Tag Archives: inspiration

THE MATH FOR 2017

Hey, gang! 2017.  It’s here, and so am I.  There no way I could ever forget about you guys; any of you.  You are my rock, my driving inspiration and living proof that we ARE a genetic collective.  This year’s math is a different, as you may have already noticed.  No 500 page thesis, no intense and urgent calls to action and no calculations.  Here’s some new math for us to ponder together:  This year, the math says that 2017 may just be the year that that we make the first blinking attempting to open our eyes together and maybe, just maybe, we’ll realize that we CAN do better.  The very instant that more than half of us realize it; we change reality, and that is beyond cool.

Happy New Year!

ctwfrank

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The Rules

You asked, so here they are: Below is a list of the calculations that I use as a guide to life in general.  They work, so ‘them’s the rules’. Enjoy!

Rule #1: (AKA: the shit and shinola rule).  The one rule you can never afford to not remember:  Always know the difference between shit and shinola.  Both of them will shine your shoes, but one of them is shit.

Rule #2: (AKA; The Banana Peel Rule) this rule can be exemplified in many ways, and it is: It’s not over ‘till the fat lady sings, etc.  This is the example that I use:   As is the case with most of the rules of human life, the banana peel is based on a catastrophic calamity that befalls a person, just before they succeed; like hitting the winning home run, or finishing the big project, or closing the big deal, or finishing the formula that will win you the Nobel Prize, or finally walking up to the girl (or guy) that you can’t get out of your head and asking them out.  Anything at all that is considered to be a success or an accomplishment; big or small, has a banana peel.

The narrative is as follows:  “Among the plethora of qualities that abound in a human being, the most impacting one is our ability to think.  Thinking includes paying attention.  Thinking also requires an expenditure of energy.  Both of these are things that most of us would rather not do if given the choice. Most of us would rather find a shortcut, a cheat sheet, an advantage, a secret passage, an enchanted potion or even a magic pill that will allow for us to not have to think or expend energy, even though we know they don’t exist. This is not an inherent human quality, it is a LEARNED behavior.

For example:  Imagine yourself running a race.  A competitive foot race, let’s say a thousand meter race.  The race itself could represent anything; a job, an idea, a challenge, a problem, life.  The starter pistol goes off and you fly into the lead, running like no one has ever run.  You are a human gazelle and suddenly you have a one, two, three, five and finally a ten-man lead over the rest of the competition.  You are so far ahead that the crowd is in frenzy and your head swims with the thought of the adoration, adulation, fame and fortune that will be heaped upon your feet when you are named as the winner.   Suddenly, there it is.  You can see it; the finish line.  The long tape stretched across the track receives only one of the competitors in its warm embrace. It’s so close that you can smell it and you believe you can actually feel its proximity.  You risk a quick look back and the guy who will end up in second place is so far behind you that it is ridiculous.  You look at the finish line again and you could swear it was just a few inches away and then at that moment, we screw the pooch.  We feel and believe that we already won and this learned behavior kicks in and sends a signal to your conscious rational cognitive thinking mechanism that convinces you that you already won.  You ego tells you:  That’s it, nobody can catch you now.  You are the king, the winner, numero uno, the top dog – and immediately after you believe it, a mere two feet from the tape, and you stop trying.  You figure that the inertia alone will carry you across the finish line well before anyone else catches up and you BELIEVE that you are unstoppable and that certain victory is yours and as a result; you stop thinking and stop paying attention and stop running the race and you start to celebrate!  Right there, at that moment; 14 inches before hitting the tape and actually winning, that’s when you slip on the banana peel that is always laying on the track – because you weren’t paying attention – and you slip on it, fall down and bust your ass.  You fall so hard that you can’t get up.  You may even have a fracture of the hip or the coccyx.  You agonize in pain but you can’t get up because your busted your ass when you fell.  You try to crawl and begin to sob, thinking you can drag your way across the finish line before anyone else gets near, but you are in too much pain.  A slip and bust-your-ass fall on a banana peel during a full-on sprint at the end of a 1000 meter race will bust your ass for real.  Suddenly, one, then two, then all of the other runners cross the finish line.  The guy that you were laughing at only minutes before because he was going to end up in second place WON, and the adoration, adulation, triumph and celebrity that were supposed to be yours are taken away just like that.

As you are being carried away in a stretcher to an ambulance, never having actually crossed the finish line at all, you scream in a fit or pure anger at the sky and complain to whoever it is that you pray to.  You complain and say “It’s not fair!”   Not fair?  What is fair? As the saying goes; it’s not over ‘till it’s over or it’s not over ‘till the fat lady sings, the moral is the same.  There’s no excuse for taking your eye off the ball while it’s in play or for slacking off because you believe it’s a “sure thing”.  The moment that you do, I promise you; that banana peel will be there, waiting for you.  What a person starts, they must finish.  Mediocrity is not a human genetic trait.   Now you know, and because you know, you don’t have to slip on the banana peel.  Life is a 24 hour, 7 day per week job.  Nobody gets time off from life, nobody gets a break and we should never need to feel like we need a break from life.   None of us should ever forget about the banana peel, every day, our lives depend on paying attention to what we’re doing, and if you don’t , the banana peel will still be there and you will slip on it and bust your ass.   Remember to step OVER the banana peel when you see it.

Rule #3: The RIGHT thing to do almost never the BEST thing to do.

Rule #4:  The movements rule:  “In all of human history, the only Movement that ever actually accomplished anything is the BOWEL MOVEMENT.  Don’t become part of a movement.

Rule #5: (The human fickleness algorithm).  The difference between a reason and an excuse can usually be determined by a person’s mood.

Rule #6:  You can have anything in this universe that you desire…just not right now.

Rule #7:  Never waste an opportunity, any opportunity – you never know when you might get hit by a bus.

Rule #8: Nobody in this world, nobody, DESERVES anything.  We must WORK for what we have and EARN it.  We all know this.

Rule #9:   It’s not the count of how many things we do that matters, what counts is how many of those things that we do, matter.

Rule #10:  In the whole wide world, nothing is any more or less important than any other thing.

Bonus Rule:  I didn’t write this one, a Franciscan Monk did almost 600 years ago.  Occam’s Razor is a must for every person:  entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitate The most practical translation for this is:  Don’t complicate anything more than what is necessary.

Happy Thanksgiving!

ctwfrank

 

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I’m Back!

To my wonderful family of subscribers, friends, followers and fans. I extend the most heartfelt invitation possible to all of you to participate in the next chapter of the math at https://ctwfranknew.wordpress.com/. Don’t forget to subscribe! I’ll see you there!

ctwfrank

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CONVERSATIONS WITH MY FATHER – EXPECTATIONS

“This is the first of a series of posts with the same title:  “Conversations with my father”.  I like the multi-function use of the title:  It’s the title and the content.  Each post’s title will have the subject of that particular conversation with my father at the end of the title.  Enjoy!”

 

This was the last complete, coherent and contiguous conversation I had with my father; it was not that long ago. 

While visiting one Sunday, my father approached me and asked if I could spare him a minute or two.  My father was always the living example of courtesy and chivalry.  We sat in my study and he said;

“Son, I’ve come to realize and accept that you are a fully grown adult and have earned the right to be called a man.  That means that my job, the one I accepted as your father is complete and I am satisfied with the job I’ve done. Your job; the one you accepted, whether you like it not, is different, but that’s your road, not mine.  I’m just letting you know that you can start yours whenever you like, you’re ready.”

This was not not a typical conversation to have with my father and he was not one to say something like this as a prank, so I did what I usually did with anything my father told me:  I took it at face value and gave it due consideration.  Our conversations were not humorless, however; I took a moment to comment on how timely his announcement of my manhood was, after all, I was only 50.  We laughed for a moment and then I knew that he expected a reply from me.

I began to do some furious math in order to reply properly; there was not a single moment during his life that passed without my wanting to make him proud of me.  After considering his statement as carefully as I could, I had a reply for him; I said;

“You know, pop, that’s a very important issue for me.  I know I have a job to do.   I’m not scared and I’m confident that I am well prepared for whatever it may be, but it is somewhat unsettling at times to not know what is expected of me.”

My father jumped right back into the conversation with a combination of wisdom and mischief in those hauntingly blue eyes of his.  He sat upright and said:

“Excuse me.  What did you just say?  Did you say you didn’t know what is expected of you?  That isn’t even a coherent sentence in English – and you’re supposed to be the smart one!  There cannot be any expectation of any person without another person to hold that expectation; it’s a strictly human concept.  Oh, shit!   Now I’m beginning to talk like you!  He giggled and continued. How can you tell me that you don’t know what is expected of you without knowing or mentioning WHO is the owner of that expectation?  Only people can have expectations of other people, so who were you referring to when you said you didn’t know what was expected of you, perhaps Society?  Society isn’t a person, it can’t have expectations of you or anyone else, but we can choose to believe it can and if you do; you’re fucked. So, Mr. Smarty pants, would you like to try that again?

I said, quickly:  “Wow, Pop, that’s good” Because it was.  It left me pondering (a dangerous thing to do.)

After a few minutes, I turned to face my father, who was sitting patiently, immensely enjoying the opportunity to watch me squirm and said.   You are, of course, right Pop.  I have to re-do all the math on that.  Thanks, Pop, if you hadn’t brought the point up, I could have easily screwed the pooch when the time came!  Then I had a thought a with it the hope of redeeming myself from the hole I had so easily fallen into during that conversation.  Almost immediately, I said:

“Hey, pop, may I ask you something, since we’re here and already talking?”

“Of course!”  He shot back.

I looked him square in the eyes, which was not an easy thing to do with him, and asked him:

“Indeed,  you have completed your job and have declared as much, but you are still my father, so I ask you; Father; what do you expect of me, Sir?”

I thought I had him for sure, but then I saw his mischievous grin begin to form and he sat back in his chair, crossed his legs, put his hands on his lap and very calmly and very matter-of-factually answered:

“Me?  I expect for you to change the world.”

What else can be said and what else can any man hope to know beyond what his father expects of him.

That’s my Pop.

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FIFTY-TWO

Today is my birthday and I turn fifty-two.

So what does that mean, for me or for you?

There’s not much about age that the math can provide,

Save the count of our years and its sting on our pride.

 

Here’s a little math trick on which you can chew,

‘Bout the momentous occasion of turning fifty-two.

The math is sound, and it is also quite true,

That at some point in time this math will apply to you.

 

Today is my birthday, and I turn fifty-two,

So what does that mean for me or for you?

Not much save that regardless of who you might be or what you may do,

The math at this point probably yields that I’m the older of the two.

 

In everyone’s life we arrive at a place,

Where we can no longer prevent wrinkles on our face.

We can no longer assume that with everyone we meet,

We are always the pup, the youngster on the street.

 

52 is the point where the odds shift the norm.

And they accomplish this with such curious form.

If we pay attention and listened while still being weaned,

At this point we’d savor the knowledge we’ve gleaned.

 

And if we’ve become wise and learned how to love,

We can share what we’ve learned and what comes forth thereof.

 

My twenties ran by, or rather they flew.

My thirties fit me like a comfortable shoe.

My forties made me ask if I’d learned what I thought I knew,

So, I leave you with this: good advice – served up in a tasty word brew:

 

Today is my birthday and I turned fifty-two.

So what does that mean for me or for you?

I choose to share what I’ve learned and hope that it’s true,

That you’ll do the same, when it’s your turn to be the older of the two.

 

We are all we have.

 

We can do better.

 

ctwfrank

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A most spectacular standard deviation

Since I moved the Catalogue of Calculations to wordpress, I don’t think I have ever addressed you, all of you, directly. I have no problem when my mind tells me that I am writing for all of you, but even though I know what the numbers that represent how many of you there are mean, I have had no sense of scale with which to compare that written numerical quantity, until now, and I have not completely assimilated the scale yet.

THANK YOU!; THANK ALL OF YOU!

…for crashing two of my mail servers with the ocean of condolences, blessings and good wishes that I’ve received after posting a  few words in recognition and in honor of my father, who passed away this last Saturday; July 6.  I am moved beyond words, but for only a few seconds!

WOW!; there are SO MANY OF YOU I had no idea what that felt like so thank you also for doing some math that allowed me to have a sense of scale.   I do not know exactly how many e-mails were received, some of them may have been lost when the server crashed, but it doesn’t matter it would take more than 3 of my father’s 90 year lifetimes, reading without stopping for food or sleep for 92% of each lifetime to make a small dent in the total that made it through.

I could easily say that I don’t know what to say, but that would be a lie and I would fall down dead immediately.  It’s not that I don’t know what to say, it’s that I can’t fathom how to reply to each and every one of you even to just write THANK YOU.  That’s the thing about time, you can delude yourself by thinking she will succumb to math, but she laughs at math and at us. (If we were able to perceive time as a human manifestation, it would indisputably be a female manifestation).    I can’t count this post as a means to accomplish what I want to do because it doesn’t.  It would be cheating; it would simply way beyond comfortable to express my love and gratitude to each one of you with one general-purpose thank you post, in fact it would be cheating, which is a first cousin of lying and once again, I would immediately fall drop dead.    A short while ago, I thought of something that might just come close to answering each and every one of the e-mails that continue to arrive.  I remembered that in mathematics, you should always use the right type of math for the problem to be solved.  Since I was counting, a function of quantity, I naturally continued to think in terms of Arithmetic to figure out how to solve this quandary.   This math can’t be solved with Arithmetic; it’s not a numeric problem as much as it is a matter of scale, so that makes it a job for physics!  The rest came easy.  Here’s the math:

I am not physically able to individually write a response to each and every one you, but I can THANK YOU in all of the languages that you have written to me in, or at least the ones I’ve encountered so far.  This way the scale can be accounted for through the use of language and linguistics.  Each one of you knows what language is your primary language and it is also the language you used to write so many beautiful words.  Below this paragraph is an image (it had to be an image because we still suck at font compatibility).  In that image, the words THANK YOU are written in each of the 51 languages that you have written to me in, so when you read it in your native language, know that I am thanking you directly, and every other person who wrote to me in your language instead using individual names.  It’s the closest I could come to a personal reply that yielded a valid condition for the purpose of the function.  So here it is;

Dankie

 

(The last one- with all the numbers; is thank you in binary.  It would be unacceptable to leave out computers.  I owe them a great debt for sacrificing so many of their total number at the hands of my dad!  They provided him with comfort, entertainment and even companionship at times. So they go on the list.)

On behalf of my father and myself, I’ll thank you all one more time, in the one language that isn’t on the list because it is my primary language and I wanted to write in a very personal way, with every ounce of my heart:

THANK YOU!

We just DID better, keep it going!

ctwfrank

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As to reconciling death

For My Dad…Frank Vidal Sr.

At eleven o’clock, and in my usual way,
I headed to my room, as I do every day.
Then my Dad stopped by to say goodbye,
For the time had come; it was his turn to die.

Dad always said that most things were as simple as that and that all good things were simple things.  He nailed it. Goodbye, Pop, and rest easy. You will always be my hero and I will always strive to follow your example – that of a good and truthful man and a loving father; I can’t think of a higher goal to work for.

We can do better…..you did.

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