It might be evident to some that I’ve consciously retreated from commenting on current affairs. Well, mostly. I’ll throw the odd jab here and there, but I don’t address specific topics, not even when those topics dominate the news and/or are of supreme importance to humanity in general.

But don’t be fooled. Inside, I have plenty of opinions and, increasingly, my concern for the future of this country (and the world) leads me to pessimistic estimates about the path we’re traveling.

For instance, I believe both Republicans and Democrats systematically — and for different end-goals — weaken the Constitution and the rule of law as they engage in an ideological power struggle where the public and the public interest are but pawns to be played and sacrificed.

A few years ago, it would have seemed impossible, but I believe we’re watching the dismantling of our system of government. I don’t know what will replace it, but I’m certain a large percentage of the population won’t like it . . . and it will be too late to do anything about it.  

At this point, someone might say I’m overreacting and that we’ve faced this and worse in the past. Yes, we’ve faced similar threats in the past and we — in each instance — recovered and came out of them arguably the better for it.

Believe it or not, this is by request. Also, lots of words (3,135 of them). Also, it’s my opinion . . . which means I meander in thought. I put this together rather quickly so if you find fault with it . . . well, I won’t be surprised.

Anyway, coming from a friend, the request carried weight.

I was asked to answer this question:
How do you get purpose and meaning without God?

Mind you, he already has answers but was curious to read what I had to say. Well, now, you know I won’t offer up the answer without many words leading up to it.

A number of my previous posts address this question either directly or indirectly, but I thought I would revisit the issue. In this piece, I’ll speak primarily about Christians. Other religions might be more or less descriptive in such matters but if there’s a god involved, that’s who believers say gives their lives meaning and purpose.

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I started this post before the suicide bomber attacked children in Manchester, England. I took a few days off from blogging because — like most people these days — I feel the equivalent of battle fatigue and the attack put a literal and deadly stench on it. That’s also why this is a relatively short post.

There are no words I can add about the bombing that have not already been said, written, and thought, so I’ll continue with my original topic for this post which is, unfortunately, peripherally related. 

As with Part I, I’ll be putting up a few flower photos for them who are not interested in words. Some of the photos will be different versions of the same shot; first the altered shot, then the photo processed as I usually do. Of course, as usual, you can click on the photos for a larger version or go to THIS SmugMug Gallery.

For them not interested in SmugMug or scrolling through the post, there is a gallery at the bottom of the post (a fast scroll). 

Anyway, my thoughts on what’s going on out there, in the religious-political wasteland. 

I never know how to introduce these posts. One could well argue that the point of these posts, the purpose for their existence, is to show off a few photos.

On the other hand, given their quality, one could rightly assume the photos are but sacrificial offerings to the brilliant musings therein . . . you know, if only these were brilliant musings.

Right . . . that sets up the first topic: Photography.

Ideas, opinions, and insight into the human condition stem from the flow of sensory and cognitive inputs crossing the path I travel. Occasionally, I feel like sharing them. The opinions, not the inputs; look up your own data.

Yup! Another opinion piece. For them tired of my written words, there is a small gallery of the photos at the bottom of the post. Or, click HERE for the SmugMug Gallery. Either will let you bypass the spewings therein. 

I should preface what I’m about to write by saying nothing is absolute. I’m writing things based on what I felt at the time when a particular piece of information registered in the conscious parts of my brain. Often, my instantaneous thoughts regarding a given subject are not overly charitable and should probably not be taken literally . . . although I will tell you otherwise. 

Let’s begin with . . . 

Lots of stuff . . . that’s that I muse about. Or, is it “muse on?”

See? I muse about/on that too.

Along with my musing, I present a few B&W photos. Except, they are not B&W. They are shades of gray with some specks of pure black and pure white. Mostly, they are gray . . . just like my musings.

For them just interested in the photos, there’s a gallery at the bottom. I say that because I be writing mucho lungo. Lots and lots of me just letting my fingers go where my mind will lead them. 

FYI, I’m doing this in the hope that putting it down on (virtual paper) will empty it from my mind and free me up to write fiction. 

All of these photos can also be seen in THIS SmugMug Gallery, and all of the originals can be seen in HERE. You can also click on the photos to get a slightly larger version. 

So, what am I musing about these days? Well, there are always the old stalwarts; politics and religion. Let’s begin with those.

Man, oh man, could I write stuff . . . politics, religion, fake news . . . so much happens every day that one hardly has the time to formulate an opinion before one is slammed with the latest surreal event. 

As much as I could write, none of it would be fiction, and that’s a problem . . . I’ve not written any fiction now going on two months. I mean, what’s the point? Half the stuff I hear is way stranger, more engaging, more entertaining, scarier, and more out there than anything I could come up with. 

So, I play with photographs.

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By the way, all of the photos (and their original versions) are in THIS SmugMug Gallery for them who want to see the originals. You can also click on the photos to have a larger version open up in a new window or tab. 

Anyway, since I got not fiction to share, I’ll share opinion snippets on various topics. I won’t go into long dissertations on each one because — frankly — I don’t think it matters what I say. In that regard, this is me venting for my own benefit, so that I might eventually move on with my life. 

Having lied his way into office and promised many things, having divided the country, I watch as a cocky and self-absorbed individual with little concern for fully half of the US population leaves office and another individual takes his place. An individual who also lied his way into office, albeit with a lot less class than the outgoing President. An individual I believe has little to no concern for anyone but himself.   

Come to think of it,  I believe that is the case for nearly all politicians. In fact, I can’t think of a single politician I know or read about that I believe has the interest of the American people at heart.   

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Yes, a quick post about politics and stuff with photos thrown in for people who don’t like reading my stuff.

Last Sunday I wrote about news, fake news, and news bias.

Let me be clear; all news is biased one way or another. The act of deciding what to report is the first step down the bias path. Deciding how something will be reported is the second step. By ‘how’ I mean anything from the choice of words to what will or will not be included.

For instance, these two single shots were processed a number of ways but I decided to show only one version of each.

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You, the reader, have no way of knowing if these are the best B&W renditions of these two photos. For that matter, unless I LINK the original post, you might not even be aware there are color versions of the photos.

Yes, I’m continuing with photos of pieces of coral gathered at a beach I recently visited. But, in B&W.

Photos appearing on Sunday with my thoughts  are gathered and presented in THIS SmugMug Gallery. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you can also click on the photos for a larger version.

Anyway, depending on the processing I choose, I can emphasize different details, create different “looks” noticeable when compared side-by-side.

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For the above pair, some will like one, some will like the other, some will find neither muster sufficient interest.

With news, you not only don’t see the original, but you are restricted to what someone wants to show you. There can be legitimate reasons for this.

Just like with news, it’s impractical for me to show every possible B&W version. Not only it would take more time than I have left to live, but you would quickly lose interest.

If you read my blog, based on what I show you, you might decide that you like a particular conversion over another. You might even let me know.

We then have a feedback loop for the bias.

It is getting depressing out there. No. I take that back. It’s scary.

Jabba . . . sorry, I should show deference to the title. Let me start again.

President Elect Hutt has been nominating his way through a seriously scary list of cronies, conspiracy nuts, and outright religious fanatics. I suppose I could start commenting on all the nominations, but there is plenty of places one can find that kind of material. For instance, HERE one can read on one of his latest.

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By the way, for this post, I’m getting back to macros. In this instance, pieces of coral gathered at a beach I recently visited.

As I mentioned before, photos appearing on Sunday with my thoughts  are gathered and presented in THIS SmugMug Gallery. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you can also click on the photos for a larger version.

Anyway, if one wants to hear/read stuff about PE Hutt’s nominees, there is no shortage of opinions and facts available out there on the web. We do, after all, live in an age where a few keystrokes will get you actual video of pretty much anything you hear about.

Unfortunately, the modus operandi for most people is to take their brains and set them aside lest they “get informed.” Many, many people — too many people — prefer being told what people said  and wrote instead of listening to what was said or read what was written. No; that would be useful but is deemed too dangerous because they would then have to rely on their own critical thinking abilities, such as they are.

What they want is someone like the FoxNews Slimetards — or their equivalent on the Left — telling them what they should think and feel about a given topic. As near as I have seen — I can only stomach so much exposure before turning away — the Slimetard’s role is to ensure their followers are not confused. They do this by “interpreting” what friends and foes say and presenting it as a consistent and easily understood message.

This is the way for a large number of people incapable — or unwilling — to think for themselves. This especially evident when it comes to certain books, but that’s for another post.