7/16/14

Name Calling

Once upon a time it was possible to function in society using your proper name. A first name, a middle name (optional) and of course a last name identified you. If legal or illegal conditions warranted it, an alias came in handy to conceal one's real name. The elite and famous could afford a pseudonym instead of an alias. Those lucky enough to attain literary notoriety could opt for a pen name or if they wanted to feed their ego, a nom de plume did the trick.  Among friends, a nickname was common.

Enter the internet, and name calling became much more complicated. Servers fora person's  favorite web sites had a problem with name recognition i.e. a  proper name, pen name, alias or even the lofty nom de plume. In order to gain access to a computer system, computer network, or online account,  a  unique sequence of characters used to identify a user was required. The result was a username, which together with a password gained the user megabytes of information and more social interaction than he needed. At last the individual had a choice as to how he wanted to be identified. Neither was he restricted to one name. Multiple usernames challenging the user's memory bank were the vogue. A user's imagination could run wild as long as the rules as to the number and type of characters were observed. Oh, I should mention that the rules also permited an address as a username (assuming the server gave its permission). Not a postal address but an Email address. 
Again, the Internet gave birth to the phenomenon of Email addresses. As with usernames, an individual can have more than one Email address. Its like having a condo in Florida in order to survive frigid winters in the North. Email, like the postal service snail mail can also be infected with junk mail but unlike the postal service, Email providers can filter out the junk mail.
A name to be avoided

Now that I may have established that a name is not as sacred as it once was, let me unleash the coup d'etat. As far as identity goes, in addition to that established by a  birth certificate or the Internet, there is that established by what right wingers derisively refer to as an entitlement program. From the moment of birth we aquire a social security number. We are all numbers. Being a number isn't so bad as long as it is not the result of being convicted of a crime and incarcerated. 

Lest I forget, some of us are unfortunate enough to earn derogatory names such as SOB, Asshole, Prick or  Jerk. Little importance should be attached to this since a rose by any other name smells as sweet.

To make a short story shorter,  a name can be a word or a number or a combination of words and numbers by which a person is known. It can get very confusing in conducting our day to day affairs but it should not be a cause for concern. Remember the old saying: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me."

6/30/14

Futbol 1 - Baseball 0

Woe be to me! I'm afraid I have angered the Baseball Gods. I did the unforgivable yesterday. Three innings into the Indians-Mariners game , I switched over to World Cup futbol (Costa Rica vs Greece). To make matters worse, I enjoyed the game.  I was impressed with the athleticism of the players. As far as I'm concerned, they put our brawny football players to shame.  I also now understand why there is such an outpouring of emotions when a goal is scored - it is damn difficult. I could become a futbol soccer fan ( once I come to terms with a penalty kick shoot off) . The low scoring doesn't bother me. After all, I'm an Indians fan. Oh yes, the Indians. The Baseball Gods had their revenge - Indians 0  Mariners 3. Indians 1 hit, Mariners 10.

6/23/14

You can't make a silk purse out of a Sow's ear

Saddam Hussein's statue came down and Bush declared, "Mission accomplished". Actually the mission was closer to demolished and Obama had to pick up the pieces. The pieces went together in a make shift fashion and Obama finally announced that the mission was as accomplished as it could be and the Iraq War was over. ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) raised its bloodthirsty head and said 'hold the fort, nothing is over until Iraq is destroyed'. And thus began another Iraq War. This one would be different . We would not have American boots on the ground ( neither would the Iraq security force). Only advisers - 300 of them. Wow! Three hundred advisers will accomplish what thousands of combat troops were unable to accomplish. Bull shit! I have to agree with Rand Paul - we should never have been involved in the first place and we should not be involved now. Iraq with its rival religious sects is a poor excuse for a country. At best it is a coalition of religious antagonists posing as politicians. As the High Primal has reminded me a number of times, when the British carved up The Ottoman Empire they used a dull knife. As other nations before us, we were unsuccessful in picking up the scraps they left. It is time to admit that as far as Iraq is concerned, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear ( I trust that the clerics will not consider that as blasphemous). Our involvement  should be confined to making our democracy as strong as we we possibly can, both economically and militarily.

6/19/14

Thank God For Baseball

Thank God for baseball especially when a Nick Swisher steps up to the plate in the tenth inning with the bases loaded, two outs, the count 1-2, and the score Angels 3 - Indians 1. With a swing of his bat, the ball sails out to right field over the fence. Grand Slam!!!! Indians win! A walk off win! For a few brief minutes all the ills surrounding us are forgotten. All is well with life. Once the cheering ends and the fans exit the field, reality returns. There are problems to be dealt with. Problems which strive to make baseball irrelevant. Problems which have no chance of being cleared by a Grand Slam. They will be there tomorrow. So will the boys of summer when again for a few hours all will be well with the world, at least in the ball park. Thank God for baseball.

6/16/14

Religious Violence Is Incongruous!

A New York Times report about religious violence got my attention. In some of the worst religious violence in Sri Lanka in decades, three people have been killed and 78 injured in riots between Buddhists and Muslims. Apparently Buddhist monks led the riots. I am not thoroughly versed in the teachings of Buddha but from the little that I do know about them, I find it inconceivable that his followers would stoop to religious violence. Buddhism is essentially a peaceful tradition. Nothing in Buddhist scripture gives any support to the use of violence as a way to resolve conflict. Still, the words of  Buddha, like those of Christ and Mohamed, can also be twisted in order to justify religious violence.