A collection of distilled sarcastic wisdom, numerous photographs, discussions of books and stuff to learn and more stuff to think about from a retired economics professor turned blogger and photographer.
Right now, we are living in a mystic world, a Wonderland, a Narnia, some world that we wish we lived in, but which we have never had nor will we ever have. NBA teams lose during the regular season or during the playoffs, and the first thing to do to remedy this situation is to fire the coach. This result means firing a lot of coaches every year since only one team will rise to the top and we may not even like that team. And even that team will not be perfect.
The public expects a stable financial system, with liquidity of funds unimpeded, but when the financial system is about to tank, due in part to unethical and illegal behavior, the word "bailout" becomes toxic, because uninformed voters expect the financial system to continue on and on in a perfect manner without having to fix it. You want to see what might happen if liquidity had not been pumped into the financial system? Become informed, and stop ranting out of ignorance.
When a new President is elected, the voters and the opposition party all expect all problems that have been boiling over for years, or even decades, to be fixed immediately, and perfectly, without any additional sacrifices for taxpayers or without giving up anything to fix the situations.
Drivers expect all potholes to be fixed. Now. Electric power users expect never to have to go through an inconvenient outage. New stuff is expected to work correctly without having to be returned to the factory or fixed. Even Toyota, the paragon of perfection, finally got caught up with the "total perfection is not possible." Students rarely make perfect grades on exams. Legislators keep telling us they didn't vote for a bill because it was not a "perfect bill," because it omitted or included stuff that countless legislators each had different opinions on. So they vote down bills, waiting for that perfect day when all legislators and voters will agree on a perfect bill and life will go sailing on miraculously without bumps, bruises, and mistakes. Meanwhile, the solution is to throw the bums out. Political ideologies and ideas are perceived as being imperfect. Get rid of them. The new bunch will clean up the mess, balance the budget, solve immigration, abolish oil well blowups, fix global warming, stop crime, abolish sin and corruption, produce a new generation of geniuses from our sagging educational system, abolish sin and misdeeds by Congresspersons, Senators, Governors, and other public officials. Hoo Boy! What a fantastic dream.
The discipline of economics provides a few clues about why we will never have perfection. In anything. And the main reason is that perfection is simply too costly. We might fix 95% of particulates in the air, but we will never have perfectly clean air, ground water, pesticide free produce, or anything else, because the last 5% may cost far more than the first 95% cost. And the last 1 or 2% may cost enough to stagger your imagination. Economics predicts stuff that might happen with rigorous econometric models. Problem is, a little catch-phrase occurs in all predictions: This stuff may happen OTHER THINGS REMAINING EQUAL. Here's the problem: Other things rarely remain equal. Trying to forecast the future on the basis of the past is always a slippery slope. Consumer attitudes shift. Technology changes. Political ideologies change. World social and economic conditions change. Mother nature changes (Katrina, Iceland, etc.). Then, when a disaster occurs like the oil well spill in the Gulf, we act as if nothing like this should ever have happened, and like it should have been fixed. Immediately.
Thus, accidents will always happen. Nuclear power plants will, we hope very infrequently, have "events." Cars will have mechanical failures. Computers will crash. Electricity will crash. Roads will have potholes. The lines will be long at Walmart. Bad stuff will creep into the produce crop now and then. Drugs will have unexpected results. Of course, many mistakes could be avoided if people weren't so lazy and careless, and if they would just doublecheck everything they do instead of slopping through their work without a care or concern for the effects of their laziness and stupidity. But even with the greatest of care, mistakes will happen. The Law of Unintended Consequences and the Law of Unexpected Results will reign supreme.
All of this means that we should not give up on seeking perfection. But we should realize that we live in an imperfect world. We should fix corruption and law-breaking where it arises, but even here we will never catch it all, because each new rule creates loopholes for the unethical to capitalize on another round of possibilities. Legislators will always have, at least we hope only a few of them, flaws in character and integrity. Voters and policymakers will always be short of the information and knowledge they need to function effectively because there is just simply too much to learn, too much to know, so we may become an expert on our little corner of the world, like knowing the best way to operate on a failing knee, but we grasp for air and lean on what others tell us to figure out everything else. And in the vacuum created by lack of knowledge, some clever manipulators fill the void with their own brand of misinformation and ideology as a painful substitute for the knowledge we need to function more effectively as a society.
Finally, this blog post is not perfect. It is full of holes and weak statements. It would probably not even earn a passing grade in a senior class in college, let alone a grad class. But the Curmudgeonly Professor is tired of all the blaming, the name calling, the uninformed bloviating, the irrational and uninformed expectations. But all of that is a part of our imperfect world, right? And soon I'll leave it all to the next generation. And life will go on. Much the same way it is now going on and has gone on since the creation of our great nation. Have a nice day.
See if you can match this orange mat in a frame and mat shop. With digital matting, you have an infinite variety of colors, shades, overlays, and special features to make your mats stand out. Some people like strictly neutral. So do I, but I love the bright colors, also. Double click for fun. I will have this photo up on Zenfolio soon for sale as a print in various sizes.
In between taking and posting zillions of photos of flowers etc., the Curmudgeonly Professor spends his time musing about the meaning of life and the various nooks and crannies and philosophies therein. He can legitimately do so, since he is a genuine doctor of philosophy, even though he has never taken a course in philosophy and has no idea how to even communicate with a bona fide philosopher. Have you ever tried to talk to one of those types for more than sixty seconds? And could you understand even one teensy iota of the verbiage they were articulating and enunciating and emoting? As if they knew the meaning of life and everything happening in it, past, present, and future. However, even the illiterate are perfectly competent to ponder deep, dark stuff that happens and wonder why someone hasn't figure out how to do stuff better, behave more civilly, learn what they obviously need to know, etc., etc. Here is my list for the day. There may be more lists, hour by hour, day by day, but we have to start some where.
Why do some people like the Los Angeles Lakers? A prime point of worry.
Why does Microsoft Internet Explorer stop working every time I get back two or three hours on Twitter posts?
What will the Library of Congress discover after they spend zillions of dollars archiving all of the Twitter posts in creation?
Can I figure out some way to make some expense money selling photo prints and photo cards? How?
What is the meaning of the U.S. Congress? What is it supposed to accomplish?
Why do I continue to bother posting stuff on the Curmudgeonly Professor blog? My sisters and three other people are the only ones who seem to care, thus far.
Can the Magic pull one more off against the Celtics tonight? The Vegas line favors the Magic. Go figure.
Can the Suns knock off the lethargic and weary and shell-shocked Lakers in the home comfort of the Staples Center with Jack Nicholson refereeing and a host of has-been "celebrities" choking the first few rows to get their picture on TV a half dozen times and with Coach Jackson continuing to lament the "no-calls" and Kobe looking on in stunned misbelief for five minutes every time a foul is called on him? Etc.
Can the Cleveland Cavaliers win as many games next year with a new coach who presumably will be much loved and respected by all team members and Cav Management?
Can the BYU girls softball team beat AZ in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen of women's softball?
When will the weather turn warm and quit fooling around?
Why do ducks fly so beautifully and waddle so ridiculously?
What is the appropriate level of knowledge for proper functioning of a public official or legislator?
How many can pass the GOP purity test?
The Curmudgeonly Professor is worried about many other aspects of daily existence. Meanwhile he is happy to congratulate the Utah Valley University dance team who won the Dancing With the Stars competition last night which I miraculously flipped from the Suns-Lakers game momentarily and just happened to catch it. Stupendous. I should mention that, in addition to the above, the Curmudgeonly Professor is a certifiable hypochondriac, catastrophizer, and general pain in the, well, neck.
I drove by the Jordan River LDS Temple today, and the spring tulips have mostly been pulled, so the spring tulip magic is over for another year. But never fear, I have hundreds of tulip photos so, unless you hate tulips, stay with me and I'll show you some amazing tulips. I love the flaming reds below.
SAN FRANCISCO — The halls of Twitter barely chirp. Nearly 200 hushed workers stare intently at computer screens in a generic downtown office building. A World War II-era British poster whispers, "Keep calm and carry on."