To the Leaders of the Free World, consider using a “time-out”.

To the Leaders of the Free World, consider using a “time-out”

There were times as a student where I experienced a time-out. Standing in the corner, or my nose to the chalkboard, and the extreme time when my sixth grade teacher sent the whole class outside to march up and down the sidewalk while he got some work done.

But that was so long ago, I needed to refresh my memory, so I “Googled-it”. I found this site in my search:

According to the site: “Time-out means time out from positive reinforcement (rewarding experiences). It is a procedure used to decrease undesirable behaviors. The main principle of this procedure is to ensure that the individual in time-out is not able to receive any reinforcement for a particular period of time.


Dear world leaders, there is a child in charge of the most powerful military in the world and you need to put him in time-out, he has already demonstrated undesirable behaviors and should not be rewarded.

According to the site, you should set up a time-out area, “The time-out area should be easily accessible, and in such a location that the child can be easily monitored while in time-out.” 

Thankfully we already have many towers we can keep him in, easily identified with his name. Please use your sovereign funds to pay for his residence as that would expedite his departure from the world stage through impeachment (see Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution).

The amount of time spent in time-out, is generally based on age. According to the site, “Children from 2 – 5 years old should receive a 2 to 5 minute time-out. A 6 year old child should probably receive about a 5 minute time-out while a 10 year old child would receive a 10 minute time-out. A general guideline can be: 6-8 years of age, 5 minutes; 8-10 years of age, 10 minutes; 10-14 years of age, 10 to 20 minutes.

Generally the amount of time doubles every 5 years. So starting at 5 minutes for a 5 year old, a 70 year old would be 2 to the sixteenth power times 5, divide that by 60 to get the hours,  divide that by 24 to get the days. The answer is 227.5 days.

What would happen if you just ignored him for that time? What would happen if you did not take his phone calls? You and he have ministers and sub-ministers for that, but do not give him the attention he wants. What would happen if you didn’t invite him to your golf courses. What would happen if you did not allow him to meet your queen? What would happen if you did not give him the right time for the G7 or G20 photo? Or better yet, don’t invite him to the Group of 7 with the rest of the cool kids, invite Jerry Brown instead.

It is important that you specify the target behaviors that need to change. According to the site, “It is very important the child be aware of the behaviors that are targeted for reduction.

So phrase your conversations so he understands his errors in judgement:

  • “Donald, breaking trade deals is bad. Sorry, you can no longer visit the queen.”
  • “Donald, denying climate change is wrong. We are going to turn your golf course into a nature preserve.”
  • “Donald, banning refugees is not a good idea. We are going to turn your branded hotels and resorts into refugee centers.”

Dear world leaders, you might also want to consider this from the site:

Reward desirable behavior as much as possible by verbal praise, touch or something tangible such as a toy, food or money.

-just might work in his case

By the way, parents, don’t use any of this advice on your kids. Give them a hug and listen.

No Diesel, No Petrol, No Relief – Dependencies Part III

No Diesel / No Petrol

We went downtown today. We passed a long line of taxis, abandoned in front of a petrol station.

Each day we check the papers for some sign of relief for the Nepalis, but headlines offer none.

No End in Sight – An Article in today’s Kathmandu Post

A few fuel trucks have crossed the border, but it is literally a drop in the bucket compared to the need. If it is bad in the Kathmandu Valley, it must be worse in the countryside. I can imagine that some of the hill towns are wondering about the supply of propane for cooking, or fuel for their tractors. I have also read stories about a shortage of fertilizer for crops.

All of this scarcity is happening at a time that is the equivalent to Thanksgiving and Christmas in the west. The weeks leading up to Dashain are usually busy with shopping and preparations (see our post here: http://willises.org/2013/11/01/a-rainy-visit-to-bhaktapur/). It will be a different, and more difficult, holiday for Nepal this year.

Dependencies Part II

I keep checking the local news outlets looking for the “Everything is Resolved” message, but all I see is more of the spiral of pain for this landlocked country. Even with this going on, Nepalis continue to be generous as the tale below explains.

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Imagine you were in one of those lines you see above, or facing one of those lines when the tank nears empty. Yet here is a tale from our most recent visitor, Ben. 
Ben walked down to Thamel. On the walk back in the dark, he lost his way and asked a shopkeeper for help. The shopkeeper said sure, I’ll take you. Soon Ben found himself on the back of a motorcycle and delivered safe and sound at our gate. Think about that, the next time someone needs help. What is your excuse, when a total stranger can help a lost American without a second thought using his very precious fuel in the process.
Meanwhile it is time to fix up the bikes….

Dependencies

A short time ago we were looking at our wealth. The value of our houses minus the debt, our stock portfolio after the slide, and our cash on hand. We looked at them as if they really mattered. However a new reality is settling into our lives in Nepal.

Today we looked at the cupboard to see how much food we have, we wondered how much cooking gas we have, we counted the drinking water bottles, and we checked the level of our water cistern.

Nepal is a land-locked country. The main supply arteries are through India, and at this point in time, India is choking these routes in a demonstration of its displeasure with the recently adopted constitution of Nepal.

Vehicles lined up for fuel

Whether the grievance is justified or not, the results are clear. Nepal, a country that just 5 months ago had two devastating earthquakes, does not have reserves of food and fuel, and India is withholding both.

What happens when there is no fuel? Think about it. How does the food get from farm to market without fuel? How do those bottles of clean water reach your house without fuel? How do you cook the food if you have a gas stove? How do the people who work for you or with you get to work? How do the jets re-fuel for their next journey? Are they carrying aid or more fuel for the journey home?

Thamel – Unusually Quiet

Even without this crisis, our footsteps ring hollow as we walk the usual tourist spots and markets, but we tell ourselves, “It’s early. In October business will pick up.” But how will the travelers come when the domestic airlines are unsure of their fuel supplies… or the reverse, would you like to be stuck in some far off region of Nepal because the airlines/buses have stopped running?

Nepal has been dealt some severe blows lately, but this one is man-made, and it comes at a time Nepalis should be rejoicing a step forward after a decade of no government. Instead, there is a little fear mixed with anger and Nepali grit. The people here are impressive, but hurting.

So whether you are in Abu Dhabi, Washington, or Los Angeles, think about Nepal. Appreciate all the things that go behind the scenes to make your glass of water, your morning shower, and the good food you eat possible. We do, and will when we return to our home in California.

This Expatriate Life

I’m going to diverge from earthquakes for awhile, not because they have stopped, because they haven’t. The earth moves every day, our hearts race, but it is the new status quo. I’m going to share a little more about the day to day life of living away from home; wherever that might be. The posts will be labeled “This Expatriate Life”.

Starting with the very mundane “Where is the pepper?”

Our little can of McCormick black pepper was empty, and somehow we missed that on our numerous trips to Costco this summer. Since our return we had checked for ground black pepper at the two major supermarkets, Bhat-Bhateni and Salesway, and at the US commissary. No luck. But we did find pepper seeds. We do have a pepper grinder, however it is sitting in our kitchen in California. It is one of those moments of “I know we have one, just not sure in which country”.

But one thing we do grind up a lot is coffee! We did buy a lot of that at Costco.

So I thought, “I’ll use the coffee grinder!” 
I may have been a little too ambitious as the pepper I produced was not “grounds” but dust. When I opened the grinder, some of the pepper just floated away. But we filled a small container with our pepper dust and had pepper with our evening stew. All was fine, until the next morning.
It was Monday morning and we didn’t have ground coffee for the espresso machine — no K-Cups here. When I went to grind the coffee, I realized the grinder was still fouled with pepper dust. In typical Monday morning fashion, just not enough time to clean. 
Not good to send Bill to school without his espresso coffee in the morning, but that’s another story.
I was on my own in the evening as Linda was part of the “Back to School” event for the elementary school. Our house keeper was unable to work today due to a general strike in the country, so I tackled the domestic chores of washing up in the kitchen. I could go on for volumes about the water, and maybe someday I will, but in summary the water we use for cleaning our dishes, our clothes, and our bodies, smells rather disgusting. You would never dream of swallowing it. It is a lot like the irrigation water we used in desert farming in El Centro… after it had gone through the fields. When we wash dishes with this water, we let them completely air-dry, in the wishful thinking belief that the nasty germs don’t like dry surfaces. 
I clean the coffee machine only with bottled water. I tackled the fouled grinder with paper towels, trying my best to loosen the fine dust that just wanted to float back to the bottom. My previous experience as a science teacher kicked in and I realized that all of that rubbing was just creating a static charge that attracted the fine pepper particles. What I needed was a new strategy to get rid of pepper dust.
I may be a “blow hard” so I thought I would put that to the test. I leaned in close over the grinder and blew into it with all of my strength. Which as a scientist brings me to this law of nature: crap has got to go somewhere, or in this case dust. As I blew into the grinder, the dust flew into my eyes. 
Now you know where the pepper went.