Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Some twenty years ago, one of my fellow coders arranged for a bunch of us to, as they say, “jump out of a perfectly good airplane.” This was back in my Detroit days. We went, we came back to work, didn’t feel much like writing more code…after all, the whole thing was to take a break from spending a hundred hours a week or more writing code. Although maybe we did anyway. But I remember one among us yelling “Oh! So now he’s Joe Parachuter!” whenever one of us freshly deflowered former parachute-virgins would start to opine authoritatively about parachute jumping. And looking back on it, it was funny…I’m sure every single one of us who had something to say, said it in such a way to suggest we’d been doing it since we were old enough to walk, when in fact it was an entirely new concept to us just hours before.
Of course, I was one of the truly dedicated ones. I went up and did a second jump, at three thousand feet, the following weekend. So that’s two jumps for me…nineteen years ago. Yeah, I’m Joe Parachuter. Come gather around, I’ll tell you all about how incredibly tiny those cows seemed to be, half a mile beneath my feet, on that brisk spring morning in ’92. Yeah, I don’t need to down too much grog before I sound like I must be the guy who freakin’ invented parachutes.
The point to this is to single out a very special kind of human hubris. Perhaps it would be appropriate to invent a new word to describe it. Think of this as the impulse to — after we have finished some challenging task, envisioning ourselves as the very pinnacle in all of human achievement with regard to that particular task, nevermind who else might be more accomplished at it, who might have come before, what others may have achieved. I learned to swim today! I’m freakin’ Aquaman, or Greg Louganis, or something.
If you’re thinking this is a rant about America’s First Holy Roman Emperor, you’re right.
All bow down to His divine leadership, as we observe the Great American Smoke-Out:
Now, fair’s fair here, and I know His Eminence is not leveraging His own personal success quitting smoking to inspire the occasion. Truth be told, I don’t know what inspired it, nor do I care. To me, a vice is an individual thing; if I choose to partake and others do not, that’s fine, and if others opt for it and I do not, that’s fine too. I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to kick a habit, or to start in on a habit, because it’s a designated date for a lot of other people to do the same thing. Can’t even start to relate to that. But hey, if you’ve been wanting to quit smoking for a while and this is what gives you the impetus to get over that little peak of resistance, then I say more power to ya.
Me, I’m — grass no, tobacco no, hard drugs no, beer yes, wine occasionally, hard liquor very rarely. If someone else is doing exactly the same thing, or doing something completely different, it doesn’t have a bearing on what I do and I can’t understand how it has any effect on anybody else. But like I said: If you’ve been trying to quit, and this manages to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, then whatever it takes and you have my blessing.
But the hubris about which I was opining earlier. This thing where, something is done and it’s a big deal to the person who does it, although obviously it might be fairly mundane to others who have done that and much more…for the person who just did it, to say “I am Joe Parachuter! I am the vanguard of this effort! I am a living icon, emblematic of all of mankind’s efforts to do…whatever it is…” And to then start recommending others do it, as if you’re leading the way.
I’ve never really had to “quit” smoking. The summer before the parachute drop, I dated a young lady who was heavy into smoking, and it seemed natural to take up the filthy habit myself. This was in Seattle, which I left for Detroit a few months later; when she was history the smoking was history. My parents both quit smoking back in ’74, about fifteen hundred miles apart. Dad moved down to Arizona for the summer to get his doctorate. He wrote back to my Mom every day, to say now I’m down to half a pack…now I’m down to four, now I’m down to three. By the time he came back, Ph.D. in hand, he managed to get it to zero. Mom, meanwhile, just quit cold turkey. I’m guessing she just figured out she was only smoking because the person she was with happened to be smoking. And I’m guessing I take after Mom.
All of which is a rather round-about way of saying: Even if you happen to be the President of the United States, there’s something a bit off about you if you quit smoking — especially if you’ve been going about it in the extraordinarily leisurely way President Obama has been — and, based on that experience, hold yourself aloft as the poster-child of quitting smoking. I respect that Barack Obama has the cred to say “I was hooked on smoking and I managed to quit.” But I can’t quite see where He gets off saying “If I can do it, you can too.” I recognize that’s not a word-for-word quote. But let’s get real. That is the intended message here, is it not? And isn’t that just a little silly. Barack Obama could have quit smoking in 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007…what about all those other people who, due to some family hardship or job requirement or whatever, had to quit smoking on some specific day? And what about the people like me and my Mom, who just (although maybe we’re lucky this way) seem not to have addictive personalities? And what about people who never started? Don’t we get to be emblems too?
The other thing that impresses me about this is at 1:03: “Today, some big tobacco companies are trying to block these labels, because they don’t want to be honest about the consequences of using their products. Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising.” Yes the word-smithing is very careful. But you do realize, don’t you, that what He’s saying essentially boils down to: “These people are booger-butts, because we’ve come up with a swell plan to destroy their entire livelihood, and they’re not actively participating in it with us.”
Yeah I know it’s cigarette companies. Believe me, I don’t have any more sympathy for them than Barack Obama has for them, on His best day. But that doesn’t make the message any more sensible, does it? “Look what bad people these people are, for not assisting us in their destruction.” Does it really matter that the tobacco industry is not a sympathetic figure? Who’s next? Isn’t that a question that just has to be asked?
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