An Old Hippie Part Two

In part one I talked about what it’s like to be an old hippie. I consider myself an old hippie. That should’ve been clear from the earlier post. I also talked about what I think being a hippie is all about, or was all about, since there are very few hippies left in the world these days. Sad but true.

In that earlier post I complained about how the media and hippie wannabes co-opted or distorted what being a hippie was all about. For example: long hair, bellbottoms, sexual freedom, being anti-war, a love of music of all kinds, and to a certain extent, drugs – especially marijuana. For hippies, marijuana was the equivalent of what alcohol is to most straights. For those of you who aren’t aware, straights is a slang term for people who are not hippies who are so hung up in the rat race and in making money that they forget what’s really important in life. More on that subject in a bit.

The media, in its infinite stupidity, tends to convert anything and everything to a soundbite. In the 60s, one of those media soundbites was “Never trust anyone over the age of 30.” The media made it sound like hippies didn’t trust old people. I am afraid that is not quite true, even though there was a time when I almost believed it myself. Why do I say that? Continue reading

To Go or Not to Go

Those of you who are long long time readers know that I am a big fan of the National Football Leader (NFL). I love watching football, so the idea of a work stoppage in the NFL comes as a serious disappointment.

But I understand and support the players in their labor dispute with the NFL owners. If you, gentle reader, seriously think about the issues involved, I thoroughly believe you too should support the players. After all, how many of you would be happy having your first full-time employer selected for you rather than you choosing the company? How many of you would tolerate working conditions in a career that only lasted 3.5 years because of the dangers involved? How many of you would accept working conditions that shortened your life expectancy by 25 years? If you did choose such a career path, wouldn’t you want the best healthcare and retirement benefits possible? These are the main issues that separate the players and the owners in the NFL. Continue reading

The Worthlessness of Political Opinion polls: A Case In Point

One of the most common tools for political research, and I use the word research very generously, is the opinion poll. Political candidates use polls to see how the voters feel about them, especially during or leading up to an election campaign. Political pundits, especially those in the media, use them to, in their eyes, substantiate their opinions, usually formed prior to the polls.

The problem with polls is that they are often misleading and generally worthless. Here’s why. Polls tend to use what they call samples from the population group, say all US voters, whose opinions the poll is supposed to represent. But these statistical samples are quite often fallacious and ridiculously too low to really represent the population they claim they represent. A classic example of this is a poll about who the voters of New York State feel should be appointed to replace Hillary  Clinton when she officially resigns her US Senate seat to become Secretary of State in the Obama administration.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, a private polling service that focuses on the Northeast, conducted this poll at least twice and compares the results of those two surveys. My first issue with their statistical sample is whether the two surveys, about three weeks apart, surveyed the exact same individuals or whether each survey asked the questions of two different, probably randomly generated, lists of sample New York State voters. I do not care how accurate they claim their statistical samples are, unless they surveyed the same individuals in both surveys, their claim of a statistical error factor of +/- 2.4% is pure fiction. Only by measuring the same sample in a study over time can you really claim to have an accurate picture of changes in that sample. Anything else is scientifically invalid. Continue reading

A Symbol of Hope From TIME: Obama As FDR

Yes, I know, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted here. I apologize for that; I’ve been busy working on my Roots of Christian Heresy series over on m main blog, The Threshing Floor Also things have been quite hectic at home with the holidays approaching rapidly and all kinds of activities with the kids at school and with the Boy Scouts. My daughter was selected to the northeast Arkansas All Region High School choir. My son Michael is working on his gold merit badge. M other son Ian, who is autistic, has had some issues that required my attention. And of course, my wife Elizabeth has made her usual demands on my time. I love doing this blog, but family always comes first.

Anyway, the last time we talked a little about the historical significance of the recent Federal election. For obvious reasons, the election, and by a wide margin of victory, of Barack Obama as the next President of the United States has been all over the media, whether on line or off. The latest [November 24] issue of TIME magazine is no exception. As to be expected, Obama is featured on the cover again. My copy of this issue arrived in my mail box two days ago and the cover was so terrific I decided then that I had to share it with you. For copyright reasons, which I respect, I did not want to just scan it and post it on my site. This morning was the first chance I have had to go to the TIME site and find the link. Here it is: [You’ll have to click the read more link to see it. Also scroll down past the picture for more comments. Continue reading

My Heroes Have Always Been Clowns

I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. As a small boy my favorite television show was “Howdy Doody.” My favorite character on the show was Clarabelle the Clown, a mute circus clown with a bicycle horn who was always pulling pranks. I loved watching “The Red Skelton Show” with my parents. Red was both a stand-up comic and a mime. My favorite character of his was Clem Kadiddlehopper, a mute hobo in the tradition of Emmitt Kelly‘s circus clown.

As I grew older, my taste in clowns grew more sophisticated. Rowan and Martin, Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce, Flip Wilson, Johnny Carson, and my favorite clown of all, George Carlin. All of my clowns are now dead and gone, George joining the celestial class clown hall of fame a few days ago. This post is dedicated to George, who I will miss dearly. Losing one’s heroes is difficult any any age, and when you are my age, it becomes especially poignant, because it is such a stark reminder of your own mortality. Continue reading

The Generation Gap in Media Trust and Usage

A December survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press looked broadly at how media were being consumed this campaign. In the most striking finding, half of respondents over the age of 50 and 39 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds reported watching local television news regularly for campaign news, while only 25 percent of people under 30 said they did.
Young quick to share political news online
Social networks seen fueling distribution of campaign messages, coverage

It is this pnenomena that has provided the Obama campaign with its energy and its overwhelming lead in fundraising. And, IMHO, it is the strongest rebuttal against critisms and questions regarding Obama’s lack of experience, supposed inability to find real solutions to problems, and that he supposedly all talk and no walk. Both Clinton and McCain can only dream of a grass-roots level of support like Obama’s. To me, their criticisms have the distinct taste of sour grapes. Continue reading

Bobby Knight Resigns: Media Reaction and My Thoughts

Today I am going to talk about something a little off topic, or so it may seem, for this site. I want to talk about the resignation of a college basketball coach and the media reaction to that resignation. Yesterday, Bobby Knight, the winningest coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball history resigned as head coach at Texas Tech. His replacement, and this is a crucial point, is his son, who has been his officially designated successor since 2005.

Bobby Knight really developed his status as one of the greatest coaches of all time while he was the head coach at Indiana University for 29 years. He also deveoped a reputation for a volatile temper while he was at Indiana. And it was that temper that got him fired from that university.

Bobby Knight really developed his status as one of the greatest coaches of all time while he was the head coach at Indiana University for 29 years. He also deveoped a reputation for a volatile temper while he was at Indiana. And it was that temper that got him fired from that university. Continue reading