August 1, 2008

Breaking Radio Silence

When naval vessels go dark, i.e., cease radio communications, the intent is electromagnetic disappearance, and communication moves to non EM-transmitters. Semaphore, flashing light, signal flags . . . all these and more are used in place of standard bridge radios which can easily give away a ship's location.

So, imagine that I've been waving my arms, clicking Morse code on my flashlight, and raising colorful signs over the past year, trying to have a conversation with you.

But I failed the assignment, really. We're both supposed to know when to go dark, so that no one is left waiting for a radio message that would not arrive. And so, in not announcing my departure from blogging I 'left you hanging' . . . right?

I kid. Surely no one is waiting for me to break radio silence. And surely no one missed reading my spotty blog in the first place. But it raises the issue of comm. etiquette. When are bloggers supposed to announce a departure? I know some academics who announces that they'd be, in effect, headed to the beach for the summer.

Is this the way of the 'net?

Are bloggers tied to time-tested routines, as well, such as school calendars or blockbuster movie releases? Does the medium change how frequently we communicate? Sure it does; folks are updating their blog all the time, and I suspect that their readership follows. But look, I'm pretty much a n00b, but I don't see how writing the next greatest blog is really going to change much--most people will only get glued further to their chairs.

It's the people. I know some technocrats here at [college or university] who think that computers are the way. It's like Jesus, really. No one's seen the "original" yet folks pay lots of attenetion and drop loads of money on some sort of salvation in perfect pitch studies or the next Mozart Effect. But it's the people.

Go out, have a look around, imagine what other folks are thinking about, empathize when the lady two people ahead of you in line is demeaned by the curt store clerk, smile with kids, and laugh. Laugh lots. It's a great way to break the silence.

G'day, mate.
- MjE

Posted by ethe0008 at 12:36 PM

April 3, 2007


So I'm minding my own business this weekend, when I decide to pick up yet another James Loewen book (Americans should read his work). Apparently students at the U of Vermont had been reenacting a lamentable fact of American history--the cakewalk--up until, oh, 1969. Pick up Lies Across America--the mind boggles.

So where did that take me? To the next logical place, obviously. I picked up the NYT historical and scoured the year 1888 for instances of lynchings. White folk lynching native Americans; white folk lynching innocent 'colored' folk; black/white gun battles in the middle of the street; 'colored' folk lynching 'colored' folk; a linguistic differentiation between "killing" and "lynching"; an angry, lethal mob cooly given the moniker "Judge Lynch" . . . I mean, damn. I felt a huge weight on my shoulders, which brings me to the title of the post. If you ever think there's no place for you, just pick up a paper. Read about injustice. Let that stuff mess with your mind. I mean, really--it's one thing to "kill" another person, and an entirely different story altogether to "lynch" them?!

And don't think that shit doesn't persist today. Jasper, Texas ring a bell? Or Serena Williams?

Don't let it happen where you are.

Peace, love, and good happiness stuff,
- MjE
(thanks, Steve)

Posted by ethe0008 at 12:15 AM

February 11, 2007

Real Unreal

A pair of recent television events got me thinking about where we draw the line concerning what to believe. First, a Dodge Nitro commercial where an unsuspecting older car gets an explosive jump start from the powerful new truck. Second, the commotion surrounding the city of Boston's Aqua Teen Hunger Force . . . uh, scare?

So it's permissible to blow up automobiles on television, but it's not ok to plant several non-explosive lighted cartoon characters around town . . . pull a prank, essentially? Which is more worrisome?

It's easy for me to comment here--I wasn't one to come across the Mooninites in the subway, what would I have done?

What would you have done? Why do you think so?
- MjE

Posted by ethe0008 at 8:09 PM

December 22, 2006

Commentary for Make Benefit Blogs Reader

Consider Borat. The tv skits, the youtube clips, the shots on the beach, the movie . . . any of those. But consider Borat.

While undoubtedly one of the highest grossing movies in recent history, it was panned by some critics for its unrelenting lewd content, sharp antisemitism, and misogynist eponymous protagonist. 'Anyone,' these critics write, could make such a movie. "Borat" exposes prejudice. The burden of success for the movie, I argue, will not rest solely within the 88 minutes caught on celluloid (or was it digital?)

The burden of success for the movie will rest with those who have seen it (and, of course those who already espouse its ideals). The movie provides fillips the willing--those ready for more than a cheap laugh. Did you feel uncomfortable at any point during "Borat"? Well, go out and fix that in the world. Let it never happen where you are. Do unto others . . .

Now, consider the painter Attila Richard Lukacs. I am not suggesting a comparison between these two men, but one might also feel uncomfortable viewing this Lukacs painting. Why, then, does "Borat" sell millions of tickets while Attila is recognizable primarily within the art world? Is the humor of the film a necessary precondition to conveying Borat's message widely? How can people watch news clips of bombings and such (during dinner sometimes), and then be put off by a painting, a still representation?

Consider the unconsidered. What are the implications of your actions and your thoughts?

An old chestnut: Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

Happy Holidays. Smile,
- MjE

Posted by ethe0008 at 11:41 AM

December 14, 2006

Music and the NHL

I read a blog entry concerning the author's disappointment with music at NHL games in Vancouver. Sounded pretty relevant to what I've been thinking about lately, so here's what I wrote in response.

I have a hunch that we’ll be stuck with AC/DC, etc., for a while. This hunch of mine centers around money — it’s probably much less expensive for the NHL to maintain rights to classic rock from the 70s, then it would be for it to continually renew the set list with more contemporary artists.

That said, another hunch of mine would suggest that it would be less expensive for organists to play songs from the most recent groups (as discussed in posts above). As weird as it might be to hear Bowling for Soup over the organ, it would be less expensive because there are at least two types of licenses: (1) synchronization license and (2) master use license.

With the synchronization license, whoever pays (NHL, in this case) can use the lyrics and music. With the master use license, the NHL can use a particular recording. [Remember Wayne’s World? When they rocked out to Bohemian Rhapsody, the studio had to pay for both types of license. But when Wayne just starts singing “Hey Mickey, you’re so fine? the studio only had to pay for the synchronization license.]

So it would be less expensive for the NHL to buy just the synchronization license for Gwen Stefani’s “Holla Back Girl? and have organists play the music. A few problems here: what, to me, is exciting about that track is the particular sounds (not organ); not every stadium even has an organist anymore; those that do would have to be sure that the audience knows the chorus (the point of all this music, after all, is to get everyone fired up and screaming the same thing, right? No matter what it is?) . . . Well, you can think of more problems with that.

Yet, when the fans wanted more goals the NHL responded with new rules, equipment limitations, etc. So, if the fans who actually go to the games let the league know that they’re not being entertained by the music, then they’d have to sit up and listen.

Posted by ethe0008 at 1:12 PM

April 23, 2006

What's New?

How's the world been treating you?
You haven't changed a bit.

Well, I'm here in Monteal, and it's been quite a long time since I looked a this blog I started. Looking back, I can tell that I was working through some family problems that were occurring at the time, so I guess this blog served that immediate purpose. (doesn't make things any easier, necessarily).

I think I need to utilize this medium I've let grow dormant. Thinking about words. Wording about thoughts. More practice. Practice more.

So here is my 1/2-hearted promise to bring "It's Not Up To You" back to life. I've got lots of stories to tell, so let me begin.

Posted by ethe0008 at 4:29 PM

June 30, 2005

Only in NYC, the city that never sleeps

It's probably the lack of sleep that caused this terrific story. I think there are some funny clips from this article, such as "faster than expected" and "unlikely to make a second attempt." Yeah, unlikely to have a job tomorrow, too. Hooray for shotgun planning!

Hey - I enjoy watching your spectacle just as much as the next person, but this is simply preposterous. How did they plan to rid themselves of the "sugary goo" in the successful case that it didn't melt too quickly? ("Ok, kids. Step right up. Have your mom pay $10 so you can catch Snapple drops in your mouth as they fall to the ground.")

I'm not sure what accounts for the difference, but here in the midwest we like to keep frozen things, uh, frozen . . . so we plan our big sub-zero spectacles around times we know will be cold.

What ever happened to lemonade stands or the old-fashioned ice cream trucks?

Scratching my head,
- MjE

Posted by ethe0008 at 1:25 PM

June 29, 2005


I'm on the outside looking in.

It's not my issue.

All I can do is listen.

Peace, love, and good happiness stuff,
- MjE

Posted by ethe0008 at 9:33 PM

June 26, 2005

Life's Too Short

Quick Lesson - If someone offends you somehow, remember that what you're feeling is part "what what done" (or not done), and part "how you are reacting to it." So be a grown-up and don't flip out over little things - or make a moutain out of a molehill, as they say . . . especially when someone attempts to make amends. Don't push people away - life's too short for you to be a dick.

- MjE

Posted by ethe0008 at 2:06 PM

June 24, 2005

Father's Day and Flag Burning

Only the smallest necessary amount of scruple prevented me from posting something somewhat tasteless on Father's Day. In light of recent events on Capitol Hill, however, I have a new and more fitting context for my original comment, which was intended more for my own amusement than for any grand edification theory. I'll give distilled versions of both the Father's Day comment and the political context here:

a) On Mother's Day, we pretty much know who to celebrate. The great and numerous biological changes she undergoes make it impossible to miss who the mother is (or will be). By contrast, on Father's Day I'm not convinced that all men who are biological fathers actually know about it - and I don't mean because the results aren't yet back from the lab - I'm talking about the guys who hit it and run.

b) The US House again passed an amendment proposal that, while not explicitly calling for a federal ban of flag burning, would give that judicial responsibility to state governments. Now, I'm all for delegating responsibility down to the lowest reasonable level (Tenth Amendment, anyone?) but this seems like an enormous waste of their time and your money.

What I'm driving at is this - shouldn't we all be more concerned with, say, how to support single-parent families than with passing a vacuous amendment to the US Constitution? While I'm opposed to this particular proposal, it does fall neatly in the bailiwick of the federal government, which is designed to confront symbolic issues such as this. Instead of getting all wrapped up in this issue at the water cooler, call your senators, tell them to vote against the proposal, and move on. There are people in your own back yard that could use your help.

- MjE

Posted by ethe0008 at 6:39 PM

June 18, 2005

What's a Penny among friends?

I begin this, my first blog entry, with a vignette about friends, breakfast, and money.

I was on my way to a friend's house, to help him and his wife load boxes into a U-Haul. Before I could even think about moving a futon, I figured I would need some coffee first. So I patronized a local coffee shop, a one-of-a-kind place as far as I can see, and bought a latte and day-old banana bread. Total = $3.84.

At least that's what the cash register indicated.

The barist looked at me and said, "That'll be $3.85 please." In the interest of expediency, I didn't voice a complaint. And it is only one penny we're talking about here. But the fact remains that I paid more than I should have.

(I might be making the "please" part up.)

What does this all mean?

Well, it might be that the coffee shop is part of the movement to get rid of pennies (see this page or this other page for two examples). Or we could have entered an age of expected (as opposed to earned) tips. Whatever the governing principle behind this theft, what remains clear is that it was a deliberate strike. Your local coffee shops are out to steal your shirt!

You know, I've seen this happen the other way - where the total is, say, $3.86 and the attendant asks for a cent less. I suppose at the end of the day, they just use the tip jar to supplement the till, to achieve a zero balance.

. . . mayby Thursday's episode was just payback for all the times I got that good deal.

Posted by ethe0008 at 6:09 PM