Monday, May 12, 2014

Take your politically correct terms and shove them!

Good Day World!

The term “politically correct,” is an oxymoron.

When I first heard it used while working as an editor for a weekly newspaper called The Desert Trail in 29 Palms, California, I thought it was so stupid it would surely go the way of the fabled Dodo bird and the nickel candy bar.

In a 1983 “As It Stands” column, I implored readers to reject the term because it was a political ploy to push certain agendas. I pointed out the new name for a manhole cover was a subterranean ingress and egress aperture cover. That got a lot of laughs.

Somewhere along the line, the laughs slowed down and people started getting serious/stupid about the term. To my dismay, it didn’t go away. Instead it spread like poison oak in our language garden. It became so pervasive that the PC police think nothing of calling insane people selectively perceptive, or some other equally non-descriptive term.

Call me an old fuddy duddy, but I saw no problem with saying someone without hair was bald. Now, no one is bald, they’re comb free. Remember when someone had BO (body odor)? That same person today is said to have nondiscretionary fragrance. Please!

You know something isn’t right when censorship is foisted off as selective speech and drunks are referred to as spatially perplexed. Politically correct terms came about in order to tell people how they should act. No, really.

Political Correctness denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts, and as purported by the term, doing so to an excessive extent, according to Wikipedia.

In other words, political correctness is out of control! My clumsy (excuse me - uniquely coordinated) attempt to illustrate this contention comes with plenty of examples. We no longer just have earthquakes, we have geological corrections. Despite that, when the earth starts to shake like a giant baby’s rattle I will still scream “earthquake!”

If we don’t already have a PC term for crime rate, I imagine civic leaders would be good with the term “street activity index.” I have to admit - with guilty pleasure - I kinda like the following PC terms for some jobs.

Now, when you get a job in a restaurant you don’t have to tell your friends you’re just a dishwasher. No, your title will be “utensil sanitizer” and you’ll wear a snappy white apron.

How about janitor? It’s kinda of a blah description, but when you change it to “sanitation engineer” you’re suddenly vaulted into white collar realms when describing your job. The same goes for the garbage man; who is now a sanitation engineer too.

Conversation between a father and a lifeguard who just saved his daughter from being pulled out to sea:

Father:Thank you! Thank you for saving my drowning daughter!”
Lifeguard: “No problem. I save aquatically challenged people all the time.”

Takes the snap out of that conversation doesn’t it?

I can see where calling someone “differently weighted” instead of fat would seem a kinder description, but as far as descriptions go it’s useless. What’s differently weighted supposed to mean? Too fat or too skinny? Perhaps being at a perfect weight? I think you can see my point here.

I refuse to consider “motivationally dispossessed” as another term for lazy.

Just for a laugh, if you want to take this whole PC discussion to the next level, let’s look at some political correct terms for females and males.

For the Women:
* Her breasts will never sag, they will lose their vertical hold.
* She does not snore, she is nasally repetitive.
* She does not get drunk, she becomes verbally dyslexic.
* She is not a bad driver, she is automotively challenged.

For the Men:
* He is not a sex machine. He is romantically automated.
* He is not a male chauvinist pig, he has swine empathy.
* He does not get lost all the time, he discovers alternate destinations.
* He does not fart and belch, he is gastronomically expressive.

You may think I’m ignorant (factually unencumbered), but you have to admit the PC police continue to clutter the language with terms best left under rocks!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother’s Day to My Brown-Eyed Girl and All the Moms Everywhere!

 Good Day World!

 And a Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there!

A little history about Mother’s Day:

It’s a holiday honoring motherhood that is observed in different forms throughout the world.

The American incarnation of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. Ironically, Jarvis would later denounce the holiday’s commercialization and spent the latter part of her life trying to remove it from the calendar.

While dates and celebrations vary, Mother’s Day most commonly falls on the second Sunday in May and traditionally involves presenting mothers with flowers, cards and other gifts.

Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.”

Once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, this celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church”—the main church in the vicinity of their home—for a special service.

Over time the Mothering Sunday tradition shifted into a more secular holiday, and children would present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation. This custom eventually faded in popularity before mergi20090819_01246ng with the American Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s. (source)

My mother passed away years ago, but I still remember her.

My wife Shirley (photo), and mother to our three sons, is everything a good mother represents. Her all-encompassing love extends beyond family. She’s ready to ‘mother” anyone in need regardless of their age, gender, or race.

I make a point of trying to do something special every Mother’s Day for her, but have learned to treat her like she’s special every day of the year. That happens after 39 years of marriage. Happy Mothers Day My Love – my brown-eyed girl!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sharing the Benefits of Being an ‘Old Toot’

Good Day World!                                     
                                         
I’m enjoying being an old toot (aka old coot) since I became eligible a few years ago.

In case you wonder about the difference between an old coot and an old toot, the latter has a better sense of humor. I’ve already seen one of the benefits derived from my relatively new status.

I forgot I was wearing red house slippers the other day when I went to the supermarket, and it didn’t bother me! There was a time when I would have been so embarrassed I would never have entered that store again for fear someone working there might remember seeing me wear them.

You know what people think when they see an old toot shuffling around in his bedroom slippers; “Who let that old fool out of the house in his slippers?” Or, “Look at that guy. That’s never going to happen to  me!”

But now I don’t care what people think. So what if I’m wearing slippers in public? It’s better than forgetting to wear my pants in public. Even old toots can’t get away with that.

Unless they live in  San Francisco, where it’s legal to walk around without pants or anything else on in public. They have nude activists who constantly campaign for nudity. People like "Nude Woody", Tortuga, Gypsy Taub, and "Naked Marvin” are part of the landscape.

Just the idea of a bunch of old coots/toots walking around in their birthday suits makes me shudder. It must be hell on tourism where they hang out.

Old toots do have limits. At least some of us do. I count on my wife to notice if I’m missing a piece of clothing or something drastic like that when going out of the house. Little things do get past her occasionally, like slippers, or shirts on backward, but she’s normally a reliable backup. She is much younger than I and assures me that she will never join the old toot’s club.

She doesn’t know what she’s missing. If she joins the club she won’t have to worry if her hair changes color and is streaked with sneaky silver strands. There’s no need to impress anyone when you‘re an old toot.

My days of  trying to look good for every female on the planet are gone, and with them the many vanities that younger people have about their appearance. In other words I’m a slob. Not really, my wife wouldn’t allow that, but I have that certain disheveled look old toots get.

I have my lap dog, a precious pug named Molly, further securing my old toot credentials. I mumble to myself (you couldn’t call it talking) when writing. I resist new technological innovations just because. I don’t slide down the stair railing anymore.

If you asked me about any of the current musicians I would say something like, “They don’t make music like the Led Zeppelin anymore,” or “You call that music?” Old toots and coots simply don’t listen to music newer than the 70s era.

It’s taken me years of study to become an old toot and now I’m reaping the benefits. I can communicate with other old toots I don’t even know who remember the Rat Pack with Frank Sinatra,  Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.

I don’t like being called a Baby Boomer. I’m more comfortable with old toot. There are no expectations for old toots. Baby boomers had a lot of high hopes. Many  wonder if they sold out to “the man,” and why they failed to change the world into one big utopia.

I don’t suffer any past remorse’s crammed with social expectations at this point in my life. As Popeye once said, “I yam who I yam.” And that’s an old toot happy to be grazing on books that can be held by hand, or newspapers that leave ink on my fingers.

I don’t mind being around other old toots for a little while. But too many in one room becomes a challenge for my one operating ear (with the help of a hearing aide).

By the way, old toots (like coots) tend to be hard of hearing. My wife’s hearing is so acute I almost believe her when she says she’s is not going to be an old toot, or coot.

I realize not everyone wants to be an old toot. Some people would rather be known as active seniors, or elder statesmen. Something that rings with more dignity. Something that indicates they’re still vital and not nearing an ungraceful senility.

In the end, it’s all about individual style as we hit a certain age. On the boardwalk of life, I’m proudly stumbling along on bad knees, confident that I’m an old toot who’ll always have plenty of like-minded company.

If you find yourself belching and passing gas at the same time when walking you could well be on the way to becoming an old toot yourself!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, May 9, 2014

Overheard: A conversation about climate/global warming

                                                 Good Day World!

Overheard at Mom & Pop’s Café USA:

First diner - “Climate change catastrophes are becoming common nowadays.”

Second diner: “Oh no! Here we go with the liberal global warming conspiracies!

Story on open newspaper between the two diners:

The first six months of 2012 accounted for the warmest January-through-June period on record for the contiguous U.S., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced.”

First diner - “Who said global warming? I try not to use that term because your conservative hackles flare up every time I do. I’m just saying climate changes are obvious right now.” 

Second diner - “Of course they are. The earth’s climate goes through continual changes. It has since the start. We‘re in a lousy phase right now, that’s all.”

Same story on open newspaper between the two diners:

“Climate models indicate the hot temperatures are not expected to ease anytime soon. ‘It looks like it’s going to stay above normal, for much of the remainder of the summer,’ said Jon Gottschalck at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.”

First diner - “Okay. What about the U.S. National Academy of Sciences claim that
Climate change is occurring, most likely increasing global average surface temperatures worldwide about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century?”

Second diner - “Sounds like change at that rate won’t make a difference to mankind for at least another thousand years.”

Same story on open newspaper between the two diners:

“In 2011, the U.S National Academy of Sciences concluded in a final report on U.S. global warming effects that ‘Climate change is occurring, and very likely caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks.’"

First diner - “Can we at least agree that the recent climate changes in our country have been devastating, and that manmade pollution contributed to it?”

Second diner - “I have to admit that was something when that derecho (editor’s note: a pattern of thunderstorms racing in a straight line)  struck Washington in June of 2013. I was hoping a few Democratic Congressmen might get swept up… no seriously, playing the Al Gore card isn’t going to get it.”

Another open newspaper between the two diners:

At least 30 deaths were blamed on the heat, including nine in Maryland and 10 in Chicago, mostly among the elderly. Three elderly people found dead in their houses in Ohio had heart disease, but died of high temperatures in homes lacking power because of recent outages, officials said. Heat was also cited as a factor in three deaths in Wisconsin, two in Tennessee and three in Pennsylvania.”

First diner - “Had to get that partisan shot in didn’t ya George? This climate change business is no laughing matter. We should be looking at ways to prepare for what’s happening to our environment right now and in the future.”

Second diner - “Are you aware that some climate scientists, such as Georgia Tech's Judith Curry, dismiss connections between global warming and U.S. heat waves? She says on her website, Climate Etc. ‘We saw these kinds of heat waves in the 1930s, and those were definitely not caused by greenhouse gases.’ I don't think what we are seeing this summer is outside the range of natural variability for the past century."

Another open newspaper between the diners:

June's derecho, that unleashed 80 mph winds that knocked out power for millions from Ohio to Virginia, has been seen as a consequence of global warming. ‘Derechos don't happen very often, but with heat waves more common under climate projections, they would most likely increase in frequency and severity,’ says forest ecologist Chris Peterson of the University of Georgia in Athens. He pointed to likely extreme-weather effects on forests in a 2000 study.”

First diner - “Looks like we aren’t going to solve anything today George. I gotta go to work now. See ya tomorrow…”

Second diner - I guess not Pete. We can take this conversation up again. Same time. Same place. It’s your turn to buy, though!”

Until the great partisan debate about the reason for rising world temperatures is set aside and actions taken, we might as well join George and Pete at Mom and Pop’s Café USA.

Meanwhile a White House climate change report unveils dire warning, calls for action.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Get Lesson Plans for What You Want to Know on Learnist

Good Day World!

You feel like learning something but you’d rather avoid a Wikipedia binge on knowledge you never knew you wanted.

Next time try Learnist – a user-curated library of beautifully organized, though utterly random knowledge. See my board on How to Create Landscapes Using Watercolors.

Learnist topics span tons of categories and cover everything from how to make a living as a freelancer to conquering food cravings and beyond. Users curate boards of knowledge in a Pinterest-like fashion using sources from the Web. You can even design syllabi by grouping articles together.

Peruse thousands of lessons for free or indulge in premium content from experts like Olivia Wilde and Gus Van Sant at just $0.99 a pop.

Learnist isn’t without the oddities that make Wikipedia fun. Articles on taking perfect selfies and my board on why people eat dirt will entertain any dilettante or idle browser.

Sure, you may still binge on Learnist. But at least you’ll emerge equipped to solve a Rubik’s Cube.

article via Netted By The Webbys

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Social Experiments, Thieves, and Six Degrees of Separation

                                
Good Day World!

I wonder what would happen if I walked into a fancy jewelry store, tried on an expensive watch, decided I liked it, and walked out the door with it like Lindsay Lohan who stole a necklace from a fancy jewelry store a few years back?

A jury let her off of course, with a slap on her hand. As for me? I’d still be rotting in jail on grand theft charges if I tried that little trick. Heck, I couldn’t afford one of her lawyers (even for an hour), and my defense team would probably look like the “Whose Who?” of struggling public defenders in Southern Oregon.

I’m picking on Lohan because she’s been down this path before. Poor little rich girl caught stealing stuff. Gets old after a while don’t you think? Then I got to thinking (uh oh!) and wondered if she was conducting some sort of “social experiment?”

I read about one teenager in Southfield, Michigan, who claimed he was conducting a “social experiment” when he robbed a comic book store. According to WJBK-TV in Detroit, the teenager didn’t want money.

He wanted a detailed list of collector merchandise and threatened to use a realistic-looking homemade bomb. Here’s where it gets weirder; the clerk was stubborn and didn’t meet his demands. Then the robber relented and paid cash for the few items on the list  the clerk did have!

When he was arrested (you knew that was coming), he told the authorities that the whole thing was just a “social experiment.” Isn’t that interesting? I doubt if he contacted Lohan’s lawyers however, unless he was the son of an oil baron or Congressman.

Now where were we? Oh yeah. Social experiments. In a controversial social experiment that happened four years ago in New York City, the city denied part of it’s homeless population any assistance for two years. They wanted to see if their $23 million program, called “Homebase” was helping the people for whom it was intended.

Sounds cold doesn’t it? Perhaps clinical is a better word. In medical testing it’s long been the standard to give drug treatment to one group while another, the control group, goes without. You can read more about that social experiment at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/09/nyregion/09placebo.html?_r=2&hp

Have you heard of Stanley Milgram, a social psychologist most noted for his controversial study “the Milgram Experiment” in the 1960s during his professorship at Yale? You might look him up for further enlightenment on the subject.

He was influenced by the events of the Nazi Holocaust and carried out an experiment to  demonstrate the relationship between obedience and authority. Shortly after the obedience experiment, Milgram conducted the small-world experiment (the source of the six degrees of separation concept) while at Harvard.

Particularly poignant to me, is the song American Pie which documents the period of 1959 to 1970 in the "10 years we've been on our own" of the third verse. Coming near the end of a turbulent era, American Pie spoke to the grand social experiments of the 1960s, which eventually collapsed under the weight of realities.

And, in 1970, as I sweated in the jungles of Vietnam,  I knew the world back home was rapidly changing. My peers in the States now looked at me and my comrades as the enemy. My generation didn’t lead the country into a new Age of Aquarius where love ruled.

The really sad part is there is no going back to those innocent times when America’s youth thought they could change the world with the power of love. Turned out, peace and love demanded a price. Harsher for some than others. We all paid it in different ways.

My final observation to share with you is that life is an ongoing social experiment, constantly evolving and challenging us to be happy.

The lyrics “Bye bye, Miss American Pie” still bring tears to my eyes.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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