The Witty Lizard

Ramblings of a grilling, drinking, black flag hoisting father and philosophical eclectic.

The Witty Lizard - Ramblings of a grilling, drinking, black flag hoisting father and philosophical eclectic.

Inmates Are Running the Asylum

If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for being in the country illegally …you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If the only school curriculum allowed to explain how we got here is evolution, but the government stops a $15 million construction project to keep a rare spider from evolving to extinction … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If you have to show identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor or check out a library book, but not to vote who runs the government … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines with more than ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If, in the largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not a 24-ounce soda because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If an 80-year-old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a woman in a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If a seven-year old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher’s “cute,” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If children are forcibly removed from parents who discipline them with spankings while children of addicts are left in filth and drug infested “homes”… you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing and free cell phones … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If the government’s plan for getting people back to work is to incentivize NOT working with 99 weeks of unemployment checks and no requirement to prove they applied but can’t find work … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you more “safe” according to the government … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

‘We the People’ Loses Appeal With People Around the World – NYTimes.com

‘We the People’ Loses Appeal With People Around the World – NYTimes.com.

We are no longer the most progressive nation in the world, we are a country of right wing religious nuts holding on to the past as though it were some sacred relic, ironic huh? Thomas Jefferson said that constitutions should be rewritten every 19 years because the government should belong to the current generation… Ours belongs to a generation that’s been dead for 180 years…

Friday Five

Today, books that have intrigued/helped/motivated me….

  1. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins
  2. The Art of War, by Sun Tzu
  3. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West, by Stephen E Ambrose
  4. The Genius: How Bill Walsh Reinvented Football and Created an NFL Dynasty, by David Harris
  5. The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene

Good to Great is a great look into the working of companies. Don’t take it as a business book though. Its idea apply to any organization. Why do groups, teams and companies succeed? The two things that really stand out to me are the ideas of ‘First Who, Then What’ and the ‘Hedgehog Concept’. The first one is so simple I went all face palm on myself. It says, ‘Get the right people on the bus and then figure out where you’re going’. Or, don’t fit the people to the system, fit the system to the people. The ‘Hedgehog Concept’ asks three questions… What makes you money? What can you be the best in the world at? What lights your fire? Really a powerful read, still makes me think everyday.

What has it been, 3000 years? No matter when it was written, The Art of War is still the preeminent book written on strategy and conflict resolution (warfare). I read it at least twice a year and so should you.

What’s not to love about the story of the opening of the American west? Undaunted Courage is a history of the Lewis and Clark expedition based on their journals. There has never been a better historian sitting behind a keyboard than Ambrose in my estimation. Google a list of his titles and you’ll understand. This book is my favorite because I love the exploration and pure discovery of the whole endeavor, no white man had seen the places and things they did. The personal nature of the journals makes it very human, not something typically said of history books.

The Genius is wonderful and I did a long write-up on it here, no point in rehashing. Let’s just say I learned a lot and Bill Walsh is a BAMF.

Greene’s book The 48 Laws of Power is kind of a cross between Good to Great and The Art of War. It takes the questions about what make people and groups great and using historical examples provides 48 laws that make people powerful. Some are nice, neat and polite. Many are decidedly not, similar to parts of Sun Tzu’s work. Really cool thoughts on what takes people to the top as well as what brings them down. The examples show that Greene isn’t just spouting his theories but has facts to back them up.

 

 

Joe Pa

Godspeed Coach. It is always sad when someone passes, especially an icon in American culture. But in this case, it’s not unexpected. Actually, it surprised me he lasted this long. The man’s life’s work came to an unceremonious end and frankly, he had nothing left to hang around for.

That being said, WTF? Are we really going to spend all day talking about what a great man he was? No one will ever convince me that he didn’t know. He was Penn State. He was there for 947 years, hired everyone involved in the football program, and apparently turned a blind eye at the least and covered it up at the extreme.

Where does the rabbit hole lead? I guess Joe Pa will take that to the other side.

Favorite Quotes

When the fun is gone, so is the enthusiasm, so what’s the point? We’re not running up the score, We’re having fun. – Mouse Davis

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me. – Hunter S. Thompson

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. – Winston Churchill

It’s better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you’re not. – André Gide

The Lizard in All of Us

Why The Witty Lizard?

There is a condition in all of us referred to as the lizard brain that is responsible rampant disharmony in our existence. Here is a humorous and informative YouTube video based on the concepts presented by Seth Godin in his book Linchpin.

What is the Lizard Brain?

The lizard brain is the thing that tells us to do all the things that kept us alive for a millennium, the 5 F’s if you like: feed, fear, fuck, and feel good. The basic primeval responses to, well, everything. But mostly fear. When we were cavemen, we had to exercise caution. Chasing that 5000 lbs mammoth is probably not a great idea, he is big strong and mean, we might die. Although, if we don’t eat, we WILL die. Herein lies the contradiction.

We really want, even need to partake in 4 of the 5 F’s and we want to do it right the fuck now! Unfortunately, fear invariably fouls things up. We are afraid of pain. We are afraid of what other people think about us. We are afraid to eat something because we might not like it. Here lies an interesting phenomenon about the lizard, memory. Remember the lizard is only concerned with keeping us alive and happy. Everything that we experience is recorded somewhere deep inside the lizard brain, both good and bad. We want to repeat the good and eliminate the bad. Any animal can be conditioned to avoid the bad and find the good. Pavlov and his dog, mice in a maze, cattle at feeding time, these are all examples of the lizard brain at work. Thus fear is the number one motivating factor in any animals life, including humans.

Fear keeps us from giving in to all of those base desires. Taken by itself, that is a great thing, otherwise we may not have ever made it this far. But part of human nature is aggression and impulsiveness, you know those other F’s. The emotional response to any and all situations. These are actions that tend to fall outside of societal norms. The aggressor is thought of as the bad guy in most circles. Society has deemed impulsiveness to be a treatable medical condition. Humans want to fit in so the lizard brain throws fear at us, and in the modern world, acceptance is most people’s biggest fear.

Should we be careful or should we be aggressive? Should we be impulsive or rational? Is the best path to give into fear and tread lightly or should we throw caution to the wind and embrace our primeval side? That is truly a question each individual has to answer for themselves.

I have been referred to my whole life as a loud, obnoxious, boorish, overbearing ass. Basically all of the traits that society deems unacceptable but probably would have placed me at the top of the food chain 10,000 years ago. It bears mentioning that it is in fact 2012 not the stone age. Therefor, there must be some temperance applied to this battle.

For me, this is a battle between what society wants from us and what makes us great. Those things are at odds these days in ever-increasing fashion. Not to say however, that I want to live outside of society, removed from the world for the sake of my principles. Quite the contrary. I want to excel in society by not being afraid.

I want to seek adventure and truth without fear. I don’t want to work and have meetings because society says we should. I don’t want to fear my boss coming down on me for running up the score because it looks bad. I want to run it up because I am creative and bold and not afraid to attack. I’m tired of living in a box created by society. I want to explore new ideas, be aggressive, be impulsive, be spontaneous and not worry about what other people think.

Fear has been crippling the human race for eons. Occasionally, great men come along and jump out of the box. So that is my plan. I may not change the world but I damn sure am going to change my little piece of it.

Fuck fear. Embrace the base desires inherent in the human psyche. Think outside of the box and change your destiny.

I decided to call this blog the Witty Lizard to remind me to throw fear aside and fight the lizard. It is also to remind me to laugh at myself and not take life to seriously, we are just here for a short time, let’s have some fun while we can.

 

 

 

 

Stuff About Me and This Blog

This blog started in a different format a little over a year ago, albeit in a different form. It started shortly after my mother died at 59 of the most “curable” form of cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Cancer blows, but that is for another post on another day. The thing that happens when you are faced with one of the most difficult times of your life is you find out real quick who your real friends are. I know that sounds cliché but if you are ever there you’ll find out I”m right.

So, it turns out that the few people who actually care about me were all still in my home town. You know, that place that you spend your entire youth trying like hell to escape. Well, I escaped, or I thought I did… I spent 12 years in the big city and had no intentions of ever returning. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum… My marriage fell apart and my mother got sick. I’m not real sure which happened first or how one is related to the other, but they happened roughly the same time about 4 years ago. It was obviously the most difficult thing (s) I had ever endured.

It then became clear that the people I had worked with in said big city for 10 years didn’t give two shits about me. At least not deeply and spiritually, oh they like me but didn’t like my angry, loud, and obnoxious ways. Those things only bothered them because they affected them… What would people say? Would he lose it at work? Would he shoot someone? WTF is going to happen to me if I’m to close to him? You know, the lizard…

Not one of them ever asked about my mom, never asked about what was going on in my world. That probably sounds selfish and I guess it is, but I spent every day for almost 2 years in a hospital room with my dying mother. Seems to me like the people you spend every day with might ask occasionally. And what put it in perspective for me was the fact that those people from home asked almost daily. Why were people I hardly talked to for 15 years (or more) more concerned than the people I spent everyday with for the better part of 10 years?

Anyway, my mother died on September 20, 2010 and from that moment on, things began to come into focus for me. I made 2 decisions on or about that day.

  1. Get the hell out of there (and move home).
  2. Find happiness.

So the first one is done. I have returned home. I get to see my dad on a regular basis. I get to see my friends all the time. It’s a good time in my life from the standpoint of not dealing with people who don’t care about me and I don’t trust.

The real trick is number two on the list. When I talk about happiness, I talk in relative terms. I was miserable for a long time. Ultimately, the idea is true happiness. Intrinsically happy. Happy because of the people in my life. Happy because of how I feel about myself. But that is still a work in progress. The plan is to work toward that ideal everyday.

Thus, I embark on a journey for true happiness. I will fight the lizard brain inside me. This is the journey for great food, good drink, real friends, and adventure.

Hang on for the ride because I have no idea where we are going…..