Falsely Speaking?

Like many of you, I have friends who regularly share quotations, significant dates, or other information they feel is interesting or informative. Being the analytical type, I often investigate those piquing my curiosity.

The one showcased here got my attention because of the term “false knowledge.” At first, it might seem the phrase makes sense. However, it felt a bit oxymoronic to me. After all, the definition of knowledge seems to preclude its use here. So, I did some research.

If one accepts the phrase as written, false knowledge could be anything from a mistaken belief to a bald-faced lie. It could also be the result of fate or chance. For instance, if someone tells you zinc speeds up healing, they probably mean well and are being honest.1

On the other hand, they could be wrong. At least wrong, in your case. Does that make it false knowledge? Possibly, but the truth is the practice of medicine is not an exact science. What helps one person may not help another. If the world has learned nothing else from the COVID pandemic, it should have realized that.

So, what in the world does the quote above mean? For that matter, did George Bernard Shaw share that piece of so-called wisdom? Once again, we are in the gray area of understanding the term.

Shaw did write the phrase above. Or, should I say, he wrote the play in which the thought became public. Or, to be even more precise, Shaw wrote the production in which one of his characters authored the quoted sentence.

The play was subtitled “A comedy and a philosophy.” So, this little piece of so-called wisdom originated in a theatrical work that included numerous amusing and sarcastic quips. Also, as noted above, the definition of false knowledge is far from clear.

So, is this so-called quotation itself false knowledge? Or could it be ignorance on the part of the person first spreading this meme around social media? Either way, it is of little use.

The only way to be somewhat confident that something is false is to be knowledgeable in that area. On the other hand, if you accept something someone says as true when you don’t know anything about the subject, it could make the second part of this so-called quotation true. In that case, an altered version of another misused phrase comes to mind. Ignorance is not always bliss.

1. Does Zinc Accelerate Healing

© oneoldcop.com – 2022

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Nostalgically Speaking: Blood, Sweat and Beer

I wrote Blood, Sweat, and Beer just over ten years ago. It was a tribute to some of the best years of my life and the ragtag bunch of guys who helped make it so great. Yes, as I said in BSB, those guys became family in many ways.

Over the past decade, my relationship with my rugby family has become more distant in many ways. Yeah, I sometimes made some matches of the current club and hoisted a beer or two with some of my old teammates at others. However, for the most part, we maintained our relationship through social media.

Speaking of sweat, me, Dave and Tennyson: Austin 1992.

That changed, at least briefly, on July 16, 2022. Some of our crew spent months planning a reunion to celebrate fifty years of rugby history in Denton, Texas. Of course, as with any reunion that covers decades, things changed over the years.

Beer was still a big part of the weekend, but the blood and the sweat were not as evident. Of course, as Texas and much of the northern hemisphere are experiencing unusually, if not record-breaking high temperatures, simply walking from your car to the venue could cause you to break a sweat. Still, the only blood I shed was while shaving. Looking at everyone else, I think it is safe to say they also experienced minimal bleeding.

Sadly, my commitments elsewhere and lack of partying stamina limited my participation. I could only attend one event, but it was a great time. It was great because the organizers did a great job, and some of the crew I had not seen in person or online in years showed up.

One of the clubs we played while in England.

It was great for another reason as well. When I wrote the piece in 2012, one of my closest mates responded he thought the days I remembered of rugby brotherhood and camaraderie were fading away, if not already gone.

He thought rugby, like other sports, was becoming too commercial and professional. It was no longer a bunch of clubs that happened to field teams. It was drifting toward a business model of a sports team that called itself a club. Even the old established clubs were changing.

As with any human endeavor, rugby has evolved. It will continue to evolve and change, but at the moment, it seems to have still the feeling I loved. It felt like a bunch of friends getting together to swap lies, have a beer, recall their gloried pasts, and look forward to seeing the current club members pound their opponents before buying them a beer once the season started.

© oneoldcop.com-2022

Posted in Family Vaules, Humor, Rugby, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Inane Wisdom?

The image to the left is a bit of “wisdom” making its way around social media. As with many such posts, it is intended to be a pithy way of making a point.

In my mind, a similar-sounding word might be more appropriate when describing the message. And, yes, I understand my position on this may not sit well with many folks. Nevertheless, the meme is nonsense!

If you cannot recognize the problem, let me see if I can help. The meme responds to those who say we shouldn’t blame the gun but the shooter.

The image’s creator implies they understand you don’t blame the gun. Then they make it clear they feel guns should be taken away from everyone. Yes, I know! In the meme context, they remove the stick to prevent the child from hitting anyone else. If it were that simple, it might make sense, to a degree.

However, even in this simplistic aphorism, it should be clear that simply removing the implement used in the assault is not enough. If the kid wants to keep hitting people, it simply picks up another stick.

Someone needs to deal with the behavior in a manner that clarifies one does not hit others with a stick. Of course, the child may have been trying to defend itself with the stick. Taking the stick away, in that case, enables the attacker. As I wrote that last sentence, I could almost hear the wheels spinning in the heads of those who disagree.

Responses appear in their minds like popcorn in the machine at the movie theatre. “That’s a false comparison!” “Guns and sticks aren’t the same!” “Adults will protect the child!” “The parents should teach the child how to avoid people that might harm it!” And! The list goes on.

Of course, the most common complaint will be that guns and sticks aren’t comparable. There I can agree, but not the way they think. Guns and sticks aren’t identical. That is why I feel the meme is more one p-word than another.

A kid can find plenty of sticks lying around, ready for use. Guns are a bit harder to come by, but anyone who truly believes it is possible to eliminate the availability of firearms is living in fantasy land. They may not be as available as sticks, but if you feel you need one, you’ll be able to get it.

As I write this, I live in a “safe” middle-class neighborhood within a few minutes of areas where one can illegally buy guns, ammo, drugs, alcohol, and almost anything else.1 In one case, the area in question, is within walking distance.

If you skimmed that last sentence, it contained the term “illegally.” Anyone believing that changing laws will change the way things are in this country, or the world, today is fooling themselves.

Despite what the talking heads in Washington and the activists across the country say, there is only one certainty if the feds find a way to make it harder for citizens to buy firearms and ammunition legally. It will create another source of income for bad actors while increasing the number of people willing to break the law to protect themselves.


  1. I added quotation marks to highlight that our neighborhood is not crime-free. We have our share of porch pirates, car break-ins, sporadic home burglaries, and occasional domestic disturbances. Some years ago, we even experienced a grisly homicide. By the way, firearms were not used in this homicide.

© oneoldcop.com-2022

Posted in Daily Life, Law Enforcement, Politics, Self Protection, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Groupthink and Social Media

There was a time when the term groupthink brought something like the image below to mind. Everyone went along to survive. Sadly, that image is as antiquated as the floppy disk operating system. Today, groupthink might be more appropriately associated with TikTok and Twitter.

You may think, here’s another nut case who believes people can’t think for themselves. If so, feel free to move on and check your favorite social media platform to see what you’ve missed in the last few minutes. Okay! That was a bit snarky, but your reaction to my comment would say a lot about where you stand in the new groupthink society.

Yes, I said groupthink society. The reality of that term came into focus while finishing up another post, Conspiratorially Speaking. The constant and draining coverage of the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard circus helped solidify my position.

To be clear, I have written about the troll effect that social media brings out in many users before. Many people feel it is okay to say almost anything through social media when they would not say it to someone’s face. At least one would hope they would be more civil when criticizing in person.

The sad thing is that even within their trollism, they live in a groupthink reality. I don’t follow many people on social media for many reasons. I do follow some folks who love to stir the pot at times. The comments some of their followers and friends make are amazing, in a “let me fit in” way.

When a friend complained about property taxes, people rose to support his position in droves. Most supported a state income tax or another form of taxation to fund local public services. Some even referred to other states with lower property taxes as examples of how to support those services properly.

Of course, they completely overlooked the number of people fleeing those states for places such as Texas and Florida. The handful of people who tried to point out flaws in their logic were ignored or chastised for their support of excessive property taxes.

Consider this if you are still reading and feel I am on the wrong track here. Who decides how federal income tax revenue is spent? Who decides how and where state income tax revenue is spent? In both cases, the answer is the central government.

Sure, elected officials are in control of the central governments, to a degree. Theoretically, they are also accountable to the citizens electing them. Often, the reality is most elected officials only pay attention to the electorate when they are running for office or need money for their campaigns or pet projects. The rest of the time, they closely follow the advice of bureaucrats and lobbyists.

At this moment, some who are still reading are nodding their heads knowingly. They are thinking about the money spent by big this and big that to influence politicians. Yet, these head nodders are often side by side with the rest of the lemmings headed for destruction because of false narratives, slanted news, and innuendo pushed on social media.

© oneoldcop.com-2022

Posted in Daily Life, Humor, Leadership, Politics, social media, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Language War: Confusing the Issue?

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog criticizing a grammar program’s caution that I might offend someone with my narrative. It suggested I change the wording of a sentence to be more inclusive.

If you’re interested in the details and the discussion that evolved around it, click the link below to see the blog in question. However, this piece will stand on its own, even if it is a continuation of the rant from Artificially Speaking.

Recently, I was working on a draft for future publication concerning some of the so-called bits of wisdom shared on social media. It is one of those pieces that needs to age a bit before being shared, or deleted. However, as I was trying to wrap it up, the grammar algorithm raised its ugly head again.

The piece in question comments on a meme using the term child as the object of discussion. The meme used the terms “the child” and “a child” to make its point. Accordingly, I used the term child several times without any indication of pronoun preference when referring to the message in the meme. Nothing in the meme, comments about the meme, or my blog referred to gender in any fashion.

The meme’s creator discussed a hypothetical incident involving a hypothetical child. I might have been one of these kids or one of a million others. I analyzed the meme in the same way. Yet, someone, or more likely something, decided that was a problem, and sent the suggestion below.

To me, the suggestion came completely out of left field! The program suggested a pronoun when nothing in the meme or my draft alluded to gender or sex in any way. And, the “Learn more” link simply opened a section that rehashed what anyone with a background in writing would know about pronouns. There was no allusion to why itself would not suffice in this situation.

Please keep in mind that this was a meme discussing a hypothetical person’s response to the actions of a hypothetical child. In analyzing the meme’s message, I used the word child five times, as that was the term used in the meme. Again, “child” was used without any suggestion regarding gender, age, ethnicity, or intellectual level.

It was when I made the mistake of trying to make the child even more of a hypothetical figure the stuff hit the fan! I wrote, “…it is possible the child was trying to defend itself…” The suggestion above was the response to that phrase.

At first, I was a bit confused. My favorite writing aid changed from inclusive to biased in a few weeks. After all, the only thing in the meme or my writing that might suggest gender or sex was the child’s behavior as laid out in the meme.

My first thought was the program or some human accessing the program decided the behavior was masculine. Being the curious, analytical dork I am, I looked into the matter.

It was then I discovered why the program came up with this suggestion. When I searched to find out if the term “itself” would be considered gender-neutral, I discovered the English-speaking world is somewhat divided.

Some writers, educators, and others opined that using “it” when referring to a person is dehumanizing. Others thought it was okay to use “it” for a “baby.” Of course, there was no discussion about when a child was no longer considered a baby.

When does a baby become a child? Can it be referred to as an “it” until it crawls, until it walks, until it can eat solid food, until it can speak coherently, or what?

The bottom line is this. The program wasn’t biased. It, like much of the rest of the world, is confused.

© oneoldcop.com-2022

Looking for artwork for your blogs? Click below to see where I got these.

Little Boy Image

Winter Wonderland

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Soldiers: Then, Now, and Forever

Today, May 30, 2022, we have a twofer. The traditional Memorial Day and the last day of a Congress-crafted three-day weekend fall on the same day. For most folks, that makes little difference. For those who have a personal reason to hold Memorial Day in our hearts it does.

I guess this is better than celebrating the government “holiday” and forgetting the day originally set aside to remember those who died in the service of our country. That happens most other years when May 30th does not fall on the last Monday of the month.

I know! I am a bit of an old fuddy-duddy about some things. For example, Memorial Day should not be the last day of a three-day weekend.  It should be a day of remembrance, contemplation, and memorial, not a “let’s have one more party and get ready for Tuesday” day. 

The names on this wall, deserve more recognition than a three-day weekend.

On the other hand, since it is a government holiday, I feel less remorseful about co-opting it for something akin to Veteran’s Day. Yes, another day that is often confusing to the last couple of generations. Is Veteran’s Day for those who died, are still alive, or what!?

The reality is, individually, we can remember whomever we like. There is no way to make one day sufficient to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice or survived their service but carried the scars for the rest of their lives. For example, the picture below includes a guy whose buddy promised to look him up after Vietnam when they parted company in-country. As with many others, the reunion was not what he hoped.

For me, this year is a bit more confusing than normal. As usual, I want to remember my brother David who was KIA in Vietnam. He was a character, and we were estranged for years. Still, his service changed him, and I was hoping we could become friends again. That hope ended on February 26, 1969.

Also, I am thinking of some friends I lost in the past few months. They served our country honorably in their military and civilian careers, and they are on my mind. This may not be their holiday. Still, as the title of this piece implies, serving in the military is not limited to one’s time in uniform. It is impossible to ignore their passing. RIP Fred, Steve, and Ernie.

My friends did not die in combat, but each has the right to be buried here, just like those who were killed on February 26, 1969, with David.

© oneoldcop.com-2022

Posted in Family Vaules, Patriotism, Veterans, Vietnam | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Conspiratorially Speaking

Recently someone responded to a blog I wrote admonishing me for assuming a conspiracy where none existed. My response was to apologize for not being as clear as possible. I was not proposing a conspiracy but rather a “go along to get along” mentality. That exchange, which ended amicably as far as I can tell, came to mind when I ran across the image below.

My immediate thought was that everyone reading this would think something different. For example, someone who watches Fox News or listens to conservative talk radio would think one thing. A fan of late-night television personalities or CNN might see something else.

The same could be true of a devout Christian and an atheist. For that matter, any two strong-willed people with opposite views, politically, socially, or religiously might see posts like this differently.

Then, I pulled up the homepage for the entity sharing the meme. It is possible to interpret almost all the posts I reviewed as ambiguous, open to interpretation, or propaganda. As one might expect, comments, threads, or whatever one wishes to call the various dialogues illustrated one perspective or another. Now, one might ask, is this part of a conspiracy?

Is this a group of people coming together to sow discord or taint the thinking of those around them? Or is it the brainchild of someone simply finding amusement by pulling others’ chains? The problem with answering this question is complex.

First, if you remember the so-called telephone game, you know distortion of a communicated idea does not require a conspiracy or even conscious intent. It simply requires people willing to repeat things they heard or think they heard without verifying their understanding.

Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay

For instance, I hear something and repeat it to you based on my worldview or understanding. You hear what I say based on your worldview and experience. You share it with someone else, and they share what they think they heard.

Every time the information is shared, it changes. In some cases, by the time it comes back to the person who first shared the information, they cannot believe how distorted it is.

The problem today is that one person can share something such as the item above, and thousands of people will be able to read and interpret it based on their worldview, understanding, and biases. Then they can share it, or their understanding of it, with hundreds or thousands of others.

The bottom line is this. Conspiracies1 still exist, but they are no longer required to spread fear, bigotry, and propaganda. Social media lets people do that without breaking a sweat.

1For clarity’s sake, conspiracy here is not used in the criminal sense, which requires some level of criminal intent. Conspiracy through social media is often more akin to groupthink or trolling.

© oneoldcop.com – 2022

Posted in Daily Life, Political Extremes, Politics, social media, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Who Gives a Poop?

Social Media and the twenty-four-hour news cycle have seriously affected society in the 21st Century. Okay, this is not news to anyone with half a brain and the ability to pay attention to anything more than their smartphone. Still, the depths so-called journalists, writers, commentators, talk show hosts, and others plumb to have something published, posted, or shared is almost unbelievable.

Here’s Why There May Be Poop In Your Lunch

Yes, one could charge I am sinking to the same depths at the moment. However, I have only used the term poop twice in a little over 100 words to make a point, unlike the writer whose work inspired this piece.

I can only imagine a stir-fried Caesar Salad!

The lead story headline on my start-up page the other day was the line above about poop in your lunch. The post continued for over 1,400 words, detailing all the horrible things that could happen to someone who dared to assume eating a salad was healthy.

The story quoted statistics, gave testimony from experts, and generally did its best to make certain anyone reading it would think long and hard about eating raw vegetables. In fact, at one point, an “expert” said people would be wise to cook their lettuce, especially Romaine.

To be as fair as possible, the writer did include comments and statistics that highlighted the low probability of someone contracting a serious illness from a poop-infused salad. The author of the piece also highlighted things consumers of fresh produce could do to minimize the danger.

However, the writer buried those comments in the story after many descriptive sentences detailing how feces could invade an agricultural area, potentially tainting the veggies. Yes, the writer mentioned the risk level after describing, in some detail, problems such as runoff from barns, feedlots, cow pastures, pig pens, chicken coops, and other sources that could potentially contaminate your Ceasar Salad.

The makings of a poopy salad.

Of course, the writer did not stop there. The piece also mentioned all the other sources of contamination. These included bird poop, wild animal poop, and the dried poop that might blow in on a stiff breeze.

So, if you’re not completely pooped out by now, remember one thing. These days, many of the posts online, especially on the start-up page, money-making websites, and certain social media platforms, are little more than clickbait, including poopy articles warning you that your veggies are trying to kill you.

© oneoldcop.com – 2022

Posted in Daily Life, Food, Humor, Journalism, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Speaking of Pain

A bit over two years ago, I wrote a piece titled “Seriously Doc?!.” It was my take on modern medicine’s way of assessing pain or having a patient assess pain. Yes, I am speaking of that tired old question, “On a scale of one to ten, what is your level of pain?” If you want to know why that makes me a bit crazy, you’ll need to read at least part of “Seriously Doc?!

“On a scale of one to ten, ten being the highest, what level is your pain at the moment?”

And why you ask am I bringing up a two-year-old post dealing with a two-year-old incident? Well, I found out recently there are times when you do not need to answer that question. One of course is when you are unconscious or worse, and you cannot answer the question.

Another way to avoid the question is when the decibel level at which you are groaning, gasping, or screaming makes the question redundant. I found that one out the hard way, on the morning of January 20, 2022.

My little lesson on the shortcomings of pain management in the modern age started the evening of January 19 with some serious lower back pain. However, I was able to handle it with OTC pain meds and an OTC sleep aid. Unfortunately, when I awoke the next morning, all the OTC meds in the house couldn’t help me.

The little pain in my back now felt like I’d been headbutted by a Brahma Bull and tossed over the corral fence. Okay, I’ve never been tossed over a fence by a bull, but I had some pretty good shots from Welsh and English rugby players, who thought they’d teach us Americans a few lessons about how real rugby was played. The biggest difference between those pains and getting bucked by a bull I can imagine is that the rugby clubs always provided the beer needed to forget the trauma.

My first clue no one was going to ask about my pain level was when the ambulance team showed up. The lead paramedic took one look at me and started apologizing because he did not have any medication strong enough to completely relieve my pain. Watching his face every time the ambulance hit a bump helped me pass the time on the way to the hospital. Things got really interesting at the hospital, but that is a tale for another day.

So, why the sad tale of woe, without completing the story? Well, due to the distraction of this incident, my plans have been sidetracked a bit. I was in the middle of planning a new web/blog site when this problem arose. I have made some progress and managed to publish a few things, but my new venture has been seriously delayed.

With that said, I hope to have the new site up and running soon. It will focus on the things that try to stop us, you and me, from achieving our goals, completing our plans, and staying on the path set before us.

So, stay tuned as I complete my physical and mental rehabilitation. Hopefully, something here or in the future will help you Keep Knocking someday.

© oneoldcop.com – 2022

Images by Mahmud Shoeb and F. Muhammad at Pixabay

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The Language War: Artificially Speaking

This is not my first piece about the manipulation of language, and it probably will not be my last. The inspiration for this little diatribe was the information in the screenshot below. To me, it is an excellent example of how ludicrous the woke culture’s desire to change the way we speak and think can be.

First, let me make something clear. I do not care how someone identifies, what pronoun a person prefers, or what lengths someone goes to seek a balance between their vision of themselves and their physiology. To the best of my ability, I will honor their feelings on the matter.

With that said, I am becoming more and more perturbed with the grammar police, be the enforcer human or algorithm. For example, consider this comment by an editing program. It popped up when I wrote, “most of the lakes in Texas are man-made.”

Again, I understand it is important to be inclusive and open as much as humanly possible. For decades, I worked with an organization providing diversity, equity, and inclusion training.

We helped community organizations, schools, colleges, universities, corporations, and law enforcement deal with issues of discrimination and harassment.

I co-led seminars on dealing with discrimination in the workplace from south Texas to Connecticut. I also briefed government officials on hate crimes issues in higher education from California to the District of Columbia. In short, I understand and have worked to deal with issues of discrimination, exclusion, and mistreatment by employers, governmental entities, and the average Joe.

So what is my point here? It is this. I understand why many people become concerned when others use terms or labels that can be used to denigrate, directly or indirectly, people they see as different. Still, I am troubled by how some politicians, academics, and other leaders are pushing an agenda that will likely cause more issues than it solves. Consider the “sensitivity” critique I received above.

It is true that some within society may be triggered by the term man-made. However, the solution offered by the editing system I use is confusing and inaccurate. That is part of the problem with attempting to adjust the language to fit the societal biases of the moment.

The fact that human effort helped create a lake does not make it “artificial.” It is still a lake. On the other hand, there are small bodies of water today some might call lakes that are completely artificial, except for the water. You can find such artificial lakes at resorts, planned communities, amusement parks, and other locations.1

The man-made lake about which I was writing when the algorithm admonished me. Looks pretty natural to me. And, for the record, the walkway to the nature area is also man-made, and there is nothing artificial about it either. It is a real walkway over the shallows.

They are artificial for several reasons. The most important is they are not fed by natural sources. Water does not come from a spring, a creek, or a river. The water used to fill these “lakes or lagoons” comes from wells or is piped in from other locations. Bodies of water such as this are no more natural than a swimming pool. Humans completely manufacture them.

On the other hand, a “man-made” lake exists because humans constructed a dam or dug a new channel for a river or creek to form the lake. Once the human efforts were finished, the natural flowing water and rain finished the work.2

I realize some readers may still be scratching their heads, wondering what real difference this makes. They will wonder if I am not splitting hairs, but that is not the case. The reality is that how a lake came into existence is not the issue. The issue is the need to change the language because it might distract or upset someone.

One way to change society or culture is to change the language. Historically, the language evolved with societies or changes such as massive immigration, scientific advances, and similar stimuli. Today, we change the language to meet the agenda-driven outcries of activists, politicians, and others who feel superior to the rest of us.

© oneoldcop.com – 2022

  1. Some might quibble with this comment, but there are companies promoting their services to provide artificial lakes and other bodies of water.
  2. If someone wants to split hairs on this matter, it is possible to claim lakes created through human effort should properly be called reservoirs. However, every reservoir I’ve visited in my life of any size was called a lake by those who lived near it.
Posted in Daily Life, Leadership, Political Extremes, Politics, Uncategorized, Verbal Communication | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments