June 16, 2013

THE WORLD LEADER IN NEWS

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After clearing the sleep from my brain with water, coffee, and a smoke, a weekend morning begins with a scan of the morning news headlines.  Gone are the days when we had to trudge out to the front stoop in our bunny slippers to retrieve a newspaper (I wonder if child labor laws had a hand in the disappearance of the paper boy).  In this century we merely have to fire up the desktop, laptop, ipad, or even our iphones, and while still in our designer undies, we have ready access to all the news (all the time).

Back in the day we had to try and wrestle individual sections of the newspaper from other members of the family; whether it be the news section, comics, or sports section, everyone had their priority news or entertainment interests.  Today, we have the option to customize the type of news and information that will greet us as we wake up and boot up.  I’m sure email and Facebook are the world leaders for how we greet the day, but here we are concerned with the point (if at all) when people look to see how tepid reality is playing out.

With no disrespect to the various news aggregators that litter the cyber universe (I use these during the week), I often look at individual news sites to glance at what their feature stories are for the morning.  Now these are dedicated news sites, the pros, the biggies, the sites that Walter Cronkite’s ghost might load into his browser.

So what did this morning’s trek over the news terrain reveal?

CBSNEWS marqueed a story on Nelson Mandela and his current grave – well, not quite grave – medical condition.

ABC NEWS featured a story on how the Syria Crisis will “Top” the G-8 summit agenda – I think each leader there has their own agenda and there are 8 different issues that top these agendas.

FOXNEWS.com topped its news agenda this morning with a story on how North Korea is proposing more talks with the U.S.  – but this is a story that can be rerun every month and still be considered relevant.

The HUFFINGTON POST  had a massive masthead that read: “INSIDE THE GOVERNMENT’S MASSIVE SYPING MACHINE.”  Ok, that is important and relevant, and I’m sure biased and forgiving to the current administration – bookmarked to later prove myself right…and correct.

USA TODAY, probably the worst hardcopy newspaper available on the national stage (and I don’t blame this criticism just on the fact that they include commentary by DeWayne Wickham), spotlighted on their web page a story on how the federal government will make larger profits on their handling of student loans than such companies as ExxonMobile and Apple made last year in their ordinary course of business.

Naturally, the LA TIMES website feature a story on the “equality” cases that litter the Supreme Court’s docket.

The WASHINGTON POST featured a pair of stories on the government’s ongoing Orwellian practices – and to think I criticized Obama for not listening to the people when he cloaked America in ObamaCare.

The NEW YORK TIMES offered up at their website a leading story that talked about the architects and cultivators of America’s current spy infrastructure – a story who’s timeline conveniently ends in 2007.

Seizing the moment like no other, NBCNEWS (through an MSNBC link) led off their page with a story on how fathers are doing more housework and childcare than their fathers did in the 1960s – which I’m sure is a result of more of today’s fathers being unemployed compared to their fathers in the 1960s.

Ok, now all criticisms aside, these are mostly relevant and important news stories coming from the leaders considered by those who consider such things  to be professional news organizations.

But what about the one that claims to be THE WORLD LEADER in news, CNN?

CNN’s lead story was headlined this way: “Is Superman’s story Jesus’ story?”

Are you shittin’ me?!

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June 8, 2013

For The Lover of an Unopened Book

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There you sit, one among many,
words hanging vertically on your spine.
Words that often hide
the real substance of your inner-self.
Maybe a hint,
maybe a clue,
often a riddle
to the real story.

You are chosen,
picked from the lot,
slammed into circulation of other beings
merely
by the package you wear.
That mask,
that illusory covering
that binds a hidden reality.

Often, perhaps,
Another soul,
Sensing symbiosis,
So unlike you but with a part
That yearns for a parallel reading,
looks beyond the opaque title,
beyond the aesthetic first glance,
beyond the commercially accepted,
commercially tainted you
and finds words,
words that bridge separate realms
of thought.

Words that flow together,
forming abstract sentences
from which no meaning is gleaned
until these same sentences snowball
into transparent paragraphs.
Thus revealing
a story,
a thought process,
a goal, a means to an end.

Words,
that reveal the theme of your story,
the framework of your plot,
the cause of your climax
and your eventual conclusion.

A structure so thought out,
so contrived,
so blatantly conceived
that the pages of your epic
lie in numerical sequence.

The stages of your voluminous being
are chaptered,
indexed with key words for those,
for those with a momentary purpose,
a fleeting interest.
For those without the time,
for those without the desire,
or the ability to completely know,
the rest of the story.

And yet,
still others sit,
amongst the same from whence you came.

they sit as the un-chosen.
they sit as souls unread,
as souls in un-immortalized existence,
as souls with no revised editions
on the literal horizon.

No chance to market.
no chance to reveal.
no chance to circumvent
perceptual rejection.
Shelved.

Yet they still sit,
in plain view, just as you.
Containing words that flow,
words that construct,
that construct a life,
a life born from the pen of hope,
and now lying in forlorn type.
They lie in perpetual plainness.
A paradoxical ruin.

But yet,
their spines remain clean,
their spines remain straight.
their pages of thought remain crisp,
their pages of thought remain white.
Their binding still strong,
protecting their inner-self
from indexing interlopers.

Yes,. Other still sit,
waiting,
for the lover
of an unopened book.

June 4, 2013

How To Have Sex With A Horse

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The point is that we far too often make choices based on the scantiest of logic or knowledge. Would you have clicked on this post if it had the title, “How To Title Your Posts?”

We far too often judge a book by its cover, leap before we look, measure once and cut twice, and put the cart before the metaphorical horse.  We end up stepping in horseshit and are then surprised and disappointed that the results are not what we desired.

We far too often act against our own best interests while shunning responsibility and assigning blame.  We need to hear more people say, “Boy, was I dumbass for doing that!”  The folks at Campbell’s – the soup guys – had it right with their marketing of V8 Juice – “I could of had a V8!”

I suppose this is all ok as long as we alone suffered a minimum of discomfort, like sitting in your own wet shorts; as long as no great harm came to anyone or ourselves and if no one else was responsible for picking up after our momentary lapse of reason.  This is not always the case.

Often, the negative consequences of our backasswards decision making are not evident until some point in the future; which, I suppose, brings up the question that if some one was ignorant enough to have made the decision in the first place, may they then also be too ignorant to realize the future damage when it slaps them aside the coconut?

Definitely, but this is often as much of a case of ignorance as it is a case of denial.  When reality raises its thrill-killing head we usually issue the standard wide-eyed, mouth-hanging-open expression of, “What?!”  Or, if you are D.B. Cooper jumping from a plane: “Oh, shit!”

We get there because we like what looks good, feels good, sounds good, and because some twit at the bar said it was good.  We say “to hell with tomorrow and hurray for today;” but, my friends, morning comes early.

Nobody likes to look stupid, but most of us are.

The End – phew; got through that without once making mention of the people who voted for Obama.

May 15, 2013

What Happened To Fiction?

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I haven’t read a book of fiction since Moby Dick was a guppy.

With hundreds of books piled about my space, I believe there are only two works of fiction among them.  There is an edition of the Divine Comedy, from which I read Dante’s Inferno.  This is the piece of fiction that I read, and that was years ago – went out in grand style, for sure.

The other is an edition of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn…in German.  Since it is written in German, chances are that Dante Alighieri will continue to hold the title as my ‘last great fiction read.’

Of course, there are others that border on being fictional, such as Bill Clinton’s autobiography, My Life.  Similarly, if I did not practice book banning in my home, Dreams From My Father and The Audacity Of Hope would fall into dusty obscurity.

The disappearance of fiction books from my life is as big of a question as to why dinosaurs disappeared from the face of the planet.  Obviously, however, it wasn’t caused by a comet or meteorite crashing through my world as I am still here.

Perhaps it occurred with the growth of CNN, where I could now view twisted reality 24/7.

Maybe it was due to my developing a habit of reading while on the crapper and during that limited time I wanted to read something more substantial than a few pages of the developing characterization of some fictional protagonist.

Whatever the reason, the likes of Rowling, Patterson, and E.L. James have not been able to magically and mysteriously seduce me away from the likes of McCullough, Ambrose, and Theodore White.

Barnes & Noble is trying to drive me away from non-fiction as the most popular books in this genre that they stick in your face are self-help books and books written on or by some celebrity who should have read some of the self-help books.  It will not work; I’m still pissed that they survived and Borders died way too soon.

I’m sure that there have been many great books since fiction went into exile.  Perhaps Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum could keep me coming back for more like Zane Grey and Jack London once did.  Could John Grisham hold Ellery Queen’s spy glass?

I don’t know.

I have never seen Star Wars either.

May 13, 2013

LIFE WITHOUT THE INTERNET

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I’m not talking about 20-25 years ago, I’m talking about this morning!

Mondays are (ostensibly) my day off and I like to get out early in the morning and hit the coffee shop du jour – or de la semaine in this case – and read the morning news via various iPad apps while drinking way too much coffee (no wonder I’m so jacked up over the day’s news).

This morning I chose to grace a version of Starbucks that is found in West Hartford, CT.  I say ‘version’ because each Starbucks store is different; each has its own ambiance, aura, style, and each will fire the writing and thinking neurons in different ways – a sort of spacial muse.

This particular West Hartford barrister training ground is found in West Hartford center, where along with the Blue Back Square area of the town is, for the average guy from Maine, quite fu-fu.  Thus, when the hanging bells on the door ring it is usually to announce the arrival of high heels or suits, soon followed by the calling out of some coffee drink that takes a half-minute to say.  At any rate, one would expect this particular Starbucks location to be at the top of their game; full of experienced and efficient barristers, clean bathrooms, a bakery display sans the fruit flies, easy chairs that do not make you itch, and fully functioning internet (it is the 21st century after all).

Everything was great except for the latter of these requirements needed to enjoy my simple morning pleasure.

Imagine my horror (I heard someone in West Hartford say that) when after firing up the old iPad, I discovered that the store’s internet connection was on the fritz.  My God!  Would I have to buy a newspaper; the New York Times, or worse, the once popular and credible USA Today?!!  Where will I get news of the fresh blame placed on Republicans by President Obama?!  More importantly (so it seems), how will I know what’s in store for this week’s American Idol finale?!!

There was actually someone at a table across the room who was reading a book…a real book, with a cover and a spine, not one of those ‘e’ things.

I wasn’t able to go into my Yahoo Mail account and delete all the spam emails that had collected overnight, which seem to be attracted to Yahoo like dust to a Swifter.  I don’t play games, electronic or otherwise, so that element of the internet wasn’t an issue.

However, time had not completely reverted back to the time of the Commodore64.  Thanks to the iPad and a clever little app called, “Offline Reader,” which I had, over the past few weeks, ignored copyright laws and loaded with news and opinions pieces culled from the web, I was able to have my morning dose of skewed reality reading.

After nearly 2 hours, I went to have breakfast and then home for a nap – let’s see them come up with an app for that!  The way in which we do some things will never change.

So, where would you be if tomorrow morning you were met with a total internet blackout, mobile and otherwise?  And, taken a step further, a total loss of cell phone usage?  Would you stop on your way work to a use a pay phone in order to call one of your 349 “friends” to tell them what silly thing your pet did that morning?  How would you make up for the loss of being able to tweet about what a twit some celebrity is according to what you last saw on Entertainment Tonight?

I have to go and charge the battery to my iPad.