A Message in a Bottle

A lot of you have seen the cartoon.  A man shipwrecked on a desert island writes a letter requesting help, seals it in a bottle and throws it into the ocean.  The punch line varies based on the philosophy or the humor of the cartoonist.  Maybe a bottle washes up with a sarcastic reply or maybe he is rescued and one day finds his bottle floating up to his home port or maybe his own bottle returns to him unanswered or maybe some pirates or cannibals find it and come to finish him off.  But the idea of sending out a cry for help to the world is a powerful concept.  It appeals to our feeling of solidarity with humanity.

In a way this blog is somewhat like that.  Trapped in my little corner of blue state America it’s easy to feel isolated and trapped.  Of course, that’s not completely true.  I have my friends and family and acquaintances that align with my way of looking at the world (for the most part).  And I can read the right-wing websites and even watch some of the non-leftist content on a few outlets that still haven’t cancelled it.

But in a lot of ways the world I remember is being erased and my world is contracting.  Thirty years ago public radio used to be fairly entertaining.  Now it would be like listening to fingernails on a chalk board.  I used to like watching a ball game occasionally.  Now it’s just another chance to insult me.  They’ve whittled away the things that made life fun.  Even the movies have become unwatchable.  And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.

So, I had to invent my own game, my own fun.  I look at the world and I write out my thoughts and I put it into the bottle and I hit the enter key and it travels around the world and sometimes I get an answer.  It could be a yep or a nope or a pat on the back or even occasionally a middle finger but it’s an answer, it’s a voice, it’s an affirmation that the rest of you are out there.  It means I exist.  You comment, therefore I am.

So that’s the secret of this blog.  You all are the power source that make this blog work for me.  I get my motivation, my validation from your presence.  Even those who don’t comment but come back every week or every day or even several times a day reinforce my reason to write.  Sure, part of it is that I just enjoy the mental exercise of reasoning about the things going on in this crazy time we live in.  There’s value in figuring things out on paper (or pixels) and I think better when I write things down and I enjoy posting my reviews and my photos.  But I mostly enjoy sending out my thoughts and ideas out into the internet ocean and getting some bottles floating back with some replies.

So thanks to all you folks out there who show up and read my notes on the shores of this infinite ocean.  It’s nice knowing you’re out there and don’t be afraid to say hello if you have the urge to do so.  I can always use the company.  It’s an awfully big ocean.

21APR2020 – OCF Update – The Joy of Blogging

Keeping a website stocked with content is work.  Finding and posting a quote and a photo each day takes time and effort.  Researching and writing political posts takes time and thought.  Watching and reviewing movies and tv shows and listening to and reviewing music and reading and reviewing books takes even more time.  Keeping up with the software versions of the website plug-ins and other features is annoying and confusing.  Doing all these things while also working full time in a highly demanding profession in a very exacting company is extremely difficult.  But I consider running this website one of the more enjoyable aspects of my life.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I consider it important to socialize with like minded people.  And just as important as it is to talk about politics, I find discussing recreational and cultural topics just as important.  It’s like the feeling you get from going down to the local tavern and shooting the breeze with friends from town.  You can compare notes on what’s going on in the neighborhood and talk a little sports or discuss the local school issues or the state elections.  There will be differences of opinion but being likeminded people in similar circumstances with a similar history and world view you mostly have similar opinions.  And that’s a comfortable situation.

But nowadays people are always on the move.  We move because we lose a job and need to find a new one.  Or we move so our kids can go to a better school.  Or we move because our town has grown too crowded or because the crime rate has gotten too high.  So, we lose that circle of friends we used to enjoy so much.

Another thing that happens is your kids grow up and once they do, you lose track of the other parents whose kids used to hang around with your kids.  We all go our separate ways and before you know it, you’re pretty isolated from everyone but a small circle of family and a few very good friends.

So, you start to spend time on-line.  You get involved in websites that cater to your interests and hobbies.  And that was something that I did.  I frequented sites that had to do with my various hobbies.  Photography was one of them.  Field biology was another.  And fantasy and science fiction were a third.  And it was fun talking to people with similar interests and sharing information and experiences.  I met a number of interesting people.  But I also found out that politics was a stumbling block in all these areas.  What was true in each of these creative areas was that there existed an orthodoxy that underlaid all the other levels of thought that each of the sites was involved with.  And that orthodoxy was a progressive point of view on politics, social issues and even science.  It was anti-American (especially on sites that had a heavy European presence), anti-religious, anti-traditionalist, pro-homosexual, stridently feminist, globalist, against gun rights, anti-free speech and it rabidly believed in global warming.  I can remember on one particular photography website being banned for saying that Hillary Clinton was a criminal that deserved to be thrown in prison for life.  This was during a thread where the same sentiment had been expressed about George W Bush.  The second statement didn’t even warrant a comment from the moderator or a warning of any kind.  It was after this kind of unequal enforcement of the rules of internet etiquette that I figured out that all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.  And I figured out that if I wanted to enjoy discussing political and social subjects in a more or less free environment, I would have to own the space myself.

So that’s why this site is worth the time and expense of hosting it myself.  No one can tell me that I can’t say that Hillary Clinton is a criminal.  No one can tell me that I can’t say that global warming is a scam.  And no one can tell me that I can’t say that gun ownership is what makes this the freest country on Earth.  By the same token if someone wants to disagree and say that global warming is a very serious problem, I don’t have problem with that.  Let him state his case.  If he can prove it to me, then I’ll admit it.  If he can’t convince me then we’ll agree to disagree.

If someone believes that affirmative action is fair, let him state his case.  I’ll disagree to the last but I’m not in the brainwashing business.  If he can have the discussion without foaming at the mouth and calling me names then have at it.  I’m not afraid of people giving their opinions.  As long as they don’t go off the deep end and start ranting and raving.  This site has a definite right-wing slant.  I state that right up front.  But if someone wants to talk about photography or old movies or old books I don’t particularly care if you’re a communist as long as you can behave like a grown up and contribute to the discussion.  I’ve been in discussions about religion between atheists and priests.  And they were able to keep it polite and even friendly.  They each knew the other wasn’t going to budge but they enjoyed the chance to tell their side and have their say.  And it made for an interesting discussion.

So, this is my way of saying thanks to the regulars and to the new readers and to encourage you all to read and comment and have your say.  Give and take is fine and is the reason for the whole thing anyway.

Okay that’s enough.