Friday, January 31, 2014

In the past two years plus I would occasionally mention a web site or blog site to "check out".  And the contents of said sites always varied, from the offerings of a conservative Jewish rabbi's wife to radical left-wing commentators of Canadian politics.  From a writer-photographer who makes sarcastic observations of social and media dysfunction and discord in his upstate New York hometown while still showing great affinity for its local arts community to Kent Kotal's profound and amazing "oldies" music blog.
From the observations of a low-income wage crusader for the rights of the poor and homeless to a militant antifeminist "men's rights" activist who gets in legal trouble for praising whoever killed a police officer for ruthlessly enforcing what he perceives to be unfair and oppressive social conduct laws.  (You don't want to do that sort of thing in today's paranoic social climate, especially one in which there ARE individuals who actually DO act out violent pipedream fantasies in real life.)

So:  What IS my criterion for deciding what kind of site to give an honorary mention of?
The primary common denominators I look for are:  strong earnest passion for and belief in whatever niche or subject matter they write about;  good writing skills: being articulate; viewpoints, opinions, and perspectives that go beyond the usual socially-acceptable or commonly agreed-upon mantras and rhetoric.

In spite of the irrelevant and sometimes antithetical differences between the various sites I give mention to, each one still has those underlying similarities mentioned above.
It's more-or-less my way of embracing freedom-of-speech of and from all kinds:  liberal, conservative, religious, feminist, antifeminist, secular...and all points in-between.

Another Epitaph: Pete Seeger

The folk singing icon, who wrote songs like WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE? and TURN TURN TURN (from THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES, a passage from The Bible which dwells on the contradictions of everyday life and of reality itself), and was a close friend of Arlo Guthrie.

He was 94 when he passed away on Monday (January 27).

Epitaph/Eulogy: Joe Donovan

A well-known on-air radio personality, Joe Donovan was best known for his late-night weeknight oldies show on WHAS-AM out of Louisville Kentucky, whose trademark characteristic was a no-holds-barred song playlist, each program a sampling of his own gargantuan 30,000+ record collection, and which served as a respite from the typical "oldies" formats that were often known for their limited playlist offerings.

A 50,000-watt commercial AM station with a regimented overall format of its own, WHAS still allowed their on-air personalities to infuse their own elements in between while still not disrupting the station's own idiosyncratic patterns, a practice often referred to in the broadcasting industry as "allowing for flexibility within" (an antithesis to both the automation and free-format norms of modern-day radio).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Downsizing the workplace and budget cutting make about as much sense as a theater troupe putting on a Shakespeare play with only two actors, each one playing multiple roles at the same time per act.

Outsourcing makes about as much sense as firing all the experienced professional actors and replacing them with inexperienced amateurs.
The production quality suffers.

We could go on about how unseasonable this cold snap is, but then someone would probably quip:  If subzero temperatures are not normal for January, what months ARE they normal for?  April?  June?  September?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

You'll read or hear stories about men who lose their jobs (or worse) as a result of exaggerated claims of "sexual harassment", stemming from mildly inappropriate comments, jokes, gestures, or behaviors those around them overreact to and whose significance gets blown out of proportion to the point where their behavior is painted up as being something along the line of epitomizing some sort of "conspiracy against women".

Then you'll read or hear stories about women who lose their jobs (or worse) as a result of rejecting the advances of male bosses or coworkers who make lewd innuendos about them and aggressive advances toward them. this a war-on-women or a war-on-men?  What is the truth on this matter?

I say BOTH types of scenarios are accurate.
But why, in one situation, is the man scapegoated for making inappropriate gestures toward his female coworkers, while in another setting the woman gets scapegoated for defying similar gestures coming from her male coworkers?

Personally, I think the "gender wars" rhetoric is often a front for what's actually more likely a war against certain types of individuals: the odd-ones-out, the loner, the reclusive, the eccentric.

You see, alpha type personalities rule.  The overprivileged, the ones with a lot of money, or a lot of friends, or a lot of prestige, a lot of charisma, or perhaps just the best-looking.
Those types of personalities always enjoy special liberties and seem to be eternally exonerated no matter what they do (unless it's something really extreme).

Whereas the socially awkward, or seemingly weakwilled, or aesthetically unappealing are not valued much by society-in-general, and often regarded as society's "gutters", to be spit and pissed on;  the ones society dumps all its garbage on;  the ones who get blamed for all that's wrong with a society too lazy or unconcerned to ever go through the bother of finding any REAL solutions to its dilemmas.

In short, those men and women who get in trouble or get blamed are most likely those near the bottom of the social ladder.  Or at least so in their workplace anyway.

                                                              Remember:  It's not what you do.  It's who you are.


A Taste of Siberia

No, I'm not talking about some food fair displaying the food fare of this far northeastern region of Russia.  I'm talking about Mother Nature being generous enough to send a sampling of that region's weather down to us here in the east central part of the U.S.. (Generous??)

Of course I still have my errands to run as always: laundry; medical appointments; having to make bank withdrawals; shopping for essentials.
And this "springtime in Nome and Barrow Alaska" weather can be a real asset, for sure.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Alleys are often used by motorists as alternative routes for the purpose of avoiding the traffic congestion of the main streets.  As such they often sail through at 30-MPH (give-or-take).
                                         Pedestrians Beware

Professionalism:  Pursuing a profession or occupation out of intense passion and earnest interest and, once obtained, always trying to find ways to be the best you can be at whatever it is you do, and to learn the most you can about your chosen profession, always going the extra mile.

Does one ever get the impression today's society is the domain of the uninspired?  Lame and laking any motivation?

Even government and industry seem only motivated to do one thing:  Fleece the average citizen as much as possible.  "Capitalism" these days involves marketing natural resources and services which used to be offered for free:
Bottled water
Television and radio broadcasts (primarily replaced by cable television and satellite radio/television)
Cellphone services that charge by the minute
...and utility companies imposing penalty fees for late payments and banks imposing similar penalty fees on their customers for allowing accounts to go below a certain amount.

Even cab drivers tag on a surcharge if they think a passenger is intoxicated or high.  Just in case they make a mess inside their vehicle.

Contractors have become the cheap "alternative" to the knowledgable and experienced specialists (because those with experience and knowledge dare to expect to "earn what they're worth").
This is Martin Luther King Day.  Where we celebrate the life of a man who proved beyond a doubt that speaking freely, being too idealistic, and expecting people to be reasonable and sane can be lethal.

It seems the best way to destroy any item is to simply use it a lot.

The difference between being unique and being weird: 
 Being unique is when you're different, but your idiosyncrasies are creative, enhancing, or an improvement over the ordinary.
Being weird is when your differences are merely capricious, counterproductive, pointless, destructive, or just confusing and unnecessary and often throw things off-track.

                                                             Check out this site:

Friday, January 10, 2014

      If Texas ever should secede from the United States:

One would need a passport to visit Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, the site of Kennedy's assassination.

U.S. 71 in Texarkana would be among the more complicated international borders.  One would need a passport just to make a U-turn or to eat at a restaurant on the other side of the road.

Astronauts on manned U.S. spaceflights would radio back:  "Houston you have a problem.  You're now a foreign entity."

Celebrities like Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, and Selena Gomez would now need passports and work VISAs in order to perform in the U.S.

One would need a passport to visit the Buddy Holly memorial in Lubbock.

Texas authorities would be on their own when dealing with the mayhem between Ciudad Juarez and El Paso. 

A trip from Atlanta to Los Angeles would require a sharp detour to the north from Shreveport into Ft Smith then west into western Oklahoma, a sharp north into the western Oklahoma panhandle, then west on into New Mexico and Arizona---then on into L.A.

         This parking lot is reserved for patrons and U-turns only
                       The motto of the United States


Thursday, January 2, 2014

I've mentioned before that freedom is but a commodity, much the same as is money or material possessions.  And, as such, there is only so much to go around.  No-one is ever going to have an equal amount.

If one feels a sense of dubiousness about that notion let me give you a classic example of what I mean:
Let's say you have a two-story apartment building---multiresidential multistory unit.
One of the tenants likes to party and get wild and loud.  Someone who lives in another unit insists on peace and quiet. 

Well, if the "party animal" is to have his entitlement to being loud and wild it's going to cost the other tenant is right to enjoy solitude and peace and quiet.
And if the other tenant is to have his entitlement to peace and quiet the "party animal" is forced to stifle and self-repress his tendencies.  No more "cutting loose" and "letting go".

Obviously it's impossible for both tenants to have their rights honored and respected simultaneously.  Only one is going to get things his way while the other is forced to sacrifice. 
                                              (Remember:  Freedom belongs solely to the Liberty Thieves.)
One misunderstanding of the ADAM & EVE story is the notion that it deals primarily with puritan agendas about sexual sins.
But, actually, it's about God's disdain of mankind's propensity for hubris.

God had no problem with mankind being sexual.  In fact, after He metamorphosized the first human from being a singular unit to that of being two of the opposite gender (being physically similar to all the other conscious beasts of the earth in terms of now being able to reproduce, as symbolized by the story of "the rib of Adam" being removed and used in the creation of Eve), His first command was to "be fruitful and multiply".

Mankind was created with the gift of free will, the ability to decide for themselves which way they want to go in any given situation.  But, in order to remain blessed, humans had to stay loyal to God unequivocally in heart, mind, and spirit.

So, in testing that loyalty, He commanded them to abstain from including a specific fruit of the garden as part of their diet (namely, the apple), warning them they could die if they disobeyed this particular directive.

As the story goes, temptation and curiousity (symbolized by Satan as a serpent sucessfully cajoling them by exploiting their weaknesses), a consequence of having  aptitude for free will, eventually overtook them.  So they took a bite of the "forbidden fruit".  Of course they didn't die---not physically, anyway.  God knew the apple wasn't actually toxic, that it's simply just another fruit.  But that's not the idea, whether or not that particular fruit is or is not toxic.  It was whether or not mankind would commit all their trust and faith in Him, knowing Him to be the Creator.  Or whether they would develop a lust for power and control, including the desire to "control their own destiny" and rely on their own aptitudes in spite of man's limited capacity for ever being able to understand everything around him and in spite of never being able to learn about everything that exists around him either on earth or in the heavens (outer space). 

That they chose the latter is now a matter of legend.

When they were ran out of the Garden of Eden it symbolized that mankind was now on his own to handle his affairs by using his own mettle and to suffer the results of his collective ignorances and limited perspectives, and to be subjected to his own ego and all other earthly desires.

Mortality, self-reliance, and detachment from the-all-knowing-source-of-all-things-created would be the sum total of human existence from that point on.

The "mortal sin" is hubris, which in turn leads to all the other mortal sins.
When it comes to those you don't know, there are usually two types of strangers:  Those you can't trust and those who don't trust you.  Those who are "out to get you" and those who think you might be out to get them.

The individual is like a nation, and like any other nation has certain secrets to protect.  Things that could discredt oneself, even if not all that bad but is prone to being misinterpreted in an adverse way.

You get too comfortable with someone you don't know that well and you divulge some deviant element of your past or of your character and suddenly they're like:  Is that so?
And you realize:  Did this person just entrap me?

That's the problem with people:  Either they're the type to pull a fast one on you or they're the kind who never seem to be able to trust you enough to be willing to give you a chance to prove yourself one way or the other.
The concept of the "normal person" is essentially the stuff of collective popular legend.   People are not those passive naive affected dorks one assumes most people to be.  They're proactive, dominating, sometimes aggressive, even spies, often conspirators.

The governments are not the ones who invented the concept of surveillance, although they're the ones who've perfected the practice.
But it was the paranoid average Joes and Janes who first initiated it.  In many a small town or suburbia setting outsiders, reclusives, and newcomers will find themselves frequently stalked by locals who circle around in their own vehicles while staring them down.

The trademark characteristic of any kind of paranoia is the way those who feel conspired against will themselves behave conspiringly toward the alleged perpetrators.