The Book of Good Living: Innocent Until Proven Guilty

innocent

A common thread that has run through many of the stories we’ve seen in the last few years, about the public outcry over genetically modified crops, and over the PCBs which GE dumped in the Hudson River here in Upstate New York, is that there is insufficient proof of the dangers. The implication is that anyone harboring baseless suspicions about these things, which are after all the result of scientific progress, is either a Luddite or a superstitious primitive.Nobody ever says it out loud, b … [Read more...]

The Wrong Answer on Race

race copy

This is my second Charles Barkley-inspired post. You can find the first one here – Assholes and the Umbrella of Safety – but I’ll echo the quote from that first one: When asked about a report that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson isn’t seen as “black enough” by some of his teammates, the NBA Hall of Famer went on a rant about how “unintelligent” black people believe they have to hold successful African-Americans back.“For some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a th … [Read more...]

The Book of Good Living: Favors

begging rabbit

I was in a position to witness a young woman asking people for a cigarette at a highway rest stop a few days back. “Could you give me a cigarette? No?? Oh, please, please, please! It’s just one cigarette, and I really NEED it. It’s just one lousy cigarette!”She ended up crying (!), complaining tearfully about how rude people are nowadays. “I just don’t understand (sob) how people can be so RUDE. Anytime I have cigarettes and someone asks me for one, I (sob) give it to them. Some people are su … [Read more...]

Assholes and the Umbrella of Safety

a-holes

Retired NBA star Charles Barkley said something recently, something probably reported with the intention of shocking readers, but actually fairly tame, all things considered. Here: When asked about a report that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson isn’t seen as “black enough” by some of his teammates, the NBA Hall of Famer went on a rant about how “unintelligent” black people believe they have to hold successful African-Americans back.“For some reason we are brainwashed to think, if … [Read more...]

Book of Good Living: The Risk Rule

risky

My approach to risk is tuned toward the more sensitive end of the spectrum. (We're not counting the bull riding, which was a 20-something macho-guy one-off.)As I said in my last post, I've gotten to the age of 62 without a stitch, a broken bone, or a major accident of any sort. I've done it by following a rough rule for dealing with risks.So here's my Risk Rule. (Note that this applies mainly to physical dangers, and not to existential hazards such as being turned down when asking … [Read more...]

Book of Good Living: The 5 Second Rule

5 seconds

No, this has nothing to do with dropping food on the floor. This is about the OTHER 5 seconds, the one that gives you a cushion of safety in everyday life.The simplest statement of the rule might be: “Look 5 seconds ahead ... in every direction.”Every person who drives is familiar with the concept of looking ahead. Some of us do it badly, and end up in rear-end collisions, or even pileups. Some of us do it well and see cops on the side of the highway a half mile or so in advance, so we ca … [Read more...]


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