Zuihitsu: 2022-04

Technically, zuihitsu are longer reflections than what I tend to collect. But, the general idea is right. Here’s this month’s installment. If you want the complete set, please download the fortune file.

1. I tell you: one must have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star.—Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche
2. Build, test, and improve.
3. Apes vs. Gorillas, aka users vs. providers.
4. Find your own way of doing things, make your own rules.
5. If you’re thinking, but not writing, you only think that you are thinking.
6. Things are going to be alright, whatever happens.
7. r, the interest rate, is the rental rate for capital, and w is the rental rate (wage rate) for labor.
8. Parking lots are major revenue generators for airports. Storage is big business everywhere.
9. You can swim all day in the sea of knowledge and not get wet.–Norton Juster
10. Look at the world without euphemism.
11. Most arguments fail due to lack of imagination.
12. The Internet amplifies variance.
13. The puppet does not pull the strings of the puppet master.
14. You can print money but not oil to heat or wheat to eat.
15. All ESG roads eventually lead to international confrontation, nationalisation or protectionism.
16. You could not have wished to be born at a better time than this, when everything is lost.—Simone Weil
17. Don’t privilege privilege.
18. Love triangles are never equilateral.
19. It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected.—Mark Twain
20. Many and small beats large and heavy.
21. Finding always beats flanking.
22. Swarming always beats surging.
23. I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.—Rabindranath Tagore
24. What makes you dance in the streets?
25. Some things are not meant to be.
26. You can’t unshit your pants.
27. Who brings more value, the producer or the reducer?
28. You can have all the ingredients and still not know the recipe.
29. Don’t be afraid of changing your mind.
30. Equality that penalizes productivity isn’t equality.
31. Don’t shitpost with your wallet.
32. Solve the mystery no one was wondering about.
33. You cannot get water from a book. But, a book might help you find it.
34. A boat should be in the water. But, the water shouldn’t be in the boat. Same with people and the world.
35. Time in a growth market > timing the market
36. Twitter is Uber for ideas.
37. If you are going to manage it, you first have to acknowledge it.
38. Progress, not perfection.
39. Doubt kills.
40. Change your world.
41. When you pray for rain, you have got to deal with the mud too.
42. Takes talent to make money, but brains to keep it.
43. Same mud, same blood.
44. Nothing is more expensive than free. Nothing harder than looking for the easy way.
45. Curating is an act of generosity—you’re sharing what you love and what has inspired you.
46. Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.—Gustave Flaubert
47. Our past is never where we left it.
48. Nobody’s as deaf as those that don’t want to listen.
49. You cannot change where you come from, but you can change where you are going.
50. Imagination leads to emancipation.
51. Humans are more important than hardware.
52. Actions over credentials.
53. Every decline is surfable.
54. When nothing is happening, change what you are doing.
55. Vision, a positive attitude, and hard work can make a new reality.
56. Less furious, more curious.
57. Don’t be afraid to offend.
58. Social media are the fidget spinners of the soul.
59. Some tools can only be used to destroy.
60. Most of the disorder and dysfunction in the world is caused by lack of impulse control.—Dr. Andrew Huberman
61. Resistance or difficulty is necessary in order to understand the nature and depth of our own desires.
62. Few devices have done more to obscure the efforts of human labor than the smartphone.
63. Get it down there where the dogs can eat it.
64. Things that cannot go on forever, stop.

Zuihitsu: 2022-03

Technically, zuihitsu are longer reflections than what I tend to collect. But, the general idea is right. Here’s this month’s installment. If you want the complete set, please download the fortune file.

1. Distrust turns quickly to dislike.
2. The difference between saying something to or about someone is the latter is always gossip.
3. Children don’t worry about the future.
4. Showmen need to know how the audience leans.
5. Strategies for dealing with pain: 1) sleep, 2) forgetting, 3) madness, and 4) death.
6. Wounds that can’t be healed must be forgotten.
7. Find water first. Everything else can wait.
8. May all your stories be glad ones, and your roads be smooth and short.
9. Bones mend. Regret is forever.
10. Entropy eases familiar ruts.
11. Every good story touches the truth.
12. You have to be a bit of a liar to tell a story true.
13. Small deeds for small men.
14. Just because something makes sense doesn’t mean it is true.
15. Fear tends to come from ignorance.
16. A man who travels with his wife can usually be trusted.
17. I’ll see you where the roads meet.
18. Stories give us a clarity and simplicity our lives lack.
19. To fear something, you have to dwell on it.
20. Stealth is a lie and a trap.
21. Borrow or lend, lose a friend.
22. Practice makes the master.
23.  Excellence is excellence’s only companion.
24. A laurel needs rain to grow.
25. A moment in the mind is worth nine in the fire.
26. Beer dulls a memory, brandy sets it burning, but wine is best for a sore heart’s yearning.
27. It’s easier to appear harmless.
28. Sweep up the glass of your broken plans and simply start again.
29. Learn to ignore what’s current.
30. Make something people want.
31. Wisdom precludes boldness.
32. You become what you pretend to be. You tell yourself a story, and you build your identity from it.
33. You don’t know the first note of the music that moves me.
34. Less trust, more rules.
35. Few are as gullible as the well-educated.
36. Never trust a weapon you haven’t personally test fired.
37. Roots are more vital than grafts.
38. The best time to think about it was decades ago, the second best time is now.
39. It’s rare, if not impossible, to produce clean answers to messy questions.
40. The consequence of secrecy in a community is lack of preparedness for facts on the ground.
41. Bad leadership cannot be overcome by spending.
42. De quoi s’agit-il?, or “What is it all about?”
43. Explicit knowledge is translated, and all translations are imperfect.
44. When you find good fortune, convert some to seed grain.
45. Know a lady by her manner and a man by his cloth.
46. Our experience shapes our senses. We see, hear and feel what we have before.
47. Everything has a price.
48. A secret is truth concealed.
49. Nothing is harder than convincing someone of an unfamiliar truth.
50. How badly are you willing to be burned to get it?
51. The unanswerable questions have the most to teach us.
52. Give a fact, the story ends. Give a question, the story begins.
53. Fools worry over what they can’t control.
54. Everyone eats a different part of the pig. Join them.
55. A story is like a nut. One fool will swallow it whole and choke. Another fool will throw it away thinking it has little value. But, the wise will find a way to crack the shell and eat the meat inside.
56. Strength creates enemies.
57. Travel is the great leveler, the great teacher, bitter as medicine, crueler than mirror-glass.
58. Leave mystery for poets, priests and fools.
59. True gifts are given without an expectation of getting something in return. Something given to bind another isn’t a gift.
60. If you need to run, run to where the hiding places are.
61. Among totalitarians, you either conform or have secrets.
62. Intelligence is everywhere, often unrecognized.
63. Freedom is deciding which chances you are willing to take.
64. Better than the person next to you or a better community?
65. Excellence is being open to people with different points of view.
66. Compassion without sentimentality.
67. The dysfunctions and idiosyncrasies of childhood become the self-evident norms of adulthood.
68. Replace the thing before it needs replacement.
69. If enough things get fucked up, you stop needing an origin story for them.
70. Humans are sex and murder machines.
71. It’s interesting, but it doesn’t get the tools stowed.
72. Life is risk.
73. Glossing over data and going straight to interpretation is hiding from whatever direction the data is pointing.
74. Anti-zuihitsu: “One person’s cliché is another person’s truth.”
75. Better to embrace that which cannot be avoided.
76. There’s often no right choice, just a plate of progressively off hors d’oeuvres.
77. The people talking don’t know, and the people that know are not talking.
78. Imagine you wake up one day and no one knows who you are.
79. One should not underestimate the probability of failure even when lots of money is spent.
80. When people don’t know anything, there’ll be a meeting to talk about it.
81. It takes an age to test if beauty will last.
82. Until death, all is life.
83. It’s a big toolbox, and everyone has to find their own way.
84. Nothing humans can touch goes unmodified.
85. Ribbing is fine when someone is happy, but comfort people when they are sad.
86. Beware money roach motels, where it is easy to get money in, hard to get it out.
87. It is so much simpler to bury Reality than it is to dispose of dreams.—Matrix: Resurrections
88. Science is a hard scramble out of ignorance.
89. Don’t huff your own farts.

Zuihitsu: 2022-02

Technically, zuihitsu are longer reflections than what I tend to collect. But, the general idea is right. Here’s this month’s installment. If you want the complete set, please download the fortune file.

1. Learn to forgive quickly.
2. When can you walk on thin ice? Two weeks after you have seen the first ice fisherman out there.
3. The enemy is often closer than one thinks.
4. The people who have the least suffer the most.
5. What does this narrative do to my being?
6. The menu is not the meal.
7. How do you develop your ideas? That is, how do you decide which to pursue?
7. If losing me is the worst thing to happen, your life is still a good life.—Emily Kendal Frey
8. Novelty nourishes.
9. Much of life and productivity is about matching.
10. Leading is demanded by circumstance. Greatness is in answering the call.
11. Culture over rules.
12. If you want to win, find places where winning is easy. If you want to be the best, do the opposite and be prepared to lose.
13. Different situations call for different responses.
14. An overabundance of skepticism can lead you to disbelieve things that are true.
15. Act fast.
16. Simplicity rules.
17. Politics rules over everything.
18. Most people have trouble understanding anything outside their regular experience.
19. Reality reigns.
20. Americans are not dissuaded by death.
21. Figure out how to live with or even love a change you didn’t choose.
22. It’s not the action, it’s the reaction.
23. Cruises are the sampler of travel.
24. Utter cynicism is usually the safest bet.
25. Work is hardly ever checked.
26. Do you own it? Or do you make something happen?
27. Not everything is a lesson. Sometimes you just fail.
28. A constant alert turns quickly into non-alert status quo.
29. Seek simplicity and distrust it.
30. The fruit peel can be as important as the juice.
31. Our heels get higher the closer we inch to death.
32. Ledgers are currencies, platforms are countries.
33. Most skills are fungible, and differentiation is found in values, content and aesthetics.
34. Crypto is the monetary equivalent of the right to bear arms.
35. Only the dead have seen the end of war.
36. They say when something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, destroy you, or strengthen you.
37. Travel light.
38. The future cannot be fought. Time is on its side.
39. A thin line separates truth from a compelling lie.
40. The flip side of mutual interest is mutual pain.
41. No one has a monopoly on truth.
42. You can never learn all of anything.
43. Truths are seldom are straight-forward.
44. Names are important because they reveal a lot about a person.
45. Speak truth, but it never hurts to be polite.
46. Don’t do anything in private you don’t want discussed in public.
47. There’s nothing more classical than cannons.
48. Supply chains are payment chains in reverse.
49. Everything is not for everyone.
50. Understanding and accountability requires memory.
51. Blues without the music is catastrophe.
52. Be in America, but not of America.
53. Don’t leave power on the table.
54. When you view life as a gold rush, you end up worshiping the Golden Calf. A Golden Calf cannot love you back.
55. Create new arenas of struggle.
56. Hunchbacks get ridden.

Zuihitsu: 2022-01

Technically, zuihitsu are longer reflections than what I tend to collect. But, the general idea is right. Here’s this month’s installment. If you want the complete set, please download the fortune file.

1. You need to play it poorly before you get anywhere good.
2. Higher variance in key.
3. Caring more is the first step to being better.
4. Literalist only after interpretation.
5. Self-interest defeats itself.
6. Adventure is just bad planning.—Roald Amundsen
7. In oral cultures, memory can mean remembering the time before you were born through story.
8. Literacy is in opposition to oral culture.
9. Be willing to be dazzled.
10. No progress without regress.
11. Framing sets the premises, which determines conclusions. Try multiple frames when the conclusion is important.
12. Just because the status quo is bad doesn’t mean your desired changes will be implemented.
13. Keep up the kindness with the people you are closest with.
14. Influence is an unruly weed. It grows and dies unpredictably.
15. Much of history is unwritten.
16. Leadership that lasts relies more than on strength or looks.
17. Follow your crazy.
18. With drawing, there’s only one rule: look.
19. The world is full of beauty. It’s up to us to capture and share it.
20. The unimagined is not missed.
21. Home is what you take with you, not what you leave behind.
22. Being nobody is more interesting than being somebody.
23. Don’t like your mind into noun or adjective prison.
24. Consistency compounds.
25. Necessity is the only law.
26. Survival requires change.
27. The broken will break again.
28. Relationships are the course sandpaper of being.
29. Forget that you’ve forgotten.
30. Switching one set of norms for another is merely reforming around the edges.
31. Strip away the illusion of reality and confront us with the reality of illusion.
32. Evoke the stream of warm impermanence, our grand plans are haunted by inevitable change and decay.
33. Rigged games aren’t worth playing.
34. Nothing is as simple as you want it to be.
35. Purposes can be perverted.
36. Being useful isn’t the same as being equal.
37. The prisoner who is his own guard can be set free, for the whole world is his prison.
38. Some worlds are built on a fault line of pain, held up by nightmares.
39. Don’t live your life in a cocktail glass.
40. Ignoring politeness is a privilege of old age.
41. Farewells are easier when they are cruel.
42. We all pay a price for power.
43. Sharpen yourself.
44. Practice analytically, perform intuitively.
45. Less venting, more inventing.
46. Defamiliarize language and open portals to surprise.
47. You cannot kill a fox that swift.
48. Keep your commitments in line with your capabilities.
49. First seek to understand then to be understood.
50. An election is the defining and defending of tribes.
51. Act as if.
52. Love and hate aren’t mutually exclusive.
53. The dead desire nothing.
54. The intellect is a good servant, but the heart must be our master.
55. Names have power.
56. If you love, you don’t get to choose how it’s returned.
57. In the end, all real power is to be judged not on a global and absolute basis but on a local and relative one.
58. The journey to mastery is not made overnight.
59. People believe what they want to believe.
60. A society built on oppression must foster division.
61. Change implies both loss and gain.
62. Any lie or make-belief is more powerful & enduring when there’s an element of truth to it.
63. Stuck? Look for a decision, and make it.
64. Promises only bind those who listen to them.—Jacques Chirac

Zuihitsu: 2021-12

Technically, zuihitsu are longer reflections than what I tend to collect. But, the general idea is right. Here’s this month’s installment. If you want the complete set, please download the fortune file.

  1. Patience is also a form of action.–Auguste Rodin
  2. Do I need to insert myself into this conversation?
  3. The grass is always greener on the side that’s fertilized with bullshit.
  4. Be good. If you can’t be good, be careful.
  5. Quality is remembered over price.
  6. Only bet on unknown unknowns near the frontiers of human tenacity and creativity.
  7. Nothing by halves.
  8. Most people listen to the grass, awaiting news of the harvest.
  9. Break the cycle.
  10. Change your thoughts, change your life.
  11. Literatures over papers.
  12. Taste is complicated and no one is the same person all the time.
  13. Develop images for tomorrow.
  14. The question: does X affect Y? is always yes, and is thus useless.
  15. All human creatures are divided into two groups. There are pirates, and there are farmers. Farmers build fences and control territory. Pirates tear down fences and cross borders. There are good pirates and bad pirates, good farmers and bad farmers, but there are only pirates and farmers.
  16. Be regular and orderly in your everyday life so you can be violent and original in your work.
  17. Take ideas from one place and put them somewhere else and see what happens.
  18. Old narcissists are rarely happy.
  19. A bird cannot land only once on a great tree and claim to know it.
  20. Our methods of measuring resist precision.
  21. Make them choose or lose; don’t be plan B.
  22. Context is scarce. Bridge into larger, different contexts and see what new aspect can be seen.
  23. Demilitarize language.
  24. We all owe something to someone.
  25. State the problem. State what needs to happen. Offer to help.
  26. Always get the listing.
  27. No matter how dark it is, there’s always some light. No matter how much light there is, darkness is still nothing.
  28. Take hold of the future and the future will take hold of you.—Patrick Dixon
  29. Consciousness is written in the laws of nature.
  30. The real problem of humanity is the following: we have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and god-like technology.—E.O. Wilson
  31. Science, like art, is not a copy of nature but a re-creation of her.—Jacob Bronowski
  32. Stories form human beings. Be careful with your story.
  33. Work with small groups with similar concerns.
  34. Get a mentor; be a mentor.
  35. Death is the only horizon, with numberless ways to get there.
  36. Do the next right thing.
  37. Painful things are often what give substance and meaning to life.
  38. The rough stuff is just gravel on the road to where you are going.
  39. Disagreement is often a sign of rigor. When everyone agrees, something is probably missing.
  40. Pay attention to the outcasts.
  41. All happiness attracts the Fates’ anger. Great happiness attracts its opposite.
  42. Real systems, like the world, are not perfect: you must tolerate and manage some level of garbage.
  43. What intellectual provocations are you engaged with?
  44. What is your time horizon? Stop working on the status quo (horizon 1). Start designing innovations (horizon 2). Iterating on innovations to get us to that future world (horizon 3).
  45. Someone has to leave first.
  46. Embrace the glitch.
  47. Play with expectations.
  48. Love does not mandate forgiveness.
  49. What good is the oath that doesn’t cost anything?
  50. A true friend is to be treasured.
  51. No reward without risk.
  52. Compromise is an exercise in mastering your pride.
  53. Shift from ‘just in time’ to ‘just in case’.
  54. We’re part made by circumstance and part what we wish to be.
  55. The tree remembers, the ax forgets.
  56. The young are willing to try things those with more experience won’t ever consider.
  57. The functional is a much smaller domain of the possible.
  58. Whose work is it?
  59. The burden of labor can ease the burden of life.
  60. Find a form that accommodates the mess.—Sam Beckett
  61. Not everything is something.
  62. Five percent conspiracy; ninety-five percent is incompetence.
  63. Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
  64. Don’t settle for a synthetic substitute.
  65. With self-knowledge comes the risk of self-destruction.
  66. Things will change.
  67. Law is an abstraction, the imperfect map of justice.

Zuihitsu: 2021-11

Collecting these little ideas has become a major focus. Here’s this month’s installment.

1. Give the conversational ball back.
2. Stories from yourself and trusted people are almost the only kind of evidence that’s real.
3. The secret of life is to do something you care about.
4. Listening means willing to be changed. 
5. Brevity is achieved by selection, not compression.
6. Potential isn’t real; it’s a projection.
7. Once we’re thrown off our habitual paths, we think all is lost, but it’s only here that the new and the good begins.—Leo Tolstoy
8. Efficiency is fundamentally opposed to democracy and self-determination.
9. To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.—G. K. Chesterton
10. All killer, no filler.
11. Centralization is quick, both feature and bug.
12. Behind every criticism is a wish.
13. Imagination can be sparked by a change in medium.
14. A basket of options is worth more than an option in a basket.
15. Culture cannot be separated from cult.
16. Good solutions still could have errors.
17. A new thought about what everyone sees is better than seeing something new.—Schopenhauer paraphrased
18. The sensible people are the first to leave.
19. Blaming people increases fear and decreases reporting of problems.—Six Sigma paraphrase
20. You either die a Guitar Hero or live long enough to become Fat Elvis.
21. Keep him nerdy, he won’t do you dirty.
22. Do it for love. Love is often only thing that can turn good enough into great.
23. Write five times more and divide the length by five.
24. Code, clubs and cults win arguments.
25. Before the elevator, the penthouse was for maids.
26. Don’t trust the map; trust the compass.
27. One man’s rancid garbage is another man’s Golden Corral buffet.
28. Remaking the world means you’re going to have to remake yourself.
29. Grind grit down to grease for the gears.
30. There are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.
31. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.—Gandalf in the Fellowship.
32. Those who act without regard to the moral and physical limits implicit in the human condition do not become as the gods but rather descend into an inhuman, bestial state.
33. Where there is no room for reflection, there is none either for justice or prudence.
34. Possess power, and you’ll be possessed by it.
35. Big ideas need crazy people, and then outgrow them.
36. Writing heightens consciousness.
37. Love without fear, restraint or obligation.
38. Invent full-time.
39. Completely open minds become dumps.
40. When choice trumps values, everything is for sale.
41. If you fit in, you’re replaceable.
42. No one owes you friendship or love. A relationship can stop at any time. So, cherish it while it lasts.
43. Radical change in a person is often them getting tired of faking it.
44. The true test of goodness is how we treat those who are at our mercy.
45. What you think is the point is only the beginning of sharpness.
46. Explore/exploit is another way to think about fox/hedgehog.
47. The longer it takes, the more the worst aspects are magnified.
48. A deep life is a good life. Concentration and craft are related.
49. There’s no need to repeat the truth.
50. Spend more on things keeping you off the ground, e.g., shoes and beds.
51. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.—Gerald G. Jampolsky
52. All of us have things we can’t do alone.
53. Some things can only be known through experience.
54. Friends are hard to earn, harder still to keep.
55. Live true.
56. Too much love is never good.
57. Loneliness is a darkness of the soul.
58. The more you say no to things that don’t matter, the more you can say yes to the things that do.
59. Maybe we can’t all change the world. Maybe it’s enough just to do good for the short time that we’re here.—Arcade Gannon
60. What is the value of illuminating the landscape from our darkened past?
61. A game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles.—Bernard Suits
62. How much of our behavior is governed by things that are, effectively, a social game?
63. There is nothing in the desert and no man needs nothing.—Prometheus quoting Lawrence or Arabia
64. Big things have small beginnings.
65. Never confuse who you are with what you do.
66. Master your inner dialogue.
67. Learn to live in the moment.
68. Find your real family, and clear out toxic people.
69. Crisis is opportunity; look for growth when it gets hard.
70. Be the sort of person who isn’t blandly likable and safe to know, but rather extracts a cost to be close to and then repays that cost with rare and complicated gifts of personality.

Advice is a Dangerous Gift

“Gildor was silent for a moment. ‘I do not like this news,’ he said at last. ‘That Gandalf should be late, does not bode well. But it is said: Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger. The choice is yours: to go or wait.’

‘And it is also said,’ answered Frodo: ‘Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.’

‘Is it indeed?’ laughed Gildor. ‘Elves seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill. But what would you? You have not told me all concerning yourself; and how then shall I choose better than you? But if you demand advice, I will for friendship’s sake give it. I think you should now go at once, without delay; and if Gandalf does not come before you set out, then I also advise this: do not go alone. Take such friends as are trusty and willing. Now you should be grateful, for I do not give this counsel gladly.'”

-J.R.R. Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring

Write Until There Is Nothing Wrong With It

“The process of imbuing every sentence with “minimum elegance and euphony,” [Amis] says in the clip above (drawn from a longer interview viewable here) involves “saying the sentence, subvocalizing it in your head until there’s nothing wrong with it. This means not repeating in the same sentence suffixes and prefix. If you’ve got a confound, you can’t have a conform. If you’ve got invitation, you can’t have execution. You can’t repeat those, or an –ing, or a –ness: all that has to be one per sentence. I think the prose will give a sort of pleasure without you being able to tell why.”

—Colin Marshall, “Martin Amis Explains His Method for Writing Great Sentences.” OpenCulture.com. June 24, 2020

A Mass Message From My Doctor

Thought I’d pass this along in case your doctor isn’t as good as mine. Unsolicited, fantastic advice that everyone should read.

“Coronavirus and Clinic Updates:  

…The crisis of Coronavirus is the exponential growth. The number of cases are increasing 30% per day. So however many cases we have today, we will have 10 times as many in 10 days and 100 times as many in 20 days. We worry about having enough hospital resources to care for folks if the outbreak spreads too fast. As you can imagine our health care system will be challenged. Many of us are taking extra shifts in the hospital. This week is calm, but I suspect the next month will be difficult.  

As long as a sick person does not cough into your face, masks won’t help much. The way most of us will get this virus is by touching it with our hands and then touching our face. It seems to be spread by mucus on hands, and its also found in stool. So basically it’s spread like the flu (respiratory droplets) and spread like norovirus (stomach flu). And it’s much more severe. And it can be spread before you feel sick. So it’s basically a perfectly designed virus. Not good for us.  

Many patients will be contagious for days before they ever feel sick, and can spread it by touching doorknobs or preparing food for others. [Note: The CDC says there isn’t any evidence that coronavirus can be transmitted through food. He’s a good doctor, but no one’s perfect.] This is why hand washing and staying away from other people are the two primary ways to avoid covid. Masks help the sick person not spread covid, but they don’t prevent healthy people from catching it. So please save the masks for health care workers.  

If you get a cough and fever, you could have COVID and you should call to discuss. Especially as flu season winds down, the likelihood of COVID as the cause of fever will go up. Most patients don’t need to be tested, you just need to self quarantine and stay away from other people. As testing becomes easier to get, we may start testing everyone – but we are not there yet. Still a huge backlog. The major reason to get tested is if you have to work; Or if you are risk factors for a poor outcome: age > 60, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, HIV, weak immunity.

If you get severely short of breath, you should call our office or go to the ER. Generally, this would not happen all of a sudden, it’s usually after being sick for 7 days. Patients with covid who get sick, go from initial symptoms to needing the intensive care unit on day 7 -10. So it takes some time. Most young healthy people will never need to see a doctor. We are sending the majority of covid + patients home…Mortality in the USA is still only 1%. Mortality is greater when older than 60. And especially over 80. So keep grandchildren away from grandparents[.] Young kids do not seem to get sick, they can still carry the disease and transmit to others who might have risk factors.

A new symptom being described is loss of taste or smell. In South Korea where they tested widely, 30% of covid patients had loss of taste or smell, even without fevers. So if you have that symptom, you may not get sick but you are contagious, so avoid people for 14 days, wash those hands like crazy. Most people get sick within 5-6 days of exposure, but some take as long as 14. Which is why we’re using 14 days as an estimate for quarantine.

Information and thoughts about moving forward are changing every day. I encourage you to get your medical information from Dr. Fauci and other medical and public health experts, not from politicians or pundits. The CDC’s website has great (and scientifically accurate) information. I hope this has helped…”

Adaptation Response

“Stress + Rest = Growth. It’s as simple and as hard as that.”

-Brad Stulberg, “The Equation That Will Make You Better at Everything.” Outside Magazine. July 26, 2019.

There’s a lot of advice on the internet. From the vague, live your best life, to the strangely specific, drink more water, everyone has a suggestion about changes we can make that is going to make our lives better. Most of it is harmless, even if it is baloney.

But, this idea about stress is good, if poorly articulated. The problem is that ‘Stress’ should be ‘Training.’

Stress is not necessarily good. Hate your job and find yourself wolfing down a whole Meat Lover’s Pizza from Domino’s Pizza every Friday night? That’s a maladaptive response to stress.

Training, on the other hand, implies a purpose. It also implies progression.

I read an article in Men’s Journal several years ago, called “Everything You Know About Fitness Is a Lie.” It covers a lot of territory, such as bad gyms, but the main idea is that if we want to be fit, we need to train to be strong. If you want to get strong, you should probably listen to Mark Rippetoe:

It is May 15, and you decide that this year you are going to get a suntan – a glorious, beautiful, tropical suntan. So you decide to go out in the back yard (to spare the neighbors and innocent passers-by) to lay out at lunchtime and catch a ray or two. You lie on your back for 15 minutes and flip over to lie on your belly for 15 minutes. Then you get up, come in and eat lunch, and go back to work. That night, your skin is a little pink, so the next day you just eat lunch, but the following day you’re back outside for your 15-minutes-per-side sunbath. You are faithful to your schedule, spending 30 minutes outside every day that week, because that’s the kind of disciplined, determined person you are. At the end of the week, you have turned a more pleasant shade of brown, and, heartened by your results, resolve to maintain your 30-minutes-per-day schedule for the rest of the month. So, here is the critical question: what color is your skin at the end of the month?”

-Mark Rippetoe, “The Biggest Training Fallacy of All.” StartingStrength.com. May 6, 2013.

The vast majority of people get this question wrong because they think a month long change of behavior is stress. The reality is that we have adapted to the new stress within a week. As Mark puts it:

“[A]daptation occurs in response to the stress, and specifically to that stress, because the stress is what causes the adaptation. This is why calluses form on the part of your hand where the bar rubs, and not on the other parts of the hand, or on your face, or all over your body. It can obviously be no other way.

Furthermore, the stress must be capable of being recovered from. Like the 2 hours of sun the first day or the 55 bench reps once a month, the stress must be appropriate for the trainee receiving it. So, if the stress is so overwhelming that it cannot be recovered from in time to apply more of it in a time frame which permits accumulated adaptation, it is useless as a beneficial tool that drives progress. And if this excessive stress is applied so infrequently that any adaptation to it has dispersed before you get around to it again 3 months later, no adaptation can accumulate.

An awareness of this central organizing principle of physiology as it applies to physical activity is essential to program design. Exercise and training are two different thingsExercise is physical activity for its own sake, a workout done for the effect it produces today, during the workout or right after you’re through. Training is physical activity done with a longer-term goal in mind, the constituent workouts of which are specifically designed to produce that goal. If a program of physical activity is not designed to get you stronger or faster or better conditioned by producing a specific stress to which a specific desirable adaptation can occur, you don’t get to call it training. It is just exercise…

-ibid.

You could replace stress for exercise in the preceding paragraph, and it would still be right. The adaptive response is a fact of life, whether we are talking about our careers, skills or relationships. But, how many of us are deliberately training ourselves toward goals by seeking out new challenges? The problem with advice like: “Stress + Rest = Growth” is that it’s like sitting out in the sun for 15 minutes a day and thinking it’s going to result in a tan. Having a goal is useless if the road you are walking on won’t take you there. In order to grow, we need to plan and progress toward it. Stress, by itself, isn’t going to do it.