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Gus Van Horn blog

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Gus Van Horn blog last won the day on July 16

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  1. Four Meta-Wins Having fallen two and a half months (!) behind in reviewing my daily wins, I realized I could kill two birds with one stone by doing so during blogging time this morning. This caused me to see patterns in the "wins" and make a few connections. So I'll blog a few of the more interesting of these "meta-wins" below. *** 1. I started off the process of writing this post by making a list, naturally. But part of the idea of coming up with three wins each day is following through, and it quickly became apparent that I am not reliably doing that. This realization is a win in itself,
  2. First, a definition from our modern Oracle, Wikipedia: Political rehabilitation is the process by which a member of a political organization or government who has fallen into disgrace is restored to public life."Restored to public life," sounds anodyne until one stops for a moment to consider just what the hell a removal from "public life" is supposed to mean, and under what circumstances anyone is able to make that happen. In any event, I noted some time ago that the media-left establishment was attempting a species of removal from public life regarding Sweden: That nation -- falsely rever
  3. Looking back on notes from Barbara Sher's excellent I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was, I ran across the following quote regarding work in a "wrong" job: [R]emember what each day is for -- not to make your boss happy, not to impress your school chums, but to get knowledge and skills for yourself.This is profound advice, but my immediate reaction on seeing this again was to think Shouldn't this be in the back of one's mind in any job? The quote also got me thinking on the subject of what a job actually is, and that eventually led me to the following rather lengthy quote by Ayn Rand
  4. It Can Pay to Be Creative About It Image by Magnet.me, via Unsplash, license. "I've seen a lot of writing tools that came out of someone writing a dissertation or some other book," remarks John Cook in a post he titles, "Make Boring Work Harder." Within, Cook describes a common practice that is similar to my own, except for the fact that I am usually motivated by the desire not to drive myself crazy with "repetitive tasks or tasks made unnecessarily difficult," say, by a lousy software interface. I completely agree with him on a point I hadn't thought of, when the objection arises that su
  5. The New Yorker has taken a look at a 238-page congressional report and come up with exactly the wrong conclusion regarding government oversight of the aviation industry. I won't rehash the conversion of Boeing from private corporation to creature of the government, or how ludicrous the idea is that the government didn't have enough control over Boeing is: I blogged about those last year in a post titled "What Happened to Boeing?" Instead, I'll content myself by quoting two paragraphs that should cause fans of government "oversight" to at least squirm a little. First, we have the following
  6. Four Things 1. Before the pandemic hit, it looked like Pumpkin, aided by the desire not to be seen sucking her thumb by her peers, was finally on the verge of quitting the habit. Fortunately, school is back. But before then, I had started doing an irritating jingle (as in the video clip below) whenever I would catch her in the act. In the process of singing, "Thumb-thumb-thumb-thumb! Thumb-thumb-thumb-thumb-THUMB!," I recalled my own parents part-cajoling my brother and me and part amusing themselves by singing "Eat, eat, eat, eat! Eat, eat, eat, eat!" at dinner time when they had troubl
  7. Some time ago, Blogger, a Google subsidiary, changed its post editor. I haven't used the native editor for much in years, so the impact of this change on me was only mildly irritating. I found ways to avoid the problems I encountered and mostly forgot about it. Apparently, though, the change has been quite a headache for others, including people who, like me, sling their own HTML. Since I'm happy enough with the platform, but mostly avoid using its editor, I figured I'd pass along my solutions to the problems others have mentioned. The biggest source of problems from the change (which was
  8. Then, courtesy of Ayn Rand: The best illustration of the general confusion on the subject of business and government can be found in [Stewart] Holbrook's The Story of American Railroads. On page 231, Mr. Holbrook writes: Image by Bernhard Gillam, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain. Almost from the first, too, the railroads had to undergo the harassments of politicians and their catchpoles, or to pay blackmail in one way or another. The method was almost sure-fire; the politico, usually a member of a state legislature, thought up some law or regulation that would be costly or awkward to th
  9. Make more of them. It's gorgeous, but what can we do about it? (Image by Remi Yuan, via Unsplash, license.) Over at Cal Newport's Study Hacks blog are an interesting idea and some very good discussion about how author Michael Connelly works. I love the title, "Michael Connelly Starts Writing Before the Sun Comes Up," because it sounds so unremarkable, until the reader realizes it could have gone on with, "And Doesn't Let Silliness Like Daylight Stop Him." Connelly uses blackout shades to keep his office dark all day long. This both preserves the quiet solitude so many of us love about the w
  10. Quiz time. The fallout from China's decision to stop accepting plastic for recycling from overseas has been: If it were economical to do something besides landfilling these, there would be no need to force anyone to do it. (Image by Tanvi Sharma, via Unsplash, license.) a. American governments admit that recycling currently makes no economic sense for plastics, and end plastics collection; b. Environmentalists reconsider their advocacy of such programs in light of the time and money they waste; c. The public belatedly recognizes that burying useless waste is sometimes a better option tha
  11. Four Things 1. Smoked mackerel ice cream may sound gross to you, but I'd definitely try it. That fishy/savory take on ice cream is just one I learned about when I stopped by Strange Maps and saw a tourist map of Lithuania showing where to get any of "the country's 47 weirdest ice cream flavors." Others included bacon, beer, and rhubarb. I'm not a dessert -- or even a sweets -- person, so I'd probably find many of these less weird than most people. 2. Yeah. I'm not going to Europe any time soon, either. But I did recently get a peek at what a German city looked like a century ago from th
  12. In City Journal appears "The Dark Side of Remote Work," by Hyon Chu, author of the serial Digital Agency. After briefly sketching how well all the remote staffing prompted by the pandemic has worked out for some companies, Chu issues an old warning with a technological twist: Image by Tobias Tullius, via Unsplash, license. Covid-19 has provided the perfect context for large corporations to concentrate their power and resources. As businesses across the U.S. suffer economically from shutdown policies, larger firms have made financial gains. A sharp increase in unemployment has weakened the
  13. The Democrats' disingenuous riff on Warren Harding's 1920 campaign slogan isn't the only thing about the political landscape that resembles the one of a century ago: We also live in a time when the censorious impulses of anti-freedom crusaders are on full display, and deserving of ridicule. This makes a 1922 anthology titled Nonsenseorship worth a thought. A review of the book, which is now public domain, appears at Public Domain Review, and states in part: Warren G. Harding (Image by Harris & Ewing, via Wikimedia Commons, fair use.) You will find no sympathy here for censors. "Their
  14. The Democrats' disingenuous riff on Warren Harding's 1920 campaign slogan isn't the only thing about the political landscape that resembles the one of a century ago: We also live in a time when the censorious impulses of anti-freedom crusaders are on full display, and deserving of ridicule. This makes a 1922 anthology titled Nonsenseorship worth a thought. A review of the book, which is now public domain, appears at Public Domain Review, and states in part: Warren G. Harding (Image by Harris & Ewing, via Wikimedia Commons, fair use.) You will find no sympathy here for censors. "Their
  15. Here's something that sounds familiar: A prominent politician makes an insulting statement about a political opponent, only to turn around and help that opponent within the year. Said politician never substantiated the earlier charge nor gave a good explanation for the reversal: We need to quit doing this. (Image by Patrick Tomasso, via Unsplash, license.) In June 2019, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., tore into former Vice President Joe Biden in a Democratic primary debate. She openly suggested that he was a racist whose past political activity would have kept a "little girl" like her from a
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