The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Monday, October 24, 2016

Is Nationalistic Pride Offensive?

       Again we are seeing the push toward globalism with a bent toward one-world government.  Apparently some see a universal society as not only appealing, but a possible dream that can be achieved.  I would be more prone to say nightmare under the rule of humans.  Utopia might be nice to imagine, but the perfect world in all likelihood is not achievable as long as people are in charge.

Picture of John Lennon's Strawberry Fields For...
Picture of John Lennon's Strawberry Fields Forever Memorial from July 14, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
        Flag wavers who swell with pride when they tout the great achievements of their nation are looked down upon by some and even ridiculed by others.   While the credo of "America First" might be an anathema to future minded globalists who seek to diminish the role of the U.S.A. on the world stage.

         To me there seems to be a nefarious plot to take down America as one nation under one God and merge our people into a one people of all peoples on the planet Earth. According to the propaganda that is seeping its way into the world mindset, nationalism is bad and globalism is the way of the future. I'm sure the latter is the case, but I'd prefer not to see globalism in my lifetime or even the lifetimes of my grandchildren.

          Certain la-la heads want to bring to life some version of  John Lennon's "Imagine" where there is a world with no borders, no countries, no government, and no religion too.  Sounds nice if you don't think it through which is exactly how some in the ruling class would like for us to approach this brave new world.  Dull our brains with television and all other forms of entertainment.  Oppress us into a state of well-fed laid-back bliss where anything that is the least bit disconcerting to our brains must be glossed over.  We must be protected from the truth at any cost and think only happy safe thoughts.

          If we become dependent on the governing system and that system is providing for all of our needs then why should we complain?    Citizens of the World may be in danger of becoming much like the Eloi, the homogeneous race of passive characters ruled over by the cruel Morlocks in H.G. Wells' The Time Machine.

          The naysayers who deny that what I'm saying is really happening need to take a long thoughtful look at what's going on in the United States and all of the world.  Some will consider my admonitions as being paranoid and reeking of nonsensical conspiracy theories.  So be it.   Don't think too much if you are afraid of hurting your head.

          From my point of view we are being ruled by political professionals.  Show me someplace in the world where this isn't happening.  Maybe there are still a few good politicians, but I'm afraid they are outnumbered.    Sadly, in the democracies at least, we the voters are partly responsible for what is happening.

          I see where this is going. Do you?

          Those who believe in Biblical prophecy might come up with an end of days scenario that rings familiar with the world today, while others will say that this is how things have always been.   On the other hand the world has never seen a United States of America.   Pardon me if I sound a bit boastful.   Lately I've been fearing that we as a nation might be taken down another notch.  There is still an election ahead that could make all the difference.  Will American voters be smart enough to make the right choice?

          Are you offended by overt shows of nationalistic pride by Americans--or any other nationalities for that matter?    Do you admire the United States of America despite its many flaws?    What nation from any time in history do you think was the best?  

          On Friday October 28th I'll have a Flashback post related to my current presidential election series.   Then on Tuesday November 1st I'll have a Battle of the Bands post that might be a predictor of the election the following week.    And even if that Battle doesn't predict anything, I hope you'll find it fun and interesting. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

What Do We Really Know? (#BOTB Results)

     The use of hyperbole is as common as air molecules.  Most, if not all, of us flippantly say things like everybody's doing it, everybody says it, or everybody has one.  Sometimes it seems like everybody's an expert on everything.   Those talking heads on television certainly know more than we do--don't they?  There are some things that leave many of us scratching our heads while other things are so obvious that truth cannot be denied.

        In the end we know as much as we are willing to see, hear, read, and learn.   The information that tells the full story is always available if we take the time and effort necessary to uncover what is going on.   But that's not much fun for some of us, while others know so much already they cling to their opinions and sometimes misshapen beliefs just because it's what they've got and it just feels so comfortable.  Getting knocked in the head with a chunk of truth can hurt.  If that truth starts ricocheting off my head and hits others soundly while deflecting off others, it can stir up a riot or a movement depending on the dispositions of those who own the said heads.

         Okay, so I speak in vagaries and veiled vexations.  I'm expressing what some might know already and others might not be quite getting.  But in actuality I think that somewhere inside we all know what I'm saying here.  I'd like to think that everybody knows.   Or to avoid exaggeration I'll keep it to almost everybody knows.

Battle of the Bands

Everybody Knows

         The results of my "Everybody Knows" battle were decisive, but the competing version didn't do all that badly.  I went back and forth on this decision.  Initially I favored the version by Concrete Blonde.  But then, the version by Holly Figueroa O'Reilly started taking hold of me with its catchy rhythm and nifty country instrument backing.  Holly's vocals were the bomb.

          After many listens I decided to go back to the bleaker sound of Concrete Blonde.   The ominous presentation of the song seemed more in keeping with what the lyrics are all about.  This is not meant to be a happy song.  Not that Holly's version was all that happy, but it was bouncy.   I did like how she changed the melody a bit to create a dark edge.  Both are excellent versions in my analysis, but my vote goes to Concrete Blonde.

Final Vote Tally

Concrete Blonde                      12

Holly Figueroa O'Reilly          18


Next Battle on Tuesday November 1st

        My next Battle of the Bands post will be the last in my election season series.   This one will also be the more interesting of the two as it will--or may--be a predictor of how the U.S. presidential election will turn out.   Besides voting on the favorite music recording, there will also be a few optional questions to stimulate more discussion as well as help in my prediction poll based on the music.

         Hope you'll join me for that as well as stop by for a couple of posts next week that will be somewhat of a lead-in to my next Battle.

           Do you totally trust the government of the United States or any other country?   How much of what the media says do you trust?     Has there been a time when you thought that you knew something only to find out that it wasn't the real truth?


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Everybody Knows (#BOTB)

     "Everybody knows that the dice are loaded"-- "The system is rigged" Bernie Sanders might say,  Of course this is correct--isn't it?   This system is rigged in favor of a power beyond little control of the average voter.  Everybody knows.

English: Seal of the President of the United S...
 Seal of the President of the United States
. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
        Rigged or not, running for president as we are seeing more than ever over the past many months is a grueling process.   One might wonder what it is that compels anyone to put themselves in a position of such scrutiny that their lives become open books to the world.

         With the internet, full disclosure of a candidate's background is an ongoing process in the hands of legitimate investigation as well as the most outlandish smears unlike anything the press of the past was ever able to concoct.  Now the press is not so much of a news dissemination service as it is a medium of influence and manipulation of public opinion.  Truth is often indistinguishable from lies and many people don't care that much anyway.

          So the mud is slung and the people wallow in it.  In the process we all become dirtied and disillusioned.  Most of all, the candidates themselves are stripped naked and their dirtiest secrets are revealed.   Their families are put under the microscope and everyone touched by the candidates gets some of the filth rubbed off on them.

         The political scene is nastier than ever.   The candidates who run for president are risking being tainted for life if not being totally ruined.  Friends, allies, and families can be split apart.  Each election in recent decades has brought more distrust among the parties, the factions, and the people who make up an increasingly more divided nation.

          Whoever wins the 2016 election as well as whoever loses will be exposed for things they've said and done as well as things they have been accused of saying and doing.  The next president of the United States will likely face an almost impossibly divided electorate leading to less and less cooperative efforts toward getting things done and a greater threat of a United States ruled by a totalitarian leaning government.

           The legislative branch of the United States government will likely continue in the weak bickering state they've been in over the past administration as the next president issues more executive orders or relies on Supreme Court decisions to make law.  Exactly how all this turns out will depend on the outcome of the election.

           In the days to come we'll see more and more layers of the onion skin peeled away with more and more disturbing evidence about each candidate delivered by biased media.   Truth and lies will be rampant leaving us to figure out which is which.  And the candidates will have to steel themselves up to endure the onslaught.   The voters might have a difficult time sorting it all out and in the end the issues and the impact on the future might not even matter.   Maybe it will just come down to the superficial things.   The nation will pay the price in the years to come.   Or maybe reap the rewards--we can hope.

            Why do you think anyone would subject themselves to such exposure for themselves and their families?    Do you think this current election will sharpen the divide among people in the United States or bring them together?    Do you believe the system is rigged?

The Battle of the Bands

 Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.

"Everybody Knows"  (1988)

      This song first came to my attention when I saw Atom Egoyan's 1994 film Exotica.  The original Leonard Cohen version was used in the soundtrack.   My wife liked Cohen's vocal in the song and the song became one of her favorites.   Since my wife liked the song so well I purchased a number of different CD's with covers of the song as well as Cohen's original version which has remained her favorite.   I like the Don Henley cover which got frequent play on Los Angeles radio stations in the latter half of the nineties.

      "Everybody Knows" presents a bleak outlook of the world and human nature in general as it refers to a number of social issues and provides a commentary about the government and those under its rule.   The song doesn't offer much hope for the future while delivering an acerbic judgement about humanity throughout the ages.   Still, I find it to be an interesting song and not an unpleasant listening experience.

          If you want to reference the original Leonard Cohen version you can listen here, but please don't vote on it.   Instead, listen to the following two versions and vote on your favorite of these two.  

Concrete Blonde "Everybody Knows" (1990)

Holly Figueroa O'Reilly  "Everybody Knows"  (2007)

Time to Vote!

       I don't know if everybody knows what to do next so let me explain.  Maybe it's not your style of music, but hopefully you'll keep a musically open mind in assessing the two versions.   Let us know what you think about these two recordings. Is there one that you prefer over the other?   Please give each song version a fair listen to decide which one you enjoy the most.  If you don't like either then at least tell us which recording was least innocuous to you. This comes down to your preference and it's as easy as that.

     Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands



'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Cherdo on the Flipside  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Janie Junebug Righting & Editing.
J. A. Scott  

Holli's Hoots and Hollers

Be ReInVintaged

Winner Announced on Friday October 21st

         There will be no post on Monday in order for this post to get maximum exposure. However I'll be here on Friday October 21st to announce the winning version of "Everybody Knows."   Not everybody knows which version is going to win the most votes, but on Friday you'll find out. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Happy Columbus Day--Was He a Hero?

        Should we stop honoring Christopher Columbus?   That's what some people have said.  Certain groups have called for the day to be in the future called "Indigenous People's Day."   The argument points out all of the cruel treatment, enslavement, and death brought to the peoples who already inhabited the land that Columbus "discovered."   He was certainly responsible for many tragic outcomes for those that he called "Indians", believing that he had arrived in the East Indies.

US Postage stamps: Columbian issues of 1893,
          When I was a child we celebrated Christopher Columbus and his great adventure to the New World.  The story was sanitized for the consumption of school children and indeed much was probably known only to history scholars.   On the whole, Columbus was revered with poems, books, and artworks.  Now in recent decades Columbus has been portrayed as a villain, an opportunistic European who took advantage of his conquered lands.  

           The way I see it is that we are dealing with history--events that cannot be changed and therefore should be accepted for what they are.   We cannot fairly judge those in the past according to the standards of our time.  The voyages of Columbus were amazing and courageous.   Christopher Columbus set the groundwork for the settling and development of the United States of America.

           I think Christopher Columbus deserves every accolade that is handed his way.   Unfortunately a trend to revise history often seems to be the rule of our time.   Revisionist history is one of the most deceptive and misguided movements coming out of the realms of academia.   Tear down the old heroes and replace them with some ambiguous ideal standard of lifestyle that was eradicated by those evil explorers,colonizers, Founding Fathers, and many others who came before us.

           Changing the players, events, and mindsets in order to create a new narrative is what it comes down to.  Sounds kind of like what our media does on a regular basis.  "History is written by the victors," is the oft heard claim.  Perhaps now we can more appropriately say that the media are the historians of our time.   This strikes me as a somewhat disturbing thought considering the questionable honesty of most media sources.   Or should I say selective honesty?

             Do you think that Christopher Columbus deserves to be honored?    Is history being tampered with too much in order to present a more politically correct view of the past?   Do you believe that media is trustworthy or does it exhibit a bias that influences many people in making important decisions like who to vote for?  

Happy Columbus Day!