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Fake News falls Flat

Before I get into my weekly sermon about freedom of speech and government foolishness, I have to make everyone aware of the fact that there are still people on this planet who believe it to be a shape other than spherical. In other words, there is a demographic which believes with every ounce of their being that the earth is flat.

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Coming soon to a conspiracy theory or Presidential residence near you.

Um, yeah, that’s what I thought, too, but as Santa Claus said when talking to the M&M’s, they do exist. There is a cross-section of human life which has lost more common sense than our Congress ever possessed by disavowing all known science and failing to display even the the intelligence of my biggest-cat-by-tonnage, Max, in their insistence the widely accepted “round Earth” theory is, instead, the product of a sophisticated propoganda campaign. In the spirit of genuine research, I chose to dig into this particular cultural subset and discovered the Flat Earth Society, which actually attempts to use science to explain psuedo-science.

WRITER’S NOTE: If you are a believer in the theories of Alex Jones, Steve Bannon or the late Rev. Fred Phelps, please soak yourself in water to minimize the damage caused from the spontaneous combustion you will, no doubt, experience upon reading the rest of this. Thank you. I cannot be held responsible for any sort of immolation caused by contrarian beliefs.

The Flat Earth Society, in a May 2016 blog post titled “Einstein’s Relativity Proves the Earth is Flat,” goes into great detail about how the theories of one of the 20th century’s greatest theoretical minds conclusively debunks spherical planetary theories, using the idea of an elevator accelerating:

When the elevator starts accelerating upwards, a pull downwards is felt by the passenger. This is due to the passengers inertia. Recall that a body at rest tends to stay at rest. Einstein hypothesised that since this pull, caused by the momentum of the passenger fighting against his acceleration, is indistinguishable from gravitational influences, it is only logical to assume that they are one and the same phenomenon. Comparatively, another pseudo-force like this arises from a rotating reference frame, say if one is on a spinning carnival ride one would presumably feel a pull away from the center.

This post then goes into astonishing mathematical calculations which any normal person would define as “boring,” and which the Trump Administration would likely call “fake math,” only to finalize its argument in this final, compelling statement:

Gravity is actually revealed as an inertial force (also known as a fictitious force)

Yes, that’s right, folks! Inertia is fake, which means all those hours in chemistry class learning about “inert gasses” and “inert elements” were actually some sort of crazy scheme to brainwash us all. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Albert Einstein apparently is not only the one of the grandfathers of nuclear science, he is, according to this, the godfather of common core. (cue “DA DA DAAAAAAAA!” sound)

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This is nothing, and I do mean nothing, compared to flat earth theory’s most mesmerizing (notice a pattern of large adjectives?) claim, that the edges of the Earth are actually surrounded by giant ice walls which cannot be scaled by normal means. Many of these folks also claim that the curvature of the planet seen in about a zillion photos from such vehicles as rockets, shuttles, missiles, airplanes, and even flying lawnchairs is actually – wait for it – the result of sophisticated NASA photoediting. As for satellites, they don’t exist either – just another area of NASA wizardry.

Apparently NASA got some SERIOUS photoshopping game

According to this group think, there’s about 9 billion muggles on Earth.

Flat earth theory is both frightening in its increasing belief, and a complete distraction from the most bizarre college major now offered in the United States, Canadian Studies. This degree, offered through Duke University, “seeks to provide the student with an understanding of Canada” which, as we all know, is world renowned for hockey, maple syrup, snow and asking Russian subs in a very annoyed tone to stop walking on their aquatic lawn. Fastweb lists some of the career prospects for Canadian Studies, and they quite compelling:

Job prospects: Teaching at a university or college in Canada or the United States, museums or a government council

That’s right, folks, you too can work for a government council in Canada which, if I recall correctly, is far more competent than the General Assembly of the State of Florida, which once actually sued itself. Perhaps the thought of a flat earth was enough to scare these folks into submission, but it’s obvious that someone with an Advanced Degree in Canadian Studies could actually fare quite well in Florida. They would, of course, have to be open to such radical notions as science, freedom, facts, research, evidence, academic integrity, mathematics, and living with the Sunshine State between the months of October and May. It also means they would have to admit they live in America which, judging by the current state of things, could be they would be call an “enemy of the people.”

Better to just keep thinking the earth is flat – our brains will hurt less and we can actually laugh more at the theories.

UPDATES: Walker County and great Frying Pan vs. Skillet debate

With all the insanity in America’s politics, I am pleased to report that one positive in this mess has occurred. Though old news, the new Sole Commissioner, High Commander and Eternal Leader of Walker County, Georgia is now firmly entrenched in his new position. Shannon Whitfield, who was able to easily defang and disembowel Bebe Heiskell in the 2016 election by a score of 3 trillion neurons to 2.1, is apparently managing to score points with voters on the simple fact that he keeps schedules consistent and has not traded away star players to the opposition in exchange for defensive coordinators who blow 20 point leads in the Super…oh crap, I’ve got the Atlanta Falcons on the brain. Sorry.

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Shannon Whitfield.  Wait, wasn’t this guy in a Super Bowl commercial for avocados?

Whitfield, despite his obviously improved status as Not Being Bebe Heiskell, has still rankled some voters by posting edited county commission meetings online instead of the raw feeds. Walker County gods on high, however, are apparently pleased with Whitfield’s performance, as a recent 1.8 earthquake indicates (previous earthquakes have been in the 4s, meaning Heiskell’s soul has obviously arrived at Satan’s mailbox, postage due.) Still, the City of LaFayette continues to function as always, with its fine collection of shops, gas stations, and a convenience store actually named “Yanks” (seriously.) It also continues to enjoy its status as Unofficial Job Haven for Wanted Criminals, as the county has had apparent known of a wanted criminal from Colorado working as a 911 dispatcher for the county for some time. Perhaps the Heiskell curse continues, but large predatory bird sightings are on the wane, so there has be obvious improvement – such as employees actually being able to now cash their paychecks.

No word as to whether “Thad” was available for comment. (rim shot)

This, however, pales in comparison to a far more serious matter facing our nation today from a political standpoint. Today, this writer took the liberty of challenging the political status quo and asking an ultra-controversial question: what the hell is the difference between a skillet and a frying pan?

A query which has dogged cooks for eons, the notion of a frying pan and skillet being different things has been a perplexing issue. Gigantic studies using massive federal block grants issued via presidential tweets have been suggested, especially since the skillet lobby has stated an unofficial goal of “Making Cooking with Skillets Great Again.” Of course, I chose to use the definitive source of wisdom and knowledge to answer this question once and for all…

My Facebook Feed.

My friends/readers/followers/associates of ill refute/various shape-shifting entities from the Gamma Quadrant all weighed in, and the results were very clear: no really knows for sure, and everyone wonders why the hell I was even asking that question. Of course, that would stop me from sharing some of the answers with you, my loyal and delusional reading audience, some of whom are obviously not aware of the need to stay off the road after heavy medicinal or recreational relaxant use.  We know that won’t happen, so here we go – actual answers from actual readers of my feed:

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Until the horse WHACKS you with it. And then you STILL won’t know what to call it!

“A skillet has straight high sides. Same flat wide bottom so u can fry or search, but the the high straight sides like a pot allow us to add more stuff, especially liquids and put on a lid.”

“Geography.”

“Weight. A skillet also says, ‘What’s this non-stick crap???'”

“One of those questions that just simmers…” (Honorable Mention for Best Answer)

“One you fry in, one’s a band.”

“They both cook eggs. So, none.”

and the Best Answer of All, which actually led to me spraying coffee on my monitor in such a fashion several wet wipes were needed…

“The difference between a frying pan and a skillet? The size of the knot on your head if you upset the cook.”

Bear in mind, all these answers are moot when one considers the fact that, when used properly, both pans and skillets make excellent counterweights for mousetraps created by grey and white cartoon cats. Still, we must never forget the most important part of this research, that terminology can vary widely from region to region in our nation, and that such things as “homophones” will always be targeted for persecution by moralist elements who obviously didn’t pay attention in English class.

If you are still unsure about how to approach this debate or how to understand the jokes in this post, feel free to contact Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield’s office. Operators are standing by to hire you now, provided you’ve been arrested in at least one jurisdiction.  I’m putting my application in tomorrow.

Some legit reasons men just won’t commit

This is the season for many to become serious about relationships, and Valentine’s Day is one of the most high-pressure days for men in the Western World. Ladies, it’s easy to become annoyed and frustrated with your man when he refuses to commit, but there are often some valid reasons for his cold feet. While I am not a relationship expert, counselor, or qualified professional, here are some legitimate laypersons reasons as to why men are not prepared to commit to a serious relationship.

What Have I DoneOnce bitten, twice shy: when a man is deeply wounded in a previous relationship, scars exist. Even if there’s been a so-called “rebound,” it’s not uncommon for a man to want to take his time, or even never fully commit. While most who have come out of a damaging relationship or brutal breakup are encouraged to take some time to themselves, the desire to jump back in to avoid the “lonely bug” can be too great to resist, but with that comes a fear of repeating past mistakes.  This is especially true of relationships where one or both sides were abusive.  Healing time is needed.

kate-winslet-ned-kiss-zA torch still ablaze: guys, we’ve all been there – that woman we once had the strongest feelings on earth for, be it a friend or lover, and then our hopes are dashed. That one “who got away” is the stuff of best-selling love songs.  We try to get past her to move on to someone better.  Still, the fire smolders, waiting for any perceived breath of fresh of air to rekindle it anew, and set our hearts ablaze yet again.  Teensy problem with that; we meet a truly wonderful and committed woman, and that particular little fire still burning in our hearts needs a different fuel for combustion. Until that fire is put out, a new flame cannot hope to burn steady and bright.  The man in your life needs time to put the past behind him, and sometimes a “walkabout” of sorts is needed.

Bachelorhood just feels good: for many men, being single is a great thing. After all, there is nearly zero accountability, zero need to change and almost no risk. By jumping into a committed relationship, the notion of having to actually work with someone, compromise and change oneself for the better ensues. That’s scary enough, but combine that with the idea of children, pets or meeting family, and it feels like a sensory overload most men just are not ready for.  Time won’t cure this one; only maturation will.

yellingUnreasonable expectations: ladies, here’s where it gets unpopular. It’s very easy for women to decide they want a commitment from a man who is, honestly, just doesn’t want it. It could be any number of reasons, but the fact is some men just around ready for commitment, and some never will be. The worst situation of all are men who commit for the wrong reasons, such as custody of children or financial reasons. These almost always devolve into explosive and dangerous breakups.  Communicating expectations is key here, but even the most thorough communication may result in an ending.

Ultimatums: Any self-respecting man, or woman for that matter, will walk away from an ultimatum to be committed. If you tell your beloved “if you won’t commit, I’m out,” you should expect to be alone, period. To give any significant other an ultimatum to commit can be regarded as holding someone hostage emotionally, even if the person being held hostage is the ultimatum giver. Once you’ve gotten to the ultimatum point, the relationship is likely on borrowed time.

Finally there is Superstition: this is the one reason some men use and it’s based on the notion that Valentine’s Day commitments, proposals and such are bad luck. Now, that being said, it’s easy to have serious regrets about saying “yes” in the hoopla of the day. It’s even more common for a woman to not want to let her man down by saying no to that diamond ring. Many relationships which escalate on this day often fail down the road, so many men are skeptical about the validity of proposing in any way on Valentine’s Day.

Some of us just won’t be good commitment material, and sometimes it’s a matter of feeling “they can do it, why can’t I?”  We’ve all been there, and some of us grow out of it faster than others.  So ladies, cut your man a small break if he’s unable to commit.  Let him tell you in his way, in his time but, be aware, some men really aren’t ready to take that big leap. Be kind, compassionate and loving, but firm. Don’t let him hold you hostage, but don’t hold him hostage either. Compassion and love goes far further than demands and frustration, and the commitment which can result may be the best thing you’ve ever known.

An Alternative Super Bowl Prediction: A Division of the White House-Trumpco

Today is NFL Championship Sunday.  Of course this means the New England Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship while the Atlanta Falcons host the Green Bay Packers for the NFC Championship, and 3/4ths of the country will not give a flying crap except to see if their checking account is still intact or has been drained of all discernable life.

I could not go through today without weighing in about this day with the help of my cats.  Max, Annabella, Bentley and Rex have all provided their particular predictions on who will win today’s contest by way of their behaviors which, through my amazing powers of feeding them and changing their litter, will attempt to interpret.

Max:  When I mention the Atlanta Falcons, Max makes a bizarre chirping noise which sounds like a cross between a cricket and dinosaur in mating season.  That would correspond well to the sound a Packers fan makes when they had one too many Miller Lite cans.  Prediction:  Packers win by 3 belches…and a field goal.

Annabella:  My youngest cat has very little idea about football, but she likes bright colors.  Sadly, no team has any bright colors so she goes for the team which tosses the ball around the most.  Prediction:  Falcons lose but throw the ball a lot (which is why they lose.)

Bentley:  My oldest cat really don’t give a flying shit about who wins becuase, as far he’s concerned, they are all genetically inferior to him.  Based on that assessment, we are going to assume he is a Pats fan today.  Prediction:  Patriots win and protests ensue.

Rex:  The weirdest cat we own likes to bark like dog, and that means zilch today.  The Georgia Dome will also be rendered meaningless today, as well the Steelers.  Prediction:  Falcons win and so do the Patriots, and they both jump like little boys and girls around the respective trophies.

Now, my Super Bowl matchup prediction, based on the level of stink in my home after a recently collective crapping by all cats, is the Atlanta Falcons vs. the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI:  Embrace the Stink and Make the NFL Great Again with Alternative Super Bowls.

Have fun and drink one for me.

President Obama’s legacy may be cemented by an asset-turned-liability

Now that the Presidential transition is upon us, a time to reflect on President Obama’s term in office bears mentioning. This is not an examination of his accomplishments or failures but, rather, a critical look at his overall term eight years after being elected the first black President in our nation’s history. The facts speak for themselves, but facts are always open to interpretation.

As an executive, there can be no argument that Barack Obama was vastly different from any of his predecessors. This is not a particular shock to anyone. George W. Bush was very much a delegating sort of executive and fiercely loyal to his advisors. This sometimes served him well but, more often than not, was a source of cannon fodder for his critics. Obama was nothing like George W. Bush in that regard, and that’s just for starters. Where Obama diverged from his predecessors was his desire to be in near constant control of his surroundings. Indeed, a President who is “asleep at the switch” is a danger to himself and others, but Obama’s management style was that of a “micromanager.” Perhaps this is owed to his days as a community organizer in Chicago, where day-to-day minutia is often managed by the very person doing the organizing. After all, a leopard can’t change his spots, so it was foolish for anyone to believe Obama would change his habits. His near obsessive use of a prepared statements and reading from teleprompters was evidence of President who possessed a near-pathological desire to control everything, for good or ill.

Still, Obama’s greatest single failing in his presidency was his greatest asset on the campaign trail; his seeming stoic, “rise above it” attitude. For a Presidential nominee this is a wonderful trait because it allowed him to shrug off attacks and accusations which would demolish the confidence of other candidates. That same attitude does not do so well in the Oval Office, where the ability to empathize with everyday Americans was something he attempted to do, but his cool demeanor was nearly Vulcan-like at times, and turned off much of the electorate, as well as gave his opponents ammunition to pick him apart and find the various weaknesses in his armor. Much to Obama’s credit, there was actually precious little which he lost his temper over publicly – he was usually quite even-keeled at both press conferences and public appearances. There was, however, one area where his emotions boiled to the surface – the issue of race.

There is one thing which I have told people time and again; when Barack Obama was elected, America was ready for a “Black President.” The real problem was that America wasn’t ready for a Black President who advocated for Black America. Some would argue he “acted black,” but the question then becomes “what is the definition of ‘acting black?’” In Obama’s case, racial issues in America were something he was hoping our nation could move past with his election; that the era of racism in America was coming to an end. Instead, several factors came into play which so polarized the nation along racial lines, President Obama simply could not overcome reality, no matter how amount of vision with which he was endowed.

One of the great problems for Obama when it came to race was, again, the very stoicism which served him so well in other areas. When black men such as Trayvon Martin were killed by either police officers and white citizens, Obama was quick to condemn systemic racism within law enforcement agencies such as the one in Ferguson, Missouri, and even unleashed the Justice Department to investigate possible Civil Rights violations. The problem was when confronted with irrefutable evidence of self defense on the part of police, as was the case in Baltimore, or malicious intent admitted by some of the cop killers, or even political negligence for political gain’s sake, Obama remained silent in almost disturbing fashion. It was as though he simply couldn’t come to grips with the possibility that both sides were guilty of bad choices. Yes, the Justice Department’s 9th inning decision to hit the Chicago PD with charges of cultural racial bias may have been well founded and based in legitimate investigation results, but the case of the murders of Georgia officers Nicholas Smarr and Jody Smith by a black male with an extensive record, and subsequent social media threats made against the families of the slain officers by both supporters of the murderer and self-proclaimed “activists,” combined with President Obama’s rather muted response to this tragedy, did little to help his legacy as a “transformational President.” If anything, his desire for justice of the black community, however well-intentioned, may have suffered from severe tunnel-vision, and thus damaged his chances of a legacy behind his initial historical achievement from an electoral standpoint. Indeed, even White House reporters admitted to various news organizations that the President seemed to have “checked out” for a while, and some even wondered if the President had felt betrayed by the very nation which elected him.

President Obama’s term in office will likely go down as mediocre rather than transformational. The Republicans in Congress have already taken highly aggressive moves to roll back Obama’s legislative initiatives, and there seems to be no indication that incoming President Donald Trump will be anything more than a rubber stamp with a very loud mouth. Yes, Obama was the President who ordered the operation which ended the life of Osama Bin Laden, and he did take a tough line with Russia over the Syrian chemical weapons crisis, but he also presided over gaffe-laden jobs programs, an economic recovery which took far longer than expected, and was cited by Politifact.com for the 2014 “Lie of the Year” when he said “if you like your doctor, you can keep him,” when speaking about the Affordable Care Act, a claim which later proved impossible. Yes, his aggressive tack against police brutality towards black Americans, particularly males, was historic in its intensity, but his political style also polarized the electorate as never before. While the Republican Party was complicit in many a legislative crisis, it was Obama’s own stoic approach, bordering on the appearance of complete hubris, which may have, fair or not, cemented his legacy not as an unifier or transformer, but as a party apparatchik and “front man” for the likes of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

Time will tell what Obama’s real legacy is, but it is very clear that a Donald Trump presidency, if he chooses to avoid the excesses of Andrew Jackson and Warren Harding, could be the true transformer America has wanted, for better or for worse.

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Despite his good intentions with such things as his “shovel ready jobs” program, President Barack Obama’s own stoicism and party-line stubbornness will likely relegate him to the list of mediocre Presidents.