Saturday, January 19, 2013

Farewell To A Fine Friend

I bring sad news today.

The only and official dog mascot for this blog, Sophie, has passed away. Full name, Sophie Belle Mooney, was rescued from a California animal shelter in the early days of this century by her devoted owner, aka The Editor, and was eventually brought to east Tennessee in 2005, when I was first introduced to her.

A few samples of the adventures she and I shared are part of this blog's history, and the image of her below has been seen and shared around the globe. The picture captures some of her inquisitive and sweet nature, and is emblematic of the deeply personal connection she could make.

I am but one of many uncles and other extended family members for Sophie and count myself enriched for such a connection. There are many tales I might tell, but decided to mention just one today.

On many occasions I took naps with Sophie and they were quite fantastic. Like many of us, I have often relaxed and reclined with dogs and cats but with Sophie there was this quality that what we were doing was linked to an ancient connection between humans and dogs, a wordless bond, a relationship which brought a greater quality of life to us both.

And you, dear reader, either know what I am talking about or you do not, and if not you need to seek out the experience and marvel at what it means.

I join with many, many others who both mourn her loss and celebrate her life. I know there is an inconsolable grief for The Editor now, and some joy for the time which was shared. Enormous thanks to The Editor for introducing us.

Peace dear Sophie. And thank you, too.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fake Girlfriend, Media FAIL, Football and Being 'Catfished'

Moving at Internet speed yesterday, the Sports website Deadspin revealed Notre Dame's football hero Manti Te'o did not actually have a girlfriend whose romance and sudden death made international news.

The in-depth and riveting story on Deadspin prompted the college, Te'o and the nation's into a scramble of explanations.

The fact is every media outlet failed to confirm the stories they sold as inspirational - the New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, ESPN, CBS, and many more all got caught short.

The "Catfish" phenomena is growing.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gun Myths Present And Past

I watched in amazement a C-Span coverage of a public hearing on gun violence aired this weekend recorded in Santa Rosa, CA.

For about 2 and a half hours a large number of half-truths and bizarre claims of impending doom and conspiracy were expressed by average folks - claims about secret CIA projects using laser mind control devices to create deranged killers who are used to promote gun restrictions was one such theory, and more were also offered.

Not all claims were so bizarre but often the comments were based on errors and emotions rather than reality.

A Tennessee man who claimed to be a "tactical security expert" got his gun permits revoked after posting a video online warning he'll kill folks who might seek ownership restrictions. Oh, his "training" isn't actually certified by anyone. Just another maniacal mythmaker.

Gun myths are common though the anger aimed at any who might challenge the myths uncommonly powerful.

Southern Beale points out a few of them, including the nature of some "training" classes:

"The classes I took taught me almost nothing about how to defend myself with a gun. One, taught by a man who said he refuses to get a carry permit because “I don’t think I have to get the government’s permission to exercise my right to bear arms,” packed about twenty minutes of useful instruction into four long evenings of platitudes, Obama jokes, and belligerent posturing. “The way crime is simply out of control, you can’t afford not to wear a gun all the time,” he told us on several occasions."

More mythical history pointed out here.

It will be ridiculously tough to enact common sense gun laws since it appears there is a stunning lack of reality among all the myths.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Everything You Thought Was True Isn't

Being wrong is easy. Often we "learn" the wrong information, or just interpret our experiences through a dim understanding of the world. It happens to all of us. Some folks are confessing online to the things they misunderstood and it makes for such fun reading:

"I thought veterans were "veterinarians" and when walking through NYC in the 80s, seeing tons of "former vet, please help" signs really made me wonder why animal doctors kept falling on hard times.

"I have a friend who one day, in our 20s, said, "Oh my god, I just figured something out! U-Haul is U-Haul because YOU HAUL your own stuff!" We still laugh about that.

"I just found out at the age of 31 that pickles are cucumber. : <

I wrote "for all intensive purposes" in dozens of essays throughout middle school, high school, and college, and no teacher ever corrected me. (They just gave me A's on all of the essays.) It took until the
age of nineteen, when my boyfriend finally corrected me, to realize that I had been saying and writing the phrase completely wrong for my entire life."