I'm reading this really good book right now - "The Emperor of Ocean Park." It's about ten years old, but still had this profound thing to say about the Web:
"One-third retail, one-third porn, and one-third lies, all of our baser nature in one quick stop."
I've got no retail, no porn, and I've tried to aspire, in full disclosure, to half-truths in these pages, which makes me one-sixth of the problem I suppose. Oh well.
With that short, refreshing dip into the cleansing waters of redemption I'll plunge into today's post, aiming just north of our baser nature. North being the good direction. Wasn't the Good Witch from the north? Or was it the east?
Entitlement Reform - We've all heard that the country will be insolvent in a generation or so if we don't get entitlement costs under control. Problem is, nobody wants to be the one to give up their entitlement. Every interest group has an ox to gore, and politicians had to murder oxen. What we need is a guy like Tony to step in with a few words of wisdom, or inspiration, to get us all moving like robots in the same direction. It doesn't matter what direction we pick at this point, as long as it's different from the one we're on right now. Tony might find that he's unleashing something more potent than the Power Within if he jumps into this mess, but we could sure use his help.
Tony, Make Us Stop!
The Phillies - Something happened to the Phillies last fall. I'm not talking about their tragic collapse in post-season play, and I'm not talking about some fleeting illness that passed when the spring breezes began to blow. I'm talking about a wholesale, dispiriting, bitter fall from grace that has persisted through the All Star break. The Phillies are in last place when we all expected to see them competing for first. And they've been in last all season. The Phillies need Tony. They've got to find their Power Within - it's there lurking somewhere. Getting Ryan Howard and Chase Utley back is only part of the solution. Call Tony up!
Would You Trust This Guy?
Even The Phanatic is Sad
According to today's Washington Post, 21 people suffered burns after walking on hot coals in California. They were evidently under the spell of Tony Robbins, who claims to be a "peak performance strategist", and, from his lofty perch, frequently turns the merely insecure into brainless packs of roving morons willing to act on his every impulse.
Such was the case in San Francisco last Thursday, where people are too whacky to be insecure but plenty willing to try just about anything once. So, after listening to one of Tony's sermons urging them to "Unleash the Power Within", a bunch of folks decided to cast uncertainty, fear, and common sense aside by walking barefoot across a ten foot length of hot coals measuring 1200 - 2000 degrees.
Tony says the experience gives the participants the opportunity to “understand that there is absolutely nothing you can’t overcome.” Instead, about twenty people learned that fire is hot and it hurts. Real bad. Hospital bad.
The Post says the Tony had an "Open Burn Permit" for the event. No word on whether that applies to the bed of coals or the participant's wounds.
The city of San Francisco insisted on having a fire inspector present, caring more about the risk of property damage than injury to the participants. For a city that usually bends way over backwards to care for the needs of its citizens, this seems one of their more sensible decisions. Any fool that walks on fire hasn't demonstrated the good sense to earn the sympathy or protection of the state.
Tony, while generally upbeat in his public statements, did feel obligated to warn us all about the coming economic collapse. In 2010. Which is about four years too late for anybody to do anything about it, including me. He may be motivational, but he's no Roubini.
I have to admit, idiot that I sometimes am, I've wondered about this whole walking on coals thing. I've never seen it done, except on TV, where I've seen it on reputable programs like The Office and, I think, Gilligan's Island. And I've never considered actually doing it, which puts me safely in the mostly non-idiotic category. I have no idea how it's done, but the probability that Tony's pablum has anything to do with it is near zero.
So I did a little checking and here's what I learned. Ever notice that firewalking always happens at night? Even on TV? That's so you see glowing coals and not the thick coating of ash that covers them. And ever see a firewalker do their gig? They don't exactly walk, do they? They move just as fast as their legs will carry them. So, the "walker" has two things going for them - good insulation and fleeting contact with the coals. It's actually pretty safe.
Walking on coals seems like kind of a waste of Tony's talents. Anybody who can persuade thousands of people to abandon everything they've learned about basic physics - come on, even Frankenstein knew that fire hurt - should be applying his magic to loftier, more painful, problem sets. Here are some things for him to consider: