Thursday, October 24, 2013

Secrets Of Successful People: Making Firm Decisions

Or: “Revisiting Decisions is the Death of Peace of Mind.”

Oh, how I envy those people who can make decisions and then consider the matter firmly decided.  I haven’t read the books, but I’m sure that it’s one (two?) of the secrets of happy, successful people.

I can’t do either thing myself.  Making decisions in the first place is difficult for me, and having made a decision I will revisit it for what can only be described as “as long as possible.” 

“Self doubt” is the capsule description of this problem, and there is no doubt that self doubt has contributed mightily to the lack of success and happiness in this world (Guilty, your honor). 

Successful people must not only be decisive in all matters, they must also be incisive.  They must analyze the issues carefully, understanding them if possible, and come to reasonable conclusions.  They must then be confident in these conclusions.  They must allow a firm decision to stand, although prudence often dictates that a decision come with a back door, where an escape may quietly be made if problems arise.  Even successful people are liable to make wrong decisions, and only an arrogant fool would stick with a bad choice no matter what happened. 

It must be emphasized that a decision, once made, should be adhered to except in cases of clear error.  Revisiting decisions is often a sign that one is being overly self-analytical, which is never a good thing.

I’m also pretty sure that successful people never avoid decisions that clearly must be made.  Avoided decisions will usually decide themselves, and the results may be unpleasant.  Avoided decisions are not the same thing as deferred decisions or delegated decisions.  Many times a decision should be deferred until the arrival of more information, and sometimes it is best to let your wife decide on the pattern for the silverware, or where you should go out for dinner tonight, or where the family should go on vacation. In fact, if your wife wants to make all of the decisions for the family, you might as well just let her.  

The unfortunate truth is that the real issues here are self-confidence and self-doubt.  “Self-confidence” is a core personality trait; good decision making skills are a side effect.  It is also unfortunate that telling someone that they should be self-confident has the same chance of success as telling someone, if they are black, that they should be white. 

So good luck all of you decision revisitors.  Constantly revisiting decisions is the death of peace of mind.  The only advice that I can offer for this problem would be to go cognitive on it.  Recognize it when it happens, recognize that it is a trigger of sorts.  Stand up and say, out loud if possible, “I'm sticking to my decision.”  The odds are that you were right in the first place.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Misfits - Bullet

Just to be clear, here's the song referred to below.

This one was "released" in 1977 I think.  It sure got my attention.  I remember thinking how great it must be to have an artistic vision so clear that the artist doesn't give the least concern to offending people or making them uncomfortable.  Very pure expression, this cut.

Destroy All Monsters - November 22nd 1963

If it weren't for Norman, I would never have heard of this band.  Very good band, very droll.

Very topical cut right now.  Big anniversary coming up next month, FIFTY YEARS!  "President's bullet ridden body in the street, ride Johnny ride!"  But that's another song (story).

For me, the very interesting thing at this point is how big a part the Beatles played in helping us overcome our grief after Kennedy got zotzed.  The first time I heard of the Beatles: September 1963 in the New York Times Sunday magazine.  November, the man gets it in the head.  January, Beatlemania saves America.  Happiness returns.  Amazing, the uses of death.

Art + Truth = Censorship

This is an accurate depiction of the fate that descended on thousands upon thousands of Polish and German women at the hands of Red Army soldiers in the closing months of World War II.  To be fair, it could be much more objectionable without exceeding the bounds of naturalism.  For instance, her brains could be flying out the back of her head as the soldier achieves orgasm.  So yes, this woman would be one of the lucky ones if she wasn't shot after she pulled the train.

The poor artist, a twenty-something art student up in Poland somewhere, is in a world of trouble for showing this piece.  It might even be a hate crime!!!  If hating these all-too-common aspects of war is a hate crime, kill me now.

The Russians are upset, somewhat predictably.  I am the first to give the 1940's Soviet G.I. Joe his, and her, full measure of credit.  They were amazingly tenacious and brave, and they rolled up the over-matched Germans like a damn crepe.  Their great achievements are not, in my estimation, sullied by the facts that they were often drunk and that getting carried away with the revenge thing was a daily occurrence.  Russian officialdom would have us delete all of this negativity and concentrate on the "heroic" part.  How dare this Polish artist (that's an 0-2 count right there) draw attention to the "carried away" part?

I'm behind the artist all the way on this one.  I do hope that fate doesn't fall on him too hard, like it did on the poor woman in the sculpture.  The Russians can be as sensitive as they wish back in Russia, at home.  They shouldn't be permitted to intimidate the rest of us.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Good Reason To Write

Why should anybody write anymore?  Especially, why should anybody write a novel?  These are good questions. 

Writers have been reduced to the status of "content providers" in this Internet age.  Mostly unpaid content providers at that.  And writing novels, Jesu Christus Corpus Dei, 98% of the effort expended around the world on that enterprise is now, officially, a waste of time, money wise at least.  Are there other reasons to write? 

I found a good one the other day in an article in the Atlantic Magazine about the writer V.S. Naipaul, the article was written by Joseph O'Neill. 

Mr. O'Neill believes that "writing carefully and at length is almost necessarily an act of self-transcendence."  The writer can, by writing, become another thing.  Mr. O'Neill goes on to say:

"A deep formal rationale for going to the enormous trouble of committing words to paper over time is to find respite from the intellectually and morally chaotic buffoon who goes through the world minute by minute, and to bring into being that better, more coherent human entity known as the author." 

He was discussing the difference between Naipaul the man and Naipaul the writer, but the idea could serve well as a principle applying to most of us who write. 

Maybe I should finish that novel after all. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

H.P. Lovecraft Nails Republicans To The Wall

I came across H.P. Lovecraft's opinion of Republicans recently, in a letter he wrote in 1936. He gets it just about right, I think:

"Republicans . . . a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness an condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural handicraft world, and revel in . . . mendacious assumptions . . . utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience."

He finishes up the rant with:

"Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead."

Guys don't get much more interesting than old H.P.  He never graduated high school but he turned himself into a very educated fellow.  Science, philosophy, literature, the man was erudite.  Maybe with a touch of the monomania though, he knew what he liked and he studied it.  

And he wrote about it.  Almost everything he ever wrote concerned the unknown spaces beyond ordinary reality, or at least the dimly perceived corners of the universe itself.  

I think that he got the Republicans just about right.  They were just as bitchy in the 1930's as then are now.  You know, the New Deal is the end of freedom and property rights in America; Roosevelt is an agent of the Soviet Union.  What a bunch of Johnny-One-Notes!  Nothing new under the sun!   

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

swamp dogg synthetic world

But yes, I do have time to check out the tunes on the 'Tube. 

I have this LP but I must admit that my copy is a promo that I got from the salesman while I was working at Licorice Pizza in L.A.  I was motivated to check some tunes because I found an interview with him earlier this evening, I think it was in the Oxford American (on their web site.  They're known as the "New Yorker of the South," worth checking out.) 

Sorry about the no-new-blog-posts thing, but I'm tapped.  But soon, a cleansing! 

Mea Culpa

I've been really busy, hence all of this not-writing. 

Next week I'll be in L.A. and, counterintuitively, I'll have more time for things like complaining bitterly about meaningless bullshit and showing off my dubious erudition. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Gaps In YouTube, Like Little Jimmy Scott For Instance

There's some great Jimmy Scott on the 'Tube, but it's spotty.  Lots of stuff is missing.  The videos that are up have dismal view rates too.  Why, you'd almost think that people didn't have any idea what was good these days!!!

Like the Persuasions, for instance.  There's a goodly number of videos up there, but the hit counts are low, low, low.  I'll go out on a limb here: I know it's not just me that thinks Jimmy Scott is one of the greatest.  It's a fact, Jack.  People should be listening to more of his songs.  I'd suggest more Persuasions too, that stuff has happiness hard-wired into it.  Maybe it's a problem with the education system in America, teaching to the tests and all. 

May I also put in a word for the Last Poets.  Those guys were great, what senses of humor!  (Irony alert)  I must admit that there's a lot more of the 'Poets up now than there was even a year ago, so that's good.  Low hits though. 

People, listen up.  There's more to life than Miley Cyrus, the Beatles, and Jay Z.   

Saturday, October 5, 2013


What?  No sex?  No cocktails?  No weed?  No acid?  No oxy?  No X?  No cocaine?  No 'shrooms?  No hash?  No cigarettes?  No ups?  No 'Ludes?  No downs?  No smack?  No speed? 

So, you're shitting me, right? 

Well okay . . . thanks anyway . . .

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The High Numbers (The Who) live in 1964

Ooo pa pa doo mother fucker!  Great song choice.  This OG footage of the Who in a previous life is totally amazing.  Styles not yet fully formed, but Keith at least sounds like himself.  All the way on the fun program, they were all-fun-all-the-time until "Tommy" came out and they kind of took the cure. 

This early stuff is the bomb though.  Great clear footage too.  Thanks, somebody. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Big Youth - Touch Me In The Morning

People, and various media, always make the 1960's sound so great.  Believe me, apart from muscle cars and a dawning music scene the 1960's weren't so great, what with the war and all kinds of bullshit from all angles. 

By the 1970's the war was over and the bullshit was all worn out.  Things just started to happen, big time.  Better music and better drugs, at least I think so.  Thanks Big Youth for an inspirational cover of what had been a mediocre American pop song.