What Now?

He was the king of Corinth and a brilliant man. In the Iliad Homer described the king as “the most cunning of men” (Iliad, 6:153). Sisyphus was so cunning that he cheated death twice. Sisyphus tricked Hades and Thanatos. Sisyphus got his comeuppance at the hands of Zeus though and was condemned to push a boulder up a hill for all eternity. Every time Sisyphus neared the end of his task the boulder will and does roll back down hill. Today any task that feels like it will never end or is stuck is often described as a Sisyphean.

We have all been there. The project is rolling along swiftly we are making our deadlines and then we hit a brick wall. There is one task or part that seems to never end. What do we do now? How can we handle a task that seems to never end or what do we do when we are stuck?

When you feel stuck it is important to understand what you are stuck on and why. Not why you are stuck but why the project is taking place. What business problem are you addressing? Often the answer will change the direction of a project sometimes it will not. Sometimes it will reinforce the importance of the project. The most important thing that why does with projects and life is refocus.

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Write down. When you write something down you use the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe is the part of the brain for movement, reasoning, judgement, planning and problem solving.

Talk about it. When you speak you also use the frontal lobe. Speaking and writing will help with problem solving and reasoning.

Finally reach out for help. Sisyphus didn’t have the support structures that many of us have today. Friends, family and colleagues are often looking for ways to help and want to help we just often do not ask. Never be afraid to swallow your pride and reach out for help.

You remind me of Lenny Kravitz

Tell us about your favorite pair of shoes, and where they’ve taken you.

One of the best jobs I had was working for Hugo Boss in the IT department. The house has some amazing clothes, great designs quality stuff and I got a pretty great discount. I would wear my Hugo Boss suit to work with a pair of Hugo Boss trainers or sneakers.

I eventually meet my wife at Hugo Boss she still works there but I do not. IN IT the mantra “You have to move out to move up”, has seemed true for my career. My wife worked in a different department however we would see each other at lunch and of course we carpooled together to and from campus. There was a sample sale one year while I worked there and at the sale there was a pair of amazing red trainers that I had to have. I bought the shoes and wore them so often that they were worn out and not salvageable after about three years. I wore those red shoes with my suits and sweatpants. I wore the shoes outside of work and I even wore those shoes to church.

I love wearing sneakers with my suits it is a trend that still hasn’t died for me, but the red shoes did die. I put the red shoes in the recycle bin about 2 years ago. One year at a Hugo Boss holiday party my director approached me and my future wife and mentioned how me wearing sneakers with suits reminded her of the singer Lenny Kravitz. I love Lenny Kravitz! He is so cool, his music and style are amazing. If I had any doubts about wearing athletic shoes with dress clothes they where all washed away by that compliment. Later that year as a gift my wife gave me a bobblehead in my own likeness. I was in a suit and holding my ipad and on my feet.. You guessed it those red trainers!

17 years old

Are you patriotic? What does being patriotic mean to you?

I joined the United States military at the age of seventeen. When I turned 18 I left Cleveland Ohio for US Army Basic Training. My enlistment in the army was only three years and I spent every year in a different dessert in a different country.

I joined the Army for a bunch of different reasons, I was avoiding college, I wanted to see the world and I felt like it was the patriotic thing to do. Patriotism for me was the love of the idea of the United States over the actual United States.

Ideally the United States allows every person the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I believe that the declaration of independence makes it clear that these rights, life,liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable. Because they are unalienable they cannot be given away or taken by any government. Growing up I loved the idea the the United States government would work to preserve these rights for everyone.

After leaving home I watched many people even citizens of the United States get denied these rights under the cloak of patriotism. Xenophobia and racism sit behind patriotism with groups like the Oath Keepers and the Liberators. These groups are part of what is being called the patriot movement but they do not believe in life. liberty and the pursuit for justice for all. The idea of the United States was and is still poorly executed but is one of inclusivity. Everyone has these rights no matter what the color of their skin is and what their heritigat. The Patriot movement is exclusive and will not afford these rights to people based on their race, religion or sex. The current patriot movement is shameful and sadly very unpatriotic.

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The hate from the Patriot movement has bleed over to mainstream politics and into the political parties and their actions. There is nothing patriotic about banning people from travel based on their religion or race however this happened in 2017 for three months and was done under the guise of protection. This is not patriotic at all it is the opposite of the great idea that the United States was founded on however it was not the first time that the idea of the United States was perverted.

Since the beginning of the founding of the United States patriotism was perverted to wage war on the indigenous people of North America. There have been 1,500 attacks on Native Americans by the United States government and countless crimes committed against the native American people. The genocide and total disregard was also cloaked in patriotism but that was not in line with life. liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.

I like to believe that I am a patriot not because I served in the US Military but because I believe and support the idea that every person in the whole world deserves life, liberty, and to pursue happiness. I support everyone’s right to freedom no matter what that a living beings, race, sex or religion is. Being a patriot is understanding how great your nation should and can be if it has good core principles and lives up to those principles.

All of my Dung Beetle

It is Feb 10 2023 here in the United States and very soon (in four days), most of the country will celebrate in some shape or fashion St. Valentines day. Saint Valentine was a priest who was beaten and beheaded by the Roman state for his crimes. It was against the law for Roman soldiers to get married however, saint Valentine broke the law and conducted the marriage ceremonies for the soldiers. While imprisoned saint Valentine fell in love with the jailers daughter and wrote her a secret love note signed from your Valentine. This is why we pass notes to this day.

Saint Valentine believed in the power of love and the heart. Did you know that Egyptians believed that the heart was the part of the body where the soul and intellect of a person resided? It’s true when Egyptians were mummified all the organs but the heart were removed the heart stayed with the body. When the goddess Ma’at took the person to the afterlife she would weigh the heart against the feather of truth and if the heart was mean or heavy the soul was punished. Egyptians represent the heart as a dung beetle or scarab.

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When we love someone and marry them we pledge our heart to them meaning intellect soul and all of who we are. Everyday we should work to make this persons life better for them with all of who we are. When I think about love and the heart I cannot help but imagine the song that was the soundtrack of the movie starring Johnny Depp. The movie was Don Juan DeMarco and the song was Have you Ever Really Loved a Woman by Bryan Adams.

In the song Bryan Adams sings about how loving a woman involves giving up everything for that person and working for that person and basically giving your heart or your dung beetle to that person. The movie involved a man named Don Juan who was a prolific lover and being treated by a therapist for an over active imagination.

Maybe the best Valentine we can give today is a dung beetle on a secret note.

They didn’t get Alcatraz but…

If you live in the United States of America chances are high that you are not a descendant of the native Americans that lived on the north American continent prior to Chris Columbus and the subsequent genocide and colonization, which resulted in the United States of America. The exact percentage of people in the United States that are not descendants of Native Americans is 98.7.

Native Americans only represent 1.7 % of the population of the United States. Being such a small minority has many issues with it. Native Americans growing up in the United States of America are strangers in their homeland. The conquerors have killed most of their family and poisoned their land.

Native Americans are near extinction however there is a spirit in the population that makes the voice of less than 2 million people sound so much larger. For 19 months on the island of Alcatraz in San Francisco bay native Americans occupied the that island between November 20, 1969 – June 11, 1971.

In April of 2016 Native Americans protested the building of and operation of the Keystone pipeline. The pipeline was built but it was shut down and abandoned and emptied of oil after only two years of operation.

The Native Americans have and are not enduring but thriving in a climate that has been and continues to be hostile towards their existence.

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There is a movement in US politics in which education about the history of the United States is taught to not include the native Americans. This is a foolish and dangerous movement!

Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Winston Churchill

Genocide is a sin that should never be committed and yet, right now there are nine state led genocides happening, and 10 non state led genocides happening. The number one tool against genocide and human failings is education. Through education society becomes better. If anything, the United States should be working towards a better and more robust curriculum that certainly includes the genocide of the Native Americans not the opposite.

My hope is that we will all work together to teach our children the truith and make the world a better place. This topic kind of remind s me of a great song by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Enjoy the vide and learn as much as you can today

Started with a red paper clip

If you are ever in Saskatchewan Canada visit the Paperclip Cottage Cafe . If the food is half as good as the story concerning the cafes origin you are in for a real treat.

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Kyle Macdonald look at a red paperclip on his desk and thought about the game he played in school called, “Bigger and Better”. In the game you would trade up for items that were bigger and better. Kyle put the red paper clip onCraigslist in an effort to trade up and in one year and fourteen trades later Kyle had a house. You probably guessed it but that house is now teh Paper Clip Cafe in Saskatchewan Canada.

I am not going to spend this blog retelling the trades, however you should watch the Ted Talk with Kyle in it. He retells the trades in great detail and during the talk he has pictures of people from each trade. I like two things about this story most first is the humble beginnings and second is the pictures.

It all started with a tiny paper clip but Kyle knew it would be big and was big. I assume he knew because he took pictures. As a kid we are often taught about consequentialism. The idea that no effort or actions are wasted and they all have consequence. This can be easy to forget especially when we fall into routines and do the same things everyday. The tasks become route and seem inconsequential but they are not. We would do well to consider the consequences of our mundane and route tasks. If a task is routine and consequential at work many efficient managers would find ways to automate and supervise the task. Supervision and not performance of the task should free up time for the employee to engage in tasks that are more complex and not quite routine. The tasks though never go away.

Realizing that every choice we make in life has consequences can seem pretty scary however a better way to handle this responsibility is to take a picture of each thing we do and celebrate our choices (as long as they are moral).

Every trade Kyle made was a chance to meet new people take pictures and celebrate. If you haven’t watch his Ted Talk it’s really good! Kyles enthusiasm is contagious. today at work home or play realize and celebrate the actions you are part of and have fun with it! Take pictures and enjoy the ride!!

Nuances and Novelties

“Let’s try to do this a different way”. The coaches reaches down and grabs the hockey stick from the player as they speak. The coach isn’t yelling or demanding they are simply suggesting and nudging the player to do something in way that they believe is more efficient, quicker and more powerful.

Our brains are incredible machines that compute, calculate and control complex systems all day long. Research into the brain has taken some major steps and is still being done everyday. So far it seems like the brain works through a series of connections and when we learn something new you create a new connection. More research shows that creating new connections makes for a happier and healthier brain. Lack of new connections may even cause the brain to slow down and bring on brain diseases.

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Learning comes from doing. It is practice that is one of our best teachers. You learn to ride a bike better by riding the bike as opposed to reading the theory about riding a bike. What new thing did you do yesterday? What new things will you do today? Finding something new to do can become a little bit of a chore especially when we are in our routines. The best way to accomplish doing something new everyday then might be through adding the novelty to our routines.

Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn, and you will.

Vernon Howard

The world is a vast and amazing place and I am convinced that if a human spent everyday exploring the world they would run out of days before they ran out of places and things to explore. Now if someone lives long enough and was ambitious enough and did explore every place on earth I would challenge them to look up (especially at night), astronomers have discovered more than 3 200 stars with planets orbiting around them in our galaxy. There are probably 2 trillion galaxies in our observable universe.

My wife has told my eight year old niece on multiple occasions that “only boring people can become bored”. There is much truth to this adage.

To not be bored takes a person of action There is a pretty great Ted Talk about avoiding and dealing with boredom. Approaching everyday as a day to get new things done will help us be better more healthy people. Also imagine how much more exciting society will be if everyone is doing something new everyday.

Again and again and again but….

Today is Feb 2nd 2023. Today is Feb 2nd 2023, and it is Groundhog day. The Groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil will be brought out of his den and if he sees his shadow he will retreat back into his den and we the people will experience 6 more weeks of winter. It’s all true this tradition has been going on in the United States for 136 years. The first groundhog day was Feb 2 1887.

There was a movie in 1993 called “Groundhog day” in the movie the meteorologist is cursed by his ex girlfriend to relive groundhog day until he can find true love. Groundhog day has been repeated for 136 years and will continue to be repeated. In computer programming there is a technique called recursion. Recursion is when you repeat a process and break that porcess down each time you repeat it. As you repeat the process the process becomes bigger or smaller until you have accomplished your task. An example would be, a program that takes the phonebook in a user phone and goes though and calls everyone until it has called all phone numbers in that users phonebook.

When I was 9 years old a school teacher told me that there were simple machines and complex machines and that complex machines were simple machines grouped together to perform a task. To my fathers chagrin I became obsessed with machines and took apart anything I could get my hands on. My grandmother understood me and bought me encyclopedias. I enjoyed the encyclopedias with the illustrations the most. I loved to learn how things worked and didn’t work. Everything in life was a simple machine connected to another simple machine it was great.

Recursion is a technique that can help when solving some complex issues but it has to be done right. We have to repeat all but a few things every time or we could find ourselves stuck in an infinite loop.

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Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.

Vince Lombardi

When faced with complex tasks that we must repeat we would do well to learn and grow by evaluating each iteration and improving on how we perform the iteration. The wash rinse repeat and reform is how we grow.

This or that some all none

Almost every study program at an American University includes a course on applied ethics. Peter Singer has literally written the book on Practical Ethics and his book has ben the course text for applied ethics in many courses. Most of the book has an Utilitarian slant to it in that Actions are right or wrong depending on the extent to which they promote happiness and prevent pain.

Ethics matter because it can often become hard to know what the right thing to do is. Ethics guide us in our relationships and life. Adherence to ethics makes the search less prone to error’s. Lying in ones research is simply unethical and causes issues with research built on the lies. Ethics matters in business as well as research it is unethical for a business to cause pain to another person until it isn’t think of all the military contractors in the world and the militaries themselves causing pain is a big business but who and when and how you cause the pain becomes ethical quagmires. Deontological ethics would state that causing pain is wrong and should not be done however Utilitarian would say that fi we harmed few people to save hundreds it is not unethical to do so. This is where ethics becomes a little “sticky”

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few

Captain Spock Wrath of Khan

It is best practice to not paint a person or place into a situation where they would ever feel that harming someone is their best option.

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I consider eating animal based protein and ethics. Is it ethical to eat animal based protein? I don’t think it is. Not on a utilitarian level “the joy I receive when I eat a burger or fried chicken cannot be greater than the death of a sentient being.. Eating animal based protein cannot be ethical on a deontological level either. It is not acceptable to kill a living sentient being.

Why then did I go to the grocery store and pick up a pound and a half of chicken to cook tonight? Am I an immoral killer? I don’t think so but I will be eating chicken tonight that I will cook. I think for me there are a few reasons that I committed this perversion. Please bear in mind that none of the reasons stand for proper justification for my diet. What follows is just my thought process

  • It was convenient I know it is awful and harsh but the truth often is. I buy animal based protein and eat it because it is convenient. The world to include the United States is a food centric culture and the mains staple of our food is animal based protein there are millions of recipes and restaurants for animal based protein but plant based protein options while they are growing are in short supply
  • It was cheap Animal based protein is highly subsidized and therefore at the point of purchase average 10 – 20 percent less than plant based protein
  • It is cultural I was taught in the church that animals do not have a soul! Crazy right? The elephant that cries for a baby until a group of people rescue doesn’t have a soul? What in the world.. Rene Descrates said that animals cannot feel pain. This is incorrect animals can and do feel pain. There was a study done that proved that mice can feel empathy. All the facts about animals and their place in this world fly in the face of our culture. Animals are sentient beings no matter what or how grandma cooked

I am morally inclined to become a vegetarian but it will be difficult to beat the barriers of entry. What then should I do?

Start slowly and do at least one night a week when I do not eat animal based protein (this will not be tonight as I have already bought the chicken).

My hope is that one meal will become two and so on. Give myself encouragement and rope in others.Roping in others can be hard to do without coming across as judgemental on them and that s the last thing I want to do to family however I cook most of the meals at the house and I think if I can cook tasty filling vegetarian options I can find some cheerleaders among my brood. I have already tried with black bean burgers and they are a family favorite.

Be deliberate, I cooked the black bean burgers on whim not for a moral reason but now I am charged with a moral reason and will be deliberate with at the very least on meatless day a week.

Remember my why. Every time I consider eating meat on my meatless days I will watch the video of the elephant crying for help of people when its baby is trapped I think this will work to steel my resolution.

We can’t even agree on this

In elementary school I was taught that, Polio was a deadly disease, that killed many and if you survived you usually ended up with a deformity. Then I was taught hat Jonas Salk discovered and deployed the world’s first Polio vaccination. I was taught that a vaccination delivered a vaccine and a vaccine was a “blueprint” of a disease and with that blueprint my bodies cells could learn and fight the disease.

I was in elementary school a long time ago, about 30 years ago. 30 Years passed and another pandemic faced the world. Covid 19. A vaccine was discovered and deployed, and there was a pocket of the United States that would not get vaccinated. 22% of the United States are unvaccinated from Covid 19.

There were 3 strains of polio and of the three 2 are eradicated and 1 is only present in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan and Afghanistan both face pockets of vaccine hesitancy. Currently there are three known strains of Covid 19 and they are all active. Polio vaccination rate in the United states is 92.5% right now. Polio vaccinations began in 1955 in the United States and the country was a little different then. Many believe that the reason Polio vaccines were more accepted than the Covid 19 vaccine was because the country as a whole had a deep respect for science.

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It is terrifying that the United States cannot agree on what should be basic science in an effort to save humanity. I am terrified because Covid 19 is one crisis of many that society will face and is facing. Humans are cooperative species and humans must cooperate with other humans in order to survive and thrive. If humans cannot cooperate enough to come to a 90%vaccination rate against Covid 19 what else will our species disagree on? Climate change, gun violence, the human rights of LGBTQ+, the human rights of people displaced from their country? Humans have to come together and form shared truths one of which is that vaccines are good for everyone and should be taken.

I see a bigger want and desire to come together in my childrens generation than mine so there is some hope for the future but I do not want to be part of the generation that could not even agree on the science of vaccination.