A very important survey

The other day, I got a call. Normally, when I don’t recognize the number, I don’t answer the phone. However, for various reasons, these days I answer every call.

It went something like this:

Continue reading

Posted in Musings Stuff, Personal, Politics | Tagged , | 13 Comments

A few hours in Kailua Kona – Part 3 (the waves)

I’d hoped to cover the 90-minute photo session in two posts, but it turned into three posts. The first post (HERE) covered my encounter with the rusted truck relic. The second post (HERE) dealt with the surfers I photographed. 

This post has forty-four photographs in the gallery at the bottom of the post.  However, I won’t post all of them in the body of the post. I also have seven videos to share, all of them less than a minute long (you know, for them who have the attention span of a gnat). 

The photos and videos are primarily of waves . . . with the exception of the photos opening and closing this post. Those photos are of the rusty truck and the red flowers hedge.

Before I continue, some housekeeping . . . 

Some of you might have noticed a recent lack of contributions to this blog. Some might even have noticed I’m not as engaged in your blogs as I might normally be. There’s a reason for that. 

That reason is also why you might not see or hear much from me in the next four-to-six-weeks. Life demands more of my attention than normal. 

Before anyone starts to worry . . . I’m not sick. No one in my family is sick. I have no lawsuits hitting me right and left and I’m not under investigation (I fly pretty straight; I might not know where I’m going, but I’m heading straight there). I’ve not won the lotto and about to become a hermit. I’m not joining the Witness Protection Program and I’m not scheduling elective surgery to become even purdier. Despite my intellect, wisdom, and winning personality, I’ve not been drafted to solve the world’s problems. I’m not writing a book, composing music, or building a monument to Salami and Cheese sandwiches. 

Basically, I’m busy; nothing bad, nothing good. Just life. 

I plan on dropping a few posts here and there, but it’ll be mostly for my relaxation and enjoyment. Others are welcome to enjoy them . . . or not. For instance, I’ve been processing the 1,300 photos from September 11 (Alaska cruise). I assume that at some point I’ll be done, and sometime later I’ll post a few hundred of them. 

The only thing I feel bad about is that I won’t have time to read all the blogs I follow. I’ll catch a few posts here and there, but whereas I usually read every post from blogs I subscribe to, I’ll probably miss a bunch and — sadly — I don’t plan on catching up when my normal life resumes. 

Really . . . if you are inclined toward worrying about me, don’t. Believe me, plenty of bad stuff has happened since I’ve had this blog, and no one knows anything about it. Heck, if I were dying, the last place I would mention it would be here. So, really, if I didn’t say anything and just dropped out of sight, then you might wonder if I’ve died or lost all my fingers, butI’m telling you . . . it’s just life. 

Now, this seems long, as if overcompensating . . . nope! It’s just that only a few people will read this, and I want to impress upon them — the ones I care about — that nothing’s wrong. The majority of “readers” won’t even get past the first photo and, frankly, I don’t care much about them. 

And now, the first wave photo . . . 

Continue reading

Posted in Hawaii, Photography, Photography Stuff, The Big Island | Tagged , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Art is as Art does . . .

. . . but that ain’t my name. At my current rate of progress, Art and I will never be intimately acquainted. Still, I persist . . . because I have a Note 8 and that comes with a stylus.  

When I go to bed, I usually unwind by watching a movie that involves lots of shooting of bad guys with extreme prejudice. However, sometimes I pick up the phone, extract the stylus, fire up Painter, and . . . 

That’s about a ten minutes effort. Would have been finished faster were it not for something I discovered . . . despite a clear mental image, it’s difficult drawing a sitting dog that doesn’t look like a misshapen goat. Heck, even what I got requires a big heap of imagination . . . like, imagining the figure as a dog. 

Continue reading

Posted in Other Stuff | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness 199 — Telephone

Leanne Cole does a weekly Monochrome Madness post consisting of all B&W photos submitted by users each week. It’s not a contest, but a place for photographers to show their B&W work; anyone can submit photos and it’s also a good place for seeing what can be done when it comes to B&W. 

At the beginning of each month, the submissions are supposed to follow a theme and for next week — Monochrome Madness No. 199 — the theme is Telephone. I’m sure many people will have artistic interpretations that escape my linear mind. Namely, instead of a photo of E. T. pointing to a far-off galaxy, I’m likely to just photograph a telephone.

The first idea I had was the infinity telephone . . .  

A picture of a phone showing a photo of a phone showing a photo of a phone showing . . . well, you get the idea. 

Continue reading

Posted in Black & White, Photography, Photography Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Just some thoughts and stuff . . .

Some general thoughts on guns and stuff; thinking about the kind of stuff that gets thrown around with abandon and without — it seems to me —much forethought. I’ll try and point out why things are always more complicated than they seem and why until we speak honestly and without hyperbole, we’ll not make any progress. 

First, Australia.

Look, if you’re going to argue gun control, you can’t begin by pointing somewhere else, and I’ll tell you why . . . Australia is a country of 25 million fairly homogeneous people that —when it comes to guns — resembles the US in this many critical ways: zero.

It’s not just that the US has more than ten times the population (although, it matters) or that Australia has a vastly different history than the US (although, it matters) or that Australia because of its unique history and geographic location has a different culture (although, it matters).

The main reason you can’t throw Australia in a gun owner’s face (besides the fact they’ll throw Switzerland back in your face) is that Australia doesn’t have the Second Amendment.

Here’s the silly thing I hear from anti-gun proponents: let’s change the Second Amendment!

So, both Houses of Congress would have to draft a new Amendment replacing the old one. Assume for a moment that this was possible. The new amendment would then have to be ratified by three-fourths of the fifty states.

Here’s an interesting map:

Here are a few more maps.

Tell me you can get . . . let’s see . . . 0.75 x 50 = 37.5, so thirty-eight states to ratify an amendment suspending or changing the Second Amendment.

Australia also doesn’t have ex post facto provisions. (from Wikipedia) In the United States, Congress is prohibited from passing ex post facto laws by clause 3 of Article I, Section 9 of the United States Constitution. The states are prohibited from passing ex post facto laws by clause 1 of Article I, Section 10. This is one of the relatively few restrictions that the United States Constitution made to both the power of the federal and state governments before the Fourteenth Amendment. Over the years, however, when deciding ex post facto cases, the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly referred toling in Calder v. Bull, in which Justice Samuel Chase held that the prohibition applied only to criminal matters, not civil matters, and established four categories of unconstitutional ex post facto laws.

What does that mean? Well, it’s the reason that whenever there’s a shooting, gun sales go through the roof. It’s the reason why, if I were 19-year-old, I would go out and buy an AR-15 type gun right now (and many probably have). 

Simply, you can’t retroactively criminalize something. If an “assault weapon/rifle” ban were enacted, it would have an effective date, and anyone who owned such a weapon before that date could legally continue to own, use, and sell such a weapon. Some states may limit the sales portion by imposing other restrictions, but no state will impose a retroactive law (as far as I know).

There are good reasons for this and making an exception for some things would open a can of worms.

Then, there’s the effectiveness issue. Some will say that Australia’s 1996 NFA reform stopped mass shootings. Well, yes and no. There are still shootings, and there are still massacres, and yes, even mass shootings. There are fewer shootings using guns that were banned. There hasn’t been a shooting to the level of Port Arthur since then, but neither had there been before then. It was a unique event

The thing to note when looking at those numbers is the fact that the Port Arthur is an outlier. Mass shootings are oddities, even here in the US, and it’s difficult drawing conclusions (or enacting laws) based on what are essentially rare events.

Note: they are rare events here as well, but they’re so widely publicized that it may seem as if they’re happening all the time. Some will argue this, but you can do your own research and look at numbers. Some of your research might be hampered by changing definitions of mass shootings which lowered the requirement for numbers of victims before it could be labeled a mass shooting. Currently, four injured is sufficient to label it a mass shooting. But it used to be the number of people killed, and a higher number at that. THIS site has some data including links to the actual incidents of everything listed. It only lists incidents it can verify. Be aware that my main area of interest is Home Invasions and Defensive Shootings (which you kind of have to hunt for). We can each take what we want from the data.  

Violence in general — including gun crime — was already in a downtrend not just in Australia, but also in the US and the world in general (excluding war zones). Experts, whatever that means, are hard-pressed to quantify the effect of Australia’s law. Despite what you might hear, it’s possible Australia will experience a mass shooting even under its current law (clearly, that’s already happened, but people gloss over that). If they don’t, it won’t necessarily be because of the NFA.

Which brings me back to the US. We’ve had an increase in mass shootings, right? I mean, it’s practically an epidemic.

Well, yes and no. We’ve had more mass shootings in raw numbers (again, depending on how you classify them) . . . but the frequency has declined over the years if you look at the data in terms of population increases (shootings per 100K people). And, again, mass shooting are unique events. It makes them difficult to analyze, let alone predict and prevent. 

Well, certainly we’ve had an explosion of gun violence, right? Well, no. We’ve had a slight uptick in the last few years, but gun crime (and crime in general) has been steadily declining since the 1990s, and this is despite a large increase in population (an increase of 70 million) and an increase in guns (56%) and a large increase in people with concealed carry permits.  You can read the full report HERE (and save it). But, you can also go to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports and use the raw data to make up your own charts. 

Some of this just doesn’t make sense if you listen to the news.

That’s because those conservative voices screaming that Hillary and Obama would take away people’s guns are either idiots or serving a political agenda (or both).

Likewise, those liberal voices screaming about the epidemic of violence (and especially gun violence) are either idiots or serving a political agenda (or both).

I mentioned before that after every widely reported shooting there is a surge in gun sales. I said some of that relates to people’s fearing the government will make it impossible to buy (certain) guns.

But there’s another fear. It’s actual fear; for oneself and one’s loved ones. If you listen to the news, you might easily get the impression that we live in a violent society. Statistics show that significant numbers of new gun buyers are not buying guns for hunting or other shooting pastimes. They’re buying guns for protection.

Certainly, when I converse with people from other countries, they envision the US population as cowering fearfully behind cover whilst (threw that in for them British folks; it means “while”) clutching their six-shooters.

The reality is that violent crime (and gun crime in general) is highly concentrated. The majority of Americans will never experience gun crime. They might experience other crime, but that’s comparable to other parts of the “civilized” world.

“Well, Emilio, why are you so fearful, then? Why do you want a gun?”

Well, Bob, I have experienced crime, but it goes beyond just crime numbers for me, and I suspect it does for others as well.

Let me give you an example. I can train as much as I want, lift as many weights as I want, and at the end of the day, I will still be 5′ 8″. I might sport impressive muscles and be very fit, but I won’t be a match for any of the people I regularly see at my gym. Aside from the muscle mass I will never have, there’s also the size differential. I’m talking simple physics like arm reach and leverage and striking force.

Even if I train my heart out until I can manage to hold off an untrained larger adversary, I’ll be no match for two guys. Or three. Or more.

There’s simply no other tool to level the playing field other than a gun. And that goes double for women, and I don’t mean to imply there aren’t women who could handily kick my butt. Heck, they’re the scariest ones because I would hesitate to hit a woman even in self-defense. Shooting her? Well, yeah; that way I wouldn’t get cooties. Yes, that humor.

Seriously, one of the things gun control advocates have to account for is this desire of mine not to get punched, beat up, or otherwise killed by someone stronger, faster, and younger than I am. And, that desire will only increase as I get older.

“But, the odds are so small!”

Well, the odds are small that I will get into a car crash, I still carry insurance. I even carry liability insurance despite the fact I engage in zero risky behaviors.

But, wait! Why do I have to answer to you? Would you like for me to tell you all of your behaviors that I find objectionable? Yeah, I could give you an example, but I wrote about it HERE.

Let’s now move on to one other common refrain non-gun people throw in the face of gun owners: the AR-15 is not a hunting rifle. No one needs an assault weapon for hunting.

Well, now; how do you know it’s not a hunting rifle? Because, you know, it is, in fact, a hunting rifle that’s been customized to “look cool” and in the process making very versatile.

But, let’s say that’s true (it’s not, but let’s assume that’s true) . . . what would you, the non-gun enthusiast, non-hunter, recommend hunters should use?

Admit it; you don’t have a clue unless you’re a hunter. And, if you were a hunter, you might not be so quick at discounting the AR-15 for hunting. But, as an exercise, go ahead and come up with alternative weapons for hunting various game. In the process, you might learn something about hunting and weapons, and wouldn’t that be nice?


So are we up a creek without a weapons ban?

No. We can still regulate weapons purchases; that’s not unconstitutional. It might piss some people off, like, for instance, when Maryland instituted a registration process just to get a permit to buy a gun. The cost to gun owners was upwards of $400. And that’s before they bought a gun.

Here’s another interesting thing. While most well-to-do people complain about guns and gun violence, they don’t actually live where there’s much violence. Do you know who lives in places where’s there’s a lot of violence? Poor people. I linked THIS before, but it’s worth revisiting.

Interesting side fact: many gun control measures were racially motivated. Neat, huh? Some claim they still are. You should read the article in that link. It’s from Salon; not your typical Right Wing rag.

So, registration, but, you know, not punitive registration. A few buck, something you can easily do without losing a half day of work. Along with registration, perhaps some training. Local police could hold weekly classes. The NRA (that evil entity) has long pushed and does offer training and safety classes. 

What’s that? Conservatives don’t like gun registration?

Well, that goes back to what I talked about above. It’s a matter of civic education, you see, something that apparently is no longer taught in schools.

We need the Right Wing Nuts to stop yelling confiscation. Heck, they’re the first to tell you that if the government even tried it, there would be civil war and most cops and soldiers would not follow those orders. So why are the Right Wing Nuts still yelling? Well, for one, it raises money (some of them are in the top 1%, all from yelling into a radio microphone). But the other reason is the Left Wing Nuts.

Left Wing Nuts are yelling that guns should be done away with. No guns. Period. They further yell that every gun control victory is a step toward getting rid of guns. Apparently, they too are deficient in the laws of the land.

But, that’s the problem. You have a bunch of ignorant people yelling at each other about stuff that has zero chance of happening, and that’s what frames our current gun debate. That’s what raises campaign money. That’s also what triggers my annoyance.

Registration can work, together with instruction, and requirements of reporting if a gun is stolen or sold. Registration puts some measure of responsibility in the hands of the gun buyer/owner.

It’s still not as simple as it seems, but that’s why we need serious debate and honest exchanges of ideas. For instance, this whole mental health issue. Where does that line fall?

Heck, if I take cold medicine, I’m warned not to operate machinery. Many people take antidepressants or other medicine to regulate anything from anxiety to whatever the mind-malady de jour happens to be. And many of those medicines have warnings on them about effects to your mental stability. But, there’s a wide spectrum of responses to a given stimulus, and often those dire warnings reflect very low probabilities that the cure is worse than the disease.  Who decides? How do you appeal?

For the record, I think many people have mental issues; it doesn’t make them suicidal or homicidal. But, some, it might. For that matter, some unmedicated personalities are suicidal or homicidal.

Still, we should be able to work that out. We won’t be perfect, but then we’re not perfect on anything. Look up how many people are accidentally killed each year by our doctors and nurses (HERE and HERE).

Once it’s registered, then what? So, you have to report the gun when it’s stolen, but that doesn’t keep anyone from using it in a crime. Ideally, people might take better precautions, the same precautions they take with other valuables.

Perhaps some sorts of liability insurance would be required, although this too might disadvantage the poor.

Another side note: there’s talk of holding gun manufacturers liable if their products (guns) are used in crimes. Again, I think that is a terrible idea. I can picture Perry Mason cross-examining a gun manufacturer. “And you admit your product performed flawlessly and as designed?” “Yes; yes, I do.” “No further questions, your honor.” Wouldn’t that set up a precedent for every product that gets misused? We don’t sue booze manufacturers when drunks kill someone, or car manufacturers when someone speeds and kills someone. It seems a stupid thing even to suggest.

What else? Well, we’re about done with guns. There’s remarkably little we can do with guns. FSM knows we’ve tried, but, ultimately, the gun is an object. People love to say “people with guns, kill people” but people without guns also kill people. We can start debating body counts, and I’ll bring up bombs. 

Then, there’s the implementation of criminal law. We’ve imposed disproportionate prison terms for marijuana users, yet people who commit gun crimes are often back on the street to commit more. How about this? Use a gun in a crime, go away for thirty years; no parole. I would suggest life or the death penalty, but Liberals get on my case for that. Still, get rid of plea bargaining for gun crimes and send them away. After all, isn’t that a part of what England does? Aren’t we all admirers of their system?

The rest of the stuff gets into heavy-duty societal issues. Like, for instance, that there’s a fan club for the Columbine shooters. Do you arrest them all? Forcibly medicate them? 

Perhaps that speaks to the media making the shooters so infamous that they’re the equivalent of celebrities. Don’t know what to do about that. This latest shooting had pretty much round-the-clock coverage. I know more about the shooter than I know about my brother or best friend. That in itself is a whole other aspect of this conversation; his story from when he was very young to now (including recent months) points to systemic failures that have nothing to do with guns. Sure, raise the age limit to 21. He might have been “cured” by then, right? Or, he might have bought a gun illegally. Check how gangs smuggle guns in with drugs. Or, he might have stolen one. Or, he could have used bombs. 

We can talk about being better — all of us — at not only recognizing problems personalities and disturbing actions, but doing something about them.

There, we run into our love of liberty and due process. In the last few days, a few kids have been arrested for posing “credible” threats to various schools.

I’ll be curious seeing how that plays out. That I know of, it’s difficult proving intent before the fact. You pretty much have to catch them armed to the teeth and about to enter a school. 

The same goes for troubled kids . . . what exactly do you do? What do you do once they become adults? How long can we monitor them and might that not actually make matters worse?

All good questions in search of answers. Too bad no one is actually talking about the good questions.

Side note: I often wonder what the NSA thinks about me; I’m prone to research weapons, ways to kill, poisonings, bomb-making, and all sorts of different things for my fiction. But, how do they know it’s for my fiction? The only reason I don’t have cops at my door is that the NSA would have to disclose their illegal monitoring and — as we all know — they just rather let people die than give up their toys. Yes, humor. 


So, here we are. That’s what I think about when I search for answers. Can we agree that it’s more complicated than how these issues are presented in the media?

You’d be surprised how difficult it is wading through literal mountains of incoherent rants trying to get even simple answers to simple questions. Constitutional law can be both extremely simple and incredibly nuanced and you can find reasoned arguments on both sides . . . and that alone should make you realize the one-liner solutions are worthless. 

Add to that the tendency for people to look only for things that support their own views (the echo chamber effect) and pile that on atop raw emotions, and . . . well, here we are.

Which brings me to my closing point; there’s a lot of anger out there (occasionally understandable, but, truthfully, it often seems a bit hypocritical and self-serving), but especially on the Left, and what I hear is a bit worrisome.

For example, I was listening to the Left, Right, and Center podcast and I heard the editor of The Nation say something like this (I’m paraphrasing it from memory): we should have human chains around the NRA headquarters and people in front of Ryan’s home holding up pictures of dead kids. It’s time for massive civil disobedience.

Aside from sounding like a dangerous thing to do and possibly inciting violence, it’s kind of weird; I seem to remember Liberals decrying those same tactics by Pro-Life proponents. I also remember clashes and arrests and an eventual murder and also the National Organization of Women filing a RICO lawsuit against the demonstrators (dismissed). I believe Bill Clinton eventually signed a bill curtailing such protests which, you know, might run afoul of the First Amendment, but Liberals weren’t worried about that back then because it didn’t apply to them.

Not to mention that I think going to a person’s home is way over the line. But, you know, it’s OK if Liberals do it.

It may sound like I’m bashing Liberals, but it’s because right now, they’re — more often than not — the idiots. They are proposing the same kind of tactics they justly ridiculed and lambasted Trump for, claiming it was irresponsible to incite violence (it was). 

And Trump . . . it doesn’t help when we ridicule how people look and are ready to jump on every little thing they say just because they said it. It doesn’t help because someone is sure to pull up a video of Obama or Hillary or other Democratic Press Secretary or other luminary saying or doing the same thing. 

Make the legal case, make it clearly and simply, and stick to the issue and not the person because FSM knows, Liberals are just as prone to making idiotic statements as Conservatives and those idiotic statements become fodder for talking heads on both sides.

Like, for instance, claiming Trump is taking us toward a totalitarian dictatorship and comparing him to Hitler . . . and then asking for guns to be banned and confiscated. Honest, do they not see the irony?

Please, please, please . . . don’t insult me by even thinking I am defending Trump or have anything but contempt for him and The Republican Party. The only difference between me and a Liberal is that I have the same level of contempt for Democrats. I just plain hate dishonesty and gamesmanship. 

 Here are a few videos:

Now, I’m going to put in here a few videos that go every which way. I just did a quick source and wanted to find a spectrum of view.

I spoke of the difficulty of finding cogent arguments, but especially on the anti-gun side. They tend more on visuals (a play on emotion) and ridicule (dismissive marginalizing) or just reporting the problem as they tsk-tsk about the state of affairs.

Feel free to link videos in the comments presenting whatever view you hold. Preferably, videos making a serious effort at not just showing the problem, but offering workable solutions. And by workable, I mean realistic and within the frame of what we can legally do as a country. 

Bonus Disperser Musings: the majority of crime is committed by people in the 15-24 age group. Hmm . . . Baby Boomers span the birth years from the late 1940s to 1964. I wonder if the run-up in crime we saw that peaked in 1990 has anything to do with that and if the subsequent drop is because boomers aged? I hope not because the slight uptick we saw in the last two years corresponds to the mini-boom that peaked in 1992 . . . hmm 2016 – 24 = 1992 . . . Hmm. Probably not. Maybe. We’ll see. I mean, the math doesn’t quite work out, but I wonder. Actually, there’s a better correlation with the crack epidemic that peaked in 1990, and that has me wonder (and worry) about the opioid epidemic. I better stock up on guns and ammunition.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, sympathy, or complaining about my life, or asking for help and advice, know you’re  likely missing my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor.

Posted in Guns, Musings Stuff | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Some thought on storytelling

I came across this short video . . . 

I think it’s worth watching. If you’re going to watch it, do so before reading the words below because I’ll have spoilers. 

I enjoyed it, but then I got to thinking . . . How much of an advantage is it presenting a visual story as opposed to a written one?

I ask because the story is visually appealing (I thought the graphics were well done) but it’s a pretty simple story with a somewhat predictable trope/outcome. If I wrote such a story and tried selling it, that’s exactly the feedback I’d get. 

No conflict, no character development, no explanation of the broader implication of alien contact (or just how alien it is). It’s an automatic rejection letter. 

Plus, the character has no agency. The plot presents a problem, but the character itself has no agency. The plot weaves around his passive role. 

I should repeat that I don’t regret the time I spent watching it and enjoyed the experience. 

. . . but, how much was it the story and how much was it the visuals?

I’m writing this post because everything I mentioned above is feedback I’ve gotten back from my attempts at similar stories. By similar, I mean stories where the main protagonists are carried along by events but are not the shapers of those events.  

Stories like Stopover and Lucy (a.k.a. The Shirt) — two stories that got me actual reasons for being rejected as opposed to just a form letter — were deemed well written and interesting, but the main characters didn’t “do” anything. There are no conflicts and they’re passive spectators of the events. Also, the readers were interested in what happened beyond the experiences of the characters.

And yet, that’s exactly what happens in the above video. 

I liked the video for the same reason I like the stories I write; it’s about what the emotions and experiences of the characters even if they don’t have much agency, and the broader implications are secondary. 

My usual disclaimer: no, not bitching about the unyielding universe having it in for me. Not saying my life is unfair, not wanting people to pat me in the back and tell me (be they truthful or not) that I’m a good writer and someday people the world over will recognize my work as the product of an unusual and rare genius. What? You weren’t going to go that far? Oh. OK. I mean . . . no, no, that’s fine. 

Seriously, I do think that the limits of a visual medium (as opposed to a written one) are also an advantage, at least when dealing with modern audiences. You can distract them with the visuals, making a simple story appear grander than it is.

And, again, I liked it. 

~ ~ ~ o o o  ~ ~ ~

A quick technical and philosophical discussion . . . 

First, the malfunction has him travel, apparently, a very long distance. It’s hinted that FTL communication is possible. The reason to go to Mars was to deploy the satellite that allowed instantaneous communication (he chats in real time with the control room back on Earth). However, it doesn’t say FTL travel is possible. The trip to Mars took three minutes, and that’s the time it takes for the speed of light to travel between Earth and Mars (3:03 to 3:11 depending on the position of Mars relative to the Earth). 

For anyone familiar with Einstein’s equations, that’s a bit of a plot hole. You might be able to “slip” outside our universe and travel faster than light (not that we know of, but as a plot device, ok) but he traveled at the speed of light . . . that means he achieved infinite mass. 

But, OK, it’s science fiction, after all. 

The philosophical question comes in when he tells his wife “it’s really me”.

No, it’s not. It’s a copy of him. The original him was killed. Disintegrated by the aliens.

Side note 1: by the way, why not grab the photo as well? They grabbed his clothes. For all they knew, the photo was a part of his hand. 

A copy of him was reconstructed in his yard. 

Side Note 2: This has all sorts of implications we might want to know about. Did they read his mind? Did he communicate with them? How did they know where he lived? Not just the planet, but his actual address. All of these are considerations we writers regularly blow aside for the sake of the story. Or, at least, for the sake of this story. 

It’s the old Star Trek Transporter problem. When they say “Energize!” the machine destroys the bodies and reassembles a new body elsewhere. Captain Kirk et al. died many, many times. 

Now, this is not new; you can read about it HERE, and HERE, and HERE and many more places on the nerd corner of the Internet. Also the philosophy corner. 

I won’t go into it here except that it got me thinking about THIS article that someone sent me.

That article postulates the transfer of identity. Your consciousness, what makes you you, is captured and “moved”. People might have heard of the singularity (I wrote a little story about it) as a way to live forever. 

I’ve been reading a lot about consciousness and identity and awareness and what exactly we are. That reads weird; let me rephrase it. We are bodies, flesh, lots of excrement, and water. But our awareness of ourselves, what keeps the lights on, is poorly understood. We know it’s tied to the brain, but that’s about it. 

The person who sent me the article did so as a possible seed for future stories. Unfortunately for me, similar stories were written as far back as the 90s and probably earlier

Well, it doesn’t mean I can’t write variants; there are no new ideas in fiction. 

The point is, if we can “capture” consciousness, and presuming it’s something that is transferable, we either have to destroy the original (Old Man’s War does this) or we’re making copies of it. The latter means that there could be two copies of you (the article implies this). The problem I see with that is that both copies of you would see themselves at the original (we’re making exact copies). 

Either way, it doesn’t sound like something I would want to do. I can hardly stand one of me. 

Yes, these are the kinds of things I think about all the time. It’s enough to give one a headache. I think I’ll have a cookie. 

But, before I go, one of my favorite clips about Epistemology (one of my favorite movies with lots of great quotes and great music – it has an annoying religious undertone, but what the heck, the characters are great and the story is a good one) . . . 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, sympathy, or complaining about my life, or asking for help and advice, know you’re  likely missing my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor.

Posted in Musings Stuff, Writing | Tagged , | 8 Comments

A humor break

It’s been a draining few days . . . so I figure I’d put up some funny stuff (or what I think is funny stuff). 

I begin with something to get the blood pumping:

Next, a quick selection of cartoons I’ve saved. I have a large collection of them spanning back decades. Here’s one with some advice for tomorrow:

Perhaps some of my readers might get a kick out of this next one . . . 

For them who don’t know me socially, more often than not, I’m liable to say things completely out of left field. People often wonder how I got this way; cartoons. Like, for instance . . . 

Of course, those are the low-hanging fruit of humor. Stuff about bodily functions brings us together by virtue of shared experiences.

Although, I admit that might offend some people with delicate sensibilities. And, if you’re not one of them, here’s a primer:

Still, on occasion, you come across things that are truly innovative and regardless of the . . . uh . . . delicate subject, you can’t help but laugh.

Still, my preferred delivery vehicle for humor remains the cartoon . . . 

. . . especially when the cartoon requires the reader to make even a small leap to get the joke . . . 

. . . and a related . . .

Yes, occasionally humor can also deliver a message or two. 

Of course, man can’t live . . . uh . . . sorry . . . non-gender-specific humans can’t live on cartoons alone. Once again, YouTube comes to the rescue. Honest folks, there’s a lot of clever stuff out there. Here’s one of my favorites. Seriously; watch this one.

Sometimes, things are so funny that it can one cry . . . with sadness about the underlying truth. 

And, sometimes, humor can be found in things we don’t even realize because we experience them every day . . . but change how we experience them, and all of a sudden, they are funny . . . well, I think they’re funny. 

Occasionally, the jokes are fairly specific and require some background knowledge that not everyone might have. But, man, it’s been decades! Surely, everyone has seen the movie by now!

Many videos I watch end up being short clips that catch my attention . . . primarily because they are poignant to the world around us and still funny. This one happens to touch on a pet peeve of mine . . . pundits telling me the opinion of people on Twitter or Facebook.

But sometimes they just hit my funny bone, like this next one did. 

Now, getting back to cartoons . . . I love when cartoons merge with my other favorite form of humor, the one-liner. 

I mentioned I’ve been collecting jokes for a while . . . the joke in some of them might escape today’s techno-savvy generation . . . 

. . . and some are cartoon strips that no longer exist . . . 

For some reason, those spoke to me . . . while this next one gave me a perspective on life that I found useful. 

I have a few readers from England . . . they might be offended, but what the heck; here goes nothing.

Herman is an old comic and it’s another one of those that helped shape my humor . . . 

One of my favorites (and there are many) are the Mother Goose & Grimm strips . . . 

I feel kind of bad for people who don’t see the humor in these. They thought me to think of humor in terms of the ninety-degree turn rather than straight ahead. 

And then, there’s Mr. Boffo. I’ve professed my love for the strip loud and often. 

One of the strips that started out strong and maybe slowed up a bit is Overboard. As an owner of a company, I kind of related to some of its humor . . . 

Well, it’s getting late. As you can see, I’m capable of wasting a lot of what would otherwise be productive time. 

Of course, not everything I watch is a complete waste of time. Some of it is highly educational. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, sympathy, or complaining about my life, or asking for help and advice, know you’re  likely missing my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor.

Posted in Humor, Musings Stuff, Stuff | Tagged , | 53 Comments