A Question of Grooming?

Grooming. For most people, grooming is what one does to prepare a horse or dog for a show or competition. Or, it’s the way someone dresses and fixes their hair. In fact, until the 1980s, the terms groom and grooming were innocuous little words one could use without raising an eyebrow.

Then, the Chicago Tribune ran with a story that gave a whole new meaning to these terms. Yes, grooming has become a dirty word to many people because it can describe a process that leads to disgusting, illegal behavior.

So, you ask. Why am I writing about disgusting, illegal behaviors today? Well, there are several reasons. First, there was an incident of grooming involving family members many years ago that still haunts them to a degree. Second, an old acquaintance was recently accused of such behavior, and his response to the accusation reminded me of the old saying, “a hit dog always hollers.”

Finally, there is way too much of this in places where one should feel safe. And, as I have noted before, I am an unapologetic “red-flag-waver!”

Grooming, as it is being discussed here, is nothing new. People, male and female, have groomed others to do their bidding for ages. Whether it was to seduce someone into sexual activity or other activities the person might not have done normally, the process involved a form of grooming.

The incident triggering this piece involved a male teacher who allegedly groomed a female student into a sexual relationship. This occurred more than twenty years ago, but such activity on the part of teachers was nothing new, then or now.

One of my favorite teachers in high school lost her job for becoming involved sexually with a male student. This incident was in the 1960s. Of course, it probably didn’t take a lot of grooming to get a testosterone-fueled high school athlete interested in an attractive older woman.

The preceding notwithstanding, teachers, relatives, coaches, and others working closely with younger people or vulnerable people of any age are not the only problems. Consider a predator who grooms a single mom to gain access to a child. I know of one who met the mom in a singles support group and married her to gain access to her daughter.

I know of another who convinced his wife they should adopt orphans from another country. He raised the boy as his son and groomed the girl to be his lover. He’s in prison, and she is receiving counseling. The other victims of his misdeed, his wife and parents, are doing the best they can to carry on with their lives.

If you or someone you know has been or is a victim of a sexual predator, help is available. One source for information or help is referenced in the image above.

© oneoldcop.com 2022

Posted in Daily Life, family, Family Vaules, Morality, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clothespin Politics

Back in the dark ages, the 1960s and 70s, it was fairly common to hear someone say, “No, I don’t like him, but I’m going to hold my nose and vote for him.” That is how I voted for Trump twice, holding my nose. He’s certainly not someone I’d invite over for dinner, but he got some things done no one else could before the swamp creatures launched an all-out attack.

I’ve written about my concerns with elections in past blogs, including the rather long-winded Tweet This! And, to be completely open, I wrote a version of this post a couple of months ago. However, I decided it wasn’t worth the effort because people have become single-minded when it comes to voting.

I changed my mind last Friday morning while on the treadmill. One of the morning news programs interviewed three potential voters in Arizona concerning the senatorial race. One was dead set on voting for the Democrat because he was pro-choice. One was dead set on voting for the Republican candidate because of border security.

The third hesitated when asked why she was going to vote for the Republican. She finally admitted she did not like him but would vote for him because of the Republican stand on issues that mattered to her. So, at least in one state, with one voter, clothespin politics is still in play, which brings me to this piece.

I was once very proud of Texas voters because we tended to vote for the individual instead of the party. Sadly, that has become harder and harder to do because of the 24-hour news cycle and social media. It is almost impossible to stay informed and objective in the modern world.

Of course, that is to be expected. People are called sheep in the Bible for a reason. We tend to follow the leader, even if he, or she, is leading us off a cliff.

So, maybe it is possible to bring back hold-your-nose or clothespin politics. Hopefully, that is the case because the world in which we live will make certain you know every mistake ever made by anyone who stands up to the establishment. At the same time, those using the establishment to hide their sins will be praised or put on a pedestal for standing up against the evil outsiders.

Of course, some folks may not be able to hold their nose and vote at the same time. If you have that problem, Amazon or Walmart will be happy to ship you a boatload of clothespins for your use and to hand out to friends.

© oneoldcop.com 2022

Posted in Daily Life, Leadership, Political Extremes, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Snoop Kitty and His Fiefdom

I introduced Snoop Kitty, though not by name, in Standoff on the Cul-de-Sac. In Standoff, Snoop stared down a young fox whose family was living in the creek near our street. Since then, I’ve toyed with writing more about Snoop and his exploits, but I didn’t want him to sue me for misrepresenting him on social media. Now, I think he deserves a little recognition.

After all, look at the massive news coverage concerning the royal family in the United Kingdom. Certainly, the homage paid to the late Queen was appropriate. Still, the coverage of the new King, the constant barrage of “What’s going to happen to Harry and Meghan, and the dithering over whether Prince William and his brother will reconcile is growing old.

Snoop’s reign over his little domain is much more interesting in many ways. After all, he is not your average kitty-cat. Nor is he just a feral cat roaming the neighborhood. Snoop has a mission and a plan.

Snoop flying up to see if I have any treats or time to scratch his back.

Every morning he rises and leaves the home of his humans to make certain things are right in his little fiefdom. I see him regularly as I go to the gym, strolling down the driveway of his closest neighbor. Normally, he stops and watches me drive by before continuing his patrol. Occasionally, he plops down on his ample bottom as if to say, “Are you too busy to stop and scratch my ears?”

Staked out on a neighbor’s house, making certain no critters invaded the property.

As I head up the hill, I can see him in the rearview, heading down the street. From that point forward, he patrols the neighborhood, mooching treats off his subjects along the way. In return for the treats, he will spend time protecting the property of those who feed him. He is a nightmare for the other four-legged residents on the street.

Oh! He is not a threat to the other pets. On the other hand, lizards, toads, squirrels, and the occasional possum will feel his wrath should they invade the yard he is protecting at the time. Truthfully, his meow is worse than his bite when it comes to larger creatures, and squirrels climb much better and faster than him. Still, they know to move on, at least for a while.

Snoop saw something moving in the trees. He’s waiting.

Yes, the royals in England and other countries have nothing on Snoop when it comes to taking care of their territory!

© oneoldcop.com 2022

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The Inconvenience of Convenience

Okay, it’s not a rant, exactly. It’s more like letting off some steam to keep my blood pressure within limits set by the NP at the cardiologist’s office. Anyhoo, given the day we had yesterday, the decision for dinner was to order delivery from a place we like but from which we’ve never ordered takeout or delivery. It just seemed the convenient way to obtain a halfway healthy meal.

Boy, were we wrong! First, the website was not the easiest I’ve run across recently. It was pretty, but navigating it was only slightly less difficult than learning programming in the 1970s. Those punch cards were a pain in the lower part of your backside to learn and use.

Then, beyond navigating the site, the design was not user-friendly when tweaking your order. Of course, that took second place to setting up an account so you could finally place the order. Yep! There were no guest orders allowed; you had to sign up.

Since I did not want to start completely over in someone else’s system, I battled my way through setting up an account, validating it by email, and checking out. Whew, I was exhausted.

The good news was the delivery service did a great job keeping me informed. The better news was the quick response once I had jumped through all the hoops necessary to place the order. The notice of the delivery being en route came shortly after the order was confirmed. Even better, the order showed up a few minutes later and was delicious.

Thanks, Doordash!

So my point here? Convenience comes with a price. Sitting on my couch watching NCIS reruns while ordering dinner was convenient. Avoiding driving several miles to pick up the meal was convenient as well. Those conveniences almost outweighed the final inconvenience.

That inconvenience or disappointment was the order itself. The food tasted as good as it did the last time we stood in line to order and eat at the restaurant. However, I ordered with the expectation of leftovers, as I always asked for a to-go container when I dined at the restaurant. That was not the case this time.

These were the smallest portions I’ve encountered in years, anywhere. Also, the lettuce in my wife’s salad included a huge chunk of the core, which was inedible. Had we been in the restaurant, we could have complained, but hey, if we’d gone to the restaurant, we would have been inconvenienced.

Convenience has its price.

© oneoldcop.com 2022

Posted in Daily Life, family, Humor, Writing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Speaking Of Attribution

I’m writing this on a Saturday and the end of a busy week. The active part did not end until noon today, when we wrapped up a three-hour orientation and rehearsal for this year’s Christmas Cantata.1

Now, I’m back home, catching my breath, watching golf, and checking up on friends from neighboring towns to other continents via social media. Okay! Not all of my old friends live on a continent. He lives in the South Pacific, almost 1,800 miles from the nearest continent.

More locally, a friend posted something which reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode. Another’s post shared that he’d happened to run into two other marines while having a cold one the other evening. Still, another shared a bit of wisdom, triggering this piece.

The post was simply the alleged quotation pictured above. Adding the photo and making a potential meme out of it came to mind while I was researching the matter. The observation highlighted in the phrase cited makes great sense; attributing it to someone such as Ralph Waldo Emerson doesn’t.

All right! I was judging based on my own biases about the writings of famous philosophers, authors, public figures, etc. I was also basing my judgment on years of experience separating fact from fiction and myth from reality.

According to two sources, this is a simplistic paraphrase of something Emerson wrote many years before this phrase was attributed to him. It is also an example of something I learned quite well during my years as an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas.

Plagiarism and misattribution are common within professional, academic, and theological circles. In the years I taught, I reviewed numerous papers, reports, and other work that were far from original. I have seen my work used without permission or attribution.

In one case, I wrote a blog about a wonderful sermon delivered by a pastor I know and admire. I blogged about the sermon, and a few weeks later, someone commented on my blog that their pastor had just delivered the same sermon. Of course, the pastor did not mention me or the pastor I wrote about.

My point here, other than venting a little, is this. If you want to be taken seriously, use some common sense. Don’t share everything that sounds neat and is attributed to someone famous without verifying the source. If you just like a phrase and want to share it because it makes sense, share it and don’t attribute it formally.

There is nothing wrong with sharing a post or thought from a comment with a simple acknowledgment you saw it somewhere and liked it. Attributing it to a famous poet, writer, politician, etc., isn’t essential to making your point unless your point is dependent on the quotation coming from the person to which it is attributed.

Take this quotation from my youth, for example. It humorously makes an excellent point, and the person making this point was highly respected by his peers and others. Still, attribution is not necessary as the statement stands on its own.

Starting in the late spring, he would begin to complain about summer and long for winter. Invariably someone would ask him why he was so looking forward to winter. His reply was always the same, ” When it is cold, you can pile on layers, but you can only take off so much when it’s hot!”

1Here’s a link to last year’s if you’ve never been to one of our Cantatas. December 5, 2021

© oneoldcop.com 2022

Posted in Daily Life, Higher Education, Journalism, social media, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Newest Pejorative: Community?

If you do not pay attention to the click-bait and so-called news links on your browser’s home page, you may find yourself out of the loop on so many things you might as well become a monk. Take my experience a few days ago.

First, I learned that a female American celebrity once passed out and ended up in the hospital while “being intimate” with her spouse. She revealed that piece of personal history by including the incident in a recently published book. Of course, the person creating the post’s caption made it sound like the celebrity might have been the victim of domestic abuse or assault. That is not the case, thankfully; just a medical problem.

Not only that, but I was also able to find out about something that might reduce my chances of dementia by 50%. Additionally, I was introduced to the best mayonnaise to use for tuna salad, and I was tempted to check out the results of the current season of Bachelorette. Not really, but the headline was eye-catching!

The thing that got my attention was the story about Chick-Fil-A being a racist organization. Yes, according to an online media outlet, which will remain nameless, the Chick messed up big time. In doing so, the company may have launched a new attack on a commonly used word.

You see, someone commented on their disappointment that the Chick did not offer spicy chicken nuggets. In reply to the criticism, someone noted they would make certain the individual’s community would be the first to know if spicy nuggets made the menu.

I don’t know if these are spicy or not.
Please don’t hold that against me.

According to the article, that initial response caused a handful of comments, less than ten, complaining about Chick’s inappropriate response to the disappointed customer. Then, management decided an answer to those folks was required.

The company assured them the use of the word community was not intended to be offensive. It was just the word they used when referring to the city, town, area, or neighborhood their store served. That did not go over well with a bunch of people.

Yes, you guessed it! The profile picture of the individual grousing about the nuggets was not great, but it appeared the person was other than Caucasian. So, hundreds of people quickly accused the restaurant chain of being racist, and using an objectional term, community, was proof of their racism.

So, if you are tempted to use the term community in your blogging or writing, you may want to reconsider. Here are some alternatives to keep in mind: neighborhood, city, commune, hamlet, town, village, denizens, dwellers, inhabitants, residents, citizenry, culture, people, populace, public, and society!

I might be tempted to skip village, denizens, culture, inhabitants, and one or two others. Still, Merriam-Webster advised that those words were related to community and did not flag any as outdated or offensive.

© oneoldcop.com 2022

Posted in Civility, communication, Journalism, Manners, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Soylently Speaking!

Wondering what the heck the title means? It means you’re not an old sci-fi fan like me, and neither are your social media friends.

Soylent Green was a 1973 sci-fi thriller starring Charleton Heston. It became a popular meme and joke reference recently, as the story was set almost 50 years later, in 2022.

However, this piece has little to do with the movie’s setting. Rather, the basic premise of the film and the tragic death of the actress Anne Heche inspired this piece as well as my last post, Speaking of Drivel. If you’re unfamiliar with the movie and have not clicked on the link above, here is why it triggered my writer persona.

Soylent Green is the story of a society that devolved into what one might call modern-day cannibalism. Due to the mismanagement of the world and its resources, society became dependent on recycled humans for packaged foodstuff labeled Soylent Green.

While we have not fallen to that level of desperation, we may be much closer to the age depicted in the movie than anyone would like to believe. No! We do not take the old, the lame, and ne’re-do-wells and turn them into the foodstuff which sustains society. On the other hand, there may be concerns in other areas of our culture.

If you did not pay attention to the death of Ms. Heche, you likely do not know there was a bit of confusion surrounding her death. It was not the confusion one might expect. The initial cause of death was clear, and it was not suicide or homicide. The confusion concerned when she truly died.

Under California law, she was ruled “dead” on Friday. Medically, in the minds of many, she was not deceased until Sunday. The definition of brain death is the reason for this confusion, which has existed for many years.

In 2016, a doctor published an excellent article on the problems related to the rather malleable nature of the concept of brain death. This article, Brain Death and True Patient Care, clearly lays out the concerns surrounding situations such as Ms. Heche’s death. Of course, it is quite long and written for academe, not normal folks, but there is a “Layperson Summary.” To help things along, I have summarized the summary to a degree below.

The problem is simple. The definition of death could be manipulated to assist in harvesting organs for transplant. No! No one is saying that people are intentionally being allowed to die to provide such organs. The concern is that, given human nature, it might be possible that some are putting a thumb on the scale when deciding if there is any chance the donor might recover.

If something like that is happening, the reason would be the desire to provide potentially life-saving viable donor organs to recipients. That means the question becomes simple. Are doctors encouraged to overlook the possibility that a legally “brain-dead” person might recover?1

One would hope not. Still, as the article referenced above argues, the definition of death has been altered over time in ways that make it easier to prioritize the recipient’s life over the donor’s.

1 While there has been some progress since the 2016 article, similar concerns were expressed in other professional or medical articles since then, and a 2020 article I reviewed indicated efforts to clarify this point may not be answered completely. However, one online journal made an intriguing point, “Patients who are brain dead, however, are considered to have a complete loss of brain function, and there is no way to overturn this – yet.”

© oneoldcop.com 2022

Posted in Daily Life, Ethics, Food, Medicine, Morality, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Speaking of Drivel

As I write this, I am waiting for the AI monitor to flag the word drivel. It flags so many words I use that I wonder if I’m losing my touch when it doesn’t. It will call me out one day for using terms its algorithm feels some readers might not understand. Then, it will praise me in its regular feedback emails for having a large vocabulary. Now, I feel like I’m slipping if I cannot thumb my nose at a suggested change, at least in every other post.

Okay! Sarcasm aside, the drivel about which I write today, again, is social media content. As noted in previous blogs, I am amazed to see so many people, intelligent folks I know personally, falling into the “if it sounds good, share it trap.” Or the “it must be good if so-and-so shared it” trap

Of course, these posts, blogs, shares, comments, whatever, will concern the hot-button issue of the moment. Whether one is speaking of violence, abortion, rampant crime, or anything else that might trigger a reader, someone will post something that is total drivel.1 Then, others will share their nonsense hundreds, if not thousands of times.

The incident triggering my chain of thought here was the death of the actress Anne Heche. In case you missed it, she died twice, at least according to the media.

Some sources posted she died on Friday, and others posted she died the following Sunday. And, wouldn’t you know it, they were both right, technically at least. Still, that is not the strangest bit of news that helps make my point in this piece.

Consider the case of the dead woman who returned to life at the mortuary. Yes, a hospitalized woman was declared dead and transferred to a mortuary. As the mortician prepared to drain the blood from her body, he realized she was alive!

Okay, there were extenuating circumstances in both cases, as in other cases. My point, however, is this. Media sources, from social influencers to major newspapers, are in a hurry. They want to be first! They want to attract an audience. They want to get noticed. So, they will risk looking foolish to be the one getting views.

However, that is not the only point I want to make here. Another is this. We want to be the first to know as a country and a world. In attempting to achieve that goal, we’ve forgotten the dangers of jumping to conclusions.

So, we’ll share the drivel that masquerades as information these days without considering the truth. This becomes especially problematic when discussing laws, practices, behaviors, and desires that could lead to tragic consequences. I know that to be the case from personal experience.2

As the cases mentioned above show, the question of when someone died, or if they are truly dead, can be a problem. As the young woman’s case in Michigan showed, even the medically trained do not always know that someone has really died.

Okay, my final thought on this matter. Our arrogance and biases lead down dangerous trails in other situations as well. We cannot be certain 100% of the time when a human’s life ends. Yet both sides of the hottest button issue today seem to feel comfortable claiming they know when a human’s life begins.

1 I should note that the program did flag the use of the term drivel by suggesting I use nonsense. It hates repetition, even when the repetition is to make a point.

2 If you’d be interested in the story of that particular incident, I wrote about it some time ago, Survival of the Fittest? Warning! It is a bit long-winded as I was trying to make a social and theological point in the same piece.

© oneoldcop.com 2022

Posted in artificial intelligence, Medicine, Morality, Political Extremes, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

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