Hawai’i Birds – Part I

I had high hopes, once here, of snagging lots of bird photos but Hawai’ian birds turned out to be surprisingly difficult to capture. I mean photograph, but I imagine capturing them would also be difficult. Almost every bird I see is either in motion or about to be in motion. I have lots of blurry photos and empty frames. 

What follows is a sampling of all the bird photos I’ve shot and are halfway decent and I’ve not yet published. You can click on the photos and a larger version will open up in another window. You can also go to THIS SmugMug Gallery or enjoy the gallery at the end of the post. The galleries contain thirty-one photos, but I’ll only post a few here (more than twenty and less than thirty-one).

This is The Pacific Golden-Plover (Kolea) . . . 

20170101_dsc4310_1_digi

Continue reading

Posted in Birds, Photography, Photography Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Overview Effect

I often wonder why certain people — myself included — have such different views when it comes to living our lives. By different, I mean not conforming to the majority of people.

Obviously, because I think I’m smart, I believe my views of what constitutes a life well-lived are a notch above someone who — for the sake of argument — believes one should not think too much about things, preferring instead the facile answer, often from a book or self-described mystic. 

Continue reading

Posted in Musings Stuff, Personal, Philosophy, Religion, Science, Stuff | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Rudderless Sunday

There is so much I want to write about. Not just want; almost have to . . . I can’t quite put it into words but it stems from looking around and wondering if others are seeing what I am seeing. 

I want to ask Republicans/Conservatives if they know what they are doing and if they have thought things through? I want to ask Democrats/Liberals what the hell is wrong with them and do they know they are losing the moral high ground?

I want to, but it’s all such a mess.

12271_26jun2010_3-processed_digi

12271_26jun2010_3-processed-processed-processed-processed-processed_digi

Plus, many people seem to just shrug their shoulders and go on as if nothing is happening. I mean, yes . . . one hundred years from now — one way or another — all this will be but a memory, perhaps no more than a footnote in the annals of history. 

I don’t think so, but even if that’s the case, we — the people living and breathing and talking and shitting in this time and place — are going through it, and it’s not “nothing.” It’s something and it’s potentially something big. Global, even.

Yes, there are strident voices on both sides shouting this or that warning . . . but that’s the problem. They are strident; they exaggerate, they distort, and their calls to action are not comforting me. Most of all, there are no measured, deliberate, reasoned voices addressing the concern of the centrists, the non-partisan moderates. 

I recently listened to a podcast where Sam Harris put the focus on what I intuitively knew but had not solidified in my thinking; he said the moderate can no longer find any room — a space to exist — between the far left and the far right. 

Continue reading

Posted in Flowers, Musings Stuff, Personal, Photo-effects, Photography, Photography Stuff, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Flowers By Request – Nikon D7000 and 105mm f/2.8 Macro

One of my readers — an older gentleman of some distinction — made a request to see more flowers on these humble (virtual) pages. 

How could I not comply? Plus, as it happens, I just recently had taken the D7000 out for a spin, pairing it with the great Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR Macro lens. I have been shooting the P900 for over a month now and wanted to remind myself — and my readers — what my regular rig can do and why the P900 — convenient as it is — will not ever fully replace my DSLR. For comparison, flowers from the same area but shot with the P900 are in the gallery for THIS post. 

These next two shots are not flowers . . . but they are new leaves of a flowering plant. They reminded me of winged insects. 

20170220__dsc5625_1_digi

20170220__dsc5627_1_digi

These next two are flowers but kind of “messy” ones.

Continue reading

Posted in Flowers, Photography, Photography Stuff, Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Just a few random shots and thoughts

Sometimes I have so much to say and show that I end not saying or showing anything.

By far, writing something is the more difficult task. Throwing up photos is easy . . . 

20170126_dscn1075_1-processed

Writing, on the other hand, can be daunting. It especially daunts when wanting to speak about serious stuff; opinions on current events, opinions on writing itself . . . heck, opinions in general. 

I could write about movies, like John Wick Chapter 2. What can I say? So few people do sequels well, and the people who did JW-2 are not among the few. Mind you, the production value was high, the action was amazing (too amazing) but the story . . . 

Here’s what I think happened. The success of the first movie was assumed to be for the most part due to the action scenes and Mr. Wick dispatching some seventy people. Certainly, that’s why I liked it. Bad guys dying is something I’ll happily watch.

The problem with the first movie is that as bad-ass as he was made out to be, if it weren’t for DaFoe’s character, Mr. Wick would have died a couple of times over (Deux Sniper Ex Machina). 

20170213_dscn1697_1-processed

20170213_dscn1697_1-processed-processed

For that matter, had I been the “bad guy”, I would not have sent all my men on frontal attacks against Mr. Wick. I would have had them surround the house and shoot him with a high-power rifle from a safe distance (the house has a lot of glass windows; it would seem like a no-brainer). 

The movie-makers must have realized this and wanted to remedy the perception. In this sequel, Mr. Wick dispatches something like 150+ people all on his own, no help needed. My wife says the number is probably 200+ people. That’s a lot of shooting, stabbing, strangling, penciling, etc. 

But, again, he lives through all the attacks because of the following:

The bad guys are fans of martial arts movies and attack one person at the time. Also, none of the bad guys are smart enough to use guns to the maximum advantage. The whole design of the gun is geared toward propelling solid metal chunks at a safe distance from a given target. It’s a mystery to me why the bad guys would want to get within a few feet of Mr. Wick unless they liked having their hands grabbed and twisted. Or, perhaps, they like being thrown and having their own guns used against them. 

I’ll never understand the criminal mind. 

20170213_dscn1698_1-processed

20170213_dscn1698_1-processed-processed

The movie is one long action scene with a few breaks thrown in so that the audience can see how civilized the world of professional killers is. It has protocols and traditions and even service sectors which can supply you with the best in guns and implausible armored clothing.  

But the plot . . . the plot. It disheartens me when I watch movies like this because I’m fairly confident I could write a better plot premise. Except, no one asked me. Instead, we get a convoluted dance around some cockamamy blood marker and protocol that must be followed before being allowed to kill someone. 

This movie is also an example of how women are held to a higher standard than men (or, that men get a pass because, you know, they are men.) I refer to the killer lady in the first movie who is executed because she broke the rules. Mr. Wick flagrantly breaks them and is given a one hour head start before being excommunicated as opposed to executed. Go figure. 

20170213_dscn1699_1-processed

20170213_dscn1701_1-processed

20170213_dscn1702_1-processed

By the way, I finally saw Captain America – Civil War. 

Another movie where the plot and motivation driving the movie is both transparent (or, it was to me) and nonsensical. In the case of CA-CW, the movie-makers got themselves enamored with big, pointless fight scenes. 

During one sequence, the superheroes are doing their best to disable each other. I mean, using their superpower to land powerful blows and explosions, and stuff . . . and then, one of them gets hurt, and Iron Man is all upset-like.

Dude! Like, you guys are throwing serious power around! What did you expect?

But again, the main premise . . . Crap! 

20170213_dscn1703_1-processed

It’s really difficult getting invested in movies when you can spot plot holes and inconsistencies. I mean, don’t get me wrong; they are passable movies, but I’m glad I did not go see them at the theater. Wait . . . I saw John Wick 2  at the theater . . . sonofabitch!

FYI, all of these shots are from the P900. Most of them, like the next three, are shot at the maximum optical zoom. Wait . . . only the first of the next three is at the 2000mm maximum optical zoom. The other two were pushed past that into the digital zoom realm. 

20170213_dscn1717_1-processed

20170213_dscn1711_1-processed

20170213_dscn1716_1-processed

So, here’s the interesting thing with this camera. I’m better at getting better photos from the camera. 

20170215_dscn1758_1-processed

20170215_dscn1766_1-processed

But, back to movies. We don’t watch too many movies. We barely watch television. One show we’re currently watching is HBO’s The Newsroom

It’s heavily partisan, so that’s a bit annoying. I mean, not that I have a problem with exposing Republicans, but it was obviously made for a “liberal” audience because there is nary a mention of all the crap things Democrats do. 

Still, the characters are engaging, the writing is tight, and I’ll put up with the heavy-handed treatment of some subjects.

20170215_dscn1784_1-processed

20170215_dscn1805_1-processed

For me, the writing is the main attraction. While the show assumes one is politically stupid, it does not assume the audience is generally stupid. The writing assumes people know words and sentences and can get references and jokes and stuff. 

It’s a refreshingly welcome departure from the typical TV fare where it’s assumed audiences need to get hit in the head with a sledgehammer for them to get the jokes. 

The show no longer airs, but I’m enjoying going through the three seasons. 

One general comment . . . the characters in the show? I would love to know them. I don’t mean the actors; I mean the fictional character. Not all, but most. I like their intelligence.

20170215_dscn1826_1-processed

20170217_dscn1861_1-processed

Let’s see, what else?

Oh, yeah . . . I’ve been reading some of the free books I’ve gotten for being an Amazon Prime member (one free book a month). I really liked Mogworld (until the end). I started reading but did not finish three other books. These are published books and some are part of series. The fourth book (Uglies) I liked but it does not end; it leads into the second book which I will not buy because it pissed me off that the first book did not end. 

The three books I did not finish were, in my opinion, not well-written and with stories that are even less engaging than the characters. 

They are supposed to be thriller/action stories. I’m reading those because of my 2015 NaNoWriMo effort which I plan to shop around some. Reading those books was of zero help in improving my writing . . . which I’m not doing much of these days. 

I am, however, racking up rejections to my short stories. Thirty-one rejections and counting.

20170221_dscn1867_1-processed

20170221_dscn1868_1-processed

One thing I noticed with the novels I have read . . . they sure describe everything. Many, many words describing the scene, the people, what they are wearing, their surroundings, and all sorts of details I can only assume will be relevant later on in the story . . . but that I will never find out because I stopped reading. Were I to put that much description into my works, my books would be nearly twice as thick as they are. 

Well, they are digital, so thickness is not a current virtue. What I mean is that going by word count, were I to pad as much as they did, I would be up in the 200K+ words stories. 

I’ve also read that books are now being screened by “sensitivity readers” . . . people who read books (getting paid as much as $250 a pop) and see if they are offended by anything. 

. . . I’m never gonna get published . . . 

20170221_dscn1869_1-processed

20170221_dscn1870_1-processed

One more photo of something I tried:

20170213_dscn1701_1-processed-processed

Here is the gallery of photos from this post:

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

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

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.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

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, encouragement, or advice to better my life, know my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor is blowing right by you.

Posted in Musings Stuff, Personal, Photography | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Elites, Intellectuals, Reason, Questions, and Critical Thinking

Warning: this is not an easy read, nor am I presenting it as particularly worthwhile; it’s just me thinking aloud for my own benefit and because I like to read back at my stuff after it sits for a few years; it keeps track of how my thinking might have changed. If you just want to see the photos, ignore the writing and go directly to the gallery at the end of the post.

At no time during my short life have I been more concerned about what I see around me. I understand that in the span of human history we are going through what is essentially a small hick-up.

But, history itself gives fuel to my fears. History can almost call the play-by-play of what we are watching unfold.  

14JUNE2015 Tri-Lakes Car Show

Readers are probably thinking I’m speaking about Trump, but he is just a symptom of a larger, more general concern. 

My concern is that a large portion of the United States population, and indeed, the world, is ignorant and willingly so. 

More troubling, they seek not to ameliorate their condition and deride those who do. Anti-intellectualism is not a new thing, but when translated into political movements with close ties to religion, it should worry people . . . unless they are ignorant which, come to think of it, is the problem in the first place. 

Side Note: Ignorance in this context refers to a multitude of things. Ignorance of political, social, and economic realities, ignorance of science and the world around us, ignorance of both the basis and validity of superstitious beliefs and most of all, ignorance of ourselves; the history of the human species and what makes us tick.

14JUNE2015 Tri-Lakes Car Show

Anti-intellectualism is called upon both by far-left and far-right factions, conservatives and liberals, republicans and democrats, or just about anyone who suffers not the burden of responding to questions with answers based on facts, anchored in the realities of the world we live in, and subject to rigorous critical thinking and examination. 

But, let me start slow . . . Elites. 

The noun “elite” has different connotation depending on whether you speak about an athlete, a scientist, a particular group of people with exceptional skills . . . but if at all engaged in the political discourse, “elite” usually comes with negative connotations. 

For instance, it’s a favorite term of Foxtards, as in “the liberal elites”, the “elite (mainstream) media”, the “Hollywood elites”, and so on.

Multi-millionaires like O’Reily and Hannity use the term to present themselves not only as champions of the common person but, indeed, as ones with them, standing shoulder-to-shoulder against them nasty elites. In general, if you are successful — they argue — if you are educated, if you “know stuff”, you have lost touch with the plight of the common man and have no business in the discussion of “how things should be”. You may even be actively working to “destroy civilization” by undermining the greatest country on Earth, the United States of America. 

14JUNE2015 Tri-Lakes Car Show

Unless you are Trump . . . Then, your success, elitism, disdain for “losers”, questionable business practices, and general detachment from the real world is a huge plus. Apparently, only the “proper” elite individual can truly understand the plight of the common man. 

Paradoxically and ironically, every elected leader immediately thinks they are “better than” . . . they think themselves as elites. 

Side Note 2: Philosopher King – the term coined by Plato – posits the ideal ruler as one who possesses both a love of knowledge, as well as intelligence, reliability, and a willingness to live a simple life. Someone who comes to the office not for power, but out of a genuine desire to improve the lives of others. 

Of course, when it comes to telling people how they should live, rank and file conservatives have no peers. They may not identify themselves as “elites” but only because they claim a direct link and profess allegiance to the “head elite” . . . god. To ask conservatives, they literally speak for god . . . and god speaks back to them. They demand we take their word for it and get quite cross if we don’t.

It’s easy to pick on conservatives but let’s remember there are plenty of self-identified elites on the other side of the fence spewing forth proclamations dripping with contempt and condescension.

Most of the senior Democratic Party leadership, many professors, and yes, even our newly-deposed ex-President Obama. 

So, here I sit . . . tired of elites, tired of people accusing others of being elite, tired of self-described elites, tired of anyone claiming to just “know” stuff, tired of anyone claiming they “know better”, tired of everyone bringing nothing to the table but their ignorance, their superstition, their limited and biased views, and an unwillingness to answer the tough questions.  

14JUNE2015 Tri-Lakes Car Show

So, who would I want at the table, you know, if we had a table? I’m referring to the table where we all sit and discuss societal and global problems and possible ways to solve them for the good of all. 

Well, my instinct is to answer “intellectuals”; the type of people maligned by nearly everyone.   

By “intellectual” I mean someone dedicated to reason, critical thinking, and the pursuit of knowledge (truth) and wisdom. All those components need to be present. 

I previously wrote about being “smart” (HERE) and linked it to being a high-functioning individual and a part of that definition includes knowing one’s capacity for being wrong, and one’s willingness to commit to continuous learning and adjusting one’s views and opinions when new information comes to light. Especially when that information convincingly challenges one’s preconceived ideas and understanding of the world. 

By that definition, both liberals and conservatives have shown themselves to be at best a version of “smart” but far from being intellectuals. 

14JUNE2015 Tri-Lakes Car Show

Someone will call me about using sweeping generalities . . . and I would heed the criticism were it not for what I observe with my own eyes. Sure, not all, but a great number of conservatives and liberals hate each other. Yes, hate. In this case, it’s not too strong a word. 

With that hate comes an automatic dismissal of anything not conforming to one’s views. You can show someone proof countering cherished beliefs and they will ignore facts, ignore reason, and dismiss facts as irrelevant because “they know what they know!”

There is no question in my mind that at least at the spokesmen level and deep into the leadership ranks, each side marches in step, never questioning, never wavering from condemning “enemies” and lauding “friends”. 

Some of these people are smart. Some are not. None come close to my definition of an intellectual. 

An intellectual does not begin with the answer before even knowing the facts. An intellectual is not afraid to say “I don’t know, but I will find out.” An intellectual is not afraid to say “I was wrong; here are the facts, here’s what I discovered.”

Instead, we live in a world where admitting you don’t know something is seen as a sign of weakness and dismissing people who actually do know something is seen as a sign of strength. Unchanging and immutable blind acceptance of dogma is seen as a virtue. Gone are the centrists and moderates or, if not gone, at least driven underground. 

What reinforces my concern is the lack of independent thought. The lack of reason. 

14JUNE2015 Tri-Lakes Car Show

The 24-hours news channels are good at one thing . . . removing the need for independent thought. People willingly substitute their ability to reason with an ability to listen to hours of the same message and eventually repeat versions of that message as if it is gospel . . . and to many, it becomes gospel. 

As a noun, reason is both “a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event” and “the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic.”

As a verb, reason is to “think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic.”

Having interacted with liberals and conservatives I am convinced for most there is little reasoning associated with the views they hold. Want to know why I say that and why I have a high degree of confidence in my statement?

Because I often get the same answers to questions from different individuals, sometimes word for word, without evidence of independent thinking, of understanding, of the application of logic to their views. They abdicate all those functions to some slimetard pundit and the only thing many of them bring to the table is “judgment” based on what they heard. Of course, even that is naught but the regurgitation of what they were spoon-fed.

Offer up a logical counterargument, offer up conflicting facts, offer up videos, offer up anything you want and you have a better chance a pebble floating in space will alter the path of the Solar System than some people will even consider reexamining beliefs.  

. . . actually, it’s a trick analogy . . . the chance of a pebble altering the path of the Solar System is 100%. It’s beyond minuscule but the gravitational contribution of the pebble is present. However, that’s science, so nevermind. 

Side Note 3: at this point, some readers may think I’m presenting myself as someone with all the answers. Sadly, I only wish that were true. What I do have are opinions I consider sound based on the breadth and scope of readings, listening to others, and my own thinking. Ultimately, it’s not egotistical to say the opinions are mine because even if I heard them elsewhere, the vetting process fall on my shoulders. Exposed to an idea, I’m the one that has to decide if it makes sense or not, and that process is a lot more than me saying “I like it” and declaring something true. Show me something that will change my mind, and I will be grateful.

14JUNE2015 Tri-Lakes Car Show

Earlier, I mentioned the pursuit of knowledge.

One of the ways we acquire knowledge and the wisdom associated with knowledge is to question. Question our beliefs, question what we are told, question simple answers to complicated issues, question, question, question. 

It may be half of the population of the United States is completely wrong about everything, but it could also be they are right and you belong to the half that is wrong. How would you know? By questioning. 

This is where certain aspects of the human psyche — and the American public in particular — greatly hinder progress toward a better understanding of the world we live in and the society we have created. I’m speaking of the human propensity to adhere to invented religions. 

It matters not what era of known history one chooses, religion played a part in people’s lives. And, just like now, the majority of people bow to the words of a few individuals claiming consort with this or that god. They bow and accept the edict to not question. 

Most; not all, but most. 

14JUNE2015 Tri-Lakes Car Show

Religious leaders and political leaders and crime bosses have one thing in common . . . they cannot afford to tolerate disobedience and the questioning of their authority. 

It matters not that every form of government and every religion prior to those currently infesting Earth have fallen, have been discredited, have been supplanted. It matters not if today we have concurrent religions teaching different truths. It matters not if we can look at other belief and political systems and easily see their flaws.  

It doesn’t matter because the majority of people are conditioned from an early age to not question their own beliefs, be they religious or political. 

Think about it . . . the one way we can learn and grow as individuals is discouraged by people professing to have our best interests in mind. They encourage your obedience by threats, they discourage questions, they promote ignorance, and they present doubt not as a virtue, but as a great evil. And always, always, they offer punishments for daring to use reason, use logic, and questioning what they tell us. 

That, I can understand. Leaders have an inherent interest in wanting an ignorant and subservient populace catering to their needs . . . but what’s in it for the people being governed, the followers who are not leaders and don’t hold high office in the political or religious hierarchy?

That is the part I don’t understand . . . people willingly handing over their ability for independent thought, their ability to reason, and most of all, their ability to question. 

14JUNE2015 Tri-Lakes Car Show

Here is the thing . . . it’s difficult taking responsibility for the quality and maintenance of one’s views and beliefs. It’s difficult being an independent thinker. You have to learn multiple things so that you can understand what’s going on around you. You have to learn your way around a logical argument so that you can both defend your position and recognize logical flaws when you hear them. You have to learn to distinguish between fact and bullshit. You have to rigorously exercise reason when confronted with new information. 

This is where critical thinking comes into play. 

One can learn about critical thinking in places like THIS and THIS, and other places you can find on the web. 

Critical thinking is difficult in part because it forces one to examine one’s own biases and preferences. Critical thinking requires that you question your own preferences, requires a deeper process of evaluation than most of us typically employ, requires following through to — and accepting — a conclusion you may not want to hear.  

14JUNE2015 Tri-Lakes Car Show

Here’s an exercise you can (should) do . . . pick any question currently tearing our country apart. I don’t care what position you hold but whatever it is, argue the opposite position. 

And I mean, argue it fairly and honestly. Learn all the arguments, counterarguments, get data, do research . . . your job is to convince yourself that you are wrong. It’s OK if you can’t ultimately convince yourself; in the process, you will have learned a lot more than what you knew before and you will have a better understanding of the chosen issue . . . and you will have greater confidence in your position.

However, realize you may never be as good a champion as someone who believes opposite what you do. That’s way talking to them will garner you a deeper understanding of the counterarguments to your beliefs than you could on your own. A win-win, I would say, but not if you begin the process with a closed mind. 

From the article linked above, know there are questions with absolute answers (what time is it?), questions with better and worse answers (how strong a military should we have?), and questions asking for opinions only (what color do you prefer?). 

The middle category is the one requiring compromise, understanding, data, and which can be logically argued over a given spectrum. There is no one “right” answer to complicated questions, but there are answers that are better than others. Make an argument for them.

14JUNE2015 Tri-Lakes Car Show

So, let’s apply some of the above to my initial statement. 

“At no time during my short life have I been more concerned about what I see around me.”

Well, what am I concerned about? I mean specifically; something that’s above the concerns of everyday life. 

Bob: “You mentioned ignorance, but why would ignorance be a cause of concern?” 

Disperser: “Ignorance is never a good thing but relating to my worries, it’s centered in the political and the religious arena and the intertwining of the two.”

Bob: “Yes, yes, very interesting . . . what do you mean by that?”

Disperser: “Well, Bob, in the political arena we are now at a stalemate when it comes to the two parties. There is little talk of governing and lots of talk of “resisting.” No talk of compromise, no talk of cooperation. Basically, a continuation of the last eight years but with the roles reversed.”

Bob: “But hasn’t that always been the case?”

Disperser: “Why, no, Bob. The problem has worsened in the past fifty years.”

Bob: “You blame ignorance; do you mean our elected officials are ignorant?”

Disperser: “Well, Bob, elected officials certainly often proudly flaunt their ignorance but I blame the voters. It takes ignorance to put ignorant individuals in charge of running the country. I blame ignorance because voters and elected officials don’t even want to hear anything not conforming with their predetermined views.”

Bob: “I’m still not clear; what exactly are you concerned about? I mean specifically?”

Disperser: “Sigh . . . just saying this stuff is going to land me a crapload of holy crap on a cracker, but, here goes nothing:

First, I am concerned about what essentially will be a religious war. And by war, I mean people getting hurt. We have Christians and Muslims, of course, and they both seem to be chomping at the bit to go at each other. Yeah, yeah, moderates, coexistence, blah, blah . . . Look, there may be moderates on all sides of the multi-faceted problem anchored in religion, but the discourse is not being directed by moderates. As an atheist, I fear becoming collateral damage to the increasingly powerful religious right. You may not see it, but just reading and listening to the people that came into positions of power along with Trump should scare people . . . except that half of the country is cheering.  

Second . . .”

Bob: “Excuse me; this is fascinating stuff, but we need to interrupt a moment for a photo. We’ll be right back.”

14JUNE2015 Tri-Lakes Car Show

Bob: “And we’re back. So, going on to the second point of concern.”

Disperser: “Second, we’re back to the divisiveness . . . wait, I have to ask; what was that?”

Bob: “That, and all the other photos during the break, are reworked macro shots of car details you took during the June 2015 Cruisers car show in Monument.”

Disperser: “I thought I recognized them! Nice work! Anyway, the divisiveness. It’s getting ugly out there. On the internet, within friends and families, and on the streets. Not only that, both sides are making excuses for violence that breaks out . . . as long as it’s their own side that’s committing violence. 

This, by the way, is at least understandable. At any one time, depending who’s in power, at least half the country is left without a voice. As you know, Bob, when you take away people’s right to be heard, to be represented, to have their concerns included in the national discourse, well, you’re just asking for trouble.”

Bob: “Still, that also is nothing new and . . . “

Disperser: “Yes, yes, but we now have an insecure megalomaniac in the WH. Let’s just say he doesn’t take criticism well. He’s threatening action against the Press and anyone who might say he is too self-centered, immature, ignorant of world affairs, a pathological liar, and the exact opposite of what a country facing serious socio-economic issues needs right now. Plus, there is no denying he is in the pocket of Big Business, but more than that, the Far Religious Right. Them guys be nuts! . . . er . . . or so I’ve heard it say.” 

Bob: “We have weathered difficult and divisive times before.”

Disperser: “I hope you’re not thinking about the Civil War because that’s not reassuring. It’s also not reassuring having states talk about secession, threatening to fight the Federal Government. Plus, I can guarantee you that on the next terrorist attack — and there will be one — you will see the people in power (supported by the near-fanatic Christians who voted them in) calling for Draconian measures “to keep us safe”. 

Bob: “Excuse me, but we need to take another for a photo. We’ll be right back.”

Disperser: “I don’t mind; I like those renditions.”

14JUNE2015 Tri-Lakes Car Show

Bob: “And we’re back. Excuse me for saying so, but even with all you mentioned, it seems a bit of an overreaction.”

Disperser: “Here’s the thing, Bob. It’s one thing when we deal with internal problems that may or may not be addressable by rational men and women. However, aside the fact I’m not seeing much rationality out there as confrontations get more acrimonious, there are global concerns that are about as large and likely more catastrophic than our internal differences of opinions.”

Bob: “You’re talking about Climate Change.”

Disperser: “That’s one of them. Can we roll the tape?”

Bob: “That’s funny . . . and not. But, still, that’s a TV show.”

Disperser: “Yes, but they are explaining science. Science that people ignore because of limited self-interests and the willful ignorance. Plus, it’s not just the weather. The consequences of Climate Change on the geopolitical stability around the world are . . . Look, you are seeing the consequences of what is by historical accounts a small migration from the Middle East to the rest of the world, especially Europe. As a consequence of it, you are witness to the rise of nationalism rivaling times when wars used to break out on a regular basis. Now, look at all the countries who have large populations along their coastal areas.”

Add to that the military and economic saber rattling going on between major powers, and then add to that the ignorance of well over half the people in this country when it comes to all those issues. With all this going on, I’m frankly astonished the biggest news out there is about a new smartphone or about some starlet leaving home without her underwear.”

Bob: “What if you are wrong about all this?”

Disperser: “Bob, Bob, Bob . . . it’s like you’re not even listening. Here, let me make it clearer: I have no kids.”

Bob: “I don’t get it . . . “

Disperser: “It means none of this is likely to significantly affect me. Depending on the mood of the country toward my atheism, I’ll avoid some geographical areas where FSM-forbids anyone asks people to think and reason. I’ll choose a place to live where the chance of being catastrophically affected by climate change in the next 35 years or so is minimal.  I can’t do anything about global wars, but I’m too old to be called to serve and if it goes nuclear, I hope I’m at the epicenter of one of the strikes. Other than that, I’ll try and enjoy my life — what’s left of it — as best I can.  

If I’m wrong about this, my life won’t be much different. If I’m right about it, the lives of many, many people will be even crappier than they currently are. 

Understand, I’m not despondent, depressed, or losing sleep at night. I read, watch stuff on TV, do some writing, take photographs, go on walks with my wife, go to the gym, and eat. This {waves hands to include his surroundings} need only last another 20-25 years, and then I will be but a memory. Actually not even that. The only reason I’m even writing this is because I feel bad for people being born today. They have no idea what’s coming, and that’s too bad.”

Bob: “Thank you, Disperser. I think our readers are not likely to agree with you, but they often enjoy listening to crazy folks. “

Disperser: “Thanks, Bob. And don’t worry. I’m not asking anyone to agree with me. In fact, you would not believe how little I care if anyone agrees with me.”

Bob: “Goodnight . . . and we’re out.”

14JUNE2015 Tri-Lakes Car Show

Obviously, no one is going to interview me. Heck, few will even read this. 

However, while I paint a stark scenario, it’s also possible we might just limp along sniping at each other, suffering this or that cataclysmic flood or storm, going in and out of trade wars, economic booms and depressions, living under the constant threat of nuclear war, fearing this or that religious nutjob deciding god spoke to them and told them to kill people, and in general live the kind of shit life that still seems pretty good when compared to life at any time prior. 

Not everyone, of course. Some will live astonishingly crappy lives . . . but they won’t be us, right?

You know what I forgot to mention in the above interview? Population.  

By 2050, the world is projected to house 9.7 billion people. It could be more. Throw in wars, famine, disease, or all three, and it’ll be slightly less. We are currently at 7.49 billion people. For reference, here’s the migration into Europe for the last four years.

Let me wrap this up. I’m not sure how clearly I made my points, but the bottom line is that I hold a very pessimistic view of what’s ahead of us. I don’t see manufacturing jobs coming back to the US. I don’t see race relations getting any better. I don’t see religious people becoming tolerant. I don’t see people embracing science and critical thinking. I don’t see the US (at least under this administration) doing anything to prepare for Climate Change. I don’t see Freedom of Speech being heralded as one of the greatest rights we have (it’s the First Amendment, for FSM sake!) I don’t see population and resources pressures getting any better. All I see is more ignorance, more animosity, and the increased possibility of violence between individuals and countries. 

Not a great view of the future. I’ll repeat that as an individual, I’m fairly optimistic about my situation and ability to cope with whatever comes our way. I’m skeptical about the population at large and how they will fare in this quickly-changing world.

14JUNE2015 Tri-Lakes Car Show

As usual, click on the photos for a larger version or go to the SmugMug Random Post Gallery HERE.

For them who skipped reading my poorly-thought-out ramblings, here is the gallery of the above photos:

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

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

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.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

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, encouragement, or advice to better my life, know my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor is blowing right by you.

Posted in Musings Stuff, Personal, Photo-effects, Photography, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments

Back to the Big Boy Camera

A funny thing happened to me last week when I visited the Volcano National Park . . . I discovered I am vain. Yup! Me, vain. 

I know what’s you’re thinking . . . 

Nope_Bizarro

“What’s he got to be vain about?”

No, not that kind of vain, although if truth be . . . ah . . . never mind; that’s not important right now. 

Here’s the scene: I’m walking around with my Nikon CoolPix P900 — not a small camera, but obviously a “consumer” camera because it has a “fixed” lens and only a few buttons and dials — and I see a lady snapping away with a Nikon DSLR, complete with nice lens and hood. A proper prosumer camera and lens outfit. 

For them not familiar with the term . . . 

Continue reading

Posted in Hawaii, Hawaii, Musings Stuff, Photography, Photography Stuff, Scenery, The Big Island | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments