Each year around Memorial Day I watch a lot of war films. The recent wars, the War in Vietnam, The Korean War, WWII, and WWI. This year I gravitated to watching some documentaries on the prison camps, the Nuremburg Trials, and the Holocaust. What a horrific time in our history.
During this time, there were many heroes that helped the Jews, and many others escape the death camps. This is but one story.
If you want to watch some of these videos, I’d highly recommend documentaries on Auschwitz, Nuremburg, and documentaries on the trial of Adolph Eichmann. Warning: These documentaries are not for the faint of heart. They are very brutal and tell some harrowing stories of torture, medical experiments, and deprivation of all kinds.
Well, I realize this content is not the typical cheery, happy-go-lucky content I normally put up here, but Memorial Day always causes me to reengage with War films, because it helps me remember of the sacrifices so many have made for our country and the inhabitants of many other countries. Despite the brutality of the camps, there are so many stories of bravery and self-sacrifice.
Well, that’s it for today, folks. I hope you have a great Thursday!
I hope you enjoyed this short video and had some fun with it. It is a math problem and one that requires a knowledge of factoring.
Here’s another video explaining the origin of Fate in Ancient Greece.
So, can we change our “fate”? I would say yes, but it depends on the individual. Some folks are so mired in the belief that their fate is permanent and unchanging that they never escape its grip. Others, however, adapt, overcome, and recreate their futures by changing themselves.
We’ve all heard the statements “doomed to fail”, “everything he touches turns to gold”, or “it was in the cards they were dealt”. Can you change all of this? Of course we can. We can change the way we think about things. We can accept what is, and be grateful for the lessons life brings, regardless of what these lessons are.
We also have an innate freedom to choose. We can choose how we “react” to our circumstances. In one case, a person may feel doomed, down and out, or even defeated. In another case, a person could feel blessed, on top of the world, and learn something.
So if you ever feel like life is dealing you a bad hand, step back and think about the things you are learning. Sometimes we learn about what not to do, rather than what to do.
I have learned that life is what you make of it. Being separated from my wife sucks, but it has also taught us that marriages are unique. What works for us, may not work for others. When my wife tells people she is married, and they realize that we are in different states, so many people are taken aback. We are so programmed to define things this way or that. For us, it works. My wife can continue to pursue a career she loves, and I can help my mom with dad, who needs help doing everything, even getting dressed each day. We love one another, and give the freedom to one another to do what we need to do.
This is just one example of dealing with fate. Was this situation my and my wife’s fate? Who knows? I really don’t care. We have learned a way to circumvent this challenge by using Facetime, writing letters, and getting together at different times of the year. She knows I am always here for her, to help whenever trouble strikes. She is also here for me. She answers the phone whenever I call. She talks with my Mom and Sister whenever the opportunity arises.
There are so many things that can happen to us that we cannot predict. We can’t predict whether we will get sick. We can’t predicat a financial calamity. We can’t predict a natural event destroying our home and life. All we can do is make the best of our situations as they arise, knowing that all is exactly as it should be.
Well, that’s it for today, folks.
I hope you have a terrifc Thursday. Remember: Things are done for us, not to us.
Today, I wanted to reiterate the resources I use to learn new things. I watch a lot of Ted talks and post one of them I liked on Tuesday each week. I like watching YouTube, particularly if there’s something I’m trying to figure out. YouTube is one of the best “how-to” resources there is out there. I really enjoy the college lectures by some of the best universities in the world. They offer a slew of free courses to watch.
I also like to read National Geographic, The Atlantic, Time, Newsweek, Mother Jones, and a whole host of other digital magazines. So many ideas, so many conversations, so many things to hear and learn about.
For documentaries and learning more in-depth, I watch documentaries on a streaming service called Curiosity Stream. It runs about $20/year, but is worth it if you are documentary addict like me. My favorite topics are: space exploration, computer science, artificial intelligence, military history, and history in general. There are other areas that pique my interest from time-to-time, but these are my core.
If I want to pick up a new skill, I take classes on Udemy. These courses, most of which are on sale, will run you about $12/class. They are worth the money. I’ve been taking an MS Excel course for over two years and I still have more lessons to complete before I’m done. It is terrific. I’ve taken courses on digital art, graphic design, writing, MS Powerpoint, MS Excel, Canva, and Python Programming. It is just terrific! I’ve also tried online universities like Coursera, but these aren’t as good as Udemy. I like the ability to take a course whenever I want to and not be stuck to a schedule.
Learning keeps me alive. It keeps me interested. It keeps me current. I have run across people who have lost their lust for living and it is not something I want to do. I really enjoy picking up new ideas, new technologies, and new content.
Learning to me, is like adding to myself. The more I know, the more easily I can navigate the world. Picking up new skills is also something that makes life easier for me. As we age, memory and cognitive function can dissipate to a point where you really can’t do anything. I never want to be in that position, so I exercise, read, write, and learn as much as possible each day.
One other passion of mine is video gaming, particularly Call of Duty. I play both the mobile and console versions of the game and again, I cannot stress how great it is to keep my hand-eye coordination, along with the quick reaction and other things these games keep fresh. YouTube is my primary source for learning the new things in the game, but also want to mention Twitch, TikTok, and Facebook, where the streamers of content are. I learn a lot about the games by watching others play them.
Well, that’s it for today. I hope this inspires some of you to get out there and learn something new. You may have different interests than I do. No problem, you can find literally any topic to learn about on one of the mediums I’ve presented here.
Here are some links so you can enjoy them too, if you wish:
Oh! There’s one more resource I enjoy. This is Wikipedia. For those of you in college, do not use Wikipedia. It is not a good source for academic research and citations. For guys like me, however, it is a great source to find people, places, and quick hits of information I am curious about. I use Wikipedia extensively, particularly on my Wisdom Wednesday posts to highlight an individual who I’ve chose for quotes that day.
If you haven’t been to Wikipedia in a while, check out the home page. There are all kinds of interesting world news and a section called “Did you know?”. They are all great reads! By the way, if you are predominantly mobile, all of these are in the App store and Google play. I do all of my reading and watching on my iPad.
One more thing you may be interested in is ChatGPT. I use the Bing version of it, and it is really helpful. You want to do some research on a topic? Ask ChatGPT to give you a list of books or other resources on a topic you want to learn about. It’ll list them right out for you. I’ve done this quite a bit lately and it is a great tool!
When was the last time you sat down and thought about your life?
Many of us are moving at warp speed. We rush to work. We rush home from work. We rush to get dinner and chores done. Then we plop on our couch and watch a show or movie, read our Facebook newsfeed, or watch videos on TikTok, Snapchat, or Instagram. Then we go to bed to start all over again.
Reflection can occur as you journal, which is why I think journaling is such a great habit. Journaling allows us to gather all those random thoughts, reactions to situations in our lives, and anything else rattling around up there and translate it into words on a written page or typed on a digital one. The time we take to think about what we are feeling, where we are, where we want to go, and where we’ve been is healthy and it helps us clarify and define what is important to us.
Reflection can also occur when we take a walk, run, or exercise. Exercise can be quite mundane, particularly if you walk or run the same route. You see the same things; you hear the same things. When boredom kicks in, the mind wanders. You think about what happened today. You think about what you need to do. You think about what you’d like to do. Ideas come. The exercise coupled with this boredom is the perfect storm for reflection. I tend to do a lot of reflecting when I am watching a show that I’ve seen over and over again. The different scenes spark thoughts about this or that.
Listening to music is also a great time for reflection as different songs will bring up memories, motivate us, and spark our creativity. I tend to have a difficult time thinking when I’m listening to any music with vocals. The kind of music that helps me during my reflective periods is labeled focus by Apple Music. They are instrumental, low-key, and inspire me to think. I’m listening to some of this music now as I write this posting.
When is the best time to reflect? It really depends on you and your schedule. My best times are early morning when the rest of the house is asleep. I find this time to be very healing. I also find the peaceful calm of the early morning helpful to inspire pondering what is possible. I daydream if you will, while I journal and work out some sticky thoughts that need unravelling.
Sometimes it comes easy. Sometimes not so much. So, I write in my journal what comes to mind and always reread the previous day’s notes to see if I can reword something that is clearer now or jump into a new topic or stream of thought. I find the consistency of journaling is what makes it easy to capture everything because I never miss a day.
Reflection can also be captured by recording something on your smartphone using one of the apps for recording. I do this if I’m on a walk or working out. I don’t like to miss ideas or thoughts, so I capture everything and then listen to them when I have something to write or type with.
Here’s a short video that discusses the importance of reflection.
Well, that’s it for today, folks. I hope you have a great Thursday!
With so many experiencing new lockdowns in Australia, Los Angeles, and many other places, because of the new Delta variant, which is also in the United States, COVID is making a comeback, again! To shine some light on what benefits are gained from a new virus and this global pandemic, watch this video. In it, Daniel Kraft, explores the many ways COVID has helped transform medicine and global relations for the better.
I am grateful for TED talks. They are entertaining, and most importantly very up-to-date. Most documentaries are behind the times, when it comes to current issues. TED brings in speakers that are on the cutting edge of innovation and change, and do a great job introducing many important topics for us to consider. Topics like climate change, human trafficking, migrant rights, and so many others. It is a joy to watch them and learn something new each day.
I hope you enjoy this one. I learned a lot, and what Daniel alludes to is nothing short of extraordinary as the globe comes together to fight this nasty little bug.
Have a great Thursday! Oh, I have some nieces visiting on the 5th of July through the 15th. Daily Ramblings will not be publishing its normal schedule during this time.
This week, particularly if you were in the Southeastern United States, you experienced what an oil shortage looks like. Long lines, no gas at your local gas station, and dramatic price increases. What caused it? A ransomeware attack.
Ransomware is a malware that attacks systems by encrypting them, rendering them impossible to read by the owner. The hacker then proposes a ransom to attain the encryption keys that will unlock a customer’s owned data. Pretty insidious, right?
The attack on Colonial Pipeline was one such attack. It was announced today that Colonial is back up and running, but the effects may be felt for a few more days or weeks, as the oil begins to flow again.
Today, I’m grateful for the Kindle service of Amazon, Scribd, and Goodreads. I read quite a bit each year, typically gravitating to history, politics, military history, and other topics I can learn from. This year I wanted to mix it up with some fiction too.
Many of my friends still enjoy the smell of a new book. I have converted to digital versions of books. They are cheaper, and it is much nicer to read because I can adjust the font sizes. Many of the paperbacks on the market today print them in such a small font that I find it difficult to read.
I also like reading on my iPad, because it is so nice to hold in my hands. I just picked up the iPad Pro and got the 12.9″ screen. It is huge! I only use my iPad for three things–reading, watching movies, and listening to music. If I want to take notes, the Kindle lets me highlight them and keep them in a repository. If I am reading something on Scribd, I can use my laptop to keep track of anything I like and want to remember.
Goodreads is a terrific service. It is owned by Amazon, so any book I read on my Kindle is recorded on Goodreads. When you read 60 books or so a year, it is nice to keep track of what I’ve read so I don’t mistakenly reread something I have already read. It is also an easy way to track my reading goals. It tells me when I am ahead of my reading or behind. I schedule an hour of reading each day, and this synchronizes perfectly with my hour of meditation that I do at the same time. Many meditate with their eyes closed, but there are many meditations that can be done with reading, walking, or while riding on public transportation.
While I’m at it, I also have to announce my move to a new to-do list app. I used Toodledo for years, but became disenchanted with it recently because the interface between my pc and my devices is not the same and doesn’t synchronize well. Toodledo is not supported by the Apple Watch either. My new app is Any.do. It works the same on my iPad, iPhone, and laptop. It is also viewable on my Apple Watch, which is nice. There are some days that I have to get out an about in a hurry and it’s nice to have my todo list on my watch, particularly the grocery list, which is a part of the Any.do app. Another really cool thing is the ability to add the Any.do app to my gmail. Now I have access to all of my to-dos and projects in one place and can view them everywhere. Finally, Any.do can suck in anything from Apple, Google, or Microsoft (calendars) and automatically bring in your events as part of your to-do list for the day. I’m glad I made the switch. The final part is the dark mode you can move to. Microsoft office, kindle, Scribd, Any.do all have dark modes that are much easier on the eyes. Now that I have moved all my apps to dark mode, my eyes are so much more relaxed. Looking at white screen, like the one that we have to use here on WordPress is painful, so I write most of my articles in MS Word (in dark mode) and copy and paste them here.
Well, that’s it for today, folks. If you are looking to make a change to a new to-do app. Give Any.do a whirl. They have a trial period. Frankly, $30 a year is not a big deal, especially when you consider that most of these other apps run $60 annually.
I enjoy reading fiction and non-fiction. Here are a few books I’ve read that some of you may enjoy:
The Room Where It Happened – John Bolton
Fear – Bob Woodward
Rage – Bob Woodward
Singularity: Star Carrier Series – Ian Douglas
The Destroyer Series – Warren Murphy
The John Bolton and Bob Woodward books are political. They both describe the Trump Whitehouse. These were really good reads. I believe that every president is right for the times. Every president deals with the awesome responsibilities of their job in their own way. Many in the Trump camp disparaged these books before they came out, but after reading these books from two different authors, the feeling and descriptions both authors offered were pretty close. This leads me to believe that the descriptions in these books are pretty accurate. Anyway, I hope you take a look at these.
On the science fiction end, the Singularity: Star Carrier series is terrific. The Star Carrier series is 9 books. 8 of them are finished. I am currently on book three. I enjoy how this author delves into the scientific explanations about faster-than-light travel and all the rest he discusses in this story. They are very entertaining.
The Destroyer Series is also another great one, if you enjoy action and adventure, mixed with some of the funniest prose I have read in a long time. If you like action and writing that will make you laugh, these are terrific. This series is composed of 140+ books, but all are really quick reads. Usually I finish them over a weekend.
I’ll provide these book recommendations once in a while. For those of you in my audience who are avid readers, feel free to reach out to me on Goodreads. I use Goodreads because it helps me keep track of all the things I’ve read. I also recommend Scribd, if you are ok with reading books in digital form. Many of the books on Scribd are pretty recent and are part of the subscription. I read enough that Scribd pays for itself. The Woodward and Bolton books by themselves cost about 45 USD. I pay 9 USD a month for the subscription, which also includes audio books and magazines.