Historiography at work

Historiography is the study of History.    It was one of my favorite mandatory seminars as a grad student at the University of Akron.

One of friends and cohorts here in Blog Land, raised a very interesting point in  a comment on how the Historians of 100 years from now would treat the scenario in rage now of the Great Republican Plan to Obliterate the Obama Presidency.    Obviously all of us reading this will have no interaction whatsoever in the future century.   Who knows how the History of our age will be preserved, or how it will be reported to future generations.    The History of the Present hasn’t happened yet.

The Trump-Obama factionalism is too multi-faceted to tackle here.   However, the question is a good one, and leads me to ponder the basic differences between Now and Then…meaning past and future coverage of historical events.     There can be two designations here: Paper and Digital.

The most glaring difference is that what was written, published, in real books is that they were permanent.   Not necessarily the absolute authoritative sources on a given subject, but through a sort of consensus of opinions and research, and yes credentials.   In order to reach a thesis statement for a given publication, the writer presented his or her own ideas….something new, an alternate position.   There are always at least two sides to any proposition.

Here is a proposal that when it comes to Digital History, that which is presented over the internet by countless diverse sources, the information comes across only as permanent as the print-out a student or proponent, or indeed, opposition commentator, understands—or prefers to present as Truth or Falsehood—to their respective readership at any given time.

Digital History is much easier to alter, re-write, or inadvertently  distort  because of its fluidity…never permanent, always subject to a myriad of changes.    We see reports on the internet news channels… a statement made by an anchor person on CNN or Fox, MSNBC, BBC…at a given hour—that never airs again.

No one in their right mind for long will be able to watch Cable News constantly to keep up absolutely on the stream of information.    Remember when the internet was actually referred to as the Information Highway?   That was back in the 1980s, when major newspapers made the change from individual typewriters to the chaotic stream of News-all-the-Time.   Up-to-date means “constantly changing,” which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

 

the dance of the miscreants, a fairy-tale?

… and all of the miscreants danced in a ring
singing and clapping and everything.

Chicken Little handed out cups with holes in the bottoms…
and urged everyone to please help themselves.

Uncle Paul smirked and grinned, and dreamed
when he slept, of clever tricks and double crosses.

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, sent out engraved linen notes
that read: “Be here or else—but mind what you say.”

The Ice Queen giggled and tried to look cool,
as she whispered to the boss “you’re starting to melt.”

The King beamed and preened to adoring crowds
who cheered as he told them: “You all are invisible to me!”

The Witch of the Beltway cackled with glee:
“Listen to me!   What do I say?  What do I mean?”

…and the Tall Man looked down on everyone
until he tripped and came crashing down…

Topsy Turvey turned and spun… telling tales and amazing everyone.
“Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.”

Mr. Dowdy Pudding frumped and preened,
beady eyes glistening with malice and mildew.

It’s all a cruel joke intended to wound—impossible tricks every day:
the Media chatters and makes up titillating tales.

The Wise Women lecture and try to make sense
while the Old White Men tell them “sit down and shut up.”

The Lawyers, in turn get their say…don’t let facts in the way!
Believe nothing you hear—nor even what you say!

…and all of the miscreants danced in a ring
singing and clapping and everything.

©Sometimes, 2017

 

let’s not over-react (yeah, right…)

Scary news out of Virginia.    Too bad the shooter is dead…why is this always the case?   These people who kill other people are always a mystery, and it would be interesting and helpful to be able to hear what they have to say.   Normally such comments are suppressed, except for a shouted out inanity in a courtroom, or incoherent suicide note.

My old Journalist Hat comes out of the closet when some of these events occur, and too often the questions that I would ask… if I were doing the asking…never get asked.       What would these shooters say?    One would think that a perpetrator of such a criminal act albeit stupid and cruel,  probably pointless, would have something to say.    Oh, right, it is more than likely that if left to speak without restrictions…or to explain their motivation or explanation.

What goes through one’s mind when actually taking a rifle and shooting into an area of innocent people?     Is it madness that drives the crime?   Are they making a statement?   Thinking that they are proving a point?     Attempting to set the stage for some kind of mad-crowd riot?   Calling for confiscation of guns that kill people—or emphasizing the “right to bear arms?”

Unfortunately it is unlikely that we will ever know the shooter’s rationale for what he did this morning.   What we will hear, is speculation, interpretation, opinionated points of view…over and over.   The original account of what happened will be related in sound-bites and rambled on and on in talk shows, CNN Commenters assisting the rhetoric by presenting assorted factions’ “talking points” for incessant rehashing.      Sadly—the whole incident is like a  made-for-TV political presentation—complete with Party Politics, and frought with grandstanding and posturing.

This can’t be allowed to warp into a distraction from the investigations unfolding in Washington now.     How could it be more obvious that the honest and honorable committee members must put the Russia investigation on the fast track NOW.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Debate, a re-blog

Yes, folks, the Cavs did come in second last night—they can’t win them all, right?   We here in Cleveland tend to be dogged fans of our sports teams…which is to our credit. It is rare that I even read sports columns…let alone read them twice and then repost them on my own blog. But here goes. Thanks for the re-blog MacWilsonOne!

Media and Consulting Solutions

With the Golden State Warriors on the brink of winning the 2017 NBA Finals, there is one question I keep hearing. Is it fair to have so much fire-power on one team? Let’s not deal with the “what-ifs” and stick to the facts. The facts are Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are on the same team. They are up 3-0 on a Cleveland Cavaliers team with arguably the best player in the world playing for them, who is complimented quite nicely by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. The Golden State Warriors won 73 games last season, surpassing my Chicago Bulls for the best record in NBA history, and didn’t win the championship. The Cleveland Cavaliers did, mounting a historic comeback in the process. With all the facts in place, I FULLY understand that people will still ONLY understand from their level of perception.

So understand this…

View original post 683 more words

Mad Magazine revisited…the return of the spies and good old espionage tales

 

 

 

Image result for Spy vs Spy Cartoon Characters in public domain
Illustration is from a selection of Spy vs Spy images that are in the public domain.

 

Long ago and far away…in the scheme of my life…Mad Magazine was the favorite magazine for satire and farce, and making fun of the Cold War—which actually was not at all funny, and jokes about the Russians (called the Soviets then) were much in vogue.   The world being divided pretty much dominated by two camps: the United States and Russians.   Us and Them.   The rest of the world was either with us…or against us.

The Free World—in which the benevolence of the U.S. supervised and kindly contributed to the rest of the world.    Our motto: we will help you and give you goodies like weapons and allow a great measure of independence and sovereignty—as long as you do what we say.    That includes voting with the U.S. in world organizations, and supporting our extensive military bases in virtually every country in the world.      This has two major purposes: 1. holding strategic locations in the world from which the U.S. maintains control.   2. We will protect you from the enemy—which is namely: The Soviet Union.  The old USSR—behind the Iron Curtain.

And so the present situation unfolds…and the position of good old Uncle Sam deteriorates under this virtual siege by an unstable, unknowledgeable, poorly educated minority in the United States.

God knows where it will all end.

 

 

 

 

 

Secretary Betsy DeVos may be proving critics wrong, linked from the NewYorkTimes article by Erica L. Green

Here is a link to an interesting article about Betsy DeVos, the new Secretary of Education.

Although I normally pride myself on being open minded and reasonably well-informed, most of what I have heard about Secretary DeVos has not been flattering to her.   So curiosity (and good intentions) led me to read the article, and I’m must say that I’m glad.    The gist of the article is that although she is often thought of as just another Trump Administration appointee, she is herself appointing appropriate people who have excellent backgrounds in educational and civil rights.
 

There’s nothing as grand as a royal wedding (a bit of British history)

http://healthskillet.com/stunning-photos-from-pippa-middletons-wedding/37/

 

One of my favorite bourgeoise extravaganzas has always been a Royal Wedding.      So when I followed the trail to a set of photos described as “photos you weren’t supposed to see.”     I usually do not like following the pointing arrows from photo to photo in this feature, but in spite of myself sometimes, they are hard to resist.

The Wedding of Pippa Middleton, who (for anyone stranded on the moon for the past few years)  is the sister of Princess Kate, wife of Prince William….who, in the scheme of things here is the son of the late Princess Diana and Prince Charles, grandson of the reigning Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.    Prince Charles is the heir-apparent to the British throne.

True, Pippa Middleton is not really a “royal,” nor is her new husband.    She might be called a “royal-in-law” possibly?     But for purposes of this post and on general principles, Pippa is close enough to qualify.

These photos are very enjoyable to look at…beautiful bride, cute and “real” children, and fabulous hats worn by all the women.

These photos are not the usual stiff and perfect photos with everyone in the wedding party,  including the children,  lined up like little soldiers…under orders not to move, cry, make faces, or get dirty.      Obviously just having royal blood in the veins doesn’t make serving as bridesmaids/flowers girls, or page boys, any less trying.   So these candid photos of the wedding party, the children under the herding of Princess Kate for the afternoon.    Riding herd on six little children is not an easy thing to do.

My favorite British Royal of all time was back in the 1930s and 40s when the King of England was George VI, and the young Elizabeth (now the Queen) was a young girl….and her sister Margaret were the princesses.    Princess Margaret was my favorite…she was about six years old (like me at the time) and she was always doing cool stuff like dancing on tables and what not, under the beaming eye of her doting father King George.   Whereas Elizabeth was already being prepared for succession to the throne, Margaret was not under the same rules and expectations of propriety and decorum.

…end of history lesson.

 

Illusions…

Politicians
the greatest magicians
Grandmasters in linguistics.
Perform tricknowledge techniques
create laws perceived
so many ways.

A chess game played with precision.
The goal check mate
corner the king.
divide the family structure
by any means.
Entrap entrepreneurs
eager to eat
trying to reach
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Throwing stones at the penitentiary.
Filing for evidentiary
hearings.
The only thing suppressed
the ring
of freedom.

They claim equality
for all men.
In actuality they meant
just them.
At the time of writing
A country divided
built on the backs of men.
Owned
by the authors
steadily filling their coffers.
Ingraining an industry
thriving for centuries
in the minds of the masses.
Without it our nation crashes.

Flashes
of blue and red
shined by the white
placing stars in a box
jammed tight.
Click the lock,
toss the key.

Land of the free
enterprise
Right before your eyes,
Freedom’s
reflection
flashes
…just an illusion.

©Charles Yonkings, 2016

pack a lunch and let’s go!

http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2017/04/14/world-s-most-dangerous-path-is-reopening-to-hikers.html

NO Folks…..I did not get this from watching FOXNEWS!!!!   Yahoo.   Anyway….it is a real mind-boggler, especially for someone like me who freaks out at an atrium in a Mall.   I just don’t do heights…even a ladder will weaken the knees.

The Google-Street-Map is spectacular, 3-D view of the gorge and the walkway.       I see there’s a Restaurant-Bar located along the trail.

Oh, and helmets are required of all participants because of the 300-foot drop.

Anybody want to go?

FYI about the Khan Sheikoun affair for open-minders, from the Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/syria-chemical-attack-al-qaeda-played-donald-trump_us_58ea226fe4b058f0a02fca4d

Even for readers who already have their minds made up owe it to themselves to read this detailed Huffington Post article by Scott Ritter, and to add it to all available sources of information.     Here is a great example of “Alternate Facts,” in a logical sense of being mixed information from different sources, that as a whole may lead to knowledge of what really happened in Khan Sheikoun.

There is a creditable “trail of misinformation” under the smug expressions of media reporters.   We can’t believe selectively here…this situation is important enough for followers to be informed and alert…research, research, research!

It really makes me wonder why many of the same pundits who daily attack Donald Trump as a liar and self-advantage seeker suddenly hail him as a hero—are we really a people who judge our presidents by their bully-characteristics?   Are we understanding the “America First” thing to mean “America As Boss of the World…Richer and Stronger and Meaner than any other nation?”

Cure for lagging respect and trust—bomb somebody.

 

The amazing escape of Inky the Octopus

Here is the link to a wonderful story from the WashingtonPost,  about an Octopus who made a miraculous and complicated escape from the aquarium in which he was being held in New Zealand.   The headline reads: “Octopus slips out of aquarium tank, crawls across the floor, escapes down pipe to ocean.”      This story may rival Rocky…either that or I need to get out more.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2016/04/13/octopus-slips-out-of-aquarium-tank-crawls-across-floor-escapes-down-pipe-to-ocean/?tid=hybrid_experimentrandom_1_na&utm_term=.b0151585bafb

 

 

 

 

circling the wagons…

keeping up with the shenanigans
leading up to the off-again/ on-agains
complacent in our political wagons
endeavoring to circle… Old-Western style…
made difficult by attempts to  mis-beguile
by conflicting opinions and factions

turning the political order on its head…
keeping promises to the rabid, illogical  crowd
flies in the face of common-sensical thought
due to ignorance of which they are proud;
defying the principles by which they were taught,
…the  cost with which our freedom was bought.

© Sometimes, 2017

 

they can do better than that

Day 13, 2017

As a long-time fan of spy fiction
I like to keep an open mind
and far be it from me to take a poke
at intelligence dossiers and spy reports
but it all seems to me a very bad joke!

Normally reading the details of a carefully-
teased expose…dragged across our nose…
gives fuel to the fire and facts to the tale
but when details sound to be suspicious
they usually are just as they seem.

The truth is sometimes hidden, for lack
of sufficiently shocking details (better presented
in a colorfully embellished story-form)
with salacious stories of sex and smut,
to present a more spicy distraction.

© Sometimes, 2017

Deliyah…4-year-old reader of 1,000 books

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/01/12/meet-daliyah-the-4-year-old-girl-who-has-read-more-than-1000-books/?utm_term=.6403ea387b35&wpisrc=nl_mix&wpmm=1#comments

Now here is an inspiring story out of the Washington Post this morning, a four-year-old who has apparently read one thousand (1,000) books so far. She hangs out at the Library of Congress.

Yes…I hear you in the back there mumbling about the veracity of this story…and I’ll bet you either 1) don’t personally know any of Deliyah’s peers, other pre-schoolers, that is… or 2)are not paying attention. This child is indeed remarkable and a great role-model for other children—and she is not unique. (Meaning one-of-a-kind, not as in the modern fancy of “unique” as a mere synonym for unusual, or great.)

Today’s children all over the world are smarter and more aware than at any time in history.    Peer into the bright, shining eyes of a child…in person or in photographs…to see the intelligence shining through.

They “know” things, information gleaned from television shows, or books, chatting with other children…and, of course, school.   Pre-school kids commonly know the alphabet and basic number figures, understand the details about the hippopotamus, orangatangs, and mocking birds.   They often even know how to spell those words.