Posted tagged ‘news’

Navigating the News

April 25, 2022

Breaking-NewsOne of the books I read a page from (almost) every morning is 365 Prescriptions for the Soul by Dr. Bernie S. Siegel.  Dr. Siegel is a writer and retired pediatric and general surgeon who writes and teaches about mind-body medicine and the relationship between the patient and the healing process.  I find his one page essays on living a good way to start the day, even on days when I don’t agree with his suggestions.  A few weeks ago, in an essay titled The News, he suggested that I should Never watch the news before you go to bed, after you wake up or during the day and you’ll live a longer happier life.   I’ve been thinking about his advice on and off since I read it. (more…)

Fake. News.

September 13, 2020

Fake: [fāk] ADJECTIVE:   not genuine; counterfeit.

News: [n(y)o͞oz]  NOUN: newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or                                                    important events.

Fake News: a form of news consisting of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional news media (print and broadcast) or online social media.

I absolutely  hate the term Fake News.   First and perhaps foremost, it reflects the dumbing down of the American language that seems to prevail right now, even in the media.   You would expect better of journalists who are presumably trained in the use of language.  Look at the first two definitions above.  Of course, you could say not genuine news or counterfeit news but it really is a poor choice of words.   Inaccurate news or incorrect news is more precise, sounds better, and to be honest, sounds less dumb.  But bear with me as I dig a little deeper.  News is defined as newly received or noteworthy information.   But if I look at the definition of information, I find knowledge communicated or received concerning a particular fact or circumstance.   So if a statement is Fake … not genuine or counterfeit … it conveys no knowledge, hence it is not News.  So, that makes Fake News is an oxymoron, which speaks not to the intelligence of those who say it but the juxtaposition of two words that are contradictory, like original copy. (more…)

Grokking the News

May 11, 2020

Just in case you are not a science fiction nerd, the term grokking came from Robert Heinlen’s sci-fi classic, Stranger in a Strange Land.   It means to understand, profoundly and intuitively.

My Dad used to come home from work, sit down in his chair and read the New Haven Register every evening.  Dad liked to be informed as to what was going on in the world.   I have never subscribed to a newspaper, although for many years I picked up the Los Angeles Time Sundays.  I read Newsweek and Time (although not religiously) and watched the evening news until it became so biased and banal that it interfered with my sleep rhythms.  For some years now, I’ve made a habit of reading a number of news sites on my tablet over my morning coffee.   I read a number of sites because while it is possible to find pages that aren’t banal, they are ALL biased to some degree so I hop across a variety of sites to try to counteract my own confirmation bias and get an unbiased picture of what’s going on in the world.  Since the election of Donald Trump as president, the partisanship of the media has made it harder and harder to read enough to really grok what’s going on …. and the media’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has turned me into a news skimmer for the sake of my own sanity.  Here are some of the headlines I skimmed today: (more…)


August 12, 2017

I posted this on my other blog, Both Sides Now, but I’m posting it here because it’s relevant to the purpose of both blogs.   It’s also think it’s a good post and gives me an opportunity to promote my new blog to readers of Older Eyes.  If you are one of the few who already subscribe to both, I apologize.

biasI like to begin my day with a cup of coffee at my side and my tablet in front of me, seeing what is going on in the world from the various news outlets. I have searched for years for a source of unbiased news (a phrase that should be a truism but turns out to be an oxymoron) but have finally settled on reading biased news from a variety of sources, then drawing my own conclusion. Over in the blogosphere or on social media, it is worse. Opinions masquerading as facts may not win the day but they dominate it. It is as if we are pre-programmed to be biased, which we are. The culprit is not some brain-hacker out of The Matrix but a fundamental characteristic of our species known as Confirmation Bias. Our Creator (or Evolution, you choose) has endowed us with a very strong tendency to sort through the array of information available to us at any instant and choose that which supports our currenttiger2 opinions, thus strengthening our belief. Some scientists explain that for our ancestors, dealing with simpler (but more critical) situations (like Is that a Sabre-Toothed Tiger and is it likely to eat me?), reaching a quick decision in the face of sensory overload was a matter of life or death. If this is the case, then Confirmation Bias is strongly linked to our Flight or Fight Response, becoming strongest when the situation seems threatening.


Just Breathe

June 16, 2017

breathMy sister is a trained Yoga instructor.  If you have ever done Yoga … or practically any meditation technique … you know that proper breathing is part of the way to a relaxed, mindful state.   Through the nose, breathe into your belly, then gently expel through the mouth.  Notice how it feels on the inhale and how it feels different when you exhale.  Breath in light.  Breath out negativity.  You get the picture.  When my Dad was in assisted living, his primary caretaker was my sister, since she lived less than an hour away, while I live in California and our brother lives in Ohio.  Whenever my Dad was agitated about something, my sister would say, Just Breathe, Dad.  Just Breathe.  My Dad, disinclined toward Yoga or any other New Age nonsense, would answer, I am breathing.  Sometimes, I am breathing, dammit. Interestingly, though he never followed my sister’s suggestion, his annoyance would distract him enough from whatever was bothering him and he would indeed end up less agitated. (more…)

Last Flight Home

March 9, 2017

american airlinesToday I am flying home from a business trip to Huntsville, Alabama. Only Monday, I posted Nothing To Do But Write from the DFW airport, complaining about business travel, particularly by air.    The business went well, in spite of missed or late flights, missing visit requests, and endless meetings. We were up early to catch a flight to Dallas today on a regional jet, meaning a plane with even smaller seats than usual. I’m tired, my back is sore, and now I’m crammed into the exit row with two other broad shouldered guys.  There’s not room for the three of us to sit back, a situation in which the passenger on the aisle usually loses. That would be Older Eyes, leaning into the aisle.


On the News

December 30, 2014

newsI will confess, I have never read a newspaper from cover to cover.  Or a copy of U.S. News and World Report either.    I avoid most TV news programs like the plague.  I don’t which is worse, some bozo reading, In Kansas, thirty five people died in a tornado, with an insipid grin or someone acting as if they are horrified by the same news, only to turn into Pollyanna when reading the next report about some celebrity I’ve never heard of.   I sometimes get my news from the radio, mostly from talk radio shows.  I know they are mostly biased, but they admit it up front, unlike most other reporters these days.  And another station is a button push away.  I don’t worry about missing anything of significance, particularly if it’s horrifying, because in these days of social media it will make it’s way into my consciousness somehow.  But my main source of news these days is the news apps on my tablet. My favorites are the Google news app (which extracts it’s pieces from many sources), USA Today, and Fox News.   I really liked the Washington Post app but after finding for several months that it lets me read only ten articles a month before asking me if I want to subscribe for $14.95 a month, I deleted it.  They are certainly entitled to make money in these difficult times for print media … they are just not going to make it from me.  Yahoo News has also been deleted … too many celebrity bullshit articles and ads posing as news.   At least the other apps put that kind of crap in one place so I can avoid it. (more…)

Both Sides Now

July 3, 2014

I’ve looked at love from both sides now, from win and lose and still somehow … it’s loves illusions I recall.  I really don’t know love at all – Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now

both sidesThis post isn’t about music … or about amazing songwriters (a category in which Joni Mitchell is, in my opinion, near the top).  It is about having an informed opinion in this sound-bite, get-your-information-on-Facebook and sound-off-on-Twitter world in which we find ourselves.  But Both Sides Now is a perfect title for this post … and if I’m going to borrow from Joni, I thought it was only fair to pay homage to one of her loveliest lyrics.  But it also gives me an opportunity to make a point on opinions.  No matter how much I opine on Joni’s prowess as a singer-songwriter, if you don’t like her sometimes warbley singing style or quirky phrasing, you’re not going to like her as a performer.   I get that and you get that.  We just say, We like different things. (more…)

Morning News

December 10, 2013

TSTIt has become my habit since buying a Google Nexus 7 Tablet a year ago to begin the day by making my coffee and breakfast, then settling at the kitchen table to read the news on one of the news apps available to Android.  I usually with start with the Fox News app, which might make you think I’m a staunch conservative.  Politically these days, I’m not a staunch anything but I’m a stauncher libertarian than anything else and the right seems a bit more libertarian than the left.  Worry not … I read a variety of pages in search of a balanced view.  I like to have a sense of what’s going on in popular culture, too, even if I choose not to participate in most of it, so I usually check out the Yahoo Home Page.  All you have to do is scan the Yahoo headlines to realize that their so-called news department has mostly abandoned serious news for Entertainment-Tonight-on-steroids fluff.  Examples from this morning?  How about Mila Kunis and Aston Kutcher Attend Her Brother’s WeddingMeet Ryan Seacrest’s nerdy older brotherPregnant Megan Fox’s Baby Bump Peeks Out From Fitted T-shirt?   Jeez.

A Benefit of Being Old

June 6, 2013

newsThe New York Daily News recently reported that on March 1, Josh Welch … seven years old at the time … was suspended for chewing his pop tart into the shape of a gun in the cafeteria of a Maryland Elementary School.  Josh said that he was really trying to duplicate the shape of a mountain, which figured prominently in a recent drawing he made.   School officials said, The fact that he wasn’t trying to make a gun doesn’t reduce the danger (I made that up).  Wednesday, May 29th, Josh received a lifetime membership to the National Rifle Association and a standing ovation at a Republican fundraiser (I didn’t make that up).  A few days ago, the New York Post reported that 100 high school students on a field trip to Atlanta were thrown off an Airtrans flight because they wouldn’t sit down and turn off their cellphones after repeated requests and a warning from the pilot.  I’d be applauding except that the airline also got them seats on later flights and gave them travel vouchers for their inconvenience.  And Rabbi Seth Linfield, executive director at school, defended his students, saying they weren’t behaving that badly then playing the religion card by saying they were treated like terrorists because they were Jewish.  And according to Yahoo News in Calgary, Briar MacLean went to the aid of a classmate being bullied when he heard a knife open, pushing away the knife-wielding student.  Briar was reprimanded by the school, which said, the school doesn’t “condone heroics” and a teacher should always be called in such situations.  By the way, according to the federal website Stop Bullying, There are a few simple, safe ways children can help the person being bullied get away from the situation. However they do it, make sure the child knows not to put themselves in harm’s way.   It recommends that a child create a distraction.   Bullies, you see, are actually just seeking attention.  They only appear to want to kick the crap out of little Johnny. (more…)