Try These For Fun

Try These For Fun

D. S. Mitchell

Yesterday I ranted and raved about the news of the last week and truthfully I need to step away from the horror of Trumpism and laugh. Here are a list of tongue twisters that should keep you giggling for a few minutes.

Try to say each of these sentences three times very fast

Lesser leather never weathered wetter weather better.
Which wristwatches are Swiss wristwatches.
The bootblack bought the black boot back.
The epitome of femininity.
Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager managing an imaginary menagerie.
Fred fed Ted bread, and Ted fed Fred bread.
Many an anemone sees an enemy.
Which wicked witch wished which wicked wish.

Okay you are on your own. Remember, you have to say each of the above at least three times very fast.  I am stumbling over my words the first time through. Good luck, most of all, take a moment and be silly.

Calamity Politics is an online news magazine focused on a progressive political agenda, hopefully with humor and thoughtfulness.

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Are Your Goals Getting In The Way Of Your Happiness?

Are Your Goals Getting In The Way Of Your Happiness

D. S. Mitchell

The other day, I was pawing through a box of books I had stored in the garage and was trying to decide if they were something I should drop off at The Salvation Army when I came upon Stephen Shapiro’s 2006 self-help gem, “Goal Free Living: How To Have The Life You Want Now.”  It has been at least a decade since I read the book, but as I flipped through the pages I remembered it distinctly, and thought it would be a great reminder to pass on to my Calamity Politics readers to help them enjoy a healthy, happy 2018.

Taking A Few Minutes To Re-Read Parts Of “Goal Free Living”

Shapiro is the first person that I can remember that gave me permission to release the religion of goal making that permeates our culture, and try to live without the restrictions  of a set of goals.

I have been told since I was a kid, that goals of all kinds, big, small, wildly ambitious were all within my reach. I just had to want them bad enough. The rule seemed to be,  if you can visualize it, you can have it; if you don’t know what you want  (can’t visualize it), you might as well be lost at sea without a life preserver.

Shapiro disputes this American myth.  In fact, Shapiro argues that if you want to be happy in its most broad interpretation, you need to throw that “five-year plan,” and the “life-time to do list,” into the garbage can.

Originally Shapiro was a motivational researcher.  While doing interviews with business leaders for a book he discovered that after interviewing 150 of the country’s most successful people and traveling over 12,ooo miles the most fulfilled people were also the most spontaneous,  and believe it or not, the least goal oriented. What?  How could that be true?  It goes against everything he, or I, have been taught.

Shapiro Traveled 12,000 Miles And Interviewed 150 Top Achievers

After interviewing those 150 successful people in all fields of enterprise, from all parts of the country, Shapiro discovered that most of the successful people had taken a circuitous route to their eventual success, and it seems that the circuitous trip was what made the result, all the more satisfying.

Shapiro became convinced that the key to happiness comes from checking out the back roads and detours, both literally and figuratively, without fear of changing course. Shapiro is convinced that following goals may lead a person to financial wealth, but there is a good chance that if you follow the plan unquestioningly you will lose yourself and potential happiness.

First, “Ask yourself, whose goal is it, anyway?” According to Shapiro, “Most people’s goals aren’t their own. They tend to be driven by society and family pressure.” Second, when you focus on a goal he believes, it is like putting on a pair of blinders, you lose your peripheral vision, causing you to miss out on all kinds of great opportunities. Third, you will always be living for the future.  You sacrifice today in the hopes that something wonderful will happen tomorrow. Goals are like that, you are always chasing them. Four, you are “courting failure” because you become attached to one outcome, and even if you achieve it, reality seldom matches the dream, and worse, it closes other doors to exploration and opportunity.

But all this seems to go against every core principle that I have been taught since childhood.  How could all those books, seminars and teachers have been so wrong. I need those scraps of paper, those directions to success. I need my goals.  Or, do I? How can I achieve anything if I don’t have a goal, no matter how much fun wandering around in the wilderness having great moments may sound?

Shapiro counters with, “Goal-free living isn’t about aimless, or things are getting tough” and I’m going to bail out, but rather it is about “being passion-driven in the moment, while knowing you can change course.” It is also about “getting out, playing, and trying lots of new and different things.”

The central message here is that you can’t find out what you love by just sitting around thinking about it, you must get out and experience it.

I am a goal-aholic, I can’t just toss away all my goals. Or, can I? I think Shapiro is saying “do you have the right goals and are you relating to them the right way?”  Shapiro believes some people abuse goals, “as a way of escaping from being present in the here and now. They distract themselves by looking ahead. Life should be more into enjoying every single moment for what it is and allowing things to unfold.”

Hmmm, maybe I can do this.

I  have been an RN for nearly 4 decades and one of the foundations of nursing is the Nursing Care Plan. The care plan for a patient provides direction and continuity of  care. That mind-set is hard to just sweep away. However, I can see where a care plan to direct the care of a patient over a short-term period is not the same as the life time goal setting we do for ourselves. But, initially that professional methodology got in the way of me spreading my wings, and in fact still does in many ways. I wish I were better at this discarding everything I know.

A Nursing Care Plan Is A Short Goal Plan

Shapiro wants us to think about aspirations (working in government) versus goals such as (getting elected to congress on November 8th, 2018) because  a broader aspiration will give you pleasure today and “success” becomes more broadly defined.  The biggest complaint he has is with the institutionalization of SMART goals. In other words, Specific, Measurable, Achievable,  Results Oriented, and Time based. Sounds very similar to a Nursing Care Plan.  The idea that you will know right away whether you’ve succeeded or failed is misguided and crippling.

The cure to the pain of a failed goal is to step back and ask yourself whether you defined the desired outcome too narrowly and whether you tried to control the uncontrollable.  Shapiro reminds us, “Not only have you set yourself up for failure, but you’ve put a time limit on everything. Life is unpredictable, so give up control. Create many paths. And play hard.”

Above all, trash the idea that if you don’t succeed by Saturday morning at 11:30 you are a failure. Shapiro proclaims, “I’m not going to be done with what I’m doing till I’m dead. It is really about applying creativity to every aspect of your life.”

I  like that, “applying creativity.”

Don’t Be Afraid To Take A Detour

Shapiro’s eight guide posts for living a Goal-Free Life:

1.) Use a compass, not a map. Allow yourself to take the less traveled path, allow yourself to try new things.

2.) Trust that you are never lost–every seemingly wrong turn is an opportunity to learn and experience new things.

3.) Remember that opportunity knocks often, sometimes softly–while we are blindly pursuing our goals. Sadly, we often miss unexpected and wonderful potentials.

4.) Want what you have. Measure your life with your own ruler. Appreciate who you are, what you do, and what you have, now.

5.) Seek adventure-treat your life as the one time only journey it is, and revel in new and different experiences.

6.) Learn to be a people magnet. Constantly seek, build and nurture relationships with new people gaining support and comradeship of others.

Keep Up Relationships–Be A People Magnet

7.) Embrace your limits. Transform your shortcomings and perceived inadequacies into unique qualities that you can use to your advantage.

8.) Remain detached. Focus on the immediate. Act with a commitment to the future and stop fretting about how things will turn out.

I think Shapiro was on to something.  I think he is right. Goals are by their very nature, self limiting. So, with 2018 just hours away I am giving you permission to toss that goal list  and start living life.

Calamity Politics is a political news magazine with a Progressive agenda.  Join us for comment and opinion. Join the Resistance.


10 Terrible Environmental Choices Of 2017

10 Terrible Environmental Choices Of 2017

D. S. Mitchell

Greenpeace took a look at the actions of the Trump Administration in 2017 and listed the following as just plain terrible.

1.)Canceled rule to protect whales from fishing nets.
2.)Ordered review of National Monuments. *The recommendations from Ryan Zinke are hair-raising and I will discuss them in another post.*
3.)Revoked rule preventing coal mining companies from dumping in local streams.
4.)Rejected ban on potentially harmful insecticide which has been linked to lower IQ’s in children and colony collapse in bees.
5.)Overturned ban on hunting predators in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, allowing road building and the Tax bill opens 1.5 million acres to oil drilling.
6.)Withdrew guidance for federal agencies to include greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews.
7.)Ordered review and “elimination” of rule protecting tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.
8.)Rolled back limits on toxic discharge from power plants into public waterways.
9.)Roll back provisions of the Clean Power Plan with goal to repeal the Obama-era regulations many of which have been slashed by Trump agency heads.
10.)Delayed rule aiming to increase safety at facilities that use hazardous chemicals.

Regulations serve an important purpose, they save lives, they save wildlife, they save the water we drink, they save the air we breath. The damage that the Trump Administration is doing cannot be emphasized enough. The risks to our environment are terrifying. Keep your eyes open, they have a lot more damage and chaos on their agenda.

Calamity Politics is an on-line political news magazine with a Progressive Agenda. Join the Resistance.


Another Holiday Survival Plan

Another Holiday Survival Plan

D. S. Mitchell

If you are becoming anxious about Christmas, you are not alone. The holiday season is a difficult time for many people. If you have mounting angst about Christmas and New Year’s I have gathered some tips to help you survive the season.

Most experts warn us not to make comparisons. Do not compare your life to a Hallmark movie. Life is what it is. We can enjoy the reality if we leave expectations behind. Expectations are often the basis of many unhappy holidays. Accepting life for what it is, and not allowing the fantasy world of social marketing and Hollywood to alter our reality. If you can escape the expectations you will have taken the first step to improve your holiday experience.

1.)How can I Limit self-criticism? Try a dose of self-compassion. What is self compassion? Self compassion is a combination of recognizing that all humans make mistakes and that life is not a script and life experience is often unfair, flawed and imperfect. If you accept that reality up front it may lessen those awkward or frustrating moments when a family member makes a painful, or thoughtless comment.

2.)Hurt or angry feelings? Do not engage. Walk away. Take a short drive. A few minutes at a local park or nearby viewpoint can do wonders. I live at the Oregon coast and am just a few minutes from staggeringly beautiful viewpoints. Watching the crashing waves as they slam against the shore and then float away can help calm anger. Or, get physical. Go bowl a couple of lines, the physical sensation of throwing something heavy and head shaped down a long wooden alley may be all you need to restore your emotional equilibrium. **In 4th century Germany bowling was viewed as a cleansing ritual to remove the participant of sin. In 16th century England commoners were prohibited from bowling except on Christmas. So, combining the two you may find a recipe for holiday relief**.

3.) How to avoid an awkward situations? Excuse yourself and take a walk. Exercise is proven to reduce anxiety and depression. If it is a situation requiring more than a short walk put on your sneakers and take a run.

4.)Feeling Tired? Excuse yourself and take a nap. Sleep is important. Taking a nap is good self-care and is regenerative. Being well rested has a significant impact on our sense of well-being and sense of happiness.

5.)Feeling Cranky? Sometimes our body tries to send us messages, but we have lost touch with its clues. Frequently, irritability is triggered by thirst. Go for the water. Re-hydrate and see if your mood isn’t improved.

6.)If you are challenged on your politics? Let it go. Change the subject, or exit gracefully from the conversation. From personal experience I have learned that the holidays are not the best time to work out relationship problems. The holidays are too emotionally charged to choose it as a time to resolve conflict. In fact, it is probably time to recognize that we can’t change people, especially those in our family, so don’t even try.

7.)Need to escape? You are trapped, without a car, or for other reasons can’t leave. Try headphones and escape, or, take a luxury bath, or start reading that book that has sat next to your bed.

8.)No gift? It all depends on the situation. I suggest that you buy several bottles of moderately priced wine at the beginning of the holiday season and put each of them in dressy wine sacks and if you have a surprise guest that drops by a gift, you are always ready. What you don’t give away you can always drink yourself. If you are away from home and are given an unexpected gift and have nothing to offer in return, be gracious and appreciative, you can always follow-up with a gift or a card later.

9.)Feeling offended? Meditate. Take a break from your incessant mind chatter.

10.)Feeling lonely? Get outside yourself. Go volunteer. Connect. Give a hand to people who are struggling.

11.)Feeling sad? Make a list of your blessings. Practice gratitude.

Yale University researchers discovered that friends influence your happiness, and vice versa. So, it sounds like we are responsible for the company we keep. Surround yourself with happy people as much as possible.

Remember, if you are experiencing an especially bad time, please call for help. Lines for Life hotline is there 24/7 at 1-800-273-8522.

Calamity Politics is a Progressive on-line news magazine offering irritable comment on the current administration. Join the Resistance.

Merry Christmas,


Yuletide Poem

Yuletide Poem

A Twitter friend, @ArcturusOrdo sent me the following image and poem from his 4th book, “Yuletide Sequence”.

Yuletide Sequence

Poems are a still

golden mirror

of soul shining

glimpsed in quiet

solitude shared

as words

trailing softly

on the white

page like snow

falling through

Yuletide sunrise.

Calamity Politics is a Progressive on-line news magazine focusing on the Washington DC nightmare with caustic comment and mildly jaundiced opinion. Join the Resistance.


3 Million Children Die

3 Million Children Die

D. S. Mitchell

Doctor’s Without Borders is a world recognized international medical humanitarian organization. The international medical relief organization was awarded the Nobel Peace in 1999. DWB delivers medical care to patients with NO political or religious agenda. The organization goal is to treat people where the need is the greatest. Helping people threatened by violence and social upheaval, neglect, natural disasters, epidemics or other health emergencies.

Worldwide, malnutrition accounts for 50% of deaths in children under 5 years old. Malnutrition claims 3 million children, making malnutrition the single greatest threat to child survival. Doctor’s Without Borders sends mobile clinics out into the most rural areas, where often conditions are untenable. Malnutrition in these regions is a huge problem. The DWB mobile teams have saved thousands of lives.

In the middle of emergency situations DWB medical teams work to break malnutrition’s cycle. Children under 2 years of age have small stomachs and very specific nutritional needs. If their diets are deficient in just one of the 40 essential nutrients they need, it weakens their young immune systems, and their chances of dying from even a minor infection or disease increases dramatically.

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GOP’s Sneaky Tax Plan

GOP’s Sneaky Tax Plan

D. S. Mitchell

The American tax system is not broken and it certainly does not need the type of disastrous overhaul being rammed down the throats of the 99.8% of the American tax payers all for the benefit of about five thousand people, and a boat load of international corporations. Trickle down economics was debunked 30 years ago and why we have allowed the Republicans to bring it back into the tax conversation is beyond me.

On December 2, 2017 at 2 a.m., in the dark of night, without a single public hearing, Senators passed a 479 page tax bill, which included several illegible hand written notes in the margins. GOP Senators passed what could become one of the most important legislative bills in recent history. If the Republicans actually maneuver this monstrosity through the congress it will revamp the national tax code, disrupt our national health care system, while adding trillions of dollars to the national debt, thereby impacting every person in the United States.

From personal experience, I know that 2 a.m. decisions are usually stupid decisions. Decisions, that when viewed from the light of the following morning are often regrettable. So, we ask, why are the Republicans so desperate to pass such important legislation in the middle of the night? Without public hearings, written seemingly by corporation lobbyists, and supported by almost no one, we keep asking, why?

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10 Simple Dream Interpretations

10 Simple Dream Interpretations

D. S. Mitchell

Dream content varies from person to person, but there are common themes. Psychologists have long claimed that dreams are nothing more than a reflection of our waking lives. See if you recognize any of your dreams.

If, in your dream:
1.)You are being chased, you are probably avoiding or running away from something in life. Being unable to run in a dream indicates feeling overwhelmed with daily pressures.
2.)You die. It doesn’t mean you are about to die, it suggests insecurity and/or anxiety.
3.)You are falling. It is a subconscious response to real-life stress, something as simple as a leg spasm.
4.)You can fly, you have conquered a stressful situation. If you can control your flight, it is a sign of confidence. If you fly aimlessly you are cautiously optimistic about your success.
5.)Your teeth fall out, you are unhappy with your physical appearance.
6.)You watch a car crash, a big undertaking in your life seems doomed to failure.
7.)You dream of water, it is a representation of your general emotional state. Clear water means satisfaction with work and home. Muddy water is a sign of skepticism and discontent.
8.)You are naked, you are dreading an upcoming event due to feelings of shame, or vulnerability.
9.)You are giving birth, great change is unfolding. Dreaming about babies indicates a desire to behave more maturely.
10.)You are peeing. You may be expressing desire for relief from a difficult situation. Or you may really have to pee, or you may already be doing it.


I love Sundays it lets me do silly things. Dream on.

Calamity Politics is an on-line news magazine directed at the politics of the United States. Join us for comment and sarcasm. Join the Resistance.


Times Change

Times Change

D. S. Mitchell

I stumbled across some statistics from 1900. Mind you, just over a 100 years ago things were very different from today. I thought the information was both amusing, and eye-opening. Check it out.

1) Average life expectancy in USA was 46 years. 2) Fourteen per cent of American homes had a bathtub.  Eight per cent had a telephone. 3)Mississippi, Iowa, Tennessee and Alabama all had larger populations than California. 4) There were 8,000 cars and 144 miles of paved roads.5) The average hourly wage in USA was 22 cents and the average worker made between $200-$400 a year. 6)  Population of Las Vegas was 30. 7) Ninety per cent of doctors in the USA never attended college.8) The Eiffel Tower was the tallest structure in the world   9) Sugar cost 4 cents a pound, coffee was 15 cents a pound, and eggs were 14 cents a dozen. 10) There was 230 reported murders in the USA. 11) Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Hawaii, and Alaska were not yet states.  12) Only six percent of American adults were high school graduates. Ten percent of adults were illiterate. 13) Most women washed their hair once a month and used egg yolks or borax for shampoo. 14) Ninety five percent of all births took place at home.  15) Leading causes of death in the USA were pneumonia, influenza, tuberculosis, heart disease, diarrhea, and stroke. 16) Eighteen percent of American homes had a full-time servant. 17) Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn’t been invented yet.

Hope you got a laugh or two. Calamity Politics is a progressive on-line news magazine. Join the Resistance. *This list of what was going on in 1900 came from “Uncle John’s Fast-Acting, Long-Lasting Bathroom Reader by the Bathroom Reader’s Institute, 18th Edition.”


While We Slept

While We Slept

D. S. Mitchell

The bill will hurt most Americans. Remember it was passed in the middle of the night, done without hearings, and without time for basic analysis of the economic impact. Central to the bill is the redistribution of income from lower and middle class income families to corporations and business owners.

Corporate tax rate drops to 20%, while ordinary families are “nickle-and-dimed” by a series of tax changes, not one of which is a big deal, but when added together become significant tax increases on at least 75% of middle class taxpayers.

Additionally, ObamaCare will be repealed in such a way as to sharply cut assistance to lower-income families and raise the cost of insurance for many in the middle-income group.

And Lisa Murkowski was bought off with a pledge to open Arctic Wilderness to oil drilling. I just want to barf, and I hope it lands right on her shoes. Social and environmental issues entangled with the tax legislation, really shameful.

This is what the Republican senators accomplished while you were asleep. I guess the rule here is, don’t close your eyes while the Republicans are in control of the government.

Calamity Politics is a progressive on-line news magazine that keeps you up to date on the Washington political scene. Join the Resistance.