We've all been there. You see a great blogpost, (perhaps like this one), and you feel the urge to comment. Or, you write an intense, well-thought out email to a close friend expressing your every emotion in just the right way. But the one way you don't think things through is not having the foresight to back up what you wrote "just in case". And then the worst case just in case happens. Your masterpiece of writing doesn't get accepted by the blog site you commented on and when you hit BACK, you find that your writing is completely gone. This also happens with emails more often than it should. Well, this minor incident in isolation may not seem like such a big deal, but when considered collectively, it is a wasteland of masterpieces. How many times do you lose some great work, and then force yourself to re-write it? After you scream out in frustration, the reality of the situation sets in and then you have to decide what to do next.
You at first try to re-trace your mental steps and rewrite the text exactly as you did the first time. But it's never as good the second time around. Even if it's important writing, we still put less effort into the "second work" after the first piece is gone. And I suppose this makes sense. Why try to recreate original thoughts when they are no longer as original and succinct? I find that I start off my second writing the same, but then I take the writing in a slightly different direction. There is a chance that some of our second works have been better than our lost original works, but I doubt that happens very often.
Make sure to over-use the SAVE button on any email program. I also highly recommend copying and pasting blogposts or blogpost comments into a word processor before you SUBMIT. These techniques have saved me numerous times, but I occasionally fall into the trap of creative carelessness. Perhaps it's just fate that certain "original works" of writing on the computer were never meant to be posted or published. That gets into philosophy of technology, a relatively new branch of philosophy which I intend to explore further.
Football season is upon us and as a native Clevelander and Buckeye, it's kind of exciting. Pride for my city and state rides high during times like this as Northeast Ohio was the cradle of professional football. (That's why the Hall of Fame is in Canton). But this time around, my sports team support has got me thinking about why do I support sports teams in general. I know it's about city pride, but if I remember back to the Art Modell owner theft of the Cleveland Browns from the city of Cleveland to transport them to Baltimore as the Ravens, it reminds me that I stopped supporting the same players who a year earlier, I had cheered for.
The sports philosophical question is, shouldn't I support the same players that I liked before? Few of them are from the Cleveland area. (I do think it would be great to have teams only draw players from their surrounding region.) Since that's not the case, why do I need to give support for these millionaires to play a fun game? Sure they are talented, and what they do is entertaining, but I'm beginning to question my "fanacism" a bit. All most athletes usually do is move a ball a certain way faster or more skillfully than a typical person and usually in a way that deceives another. Impressive? Perhaps. But this world needs to pay for other skills, ones that can do more for the world, like sciences to help the environment, and teaching. I don't downplay the fact that humans need entertainment, but I don't think we need entertainment that's this expensive. Although their economic benefit is questionable, I should be clear and express my general support for what sports do to give pride in a city or university. The value here is hard to measure and it varies widely. So I guess I can understand why people root for sports teams. What I don't understand is why they root for individual players in individual sports.
Why should I support one golf player or tennis player over another? Do I choose one who is more like me or whom I can better relate to? If all the players are from the same country as you, then why choose anybody? I just don't get it. Tiger Woods and Roger Federer seem like a nice guys but they don't need any of my help, especially when I would have to be quiet most of the time while watching them play. That's another thing that bothers me about these snooty individual sports. If they're getting paid this much, they should be able to handle some fan noise. Besides, it's harder to hit a split-fingered fastball in baseball than it is to hit a stationary ball in golf.
People praying for themselves or their team to beat another team is just wrong. God shouldn't be playing favorites, (unless one team has more evil people on it). But we can't judge that. One way I've maneuvered around this sports theology question is by the number of fans in one city versus another. Supporting the team with more fans helps "the greater good". That would continually favor teams from New York and Los Angeles. How horrible that would be. Alternatively, I sometimes think God should help the team that hasn't won a championship as recently as the other. That's fair to me, but God must not agree, because it hasn't worked for Cleveland for 50 years. Regardless, I'll still support "my teams", even though I have no ownership stake in them. They really haven't done much for me lately, but they may someday. That's why I support them... I think.
Language is essential to proper communication and the human world revolves around communication. It helps when people speak the same language, but Esperanto never took off. When it comes to the pain-in-the-butt language we call English, there are so many words to choose from, but most of us use few of them. And that's fine if we understand each other, but what's interesting is how a person who tries to use more of them is considered as uppity. That's almost like being mad at somebody for all the trunk space in their car. I know it's different because it hints at education levels. I find that as I get older, (and read more), I inadvertently use more and more obscure words. Then I have to absorb the ramifications of doing so. Just speaking properly can bring smirks. Who says "Whom shall I say is calling?," besides anal people? And everybody knows that only the nerdiest of engineers use the word criterion as the singular form of criteria. The funniest examples are when people us an analogy that's supposed to obvious, but they intentionally use ones that only smart people would understand. An example might sound like, "That's as expressive as a neo-classical painting from the Dubois school of impressionism." It would be nice to have the freedom to use language as you see fit without people thinking you're trying to be arrogant, but it would also be nice if people
didn't use language to try make themselves seem better than other people. The exact same sentence can be spoken in two different ways and get different reactions from people. That's hard to do with email, but then email has become the realm of abbreviations that only people "in-the-know" understand. The ironic thing is that in this case people exclude others by degrading language and simplifying it to a ridiculous point.
"We live in a dangerous time with terrorists, guns, and violent crime seemingly around every corner." "The old times like the Renaissance and Victorian eras were much simpler and more romantic than today." To that I say "hogwash," (and I don't say that often). This world may seem dangerous and evil today, but in so many ways, our world, (for the large majority of us), is better than it ever was.
In "olden times", a large percentage of babies died and so did many mothers delivering the babies. People died of colds. It was common for young children to work 16 hour days, and slavery was just a natural part of the world economy. But for some reason, people glorify past eras as if they were somehow perfect. Perhaps they are blinded by the beautiful fashions and history that they read about. Most history is told with views through rose colored glasses. Unfortunately, the readers are rarely reminded that in Medieval and even Renaissance Europe, people hardly ever bathed. That would sway some people.
In contrast, today most of us have clean water, medicine, and other technologies to make life easier. Life isn't simpler; that's for sure. But we usually don't have to work all day just to get the next meal on our plate. And we usually don't run the risk of dying by trying to do so.
Even if you just look at times in the 50's and 60's, times were better in some ways economically because people could get a job, start a family, buy a house and live comfortably. But cars were less safe, racism was more overt and socially accepted, homophobia was the norm, and the Rolling Stones couldn't shake their hips on national television. You couldn't even get Thai food at a neighborhood restaurant! Many of the atrocities and injustices were just smoothed over whereas today, we have a better idea of what's occurring. Only through awareness can action be taken.
Of course, there are many exceptions to the notion that life is better today. People all over the planet are malnourished, genocide and slavery still exist in various forms, and some don't get proper medical attention. But the percentage of people that fall into this group is much smaller than it used to be. That's progress… and that's proof that the world (from a human perspective), is better than it ever has been.
In terms of the state of our planet from a natural perspective though, it may be in its worst state in human history. Perhaps there's a correlation here. For humans to thrive, the earth must be abused and consumed? It may be true, but perhaps there's something to be learned from ancient cultures like the Native Americans who prospered in their own way while coexisting with nature. This is a topic I want to explore in another blogpost. Until then, be happy you live in today's world and not in the past.
That picture in the upper left-hand corner is of me from about 3 years ago, but I look almost exactly the same today, (plus a few pounds and a few gray hairs). And I'll be 36 in a few weeks. This is not something you should care about, but my appearance at this age, and the situation it creates may interest you if it doesn't pertain to you. The problem with looking young is that people think you're younger than you really are. Now that's an obvious statement, but being perceived as young after having all these years of experiences and dare I say, wisdom, is mostly detrimental to my life.
When I meet random people or family friends who don't know me that well, often the first question I get is, "are you finished with your studies?". OK, so maybe that hasn't happened in a couple of years, but I know people are still thinking it. Then I would have to tell them that I've been working for a long time. And then I have to explain why I'm not married yet. Depending on who I'm with, I sometimes still get carded to buy an alcoholic beverage. I don't mind this anymore, but it's somewhat of a minor annoyance.
On the dating scene, younger women might be thinking I'm a possible "candidate", until they find out how old I really am. I could lie, but that won't get me far. Then if I am interested in a woman my age or older, they often look much older than me. Being with a woman that looks older than me might make me feel even more self-conscious of my youthful looks.
I know there are many people who are older, but to put it in perspective for you younger folks, I vaguely remember the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976, and President Carter taking office. I grew up not wearing seatbelts or bicycle helmets, (and I survived). Almost as importantly, I graduated from my undergraduate engineering program in 1994. That means I have 13 plus years of work experience… but I look like I have 7 or 8. I have even had time to finish an MBA in the evenings, after having started it eight years after getting my BSME. People might think I don't know much, but I actually learned a lot even when I wasn't trying to. After that many years, one can't help it. My slightly below average height doesn't help matters either, but that's the topic for another blogpost. And my voice sounds young too, but I don't think I want to blog about that one. So, to help make my case for career advancement, I often have to show off and mention all the different jobs and experience areas I've had through the years. Often, the people I must convince about my age and experience are younger than I am. I can see their view of me adjusting before my very eyes when I finally tell them my age. Then they're not sure what to think of me.
I thank my parents' genes and our ethnicity for keeping me looking young, and I wouldn't change a thing, because it's better than looking older than my age. But this predicament does create challenges in my life. I can handle them despite not looking like I can handle them. I don't want to create excuses for myself. I suppose all the challenges of looking younger will become mostly beneficial in about ten years, but I'm in no hurry.