Notes 20 Photos and some thoughts — Part 3

For them not interested in reading, you can see the photos in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery.  

For a SmugMug slideshow, click HERE<<link. When you click the link, it will open in a new window, and you have two options:
1) Manually scroll through the photos by clicking the “<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos.
2) There’s a PLAY/PAUSE button at the bottom-left of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: clicking the PLAY arrow will run a full-screen slideshow. You can then still use the”<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos (this will pause the slideshow).

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

Don’t know why, but I suddenly thought of Marvin . . .

As stated in the last post, I’m sharing Note 20 Ultra photos. Most, like the above, have been processed with Lightroom CC. Most, unlike the above, are photos of flowers from the garden centers of places like Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Wal-Mart. The above photo was taken with the camera set at 10x as I was sitting in my car in a parking lot across the street from that establishment. That’s one of the photos they had on their facade, and yes, it’s an automotive supplies place

As usual, clicking on single images will open a larger version of the image in a new tab or window.

I’m still using the block editor and, for the curious, I use a mix of Classic and other blocks. My standard warning still holds.

Warning: the Block Editor is still a pain to work with and can cause stress levels to spikes. Use with caution. Avoid if possible.

Ah . . . where are my thoughts, you’re wondering.

So, let me backtrack just a bit . . .

I tend to complain about politicians who take advantage of people’s stupidity, and of religious organizations who take advantage of people’s credulity, and of tech companies who take advantage of people’s ignorance, but the common problem in each instance is . . . people.

I mean, who is responsible for what happens?

If we say people are being fooled by this or that entity, do we blame the entity, the people, or both?

Well, I tend to split my opinion. Meaning, I consider many entities callous and unethical (and hence why I limit my exposure and support of each) but I consider most people … well, let’s just say my opinion of the majority of people isn’t flattering.

Hold on — before you write me off as just another smug asshole, let me ask you this:

Do you unquestioningly support, believe, listen, or follow an individual or organization?

… the “unquestioningly” is the important word in that question, and if the answer is close to “yes”, well then, don’t ask what I think of you.

I said “close to yes” because many people see a loophole there, as in “I don’t follow anyone unquestioningly” … but, they’re not the ones who get to make that assessment because they’re not the best judges of how they act and what they say.

I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I’ve called someone out for what looks like “unquestioning support of something or someone” while being “overly critical of another something or someone” only to be told “Nah-ha! I question them all the time! Why, I don’t even like them! Impartial, I am.

Right. It’s just a coincidence they’re always praising the same group and always criticizing the other.

Let me step back a moment and set the stage . . .

The world is big, the problems are many, and no one can fight all the battles that need fighting. Many — me included — choose one or two battles and hope that ethical and responsible others are choosing different battles, addressing different issues.

There is a second part to that approach. If your battle puts you in conflict with someone fighting a different battle, seek a compromise. What do that mean?

It means that a compromise has the inherent possibility of a resolution, whereas a lack of compromise means your battle and theirs will never end; they’ll just get nastier.

And there’s a third — and crucial — part to that approach.

“Don’t choose the devil just because he supports your cause.”

And yet, that’s exactly what people do.

I understand some of it. If you are passionate about an issue, you’ll back those who say they share your passion.

Think of all these burning questions . . . gun control, gun rights, pro-choice, pro-life . . . the moment you read the words, you have a pretty good idea of which group supports or opposes each one. Hence, depending on how you lean, you support this or that group.

It works the other way, as well . . . pick a group, then pick a topic, and I’ll tell you what they think about that topic. Climate Change is an example; Democrats and Republicans have differing opinions about it. Consequently, Liberals and Conservatives differ in how and what they think about it.

But there’s a deep philosophical question that few people ask themselves — What came first? My allegiance or my ideology?

Do you choose a political party because of what you believe, or do you choose what you believe because your political party of choice tells you what you should believe? Heck, did you even choose or did you ‘inherit’ what you believe from your family or friends?

When dealing with one or two issues you might deem important, the answer can be easily found. You choose a party because of what you believe.

You think an embryo is the same as a baby but don’t give a crap about them once they are born and are in favor of killing them if they step out of line, then you probably support Republican candidates. You think a mother should be able to decide to end her pregnancy if she so desires but has no rights after she gives birth and are in favor of restricting personal choices based on “feelings”, then you might support Democratic candidates.

But the platforms of each party cover a lot more than one or two issues, and while they may support what you believe in, they have ideas about other issues; many other issues. Ideas that you might not necessarily agree with . . . but you don’t care about those, right? You only care what’s important to you . . . so you support their stupid ideas about something you don’t care about because they support your ideas about what you care about . . . and that’s how we end up with today’s world.

What happens when there’s a conflict? What happens if ‘your party’ agrees with you on one issue but not another issue you care about?

You don’t realize it, but the block editor decided it wanted to stop working. It locked up while uploading the above photo and once it does that, there’s no way around it but to quit the editor and restart it . . . and then try to reload the photo. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. If it doesn’t work, scrap that block, copy a previous block of the same type, and then move it to the desired place, and then edit it. If you’re lucky, it works, otherwise, rinse, repeat until it does. Yes, yes . . . it’s a wonderful editor, but it sucks.

Anyway, what do you do when you have a brain and can’t bring yourself to giving ‘blanket support’ to a party’s platform? I mean, it would be nice if we had other parties to fall back on, but we don’t.

Take me, for example, and here I’ll use the term ‘believe’ in a loose sense, more like ‘think’ and nowhere near as dogmatic as the word implies . . . I believe in a mother’s right to make choices about herself and her pregnancy, but believe kids should have basic rights once they are born and that parents should be held to a high standard and have the kids taken away from them if they fail to meet the standards. I believe people should have the right to own guns, but favor licensing (actual licensing, not political licensing) and training requirements and insurance (just like owning and using a car). I believe the justice system is broken and needs revision but I think certain crimes should be subject to the death penalty (just not as implemented right now); yes, I support the removal of people from this plane of existence. I believe Climate Change will likely directly or indirectly kill millions and will make life miserable for a large percentage of the world’s population, but I think what climate activists are currently proposing is misguided and driven by politics and greed and not so much by common sense. I believe religion negatively influences people’s personal lives, society,  and politics (by a wide margin), but I also believe people have a right to be deluded (I still hold religion should have no hold or say in political issues; a person’s delusions should be a private matter). I believe we need a social safety net, better jobs, better education, but also believe we should be smarter about how we address each of those issues.

And I absolutely know that neither Republicans nor Democrats actually care about doing anything concrete about those issues other than as a means to get or retain money and power. Remember: if a politician’s lips are moving, they are lying to you, telling you what you want to hear so that they and their buddies can get rich from your sweat.

Plus, I absolutely know there is no “right answer” or “silver bullet” for many difficult issues — it’s why they’re difficult — and that the only approach that might work is one that incorporates the flexibility to address differing and dynamic requirements and a willingness to admit when something isn’t working and needs to be modified. Notice I used the word “might” . . . that’s because sometimes there is no solution to a problem, and all you can do is adapt to the situation and make the best of it.

Incremental and cumulative improvement is a powerful dynamic that results in actual progress and actual solutions. Pie-in-the-sky simple solutions always, always make things worse.

What am I? Liberal? Yes. Conservative? Yes. Cynical? Yes. Optimistic? A bit.

Me!? An optimist? I know that might seem strange, but my optimism is for the long-term, not the short term. In the short term, we’re in for a whole lot of hurt. Gird yourselves, as they say.

Some will see a lot of hubris in my word . . . “Who is this Emilio character and what makes him think he’s right? The gall of that sanctimonious prick!!”

Fair enough, but let me point something out . . . I don’t think I’m “right”. I’m just commenting on what I observe. Notice I don’t offer answers, just an opinion on how we might arrive at workable answers.

… but while I might not have ready answers, I know — from evidence — when something isn’t working. I also know solutions come from discussion, compromise, and hard work.

… plus, nothing in what I believe seeks to push my beliefs in others. Other than someone doing intentional and direct harm to others (also a point of discussion and compromise), I’m for as much personal freedom — strongly coupled with personal responsibility — as possible. Here’s a cartoon that succinctly summarizes my position. It’s simplistic, and of course, it doesn’t cover things that are illegal or that seek to harm others.

… the above is written for religion but substitute ‘belief’ for ‘religion’ and you have an appropriate statement summarizing how I feel about a lot of things.

Speaking of religion, religious institutions should be free to feast upon the delusions of men (and women) but the above cartoon says it all. Make it and leave it a private matter.

Note: I’m conflicted about kids; adults can certainly believe whatever they want, but that’s not strictly the case because most people are indoctrinated from a very early age. Implying they have the freedom of choice is naïve; I know because I was one of those kids. If you are religious, remember that people of other religions believe as fervently as you do, and all of you do so without good cause other than what’s been pounded into them (and you). Honestly, I see religious indoctrination as a form of child abuse . . . but I’m at a loss for what to do about it. My hope is that as adults they will eventually shed the shackles of unfounded belief and that they won’t cause too much harm in the meantime. Sadly, there’s lots of evidence that my hope is unfounded.

… while I think the government has a place in the affairs of men, I think it should restrict itself to the general welfare of the whole and do so with as light a touch as possible. Most of all, checks and balances and watchdogs should be an integral part of the process because if there’s one thing that makes me suspicious about all systems of government is how elected officials and their friends accumulate wealth at a rate not possible for the rest of us. I simply don’t believe politicians are in it for anyone other than themselves and their ‘buddies’.

… I think that if we respect and learn from each other, we can support and keep each other honest while working toward the common good. Is everyone going to be happy? No. It’s human nature to complain, to find something to get mad about. But maybe, just maybe, we would get closer to having more people be happy rather than unhappy and people recognizing we’re moving toward a better future.

Man, that sounds corny even to me. If I’d heard it from someone else, my first thought would be “What a maroon!” … so, yeah, that’s the cynic in me.

What else do I think about?

What don’t I think about? Mind you, it doesn’t consume me, but as an observer of human nature, social, political, and economic movements, I’m always evaluating how long we have before the liquid effluent hits the rapidly spinning blades.

But, right now, at this moment? I’m tapped out.

I tell you what, dear reader . . . not that my opinion should matter to you in the least, but if you are at all curious about what I think regarding just about anything, ask me in the comments.

Why, I can even dispense advice about life and how you should live it (provided you accept the disclaimer that I am in no way responsible for what happens should you decide to follow my advice).

I kid about that last part; no way would I ever be held responsible because no one has ever followed any advice I dispensed, and I have the track record to prove it.  

Just don’t ask me about sports, celebrities, and birthing babies.

These next two photos require a general notice of certain movies . . . The photos are nearly identical, but since I have both, I’ll use both.

So, what’s the big deal about a slice of lemon resting on a plastic spoon after having been removed from a cup of hot Red Rose tea?

Have you ever watched any of the Predator movies?

Tell me that doesn’t look like the main character. No, not Arnold; the alien Predator checking out human backbones.

The movies weren’t all that good, but the monster was certainly different. Like all movie monsters, it had flimsy motivation for what it did, but at least they tried.

Don’t know if I bored or entertained, but . . .

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


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