Patterico's Pontifications


You’re Alive

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

I look down the row of headlines for a topic and see a shooting in New York City, war in Ukraine, continued ravages of inflation . . . in other words, the usual misery.

Let’s forget about that today and find three things to be grateful for.

The first is common to all of us: we are alive. Once we weren’t, and once again we will not be, but for now, we are. Our time here is precious. Let’s take a moment and recognize it.

The second is common to many of us: we live in the United States of America. To whatever degree you feel oppressed by your government or its policies, it’s worse somewhere else. You didn’t like lockdowns? At least you’re not screaming from the windows in Shanghai, or locked up in a Chinese or North Korean concentration camp. You think society is uncivil? At least drunk soldiers aren’t coming to your house, raping the women and killing the men. It could be — and in many places is — far worse.

The third, you should come up with on your own. No matter how bad things are, it could be worse. You could have locked-in syndrome, unable to communicate except by blinking your left eye. Chances are you have more than one thing to be grateful for. Pick one.

Now imagine that person or thing has been taken away. One day it will be, as everything is taken away. Imagine that day is today. Really visualize the person or thing’s absence.

Now realize it hasn’t been taken away yet, and be extra grateful today for that fact.

P.S. I have been working up a newsletter about the Jon Stewart/Andrew Sullivan kerfuffle. It’s taking a while but I think it will be pretty good when it goes out. Admin Guy still has things to do with recent comments; we’re aware of it. Thanks for your patience on both fronts.

29 Responses to “You’re Alive”

  1. I’m grateful because I live in a beautiful place, in a great country wherein is the best time in human history to be alive.
    I am grateful that my parents moved from the hub of the US automobile industry before it cratered. It wasn’t easy to find a job across the country then, but they did. I’m grateful my Dad shipped out to the war in the Pacific and took leave here in a sunny warm winter, vowed to come back to live.
    (I’m also grateful he was stationed in Alaska so he stayed safe and had plenty of time to fondly remember the warm California winter)

    steveg (e81d76)

  2. Gratitude is a powerful thing. Most people have far more things to be grateful for than they have problems, and for me, most of the problems I’ve ever had were largely of my making. Recovering from the larger of those forced me to work on the grateful side of my life, looking a the donuts, not the holes, but I think that most people would do well to look at that gratitude list from time to time. It’s really easy to get (and stay) pissed off at all those external things that seem to be oppressive, but as the Ferengi would say “There’s no profit in it.”

    A friend of mine and sometimes business partner has a successful life, a fine house in the better part of Santa Monica and “enough money.” His daughter has gone back to school to pursue a Standford PhD in Math and Computer Science after cashing out of a successful Internet startup. But what was he focussing on? His sister, and her constant need of support due to her insane manic/depressive behavior and lifestyle. I suggested that he be grateful instead. “Why?” he asked. I pointed out that the gene fairy could have hit him with that crap and not her, and he should be very grateful for that, and help her cheerfully.

    Don’t know if he took that advice, but he sure stopped whinging to me about it.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  3. *Stanford, of course.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  4. Thats actually good counsel. He should also know its OK to get frustrated. Its like hitting your thumb with a hammer- just because someone over there has excruciating pain from pancreatitis, doesn’t mean your thumb doesn’t hurt like an SOB

    steveg (e81d76)

  5. When I was young in the trades if someone did injure themselves in a relatively minor way, we’d say “hey, it could be worse, there are children starving in Biafra” and the repy would usually be an “F and U” through clenched teeth

    steveg (e81d76)

  6. 8:26 am. She sometimes gets off the train there to switch trains.

    It occurred on a northbound (to Manhattan) N train. A black man, (a new recruit?) dressed in a construction vest and trying to look like an MTA employee, carrying a gun and a gas mask and a smoke grenade, started shooting. 10 people were wounded by gunfire, five of them in serious condition , and 6 by smoke. I didn’t find out about about 20 minutes ago.

    There were also several partially built or defective bombs (no explosives) found in the train station. (in a secluded area used by MTA employees? They were found by the fire department,)

    The perpetrator escaped. They’re looking for him a 2:15/8

    Eight people with injuries from the shooting at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn, All listed as stable. Five people at Maimonides Medical Center , two with gunshot wounds. (were they listed by Maimonides as critical at first?) Three people at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.
    All are expected to survive.

    The gunman exited the train at the first opportunity, which might have been 25 St, They don;t even know if he went on to the street or into a tunnel.

    “This perpetrator dropped those smoke cans, if that’s what they are, and shot around, and then exited from that point,” retired NYC Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. “He’s not going to stay on there if there’s smoke on there, even if he has the filter mask.”

    Mayor Eruc Adams is in Covid quarantine and taking anti viral pills at Gracie Mansion. A deputy mayor went to the scene. The Governor was there. Meanwhile, in a surprise, the Lt. Gov has been arrested and taken into federal court on bribery charges.

    There were no working cameras in the 36th Street station. The gnmman probably got on there and left at 25 St, Tha was not a normal stop for an express train.

    At 25 St, aboard an R train which let on passengers at 36 St after the attack, according to the NYT

    A uniformed police officer approached, asking passengers to call 911 because his radio was not working. One teenager, who identified himself as Fitim, had a hole in his track pants that he said came from a bullet.

    Mayor Adams will shortly make a phone call on WCBS radio at 880 AM He has already been quoted he will not allow New Yorkers to be terrrorized even by a single individual.

    At 2:24 Mayor Adams live

    Sammy Finkelman (bfe3de)

  7. Cideos on social media are useful (Mayor Adams)

    Not clear if only one camera was not working. Did this person disable it?

    Adams says that all victims survived because of quick action by hospitals and other passengers.

    Subway service had been disrupted in both directions. Five nearby schools in lockdown.

    Mayor Adams says that one they apprehend him they will be able to determine its purpose but this was an attempt to terror (what with the smoke bomb)

    Sammy Finkelman (bfe3de)

  8. Police say this was aplanned atack. Blood on the train and the station (which station?)

    It is not being investigated as an act of terrorism at this time. (this would mean no task force)

    The attacker is still running around. Or hiding.

    Sammy Finkelman (bfe3de)

  9. Sammy, this isn’t the right thread for this.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  10. OT- Dreams of ‘Making Russia Great Again’…

    Putin floats moonshot, touts deeper space links with Belarus

    ‘Russia will launch a lunar probe later this year and deepen cooperation with Belarus on space infrastructure and technology, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday. Speaking at a meeting with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East, Putin recalled Soviet successes in space and said no sanctions on Russia could halt its progress. What Russia calls its “special military operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine triggered a barrage of sanctions from Western countries including restrictions on scientific funding and cooperation. Putin said Russia would develop a new generation transport spaceship and technologies for nuclear energy in space. He also said it would launch a probe called Luna-25 to the moon in the third quarter of this year. Russia would work with Belarus on infrastructure that guarantees the countries independent access to space, said Putin, adding that he’d asked Russia’s space agency, Roskosmos, to train a Belarusian for flight on a Russian spacecraft.’ – Reuters

    Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Lukashenko visited the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s far-east amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war in order to mark Russia’s annual Cosmonautics Day. Russia’s annual Cosmonautics Day is the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first man to enter space- April 12, 1961- who was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, located in Kazakhstan, not Belarus.

    It’s a celebrated date w/Russians- monuments to same dot Russia and the old USSR. It is a part of their national culture.

    April is a memorable month for the U.S. space program as well. April 12, 1981 marks the launch of the first U.S. Space Shuttle, STS-1, from Cape Canaveral. April 11-17, 1970 marked the triumphant odyssey of Apollo 13– and April 16, 1972, 50 years ago this week, marks the launch of Apollo 16- the fifth mission to land on the Moon and the first to land in a highlands area. Virtually no monuments pepper America; it is not infused into American culture.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  11. I am grateful that AOC will soon run for president and I will get to vote for her.

    asset (4a9329)

  12. I am thankful for distractions and diversions that, just for a few minutes, take our minds off the complete disaster that is the Biden presidency.

    It absolutely could be worse. It will almost certainly will get worse.

    Obudman (a21e8e)

  13. I am grateful that Patterico, JVW, and Dana have been willing to keep this site a place where the law and the Constitution are respected, and where there is freedom of speech. They have not stooped to encouraging “click bait”, but have kept their standards, at a time when not every site has.

    James Miller (406a93)

  14. I’m grateful that we’ve made it through our first round of CAASP testing with only 5 kids who haven’t finished that test, who I will need to proctor tomorrow. (we have two more rounds)

    I’m grateful for the rain and cool temperatures this week. We can always use more water falling from the sky here and the air after the rainfall has been amazingly clear.

    I’m grateful that our staffing numbers for next year are pretty good, so the class sizes should all be below 35 kids a class and none of our staff members will need to go to a different school. And that my current principal actually approved an intervention class to help struggling students (she hates intervention classes for some reason and refused approval last year, so we didn’t get one until the semester when she realized that the rest of us, in fact, were correct and we needed one)

    I’m grateful that my car is not burning oil, so I don’t have to pay for an expensive refit of the engine, they just didn’t put enough oil in last time they changed it.

    Nic (896fdf)

  15. Dear Patterico: I can tell you are reading about Stoicism and the Stoics. Me, too.

    Simon Jester (017143)

  16. Most grateful for good health– and to have been alive in that era when America truly was ‘great’– post-war 20th century and proved it by deeds without needing the words stitched on a red hat. And particularly for me, at least, to have been alive to watch men walk on the Moon. Nothing over centuries of earthy human toils and troubles can top it.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  17. History rhymes: let’s see… a land war in Europe; dictators on the march; a crippled POTUS– and the most popular personality in American media is a woodened-headed dummy. Ukraine, Putin, Biden and Tucker Carlson in 2022? Howzabout 1939: Poland, Hitler, FDR— and Charlie McCarthy.

    “Show me where Stalin is buried and I’ll show you a Communist Plot.” – Charlie McCarthy [Edgar Bergen]

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  18. And particularly for me, at least, to have been alive to watch men walk on the Moon.

    I had this uncle. Steely-eyed rocket man at JPL in the 50s and 60s. Worked on Explorer I. Deputy Administrator or some such at the end. Dropped dead at his desk two weeks before Apollo 11 launched.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  19. @14 epicurianism is more fun.

    asset (4122b6)

  20. “I have been working up a newsletter about the Jon Stewart/Andrew Sullivan kerfuffle”

    I read Andrew Sullivan’s take at

    It’s clear that Stewart’s show was not a genuine discussion…nor was it intended to be. It was typical Stewart. He wants to be taken seriously but doesn’t really want any of his points critically tested or challenged. The subtext is that Sullivan is a white conservative male that just doesn’t get race and needs a good lecturing….on white privilege, systemic racism, and on how it’s all whitey’s fault….with any pushback just a sign of more latent racism and denial. Ta da.

    Race is complicated…and made more complicated by lumping and generalizing as Stewart’s squad unfortunately does. As Sullivan points out, Stewart fails to credit any societal progress over the past 60 years, though it’s immense,…and seems locked onto discriminatory practices that are no longer a thing and reparation-like solutions that upon closer inspection are muddled and unworkable. Stewart was a huge critic of the noise of combative shows like Crossfire…but appears to counter it with a show pushing a single narrative….with the token opponent there as a prop. That schtick just bores me. Stewart can get my time when he seriously grapples with black family structure and crime and black agency. He wants to be edgy but he just preaches to his choir. Again, boring.

    AJ_Liberty (3cb02f)

  21. The first is common to all of us: we are alive. Once we weren’t, and once again we will not be, but for now, we are. Our time here is precious. Let’s take a moment and recognize it.

    That could easily be Epicureanism. In fact it is said, but only God is All Knowing, that it was once part of a common epitaph on the tombstones of Epicureans.

    nk (1d9030)

  22. Got me to thinking, how much of my generation’s popular music may owe its success to college kids.

    Stoic: Half my life’s in books, written pages, live and learn from fools and from sages. (Aerosmith, 1973)
    Epicurean: Sometimes, I think it’s a shame, when I get feeling better when I’m feeling no pain. (Gordon Lightfoot, 1974)
    And then there were the visionaries:
    Rap: Gonna go downtown, gonna see my girl, gonna sing her a song, gonna show her my ding dong. (Cheech and Chong, 1971)

    nk (1d9030)

  23. It’s not a school of philosophy, but I think a parent’s life is Periclean.
    Pericles to his wife: My dear, Athens rules the world. I rule Athens. You rule me. Our infant son rules you. So be careful what orders you give me because he is much too young to wield so much power.

    nk (1d9030)

  24. I am grateful that Patterico, JVW, and Dana have been willing to keep this site a place where the law and the Constitution are respected, and where there is freedom of speech. They have not stooped to encouraging “click bait”, but have kept their standards, at a time when not every site has.

    Jim Miller,

    Thanks very much for expressing the sentiment, and my apologies that it was caught up in the filter. It seems like that is happening to a lot of comments since I mangled the site . . . hopefully it can be fixed soon. That aside, a comment like yours really makes my day.

    Patterico (7e54d1)

  25. I’m thankful for DVRs and being able to fast forward through commercials and watch TV on your own schedule. It’s the little things in life.

    I continue to be thankful for the internet….though it can be a cesspool….it also brings information to the fingertips that is extraordinary compared to past times (which included inter-library loans, magazine subscriptions, and xerox machines).

    I’m also thankful that people are living longer….without sacrificing a lot of quality. Yeah medical/pharmaceutical communities. Our old people give great perspective.

    I’m thankful for those on the Right that haven’t sold out to Trump and Trumpism…and give hope for an eventual return to normalcy. This includes people who think in paragraphs and not just tweets.

    I’m thankful for the end of masks and seeing people’s faces again…smiles were missed

    I’m thankful for young people bringing fresh and optimistic perspectives…and reminders to laugh to daily

    I’m thankful for shows like The Expanse that bring to life great stories and characters in a sea of remakes and predictability.

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  26. Patterico – No need to apologize. I wasn’t paying attention to the mismatch between my screen name and my current email address. Thinking about it this morning I realized that was probably what triggered the filter.

    If this posts, we’ll know for sure.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  27. I’m thankful for shows like The Expanse that bring to life great stories and characters in a sea of remakes and predictability.

    Indeed. My wife, not an SF fan by any means, saw all The Expanse TV show, twice and then asked me if I had the books. Turned out I did and she’s on “Persepolis Rising.”

    The current great SF show is “For All Mankind.” Unexpectedly, since the premise is bogus (USSR beats us to the Moon, and survives into the 90s). But it’s the best alt history TV show I’ve ever seen. Great Zeligs.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  28. Kevin, “The Expanse” was really good. The novels were superb. The series was good, within the budgetary constraints. I think you and I can agree that fusion drives don’t work like that, but they needed to move quickly.

    So many good characters, both in the novels and the series. Avasarala in particular.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  29. I got drawn into Daniel Abraham’s (he’s one-half of James S.A. Corey) The Long Price books by A Shadow In Summer, and read all four, but that exhausted my interest in his writing.

    nk (1d9030)

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