Posts Tagged ‘learning’

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!

Adam & Eve in Love!

March 31, 2017

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Tine Turner: What’s Love Got to Do with It?

The idea for this blog dawned on me in SoCal (southern California) on one of our many trips down to visit relatives and of course get away from the @#$%^&* rain for a few days – I do love that natural  vitamin D! One morning I was enjoying an early breakfast and reading the Wall Street Journal (provided by the hotel). In the “Review”, section was an essay written by Bruce Feiler. It was adapted from his forthcoming book (March 21), The First Love Story: Adam and Eve and Us.

By the way, my recommendation is that you read the article if you’re a WSJ subscriber, or just use this link and check out the video interview with Bruce Feiler. I think the essay is a very thought provoking piece, especially if you’re married and (hopefully) in love or perhaps recently fallen in love. Rather than get off on a side trail about my opinion of how important love is or what it means, I’ll just let Bruce Feiler’s ideas speak for themselves. I may summarize his ideas along the way. Also, if you have a Bible handy, it might help you to better understand if you read Genesis chapters 1 and 2 and for good measure 1 Corinthians 13 (the “love” chapter) in the New Testament. It’s a lot to digest, but I’ll provide some bullet points that might help.

Here’s a totally irrelevant (but wonderful) quote to get you started. I saw this on a napkin dispenser at MOD Pizza in Beaverton, Oregon on March 28th while I was eating my pizza, enjoying a beer, and making some notes in my blog notebook.

Bob Dylan, Poet Laureate and Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016:
“May you’re your heart be always joyful.
May your song always be sung.
And may you stay young forever.”
Karen O and the Kids: All is Love (from Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack)

Quoting from Bruce Feiler’s Essay

“In December 1867, Mark Twain was touring Jerusalem when he visited a room in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre identified as Adam’s tomb. He was overcome with emotion. ‘The fountain of my filial affection was stirred to its profoundest depths,’ he wrote. Twain became obsessed with his oldest ancestor, at one point urging planners in New York to replace the Statue of Liberty with a monument to Adam. He went on to write a half-dozen pieces about the first couple, including Extracts from Adam’s Diary and an Autobiography of Eve.”

“Adam, in Twain’s retelling, is initially uncomfortable with Eve. It used to be so pleasant and quiet here, he says, ‘I foresee trouble. Will emigrate.’ Eve is equally unimpressed with Adam. ‘He talks very little. Perhaps it is because he is not bright, and is sensitive about it.’ (who says Twain didn’t have a sense of humor!) But slowly the two come around. ‘I see I should be lonesome and depressed without her’, Adam says. Eve echoes his feelings: ‘I love him with all the strength of my passionate nature…It is my prayer, it is my longing, that we may pass from this life together.’”

Patti; Tuck & Patti: Love is the Key

Adam and Eve in love? Really? Who would think such a thing?”

Feiler goes on to say that several very famous people would agree that, yes, they were in love, and that, given the transitional state of the family for the last 30 centuries – major changes with high divorce rates, lifestyles in our hyperconnected world – maybe Adam and Eve could offer some guidance.

Some Bullet Points in Summary of Feiler’s Ideas

Obviously taken out of context (you really need to buy the book or get a copy of the WSJ essay), here are some more thoughts, quoted and/or paraphrased from the essay.

  • The first couple have been victims of a long campaign of character assassination. One reason is that we rarely read the opening chapters of Genesis with the idea that Adam and Eve might be in love. He goes on to explain this important point in detail.
  • Who is God’s chosen sex, man or woman? If you read and compare Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, the answer appears different. Feiler elaborates, then concludes by saying they are entirely equal.
  • In support of the equality idea, if you look at Michelangelo’s famous painting in the Sistine Chapel, it is Eve, not Adam and not God who occupies the exact center of the room. In the third panel, the two figures (Adam and Eve) reach together for the forbidden fruit. They are not estranged, they are partners.
  • Milton’s Paradise Lost was a step-by-step argument that Adam and Eve were equal.
  • In Shakespeare’s words, “Love is not avoiding conflict; it is about overcoming it”.
  • The most underappreciated aspect of Adam and Eve is how they continually return to each other after periods of separation. They start life united, then Eve goes off alone. She could remain apart but instead returns to Adam. Once out of Eden, they could split, but instead they stay together.
Beatles: And I Love Her

Some Final Thoughts

The Bible is the first to put a man and a woman at the start of the human line. God can’t procreate. He needs human partners – starting with Adam and Eve – for humanity to succeed.

Feiler concludes his essay by saying that the first couple struggled too, yet they found a way to heal their wounds and forgive their wrongs.

Some More Music

Eagles: Love Will Keep Us Alive (Hell Freezes Over album)
Del Shannon: Sea of Love (really old song)
Karen O and the Kids: Building All is Love (from Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack)

noah_loves_the_beach_cropped

Is It Time to Vote Yet?

October 25, 2016

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Rob Dougan: Furious Angel (music from The Matrix)

Do the Right Thing

What could be more timely and apropos than a blog about the 2016 national election, eh! I’ve been reading (actually listening) to a Tom Robbins book titled Tibetan Peach Pie (2014). What a treat! Long time since I read Another Roadside Attraction or Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. Robbins is 84 and living in La Conner, Washington, more or less in my neck of the woods.I only mention him because he was a newspaperman for many years and talked a bit about how much fun journalists have with writing headlines for their articles.

I was thinking about what the title for this piece should be:

  • Election 2016: Anyone Have a Good Write-in Candidate
  • Synonyms for the Word “Circus”
  • My Namesake (Bernie) Dropped Out of the Race – Dammit!

As an aside, let’s look at the word “circus” as in political circus. According to Merriam-Webster (MW) online one of its definitions is: “a place of uproar or confusion”. Some of the synonyms are:

“Babel, bedlam, madhouse, scrum (British), and three-ring circus”.

The Related Words are even more interesting and nonetheless applicable to what we, as Americans, have been subjected to in this election year:

“Bustle, commotion, pandemonium, racket, ruckus, tumult, turmoil, brouhaha, clamor, clatter, din, hubbub, noise; chaos, confusion, disarrangement, disarray, disorder, havoc, hell, mess, muss, shambles.”

I hear a voice saying, what’s the point. Be patient.

What’s My Take On It?

In the days when I was working in an office – I’m more or less retired now – I felt that my political and religious beliefs were personal and therefore not up for discussion or debate. Besides, have you ever noticed that when you discuss politics or religion with anyone, close relative, friend, or total stranger, the discussion is usually one-sided or unidirectional? The other person talks, stops talking, and you talk, but they’re not really listening to what you say, they’re thinking about what they want to say next to reinforce or emphasize THEIR point.

However, having said that, I think we all have a moral obligation to examine the issues and stick to our own beliefs. You may alienate or disagree with a friend or relative by taking a stand, but that shouldn’t matter. As someone once said, “do the right thing”.

To restate my main point, should we vote our conscience regardless of any distracting and probably very biased information about the issues and the persons for whom we are casting our votes? (Anyone know of a good write-in candidate for president?) Spoiler alert – beyond that last question, I’m not telling you who I’m voting for, as I said, it’s personal.

How Does One Make an Intelligent Choice?

I could do an entire blog on information sources, can you trust the media, etc. etc., but I’ll do that one later. In the following short list, I’m including links to an Oregon site (voter’s guide) and some non-local sites, including one about media. There is so much out there (in the internet universe), but obviously, not all sources will be trustworthy and/or unbiased.

A Few Sources You Can Look At

Oregon Family Council Voter’s Guide

League of Women Voters Education Fund (very informative and user friendly source of national election information)

Independent Online News Sources (good information about independent news sources)

A Closing Poem

This poem was sent to me by a close relative, it has nothing to do with politics, but take it to heart. This poem is best read outside, in a loud voice, with your arms out-stretched. Lowercase letters and punctuation were intentional by the poet. Enjoy.

e.e. cummings (1894–1962)
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening inimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
Canned Heat: Let’s Work Together

The Blogger’s Dilemma: What’s the Hook?

July 22, 2014

The “hook” is a journalistic reference to the part of an article that grabs and holds the reader’s attention. Without a hook, the article may only get skimmed or not read at all. The hooks for any of my blog posts hopefully will get your attention long enough to have you benefit from what is written, to learn something, or perhaps be entertained. That’s a tall order, and admittedly, sometimes I just write for the pleasure of writing. I do like poetry too, and dabble in it just for the fun of it.

Ferns proliferate.
Ferns are cool and lush.
Ferns catch the rain.
Ferns catch the wind.
Ferns catch the light.
Ferns are a green carpet.
Ferns take root.
Ferns fill the void in the earth.

Did I mention that this is also an experiment for me or better said an audience survey? I have always approached social media hesitantly thinking that I may not want the world to read my writings, baring my soul. Perhaps if my subject matter is consistently informative, inspiring, and entertaining, then it will have served a purpose, and I should not worry about baring my soul. So, I’ll go with that. I suppose “Rule#11” was an introduction to my blog, and this post sets the tone for future blogs.

I will end with some thoughts from a Silent Unity publication that I read every day. The following is an excerpt from the Daily Word reading, July 20, 2014. Actually, I’ll give you their definition of “affirmations” first.

“Affirmations are positive statements of Truth. Each time we pray affirmatively, we are lifted into a consciousness of Oneness, calling forth the divine activity within us.”

Here’s the affirmation for July 20th:

“Divine Order: I joyously participate in the orderly unfoldment of good.

Divine order is always at work. It is the eternal and exquisite process by which all things come into existence. My very life is evidence of the graceful movement of God.

Each one of us is an essential participant in Spirits orderly creation. We each have a role to play in the creative process – the dynamic and continuing manifestation of God’s infinite good.

I surrender to divine order by aligning myself with Spirit. Through a regular practice of prayer and meditation, I intentionally open my life as a channel through which God’s order, love, and light radiate into the world.”

The Bible verse given is Romans 1:20. My fingers are tired, so you’ll have to look that up. This was all of the July 20th reading, not just an excerpt.


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