Saturday, September 18, 2021

The (Dizz)Information Age

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay


This is: A weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted. Reading via monitor/tablet is recommended for maximum enjoyment.  

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. Intended for H. sapiens that are — in the words of the late, great bon vivant and polymath, Professor Y. Bear — "Smarter [and cooler] than the av-er-age bear." 
Glossary 

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlereader  

"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense." -Gertrude Stein


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

We're living in the dawn of the Dizzinformation Age and Houston, we have a problem. 

Thanks to the invention of the printing press, H. sapiens have been living in the Information Age for nearly 600 years. Thanks to Mr. Gutenberg, information was made accessible to, and affordable for, the masses.

According to Wikipedia: "In Renaissance Europe...The relatively unrestricted circulation of information and (revolutionary) ideas transcended borders, captured the masses in the Reformation, and threatened the power of political and religious authorities."


No shortage of both wonderful and terrible things resulted. However, the pace of change, which no doubt seemed overwhelming to many as the years rolled by and made collateral damage of many an innocent (and not so innocent) was glacial compared to the advent of the digital computer.

It's deja vu all over again — at the speed of light.   


Dana declaims with a  semi-passable imitation of a deep-voiced, portentous announcer. 

{THE MORE THINGS CHANGE THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME!}

Yeah... only much faster, and in greater volume. First, we got the bomb, now, we're subject to daily information bombing and the zeitgeist is saturated with dizzinformation fallout. There's so much information sloshing up against our psychic sandbags that a devastating flood seems imminent.

{Wait-wait-wait. Not everyone is a current events junkie like you. There are all sorts of people, some of whom you know personally, that aren't online or that don't even own smartphones.}  

True, however, with the possible exception of some soul wandering in the wilderness, subsisting on locusts and honey, and searching for God there's no way to avoid the downsides of the Dizzifnormation Age. 

{Speaking of which, have you heard about that new place near d'mall, John the B's, that features artisanal, locally sourced locusts and certified Fair Trade Certified™ honey?}

Those members of the bemused majority who get their information from traditional sources like television, radio, and (dead trees) newspapers, as well as those who consult social media, news websites, or news apps (a roughly 50/50 split), are hip-deep in dizzinformation. 

Uh-huh!/Nuh-uh! has infected more people than COVID-19 and Covid-19 junior.  

{Huh?} 

I refer to the COVID-19 variant as COVID-19 jr. 

Ain't you the clever little columnist! What's Uh-uh!/Nuh-uh!?  


Uh-huh!/Nuh-uh! is a potentially debilitating condition that can be triggered by too much contradictory information.

For example, suppose you're having a pointless argument, just for the fun of it, with a fellow gentleperson about a given sports superstar's particular statistic.

{Who are these people who argue for the fun of it? Don't they risk becoming sworn enemies and/or igniting a blood feud?}

No, but it's a dying art that would take another column to explain. Um... think of it as something people used to do before getting people fired up over anything and everything became a profit center for all sorts of enterprises. 

Anyways, there's a reasonable chance that a statistic like the one mentioned can be verified with both sides accepting the results of a minimal bit of research.

BIG BUT,

There's also a very good chance that when the Goog is consulted and 14,978,123 "hits" are returned, the seemingly hard statistic requested will be subject to the Uh-huh!/Nuh-uh! phenomenon.


Suppose the first hit says the answer to the question is the number 139. 

The second hit might claim that the number is actually 138 because Trump, systemic racism, global warming, steroids, and etceteroids. 

Uh-Huh!/Nuh-Uh!    

{I fail to see what the big deal is.}

If egged on by, say, a gaggle of inebriated companions, you had bet $100 that the number was 139, your _______ payment was due, that disturbing noise your car makes was getting louder, and your spouse/partner/whatever keeps track of every single one of your pennies I'll bet you would. 


Now, when it comes to slightly more important matters (the specific matter doesn't actually matter all that much) importance and anxiety are in the psyche of the beholder. My point is that the fires of uncertainty, fueled by too much (often contradictory) information and subject to bellows pumped by people and institutions motivated by profit and ideology, not the truth, is...

{Wow, that's an impressive paragraph!}

Right? Thanks, Dana.

{What the hell are you talking about?}

TMI x SIP = D

Too much information multiplied by self-interested parties creates dizzinformation.

{So, tell me doctor, what's the cure...}

For extroverts, I generally prescribe offline-generated music, food, friends, and appropriate beverages and/or controlled substances. 

For introverts, a good book (dead trees format recommended but not required) and a comfy chair will do. An appropriate beverage is optional. 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day


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Friday, September 10, 2021

The Billionaire Shortage

Image by Darkmoon_Art from Pixabay

This is: A weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted. Reading via monitor/tablet is recommended for maximum enjoyment.  

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. Intended for H. sapiens that are — in the words of the late, great bon vivant and polymath, Professor Y. Bear — "Smarter [and cooler] than the av-er-age bear." 
Glossary 

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlereader  

"When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is." -Oscar Wilde


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

According to a recent editorial in the mouthpiece of capitalist pigs everywhere, The Wall Street Journal. — Bernie Sanders Runs Out of Billionaires — there's a billionaire shortage.

Someone at The WSJ. noticed that according to Forbes's latest billionaires list, the US has 724 billionaires.

{You'd think there'd be more of 'em.}

Long story short, the editorial pointed out that if you add the cost of Uncle Bernie's (chairperson of the Senate Budget Committee) $3,500,000,000,000 budget proposal to Uncle Joe's $1,000,000,000,000 infrastructure plan the total cost is $4,500,000,000,000. 

{So what? It's just money, we can always print more.}

Well, Dana, there are certain economists that claim that's true. You'd think Uncle Bernie would be preaching their gospel given how accurate economist's predictions are. That's why they're all rich. 

But Uncle Bernie's shtick is all about beating up on the evil rich. He's built a moderately successful career (net worth, $3,000,000, salary $174,000/yr.) by doing just that. 

{Moderately successful?} 

As compared to the average Joe/Joan/Joen Bagadonuts I mean. To a billionaire, his net worth is a rounding error. 

{He's really good at running for president though.}

True, but as The WSJ. editorial points out, the billionaire shortage is raining on his perennial parade. 


See, the net worth of the Fortunate 724 is only 4.4 trillion and Uncle Bernie wants to spend 4.5 trillion. So, even if you rounded them all up, confiscated everything they have, and put 'em all to work as community organizers you'd still come up short. 

My favorite quote from the editorial: 

"If Mr. Sanders were to confiscate every asset of every American billionaire — Jeff Bezos’s rockets; Elon Musk’s bitcoin; Larry Ellison’s boats; Oprah Winfrey’s houses; Ted Turner’s ranches; Jay-Z’s car collection... — it still wouldn’t cover the cost of Democrats’ next two legislative plans."

{Wait, wait, wait. He only wants to spend $4,500,000,000,000? Hold on a sec', I'll be right back.}

[INSERT DOUBLE JEOPARDY THEME, HERE]

{Aha! Thought so, the current budget of The Fedrl Gummit is $4,829,000,000,000. Uncle Bernie is a budget cutter!}

No, Uncle Bernie and the progressives are trying to pull a fast one, but it's for our own good. If we were as smart as they are they could be straight with us. 


See, the Congressional Budget Office projects that going forward it'll cost about $4,000,000,000 a year to keep the lights on. This is mandatory spending, the money that must be spent, by law, to fund gummit programs like Medicare and Medicaid. 

Uncle Bernie's wish list is discretionary spending. This is the part of the budget Congress has to vote on every year, but Bernie's wish list is a framework, not an actual budget, that's spread out over the next ten years.

{So what's the big deal? He's gonna pay for it by raising taxes on corporations and people that make more than $400,000 a year, right?}   

Well, setting aside inconvenient truths like we don't have ten-year budgets, any entitlement is virtually impossible to get rid of once it passes, and anything can happen in the next ten years, right now the devil's in the details. 

We won't know who's supposed to pay what till the appropriate bills are passed, and projecting what Uncle Bernie's utopia will actually cost over the course of the next ten years is pure bonkercockie. 

And as to exactly what's on the wish list that's being hammered out by our betters even as you read this, you'll have to wait for the bill(s) to pass to find out. 

{That sounds familiar for some reason...}  


BIG BUTT.  

Given the fact that corporations can raise prices or lower dividends to pay increased taxes, 

And, given the fact "the 1%" can limit their tax bills with the assistance of helpful tax lawyers and lobbyists, and/or just going on an extended vacay and stop generating income, 

And, given that currently "the 10%" currently pay about 70% of all income taxes, and the bottom 50% pay about 3.1%

I wonder who's gonna wind up holding the bag?

I don't remember Uncle Joe saying that voting for him was a vote for a European-style social democracy wherein everyone semi-cheerfully pays high taxes — but knowing why, and what they will get in return.

Shouldn't we know exactly what we're signing up for and what we'll get in return? Shouldn't that be up to us?   

{No biggie, it's just money, we can always print more.}

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day


Scroll down to share this column or access previous ones. If you enjoy my work and the fact I don't run advertisements or sell merchandise, please consider buying me a coffee via PayPal or a credit/debit card.    

Feel free to comment/like/follow/cancel/troll me on Facebook or TwitterI post my latest column on Saturdays and other people's work on other days.

  

Friday, September 3, 2021

Free Love

Image by 👀 Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay


This is: A weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted. Reading via monitor/tablet is recommended for maximum enjoyment.  

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. Intended for H. sapiens that are — in the words of the late, great bon vivant and polymath, Professor Y. Bear — "Smarter [and cooler] than the av-er-age bear." 
Glossary 

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlereader  

"We don't need a piece of paper from the city hall, keeping us tried and true."
                                                                                                   -Joni Mitchell


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

You know how some memory (accurate or otherwise) from your distant past of no real importance gets stuck in your head for some reason? 

I remember a conversation I had when I was a 16-year-old virgin male with a 16-year-old virgin female wherein I confidently stated that I was a firm believer in free love way back in... well, it was a long time ago.

Hint: The meme Make love, not war was popping up here, there, and I'm told, even over there.      

The young woman in question... 

By the by and for the record, I have it on good authority that she currently self-identifies as cisgender, her pronouns are she/her, thinks her sexual orientation is none of your damn business, that your sexual orientation is none of hers, and that modesty and discretion are virtues worth cultivating. 

The young woman in question's reply was, essentially, "Well, of course, you're a guy." 

While I can't recall her exact words, I do recall her tone. It clearly communicated that she didn't regard me at fault in any way, I couldn't help it, I was just a normal "guy." Guys are extremely creative about rationalizing the fact that most of us are primates in heat — 24x7x365.


In the course of a single lifetime I've witnessed the cultural pendulum swing (pun intended and embraced) from one extreme to the other, at least in the culture I live in (some others not so much). 

Women, long oppressed and suppressed have been set free. They now are free, often encouraged in fact, to release their previously shackled sexuality. Having been blessed by an encounter or two with women who did — in fact, was married to one for 21 years (my late wife) — I couldn't agree more.

However, going from one extreme to the other, rapidly, has its downsides. 

{You need to squeeze a few more cliches into this column.}     

Thanks, Dana. I don't know what I'd do without you. 


In light of the conversation that began this missive, but primarily because of my (Warning: fresh cliche ahead) "lived experience" since, I've arrived at two conclusions that are not currently popular in some circles. 

First, free love ain't free. 

Despite what you may have heard, men and women are in some fundamental physical, mental, emotional, etceterical ways (fortunately) quite different from each other. 

And one person's casual one-night stand is another person's emotional crisis. 

{You've got a keen eye for the obvious, sir!}

Depends on who ya ask. A sexy senior citizen with a modicum of wisdom and an eye for common sense would likely agree with me. A given Wokie would stamp Pasty Patriarch, cancel immediately on my file and forward it to the Intersectional Inquisition.   


Second, consider the ongoing epidemic of illegitimate parents. Ask all the kids of all ages being raised/having been raised without a mom or dad — or both — in the picture what the price of free love is. 

{Wait-wait-wait. Free love merely refers to enjoying sex without guilt or having to submit to stale cultural conventions.}  
   
I don't have a problem with that per se, however, if the law of unintended consequences swoops in things can get ugly, and fast. For example, an STD is your problem, well, you and your partners, and they and their partners, and...

{Enough already!}

Unwanted progeny however is more the fruit of your loins problem than yours or your partners. 

He/she/they weren't planned for, didn't ask to be here, and are unlikely to be fully mature till they're at least 25 or so. Kids with a mom and a dad in the picture have the best chance of surviving and thriving. "Follow the science," we are told, to which I would add, and follow the common sense.  

{Fruit of your loins? Seriously dude? Anyway, what should we do? Here's another cliche, you can't turn back the clock.} 


I'm not suggesting/hoping for a return to the conventional American morality of the 1950s. I merely wish to point out that our (cliche alert) actions have consequences, sometimes unpleasant ones. 

And that given what's being called a mental health crisis, and no shortage of STDs and unwanted pregnancies despite cheap and easily available condoms and other birth control methods, that we've tossed out the tot with the Jacuzzi water and...

{You've turned that phrase into a cliche over the years.} 

Good. We should all give a bit of thought to dreary old virtues like prudence, modesty, and delayed gratification. The culture (and life) you save may be your own.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day


Scroll down to share this column or access previous ones. If you enjoy my work and the fact I don't run advertisements or sell merchandise, please consider buying me a coffee via PayPal or a credit/debit card.    

Feel free to comment/like/follow/cancel/troll me on Facebook or TwitterI post my latest column on Saturdays and other people's work on other days.