Continue to Protect Free Speech?" at The Hill

Productivity: Not Its Own End

Interestingly, on the very day I decided to buy one of these to evaluate it, I ran into a thought-provoking article (via Allison Green) titled "Why Time Management Is Ruining Our Lives." My executive summary is that it's because so many people treat "efficiency" as a goal, rather than ask themselves what they want to achieve. Merlin Mann, of Inbox Zero fame sums the problem up nicely:
If you're just using efficiency to jam more and more stuff into your day ... well, how would you ever know that that's working?
The article isn't perfect -- It lays the blame on "capitalism" at one point -- but it can help you put reams of "productivity" advice into better perspective. And, regarding that, see also Michael Hurd (linked above) on getting "caught up."

-- CAV

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