Archive for the ‘Deep Thoughts’ Category

Thought provoking.

Do you believe in signs? As in those times when it seemed that someone, somewhere was trying to tell you something? I didn’t for most of my life. However, over the last several years things have happened that made me change my mind. What follows are six experiences I or my close friends have had where things pretty much defied explanation.

Back in 1996 I lost my best friend and brother-in-law Jigger. Jigger was a great guy, loved by many, and was involved in education his entire professional career as a teacher, guidance counselor and finally a principal. After his death several strange things happened that caused me to pause and wonder what was happening. One of these instances occurred at his funeral, which was held in his hometown of Bainbridge, Ohio. The casket had been lowered into the ground and we were listening to the preacher give a final prayer. Just after he said the word, “amen” the 3:00 pm dismissal bell rang at the elementary school behind the cemetery. We all just sort of looked at each other with raised eyebrows.

Coincidence? Probably.

But other things can’t be attributed to pure chance. For instance, a couple days after Jigger’s death my sister received some checks he’d ordered in the mail weeks prior. The problem was that the checks had her name on them, not his. That one was a little harder to explain.

In 1999 I lost another good friend, this time it was Tim. Tim is the only person who I ever felt appreciated the Beatles as much as I did. We’d talk for hours about them, arguing about song lyrics or album covers, the relevance of certain songs, who was the most talented Beatle. I was always a Lennon guy, he leaned towards McCartney. We used to argue about which was the greatest Beatles album. He always said it was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and I always argued for Abbey Road.  We could never come to an agreement on that one, debating for hours on end over which was the greatest album.

On the day of Tim’s funeral, after the burial I went down to my basement where I had a bar, my library, and my music collection. I made a drink, sat down on my couch and laid my head back, just trying to unwind after a trying day. When I finally looked up, though, something caught me eye. A CD had fallen from among the hundreds from on my shelves and was on the floor, right in the open, where it had inexplicably landed right in the middle of the room.

The album was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. 

It seems that Tim had gotten the last word.

A couple years ago I lost Andy, another lifelong friend. He lived in Florida, and after his death myself and another mutual friend Tom made the drive down to Florida for his memorial. On the way home we were talking about Andy and a song the three of us used to sing to each other. One of us casually mentioned that it would be just like Andy to cause that song to pop up on the radio. You know, as a sign. Soon after that Tom saw a blown semi-truck tire on the road and said aloud, “You know, I see those blown tires all the time but I’ve never, ever seen it happen in person.” Next thing you know we were passing an 18-wheeler and BOOM, that very thing happened, not 5-feet from us. It seemed like Andy had chosen another way to give us a sign.

Last June my sister Karen passed away pretty suddenly. After her burial I went to a local bar to meet some friends who knew I needed them. It’s a small place, it was early, and I was the first person there. The bartender asked if I wanted some music, I said yes, and she went over to play some tunes.

The first song she played? The Long and Winding Road by The Beatles, one of my big sister’s favorite songs. I asked the bartender why she chose it and she said, “I don’t know. It just came to me.” 

You know, I’m pretty sure it didn’t “just come to her.” I mean, what are the odds?

This last story involves my sister as well. A couple that was very close to Sis, Shelley and Joey, were at the beach on their summer vacation the day of my sister’s memorial. The memorial was to begin at 2:00 pm, and as they sat on the beach talking and thinking about her they decided to have her favorite drink, a Rum & Coke, in my sister’s honor. Neither had any money on them and they wanted to have the drinks at precisely 2:00, so Joey got up to run back to their room to grab some cash to buy the drinks at a nearby Tiki Bar. Then, just as Joey stood, he looked down in the surf. There, floating right up to him, was a $10 bill.

That $10 was exactly what they needed for the drinks.

They just looked at it, then each other, and knew it was a sign.

And these six aren’t the only things that have happened. I have a few other incidents that gave me pause as well and caused me to wonder if there was something other than coincidence was going on, something bigger than all of us.

The Universe? God?

What to you all think about this? Have you been given any signs?

“Some day even the experts will figure out that crime is not caused by rap music, but by a power structure of self-absorbed property owners so brain dead and stupid they won’t even see that if you’re too damn greedy to pay taxes for schools and services, they’re not going to be any good anymore! And that uneducated time bombs are a very poor investment as a future work force. And if you go on teaching people that life is cheap, and leave them to rot in ghettos and jails, they may one day feel justified in coming back to rob and kill you. Duh!”

Jello Biafra

I actually attempted two websites before this one and neither really caught on. The first was called Rock Hard Times and was all about music. The second was called The Inside Handshake and stuck exclusively to sports. Then one day it hit me – why limit myself to one subject? Hell, I have opinions and observations on other stuff as well. Why not open it up to everything? Music, sports, politics, science, entertainment, nature, the list was endless. Thus was born Shoe: Untied, a play on my name along with the idea of sort of letting loose (actually a friend of mine came up with the title and I liked it). Anyway, as you know the site turned out to be a pretty eclectic one, and that’s the way my crack staff and I like it.

One thing I discovered early is that you can never, ever predict what people will like. Sometimes I write something I think is great and get very little response. Other times I write something that I feel is sort of trivial and it just blows up (see drunk pig blog below). Like the title says, it defies explanation.

With that said, here is our annual year-end report and Top 25 Most Popular Blogs for 2018. We’ll start with #1 and work our way down. Just click on the title if you want to take a gander.

Australian Pig Steals 18-Beers From Campers, Gets Drunk, Fights Cow

Yes ladies and gentlemen, a short little article I posted along with my observations back in 2014 got over 500,000 views this past year. For you non-mathematicians, that’s over half a million people. Seriously man, it was about a drunk pig. See, a radio station out in Seattle happened upon my site, liked the post, and put a link to that story on its website. Then the Aussies got hold of it and the rest is history.

UPDATE: Drunk Australian Pig That Started Fight With Cow Killed In Car Accident

Aaaand of course the throngs of people who loved the drunken swine story were interested in the tragic update. On a related note, Australians and I have the same exact sense of humor.

My Side of the Story

Nearly 400,000 people from all over the world heard my side of the story, and I’m glad they did.

Sis

I thought losing a basketball job was a tragic experience. I soon learned that, on life’s grand scale, it wasn’t.

My Dad and I

My memories of my father, who we lost just 53-days after my sister.

“Things Most White People Say” List Is Hilarious, Also 100% Correct

Basically just a repost of some funny tweets I’d run across. Good stuff and people liked it.

Incredible Photo of the Day: Gator Catch!

This was another post that the Australians inexplicably enjoyed. A large percentage of its views came from the Land Down Under.

So How Many People Did The Rifleman Actually Kill?

I love the old TV show The Rifleman, so one day I decided to research just how many people Lucas McCain actually killed. The answer? 120. Ol’ Luke murdered 120 people. But hey, they all deserved it so it’s cool.

Scioto Valley Conference Boys Basketball Preview & Predictions

A preview I wrote regarding our local basketball conference. I must say it’s turning out the way I predicted. So far.

The 2017 Ugly Dog Contest Was An Absolute Joke

My critique of the Ugly Dog Contest and its beautiful winner, Martha.

Cool Beans! Words and Phrases That Need To Make A Comeback

Another story I published a couple years that seems to never go away. Just a simple blog about words.

An American Hero: Ruby Bridges

My story about Ruby Bridges, the little 6-year old African-American who integrated an all-white elementary school in New Orleans on November 14, 1960.

Map of the Day: World Rat Distribution

The most fascinating aspect of this map is that Alberta, Canada is rat free, and it’s not by accident.

Regarding Beach Midgets

Just an offbeat, original little story that people seemed to find hilarious.

15 Reasons I Hate LeBron James (Or Used To)

I wrote this after LeBron left Cleveland with his ridiculous television show, “The Decision”. I really did hate the guy for a few years, but he won me back with his letter admitting he’d made a mistake with the way he left, then returning to Cleveland and ultimately bringing them a championship.

Celebrity Mugshots: My Top 10

Another old post that saw a resurgence of sorts in 2018. I’ve no idea why.

Meet Australian Cow Knickers, the Biggest Damn Cow You’ll Ever See

Again, Australians, man.

If You Haven’t heard of August Landmesser It’s a Damn Shame

I’m truly glad people liked this one, and I’m glad I got to spread the word about August Landmesser.

Paint Valley Basketball Records

This is a page I maintain that’s linked to Shoe: Untied. It gets a lot of hits.

Brad Kerns and Parenting the Way It Should Be

A telling story about one of my basketball parents and also one of the best friends I ever had.

The Many Worlds Theory is Wildly Fascinating

A pretty good example of what an eclectic website Shoe: Untied really is.

Map of the Day: USA IQ Test Scores by State

I had a lot I wanted to say here politically bit I couldn’t pull the trigger.

Man Killed Trying to Bring Christianity to Remote Island Tribe

A recent story that was quite controversial. Seems not everyone agreed with my views.

Another Drunk Animal Causes Havoc, and This Time It’s a Sozzled Squirrel.

Who knew drunk animal stories would be so wildly popular? Not I.

Don’t Think Animals Are Scary Smart? Read On.

There’s a certain segment of people who visit my site that can’t get enough of the animal stuff. They just eat it up. Animals, man.

So there ya go. All in all it was the biggest year ever for Shoe: Untied, and I thank the people who visit because you’re obviously as nuts as I am.

Happy New Year everyone.

 

The following are drawings by an artist named Sergio Ingravalle, and they are guaranteed to make you think. Some will hit you right away, while with others it may take a minute. In either case they are very, very good. Enjoy.

[click to enlarge]

A different version of you exists in the minds of everyone who knows who you are.

I’ve been interested in this stuff for years but have only recently started to actually read seriously about it. I’m sure you’re all somewhat familiar with it, because it’s been a popular subject in comics, TV shows and movies. We’ve all seen or read about people who stumbled upon a “portal” that they walk through and enter another space and time, right? Or “Chronicles of Narnia” anyone? My personal favorite is the book by H.G. Wells called “Men Like Gods”, complete with a multiverse theory and a paratime machine. Cool, especially for 1923. Anyway, the examples are endless.

But first, let’s get to an official definition of the Many Worlds Theory:

The many-worlds interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that asserts the objective reality of the universal wavefunction and denies the actuality of wavefunction collapse. Many-worlds implies that all possible alternate histories and futures are real, each representing an actual “world” or “universe”. 

Basically, this is saying that there is a very large, perhaps even infinite, number of universes, not just ours, and we could be in those other universes as well. It also says that everything that could possibly have happened in our past, but did not, has occurred in the past of some other universe or universes we lived in.

Man, that’s just crazy to think about. Parallel universes.

Think about it. Before this theory, reality had always been viewed as a single unfolding history. The Many Worlds Theory, however, views reality as a many-branched tree, where every possible outcome is realized.

For example, say an object’s wave function is both a particle and a wave. When a physicist measures the particle, there are two possible outcomes: It will either be measured as a particle or a wave. When a physicist measures the object, the universe splits into two distinct universes to accommodate each of the possible outcomes.

OK, I’m getting a headache. Forget all the wave and particle stuff, just understand that for everything that happens there are different outcomes, shooting out in different directions, to several universes. Or you could put it this way – we live in an infinite web of alternate timelines, but we can only see the one we exist in. Or maybe we can, but I’ll get to that shortly. So actually, if this is true, we live in a multiverse — where timelines are constantly branching off and creating distinct and coherent worlds, each experienced by a different version of you.

Stick with me while I give you one simple example. Let’s say that yesterday you left your house to go to work. A dog cuts in front of you but you swerve, miss him, and continue on your way. In another universe though, you hit him and kill him but go on your way. However, the dog’s owner is devastated, his life is changed forever and so on. In yet another timeline you miss the dog but hit an oncoming car head on and die. Not sure why I’m sing such morbid examples because they don’t have to be. Wait, I can’t stop there. In another universe you pull over, save the dog because it was a stray and he lives with you happily ever after. Whew. That’s better.

Now, imagine every example I just gave, every single act branching out in different directions like that. There could be countless versions of you out there. If the theory is true, then there must be an infinite number of versions of you out there, each of them experiencing the world as individuals separate from and oblivious to each other.  One may have died at birth, one may be living as a billionaire in New York. Maybe you turned into a mass murderer in another universe. Don’t laugh, remember that kid you hated in high school and wanted to murder? In one world, maybe you did. The possibilities are literally endless, because if this is true you have literally done and/or will do everything you could ever have conceive of doing. Mind boggled.

And think about what other kinds of worlds might exist in another universe. Maybe somebody invented time travel or cured cancer years ago. Maybe a war destroyed the planet and it had to start over. Again, endless possibilities.

Let me throw this out there. What about ghosts? Do we sometimes somehow get a glimpse of an alternate universe? Hey, the chair you’re sitting in right now could be in the middle of an insane asylum or a witches coven, literally anything. That noise you heard last night a couple rooms away? Don’t ask. Anyway, next time you think you saw something out of the corner of your eye only to turn and look but it was gone, don’t be alarmed. Perhaps you did.

But oh, there’s more that has crossed my twisted mind. We’ve all had feelings of deja vu, right? That sense that we’ve done something or been somewhere before, even though we know we haven’t? Maybe we have, it was just one of those many other versions of you. Maybe we sometimes have a sort of connection, or resonance, with the other universes that causes this phenomenon.

Look, I can’t begin to explain the scientific basis for the theory. I’ve read about it and sort of get it, but eventually all the wave function collapse and quantum gravity talk hurts my brain. All I know for sure is that it fascinates the bejesus out of me.

Oh, and one more thing. Do you know who devised the original Many Worlds Theory and Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics? A man named Hugh Everett III, who died in 1982. Like many ahead of  his time, he passed before his theory began to be taken seriously. But here’s my favorite part – Hugh Everett III was the father of Mark Oliver Everett, leader of one of my favorite bands, The Eels. True story.

Now that’s mind-boggling.

Father & Son

Wait.

facebook

So I came across this photo that was taken on 9/11 and I’m endlessly intrigued by it. It shows a group of New Yorkers relaxing and chatting in the sun in a park in Brooklyn, apparently unfazed by the carnage behind them. Or are they? There behind them, across brilliant blue water and beautiful sky, a terrible cloud of smoke and dust rises above lower Manhattan from the place where two towers were struck by hijacked airliners that morning and have collapsed, killing, by fire, smoke, falling or jumping or crushing in the buildings’ final fall, nearly 3,000 people.

How I missed this photograph for so long is a mystery to me, but what am I actually looking at as I view it? Hoepker didn’t release the photo until 2006 because he was worried about the controversy it would create. Indeed, upon its release many people were outraged at the apparent callousness of the people shown. But is that really what the people were feeling? The man on the far right, Walter Sipser, says those in the photo were actually “in a profound state of shock and disbelief.” And what about the photo is so disturbing? Is it the woman who seems to be sunbathing? Or is she just turned to look at the photographer or listen to Sipser? Maybe the group had just gathered to look at the skyline and smoke and somehow come to grips with what had happened. How are people supposed to act after something so unprecedentedly horrific has happened? Should they have stayed inside?

Take a look at the photo. What do you think?

911shot

 Does the fact that there are no time travelers now prove that time travel will never be invented in the future?

time