Poetry Wednesday 64

For all the times we ask “Who Cares”

“Who Cares”

I’m not sick, but to others it might seem that lack of action means I’m not well

Sometimes you want to accuse me of being lazy and wonder why

Complaining to me that the boredom and inaction makes you want to cry

You will eventually get used to all the lies I tell

Lack of movement and motivation, my body begins to swell

Nothing worth doing, because even the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry

What happens if I care again? Failure seems the only option, or at least the only one nigh

Never going to be accused of doing things the best, never going to excel

 

Let’s throw time out the window and let it be wasted away

Right now and today I am bored by what I am tasked with, the everyday chores

Shut up inside, hiding from the world and its problems, I don’t care, I’m staying indoors

Not even bothering to bother anyone else, like sleeping dogs let my plans downward lay

Appreciate the effort you make with your looks, you’ve spent time groomin’

Maybe for you, since you’re the right one I will pick myself up and try to again be human

© Ryan Stroud 2019

History Monday #65

Legislation rockets to the President’s desk for signature, and with his signature the results are astronomical

T-minus three seconds to liftoff…We have a new week beginning again and #HistoryMonday is here with it. Today’s event has impacts on several previous entries for #HistoryMonday. Today’s event is surprising as well because it’s thanks to Congressional approval, which let’s face it doesn’t usually produce important results.

Image result for nasa

On this day in 1958, Pres. Dwight Eisenhower signs the National Aeronautics and Space Act—legislation establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA was created as a civilian agency tasked with promoting and aiding American space activities. Since its inception, NASA has sponsored space expeditions and launched numerous earth-orbiting satellites that have been instrumental in everything from weather forecasting to navigation to global communications.

Previous efforts in American space exploration were originally handled by a military space effort, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). From 1946, NACA conducted experiments with rocket planes and other missiles with assistance from Wernher von Braun and other German rocket scientists. After the Soviet space program’s launch of the world’s first artificial satellite (Sputnik 1) on October 4, 1957, the United States knew their efforts must be increased. Sputink’s launch concerned The U.S. Congress, who feared threats of national security and technological leadership from the Soviets. Pres. Eisenhower urged the Congress to act in American interests in April of 1958. This led Congress to pass the National Aeronautics and Space Act signed on this day sixty years ago.

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Obviously, I’ve covered many of NASA’s efforts on here previously. With NASA’s efforts after their creation on this day, they have seen Lunar landings, near earth orbits, and solar system exploration. Hopes of a return trip to the moon and Mars have been touted even recently by Pres. Trump. Suggestions of a military force that would compare to NACA with the Space Force have also been suggested recently.

We saw last week that NASA’s crowning achievement with the Apollo 11 mission celebrating it’s fiftieth anniversary. This mission was the first crew of humans to land on the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

NASA also administers space camps for amateur astronomy-minded individuals as well as other educational efforts on their website and social media. Images from NASA-affiliated telescopes and satellites are widely viewed from even the most novice astronomy fan to the advanced astronomer. I count myself in the novice group and am always impressed by the images included on NASA’s Instagram page.

Do you remember when NASA was created?

 

 

 

 

 

Current Event Friday #69

Getting free food delivered isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be

Make healthy choices with your food intake. Sounds reasonable right? Well if you frame an encouragement for good eating practices this way you might not face criticism, but if you send diet bars to people who wear a certain size of your clothing you can expect criticism. You can also expect you’re the topic of today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

Clothing retailer Forever 21 made headlines this week for including Atkins® Diet bars in shipments to plus-size customers as part of their orders. Many customers took to social media and shared photos of the low-carb product along with their clothing purchases.

Forever 21 officials told media outlets that the Atkins bar samples were included as part of a third-party promotion with the company. These promotional items were included in orders “across all sizes and categories,” and have “since been removed” from orders.

Much of this is damage control by the company as expected. Many customers are skeptical and don’t care about the lackluster explanation and non-apology, explaining that including the diet items is essentially ‘fat shaming’ towards plus-size customers.

If Forever 21 had some third-party promotion with Atkins® diet products, a simple statement about the current promotion before everyone ordered would have sufficed. It’s not unusual for different companies to include freebies as a temporary promotion with their products, but making sure people are aware of those promotions is best. Also not including diet products with clothing as a freebie promotion is advisable. If someone is using FabFitFun® box or any other similar monthly subscription service, there’d likely be no issue. The receiver would expect some sort of diet foods and products.

I don’t really have an opinion on either company. I’m not a millennial girl so I don’t shop Forever 21, and I’ve never been a fan of Atkins® products but I don’t dislike them either. I also don’t freak out over freebies that I didn’t request or choose. If I ordered the clothing from Forever 21 and found the Atkins® bar, I’d probably give them to someone else in my family who would eat them. I usually do this with any food I have that I don’t particularly want or request. Someone will eat it and it won’t go to waste.

Should Forever 21 found a better way to include freebies with their clothing shipments?

Poetry Wednesday 63

A not so sweet poem about “Red Hots”

“Red Hots”

When all my plans are going down in flames, I will soon be fired up and hackles raised

Red-hot temper coursing through my body so virulent, it’ll be violent soon

Fed up, my attitude reached well past my limit—may as well call it the moon

Always full of moments of doubt and amazement at others, my eyes have become crazed

Ready to fight for decades, engaging in a fruitless war with enemies unfazed

Burnt up, hardly able to focus or think, wouldn’t be surprised if I began to swoon

Cooler heads are hoping to prevail upon me, maybe that I’ll change my tune

Know I need some restraint or I’ll lay everyone to waste, don’t be so amazed

 

Overwhelmed by passion in my soul, and I see fire within it and in its windows I see rain

My mind is turbulent and seething deep within, while visibly gritting my teeth

Revved up like a car, you don’t want my hood to pop and show you what’s underneath

The man inside spurs me on, knowing my scars and the unmanaged pain

You ask so often, ”Baby is everything alright?” I wonder, do you ever feel like I do

Can’t be a fighter and a lover, Love me harder that my love be ignited stronger and true

© Ryan Stroud 2019

History Monday #64

An important town in Illinois goes underwater

Water, water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink. Today’s #HistoryMonday deals with a somewhat more recent event in history, but reminders of it occur even today and informed people adjust accordingly.

The city of Kaskaskia, Illinois during the Great Flood of 1993

On this day in 1993, levees in the town of Kaskaskia, Illinois fell apart and the residents of the small but historically important town were evacuated. These residents were likely unsurprised by the deluge and followed the orders of the Army Corp of Engineers who helped to evacuate the town.

The city of Kaskaskia has historical significance in the Mississippi River basin and in Illinois specifically. Kaskaskia was platted as the first territorial capital of Illinois and maintained significance for years before official statehood.

As the state of Illinois grew and Springfield became the capital, residents left Kaskaskia. By the late 19th Century, the waters of the Upper Mississippi River shifted during the spring rains. As the river continued to shift its path, the city was eventually formed into an island separate from the state of Illinois and eventually became grafted onto Missouri territory as alluvial deposits changed the boundaries of the Mississippi River through and around the city.

Eventually, the town was reduced to less than a hundred people. As the Great Flood of 1993 inundated the city and others with water, more people left leaving it to only a few households. Water heights during the Great Flood of 1993 reached nine feet in the town.

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As mentioned earlier, the levees breaking in Kaskaskia reduced the population to only 9 people. This population is the smallest population for any incorporated community in Illinois. Of course, its place in Illinois history is what keeps anyone living there and encourages visitors rather than becoming a Census Designated Place (CDP) or other unincorporated territory in the state.

In Kaskaskia, the levees are part of The Mississippi levee system. This system is one of the largest in the world, comprising over 3,500 miles stretching from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to the Mississippi Delta. The system was begun by French settlers in Louisiana in the 18th Century near New Orleans. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer, along with the Mississippi River Commission, added to the original French system in 1882 near Cairo, Illinois to the mouth of the Mississippi delta in Louisiana.

We’ve seen other levee failures and accomplishments in years following. The most notable example of this is in New Orleans, Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina. Meteorologists and other experts admit that the force of Katrina was not as substantial as other damaging storms in recent memory. The duration of the rains from Katrina outlasts many of those storms. So, it’s not the wind that damaged property and land, but floods from rainwater. This rain was too massive for levees built in the town and estuary canal projects connecting the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.

Living in Kentuckiana most of my life, and near to the Ohio River we observe flooding often during rainy seasons in the Spring. I’ve written about that in an earlier post when I began the blog, and we’ve seen record highs in floodwaters this year that outdid the water levels I wrote about in the earlier post. While living near rivers provided access to receive or transport goods and people, the threat of flood is always there. So, city planners use more natural means like levees and dikes or artificial means like floodwalls and dams. These flood contingencies hopefully prevent damage to property and loss of life.

Do you remember the Great Flood of 1993 and did it affect you or loved ones?

Current Event Friday #68

Tragedy in the gaming community

Another week is ending and that means #CurrentEventFriday on the blog. With that in mind, we’re looking at a tragic end to a young girl at the hands of a wholly misguided young man. So buckle up, because today’s topic is not for the faint of heart.

Bianca Devins was a 17-year-old girl from Upstate New York who had achieved a modest amount of fame on Instagram, Reddit, and gaming sites for her abilities with video gaming. Along with this popularity, Devins attracted male fans who were also attracted to Devins’s looks. One such fan believed that his relationship with Devins was more than casual fandom through social media and assigned romantic thoughts to himself and Devins.

Unfortunately for Devins, who met up with this 21-year-old male fan things took a shocking and violent turn. As the pair attended a concert last weekend, an argument ensured about whether the two were an item. Devins did not believe that she was in a romantic relationship with the fan, and that’s when he killed her. As if that was not horrible enough, the fan posted videos and photos on his Instagram and the gaming site Discord tagging Devins’s profile in the media. These graphic images included Devins’s corpse that the fanboy killer had tried to decapitate. As Devins’s body was found Sunday morning in a local park, the fanboy was arrested for her murder.

Admittedly, this is a hard entry to write for the sheer gruesome act being discussed, but also because I’m choosing to omit the fanboy killer’s name because he doesn’t deserve the fame or satisfaction of it being repeated. Several news outlets have not followed that guideline and the killer is getting his infamy and attention he wanted.

The whole episode calls into question what role social media plays with tragedies like this one. Many have objected that Instagram allowed the images posted by the killer to remain on the site before being taken down or obscured and that they should’ve been rejected outright. Other depraved individuals obtained screenshots from Discord and Instagram before the images were removed and began to solicit attention by offering to release them to other depraved individuals.

On a more human level with social media, a discussion is being fostered by female memeebrs of the gaming community and influencers on social media cites about Involuntary Celibates or Incels. The killer has been accused of being part of the incel community. Typically incels are insecure about their appearance and the prospect of dating desirable women. Incels attack women for friendzoning them and dating the more stereotypical attractive men, or ‘Chad’ as these incels term them.

I will freely admit that I probably drift dangerously close to the incel mentality and dislike being friendzoned, but usually this leads to my overthinking and depression rather than violent and hateful speech and actions. More social media savvy women have pointed out that the incel outrage is largely overwrought. Being nice to a woman does not necessarily translate to her choosing to date the man or engage in sex with him. Basically, being kind and decent shouldn’t be a prerequisite for more from a woman, it should be a standard for being a human being with no expectations of anything in return except maybe a smile or a thank you. Realizing all this, it’s best for guys to some degree be more transparent with their feelings with women early on if there’s an interest in the woman for more than friendship, so that clear boundaries are known before anyone gets hurt.

Added to this, guys should pay attention to women’s clear intentions when asked about their boundaries they are setting. If a woman indicates that she wants to remain friends respect that request. Devins and her killer had exchanged text messages that indicated that Devins was not interested in her killer and he clearly ignored the indications and acted according to his own thoughts regardless of the reality that was being communicated.

I get it, I have either gotten the direct rejection when I ask a girl if she’s interested, I’ve gotten the direct rejection of the block without the direct asking, and the indirect ignoring without my direct asking. What’s common in all of those rejecetions, I accepted the response and moved on. I didn’t try to persist, well I didn’t try to persist as much and moved on. I didn’t try to find the girl, arrange an in person meeting, attack, and then kill her. Of course that probably has to do with that I’m for all intents and purposes ‘normal’ or at least what passes for normal these days.

It’s also worth mentioning, unless you know someone in real life and not just on social media don’t meet up with them alone. Always bring along friends if you’re determined that you want to meet in person. If there’s not bad vibes when you meet up, then you can go from there. People are not 100% on the Internet who they are in real life. I’m much more snarky on social media than in real life. Social media, especially Twitter and Instagram are theatre and the people on those sites are actors whether they have the SAG card or not.

If you don’t believe my last point, here’s Brad Paisley to sing that point:

Is incel culture to blame or was the killer just a terrible person regardless?

Poetry Wednesday 62

Are “The Jones” worth keeping up with? This poem looks at that dynamic

“The Jones”

And along come Mr. Jones, fast-moving, fast-talking Jones; we tell each other fairy tales

We’ve all got this going on we know it’s wrong, it grabs me and it’s got me tied up, can’t let it go

Moving from what is required to everything I want—surplus all to current circumstances owe

Tired of working harder than everyone else, want an easier path, but the devil’s in the details

Wanting someone else’s life, it only wreck yours, and their life will be the one that prevails

Dreams that last so long, achievements I’m always hoping for, and the answer is always “No”

Buying and having everything delivered to my front step, binding myself to this foe

Wonder what is all this I’m fighting for, the better houses I’m striving for might as well be jails

 

Tomorrow I’ll be thinking to myself where’d it all go wrong—the list goes on, seemingly growin’

Other people’s lives on TV, every minute tells you those lives are better than yours and you agree

Why can’t I just take solace in the promise of the most profitable group and let it be?

Afraid it’ll take Its toll and know all this stuff won’t save my soul, cause you can’t save your own

Waiting for the day when my treasures are better than those here, and streets are paved in gold

Listening to your contentment, telling me everything is wonderful here and now, wish I was so bold

© Ryan Stroud 2019