Thinking Wisely

In order to think wisely I need to read wisely. I like to read real Historians, not self-titled. I like to read real Philosophers, Musicologist, and Scientists.

If 98% of the world’s leading Climate Scientists (from 192 countries) agree about the dangers and causes of Global Warming I believe them. I’m sure, especially if I needed huge sums of money to maintain power, I might kowtow to Big Oil and all their allies and don’t allow my brain to read any scientific truth. Or if my ego was so big I figured I know more than 11,000 of the worlds’ leading Climate Scientists I might call Global Warming a hoax.

Things get trickier when we task our brain to dissect Philosophers. They aren’t to be dissected, just thought about.

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What is life about?

Philosophers learn to look and write about the world…its problems, people, history and possible future. Philosophy is separated from physical science.

From Aristotle, Plato, Thomas Aquinas, Confucius and John Locke we watch great brains dealing with questions about knowledge, reason, minds, values and language.

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Philosophy teaches our minds how to think, analyze and question.
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Back when we allowed our American banks to bring the world economy to its knees we also lost a great Philosopher. He died in June, 2007.

I decided to get one of his books because after a person dies the press starts talking about their greatness. I wish I knew about Richard Rorty when he wrote the book I purchased. The title is “Achieving our Country.”

Last week I remembered a few lines in this book, written in 1998. Now these lines are also being spread around the internet. I guess we now see the importance of great Philosophers, and reading and absorbing. It might have warned some of us to open our eyes and listen.

This is a paragraph, written in 1998, that you might enjoy.

 

“members of labor unions, and un-organized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers – themselves desperately afraid of being downsized – are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else. 
At that point, something will crack. The non-suburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for – someone willing to assure them that once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen and
post modernist professors will no longer be calling the shots…
One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion… All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet

 

You may now, loudly, blow out your breath.

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How to Fix a Broken Pizza

How to Fix a Broken Pizza?

The answer is “tomato paste.”

Just kidding, needed a title for today’s post.

Some of you probably think I’m a Pizzaholic. Nope. It’s other things that make me look this way. Could be genes, could be food, but it’s not Pizza. Maybe I’ll order some pizza six or eight times a year. But I’m still a snob about my “favorite” way pizza should taste.

I do have favorite local pizza. I love the New York pizzas and in my estimation only one place in this town makes New York tasting pizza. That is Cataldo’s. Many locations but most importantly, one near me. A plain cheese pie–well done, thank you.

However if you happen to be serving most other brands I will be happy. There are only two pizza’s that I have this “thing” about. I won’t eat them. That is Little Caesars and Domino’s.
Scratch off Domino’s. Pretty good pizza now. What happened?

I don’t chase the stock market anymore. I used to have some fun with options. But, I still watch prices and trends.
Suddenly I see incredible break-out number with Domino’s.
I decide to investigate.

First I eat one. You can’t have higher and higher stock market numbers if you don’t have a good product. Now they do. Those commercials, embarrassing but honest, really worked. That was half the battle.

I remember the CEO appearing in every commercial. The customers would say things like: “The sauce tastes like ketchup” “The crust tastes like cardboard”  “The worst pizza I ever had.”  Then the CEO, Patrick Doyle, would promise to fix each of those problems. Doyle was hired as CEO in 2010. The stock was selling for $8.76 per share…and falling.

A personal note: I can’t think of a tougher business to turn around then the pizza business. Once a reputation is out there what can a company do to turn around a giant chain with bad pizza and falling stock prices?

Well he first fixed the pizza. Researched every pizza in the world and made changes from top to bottom.

Then he fixed the delivery system. A new designed “pizza lover’s batmobile.” Warming oven for 80 pizza’s and just one seat for the driver.
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The CEO, Doyle, stated that two principles of marketing had to be used to make this giant turnaround.
NUMBER ONE. “Loss Aversion” is a typical thought pattern in big business. The pain of loss is double the pleasure of winning. That makes changes extra tough. Play not to lose, rather than playing to win. I can only imagine the competition in the pizza racket. From Pizza Hut, Papa John, CPK, and Little Caesars, and dozens of favorite local joints, playing it safe is the easy thing to do.

But he didn’t. Doyle stated that a leader must accept the fact that “failure is an option.”
Yet playing it safe is the riskiest course of all.

The second business principal is “Omission Bias.” Most business leaders play to not lose instead of playing to win. Everyone sees the cost of a move gone badly.
Few see the costs of a move not made.

Can you imagine opening a pizza chain in Italy? Not even Starbucks have tried that. Domino’s have done exceptionally well in Italy. They are extremely popular in Japan.
Here is the new delivery  by Reindeer bikes this Christmas in Japan.
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Of the 800 people who work at the home office in Detroit, over 400 of them are in software and analytics. A large part of the delivery system is the ordering system. There is no cooler phone app for delivery of anything than the Domino’s app. They have won the “app” crowd.
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Pizza Hut is number one in total sales, but Domino’s is climbing up their back as #2.

Oh, and that $8 stock in 2010. Wish I would have bought it.

It’s $168.28 today.

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Old Charlie is on another Binge

Old Charlie would take a couple days off because he had been on a binge. It didn’t matter because old Charlie owned the business. The employees would shake their heads, purse their lips and pick up Charlie’s absent duties.
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Then there was the beautiful daughter of some friends who was diagnosed with an eating disorder. This was years ago in the ‘60s when a new term, for we lay people, became common. Binge and Purge. Sounded like a quirky English Pub sign above an ancient wooden entrance.

For my limited vocabulary the word ‘binge’ was used for drinking or eating too much.

Like millions of others this past week, I binged. Not on food, not on booze. On Netflix…once again.

The common word today, because of Netflix, for watching entire seasons released at one time is binge watching. I binge-watched “The Crown.”
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I can’t recommend a finer new series.

It doesn’t have the mouth-dropping scenes of “Breaking Bad” or the oh my god shocks and twists of “Game of Thrones.”

It’s a rare treat of beauty, history and brilliant acting. It is the most expensive drama Netflix has ever made.
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Some of us, very few left, remember the televised (black and white) ceremony of Queen Elizabeth (still kicking, still queening) taking the throne. Her father, the late King, was an accidental ruler because his brother, King Edward abdicated the throne to marry the American Socialite, Wallis Simpson. She was divorcing her second husband when the King announced he was going to be husband number three.

Nope. The kingly-rules stuff says you can’t do that. So young handsome Edward said he could care less about being the King if he couldn’t have the woman he loved.

You can’t make that stuff up.

His brother was then chosen as the rightful kingly dude and his daughter, Elizabeth, became the next err to the throne.

So this true Hollywood style story, sat inside and outside of the most elegant buildings possible, is a binge watcher.

Try it, you’ll love it.

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Vacation

vacation:  freedom or release from duty, business, or activity.

See you soon

on-vacation

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Gold and Platinum

When I was a kid my Mom and two of my Grandmothers had many favorite rules to live by. When you’re a kid they come across as actual rules. So serious that a little kid better pay attention or evil things might happen.

Later in life I just shook my head and laughed at the fallacies of some of these silly sayings.

I remember the “wear clean underwear in case you get in a wreck and nurses and doctors see your dirty underwear.” Whoever started that irrational thought? I don’t think my Mom ever disbelieved such silliness.
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One of my grandmothers said it was bad luck to put a hat on a bed. And of course most of us were told if we blow out our birthday candles in one puff you will get your wish answered. And of course good luck is guaranteed if you find a four leaf clover, a ladybug or a horseshoe.
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When we were little kids walking to school we had to be careful along the sidewalk because if you step on a crack you broke your mother’s back.

Even as adults we became a little bit stupid when we refused to build 13th floor hotel rooms or hospital wings. Really?

Some of our “rules” to live by were real and well-conceived.

The Golden Rule was taken from the Bible (Matt. 7-12 or Luke 6:31 whichever turns you on) which is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Our American English used simpler language, “Treat others as you want to be treated.”

Beautiful polished gold texture

It’s still a good rule, but when you think about it I may not want to be treated the way you want to be treated. I may not want you to treat me with your values, your wants, your thoughts.

That’s when the Platinum Rule works better, for weird people like me. People who may have different wants. In other words, treat me like I want to be treated. That’s the Platinum Rule and it will definitely win me over.

Always keep the Golden Rule in play, but some people don’t want to be treated as the focus of attention (like you might want to be) or treated with public recognition like you might like to be. That’s the time to use the Platinum Rule…Treat Others Like They Want To Be Treated.

Have a great week.

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They’re Playing My Song

A segment of high school graduates don’t ever return to their high school reunions. Once they leave they want nothing more to do with those days. It’s not one particular reason for the shunning of those memories. Actually it can be dozens of reasons and it is what it is. If those years caused bad memoires then no need for instant replays.

I fall into the larger group who always looks forward to the reconvening of adolescent times with that group of guys and gals who experienced the tunes, teachers, sports, dances and of course raging hormones.

It doesn’t matter that graduation might be a half century removed. We become teens again, listening to the favorite tunes, and retelling (with embellishments) the same old war stories. Most of us actually feel that age again. It’s some kind of magic elixir that reunions provide. Our brains become teen brains and we even look at each other with our teen eyes and memories.
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We reunion attendees don’t analyze those magical transformations, we just say so long, go back to our normal fast-aging minds and bodies, and hope to see one another five years hence.

I recently read some great studies with old farts and reliving older teen times. Amazing transformations took place.

A group of men only, aged from late ‘70s to early ‘80s spent seven days sequestered in a refurbished monastery totally transformed into 1959. |
All news, television, pictures and talks were things from 1959.

Every day the professor administering the test study led talks about current news of the day.

Fidel Castro was just entering Havana after his glorious march across Cuba. Panty hose were just invented. The USA had just launched their first satellite, trying to catch the Soviet Union who already was bragging about their successful Sputnik. Baltimore was victorious in the NFL Championship game (eight years before any Super Bowl).

Current best seller books were discussed like, Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger and Leon Uris’ Exodus. Current pop tunes were played like, Ricky Nelson’s “Never Be Anyone Else But You” and Paul Anka’s “Put Your Head On My Shoulder” and Dion and The Belmonts’ “Teenager in Love.”

Movies were watched like Marilyn Monroe in “Some Like It Hot.” TV shows played the hits of Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason and Jack Benny.

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It was a total seven day immersion in 1959.

Obviously complete physicals and photos were taken before and after the seven days.

A control group of same-aged men were also sequestered for a week in a retreat. These men were told they would be reminiscing about 1959. However they were not in the controlled environment as the first 1959 group.

The second group of men reminiscing about 1959 were studied the same regarding their before and after photos, physicals, etc.

Bottom line:

The second group had no changes…period.

The controlled group that were living daily as if it were 1959 showed dramatic improvement in their physical pictures…they looked considerably younger.
Their memory, vision, hearing and physical strength had improved. They all looked, felt and acted younger.

 

I’m writing a letter to my classmates to vote on the possibility of having our high school reunions every six months.
Might gain a few years back.

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Imagination not Fear

It didn’t take long for Millennials to be the largest living generation of the United States. The latest estimate of 83 million blew past the 74.9 Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers are aged 50 to 69 years old.
Millennials are aged 18 to 34.

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When the oldest Millennials were in grade school they started using smart phones. They have never know a world without fingertip instant questions answered of knowledge, sports scores, weather everywhere, movies, plays, restaurants and menus, maps and directions, calendars and appointments, instant ticket purchases for anything, instants music of any kind, movies or television on demand, professional quality camera, instant scrapbooks of family and friends with photos, message talks and text talks to most people all over the world, social media posts, barcode scanning, personal clinical health records and evaluations, Dictionaries and Thesauruses, and last, but not least, they can make phone calls too.

My point being they are the future that has exploded the world we other three hundred million souls are trying to stay sane as we can’t believe we actually have over 200 passwords (true) to navigate our lives.

Multitasking used to be talking to our teenagers while we did the dishes. Then we installed dishwashers. Wow, we couldn’t believe the time we saved. At that time we thought the world was really changing fast. Ha!

I love most of the changes. I’m sorry the Millennials will never know the joy of forming relationships like we did. The long, quiet walks together. The communication while holding hands, not smartphones. But I don’t want to change them or impose my values like many of my peers

We have so much anger, and most of it comes from the spinning world leaving us behind. We want to blame everybody and force the world  to… you know…go back to when things (America) was great. When times were slower and the immigrants were mostly lite-skinned and didn’t scare us. When white men made the laws and ruled the place.

Sorry, it isn’t going to happen you poor angry people.

We aren’t going to accept a world where we threaten our rivals with jail.
We aren’t going to accept a world where we torture our enemies and kill their families.
We overwhelmingly reject breaking up our agreed alliances and treaties.
We aren’t going to live in a world that rejects Science and negates truths as Chinese hoaxes.
We won’t allow our leaders to use bullying, intimidation and humiliation of people they disagree with.
We won’t ever accept our leaders to demean our mothers, our wives, our daughters.
We reject any leader who cannot apologize for horrendous statements and lies.
We can’t have a leader who only knows mastery over others and therefore can never understand the principles of free trade, of NATO, or the separation of powers and compromise.
We will never accept a leader who demeans a Federal Judge because of his parent’s ethnicity.
We will not accept our leaders threatening our public newspapers.
We will never accept the first candidate in our nation’s history to subject our press pool to mob hatred.
We cannot accept such a small-brained person who actually muses about using nuclear weapons.

Most of all, because our world is changing so quickly we cannot turn our anger into acceptance of a political movement run by a group called “Alt-Right” which describes our fast-changing world into a “hell whole of chaos, disorder and crime” that can only be fixed by a doofus strongman who they control.

Most of all the Millennials won’t allow their new world, which, by the way, is already very great, to be destroyed and regressed to a time when America was not so great.

Thanks for that Millennials.
We angry old white guys sometimes lose our way in these fast paced times.
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