San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Three Rules For A Longer Life

It seems as if everybody wants to live longer these days.  That surprises me.  Everyday I hear people tell me how terrible life is.  I am told that the Republicans are going to ruin the world.  I am also told that the Democrats are going to ruin the world.  Both Republicans and Democrats believe that profit seeking businesses and personal freedom are going to combine in order to ruin the world.  Environmentalists believe we are all doomed. Mother Earth is going to rise up and kill us for our environmental sins, or so they say.  Children who attend government schools are taught that we are going to die of global warming, if starvation due to overpopulation or some exotic disease does not kill us first.  Women use taxpayer funds to kill their babies at the rate of over a million per year because they believe it is unfair to bring a child into the harsh world in which we live.  Yet despite all of the horrible beliefs about the present state of the world, citizens in the Socialist Democracy of America spend more money, and a higher percentage of their income, on health care services than people from any other country.  People say that they believe they are doomed and that life is hardly worth living and then they spend tremendous amounts of money to try and extend their lives.  It seems as if there is a serious disconnect between what people claim to believe and the way they behave.  That does not surprise me.  People are weird that way.
Since so many people want to live for a long time and since so many people consider themselves qualified to give advice on how to live longer I have decided to reveal the three principles of longevity that the Welsh have know for centuries.  Be forewarned, these three principles have been a Welsh family secret for hundreds of years.  I may end up suffering some sort of cultural discipline for revealing these truths but I need something to write in this blog today.  So, without any further ado, here are the three secrets to long life:
Secret # 1:  Exercise.
No, I am not recommending that you join a gym and jump around an air conditioned room with a bunch of yuppie women who are desperately trying to attain their goal of having stick-like upper arms.  I am also not talking about joining a yuppie gym and hanging out with the guys who lift a weight every five or ten minutes, then walk around the room looking at their pectorals in the mirror.  I mean real exercise.  Get outside and do something!  Go for a walk.  Run.  Swim.  Ride a bike.  Take a hike. Play a round of golf.  Play a set of tennis.  Walk up a flight of stairs.  Just get out and move.
Now that I am a senior citizen I am constantly amazed at the poor condition of my fellow senior citizens.  Every time I play a round of golf the poor fellows who are playing with me and riding in a cart tell me that  "I would be walking also if not for my bad knees, or bad back, or bad something or another."  How did these guys get to be in such terrible shape?  Answer: they never did anything.  They just sat around and got old.  The body is designed to be used.  If you do not use it you will lose it.  So use it, now.  Stay active all of your life.
Secret # 2:  Lose weight.
Everybody wants a secret pill that will magically take off pounds.  Practically every day my wife reads a story to me about some new magic elixir or secret behavior that will cause your excess pounds to literally melt away.  Inevitably they all make the same mistake.  There is only one way to lose weight.  You must burn more calories than you consume.  I do not care if you live on a diet of chocolate cake and whiskey (a Welsh favorite, by the way), if you burn more calories than you consume you will lose weight.  Conversely, if you consume more calories than you burn you will gain weight.  It is that simple.
Many diseases and physical problems are directly attributable to excessive weight.  Most of the poor fellows on the golf course that tell me they can no longer walk due to bad knees have bad knees because their knees have been subjected to the punishment of carrying around a massive belly for many years.  That will take a toll on even the healthiest of knees.  If you want a long life you need to exercise.  If you want to be able to exercise well into your senior years you cannot be obese.  There is no secret to weight loss. There is no magic pill that will accomplish the goal despite your behavior.  Dieticians love to tell you the perfect combination of foods, as well as the timing on the consumption of those foods, to lose weight.  Although their advice might have some merit, the simple fact is that your weight is purely a function of calories in and calories out.  Burn more than you eat and you will lose weight.  Guaranteed.
Secret # 3:  Avoid the Doctor like the plague.
Anyone with a lick of common sense is aware of the first two principles.  The third principle, however, is not nearly so obvious.  In fact, it is counter-intuitive.  Most people believe that doctors are their partners in good health and the resultant longevity that usually comes with it.  Not true.  Doctors are in the sickness business.  They make money when you are sick, not when you are healthy.  They have a vested interest in having you be sick.  Doctors work in buildings where sick people go.  If you want to avoid getting sick, avoid going into buildings where sick people are. 
There is a reason why people speak of doctors as "practicing medicine".  They just practice.  Most of the medical advice that was considered to be gospel truth when I was a teenager is now considered to be deadly for my health.  I suspect that after I die the popular view will be that I died because I followed the medical advice that is popular today.  The point is, these guys really do not know what they are talking about.  Is a high LDL bad for you?  What is the proper ratio of HDL to LDL?  What is an acceptable blood pressure?  Should you be concerned about your iron level?  Is dietary cholesterol related to serum cholesterol?  Is cholesterol related to coronary heart disease?  Should you inoculate your children?  If so, which inoculations should you get for them?   Google any of those questions and look at the huge variety of conflicting answers.  Like I said, doctors really do not know what they are doing.
I am not saying that you should never visit a doctor.  But visiting doctors should be tempered by prudence.  Here is the Welsh rule for making an appointment with a doctor. Do you feel ill?  Wait a week and see what happens.  Do you still feel ill after waiting a week?  Wait another week and see what happens.  You have probably just not waited long enough for the body to heal itself naturally.  Do you still feel ill after three weeks?  Think about calling a doctor and setting an appointment. The odds are pretty good that after three weeks you will be healed, and all without the services of a doctor.  Do you still feel ill after a month?  Go ahead and set the doctor's appointment, unless you are comfortable living with whatever illness you have.  In that case, get on with your life and avoid the doctor's office entirely.
Following these three bits of advice is guaranteed to extend your life.*

*Not Guaranteed.

Note:  I am taking a few days off to go outside and be active.  I suspect I will lose some weight in the next week as I will be endeavoring to do the Santa Fe Century bicycle ride this weekend.  I will also be playing some golf and doing some hiking.  Most of all, I do not plan on visiting any doctors.  Only a bone sticking out of my skin will motivate me to visit a doctor.  I will be back next Friday, May 24th.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Forgive The Arrogant Genius

For some reason that I do not understand, probably because I am not a genius, I am surrounded by geniuses.  Practically everyone I know can wax eloquent about the philosophical differences between Plato and Aristotle.  Those same people can then shift gears and explain the subtle differences between Einstein's Special and General Theories of Relativity.  They will tell me all about the Heisenberg Principle and the Miliken Experiment.  Then, long after my eyes have completely fogged over, they can go on to critique ancient literary works and compare them to modern writings.  To top it all off, most of them can deliver an impromptu lecture on biology, organic chemistry, physics, calculus and ornithology at a moment's notice.  Most of them have a knowledge of history that goes well beyond my dim recollection of what happened last night.  You get the point...I know a lot of smart people.
There is a funny thing about smart people that you might have noticed yourself.  They tend to be very arrogant.  They tend to believe that their superior intelligence makes them superior human beings.  For being so smart it is hard for me to understand how they can make such a dumb mistake, but who am I to judge those who see things more clearly than I do?  To the surprise of no one, their arrogance often creates tension with other human beings.  Not me, of course.  I can get along with just about everyone. That is a by-product of the ancient Welsh gene that allows all Welshmen to get along with others.  We are so bad at everything we do, other than growing hair on our bodies and charming young women, that we quickly learned it was smart to go along to get along.  Nobody ever accuses a Welshman of being too smart for his own britches.  On the other hand, we are often accused of being Bigfoot and stealing other men's women, but that is another story.
As I was remembering some of the various altercations I have witnessed over the years between people who are geniuses and the people who perceived them to be arrogant it occurred to me that we need to cut the geniuses a little slack.   Sure, they are arrogant and condescending.  Sure they like to hear themselves talk. Sure they think everyone else in the universe is an idiot when compared to them.  Sure it can sometimes be hard to get along with them.  But, just for a moment, look at things from their perspective.  Of course it took me a long time to come to this realization because I am utterly incapable of looking at anything from the perspective of a genius.  Nevertheless, I was able to conjure up some comparisons that might make my point.
Anyone who has ever had children will relate to this.  Your kids, especially when they were young, were really dumb, weren't they?  They asked the dumbest questions.  They said the dumbest things.  They would believe the most ridiculous theories.  They were slow on the uptake.  They were almost intellectually impenetrable at times, correct?  Now, let me ask you, did you ever get frustrated with them?  Did their mental density ever drive you crazy?  Did you ever think, hopefully to yourself, that your kid was dumb as dirt?  That, to a small degree, must be what it is like for the geniuses who walk among us.  To them we are all ignorant children.  To them we seem incapable of doing or thinking anything of value.  Worse yet, we are not children yet, to them, we think and act like children.  How much can we expect them to take? 
Let me ask you another question.  Are you really good at anything?  Maybe you can really hit a golf ball straight.  Or maybe you can really dance.  Or maybe you can write really good (unlike I who constantly needs a spell-cheker and grammer-checker in order to write this blog....opps....I think mine is not working good right now).  Almost everyone is really good at something.  Now, have you ever tried to teach someone who will never be good at what you are good at to do what you do?  Talk about frustration!  How can that idiot be so dumb?  This is so simple, why does he not "get" it? 
You see, I think we can all relate to the frustration that is felt when others cannot do something that is extremely simple for us.  I believe we are now at the heart of the arrogance of the genius.  Since he does everything, or almost everything, better than the rest of us, he is highly frustrated all of the time.  He cannot understand how we cannot do or think of something that is so amazingly simple.  And to him it is.  He cannot conceive how what it is that something so simple for him can be impossible for us.  We mere mortals bubble over in anger and frustration with those who are inferior to us all the time.  Just today, while driving home from work, I bubbled over in anger and frustration with at least 15 drivers who were clearly displaying driving skills that are inferior to my advanced capabilities.  So I think I have a little better grasp of the frustration experienced by those who are infinitely smarter than I will ever be.
In light of the fact that geniuses must be the most frustrated people in the world, I think we non-geniuses need to cut them some slack.  We need to stop talking about them behind their backs.  We need to stop making fun of the way they walk and talk. We need to stop looking for ways to tear them down.   Most of all, we need to forgive them for the arrogance they display towards us.  After all, geniuses are not any better than us.  We should not expect them to be able to do anything that we cannot do.  They are not our moral superiors. They are just smarter than we are.  We should be as quick to forgive them as we are to forgive the mental midgets that cross our path every day.  I am going to really try to apply what I have written here today.  Unless, of course, the genius happens to be driving a car.  Then, all bets are off.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kill Adulterers And Juvenile Delinquents

As the debate in regards to homosexual marriage drones on, some people attempt to argue for their side on the issue by using passages from the Bible.  There are many biblical passages that provide strong evidence that marriage should be between people of different sexes.  That, however, is not the point of today's post to this blog.  Doug Anderson of Littleton wrote a letter to the editor of the Denver Post yesterday.  In his letter he uses a argument that I have seen dozens of times in the newspaper.  It is a silly argument and I want to expose his silliness today.
Doug writes, "A letter writer bemoans Colorado civil unions and claims that 'there is no evidence in the teachings of the church and Holy Scripture to suggest that God's laws...have changed.'  Leviticus 24:16 says to kill blasphemers.  Leviticus 20:10 says kill adulterers.  Kill back-talking children (Leviticus 20:9)...Thank God things have changed."  There is so much wrong with this argument I hardly know where to begin my criticism.  Yet, I will try.
Doug uses quotations from Scripture that he believes to be so wildly wrong he does not even have to argue against them.  When he quotes passages that say an adulterer should be subject to capital punishment for his crime, he believes that he has made his point that an adulterer should not be executed for his crime.  His unspoken presupposition is that we all agree that adulterers should not be executed so it must be obvious that biblical passages that say that they should are wrong.  He, and other God-haters who like to quote from the Pentateuch, believes that merely quoting a passage constitutes an argument against what that passage is teaching. That is silly.  That is stupid.  That is an example of bad logic.  Doug Anderson never takes so much as a second to consider if the biblical passage might actually make good sense.  As far as he is concerned, he is the final judge of moral perfection and any biblical passage that strikes him as odd is immediately rejected as wrong. 
I do not know if Mr. Anderson professes to be a Christian.  If he does, he is a heretic.  The position he has taken is known as Marcionism.  Marcion was a heretic in the early church who declared the doctrine of the immutability of God to be false.  According to Marcion the God of the Old Testament either died and was replaced with another god in the New Testament or He changed His moral nature during the period of time between the Old and New Testaments.  The orthodox doctrine of the immutability of God asserts that God is unchangeable.  What He declares to be moral is moral forever.  Morality does not change because God does not change.  It is not possible that adultery could be immoral one day and moral the next if God has first declared adultery to be immoral.  It is interesting that the title of the letter written by Mr. Anderson was the mocking question, "No changes in morality since days of the Bible?"  The clear intimation of that title is that morality must have changed since the Bible was written because we all know that it is wrong to execute adulterers and juvenile delinquents.
If Doug is a member of a Christian church he needs to be called to repentance.  If he does not repent of his heresy he should be excommunicated.  On the other hand, if Doug is a pagan, he is simply doing what pagans always do...mocking God and His commandments.  In that case it is not the job of the church to render a judgment against him.  God will take care of that.  Still, it is the position of Christians to warn Doug about his behavior.  If he is a reprobate the attack he is launching upon the moral character of God will inevitably result in a hotter and harsher hell for him in the future.  It is a compassionate and loving thing to do when Christians warn pagans to stop sinning so as to reduce the severity of their future judgment. So, in that spirit, I have a warning for Doug.  Stop mocking God.  Stop distorting the teachings of the Bible. Stop declaring the moral law of God obsolete.  Above all, stop declaring yourself to be morally superior to God.  That is a dangerous path to tread.
God's law has not changed because God has not changed.  When God says that the punishment for adultery should be death, then the punishment for adultery should be death.  The fact that we consider that punishment to be too harsh is only indicative of our moral depravity and searing of conscience.  If we were in tune with the moral nature of God  more clearly we would see the moral perfection of the sentence of death for adulterers.  When Doug criticizes God for His opinion about the punishment for adultery all he is doing is confessing that he has moved away from God's moral perfection and into humanistic relativism.
The execution of juvenile delinquents is always a emotional issue in discussions of this type.  For some reason that I do not understand people consider the execution of a hardened juvenile delinquent to be too severe of a punishment for the delinquent's actions.  If Mr. Anderson had actually studied the passage that he quoted he would have discovered that the punishment is not brought forth merely because junior "talks-back" to his mom or dad one day.  Doug's attempt to misrepresent the sin of the juvenile delinquent only indicates his own lack of moral character and his desire to twist the teachings of the Bible to fit his own preconceived notions about what it should say.  No child under the age of 20 (the biblical age of emancipation) would be executed merely for calling his mom a bad name.  There must be a pattern of persistent and hard-core juvenile sinfulness before the child can be killed for his crime.  No child of age 5 or 6 would be executed for refusing to obey a direct order.  There must be a pattern of direct disobedience to biblically proper instruction prior to declaring a child to be a hardened juvenile delinquent.  No innocent children would ever be killed.
Here is an example of the type of delinquency I am writing about, "Like a shadow, trouble trailed Evan Ebel from the time he was a boy.  As a 10 year old, he drank and did hard drugs.  He clocked his first arrest at age 12, and he fought with staff and others as an unwieldy 16 year old at a boot camp for troubled kids in Samoa.  He landed in prison at the age of 20 and there, with a tattoo on his stomach, he branded himself 'Hopeless'".  Those of you familiar with the story will recognize this as a description of Evan Ebel, the man who killed Tom Clements a month or so ago (3-27-13 post).  I have quoted from an article in the Denver Post  that was written the day after Doug's letter to the editor appeared.  Ebel viciously gunned down an innocent man who was standing in the doorway of his own home.  He did it as a "hit" ordered by the leader of the prison gang in which he was a member. 
Now allow me to ask the obvious question.  Do you think Evan Ebel would have been able to murder Tom Clements if he had been previously executed for juvenile delinquency?  Neither do I.  In fact, it is fair to say that an innocent man would be alive today if the criminal justice system had followed unchanging biblical law and done its job by executing Evan Ebel before he could kill Tom Clements.  I wonder if Doug Anderson mourned the death of Tom Clements?  If he did he is a hypocrite.  The simple truth is God's law does not change.  God's law declares that adulterers and juvenile delinquents should be executed.  We would all be much better off, and gallons of innocent blood would never have been shed, if we all followed God's unchanging law. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Tiger Woods Is Bad For Golf

Important Notice:
Somebody has hacked this web page and placed the ad you see above.  I do not have the technical knowledge to remove the ad.  It is sufficient to say that I deplore this behavior and pronounce several  curses upon the person who invaded my blog.  
First Curse:  May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits.  
Second Curse:  May you get everything you ever wanted and may that prosperity drive you to madness.
Sincerely, The Mad Welshman.

Tiger Woods is a disgrace.  Everything he touches turns to dung.  He ruins everything he gets near.  He should do all of us a favor and retire, never to return to the public eye again.  Why do I write this?  Allow me to explain.
First, the caveats.  Tiger Woods might be the greatest golfer who has ever played the game.  He might have the greatest skills of anyone who has ever picked up a club.  He might end up with more major victories than any professional golfer.  He might conclude his career with the highest winning percentage of any golfer who has ever played.  Clearly, he is the man when it comes to the game of golf.  That goes without saying but that has nothing to do with why he is bad for the game of golf.
Tiger Woods has the reputation of being highly competitive.  A generation ago that would have been a compliment.  Things have changed.  Being competitive today means something completely different than what being competitive meant thirty years ago.  Being competitive today means throwing a serious hissy-fit when something does not go your way.  Competitive baseball players drop f-bombs when they are thrown out at first and then storm into the dugout to attack the water cooler.  Competitive basketball players trash talk their opponents and take cheap shots when the refs are not looking.  Being competitive today means playing dirty, talking tough, being filled with arrogance and pride and, above all, disrespecting everyone and everything that you believe stands in the way between you and victory.  That is what Tiger Woods does.
Tiger Woods disrespected his wife and committed adultery on her many times.  Tiger Woods disrespected his children and deprived them of a moral parental influence in their lives.  Tiger Woods disrespected his caddy, Steve Williams, by firing him via text message after Williams admitted that he had "lost respect" for Tiger because of his philandering ways.  Tiger Woods disrespects reporters.  His infamous "glare" is reserved for anyone who dares ask him a question he does not want to answer.  He will stare down a reporter, clearly trying to intimidate a man who is just doing his job.  Unlike all of the other golfers who play professionally, if Tiger has a bad round he stomps off the course and does not speak to reporters.  When he does speak to them he gives curt, one word answers.  Generally he is a first class jerk.  Only when he has won and only when the reporter gives him proper deference will he smile and answer a question.
Tiger disrespects his opponents.  His breaches of golfing etiquette are legendary.  He will interject subtle behaviors that are not consistent with the etiquette of golf just to tell the person he is playing with that he, Tiger, is great and he, the opponent, is scum.  Tiger disrespects the fans.  Although he is far too ignorant of economics to understand it, the fans are the ones who pay his bills.  The fans are the ones who have made him rich.  Despite this fact Tiger Woods plays golf as if he would prefer there to be no fans on the course at all.  The fans are met with the same icy stare of hatred that Tiger uses with reporters and fellow golfers.
Tiger Woods disrespects the game of golf.  He is the biggest sissy on the course.  He routinely is in the top group of golfers who are fined by the PGA for conduct detrimental to the game.  He does not care, he makes billions of dollars.  He swears.  He curses.  He drops f-bombs.  He throws his clubs.  He looses his cool all the time.  If you ever go to a professional golf tournamament in which Tiger Woods is participating you would be well advised to keep women and children away from his entourage.  He is a moral disgrace.  He is an embarrassing excuse for a professional golfer.
I have some empathy for Tiger.  At times I can almost believe that he is not responsible for his actions. If he is, in fact, the greatest golfer of all time, his life has been harder than any golfer who has ever played the game.  From the time he was able to walk and swing a golf club Tiger has been told he is the greatest.  From the time he entered his first tournament he has been told he is better than everyone else in the world.  From the time he won his first tournament he has been coddled, protected, and worshiped. He grew up during a generation in which veneration for athletes reached its pinnacle.  He grew up believing he was the center of the universe because he was the center of his universe.  No one ever held him accountable for his selfishness because he always won and everyone wants to be associated with the glory of a person who always wins.  So, in many ways, Tiger is who he is because of his environment.  Still, he is a human being and he is personally responsible for his actions. And his actions, not related to hitting a golf ball, are atrocious.
Tiger has had a powerful negative impact upon golf.  From the time he first joined the PGA it was possible to discern a difference in the gallery that would follow him.  Suddenly there was a legion of beer-bellied loudmouths following Tiger around in which each member would try to out compete the other in rudeness and stupidity.  The ridiculous "in the hole" exclamation became standard fare anytime Tiger would hit the ball, even if he was 600 yards away from the green.  During yesterday's tournament there were fans of Tiger following Sergio who were telling him that he was a bad golfer and that they wanted him to miss-hit the ball.  Sportsmanship declined on the golf course.  I even noticed it on my local golf courses as a class of younger golfers showed up who would yell, scream, throw clubs, curse, refuse to replace the massive divots they took and just generally behave as if the universe revolved around them.  I attribute that directly to the negative influence of Tiger Woods.
Tiger Woods might end up being the greatest golfer to ever play the game.  I don't care.  He has put what used to be the gentleman's game golf on an irreparable pathway of moral decline.  He has made golf just like any other sport where disrespect for everyone and everything is the norm.   It is becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between a golf gallery and hockey fans. He is not half the man that Jack, Arnie, Lee, Freddie, Gary or Greg are.  He is a moral midget.  He is a disgrace to the game and I wish he would just go away.