Kennedy, Lincoln, and Snopes oh my…

256px-Abraham_Lincoln256px-John_F_Kennedy_Official_Portrait

Every once in a while I wander over to Snopes.com and hit their randomizer button in order to see if I can learn anything new. A few days ago, I landed on the Lincoln/Kennedy Coincidences rebuttal, and I was entirely surprised at the demeanor of the unnamed author of the rebuttal. I have read hundreds of Snopes articles by now, and I have never seen one that seemed as distressed or as angry as the article on this urban legend. The author seems downright irritated that this particular legend persists. Usually Snopes has a good sense of humor about their mission, but there is a tone throughout the piece that is somewhat distressing, and it makes me wonder what set the writer off on the tangent. Below are some quotes, but it is the article in its entirety that has the underlying anger.

QuoteWe’re supposed to be amazed at minor happenstances such as the two men’s being elected exactly one hundred years apart, but we’re supposed to think nothing of the numerous non-coincidences

QuoteAnother non-surprise. Absent all other factors, the odds were already one in seven that both killings would have occurred on the same day of the week. (Don’t even think about writing to tell us that we’re wrong and the odds are really one in forty-nine. If you think we’re wrong, you don’t understand the question.)

QuoteThis is one of those coincidences thatisn’t a coincidence at all; it’s simply wrong.

 

QuoteCoincidence? Neither their first nor last names have the same number of letters. And why should it be significant that both assassins had the same number of letters in their full names when the same wasn’t true of Abraham Lincoln and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, or of Andrew Johnson and Lyndon Baines Johnson?

A side note!

I found it kind of humorous that in the rebuttal of coincidences, Snopes actually gave us one more coincidence to consider (underlined in quote):

QuoteThis “coincidence” is another one which is exceedingly trivial in nature. The only two types of shots which reasonably assure a dead victim are chest shots and head shots, so two assassinations committed by head shots aren’t the least bit coincidental — especially when one considers that since both Lincoln and Kennedy were shot from behind and while seated, so their assassins had no other practical choice of target.

A note to the author of this Snopes piece:

It’s all gonna be okay! It really is. Have some tea and enjoy the evening.

Daily Prompt. Not so sweet dreams. (are made of this)

Dark_Clouds_over_Rum_-_geograph.org.uk_-_18088The most vivid dream I have ever had:

I woke up in room that I didn’t recognize and there was a small remote controlled toy truck on my floor. It was a dark blue SUV. I reached down to pick it up but before I could grab it the scene changed and I was standing on a platform high in the sky, all I could see were gray clouds, and two escalators. One went up to a Boeing 747 that appeared to be hovering, waiting for passengers. One went down into even darker gray clouds.

There were other people on the platform, making decisions about going up or down. I don’t remember making the decision. Maybe it was my fear of heights, and the frightening thought of going even further up with nothing underneath me, but I simply found myself Continue reading “Daily Prompt. Not so sweet dreams. (are made of this)”

The best selfie ever – Selfie analysis.

The Selfie

best selfie ever

Toot Toot!
Toot Toot!

My sister sent me this picture, I’m not going to take any credit for it. She called this the best selfie ever. My brother-in-law is driving this train. He has maybe the coolest job ever, testing trains. He came around the bend, saw the mirror, and took the shot. I’m thinking about buying him an engineer cap for Christmas.

The Selfie-Analysis

On Voice

My friend MRS recently wrote a post about her voice. Not her singing voice, although I’m sure it’s lovely. Her voice as a writer. I thought it was a really good idea, and I’m the kinda guy who loves making lists to help organize the brain. So I thought I would try to make a list for myself and my readers to sort out just what is going on in my blog, my brain, and my life.

The Problem (aka Alien Blues)

I immediately ran into a problem. What is this blog about? (Ok, so I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, that I don’t like blogging about blogs.) What is my voice? I really have no idea. Most blogs are about something, and people seem to like to choose a topic. All of the advice on how to run a blog will tell you to choose a topic instead of writing random posts. Even in my own mind, if I wrote to gain readers and to get popular I would pick a niche topic and write about it. The narrower the topic the better, like Space alien musicians that play at blues bars in Seattle. That blog would gain readers.

What I want

That’s not what I want. I do this as an outlet – something that I can pour myself into. This is more of a journal. An interactive journal. I needed something to tie everything in my life together in a neat little package. When someone says “who are you?” I can answer, “go to Matthew Alan Bennett dot com and you’ll get a better picture.”

This is a place to post my thoughts, my art, my music, my magic, my writing. If I think of something funny or smart, my first reaction is often to write a post. I don’t do Facebook, I don’t do Twitter. I do WordPress.

I think my voice comes through – I think that people can get an idea of who I am based on what is here in this blog. And the more you dig (I’ve heard), the more you learn. I think everyone is like that though. If people keep writing down their thoughts for years and you look through them, no matter who is doing the writing you’ll see intelligent thoughts and stupid ones, you’ll see beautiful coherence and blatant contradiction. When people are honest with themselves, that’s what they will end up with. There’s no way around it.

A Catalog of Experiencing Life

I’ve always wondered how to categorize a life. Can you write down the essence of a human being? My answer is no. You just can’t do it. We are too complex, too emotional, too action oriented. I might not be able to categorize my life, but I can try. And I can try hard.

This website has done something different than I thought it would. It has inspired me to  move forward. The simple fact that I am posting, and people are reading, gives me the inspiration to keep trying new things. And in the end, I guess that’s what this is all about. That is my voice. I am writing about my taste-testing of life. Experiencing what it has to offer. I write about trying new things and getting better at old things. So you will see some good paintings and some bad ones. And hear some good songs and some bad ones. Because it’s not about impressing people, it’s about doing something, anything, every day to experience life as I want to experience it.

I quit smoking yesterday

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Since I need to focus my attention elsewhere, I’m not sure if that means I will posting way more on this blog, or way less over the next few days. Only time will tell. All I know is that I hate it, and I really don’t get any pleasure out of it, and it will be a huge relief when it is all over.

The common wisdom is that you don’t tell anyone that you are quitting. I’ve tried the common wisdom thing many times with no positive results. So I figured, what the hell, I’ll blog it.

I was going to make this a New Year’s resolution – but I was inspired to quit and didn’t want to wait. The I was going to make it a Christmas present to Janelle, but I still didn’t want to wait, and I’m really doing for myself anyways.

My posts over the next several days may sound angry. Just forgive me and keep coming around!

“Presqueisle Pete” – Seeing things differently (again!)

I found Pete’s work online, and the first few pictures I saw were really creepy. Since creepy is my style, I kept looking. The more I looked, the more I was entranced by the amount of different emotions conveyed in his art, and all the different mediums I saw employed in his work. I knew I had to talk to this guy. As it turned out, he had a lot to say:

374197_262441807154330_622179765_nI have always gotten excited about any kind of art as a kid, from just simple arts and crafts to junk yard sculptures…it was always a fascinating thing to watch someone like Bob Ross create mind blowing art where it had just a moment ago not existed…. I was in the gifted art program at school and I later went on to study commercial art.

I’ve carved soaps, walking sticks, pipes, even worked with chainsaw carvings. I’ve sculpted clay, (store bought and creek clay) When I paint, I prefer acrylic but have worked with others like water and making my own pigments. As For styles, I like them all.

“The Next Thing”

I think the reason that I’m so well rounded an artist is because the “next thing” continually fascinates me. I’m like most of what I’ve tried, but I’ve never taken the time to really focus on one style. I don’t believe that art works like that and I have no idea how other artists can focus so closely on one style. I honestly don’t believe that I have what one could call a “distinct style.”

992660_563559273726989_2016295025_nI’ve done fantasy, cubism, abstract, caricature, portraiture, buildings, land, sea and dreamscapes. Feather pen ink wash, cross hatch, lead wash, tattoo designs, small wall murals in homes, stipple, calligraphy, wildlife portraits, you name it I’ve probably tried it. I love to create digitally, too, and I like to experiment with different editing apps but they seem limited. Continue reading ““Presqueisle Pete” – Seeing things differently (again!)”

Light bulb triage

Ahh yes. Lightbulb triage. I’ll get to that in a minute. There seems to be a heated discussion over light bulbs. (no pun intended) (really!) Or, at least over the word lightbulb. Should it be a compound word? Should it be two words. I never wondered or even cared until I decided to write this post. I looked it up on my favorite search engine, and every other post said something different, leading to my decision: every time I write it I will change it up.

So, light bulb triage is a term that I made up to explain the following mindset, and series of actions: A lightbulb burns out, and you have no backups, so you take a bulb from somewhere else in the house, a bulb that you consider the least important. Now, you still have one burned out bulb, but it is in a room that you don’t use too often. Since you keep forgetting to buy them at the store, Continue reading “Light bulb triage”

The best (unintended) compliment about my magic ever

Belt buckleI used to walk Bardstown road in the Highlands when I lived in Louisville, KY, getting myself partially inebriated on local brews. On on particular occasion during my walk home, I met a cool group of people coming out of a gas station that I was going into. I’m pretty sure they struck up the conversation and invited me to their little porch party at an apartment, less than a block away. I hung out with this group of four for a couple hours, and we had some laughs, and I ended up doing some magic for them.

This turned into a regular thing, as they were always partying on the porch, and I was always walking home from a bar. They would invite me up, and we’d chat for a couple of hours. It was strange, but we never became “friends” – we never got personal.

Mostly we talked about conspiracy theories. It was never about magic. Maybe every other time, or every third time I’d go over, they would bring up magic, and ask me if I could do something for them. I did mostly mentalism and card tricks. I had this great book of Annemann’s (about mentalism with cards) that I was studying, so I practiced on the group. This went on for about five months. (Mid-April to mid-August.)

Then, I had a bout with an odd brain disease. Spontaneously Low Cerebral Spinal Fluid Pressure/Spontaneous CSF Leak. It’s a long name, I know. (My friend Rhonda said, “Only you, Matt. Only you gonna get somethin’ like this.) Anyway, what it really meant was that Continue reading “The best (unintended) compliment about my magic ever”

Learning by DOING!

As I look back on all the ways that I have learned, all of the things that I now know, that I have learned it all by doing. When I wanted to paint, I just painted, When I wanted to learn how to play a song, I just listened to it, and attempted to eke it out on the piano or guitar. When I wanted to build something, I just started sawing and nailing.

My stuff is CRAP! Well, it started out crap. The stuff I liked to do, the stuff I stuck with, ended up getting more and more refined. And the more I learned how to do that stuff, I got better at other stuff, stuff I didn’t even know related. The more I learned about music, the better I got at painting. The more I learned about martial arts, the better I got at building, The more I learned about building, the better I got at music. Life is amazing.

—-THE PRECEDING PARAGRAPH WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE WORD “STUFF”—–

I had a friend who had a teacher that told him “There is one art, the Continue reading “Learning by DOING!”

Time marches on.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WLANL_-_zullie_-_Vanitas,_Adriaan_Coorte_(1).jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WLANL_-_zullie_-_Vanitas,_Adriaan_Coorte_(1).jpg

Loosely written for the Daily Post Weekly Challenge.

I am a child of the 70s, a child of the 80s, and a child of the 90s. I couldn’t get into Pogs, but I was really into Garbage Pail Kids. So much so that I remember dreaming about having stacks and stacks of them, and I was disappointed when I woke up. I had a collection of G.I. Joe guys, the small ones. Not the dolls. I could build a G.I. Joe guy fort all the way along the eastern wall of my bedroom. And they were all on the same team. Clutch, Cobra Commander, Snake Eye. Working together against a common enemy. My fort was so well set up, so well defended, that there was never really a war. Ever.

I couldn’t solve a Rubik’s Cube but I could take the damn thing apart and put it back together in the right order. That’s one way to solve it. Some of my best friends (guys) had Cabbage Patch Kids. I got creative with an Etch-a-Sketch, and earlier, a Lite-Brite. I owned the Venom action figure before I even knew why Spider-man was wearing a black suit. I really wanted a Swatch, but I never got one. I never even asked.

One of the most exciting nights of my life Continue reading “Time marches on.”

The dPhone – struggle to return to a dumb phone (part II)

verizon-logoMy decision to go back to a dumbphone was easy. My experience switching to a dumbphone, however, sucked salty rocks. (That’s a bad thing. I can see how this metaphor may seem like a good thing, since if you need salt, salty rocks may come in handy.) Part of the reason we were moving backwards in technology was to save money. At first, we didn’t care what service we went with but we decided to go prepaid because my parents had several phones in pretty good condition and we could take our pick. So I took all of them. Two Tracfone phones and two Net10 phones.

Before I go any further, I should add that I had just finished reading the book “The Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard and I was very eco-conscious about buying something new when we could reuse.

BOOST MOBILE: We looked over the plans and prepaid packages for both of these, and a couple of others. We liked Boost with their shrinking payment plan – but after a phone call to customer service, they said they couldn’t Continue reading “The dPhone – struggle to return to a dumb phone (part II)”