Tuesday, July 7, 2015

At Sixes and Sevens

Cause for Alarm?

There is a strange yellow-orange ball visible in the sky today that has me a bit concerned. I'm not sure what it is, but I will continue to monitor the situation...

It appears to be providing light and warmth, but I'm still leery.

Confusion and Disarray

The title of today's post refers to the wonderful idiom "at sixes and sevens." It comes to us from British English, and typically is used to denote a confused and/or disorganized mental state. The first time I heard it was when Emma Thompson's character used it in The Remains of the Day (a wonderful film, by the way).

In Chapter III of The Analects, the Chinese teacher and philosopher Confucius observed that "If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things." And I think he would agree with me that much of the confusion, disarray, and strife we observe in the public square these days can be directly attributed to the fact that rather than calling things what they are, we choose instead to call them something else, mostly depending on whether we accept or reject, agree or disagree, support or oppose, that thing.

"Damn straight!"
As I have mentioned in this space on other occasions, a huge part of what plagues our political and social discourse these days is an over-reliance on labels as a substitute for rational arguments. If I support same-sex marriage (which I do) but oppose its imposition by judicial edict, it isn't conducive to rational conversation on the matter if you simply label me a homophobe and proceed to attack me as it your opinion of my views was self-evidently true.

If I support the equality of women generally but criticize the use of fraudulent statistics by some (but by no means all) feminists, it isn't conducive to rational conversation on the matter if you simply label me a sexist and proceed to attack me, etc. Disagreeing with a black person doesn't make me a racist, either.

The future of our nation as a self-governing republic will require that our political controversies go back to being lively debates where each side is willing to stipulate to the good faith of its opponents, rather than the current approach which replaces logic and evidence with tired labels and stereotypes that allow people to avoid doing any difficult thinking. Our language in the public square must start bearing a closer resemblance to reality.

Of course, that's never going to happen, which is why I'm so gloomy most of the time...

"Well, it's one of the reasons, but not the only reason."
No argument from me there, old friend...

Things That Make Me Sad: Rain-Out Edition

Last night my beloved Kansas City Royals were supposed to begin a four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays at Kauffman Stadium, but the game was postponed due to heavy rain. We have reached the point in the season where rain-outs from April and May have begun to pile up for many teams, and with so few open dates left on the calendar teams don't have much choice but to make up rain-outs by playing doubleheaders. That's what the Royals and Rays will do today, with an afternoon game and a night game (a "day/night" doubleheader, in baseball parlance).

Royals 1st Base Coach Rusty Kuntz watches the rain come down.

Shark Week: Annoyed Shark

[Note: The image macro meme this is spoofing can be viewed here.]

Take Your Pick

One of the humblest, yet most important bits of gear for almost every guitar player (even those of us playing strictly as hobbyists) is the plectrum, more commonly referred to as a pick. My current favorite is the Jazz III, produced by Dunlop.
Dunlop actually produces a version of this pick with my hero Joe Bonamassa's name on one side, as JB is one of Dunlop's most prominent endorsers.

Right now, Dunlop and Joe are pushing a gold-colored version of the Jazz III:
 ...that is usually sold in collectible pick tins like this one:

I have most of these tins, but I have fallen a bit behind. I'll get caught up soon, though...

I use the Jazz IIIs exclusively when playing my electric guitars, but I haven't quite made the transition to them for playing acoustic guitars. Right now, I'm still more comfortable using Fender 351s like these for acoustic playing:

Until Next Time...

When your music collection is as large and eclectic as mine is, there are periods when you don't listen to a particular favorite artist or group for months at a time. So much music, so little time, etc. Today's send-off is a music video of a song by one of my favorite Irish bands, The Cranberries. I stumbled across this yesterday while looking for something else, but as always Dolores O'Riordan's voice completely captivated me. It broke my heart when Dolores got married in 1994, but I hear she's single again, so I can still dream!

Anyway, enjoy...

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