Category Archives: Wisdom

Litany Against Fear in the face of Ebola

This week certainly proved proved the Bene Gesserit right, once again… Fear is the Mind-Killer.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Frank Herbert, Dune

the greatest Alluser Request of the moment

CC BY-SA image from db2r via Flickr
CC BY-SA image from db2r via Flickr

To: All Hospital Employee (sic)
From: xxxx

There is a strong aroma coming from Mount Washington into the hospital. Measures have been taken to reduce the outside smells coming into our intake however please be patient as it will take time before the smell has completely subsided.

No explanation given. And, really, did I want one? No, methinks.

I do hate it when outside smells are coming into my intake…

on biased cognition, and handware

P5 Glove, cc by-nc image from Roo Reynolds via Flickr
P5 Glove, cc by-nc image from Roo Reynolds via Flickr

‘People generally think their judgments are rational, and their concepts are stable. But if wearing a glove for a few minutes can reverse people’s usual judgments about what’s good and bad, perhaps the mind is more malleable than we thought.’

– Daniel Casasanto on his 2011 study in Psychological Science, When Left is ‘Right’: Motor fluency shapes abstract concepts. doi:10.1177/0956797611401755

did your kinsmen never bend you over stones until you wept with comfort?

This ones sharper, a cc by-sa image from majcher on Flickr
This one's sharper, a cc by-sa image from majcher on Flickr

Gax has answered more questions, and once again, bears forth eternal wisdom.

You do not say if you have a longer-term goal for your life. Perhaps you wish to fight an animal to the death in a sporting event, as was my first ambition as a pupa.


the greatest Alluser Request of the moment

Linens N Things, cc by image from daquellamanera on Flickr
Linens N Things, cc by image from daquellamanera on Flickr

To: All Employees
From: xxxx

Our linen sale is coming soon
The doors will open just after noon
The Bed in a Bag will appear as before
And towels and sheets and dish cloths galore
Many have January White Sales That’s true
But these prices and quality are enjoyed by just a few!
Lucky R’ U Lucky R’ U
You remember Angela
She does monograms and such
Cause you enjoyed her merchandise so much
Well she’s returning to us
This time she’s toting her machine with her
You can leave with your towels saying madam or sir

Tuesday January 11, 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday January 12, 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m

Cash, MasterCard, Visa, Payroll Deductions (certain restrictions apply)

If you have any questions, please call the Auxiliary Office @ xxxx.

I failed at doing a dramatic reading of this artful poem. More amusing was that this was more eye-catching than the email before it, which was a security alert notice of some importance.

if this business proposition offends your moral ethics, do accept my sincere apology

Barrister or Judge, cc by-nc image by ricklibrarian on Twitter
Barrister or Judge, cc by-nc image by ricklibrarian on Twitter

Anyone who has been exposed to email knows of the Nigerian/419 scam that still not only manages to pad our spam folders, but people still seem to fall for on occasion… which says reams about human psychology. It was mildly surprised when the following version actually made it through my Gmail spam filter for the first time ever, and landed in my inbox. Since I won’t be sending any money, I figure posting it here in honor of my deceased relative is the least I can do. 🙂

(I also just realized that the pic above was taken in Melbourne. I think I need to track down the good Barrister while I’m there.)

Dear John Cmar ,

With due maximum respect,I crave your indulgence knowing that this my proposal will be a surprise to you.My name is Barr.Ahmad Azeem a legal practitioner with A.Azeem & Associates in Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia.

I found your contact/profile some where over the Internet and it gave me the greatest joy,that you are the one I have been looking for.Whom I strongly believe could execute this transaction with me.And being more positive that with your capability,that this transaction of transferring the sum of 17,530,000.00 will be successfully accomplished. My purpose of contacting you is for you to help secure the funds left behind by my late client,to avoid it being confiscated or declared unserviceable by the Finance House.Where this fund valued (17,530,000.00) Seventeen Million, Five hundred and Thirty thousand United State Dollars deposited by my client before his death in Dec 2004.

You might be wondering why am I communicating with you,believe it or not it is simply because you and my late client have the same surname.Though this is coincidental,I strongly believe,you could help me in the task which is the distribution of my late clients funds.And the said funds in the Finance House is considered “UNSERVICEABLE”after my client passed away as there were no indication of next of kin whatsoever that the Institution could consider as a beneficiary for the said funds.

Being my late clients legal adviser,the Institution notified my office,that I need to produce and to contact the next of kin of my deceased client,to either “REACTIVATE” the account or to “MAKE CLAIMS” of the said funds which is carrying a monthly surcharge.

Now,my intention is purely to seek your consent to kindly present you as the legal next of kin/beneficiary to my late client’s funds.This would mean that the proceeds of the said funds would be released to you.After the release of the funds to you,we shall then share it mutual,which will be 70% to me and 30% to you.

My office would provide documents to back up your claim.The most important thing I need is your honest/sincere cooperation in this task.And I assure you that this transaction will be legally executed according to the dictates of the law,which will protect you from any infraction of the law.

However,if this business proposition offends your moral ethics,do accept my sincere apology.If on the contrary you wish to achieve this goal with me,kindly get back to me with your interest immediately for further details.

Best regards,
Barr.Ahmad Azeem (Esq)

you do not mention if your academic curriculum involves cultivating a supervirus

Bearded, a cc by image from kyknoord on Flickr
Bearded, a cc by image from kyknoord on Flickr

A staple of my regular webcomics consumption is the always amusing Wondermark, which regularly features men sporting crackling virility hedges and Gax from the planet Gax. I was highly entertained by this recent Ask a Gaxian post, wherein Gax is sought for advice on various life-topics.

What do you claim your problems are? According to your letter, you are fat and creatively dissatisfied, with a diseased car and a horrible house. Rivers have carved this deep canyon in you over time, and it is not as simple as saying “Go back uphill, river.”

Combining eccentric, character-based humor with actual profound wisdom is a challenging task, and Malki pulls it off damn well. I think Gax needs to be my professional mentor…

and here, I thought the day was going so well…

Sardar Patel Medical College, cc by-sa image by colros on Flickr
Sardar Patel Medical College, cc by-sa image by colros on Flickr

In perusing the latest post on Small Things Considered, I was reminded by Dr. Bassler of “three ominous curses of dubious ancient origin”:

  1. May you live in interesting times.
  2. May you come to the attention of those in authority.
  3. May you find what you are seeking.

All of these happened to me this morning in specific, unsettling ways. As such, I will rid myself of their power by passing them on to you, good reader – why should I be the only person to have all the fun? 😉

weekly rounds

  • This weekend I discovered that there is such a thing as gothic tribal bellydancing, and my life is enriched. Trust me on this. And if you somehow find yourself with a chance to check Naimah out live, just do it.
Naimah, cc by-nc-nd image by Chad VanPelt on Flickr
Naimah, cc by-nc-nd image by Chad VanPelt on Flickr
  • My catching Iron Man 2 this weekend was pretty much a given. It retained alot of the things that made the first movie great, while falling a bit short of the greatness of the first. That said, it was a thoroughly enjoyable flick, and still better than most “superhero” movie fare. Had they ditched most of the shoehorned-in Avengers movie setup to give Mickey Rourke‘s excellent Ivan Vanko more scenery to chew, as well as dropping some of the penultimate mass action sequences to extend the final battle, it might have been a near home run.