Our Veterans!


Much has been written about the “One-percent and the ninety-nine percent” in reference to the wealthiest one-percent of Americans and the rest of us. But there is another one-percent and ninety-nine percent we don’t tend to think about – and that is the one-percent of Americans who volunteer to defend our country and the other ninety-nine percent of us.

We should be grateful to those who willing put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms, but we should also be mindful of the right – and wrong – ways to thank them. Recently, Matt Richtel interviewed Marine Corps veteran Hunter Garth recently back from service in Afghanistan. Here is part of what he has to say:

To some recent vets — by no stretch all of them — the thanks comes across as shallow, disconnected, a reflexive offering from people who, while meaning well, have no clue what soldiers did over there or what motivated them to go, and who would never have gone themselves nor sent their own sons and daughters.

To these vets, thanking soldiers for their service symbolizes the ease of sending a volunteer army to wage war at great distance — physically, spiritually, economically. It raises questions of the meaning of patriotism, shared purpose and, pointedly, what you’re supposed to say to those who put their lives on the line and are uncomfortable about being thanked for it.

We all should be enormously grateful for the sacrifices our veterans – especially our war-wounded – have made. But be thoughtful about how you express that gratitude.

Read more here

Cluttered? – Take Heart!


Is clutter – way too much stuff – dominating your life? For many of us it is. For me, that problem used to take care of itself as the Navy moved us every two years so you had to yank all your stuff out of closets, drawers, attics, garages, etc. But if you don’t move, you rarely have to look at most of your stuff so you just keep piling it up.

Now there is a culture – some call it a cult – of tidying up. The high priestess of this movement Japan’s Marie Kondo, author of the de-clutter manifesto and global best-seller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. But some wonder if we’re going too far. What if getting rid of all our stuff changes our life in a way we don’t want it changed? Pamela Druckerman suggests:

Clutter isn’t a new problem, of course. But suddenly, it’s not just irritating — it’s evil. If you’re not living up to your potential, clutter is probably the culprit. Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” the top-ranked book on The New York Times list of self-help books, promises that, once your house is orderly, you can “pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy, your mission in life.”

But the more stuff I shed, the more I realize that we de-clutterers feel besieged by more than just our possessions. We’re also overwhelmed by the intangible detritus of 21st-century life: unreturned emails; unprinted family photos; the ceaseless ticker of other people’s lives on Facebook; the heightened demands of parenting; and the suspicion that we’ll be checking our phones every 15 minutes, forever. I can sit in an empty room, and still get nothing done.

But in spite of growing skepticism about the “cult of tidying up Marie Kondo is undaunted and on a mission to help us de-clutter. Here is how she put it in the Wall Street Journal.

“Keep only the things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest,” she advises. “When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too. As a result, you can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don’t.”

So how far should you go? – It’s a question we all wrestle with…

Read more here from the Wall Street Journal

Read more here from the New York Times


No Fear!

The movie “The Imitation Game” credits mathematician Alan Turing with ending World War II two years early and saving 14 million lives. So it might seem strange to say it undersells Turing’s legacy. And yet that’s the case.

It’s true that as the movie depicts, Turing gave the Allies an incredible advantage by cracking the German Enigma code. This allowed England and her allies a degree of visibility into their enemy’s plans that present-day spies can only dream of. But a more comprehensive account of Turing’s work tells us something astonishing: Code-breaking was but a sidebar to Turing’s larger ambitions.

Like Newton and Einstein, Turing strove to understand something fundamental about reality itself. And as the inventor of the mathematical abstraction that enabled all subsequent devices we call “computers,” some of his insights are more relevant today than ever.

At the time, a “computer” was literally a person, working with pencil and paper or perhaps a mechanical calculator as an aid. Mathematicians were interested in whether or not this hypothetical computer-person could, starting from a set of axioms, determine whether any statement in the universe was true or false.

Building on the work of others, Turing realized that the way to answer this question was to replace the human with a “universal” mechanical computer. Turing didn’t need to build such a computer; it was enough to describe it mathematically, which he did.

Read more about how all this started here:


Work-Life Balance


It is so easy to arrive home from work in a bad mood, cranky and frustrated.

Shaking off the after-work blues can be hard, especially when we are tired. The human stress response is a chemical chain reaction of hormones coursing through one’s system, says Jordan Friedman, a New York City stress-management trainer and author. Add fatigue, “and it’s like dousing those chemicals with lighter fluid.”

It helps to think about the transition from work to home in three stages: leaving the office, getting home and walking through the door.

Best advice: “Don’t be too quick to try to get rid of the bad mood right away. Pay attention to what your feelings might be trying to tell you.”

Read more here:

Baby Boomers


You’d never know it watching all the things we do to stave off aging and try to pretend we’ll be young forever. But we all are getting older day-by-day.

The only thing we can do is adjust our attitudes about getting older ourselves and adjust our attitudes about those older – often vastly older – than us.

Who are they? By 2050, Americans age 65 and over will comprise one-fifth of the population – over 80 million people! An aging population does pose real challenges.

Read more here

A Night at the Library – A Celebration on Local Authors


Presented by Friends of the Coronado Library


On February 6, 2015, from 6:00 – 9:00 PM, Friends of the Coronado Public Library will present a fun and social evening with authors of Coronado at the annual fundraiser. We invite you to meet and mingle with our local authors, who have gathered for the first time ever to meet YOU! Tickets are $50.00 per person and include hosted food, wine and beer, as well as a $10.00 certificate to Second Hand Prose, the Friends’ Gently Used Book Store.

Click here to see more details!

Learn more about Author George Galdorisi


Mind-Body Balance


Most of us are either crunching away on our New Year’s resolutions or have abandoned some, most or all of them. Most of the time we set the bar high – sometimes impossibly high.


The one resolution many of us do manage to stick with for a while is healthy eating. With so much information out there on nutrition, many of us finally “get it” and up our game and eat better. And we are all better for it. And combined with that, many of us are using our gym memberships too. So we are on a journey for healthy bodies. But are we ignoring our minds?

Here is some advice I found extremely useful:

Pico Iyer was an externalist — a person who’ll exercise great care over what he puts into his body and never think about what he puts into his mind. Who will dwell at length on everything he can see, in order to distract himself from the fact that it’s everything he can’t see on which his well-being depends. Who will fill his head with so much junk that he can’t remember that wolfing down Buffalo wings is not the problem, but a symptom.

An externalist makes a point — even a habit — of cherishing means over ends, effects over causes and everything that fills him up over everything that truly sustains him. He interprets health in terms of his body weight, wealth in terms of his bank account and success in terms of his business card. He’ll go to the health club, and never think of the mental health club, like someone who imagines the only arteries to be unclogged are the ones that course with blood. Pico has more to say on this – and it’s enriching.

Read more here.


She’s Smart, She Has Personality. Who Wins?


Self-control, curiosity, “grit” — these qualities may seem more personal than academic, but at some schools, they’re now part of the regular curriculum. Some researchers say personality could be even more important than intelligence when it comes to students’ success in school. But critics worry that the increasing focus on qualities like grit will distract policy makers from problems with schools.

If you have no interest in classical music or no interest in starting your business I doubt that you will be very gritty or display a lot of passion and perseverance. But personality assessment could help people find areas where they might be more likely to persevere — it could teach people what they’re naturally like, so they can make better choices. And rather than changing their personalities completely, people might simply learn behaviors to help them better deal with their existing traits. For instance if I know that I’m generally an introverted person and I don’t enjoy social events, I can teach myself four or five simple strategies to relate to other people.

Still on the fence? Read more here:





Nowadays, though we may still idolize the charismatic leader or creative genius, almost every decision of consequence is made by a group. And groups of smart people can make horrible decisions — or great ones. Indeed, the smartest teams were distinguished by three characteristics.

First, their members contributed more equally to the team’s discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate the group.

Second, their members scored higher on a test called Reading the Mind in the Eyes, which measures how well people can read complex emotional states from images of faces with only the eyes visible.

Finally, teams with more women outperformed teams with more men. Indeed, it appeared that it was not “diversity” (having equal numbers of men and women) that mattered for a team’s intelligence, but simply having more women. This last effect, however, was partly explained by the fact that women, on average, were better at “mindreading” than men.

Read more here:


Need More Time?


Do you have a New Year’s resolution to have more time for yourself – time to do the things you really love doing? Here’s how to keep it – the easy way.

Checking email less often may reduce stress in part by cutting down on the need to switch between tasks. An unfortunate limitation of the human mind is that it cannot perform two demanding tasks simultaneously, so flipping back and forth between two different tasks saps cognitive resources. As a result, people can become less efficient in each of the tasks they need to accomplish. In addition to providing an unending source of new tasks for our to-do lists, email could also be making us less efficient at accomplishing those tasks.

Taste freedom – leave your e-mail alone!

Read more here: