Monthly Archives: June 2012

Stupid and Evil: More Dumb TV


OK, Good Point, It’s all Pretty Much Dumb

I just found a very smart blog about the UFO phenomenon. 

http://badufos.blogspot.com/ reports on the TV show ‘Chasing UFOs” on the National Geographic Channel.  The show has the most ridiculous teaser video in the history of overblown reality TV. 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151821972270447

She really may be a talented and skeptical researcher in the field of UFOs. Some of the most expert investigators look good in a tank top.

There was a time when the History Channel had history, the channel that became Tru TV actually had shows with true things, and the name National Geographic stood for something.   Hey, I’m writing here.  Are you even reading this?  Jeesh!

Freedom of the Press When the Press is a Computer


Convicted Speedway bomber Brett Kimberlin

Update: Patterico has written a Reader’s Digest version of this story. 

It seems that blogging has grown up the the point where people are starting to notice — and that’s not always the best thing.  This new medium is being attacked by those whose names appear online.  Sometimes there might be a reason to limit a bloggers writing — defamation, harassment, falsehoods or incitements to violence.

On the other hand, I’ve writing about blogger Aaron Walker and his struggles with convicted Speedway bomber Brett Kimberlin.  In short, Walker wrote truthfully about Kimberlin’s past, encouraged others to do the same, and when Kimberlin took legal action Worthing wrote about that. Worthing was one of the group of people who were SWATTed, that is they were visited by police who thought a murder had been committed.  The main connection between SWATTing victims was criticism of convicted Speedway bomber Brett Kimberlin or his associates.  I’m not pointing fingers, just noting the amazing coincidences involved here.  Go to http://patterico.com/or http://theothermccain.com/ for nearly daily updates.  (I can never figure out that linking thing.  Sometimes I have it; sometimes I don’t.)

It’s not hard for me to see the heroes and villains in that story.  In some cases, it might be a tougher call.  Still, the First Amendment allows truthful writing which does not encourage violence.  Lawyers are free to correct me on the nuances of First Amendment law but I’ve been a reporter long enough to know that if you write the truth, and your subject is a public figure, you’re on solid ground.

Kimberlin has Worthing arrested, and the blogger was ordered to stop writing about Kimberlin.  Eventually a competent judge overturned the order.  Now Popehat reports about another case involving a woman who was charged in a hit and run:

http://www.popehat.com/2012/06/28/planet-valenti-muzzled-another-restraining-order-against-a-blogger/

Just as in the Walker case, a judge is restraining the blogger from writing about the subject of his previous stories; the judge also ordered previous writing pulled down from the blog.  So, don’t write about this person, and burn your old articles.

Note to Judges: Read the First Amendment and the Supreme Court’s decision involving the Pentagon Papers.  Bloggers might have the reputation of being pajama wearing amateurs, but they still retain the rights of all citizens.

Alexander’s Law of Dissimilarities


Alexander’s Law of Dissimilarities:  Just because something reminds you of a past event, that doesn’t mean the situations are actually similar.

 If every time I saw a priest with a cross I immediately thought of vampire hunters, it would be strange.  But if I actually thought the priest was a vampire hunter, then that would be dumb.  Things which remind you of other things are often unrelated.

 I still occasionally see commentators on the left say things like,” This harkens back to the days of…” or “This reminds me of…”  That’s just plain dumb thinking.

  • Not every investigation is a witch hunt. 
  • Sometimes a loop of rope is not really a noose. 
  • Not every southern preacher is Jerry Falwell, though your inexperience with southern preachers might make you think that way. 
  • If I wear a toga to a party and it reminds you of the Klan, you’re the one with the problem, not me.
  • The words “niggardly” and “niggling” don’t actually have anything to do with African-Americans.  I wouldn’t use those words (except as an example of the Alexander’s Law of Dissimilarities) just because they sound too close to something else, but if someone does, they are not being racist. 
  • If you use the word “cracker” to indicate a baked treat, I won’t feel offended. 
  • If the Boy Scouts of America  reminds you of the Hitler youth, you have to rethink your mindset. 
  • A well dressed, pretty conservative woman is NOT a brainwashed Stepford wife, even if they remind you of the movie. 

Related Links:

http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201006170017

http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=219633

In both of the above cases,  someone looked at a group of kids singing about things they believe in, and immediatly thought “Hitler Youth.”  One group of Obama fans, and another group of kids at a so-called “Jesus Camp.”   I didn’t view the videos, because I only care about the reaction to the videos.  This shows the intersection Godwin’s Law and Alexander’s Law of Dissimilarities.

Alexander’s Law of Evil and Stupidity


 Alexander’s Law of Evil and Stupidity: Of the two great negative forces in the world, stupidity will get you long before evil does.

 

In fact, evil sleeps late, avoids heavy lifting and finds a way to quietly enter your life.  Stupid is a common thing.  (I’m aware I used an adjective as a noun. Thanks.)

 

One of our great flaws is our inability to identify the things which are stupid.  We do this out of a false sense of politeness.  You have to be able to identify the things which are on the one hand stupid, and on the other hand destructive:

 Stupid is when hundreds of busses are left in parking lots and thousands are stranded in New Orleans as a slow-moving storm hits a city build below sea level, and next to a huge lake.

 

Stupid is when NASA sends a multimillion-dollar probe to Mars, but somebody forgets to convert English standard measurement into metric, and the thing crashes.

 

Stupid is when the rights of a nation are stripped away in favor of not offending some portion of the population. 

 

Stupid is spending million dollars to stimulate the economy, and then discovering that the global economy is at risk because of government debt.

 

Stupid is parking your entire Pacific Fleet in a harbor, while participating in tense diplomacy with a country with an excellent navy. 

 

Stupid is assuming that terrorists are the same as bank robbers or soldiers. 

 

Stupid is deciding that the phrase “right to bear arms” really doesn’t mean the right to have, hold, possess or keep weapons. 

 

Stupid is claiming that the First amendment was designed to limit religion, and to prevent people from being offended by religion.  Freedom for religion is not the same as freedom from religion.

 

Stupid is letting people push you around just because they say they are offended.  You know what offends me?  People flying planes into buildings full of people.  That offends me.

 

Stupid is judging people by the color of their skin or the type of church they attend.  InAmerica, we used to break God’s law by giving advantages to people based upon their color or tribe.  If we agree that is wrong, then please don’t ask me the color of my skin when I apply for a grant, loan or job.

 

Stupid is designing a computer system which identifies me, pulls an exact amount of money from my bank account based on my purchases, but that same system can’t remember if I speak English.

 

Stupid is asking me to press “one” for English. Let the other guy press a number for his language.  I was here first, and I speak the language of the nation.

 

Stupid is putting signs in hardware stores identifying items in the language of the immigrant.  I think every carpenter needs to know the name of his tools in the dominant language.  Same for the words “enter,” “exit,” and “bathroom.”  If I planned to stay in a country for any period of time, I’d learn those words right away.

 

Stupid is calling a white person racist for having an opinion about a black politician or public servant. 

 

Stupid is thinking that there are two sides to every story, and each is morally equivalent to the other.  Tell that to the Jews at Auschwitz and the people in the towers.

 

 

 

 

 

Dennis Ryan


A quick story about somebody I worked for twenty years ago.  Dennis Ryan was the General Manager of Adirondack Radio in Lake Placid, NY.  In those days I was  hotshot newshound.  When I interviewed with Dennis, and Program Director Bob Selleck, two questions stood out.

“So, where to you want to be in five years?” 

I pointed to Selleck. “I want his job.  But I want him to have a better job.”  That answer probably sealed the deal.  Next question:

“Do you drink beer?”

My answer?  “Sure, you got any?”  Dennis gave me a loud laugh that sounded like it came from a barrel.  I got the job.

One day he came in the studio frantic to get a lost dog report on the air.  Dennis loved doing that kind of thing.  I introduced Dennis, and pushed the button which I thought would turn on Dennis’ microphone.  It instead lit up a satellite medical show. 

“Ladies and gentlemen, General Manager Dennis Ryan of Adirondack Radio with an important announcement”

“Testicles”  Dr. Dean Edell said one word before I flipped the switch and turned on the guest mic.

“Folks, we got a lost dog…”

Dennis wasn’t wearing  headphones.  He had no idea.  I imagined people all over town wondering why Dennis said,”testicles” on the radio. Years later when I told him that story, he laughed that big laugh.

I learned more in that year than I can say here.  When money was short, and my car broke down, Dennis took money from his own pocket.  Winter came, my jacket wasn’t up to the task, and Dennis took me to get a parka.I enjoyed many, many beers with the Adirondack Radio Good Guys. 

I also learned how to make a radio station the center of a community.  Dennis broadcast from garage sales, fire department fundraisers and took the fire truck out to schools dressed as Santa.  Dennis put on the 4th of July fireworks shows in Lake Placid – literally settig up and launching the pyrotechnics.  Years later,  Dennis spearheaded the effort to repair and relight the Olympic Torch.

It’s been twenty years; I worked for Dennis about a year.  Still, barely a day goes by that I don’t apply a lesson he taught.  He insisted the Good Guys pushed in their office chairs, worked hard, and enjoyed the most beautiful place on earth, the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks. The picture on my blog heading is from Dennis’ facebook page. 

A few weeks ago Dennis ended his own life.  He was healthy, well-respected in his community, and married to a wonderful woman who loved him.  Still loves him. And yet he gave it all up. 

I don’t know why.  I’ve given up trying to figure it out.  But let me tell you this.  I know there’s just about no price I wouldn’t pay to hear that laugh again, and to know that Dennis was there.

Dennis Ryan was 58.

An update: I remembered that there is a video of Dennis talking about his father who was a Pearl Harbor survivor.   The first part (the sailor introducing Dennis)  has poor sound, but when Dennis starts talking, the audio is super clear (so don’t turn it off right away!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAAFg-EdbR0

Non Sequiturs


Random thoughts which are connected to nothing except my brain:

I was once a member of a Christian singing group called “The Abstinence Quartet.”  We added two extra singers, and had to disband.

I really didn’t know that “disband” would end up being a play on words there.

A typical Conversation at home:

  • My wife: I’m cold.  
  • Me: Honey, you’re  not cold.  You can be distant at times, and a bit hypercritical.  But I wouldn’t call you cold.   
  • My wife: You’re an idiot.  Get me a blanket.  

Somewhere in Qatar, there is a bowling alley. I hope it’s called the Qatar Lanes.  Unless it’s supposed to be pronounced the other way, in which case put a joke here about Qatar Hero.

Yemen has an active cricket league.  That’s nice.  I like Yemeni Cricket.

My daughter and I once did a school report on the Island Nation of Zambon.  It’s where ice maintenance equipment is constructed.  She included a salt map and a drawing of the Zamboni flag.  She got an A. 

Keith Morrison of Dateline NBC has the single creepiest voice of any human being. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHW5wSUr9ks&feature=related

When I die, I want an open casket.  From the waist down.  Keith Morrison can do the eulogy. 

Nobody ever died doing what they loved.   People sometimes die when they screw up doing something they love.  

If Ted Kennedy had just been in the bathroom with Whitney Houston, she’d be alive today.  Oh.  Yeah.  Nevermind.