Most humans are afraid of dying. I myself don’t want to die… if you offered me a way to become immortal, I would take it. I enjoy life and would like to extend mine as long as I can.
That is the wrong attitude though. We humans only have a 0.1% difference in genetics between even people from different continents. Your own children or parents share far more than that in common with you. This leads me to believe that our selfhood is partially an illusion… others around you basically are you… just different chunks of you with slightly different experiences. We share far, far more in common than we have differences.
When people behave selfishly, you could look at it like many religions do as they are just hurting themselves.
We need to embrace the fact that we are born, we grow during youth, mature into adulthood, then slowly fade with age until we die. Each stage of life is beautiful and interesting in it’s own way. Don’t cling desperately to youth. Don’t fear death.
And most importantly, we need a LOT more mixing of different age groups. The artificial isolation of ages that has developed with the industrial age is very bad for humans of all ages.
A good friend sent me this excellent email on drinking in moderation:
When I started drinking after my year off it was a slow process, for the first couple months I consciously limited myself to no more than 1 drink a week. Then after a few months I upped it to no more than 3 a week.
The key for me has been to remain super conscious about my drinking. It’s never been good enough for me to just not have a plan of drinking a lot, I specifically have to have a plan to not drink a lot.
It’s tough. I have to decide at the beginning of the night, what sort of night is this going to be, what is reasonable for this to be? How long am I going to be out, what is the scenario? If we’re going to dinner I might decide, ok, I’ll have one cocktail at the the beginning of the night, and the wine pairing with the food, and that’s all. Or if I’m going to a brewery with friends, no more than one beer an hour for 4 hours. And then I have to work to stick to that. Regardless of the circumstance, I have an ever present goal of never drinking so much that I have a hangover.
It is not easy. Since I began drinking again in 2016 there have been a few occasions where I did not live up to my own goals. The worst of which was my bachelor party, and that one I, and my wife, had given me permission to drink more, though in retrospect I’m not very proud of that as a ‘reward’ type activity. I will say that I have gotten increasingly better at this. I definitely drank more than I planned to more frequently in the first year after resuming alcohol. But such occurrences have become less and less frequent, because each occurrence not only makes me feel physically not well, but also a sense of failure and shame at not maintaining my goal. This kind of negative reinforcement works for me, though it may not for everyone.
This sort of moderation does sometimes fee like it limits the fun of drinking. It can take you out of the moment. “Oh I’m having so much fun with my friends… wait, this is drink number 4? That’s enough.” And alcohol is amazing at making more alcohol sound like a good idea. It’s really easy to start out with a plan of only 3 drinks, and those drinks make it seem super reasonable to have one more, and one more. Alcohol dilutes your focus as well, so the very thing that you need to be doing to maintain control becomes harder to accomplish.
I read a lot of articles about drinking moderation and different levels of alcohol abuse before I decided to start drinking again, some people had more success with it than others, and there were a lot of different factors why, some people are bad at impulse control anyway, and so sticking to a pre-imposed limit is almost impossible in the face of a drug that further limits impulse control. Some people who were successful at alcohol moderation eventually decided that it wasn’t worth all the effort to control their intake so they decided to totally abstain as it was simpler. I’ve had that thought myself, I definitely found it easier to not drink at all than to constantly consciously limit myself, and I sometimes think that may be where I wind up eventually.
I did dry January this year to sort of recommit. I’d noticed it had been awhile since I’d gone more than a week without a drink. But this weekend I am planning to do my yearly trip to Idaho with my law school buds, and the primary activity there does consist of drinking cheap beer. Fortunately, I’ve found it a lot easier to moderate my intake of something I don’t really enjoy, in this case Rolling Rock, and it’s low alcohol enough that if I have no more than one ever hour or two and have some water in between I’m honestly fine. Except for all the unnecessary calories I consume, and the horrible farting the next day…
Which sort of begs the question, why? Why am I bothering with all the effort just to continue consuming something that is bad for me?
I’ve thought about this one quite a bit, and I have come to a couple of conclusions that are true for me, but may not be for another person.
1) I enjoy alcohol. It’s my drug of choice, I like the way it makes me feel, I like the taste of many types of alcohol. The big key here for me has been realizing that it is the smaller pleasures of alcohol that I like. I like the way that I feel after 2-3 drinks, I don’t like the way I feel after 8-9. If I’m going to drink more than 2-3, then the goal is to maintain that level of feeling, and that means slowing way down, and even then it’s only possible to a degree.
2) A lot of my socialization features alcohol as a catalyst to some degree. Most of my friends enjoy alcohol, and even if I’m not drinking a lot I really like to be able to say “Yeah man, I’d like to try that special beer you bought at some obscure brewery.” Or “Sure, let’s check out that winery and do a tasting.” To be sure I definitely have built some unhealthy drinking habits with my friends, and that can be an extra level of difficulty to overcome, but I have found that honesty and openness really helps with that. If I tell my friend, hey I’m trying to limit my alcohol intake. I’ve never had them say “Pussy! DRINK UNTIL YOU DIE!” I’ve always found support. But if someone invites me to hang out, I want to do that, and honestly hanging out at a brewery without trying their handiwork is less fun.
This has gotten pretty long-winded, but I hope there is something here helpful to you.
The short summary would be: Drinking in moderation is possible for me only with consistent conscious effort, and even then I have failed at my goals from time to time. Not drinking at all is easier to maintain, and whether or not the struggle is worth it to you is a question only you can answer.
Border walls are stupid. China built the Great Wall and it completely failed to stop invaders from coming through many times. The amount of energy and expense it takes to put up a wall is far less effective than other means of defense.
Border walls are evil. I can’t tell you how many times people have said to me, “if you don’t like it here then move to another country”. How am I supposed to move if I am penned in by a border wall? How can people escape evil dictators in Venezuela, Russia, or Saudi Arabia if there is nowhere to go?
Border walls are racist. Why do you want to stop people from coming into your country? Ah – those people are supposedly all criminals, rapists, terrorists, and will take your job? People said the exact same things about every wave of migrants America has had… The Irish, Italians, Chinese, etc. It was racist and stupid then and it’s racist and stupid now.
I am a libertarian and believe in small government and free trade. Republicans used to be the party embodying these principles while the Democrats were racists fighting for their “traditions”. Now the Republicans fight for one religion, less individual freedoms, and oligarchies. Democrats also fight against free trade and freedoms now too. There is no good parties left, both sides have been subverted by massive funding from foreign actors in Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia.
I spoke with two men recently who shared my political philosophy of libertarianism. However, when we talked about current issues we were on opposite sides of the table. The only reason for this was they read one news source and I read another. We believed different facts. Truth however is real and one of us is wrong. It’s hard for even intelligent people to discern who is right though due to the high amount of false information and narratives being pushed.
Intentionally fake news should be criminalized and civil recourse should be offered in order to cut down on the severe damage our democracy is facing.
If a TV station accidentally publishes inaccurate stories, that is okay as long as they retract it. If the TV station purposefully publishes news they think is inaccurate, the people involved should face penalties.
I think news should be required to be entirely separate business entities from opinion. There is too much conflict of interest when you combine the two.
There is a great discussion on Hacker News about this. I actually have changed my mind about criminalizing fake news. I like the idea of making it a tort instead. This way it is not the government setting definitions, but courts handling it on a case by case basis.
I had never played golf in my life before six months ago, but I have taken up the game in a big way since then. I have improved massively over that time – my first few rounds were 128’s, but my round yesterday I scored an 88! I dropped 40 strokes in just six months.
I am not some gifted athlete; my wife regularly reminds me she is far more athletic than I am. I just used the same approach to building my golf game that I used for building my business.
Below you will see tons of videos and tips I have compiled over time, but first I will give you a prioritized list of principles for improving your golf game:
Take weekly lessons. A lesson will run $30-50 for a half hour. You will spend more than that on greens fees to play a round. A coach can spot issues in your swing that you will never identify alone. Try out a variety of coaches and don’t feel bad when you switch. At the end of every lesson, video tape your coach giving you a one minute summary of the key things he wants you to practice. Rewatch this daily.
Practice every day, even if you only have time to stop at the range for a half hour or hour. Rewatch your coach’s video prior to each session and try to drill in whatever they are teaching you.
Spend as much time on the putting green as you do the driving range – more strokes come from putts than any other area of your game.
Spend about half the time you do putting or driving on chipping practice. Overall time breakdown should be 40% driving, 40% putting, 20% chipping.
Below are a series of videos and notes that I found to be especially helpful for my golf game:
Phil Mickelson made a one hour video on your short game. The techniques here are solid gold and have been very helpful to me. I even bought the Pelz putting tutor device he mentions. So good.
My notes on Phil Mickelson’s video:
Always continue hands down line towards shot. Never break wrists at all.arms and hands travel same speed.
Hit ball with 4 degree loft.
Ball at left rear heel.
Square up putter face. Ask club if I can use Phil’s putting tutor- little black thing with marbles to make sure putts start straight. This is required to retrain yourself for the green that day.
3 foot circle game to get to 100% there, 90% four feet and 70% 5 feet. Short game foundation.
25% back, 75% forward. Don’t be hands.
6 foot drill for learning breaks. 70% is great.
High handicappers underread breaks.
40 foot putt goal is to get in 3 feet not in hole. Practice getting 3 in a row. Use tees or balls to mark circle. Then try 50 and 60 feet. Uphill and downhill.
Long putts swing forward as hard as you can without increasing grip pressure. Follow through with hands as much as you can. Work on backstroke to change this. Phil uses reference for how far back like I did.
Putting most important thing is eyes an inch or two back and underneath ball so you can look down it like a sharp shooter.
Putt with ball forward in stance near left heel.
Try to not hit ball into ground or up in putts. You want 4 degrees of loft.
Hands must continue down putter line.
Never be wristy in putting especially after contact with ball.
Top hand left hand should have stronger grip on club.
Chipping by Phil mickelson. About 25 mins into this video
-be aggressive into ball
-dont lock wrists or do anything like clock method
-hinge and hold. Break wrists immediately going back. Follow through with ball keeping hands going to ball like putting. Don’t break wrists or stop hands on follow through. Keep leading edge and angle same through impact. Accelerate hands through to do hold, don’t slow club.
-aim for three foot circle
-spend tons of time on basic chip shot getting to within three feet.
-phil uses 60 degree wedge with deep sole and good bounce. Likes it for lob shot and bunker shot.
-arm and club make straight line in finish.
Longer chips (30- 60 yards) do the exact same standard chip, just a bit longer backswing. Continue to accelerate into finish and hinge and hold. Hands and club make a straight line in finish (just a little further). Keep trying to get it within 3 feet.
For lob shots, open face (open face then point face at Target, then regrip). Weight and ball position forward. Hinge and hold through shot.
For really soft shots, hit it fat like a bunker shot. Come in steep.
Don’t cut across, this causes us to lead with hozzle.
If your hands stop, you will blade it. Keep hands ahead of the clubhead and continue to accelerate hands forward.
You should putt from off the green if the grass is cut very tight. Don’t look at the green, read the fairway instead!
When hitting out of deep rough, use hinge and hold. Move weight forward. Drive club in behind ball.
When balls is high and soft, level weight, open face but don’t lay flat, use hinge and hold swing to get up high and soft and control it.
To get ball to run out of rough, move it back in stance and deloft club a bit.
Other general golf notes:
Keep your eyes on the ball until second after it’s been hit then look up.
Shorter backswing, load wrists after right hand passed right thigh. When arm is parallel to ground, club at right angle. Angle should not go further than this. Turn your left shoulder down a bit more to ninety degrees with ground then stop. Work on smaller swing. Retain angle in right knee, keep left foot on ground, keep spine angle very stable. Start downswing with weight shift left.
During full swing, start wrists forward of club head and return to the same position.
With the driver teared up step back three paces behind where I want to go step up to the ball and don’t think about anything look up once where I want the ball to go then hit the ball.
Make sure I practice aiming at a specific round Target
Shorter backswing – In backswing have club point at target not across to the right. Limit backswing even further than you think. Do a practice one and look at it to make sure it points downrange.
Station slightly further from ball so hands hang below face.
Start of backswing should come more straight back THEN shallow the club… don’t start with it shallow.
Swing with my abs, arms relax. Don’t start backswing or downswing with arms. At moment of contact, I should see left butt cheekand left shoulder should be hidden from rear view. I am not turning enough with hips to start swing. I think I am starting swing with arms, not hips.
Straighten back in setup and throughout backswing & swing.
-Swing comes too vertical, need to bring hands deep to the right instead of up. This will prevent the overswing. Swing inside to out. Extend out after the ball and finish with left elbow high. Keep the club going out as long as possible. Club face open, ball a bit further away. Keep wrists firmer. Don’t let head move much on ball / come up. Backswing should have club pointing down the line, not across it.
-Retain angle in right knee in backswing. Feels like it presses slightly into ground. Pressure trend towards right heel. Don’t straighten right leg. Keep wrists firmer / less wrist hinge. Give up speed for control. Small backswing.
-Tailbone out, hands higher. Weight on balls of feet. Not too much knee flex. Close your eyes and practice swing sometimes. Keep spine angle. Don’t let head come up.
-Retain right knee without extending, Angle of spine remains the same. Right hand needs to stay higher on grip.
Try body swing no arms to increase distance from 167 to 213. Try to feel zero arms, only body.
5050 weight split at start. More weight pushed into right heel as you start backswing.
Keep body behind golf ball in backswing, rotation of hips and shoulders
In backswing, minimal wrist hinge at first, very wide takeaway. Then rotate around body to coil and wrists move solidly to larger angle. Fully rotate hips.
Downswing needs to maintain right tilt and staying behind ball. Rotate on this tilt. Not doing so is what causes my slice.
Downswing rotates on right heel. Keep body shape and extension of arms and club as you sweep up through ball. Shaft angle is not leaned, it’s pretty level and straight to where you started. Keep body behind ball. Unwind hips and body without moving much left.
Strike location is enormously important. Use foot spray to see where you hit. Best players have a tight grouping.
Driver follow through continue to extend arms and clubs, continue rotate hips and let club go around body (not upwards). Square clubfade through shot (face should horizontally point at Target as it continues through). Need complete balance at finish. Finish full rotation facing target with shoulders.