Category Archives: Philosophy

Howard Beale Commemorative

Remember the film Network? Faye Dunaway, Robert Duval…and Peter Finch, who received his Academy Award posthumously…for portraying the news anchor Howard Beale. Well, people, it’s time to throw open your windows and scream (at the top of your lungs) I’m mad as hell and I’m fucking not gonna put up with Donald Trump’s shit anymore.

But, as we know, that isn’t going to happen. Is it? Yeah, I thought not.

Instead of raging, foaming at the mouth crowds leaning out the windows of homes, apartments and towering tenements across the nation, we’re mousey dipshits who tap timorously at the door of the McMansion across the way. The big, solid steel door swings open and a towering manqué athlete glares down at us, his immense belly shaking like a giant blob of Jello before he growls What the fuck do you want, weasel? At this point in the scenario we shiver and whisper through trembling lips, “Please, sir, you’ve raped my wife and my daughter, you’ve shotgunned my poor cat, you’ve poisoned the wild birds I enjoyed feeding…and I’m moderately disturbed at what you’ve done to all that I care about in this world.”

Reddened eyes blazing, the monster snarls What the fuck do you think you’re gonna about it before I shit on your forehead…bigly…

“Well, sir, my young sister is visiting and I wondered if you might like to meet her? She’s still a virgin.”

That’s where we are, isn’t it? “Red line to cross” my ass. It’s a brown line between his butt cheeks and we’re inundated in what crosses that line at frequent intervals.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Odd, Odder and Oddest, Philosophy, Politics

Do not go gentle into that good night…

Dylan Thomas told us, “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” As old age slips his hoary fingers through my graying hair and holds my hand in his, I sometimes think of Thomas’ words.

However, many years before Thomas’ time on earth, another character expressed somewhat the same concept to death’s approach. As Gilgamesh’s BFF Enkidu is facing his imminent demise, he curses the gods with this pithy series of suggestions:

“May wild dogs camp in your bedroom,” Enkidu rants. “May owls nest in your attic, may drunkards vomit all over you, may a tavern wall be your place of business, may you be dressed in torn robes and filthy underwear, may angry wives sue you, may thorns and briars make your feet bloody, may young men jeer and the rabble mock you as you walk the streets…”

For those unfamiliar with Enkidu and Gilgamish, they’re characters in an epic narrative written sometime about 2200-2500 BCE, or slightly more than four millennium in the past. That’s about a thousand years before the Trojans and the Greeks hacked and whacked each other in Homer’s Illiad.

Well said, Enkidu. (From Stephen Mitchell’s translation, A New English Version: Gilgamesh)

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under History, Philosophy

Temporarily Down for Maintenance…

Four years ago I was Temporarily Down for Maintenance, sprawled on the wooden floor of my computer room, gasping for breath, hoping for a quick reboot to recover from what ailed me. Well, that’s what my significant other tells me. I don’t know; my memory of that particular day–the entire day and a few other days on each side of it–vanished somewhere. My personal disc drive was jiggled at the wrong time. That particular sector was corrupted, the data is unable to be recovered. No matter, I suspect she (my S.O.) is telling me the truth about what happened to me. I’ve examined my medical records, paperwork that says I went Code Blue shortly after the Paramedics arrived at our house.

My recollection, all of it, is blank from a day or so before I hit the floor up the the point when I came to in a hospital bed in Tucson. That’s when my memory recorder kicked back into gear.The precise moment was early in the morning. I was hooked up to a bunch of wires and tubes; machines with blinking lights were glowing balefully all around me. I struggled to get out of bed, managed to get on my feet on the floor…I wrote about that experience on a separate page of this web log that covers heart attack, operation and my first year after having CABG X3…

Anyway I jot down a few words on my anniversary date each year, kinda keeping up with what happened the past twelve months.

I’m fine, still walking five to seven miles most days, lifting weights, saying the wrong thing at the most inopportune moment, getting older but not wiser. That’s me.

Hmmmm. However…

My country is in much worse condition than I am.

This nation is in dire need of some sort of recovery procedure; maybe that applies to the entire world. After all, England shot itself in the pocketbook by voting to leave the European Union. North Korea is a major threat to the planet. Vladimar Putin dreams of world domination. So does Silvio Burlusconi (if he’s still alive). Here in the US of A, a madman has been elected Preszidunt. He’s brought an entire gaggle of maniacs into government along with elevating others who were lingering under rocks awaiting their opportunity to wreak havoc. Meanwhile, fires are raging along the west coast, burning California to the ground. Floods washed away major parts of the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas. Temperatures as rising (when the mercury isn’t perversely dropping out the bottom of the gauge).

Storms are increasing in violence at what seems to be an exponential rate.

These conditions, difficult as they are, might be patched up much as I was though I was prostrate at the door of whatever comes next. (No, gentle reader, I didn’t hear angels singing, see bright lights or smell brimstone…)

Unfortunately, we in the US (along with many other equally misfortunate lands) have a government that denies the existence of a problem. Imagine if my housemate, my significant other, would have prodded me with her foot and said, “Lazy bastard, get up. I’ll check on you later, see if you’ve come to your senses.” Or maybe the paramedics might have just shrugged. “He’s fine,” one of them might have said. “Just resting,” grunted the other before they left.

That’s what we’re doing in this country.

We’re Temporarily Down for Maintenance. Hopefully it’s just a passing phase, like computers and code blue heart attack victims go through.

Check back later.

If there is a later, later.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Heart and Other Vital Body Parts, Philosophy, Politics

BLACK FRIDAY! CYBER MONDAY! bullshit everyday.

BLACK FRIDAY! LOWEST PRICES IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSESE! NEVER LOWER!

uh…yeah…

Couple of months ago I purchased a six-quart Insta-Pot for my significant other. (Had to cut her into pieces ‘fore she’d fit into the thing. OK, the pot was a gift for my S.O.) I paid $80 for the sucker from an on-line marketer. Wow. If only I had waited. We’d have missed a few nice meals S.O. had prepared using the device but I could have saved, saved…saved? Well, it’s on sale just for BLACK FRIDAY for $80.

Gawd Damn.

I know I’m not the only person who is sick of this endless marketing. EVERY FUCKING DAY SALE! LOWEST PRICES IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE! NEVER LOWER!

EVERY DAY IS S.H.I.T. DAY. (For the illiterati, that’s So Happy It’s Today day.)

What is Cyber Monday and why is it a special sale day? After all, Cyber Monday is just the Monday after Black Friday. Should this be a reason for inundating everyone with an email account with senseless, worthless and insulting sales offers?

I suppose so.

Lies are the new truth. Black is the new white. Fat is the new skinny. Every day is special…in it’s own way. It’s…S.H.I.T. Day.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Odder and Oddest, Philosophy, Uncategorized

Has Anybody Noticed?

Uh…has anybody noticed…seriously…that the new U.S. Attorney General closely resembles a famous media character from past years? Face is the same. Ears stick out like taxi doors. Strings are attached to the arms, legs, and so on…and well…they’re manipulated from behind the scenes by the puppeteer.

Is the head of the AG made of the same material as that of the famous puppet of days yore? It’s certainly possible.

Is the puppet similar in any other ways? Like…no heart? No brain? No blood flowing through the veins? No veins, for that matter. Once again, it’s certainly possible.

Are the words that purportedly flow from the puppet’s mouth created from within the little wooden figurine or do they emanate from outside, thrown from the mouth of a ventriloquist?

Yeah, folks, today’s Howdy is a vestige of the past that’s being resurrected by the magic of modern media. The original Howdy wasn’t real, not really. He was just a carved doll dressed up in a cowboy suit. He never existed as a living, breathing human being. That’s another similarity between the original and the new Howdy. The old Howdy was the personification of an outside world that didn’t exist. So’s the new one.

Back when Howdy was on the tiny tube, women knew enough to keep their mouth shut or men would shut it for them. Women knew who was the boss. If the boss wanted to grab them between the legs…it was OK. Unpleasant, maybe, but OK. After all, groping the women was the boss’s prerogative. Hmmmm. Another similarity.

That’s the world our Attorney General represents, a world that never existed other than as a fantasy. Who, I wonder, might be pulling his strings and putting words into his wooden mouth?

I wonder. I wonder.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Philosophy, Politics

Fake News Part II

Fake News stories aren’t accurate. Usually the inaccuracy is intentional, agenda driven distortion. No shit, I can imagine someone murmuring. How long did it take for you to figure that out?

Interestingly enough, these distortions have been with us for many years, varying primarily in the sophistication of their distortion. Fin de siecle (end of the 19th century) newspapers published in New York City by Hearst and Pulitzer were noted both for their extravagant claims and the bright yellow ink splashed across the front page. Yellow ink in a day of black ink, white paper, drew attention to the stories so effectively that the technique was eventually known as Yellow Journalism.

Examples of the genre: news coverage of the sinking of the USS Maine when it was anchored in Havana harbor back in 1898. Blatant charges of Spanish complicity in the explosions of the ship soon resulted in a war between the United States and Spain even though the US Navy itself believed the battleship fell prey to coal dust ignition in the hold. Of course those claims of Spaniards planting a mine of the outside of the ship’s hull had been preceded by many stories concerning mistreatment of the Cubans rising to the level of human rights atrocities.

The US won this little fight, and as a settlement claimed control over both Cuba and the Philippines. Well, our guys  won…so no harm, no foul. Right?

Skip forward a few years. WWI-era US newspapers were rife with vilification of people of Germanic descent, folks who thought socialism might have its merits, delusional union workers who thought the common guy had inalienable rights…the list goes on and on.

Two more modern examples of Yellow Journalism or…Fake News…occurred in Vietnam and Iraq. Lyndon Johnson wanted…really wanted…a war to be waged against the Communists in North Vietnam. Troops, supposedly unarmed and there for humanitarian purposes, had been crossing the Pacific to assist the South Vietnamese government since the time of President Dwight Eisenhower. Under President John Kennedy the flow of men and materiel had increased. A bit of manipulation by Johnson resulted in the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, unfettered flood of soldiers guns, planes and all the other delightful accoutrements of war and…as we know…the collapse of the South Vietnamese nation, loss of more than 50,000 American lives and so on.

Then, we have President George W. Bush and his fixation with Iraq, massive stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and, of course, another war. The US media was complicit by adding its own weapons of mass distraction so that we were mired in the mess before most people realized that once again we, the people of the US, had been bamboozled.

All of this Fake News, this Yellow Journalism, is old news. Men with an agenda, especially men with power and money, win out over the best intentions of honest legislators and forthright journalism every fucking time.

Winston Smith, the protagonist of George Orwell’s1984–the guidebook of the twenty-first century–is alive and in deep shit. Big Brother, antagonist of Orwell’s book, has just been elected President of the United States and Breitbart News, now reborn as the Ministry of Truth, has provided a slovenly advisor to the about to be crowned fat man in the White House.

In Fake News Part III we’ll examine the state of truth and honesty in journalism and why the paradigm of words meaning whatever people of power say they mean at the moment has arrived. Bigly…

Leave a Comment

Filed under History, Philosophy, Politics

Fake News – Part I

I’ve been seeing, encountering, reading more articles about…Fake News. Fake News? Yeah, the shit stories spread by minions of Donald Strumpet’s BFF Vlad Putin. Lies written by guys and girls working in alt.right dark environs like bugs under piles of feces and comments posted at the end of legitimate stories by paid shills for the creeps who are destroying our nation.

Note: Fake news as I understand the term excludes errors, misconceptions and poor research so endemic to newspapers and magazines. I should probably exclude radio, television and Internet writings from consideration as sources of fake news as these three categories predominently consist of erroneous material. Remove the fake news from radio, TV and the Internet and there would be no news at all.

The fake news so decried recently is merely our current iteration of fake news. In reality–if there is such a condition as reality–fake news might well have begun before there was real news.

David Brinkley–he of Huntly and Brinkley on NBC TV for those who aren’t old enough to remember the guy–was the speaker at an RTNDA convention (Radio Television News Directors’ Association). Brinkley noted, “The problem with TV News is it presents no news with the same emphasis that it presents news,” or words to that effect. I’m not quoting from an archive story, this is what I remember him saying, more or less.

He was right. I was a television journalist back in the 70s and when our small operation (WDTB-TV, Channel 13, an NBC affiliate at the time) in the panhandle of Florida had no real news stories, we presented whatever we could find. After all, we had to fill thirty minutes with something. OK, not really 30 minutes, since we had 6 minutes of commercials, 4 minutes of weather presentation, between 6 minutes of sports, another minute involved in intros, outros and segues, leaving us with between 12 and 14 minutes to shovel full of news or something that purported to be new. This sometimes included a local lede that was not really a lede (or lead, if that’s how you prefer the spelling). “City fathers announce funding for a new stop light at the corner of main and 7th…” uttered with urgency and backed by a chromakey slide of a stop light.

Part of a small market operation (larger markets, too) involved keeping a few video segments on hand that could be used to keep from having one of our female staff performing a strip on camera (thanks, Donald, for the suggestion…Megyn…que up David Rose…) while we searched for something to read. Where did those fillers come from? They magically appeared in the mail, sent to us from politicians, corporations, public relations companies, and so on, who knew the need for a well-produced segment to keep the system from toppling into the sounds of silence or a moment of the ever ready “We’re currently encountering technical difficulties” slide.

Did we vet the mail-in material? Sometimes. Maybe. Reels of two inch video were usually accompanied by a print read of the script. Maybe someone in news would read the shit. Other over-the-transom submissions were 16mm film, often with an optical sound track, sometimes with a magnetic track of single-system sound, occasionally with a separate script we could read.

Fake news, people.

All this nonsense with filler was worse when considering print journalism. Thousands of trees, maybe even millions, lost the lives to be pulped into pages of crap that appeared in newspapers without a cavaet concerning the source. If there was sufficient time available, the shit might have been rewritten or at least edited. Often it appeared with no more than a cursory jab with a pencil, a line or three deleted as too blatent to print…or maybe not even that. Images–yeah, black and white glossy prints which could be sized and tossed in to fill two or three, maybe even four columns wide by a proportionate number of inches deep with screened nothingness. Wonderful stuff to have when the advertising department came in with several inches of classifieds causing the paper to expand by two or four pages.

Some of this filler was submitted by political groups, people with an agenda other than just selling a product. Some–maybe even much–of it was ugly, material that shouldn’t have appeared in print because it was never vetted, questionable in value or occasionally even blatantly false.

Sounds much like what we encounter today, doesn’t it? Where did the term Yellow Journalism originate? Sure, with the color of the paper…but the moniker really referred to the content, the agenda-driven material that sucked readers into an emotional maelstorm of nonsense. Example: Remember the Maine? I don’t and I’m relatively old so I doubt you do either. Stories about the USS Maine’s destruction in Havana harbor led directly to a confrontation with Spain and the ensuing war. The perfidious Spaniards planted a fucking bomb in the innards of the ship and caused it to explode, destroying not just the ship but several hundred lives…at least according to the stories printed in newspapers from coast to coast of the United States.

False news, as it turned out to be. Likely culprit for the explosion was coal dust in the bin in the heart of the USS Maine. Oh, well. Tooo late.

In Part II of False News, we’ll look at stories which incited wars, destroyed nations and cost vast amounts of money and human lives. Part III of False News will move into the modern day lies of the Internet.

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under History, Philosophy, Politics, Uncategorized

Dikka: the 2016 Presidential Hopeful Ailment

16-01-30-presgop

Des Moines, an impoverished city on the plains of Iowa, is in the grip of a health nightmare after presidential hopefuls began showing up at debates exhibiting abnormally small and pointy heads, an ailment transmitted by excessive amounts of cash, arrogance and ego known to scientists as Dikka. The disease seems impervious to calls from the public to moderate insane utterances; it’s also oblivious to sex, race or political party.

Physicians queried about this condition refer to it as Dikka Head. Doctors say it’s been observed during past political campaigns but never to the degree exhibited in 2016. The only known cure for the ailment is absolute, total humiliation and loss of all respect and money. Even that anodyne is likely to prove ineffective considering the virulence of Dikka among this group. Fears include spread of the disease across the nation. Some scientists report outbreaks of Dikka Head in the upper ranks of corporate leadership and finance. It’s also been noticed in the widely publicized individuals known to the cognoscenti as celebrities.

The first recorded instances of Dikka were among religious icons and military leaders and it was talked about as much as four thousand years in the past.

Democratic U.S. presidential candidates (L-R) former Governor Martin O'Malley, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders at the start at the NBC News - YouTube Democratic presidential candidates debate in Charleston, South Carolina January 17, 2016. REUTERS/Randall Hill  - RTX22T5B

Leave a Comment

Filed under Odd, Odder and Oddest, Philosophy, Politics

Freedom’s Just Another Word for Do What I Want You to Do

Freedom, the freedom to post on Facebook, Twitter, You-Tube, Google +, etc., means no more than contributing your personal information (data about purchases, interests, fears, wants, etc…) in return for participating in an Internet exchange of mostly meaningless material. We all know–or we should all know–that this is the deal. Many of us, both young and old, continue to participate in the social mediums. Note: I don’t. If you do, great. I don’t choose to make this trade. I’m whored out enough by the information available in my credit reports, my VA and US Army records, my tax files, etc.

Where is this going? Father Obama, He in Washington–one of many in that sprawling mass of power, money and corruption–who sees a threat in private citizens owning, carrying and using firearms, has made clear his opinion.

Now those folks who choose to post on social media concerning their weapons based businesses, their participation in shooting sports and the techniques available for improving one’s shooting abilities are discovering that freedom to post on social media is being truncated. Sales and information postings are being rejected. Click here for more information on this change in social media standards.

Strange for a group of outlets that revel in standing up for the freedom to post veiled threats–and sometimes not so veiled threats–between husband and wife, bullying children, angry boys and girls, on and on; who revel in publicizing practices that many people find offensive, now want to shut the door on a legal activity because they don’t feel comfortable around…guns. Well, you can wall around town with your penis in your hand but don’t put your pistol in your belt.

Why don’t I post on social media?

Leave a Comment

Filed under Odd, Odder and Oddest, Philosophy, Politics, Uncategorized

Be Afraid, America

Be afraid, America, for behind every bush, light pole, corner, or in every shadow lurks a (Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, the foam-flecked lips of a gun nut, the lily-livered lips of a gun hater). You get the idea. Pick one, go after ’em or (in the case of lily-liver lipped liberals who like alliteration) run from them, heart pounding, as you poke 9-1-1 on your Apple I-Phone or your I-Pad or, for all I know, your Kotex pad if it’s that time of month.

Have we always been a nation of fearful haters?

Possibly. After all, the Puritans cowered together praying for their fierce and vengeful God to protect them and smite their enemies. Patriots warned that the red-coated slimy limeys were gonna take your musket. Abolitionists warned that the African-Americans would revolt and God (yeah, the fierce and vengeful One…) would fuck with us all for having been evil.

Hmmm.

I suppose this fear has always been the center of attention. Otherwise, religion and government might not have much to rail against.

War. War in Korea (well, a United Nations mandated police action) to keep the commies f’um taking over. War in Vietnam for much the same reason. War in Iraq to keep Saddam Hussein from bombing us with those weapons of mass deception destruction. War in Afghanistan to keep the Saudi Arabians from sending money to the crazies who want to kill us all. War in Iraq (war redux) to get the good feeling back that we had when Stormin’ Normin kicked the shit out of the Iraq army in 4 hours, 13 minutes and 12 seconds with our only casualty a mess hall full of GIs whacked by a Patriot missile whose guidance system detected a liberal inside that tent.

Maybe Donald Trump will save us.

Maybe Donald Trump will ponder to our fears.

We have much to fear if The Donald gets nominated.

For that matter, we have much to fear if Hillary, Burnie, Ted, Carly or any of the others get elected, too.

Oh, shit. We DO have reasons to fear. Say it, Pogo: We have met the enemy and he is us.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Odder and Oddest, Philosophy, Politics