Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Your judo is terrible - good for you!

Someone posted a video of the finals of the 1983 Panamerican Games on . It was interesting to watch myself as a competitor. God, was I ever really THAT young?

One of the memories it brought back was how often people would say to me,
"I can't believe you win all of the time. Your judo is terrible."

Watching the match, I would have to say that Natasha Hernandez had better judo than me. Her posture was better, her gripping was better, her technique was better. She even threw me for a yuko. Yet I beat her by ippon that day, not once, but twice and with two different techniques.

This isn't the only time this happened to me, and I am certainly not the only person about who it has been said many times, their judo is terrible - and yet they win. There are lots of other examples, but I don't want to gratuitously hurt people's feelings, so you'll have to think of some of those names to yourself.

Let's think about this, though. What do we mean when we say,
"X had better judo than Y, but Y won."

How are you defining better judo, in that case? Logically, you can't be defining it as whoever wins.

Often, better judo seems to be defined as judo like the speaker does it. If the speaker does a lot of throws with very little grip-fighting, someone who wins by chokes doesn't have good judo. If the speaker does a lot of matwork and lots of grip-fighting, a person who just has a blisteringly fast seoi nage has limited judo.

I am a very analytical person. My judo took full advantage of that. I would have a game plan for each of my opponents, and a plan A, plan B and plan C. I worked on specific scenarios for specific people. I was also extremely physically strong for my division, did lots of conditioning to leverage that advantage and took full opportunity to "power through" a move if I could. My training program was adapted for my personal situation. I lived in San Diego where I trained at local clubs Monday through Thursday doing drills, throws and as much randori as I could, then went to Los Angeles Friday night through Sunday for more randori and technical training. One great benefit I gained from having different people to learn from is the realization that there is more than one answer. Because I trained with more than one coach every week, I never got brainwashed into believing that whatever my coach said was right and all other ways were wrong, defective, would never work and terrible judo.

While a lot of coaches might give lip service to this idea - and some not even that - a great many of our very good coaches are prevented from becoming great coaches by their belief that they have all of the answers, that their way is the only way.

These coaches, and the athletes who blindly follow them, fail to meet their potential. They lose to people with "terrible judo". I've thought about this a lot because I have beaten people who I would say, no question about it, had great judo. The best answer I can come up with at this point, as cliched as it is, is that they really don't think outside the box, as beautiful and near-perfect as that box might be. Although some of the better coaches will say, you have to adapt, what you see them doing is teaching their athletes one way only and only on the rarest occasions bringing in someone else to teach who is not a very similar version of themselves.

So, I think one of the reasons that people with "terrible judo" win is that they did not let someone else define for them what is good judo. Because of that openness, they are able to see new possibilities and take advantage of those opportunities, both in competition, but more importantly, in training.

Other alternatives have been offered - genetics, pure strength, luck. I don't think any of those works. If it was strength, as someone on the judo forum said, we could just sign up the Olympic medalist weightlifters for the judo team and they would all win. Luck - did you notice how the same people get lucky over and over? As a statistician, that argument is hard for me to buy.

Genetics. Hmmm .... well, I won, my daughter Ronda won. There could be something to that. Maybe I should have more kids. I wonder what Dennis is doing right now.

"Hey, honey, can you come in here a minute..."

{I can hear my children already going, "Oooh, Mom, that is so gross, I can't believe you said that!"}

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Watch this match

Americans who are interested in competing internationally should take note. This is the 60 kg finals of the Tlibisi World Cup.

Notice a few things here which will be different once you start competing internationally. One, both those competitors would have garnered a dozen penalties each competing in America. They would have been called for excessively defensive posture, going directly to the mat without a technique, grabbing the legs. Instead, they received a total of one shido between them, which no longer counts as a score.

Two, there was no playing to the referees. When one player knocked down the other and it was no score, he didn't throw both hands up and gesture to the referee like, "What do I need to do to get a score around here?" He just went back and fought.

Three, the number of attacks was far greater than you see in the average American match ESPECIALLY when you have two matched players in a high stakes match. Both of these men are from Georgia and they are fighting in the finals of a world cup event held in their home country. They attacked repeatedly from beginning to end of the match. One weakness I did see in them is that they worked transition to matwork far less than I would have. There was one almost armbar, but they often kind of just gave up on matwork attempts. Don't go feeling smug, Americans do that just as much. A difference I noticed here is that American players, especially when fighting someone they know well, tend to look for an opening. Of course, I am not suggesting you throw caution to the wind and attack when you are off-balance and can be easily countered. I am suggesting if you look at international results over the past few years and see the number of American players who lost on non-combativity penalties, there is a reason for that.

If you are interested in competing internationally and you don't regularly watch matches of international competition, you should.

Thanks to Jerry Hays for sending me this link.

Speaking of thanks to guys named Gerry, thanks to Gerry Lafon for the counters clinic today. It was great and you slackers who slept in missed out

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Judo Today

Since Ronda had the day off, she dropped by the house to take Julia to judo. I was supposed to spend the whole day at the coaching clinic getting smarter but the morning was taken up writing an article about on-line education. I had to chase down a problem with the data that I finally solved around noon.

I was on my way to San Gabriel Dojo when it occurred to me that I only like the guys there, while I love my kids. So, I drove right on past and went to the West Coast Judo Training Center to watch Julia and Ronda practice. I also got the chance to do several rounds of matwork and a few rounds of randori with Julia, Erin and Erik. My knees are really too far gone to do randori with anyone of any size.

I did cut out of practice early and run over to San Gabriel. I would have liked to have attended the whole coaches' clinic if I could have somehow managed to figure a way to be in two places at once. Gerry Lafon is our guest instructor at the training center tomorrow, doing a clinic on counters. It should be good.

At practice today, Ronda was working out with Tony Comfort the 90 kg champion in 2007 at the USJA Winter Nationals. Tony also won the Golden State Open a couple of times, placed several times in the San Jose Buddhist and U.S. Senior Nationals, was a competitor in the 2004 Olympic Trials and represented the U.S. at the Paris Open.

Here is Tony being pinned by Ronda.

Here is Tony still pinned.

You'd think he would have got up by now, but no.

Still pinned.

Here is another picture of Tony being pinned by Ronda.

Tony did throw Ronda twice during randori. Unfortunately, I missed getting a picture of that. She threw him, too, but I missed that also.

It was a good day all around. Harmik looked good, Erik looked good, Yazmin had some GREAT throws and so did Brent.

The perfection of the day was a bit marred by Ronda's dog, Mochi, peeing on Gary Butts' sleeping bag. He was NOT amused. The rest of us, though, thought it was hilarious.

Practice is tomorrow at 10 a.m. Drag your sorry @$$ out of bed and show up, unless you live like in England or somewhere, in which case, never mind, it's too far.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Confess! (or not)

Did you go to practice this week? How many times? Did you run this morning? Did you lift weights this week? What are your goals for judo? Did you do none, or almost none, of the above and not feel the least bit bad about it?

My goals for judo are:
Keep learning more and understanding how it all fits together better until I quit judo or die, whichever comes first.
Not becoming a fat, saggy, crabby old woman who cannot see the Van Gogh exhibit at the Getty because she is too out of shape to walk up the stairs.
Help young people who are interested in learning from me to become better judo players and more successful in life.

That's it. Of course I will be happy for Ronda if she wins a gold medal in London, for Crystal Butts if she is on the 2012 Olympic team, and so on, but those are goals for THEM, not for me.

I went to practice today, watched Kenji Osugi teach the kids (he did a good job), watched Thierry Dusigne teach the adults (he did a good job, too). I already knew how to do harai goshi, but not as well as Thierry, and I already knew okuri ashi barai and de ashi also, but I liked the way Kenji taught it. So, it was a very good judo day for me. I also got to work out with my daughter, Julia in tachiwaza twice and in newaza twice. I love Julia and, as Maurice Allen told me once, any time you spend with your child is precious and spending it doing a sport you love, doubly so. I have been trying to get Julia to do combinations FOREVER and she finally threw two people with a combination at practice. I did a little dance each time. I am easily amused.

If you haven't read Malcolm Gladwell's new book, Outliers, I highly recommend it. Among other topics, he talks about the ten thousand hours of practice most people who are outstanding in any field have spent practicing it. He applies this ten thousand hours principle to hockey, computer programming and music. The key point is that people who are stars in a field did not just practice much harder than other people, they practiced much, much harder.

Kenji talked about the same subject at practice. When he asked how many of the kids were going to the two tournaments next month, a few raised their hands each time. He said,
"If you are afraid of losing, you'll never win. No one likes to lose, but you need to go to the tournaments and either win or lose. Either way, you'll learn and you'll get better."

He is very right. You learn a lot in a tournament, not the least of which is facing up to the stress of competition.

So, why did I take Julia home after an hour and a half of practice? Because she needs to study. Those ten thousand hours have to come from somewhere. As a parent, I decided she needed to go home, study for the tests she has in fifth grade next week, and get to bed at a reasonable hour.

However, if YOUR goal is to be a champion, and you did not answer "Yes." "Six." "Yes." and "Yes." to those first four questions, you better get your @$$ in gear. You're about 9,000 hours short.
=============Judo Tip ================

COMBINATIONS ! Oh my God, if I had a dollar for every time I saw somebody miss the opportunity for a combination, I would own a house in Maui, another in Malibu and a collection of jaguars. Practice these because almost no one does them! By the way, a combination is not one half-@$$ technique followed by a real technique, it is a real technique, which the opponent blocks, which you then follow with another real technique.

I recommend you add this to your repertoire, seriously. If you do uchikomi at every practice, do one set with a combination. If you do throws every practice (you should) make one set a combination. That is the only way. You can't buy combinations that are like reflexes at the combination store.

Monday, January 19, 2009

More from Captain Obvious: Being a coach is different from being an athlete

I was extremely proud of our team this weekend. The Reedley tournament is a great one for us to go to because it is not the same people our players compete against all of the time. Also, since they know that everyone comes from far away (because there is not a whole lot that is NEAR Reedley), they go out of their way to put together pools to see that everyone gets several matches, as well as putting together exhibition matches. One result of this is that, unlike a lot of tournaments, there will be more age and weight span in the divisions than our players normally get, more like "the old days", when you fought whoever showed up.

Some of our players were pretty equally matched on age, weight and experience. Haykus, Erik and Harmik went through their divisions with some really, smooth, beautiful throws. (Hey, what's up with that? Do they really like Armenians in orange grove country or what?)

Some players, like Victor and Erin, gave up a lot of weight, but they had experience on their opponents and came out on top. Victor had some beautiful throws, about two feet from his five-year-old son, who, of course, thought his dad was the coolest person in the whole world. (That's another nice thing about small tournaments, friends and family can come right down by the matside and watch.) Christian did not have near the experience as some in his division but he had size on his side, good conditioning and a determination to win on his first trip away on his own. He also had some great throws.

Others, like Yazmin, Crystal and Julia, gave up quite a bit of weight and age and lost a match or two. Every one of them fought their hearts out.

Here is where I saw one of many differences between being an athlete and being a coach. If you are going to be a successful competitor, you need to care deeply about winning or losing. Our players who won every match were happy and those who lost even one match were really down on themselves. At dinner, Gary and I told them, with complete sincerity, how proud we were of each and every one of them. We have both been coaching for a while, me longer than Gary, because, as he emphasizes frequently, I, personally, am older than dirt. One thing we know is that who wins and loses at local tournaments, ESPECIALLY in the younger and novice divisions, has to do with whether you are at the top of the division or the bottom in terms of age, weight and experience. Instead of focusing on wins and losses, Gary and I looked at how much these young athletes had progressed in the past year, particularly with regard to the specific individual goals we had for them.

A couple had been much better at standing technique but their matwork was pathetic. NONE of those players lost on the mat and some of them did not lose at all. A couple had been kind of out of shape, not in nearly the physical condition they should have been in. Every one of our players was physically in good shape. No one was tired out in the match.

Of course some of them made mistakes, they are young, after all, but they made fewer mistakes than they did a year ago. I have been known to repeat myself, as anyone who knows me well can attest, so here is AnnMaria/Mom lecture #137

"Now that Ronda is winning, everyone is talking about how good they always knew she was going to be when she was young. That's not the way it really happened. She was a skinny, scrawny kid who started judo late. At 12, she was only a green belt. She won one junior nationals and got second in the other. At 13, she was winning most of the time, but sometimes she got thrown in with 15-year-old black belts and didn't even place. No one was talking about her. They were talking about the 15-year-old black belts that ALWAYS won. I saw something different. If she was this close to those players when she was that much younger, smaller, with that much less experience, and very far from physically an adult, her potential was FAR past theirs. When I told people this, they waved me off and said I just was saying that because she was my daughter. They were wrong. What I saw in Ronda was that she was fearless and did not back down. She fought 300 seconds of a five minute match and she never missed practice. I still look for those things and I still don't pay too much attention to who won the junior nationals seven times by 13 years old."

I know coaches who only focus on winning. They would not allow their players to compete in a division where they were out-matched. They keep their players as green belts for two or three years so they can win the novice divisions, or sometimes they even change their ranks from one tournament to the next so they can have an easier division. They'll be a brown belt one tournament and a green belt the next. Those coaches have tremendous records at the local tournaments, year after year. Yet, if you look a little deeper, you'll see that they're not having that success with the same people. I think those aren't very good coaches. Players are supposed to focus on winning. Coaches should focus on progress. Finding kids who are athletically talented or early maturers, holding them back in rank, having them cut weight or move up to be in easier divisions can give a coach a winning record.

You know what, though? Competition isn't about the coach. It's about developing athletes.

Who says so? Me, it's my blog.

-- Captain Obvious

Saturday, January 17, 2009

On the road again

We are FREEZING in the middle of nowhere. All right,well that is relative since it is probably around 60 degrees and we are in central California, about half an hour from the tournament site in Reedley. Since I don't have my adapter I cannot include any pictures from practice but just take my word for it that it has been a good judo weekend so far.

Random quotes overheard this weekend,

(After yet another failed kata guruma attempt ...)

"You really gotta quit grabbing my balls."
"I know, I can't help it, I'm sorry."

"Okay, listen up. This is rule number one. Anyone leaves this hotel room without telling me where you're going I will kick your little asses."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Captain Obvious Advice to the Brain-impaired

"I would have gone to judo but I was being held hostage by my cat."

Jim Bregman and I got a big laugh reading about some players who said they had not won medals at the Olympics or world championships because they did not get enough money to train, good enough facilities or have the incentive money offered to other athletes. He turned to me and said,

"Yeah, unlike the briefcase full of money you and I got."

I told him that my box of money must have gotten lost in the mail.

FACT: The VAST majority of people who are complaining about their lack of opportunities don't take advantage of the opportunities that they do have. This weekend, we have two practices on Saturday, we're heading up to a tournament three hours away right after practice. Next weekend, we have two practices on Saturday and a clinic on counters with guest Gerry Lafon on Sunday. I will be very happy to work with the 20 or so people who show up at each practice.

FACT: You will have a happier, longer tenure as a coach if you don't waste any thought on the people who don't come to practice. All of the people who tell me how much they want to win and don't come, I have quit trying to convince. I just think to myself, "Ah, ha, another cat hostage." And I go on with my life.

FACT: People in judo are just like other people, and realizing that will make everyone understand each other better. I get asked to attend something for judo just about every day of the year. Since I am both a coach at the West Coast Training Center, president of the USJA and the mother of a ten-year-old, I try to meet those commitments first. Sometimes people get angry at former athletes, board members and others who are higher profile because they won't fly across the country at their own expense and teach in their community for free. Would you be upset if a teacher you had met briefly wouldn't take off from his/ her job and teach at your local high school 1,500 miles away? Why not? Education is a lot more important than judo, isn't it? You wouldn't ask it because it is unreasonable.

FACT: Board members don't get paid and the ones you really WANT volunteering for your organization are those that have skills, like being a CPA like Paul Nogaki, an expert in marketing like Gary Goltz, technology expertise like James Wall and Neil Ohlenkamp. That means those same individuals have other demands on them. I think that is actually okay. When I think about it, I am not so comfortable with the thought of our organizations being run by people who don't have any greater professional, personal, social or academic commitments than attending a judo committee meeting. It's kind of like the old saying about politics in America, that no one who wants to be in public office should ever be trusted with the job.

Don't misunderstand me. Most of the people I work with in judo are wonderful. They are teaching at their clubs, taking their children to practice, organizing tournaments and a hundred other things.

Then there is that minority who expect a lot more than they give. Not so obvious, in the Tribal Leaders Institute forum there was a discussion about what the biggest problem is on the reservations. The company president, Dr. Erich Longie disagreed with my idea and said,
"Here is what I think is the biggest ethical issue on reservation and anywhere for that matter, knowing the difference between right and wrong and doing wrong anyway AND THEN lying to yourself about it."

If you aren't training to win the Olympics, that's okay. Just don't lie to yourself about it. If you aren't single-handedly teaching great judo to hundreds of people or developing cadres of future coaches, but simply doing a good job teaching at your club every week, that's still really good. Just be honest about it and don't get upset if no one gives you a twelfth-degree black belt with gold tassels, or if the national office fails to call you back within 13 seconds. You ARE important. You're just not MORE important than everyone else.

FACT: It's just a sport. If you are training to win the Olympics, that's great. You're important, too. You're just not any more important than the people who are in police cars patrolling my neighborhood at midnight right now, or the ones who work in the same building as me and keep the Internet functioning in central Los Angeles. And I bet that a whole lot more people will know if the Internet is down in the morning than will know you didn't win an Olympic medal.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

More on the Russian Roll

We discussed at practice today whether it is better to do this with your bottom hand in front of the person's arm (under his/her chin) or whether it is better to have your hand under the person's arm, like when you do the Glas Glahn. We tried it both ways. Tony and I both agreed that we like it better with your hand under the other person's arm. Although it is not as good of a choke, it gives you better control of his or her body. Since our main purpose here is to do a turnover into a pin, that seemed best to us. However, people who preferred chokes like the one with their hand under the chin better. Try it both ways. See which you like. I strongly believe that people need to develop their own judo. I am always skeptical of those coaches who claim to have "the answer". If you look closely at the record of those coaches almost never have their athletes been as successful as they could have been.

Sometimes, a coach who "knows it all" can hold you back once you have developed to the point you are able to figure out things for yourself but are discouraged from doing so.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Apologies : I am not that important

"Behold the hippopotamus,
We laugh at how he looks to us
And yet, in moments dark and grim,
I wonder how we look to him.
Peace, peace, oh hippopotamus,
We really look all right to us,
As you no doubt delight the eye
Of other hippotami."

This poem by Ogden Nash was a favorite of mine when I was young. I even wrote a poetry-writing program in BASIC that used this poem as its basis. (Anyone remember BASIC? )

Recently, I was in a meeting at work and a technical question came up. One of my colleagues asked me why I didn’t call up a person we had both met, briefly, who was an expert on that particular technology. I immediately dismissed this idea because she is very important. The one time I did have a meeting with this person, she seemed very busy and I got the impression that she couldn’t be bothered with a peon like me.

A couple of things occurred to me. One is that I know this woman not at all and she might be absolutely thrilled to talk to me. Perhaps she was just really busy at the time I met her. However, I doubt it, and she has never given any indication that she did not consider herself far too important to be bothered with the rabble. The second depressing thought that occurred to me is that maybe some people in the USJA think that way about ME !! So, if you are one of those people who have ever thought, “She wouldn’t pay any attention to anything I said, she is USJA president, world champion blah blah blah” let me apologize because I realize I have never gone out of my way to dispel that thought. I just assumed anyone who knew me would know differently. The obvious thought that eventually penetrated was that there are far more people in the USJA who DON'T know me personally than who do.

Here is my email

I would be happy to hear from you. If, like Charlie Robinson, you simply want to give me your opinion and don’t need an answer, and you say that in your email, I probably won’t answer you any more than “Thanks for writing”. At any given time I have about 300 emails waiting to be answered (not the same 300 all the time!) If I don’t answer you right away it is NOT because I consider myself too important to answer email from the coach of a small club in Arkansas with eight members. On the contrary, I am very interested in hearing from you. If I don’t answer, it might be because your email got picked up by my spam filter, it may (very likely) be that I just haven’t gotten the time to answer yet, or it might be that, somehow, it got lost in the middle of all of the other email I have.

So, please, do send me your comments, suggestions and good ideas on the USJA and judo in general. I am NOT too important to be interested in hearing from you and if anyone ever thought that. I apologize for not saying it sooner.
============ REQUIRED JUDO TIP ===============

Today, at the training center practice, we were visiting LACC (irrelevant fact) and Tony Comfort taught the Russian roll.

Tony puts all of his weight on Sam's back. He gets a grip under Sam's chin on the far lapel. The other hand is on Sam's collar, palm up. It is exactly as he is going to do a choke. Tony has one knee down on the mat, the other leg is up. Tony turns parallel to Sam and goes flat on his own back.

Tony is on his back. He turns AWAY from Sam's body, with his hands still holding Sam in the exact same way.

Tony PULLS his body and Sam's together.

When Tony is on top of Sam, he lets go of the hand on the back of the collar and does an overhook on Sam's arm.

If you want to come to practice, you are very welcome to show up any time. Cost is $10 per practice or $100 for two months. We are anticipating scheduling two extra practices with guest clinicians, focused on counters and combinations. More information will be posted as soon as information is available.

Date Day Times Location
1/11/09 Sunday 10 -1 West Coast Training Center
1/17/09 Saturday 10-11:30, 1-4 West Coast Training Center
1/18/09 Sunday TOURNAMENT Reedley, CA
1/24/09 Saturday 10-11:30, 1-4 West Coast Training Center
1/25/09 Sunday 10 -1 West Coast Training Center
01/31/09 Saturday 10-11:30, 1-4 West Coast Training Center
02/07/09 Saturday 10-11:30, 1-4 West Coast Training Center
02/15/09 Sunday Sensei Memorial TOURNAMENT SAN JOSE, CA
02/21/09 Saturday 10-11:30, 1-4 West Coast Training Center
02/22//09 Sunday TOURNAMENT West Covina
02/28/09 Saturday 10-11:30, 1-4 West Coast Training Center
03/01/09 Sunday 10 -1 West Coast Training Center
03/07/09 Saturday TOURNAMENT Goltz Judo, Claremont
03/14/09 Saturday 10-11:30, 1-4 West Coast Training Center
03/21/09 Sunday Ocean State TOURNAMENT RHODE ISLAND
03/28/09 Saturday 10-11:30, 1-4 West Coast Training Center

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Coolest List Ever

Based on a random sample of one, the following list has been designated as coolest ever. It was posted on SAS-L, the mailing list devoted to discussion of the SAS software. This was kind of off topic but cool, so I posted it below along with my comments.

Sheldon Kopp's Eschatological Laundry List:

(Eschatological, incidentally, means having to do with the ultimate destiny of humanity.)

1. This is it.
I don't think so. I hope not. I have always believed there is more. Personally, I estimate it would take me around 300 - 500 years to do all of the things I would like to do right now, if I don't come up with anything else. Just to be on the safe side, I am making sure I do the ones I really want to do now.
2. There are no hidden meanings.
3. You can't get there from here, and besides there is no place to go.
4. We are already dying, and we'll be dead a long time.
5. Nothing lasts!
[That's pretty much true. Even the worst things that ever happen to you will only last for a while, as will the most wonderful. It's not useful to get too excited about the ups and downs of the moment. As my brilliant Julia said after winning the USJA Junior Nationals, "It's nice the day you win. Then it's tomorrow." )

6. There is no way of getting all you want.
I say this to both athletes and graduate students all the time, BUT you can usually get whatever it is you want the most if you are willing to work hard enough.

7. You can't have anything unless you let go of it.
8. You only get to keep what you give away.

Not even sure what those two mean!

9. There is no particular reason why you lost out on some things.
On some things, yes. On many things, the reason is because you were not willing to pay the price. A song by Bob Dylan is my favorite simply because it contains the words,

"You give something up for everything you gain. So pay for your ticket and don't complain."

10. The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and
there's no compensation for misfortune.

I partially disagree. The world is not necessarily just, but I think being good DOES pay off, not always right away, but it often pays off in the friends you gain and self-respect. I have a quote from Emerson on my bulletin board from the essay, "What is success?" I think that if you do good you DO win the respect of intelligent people, the affection of children and leave the world a better place. Yes, you do not necessarily get more stuff than Donald Trump, but really, so what.

There IS usually compensation for misfortune. The worst events of my life have all made me a stronger person and/or opened up other opportunities that I could not have envisioned at the time.

11. You have the responsibility to do your best nonetheless.
On what you deem important, yes. I don't think I'll ever be the best on keeping my house clean, arriving precisely on time or a bunch of other things. But, I hope, the things I DO do my best at more than make up for that.

12. It's a random universe to which we bring meaning.
13. You really don't control anything.
Or, at least, we control less than we would like to believe. Still, there is usually a way to get whatever you want, even when lots of uncontrolled obstacles are in your way.

14. You can't make anyone love you.
That's for damn sure.

15. No one is any stronger or any weaker than anyone else.
Sorry, to burst your bubble, Sheldon, but some people are truly incompetent morons. Others, have the moral fiber of a garden slug under a pile of salt.

16. Everyone is, in his own way, vulnerable.
Maybe. But I think some are certainly less vulnerable than others.

17. There are no great men.
I haven't actually met any. I thought I did a couple of times, but I turned out to be mistaken. I have met several good men and women, though, and for them I am grateful.

18. If you have a hero, look again; you have diminished yourself in some
19. Everyone lies, cheats, pretends. (yes, you too, and most certainly
I try really hard not to. I don't think everyone does. Most people do, and a disappointingly larger number than I used to think, but not everyone.

20. All evil is potentially vitality in need of transformation.

Nope. Some evil is just plain evil. This is why God invented two by fours.

21. All of you is worth something if you will only own it.
22. Progress is an illusion.
Not necessarily.
23. Evil can be displaced but never eradicated, as all solutions breed new
24. Yet it is necessary to keep struggling toward solution.
25. Childhood is a nightmare.
For some people. For others, if they are very lucky, it is a fairy tale. For a lot, it is just Thursday.

26. But it is so very hard to be an on-your-own,
take-care-of-yourself-cause-there-is-no-one-else-to-do-it-for-you grown-up.
27. Each of us is ultimately alone.
28. The most important things each man must do for himself.
29. Love is not enough, but it sure helps.
30. We have only ourselves, and one another. That may not be much, but
that's all there is.
31. How strange, that so often, it all seems worth it.
32. We must live within the ambiguity of partial freedom, partial power, and
partial knowledge.
33. All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data.
The statistician's mantra. I think I will have that tattooed on my chest.

34. Yet we are responsible for everything we do.
35. No excuses will be accepted.
36. You can run, but you can't hide.
37. It is most important to run out of scapegoats.
38. We must learn the power of living with our helplessness.
39. The only victory lies is in surrender to oneself.
40. All of the significant battles are waged within the self.
41. You are free to do whatever you like. You need only face the
42. What do you know for sure...anyway?
That I love my children.
43. Learn to forgive yourself, again and again and again and again.