Sometimes we have to laugh to keep from crying...
I had imaginary friends. I had imaginary enemies. I had a whole imaginary world because the real one was populated by few of either and ruled over by an abusive father. I guess I had still have them. You can see them in my stories. They keep me company, sometimes trouble my sleep, but none has ever asked me for a job.
This is the first installment of a new blog category wherein I'm going to reprint my favorite joke or comic of the day. 2013 was too serious and it seems that 2014 may get worse especially as the next Congressional election cycle bears down on us. So this blog will offer a daily respite. Yes, I'm guilty of contributing to the angst (see the next posting). And, yes, it's pure plagiarism of copyrighted material. Hopefully the the owners will forgive me in that I am providing links to the source so that you can follow along with me and increase their audience. After all, shouldn't we reward those who make us laugh?
How will we learn the lessons that history has to teach us if our teachers lie to us? School has a profound effect on children, even those like me who rebelled against authority. This lesson was drilled into me during the early days of the personal computing revolution. Apple invested heavily to influence children. They donated equipment to schools and children were weened on their products. As a result, they entered workplaces with a strong prejudice in favor of Apple and complained bitterly if forced to work on IBM or IBM-compatible computers. The battle took on religious overtones, much like the ideological battles that permeate politics these days. I was constantly amazed at the zealotry of the younger workers.
Combining the influence of educators with adolescents' natural inclination to rebel against their parents, it is easy to see how the political ideology of young adults has been molded by their teachers and professors. This result has the potential to do great harm when the scholastic curriculum is controlled by a state, especially one that is tyrannical. With every passing day, I find new evidence of the insidious nature of Common Core and thank God that I and my children escaped it. Now I worry about the influence it will have on my grandchildren.
Then I discover that the progressives were influencing education in the time that attended school in the late 1940s and early 1950s, even before. I should have known better, but I too was a victim of the propaganda that they infused into my studies.
This point was driven home with a vengeance when I picked up a copy of The Myth of the Robber Barons by Burton W. Fulsom, Jr. Although I am painfully aware of the unconstitutional growth of government in recent times and that it was largely facilitated on the back of the Interstate Commerce Act and a misinterpretation of the commerce clause of the Constitution, I was completely unaware of the manner in which the financial and industrial titans who helped build this great nation were unjustly vilified to help foist progressivism onto the American people. There is little hope of undoing the damage until these lessons are corrected in our history books and our children are taught the true nature of liberty and free markets.
Although Fulsom's book is a scholarly work, it is written in a conversational tone. The characters are three dimensional. Fulsom makes no effort to whitewash the Robber Barons. He merely puts them into perspective. The first step in this process is to divide them into two logical classes: The market entrepreneurs and the political entrepreneurs.
Anyone who keeps up with current events will recognize the political entrepreneurs. They dominate today's headlines. Solindra. Sachs-Goldman. The crony capitalists that we love to hate. The ones who have sucked our national treasures dry. Unfortunately, the market entrepreneurs aren't readily visible today. We must read The Myth of the Robber Barons to find the last vestiges of them being driven from polite society in the modern equivalent of the Salem Witch Hunts.
I feel sorry for any Millennial who reads this book and dreams of inventing, producing and marketing an innovative product or service. Venture capital is only available to the political entrepreneurs who curry favor in Washington. Market entrepreneurs are left with their dreams, languishing in their parents' basements, wondering how they will ever pay their scholastic loans.
I've been accused of plagiarism, not explicitly, but it was implied. Another writer, stung by my review of his work, struck back. It hurt. I didn't consciously attempt to foister someone else's writing as my own. I might have unconsciously. The memory is a tricky thing at my age. I can still sing commercial jingles from the 50s but have a hard time remembering what I had for breakfast. That's why, in my response to his assertion, I asked for a citation of the work he suspects that I plagiarized. Thus far, no reply.
Why is plagiarism so bad? It's not a mortal sin, is it? The victim of plagiarism may sue for monetary damages under the law of torts if a case can be made that copyrighted intellectual property is involved. (Be cautious here. Under international treaty, almost everything published, especially on the Internet, is assumed to be copyrighted even if it is not accompanied by a copyright notice.) However, it's not a crime. Still, I was surprised by my reaction to his comment and have given a lot of thought to the subject.
I've reached the conclusion that my hurt is based in my pride of authorship. I don't always like everything I create, however, this piece is one of my favorites and the theme may be reprized in a more substantial story. I can only surmise that if I plagiarized another author's work, they too would feel similarly violated. Thus, even though committed unintentionally, I would immediately withdraw the piece, apologize, and transfer any earnings to the true author without hesitation. Thus, the aforementioned request for a citation of the story that inspired the implied charge.
Here's your chance to chime in. The story is Santa's Secret. It was posted on my blog as well as VentureGalleries.com and Readwave.com. The commented that inspired this posting came on Readwave. Please let me know if you ever saw the story anywhere else and tell us what you think of plagiarism. Have you been a victim?
I'm sorry that I've been absent from my blog this past week. I've been busy learning about surfing the web with a mobile device. My wife and I just got one, a smart phone. It was a strange coincidence that it came within hours of receiving an offer from iPage for a goMobi Site Builder. (Did I ever mention how much I love iPage? You may take this as an unsolicited endorsement.)
GoMobi is extremely easy to use (says the man who once was an internet website architect). Well, I still think it's usable by anyone who can operate a computer word processing program. I had my mobile website on line within 20 minutes from the first time I saw this interface. Of course, I spent the next week fixing it, transforming it into a marketing tool. After all, what's the point of all this if it doesn't help us sell books (or whatever we're in the business of selling).
Why bother? Depending upon whose report you trust, somewhere between 17% and 28% of all web traffic consists of users with mobile devices (smart phones and the like). If the pundits are to be believed, this percentage will grow exponentially. Now that I've acquired and played with a smart phone, I can easily believe them.
Surely you've seen QR Codes on products and storefronts. They're popping up everywhere. Just turn on your QR Scanner App and point your smart phone at one and you'll be directed automatically to a webpage with marketing information.
I'm experimenting with a marketing campaign to distribute cards with my mobile website QR Code (illustrated above) to places where people wait: Where they wait while their car is washed, while the barrista prepares their Caramel Brulée Latte, while their tires are rotated and balanced, while they wait for their doctors to catch up on their appointments... You get the idea.
I also provide a PDF document with multiple copies of this wallet-size card so that people can carry the QR Code with them. You can access it by clicking the image of my QR Code on my website Home Page and my blog. The PDF document displays eight copies of the card. The extras are for their friends and family.
My mobile website features quick access to three pieces of Flash Fiction as well as samples of my books. Of course, there are links to the sites where they can be purchased.
Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to hit the streets and find some places where people wait so I can leave my card. Please feel free to download and print the PDF document for yourself. If you drop them off at places where you wait, I'll be happy to return the favor when you develop your own mobile website.
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...or whenever the spirit moves me. Enjoy.
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