Friday, August 9, 2013

Thoughts from the Easily Distracted

Internet browsing can be very productive when searching for specific information or a certain product.  Enter a few key words into the search box of your preferred search engine.  Or in short: Google it.

I needed to find an old technical book last week and I entered the title and author and quickly found three sources for this book through a Google search.  I had a lottery ticket sitting around for a few weeks and wanted to check to see if it was a winner.  Google Texas Lottery and bingo a link to winning numbers showed at the top of the list.  Quick and productive answers to exact questions are the norm for Google (and other search engines).

But when casually “surfing the net” distractions can quickly cause the surfer (me) to follow various related and other not so related links and go wildly off course.  My interest in local examples of street or public art started me on a wandering course last week after seeing a newspaper story about a trio of new murals in San Antonio.  It started with a Pinterest search for “street art San Antonio.”  I found a picture of a piece of art under a bridge.  My eye caught a glimpse of a “stereotype map of the world.”  Then on that website I found a stereotype map of the United States. I downloaded images of both maps and went to creator’s web page and saw numerous other maps and projects by the artist.  

Alpha Designer Map of USA

Thoughts of the novel The Ugly American popped into my head.  My mind was off on another direction for the moment.  Perhaps I’ll get a copy and reread it.

From this rambling process about stereotypes I created a rough outline for a blog about stereotypes.  Find a definition, examples, read a story or two about recent public cases and remember my own experiences, both being stereotyped and a user of stereotypes and put these ideas to paper (digital paper).  Neither personal experience was very pleasant.  Soon this draft reached a block that I think I could overcome if I wanted to get serious.  Serious is not my nature, I tend to be more casual and I definitely don’t take myself serious to point of preaching to other people on what to do.  So a blog on stereotype went into my to-do list for future blogs.

Then a story appeared TV:  Newark's listing as the world’s most unfriendly city.  My hometown made the news!  It is common knowledge that TV news is abbreviated so I went to the Internet to find out more, find the truth.  Newark is the most unfriendly city in the world.  46,000 people were surveyed and my hometown is on the top of a list, just ahead of Islamabad.  I am so pumped.  NUMBER ONE!  WE’RE NUMBER ONE.


This explains two important personal matters to me.  I know how the title of my unpublished novel, Far from Newark, formed in my mind.  Now would be a perfect time to finish the novel and capitalize on the Newark publicity.  Timing is everything.  NUMBER ONE BEST SELLER ABOUT THE NUMBER ONE UNFRIENDLIEST CITY:  Far from Newark.

As mentioned in previous blogs I am the proud owner of a numbers of signs that proudly proclaim me as a crab, gifts from my sons as acknowledgement of certain personality traits that they have assigned to me.  

My gift back to them is knowledge that the crab trait shouldn’t be passed to them, it is environmental, not genetic.  But don’t stereotype people from Newark as crabby; we all know they are just unfriendly.

Additional Thoughts about Newark

Famous People from Newark 

Philip Roth, Stephen Crane, Jerry Lewis, Joe Pesci, Whitney Houston, Paul Simon, Aaron Burr, Ed Koch, H. Norman Schwarzkopt, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Christie, Ice-T, Queen Latifah: Source link.

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Friday, August 2, 2013

My Son is an Oxymoron

NPR recently posted an article that posed the question:  Should military chaplains have to believe in God?  A licensed minister (trained in a school of divinity) who lost his faith and is now a Humanist wants to serve as a Chaplin in the US military.  This question raises interesting questions in a nation that is split between people of various faiths and non-believers (in a supreme being).  I’ve heard the word Rabbi phrased as Jewish Rabbi; is there any other kind?  Perhaps yes, I think in old-time gangster terms rabbi could be meant as a teacher.  I am going off thought, back to my thoughts.

My blog steers clear of religion and politics and this post will be stand fast to that position.  But I love a good Oxymoron.  (Note previous sentence – stand fast).  Oxymorons can make us laugh, scratch our heads in confusion or just slip by without notice.  A Humanist Military Chaplin would do all three, the trifecta of language use.

What is an Oxymoron?  It is a figure of speech that utilizes contradictory terms together, such as: almost exactly, electric candles.  Our language usage is full of them.  We laugh when we hear military intelligence, especially if you have served in the military as an enlisted soldier.  Business ethics is a phrase that sounds noble but is even more absurd than military intelligence.  I always laugh when I hear, read or use “pretty ugly.”  Members of my generation know that rap music is definitely an Oxymoron, but how does that square with music awards for that genre of music.

The origin of the word oxymoron is strange.  Oxy is derived from the Greek word for sharp or keen.  Moron is dull.  Kind of reminds me of the terms dumb ass and smart ass, often used interchangeably.

One phrase that gives me serious pause is religious tolerance.  I can barely tolerate my own, much less someone ringing my bell at nine am on a Saturday morning.  How long does it take to become an instant classic? 

Could Ray Bradbury burn a digital book stored in the cloud?  

Similar to the Oxymoron use of words are quotes from Yogi Berra.  My favorites are: When you get to a fork in the road, take it; and you should always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise they won’t come to yours.  But my all time favorite is: It gets late early out there.

If you think you understood my blog then you clearly misunderstood me.

In the second paragraph I said I loved a good oxymoron.  My favorite Oxymoron is my oldest son shown below when he was a member of the Oxymoron Comedy Troupe in San Antonio (and has the tee shirt to prove it). 

My favorite Oxymoron is using his head, for laughs not intellectual activity

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