Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Art of War, Cribbage & Halloween

I came across a quote from The Art of War, a book written 2500 years ago by Chinese military general and tactician Sun Tzu that has been rattling around in my brain. It’s this:

One who knows the enemy and knows himself will not be endangered in a hundred engagements.

One who does not know the enemy but knows himself will sometimes meet with defeat.

One who knows neither the enemy nor himself will invariably be defeated in every engagement.

There’s a heck of a lot of wisdom in those three sentences and although he was speaking about war, the words are applicable to most any situation involving conflict - relationships, schooling, work, and, my focus at the moment - games.

All games, whether chess, cribbage or football are substitutes for war. There are winners and losers (although the consequences of landing in either category are neither as glorious nor as dire as in war). If you underestimate your opponent’s or overestimate your own abilities, things are not likely to go well. Luck certainly has a part to play in any outcome but its importance diminishes proportionately with the players’ increased levels of skill, knowledge and preparation.

How to know an opponent? That’s easy. As my guru, Yogi Berra once said: “You can observe a lot just by watching.” Do as Yogi says. Watch them. Pay attention to what they do in certain situations, especially stressful ones. Before too-too long, their behaviour will become predictable, at least to a certain extent. Foreknowledge of an opponent’s behaviour is a terrific advantage in any situation.

Knowing yourself now - that’s a toughie and I know of no pat formula or short cut. I do know however, that it involves stripping oneself of pretense and delusion, those kissin’ cousins of deceit. It can be a painful process, glumly observing one’s psyche laid bare in a full-length mental mirror.

On the plus side, once you DO know yourself, you can then re-don whatever delusional duds you want to wear, since you know you’re kidding.

Kinda like Halloween.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Thinking Is A Waste Of Time

One of the freebies you can get from Google is a yellow, sticky-note thingy for your desktop. I use it to jot notes to myself about appointments, shopping reminders and, occasionally, ideas for a column or blog post.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote this note:

A great writer doesn't let truth, facts, or heck, even reality, interfere with formulating and expressing an opinion.

For those who don't know me, the above was written tongue-in-cheek. Pretty much.

I mean, I know I'm not a great writer but I'm pretty good. The note would lack a certain panache though if it was: "A pretty good writer doesn't let ..." etc. It's hyperbole which, if you remember your Grade 10 English, is a literary device by which pretty good writers pretend to be great ones. Or something. I might be a bit fuzzy on the definition. I think I was away that day.

Anyway, like improvisational acting, off-the-top-of-the-head writing isn't for everyone. Most, (dare I say "lesser?") writers prefer to think before writing. I've always considered thinking to be a waste of time. I mean, why bother thinking when you could be accomplishing something instead?

It's a no-brainer.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

New Blogger

Yesterday it looked like I was locked out of the old Blogger and would, finally, be forced to switch over to the new version.

I don't do well with change, especially if said change involves technology. I've only recently gotten over my suspicion of matches, preferring for decades to rub two sticks together whenever I wanted to burn something.

Today, lo and behold! I am being allowed into the old Blogger dashboard thingy and am writing this there. However, I've decided to go ahead with the switch anyway. The tension is getting to me. Other folks who've made the change have assured me it isn't overly painful. They have hardly any reason to lie to me.

Stay tuned....

...Well I'll be darned.

It's now a mere 10 minutes later and I do believe I've made the switch! And...and...there's no blood on my keyboard! My fingernails are intact and my gibbering idiocy is no more pronounced than usual!


In your FACE Technology! I ain't askeered of you no more!

This is the most ept I've felt since I learned to make folders last year.