Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Comic Strip
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."
Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.
I am having a lot of trouble typing and wondering if that has something to do with what is going on in my life now. I have never been more than a "hunt n' peck" typist anyway but, lately, even that gives me a great amount of trouble. I have been, for the past several years, typing up the results of our Monday golf matches for one of the local papers. That is where I first noticed how hard it is to type things up. Fortunately, the guy at the paper, Jeff, proofreads my stuff and lets me know when I goof on something. I appreciate that. Sometimes, when I read a post I have done here, I'm appalled at the typos I have made. I try to emend the sloppy (to me) text when I see it, though.
Some of the typos are common ones: teh, double words, etc. But many are just what I call "sloppiness." You guessed it, I am a perfectionist, a flawed one but still... I still try to make 3 posts a week but it is getting harder all the time.
Tuesday, I drove up to Winter Haven for some tests at the ENT office there. The testing lasted an hour and, at the end of it, I was wobblier than I thought I would be... If it wasn't for the GPS system in my car, I would not have found the office (or how to get back on the highway (US 27) home. I even had to use that to find the VA admin office a few days earlier and that is local but I forgot just where it was (it turned out I thought it was on a street that was one mile further south)... silly me. But that happens to us all as we age. There's a joke that goes:
If you forget where you parked your car, that's normal, but if you forget you own a car... you are in trouble. Fortunately, that hasn't happened to me yet.
However, if my posting gets a bit haphazard, it is my problem. I am trying (as a friend says... You're very trying...) but my fingers and brain are not up to the job sometimes.
I am hoping to make 2000 posts soon and that may be the point I quit posting.
That is both a question and the beginning of a statement. I am going to ask some whys and try to make some statements.
As most readers of this blog know, I profess to be atheist; not "an atheist" but atheist and unlike many who profess atheism, I have no problem with those who believe. That is because because I have not been, or felt, threatened by religion or the religious. Sure, I have had the religious knock on my door and proselytize, hoping to convert me or "save" me. I have had people do this at my work. Faye's family is very religious; one of my brothers-in-law has been a preacher. When we visit his home, there is grace said at the table. I respectfully remain silent and sometimes even offer an "amen" at the end of the ritual. It is, after all, their ritual and I, as I have said, respect their belief.
Now for my questions (you might consider them rhetorical... not needing an answer):
Why are you religious?
Why are you a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim?
Did you choose to be or were you raised to be one?
I firmly believe that we tend toward the religions we grew up with.
My parents were mixed, religiously speaking, my father was Protestant (Methodist) and my mother was raised Catholic. Religion wasn't important to them though I think they both believed.
I took a different path, I thought about the subject on an intellectual level and came to the conclusion that religion was a way to reject the concept of death. But I was taught to respect others and not to disrespect them or how they felt about things.
In New York, it wasn't much of an issue but once we moved to Florida, I found that prayer was how the school day began. I learned to tolerate that, that I didn't need to rebel against it. Instead, I just accepted the few moments when others prayed as a period where I could sit quietly.
I was not abused because I did not participate, nor was I bullied or ridiculed.
This is why I hold respect for those that believe. Sure, some are hypocrites and violate the very religions they profess to believe but, then, don't we all fail at times?
I am not a Trump fan but he's right about the game being rigged. Not to keep him from being nominated but so the Party bosses control the process. On the other side, we see it again... Hillary has the super-delegates on her side, which is what the Party bosses want. Update: it appears that Kasich and Cruz have decided to work together to "Stop Trump." We know the game is rigged yet we vote for the nominees anyway, if we happen to be in a state that has primaries. They say the rules are known to the candidates and they know the states set the rules so there are many rules to know and work with. I think the parties should push for something more consistent, with primaries in each state, and let the voters decide who the nominees will be. To be honest, I thought Trump would find his support shallow and he would disappear after the voters started voting but that didn't happen. He showed a passion that we haven't seen in a very long time and that got him a lot of fans. I think Sanders was encouraged by the Party to run, thinking he would be knocked out of the race early and make it appear that Hillary didn't just get annointed. But he struck a nerve and got some (many) followers and has given Hillary quite the fight. He won't likely get the nomination but don't count his fans out, they are every bit as rabid as the Trumpies; I think we'll see that at the Democratic Party Convention. As far as the investigations into Hillary's emails goes, expect an "October Surprise" in November or late October. She'll either get a blanket pardon from Obama or the Justice Dept. will not indict.
Prince (the singer, etc) has died. And the government is desirous of changing the $20 bill. I was not a fan of Prince's music so let's talk about that $20 bill... Seems like they want to remove Andrew Jackson and replace him with Harriet Tubman. Now Ms Tubman was a great historical figure, a brave woman, who deserves her place in American history and I don't want to diminish her in any way. But presidents are important and he was more than just a preident, he was an important figure in the War of 1812 (which he used in his initial campaign for president), and one who believed that states could not secede from the union.
On the other hand, he was a slave owner and master of a plantation which is probably why they want to replace him. But slavery, as evil as it certainly was, is also a part of our history and perhaps had as much to do with our nation's existence as anything else. It shaped us, was a blemish on our nation, and caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands in our Civil War. We still tiptoe around it in conversations but it did more to shape us than any other factor, in my opinion.
I also have some new problems but let's talk about these toys.
First, I was having some problems with my phone (a cheap smartphone) that worked okay but had problems with updating apps. These problems were basically "insufficient storage" problems that I thought I could fix by adding a MicroSD chip... but no, that didn't work because the phone just didn't have enough native memory to handle the apps it came with. So the first toy was a new smartphone, a Samsung (Android, of course) which had plenty of native memory.
The second toy is a new 10" tablet that runs Windows 10. I like it but don't do much except play Freecell right now. It's an IURULU Walknbook and, of course, it was dirt cheap so I grabbed it up.
The problem is that I am getting too old to learn, I think, and having two devices to figure out is stretching my brain to its limits.
Now, back to my personal issues... I fell off my new bicycle a week ago (after running into some scrub palms) and managed to damage my wrist... nothing broken but it hurts, especially when I bend it (which I do more often then I thought I would). Old guys just don't heal as quickly as we once did. And typing is a problem.
As some of you know, I am a free speech advocate and I have to wonder if our universities and colleges are missing the point. When I was in my teens, the ACLU went to bat for the American Nazi Party when Skokie, Illinois tried to tried to prevent that organization from holding a parade in the town. Skokie, at the time, had a large population of Jews who had escaped the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.
I sympathized with those Jews but I also sympathized with the Nazi Party in their desire to hold their rally in their desire to exercise their First Amendment rights. Eventually, the Supreme Court ruled in their favor and I gained a new respect for the Court and the ACLU. But, today, we are hearing about colleges and universities stifling freedom of speech. They talk about how some speech offends some students, specifically "TRUMP 2016" being chalked onto sidewalks and walls. Do these schools understand that even speech that offends is protected by the Constitution? Are they teaching that concept? I do not like some people who abuse freedom of speech but it does not matter if I am offended. Voltaire is commonly credited with saying, "I Disapprove of What You Say, But I Will Defend to the Death Your Right to Say It." But, apparently, he did not say it. Still, the principle stands and it is one I also stand by. If you are offended by something someone says or stands for, you have 3 choices: ignore it, refute/rebut it, or repress it. It appears that colleges are engaging in the third choice.
I still love golf even though I'm not playing until I find and correct whatever is wrong with me. A doctor's appointment with an ENT (Otolaryngologist)might point me in the right direction. One never knows.
As I write, Jordan Spieth held the lead on the first day at 6-under. This guy is amazing to watch, all the pros are. It's amazing what they can do. I could never approach their mastery of the game. I resigned myself to being a duffer long ago. A duffer is someone who plays golf with luck sometimes, hitting the right shot only occasionally. Yet we play on, mostly pretending we know what we are doing. We're the people who keep the golf equipment manufacturers in business. We buy clubs in the hopes of hitting them farther and better than we can on most days and, of course, we fail.
"People go to a particular [news] source to confirm their views, rather than challenge their views," he said. "That has a feedback loop, so our politics also are becoming increasingly polarized. I certainly think that’s affected the presidential race. I just don’t think the Republican race would have played out the way it did without that kind of polarized media environment. There’s a sense, I think, that journalism ought to be making people less committed to their ideas, rather than more committed to their ideas." Said Jens David Ohlin, an associate dean at Cornell Law School. It's an interesting comment in response to President Obama's rebuke of the media. It is something I have been saying for years: "people hear what they want to hear, see what they want to see, and believe what they want to believe."
My observation has come about because of the my interactions with others over the years. Also because of my facination with the OJ Simson case. I watched as witnesses testified about events and wondered why they would see similar events in so different a light.
Upon those observations, I formulated my comment about how people understand things. People bring biases to their observations and try, I think, to understand the events according to those biases. I, myself, try to be as even-handed as I can be in understanding what I see. And, sometimes of course, I fail but I understand I pretty much why I do and often I tie my mind into a Gordian Knot trying to overcome my biases and wish for Alexander's sword to ease my dilemma.