The Circularity of Social Media.

This will come as a surprise to very few, but it is of interest on a few levels. The first point of view which is surprise to absolutely no one is that we humans are a simple group to figure out. We intensely like one thing above all else: the unquestionable pleasure of being entirely and totally agreed with.

It really doesn’t really matter about what, if someone says something, and the dumbest bastard to ever live, the one person that the speaker could not stand and despised to his very core…if the dumb bastard said “I totally agree”…the speaker’s opinion of the dumb gentleman would brighten, at least momentarily. This is human nature. We like to be agreed with and we especially enjoy it when multiple points of our opinions are agreed with at one time.

Social Media is a classical example of this, but it’s hardly the only place. Thing is, back before “social media” in the days of the internet message boards, still it became a love fest and those who agreed with the right people (genuinely or just as a facade) had a better time than the outliers. In my own tenure as a forum owner and administrator, I found myself gravitating toward people who, shock of all shocks, agreed with me more oft than they disagreed. The guys I was bumping skulls with on a regular basis, they could “get away” with far less, they could stray much less outside the rules, they could wander much less off-topic, and had to toe a much finer line.

This does not mean I was a “bad” admin, it just means that I was in the same trap many have been in: I like it when people agree and like many forum admins I liked members of the forum who agreed with me most of all. If you look at most forums that are still alive today, every one of them will have two distinct groups: the kiss-asses and the renegades. Yeah, a third group exists, the group of people who occupy the middleground, but this group is usually occupied by a rotating group of members. Once they are courted and wooed by one of the other groups, they decide whether they pucker up or stir the pot.

Facebook, Twitter, those places are no different. I am a reader of several groups, and my friends are readers in many groups. The funny part is, every single group tends to be is own circular forum. A circular cavern where a shout thrown always is repeated by the echoes. Egos stroked with vigor, and very few dissenting voices.

The dissenting voices-I confess, they’re the best part. I like displays of intelligence, always have, and nothing lets you peek into the intellect of the individuals like someone who really digs into them and makes them have to think about what they like, believe, think, and agree with. Not the blanket-type of disagree, but the well thought out but intelligently delivered dissent. Not the “I hate old cars, they kill our planet!” tripe, but the “I had a ’68 Chevelle from ’69-’80, fastest most exhilarating machine I ever drove, but man, that thing liked the fuel. I don’t go as fast in my Mazda, but I go farther.”

That kind of dissent…it’s tricky. It’s badmouthing the old iron, but it’s not as…outwardly unpalatable. The speaker portrays themselves as a fellow muscle machine owner, but then comes in with all this BS Mazda praise. It’s…the thinkin’ man’s dissent. It requires a response more well-thought and clever than “You suck!” or “Cubic Inches for Quarter Miles!”

Despite the temporary annoyance of the dissenting view, it really does make the group stronger. It helps everybody to really consider why they think they way they think, to consider other elements of the argument, and to really hash out their opinions. Usually this is done person by person, internally.

Perhaps one guy has a problem with…new cars. Well, the dissenting voice did not state the year model of his Mazda, and the company was founded in 1920. His Mazda could be as old as any “muscle beast”. One guy has a problem with slow cars? Some Mazda’s can clear a 0-60 in 6.5 seconds like child’s play. Maybe they have an issue with “Foreign” muscle? Well, new Charger’s are manufactured in Canada, but the new “Hellcat” has tongues wagging and drooling. And, of course, if the guy used to have a ’68 Chevelle for 11 years, he knows cars…but now he’s rockin’ a Mazda. Maybe that Mazda’s got some merit besides just 40MPG? Maybe it’s got a little sparkle there that others have missed due to their prejudice?

Maybe, the circularity of social media is actually a benefit? Beyond all the kiss-ass pandering and preaching to the choir, maybe down deep, there’s an actual benefit to the group as a whole? Besides just dealing with individuals of similar opinions, maybe in a way these groups and little cliques are actually beneficial beyond the superficial?

Perhaps. But as I have clearly demonstrated, only with the addition of intelligent dissent. A lone, sophisticated voice in the shadows that helps the group think and analyze, grow, and learn.

I’m a simple man. If I can teach one fool a lesson that makes him less foolish…if I can speak from the shadows and make others think before they shout me down…if I can offer a fool a reason to open his mind…then my dissent has not been in vain.

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A solution for the oft-encountered problem.

I’ve basically figured out the secret: if you’re speaking of or in reference to someone of a different race, 99% of the time it doesn’t matter what you’re saying, it’s going to be called a racist statement by someone. Even if your statement is true, (which is obviously the worst kind of statement) it’s still “racist” because…well, I dunno why, it’s just racist because…it’s racist. And, if you don’t think so, apparently you’re racist because you don’t think it’s racist.

I love how this society works. After all these years of enlightenment and discovery, still some people lack the basic intelligence to form a competent argument. It’s far easier to revert back to a few buzzwords that are sure to generate the appropriate response. Why bother thinking of a legitimate reason to discredit someone when you can easily just smear your opponent using basic knee-jerk tactics?

Here’s the story, Sparky. I’m me. If you don’t like me, either you do not know me and do not have the proper perspective to make a judgment one way or the other, or you know me well enough to dislike me based on legitimate and genuine reasons far, far deeper than opinions on pigment. Nobody I know dislikes me because of racism. Either they hate me based on a genuine reason, or they don’t know me well enough to know why they would hate me but they just do because, presumably, they have some sort of developmental issue that made them grow up to be a dumbass.

Race has no part in it. Yes, I have met black people who aren’t worth the effort it would take to smack ’em. Yes, I’ve met white people who aren’t worth the effort to smack them too! This is the nature of humans: Most of ’em suck and they don’t even know it. Race has so little to do with it that it really is a weak accusation. People are like cheap guitars in that they may look nice but when it comes down to it and you need ’em to perform, when you turn the volume up and put ’em to the test they disappoint on multiple levels. I can think of a few white people I know of who, in my estimation, fall greatly short of an acceptable level of usefulness. I know some white people whose very existence is an annoyance to me on multiple levels. You want to know the neat thing? I know fewer black people who I feel the same way about! Of all the people on this planet who get me riled on a regular basis…all of ’em are white folks, and I’m white too!

I grow weary of the racism accusation because about 95% of the time it’s used, it’s misused. News flash, disagreeing with someone doesn’t mean they are racist, it means you dislike their opinion. Opinions are pretty much translucent, neither black nor white. People are, opinions aren’t. Sorry to say it, but just because you disagree with someone, that doesn’t always mean they’re wrong either. It’s possible, very possible actually, that both you and the person you disagree with are wrong. There could be some wildcat third party who actually knows what they’re talking about, and you’re just talk, talk, talking about something that you’re holding by the wrong end. A cow and a goat can be talking about a dog, but neither will have the depth of understanding that a dog would about the dog’s situation. If you’re the goat talking about the dog, that could make you a jackass and that’s not even biologically possible!

I propose the following;

  1. Just because you disagree with a statement, this does not make the statement or the person racist. It can make them wrong, but it doesn’t automatically make them racist.

  2. If the sole basis of your argument is based on the idea that a statement you disagree with has been delivered by a racist…you are hereby deemed to have no valid argument without genuine and legitimate proof to support your allegation of racism. As is the norm, proof of guilt must be provided beyond the shadow of a doubt by the accuser.

  3. If you are proven not to have provided sufficient proof of legitimate racism, then by your failure to prove it satisfactorily, your very accusation of racism can be used as direct evidence of your own racism by default. Sorry folks, but when you rassle with a pig, sometimes you get a little muddy. If you’re going to accuse any and everyone of racism, then the underlying sentiment must stand that YOU are racist because that was the first thought you had and most people tend to think first about what interests them most. If I show an environmentalist a picture of a fallen tree, they will think first of the sorrow of the oxygen the planet won’t get. A furniture maker shown the very same fallen tree will think first of the lumber the log would yield.

  4. If you’re a suspected racist due to you alleging racism in someone else, you will be placed in a Salem Style trial. Your neck will be trapped in a guillotine, and the blade dropped. If you are a racist, then the power of your racism will protect you and the blade will bounce off your neck, leaving you unharmed. You will then be wrapped with three hundredweight of chains and thrown in the river. If you are not racist then you must be a race-baiter and the blade of the guillotine will simply slice your head cleanly off.

In the words of Pharaoh Ramses II (played by Yul Brynner in the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille classic “The Ten Commandments”) “So let it be written. So let it be done.”

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Inventions and Backtracking.

The world is an odd place, with odd concepts.

Technology grew and improved to the point where, in 1837, a company designed a business called “telegraphy” that would allow people to to transmit short messages over long distances.

Then came the telephone, the internet, then the cellular device.

Eventually, the cellular device grew and improved to the point where, in 2006, a company designed a business called “twitter” that would allow people to to transmit short messages over long distances.

Am I the only person who’s expecting to see a new big game hunting tool called “the club” for sale in all the sporting goods stores soon?

How, one wonders, does the world improve if all we do is find new ways to do what’s already been done? 45 years ago a concept was broached in a movie called “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”. The concept was an intriguing one; use a device here to dematerialize an object and rematerialize it elsewhere with another device. This technology still eludes, but we have managed wireless communication of short messages…a technology that had been perfected by the mid 1890s and was in use famously the night Titanic sank in 1912…

Here’s a novel concept; instead of reinventing that which has had its time, invent new concepts that can have their time. Don’t worry about transmitting 140 characters! Transmit pizza! Invent a method where I can purchase a device the size of a microwave, I can call your company and order a pizza, and within minutes, it materializes inside that device! I’d be thrilled to have it done in just fifteen minutes or it’s free!

I can think of a method. The device you purchase for your home is like a revolver, with several “chambers”. Instead of loading bullets, load components. This one’s got the dough, this one the tomato sauce, this one the cheese, this one the pepperoni. You call, order your pizza, they send orders electronically to your device, your pizza is made, in fifteen or twenty minutes you open it and take out your piping hot pizza.

Yes, of course, there are major stumbling blocks, like having to eat 20 pizzas before the makings spoil…but at least I’m trying to think of new ideas. So many, they’re stuck on just finding new ways to do old things.

Here’s the deal, folks; without new ideas, there are no new things. Without new things, there are no new motivations. Without new motivations, we might as well hang it up and stop improving at all. Let complacency and comfort in the current situation become the new rule of thumb.

The problem is, we’ve gotten to where we are because of people who saw a problem and thought of ways to solve it, new ways. Jonas Salk did not come up with his new vaccine in 1955 by sitting around inventing crutches, wheelchairs, and leg braces.

The future will be improved for future generations by new creations, not by finding novel solutions to replace novel solutions. When people were riding motorized skateboards, that was not made substantially different with the invention of hoverboard that uses two wheels and an internal gyro to translate forward and backwards lean into “turn motor backwards” and “turn motor forwards”. It was merely recreating an existing system with a novel twist. Novelty is not the same as innovation.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like everything that can be invented, has been invented. It’s easy to forget that people probably thought the same thing the week before Johannes Gutenberg set up his workshop in Strasbourg…in 1440.

Never give up. Never stop digging. Never stop thinking. Never stop dreaming. Stop tweeting, start creating. If Christopher Columbus had been on Twitter, he’d never have had a town in Ohio named after him. Keep on trying ’til somebody tells you to stop wasting your time, then try twice as hard ’cause you might be onto something good!

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Morality versus Legality.

In my Facebook feed there was a story yesterday. Basically this person came to understand their neighbor was abusing their dog and in result to that, the person stole the dog. Not “I borrowed the dog”, not “I brought the dog in while the owner was at work”, not “I reported the animal abuse to authorities and pursued it to the bloody end, resulting in the owner being arrested, had the dog confiscated, and I adopted him”. Just…admitted openly that they stole the dog. Admitted it in those exact words.

I am of the mindset that animal abuse is a really bad thing. I like the idea of animal abusers being arrested and sent to prison for abusing animals.

In the same vein though, one wrong does not justify a second wrong. Dude’s abusing his dog, that’s bad. You *stealing* his dog because of abuses you failed to even document is shady as hell. Even one shred of evidence that supports the allegation, that helps. A picture of the dog outside in direct sunlight with a timestamp on the picture…that’ll work. You show me a picture of a dog chained in direct sunlight at noon, and you show me a corresponding screen grab from a website like Weather Underground to show it was a hundred and five, I’ll personally do guerrilla photography to verify your claims and compile as evidence.

As of right now, 303 people are fully supportive of this and have commented to the effect of “I’d do the same”. This…is insane. I get it, it’s an animal lover group, so this shouldn’t be so shocking, but at the same time I find it very negative as a personality trait in many, many people.

Let me try to explain my mindset on this. What *you* consider abusive…may not really be abusive. There is a dog owner I know of who sets their dog a place at the table and at mealtimes will put the dog on the table. In preparation for that mealtime, they will have cooked a secondary meal specifically and solely for the dog (his name is Freckles, by the way. Cute dog) and this is considered perfectly normal. In her mind, anything less is unacceptable. So, the idea of a dog being fed on the floor, to her, would be abusive. Perhaps feeding generic dog food with unknown ingredients might be abusive. Yet, the world around countless millions of dogs are fed regular old dog food in a bowl on the floor. There are probably dogs that have won Best in Show at Westminster that get fed ordinary dog food in a bowl on the floor.

Does this mean that she has the right to go to any of those dog-owner homes and take their dog?

First, without any evidence that abuses were committed, to me this is a simple admission of a felony. It’s theft. If the dog has a monetary value, more so. By monetary value I mean…the German Shepherd Dog that won Westminster this year. Bettin’…bred to another GSD with the right bloodlines, puppies with a little training can be worth $5,000 to $8,000 easily. Let’s assume this abusive owner paid that much for the dog*. The cost of keeping their investment healthy costs. The expense of entering shows costs. The expense of feed costs. The animal, if shown correctly, can be worth tens of thousands of dollars just in upkeep alone, not counting the value of future puppies. If you steal that dog, you’re stealing something with value. *: Without any evidence for or against, we have no way to know whether this dog was kept in the lap of luxury and had thousands per month spent in maintenance and comforts. It could have been a show winner, but thanks to a knee-jerk dog-napping, we really don’t know.

Ah, but it was probably just a regular old “bark, crap, sleep, eat, bark, crap, sleep, eat, bark” dog. Doesn’t matter. Really doesn’t. You go steal a dog, yeah, he could be your run of the mill mutt, but you do not know this as a fact. If you do know that it’s a pedigreed dog then we’ve made a breakthrough because now it would be like a thief casing a store before robbing it, it only serves to make it look more like you were looking for an “abused” dog to steal and you opted for the dog you could breed for a fortune if you could make your theft somehow legal after the fact.

If you don’t have proof there was abuse, then in the eyes of the law you are a THIEF. What you did is THEFT, and you’ll probably get more jail time for it than the abuser. And let’s be honest, you should get jail time for being a common thief. Even with a ton of documentation, no court in the world would say “Oh, so he made the dog pee on grass? Well hell, let’s just dismiss this case and I’ll send the original owner to prison, enjoy your dog.” No. Even with evidence, it’s theft. Without evidence, it’s still theft.

People, just because it is wrong in your world view…that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It could mean it’s wrong, but let’s be honest… lots of people have wacked out nutjob screwball world views. What one owner might consider “abusive” might be 100% legal and not actually abusive.

Let’s take this a step further. Let’s dehumanize the property, which is what the dog in question was; PROPERTY. I, TJ Fritts, do not believe you are taking appropriate care of your car. Due to this, I’m going to steal it, bring it home, and take care of it appropriately.

You’d call the cops because I’d be stealing your car. There are laws about car theft because car theft is bad. Dog is the same principle.

Just because something is “wrong” in your mind, that doesn’t mean it’s really wrong. I’m pretty sure that you can find somebody to demonize damn near anything. In any event, you can’t just act on your morals regardless of all else. There’s a process in place to deal with animal abusers, it’s called the legal system. You do your due diligence, you find your evidence, you present it to authorities, and you keep pestering them until something gets done. If nothing gets done, maybe you need to calm the hell down and join reality with the rest of us.

In that dog-thief’s world, they are deserving of praise and prestige whilst the original owner of the dog is deserving of scorn and hatred.

In my world, both are deserving of handcuffs and jail time. Three hots and a cot, and maybe they learn how this world works. Not cool to abuse dogs. Not cool to steal things just because you want to either. If you let somebody steal a dog, next it will be “You haven’t replaced your roof in two whole years…I’m taking your house, you’ve got until 5PM today to pack your shit and get gone…but not the $6,000 86-inch big screen TV. You’ve been mistreating it horribly and I can’t wait to watch Star Wars on it, it’ll feel like I’m at the theater.”

Just because you think something is right, that doesn’t automatically make it right. Just because you think something is wrong, that doesn’t automatically make it wrong. Those 300+ commenters, they’re why I am very glad to have lots of stuff, but none of it of very high value; less stuff for them to presume I’m “mistreating” badly enough that they need to “liberate” it. Betcha a dollar the mutt in question wasn’t one of those dogs that looked like hell reheated in the microwave and dumber than a fifty pound bag of wet hair. You could park my GEO anywhere with the keys in the ignition, the windows rolled down, and the engine running, it would have been there when you came back to it because it looked like and was a complete piece of shit. I know you could do that. You could park it anywhere with keys in the ignition, windows down, engine runnin’, and it’d be there when you came back…

Trust me, I tried to get that thing stolen. I didn’t want it and unfortunately nobody else wanted it either.

 

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The Great Questions in Life.

There are times when questions course through my mind like wildfires in a dry forest…

How truly desperate and hungry must the guy have been to discover honey? I mean, it’s not like a peach, hanging on a tree limb and at most you have to maybe climb a few feet, it’s *honey*, product of the honey *bee*. Bees, for those from the inner city, are creatures who know how to do three things: make honey, sting idiots, and chew bubble gum. They’ve never had the money for bubble gum, and they get bored making honey and look for alternative activities at any and every opportunity.

Guy must’ve been pretty doggone hungry to just say “Hell with it, I’ll eat them bees if they get in my way, but I want whatever they’re making.”

Some foods, I can kind of understand. Like…Milk. That baby calf ran over and did somethin’ to that dangly bit of her mom’s undercarriage, and I’ve seen her eat nothing…I’m betting there’s some form of viable nourishment beyond that which could be had by simply eating the calf or her mom. I shall endeavor to attempt to try this magic elixir.

Admittedly, guy probably learned a great deal about the difference between “cow” and “bull” using similar logic, but that could be classified simply as helping to ensure the bull sees his human handler as a beneficial thing to keep around. Probably kept the first cattleman from getting hurt and run over so much.

Honey…that’s a puzzler. Same with mushrooms. There’s like forty kajillion kinds of mushrooms, but there’s only a handful of ’em you can eat and survive to eat tomorrow. Some, they’re a little more potent, maybe have a bit more kick than the “simply edible” ones, but still, they’re edible.

There’s a whole lot…you can eat ’em once. If you like the taste you might eat two or three that first time…but you aint gonna have the chance to eat two or three of ’em tomorrow. Shoot, might be some, you wouldn’t get to enjoy the third one today ’cause the first one today killed you while you were eating the second one.

Even that could be bad in its own way. Suppose there’s a little hollow somewhere back then, and this fella finds himself a few pretty little white mushrooms. Picks ’em up, but the sun’s shining down pretty hot right there, he decides to walk up the side of the hollow, over the top of the hill, and sit in the shade to eat these…”things” he’s found. Well, he slurps one and it don’t taste bad, but it don’t taste good. In any event, he’s dead in five minutes. Kerklunk. Nobody knew he was going out to pick up things off the ground and eat them, so nobody knows what to be looking for. He don’t come home that day. The folks in his village, they just reckon he came to some misfortune with some bees or somethin’, figure he’s gone.

Next day, this other fella, (not the original fella, original fella died, probably the mushrooms…or bees…or bees in the mushroom.) he sees a little white somethin’ on the ground, wanders over, picks ’em, sun’s beating down, goes up the hill, eat ’em in the shade. Finds a dead dude, but it’s not like everybody had a ballpoint pin on ’em to make a note like “Don’t eat the little white things on the other side of the hill, they’re bad for ya.”

Second fella sees the first fella but since he’s been dead a while, aint no sense to rush, I’ll eat my little white things first and then go tell everybody I found him and it looks like bees got him after all. Five minutes and he’s dead too.

Do you know how many people could have died from eating the same little patch of mushrooms, tryin’ ’em, and dyin’ before anybody saw that idiot #47 ate that little white thing and died two minutes later…maybe should tell somebody? Even in groups, you find somethin it’s only polite to share with your friends. Coulda killed folks by the dozen that way before anybody said “Nah, I just invented me a corn dog, I’m full.” and then discovered that as the only fella in the bunch who didn’t eat, he’s also the only one that didn’t die. Even then, you’d have to take a few back and do tests to make sure. How wouldja like to be in *that* survey panel? “Okay, we got this thing to eat here, and we’ll pay you a dollar if you’ll eat it and tell us exactly what you think of it. But…we… we only pay after you’ve eaten it…we’ll invent the concept of banking and mail you a check after we invent the mail too.” (Actually, easier way would be to find a fella talking to a pretty girl. Walk up to ‘im and say “Only a REAL man could eat five of these. They taste bad, and only a real he-man could eat five of ’em…” He’d eat the ass out of a month-dead elephant if it’d impress a pretty girl. Most men would.)

Lotsa stuff today, you have to really think hard about how we’d discovered that idea. Yogurt. “Ohhh, you think that cow boob juice is good? Well you just wait ’til it’s been fermenting for a while, after you’ve warmed the milk, and added germs to it!” … Okay, guy comes up to that recipe eventually… yogurt’s pretty good, but I’m curious what the hell he was *trying* to make? I’m picturing this dude standin’ there stirring a cauldron of rotten cow boob juice over a fire going “That damn Ronny, asked Sarah out to the spring jubilee dance knowin’ I had feelin’s for her. I’ll fix him good! I’m gonna let this cow boob juice simmer a while. Them germs I put in, it’ll give him the runs so bad he can’t dance with her. He’ll be dancin’ with the latrine out behind the dancehall, that’s where he’ll be dancin’. Probably kill ‘im. Suits me fine too…”

Cheese… Same dude. “The germified cow boob juice mix didn’t quite work out as planned even though it’s become my #1 seller…so let’s leave out the germs, let’s put in some…baby cow stomach juice instead. Then, for next spring’s Spring Jubilee dance… if that Ronny asks Sarah out again, I’ll just wad it up in some kind of cloth and when the dance starts in a year, I’ll just put some of that on a cracker…soon as I invent ’em, and I’ll make him eat one! That’ll teach that no good Ronny!”

Booze. Think about whiskey. I’m going to take this hog feed that’s went bad, I’m going to put it in a kettle even though it’s stinkin’ loudly, I’m going to then boil it, but not hard enough to get it to boil, just…boil some of it, and then when steam comes off, I’m gonna drink it! Oh, well probably I should filter it, get impurities out of it. Then I’m gonna drink it… Think about the alcohol distillation process and ask yourself how the process was discovered including all those steps.

Just think about ordinary wine. “I was watching the trash over there (reminds me, I need to invent the TV soon, borin’ as hell here) and I saw that housefly sip of that juice, and he took off flying weird, a swoopin’ and weavin’… I wonder if I was to drink some of that rotten fruit juice-I’ll rename it if I like it-if I was to drink some of that rotten fruit juice, would I be able to fly crooked and weavy too?”

Worcestershire sauce…”I’m gonna take these anchovies, onions, garlic, lemons, pickles, couple ol’ socks, the hooker down the road’s underwear…I’ll put ’em in a pot. Add…vinegar, molasses, sugar, salt, spices, little dirt, some old person’s dandruff, few dog hairs…cook it all together. Then, I’m gonna try it!” Guy tries it, it’s absolutely…well, you heard the recipe… “That tastes like hell…I’ll put it in a barrel and check on it after it’s rotted for a few months, that might make it better.”

Folks always lament how the “old days were the good days and the old ways were the better ways”…I’m not so sure. I like knowing that toilet paper is the best tool for the work it does, rather than experimenting with holly leaves, oak leaves, pine cones, and the ever popular poison ivy and poison oak leaves. I like the benefit of products *after* the “wunder whut” stages where the entire process was guided by somebody standing there goin’ “Hmmm, wunder whut it’d do to put some…vinegar in the ice cream batch?”

The modern era isn’t perfect, but at least most of the dumber ideas have already been discovered and discredited. Now all we have to be wary of are new dumb ideas.

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A glass of whine.

Well, before bed I might as well complain a while.

For years, literally since before I understood it, I’ve had difficulties with my left hand. I’ll be sailing right along, and it will go dead on me. Numbness, diminished control, sometimes pins and needles sensation, and sometimes it’ll just refuse to take orders from me. And…for 99% of things, you’d never know it. For what I consider “gross” movements, typing, using phones, this isn’t problematic. It happens very infrequently with my right hand and it’s rarely ever a problem with the right hand. (Both hand/nerves issues are thanks to several surgeries when I was under 3yo, and despite the troubles, I’m grateful for having had them. Without the surgeries, I’d be managing a couple hands that would be about as functional as simple pliers at the end of my wrists.)

A lot of the time, it’s a non-issue issue. I can type, I can drive, I can even use a smart phone. Anything that can be done with a slightly coarse motion, not requiring a precise touch, I can do. When something requires precision and precise control…about 90% of the time, I can do it.

Here lately, that other 10% of the time is springing up badly, and it feels like it’s becoming more than just 10% of the time. I’ve been big on card tricks and other close-up magic for a long time now, and when the difference between success and failure is around eleven thousandths of an inch (a sheet of common copier paper is four, so…three sheets of copier paper)…any sudden or unexpected loss of control or sensation, it’s bad.

Plus, I’ve seemingly started having more instances where the nerves/muscles simply refuse to follow instructions from me. Today, thus far, I’ve dropped a cup of coffee (and my favorite cup, but thankfully it didn’t break!) with my left hand, a soda with my right, a deck of cards with my left, and for an hour I tried to work through a few coin sleights and that involved an annoying amount of dropping with both hands until I finally just put the coins up and called it a day.

This, dear friends, sucks at a very high level. That modern medicine really hasn’t taken a quality swing at it is equally annoying. There are medicines and I’ve tried ’em. The problem is, the grand majority have adverse effects that *greatly* outweigh any improvement they may make with the nerves. I can live life with a couple hands that are sometimes contrary and insubordinate…if the only “treatment” is worse than hands that are sometimes contrary and insubordinate. One medicine stands proud in my mind for causing poor motor coordination when I took it!!! This, in my mind, is like an anti-nausea medicine that makes ya jettison snacks as a “side effect”!

The “obvious” option is a simple one and it’s been suggested before: stop trying to do things that require a delicate precise touch unless those activities are directly related to survival as a human. …    …. …… great advice there. Really is. It’s absolutely freakin’ great.

I guess I’m supposed to be happy with that as an “obvious option”. To hell with the last few years. Act like they never happened. Ignore the *thousands* of hours of devotion. Ignore the financial investment. Ignore the drive to do and create magic effects as a matter of routine. When I wake up in the mornings, check in with the lady in my life, and have my next thought of the day, I’m supposed to make it something else besides what I’ve basically lived and breathed for a pretty big chunk of my life.

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Tolerance and People…

One group of seniors will openly lambaste young people, whilst one group of Gen-Xers will openly “hate on” (whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean) old farts. Democrats will openly undermine Republicans while Republicans are actively trying to destroy the Democratic party. Skinny people will make fun of fat people while fat people will make fun of “chicks that’re skin and bones”.

A driver in a Silverado will poke fun at the guy in a Prius while the guy in the Prius criticizes the pickup man. The technophobes mocks the technophiles while the technophiles poke fun at the technophobes. Followers of one faith will mock followers of other faith, even if their own faith says that doing so is wrong. Rich folks look down their nose at poor folks while poor folks criticize the wealthy.

Here’s a grand idea…STOP IT!

Damn, people, we’re all on this planet together, and until the capability to colonize other planets becomes viable and realistically possible, we’re stuck here. As such, we’re stuck here *together*. We’re on a wad of mud flying through the galaxy at approximately 30 kilometers per second, or nearly 70,000 thousand miles per hour… If this planet were a car and a good parent were driving it, our conduct as a whole would have them screaming “If I have to pull this planet over, it’s going to be a bad day for you, Mister.”

We’re stuck here together. Black, white, red, brown, olive, all others. Young, old, smart, dumb, rich, poor, educated or street smart, technologically advanced or technologically devoid, all others, we’re stuck here. It’s a lot like a workplace: you’re not going to like everybody you work with, but you still gotta work with ’em.

Seems to me, if folks threw their differences aside, we’d all be about the same. Yeah, a few opinions different, but at the basic level, nobody’s better than me and I am no better than anybody else. I have my merits, I have my flaws. Everyone has their merits and their flaws. I’m not saying we all need to fire up the Marshall’s and tune up the Telecaster’s for a rousing rendition of Kumbaya, but unless folks learn how to not disagree about every little thing, there’s not going to be any sort of progress.

  1. You’re not always right.
  2. They’re not always wrong.
  3. They could be an idiot.
  4. You could too.
  5. Don’t prove their point for them.
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