Category Archives: media

Watch Out for the F’ers

The Internet makes all other sources of  information irrelevant. Newspapers are too slow and expensive. Libraries are archaic, also too expensive and slow. Bookstores are dying. Anyway they all provide way more information than we really need. We just need a piece here, a quote there, nothing like the  sustained pieces of writing found in these places.

The only information we need is Fast and Free. Everyone is a writer. Everyone is a commodity and is forced to view commodities across the screen. News spreads faster than fire. News and information riddled with mistakes because it is Fast and Free and that is all that matters. Gross errors become truth or at least cast a shadow over the reality. We crave the attention of search engines.

I am leery of the calls to shut down the old-fashioned ways we find our information. Do this and humanity is fully controlled by governments, corporations, and well-organized  groups.

The information they want you to have is all that you can get. Each Internet search is custom geared to you and what others want you to know. Those with the most money and power get out their message and obscure other messages.

I know people are being groomed to no longer be capable of reading sustained essays or pieces of literature. Who has the time? I guess Candy Crush does win out. All we want are bits and bytes of info, well reviewed by others to highlight what we think we want to know or what others want us to know.

Think about the danger an out-of-control reading person may pose to those that support the F’ers. Anonymous reading is a threat. If you buy a newspaper, no one tracks your eyes online. If you enter a library or bookstore and read a book that is not attached to online scrutiny, your brain is free. You may stumble outside the appropriate point-of-view geared for your consumption by others.

Of course still peruse the Internet. See what’s out there, some of it is very useful. But realize that it is highly manipulated. Think about what you are giving up when you give up control to your sources of news and information. Yes, I know it’s hard to examine vastly different points of view from your own. But it stretches your gray cells and keeps you free. Or is freedom also an archaic concept?

The library may become the last place to go wild.


The Subversive Nature of Pens, Pencils and Paper

Pens and Pencils

When was the last time you wrote something substantive — a letter, a story, a journal entry, etc. — by hand? Could you ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era?

With a pen and paper, I am writing two drafts for my blog right now. I may or may not publish, depends how it goes. With a pen, I record every book I read in a notebook along with a short or long description and/or page reference to quotes that catch my eye. Also I do handwrite a few letters once in awhile.

My handwriting is horrible. Writing by hand helps me weed out more poorly written stuff. My crappy handwriting looks bad on the page and I can sniff out more stuff that sounds bad too. Stuff that looks bad in my opinion, you may say it’s all bad!

Everything looks pretty good on a typed computer screen. Looks great. Send. Publish. But looking good isn’t always good. Sometimes I think I should have waited and thought it out more. Even a great sentence looks like it needs revision when it is written in chicken scratch. Revise till you puke.

Also writing by hand feels more personal to me. No one else knows what I’m writing. (Unless there is a camera over there somewhere.) It’s all mine for a short time before it gets transmitted over the computer somewhere. Or it is all mine forever if I never commit it to a screen. It makes me feel a bit rebellious. So much of our lives are in the Internet loop, this one bit is free.

No data gathering, no key word search, no one else in my head. Until the machine begins to reside within my head?

Perhaps the blank page with pen or pencil will incite the rebel cause of the future to break free of the machine. That is if there are any people left that care about this kind of thing.

Down With Islam, Long Live Islam

Howard Dean told us that Muslim terrorists are not Muslim. That is probably news to them. Instead Dean calls these people a cult.

In this version of doublespeak, pedophile Catholic priests are not Catholic, they are a cult. Yet the world reviles pedophilia in the Catholic church as a horrific part of the whole, in fact, as a powerful representation of this whole.

Too much misrepresentation of the truth today passes for truth. We have lost the ability to use judgement and logic. Our language and thought processes are meant to trick us.

“Arabic activists” call themselves Muslim. Take their word for it. Why try to pigeonhole them into something else?

Call out the crap as you see it.

Fright Night: No Need to Be Scared

Daily Prompt: Fright Night
Do you like being scared by books, films, and surprises? Describe the sensation of being scared, and why you love it — or don’t.

As long as I can remember, I have avoided horror books and films. I hate the sensation of being scared by the evil, pain, and suffering of other living beings, real or imagined.

I could not bring myself to watch any Titanic movie. I know what happened and the hell those people lived through runs through my head like a loop of film without actually entering any theater.

When I was a young teenager, I saw the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. To me it was a horror film. I didn’t sleep for two nights after I watched it. The slasher, blood and guts movies would truly do me in.

One trip to a haunted house, taught me to never enter a haunted house again. That and any roller coster ride.

I can’t visit the African American museum in Detroit despite the fact that I love museums. The same goes for a Holocaust museum. The horror that resides in those places is too much for me to confront. Those horrific acts run through my mind often enough, I need no reinforcement.

Due to the popularity of Steven King novels, I know the basic outline of some of his stories. I would not enjoy reading one of those books. I seek no additional frights.

I don’t need to magnify my fears by pursuing them in print, screen, or in any other fashion. I need no more. I scare myself enough.

My Dead Mother-in-Law Got Me Hooked on Craigslist

If American business relied on Americans buying things that they truly needed, American business would be out of business.

When my mother-in-law died, she left a house full of fabric. It was in the attic, it was in the basement, it was in each bedroom. My unscientific guess (by weighing a few containers) was that she left about 6,000 pounds of sewing fabric. She didn’t sew that much or create crafts. She bought the pretty, bright colored fabric when it went on sale only because it was on sale and the colored patterns caught her eye.

I’m sure fabric stores rely on people like my mother-in-law to keep them afloat. If people only bought what they needed, that would mean 5,995 pounds less fabric for this one woman alone.

Just a small sample of the fabric

Just a small sample of the fabric

And she was not alone. Two weeks after she died, the wife of my manager’s neighbor died. She left a houseful of fabric . . . and 15 sewing machines.

An ad on Craigslist helped us get rid of our fabric. One woman came by after most of it had been snatched up for free by many people. She complained that the fabric smelled musty. Well, it was stored in plastic containers for, in some cases, decades. What did she want for free? Right after coming to our place, she was heading off to another house filled with fabric left by another deceased elderly lady.

Before she left, she still grabbed a good amount of our musty fabric and told us she had buckets and buckets full at home. Note: big fabric giveaway going on at her house after her death. What goes around, comes around.

Virtually every house hunter reality show on television has that woman that complains about the small closets in a house. She says, “That closet will only fit my clothes, my husband is on his own.” Or, “That closet will only fit my shoes.” The older houses have minuscule storage space and that same women is shocked to think about how few things people must have owned back then. Huge shoe collection? Not a thing in the past.

Maybe buying stuff gives people a high. Maybe they keep so much stuff because it might be useful someday. Unfortunately, by the time they need that item, it is lost in the other old junk they saved or new stuff they bought.

I blame ubiquitous advertisements. Can anyone get through the day without an ad overload? Everything we look at or listen to sends us an ad for some product or service. One reason I don’t own an e-reader is because of the ads that pop up on them. Sure you can pay more and not get ads, but I’m sure that someday the ads will still come, outright or in a subliminal manner. My computer is probably sending subliminal ads to me at this moment. Paranoia is a land I’m well acquainted with.

Government, along with business, encourages us to keep mindlessly buying. Buying stuff is good for the economy (and not saving is bad for the economy – go figure).

Both rich and poor overbuy. The less wealthy buy cheaper stuff (i.e., 6,000 pounds of fabric) and the wealthy can buy enough expensive clothes to fill a 1,000 square foot home or more. If we lived a dozen lifetimes, we couldn’t wear out so many clothes or sew with so much fabric.

I’m ready to cross my cultural references and throw my shoe at the TV next time someone complains about a “small” 2,000 square foot house with kitchen countertops that are “not granite.”  Then I’ll be in the market for a new TV. I’m part of the problem.

Going Dutch Tweet

Twitter and postcards, they have a lot in common.

I visited Holland recently . .  . Holland, Michigan that is.

Dutch people arrived here from the Netherlands in the middle of the 1800’s mainly seeking out religious freedom.

A popular Tulip Festival began in Holland in 1929. Today a half-million people attend this spring festival that displays millions of tulips throughout the city. This festival centered around a flower has been called the Best Small Town Festival in America.

I’m a museum junkie so I had to see the Holland Museum while in town. The museum is currently displaying the postcard collection of Mike Van Ark which at one time contained 5,000 postcards. This exhibit shows off cards that came from Holland area tourist sites as far back as 1900.

As I was walking through the gallery, it hit me that these cards may just be the precursors to Twitter.

The definition of a postcard: Concise messages written on a small 3 1/2 inch by 5 inch rectangle of paper. The postal service delivered these messages from people wishing to communicate with friends, family, and co-workers about what they were doing on their vacations or trips.

A tweet is a post or status update on Twitter that allows 140 characters or less per tweet. Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected. A tweet likes to answer the question, “What are you doing?”

Postcards were far from being instant messages, but the few days wait time for these notes to come through wasn’t all that bad in the time of railroads and horses.

In Victorian London, mail was collected and delivered up to 7 times per day, 6 days a week in some locations near the main postal office. Rural locations saw mail delivery and collection of 4 times a day. Mail could be delivered to your door nearly as often as you may check Twitter today.

I thought I had a novel idea linking postcards to Twitter. It turned out to be not so novel after all. Searching through the internet I found this website that made the same connection years ago: Twitter an Instant Hit with Users Since 1902. Oh well, I observe too little, too late. But onward I go.

These old museum postcards were used more for personal communications between people. Very often they came from a tourist destination complete with a photo of an interesting attraction at that location. As a marketing tool, the recipients of these cards may have felt the urge to visit these places because of the attractive pictures and messages printed on them.

Twitter is full of marketing potential. A celebrity with a large Twitter following can mention a product and the website for that product can crash due to the large number of visits generated by that tweet.

Tourists flock to Holland and still purchase postcards of tulips, windmills, wooden shoes, or other Dutch treats and then jot down quick notes to mail back home. Tweets are faster, but this old-fashioned piece of paper remains popular. Apparently a large group of collectors keep the history alive. All in all another fun trip traveling back in time.

The last 150 years have seen vast technological advances. More and better machines work and play for people. Yet doesn’t it seem that despite rapid change in technology, humankind keeps rehashing its own essence? What we want to work and play at keeps constant.

There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.  

Harry Truman

Dead or Alive: Cigars and Animation

According to my grandmother, live television programming was the only way to go. Watching something prerecorded was like being cheated, just not fair.

So when the Flintstones aired in September 1960, she believed a great evil was let loose on the world. It doesn’t get any more not live than animation and on prime time at that.

I thought her point of view was unique when it came to TV watching protocol. Until I found out that my husband’s grandfather held this same viewpoint.

Edie Adams was an attractive singer and actress many years ago. She also appeared in the sexy commercials for Muriel Cigars with her catch phrase of, “Why don’t you pick one up and smoke it sometimes?” Muriel Cigars, a quality cigar for only 10 cents each! (This was a long time ago.)

Edie Adams Muriel Ad

Edie Adams in a Muriel Cigar ad

Anyway, Edie married the comedian Ernie Kovacs back in the 1950s, and he died in a car crash in 1962. Well grandpa was watching TV and Edie Adams came on and started singing and dancing. He shouted out, “That’s not real, she wouldn’t be singing and dancing right after her husband died, this is prerecorded garbage.”

Grandma and grandpa were born in the 19th century and lived more time on earth without television than with it. Now, even the “live” stuff may have a few seconds of delay before airing just in case something needs to be beeped out or covered up. I don’t even want to think about what they would have said about the ease at which computers can manipulate images today.

My life is prerecorded, distorted, overloaded. How do I change this channel?