I almost titled this “Back to the Salt Mine” but it seemed that Back In School was actually better. Today was my first day in a class room as an enrolled student, yes taking a class, in 23 years. It was fun. It was interesting. And things have certainly changed.
Last fall, I read a book called The 10 Minute Cognitive Workout. I was skeptical, but I tried it and got amazing results. And quickly – almost instantly. This book explained a thing called cognitive reprogramming. Reprogram the executive centers in your brain and the rest of you body falls into line. It really only takes 10 minutes each day. It really works. I’ll describe my experiences, tests, and trials in other posts.
Having been bitten by the bug of unexpectedly good results, I did a little reading and found this other thing called neuroplasticity. In neuroplasticity, our brain is constantly changing and adapting to the things and environments we experience. And to make things even sweeter, our brain is constantly growing new brain cells. So, if we are going to tend a garden lets go for a great crop.
I sat today in that purposefully uncomfortable student desk and took the first lecture in my Psychology 101 course. (It is 102 in the course catalog but that just indicates a way better introductory class). The professor launched us off with the usual line “so much to cover, so little time” – don’t be disappointed – which is secret academic speak for I am going to kick your butt and if you can keep up you will learn a lot.
My hover board is stowed away. My text book at the ready. In class today, I see that most material is introduced on the web and not in the classroom. You can literally drown in all the stuff a department staff can link into a course web page. But hey, we’re paying for this and a lot of the posted stuff is really good. I haven’t experienced online quizzes yet or take home exams or papers written in the internet age. It will be fun. Psychologically, I’ll probably finish as a better man. Or at least a smarter man.
I am enjoying today.
I am staying focused.
I notice how well the day is going.
I am feeling fully and deeply alive.
I am experiencing inner joy.
I am laughing more and more every day.
I am sleeping deeply and soundly every night.
I am beginning to feel more and more calm.
I am becoming more and more patient.
I am creating positive relationships.
I am feeling good about my progress.
I am resting and relaxing.
Happy Veterans Day! And thank you to all the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen who answered the call of duty. Serving in the armed forces of the United States is an experience that is unique in our world. We have the best equipped and trained fighting force on the planet. To be sure there are still duty rosters, and weekend duty, and frequent moves and additional duties but when it is mission time we know that the best individuals are deploying with the best equipment and they know how to use it.
There are two groups that must also be recognized on this day.
Most of those warriors out there have families. Sometimes the family moves with them and sometimes the warrior deploys and leaves the family back home. So the family is either uprooted and starts over or manages the separation by keeping up a long distance relationship. Either of these is hard but it gets done over and over and over.
Behind all those soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen is an unseen army of contractors, tradesmen, designers, engineers, farmers and a host of others who produce all the uniforms, boots, radios, vision equipment, meals, vehicles, shelters, weapons, drones and on and on. Without this magnificent tail our tooth would soon stall.
Today we have the National Military Medical Center on lock down after an as yet unconfirmed report of a shot fired. The media are everywhere reporting on the location of response forces, the routes of entry and departure that are now blocked and the places where people are caught in long line traffic jams. If you were looking for the sweet spots in this target we have highlighted them in glowing neon.
Just last week we had an eerily similar event at the Navy Yard. Report of a shot fired. The Yard was locked down. The media showed us everything – who responded, great visuals that lets us identify the responders (facial recognition is easy these days) and detailed views of their equipment (read weaponry). So now anyone watching this knows what agencies will respond, what police and fire and rescue will respond, where they will locate, where the press will be allowed to go and how big the response force will be. And in the clamor for any news, we who are looking on learn quite a bit about how the various agencies and organizations interact.
If someone wanted to significantly damage security forces in our Nation’s capital they have found us playing with all our cards face up. One phone call will trigger a massive response – closing a facility and completely gridlocking the area around it. Remember the shooting of CIA employees waiting in traffic back in 1993. I’ll bet the bad guys do. Or just as significantly, many of the response forces are pulled from other areas. Those areas are now lightly covered or not covered at all. So that simple phone call (no act of violence) has formed a very attractive target rich environment. Heaven forbid that an evil person or group planned ahead and planted IEDs in that area, or remotely controlled weapons.
I am all for security and safety. But a key part of operational security is to not tell your opponent everything you are doing and what you are going to do next. I’d like to see the live coverage toned way down and have those of us not involved leave the operation to the operators.
Two very similar events in less than a week cause me concern. If this is reconnaissance they’ve probed a military facility and a military medical facility. If Joint Base Andrews suffers an unconfirmed shot fired incident, I am turning my cards face down and raising.
Maybe we should take a lesson or two from the Muslims. They don’t eat pork and they don’t use alcohol but we don’t see them parading around and demonstrating about the outrage caused by those of us who do enjoy pork and alcohol. If a Muslim employer declined to pay health insurance coverage for alcohol abuse treatments for his workers (parallel to Hobby Lobby on a different issue but both based on religious beliefs) I doubt our courts would say that was fine.
Muslims practice their faith and tolerate the faith (or lack of faith) of others. They will try to convert you but they don’t use the courts to force their ways on others. Yes, they do have extremists who can be pretty nasty but just turn on the news and listen to the diatribes being offered by our “moral majority”.
Last thing, devout Muslims feed the hungry. They do it gladly, they do it quietly. I have seen it many times.
I am not a Muslim but I tip my hat to the example they set.
There is no life in the Comfort Zone.
Zip. Nada. Nothing. The Comfort Zone is boring, stifling, exhausting.
In the Comfort Zone, you can be a good drone day in and day out. You can help others. You can keep the home fires burning. You can set a good example. But you probably won’t be all that you can be. Not even in the Army.
Exiting the Comfort Zone doesn’t mean you step instantly into the Twilight Zone. There are many, many places and many, many things to do in what I’ll call the Thrill Zone. Experience the thrill of helping a young child learn to tie their shoes or multiply by 6s. Experience the thrill of helping a stranded driver fix a flat. Experience the thrill of taking an elderly neighbor shopping. Living in the Thrill Zone you are still keeping the home fires burning and you are setting a good example – and believe me, others are watching.
This fortune cookie wit about ships is nice but just for a moment, think about the maps used by Columbus and Magellan and all those early explorers. They are sooo different from our GPS registered maps today – and they are flat wrong (pun intended). The great explorers did great things with lousy maps. That sort of proves that you don’t need to wait for a perfect plan before starting.
Get out of the Comfort Zone. And do it now.
My new word for the day “trans-sentient” – that is an individual who thinks he/she/it can think – but most often is dumber than a rock. We see these folks quite often on the news and usually find them employed in government. The artificial intelligence folks are making great progress. Robots are already better than humans at building most things. It won’t be long till they can out think the majority of us. The game expands – animal, mineral, vegetable, robot.
I think today I will be a diamond – bright, sharp, very hard, multi-faceted and highly prized. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be Norwegian – they have fun cruises.
Trans-sentient – you get to chose – anything.
Is Racial Identity A State Of Mind – Washington Post
Symbolism is important in all aspects of life. Examples include: the symbolism of a logo, the symbolism of a lapel pin, the symbolism of a flag, the symbolism of a particular act or motion, the symbolism of certain words and phrases. Each “thing” by itself may be quite small but when its symbolism catalyzes deep emotion the effect can be truly significant.
I saw a new logo this morning. It is the logo chosen to represent Hillary Clinton’s campaign to be our president. It has two vertical bars of blue crossed by a red arrow.
Immediately, when I saw this logo I thought of the heinous attack on the World Trade Center Twin Towers. One could not have picked a simpler, more succinct graphic to represent that act. No doubt, this was not the intent of the originator of this logo. But if the jihadis made this into a shoulder patch just to rub our noses I would fully understand.
Symbolism is important. This logo needs some work.
Once again we see that when management takes action it doesn’t have to make sense.
The Honor Students at Oxon Hill High School in Prince Georges County made a display to show what social justice meant to them. That display was put in the school lobby until the school board pulled it because some found it offensive.
Maybe the school board would also censure the evening news. Almost every night I see a video (shot from a cell phone) of some police office beating, stomping or shooting someone. Almost always that someone is black and almost always it looks like the officers are raving lunatics who have no understanding of measured use of force.
In this display I see pride and patriotism. More importantly it raises the question that the honor students might have been sharing: Just what the hell is going on? We should be able to trust our policemen – all of them. But if you follow the news, with a new case of abuse of power almost every week, I am persuaded to not trust any of them.
We can’t have a society where the population doesn’t trust the law enforcement elements. This must be fixed. But sweeping it under the rug – like the Prince Georges County management has done – is not a solution.
My FOX DC
Daily Caller News Foundation
Sometimes things aren’t what they seem. And not everything shown on the television or reported by our government is the genuine, complete story. This week Islamic State (IS) forces secured the town of Ramadi. Before this move, reports were that IS was damaged and on the defensive. Launching their attack during a sand storm IS forces quickly took Ramadi and now hold key terrain along a major regional supply route.
In March 2003, I felt pretty good as I watched the U.S. led coalition apply “shock and awe” and really pound the Iraqi army (at that time considered the world’s 4th strongest). My good feelings were reinforced when only 20 days later (April 9th) Baghdad fell. In 20 days a reasonably respected military force was reduced to shambles.
We spent 8 years training and equipping the new Iraqi army. We provided billions of dollars in equipment and ammunition. The Iraqis additionally purchased over $20B of U.S. made arms. Even with all this, we see an Iraqi army that falls back over and over when it faces IS forces. These are the IS forces that are fighting from cars and pickup trucks; who use bulldozers rigged with explosives – sort of ad hoc in operational art and certainly not exquisitely armed.
From my seat it looks like the rag tag IS forces produce about the same results when facing the Iraqi army as were produced when the exquisitely armed – billion dollar a day – U.S. force faced it.
Bottom line – we either have an inflated sense of our warrior status (after defeating a rather unworthy opponent) or we have seriously underestimated the combat effectiveness of the IS force. Either is a grave error on the battlefield.
Key Iraqi City Falls To ISIS – New York Times
ISIS Takes Control Of Ramadi – Gazette Review
Prepare For The Battle Of Baghdad – Daily Mail