Dropping Some McKnowledge

social Did you know that everybody has a blog?! Seriously. Everyone! It took me an hour of hammering out incredibly clever URLs before landing on this one, the first of my attempts to actually be available in this vast Internetz wasteland.

But it’s not just blogs in the traditional “I’m gonna write a billion words because I’m of the delusion that people give a crap about what I say” kind of blog. It’s blogs of varying lengths and platforms. According to that bulletproof infographic above, more than 241 million people/businesses/Kardashians regularly document every mundane detail about their life.

Google’s 47,756 employees have created more than 540 million Google+ pages on their own!! That is meant to be a joke but honestly, do you know anyone outside of Google who ‘actively’ uses Google+? Are words too hard to string together but you still have a burning desire to display that beautifully filtered self-portrait for a bunch of anonymous pervs? More than 200 million people and dogs are using Instagram to do just that. This isn’t to say there isn’t some value in the use of social media. At least I hope there is. After all it’s a huge industry and a part of how I make a living, sooo…

But anyhoo, what this says is that there is an enormous amount of complete garbage floating around cyberspace. This surprises no one. The big problem with all this pollution is that it chokes the streams of useful information without adding more hours to the day for us to hunt down information which may actually be helpful and, God forbid, even educational.

In this “get it now” culture we’ve cultivated, many of us grab what info we can get in the moment and move on as millions of new messages stream in – pushing old nuggets out of view and out of our memory. Our opinions and debates are formed by what fits into a 140-character message. We leave no time for ourselves to absorb or even seek out context. Our ideas are headlines, and if we’re confused by something we can always pay close attention to celebrity opinions as if they might help to tell us on which side of an issue we should stand.

This is why Seth Rogen is labeled a communist or whatever for a trivial comment about a movie. It’s why a measles outbreak is the fault of illegal immigrants or anti-vaxxers or Mikey Mouse. It’s why clever editing and strategic quote grabbing can fuel an entire campaign, and people just blindly follow along (though, obviously not enough people in this case)! It’s also why videos of cute puppies and cats playing piano are so popular! After being bombarded with so much info day in and day out, you come home feeling like Ruprecht and our brains can’t handle anything else….

The biggest problem we face is getting steamrolled because we haven’t done our own due diligence to research beyond the headlines. Too many people accept the Tweets at face value because to look into things any further would detract from learning more about our friend’s vacation, or pinning that cool recipe. Then one day we look around and realize stuff has happened around us because we just weren’t paying enough attention or didn’t have the facts.

We all like to complain when things don’t go the way we would like them to, but if we just continue to sit around and get distracted by the latest shiny object we’re only going to get more divided and angry. I don’t know how long it will take or even if it will happen, but I can see and even hope for a point in the future where we have finally had enough of being told what and how to think because we’re too preoccupied to think for ourselves.

Those who perpetuate the half-truths and push slanted agendas are taking advantage of a population’s mass gullibility and unwillingness to act. You ever notice that nobody is actually fighting with the ones who ultimately make the decisions that impact our lives. Hell, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback took his state’s economy nearly a billion dollars in the wrong direction within one year and was rewarded with re-election! Members of his own party turned on him and still, he wins a second term. It was a slim margin of victory, but because of a culture that doesn’t look much beyond the surface, I have to think that anyone could have won this election so long as they had “Republican” next to their name.

Personalities on entertainment channels that portray themselves as “journalists” and “news resources” continue to have a voice that people trust for some reason, even when what they say is many times proven to be inaccurate. And by “many times” I mean as much as 60 PERCENT OF THE TIME according to this report. If you were wrong at anything 60 percent of the time you would likely be fired, fail out of school, or find a new hobby. You may also be a really good hitter in baseball, but that’s the exception and not the rule. Who could imagine that you could also help shape the narrative and have significant influence on an entire country?

The point to all of this is that our ability to pay attention has been severely hampered by the influx of information delivery platforms and a false sense that we “need” to know everything that’s thrown at us. There are certainly things that we need to know, but this onslaught is overwhelming our filters. We’re trying to let everything in while ultimately retaining nothing of substance. All the while, our systems fracture. We get angry, but many people have zero focus with no idea who they’re even angry at.

I hope to see a shift at some point. I would love to arrive at a place where the masses take the initiative to look beyond the surface and seek context. There is no reason for everyone to be so firmly divided on every issue if we’re ultimately all interested in taking care of each other and our society. There is room for the rapid technological expansion if we work to find the balance and maintain our ability to be critical, independent thinkers. There is freedom of speech, expression, and press. But included in those freedoms is our freedom to think and speak for ourselves in defense of ourselves. I hope we start taking advantage of that soon!

If you made it this far into this post, I can only assume you’re picking up what I’m throwing down. If I’m not on point, let me know! I can handle it. And before you say it, yes, I recognize the irony in writing so many words while acknowledging our short attention spans.

DISCLAIMER: Links in this post are provided to demonstrate examples of points. Baseball link aside, I do not necessarily endorse any of the sources or individuals. I’m Switzerland, baby!!

Cheers!

Dog Gone It

me_dogs

Well, this didn’t take long. Two blogs in and I’m going to focus in on a dog story! I guess we all saw that coming. After all, once I agreed to take on a third dog in my house I pretty well secured my status as the crazy dog guy.

But you know what? I make no apologies. I’m proud to be a crazy dog guy. If I could “liberate” all of the dogs currently living in shitty environments with despicable people and bring them to live on the wide open dog farm I have envisioned in my head, I would do it in a heartbeat!

I absolutely love dogs. For the vast majority of my life I have had at least one dog in my house. When I was born, we had a dog named Spooky. In elementary school into High School, it was a chow chow named Harry (or Hairy…either way works). Next it was border collie Gracie and a little Westie named Lucy.

Churro and Penny...napping, of course!Once I struck out on my own it took a while to take on the responsibility of looking after the life of another living being. But once I ended up with a wife and kid, I figured I could probably make this dog thing work. How hard could it be? Of course it helps move the process along when the wife exploits your weakness for cute dogs, shows you a photo of dog faces like the ones below, and asks if we can keep them.

As you might imagine, the question is always a formality as she has already made up her mind. If I’m seeing a picture of a dog, we’re getting a dog.

rolo2That is the exact process for how we ended up with those first two dogs in the photo. For the third one she didn’t even bother with a picture. I arrived home from work and as I pulled into the driveway, Wife was holding the little guy and claiming to be looking for his home. Please, spare me your good Samaritan tales, wife. We may be looking for his owners right now, but we both know he’s part of our herd now. It’s only a matter of time.

I think it took 24 hours to find Rolo’s owners and discover they were looking for a new home for him anyway. Lucky for them (and Rolo), he landed with the crazy dog guy!

Here’s the point. There are crazy dog people everywhere! We love dogs more than most people and go to ridiculous lengths to make sure they are loved and taken care of. Seriously! Our family even has “dog rule” in our house, meaning that if there’s a dog(s) in our lap we shouldn’t have to move for fear it could disturb the endless slumber of these beasts. Never mind that if they move, they’ll fall asleep wherever they may land within seconds!

Admittedly, we spoil the hell out of them because, let’s face it, they love us back more than any person ever could!

This is why it boggles my mind and shatters my heart when something disgustingly tragic like this happens. This horrible thing happened only two blocks from my house. I can’t even wrap my mind around it and can only think it’s more a result of a deeply disturbed human mind than simply a desire to torture animals…not that that makes it any better.

I just don’t get it. To deliberately bring harm to another innocent living thing is an act as old as time, but it is never something that gets easier to deal with. In the case of dogs (and really, any animal), there are countless people like me and organizations out there who would take care of them if you can’t or don’t want to. There are humane ways to put an animal down if it’s suffering. Never, under any circumstances, should a life end like that. Just a horrible thing…and maybe another reason to love dogs more than people. Without opposable thumbs, dogs couldn’t do something like that. But if that day should ever come, you better hope you respected “dog rule”.

Anyhoo, that got a lot heavier here than I expected. To bring some balance to things, here are some dog videos that I watched this week…

Cheers!

-Crazy Dog Guy

Blog Ambition

Here it is – 2015. The year that will introduce us to hoverboards, power laces, the double neck tie, and the technological wonder that is the fax machine. That is if Back to the Future II is any indicator of what is to be. But if the Cubs don’t win the World Series this year, I will have no choice but to believe that Hollywood is nothing but a factory of lies!

What the new year also means is yet another attempt by me to get a blog off the ground. For those keeping score, this is attempt number three. The first attempt was fun, but like all things in the world of my goldfish-like attention span, it fell off after awhile. But it does still have some dynamite content, so if you ever find yourself unemployed and need to fill the spare time, I urge you to check it out. If nothing else, it will at least make me feel better.

The second attempt was admittedly half-hearted. I had all the intentions in the world of establishing an outlet for myself that would feature regular stories and random acts of silliness from this crazy world of ours. But once I exhausted all of my creativity on a clever header graphic, my interest and commitment to the blog once again took a nosedive. Still, dynamite content.

This third incarnation is your fault! Okay, maybe not you specifically. However, hard as it may be to believe, I have received several requests to start a blog and continue writing. The requests have been very flattering as I’ve never thought much of the words I string together. However, I have always enjoyed writing, dating back to at least third grade when I wrote a story about a fat kid getting stuck in a door. Seriously, I wrote a story like that…and it was good.

In seventh grade I even remember doing mock job interviews as a classroom project. I couldn’t think of anything I enjoyed more than writing, so I decided to be interviewed for an authoring job. I would’ve picked “baseball player”, but that isn’t really something you interview for.

Bottom line – I enjoy writing and I intend to do just that right here. You likely won’t find any common themes tying everything together, but I hope that you may find a little enjoyment out of it if you do decide to follow along.

Thanks to everyone who has given me a push to do this. I hope to keep it going this time around, and I hope it adequately reflects whatever it is you saw in me that made you say, “Hey Jordan, you should write a blog.”

Cheers!