My 10th Anniversary Giveaway in appreciation of the readers of this blog has concluded, and the winner is… me.  Without my few handfuls of readers, I would have little incentive to write and my life would certainly be duller.  Not to mention that it keeps me connected to friends in a more personal way than sites like Facebook afford.

But back to the Giveaway.  The grand prize winners, based on the names I fished out of my camera bag, are Mary and Dorothy.  Congratulations!  But note:  I said grand prize.  I have decided that, as there were only five entrants and I have over 60 cards on hand, all those who entered will receive cards.

After Mary and Dorothy make their selections, I will contact the other entrants in turn and let them choose from the remaining cards.  I hope this will be an okay consolation prize.

Thank you all for reading!

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•  I still find it remarkable how humans developed the means to make and transmit sounds using pulses of electrons — not to mention our ability to comprehend what electrons are.

•  My spouse and I have been homeowners for over 40 years.  After we bought our first home, Mrs. Glassey, the departing owner, graciously left behind several gardening tools, among them a pitchfork, a garden rake, a sod spade and a round-point shovel.  I use them all to this day.  These implements have both heft and history.

Trouble is, I now have doubts about the pitchfork.  The last time I used it to loosen some plants for transplanting, its wooden shaft creaked and crackled, warning me that the next sound I would hear, if I were to strain any harder, would be a terminal snap.

Since then, I have eased off but have not stopped using the pitchfork — nor have I thought about buying a new one.  Because of its heritage, it is now pretty much a ceremonial tool.  Is this not the height of irrationality?  Do any of you have such objects?

•  This week, the J. M. Smucker Company, the well-known maker of jams and jellies, rolled out a new corporate logo and, along with it, an elaborate description of what the logo’s various shapes and colors represent:

“The red berry shape reflects our heritage and the values the company was built on,” said creative director Kara Buckler.  “The green shape is our innovative mindset and ability to pivot to any challenge.  The darker green represents our growth, teal is our people and culture, and purple represents the creativity that … will propel the company forward.”

Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs during this pandemic, but somehow, bullshit artists like Kara Buckler manage to get paid, more so for the bullshit than the art.  For them, it’s just one more thing to jam down consumers’ throats.

•  When it comes to romantic tic-tac-toe / Some people make more exes than ohs.

•  We no longer need to get worked up over hypocrisy by politicians, now that the crime of hypocrisy has been lessened to simple misdemeanor.  As we know, the usual sentence for misdemeanors is community service.  And community service is an excellent resume item if you decide to run for office…   Oy!  This could be a problem.

•  The other day, my spouse came up with a clever idea for a new fashion item: day-of-the-week underwear for men.  Already been done, you say?  Well, what makes her idea different, and more practical, than other day-of-the-week underwear is that every pair says “Saturday” — being that guys only change them once a week anyway.

•  Whether we are with family, friends or strangers, I like asking others what they’ve been doing for fun, their current aspirations, books they’re reading, etc.  Things that touch upon their mental/creative lives and provides them an opportunity to reflect in a different way than the usual, “How’s work going?”

This not only shows care for the other person but often ignites an interesting discussion.  However, as these discussions usually go, (a) I rarely get asked questions about myself, and (b) the conversations generally drift off to impersonal topics like the news, weather, children/grandchildren, television, Netflix.  While my spouse likes to talk about children and grandchildren, she generally agrees that she gets asked few questions about herself.

I have pondered this.  Am I just narcissistic?  Do I already volunteer so much information about myself that I kill interest and leave no room for questions?  Or are people just not comfortable asking personal questions, even of those that they know?  Or does it not even occur to folks to reciprocate?

As Fred Rogers said, “I’m talking to you, so right now you are the most important person to me.  Our conversation is the most important thing to me right now.”  It’s too hard to be like Jesus was, but I don’t think it’s beyond me to be more like Fred Rogers, or at least try.

•  •  •  •

This is the final day to enter my 10th Anniversary Giveaway!  Follow this link for details and instructions on how to enter.  Winners will be announced 1:00 PM, September 28.

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I can’t hold it in any longer.  I’m bursting at the seams with frustration at what passes for the news on the evening news programs (save PBS).  Tonight, I had to leave the room to escape the melodrama being acted out on The CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell.  Every evening, we are told there is “breaking news.”  And every evening, it sounds like the world is about to end, based on the tone of the reporters’ voices.

CBS News was once the province of Walter Cronkite, who was the “most trusted man in America” in the 1960s-70s.  I know that I trusted him.  He populated his sentences with everyday words and voiced them without effect.  You knew that what he had to say was important, not because of his inflection but because of its content.

This, of course, was before news turned into entertainment.

CBS News was the last holdout (again, excepting PBS) in over-dramatizing its reporting. ABC and NBC had adopted the flashy-graphic, tabloid-inspired “what you should be afraid of now” formula years before CBS succumbed.  But the fait is now accompli.  Uncle Walter gets another shovel of dirt tossed on his journalistic grave every time Norah begins a story by breathlessly telling her viewers, “This is important!”

And don’t get me started on how each CBS broadcast begins with 80 seconds (minimum) of fluff designed to tease and fear-heighten the upcoming news content.  That’s 80 seconds of program airtime that is not devoted to news reports — precious airtime that has already been squeezed to its profit-making minimum by prescription drug ads.

How I miss Walter!  The news today may not be fake but it is certainly too Shakespearean and, like everything else, targeted to reach the lowest common advertising denominator.

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