Questioning Knowledge

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Knowledge is a collection of facts, information, skills, understandings, connections, and applications for personal, professional, and societal use. We gain knowledge through life experiences and formal & informal education.

The body of knowledge is everything humanity knows – the width and depth across a vast sea of topics and generations – yet, nobody comes close to knowing everything. However, I ask a few questions: Is knowledge power? Is knowledge valued? Is knowledge authority? Does knowledge have a role in accountability?

There is no doubt that humans are wired for discovery, learning, thinking, and interactions. To interact within the human world, we have a variety of communication skills; the ability for critical thinking, decision making, and reasoning; and display a wide range of emotions. We are also protective, selfish, biased, and even prejudiced.

Being social beings, humans form tribes for sharing, reciprocity, protection, and identity – tribes based on politics, religion, nationality, race, age, gender, philosophy, and other associations – plus a dogmatic creed to follow. 

Today’s world is one with 24-hour news and social media with instant feedback and opinions – a world of alternative facts, biased news, cancel culture, conspiracy theories, dark money, deep state, disinformation, echo chambers, elitism, fake news, misinformation, paranoia, political correctness, postmodernism, revisionist history, trolling, and woke – a world dominated by the obnoxious and biased partisans – some are even bigoted – let alone the distortions and brazen, prolific lies by elected officials and tribal zealots with a microphone. Given all the above and more, today’s world clouds the public’s ability to determine truth.

Life surrounds us with information: truths, falsehoods, distortions, misconceptions, misleading conclusions, and probably more. Think of our environment as a “marketplace of ideas” where people can individually select items to determine what they think is right. It may not be the same as deciding which spaghetti sauce to buy, but a person does select what to believe. 

Today’s world is one where tribal identity polarizes and promotes animosities by driving ideology and perception. While demonizing other tribes, does anyone see themselves as biased and prejudiced? Then again, that’s nothing new because history provides many examples from our past of dominating others through human selfishness, power, and greed. 

What is new is that today’s world lives in the digital age – a time when news travels fast and people quickly react before getting the facts – a time when tribal members select a news source stating what they want to hear while software notes our clicks then feeds information supporting one’s preferred views. Today is a time when we reward quick, impulsive, emotionally anonymous responses over authority, reliability, and professionalism.

Gone are the days of agreeing on shared facts while differing interpretations and suggested solutions. How can we have meaningful dialogue without agreement on the facts? How can we find meaningful solutions without meaningful dialogue? Is knowledge still power? Do we know the difference between right/wrong and agree/disagree? Are opinions knowledge? Can people challenge their own biases if it threatens their tribe or identity? Have we muddled the difference between ignorance and stupidity? Do we live in a time when people demonize authentic and accurate resources because their information is counter to the tribal creed? Are people believing anything because they trust nothing?

Although this post is not a book review, The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth by Jonathan Rauch is interesting and thought-provoking. I found it in my local library. However, I’m confident reader biases will influence their opinion of the book. 

Wordless Wednesday – Smog Alert

I cannot help but share the skies today.  Wild fires are burning all over the provinces of Quebec (and Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and out west) and we can smell them all the way in Montreal and where I live despite them being hundreds of miles away.  The first two are the morning sun and the last the late afternoon smog.


The world had gone simple.

It’s the thing I remember most of all from the dream; how quiet everything had become. The sounds of our everyday existence had been silenced by the awful truths of a species unleashed. All of that vitriol had spilled out of us and it painted a biblical reckoning that had served to put humanity to sleep. A war . . . no, it was several wars from the looks of it, had diseased the great big world. It was the kind of involvement that possessed nations large and small and from every corner. They had wrought an irreconcilable finality whose horrors were saved for the few who remained witness. The details would never be catalogued in memoriam; the participants would never be vilified and heralded. No one would ever be remembered.

My shoes crushed pieces of the old world as I waded the middle of a once bustling avenue, my eyes deciphering landmarks stretching out before me as if a foreign language. The smell of death permeated my insides with each breath I took as my legs attempted to remain steady in spite of the convulsions that were setting my stomach on fire. Steel structures had been peeled into cursive branches while stone buildings had been reduced to dust. The innards of cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, vans, taxi cabs and trains were scattered in every direction; their muted colors gave the appearance of exploded baubles.

I navigated a breeched sidewalk that had been tilted upwards in a ten foot high wave whose semblance both terrified and captivated me. On the other side of the weeping pavement was the entrance to a hospital, or what was left of it. The gaping wound had transformed its former iteration into a sad and twisted irony of the horrors it had succumbed to. As I struggled to gain access to the shelter, I realized this had once served as the ER department. It seemed impossible to believe this place had once played host to a vast spectrum of purposes as I trudged over charred plastic and synthetic dirt. I remained still as death as my ears searched for any sounds, but there were none; no static laden voices commanding the attention of doctors, no wheels scratching the linoleum floors, no crying or cursing or pleading for someone to take away the pain. Worse than this, nothing had replaced that which came before it; no stray cats or dogs, not even that urban legend about cockroaches.

As I walked further into the labyrinth, I found a wing that had gone untouched to the catastrophe. Panels of LED lighting flickered me down one hallway and into the next like a string of cracked dominoes. This final sliver of normalcy was most likely the result of a complicated arrangement of emergency backups that would serve as the last rites to the facility. And it was at the very moment I had become resigned to living out whatever time that remained for me in solitude that they appeared as straight from the pages of some macabre fable. We were separated by several feet, their backs remained to me as if taunting me with hope. But I knew there was none to be had. Even in the dream, I knew.

It was a nurse, pushing a young boy who couldn’t have been more than twelve years of age, if that. They remained still for however long a time it was; in dreams, time means even less than it does in our waking hours. And then the boy turned his head in a one-hundred and eighty degree twist, his eyes soaked in blackness as his face remained as stubborn as granite. And when he spoke, he told me how the disease had come calling. He explained to me, in excruciatingly fine detail, what happens when the body is assaulted from the inside out. Never once, not once, did his eyes blink or his facial expression twitch as he divulged this information. And once he had finished speaking, I knew it was the end for me. The disease had been transferred, which had been the whole point of this interaction. The intent was not for him to be saved but rather, for me to join him in the abyss.

Just then, a panel of lights went stillborn. And then another and another until I was drowning in the silence. Everything went still as my soul attempted to weep but found nary a tear with which to do so. It was inside the nothingness that I recognized the only hope that remained was in the fact this was a dream.

And then I awoke.

Oscarisms, Drinking With Redcoats and Diss Management

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go — Oscar Wilde

If ever there was a book you could probably judge by its cover, it’s Canada. So when I heard tell that a new coworker hailed from Ontario, I violated my own personal treatise and introduced myself. To add insult to my injurious adaptation, I did so with small talk.

I refer to this individual as Sith Rogen or Kea-No Reeves or William Shitner. I’ve also used Michael Booblay and The Weakened. What I refuse to do is refer to him by his actual name. Unless it happened to be Dildohead Do-Right, which unfortunately, it is not.

I’m ashamed of myself for having created what I can best describe as a Social Butterfly Effect; which happens when I shed my somber, cranky manner and replace it with a cordial, welcoming imposter who possesses the mistaken belief that I really should be more outgoing.

I know full well what happens when you assume and may Oscar Wilde forgive me from his balcony perch in the solar system for being simpler than Simon on this count. Because I would have bet Terry Bradshaw’s money that the new guy would be an affable fellow who would regale us with stories of his many ice fishing citations. I imagined he might even show us his scars from all those heated curling competitions. He sports an unkept mess of a beard, which I took to mean he had fostered polar bears and had a mooseburger recipe at the ready. You know, typical Canadian stuff.

Nope, this guy is a total dick sandwich. If he was a weather event, meteorologists would coin him a fuckstorm. He’s a whine spritzer with the personality of a failed paperweight. Engaging in a conversation with him is akin to paying a bill. He puts the poo in poutine.

There’s another old saying I will reference here. It says that if you don’t have anything good to say about someone, don’t say anything at all. To which Imma add an addendum . . .

Unless that someone has the personality of a rabid hyena.

. . . . because as far as old sayings go, I refuse to give any credence to a writer who tossed back shots with bitter veterans of a foreign war that didn’t go the way they imagined. Apologies to Charles Caleb Colton and all the British veterans of the Revolutionary War but I gotta draw the line somewhere.

So anyways, after restoring my social circuitry to its original factory settings, all interactions with Michael J. Fuckhead were thusly avoided in order to prevent me from gifting him with the five finger death punch. I would love to say it was because I wished to avoid an international incident but that would be a lie. Hell, if I thought it would get Trudeau and Biden to show a pulse, I’d be on it like bacon on a burger. Nah, the reason I steer clear of this mosquito zit is because being charged with assault and battery means jail time, and my ass wouldn’t be getting any rest in jail. Literally.

“He really IS an asshole!”

This was my work pal Nicole’s expert evaluation mere days after she made fun of me for making fun of him. I explained to her that I don’t talk shit about a person unless it’s incredibly well deserved. It took her all of five minutes around him to understand.

“Hey, thanks for the validation that I never really needed in the first place . . . you’re the best!”

I’m pretty chill in my certain age but I still have a mental briefcase inside of which resides a key, that once turned, euthanizes all euphemisms and delivers pithily plotted nuclear spirals at any pit stains who piss in my parking space. But I feel as if to unleash hell on Wayne Putzsky is like wasting prime time material on a cable access channel so unless it’s absolutely necessary, I’ll keep my hound in the house.

Besides, I still have that call to Uncle Sal in my back pocket.


Into Every Life, A Little Yin Must Yang

Zeus - King of the Gods

Praying to Zeus worked better than a call to my Uncle Sal: A trip to the car wash is a window into the downfall of humanity. It’s where all hope goes when it wants to get lost, which is why I always try to make the scene after hours in order to avoid the lines. Last weekend I gave it a shot mid afternoon.


Lemme preface this by saying that I tend to be a wand guy, preferring it to the claustrophobically inclined automatic touchless which offers zero guarantees that you’ll make it out alive (Yeah, I read the fine print). The port I chose to wait behind featured a husband and wife team who cleaned their fifteen year old Honda Civic as if it were the Hope Diamond. After which they broke out their shammy towels, which is obviously against the rules. There were three possible outcomes if I decided to call them on this. One, they apologize and move. Two, it gets stupid quickly. Three, they ignore me and . . it gets stupid a little less quickly. I chose the fourth outcome and got the fuck out of there whilst cursing my newfound diplomatic nature. Alas this temporary annoyance was resolved soon thereafter.

It rained the next morning.

Bud Light on us': Budweiser parent now offering money back to customers to boost sales

Making (Bud)Light of the latest fifteen minute boycott: When conservatives joined together to condemn Anheuser Busch for promoting transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney last month, it begged me to ask the question.

Culture wars. What are they good for?

This particular petty party is really the muchest of ados about absolutely nothing. Anheuser Busch isn’t going anywhere and if the flatlining continues long enough, they’ll simply rebrand and reload and nobody will even remember this latest boycott. Thing is, I didn’t even know who Mulvaney was until these conservatives introduced me, so guess what? Her brand will be just fine as well.

I shouldn’t complain too much seeing as how Bud Light 24 packs are going for less than four bucks right now, and I need to stock up on water for the summer.

Hitting rock bottom (again!) with my B movie addiction: My list of regrettable cinematic excursions is something I’ve cultivated over several decades. Crystal meth would’ve been easier but I was never much for Nick Nolte impersonations. I am the B movie keeper whose extensive collection of anti-classics includes Attack of the Killer Clowns, Samurai Cop, Maniac Cop, Manos: The Hands of Fate and Birdemic. And while the guys at RiffTrax aided and abetted in a fair share of my rock bottom moments, the truth is, I was a lost cause long before I ran into them. But Cocaine Shark proved to be worse than any of them, which is saying lots . . . and nothing much.


I gave up on Cocaine Shark after ten minutes because it was as if a bunch of middle schoolers had gotten hold of a Power Point presentation and murdered the soul of all things proper and good. And I can imagine Ed Wood’s reaction to this diaper inferno would’ve been something like, Oh hell nah!

Derrick White buzzer beater: Celtics force Game 7 vs. Heat following chaotic final two possessions | Sporting News

Why the games will always matter: You can’t get any closer than my Miami Heat got on Saturday night. Three seconds separated them from their second trip to the NBA finals in four seasons. And then in the blink of an instant replay, it was all gone and now they’ve got to ship up to Boston and pray that Jimmy Butler has one more big game left in his arsenal.

But if my only takeaway from the Celtics buzzer beating dagger was heartbreak, I’d be doing this sports thing all wrong. I can’t hate the fact that my team lost what might’ve been its best chance to play into June, because if you would’ve told me they would have any chance at all a couple months ago, I’d have taken it.

Maybe Jimmy has one bullet left in this showdown, and maybe he’s all out. And you know what? Either way, I’m going to love this guy for everything he’s meant to the organization since he showed up for work in Biscayne Bay. And those band of undrafted misfits and their Hall of Fame coach too. Because together they made it further than anybody could’ve predicted, and they gave me moments that don’t get stolen away if Game 7 goes to the other guys. There is no shame in what has been a magical ride. Tonight will serve as Miami’s high noon, where we look forward to next week or wait till next year.


When Making History Goes Wrong

With my beloved Miami Heat threatening to snatch defeat from the jaws of certain victory in their series against the Boston Celtics, I got to thinking. And once I was finished contemplating the miracle of life and Grimm death whilst sipping on a robust selection of Bukowski, I decided to compile a list. This particular collection involves those moments in history when the frosting never made it onto the cake. Call it bad cosmic sushi or a faulty altar, call it having the odds in your favor and then getting mugged by those very same odds.

You remember when Warren Beatty was handed (and then read) the wrong envelope at the 2017 Academy Awards show, after which La La Land was celebrated for having won Best Picture for about a minute and a half? Well, this list is sorta like that with the only difference being, the participants couldn’t even blame Warren Beatty.

A top five you say? Como no! . . . .

7 charts that explain why Hillary Clinton lost in 2008 — and why she's winning in 2016 - Vox

Hillary’s “Inevitability” Goes Missing: The other Clinton possessed everything it was going to take to score the democratic nomination in 2008; Married to the first democrat to win two terms in half a century gave her the political brand. Influence gave her the advantage on a national stage. And money, she had more money than anyone. Hillary navigated a series of unfortunate events at the tail end of 2007 while maintaining a solid lead in the polls over some guy named Obama. It was all set up for her in what Terry McAuliffe referred to as an “inevitable” conclusion. And then she lost Iowa .  . . and then Obama’s grass roots appeal caught fire . . and well, you know the rest.

The Lone Ranger (2013) - IMDb

The Loneliest Ranger: You have Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and a fleet of rock solid character actors in a story with enough appeal to draw enough eyes to at the very least break even. It was released as summer was just getting started back in 2013 and none of that seemed to matter. This flick is believed to have lost as much as $200 million dollars. Now, I could understand if this beast broke even but this?! They obviously needed Warren Beatty.

2004 ALCS Game 7 Highlights | Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees - YouTube

Slide of the Yankees: In 2004, this storied rivalry added a chapter that nobody but Curt Schilling saw coming as the Bosox flipped the script on the long running hit show “The Curse of the Bambino!”. The manner in which Boston stormed back after being down three games to none was shocking, especially considering New York had taken Sox pitchers to the woodshed in Game 3 by a score of 19-8 as the Beantown scribes wrote up their epitaphs for the local team. The Yankees took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth of game four in Boston with Mariano Rivera’s legendary arm toting the final three outs that stood between the pinstripes and another pennant. And then a different kind of history got busy writing itself as Dave “Fucking” Roberts hustled the tying run across the plate and then Big Papi Ortiz sent the fans home happy. Less than a week later, Babe Ruth retired to Boca Raton.

How the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead against the Patriots in Super Bowl 51 | Sporting News

The Atlanta Falcons Make Patriotism A Bad Word: When the Falcons took a 28-3 lead on Tom Brady’s New England Patriots late in the 3rd quarter of Super Bowl LI, the seventeen year long national football league nightmare appeared to finally be coming to an end. Matt Ryan was about to become the most reviled man in Boston and the most beloved just about everywhere else. And then they kept playing and I really wish Warren Beatty had been a referee that day. Okay, now I’m piling on to the Falcons misery, and Warren Beatty’s. Both.

Okay, I realize that’s only four but in the name of public decency, I can’t go on. Four is sufficient . . You listening down there in South Beach? FOUR is all you need! You have three of these fuckers already so let it be Jimmy Time tonight and get this thing over with before you become the wrong kind of trivial pursuit question, coo?

Good thing it’s a drinking night . . .



From The Archives: Clowns To The Left Of Us, Danger To The Right

It’s leftover day here at Sorryless, and we’re dishing up a vintage selection from August 10th of 2021. This piece chats up the information age we have refurbished into a steel cage match dynamic. Because having an opinion means never having to say you’re sorry, even when you are. 

As a two scoops for the price of one special, this post also happens to be relevant to the Lebron James vs Michael Jordan GOAT debate that so many sports talking heads use to fill the time while they pretend to be journalists. I dropped the mic by issuing MY opinion on the matter and I happen to be right.

Just saying!

Is it possible to have too much information at your fingertips?

The question came to me as I was watching two sports analysts go at it on a debate show recently. The topic of conversation had to do with the best NBA player of all time. This isn’t something the vast majority of the population gives a flying Wallenda about, to be honest. But these guys deliberated until they had created a dually believable narrative, whittling it into a potent mash. Of course, well enough wasn’t left alone for very long, and as often happens inside this time of nonsense and instability, the shit went south. Further south than a Lynyrd Skynyrd Key West tour.

The succinct nature of their respective points soon gave way to a volatility whose pitch was a bitch, on wheels. And so the evaporative nature of modern discourse held sway until I stopped trying to figure out whose opinion was most valid and started wondering who was going to break out a “Yo mama!” first.

Of course, I recognize that information doesn’t fool people . . people fool people. But armed with enough information, anyone with half a brain can paint their argument into Van Gogh. And half the room will toast the bold and dramatic brushstrokes while the other half of the room reaches for a carving knife with which to cut off their ears.

The touchstone, regrettably, has been bastardized. As if Rob Zombie got hold of the Constitution and turned our fundamental principles into a kill count. Educated opinions have given way to a zealotry that seeks to deify even the most corrupt of men. Meaningful dialogue has been relegated to the ash heap thanks to dissociative politics that attempts to guilt us into confessing to crimes we didn’t commit.

What good is having all this information at our fingertips if we’re going to dis- it and mis- it into an interpretation?

During this sports debate, as the decibel levels increased, so to, did the tells; those easy to miss points of entry that had been glossed over initially were now much easier to hear. Both sides, using their information not as a map, but as a boxing glove with which to punch out their opponent. Much the same way a peaceful transfer of power might stage a coup, or a state might flout the concerns of a pandemic, or a city council might consider me the enemy because I’m an aging white dude.

I don’t know how we can possibly achieve a middle ground, because to quote Buffalo Springfield, nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong. And I have not a blessed answer residing under my cap, except for one.

Michael Jordan . . . duh.



The Art Of Misremembering

I hate clichés.

Granted, not as much as I hate war, racism or gun violence. Those tragic trinkets of humankind’s diary are far worse propositions than a betrayal of original thought ever could be. I could never hate clichés as much as I hate the undeserving slice of American niche that Applebee’s broadens its britches on. And the only reason I don’t hate the unimaginable popularity of Jim Belushi more is because that magical marquee of a last name keeps his vastly more talented older brother in the building.

Still, clichés crook my nook. They nada my colada. Clichés are the better ideas gone stillborn. And they are everywhere; from our favorite team’s aversion to success to some wealthy ass-hat’s predictable relationships to sayings that really should have been left unsaid.

Those were simpler times

You don’t hear this one a lot more today, you simply hear it as often as you probably heard it say, twenty years ago. Or forty, depending on your age. Your parents heard it a shit ton themselves. And believe it or not, your grandparents . . yeah, they heard it plenty.

I’m fairly certain I’ve uttered these words before and I’m even more certain that I hate myself for having done so. Because it’s candy coated pretense that’s being served up in artificially flavored past tense by someone yapping in the present tense and that is way too much tense for the empty calories it’s supplying. To put it nicely, whenever someone bemoans our present circumstances by waxing poetically about our past, they are being insincere. To put it less nicely, they’re lying their ass off. The only thing worse than the bemoaners are the piners. Because while the former group is merely being expressively unsophisticated, the piners are just being whiny. Or winey. And sometimes . . . both.

Listen, we sure as shit are up against it these days. Everything is way more expensive and way less dependable. Cities are under siege, most of our leaders have eloped with Becky Sharp and the Doomsday Clock now sits a scantily clad ninety-seconds away from Boom, sans the Shaka Laka.

The fine print on our day to day business ain’t beautiful, but that doesn’t mean the rearview was all sushi and Rembrandt. Take for instance, the middle ages where almost a quarter of the population was broke. Back then, most people celebrated their thirtieth birthday by being dead. In the 1800’s, people buried half their clan on cross-country road trips and it was considered a success! The early 20th century was a brave new world unless you were a toddler, since the child mortality rate sat at a robust thirty percent. If you were lucky enough to make it to your tenth birthday, you celebrated by going to work in a factory and if that didn’t kill you either, welp . . scoring a fake ID on your 14th birthday so’s you could join the Great War? Probably did. If you made it through that shit storm of an existence, you had the Great Depression to look forward to.

The point is, things were never simple. Hell, most of the peeps who write love letters to the past probably didn’t even live through it, and if they were alive, they’ve probably forgotten all the terrible shit they went through. And do you know why they forgot it? Because they were busy thinking about how much simpler the future was going to be. A little too ironic . . .

Don’t cha think?