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Month: February 2021

Playing music together – on the internet

Playing music together – on the internet

Covid lockdown has had some surprising side effects – especially to musicians. It turns out playing music or singing together on the internet is much, much harder than you think. In some situations, it is likely impossible to overcome the lag issues due to the basic laws of physics (unless we get quantum entanglement communication systems)

Turns out, JackTrip and Jamulus (free) has been able to solve some of these issues. I’m going to have to read more about it.

Belle Epoque

Belle Epoque

Messy Nessy Chick tells us about the Incroyables (men) and their female counterparts the Merveilleuses – a short-lived aristocratic subculture which emerged in Paris during the penultimate stage of the French Revolution, as a sort of counter-revolution. They held hundreds of balls and started fashion trends in clothing and mannerisms that today seem exaggerated and affected.

They scandalized Paris with revealing dresses and tunics modelled after the ancient Greeks and Romans, cut of light or transparent linen and gauze. For a brief period, young aristocrats who survived the Reign of Terror greeted the new regime with a defiant outbreak of luxury and daring decadence through their exaggerated clothing, silly mannerisms and indulgent behavior.

While it didn’t last, I was amazed at some of these outfits and wonder if they couldn’t be highly popular if modernized today…

Catholic teaching on end of life matters

Catholic teaching on end of life matters

I recently have been updating my estate planning – something that I firmly believe everyone should do at some point. Not only does this make things easier on your loved ones, but more importantly, it’s an opportunity to get educated about very serious end-of-life matters.

Estate planning involves setting up documents, trusts, and systems that make your wishes clear. This is done as simply, or complex, as needed. Creating a will, appointing decisionmakers for medical and/or financial matters, evaluating your insurance coverage, setting up legal entities (trusts) to take care of your assets, and even purchasing and planning your own funeral arrangements are all matters you should address. This removes the terrible burden of your loved ones having to make those decisions and sort out the insurance and legal issues while also dealing with your possible death. It’s really a gift to your living relatives and can be a powerful tool to avoid family fights and animosity that can come up when dealing with end of life and estate issues.

Even more importantly than dealing with physical possessions is establishing a medical directive and decision maker. For that, you need to know what you want yourself. Many people, however, are often overwhelmed by these choices – and they bring up a tremendous amount of ethical questions that many people have never thought about.

Ethical questions

What are some of these situations that you should think about when writing a medical directive? Here are just some:

  • Euthanasia/Assisted suicide
  • Nutrition and hydration at end of life
  • Palliative care
  • Vegetative state
  • Resuscitation orders
  • Use of painkillers to point of sedation

This is often a moment in which many people find themselves relying on simplistic forms that many states provide. Unfortunately, as almost all lawyers will tell you, these medical directive forms are terrible. They are often written so bad they do not even do the things they claim. Long legal battles have been fought over the terrible wording in these directives.

Catholic educational resources:

So where is one to turn? Many parishes have regular legal session and legal help for parishioners to set up estate plans and directives. You could certainly contact your pastor who can likely get you materials and connected to an ethical estate planner.

Finding authentic Catholic teaching can also be hard, but one document can give you a great start: Samaritanus Bonus (The Good Samaritan) It deals with the difficult topics listed above from a pastoral, historical, and scriptural perspective.

Give it a read along with recently updated instruction on Catholic burial and cremation.

The Legend of Beavis

The Legend of Beavis

The Legend of Zelda is a great set of games, but the 90’s era cartoon was….well…terrible. Mostly because Link was so unbelievably snotty and annoying.

Someone made the cartoon 100 times better by replacing Zelda’s voice actor with Beavis.

1950 teen tells her parents they are wack

1950 teen tells her parents they are wack

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Listen to this 1950’s era teen throws shade are her parents. I think she has some good points that parents and kids today probably feel.

And for teens/parents out there, least you think it is so much worse today, listen to the wisdom of the ages. But then again, all of these civilizations did collapse – so there’s that…

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”― Socrates (5th century BC)

“What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?” – Plato (4th century BC)

“We live in a decaying age. Young people no longer respect their parents. They are rude and impatient. They frequently inhabit taverns and have no self control” Inscription in Egyptian tomb from 4000BC

Making of a professional

Making of a professional

One never stops learning – that’s a fact I have found true time and again. To stop learning is the most dangerous thing that can happen in your career/life. That learning, however, is often instigated by unexpected events, life decisions, seizing amazing opportunities, or even failures/career doors that close. However, there is also a natural learning as you mature from one stage in life to another.

One natural and interesting inflection point in an young person’s life often comes after they leave college. It’s often a time punctuated by near boundless energy, enthusiasm, and idealism. While that makes for a great starting point, it also has some real shortcomings that must be recognized or they can start sabotaging your career and personal life. Another name for this is ‘Mt Stupid’

One source calls this the transition from amateur to professional, or getting from the peak of Mt Stupid to being a Guru. I have read these (and other) observations/tips given to engineers and to artists alike.

  • Amateurs think they are good at everything. Professionals understand their circles of competence.
  • Amateurs solve the symptoms. Professionals solve the problem.
  • Amateurs think in absolutes. Professionals think in probabilities.
  • Amateurs think disagreements are threats. Professionals see them as an opportunity to learn or share.
  • Amateurs have a goal. Professionals have a process.
  • Amateurs value intensity because it makes a good story. Professionals value consistency because it makes good outcomes.

I have stories I could share on almost every one of these observations – and where I’ve seen it really stunt or even destroy a career when people stubbornly hold to them.

Maybe a topic for another write-up, but currently, I think that the next transitioning from professional to leadership. Choosing the values and becoming the kind of leader you want is a whole new challenge.