Friday, July 26, 2013

 a robservation

"Spare the rod and spoil the child" was a truism when I was growing up. However, it took several levels of escalating punishment to get the rod out. 

In my house the first punishment for being caught in some deviant behavior or stupid act (“what were you thinking?!”) was to be ordered to “go sit in the corner and think about what you've done.” This was intended to both let me cool off and to embarrass me in front of my little sister who would prance around my chair and Na, Na, Na’d me like only a bratty sister who eats bugs can.  (Actually, I was the one who forced her to eat bugs)

After an arbitrary period had gone by (usually about an hour) my humiliation was compounded by a stern lecture from Mom with plenty of in my face finger wagging. Back in the 60’s it was fashionable for women to grow and sharpen their blood red enameled nails into little daggers that could put your eye out faster than a Red Rider repeating BB gun. The implied threat of gouging my eyes out kept me humble... for a bit.

This level 1 isolation and verbal rousing did absolutely no good if I was determined continue with whatever sin I had committed and promised never to do again while under the duress of setting on a hard chair, facing into the corner of my room enduring the slings and barbs from my sister.

A notch up the punishment ladder was the threat of Mom telling Dad (“don’t make me tell your father about this”) and suffer his longer lectures preached through a well practiced Clint Eastwood make my day face. During the insufferable lectures time seemed to slow down to glacial time. I felt myself growing old standing there by his lazy Boy recliner taking my verbal licks.

During the harangue he would slowly flaunt his belt buckle hidden under a big flab of belly like a dirty undercover cop seductively reveals his sweaty belt badge to a perp in a bar just before the fight breaks out.  

The implication of a whippin’ normally shut me right up, but not Dad.  Yack, yack, yack.  Lecture, lecture. lecture.  Doesn’t he know you can’t use reason and logic on a kid. You can’t stop a river with rhetoric.  I would usually beg him to just hit me and quit lecturing me.  This would be called mental torture today.  That is what I called it back then too!

If my comportment continued to deteriorate, the next level up was Mom spanking my butt with a wooden yardstick. These whacks smarted but were not that lasting. If I was not firmly committed to whichever cause I had “vowed to die for” I would move on to something else after a dozen good thwacks upon my buttocks by 36” of flexible wood.  Well, not that flexible, my fat butt and Mom’s sometimes very enthusiastic strokes broke several yardsticks over the years.

Luckily, level 4 corporal punishment occurred rarely.  In a desperate effort by my parents into fooling themselves to believing  they were still in charge came in the form of a  spanking by Mom with the big wooden kitchen spoon (ironically the very same spoon we got to lick chocolate cake frosting from when we were good). 

There is an allegory here can you guess what it is?  Did we somehow learn to be both butt kissers and rebels by the subliminal symbology of  licking a dark brown substance from the same spoon that would also blister my butt?. 

These spoon spankings almost always took the wind out of my obstination. Just enough real pain, suffering and humiliation to get my full attention and kick my butt-brain into a rational gear. I would think to myself, “Bobby (I was called Bobby back then) you really, really need to question if this compulsion to do whatever it was that got me in this much trouble this time was worth pursuing any longer.” 99% of the time I quit pursuing it.

Level 5 - THE BELT
I can only barely remember being on the bad end of my father’s belt once. I don’t even remember what I did. But, the crime had to be so heinous as to suffer the cliche’ of my dad saying, “this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you”, while popping the belt to let me know it was actually going to hurt me far worse.  The lashing usually only lasted a few hard licks while I bellowed and cried (for emotional effect ;) It hurt like Hell and was reminded of the ordeal every time I sat down for the next few days. After a belt lashing I would “straighten up and fly right”..... for awhile.

I never considered spankings unusual or cruel punishment by sadistic parents. It was just the accepted way of trying to keep your kids from growing up to be rapists or serial killers. Or to save us from walking through unfriendly neighborhoods patrolled by vigilante’s with guns. Spoiling the child by sparing the rod was un-American.  You might as well let commies stay overnight in your house if it be found out you spared the rod and spoiled you child.  

Today you can only instill an equivalent degree of mental pain and depredation by suspending web and data privileges and take away their smartphone and/or tablet for a week.  The only comparative punishment back then would be to take away my biking privileges and grounding me  for a week. No telephone, comic books or TV.  All I could do was read books with no pictures and play war with my little plastic army men.  No streaming video or World of Warcraft to calm me down back then.  

When I wasn’t being grounded or beaten would usually watch Bugs Bunny and Road Runner to satiate my bloodlust. If that wasn’t enough, Brent Faulkner and I would build model boats and planes then fill them with modeling cement and firecrackers then blow them up and burn them in mock battles.  When we were caught doing this the punishment cycle would start all over again.

-a Robservation

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

How To Save Your Facebook Activity Log

New Tutorial
I am brand new at producing screen recorded tutorials.  So go gentle on me but do leave some constructive criticism.  I already know I look like a frozen dork on camera.  I promise to be looser in the future.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Photos: Waldo Canyon Fire near Garden of the Gods | Denver Post Photos, Video

I finally found who shot these incredibly disturbing photos that have been pasted all over the national news today.  Sometimes being a photojournalist is hard. To watch what is really happening in your viewfinder.

As you go through these shots you will see a sequence of the same houses before and during the inferno.  I wonder if it is better to have a tornado slam my house to pieces in seconds or watch in agony as the slow march of a fire inevitably eats my house.  It is like deciding whether to be shot or die of cancer.  Please shoot me.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Order out of Chaos

If you enjoy trying to bring order out of chaos you will always have something joyful to do... So why does it seem so exasperating?  Exactly!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Is it Food?

Recent articles about how and where iPads, iPhones and a majority of other computer components are made and the working conditions gave me a creepy reminder of another shiny apple in human history.
New York Times

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Oops, Wrong Hat

Bullwinkle: Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.
Rocky: Again?
Bullwinkle: Presto!
Lion: ROAR!!!
Bullwinkle: Oops, wrong hat.

Why Is This One Of The Most Profound Analogies Ever?

As you know my lot in life is to observe and comment on life’s absurdities. Mostly I find them simply humorous.  But sometimes they are so profound in their simplicity or obviousness that they are deeply sobering.

As a child I simply laughed at Rocky & Bullwinkle.  Now as an inquiring adult I find some of the humor and insight of Jay Ward to be on par with the parables of the Bible. Before you think of me a heretic, let me draw an analogy to explain myself.

God (Jesus) used stories and verbal illustrations to teach the principles of life to us because He knew that the lessons learned best are the ones we “get” for ourselves.  God knows that to spoon-feed us knowledge is as wasted as trying to get an infant to eat strained peas.  The best way to get us to eat what is good for us is to make it taste like honey.

Jay Ward used Rocky & Bullwinkle as honey to make the peas of life taste better.  That is the only comparison I am making between God and Bullwinkle.  See how it all tastes better now? 

Back to the most profound analogy of Bullwinkle trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat only to pull out a lion and exclaim, “Oops, wrong hat”.  Do you get it?  If so, what do you get?

I won’t try to spoon-feed you the universal truth I finally gleaned out of this innocuous cartoon. Jesus knew that the best way to answer a question was with another question.  But He didn’t leave anyone hanging without a clue either.  Most of the time Jesus answered a question by referring to a question or answer His Father revealed to His ancestors of the Old Testament.  Jesus left it up to the questioner to go back and dig up the answer for themselves then come back and share what they personally learned with the group. Since I am not Jesus I won’t try to refer you to any passage of relevance (to me) in God’s Word.  He will guide you to your own.  That is the beauty of the Bible, it is like a multifaceted jewel that when turned into the light refracts a different color to each person turning it.  But, the colors are all still part of the same spectrum of light/truth.

Please let me know what you get out of this life analogy (if anything) and share it with the rest of us.  I got it one way, you may get it another. But the truth of the analogy is so simply universal I bet we all get a version of the same lesson in our own individual color.

By sharing what we get we educate each other by provoking reveal-ation and discussion of the same. I can’t wait to share with you the profound lesson I learned when I stuck my hand into this hat.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fatty News - Junk In, Junk Out

Fatty News - Junk in Junk Out

The Information Diet

A Case For Conscious Consumption

"Our bodies are wired to love salt, fat and sugar. ... Our minds are really wired to be affirmed and be told that we're right. ... Who wants to hear the truth when they can hear that they're right? 

Who wants to be informed when they can be affirmed? What we do is we tell our media that that's what we want to hear, and our media responds to that by telling us what it is that we want, and sometimes that isn't what's best for us."

...Just as food companies learned that if they want to sell a lot of cheap calories, they should pack them with salt, fat, and sugar — the stuff that people crave — media companies learned that affirmation sells a lot better than information. Who wants to hear the truth when they can hear that they're right!

...You cannot simply flood the market with broccoli and hope that people stop eating french fries.