Posts Tagged ‘information’

To Do or Not to Do: Birthday Blog, 2018

February 23, 2018

My birthday blog for last year is here. I have a new birthday today.

I’ll start with some music – it’s Winter – and some quotes to set the tone for this piece which could go anywhere, hang on . . .

Takako Nishizaki: Very Best of Vivaldi, “Four Seasons, Winter (Largo)”

This BrainyQuote’s page has a wealth of quotes that relate either directly or in some weird, tangential way to this birthday blog. I started reading some of the quotes after doing the search on Shakespeare’s famous quote, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” which is the hook for the rest of this creative dissertation. I’ll explain more in a minute. Check out Jean-Luc Godard’s quote, “To be or not to be. That’s not really a question.” All you ex-English majors, like me, and grammarians should get a chuckle out of it. And check out Chuck Palahniuk, wow, some powerful, some witty, some head-scratcher quotes. By the way, his birthday is February 21, two days before mine. I should find him on Facebook and wish him a belated Happy Birthday. I’m not sure I can compete with the wisdom in some of the quotes, but as I get back on track here, maybe some of it will make sense to you. Nobody has quoted me yet.

To Do or Not to Do

Many weeks ago I got the idea for this blog. I started a draft on paper – I do that a lot as do many famous writers. Not that I’m famous, but John Le Carre’ is famous and well-published. I was just listening to his latest novel today, A Legacy of Spies. I watched a 60 Minutes interview with him several weeks ago. He lives in England in a remote place called Land’s End and has a separate little house where he writes his books in longhand. His wife types and edits his manuscripts. I thought that was extremely cool.

Back on Track

If you look at the “intro” parts of this blog, Looking for a Rufous, you may have picked up on the whole Rufous thing. Looking for things in life that really, really provide meaning and fulfillment, rather than just “living.” Also, there’s a great quote in Me and My Blog, probably my favorite quote, that says it all in my opinion. Of course, like someone said, if you already know the answer, don’t ask the question. Maybe you’ve figured it out already. Power to you, go for it, I’m perfectly fine with not perpetuating the search for meaning.

Takako Nishizaki: Very Best of Vivaldi, “Four Seasons, Spring (Allegro)”

An Average Day

Early morning sun (unusual for us in our Oregon winter) coming through the living room window, the dogs horsing around, listening to a Chicago song, “Wake Up Sunshine”, feeling good, an upbeat start to my day. I hope your day started on an upbeat note. But not every day starts that way, some days are more of a struggle. More caffeine, doesn’t help. Does that sound familiar? Such is life, eh, ups and downs, it’s normal. But what about the “baseline” parts of your life, the ongoing efforts that help you transcend the temporary mood swings and dark days? Is your baseline OK?

Tom Robbins: “To be or not to be isn’t the question. The question is, how to prolong being.”

I look at the best-selling authors, the scientists who discover cures for diseases, the athletes who strive to do their best, the volunteers who stack sandbags to stop the flood waters, and the others who strive to do things beyond themselves – I look at them in awe, admiring what they do. I’m not saying that being average is bad or that winning second place is not something to be proud of. You were there, that’s what counts.

N. Tonchev, Montana Chamber Orchestra: “Four Seasons, Summer (Presto)”

Parting Words on Starting this New Year (for me)

  • For this year, my plan is to try to stay healthy. If you’re active doing stuff, that’s a great place to start.
  • Do new things like meditation, early in the day. Even if it’s only 5 minutes, just relax, clear your thoughts, and focus on your breathing.
  • Journal, listen to music, watch the birds, cook dinner, talk to your kids or your friends or your dog (you’d be surprised how good a listener a dog can be).
  • Get involved, open up your mind and figure things out by relying on good, solid information. Segue to the Imprimis site, check it out, pick an area that interests you. I love the latest one, Are We Free to Discuss America’s Real Problems?.

More to come in the next blog.

N. Tonchev, Montana Chamber Orchestra: “Four Seasons, Autumn (Allegro)”

Always Pictures

 

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Hillsboro: A Photo Essay

July 11, 2017
The Who: Sparks (Tommy the Rock Opera)

A Rufous Respite from Serious Topics

I can’t say there was a specific reason why I chose Hillsboro, Oregon as a site for a photo essay, but I was there, and I did have my camera. Also, I was feeling great after a 60-minute deep tissue massage, which I got in Hillsboro. I just felt like taking pictures.

Rather than give you a lot of history in this blog, I’m including this Wikipedia link. Just a side-note, according to Wikipedia, Hillsboro pre-dates Portland. Anyway, check out the Wikipedia info, pretty interesting history. Now for some pictures and more music.

 

Huey Lewis and the News: Back in Time (from Back to the Future soundtrack)

 

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A Few Quotes to Get You Going

Carli Lloyd (American athlete), for anyone who has been through injuries:
“It’s always hard to deal with injuries mentally, but I like to think about it as a new beginning. I can’t change what happened, so the focus needs to go toward healing and coming back stronger than before.” Read more at BrainyQuotes.
Anonymous quote (on a mural in the swimming area at my gym, short, to the point, love this quote):
“Before you can accomplish something, you must expect it of yourself.”
Rachelle Mandik (Reader’s Digest, July/August 2017), puns are very cool:
“Sometimes I just want to go live in the woods and meditate, but other times I think that’d be Thoreauing my life away.”
Jonathan Winters, comedian (Reader’s Digest, July/August 2017):
“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.”

 

 

Journalism 201: Part II

June 29, 2017

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See the note about the picture at the bottom.

Looking Back: What Happened at Crystal City? (Part I)

If you’re a reader of my blog, you may remember this Journalism 101 post from last year, a four-part series about Crystal City. If you missed it, you should check it out. A lot has happened in our world in the last year, and this blog has been stewing and simmering in the pot.

As a Journalism major in college I learned a few things about that whole process of gathering information. However, now I’m more concerned about how we as individuals interpret and react to information and the apparent trends that I see. I’ll try to focus on what’s been on my mind.

What’s the Point?

Without getting into a discussion about “fake news” and “real news” and all the different varieties of “media”, I’ll just throw some ideas and questions your way.

Would you say that social issues should be examined on a purely emotional basis or should rational and logical thought be involved?

It’s always good to vet your sources. As you know, because of the Internet, finding information is surprisingly easy.

Definition of “vet” (quoted from Merriam-Webster)
  1. To subject to usually expert appraisal or correction, e.g. vet a manuscript.
  2. To evaluate for possible approval or acceptance, e.g. vet the candidates for a position.

Randy Newman: Sigmund Freud’s Impersonation of Albert Einstein in America

Back on Track: Alternate Sources of Information

I’m throwing this blog installment out there as food for thought. Just a note about a web site that I found that (in my opinion) is a very good one, Hillsdale College. I receive and read the free monthly Imprimis digest. You also can sign up for the digest (and contribute to the college as I do). I included the Hillsdale College web site because the articles will give you a different perspective on some of the major issues – the questions about Syrian refugees, what is conservatism, the left’s war on free speech, etc.

Be forewarned that the Imprimis installments are well written but are not light reading and require some mental effort to absorb what the writer is saying. I’ll touch on and summarize some of their past topics.

Note that I don’t expect you to read all of these web articles, although you may find them very interesting, and even the sidebar articles are interesting if not controversial, e.g. the soapboxie site.

Another source: soapboxie.com

What Has Happened to Truth in Journalism?

A Real Need for the Real News

Before I get to some summaries of the Imprimis articles, I’ll throw in my “two cents worth”.

My Two Cents Worth – Some Things to Think About

Side note: In defining “media”, think of how we get our information, broadcast news, newspapers, social media (Facebook, etc.), TV shows, radio, and the Internet.
Don Henley: Dirty Laundry

Here are a few questions (rhetorical) to ask about using the media and becoming responsible users of the media.

  • Should we avoid all media sources?
  • Use mainstream media (Fox, CNN, and CBS) or try to find alternate sources of information?
  • Isn’t it more responsible to react to news by thinking rationally and logically rather than emotionally?
  • Should we be accountable for our own actions/reactions to the media?
  • Should we expect the media to be totally unbiased in their news reporting?

Imprimis Digest

As I said before the Imprimis Digest installments are not light reading, but I’ve made some notes, and I’ll try to give you the high points. Obviously, feel free to make your own interpretations and form your own opinions. I’m quoting the Imprimis summary statement next to the title on the web page for each Imprimis piece. Note the number of installments, all the way back to 1972.

Restoring America’s Economic Mobility (September 2016)

“Today the story of American politics is the story of class struggles. It wasn’t supposed to be that way.”

In Frank Buckley’s opening paragraph he talks about Marx and puts a historical frame around his subject. If you are a person interested in economics and like numbers and details, you’ll find this piece very interesting.

The author dives right into the meat of his article, discussing “economic mobility” in paragraph 4. There is a graph of the mobility rankings on page 2. Note that the U.S. and U.K. are rated low in mobility. He talks about education on page 3 and how we compare with Canada.

He touches on immigration briefly in one paragraph on page 3, “What abut immigration? Canada doesn’t have a problem with illegal aliens – it deports them”.

Who We Are as a People – The Syrian Refuge Question (October 2016)

“It is not beyond reason that a sovereign nation would be allowed to inquire whether the religious beliefs of an asylum seeker are compatible with the American constitutional order.”

A brief aside:
OK, take a break, inhale, deep breath, and ask yourself, “Why is the Rufous blog all of a sudden after all this time getting political, especially when I was so enjoying his pictures and music and his insights (nonpolitical) about life? Why am I now being asked to be accountable, to think about normal, every-day things in a different light and possibly make better decisions about issues that affect my life and the lives of others?”

More Imprimis

As I said above I’d try to give you the high points of the Imprimis pieces, and I do read them and use my highlighter and make notes sometimes, but to summarize all of that is very time consuming, so I’m leaving it up to you (isn’t there a song with those lyrics?). I.e. I won’t do the grunt work for you — if you’re interested in reading it, then the rest is up to you.

Thanksgiving and America (November 2016)

“The best expression of this aspect of Thanksgiving comes from Benjamin Franklin, who called it a day “of public Felicity,” a time to express gratitude to God for the “full Enjoyment of Liberty, civil and religious.”

A More American Conservatism (December 2016)

“If American conservatism means anything, then, it means the things found at the beginning of America, when it became a nation.”

I found this one very interesting because I know how we like our labels, “conservative”, “liberal”, etc., and this piece does a good job of explaining conservatism in its true sense.

The Left’s War on Free Speech (April 2017)

“In the weeks following the Citizens United ruling, the Left settled on a new strategy. If it could no longer use speech laws against its opponents, it would do the next best thing—it would threaten, harass, and intimidate its opponents out of participation.”

And last but not least and probably the most relevant piece to this blog . . . I love this one!

The 2016 Election and the Demise of Journalistic Standards (May/June 2017)

“Last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale—that most of what you read, watch, and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility.”

That’s it guys, for the Imprimis Digest, just a sampling. There may be a Part III for this topic (haven’t decided yet). I hope you found this information to be informative and enlightening.

BTO: Takin Care of Business
Picture credit: Schroders is a British multinational asset management company, founded in 1804. The inscription means “Evolve your investor nature.” Beyond that I don’t know the picture artist, but note that those are his hands in the picture. Very cool!

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