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23.1.19

Shhh ... don't tell ...

One of the good things about the fact that my wife doesn't read this blog:  I can post this video of her that she hates because she thinks it's like a memorial for after she passes away.  She'll never know it's here.

Permission was given to use the accompanying audio track.

JM(M)

20.1.19

You can't always believe what you see ...

Should you believe that what you see on TV and social media are
accurate portrayals of events as they really happened?


This young man in the photo above (identified as Nick Sandmann) was waiting for his school group to gather for their bus trip home to Kentucky when he ended up in the middle of a viral news event.  Until I began poking around for different versions of this event (mostly on YouTube.Com) I was lead to believe by the initially available video clip that the young man was harassing the older man, identified as Nathan Phillips, an apparent regular to the National Mall who makes annual appearances at this location.  I thought, just from the photo, and then from the viral video:  "What a rude little smartass."  Then I saw another video-clip of nearly the same scene and thought "What rude little kids, they're making fun of the old man.  Where are their chaperones?"  Then I went digging for more video.

Imagine if you will:

A young man being accosted by someone 'in his face.'  A young man being surrounded by a crowd, who has nowhere to go, and is actually afraid.  Is it possible that he is a young man who has been taught not to run when confronted or when he feels threatened.   Is it possible that this young man smiles when he's nervous or because he knows there are a dozen or more smartphone cameras pointed at him?

Might knowing the circumstances in which the picture was taken alter its message? It's statement?

There are more than a few videos of the above incident to be found which present different interpretations of the events surrounding the popular images of the smiling boy and the chanting old man.

Here are a few videos of the events of that day, all presenting the events differently:

Version 1

Version 2

Version 3

Version 4

Exactly what happened there?  I can't be sure.

Unfortunately, if you weren't there, you don't know and can't answer the question, either.  You can't know what you don't know.  No matter what happens in real life, if the only available version of 'the events as they unfolded' is what someone else said, wrote, or edited video or audio:  you can't be sure what really happened.  You just can't.

This photo of the January 2019 total lunar eclipse was taken by me.  But you'll
have to take my word for it.  I was there and you weren't, so ... did it really happen?

But!  This way of thinking is also how you end up with 'Truthers' who believe the government flew remote-controlled planes into The World Trade Center in NYC, into a field in PA, and the Pentagon on 9-11.  It's thinking like this which gives rise to people who are sure that mankind never landed on the moon or that there was no Holocaust in Nazi Germany.

Now imagine this:
A senior government official somewhere tells an audience:
"We need to get better at using social media.  We need to be able to start a war, fight a war, and win a war, without there ever having been a war.  We can do it pretty good now, but we need to get better at it."
JM(M)
UPDATE: (21 Jan., 0430) on the viral "Kid vs. Old man" story:

(According to Mr. Phillips, the kid blocked his way and, he told reporter David Begnaud in an interview w/CBSN that he hopes the kid will " ... live a good life and treat people with respect and treat himself with respect. To forgive himself, you know. To forgive others. Treat each other, treat others the way he wanted to be treated.")

FINAL UPDATE:




16.1.19

Please advise:

5 Reasons Why Your Opinion Matters
One
Dear reader, dear reader, please don't be shy.
Please let me know that you've stopped by.
You needn't reveal your name or address.
You can tell me I suck and remain "Anonymous!"
To make known what it is that you want to read:
Type your comment after reading, that's the key deed.

Two
It certainly helps to propel this blog
to know that others read it
other than my Mom and my Dog.
Just a word.  Like "Stupid!" or even a "Yes!"
would assist a great deal
in continuing this daily mess.

Three
You see, it's this blog and these words
that you are reading right now
which, somehow, can help frayed nerves
or smooth a furrowed brow.

Four
But, if you choose not to let me know you're a'readin
and my ulcers from all the stress keep on a'bleedin
and then my blood pressure puts the cow t'shame
then I'll croak.   And you'll be t'blame!


Five
... wow, that was a stretch, wasn't it?
Did I really have to bring in "Death?!"
No -- not really but I needed a fifth thing.
And I was running out of words & brain-breath.
JM(M)

15.1.19

Bigger problems in DC than Congress

Sometime last year, after a few incidents of inclement weather, I noticed that an unpopular policy of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was apparently going to continue be unpopular. 

It was the policy of routinely making "weather-related announcements" in a rather delayed manner (usually at around approximately 4am on the day of).   Their decisions to close or delaying the opening of federal gov't offices in D.C. by an hour or two were the subject of ridicule by many.

OPM's policy of announcing these decisions at 4am was fine by me because their 'announcement time' was a good 15 minutes before I got up.  Unlike some folks, who live a piece-ways over the ridge and who claim to be zombie-driving at 0330 every morning, I only have to walk out my front door and board a Metro train at 0450.  Then I zombie-read the newspaper aaaaalllll the way in.  It's much safer. 

I especially enjoy the extra peace and quiet on the 'delayed start' mornings when the Metro-ride is extra nice, extra empty and extra quiet and I don't have to be on the lookout for homeless people peeing in an empty seat.

When everybody is told to be late or to "plan to arrive for work no more than two hours later than they would be expected to arrive," the abnormally empty and exhaust-free streets in and around the Navy Yard are nice, and, with the exception of one other 'I don't do mornings' coworker (a guy who also used to come in early to avoid having to interact with others before all of his neurons were firing), the office was nice and extra-quiet, too. 

I remember fondly many a morning when I'd arrive at a quiet office after a quiet ride, after a nice little breakfast without standing in line ... it was nice.

I liked OPM's policy.

Empty Metro stations are quiet, peaceful and pleasant.

This year, however, things have changed.  There's been a change in OPM's policy.

And, quite frankly, I don't like it.

See, it would appear that OPM has decided to change their old policy.  They're responding to customer requests and trying to keep people happy.  They're doing the right thing.  Now, I'm sure that some think of this change as an improvement but I certainly don't.  The issue here is that, while their old policy of "Make the decision after everyone is already on their way to work" used to piss off a lot of Feds in D.C., at least I got my beffiss at the proper time!

Now, with OPM's show of thoughtfulness for their fellow man (and woman, and -- you know what I mean) and their new shiny-rainbow-and-gumdrops-policy of actually making their announcements the night before, it gives the opportunity for *both* of the breakfast shops I frequent (for either my 2nd morning coffee and a bagel or egg-sammich) to have the unmitigated gall to *also* make a parallel decision to close or open late!

So now I have to wait until *eight,* yes: *8* in the morning for my coffee and sammiches?  Hah!


No.  This needs to be fixed.  

I don't know about you, but I intend on writing a strongly-worded letter to the White Star Line about all of this!

Captain Edward J. Smith sunk with his ship, The Titanic.

I will also have to remember to give the folks at the L'Enfant Plaza "Starbucks" a tip (or maybe a "Thanks") tomorrow for opening when they were supposed to this morning (when nobody else did ... because it snowed).  If it weren't for those overachieving people at "Starbucks," I'd be in bad shape, I tell ya!  What is this world coming to?

It's a sign of the apocalyse - I'm sure of it.  I mean, what's next?  Will these sweatshop breakfast outfits also follow OPM's policies and pay their people overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week?  Will they cease threatening to fire workers who speak out about unfair and possibly illegal employment practices or working conditions?

Maybe I shouldn't complain so much.

Was that my outside voice?
JM(M)