Monday, February 27, 2023


A successful lesson well-taught is one in which the student achieves the target set by the teacher, or to put it another way, the proof is in the pudding.

I have a friend who is a master of martial arts.  He is a large man, an inch or two taller than I, and by his testimony he weighed 255 pounds at the time of this incident.

Kirk, I use that name because it is his name, was instructing a class of tykes in the technique for escaping the grasp of a stranger.  He was holding the wrist of a six-year old girl, somewhere between 40 and 50 pounds in weight. He told them, "If you are caught in the grasp of a stranger, to free yourself, stretch his arm out, hop back, and sit down. " She did, and my friend was flat on the floor before he knew what happened.  When he looked up, his little student, garbed in her white judo gi, looked down with a big grin on her face and reached out her hand to help him up.

Good teacher.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Unintended Consequences, #T

 or, Foreseeable Future is an Oxymoron.

People do not, as a rule, set out to make bad decisions. But poor choices are often made, and by intelligent people employing the latest methodologies. This is directly attributable to the fact that we cannot see into the future, nor can we picture the outcome of the decisions we make in spite of the hiring of "experts" to do an in-depth study to determine the "impact" of our plans.  We may pay these experts thousands of dollars, particularly if we are a government entity and the thousands of dollars belong to the public coffers, which, I emphasize are filled from the pockets of the public at large, and yes, that means from you as an individual taxpayer as well. Spending other people's money (OPM) seems to be quite easy to do.

The problem with most decisions is this.  The original impetus for the proposed plan is to improve the circumstances of a given situation, to implement progress, one might say.  The problem is that once the person or group of persons (read congress, committee, council, board, what-have-you) latches onto an idea that appeals to the person or to the majority of the group that body immediately is seized of tunnel vision. They can see the entrance to the tunnel, they imagine they see the light at the end of the tunnel, and perhaps they do. but what they cannot see is what inhabits the tunnel, lines its walls and lives within them, so to speak.  They cannot see the bumps in the road, the fissures in the ceiling, and above all else, they cannot see what is on the other side of the mountain awaiting them when they get to the other side.

There will be unintended consequences. These call for more decisions, and in all likelihood more of OPM.  This is the way the world works. And whether the issue is a hurricane of national or international import, or simply a tempest in a teapot, people will take sides, second-guess, point fingers and generally fail to improve the situation or the circumstances. It's the way we are.

    A. There will always be unintended consequences to every decision.

    B. There will be good decisions, even some made by committee, believe it or not.

    C. The ultimate impact of even the best decisions cannot be foreseen.

    D.  Bad decisions will always require more decisions to deal with the unintended consequences. Some of those decisions are likely to be unfortunate as well, requiring more decisions and more of OPM.

Sip your tea, pay your taxes, respect your neighbor, be kind, and hope for the best.  It's the best we have.