Monthly Archives: April 2013

Bots Not to Like?

I’ve been on a bit of a self-imposed break from blogging while I attend to other matters…life, more specifically. Work, school, the search for new work, kids, you know…the fabric of our lives.

But while I’ve been gone, at any given time of the day I look at the screen of my IPhone (with my nifty WP app installed) and find that, gee yet another adoring admirer has made the wise choice to follow my blog. Isn’t it astounding that at least 5-10 folks a day have decided that my blog is something they can’t live without…even while I’m not posting. In fact, specifically while I’m not posting.

While my ego is fighting oh so hard to believe that somewhere, one of my posts was published elsewhere and it is drawing this unprecedented attention to my blog, the cynic in me is prevailing.

I read briefly somewhere recently where a number of WP accounts were hacked and bots were raping and pillaging WordPress land. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m pretty uneducated when it comes to all things hacking, spamming, phishing and botting, but how else can I explain the proliferation of adulation from folks who’s primary language consists of characters…or a whole lot of folks from overseas who seem to find my blog in the middle of the night.

Part of me is selfishly digging the sudden surge in followers, as if by displaying a larger following will somehow lend credibility to the drivel I produce at this keyboard, but the other, shall we say, more sober side of me is greatly disappointed that these folks (bots) are not following me for my actual content.

Oh well, I guess in this day and age of Fox News and CNN and their brand of “Breaking News”, I should embrace the faux followers as actual substance…but…just like Fox and CNN it ultimately leaves an acrid taste in my mouth.


Pressorism in Boston

BlackBox

I typically illustrate my posts with an image representative of the subject matter. There will be no graphic photos from the scene of today’s tragedy. Simply a black box.

The vermin, or the entity responsible for today’s murders wants you to see the graphic images.  They want you to remain glued to your television or computer, recoiling in horror at their “political” actions. And sadly, our so-called “journalists” are only too willing to accommodate these dark desires.

First things first. My heart and prayers go out to those physically and emotionally affected by today’s terrorist activity. It is simply unconscionable to me that a human being or a group of human beings could inflict this type of violence on innocent people.

Secondly, and prescient to my post, we really have a limited view of what exactly happened today. We know there were at least two explosions at the end of the Boston Marathon. As of now we know three humans lost their lives, children included, and hundreds injured. Not to mention the emotional toll on those at the scene, both victims and first responders.

Terrorism defined: “the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion”.

It is critically important to put this incident in perspective, and from the limited information we have, it is virtually impossible to do so. What we can say with confidence is that the leading media outlets, with some notable exceptions (WBUR to name only one), embarked on a reflexive, almost Pavlovian orgy of misinformation in the minutes and hours following the explosions.

“Saudi man arrested”. “Suspect being guarded by SWAT team at hospital”. “Multiple unexploded devices found”. “Third explosion at JFK Library”.  And so on…

“Pressorism”. I define it as the systematic infliction of terror by unethical journalistic organizations.

A year or so from now we will be able to look back on this event with something close to sober reflection. It will be in context with the events of the day and their correlation to events in our world. Today, it was a frenzy of pressorism…media outlets carelessly feeding into the fear.

The fear these sociopaths were counting on.

 


In Those Last Minutes of Life…

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(My son and his girlfriend before their prom last night. I didn’t include a picture of my daughter because she’s across the country at college and I don’t have any recent pictures)

In my former career, I’ve had the honor, sometimes sad, often poignant, of witnessing the last moments of countless human being in their last conscious moments on Earth.  Some struggled, others screamed in pain, but several were at peace.

I’ve often wondered what my last few moments will be like.  What will I think of?  Will my life flash before my eyes? Will I be glad that I made of lot of money and had cool houses and cars? Or will I think of my kids?

I already know the answer…not because I’ve experienced it (although I have had two near-death experiences in dreams so profound, that I’m certain they were celestially-inspired and will be exactly the “calm” I’ll feel) but because at my core, there is one primary need: that my kids are safe and healthy.

There have been three deaths within the last three weeks of men and women the same age as my kids.  One died after falling off a cliff at a party spot at UCSB; I don’t know whether drugs/alcohol was a factor. Another occurred early last week when a 19 y/o male, high on ecstascy, crashed his car head on into another car, killing his passenger, a recent alumni of my kids school. And finally, a day later, a young man my son’s age died as the result of an overdose.  Three dead, two as the direct result of drugs, third to be determined.

I’ve shared somewhat here about my recovery from alcoholism, but more importantly I’ve shared my experience with my kids…in detail.  I’ve included them in my journey, we have frank and open discussions about drugs and alcohol.

I have no idea what the future holds for either of my kids, but I know it is bright…one in college, one college-bound and stressing like crazy about getting into a good university, which I believe he will.

In those last few moments of my life, as the otherworldly peace that I experienced in my dreams envelops me, I believe I will enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that I had a profound and positive impact on the lives of my kids.  I certainly couldn’t provide them with the things I wanted to financially, but as of this moment..right now…I believe they are on the path to leading lives I could only have dreamed of.  And I am proud of the part I played in that…proud beyond measure.

I mention this not to toot my own horn, or break my arm patting myself on the back. I mention it because there are plenty of times where I feel sorry for myself that I’ve lost some things financially and am not currently able to provide for them financially like I used to…but during my “used to” times…I didn’t even know my kids, and can barely recall those times, as my brain was fogged and my soul was wrapped up in the disease of “me-ism”.

So yeah…well done me…not for making my kids into awesome individuals, but for having the instincts to get the hell out of the way, and provide them with a safe emotional path the last few years to become the superstars the are becoming.

Nice job…et al.


It’s Hockey…eh?

As I write this, I’m watching the Los Angeles Kings take on the Dallas Stars on television.

At age 52, I still consider myself a Southern California kid.  In the mid 70’s when I was in high school…I played hockey–on ice. That was unheard of in those days and it was strictly an underground enterprise for the most part.  This was pre-Gretzky mind you.  I loved to play, and to this day treasure every one of those moments.  For a relatively shy kid who wasn’t part of the “in-crowd”, ice hockey provided me with a HUGE dose of self-confidence.  In fact, this shy kid ended up leading the league (Orange County to Santa Barbara) in penalty minutes for fighting.

My dad had a client who’s company had season seats to Kings games, and this guy used to offer me seats on a regular basis.  I saw probably 40-50 home games at the Fabulous Forum back in the day…the days of Rogie Vachon, Marcel Dionne, Dave Hutchinson, and a rookie named Dave Taylor.  My dad and I frequently went to games together…another cherished memory.

Sports affects all of us differently. Some people have no connection, while for others it becomes a way of life. For me, sports and ice hockey specifically, became an important fabric of my life.

Last year, as the Kings began their run for the Stanley Cup, something they had not done in over 40 years, I decided to surprise my son and get us tickets to a Western Conference Playoff game against Phoenix, costing me a small fortune.  The game ended up being the only home game the Kings lost but the game itself was an unqualified success…my son and I had a blast.  I hadn’t been to a Kings game in a long time and as they came out onto the ice to the roar of the sell-out crowd, I desperately fought the urge to break down into a puddle of sobbing goo.  It was hard enough to hide the tears streaming down my face.  He asked me if we could go to another game this year for his birthday…I couldn’t get the tickets fast enough.

The Kings won the Cup that year…I watched on TV and let it all go at that moment.  A man in his 50’s literally…and I mean literally sobbing uncontrollably as I watched my beloved Kings hoist the cup.

It happened again last night.  If found this video and turned into a sobbing mess once again.

It’s funny what things unleash the faucet, but the LA Kings…my connection to hockey and my childhood, inevitably inspire the waterworks.  Bubba Watson lost it during a press conference leading up to the Masters today…relax Bubba…I get it.


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