Thursday, March 31, 2016

April Fool

Its that time again. Once a year everything you read and see is suspect because it is April 1. April fools day. Interestingly enough, this election year here in the U.S.A. virtually everyday has seemed like April fools day with the outlandish  nonsense that is spouted by one or more candidates. It is hard to believe that one of the five remaining candidates could be our next president. There's a septuagenarian Jew, a criminal former secretary of state, a Canadian vampire, the orange-faced spawn of an orangutan and wrinkled, worn-out looking John Kasich.  But enough politics.  Time for a musical interlude.

Then there is this.....

   Following a recent product leak, Facebook executives have confirmed rumors of an unprecedented new feature which will automatically scan your Facebook News Feed for opinions, datasets, and scientific facts which might possibly upset you--then alter them to match your beliefs.
"We think the public is going to love this new feature," a Facebook correspondent informed The Satirist. "People don't want to deal with other folks' opinions unless those opinions agree with their own. Facebook's new feature will fix this problem, so everyone will seem to think what you think."
Back in April 2015, Facebook launched a beta version of this feature, which met with unanimous applause.
"I used to have to read about scientists believing that climate change is real," says one happy beta-tester. "Now, whenever I read my news feed, it tells me that science says climate change is bogus!"
The new feature employs extensive AI (Artificial Intelligence) to identify and adjust offending material--including (but not limited to): peer-reviewed articles, political propaganda, poorly-spelled rage rants, pie charts, linear regressions, and more.
"We're tired of Google Search holding the monopoly on validating the internet's confirmation biases," our Facebook correspondent explained. "We want people to be able to use the Facebook network to reach the conclusion that the bulk of humanity already believes what they believe."
Facebook plans to release this feature to its general users this upcoming fall, expecting the release to finally put an end to book-length, poorly-written inflammatory rants about how other people have all the facts wrong.

Thank you  Satirist Newsletter.

Reader beware -

See ya next week,same bat time, same bat channel for more LBC discussion


Friday, March 25, 2016

Of Easter Eggs And Hot Cross Bunnies

My old friend Lin has once again offered up a challenging topic for this weekly blog exercise. She is able to mine amazing depth from seemingly innocuous topics.

Easter has always perplexed me a bit. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus - and knowingly  celebrates it at the wrong time of year as well as coinciding with a pagan winter holiday. Well fine. But, the cornerstone of Christianity is eternal life represented by being born again" and promised everlasting life in the form an afterlife for the faithful. So how is it celebrated? Baskets of candy, colorful Easter eggs hunted by kids and the Easter Bunny as a symbol.  Frankly it all seems more than a  bit insulting to me. Oh - then there is the dressing up part wherein folks dress in their sartorial finery and head off to church - many for the first time of the year. 

But enough complaining! On to Easter Eggs. I have very fond memories of coloring Easter Eggs with my kids. And of hiding same and watching the kids - along with friends - scramble around the yard  looking for them.  Why? According to the egg, an ancient symbol of new life, has been associated with pagan festivals celebrating spring. From a Christian perspective, Easter eggs are said to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and resurrection. Decorating eggs for Easter is a tradition that dates back to at least the 13th century, according to some sources. Hmm - there's that pagan thing again.

Hot cross bunnies??

Now you may find this somewhat hard to believe but of all the pastries in the world my absolute least favorite happens to be hot cross buns, clearly the inspiration for hot cross bunnies and so even  with a good cup of coffee handy for dunking,  I'll pass.  And it occurs to me  y'all may think i am a humbug Easter guy. Not true. 

Anything that brings joy to kids and others is a good thing.  And while I am  admittedly not one of the faithful, I do NOT begrudge anyone (unless they are attempting to blow up innocent people) their faith. I say Merry Christmas and Happy Easter to them all. And pass the ham - I'd like some more. But religion? Anyone that knows me knows where I stand.

For the faithful I offer this tune -  not a hymn but if you listen to the lyrics it is profoundly spiritual.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Ring Those Bells

This weeks topic was suggested by Lin.

Ring those bells. What bells you might ask? Lets start with Tubular Bells.

How about some church bells? I bet L{in has hear some of hse up close and personal.

Bells on a hill and a Beatle

Bohemian Rhapsody on bells

I'm not really sue which bells Lin wanted but we've rung a few here!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Daydreams - LBC

his weeks topic comes courtesy of Ramana in Pune India.  

According to Merriam Webster daydreams are a pleasant, visionary usually wishful creation of the imagination. That sounds about right to me.

I used to daydream a lot when I was in school. I spent most of my high school life bored to tears in classes. Daydreams were my salvation. Without them I would have spent almost as much time in the dean's office as in class. There was infinite source material - heck,  every pretty girl I was too shy to talk to was good daydreaming material. 

If there  was a big game coming up that was great fodder for my daydreams.  Yep - I was a day dreamin boy.

A good song about a daydream could finance an entire career - like this one did for one of my all-time favorite minstrels - John Stewart

Thank you Monkees and Anne Murray for that. 

Daydreams let us escape the rigors of daily life, if only briefly. We all need a break now and then and daydreams beat the chemically induced escape so readily available these days.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Tolerance vs being true to yourself LBC 03/04

This weeks LBC topic is my suggestion.  It comes from listening to Hillary "it takes a village to raise a child" and the right-wing flame throwers ongoing battles. Tolerance seems to have become an oxymoron more often than not these days.

Tolerance. Given a choice I choose vanilla ice cream but I will sit at a table with chocolate fans. The truth of the matter is that I'd really rather have Toasted Almond but I have not seen that flavor on a shelf any shelf since I left California in 1994. Were I really true to myself I'd skip ice cream altogether as I believe that heaven on earth ice cfream wise is a black and tan ice cream sundae from Fentons Creamery in Oakland, CA. made with Toasted Almond ice cream and more.   Anything else is simply a poorer compromise.

For years the left wing politicos in this country have bragged about their tolerance and claimed the intelligent higher ground. All the while the right wing conservatives, especially the religious right have cried foul and hammered the left for their lack of faith in so-called Christian values that drive the right. The right plainly claims god's laws trump man's laws and consider the liberal left and their intelligentsia secular fools. The truth is both of these "extremes" are among the most intolerant folks in our society. Very little common sense escapes either of them.

We are now awash in a sea of political correctness - the nonsense that creates winter holidays and holiday trees when we were raised on Christmas trees and Christmas. I have to say - I am a non believer but in my 66 years I cannot recall ever being harmed by a Christmas tree, being told Merry Christmas Christian friends, Christmas displays in the workplace - be that workplace private or public.  What I find interesting is that we boomers - we of the great ideals that helped  change the world - raised the generation that has chased tolerance and civility from the mainstream and pushed "my way" to heights even  Sinatra couldn't imagine. Things were certainly different when I was young.

To set the record straight, I am not suggesting being true to yourself is  wrong or bad. One would hope that tolerance itself would be being true to yourself.