Thursday, September 12, 2013

News Pastries

News appeals to me like a patisserie to a pastry lover. If you have ever gone into one of those dens of iniquity in Paris, France or Garden Grove, California, it is a tormenting experience. Tough choices to be made at every turn; a chocolate croissant or a tarte aux pommes; a brioche or an oven-warm baguette slathered with butter and jam...

When I open my email inbox every day, I am confronted with a similarly tempting array; a plethora of news stories from sites which have already filtered out the best of the best stories, not to speak of the online NY Times edition. I scan the headlines looking for the juicy tidbits that will fill the mind with "ah-has!" informing my world with new information that either confirms old information or introduces new ways to rouse my ire and stoke the fire of righteous indignation. And then there are the stories that are bypassed as mere static for the brain.

An almost infinite variety could be offered for discussion but then we would have to be super computers, not humans with limited concentration or time choices. But two goodies stood out today that I would like to serve up as food for thought.

Menu A
Vladamir Putin's Op Ed article in the NY Times: a kinder, gentler Vladamir has now shown his face to the American public. You know, the guy who likes to jet ski and ride horses, the regular guy who is just like us fun loving Americans. Although his ever-so-sane plea to use the United Nations as an arbiter in the Syrian conflict is a good one, his memory is highly selective. Kind of like a parent who says, "Don't do as I do, do as I say." Does anyone remember the fable Little Red Riding Hood or the Trojan Horse that the Greeks used as a ruse to enter the city of Troy? Or perhaps another interpretation for the less cynical: could this be the dawning of the Age of Aquarius?

Menu B
Who knew that Facebook might be the petrie dish for a global explosion of MPI? Mass Psychogenic Illness, historically known as “mass hysteria,” is when people unconsciously believe they've been exposed to the same toxic experiences as others and then experience the same symptoms although they have not in reality been exposed to those toxins. Believed to have been the disorder of those poor little witchlettes that were hung following the Salem witch trials, apparently the same MPI disorder has just been spotted in that very same town of old. Luckily for this modern group of teenage girls who are hiccupping and nose twitching en masse, the only trial might be one invented by a drug company to patent a new block buster medicine. The concern of the social scientist studying this peculiar behavior is that the Facebook might provide a novel way of spreading MPI just as effectively as town gossip was in 1693.

And for whoever has taken time out of their precious day to read this blog, here's the news of the day -  a wish for you - that everything that comes your way today be for the highest and greatest good of ALL.


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