Friday, February 29, 2008

Brianna Denison 1988 - 2008

Brianna Denison is not a person I know personally, and I'm sorry to say I never will. But what I do know about her is this.

She was a beautiful 19 year old woman who's body was found recently in Reno, Nevada, about a month after she went missing in January.
She is loved by many, and you can tell.

Type the name "Brianna Denison" into any search engine, and you may be surprised how many pages you will find about her.
Or go to YouTube and enter her name, and you will find a few pages of videos about her in there too.
She is all over the news, and all over the Internet.

You won't have to look far to learn her story, but I suggest you go to

Her killer is still at large, but I am glad to see that so many people have come forward to pay such loving tribute to this beautiful soul who has lived in our world.
I am sure she will forever be remembered.
And I believe that as long as a person is remembered, they will always be with us in spirit.

I don't have to tell the story of Brianna Denison, because her story has already been told. But I do feel compelled to mention her at this time.
There are lessons to be learned here,
but you don't need me to tell you that.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Objectivity Vs. Subjectivity

Objectivity Vs. Subjectivity - a study in philosophy and journalism.
by Bill Widman

Perhaps it was Socrates who introduced the concept of objective perspective to western thought. If not the originator, he was certainly a powerful advocate. Socrates argued that reality is in no way dependent on our ability to perceive it in order to exist. Instead, reality exists far beyond our perception. If a tree falls in the forest and no one's around to hear it, the same vibrations occur whether they are perceived or not. The universe does not revolve around the human mind, and this is fortunate because no one knows how to direct the life forces which govern the universe.
Thus spoke Socrates, "The true lover of knowledge, whose nature is to strive toward reality, shall not tarry among the objects of opinion which the many believe to be real."
The idea that reality revolves around a certain individual (such as one's self) is considered delusional, and referred to as "self centered." This is perhaps the most irrational of all delusions. Socrates is considered a rationalist. He taught that there is a whole lot more going on outside our awareness than within it, and probably more than we will ever know.
Thus it has long been considered that being objective is relative to being rational.

Ask any police officer about what happens when a number of witnesses are being questioned who all saw the same accident, and he will probably tell you that each witness gives a different account. That's because each person sees things in his/her own unique way. Here we have an example of people being subjective. These people are not just telling about what they saw, but also the impressions it has made on them, often with more emphasis on the latter.

Since the early days of American journalism, it has been a rule that a reporter must not give his/her opinion or any personal thoughts on the story he/she was reporting, and give only a completely objective account. There are professional people in this world who are referred to as "a trained observer." It is widely believed that a human being cannot be completely objective, so one must be specially trained for it. We are all personally affected by whatever we experience.
As Jack Webb was famous for saying, "Just the facts, Ma'am."

On May 6, 1937, in Lakehurst, NJ, radio announcer Herb Morrison gave one of the most famous news reports in American history, the Hindenburg Disaster. This announcer had never covered a disaster before, when one occurred during his announcement on the arrival of the famous zeppelin. His emotional reaction to the scene has made him famous, and the recording of it is still very popular. Urban legend has it that Morrison was fired from his job with radio station WLS in Chicago for going so emotional on his coverage, but this was denied by Morrison and the radio station. On the contrary, he was highly commended for his conduct, as he continued with his story with accurate description.

Perhaps the most notorious name in American journalism is Hunter Thompson. He had long held a reputation for breaking all the rules. Thompson was discharged from the Air Force, where he was writing for the base newspaper, for his controversial opinions. Later, he was writing a sports column for a Kentucky newspaper, where he continued to express his strong anti-republican views. This made him offensive to some, but endearing to others. Letters to the editor from people who have enjoyed reading his column have kept him from getting fired, and in some cases, got him hired back. Thompson is credited for introducing what he called, "Gonzo Journalism." It was his well demonstrated opinion that a good writer must put himself in the story, get involved in it, and write from that perspective. I believe that the success of Thompson as an author lends strong support for his theory.

When responding to an emergency situation, the first thing we are taught is, "stay calm, don't panic." Emergency medical technicians, law enforcement officers, and mental health professionals, all know very well that emotion can "cloud your judgment," and only by maintaining an objective perspective can you "see through" the crisis at hand, and focus your attention on what needs to be done.

Psychologists divide human behavior into two bodies, Reason and Emotion. Emotion may be allowed to go out and play sometimes, but Reason must always be in charge. Reason is the responsible adult who sits in the driver's seat, and commands obedience. Emotion is the fussy child who sits in the back seat, and is told to behave. Emotion must never be allowed to drive, as the results could be dangerous. When Reason is negligent of maintaining command, the individual may get into trouble with those in proximity, or even harm himself.

No philosopher in his right mind (or left one either) would dare suggest that we do away with emotion, as it is the very source of connecting with the world we live in, and those we share it with. It is what every artist strives to effect.

A good writer must know that the best way to get people to read what one writes, is to write what people want to read. Emotion may be used to get in touch with the reader. I believe that a writer's greatest challenge is to establish a personal connection with the reader, with the inscribed words being one's only source of contact.

In closing, Dear Reader, I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite writers, Dr. Ben Franklin.
"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins!"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Little Arrows for V-Day

Jeremiah the Bullfrog, who is an authority on groovy tunes of the 60's, has recommended this gem from 1968 for Valentine's Day.
The video part should catch us up with the present decade. -- Enjoy!

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Wizard of Blogs - Part 4

So spoke the Wizard --

"For thousands of years, Humanity has never realized itself as a whole, except in the visions of great seers. Humans have always identified themselves by their race or tribe, their faith or nationality. For thousands of years humans have maintained the delusion that their customs and beliefs make them right, and all those who do not practice the same are wrong. Tragically, the enlightened teachings of the great seers have been used, by their supposed followers, to maintain this division."

"It is the Internet that has eliminated national boundaries between people, and has made distances between them irrelevant. For the first time in human history, individuals throughout the world are able to communicate freely with one another."

"While there are those who continue to send false messages of fear and hate, we can use this same medium to promote world peace. We CAN do this, and we WILL!"

"Let us remember that the flying monkeys are still out there. Although they no longer have a leader to unite them, they are still capable of damage on their own."

"But for now, let us celebrate our newfound victory. The Wicked Witch of the West is no longer a threat to us, thanks to the efforts of Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman, and C-Lion."

There is an applause in the Wizard's great hall, as he steps down and approaches the table where our friends are seated. He then talks directly to them.

"Scarecrow," he says, "tell us what you've learned since you've teamed up with Dorothy."
"That although no one knows everything, everyone learns something that others do not, so everyone has something to teach us."

"Tinman, what have you learned?"
"That even though the enlightened teachings I have read have been around for centuries, there are always those who need to be reminded."

"And you, C-Lion?"
"The more that we share, the more we become aware."

"And you, Dorothy, I know that it was your work that has brought this team together, and that it was your inspiration to bring your message of happiness to the World Wide Web, so that others may find the happiness you've found. This I wish to support, and I promised to reward you all, so let me show you what I have for you."

"Now when you get home, you will find you have a new house, with rooms for all of you, so that you can continue working together. There will be new computers for you, equipped with the best security systems available. It is my hope that you will continue your great service to humanity."

As Wizard spoke, he went over to where he had longest instrument panel any of them had ever seen. Walking along and typing on keys, he continues addressing his audience.

"Blogs have been created so that people can share what they've learned with each other. They give each of us a forum to speak in, allowing us to express what we feel and believe in. This is good! As long as positive energy is being transmitted, I will be there to support you. Wherever there is clear communication, mutual respect, and good intentions, the seeds of peace are sown.
Now take a look at the new website I have made for you."

On a large screen that covered the entire wall, the most fantastic image appeared. A magnificent rainbow arched across the sky, with sparkling letters in bright colors, along with singing birds, fluttering butterflies, and flowers everywhere. It had happiness written all over it.

"And this is just the home page!" Wizard said.

Dorothy and her friends get out of their seats and walk up to the screen. They are speechless. Finally C-Lion breaks the silence.
"So what do you think, Dorothy?"
She replies,
"There's no place like our home page!"

And so it was, my dear readers, that I have come across this story of Dorothy and her friends, who have since then been busy looking for other websites that bring positive messages to us, and linking up with them, creating a network.
Every now and then I get a ping from Dorothy, reminding me of the importance of transmitting positive energy with every message we send, in hope of bringing peace to the world.
Now I pass this on to you. May you do the same.

Wishing you peace and happiness;
Wild Bill

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Wizard of Blogs - Part 3

Some wizards are known to be such pompous megalomaniacs, but our Wizard is not one of them. This one is as kind and gentle as he is wise and powerful. He welcomes his visitors most graciously, seeing to their comfort.

"I hope my gatekeeper didn't give you much trouble." says Wizard.
"Well, he was kind of an ass." says Scarecrow.
"Um, yes, well, sorry about that. You see, my people are always careful about who they open the door to."
It is not until after his guests have assured him they are good with their offered refreshments that our Wizard opens with his presentation.

"You are here because I need your help. The Internet is in danger. As we speak, malicious software runs unchecked throughout cyberspace.
The Internet was created as a service to humanity, as an instrument of peace, to unite the people of the world by providing a medium in which to communicate freely with one another.
But predators of every description have found their foothold, and the Internet is not safe anymore. They must be removed, or at least, held in check."

"The leader of all these evil forces is the Triple W Witch. I wish to see her defeated once and for all. This, my friends, is where you come in."

Dorothy and her friends look to each other in astonishment.
"What can we do?" they all ask.
"Yeah, how can people like us defeat the Wicked Witch of the West?"

"It's quite simple really, although it will require every bit of courage you've got, and more than a little bit of sacrifice. You must enter her Domain without firewall protection. There you will be immediately captured by the flying monkeys, who will bring you to Witch's castle. Once inside, you can gain access to her master computer."

"If she doesn't decide to kill us!" says C-Lion.
"Not likely," says Wizard. " I understand she lives in a dark and gloomy castle, and spends most of her time scanning the Net. That means she probably doesn't keep up with her housekeeping very well. So it is more likely she will keep you as slaves to clean her castle. I doubt her flying monkeys can do a good job of that."

Our friends spend the next hour or so discussing the risks involved, the inevitable discomfort they must suffer, and the slim possibility of success.
But Dorothy had succeeded before in inspiring confidence in Scarecrow, Tinman, and C-Lion, and in the end, was able to do so again. Besides, they all agreed, it was for the good of all humanity.

"Bring me the hard drive of Witch's master computer," declares Wizard, " and I promise you, you will all be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams!"

Our brave and determined friends set out for the Witch's Domain, where, just as they had planned, they are captured by the flying monkeys, brought to Witch's castle, and put to work on cleaning her awful mess. Witch cackled and shrieked with sheer delight, thinking victory was hers.

The dark and gloomy castle had been sadly neglected in it's upkeep for years, and their enslavement was anything but pleasant. But our friends were encouraged by the fact that they had access to plenty of water, as was necessary for mopping floors, washing dishes, and cleaning most everything else in there.
All they needed was to find a way to channel water from the kitchen to the master computer, and for Witch to leave the castle long enough to give them a chance.

Sure enough, the time had come when Witch had found that she had run out of cookies. So she got out her broom to head to Munchie Land to replenish her supply, as her sister was doing on that fateful day when a house fell on her.

Our friends worked fast, hooking up a hose to the kitchen faucet that they had made during their stay. Then they ran down the hall with it to the computer room. The flying monkey guarding the door hissed and snarled as they approached. C-Lion distracted him by giving him a cookie, the last of which he had carefully hidden until that time. Scarecrow and C-Lion held the hose, aiming it at the master computer, while Tinman ran down the hall to tell Dorothy to turn on the water.

As the water let loose from the hose, there were sparks flying everywhere, popping and zapping in a cloud of steam, while the monitors blew out, along with all the lights on the control panel. Witch returned just in time to see what they had done. And then, to everyone's surprise, she began to melt. It seemed she was a product of her own creation, and couldn't exist without her instruments of evil.

The flying monkeys, seeing their leader melted into a puddle on the floor, with their little brains unable to think for themselves, took off as fast as they could, each one through the nearest window. Their dark wings filled the sky, before scattering in all directions.

Tinman, who always carried an ax, walked along the wreckage to determine where the hard drive must be housed. Then he swung his ax. Reaching into the hole he had made, he then deftly extracted the hard drive from its housing.

With no one there to stop them, our friends left the castle. Stepping outside, the world looked brighter and more beautiful than it did before.

to be continued...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Wizard of Blogs - Part 2

Our friends have been walking along the Micro Chip Road for quite some time, with little more to eat than the chocolates and chips they've packed along from Munchie Land.
Considering the circumstances, they were fairing pretty well, until the sun began to set. Then it got a little spooky.
"Do you suppose there may be dangers in the night here?" asked Dorothy.
"Well, there are viruses," said C-Lion.
"And spyware." said Scarecrow.
"And spam." said Tinman.

The group picked up their pace, chanting,
"Viruses, spyware, and spam!, Oh my! Viruses, spyware, and spam! Oh my!"
The chant, along with the pace, continued to rise in tempo, until our friends were confronted by a flash of light and a puff of smoke, before the frightful form of Witch appeared in their path.
"So you thought you could escape my clutches, did you?" cackled Witch.
"Aw shut up you stupid witch!" an unknown voice was heard.
The voice came from an apple tree, who was throwing apples at Witch. Other apple trees were doing the same, shouting,
"Get out of here, you dirty stinking witch!"
"Yeah! Go on! Beat it!"
Bombarded by apples, Witch disappeared in a flash and a puff of smoke.
"Oh thank you for saving us!" said Dorothy to the trees.
"Yes, thank you!" said the others each in turn.
"We are your pop-up blockers. We were planted here to help you." said the apple trees.
"Would you like some apples to take with you?"
"I've always been a PC man, myself, but I'm sure the fresh fruit would do us some good!" said Scarecrow.

Glad to have something more substantial in their bellies, our friends continued their onward pace through the night. By dawn, as the group topped the crest of a hill, the bright colorful spires of Cyber City could be seen on the horizon.
"Almost there!" cheered Dorothy.
"Yes, but look what we have to go through to get there!" said Tinman.
As the daylight increased, endless fields of poppies could be seen on each side of the road. Having been walking all night, our friends passed out one by one.

Scarecrow opened his eyes. He could hear someone singing.

"He was the Wizard of a thousand kings.
and I chanced to meet him one night wandering.
He told me tales and he drank my wine.
Me and my magic man kind of feeling fine."

Scarecrow shook the cobwebs from his head and raised up on his elbow. He could see his friends waking up around him. In their midst there was a big singing frog. He continued his song.

"He had a cloak of gold and eyes of fire,
and as he spoke I felt a deep desire,
to free the world of its fear and pain,
and help the people to be free again."

By this time they were all awake.
"Who are you?" said Dorothy.
"Jeremiah the Bullfrog, at your service. I have breakfast for you." came the reply.
Jeremiah handed out sandwiches and opened a bottle.
"Isn't it a little early for wine?" asked C-Lion.
"This is something to combat the effect of the poppies." said Jeremiah.
"Oh God! Real Food!" said Scarecrow as he buried his face in it.
"I am the Wizard's troubadour, and I have come to make sure you arrive safely to see him." Jeremiah continues. "I have brought you groovy tunes from the 60's and 70's to help you along. The music of the Beatles is well known to keep the Meanies away."
Jeremiah presents a basket of CD's and a portable player.
"3 Dog Night is pretty cool, too!" said C-Lion
"Thank you" said Jeremiah. "They created me, you know."
"We all know that." said C-Lion." But tell me, how come you were singing a Uriah Heep song?"
"This is a multi-dimensional world here, and we've learned to harmonize quite well."
"Oh my!" said Dorothy. "Look what we've got here! Jefferson Airplane, Buffalo Springfield, Grateful Dead..."

After they had revived and were back on their feet, they packed up for the remainder of their journey. Jeremiah explains that he won't be coming with them. He assures our friends that while armed with the music of a generation inspired to bring peace to the world, they would be safe from any bad vibes that could bring negative manifestations.
"Will we ever see you again, Jeremiah?" Dorothy asked.
"You can find me on YouTube." he says.
Then with thanks and hugs, our friends proceed merrily on their way, singing,

"Joy to the world, all the boys and girls. Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea. Joy to you and me."

to be continued...