New Year’s Ruminations

Mark Elliott, Wonder As I WanderOver the years I’ve been duped by more con men than I care to admit--pyramid schemes, door-to-door salesmen of all types (the pots and pans guy had a quality product, though; I still have most of those things 35 years later,) pay to play sweepstakes, Reaganomics,  Bush II’s WMD; you name it and I’ve probably taken the bait.  I’m happy to say that most of the cons, but not all, happened in my youth (still, I should have known better with Bush,) so I learned quickly enough and now I’m pretty skeptical.  Now seems a good time to examine the past year for any lapses in judgment so that I may avoid them if they are ever dangled in front of me again.Politicians were probably the biggest stinkbait to avoid last year, what with the elections and all, and I think I did as good as could be expected; after all, you have to vote for someone. The good news is that it is easier than ever to research the candidates and their platforms, but that is countered by all the bogus information that you have to sift through to get to the truth.  I decided years ago that no news source could be trusted as a stand-alone, unbiased, disseminator of the truth and unfortunately, in the past few decades they have become even more biased and unreliable, to the point where they are mostly propaganda machines for one side or the other.  The candidates themselves aren’t any better; they’ll say anything to get elected.  The only thing you can do is listen to what they say and then see if it jives with what actually happened.  It takes a lot of work, but it’s the only way to make a rational decision.From Hollow-Earthers to Obama-Birthers, from the Mayan apocalypse to the death of the second amendment (I personally think the 2nd amendment is the least vulnerable—most of the others have already been gutted by Homeland Security laws,) people are ready to believe whatever they are told without bothering to do any research into the matter.  The shame of it is that it is so easy to verify the sound-bytes before you collapse from knee-jerking.  The truth is out there, you just have to dig past all the conspiracy nuts, the pundits, the memes, the medical quacks, the fake scientists, new age gurus and the idiots to find it. Dig a little deeper before you get your knickers in a knot.Happy New Year.I can be contacted at smelliott@cableone.netRead other essays at or look at my photographs at