Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pope: Dogs can go straight to hell!

Maybe you saw this article a few days ago where the Pope said that our doggies will make it to heaven.

Well, turns out that isn't quite the case. According to an update, the Pope really didn't say it all all. And based on the facts of this new article, plus what I make up in my head, it appears to suggest the Pope may have said something analogous to another Pope, perhaps condemning our furry friends to eternal damnation.

I base my conclusion from today's standards of investigative journalism and a closer reading of the original article in the New York Times which contained this gem:

During a weekly general audience at the Vatican last month, the pope, speaking of the afterlife, appeared to suggest that animals could go to heaven, asserting, “Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us.”

Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, analyzing the pope’s remarks, concluded he believed animals have a place in the afterlife. It drew an analogy to comforting words that Pope Paul VI was said to have once told a distraught boy whose dog had died: “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”

Dolly the Dog: Heaven on Earth!
Thanks, Corriere della Sera, for setting a new standard in journalism. And thanks, New York Times, for just passing on whatever you feel like!

The point is not to debate whether dogs will or won't find their way to heaven. The point is that the standards of journalistic integrity, and getting the story right, no longer seem to apply. The New York Times misquotes the Pope? That seems like a big deal. Or used to be it would have been. I'm guessing no one really cares that much about the error. I'm not sure if that is a reflection of the decline of the mainstream media or the Pope. But that's another essay.

Today the news is all about getting 'clicks' and eyeballs to generate ad revenue. Perhaps more-so that in the past. I'll spare you, dear reader, another analysis of the Rolling Stone gang rape story except to say, holy shit what a colossal mess that created.

It used to be you could discern the reputable newspapers, like the New York Times, from the sensationalist. And the evening news on television, the news you could trust, was a loss-leader to get us to tune into a particular network so we'd watch whatever entertainment came next. But that was back when we didn't have a gagillion channels, networks, etc., we didn't have a 24x7 news cycle with hours to fill, and when we had to actually get up out of our chairs to change the channel. Not anymore.

The so-called mainstream media no longer exists. It's dead, or on life support at best, as local and national news programs have gutted their investigative journalism efforts to save money. Now we get all our news from Facebook, and Buzzfeed, and Reddit, and from our friends' text messages, and from celebrity tweets. Our 'news' is passed to us from agenda setting right and left wing 'pseudo-news' blogs, and the like, with little regard for accuracy.

If you hadn't realized it yet, I'm telling you now: We just can't believe everything we see here in the Matrix. Maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones and Santa will leave you a personal fact checker in your stocking. Otherwise the truth will be only what you hope it to be.

Meanwhile, it's buyer beware, friends.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Today is my favorite day of the year! The once-each-year gift of a full 25-hour day!  Such a glorious human contrivance and such fortunate ones are we - the receivers of that precious extra hour of sleep, or church, or hanging out with family, or reading the Sunday newspaper.

Now, join with me everyone:

Take in a nice full breath through the nose. Hold it for a moment. Exhale slowly through your mouth.


Doesn’t that feel good? And doesn’t it feel good to know you could take the extra time for a meditative breathing pause and still be ahead for the day by over 59 minutes?

Photo Credit: Oatsy40 using Creative Commons License
Fall Back Day should be a national holiday. We should honor Benjamin Franklin, the alleged creator of Daylight Savings time. And he needs a day anyway. A key Founding Father, yet not a President, he gets the short-shrift on President’s Day. We should honor this great man. Maybe have a parade. One that lasts about 15 minutes because I want to use some of my extra time to sleep in a bit and the rest to catch-up on chores.

I read once an idea about Daylight Savings Time, and I can’t recall the source, but with modern technology and computers we could set our clocks ahead, every day, 10-minutes for the week, then reclaim it on Sunday. Think of it. Each day I’m sure we could easily come up with 10-minutes we just piss away. FaceBook, BuzzFeed, reading people’s blogs, whatever. Idle time. Instead of that, we simply allow the computers and the Internet to adjust our clocks and phones and DVR machines ahead 10 minutes each day, Monday through Saturday, for six days. Then on Sunday, every Sunday, after we’ve accumulated 60 minutes, we could Fall Back one hour! ONE HOUR! Amazing! And we’ll never miss those 10 little minutes each day during the week. Who needs it on a Monday anyway? Monday is bad enough already; it should definitely be 10 minutes shorter.

You may now be asking: "So, when can we create this magical utopian world of 25-hour Sundays?" I say: "Why wait?"

Lets get the smart people at the U.S. Naval Observatory, the head keepers of time in the land, to work in partnership with Google, probably Disney, and the Koch Brothers, who really run the country, to develop a plan for this. The 2016 general elections are just two years away. That’s plenty of time to work out the details and for at least one of the parties to adopt the plan in its party platform.

And that will be the party that gets my vote!