Wednesday, September 28, 2011

More musings

Let's see now---when was the last time I bought any towels? It has to be at least a good three years or so.
So---how is it, every time I go to the laundromat to do my lights, whites, towels and washrags, when I dry them there still seems to be enough lint in the dryer filter to sew a sweater with?
How do towels more than three years old still manage to produce so much deposit?


And what's up with all these meandering skateboarders and bicyclists? Do they really have no responsibilities to deal with? And with all that "free time" they can do no better with it than to just merely hog public sidewalks and parking lots and get in everyone's way for no good reason?
And where do they get all the money for their "toys" anyway? Does a free membership in "Meanderer's Club of America" guarantee them free money to supply the means for carrying on their obsessive recreationalistic daily rituals?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gotta love this "nationalism" stuff

   "No country in the world does it better than America; no other country rises to the occasion like America, and no people open their arms to those in need like Americans. So if you're dissatisfied with this country, there are 9400 airports here and 197 countries in the world."
                                                                                                                      ---Joe Torillo, 9/11 survivor


Unfortunately for me, I CAN think of several reasons for being "dissatisfied with" America:

--corrupt government and the officials who lead it
--economic mismanagement, which is responsible for creating a lot of tragic situations for individuals who've done nothing to deserve such calamity
--failure to maintain critical infrastructures vital to functionality
--ineffectual educational system producing a populace lacking in even the most basic functional knowledge--- including reading---and who have no sense of historical events, both nationally and world-wise.
--cultural disdain for the arts and good literature
--a dysfunctional cultural environment---including street gangs, drugs, social rank fascsim, exclusionism of the "underclasses"
--dishonest advertising by even reputed companies
--silent discrimination by people toward other "fellow citizens" who simply "don't fit the same mode" they do, either socially, economically, academically, etc.
--disregard for---and to even dispense with---critical regulations of industries involving safety issues, fair business practices, and the responsibilities of those-in-charge

I guess the definition of "patriotism" is to ram Gregorianesque nationalistic rhetoric down everyone's throat and to exploit tragic past events for propaganda purposes.
And to demonize anyone who would "dare" to point out that the U.S. does, indeed, have it's fair share of frailties and foibles---"true patriotism" means never saying anything disparaging about their beloved country, even if what's said does happen to involve demonstrable facts.
Heaven forbid one should get the notion that anyone who truly loves this country might, possibly, be interested in actually fixing whatever may be the matter with it. No...REAL patriots talk it up and "love" it unconditionally---even while the whole damn culture falls apart at the seams right in front of them in plain view.

So...is the ever-sanctimonious Mr. Torillo going to pay for my ticket out of this here U.S.A. as well as provide me a passport so that I may be able to enter "the country of my choice"?  ...since I'm obviously a traitor to this country that I, myself, was born-and-raised in. And that I committed an obvious act-of-treason by exclaiming that, in fact, yes there are a number of things about this culture I AM quite dissatisfied about.  I don't think the U.S. is perfect, so out I go---I guess.

Internet Interconnecting

One aspect about the internet that never fails to be most intriguing: the way one can learn select idiosyncrasies about individuals they've never met and most likely probably never will.

Be it via a blog site, Facebook thread, or what-have-you, one can grasp the attitudes, belief systems, lifestyles, interests, and even political and religious beliefs of total strangers---many the type-of-person who, if one met them in person, would ever give one much more than the time-of-day.
Certainly not the kind who'd ever take too well to discussing aspects of their personal lives with one (i.e.: family members, religion, occupation), nor to divulge any of the other somewhat superficial semi-personal areas of the kind they often discuss either on their websites or with their Facebook friends and relatives.

Yet, their sites are "open" enough one can still learn about some of these same (usually quite "in-general" stuff) areas of these people's lives on one's own---without doing anything illicit or unauthorized. If one, for example, has a Facebook account, there are still a number of individuals one could "follow" on a regular basis if they so desire. And actually learn about a few substantial "odds-and-ends" about said person in the process.

However---if one should ever, by any chance, come face-to-face with any of these individuals, it's a sure bet one would not even dare mention to that person that they know certain things about their life. Nor would you ever want that person to know that you even know their name---they are, after all, total strangers. You're not a part of their life---even if you DO know where they went to high school, or where they went to college (and even whether or not they graduated) , or where they work, or who some of their relatives are, or the name of their wife or husband---or of their parents or offspring ...

...yes, the internet can "connect" you to the lives of people who, themselves, would---if they knew who you were---probably have nothing to do with you ...or, maybe, be friendly enough toward you, yet still quite "secretive" about even some of the shallowest areas of their lives. 

Sort of a perverse way to exercise an ounce of "power-and-control" over another without them ever knowing about it. But that's one of the cyber-advantages this here internet entails: that of creating the illusion of making "human contact" with someone---even when, in reality, there is not the slightest bit of intimacy to be found between you and them.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

More musings

People who bring a basket of dirty clothes to the laudromat. They pay to wash and dry them. Then they put their clean clothes back in the same basket when they leave.

Police investigators who, when examining a fatal vehicle accident, proclaim the victims "were all wearing seat belts and shoulder harnesses---and the air bags appear to have been deployed..."
Well, gee, if everyone did everything they were supposed to why did they still die? You don't suppose because in the cases of, say, high-speed rollovers, plunges off of 2,000-foot cliffs and the like, that such type of crashes might possibly create impacts so intense they could even bend iron. (Like, no-one could survive, no matter what.)

It's no trade secret people are conspiring. They love "fucking with each other". Slandering, sabotaging others' lives, and other such malicousnesses. But...what's the benefit of all this type of activity? Has it ever yet improved the quality-of-life for anyone? Yet people still continue to do it.

The way society likes to preach about "safety" issues...in a culture of bad design, poor construction, shoddy materials, negligence in maintaining facilities, ignoring regulations ...but, yes, safety is still OUR responsibility. Of course most people have advanced degrees in engineering, architectural design, and know construction methods in-and-out---so I guess it makes sense all things should be "up-to-us"...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Have you ever noticed...

...that a lot of bicyclists and motorcyclists will wear safety helmets when they ride around ...but they're still in shorts and t-shirts?
Then again, one can't expect them to go riding around in a suit-of-armor now, can they?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Plagiarism---a pop music tradition

I've had occasion to read about lawsuits pertaining to incidents involving plagiarism---which is the art of using other people's ideas or concepts as "stepping stones" for ideas of one's own. That is, as a foundation for a creation of your own you use, as a premise, someone else's creation (to support your own ideas with). Are you following me so far?
Now, morally, idealistically, and sometimes even legally, such a practice or practices are considered unethical and even a form of "theft". Which, technically, is true.
But lest you think that any or all incidences turn out like the case of MY SWEET LORD verses HE'S SO FINE, guess again...

We'll check out a few other examples of this long-standing practice:

C. C. RIDER---Chuck Willis' version ...along comes BACK TO SCHOOL AGAIN by Timmie "Oh Yeah!" Rogers

And Ferlin Husky was quite broken up when he found his lover had GONE---he got so depressed he just had to share a little RED RED WINE with Neil Diamond (later on UB40 joined them)

And if you're engaged to that "special one" in your excitement you just might WAKE THE TOWN AND TELL THE PEOPLE---RIGHT OR WRONG you do it anyway in all your excitement.

And JUST ONCE IN MY LIFE I'd like to know how YOU'VE LOST THAT LOVIN' FEELING could have been written by Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil while it's "sound-alike" follow-up was written by Carole King & Gerry Goffin.

And I JUST CAN'T HELP BELIEVING how much that song sounds like MacARTHUR PARK and WORDS by the Bee Gees.

What about the strange resemblance between I'LL MAKE YOU MINE by Bobby Vee and The Beatles' FROM ME TO YOU?

And THE NEW GIRL IN SCHOOL is lamenting the end of SUMMERTIME U.S.A. as the new school-year begins.

And does MONY MONY really mean GIMME GIMME GOOD LOVIN'? Well, ALL RIGHT NOW, it really doesn't matter so long as you just keep ROCKIN' ME.

And I CRIED A TEAR for you, while wondering WHAT AM I LIVING FOR?

There's Annie and Henry dancing at the club: he says WORK WITH ME ANNIE to which she replies DANCE WITH ME HENRY.

And what a HEATWAVE there could be next time you forget to WAKE ME UP BEFORE YOU GO-GO.

Have you ever met the fiance of THE UNDER-ASSISTANT WEST COAST PROMOTION MAN? I believe her name is FANNIE MAE.

Hey, how about the time SWEET LITTLE SIXTEEN went SURFIN' U.S.A.?

And the PAPERBACK WRITER does his best work on a PLEASANT VALLEY SUNDAY. He prefers to work alone---doesn't like to have other people around him when he's working ...you know how people are---TOO MUCH TALK (AND NOT ENOUGH ACTION).

Then there's a hot-rodder who cruises around in his STICK SHIFT jalopy with his BULLDOG in the front seat riding shotgun.

And if we feel like PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ we can always try it while in ISTANBUL

And LOUIE LOUIE would never BEG BORROW AND STEAL.

 And the WILD THING always mellows out a little when it's his turn to DO UNTO OTHERS.

And when night falls the ROCKIN' LITTLE ANGEL will always DANCE BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON. 

And Hank Ballard shouts LET'S GO LET'S GO LET'S GO when doing THE WATUSI with The Vibrations

MERRY XMAS (WAR IS OVER).  Now let's celebrate by going to the race track.  I know a good horse to bet on:  STEWBALL

And to say nothing about that WILD WEEKEND we had with MY BEST FRIEND'S GIRL and the ROCK AND ROLL GIRLS

THE JOLLY GREEN GIANT...I found out his name is BIG BOY PETE...but he's also, on occasion, been referred to as POTATO CHIP

Steve Winwood likes to ROLL WITH IT while "riding SHOTGUN" with Jr. Walker & the All Stars

Eydie Gorme laments she CAN'T GET OVER THE BOSSA NOVA while jangling her BAUBLES BANGLES AND BEADS for The Kirby Stone Four

Charlie Gracie finds it FABULOUS that Elvis is ALL SHOOK UP

BOOGIE ON REGGAE WOMAN.  And don't forget to wear your BOOGIE SHOES.

THE SNAKE; THE WORK SONG; LOCOMOTIVE BREATH.  The story of a hard-working train engineer who gets bitten by a rattler?

GOD, LOVE AND ROCK AND ROLL.  Who wouldn't say AMEN to that notion?

OVER THE RAINBOW has got to be SOMEWHERE OUT THERE.

Now that THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT we can peacefully continue our SWINGIN' SAFARI and celebrate by playing songs with an AFRIKAAN BEAT.

I understand the WEREWOLVES OF LONDON were originally from SWEET HOME ALABAMA.


...just a few examples of why I just laugh whenever I hear or read about anyone being surprised, shocked, or outraged upon learning that a particular song was actually ...STOLEN from an earlier one.
This so practice has always been quite the norm. I'm sure long before "rock n'roll" ever entered the pop-music "scene".

Interesting note:  You know the 1970 hit WAR by Edwin Starr?  The chord structure of that song is identical to the that of the first few bars of Chopin's FUNERAL MARCH.  Of course layered over with a different melody line, but still---the same chords exactly.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Misanthrope?

It's not like I never get lonely and might desire the company of someone else from time-to-time. However, my luck with people, in general, has always been---less-than-positive (for lack of a better term).

Somehow, for some reason, most people can't look at me as just being a "fellow human", on an equal footing with them. They tend to be domineering and bossy---or condescending and arrogant---or, mostly, just plain out incriminating toward me. 

The way I figure it, if that's what I have to put up with when others are around me I'd just as soon not have anyone entering into my personal realm if all they can do is critique me for the purpose of either derisive judgmentalism or to somehow "correct" or reform me. If I can't just merely co-exist in my own right the same way others are allowed to do so, then I'll do my "living" below the collective radar---like someone who'd "have something to hide". Even at the risk of looking "suspicious".

If I was still on probation---or if I was to ever get on parole, or was suspected of committing some heinous crime, then maybe I'd understand this phenomenon---but this is something that's been ongoing for years now ...decades, actually.

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Stall paranoia" in the men's room...

Why is it, every time I use a public restroom (just to take a leak) and some guy's in there taking a dump at the time he immediately starts frantically fumbling with the tissue paper to hastily wipe himself up and get out of there ASAP?

Can fate be so full of coincidences that I always just happen to enter these restrooms just as whoever's in the stall is just finishing up with their bowel movements? If so, I must say: "God sure works in mysterious ways." There must be some degree of divinity about all these coincidences.
Of course I, personally, suspect something more along the line of some kind of paranoia, as that explanation would better fit the type of social climate we live in.
Maybe these guys are just worried that I might miss the urinal and send a stream flowing into the stall and onto their shoes, sandals, or pantleg bottoms. At least I hope that's what it's all about.

Speaking of public restrooms ...how come only men take dumps in public bathrooms? You never see women hog the facilities for ten minutes stenching the place up. Maybe only men are cursed with bad stomachs (or something).
Perhaps women are so obsessed with "feminine hygiene" matters that they do all their dumping at home so they can wash up right afterwards. It always seems to be so important for them to be unblemished, untarnished, and sterile in order to maintain an air of "perfectionism", crucial to being a "social princess" (or some damn thing like that). Heaven forbid a woman should ever be too "human"---that would kill the "feminine mystique" factor.

Adage For Today

Be careful when venting your frustrations. For exasperation often resembles antagonism.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

As Mr. Spock would say: "Most illogical."

Common sense. The ability to discern what's rational and what makes sense from things absurd and ridiculous. A lot of people don't seem to have it ...or maybe they do only part of the time, just not all of the time. There's the old cliche "common sense is not really all that common".
Which brings one thought to mind:  maybe we shouldn't be referring to it as "common sense". Perhaps we should come up with another term for it:
So, how about: Sense of logic?
That way, the next time someone witnesses someone else doing something ludicrous or self-defeating in some way, they can exclaim "Wow! Some folks have no sense of logic do they?"

Next time: you try to enter a restaurant and two customers are blocking the entrance just standing there and talking...
...or your landlord rents the unit above you to a couple who spends the next three years constantly remodeling and repairing the place and moving their furniture back-and-forth twice a week---then, one day out-of-the-blue, they just up and move out ...after spending all that time, money, and effort to fix their unit up. (Like, they spent their whole tenure there "moving in", but they never get "finally moved in" all the time they're there).
...or in the case of: businesses and stores that don't have their own walk leading up to their entrance---in other words, their entrance is right on the main sidewalk ...and customers and employees just stroll right out into the middle of the sidewalk when they exit the place without looking ...especially when there's usually a high volume of pedesrian and bicycle traffic.
...or when you see bicyclists who run stop signs or red lights---especially when pedestrians are crossing the street.
...or watch cars speed through parking lots---or make "emergency" turns without signaling, slowing down, or yielding
...or any of the million-and-a-half or so other absurd, irrational, and insipid stuff so many people routinely do on a frighteningly regular basis...

you simply say: "Damn...some people have no sense of logic!"
...a much more accurate term than "common sense".

Self-titled Beatles album

One thing I've never been able to get:
The Beatles' 1968 self-titled album: THE BEATLES
...why is it called "the double white album"?
For starters, it's an album---a single album. Just one which happens to be a 2-record-set (later a 2-disc-set when released on CD).
And the title of the album is THE BEATLES---which also happens to be the name of the group as well. And back in December 1968, when radio stations were playing "select" tracks from it, every disc jockey I remember hearing at the time always mentioned this album by it's proper title: "THE BEATLES".
And the it's only the cover that's white. It was deliberately designed that way so as to be a "plain wrapper" type of package. However, the records themselves were the usual black vinyl. And the APPLE label in the middle was green-and-black on one side and white-and-black on the other.
So...from now on let's get it right, people---okay? 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Drug Uncultured

One thing I have to be proud of---or, maybe grateful for at least ...I've never gotten myself involved with drugs at any point in my life (not overtly so anyway). Granted, there have been sporadic occasions in which I "shared  a joint" with someone---either while I was in the Navy, or during periods when I was still hitchhiking around the country---where the other person offered me a few "tokes" and, to be sociable, I obliged. But, otherwise, I myself never desired to "do" it nor would I ever wish to waste any of my own money on what I consider to be a somewhat useless rite-of-passage in terms of "civil defiance". Not to mention I've never been much "impressed" by the stuff anyway---I seemed to experience a sore throat and grogginess from it rather than the euphoric "high" the stuff is reputed for providing.

I've also witnessed first-hand other people's cocaine and crack addictions, which are guaranteed "turn-offs" in terms of my ever being influenced into adapting similar behaviors and desires myself. Between having to meet contemptiously cocky crack dealers to seeing someone so fucked-up they didn't even know what time of day it was, that was enough surrealism for me.

Although I am addicted to caffeine (bonafide coffee drinker) and dabble a little in beer and wine, I'm otherwise pretty "clean" in terms of "illicit substances". And not just because the modern-day "prohibition" is still on, either---I just don't desire to "do drugs". Can't see any good reason to. I think between the "American diet" and pollution there are enough adversarial elements working against us as it is without adding still another one to the list.

And then there's the expense of such habits. Being that they are still "black market" products you're sure to pay-an-arm-and-a-leg for just a few moments of ephemeral pleasure. And then what? What a waste of money that is: I don't understand how people can afford that crap, really.

And could I ever stand adding to the "paranoia factor", seeing that a person like me already experiences discrimination for "being a pariah" as it is? Why should I subject myself to strict laws with draconian penalties so unnecessarily---just to experience momentary "cheap thrills", and at such high costs at that?

I'm already a strange enough person as it is, all by myself. That's already enough for me to deal with in this conformity-obsessed world. No drugs for me---but I'll always have a second or third cup of coffee after a few hours sleep.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Madison Avenue...

...who obviously owns the Internet...
...and has unlimited license to smear as many of their charlatanical advertisements across as wide an area of any given web page of any given web site as they wish in their attempts to fleece as many of us impressionable potential consumers as they can...
...do you think it might be possible to at least load up only "still-life" billboard-style ad blocks on those pages---and (please!) do away with the videos and animated advertisement panels?

It's not enough they lock up my computer for a good 3 or 4 minutes EVERY DAMN TIME I go onto a web page to---for example---read a certain news article ...but that constant motion in the corner of my eye (when I finally AM able to finally scroll down to the main article itself) is extremely distracting---much like trying to read a book or a newspaper with a flashing light going off in your face non-stop. It gets so bad that oftentimes I can't even finish reading the article---I just return to my homepage.
Is all that really necessary just to attempt reaching "potential consumers"?

I may be weird, but I believe if I go onto a web page it should be possible for me to either view it or even watch video files or listen to audio files.

I Don't Understand It...

We're supposed to be in such an economic crisis---with an incorrigible debt level, record high unemployment, business and home foreclosures in record numbers

---and yet:
where I live I constantly see people running about, driving around everywhere or biking all over the place. And always eating out and attending concerts, movies, and live theatre performances. Not to mention fairs and festivals galore.

One question: Where do these people get all the money for: gas; concert tickets; to afford meal tickets on a nearly daily basis; to engage in all that "bar-hopping" on such a regular basis?

You would think in a REAL "economic crisis" people would be wearing rags (and not just because they're currently "in style") and holding off on frivolities and behave more "sparingly" and "miserly" when it comes to money matters.

Or, maybe---who ARE these people, that they can afford to be so lavish during a period like this?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Unwilling Consumer

What is there about me that the things I own don't seem to last very long?
Shirts last about 2 or 3 years; jeans about 3 years before they start getting frayed; DVD players about 2 to 4 years; a pair of shoes I received as a birthday present---worth about $85---soles almost worn away in less than a year's time; smoke alarms crap out after about 5 years of service; I go through a bottle of shampoo in less than a month's time; 2 or 3 bottles of hand sanitizer in a month's time; likewise hand soap as well.


You don't suppose I'm doing something wrong, do you?  Like, maybe, taking too seriously the notion that the reason certain items exist is to be used for some "designated purpose": like, shoes are made to actually be worn on the feet for the purpose of enabling one to walk around outside; or that hand soap and hand sanitizer has to be physically applied to the hands in order to be useful---resulting in contents getting used-up; or that pants, shirts, and socks have to be worn on one's physical body which is consistently mobile and perspiring resulting in the necessity for laundering, which further erodes the fibers in addition to the wear-and-tear incurred by covering a constantly-in-motion physical body; or that DVD players are pretty useless unless one plays either a videodisc or an audiodisc on them---resulting in either eventual motor or laser burn-out.

Like I said---I take too literally the notion that the things I buy actually should be used for something.
I shouldn't be so naive and clueless in that manner, you know.  I should've finally figured out by now that most things on the market are, essentially, "mantel pieces"---all "for show", just to either "make an impression" or "decorate one's living environment".
Of course if you try to actually USE any of those items it's going to erode itself away in a short period's time.  Like, if you keep turning the sink on and off constantly, the faucet handle's bound to fall off sooner or later.  You're never supposed to actually USE anything---the purpose of "living somewhere" is to just sit around and "marvel at what all you own".

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Two types of "convicted criminals"

What is "required" for getting arrested and consequently convicted of a violation of any written law?  A most logical answer would be simply to pick the "wrong time and place" to behave or act in a way which puts one at odds with a currently still-active written law.
Which brings me to my next point:  As we all know, one's personality and character is not necessarily among the determining factors as to whether or not one "broke the law" in a given situation.  Even though once one DOES have a "criminal record" of any sort---even of a misdemeanor---they can find themselves subject to all kinds of discrimination and judgmentalisms.

So, to disband all popular stereotypes and myopic perceptions regarding those with "police records" ...which prove, among other things, said individuals obviously haven't always led "perfect lives" throughout the entirety of their earthly existence and also may have assorted critical character flaws as well---I'll present what I consider to be the two main types of "convicted criminals":

                                                                         CAREER CRIMINAL
This is the type of individual with no sense of moral consciousness.  All he cares about is just his own desires and about manipulating others for personal gain.  Any time he can "get one up on" someone it's a "personal victory" of sorts.  Said type of individual feels like he is "above" any rules, regulatons, and moral and civic responsibility.  Any time he finds himself in trouble with the "system" he never blames himself---he merely condemns the laws for being too oppressive, or even of being written to "persecute people".  Any time he can he'll operate "under the radar" and "deal from under the table", even in the absence of any plausible reasons for resorting to such methods.
One could say that this person pretty much leads "a life of crime".
(Examples of CAREER CRIMINALS: Drug dealers; Gangsters; Serial killers; Scam artists)

                                                                     "CRIMINAL" BY LETTER
This is someone who's just your "average Joe, Jane, Dick, and Mary" ...but, due to:  making a bad judgment; giving in to a temptation; a moment of self-undiscipline; allowing themselves to be misled or manipulated by an influential but unscrupulous individual; being overwhelmed by a precarious situation or circumstance; being victimized by an act---or acts---of conspiracy they find themselves technically in violation of one or more written laws.  It could be, for example:  someone antagonizes or menaces them---and when they've finally "had enough" they might attack this menacing person, thus putting themselves in violation of laws against "assault";  or they may make a statement or a sardonic quip of such a nature as to also be able to be interpreted as a "threat" under the law in find themselves "in hot water" over that; or they may be in a hurry and, in a moment of inattention, run a red light and cause a wreck---for which they may find themselves charged with felony "manslaughter" in the event someone dies as a result of their moment of recklessness; or they may have "a moment of deviancy": attempted shoplifting, or soliciting a prostitute---they "had to have" some item they couldn't afford at the time instead of being patient enough to save for it.  Or they couldn't find a date and they had strong urges they "had to satisfy---typical human frailty; or, maybe, they're not guilty of ANYTHING---but either someone who feels a sense of animosity towards them set them up somehow---or "wrong place, wrong time" and convicted by "circumstantial evidence".
However, these types of individuals are not the kind who can be considered as among those who would ever "lead a 'life-of-crime'"---at least not willingly anyway.  They don't have that kind of character, and any crimes they've ever been convicted of reflect either some kind of carelessness or a moment of human frailty.  But they DO have a sense of right-and-wrong and don't normally resort to "lawless" activities.  Most of their crimes are either singular or sporadic and more "technical violations" than a reflection of any kind of "sordid character".
(Examples of "CRIMINAL" BY LETTER:  Infrequent drunk driver---except for, maybe, one with a drinking problem; disorderly conduct; criminal trespassing; just about ANY kind of "circumstantial" offender who just gets caught up in what should have been a "fleeting moment".)
  

Monday, September 5, 2011

One way to define "regulation"

Let's say you're holding a meeting and 10 guests have been invited.  So you brew 10 cups of coffee and lay out 10 donuts and 10 sandwiches on the counter and post a sign stating: HELP YOURSELF.
Well, when the last 5 guests arrive each one complains that there were no more donuts or sandwiches left and the coffee pot was empty.

So, the next time you hold a meeting and 10 guests are invited you brew 10 cups of coffee and lay out 10 donuts and 10 sandwiches on the counter.  But this time you hire a host (or hostess) to hand out one of each to each guest as they enter the conference room.

That's one example "regulating".  Structured oversight of a given activity or operation

Blame It On The Alcohol

Why is it, anytime there's a tragic event of a violent nature---let's say a major car accident; or a domestic violence situation; or any kind of melee---investigators always make a point of trying to determine if alcohol or drugs were involved?
Granted, toxic substances are notorious for their propensity to momentarily erode the areas of the brain governing inhibitions ...but they alone by themselves can't "make a person behave in a certain manner".  There are other factors which determine the personal conduct of any given individual as well.
For example:  How about that person's character?  Their personality?  Their attitudes?  Their priorities?

I'm hard-pressed to believe that just any sane mentally stable individual is going to be a complacent "average Joe" one moment---then, after one-or-more-too-many drinks totally flip-flop and go completely psycho and suddenly exclaim:  "I feel like going over to my girl-friend's place and just beating the crap out of her because she forgot to return a text message a I sent her a couple days ago. In fact I think I might even kill her while I'm at it." ...or "Hey, let's go for a spin.  I betcha my MAZDA can outrun any Indy car any day---we'll make it to the north side in less than five minutes." (To which one of his friends reply: "Yeah, but what about the traffic lights?")

I think in cases where someone "goes crazy" when they're either drunk or high there just may be other factors involved.  Including already pre-existing tendencies toward certain types of radical behaviors or strong passionate notions or beliefs of an extreme nature.  And, undoubtedly, one could wager on such an individual to be the "excitable" type.  Someone who's easily agitated or offended ...and who's a bit antagonistic themselves.  Maybe someone who's extremely stressed out and on-the-edge.

Then again, in some instances it may not be any drugs or alcohol at all.  It just might simply be a case of extreme personality disorder---or even an extreme mental illness.  A "jaded personality" can be just as potentially lethal as anyone who's excessively inebriated.

It's all-too-easy to "blame it on the alcohol and drugs" instead of motivating oneself to work on self-improvement efforts at character-enhancement; or improving one's moral sensibilities; or committing oneself to "being more responsible" for oneself.

It's much easier to scapegoat the "drugs" and "alcohol" as the sole culprits of all our social ills.
Don't get me wrong---I am, by no means, advocating any kind of misappropriative self-consuption of select toxic substances or anything else along those lines.  All I'm saying is that whenever there are crisis situations of any kind, those in charge should examine all factors involved from all angles---instead of merely operating on popular assumptions and notions. 

A "191"?

On Friday May 25, 1979, American Airlines flight 191---a routine flight from Chicago to Los Angeles---was taking off from O'Hare International Airport on a clear sunny afternoon, when unexpectedly, during take-off, the left engine tore off, severing the hydraulic fluid lines and damaging the wings.  This caused the plane to lift off unevenly (the right side higher than the left), resulting in the enormous-sized jumbo jet (a DC-10) flipping over and crashing, instantly killing all on board.  (It was later determined that the cause of the crash was both improper maintenance on the part of American Airlines and certain design flaws in the aircraft itself.)


On Friday August 2, 1985, Delta flight 191, a routine flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles---with a stop in Dallas/Ft. Worth---crashed while landing at the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, killing 134 of the people on board (there were 29 survivors).  The jumbo jet (an L-1011) flew into what turned out to be a severe thunderstorm while making a routine landing---the experienced pilots, who have in the past managed to navigate inclement weather, underestimated the intensity of this "pop-up" storm and ended up encountering what is now known as "microburst-induced wind shear", which literally "forced the plane up" intensely, then "threw it back down" equally as intensely---causing total loss-of-control, resulting in a crash landing just short of their designated runway.


So, why did I bring up the subject of these two tragic events---besides the fact that the "flight numbers" of both happened to be "191"?
Because the underlying gist of both events is the fact that they were unexpected tragedies which occurred under otherwise "normal" conditions.  There was nothing about the moments preceding them that would in any way indicate something bizarre was about to happen.
As such I've adopted, as a personal metaphor, the number "191" as a term for those occasions when something tragic or disasterous happens when there is seemingly no reason such said event should have occurred.  Those times, for example, when I "do what I've always done before"---or follow "proper procedures", or instructions, to a tee---and things still either "don't turn out right" or result in disaster.

Oftentimes it's later discovered that there were already underlying imperfections present that simply went unnoticed until just that "wrong moment" that brings them out into the open ...that small crack in the water pipes that finally gave way when one-too-many surges pushed on it, causing it to burst and flood the bathroom;  the glass pane in the screen door that rattled back-and-forth whenever the door was shut abruptly "loosening" the seal around the edges of the glass---then, one day, you're in a bad mood about something and you just SLAM the screen door and, low-and-behold: the glass shatters "in-a-million-pieces" right in your face, and you have one BIG mess to clean up for the next two hours or so (plus now, you also have to remove the inner frame and will have no "storm window" to keep out the cold come winter). 
...just as American Airlines flight 191 and Delta flight 191 "didn't see it coming", likewise neither will you or I when WE experience our own "191s".  

Sunday, September 4, 2011

No Place For Headphones

Some time back I viewed a very disturbing YouTube video in which a semi driver, pulling a double trailer, was weaving in and out of traffic at an excessive speed and tailgating recklessly as well. 
When the motorist who was videorecording this driver passed his truck on the left, the driver, who was drinking a beverage and wearing headphones, looked over and gave the motorist the classic "third-finger salute".
It should be noted that this trucker was driving for a major package-delivery company.

The way I look at it, just wearing headphones while driving alone ought to constitute a major offense.  If there aren't any laws against it, there should be.  Not only that, but I'd also suggest stiff penalties for such an act:  maybe $1000 fine and two points off one's license---for a first offense ...and strictly enforced.  Anything to make such a law effective.

No, I don't think that would be "too harsh a punishment" for such behavior, as I'm a full-time pedestrian and part-time bus rider ...I don't own a car or a bicycle.  I'm almost always walking whenever I go out somewhere.  And as such, I'm always having to deal with the habits of motorists, bicyclists and other pedestrians.  And I don't take very kindly to any kind of recklessness or undue impairments on the part of any motorist or bicyclist.  In fact I personally think it should be unlawful for even bicyclists to wear headphones while riding.  Even as a pedestrian I don't think it would be okay for me to be on-the-street just walking around while engaging in such ephemeral activities---I believe one should "stay alert" while out in public.  I, myself, love my music as much as anyone.  However I do all my headphone-wearing at home, in private.

Just Leave A Message

Unlike most people I don't own a cellphone---never have, and probably never will.  I really have no need for one, acually.  It's not like I have a "social life" of any kind.  My calls in and out are so sporadic it wouldn't be worth what they charge for services and such.
Yes, I'm still getting by strictly on landline service to this day.
I do, however, have an answering machine:  that's when someone calls when you're not at home and a recorded message comes on and instructs the caller to "leave their name, number, and message" after a tone which audibly lets itself be known immediately following the recorded message.
Strangely enough, some people seem confused by this concept.  They either: don't stay on the line; or they don't say anything---they just breathe into the mouthpiece then hang up; or they start repeating "Hello! Hello!" (Uummm---you called me, remember?).  Or it's some damn telephone solicitor or pre-recorded advertisement.
         Now, frankly, I think I make my intentions quite obvious in my recorded messages:
                          "Please leave your name, number, and message at the sound of the tone."
                                   Does that seem like such a hard directive to follow?
                                                   Apparently for some folks it is.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Investing vs. Spending

       The following two articles are courtesy of NEWS OF THE WEIRD:

                                      Pablo Borgen has apparently been living without
                                      neighbors' complaints in Lakeland, Fla.,
                                      despite general knowledge that he is, according to
                                      sheriff's officials, one of the area's major heroin
                                      traffickers, bringing in tens of thousands of dollars
                                      a month.  Following a drug sting in June, however,
                                      neighbors discovered another fact about Borgen:
                                      that he and some of his gang were each drawing
                                      $900 a month in food stamps.  Formerly indifferent
                                      neighbors were outraged by Borgen's abuse of
                                      benefits, according to WTSP-TV.  "Hang him by his
                                      toes." said one. "I've been out of work since
                                      February (2008).  I've lived for a year on nothing but...
                                      food stamps."



                                      It's good to be an Arizona State University student,
                                     where those 21 and older can earn $60 a night by
                                     getting drunk.  Psychology professor Will Corbin,
                                     operating with National Institute on Alcohol Abuse
                                     and Alcoholism grants, conducts studies of drunk
                                     students' memories, response times and decision-
                                     making processes through extensive questioning
                                     ---after he has raised their blood-alcohol level to
                                     precisely 0.08 percent (which Arizona regards as
                                     presumed-impaired for drivers).  Students are
                                     served one type of vodka cocktail, three drinks'
                                     worth, in a bar-like room on campus, and after 15
                                     minutes to let the alcohol be absorbed, the
                                     questioning and testing begin.  (At the end of the
                                     night, taxis are called for the students.)



I see now one reason this country's in such dire straits financially.  If these are examples of where a certain percentage of taxpayer dollars go.

While I'm making no comments on the above, allow me to give one quickie "financial lesson" on the topics of "Investing" and "Spending":

INVESTING:  Purchasing that which either has the potential for long life and many uses---or which has a potential for returning more than was spent for it.
For example, purchasing a high-quality well-made product---even if it costs more---that has the potential of lasting and providing services for a long period of time.  Something that, under normal conditions, will more-than-pay-for-itself.

SPENDING:  Making impulse purchases based on emotional responses or ephemeral desires---or just buying things "off-the-top-of-one's-head".  Or purchasing items one only uses once or for a limited number of times.

Examples of INVESTMENT:  Purchasing an oak table which is sure to last years and years---even if damaged in spots, it can be restored in that one area and given a coat of finish, thus rendering the table further usable---due to it's sturdiness and resilience due to it's firm structure.
Or purchasing a pair of high-quality brand-name jeans, even if they cost a little more, since you know you can trust this particular brand to last much longer than any "bargain brands"

Example of SPENDING:  Purchasing tickets to a concert or a theatre show---since they're only good for one particular night, then afterwards---they're obsolete.
Or purchasing a trendy item---stylish shoes; t-shirt with the logos of a currently popular TV show or currently popular recording artist; ornaments currently popular among a given social faction.  Items like these can sometimes become obsolete in less-than-a-year's-time.

Music lovers are not always necessarily concert-goers

I love listening to music.  I have over 300 audio discs which I play and listen to constantly.  It's practically a major part of my everyday life.

However---I NEVER attend any concerts.  Not even if a performer or group I admire comes to town.  To some this may sound strange.  But during my lifetime I've seen less than a dozen live venues---and, even then, only because a few of them were "freebies":  live performances at downtown festivals where there was no admission charge.
You may ask:  "Why?"  And my explanation is a little involved, but I shall offer it just as well...
By nature I'm very reclusive.  I'm not a very "social" person by nature.  I'm very quiet and introverted most of the time.  As such I don't like crowds very much.  The capricious and abrupt nature of most people sort of puts me "on edge".  I can't really be comfortable around most people and much less so in a large crowd, where one can feel "trapped" at times.  Therefore I avoid such environments unless I have no choice but to have to be in such a setting.
The way I figure it, it should be "about-the-music" anyway.  Does it really matter whether or not the performers are physically present when you hear their music---when it's primarily "about-the-sound" anyway.   Enjoyment of music is always about the aesthetical and ephemeral aspects of it anyway.
Another point I'll make about the social rite of attending live concerts:  oftentimes it's more about "idol worship" than it is about any kind of "music appreciation".  I, myself, try to avoid any manner of "partiality" toward any one particular group or performer and, instead, try to be as broad-based as possible in my musical tastes.  I enjoy a certain degree of variety as opposed to, say, inclination towards a certain style (or sub-style) of music.  And with the prices they charge for any kind of live venue fares one is forced to have to be a little biased in their choices of "who to see".
But when recording self-produced CD-Rs one can afford as much diversity of material as they want.  And that's why I prefer my "home entertainment".


Governor Perry's Day Of Prayer

On Saturday, August 6, 2011, in Houston, Texas governor Rick Perry led an all-day event called "The Response".
What was it? It was a day-long prayer service not only asking God's intervention in dealing with the on-going national crisis, but also one of repentance for the nation's sins.

Before I continue on I will say that, essentially, one has to admire Gov. Perry for having such strong spiritual and moral beliefs and for adhering to such so loyally and resolutely.
That said, there's one discrepancy:  namely the fact that this man is a public (and publically-elected) official.  Specifically the governor of a state.  As such, there is the general expectation of providing service to the entirety of said given state (in this case, the state of Texas).  And while it is expected that every individual, no matter who, will have their given set of personal beliefs and viewpoints, it is always the duty of a public official to see to it that their personal beliefs never interfere with or bias their appointed duties of serving a diverse collective general populace.
No doubt there are plenty of individuals living in the "lone star" state whose personal beliefs differ quite a bit from those of Gov. Perry's.  How are they to feel and what are they to think when the governor of the state they live in is utilizing his paid services to perform religious ceremonies catering to a select demographic sector of which they are not part of?
Now, it would be perfectly acceptable for Gov. Perry to make public his personal beliefs in a casual off-the-record manner---one in which he is simply proclaiming just what he himself beliefs in his own personal life.  But that's not what he did---he "politicized" what should actually be part of his private life.
To further make my point, picture this:  We know, for example, that the late John F. Kennedy was a Catholic---right?  And we also know he NEVER mingled his own religious beliefs with his duties as then-President of the United States.  But, what if---for example---he did?  Let's say that, for example, every time one of the early Apollo missions blasted off from Cape Canaveral he would hold a vigil on the White House lawn in which candles were lit in a gesture of "asking for a blessing"---a ritual often performed by those belonging to that particular religious faith.
What Gov. Perry did in the name of his Christian faith is really no different in it's nature than that above fictitious scenario.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Is The End Of The World Nigh?

There's been a plethora of material written and spoken about "the end times" or about the coming end of this "world age" as they so call it.  From Revelations to the ancient Mayans and their calendar which ends abruptly at the end of the year 2012.

So...is the end just around the corner?  Are we living during what can best be described as the second incarnation of "the days of Noah"?
The answer to the first question:  There's no way of telling unless it actually does happen (either way we'd still be helpless to do anything about it).  The answer to the second question:  In a manner of speaking, ALL periods of time are like "the days of Noah" in character---for, as an expression it denotes the tendency of humans to always habitually "go about business-as-usual" regardless of current social climate, political climate, economic conditions, social trends, or of on-going crisis either domestically or world-wide.  It's a trademark characteristic of human nature to want everything to continue being "normal" as usual, which also means being in denial when things get a bit "radical" or out-of-sorts ...even during the most screwed-up periods of time most people try to make things as "regular" as they can and still go about their lives in the usual manners as always before.
Plus, there's always been some kind of "crisis" going on: wars; natural disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, blizzards, etc)---which always seem to come, wreck immense damage and destruction, then they're over with as quickly as they came; social upheavals (riots, strikes, financial crisis, etc); crime waves ...and the like. 

So it stands to reason that if a crisis out of the ordinary were to come about, it probably wouldn't (at first) get more than the usual passive attention by the general populace until it finally was obvious: "this is no ordinary war" ...or "weather pattern" ...or "earthquake pattern".  Much the way it likely happen during the eve of the "great flood".
But a period like that could occur at any point in time and we would never be any more prepared for it no matter what, regardless of the potential of current technology to potentially avert it.  Because our mind-set is always on the level of:  "Let's just hope something like that never occurs during my lifetime."  And that's what's meant by the expression "the days of Noah"---the propensity of humans to blindly go about their lives in the usual way just hoping nothing tragic or adversely out-of-the-ordinary ever happens to them.

WKNR "Keener 13"---switching to night-time transmitters

One thing I remember about about growing up in Toledo (Ohio) is listening to a radio station---WKNR ("Keener 13") out of Detroit (/Dearborn).

In particular, the way I would either lose reception altogether---or still be able to pick their signal up, but it would fade in-and-out while sharing their frequency with other signals and, thus, be unlistenable---after they switched over to their "night-time" transmitters at a designated time in the early evening.
I remember that, between 1967 to 1972 (on-and-off), they would switch during whatever song was playing at the designated "switching time".  What they did was---they didn't switch just anywhere during the song ...they were "clever" about it.  They would hit-the-switch after, say, the first or second verse of the song---or, maybe, just as the chorus to one of the verses was approaching. 

Somehow I was always fascinated by this "formality" that probably went largely unnoticed by most at the time.  And how the station still stuck with this general pattern just the same.
I've always wondered if I was the only casual listener who noticed this particular practice of theirs.

On-line literacy

I'm constantly noticing, on a lot of occasions, the number of on-line posts in which people display both limited vocabulary as well as critical spelling errors:

                                          I'll be focusing on the spelling errors:

                                     Take the three words: there   they're    their
The word "there" denotes location:  "You left your shoes over there, in the corner"
The word "they're" is an abbreviation for "they are":  "They said they're coming by at noon"
The word "their" denotes possession of:  "This isn't my car actually---mine is in the shop.  My parents loaned me their car for today until I get mine back".
                                     Take the words:   no    know
The word "no" means either "there are none" or "it's forbidden"
The word "know" denotes an exclamation of one's personal knowledge: "I know what you're talking about"
                                     Take the words:   you're    your
The word "you're" is an abbreviation for "you are":  "I see you're getting ready to leave"
The word "your" denotes personal possession:   "I see you brought your laptop with you to the coffee shop".
                                     Take the words:    soul     sole
The word "soul" denotes either your spirit or your deeper inner self
The word "sole" denotes either the bottom of your feet or of your shoes. Also means singular (the only one)

...those are three prime examples of the kind of "spelling confusions" I run across frequently when perusing commentary posts, Facebook threads, and sometimes even other blog sites and internet sites as well.
                                     

Introductions

Welcome to my blog site THE SILENT FORUM ...
...in which I express my own opinions and viewpoints on various subject matters ...
...which can range from social commentary to pop culture---or just about anything else I fancy writing about at the time.
The idea behind this blog is to convey a "third-party" viewpoint on things ...from the perspective of the observer, the one who's not actively involved in whatever's going on around him---but who is still affected by it just the same.

The blog's title, THE SILENT FORUM, conveys the idea of one speaking to a group of people when it's his turn to speak
...but no-one in the room pays attention to anything he has to say.


                                            Note: Everything stated in this blog site are strictly my own viewpoints and opinions
                                            ---therefore I assume full responsibility for all contents contained in this site