Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on Obama and U.S. Drone Policy

As usual, the “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” team is on point. I don’t have much to add to what John Oliver covered other than a hearty, “Amen!”

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A Perfect Example of Why We Fear Those Who Are Supposed To Serve & Protect Us

This is a sad situation… But, not a unique one in the USA. All too often police officers are guilty of intimidating, beating, and even shooting citizens who have broken no laws or only committed minor infractions.

Are there good cops? I’m sure there are plenty. But, they don’t nullify the actions of the bad ones.  A police culture has been cultivated in this Nation which allows for the systematic abuse of citizens and the regular cover-up and minimization of the offenses by police departments when the offenses come to light. That is one reason why the average citizen, regardless of ethnicity, feel instant fear and/or trepidation when they have any reason to interface with a police officer.

Amazingly, in the situation shown in the video above, it appears that the officer is now actually being held to account for his actions. Only when police are regularly punished for violating the rights of citizens and stop seeing themselves as the “masters” rather than true public servants will the overall situation change in this country.

For regular updates on offenses against citizens by police and related information, like Cop Block on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/CopBlock

US and Allies Now Bombing ISIL in Syria

Map of Syria-

Map of Syria-

Based on reports, the U.S. and certain allies have launched a bombing campaign against ISIL targets in Syria. Based on the reports of unnamed officials, all actively participating nations involved, other than the United States, are Arab nations. Though it has not been officially confirmed, those reports assert that Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Qatar, and Bahrain have participated in the air strikes. Official confirmation or denial of those reports will apparently be forthcoming. The bombings are said to have been primarily centered on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria thus far.

The first wave of strikes began at approximately 00:30 GWT and lasted around 90 minutes. More strikes are expected to follow.  Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that The U.S. and “partner nation forces” began air strikes on ISIS targets utilizing a combination of bombers, fighter planes, and Tomahawk missiles.

The Pentagon spokesman also said, “The decision to conduct theses strikes was made earlier today by the US Central Command Commander under authorization granted him by the Commander in Chief. We will provide more details later as operationally appropriate.”

For more information on the situation, please visit the links below:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/09/us-begins-bombing-isil-positions-syria-201492313622252650.html

http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/22/world/meast/u-s-airstrikes-isis-syria/

Headed to Friendship, In. – Down by the Riverside (music video)

My ’94 Buick Roadmaster Wagon is packed up and ready to head out. I’m excited about getting to Friendship, In. even if just for the weekend. When I was a teen, I used to go down in June for two weeks and work at a little cafeteria during the summer musket shoot and accompanying flea market events. They have the event twice a year in June and September.

I love getting back as an adult any time I can. For me, it’s like stepping into a time machine. Very little has changed from the 90’s to now. The smells, “feel,” and hospitality are all the same. Today, I’m taking one of my oldest friends and my twin, 14 year old sons. They are the age I was when I went to work in Friendship the first time. If you’ll be down there this weekend, look me up! I’ll have my guitar in tow for jamming purposes and a fresh bottle of Scotch for sipping purposes 🙂

I have yet to get to the newer, “Whispering Beard,” music festival down there, but plan to next summer.

Here are some links about the town and events if you aren’t familiar:

http://www.friendshipfleamarket.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendship,_Indiana

http://www.whisperingbeard.com/festival/

My Pick of the Week- A 1947 Royal Quiet Deluxe Typewriter

(BIG NEWS! -I just listed this typewriter on ebay!) Link to ebay post

As a reader of my blog, you probably don’t know what I do for a living besides writing and music. I don’t reference it often in my articles. I buy and sell as my main trade outside of creative pursuits. Truth be told, creativity is very useful when picking. After purchasing an item, it goes on one of my ebay stores. The primary being, “Brother Luke’s Treasures.”

See the link following:

http://stores.ebay.com/Brother-Lukes-Treasures

I tend to buy and sell a lot of the same types of things weekly: vintage clothing, electronics, shoes, housewares, etc, etc. But, I also run across some very cool, interesting, and/or rare items regularly. I’ve thought for some time about sharing some pictures and information about them on my blog. So, from the thrift stores, auctions, garage sales, and junk yards I frequent, I bring you, “My Pick of the Week.”

For installment #1, I have a good one for you! After going to my youngest daughter’s soccer game this morning, I saw that a church was having a rummage sale across the street. As I moved from table to table, I picked out a few decent picks at a bargain price: a vintage leather briefcase, an old cosmetic travel case, and one or two other items. Then, I felt a “disturbance in the force” and looked around… I saw a beautiful sight from across the large room. It was an old Royal typewriter in the original case.

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe -Photo Luke Austin Daugherty

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe -Photo Luke Austin Daugherty

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I love my 1966 Smith-Corona Super Sterling. I generally write all of my current poetry on that typewriter. So, I have a special passion for a good manual typewriter.

Though most everything else was pretty cheap at the sale, they had a pretty steep price on this typewriter. But, as a true lover of manual typewriters, I couldn’t pass it up 🙂

I must admit, it will be hard to get rid of this typewriter and I may just keep it. In buying and selling, I tend to embrace the drug dealer rule of, “Don’t get high on your own supply.” That works for pickers too. It is easy to fall in love with items you pick if you pick what you like or collect. Pickers with a “collector” mindset can find it hard to let their picks go. I’m not a collector. But, I do love a good typewriter! Only time will tell if I sell it or keep it 🙂

Here is the run down on “My Pick of the Week”-

Item: Vintage, manual typewriter

Brand: Royal

Model: Quiet De Luxe portable

Year Produced: 1947 per my serial number research

Includes: Original case, manual, and typing tutorial.

Weight: 12 lb 2 oz for the typewriter alone (contrast 13 lb for my Smith-Corona), 16 lb 6  oz in the case.

Color: Black with chrome accents

Interesting notes: As with some old typewriters, there is no “1” key or exclamation point. You just use the lowercase “L” for the 1 and make the exclamation point by hitting period, then backspacing and hitting shift/8 for the apostrophe. Together, that produces the exclamation point. It is a very solid machine has a fairly light touch with the “touch control” adjusted down. The black knobs on the ends of the carriage are very well made. On my son’s Hermes Media 3, those knobs are made of very weak plastic. On this Royal, they seem bullet-proof. The manual is simple and covers just what you need.

If you have never used an old typewriter, it can be a unique typing experience compared to modern computers. If you are a writer, utilizing a typewriter can have an interesting impact on your process and unlock new creativity. In either case, I suggest you take an old typewriter for a spin sometime. For more information on vintage typewriters, this is a great website:

http://typewriterdatabase.com/

See below for more pics of my new Royal! I have included full pictures of the manual that you can magnify if you have the same unit and want to find out something about your own machine functions 🙂

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Type from a 1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter- (old ribbon) -by Luke Austin Daugherty

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter- by Luke Austin Daugherty

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter- by Luke Austin Daugherty

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter- by Luke Austin Daugherty

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter- by Luke Austin Daugherty

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter- by Luke Austin Daugherty

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter- by Luke Austin Daugherty

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter Manual- by Luke Austin Daugherty

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter Manual- by Luke Austin Daugherty

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter manual- by Luke Austin Daugherty

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter manual- by Luke Austin Daugherty

20140913_170203

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter Ribbon Change Instructions/Manual- by Luke Austin Daugherty

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter Ribbon Change Instructions/Manual- by Luke Austin Daugherty

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter Manual/Function sheet- by Luke Austin Daugherty

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter Manual/Function sheet- by Luke Austin Daugherty

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter Manual Sheet- pic by Luke Austin Daugherty

1947 Royal Quiet DeLuxe Typewriter Manual Sheet- pic by Luke Austin Daugherty

Please Vet Your Social Media Shares- Here is an Example of Fear Porn Bullshit

texas militia

Screen shot of the video link below

We all have them… Facebook friends who just lust after “Fear Porn.” You know, spooky stories with only a meme or link to a sketchy website for “evidence” of some new terrorist threat, food that will kill you, something that will cure cancer, or some other ridiculous news story.

Generally, when you examine the social media pages of these types of folks, you find a regularly watered tree of social media bullshit. They see no reason to vet anything. As long as it supports their particular ideology, faith, or political leanings, they post that new link for all to see. There can be a particular relish for Fear Porn with these types. They love to be seen as “in the know” among their social media peers and enjoy getting other people’s blood pressure elevated with their posts.

“What is ‘Fear Porn?” you may ask… My definition would be, “Bullshit stories on the Internet which are originally constructed by intentional liars and then shared like a virus by credulous people with a desire to make life seem more exciting artificially.”

Though, I do enjoy the definition on the Urban Dictionary website for comedic reasons:

“Fear Porn- Conspiracy theorist information used to generate sexual excitement in Red necks, religious extremists and dudes that live in their mom’s basement.”

I found myself considering the issue of Fear Porn sharing when I first logged on to Facebook this morning. A Facebook friend had shared a new “story” from another person’s page. It was a video with the caption, “Yesterday mexican police tipped off the texas melita that iSIS WAS GOING TO CROSS OVER IN TO TEXAS AFTER SUNSET. TEXANS SETUP A WELCOMING PARTY. 25,000 ARMED TEXANS MET THEM last night as they tried to cross. The ones not shot quickly retreated.”

The moment I saw the post, my skeptical antenna picked up the story’s BS qualities: no actual source cited, poorly constructed caption, original poster is some ‘Murican type dude trying to gain a following on social media the easy way. Believe me, he’ll pick the low hanging fruit with no trouble at all.

Here is a link to the original post. Be warned, it may not be up for long if the original poster catches too much flack over it.

Then, I clicked the video. Seconds into it, I thought, “Hey… this is just a video of the Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot in Kentucky!” I have never been there, but have known some people who have years ago. The event includes a night shoot where a bunch of people blast their machine guns into the hillside using tracer rounds.

For contrast, here is another video of the same night shoot from another person in 2006:

Here is the thing my friends; we live in an age where ANYONE and I mean AAANNNNYYYYYOOOONNNNEEEEE can use a re-edited video, a picture from some war or old news story, a photoshopped image, or create a quote meme to propagate total bullshit on the Interwebs. As a human, alive in the modern age, and on social media, you MUST become good researcher. You MUST employ an appropriate level of skeptical analysis. You MUST do your due diligence before sharing wild news stories and such. When bullshit stories and memes are shared, they contribute to the sum total of wasted time for and the dumbing down of your fellow humans on social media. Are there ever amazing stories, new discoveries, and/or staggering events that happen? Sure. But, thanks to irresponsible sharing on social media, the fewer true stories are made harder to find by the many fake ones.

It helps to have an epistemological foundation based on demonstrable evidence and reasoned logic rather than emotional whim, faith, and confirmation bias. In the digital media age, skepticism is the appropriate mode.

There are some great online tools which make sussing out Fear Porn bullshit easy: Google, Snopes, Google Image Search, and many more. They are free… please use them 🙂

Here are some memes that I created which relate to this issue. Please feel free to use them when confronting Fear Porn and other Interweb bullshit.

For credulous posters of BS who actually believe it…

Gandhi meme by Luke Austin Daugherty

Gandhi meme by Luke Austin Daugherty

For those who quote mine, but particularly quote mine using fake quotes…

Abraham Lincoln meme by Luke Austin Daugherty

Abraham Lincoln meme by Luke Austin Daugherty

For those who do not even bother to Google search before posting…

"Do you even Google" meme by Luke Austin Daugherty

“Do you even Google” meme by Luke Austin Daugherty

and my favorite for general purposes 🙂

Smokey the Bear Bullshit meme by Luke Austin Daugherty

Smokey the Bear Bullshit meme by Luke Austin Daugherty

My Kids Share Their Top Two Life Lessons

PhotoGrid_1410193109659

Last week, I gave my four youngest kids a little two-part assignment. I asked them to first consider the two most important life lessons they have acquired during their tenure on planet Earth thus far. Second, to write them down in brief. Each youngster spent some time independently working on their thoughtful answers. I noticed that a couple of reoccurring themes surfaced. They did such a good job that I wanted to share their advice on my blog. The kids all said it would be fine with them. Here are the sagely proverbs they each wrote. Maybe there is something here you can use in your own life, no matter what your age may be 🙂

Nathanael- 14 years old:

 

  1. Don’t waste time on something or someone who is not worth it. Focus on what you are doing.
  2. If you want to do something, then do it.

 

Caleb- 14 years old:

 

  1. When studying anything, look at the facts.
  2. Live in the now.

 

Lydia- 13 years old:

 

  1. Don’t live in the future or the past. Live in the present.
  2. Every yes to one thing is a no to something else. Every no to one thing is a yes to something else.

 

Charity- 10 years old:

  1. Don’t let people talk you in to something you don’t want to do.
  2. Every yes in life is a no to something else. Every no in life is a yes to something else.

AHHHHH! Facebook has Crashed! Is it the End of the World? REALLY! Facebook Isn’t Working!! :)

facebook

The worst event in modern history has just happened… It appears that Facebook is not working. Not for anyone on Earth. In the short minutes since it has gone offline, there have even been videos posted about the issue. 

Here is my advice. In the mean time, read a book, go out for coffee, catch up on my previous blogs… you know, whatever 🙂 

I think it is a bit nice when modern technology takes a slight pause every now and then just for humanity to catch its breath. So my Facebook friends, enjoy the break and breath life in! 🙂 

Kudos to the guy who published the video below. You were able to get a video up in less than 15 minutes by my count about the crash.

**UPDATE!! At approx 4 p.m. my time, Facebook is back up. Humanity is saved!