Wednesday, August 16, 2017

There is No Romance to History

    In the wake of clashes over the weekend in Charlottesville over the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, protesters in North Carolina tore down a Confederate monument. They proceed ed to beat, kick, and spit on the fallen monument while cheering. The rationale for their actions was to demonstrate contempt for the racism of a begone age in modern, enlightened times. I cannot help but notice while watching a news story on the event the enlightened protesters resembled a bunch of Neanderthals who have just killed their first mastodon.
    Seriously, watch the opening sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Missing Links discover tools and excitedly bash animal bones while dancing around and hooting. Such was the scene in North Carolina. Bonus points awarded for 2001's theme being about the reversal of dominance throughout history between man and the  technology he uses. It can be aptly applied to how people are using history today. Simply put, learning from history or becoming emotionally attached to it. The latter appears to be dominant right now.
     I am a student of history. The study of history is intended to teach lessons from the past in order to make better decisions in the present. One might approach the subject with a healthy dose of cynicism—I certainly do—when one notices history tends to go in cycles regardless of whether we learn from the lessons of the past. But that is a thought to elaborate on another time. The bottom line is history is best viewed objectively without any sense of nostalgia.
    Anyone who has studied history does so to some extent. I look at the sarcophagus of an ancient Pharaoh or the statue of a roman emperor without any nostalgia for a long dead kingdom or empire. I cannot imagine too many people do so. Likewise, I do not feel any pride towards Confederate monuments even as a Southern with stronger ties to the Confederacy than ancient Egypt or Rome. They are symbols of history, and nothing more.
  I am not completely cold here. For instance, I recognize the importance of Robert E. Lee. I look at his moral choices within the context of his rime period. I am not one to participate in his apotheosis, but I recognize he made a tough choice by leading the Confederate army instead of fighting against the Virginians he had known all his life. Yes, his principled stand meant fighting for the side of slavery. Yes, we can lament the reality of it in hindsight with our modern reality, but we cannot erase it because Lee would not fit in well in 2017 America. On the other hand, people need to stop with the nostalgia trip that is encouraging racists to lash out violently.
     Both sides judging history in their own fiery passion need to realize that a century or two from now, what is considered enlightened today will be considered barbaric. What if everyone is a vegan in the future? Eating animals in the 21st century would be immoral, and anyone who did so would be redeemable. Like the salve owners of the Antebellum South, right? We live in the most enlightened age only until the next age comes along.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

North Korea Cancels Doomsday

   As expected, North Korea backed off it threat to launch a nuclear attack against Guam. North Korean media—not the most reliable, but it is what it is—reports Kim Jong Un canceled plans to attack Guam after examining attack plans drawn up by his generals. It is doubtful a general would be brave enough to inform Dear Leader he would be annihilated by the United States in a retaliatory strike, so Kim Jong Un was likely just making his usual empty threats.
     There are two other possibilities. One, China put diplomatic pressure on North Korea to knock off the bluster. China has enough economic ties to tolerate a certain amount of lunacy from North Korea, but its economic ties to the United States are far more important. It is in China's best interest to keep the peace between the United States and North Korea, but will yank the latter's leash when necessary. The second point is Donald Trump's “fire and fury” threat rattled Kim Jong Un. Last week's threats could have simply been testing a perceived to be weak president.
     The standoff with North Korea never reached the level of the Cuban missile crisis, but it is a relief to be over. Kim Jong Un left his options open to attack Guam if the United States continues to act provocatively, whatever that means. North Korea is becoming more dangerous as time goes on. Eventually, Kim Jong Un may become desperate or crazy enough to follow through on a threat. Something should have been done about the north Korean nuclear weapons program a long time ago.     

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Journalistic Integrity of Darlington County Leaves Something to Be Desired

     Take a look at this news story provocatively titled  Two Injured in Shooting at Darlington Dragway It is a short article with scant information. Every local news outlet has published the same article verbatim. Although it claims there will be updates as more information is available, more information has been available for quite a while now with no updates.
    The reality of the situation is there were two friends among the crowd enjoying a car and bike show. One brought a firearm which he accidentally dropped. The gun fired wounding them both. The wounds were minor. One was grazed by the bullet. The other was hit in the finger. You may ask why someone was carrying a firearm around with the safety off when he is irresponsible enough to drop it. The only thing I can tell you is this is Darlington County. Even many grown ups here require adult supervision.
    As of yet, none of the sites that posted the above article have updated any of its facts. Considering what I said about Darlington in the previous paragraph may come into play. Perhaps man does something stupid with a gun, shot himself and friend is not news in Darlington. You know---a dog bites man sort of thing. But as  Extreme Motorsports Media puts it, it looks like click bait to keep a mis-titled article up without eventually clarifying the details.
     I also note the sad reality an outlet called Extreme Motorsports Media demonstrates more journalistic integrity than news outlets in and around Darlington. What do you expect from the fine institutions of Darlington.  Come to think of it, where have we run across Lt. Robert Kilgo before?  Oh, that is right.  He was named in a lawsuit alleging a conspiracy to elect Tony Chavis sheriff.  Makes you wonder how he got his job as spokesman for the sheriff's office.  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Charlottesville Clashes

     I supported Donald Trump, not because I thought he would make a good president, but because he would shake up the status quo of partisan politics. At this point, I will concede not only has that not happened, hyper0partisanship has taken over, and often in violent ways. Take the Charlottesville protests this weekend as an example of political passions burning far too hot.
     A little back story. The University of Virginia plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from campus because confederate symbols are considered by many to romanticize slavery. A hodge podge of neo-Confederates, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and white supremacists decided to protest the statue's pending removal. They paid whatever fees their were for permits for their march. The mayor told them they could protest, but the police would not protect them. The ACLU, which is notoriously leftist, but still principled, insisted the protestors hide a right to be protected. Then Antifa showed up, and the police were held back as the white supremacists and communist race-baiters clashed. So one of the protestors opposing the removal of the Lee statue, James fields, Jr., plowed his car into the crowd thereby killing one woman and injuring nineteen.
    Allow me to make one overall statement before engaging in any sort of nuance. We would would all be much better off if the earth had opened up and swallowed both sides of the protests. The south is not going to rise again, so those in favor of the statue remaining need to take their recycled Nazi slogans and stick them where the sun don't shine. On the other side, the sooner we get rid of violent communists obsessed with racial identity, the better. Move the statue to some rural area where no one will care it is there and everyone shut up. Take you Wal-Mart Tiki torches and go home.
     That said, the statue's supporters had a right to protest and be protected by police while doing it. What is the logic in ordering police to stand down just as tensions flared up between the historically violent Antifa and the statue's supporters? Did the Charlottesville mayor and Virginia governor actually want there to be mayhem so they could blame conservatives for inciting racial violence? I would hate to think so, but after all was said and done, the Charlottesville mayor laid blame squarely on Trump because of the allegedly racist president campaign he ran.
     If you want to step further into absurdity, Trump was soundly criticized for his response to the violence. He declared it was a sad event because Americans ought to respect each other. He criticized bigotry of all types. It was not Ronald Reagan leading the nation in mourning for the Challenger astronauts, but he got the point across. A few of his critics have declared Trump's response as the worst aspect of the ordeal. Yes, even worse than a woman losing her life.
     So this is where it has come. The left brings violence on itself by opting to remove a historical monument after implying its racial connotations knowing full well who will come out to protest, then it allows the two sides to clash, resulting in death and injuries, so it can decry how Trump has allegedly a resurgence of racism. Brace yourselves for history to repeat itself, because because Kentucky declared it wants to remove Confederate monuments.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Parting the Red Sea

     Styling my hair is more like clearing a path through a jungle than parting the Red Sea, but the effort is no less of a miracle when it gets so long. When I must begin parting in the middle, it is a clear indication time for a haircut is long overdue. I will get to the task soon enough. Until such time, check out that bird's nest of a hairdo.  
     The photo was snapped by the built in webcam on my IdeaPad.  I have visions of getting a better camera for both filming YouTube videos and taking still photos considering how bad the webcam on my old laptop was.  i will still get a new, better webcam at some point.  But in the meantime, what i am currently working with is a big improvement.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Periodic Reminder

      One may insist the spirit of this post runs contrary to the general advice to “let dead leaves fall,” but I did vow months ago to make a periodic reminder of the status of my personal belongings. While it is important to let go of the little things, it is also important to keep your word. I weighed the two concepts and decided keeping a vow is more important under the circumstances. What good is a person who fails to keep his promises?
      You may recall when I intervened in the Darlington County sheriff's race I had been abandoned to a nursing home by Team Chavis while they kept all of my personal belongings, surrogate for the campaign said all of my belongings were actually boxed up. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows this claim is false. No reason exist to keep any of my stuff if Team Chavis has no intention of ever contacting me again. But I called their bluff and will continue to do so. I have friends in Hartsville who are willing to retrieve my stuff. All they need is the go ahead fro Team Chavis. It is a go ahead that will, of course, never come.
     This is the character of your new sheriff, Darlington. He does not care about doing the right thing. He only cares about the sense of self-worth he derives from wearing a uniform. I will continue to serve as a source of truth for this matter.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Top Ten Anti-War Songs

   “Orange Crush” is about a young football star who leaves the comforts of home to fight in Vietnam.  The song's title is a reference to Agent orange, a defoliant used by the Department of Defense which caused a large number of military personnel to develop cancer.
     While the song is a comment on the turmoil of the '60's in general, it is noted for the lyric “You're old enough to kill, but not for voting,' a reference to the draft age being eighteen, but the age to vote being twenty-one.
     It was originally intended to be about the witches' sabbath, a sort of Christmas for Satanists, but "War Pigs” evolved into an angry anti-war anthem that established Black Sabbath as one of the first and biggest heavy metal bands.
     “Zombie” is generally considered out of place in the Cranberries list of songs, but the aggressive tribute to Jonathan Ball and Tim Barry, two young boys killed in an IRA bombing, is still one of their best.
     “War” was originally performed by The Temptations, but Edwin Starr made it famous with his full blown, James Brown-like performance expressing all the anger the antiwar movement felt towards Vietnam. Do not even mention Jackie Chan.
     A song about the senselessness of war. Former soldiers often cite it as one of the most accurate depictions of how one feels in a war zone.
     “Born in the USA” is often mistaken as a patriotic song. In reality, the lyrics tell the plight of broken veterans who return home from war unable to adjust to society.
     “One” is based on the Dalton Trumbo novel Johnny Got His Gun about an American soldier severely wounded by a land mine during World War I. He is still alive, but cannot communicate with the hospital staff who believe he is brain dead. The ethereal song is made even more haunting with clips from the movie version of the novel interspersed throughout the music video.
     Released in December 2002 when the country was gearing up for the spring invasion of Iraq, the song tells the story a of young, lonely draftee who strikes up a continuing correspondence with a high school girl as he progresses through his Vietnam experience. The letters stop coming, and the girl learns he has been killed. The song is the sixth and final number one hit for the Dixie Chicks. In March 2003, lead singer Natalie Maines announced to a concert crowd in London she was ashamed President George W. Bush was from her home state of Texas.The backlash caused radio stations to stop playing their songs. The Dixie chicks' career has never recovered.
     Is there a film set during the Vietnam War that does not feature “Fortunate Son?” I think it is prerequisite. Inspired by the children of the elites earning draft deferments or choice positions in the military while regular young men were sent to war, the song is about how others suffer for the war conducted by the powerful.  

A Little More Gravel in My Soul

     No worries, though. A little gravel in the soul is what gives you your grit. One cannot survive in such a soul crushing world without it. Speaking of soul crushing, I am hoping august puts force less of an effort to do my soul in than July's effort. People presumably going crazy from the heat is getting hard to take. t traditionally being the hottest month of the year, look out!
     On a more positive note, I am still breaking in my new IdeaPad, laptop but I like it so far. The high contrast lettering on large keys spread far apart makes typing without all the errors that come with clumsy fingers and poor eyesight much easier. Maybe once I get all the million and a half things I want set up correctly, I can actually do some extensive writing.
     I need to stop getting distracted by all the frivolous cosmetic stuff and get to putting more serious thoughts on paper. I have been restless lately, yet continually dragging my feet instead of writing what is on my mind. It is probably why I have posted so much music here lately even though what I have chosen to post does not make much observable sense. I am working on it, folks. Give me time.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I Am Now the Proud Owner of a New Laptop

    In addition to the most important part of enjoying a day with a close friend, yesterday saw the completion of another goal—I now have a new laptop! I had been stashing away cash for many months now in anticipation of the inevitable day when my old laptop gave up the ghost. My machines suffer heavy use. They usually fail me sometime in their third year. My previous laptop is about two and a half years old now. It was also becoming cranky, if I mat get all technical on you. Salvation came in the form of a windfall, so I bought a new laptop before my old one died.
    There is no way to convey how fortunate I am with that, either. The internet has gone down for as long as a weekend before, and I wound up claiming the walls. Tech addicted does not begin to adequately describe me. I would go bonkers if I was forced to wait any period of time for either repairs or a replacement if my laptop died. I have switched over to the new one and sent the old into semi-retirement to return should circumstances warrant.
   The new one is working out well for me. It features the same RAM and memory—enough to run the internet, a Word document, and music simultaneously with no slowness—but it is more suited to my visual impairment. There is a larger screen. The keys are also larger, more spaced out, and have bigger lettering. I have already noticed I am making far less typos than before because it is easier for me to hit the proper key and the proper key only. There was much frustration with typing before. I resigned myself to it, but now that is not necessary. Perhaps the easier time writing with encourage steadier blogging.
      If you would like some advice, swallow your pride and buy your laptop from Wal-Mart instead of Best Buy or Staples. My new laptop is a brand name Lenovo Thinkpad. Even with the two year warranty I purchased along with it, I still saved well more than I would have buying the same laptop from a specialty electronics store and I still did not purchase the cheapest brand name laptop Wal-Mart carried. There were two other more high end offerings, but they were suited for gaming and heavy video editing, two activities I am not going to engage in.
     I am obviously enjoying my new laptop so far. All the most important stuff has been set up. I am going to take the slow route to transferring about 11 GB of files from the old to the new via flash drive. Goggling how to use a Wi Fi connection between two laptops was enough to scare me off trying it, so it is going to be done the manual way. Ditto with all the bookmarks from Chrome. There are all on a text file sitting in my Gmail inbox to be transferred the hard way. So I am going to be busy for a while. But it is a happy busy.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Windfalls & Bonuses

     I was fortunate enough to enjoy a windfall a couple weeks ago. My luck still being its usual ornery self, a couple complications came along about the same time. There is no sense in dwelling on those since they are water under the bridge. The important part is I still got my windfall to enjoy.
   Enjoy it I did. My friend Courtney came to spend the day shopping with me and basically joining me out and about on the town. Because life gets in the way, we had not been able to hang out since December. Good shopping. Good food. Good company. One cannot ask for much more.
     The above photo was taken at the end of the day. Yes, my hair is that much of a mess. The back curls naturally, too.   

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Future Will Look Much Like the Past

     Human frailty will always be of more consequence than the

power of technology.