Friday, March 27, 2009

The Death of Print Newspaper
Cut and paste this url into your browser and follow the debate regarding the future of the print version of the Oregonian and my response below. If you have an opinion on the topic it join the site for free and post it.

"I was just riding my bike and saw no lack of paper racks with current papers in them. Online news, while expedient and faster can never top the visceral feel and quality and content of a hard print newspaper. The pictures are better the stories are copywrighted so you don't find nearly the amount of typos and text errors you find on the web versions. Think for a moment of the smell of a freshly minted paper. It is only surpassed by the strong ammonia smell of a mimeograph machine.

You guys might be too young to remember the mimeograph. It produced pages with blue text. Usually something your teacher copied or wrote for distribution. But I digress, newspapers have many uses once they are read and the highlight section is clipped for your scrapbook. They are good for soaking up spills, wrapping your fragile dishes when you move. Lighting the barbecue in one of those charcoal chimneys that don't require fluid.

I have also been told that the pages are sterile coming off the press so they could work as an emergency bandage. Although its a hassle to recycle them. I think the benefits outweigh the negatives. As previously stated, the competitive papers did themselves in by offering all the content online for free. Question is do they really offer all of the content? One might take a day to compare.

Newspapers make revenue off of subscribers and paid advertisement. The cost of the ad is directly proportionate to the readership. Meaning an ad in the New York Times probably cost more than an ad in the local throw away paper here called the Acorn. So if you support print news, subscribe and take out ads. If you support print news and do neither, then you really aren't in support are you. I mean this in the nicest way folks. Just give it a thought.

I propose that we all support our local print newspapers and glean the out of town stuff for free off the net. Newspapers have a place in our society and our history and I would hate to see them go the way of the dodo. I had a hard drive go bad with no back up and lost many links to articles about my daughter that I should have printed out or backed up to disk. My bad.

How cool is it to find an old box packed with newspapers from the thirties or even the 70's. You get a little glimpse into the past that never makes it into any history book. We are in such a hurry to get the news out first the quality of the writing and reporting is suffering. I like hearing about things live and watching the Ytube link as much as anyone but I just don't see how it can totally replace the newspaper experience(/soapbox)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stuck in Idle

The weight of unemployment is crushing me to death. I can't go any where without looking at the person and thinking about what makes them better that they have a job and I can't have one. I am so bored. If I was mentally healthy I would spend the time cleaning up. But I am just too disgusted. I have traced every major decision I have made back to high school and now find fault in all of them. The only relief is to get out and talk to people but soon that "why them and not me" ruins it and I go home. Maybe I am not getting enough sugar. Will have to buy some cookies tomorrow. Someone please give me a chance. I can still contribute. I can do just about anything and am willing to do anything. Back round check, take a drug test send us your resume. Send us your transcript. I have so much personal information floating around out there its damn scary.

During the Bush years I fretted he was ruining the country. It turned out much worse. He seemed to have ruined my life in the process. God help me I am not a good Christian today.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Chitauqua in the Front Yard

Today the sun was shining again in the second day of what I call the "snap of winter" the day that it really feels that spring has arrived and the frozen grip of winter has thawed to a nice clear puddle soon to evaporate in the relentless days of no rain to come until next year.

I looked at the green collection of weeds tall grasses, pussy willows and clover leaf which i call my lawn and decided it was time for some zen "weed gardening" as I call it. I need a break from my never ending cycle of searching for work and staring at the computer. It was simply a sin to waste such a day pining away inside. At once I decided that I would only remove the types of weeds that had no hope of passing for grass to better fortify my green illusion. At the same time I realized that if I were to remove all weeds I would be left with a barren patch of land. So my weeding was judicious and calculated. Anything with a broad leaf or non linear stucture was suspect and subject to removal.

I was reminded of my child hood when my overbearing father made us weed the landscaping as a chore. His pet peeve was "topping" the weeds. He would watch and make sure you got the whole plant down to the root, muttering about "gettin tha root". In those days I didn't care if the weeds grew back quickly as it was just as likely that another of my siblings would be stuck with the chore of removal when the thing grew back He could dine on the roots for all I cared. Now having full ownership of my own "landscape" if you can call it that, when I weed I want to 'get tha root' because when it grows back quickly I am the only one stuck with a brand new weed with a highly developed root system.

Of course being outside I got to watch some people pass by. Only the "Mormon Elders" had an interest in talking with me. I don't know much about the LDS church other than my pastor and all reasonable Christians I know tell me its a whack job religion, a cult, if you will. I will tell you they don't help their cause by sending high school kids on missions introducing themselves as "Elder." It was my good fortune that the local bishop of the Morman church bought the house beside mine and we were neighbors for years. I just drop his name and the kids kind of give up on me. I guess if the Bishop can't convert his neighbor that what chance do they have.

I have a strategy for all the common type door knockers we get these days. There are the "Elders" I have discussed, the Jehovahs Witnesses (watchtower guys), the young girls bussed in from the inner city trying to earn points for a vacation by selling magazines and candy, there is the occasional process server which ironically is the encounter most easily dealt with as they want to to be off your porch before you realized that you "have just been served." With the JW just take their copy of the Watch Tower and close the door quickly. Strategy for the magazine/candy sellers is to start telling them all about your problems and ask if you can get a free candy bar or borrow money. They will almost immediately vanish not only from your doorstep but the entire neighborhood.

The last Door Knocker I had was cute teenager who was holding a very weathered looking plastic sealed card with her that smelled of stripper perfume. During her sales pitch she at once gave me a little whack and told me I had Mexicans living across the street. The former gave me a start but I was not surpised at the latter. I at once identified the whack as some type of sales shock tactic so I reciprocated with a little punch to her shoulder. She was totally unnerved by this and left telling me the she had earned 4300 points from the Mexicans. I shut the door quickly when she asked if she could come inside. "My God" I asked myself, what was she selling? I hope it was perfume.

Following the weed picking, was a lawn mowing which really gets the green patch looking like a real grass yard. I have heard there is an advanced form of astro turf you can use instead of a real yard now which would be ideal except that I am reminded of those little astro turf yards that you see at the state beach campgrounds which the RV crowd prizes so highly.

Not a good look to me. I am always amazed at the length people will go to bring all the trappings of modern life to the campground. The RVs comes with satelite TVs, microvave ovens, private flush toilets and showers,king size beds, patio furniture, some times even indoor furniture, all powered by the almighty gas generator drowning out the silence and the sounds of nature. Each one of those RV tin cans reminds me of a lunch box on steroids. What is the point of going to the camp ground and getting closer to nature inside an RV? I guess its nature with a good bed and no flies, squirrels racoons, or opposums.

Tommorow I am not going to be hanging around the front yard.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The symbols of language

I very clearly remember the first time that I encountered an unfamiliar alphabet: it was an event which occurred in the family grocery store when I was very small, perhaps three years old. I had not yet learned to read English, and it had not yet been explained to me that there could exist other communication systems apart from pictures. One afternoon, I asked my mother what the funny black squiggles were in the text balloons in the Batman comic book I was holding. She told the cashier"and the comic book too." Fixated, I became transfixed by the black squiggles, which no longer seemed quite so funny; but although I stared at them until I was dizzy, I could find no way to render them intelligible except to match them with the graphic story. Only later did I learn that these marks were the English alphabet. Since that time, I have been preoccupied by the possibility that abstract forms can connect us to a reality beyond language, and bridge the thin line between nonsense and the divine.

Somewhere between the visual noise of television static, and the visual order of the text you are now reading, lies a fascinating realm of visual semi-sense. Precisely where do the borders of that realm lie? By studying that realm of semi-sense, I surmise that we may come to a deeper understanding of precisely how sense-making occurs at all. To do this, there has been written software which attempts to generate artifacts that seem to make sense, but in fact, don't.

What other forms of relative communication may exist? We use mathmatics to explain the universe. Radio and television bring us words and images though sound sound waves and video signals. We know whales and other marine chreatures communication on a sonic level in the water. What other vibrations are resonating around us now for which we that we have not yet discovered a filter to make them meaningful.

The benefits of solitude and medititation are well documented but is there an explanation why. If we try to tune our vibrations or conscieneness to those in nature what benefits or insignts might we receive? Cognitive relevance might be the next study of human evolution.