Archive for January, 2010

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FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL

January 31, 2010

Years ago, the minister in our church was giving a message on faith. As she embellished on the “evidence-of-things-not-seen” theme, she also spoke about “false evidence appearing real.” I find myself reflecting on those four words nearly every day.

As our 44th President enters his second year in office, my thoughts go back to his campaign. I, like he, am a pragmatist. As soaring as his rhetoric is, and his ability to deliver that rhetoric unmatched in my lifetime, I (like he) knew once in the Oval Office, his hopes for our country would be attacked ruthlessly everyday. It is always the case, especially with Democratic Presidents. As a rule, they usually want to improve our country’s social structure, which is an anathema to many who would like nothing better than to go back to the “Roaring Twenties.” Our President’s desire to bring people together to solve the nation’s problems continues to be met with staunch opposition, not because his ideas are wrong, but because his political opposition wants him to fail.

Since there is no rational reason for attacking his desire to make our country better, lying becomes the only course of action.

But lies alone won’t work. They must be worded correctly and marketed to the lowest intellectual common denominator, using words that appeal to peoples’ emotions and ignoring facts where necessary.

In other words, create false evidence that appears real.

A consultation with your doctor once every five years about end-of-life choices is labeled “death panel.” One of the twenty-one choices in a health insurance exchange managed exactly like the Medicare reimbursement program is the “government take-over of our entire healthcare system.”

Loaning money to the auto industry (something we’ve done more than once in the last few decades) is the government “now in the business of building cars.”

Not only are these statements false, but they are designed to invoke fear. Once fear is implanted, people gravitate to whoever is feeding them this “evidence.”  Yelling “fire” in a theatre may be wrong and even illegal, but once you hear someone shout it, you’re first inclination is to heed the warning, not investigate its truthfulness.

Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster and author of “Words That Work,” describes Americans as “…on the whole, ill-read, provincial, sullen and frightened.” He says they are, “… susceptible to mere rhetoric and responsive to arguably bogus appeals,” “…no matter what the facts.” I wish I could disagree entirely, but unfortunately, there is some truth to his statements.

However, I do believe Americans are slowly waking up. Politicians’ tactics, as they try to “crush” their opponents and further their personal agendas just to get elected and re-elected, are becoming transparent. With microphones and cameras everywhere, and most members of congress technologically challenged in this “information age,” many still speak and act indiscriminately, seemingly unaware of this new environment.

Can the day when John Boehner reveals his alcoholism, Pat Robertson reveals his true colors – which are anything but Christian – and media pundits’ blather becomes insignificant, be far off? I don’t think so. If the so-called awesome power of Rush Limbaugh, the 700 Club and FOX News can’t keep a man named Barack Hussein Obama from becoming President of the United States, we’re headed in the right direction.

It’s becoming more difficult to make False Evidence Appear Real.

Amen to that!

Sincerely,

www.MichaelKontras.com

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THE WAITING GAME

January 19, 2010

“You don’t have a flat screen yet?”

“There’s no reason to buy one. I don’t have a digital TV subscription or even the “box” that you need for digital cable TV.”

“What are you waiting for?”

“My regular TV to stop working.”

“How long have you had it?”

“Less than two years.”

We have 6 (yes… six) tube TVs in our house. All are still working and show no signs of making their “transition” anytime soon. My hope is they don’t all decide to “leave us” in the same month.

Oddly, I am no couch potato. I rarely just watch TV. In the kitchen, I’m either cooking, washing dishes or eating a meal while trying to catch up on the latest political news. There’s a small black and white in front of the treadmill only to keep my mind off how much I despise being on the treadmill. My wife has one in her office which she uses much the same way I use the one in my office – as background noise. We have one in the bedroom, which is only good for falling asleep. The one in the living room is rarely used, unless we watch a movie or there’s a special televised event.

So unless I win the lottery, I don’t foresee switching my TVs to HD flat panels anytime soon.

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned my son’s 1080p, 10 foot, TV projection system, which looks incredible. Watching a movie or sports is very dramatic when you’re only 8 feet away. He brought the projector home for the holidays and we watched OSU beat Oregon with it. Dad’s 50 inch flat panel looked like a kitchen counter television by comparison.

The only way to improve the experience is to go from two dimensional to three dimensional TV.

But we’re many years away from that… right?

Wrong.

3D HD TV, without needing any additional eyewear, is in development by Mistubishi.

Although it will be quite some time before general broadcasting can be done this way, some 3D broadcasts that do require special eyewear, are just around the corner. ESPN and Discovery Channel, in cooperation with Sony and Imax, are launching channels in 3D.  Unlike the 16 camera true 3D TV being developed by Mitsubishi, these events will be recorded and/or broadcast with the more widely used dual-lense cameras.

Knowing all of this, I will play the waiting game.

After all, could 3D HD TV Projection Systems be far off?

I think not.

Sincerely,

www.MichaelKontras.com

PS – Just a few thoughts about the game: My dad, my son, my brother, my cousin and everyone else I spoke with said we would to lose to Oregon. I completely disagreed. Once the Purdue “wake-up” call came, I watched Terrell Pryor (QB) make steady progress each week for the rest of the season. That “deer-in-the-headlights” look was gone from his face by game day at the Rose Bowl. I watched a young man who had finally come into his own. I believe he will be a force to be reckoned with next year.

This year, OSU ended up at #5 in the rankings. We could very well end up in the championship game next year – with a win. 

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WE’RE NOT THAT IMPORTANT

January 9, 2010

We’ve been at this for what seems like an eternity.

Everyone we know tells us how great it sounds – everyone except those who earn a living buying a product like ours. Our sound’s “greatness” is directly tied to income generated for their enterprise. The opinion of others, beyond those around us, is not relevant if we create only to appease the need for self expression. On the other hand, if we are seeking public recognition for our effort, then the earning potential of our product could make it important.

If “…beauty is in the eyes of the beholder…”, so too is great music, art, cinematography, photography and even food. We believe our creation is excellent, but that has no value. Others that know us may feel the same way. Again, no value.

However, if the “beholder” is investing in what we’ve created, then we’re important to someone other than ourselves. Without their vested interest, we could stop creating today and no one else’s life would be affected.

The decision to combine the self-indulgent need to express with the desire for acceptance beyond family and friends is the all-encompassing, monumental journey whose completion, few have achieved. 

We artists are very unique individuals because we’re willing to express ourselves in ways few would ever dream of doing.

But that alone does not make us important.

Sincerely,

www.MichaelKontras.com