Ya Gotta Believe

April 23rd, 2012

A lot of people seem to be relying on faith to navigate their way through life.

They have their own religious beliefs, which is fine. Religion is the home of faith. However, there are other places where they use faith as there measuring stick for decisions in life, places where there’s some facts they choose to ignore.

There are bunches of people who will tell you they have faith in the guy or gal who represents them in Congress. Overall they have about a 10% faith in the whole of Congress, nevertheless they’ve got faith in their Representative.

There are a number of folks who don’t believe in the findings of experts and scientists.  There’s the big argument about Creation. Personally, I find the words in Genesis to be awfully similar to the course of events of scientific theory. “Let there be light” sounds a lot like a Big Bang. I think the big disagreement is over the length of God’s Day.

There are also lots of people who don’t believe in global warming. Doesn’t matter what the scientists say, they just don’t believe in it.

At first, I didn’t like these ideas very much, but I’m beginning to see how I could put them to good use. All I’d have to do is not believe in things that I find inconvenient in my life. I think there’s a future in that.

“But, Officer, I don’t believe that the speed limit is 65 mph.”

That oughta work.

Let’s Stop Calling Each Other Names

April 20th, 2012

There are a great number of expressions being used in the political debate in this country that need to go. The major classifications are something like “latte-drinking liberals” or “dumb rednecks.” Underneath these headings is a whole cabal of pejoratives being used, usually accompanied by a smug, self-satisfied grin that’s more of a curl of the lip. It’s a list that’s been carefully plotted, printed, and distributed. Expressions like bizarre, pathetic, shallow, they/them, incompetent, lame, etc. They all trace their lineage back to a single source, the N-word and its like. They’re categorizing the opinions being expressed, and therefore the person saying them, as someone who is a lesser being, beneath human, one deserving of contempt.

I’ll take exception to that. These are American citizens, fellow brothers and sisters. They are that group of people who said, over two hundred years ago, “All men are created equal.” And they are equal and free to express their own opinions about the country and the government.

And in that equal and free environment we adopted the concept of, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” (By the way, I always figured that was a quote from an American patriot, like Patrick Henry. I was quite surprised to find out it was Voltaire.)

Will fellow citizens have a difference of opinion about how the government should be run? Damn Skippy we will! That’s our constitutional right! And we’ll argue our points vociferously with each other. Then we’ll shake hands and sit down to have a beer together. After all, we’re fellow Americans.

All of this name-calling stuff is lame.


What the Heck Did Gilgamesh Do for a Living?

February 17th, 2012

I think sci-fi and fantasy writers make a fatal mistake that restricts the number of readers they can reach: they assume too much specific knowledge of anyone picking up their book. They expect that whoever opens up their tome is going to know exactly which knights sat around the Round Table, or the name of the little pixies that gambol through a Hawaiian rain forest, or what a day in the life of a neutron is like.

They write to the devoted sci-fi, fantasy reader who has plowed through every book previously written on the subject and has memorized all of Edith Hamilton’s histories of Greek and Roman mythology.

Anyone who casually picks up these writers’ books, will be befuddled by references to little-known minutiae of fact or fantasy featured as major plot points. These poor, befuddled people come from a group known as Mainstream Readers. This is a very big group of people. These people read classics, and mysteries, and action-adventures, and thrillers, and all of those books you frequently see at the front of the bookstore, where they put bestsellers.

If I talk to any of my friends who are mainstream readers and mention the words science fiction, they noticeably cringe. Many of these people are attracted to the world of sci-fi and fantasy. They have been impressed with things like Star Wars and Avatar and Harry Potter in the movie theater and have ventured so far as to crack open a new genre book only to find that it’s about as understandable as the instruction manual for computer software. (Particularly web software.)

Ask the authors of these books, and they will proudly proclaim that they’re not writing to the general public; no, they’re writing to those cognoscenti who reside in a thing they refer to as a Niche Market.

Definition: a small group of people.

However, if you look at the most recent smash success, Harry Potter, you’ll see what happens when all of the elements come together. Because the books are tailored for a young adult audience, they’re aimed at someone who has no prior knowledge of the genre. Therefore, things are explained. The reader is brought along with Harry as he learns new experiences. S/he doesn’t have to know about mandrakes, just follow along as Harry is taught about them. This motivates a great number (millions and millions) of mainstream readers came rushing in, along with the young adults, buying these books.

Mainstream readers are just as captivated by the imaginary worlds found in sci-fi and fantasy as are those devoted fans. They just need what amounts to a few extra sentences, at most, to explain what’s going on.


RU a t?

June 14th, 2011

I’ve figured out a handy way to classify adults. I simply call them a t, an f, or an s. The categories are the initial letters in the spelling of the age. A is a teen, twenty-something, or thirty-something. An f is a forty-something or a fifty-something. An s is a sixty-something or a seventy-something.

I know this is the ultimate in generalization, but it does help to put people into their general phylum of generation. I also realize that, since I have achieved all of these categories, that I may not be as aware of the finer differences between the extreme of the t‘s, but it works from my remote area of the s‘s.

Let the t‘s rage about this. After all, that’s what they’re meant to do.



Let’s get over that caveman thing

May 23rd, 2011

From what has been gathered by archeologists so far, it seems that we were Cave Humans for tens of thousands of years. It stands to reason that natural selection worked on us and gave us characteristics useful to the life of Hunter/Gatherers. Now that we’ve conquered such lofty skills as being able to handle fire, we’ve got to turn our adapted selves around and attempt to become Modern Humans or even Civilized Humans. I think we’re having troubles getting away from the instincts that have been bred into us.

I’m going to start out by taking exception to the terminology I used above. The expression Hunter/Gatherers focuses on the way we acquired our food, a serious consideration in those bad old days. However, I want to take a slightly more sociological look at that society and change the expression to Warrior/Nurturers, because that was what was happening. Guys were grabbing up their weapons and going out and hunting down the meat for the table and also fighting off the Guys from other tribes who were also wandering around out there with their weapons. In some societies these two functions merged into the same thing. The Gals were staying in the communal area, taking care of the young and filling the tribal larders with nuts and berries.

Then humanity learned how to smelt metals, plant crops, and etch printed circuit boards, all in one week, I think. This left us Nurturers/Hunters/Warriors/Gatherers scratching our heads trying to figure out what to do. We had a whole new environment to react to, and only bad old instincts to guide us.

So we’ve got a whole bunch of social ills running through our societies, most of them born in caves: gender equality, racial prejudice (them damned illegal aliens that kept poaching the mastodons out of our territory), and aggression against other humans. Maybe if we look at them in the light of their origins, we might be able to fix them.


Are you for Real?

May 2nd, 2011

The title of this piece is an old expression. It has its uses because there’s more than one meaning to it.

I’m going to use another expression that cites the good old days: Do you remember when television was scripted and politics was reality?

The problem is that television says it’s real, but it’s not. It’s exactly the opposite. Take your Real Wives of Oshkosh. Those “real” wives are the most unreal things you’ll ever see. Leads me to wonder if they’re actually married.

It seems that everything on television has retreated from real. What disturbs me is that even the news is doing that, both by commission and omission. Commission: Fair and Balanced. Omission: fact checking. What’s flashing up on the screen is what just got put on the Internet (definitely no real) and has been hustled onto the “news.”

So the news is becoming less and less believable. With the result that anyone who has a camera turned on them feel beholden to stand up there and tell a whopper. Unfortunately a lot of cameras are turned on to politicians, and they have unfortunately discovered the bigger the lie that they tell, the more face time they get. So politics becomes scripted and definitely not for real.

So to get back to the title of this piece. Are you for real? I am all for real. The question is: where do I find it?

And all of the people from the “reality” shows seem to be right out of Central Casting.



I’d like to share a word with you

March 21st, 2011

The word for the day is: perendinate.

It’s a really neat word; it’s a superlative of procrastinate.

To procrastinate is to put off until tomorrow.

To perendinate is to put off until the day after tomorrow.

Truly the technology is improving.

However, there is one drawback: Us perendinators are really stuck trying to figure out what the heck we’re going to be doing tomorrow.



He’s b-a-a-a-ck

March 21st, 2011

Okay, I realize that I come in way down in the standings for maintenance of a blog site, but I’ll try to plead innocence (not innocent) to the charges. It all started out properly enough. Originally, I knew that I should get into this electronic stuff and should be hip and up to date with all of this web presence garbage.

So I went ahead and had a friend get me up with both a web and a blog site. The operative expression here is “had a friend do it.” I suddenly found myself owning all of these neat things that I didn’t know a thing about. I immediately went into the second stage of web presence: fear of the unknown.

I would occasionally peer in suspiciously at the site to see what the hell it was doing. I would put on rubber gloves before I even touched the keyboard to make any entries, afraid I might pick up some sort of electronic cooties from this strange little beast I had launched. I decided it was something best left alone until I was sure it was properly housebroken.

However, circumstances began to rear ugly heads a few weeks ago. Apparently there’s something you can set to allow people to register with your blog site.  A few folks had done that early on, but I kept a modest distance away from those things, judging it a proper, hygienic practice to quarantine myself from a potentially infectious area. Things changed as I suddenly began getting bunches of people registering on the site. When it began to be hundreds in a day, I realized there had to be some sort of predatory thing happening, so I dressed myself up in a clean suit and wandered into the site, determined to figure out how to stop this cascade of registrants. I was able to figure out how to turn off the function and how to purge those people already in there.

Out of this necessary act of self-preservation, I learned how the heck some of these things on the blog site worked. So I’m setting about trying to be a little more regular with posting my thoughts on this site. I’ll make no promises about how frequently I will put things out there, but given my past record, anything is bound to be an improvement.



Legalize It

February 23rd, 2010

I have the solution for the people who want to legalize same-sex marriages. They’ve been going about it in the wrong way. They’re trying to get legislation passed. Unfortunately, legislation has to be passed by politicians.Enough said there?

No, the gays have to go about this in a different way. What they have to do is form their own religion. After all, this country has freedom of religion.

And they can be very Twenty-first Century and make it an Internet religion, with a flock stretching across the world.

However, it might be a good idea to erect some sort of building, whether a church, a temple, a home office, or a beach house. Think of it. The holiday decorations would be to die for!

Once we’ve reached that point, it isn’t hard to look forward to the ultimate: St. Judy.