My Blog postings are riddled with a full range of fallacies. I use Ad Hominem (i.e., attack the person) when I discourage people from drinking hydroxychloroquine just because Donald Trump recommends it. I Appeal to Authority when recommending anything Dr. Fauci says. I perpetuate an Appeal to Ignorance when I repeat Goktug’s assertion that Jimmy Hoffa is buried in the foundation of the Goktug residence (i.e., no one can prove Hoffa is not there). I regularly Appeal to Pity when I claim my wife goes into deep depression if no one reads my postings. I jump on the Bandwagon when I claim kneeling during the National Anthem is good because now everyone is doing it. I accuse Goktug of Begging the Question when he says he has a right to carry a fully automatic firearm to feel safe from people searching for Hoffa. My Ergo Propter Hoc fallacies link things that occur close together. For example, on November 5, 2019, NASA took Moon rocks and samples out of storage and the first Coronavirus infection was discovered on November 17, 2019; ergo the virus came from the Chinese Man in the Moon. My False Analogy fallacies run rampant, e.g., Warren G. Harding and Richard Nixon were corrupt, so Presidents are crooks. Faulty Premise Fallacy: The Mariners are second youngest Major League team at 26.9 average age, so in 3.1 years they will be World Champions like the oldest team, the 2019 World Series Champion Washington Nationals. Unfortunately, mediocre young players just insure mediocrity will last longer. Many other fallacies are sprinkled throughout my postings, e.g., Strawman Argument, False Dilemma, Slippery Slope Fallacy, Circular Argument, Hasty Generalization, and so on. A surprisingly unpopular internet Pandemic Scavenger Hunt game features readers competing to see who can find them all.
Month: August 2020
My Particular Way
Some cartoons are funny without a caption. Some captions are funny without a cartoon. Bruce Eric Kaplan published a famous cartoon where a man on the phone at a business desk is saying, “I like things to be done my own particular way by someone other than me.” That caption does not rely on a cartoon to be funny because it describes the essence of a certain kind of person, often a boss, who we love to hate. But the speaker amuses us because he has the apparent self awareness to describe himself accurately but in an unflattering light he either does not fully comprehend or enjoys flaunting. When confronted with the caption, I am forced to recognize it reflects much of my own philosophy. So I laugh at people who are like that and cringe that I am one of them. Donald Trump is also in the club but he never learned to cringe at his own behavior. That is one reason he is much more successful than me. You need to avoid getting distracted by any of your own failings if you want to break the mud ceiling. You embrace the failings, own your dark side, and make your corruption work for you by practicing it over and over again until you get really good at it.
Worry and breathing have similarities and differences. We all embrace our own continuous breathing (although many oppose the breathing of others despite a free air supply). We also worry continuously but know we should not. So many inspirational anti-worrying slogans exist. Extreme Adventurer Mike Horn sums up his philosophy: “If you worry, you die. If you don’t worry, you die.” Either way, you are going to stop breathing at some point. Horn is articulating his ideal but he has a wife and two children. Despite his casual bravado, surely he will worry until his last breath. But he is probably much more disciplined than I am at reducing worry levels. I received a letter from Car Shield yesterday although it was addressed to Otis Stamps at my address. I do not know any Otis Stamps so I worry about how to forward his mail now that the post office is curtailing services. The last Otis I knew was Mr. Redding who died young in an elevator accident. I worry that the name Otis will be lost forever. Car Shield says Otis Stamps owns a Chevrolet Spark. I never heard of a Chevrolet Spark and my Dad worked for General Motors for 14 years. I still worry about disappointing him. After reading the misdirected Car Shield solicitation, I worry that they are charging people way too much for the actual level of service they provide. I worry that I may have created the alias Otis Stamps and then forgot why I did that. And that makes me worry that I may own a Chevrolet Spark. I worry that I cannot remember where I parked it and how long it has been missing.
The Land of News
I caught a rerun of a television episode that my wife watches whenever it replays. The show is called News and is way too bloody for me. The police are not paid much but are allowed to murder the Black people for sport. Children are gunned down in mass killings at schools. The ruling party of News allows no restrictions on guns but the problem is resolved when schools are closed because disease is rampant. Health care is sporadic and too expensive for the poor in the backwater country. Hurricanes and tornadoes are ravaging the country of News. The old Caucasian dictator is caught in outrageous lies. His minions are pardoned when their corruption is exposed. The even older Caucasian opposition leader broadcasts from remote locations. He has threatened Blacks who do not support him with not being recognized as Black when he comes into power. The plots have so many of those holes. What kind of threat is that and why would the addled opposition leader make it? The entire show is so unrealistic. Walls are being built to keep immigrants out but who would be trying to sneak into such a country? The dictator is allied with the Russians who are killing the troops of News. That makes no sense. I told my wife I was not going to watch any more of the show. But she says I have to because I am in it.
My friend Goktug is working as a consultant on the post office project to install equipment that automatically postmarks mail-in ballots November 4th no matter when they arrive. This has strained our relationship because he has no time to work on my project. I am trying to market sports memorabilia that fills the gap for championships that were not played. For example, you can manufacture hats and shirts that say, “2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champions.” If individual schools balk at the idea, you go rogue and appeal directly to students or go with Pandemic University. If the NCAA puts up a fuss, you tweak NCAA to NCCA. The distinction is trivial, especially since the NCAA is more interested in making money than spelling. Maybe we go with NCA for National Clown Association. At any rate, I am lucky my oldest son is an Intellectual Property lawyer and he is out front on this. He has already filed a restraining order against me. Not the best start but a start nonetheless. I am collecting a list of all the cancelled championships. I am wearing a sample T. Casey Beecher 2020 Spring Hearts Champion tee shirt and looking forward to defending my title on Zoom at the Fall tournament this October. If Donald Trump does not cancel the 2020 elections, I already have a head start on the President Joe Biden clothing line. We have Sleepy Joe Pajamas, slippers we call Slippery Joes, and Kamala Canes. All our products are made in China. Order now for postal delivery by Easter.
An earlier Blog noted my surprise that neither my doctor nor my medical records could tell me my blood type. So for my birthday, my Polish daughter-in-law gave me a self testing Eldon Blood Typing Kit. I once tried tuning up my 1961 Ford Falcon and the damage I did to plugs, points, and pride was enough to turn my car into a Padiddle Plus and the driveway into an oil slick. I am clearly not a person who should be allowed to perform even routine medical procedures like applying a band aid to a human being. But I checked the kit and read the directions just to be sure. The packet included an Eldon card, four Eldon sticks, and Eldon Foil. Apparently the skin cleansing swab, automatic lancet, and plastic dropper are non-Eldon generic items. The instructions say to use water droplets to dissolve the dried reagent (in four different colors) in each of four circles on the card. You make sure that liquids in each circle never intermix. You use the four sticks to add blood to each circle. I cannot find any packets of blood. I finally figure out that the lancet must be involved in finding the blood but do not finish my investigation after reading: “It is essential to get sufficient volume of blood.” This is the moment in the horror movie when I realize I should not have entered the old haunted Eldon mansion. I carefully put everything back in the pouch for placement on the re-gifting shelf.
When I first posted on August 22, 2016, I had no idea I was starting a daily Blog that would last over four years. I possessed innate RUMP antibodies that saved my writings from going viral. RUMP (Redundant, Uninspiring, Mundane, Pretentious) is something people avoid unless they have a damaged sense of smell. Still I have distinct visitors to the site in the thousands and hits in the tens of thousands if you imagine the minimum needed to claim those numbers. I am a little annoyed that WordPress does such a good job of filtering out bots, scams, and junk because I could use the boost in numbers. Several dozen readers are official Followers. They can sign up for emails of the postings every time one is published. I follow many Bloggers but do not always open the emails. Followers are daring people because you risk cookie invasions whenever you agree to anything these days. If a post gets 75 hits from non followers, I know I have said something wildly inappropriate that day and immediately scramble to find the problem and construct a redeeming epistle for the next Blog. Although 97% of my traffic originates in the United States, I do have hits from 46 other countries. Japan and Poland are the top two. I wonder if continually mentioning my Polish daughter-in-law increases my play on Polish search engines. That gives me less pause than the two hits from Bangladesh and the one from Nigeria. Occasionally I get comments in a foreign language like the one promoting cigars in Portuguese. I do not have an algorithm to give meaning to random data but I want to go on record thanking Greece, Israel, U.S. Virgin Islands, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada for their Top Ten support of the Blog.
I recently watched a Seattle Mariner get picked off third base with one out in the eighth inning. This was a bonehead move because third is the one base where you do not need a big lead unless you are planning to steal home. I once made it to third base in a Colt League ballgame after my Junior year in high school. As soon as I arrived at this unfamiliar perch, my coach told me to steal home on the next pitch. This was dreadful news. I could not pretend I missed the sign because he whispered the instruction in my ear. Was he thinking I was fast? Was a worse hitter than me at bat? Did he think the pitcher would panic and throw wild or the catcher would drop the ball. Did he drink too many beers before the game? I slid politely into the tag and did the shuffle of shame back to the first base dugout. I was just following orders. The embarrassed Mariner has no excuse for getting picked off. But the Mariner announcers always have one ready: sun, umpires, pandemic, crowd noise, lack of crowd noise, nagging injury, and so on. But scrubs like me knew better in Colt League baseball. I look forward to a Mariner hitting a homer, smacking the first baseman with the bat, tripping over second base, spitting on the third baseman, and somersaulting his way to home plate. I expect the home town announcers to minimize such youthful indiscretions as a necessary part of growing up and becoming the fine young man we know he is. As they segue to the homer’s amazing exit velocity, I imagine one broadcaster interrupting his partner, “Did he just give us the finger while being escorted off the field?”
If someone you deemed extremely credible guaranteed that you would live through a pandemic if you wore a mask, you would likely wear one. What if the trusted source further guaranteed that if you did not wear a mask, you would definitely die? I would wear two at a time in case one broke. If cigarettes came with a guarantee that they would kill you within a month, it would not take too many funerals of your teenage friends to inhibit you from taking a puff. But we do not get these types of guarantees in life. Dr. Richard Griffith, a former professor at Indiana University, once told me that I could get rid of canker sores by avoiding almonds, cashews, peanuts, chocolate, corn, gelatin, oats, coconut, barley, wheat, wheat bran, wheat germ, and gluten. I think he was trying to choose my favorite things, so he should have added baseball. But he made no guarantee. Some companies guarantee your money back if you are not satisfied with their product because guarantees and money are big favorites with human beings. Certain sellers have even offered “double your money back.” But such promotions cannot be sustained since they incentivize dissatisfaction in those who like money even more than their own satisfaction. Unfortunately we do not get guarantees in life, we only get choices that affect risks. We can better our odds by making wise choices. But no guarantees. Human nature embraces long shots. We invest in lottery tickets, charge items we cannot afford on credit cards, and even root for the Seattle Mariners.
I have kayaked a few times so had checked that activity off the list long ago. As a member of Nervous Nellie ‘Nonamous, I was never comfortable in a kayak. I am perfectly capable of falling out of a canoe. Why board a craft even easier to capsize? I try to stay close to shore no matter the floating device but I am never in charge of an expedition unless alone in the water. And I am never alone in water except at Somerset Pool where they post a lifeguard whenever I even dangle my feet in the shallow end. On Thursday, I agreed to kayak with my youngest sibling because that is a way to see her in a pandemic. I tried to postpone because I did not have a life jacket but she brought one for me. We took separate cars to the entry point. My other sister surprised me by coming to see us off. None of us had seen each other in person since the Coronavirus outbreak. Maybe my sisters are rightly concerned about my survival, especially after the instigator produces two small suitcases about two feet by two feet from her trunk. Do I really want to climb into a vessel over ten feet long that is unfolded from one of the suitcases? Any material folded and unfolded enough will tear, rip, or fray, whether paper, fabric, or metal. These kayaks have only been used half a dozen times. So I take a chance. Before I left, I composed a first draft of this Blog. I showed my wife how to edit the post if something went horribly wrong. Kayaking actually went extremely well but I will probably regret giving my wife that access to my Blog.