Blogs I Follow – Sharyl Attkisson

I was made aware of her when she left CBS when her computer was hacked by the FBI/DOJ, and she wouldn’t stand for it. She currently is in mid-trial against them and I’m on her side. (Link here to her site)

Why I follow her is that she is actually independent in her views. Any post that have written that has the tag MSM shows my contempt for the press, their bias and lack of journalistic skills. They have become the propaganda tool for political parties. Note, I don’t excuse Fox News either because they have been on an island for their views, but still are not unbiased. The rest are fully ensconced on the left.

I also have been clear about my respect for those who write well. She is among them. She also has established an independent online show and podcast. Disclosure: I follow her blog and podcast.

I spent my career working with TV, Radio, print and online journalists. There are very few that I ended with any respect once they made their bias known.

Just to prove that she is a better writer than me, here is an excerpt from her book, Slanted.

The five-time Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter and New York Times bestselling author of Stonewalled and The Smear uncovers how partisan bias and gullibility are destroying American journalism.

The news as we once knew it no longer exists. It’s become a product molded and shaped to suit the narrative. Facts that don’t fit are omitted. Off-narrative people and views are controversialized or neatly deposited down the memory hole. Partisan pundits, analysts and anonymous sources fill news space leaving little room for facts. The line between opinion and fact has disappeared.

In Slanted, Sharyl Attkisson reveals with gripping detail the struggles inside newsrooms where journalism used to rule. For the first time, dozens of current and former top national news executives, producers and reporters give insider accounts, speaking with shocking candor about their industry’s devolution.

For those who understand how hard it is to write well, I encourage you to go to read her work. It is a breath of fresh air in the cesspool of what is journalism and the MSM are.

Blogs I follow and Why – Don Surber

Here is the link to his blog.

Now, why I follow him.

When I first started blogging in 2004, Glenn Reynolds or Instapundit was the the biggest game in town. I noticed that Don got a lot of attention by linking to him. I thought he was being contentious to gather a following, until I found out what he did for a living.

He was a reporter for a Newspaper in West Virginia, now retired. I won’t mention it because he’s said that he’s not all that fond of it.

What draws me to his writing is that it is good. It’s hard to write well. I can ramble on and take forever to make a point, but Surber gets to it with wit and pithiness that I admire.

I love his Highlights of the News and his commentary of it. I’ve read it for a long time now. He doesn’t pontificate, yet makes his point with the summary that he presents.

Hopefully, I’ll one day be able to get my style somewhere in the ballpark of Surber, but I doubt it.

I don’t expect him to mention or follow me. It doesn’t matter.

I was most happy for him when the greatest radio host of all time called him out last year. That is an accolade to take to your grave and I’m glad it happened to him.

Blogs I Follow – Knuckledraggin’ My Life Away

I decided to break from Covid vaccine bashing (I’ll be back, don’t worry) and give some shout outs to those who deserve it.

Ken the wirecutter writes this blog. You should go over there and donate because I think that is how he makes a living.

Why do I like it? I first started when I found your Florida report for the day. I’m originally from there and it is so true. I didn’t realize how many idiots were there until he pointed it out.

I like that he doesn’t care about offending anyone. One of his regular posts is shit I post on Facebook. I think it’s great that he tries to get banned. If you’ve read much of my blog, you already know how much I loathe fake book and happily got rid of my account. That he ties up their time to review the hilarious stuff he posts there kills me.

There are posts like, roast me, fucking Mondays, Friday gif dump and I’m sure she’s taken men that I look forward to. I went through the loss of his 2 dogs and now he’s left with Jack the asshole dog that found him with a broken tail.

His sarcasm, wit and creativeness is a breath of fresh air for me and I hope it is for you.

I linked to him in the posts that I follow and hope he links back as his audience is big. He also is in cahoots with other blogs I’m going to call out.

Keep it up Ken. I love your stuff.

How To Write If You Want To Capture Your Audience

I didn’t want to read this until I couldn’t keep my eyes from jumping ahead to find out what happened. I never expected how it would turn out.

As for me, when I write (not blogging where I write streams of thoughts usually too early and mostly unedited), trying to urge a reader to become emotionally involved with the characters and read on is what I try for.

I read on to find out who this bitch was and why. Fortunately it is short.

Excerpt:

They didn’t want to turn her on but they did. I never want to turn her on but I do. After they had turned her on for awhile they grew tired of listening to her. After listening to her for even ten seconds I’m enraged by her. Somewhere along the long road to their duck hunting camp they named her “The Bitch” and turned her off. At random points on any road I drive I want to throw “The Bitch” out the window and run over her until she’s nothing but a flat black splotch on the asphalt.

“The Bitch” has her uses. She’s helped me find my way to unknown destinations and out of places where I’m hopelessly lost. It doesn’t matter. I hate the very thought of her. She’s the worst nag since Eve made Adam slap on the fig leaf and remarked on how small it was. She’s Lilith and Delilah and the “What–ever Girl.” She’s the most passive-aggressive talker since the last speech by Barack Obama. She’s “The Bitch.”

Self Awareness Gives Wisdom vs. Knowledge

This example is a bit much in introspection, but the point is that examining yourself and your life gives you a window to learn who you are and why you do what you do.

Most people don’t take the time to look at past events to see why you act now like you do. Occasionally, one remembers something familiar, but that is when you have the time to think or daydream, like when it happens to you when you remember a familiar song. This is just knowledge that you have.

WHY WE DON’T STOP TO THINK ABOUT ME

I’m not talking about the online and public me (and I mean you here). Everyone takes care of that and primps or struts accordingly, especially on social media.

Life is more chaotic than social media and can hit you in the face. You are on instinct then unless you have prepared for whatever. Some are just instinctual about it. Others could be on the discovery of a lifetime if they learned why they act that way.

I know you can’t be ready for everything, but everyone knows their strengths and weaknesses. Some refuse to admit them though. Those that can will master their greatest opponent, yourself.

That’s where self-awareness comes in. I look at patterns so if the same type of event or response to something happens, I put the information together and can deal with the problem better. Not your run of the mill stuff, but how am I messing up relationships or how did a situation go from great to hell with one misstep on my part.

Instead of asking have I faced this before, what lesson did I learn, I want to know why is this happening again to me because of something I did, said or forgot to do? How was I successful in dealing with it or avoiding it? What lesson was learned past don’t burn your hand on the stove. It’s never the obvious answer.

Most can do this type of recall with a single occurrence of a prior or recent event that happened, but I go back to my youth and multiple iterations of a pattern that becomes obvious. The things that happen to me now when it goes bad probably happened to me in my earliest formidable years, but I forgot the lesson. I’m at a point in my life that I’m remembering that stuff now and it has affected how I look at life now.

I discovered my personality was the same although I, like everyone else can be an actor and can put on a different front. Usually it was a job interview or a first date, something we all go through.

Now, it’s take it or leave it with what you get from me. I don’t pretend and I also stop short of telling (most) people off and walk away. No one can fire me and I fired Twitter and Fake book.

HOW I DID IT

I write everything down to read later. Here is a link to a good article that talks about journaling. If it isn’t convenient to write, I email myself or text. I’ll complete the thought later and perhaps it ends up here.

My private thoughts go somewhere else. When I look back at my younger self now, I see the same person, only one who is trying to figure out why it is happening. Now, when the SHTF, I’m ready as I’ve read where I mis-stepped before and usually think it through before I get into trouble.

As long as I’m being self-aware, I can usually remember to shut the F**k up in time to not make the same mistake twice. I also learned to build, fix and mend things around the house, but that is easy compared to people.

One day, maybe I’ll look back and remember something that will help me in the future.

I want to look back fondly that I at least improved or grew in how I acted or re-acted. Occasionally I do. Mostly, I’m still learning not to be a screw up.

Look back when something is familiar and think of times as a kid when this lesson was first taught. Either that or look back on forgotten memorable times to enjoy.

That is closer to wisdom

Story Telling, Why The Marvel Movies Were So Successful

“It’s not enough to bash in heads. You’ve got to bash in minds.” Joss/Zack/Jed Whedon

There are really a lot of reasons it was successful, but being able to tell a story is what enthralls people. It doesn’t have to be Marvel really, it has to be a good story.

What they are referring to is anyone can make a fight scene, or imitate someone else in real life. This isn’t hard. Weaving the fight into the story arc is the art.

Not every story has a happy ending. Sometimes, a character has to die. In life, some sacrifices for the better good must be made. That could include you as the sacrifice.

It is also about hard choices that divide allegiances. It is a no win and usually a blurred line as to where the divide between right and wrong exists.

Telling the story that involves emotions is always better than just stating facts.

Are High IQ People Better Off With Fewer Friends?

So says an article published by the Washington Post.

Having discussed high IQ people including those with a perceived higher intelligence a number of times (this one with the highest Google ranking), I like to ponder on these things.

The first in this article tends to reference dwelling among all people as it relates to happiness:

They use what they call “the savanna theory of happiness” to explain two main findings from an analysis of a large national survey (15,000 respondents) of adults aged 18 to 28.

First, they find that people who live in more densely populated areas tend to report less satisfaction with their life overall. “The higher the population density of the immediate environment, the less happy” the survey respondents said they were. Second, they find that the more social interactions with close friends a person has, the greater their self-reported happiness.

Why would high population density cause a person to be less happy? There’s a whole body of sociological research addressing this question. But for the most visceral demonstration of the effect, simply take a 45-minute ride on a crowded rush-hour Red Line train and tell me how you feel afterward.

One would tend to think that if you weren’t in such a densely populated area, that it might lead to greater happiness.  No wonder New York, Chicago and other highly populated cities have such low rankings in this category.

THE NEED TO BE ALONE

I can’t prove it, but there is a tendency for “Smart People” to be either introverted or have a need to spend time alone to gather their thoughts when making contributions to inventions, theorem’s, calculations and other notable achievements. (Note: the link above describes things introverts won’t tell you, but you should know).

Being an author, I know that I prefer quiet to gather my thoughts and increase the powers of concentration on what I am trying to write.  It’s hard to clear your mind when there is a bombardment of distractions either from people, social media or other causes.

The article does state the obvious, long commutes, traffic, waiting in line and crowds are tedious, monotonous, and can grate on anyone over time. The infrastructure is usually older (see the lead in the water in Flint, Mich.)  I’ve often wondered why anyone would want to live in a place like that if they really had a choice.  Maybe that is why there is such a large population outflow to Florida upon retirement.

Kanazawa and Li’s second finding is a little more interesting. It’s no surprise that friend and family connections are generally seen as a foundational component of happiness and well-being. But why would this relationship get turned on its head for really smart people?

I posed this question to Carol Graham, a Brookings Institution researcher who studies the economics of happiness. “The findings in here suggest (and it is no surprise) that those with more intelligence and the capacity to use it … are less likely to spend so much time socializing because they are focused on some other longer term objective,” she said.

Think of the really smart people you know. They may include a doctor trying to cure cancer or a writer working on the great American novel or a human rights lawyer working to protect the most vulnerable people in society. To the extent that frequent social interaction detracts from the pursuit of these goals, it may negatively affect their overall satisfaction with life.

The article and researchers discuss a “Savannah theory of happiness” which is a bit of a reach since there weren’t iPhones for cavemen, although an ability to deal with new challenges seems obvious.

FEAR OF MISSING OUT OF SOMETHING FOR SOME, LOATHING PEOPLE FOR OTHERS

There is a need for many in the general population to gain happiness from their social interactions.  I have relatives who suffer from FoMo syndrome, generally indicating that they derive their happiness and/or satisfaction from others or the perception of others.

When drilling down and specifically targeting high IQ people, there is a distinct difference from the last sentence in the above quote:

Second, they find that the more social interactions with close friends a person has, the greater their self-reported happiness.

But there was one big exception. For more intelligent people, these correlations were diminished or even reversed.

“The effect of population density on life satisfaction was therefore more than twice as large for low-IQ individuals than for high-IQ individuals,” they found. And “more intelligent individuals were actually less satisfied with life if they socialized with their friends more frequently.”

Let me repeat that last one: When smart people spend more time with their friends, it makes them less happy.

Again, an observation from the high IQ group and personal introspection, there seems to be less of a need to find your happiness in others or what others think of you in this space.  It might be in the above stated pursuit of goals:

Hell might actually be other people — at least if you’re really smart.

That’s the implication of fascinating new research published last month in the British Journal of Psychology. Evolutionary psychologists Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics and Norman Li of Singapore Management University dig in to the question of what makes a life well-lived. While traditionally the domain of priests, philosophers and novelists, in recent years survey researchers, economists, biologists and scientists have been tackling that question.

There’s a twist, though, at least as Kanazawa and Li see it. Smarter people may be better equipped to deal with the new (at least from an evolutionary perspective) challenges present-day life throws at us. “More intelligent individuals, who possess higher levels of general intelligence and thus greater ability to solve evolutionarily novel problems, may face less difficulty in comprehending and dealing with evolutionarily novel entities and situations,” they write.

It appears that the high IQ might actually have another less socially accepted skill that is less politically correct as defined by the masses.  They may just have thought out that they are able to be happier or more satisfied while being alone rather than by having to try and satisfy others definition of their happiness.

Conversely, they might find being around other people annoying, especially the chatty or needy.

Once you are able to happy alone, the ability to be happy with others is icing on the cake, but shouldn’t be the definition of the cake.

 

Quotes On Writing By Famous Authors

“There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

Robert Benchley

“It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.”

Jerome K. Jerome

“It is always the best policy to speak the truth–unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar.”

Daphne du Maurier

“Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard.”
“Americans detest all lies except lies spoken in public or printed lies.”

Henry David Thoreau

“Men have become the tools of their tools.”

Philip G. Hamerton

“Have you ever observed that we pay much more attention to a wise passage when it is quoted than when we read it in the original author?”

#24, #LiveAnotherDay and Why the Story Writing Matters

After eight seasons, 24 ended…or so we thought.  Maybe it was the cult following, perhaps it was the ad revenue potential, more than likely it was a lack of good copycat shows but most of all it was the quality of the script, storyline, premise and character interaction that made it come back.

Most “sequels”, movie adaptations of TV shows and re-creations of TV successes (especially in the 60’s and 70’s before reality TV) are rarely successful and/or entertaining.  Further,  Hollywood’s meddling based on their belief that they knew what the masses want rather than what the audience desires has delivered mindless drivel and repeat stories that were mostly re-hashing a previously successful (or profitable) series (namely 24).

On Monday the 5th, Fox is bringing back counter terrorist bad boy Jack Bauer and 24 for twelve episodes in Live Another Day.  Let me disclose that this genre is one if not my favorite to watch.  That being said, there have been many opportunities to watch knock offs, but they haven’t captured the essence of 24.  I attribute this to the writing, screenplay, conflict, reaching out to grip the audience’s emotional involvement and reality of what this show represents.  Specifically it is good vs. evil, but is complicated by the personal strife and loss and moral decisions suffered by the lead character in his quest.

The storyline is to save the day in 24 hours, a simple premise.  Numerous roadblocks get in the way many caused by the protagonist’s employer, not to mention having to decide which is the right path given limited information which must be sifted and decided on by experience and gut instinct.  Jack does his job to protect the world despite whatever collateral damage happens to anyone near him

Where the writers excel though is in the interaction between characters.  They frequently must choose to either go with Jack or against him based on orders they obey or disobey.  This incriminates them legally or emotionally and inhibits their ability to help the cause of dealing with the bad guys.

Some may have issues with the violence or the all to realistic depictions of interrogation.  From a micro point of view it can be intimidating, but from the macro level and overall storyline perspective it is as much a part of the story as any character would be.  It peels back the layers of a person who will go to any length to protect the greater public, or a specific person (usually a politician of high ranking) which revels in right vs. wrong decisions.  Jack has a crappy day and has to live through it.


It is a classical example of Ironist writing.  The last act climax is both positive and negative.  Jack always saves the day, yet he loses his family, relationships, job and other personal parts of his life.

Is Jack there to save or assassinate the president? That is what we will be led to be confused by when it starts.  Nevertheless, he is willing to risk his life and freedom to avert yet another global disaster.

So hats off to Evan Katz and Manny Coto who wrote and produced it.  Also Howard Gordon is the lead writer who worked on many other episodes and I admire his work.

Besides enjoying the good vs. evil in this years story, I will be closely watching how the writers build the tension, connect to the audience and develop the story to the last act climax.