Posts Tagged ‘News

08
Jan
11

of mark twain and moon crickets

Dear Mr. Mencken,

Your letter concerning yesterdays BAITA* get-together arrived in the morning post, and I much appreciate your catching me up on those proceedings. I had prior engagements so I sadly could not attend. Mr. Clemens also dropped in this afternoon for a bit of coffee & cobbler talk, and we both delighted in your written comments and rapier wit.

Mark Twain - 1909 photo

Having an authors’ book (or comments) placed on the ‘banned’ list is a great distinction, plus it assures that the book is constantly mentioned even if it’s read less often. We all know how much work it takes an author to craft and sharpen each word, and sentence, and paragraph of a book before he submits it to the lancet of the editor/publisher. But to endure that and finally reach publication, then acclaim of the masses, and then have those actual words further impaled and changed by a so called “editor and Mark Twain scholar” Dr. Alan Gibbons, well Mr. Clemens is feeling quite esteemed over the full issue.

Eulogized at his death for “not having written a book that any father cannot read to his daughter”, Mr. Clemens is delighted to watch Dr. Gibbons attempt to whitewash [pun intended] the classic tale to make it palatable for modern youth, or at least those youth whose minds have been twisted by those of Dr. Gibbons ilk.

I particularly enjoyed the fact that you read the ‘EXPLANATORY’ from the Huck Finn into your minutes, since the book is primarily a work of dialect and the word ‘nigger’ was central to many of its themes, bein’ as the word negro is spelled differently depending on how you talked in your section of the country.  No need to quote it all in this letter but;

“In this book a number of dialects are used to wit: the Missouri negro dialect; ….. The shadings have not been done in hap-hazard fashion, or by guess-work; but pains-takingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech. THE AUTHOR”

Again, thanks for sending the notes, it made for a charming afternoon. I do worry about this modern society and their odd way of thinking. I wonder what other Orwellian misadventures will be be perpetrated? And what if this thinking is extended onto the art world? How will they defend something such as this?

by Marcel Duchamp 1919

Sincerely,
Barney (BCM) Farthing

* Banned Authors In The Afterlife

02
Jan
11

ify:7 the tv

TV for the masses was just getting started when it, like so much other stuff, was postponed due to the 2nd World War. It got rolling by 1950 but suffered from the ‘chicken or the egg’ phenomena – not much need to broadcast if no one had a telly, and why buy a telly if there was nothing to watch?

But it’s hard to keep a good media down 🙂 Most of us watched something downtown at the store that sold TVs as they would set them in the front window and turn them on, and the first family in the neighborhood to get a set would get very popular.

Early RCA test pattern

There might be only one ‘channel’ broadcasting in your part of the state and the shows were limited at first to only a few hours during the day or in the evening. It took a while to start things up at the station so the they broadcast a “test pattern” and you had the time to adjust the horizontal & vertical of your picture if needed. The last thing broadcast was invariably the “Star Spangled Banner” at midnight.

As kids, sis and I were forced to come inside, so the folks didn’t have to watch us outside and could enjoy the shows. We didn’t like TV much since it was for adults. The folks loved it, as only the best of the very best were on TV – comedians, dancers, singers and bands, stage plays, etc.

1950 Crosley Model 10"

It was simply magic to see & enjoy things from places you would probably never visit in person, all on a tiny, round, 9″ black & white screen. Then there was the immediacy of TV, no more waiting until photos appeared weeks later in the Saturday Evening Post.

However, the soul of TV was the fact it was live. It happened at the same time you watched it. If the folks on the ‘set’ messed up then you saw them mess up, if the singer missed a note you noticed, if the lady in the commercial couldn’t get the door of the Frigidaire open , you watched her flub up. It was real in the sense that it was real, really 🙂 It was NOW, as in RIGHT NOW.

Not like today,
when you don’t know when a video was recorded or when a web page was written or who wrote it.
You have no idea anymore, as reality has an obsured meaning since you can’t tell if it’s real or not.

29
Dec
10

ify:6 the medium, the message, a mess?

Radio was the original message board. It could reach out and connect peoples across a very wide area. It embellished the newspapers, and the magazines like Life, Look, and Saturday Evening Post. Movies were recorded on film just like the personal cameras of the day. News films were shown prior to movies being played at the theater houses. This film however, was time consuming and expensive to ‘process’. TV was broadcast ‘live’ – in real time – which made for exciting shows!

It didn’t take long to invent video tape which didn’t need ‘processing’ so by 1960 TV was no longer ‘live’ but could be edited and then broadcast to the public at some later time.

Understandably, TV grew in significance but was only the 3 main broadcast channels, NBC, CBS, and ABC. During the summers we began to see the first of the “reruns”, I guess that seeing older content was somehow better than seeing new content????

In the 60’s we were sending broadcast satellites into the heavens and soon cable TV was being wired into our cities. It became obvious the we were going to have many more ways to deliver video to more people around the world. Asking WHO was going to fill all this potential new broadcast space was a perfectly valid question. The sci-fi writers had wondered this question for quite some time, and now others were joining the fray.

Marshall McLuhan - in the early 70's courtesy Wiki

Marshall McLuhan was one of those. He coined the term “global village” and wrote a powerful book on the topic of the exploding communication technology.

The satellite medium, McLuhan states, encloses the Earth in a man-made environment, which “… turns the globe into a repertory theater to be programmed.

‘The Medium is the Message’ is a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived.

In simpler terms, I think he means that the volume and breadth of content available to us will become at least as important that the individual news items that are broadcast. It sounds reasonable, if we all had TVs strapped to our wrists, and we had 50 different broadcasters sending us ‘information’ who would have to time (or brain-power) to assimilate all of it? would it become omni-present?

How are we going to filter and organize and catalog this content? What’s going to happen if we create the inter-webs and allow common citizens to create and disperse content?

We were used to editors and journalists making publishing decisions about ‘ethics’ and ‘honest-unbiased’ content, what would happen if that were stripped away?

16
Dec
10

ify:5 why read sci-fi

I actually don’t remember why or how I began reading what is called science fiction. I was limited to books from the public library, but I did see Buck Rogers in the serials played before the Saturday morning movies. Yea, we laughed at Buck Rogers, and the strings holding up the model spaceships, and the stuff that spewed out as ‘rocket exhaust’ and fell to the ground. Gad-zooks – we knew there was no gravity in space 🙂 Still it was fun, just like the early comic books were fun and amazing at the same time.

So I must have gone to the library and begun searching the very limited sci-fi section. I also read every Hardy Boy book the came out, and the ultimate book series Nancy Drew. Boy, did I want to grow up and meet a girl like that!

I didn’t know that sci-fi was not considered literature, it was just fun. Eventually I found authors that I enjoyed and the stories and the characters became a bit more real, and the themes more consistent. Then I saw some of the authors on the news, talking science and learned that writing was a 2nd career .. they were Ph D’s – trained and working in the fields of physics, cosmology, engineering, chemistry, computers, etc.

It’s like I’m taking a home study course in bunch of disciplines (there is real science there) and wondering how these technologies might effect society’s future. In the late 60’s there are very few computers in the entire state of Missouri, Dick Tracy’s wrist device is way in the future, but I learn IBM 360 Assembler while in high school. I take a programming class 1st semester of college, and get hired as a graduate assistant the next, and the news if full of exploits on the “space race”!

So the years begin going buy, and I wonder how many of the fictions I’ve read in these books will become “sci-fact” during my lifetime? And wonder .. could the world disintegrate to the visions of “1984” or “Brave New World”?

Years and then decades wheel by, and I’ve see lots of fiction become fact, seen cultures and countries react in eerily similar ways I’d read about decades earlier, everyone has a computer, our population explodes as resources recede, the computers are connected on the web, and you can strap your smart phone to your wrist if you wish.

Our society accepts Political Correctness as status quo just 20 years after 1984, and the warnings of earlier sci-fi themes are still being ignored. Fishing quotas in the oceans ?, political skirmishes across the planet for water supplies? … the list goes on.

I still wonder how much of the ‘future forecast’ I read will happen and be enjoyed,
but I’m also worried about how much of those forecasts will be ignored,
because the more that is ignored. the more that will have to be endured.

01
Dec
10

IFY: in fifty years – prologue

Forsyth, MO in 1950

Forsyth, MO in 1950 courtesy Missouri Photo Workshop

Any fifty year period in human history would cover a period of astounding changes, events or inventions. Of course, during this same period there will be a lot of things that don’t change, or things that just absorb the changes that are occurring without the slightest burp. It seems the nature of change is not absolute, but it does create a hell of a lot of potential.

I happen to have been born in 1950 and have somehow arrived at today. Now I’m not saying there is anything special that has happened to me during my life, but astonishing does seem to apply to the amount and depth of change in the world while I’ve been here to watch it happen.

I did not start this ‘watching’ until about 1954 when I became aware of yesterday, when there became more than a now, and I awoke to the idea of continuous events piling up into yesterdays. This seems like a forward movement in time which really does not move forward, but past you and your awareness as you watch it go, slipping away into yesterday.

By some mysterious law of physics, things & stuff that you personally screw up as time passes by you can come back to effect the now as it is going by you (which you call the future), which is damned confusing …. at first.

If this phenomena works on groups and societies like it does with individuals, then it is no wonder why humanity seems so easily to mess things up, or “shit in their own shoes”.

Anyway, I’ve seen and done some things, and watched a lot of stuff go by, and wondered what might go past me, what might happen in that future that really does/doesn’t exist and I don’t feel the least bit obligated to comment on it.

Really. 🙂

But I’m going to.

23
Nov
10

hottie for Prez

It thought it was interesting a few years ago when Sarah Palin the female Governor of Alaska was floated onto the McCain VP list. Since then the media has been delighted to make her a continual target for their fodder. Despite the media saying she is not ready to be president, is not running for the job, and couldn’t win even if she did run … the media is making a big deal of this. So much of a big deal that they are effectively running her for President whether she wants it or not !!

Well, all the media bullshit aside, we need to address the issue like adults, so we need to accept the fact that:

1) Someday we will elect a female to the highest office
2) That woman may be a really good looking babe

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin


I think Ms. Palin is one hot babe, what else can I say? I have no doubt that a lot of guys would agree, and I’d imagine that she would get a big ‘thumbs up’ from the lesbian community as well.

So the media is going to feature her constantly the next couple a years and for me it means that on occasion a good looking babe will be on screen to feast the eyes on.

If she got elected we wouldn’t have to take any crap from the French, ’cause she’d whip Nicolas Sarkosy

    and

that wimpy tart he runs with. 🙂

14
Nov
10

of puppy mills and pedophiles

I’m happy to run a “pet free” household. That’s my choice. Missouri, the long standing puppy mill capital of the good ole US of A, has bowed to something like 51% of the state dog-ooders (sic) and passed Prop B, and it’s a damned good thing. We are now gonna have NICE puppy mills, so take that!

I have no idea why we have so legally established dog manufacturing, nor why so many people need so much unconditional love, but I do know there is no shortage of dogs. All over the country animal welfare groups are begging for funds to care for all the dogs that are loosed upon the environs, Even though some organizations kill the overflow it hasn’t seemed to slow – the need of – the manufacture of – the disposal of – dogs.

I know it’s fun to demonize MO’s puppy mills, but they wouldn’t be operating if you all didn’t buy the damned things and then want to throw them away. I wonder who the real demons are?

A Do-Gooder elsewhere in the good ole USofA is doing his best to make a better world by self publishing an e-book on how to be a NICE pedophile: “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct “.

I ain’t making this up nor rippin’ this story off The Onion, it came to me via NBC’s Today show. I heard part of his interview, and he says he is not a pedophile so ….   Apparently he is honestly trying to make a better world? Ok, I applaud his sentiment, but this dude has his head so far up his ass he can see out his ears, he did nothing to make a better world.

Of course, everyone wants to hold Amazon accountable for the book (ala puppy mills) but Amazon did NOT write the freekin’ book folks, in fact you might consider it a favor by letting you know the book existed!

We don’t need nicer pedophiles any more than we need nicer puppy mills.  I’d say “Think about it!” but obviously there’s alot of folk clearly not thinking, or not thinking clearly.  Take your pick.

The old proverb says something like ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’ and there seems to be no shortage of people out there making pavers.




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