A boy named Doris

DMThis struck me as kind of odd, but seems to fit within the larger story of Pearl Harbor, if you think of it. I’ve never looked into that day, but I know there is skepticism in our readership here, so that I hope to get some comments from people who have looked into it. What little WWII dabbling I have done was in the matter of Iwo Jima, where I came away with the distinct impression that it was a small incident that was by means of stagecraft made into a large one. (Why else would the Secretary of the Navy be on a beach in a combat zone, unless he knew he was safe? The photo of the flag raising that day, admitted by all to be staged (now it can be told), is nonetheless magnificent.

Thinking about it, how did people get information back in 1941? There was radio, newspapers, newsreels, some telephone (long distance was expensive), word of mouth*  … that’s about it. If a large hoax was to be pulled off, it could certainly be done given limited media to control at that time. I wonder if, as with the moon landings and 911, there was wide and unreported skepticism at the time.

Continue reading “A boy named Doris”

America’s Prince Charles

Al GoreOur commenters here tore into Michael Crichton and gave him a what-fer, the kind of stuff I love. It blew right by me, Crichton’s nonsense did, which is encouraging. I am not alone and can depend on others to pick up on what I miss. That in mind, I offer up the following tidbits from Al Gore’s Wikipedia page regarding his early life and career. The lines are set far apart, making it easy to read between them.

Gore was a privileged kid who attended St. Albans School, a feeder school for the Ivy League. Finishing 25th in a class of 51 paved the way to Harvard for him.

Here’s Wiki:

Gore was an avid reader who fell in love with scientific and mathematical theories,[19] but he did not do well in science classes and avoided taking math.[18] During his first two years, his grades placed him in the lower one-fifth of his class. During his sophomore year, he reportedly spent much of his time watching television, shooting pool, and occasionally smoking marijuana.[18][19] In his junior and senior years, he became more involved with his studies, earning As and Bs.[18] In his senior year, he took a class with oceanographer and global warming theorist Roger Revelle, who sparked Gore’s interest in global warming and other environmental issues.[19][29] Gore earned an A on his thesis, “The Impact of Television on the Conduct of the Presidency, 1947–1969”, and graduated with an A.B. cum laude in June 1969.[18][30]

Continue reading “America’s Prince Charles”

On the changing of minds

“I remember once, it was in a bar, during the 1930s, and there was a drunken debate going on that was trending on towards violence when something so unusual happened that everyone froze in place. The silence was like a soft winter snow falling in the woods. Everyone looked on in wonder. A guy, sitting in the corner and surrounded by empty and half-full glasses of beer, announced that he was persuaded by the logic of his opponent to change his mind on a subject.

It had never happened before. It has never happened since.” (Quoting my grandfather)

Since I put up an ill-conceived piece below, properly dismantled by a commenter, I am making amends. This piece I guarantee to strike a note. It is called How I changed my Mind … About Global Warming. Here is the opening paragraph:

Most, if not all, people would consider themselves to be open-minded. Yet, if you ask someone to name an important belief that they have changed their mind about, in response to evidence and/or logic, most struggle to give even one example.

Continue reading “On the changing of minds”

Michael Crichton’s remarks to the Commonwealth Club, 2003

ChichtonI don’t often (or ever) say to readers that you should go read something that I read. I know how that works, as I am usually reluctant to take time from my planned day to indulge anyone. So my suggestion here is to simply take a glance at the opening words of Michael Crichton to the Commonwealth Club in 2003, and see if you have the same experience that I did. Crichton was such an engaging writer that he held readers rapt for decades. See if upon reading the beginning, you find yourself reading the end too. Maybe so, maybe not.

Here are the opening two paragraphs:

I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge facing mankind, and I have a fundamental answer. The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.

We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we’re told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. Every one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears.

Continue reading “Michael Crichton’s remarks to the Commonwealth Club, 2003”

ABC News: They lie, they lie, they lie

Mont Blanc

I watched this “news” piece from ABC this morning at the gym, about how the glaciers are going to collapse on Mont Blanc. It caught my eye because I’ve been there on that platform they used for a backdrop. I don’t otherwise watch or read news. (I don’t know how to bring the video here. The above is a screen grab, not a video.)

Anyway, people of Europe, run for your lives! The glaciers are falling! The glaciers are falling!

Continue reading “ABC News: They lie, they lie, they lie”

Dupuytren’s contracture: Elway’$ di$ea$e

ElwayJohn Elway has Dupuytren’s contracture. So do I. For those who don’t know about it, it is often called the “Vikings’ disease,” as it appears to afflict people of northern European extraction more than others. My mother was Irish, and she and her sisters were known as a bunch of redheads, so I assume that is where it came from. She had it, as did my older brother.

The disease causes certain fingers on the hand to contract and pull towards the palm, as if making a fist. It is uncomfortable, and there is no cure. That is key and critical to Elway’s involvement. In severe cases the symptoms can be alleviated, but only temporarily.

Continue reading “Dupuytren’s contracture: Elway’$ di$ea$e”