Uncle Eddy And Social Media

    Me:  Uncle Eddy – haven’t heard from you in a while?

Eddy:  Yeh.  Sorry, kid.  I had to turn that damned cell phone off for a few days.  This social media crap has got me baffled, and my grandkids ain’t helping cause they’re sending me stuff from facebook, and twitter, and smapper-yapper and all that stuff.   It’s crap, Charlie, just crap.

Me: Tell me your problem.

Eddy:  Every time I turn on the damned news now, they all gotta tell me that “social media is all lit up” every time something happens..  Like it’s important I know what them poster-toaster people think.

Me: Well, maybe it’s the voice of the people.

Eddy:  Bullcrap!  It’s too many voices, that’s what it is.  Way too many.  Look at it this way, kid.  From 8 to 6 everyday, most smart people are at work.  Or lookin’ for it.  So the people smart enough to hold jobs,  are too damned busy to be tweety-snapping around.  So you got mostly young people, even high school kids howling about this and yowling about that.  So you see some stuff there and maybe it comes from some lawyer or CPA but probably it’s from some 15-year old who got nothing better to do.  And why  the hell do I care what any 15-year old thinks – or every 15-year old  in the State of Ohio?

Me:  Well, it’s true that it’s a young people’s media.

Eddy:  So then what’s it worth, Charlie?  Now you still do that professor stuff,  right.  So how much time you got to go sticking up pictures of cats and dogs?

Me:  Not much, and  I don’t.

Eddy:  Kids do.  And that damn TV news makes it worse.  While Wolfman Blitzer is talking, they play them damn tweety comments on the screen.  I listen to old Wolf cause he’s smart, but why should I get some damned kids opinion too?  Ain’t right.  If I want a kid’s opinion, I’ll call my grand-kids.   You watch TV the last 2 days and see them kids at Berkeley?  Cost a year’s pay to send a kid there and they’re so damned smart they start riots, set fires, and post it on the internet.  I’d wallop my own kids behind they did that.  You’re lookin’ at Social Media there, Charlie.  That’s what it’s coming to.









Why Are We Marching?

I don’t mind protests at all.  This is one of the few countries on Earth where people can gather lawfully and voice an opinion.  It’s a right to be treasured.

We have protests a-plenty, and I’m in total agreement with the present Women’s Protest.  Women have had the smallest measure for a long time, and nothing that President Trump said during his campaign did anything to give them any hope.  He was outwardly anti-choice in his stance on abortion.  We don’t know if that was a religious feeling or a political ploy to capture evangelists.  But the ladies aren’t taking any chances.

But slow down and examine ALL of the protests.  For 20 years I lived near the protest capital of the world, San Francisco.  Protests in Market Square or at City Hall were a weekly event.  Only a 5.1 on the Richter Scale could interrupt one.  Frankly, some beyond my comprehension.  Often I’d watch them on the nightly news, after a 12 hour Silicon Valley typical day, and wonder:  will that group do any good.   And do any of them have jobs, or do they just protest?  The big issue was always: does the protest do any good?

A protest says to some authoritarian body – company, government, regulatory agency, public figure – that you don’t like what’s going on.  So – it gets a message across.  But is the message ever acted upon?

If I’m in government or in business,  and you are a protester, I’ll listen to what you’re saying, and then I’ll consider the consequences.  Can you shut down my business?  Can you throw me out of office next election?  Will you stop buying my products?  Are you hinting about violence?  We had a lot of that in 2016.  So, as an authority figure, I’ll sit back and assess what you could do to me.  And if comes up to “make a lot of noise”, then perhaps I’ll do nothing and just go home to dinner.



Why Walls Won’t Work – Part 1

Human beings have built walls for thousands of years.  So the proposed Mexican Wall should be no surprise.

The Great Wall of China is the most famous, built in pieces from 600 BC to the twelfth century.   Each piece was built by a dynasty, such as the Ming, who wanted to keep out others.  The others then breached the wall, killed off that dynasty, started their own dynasty and built more walls.  And so on.  After several of these cycles, the Wall was really long – and hard to maintain.

With the Great Wall in disrepair, Genghis Khan and his Mongols, mobile horsemen, shrugged and went around the standing sections and conquered the dynasty of the time.  Genghis did not build walls, but spent his energies conquering most of the civilized world over 6 decades.  So much for national walls. With Genghis and the gang, along with Attila the Hun and his mob, most of the then-civilized parts of Europe and Asia were constantly being killed and robbed.

Europeans, tiring of this cycle, started building walls.  Realizing that national walls were not practical, they began walling cities.  Every European country, from the 10th through the 16th  century, had one or more.  It seemed like a good idea. Close the gates, keep out the intruders, and get on with life.

But walled cities were not practical either.  You could close the gates – but only if you had a food and water supply. Because the invaders, with nothing else to do, unconcerned about visas, would camp outside.  They, of course, had plenty of food and water.  So eventually, the gates had to open and the battling began.

Fast forward to the Middle Ages.  The nomads went home, to do what nomads do, but warfare never ceased.  But now it was nation against nation, their nation attacking your walled city.  And now technology was here.  Invading armies, not content to wait like nomads, brought along tools.  First, there were machines like catapults that could hurl rocks at the walls.  Not really efficient, but an army with little else to do could hurl boulders all day for weeks until the walls crumbled.  Or, if it was really a big army, with more men than it needed, could attack the walls with ladders and eventually get over to open the gates.

Eventually, using Chinese technology that was better than their walls, armies had gunpowder.  Cannons could throw boulders or iron balls from a distance and batter down the wall.  Assuming they had brought enough iron balls, it ended badly for the city.

So the smarter Kings and Emperors began to take the wall-building money and build up armies.  The era of the Wall was over.

But some nations never learn.  After the debacle of WWI, much of which was fought in France, the French decided enough was enough and decided to fall back on traditional methods.  They built a wall to keep out the Germans: The Maginot Line.  This was a wall to behold.  750 km long, from the Belgian border to Switzerland.  A line of forts, concrete gun emplacements, bomb proof shelters, tank traps, and thick walls.  More concrete than Las Vegas, and it took 11 years to build.

So when WWII inevitably came along, the French felt warm and snug behind their wall.  The Germans, however, did not build walls.  They had spent their money on a huge mobile army (see Genghis Khan) with tanks, armored artillery, and troop carriers.  Looking at the Maginot Line, the Germans – impressed by its might – simply said: “Scheisse!  That’s one big mother of a wall.  Let’s just go around it.”  And so they hooked a right turn, drove up to Belgium, made a U-turn and invaded France by racing through wall-less Belgium, and were soon in Paris.  So much for walls.

(Magician David Copperfield did go through the Great Wall of China in 2003, but I suspect that was just a trick.)

The point is: walls have never worked.

Uncle Eddy’s Views On Cell Phones

Me:  Uncle Ed.   I called that new number you left me.  Aren’t you at home?

Eddy:  I am, Charlie, but I got me a cell phone. Everybody was on my case.  Your Aunt Marge, the kids, guys down at the VFW.  So I got one and had the grandkids show me how to use it.

Me:  Hey, so I could text you now.

Eddy:  You do and I’ll thump your ass when I see you.   Look here – it’s good you can be in touch when you need to be in touch.   But I ain’t getting carried away like all them other people.  I got a phone, OK?  But I’m still just Uncle Eddy.

Me:  Not sure what you mean, Uncle Ed.

Eddy:  Cause what I don’t like is it seems these damned things make everybody feel important.  It’s like everybody gets them a phone and right away they got to tell everybody else in the world about what they’re doing.  They’re facebooking and snapper-chatting and posting and fart-smarting and all that whatever.  I’m eating lunch at the diner and some guys taking pictures of his hamburger and texting it to someone.  Like no one has ever seen a hamburger.  I’m in the mens room and some guys in a stall and I hear him talking while he’s taking a dump.  What the hell’s so important he can’t take a dump in peace.   Maybe I should call you when I’m taking a dump.

Me: I think we can skip that.

Eddy:  But it don’t stop, kid.   It ain’t right.  I think it makes kids think they’re more important than they are.  The world don’t care about everything you do.  It don’t want to see 37 pictures of what you bought at the Safeway.  I ain’t the smartest guy in the world, but when I’m watching a Steelers game don’t go texting me “did you see that play?”.   I may not be a genius but I don’t need no help watching a football game.  And Trump may tweet-post all that crap every day but that don’t mean that I got to tweety-post him back because frankly who gives a damn what Eddy in the Mahoning Valley thinks?   Nobody, that’s who.

Me:  Ed, I got to get down to the school. We’ll pick this up later.

Eddy:  No problem. Keep talking. Wedge that sumbitch on your shoulder like them gals in the Walmart  when they shop and we can keep on talking.  Won’t miss a beat.  Just turn the damn thing off if you got to take a dump.

Me:  Bye, Uncle Ed.