Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for March 22nd, 2020

Tomorrow is Move Day

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We took over several boxes of stuff today. One minor accident: the enormous box containing all my aftershaves tipped over and spilled onto the sidewalk, but there was only one casualty: D.R. Harris After Shaving Milk. It happened to land on a shoulder corner, which broke. All other bottles intact. So it goes.

Here’s the entrance to my apartment building the white curb is directly in front of the main entrance:

Written by LeisureGuy

22 March 2020 at 6:40 pm

Posted in Daily life

20 Journaling Prompts to Get You out of Your Head

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Kate Arends blogs:

here is no better way to understand the way you think and what’s going through your head than to journal. The problem I’ve found is that the act of journaling is so open-ended that when it is most beneficial for me to do it, I avoid it.

Sound familiar? If this is one of the roadblocks you face when it comes to journaling, this post is here to help. I want to take the guesswork out of how you can journal effectively, without the impending paralysis that sometimes results from an open-ended prompt.

My first tip? Start by writing “morning pages.”

Whether you are new to journaling or are just here to get some new prompts to try, consider doing a “mental download” first using the “morning pages” method (contributor Ellen Koneck wrote a helpful post about this here!). It’s a great way to get your mental gears greased and clean out any fragments of unfinished tasks, things to remember, or notes to self. It’s also really effective in priming the pump per se when it comes to getting the most out of more targeted journaling sessions.

[The prime source for morning pages is Julia Cameron’s excellent book The Artist’s Way. I have used that a few times, and it’s a good exercise. Link is to inexpensive secondhand copies. – LG]

Next, dive into journaling prompts.

Once you’ve done around ten minutes of subconscious, nonlinear writing, I suggest moving on to journaling prompts. I keep a list handy that I can refer to and take inventory of what I’m up against that day or in that moment. If I’m feeling anxious, I know which list to focus on.

Sometimes we journal to connect with ourselves; other times we journal to find perspective in moments that feel out of control. Given the bizarre times we’re living in and the spread of COVID-19, journaling is becoming an incredibly handy tool for this worrier.

When done correctly, journaling can be calming and clearing for your mind. It can help in releasing pent-up feelings and everyday stress. It can help you let go of negative thoughts while exploring your experiences with anxiety in a safe way.

The truth is, writing your thoughts down in a journal can positively impact your anxiety on a holistic level. When done correctly, journaling can be calming and clearing for your mind. It can help in releasing pent-up feelings and everyday stress. It can help you let go of negative thoughts while exploring your experiences with anxiety in a safe way.

When we get in the habit of writing about our struggles AND our successes, we begin to see enhanced self-awareness while also teaching ourselves about our triggers. Below you’ll find some of my favorite journaling prompts that have worked wonders for me.

Journaling Prompts for Self-Discovery:

  1. What do I know to be true that I didn’t know a year ago?
  2. What distractions get in the way of being my most productive?
  3. When do I feel most in tune with myself?
  4. If someone described me, what would they say?
  5. What can wait until next week?
  6. How does every part of my body feel in this moment?

Journaling Prompts for Managing Emotions:

  1. What emotions am I holding on to?
  2. How can I . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 March 2020 at 6:37 pm

Posted in Daily life, Writing

Republicans often cause my jaw to drop — here’s one

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Just read this.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 March 2020 at 3:15 pm

Bill Gates’s Charity Paradox

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Tim Schwab writes in the Nation:

Last fall, Netflix premiered a three-part documentary that promises viewers a rare look at the inner life of one of history’s most controversial businessmen. Over three hours, Inside Bill’s Brain shows us a rare emotional side to Bill Gates as he processes the loss of his mother and the death of his estranged best friend and Microsoft cofounder, Paul Allen.

Mostly, though, the film reinforces the image many of us already had of the ambitious technologist, insatiable brainiac, and heroic philanthropist. Inside Bill’s Brain falls into a common trap: attempting to understand the world’s second-richest human by interviewing people in his sphere of financial influence.

In the first episode, director Davis Guggenheim underlines Gates’s expansive intellect by interviewing Bernie Noe, described as a friend of Gates.

“That’s a gift, to read 150 pages an hour,” says Noe. “I’m going to say it’s 90 percent retention. Kind of extraordinary.”

Guggenheim doesn’t tell audiences that Noe is the principal of Lakeside School, a private institution to which the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given $80 million. The filmmaker also doesn’t mention the extraordinary conflict of interest this presents: The Gateses used their charitable foundation to enrich the private school their children attend, which charges students $35,000 a year.

The documentary’s blind spots are all the more striking in light of the timing of its release, just as news was trickling out that Bill Gates met multiple times with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to discuss collaborating on charitable activities, from which Epstein stood to generate millions of dollars in management fees. Though the collaboration never materialized, it nonetheless illustrates the moral hazards surrounding the Gates Foundation’s $50 billion charitable enterprise, whose sprawling activities over the last two decades have been subject to remarkably little government oversight or public scrutiny.

While the efforts of fellow billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg to use his wealth to win the presidency foundered amid intense media criticism, Gates has proved there is a far easier path to political power, one that allows unelected billionaires to shape public policy in ways that almost always generate favorable headlines: charity.

When Gates announced in 2008 that he would step away from Microsoft to focus his efforts on philanthropy, he described his intention to work with and through the private sector to deliver public-goods products and technologies, in the same way that Microsoft’s computer software expanded horizons and created economic opportunities. Describing his approach by turns as “creative capitalism” and “catalytic philanthropy,” Gates oversaw a shift at his foundation to leverage “all the tools of capitalism” to “connect the promise of philanthropy with the power of private enterprise.”

The result has been a new model of charity in which the most direct beneficiaries are sometimes not the world’s poor but the world’s wealthiest, in which the goal is not to help the needy but to help the rich help the needy.

Through an investigation of more than 19,000 charitable grants the Gates Foundation has made over the last two decades, The Nation has uncovered close to $2 billion in tax-deductible charitable donations to private companies—including some of the largest businesses in the world, such as GlaxoSmithKline, Unilever, IBM, and NBC Universal Media—which are tasked with developing new drugs, improving sanitation in the developing world, developing financial products for Muslim consumers, and spreading the good news about this work.

The Gates Foundation even gave $2 million to Participant Media to promote Davis Guggenheim’s previous documentary film Waiting for Superman, which pushes one of the foundation’s signature charity efforts, charter schools—privately managed public schools. This charitable donation is a small part of the $250 million the foundation has given to media companies and other groups to influence the news.

“It’s been a quite unprecedented development, the amount that the Gates Foundation is gifting to corporations…. I find that flabbergasting, frankly,” says Linsey McGoey, a professor of sociology at the University of Essex and author of the book No Such Thing as a Free Gift. “They’ve created one of the most problematic precedents in the history of foundation giving by essentially opening the door for corporations to see themselves as deserving charity claimants at a time when corporate profits are at an all-time high.”

McGoey’s research has anecdotally highlighted charitable grants the Gates Foundation has made to private companies, such as a $19 million donation to a Mastercard affiliate in 2014 to “increase usage of digital financial products by poor adults” in Kenya. The credit card giant had already articulated its keen business interest in cultivating new clients from the developing world’s 2.5 billion unbanked people, McGoey says, so why did it need a wealthy philanthropist to subsidize its work? And why are Bill and Melinda Gates getting a tax break for this donation?

These questions seem especially pertinent in light of the fact that the donation to Mastercard may have delivered financial benefits to the Gates Foundation; at the time of the donation, in November 2014, the foundation’s endowment had substantial financial investments in Mastercard through its holdings in Warren Buffett’s investment company, Berkshire Hathaway. (Buffett himself has pledged $30 billion to the Gates Foundation. )

The Nation found close to $250 million in charitable grants from the Gates Foundation to companies in which the foundation holds corporate stocks and bonds:  . . .

Continue reading.

Wealth seems to have quite a corrosive effect on ethics and morality — partly, I suppose, because wealth confers power, which is notoriously corrupting. Doubtless this effect is the motivation for Jesus’ warning against wealth.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 March 2020 at 10:28 am

AlphaGo: The movie

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The full documentary:

Written by LeisureGuy

22 March 2020 at 10:02 am

Posted in Games, Go, Movies & TV

Great list of ideas for being home with kids

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The list begins:

  • Have each kid pick a topic they’d like to learn about and spend 30 mins each day on that topic
  • Spend one day reading every single picture book we have in the house
  • Go through all the old mail laying around (ok, that one’s not for kids although they do enjoy helping tear stuff up)
  • Bake something every day
  • Have each kid write a letter and/or emails to a different friend or family member each day
  • Use all of our building toys on one giant structure
  • Wash our hands!!!!
  • Races of various kinds in the backyard (hopping on one foot, crabwalk, walking backwards, etc.)
  • Try stop motion animation with playdough
  • Facetime grandparents a lot
  • . . .

Continue reading — many more items in the list. It fails to include:

  • Get two short lengths of light rope and learn to tie a variety of knots using (say) YouTube — cf. the Zeppelin Bend. It’s always good to know how to tie knots.
  • Learn Esperanto with your children.
  • Use FutureMe.org to send emails to your future self about what it’s like the day you write and/or your predictions about the near-term future. You can pick any future day you want on which to receive the email — try 3 months from now, or 6 months from now.
  • Learn how to force checkmate with only Bishop and Knight as the remaining pieces.

 

Written by LeisureGuy

22 March 2020 at 7:29 am

Transitional spellings

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I’ve been watching “Dalziel & Pascoe” on Britbox, a murder mystery series, and in the name “Dalziel,” a, the first l, z, and i are silent, so it’s pronounced “DEE-ell.” That seemed odd, until I read this.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 March 2020 at 6:53 am

Posted in Movies & TV

How to Not Let the Coronavirus Steal Your Mental Health While You’re At Home

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This is good information in these troubled times. It begins:

by Kara Bowman, MFT, CT, CCTP, C-GC

We are fortunate to be going through this pandemic in the age of electronic communication that provides us with information, connection, productivity and entertainment. We are equally fortunate that we have decades of psychological research to guide us in getting through an experience of isolation in a way that will stave off depression and anxiety while helping us grow and thrive.

My county was one of the first in the country to adopt a legal Shelter in Place order. Residents are not to leave their homes other than for essential activities or to be in nature six feet apart from anyone from another household. As a mental health professional, I would like to share some tips about how to be physically isolated without letting it take a mental toll.

Create Structure:  Make a schedule each day and keep to it. You may want to vary it on the weekends or different days for variety. If you don’t consciously fill your time, your time will fill up for you. Listen to podcasts, watch videos, read, exercise, talk to friends, work on a project, create art, listen to music, dance, play games, cook, take a bath or do whatever you’re going to feel good about at the end of the day. Just be proactive, rather than reactive.

Get Physical: . . .

Continue reading. There’s more.

In the “Learn something” category, let me point out Lernu.net. Duolingo also offers Esperanto lessons. But Lernu.net seems particularly good.

Esperanto is useful because even young children find it easy to learn (and it will help them if they later learn another non-English language) — and perhaps it can serve as a family “secret language” in the future. 🙂

Written by LeisureGuy

22 March 2020 at 6:35 am

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