Contrary to Current Practice

enq

Yes, I’ve written a blog. Although this is apparently not the practice of the tabloid media –Elvis Lives!

Or the mainstream media – If Elvis Lived, How Would This Affect the Kardashians!

Or the Internet – Edward Snowden Leaks Proof that Elvis Is Alive and Working for the NSA!

I need to check a few things before I post it. Since I’m on the road and internet access is acting wonky, I’ll try again tomorrow.

The Cost of Heroes

Walt Disney's  Gyro Gearloose

Walt Disney’s
Gyro Gearloose

When I was a kid, there were certain comic book characters that I favored – Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, and Gyro Gearloose (from the Donald Duck comics). Why? They all were inventors. Batman created all those great tools that fit into his utility belt. Spiderman proclaimed his web shooter “worthy of a Science Major” (pretty impressive to a guy in grade school). Iron Man – well back in those days Tony Stark figured out how to actually magnify power using (ready for this) A TRANSISTOR! Gyro Gearloose? He could invent the most amazing things, since Disney characters were unfettered by physics, math or any of the other hard sciences.

So, why do I bring this up? First, I’ve never invented anything – but I love to tinker. So, instead of drinking beer, sitting in my recliner, and watch sports on TV, I sip wine and try to get my computer to talk to my radio; my radio to talk to a peripheral device; my weather station to talk to the internet; and all my other inanimate object to talk to other inanimate objects.

Like a 3,000 piece puzzle, it takes a while to get all the pieces to fit.

Maybe I’d be better off watching the quarterback hit the puck up a line-drive to center field right past the keeper for a hat trick.

20 July 1969

Plaque on Apollo 11 Lunar Lander

Plaque on Apollo 11 Lunar Lander

I had just graduated from high school. Viet Nam dominated the news, especially for young men approaching their 18th birthday.

But in the midst of it all, we answered the challenge of President John F. Kennedy to make it to the moon and back within the decade of the 1960s.

Wow!

The lunar module detached from the command module and descended to the moon’s surface. Neil Armstrong prepared to land on the moon using an approach chart just like pilots would use here on earth. However, since no one had been to the moon before, the detailed chart was based on photographs and estimates. As he got closer, he realized that the intended landing site was not safe. Unlike on earth, he could not merely go around and make a second attempt – there was not enough fuel. Well trained, disciplined and determined, he coaxed every bit of lift out of the spacecraft and brought the Eagle to a safe landing.

When I saw that even I, a soon to be befuddled college freshman, knew – I KNEW – anything was possible.

Forty-five years later, I still know it’s true.

Do you?

 

The Truth About Immigrants

Ellis Island osu.edu

Ellis Island
osu.edu

In America it has happened over and over. It happened when the Germans came here and the French. The same with the Irish and the Italians.

You’d think we’d learn, but we don’t.

When a group immigrates, they fumble around for a few years, then figure things out; those who have been here a while teach the tricks to the newcomers.

Then it starts.

They get jobs or start businesses. They pay taxes. The latest immigrants are paying social security taxes to fund the baby boomers. They serve in the military. They become citizens. They become friends and neighbors.

It’s got to stop!

Recycling with a Vengeance

recycle

I recycle. I even had to buy a second 50 gallon recycling bin from the city because I often had more than would fit in a single can.

I compost. Even though my garden was a disaster for the past two year and I gave up gardening, I still have the happiest, healthiest earthworms in the entire neighborhood.

It only makes sense, therefore, that I do the same with words. English has an impressive vocabulary – more than many other languages. However, there are words that have left common usage – some of which I believe, by gum, should be recycled.

All definitions courtesy of http://dictionary.reference.com/

Kerfuffle: ker·fuf·fle [ker-fuhf-uhl] noun Chiefly British Informal. a fuss; commotion.

Whither: whith·er [hwith-er, with-]

adverb

  1. to what place? where?
  2. to what end, point, action, or the like? to what?

conjunction

  1. to which place.
  2. to whatever place.

Methinks: me·thinks [mi-thingks] verb (impersonal), past me·thought. Archaic. it seems to me.

So as my grandson says, “Dude, this is awesome!” I now can respond with, “From whither comes this kerfuffle? Methinks it is unseemly!”

(Snuck one more in on you, didn’t I?)

Philosopher at Large

plato

I’ve decided that I am a philosopher – a student and lover of wisdom. Knowledge is good; wisdom is best.

As near as I can tell, there are no formal requirements or boards required to certify one as a philosopher. It’s kind of like the meteorologists on your local TV station; if they have the remote to control for the weather images against the green screen, they are a meteorologist. I green screen, therefore I meteorology.

Now, I understand that there are certified intellectuals of higher education who are experts in the field of philosophy. Tom Lehrer aptly referred to them as “ivy covered professors in ivy covered halls.” I refer to them as “philosophologists.”

Philosopholgists get tenured positions to ask questions, such as “What did Plato mean when he said, “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws”?

Philosophers respond with, “Interesting thought; how can we do we know that Plato expressed that thought? What does the statement mean, and how should civilized society respond?”

So – as a duly self-appointed and qualified-because-I-said-so philosopher I recommend you heed my words. Otherwise I shall be forced to walk with a lamp in daylight to search for an honest man, or run naked through the streets screaming, “Eureka!” Trust me – you want to avoid that at any cost!

Today’s philosophical thought: “Love one another.”

Got it? Good!

Career Dreams and Reality

Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary Eleventh Edition

Merriam-Webster
Collegiate Dictionary
Eleventh Edition

Every young person sees himself as the star athlete, the video game designer extraordinaire, or herself as the president or a musical sensation and star of stage and screen. Reality is a little more understated.

Not every writer produces a best seller bound to be a blockbuster movie. Many writers make a decent living by writing instruction manuals, advertisements, sports reports or other everyday productions.

Of course, this is true in any career field. For every Annie Leibovitz there are hundreds of photographers working for newspapers, documenting weddings or making sure that all the sixth graders have their faces appropriately immortalized in the middle school yearbook.

However, today, as I was looking up things in the dictionary, I had to wonder what kind of artist ends up creating the illustrations for Merriam-Webster. Was it their first choice of professions? Do they get to pick which words to illustrate or is there some formula such as every 200th noun gets a picture? Can they negotiate if they’d much rather draw a penguin instead of a platypus? When they get home, do they paint like Norman Rockwell or Salvador Dali for fun?

Of course, they wonder the same things about us writers.