Accepting the award for most awkward Oscars ever … 2017!

Quite a gambit at the Academy Awards this year.  Did you see what happened with Best Picture?  Bonnie and Clyde managed to pull another caper (more)  Clearly they’ll want to use better accounting to make sure the right parties get recognized without such nonsense. If you did not see Moonlight, you can … rent it on Amazon.  Intense and difficult film.

Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali (link) is the first Muslim actor ever to receive an Oscar.  Must be a coincidence.

As several others have said, “La La Land won the popular vote, but Moonlight won the electoral college.” …uh huh.

And true to Hollywood’s unabashed “liberal bias,” they were very political throughout, even more than usual, which was quite refreshing, making fun of Trumpty Dumpty at every possible turn.  Some hilarious zingers, steeped in truth, thanks to host Jimmy Kimmel’s remarks …  here’s an example:

“I want to say ‘Thank You’ to President Trump,” Kimmel said during his opening monologue. “Remember, last year, when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?,” referring to last year’s Academy Awards, when no non-white actors were nominated for awards for a second straight year. “That’s gone, thanks to him,” Kimmel added, implying that the award show seems much less racist now in comparison.

So, here’s to Hollywood’s backbone … may it continue to make a meaningful contribution to all that is most critically important in the best our society has to offer — the arts, science and technology with a humanist perspective.


Do not read this … save for later


Good NY Times article about procrastination.  Put off reading this as long as possible :>)

The article explains how non-creative, driven types tend toward “pre-crastination” – the urge to start and finish a task ASAP.  Of course some tasks deserve more time … the road less traveled (or not yet constructed), to innovate, contemplate, cogitate … to allow for flow to happen.  Many artists as well as entrepreneurs are good at that more creative allowing, not forcing, discovering what is possible, so why bring this up at all?

Because in between these two archetypes – the dreamer (what could be done) and the realist (what must be done) – is the opportunity for peace, optimal performance and great fun.

The companion blog post that will bring this point home, helping us avoid the “Dark Playground” that is nearly everyone’s nemesis:

The Dark Playground is where the “Instant Gratification Monkey” wants us to go play.  It is the culprit, naturally.  Every good story needs one of these (hint:  dopamine is not necessarily our friend).  Out of all the deep neurological impulses, pleasure (approaching system), pain (avoiding system) and participation (affiliation system), which one usually wins out?  If you are reading this, looking for an answer, I believe you just got served.

I’m not saying this is or is not an issue for you – I do not live in your head … hey, I barely live in my own head!   But reflecting on it may offer some useful perspective.

Here’s a reasonable antidote to this more mental fascination, which is ultimately about our somewhat pedestrian and subjective relationship to time and task completion:  Mindfulness — An Eight-week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World. Quite a joyful prospect in this book, based on techniques even I’m finding useful.

But sometimes poetry captures the soul of an idea more than anything else.  This quick video of author Mark Williams rendering a poem by Roger Keyes, inspired by the paintings of Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) says it all:

Mindfulness says “let life live through you.”

Happy Martin Luther King Day 2016,

Hug One Tree and You’ve Hugged Them All

Okay, nature lovers.  Listen up.  Turns out that the wildly visionary science fiction fantasy in the 2009 film Avatar isn’t so much fiction as premonition. Trees do communicate with one another via underground mycelium web, but not just in grunts and groans — useful things like “Not enough water reaching that sycamore near the sagebrush, … send in reinforcements,” although probably they have an accent of some sort.

In Avatar, The Tree of Souls (Ayvitrayä Ramunong in Na’vi) is a tree where the Na’vi are able to communicate with the biological network.   In the film, the tree is seen to be capable of transferring a specific consciousness from one body to another.[20]

I’m not saying Planet Earth trees are like J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Ent” personification of giants that walk and talk.  To suggest that trees walk is entirely absurd.  But that other thing, the talking part, apparently not so far-fetched.  And more importantly, they not only communicate, but they cooperate, too.

Don’t believe me?  University of British Columbia professor Suzanne Simard explains that “trees in a forest ecosystem are interconnected with the largest, oldest ‘mother trees’ serving as hubs.” Here’s the science and a 4′ 41″ video that tells all: or if that one ain’t talkin’, try instead.

Not to gossip, but it turns out that the underground exchange of nutrients increases the survival of younger trees linked into the network of old trees. Go figure.

Condors at 5:00


This gallery contains 11 photos.

Pinnacles National Monument, California, 1 April 2012 (no foolin’!) Since I have numerous business blogs, I thought I’d use this space to share recent photos and close-up video of condors, once extremely endangered, but now beginning to flourish again, seen … Continue reading