Charlie's Blog: SOC 1



People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

Sometime ago, I dusted off the Random Thoughts on Various Subjects feature that was a regular on the old C-blog. Another feature were the SOC posts which live on today as the series of Led Zeppelin song posts I have written. Basically, they are "stream of consciousness" posts where I write whatever pops into my head at that moment. With the song posts, I had a Led Zep song as a starter and would flow from there. I may return to that format from time to time or perhaps do some other band like Pink Floyd or the Stones. Those things were accidents as I needed something to get titles from, so I ripped off song titles. I didn't want to put "SOC" followed by a number. But the RTOVS thing has made me comfortable with that, so I am going to run with it.

Is it a burden to think of titles for blog posts? Yes. The title sells the content. The title is something you want to get right. Other bloggers have learned the art of clickbait titles. Here are examples I have crafted:
5 Ways to Make Money Without Working
This Guy Did Something You Won't Believe
How You Can Become Irresistible to Women in 7 Steps
I Went to a KKK Rally: What Happened Next
These sorts of headlines are deliberate manipulation of people to get them to your blog. Unfortunately, some bloggers in the Catholic blogosphere use the same sorts of tactics to generate traffic to their blogs. They are not as bad as I Went to a KKK Rally, but they do use the 5 Ways trick on the regular.

The other way to generate traffic is to pick a fight with someone else online. This is a favorite tactic of YouTubers. Nothing draws the flies of viewership like the dung heap of conflict. A good fight draws the other person to punch back. It can go on and on for quite some time.

I know how to deliberately drive traffic to a website or YouTube channel. None of these things are secrets. I should do a post entitled 10 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Crappy Website. Another trick is to craft titles to exactly match the Google search suggestions. At what point does the art turn into pornography? And is there a difference between pornography and prostitution?

I don't do any of these tricks and gimmicks. I have always been wary of salesmanship, marketing, hype, and self-promotion. When I blog, I just try and write things I can feel good about when it is done. I feel it is taking the longer road to a better destination. There are other roads that are shorter, but they do not lead anywhere worth going.

I do everything wrong in blogging. My titles are not clickbait. For instance, did you feel compelled to read SOC 1? I doubt it. You might be more compelled to read SOC 48. I expect that one to be a real winner. Then, there are the lengths of the blog posts. The internet is the home of the short attention span. Yet, I still write epic posts that are way too long and way too deep for the light reading the internet promotes. Then, there is the design of the blog. It is overwhelmingly just text. There's nothing fancy about the design whatsoever. I think I am one notch above Drudge on web design but barely. I'm not a big fan of websites crammed with gimmicks and ways to keep you on the page. That would be the Huffington Post website that has mastered the trick of drawing in a reader and then keeping that reader there FOREVER.

Arianna Huffington quit her creation recently to become a celebrity promoter of healthy living. Apparently, the workaholic Huffington worked herself into such a state of exhaustion that she fell asleep while standing up and busted up her noggin on a desk or something. I forget the exact details, and I don't care to Google up the whole story to review it. The gist is that the woman was living wrong and decided to live right. That would be a good thing except it can never end there. When a celebrity has a problem, they can't just solve the problem. They have to become a crusader about the problem and preach at the rest of us about the drastic need to not make their mistakes. Of course, they monetize these campaigns and turn them into another lucrative endeavor. The problem is that Huffington is the only person I have ever heard about who worked so hard that she fell asleep while standing up. But this celebrity narcissism projects its problems on everyone else and tries to solve them. Those of us less ego driven know this as hypocrisy.

I don't need advice on how to sleep. It just happens. In fact, all I have to do is sit down for longer than five minutes, and I am out. My family thinks its funny when they see me sleeping while sitting up on the couch. I love sleeping. The problem I have with sleep is twofold. The first is my day job that has days ranging from 12 to 15 hours. Then, there is the phenomenon known as "brain on fire." This is when I wake up on the weekend at 4 am with a burning thing in my brain that needs to be written. By 8 am, the cerebral firestorm has abated. When I listen to Alex Jones, I always kid my wife that I need to get some Brain Force. This is one of the nutraceuticals they advertise on the website. I don't know if it works or if it is just some snake oil. But I can honestly say I find the concept intriguing.

The only brain force I use is hot black coffee. I also take a B12 supplement because I am vegan, but I have learned that even meatheads need to take it, too. Our food has gotten cleaner, so we no longer get the ample supply of B12 produced by bacteria. B12 is also a key ingredient of Brain Force. I would argue that it is 90% of what makes the product effective. But what do I know?

Now, at this point, the Gentle Reader asks a question. Why does Charlie listen to that nutcase Alex Jones? The answer to that is simple. Alex Jones is a pure guilty pleasure. Some people watch daytime soap operas. Others watch professional wrestling. I listen to tinfoil hat radio programs like Coast to Coast AM, Caravan to Midnight, The Conspiracy Show, and Infowars. The common element in all of them is a certain creeping paranoia. It could be aliens, the Illuminati, or the government. If it is creepy, mysterious, or just plain nutty, I listen to it. It is a fine exercise in the entertaining of ideas without actually holding them. Here is my rundown on the various things that are featured on these programs, and what I think about them.

I do not believe that 9/11 was an inside job. I do think that the Saudis may have known about it and some even supported it. I also suspect the Mossad may have known and did nothing. But these are speculations. I just don't think such a conspiracy like that could have been pulled off. It is too elaborate and a lot of innocent people died. I think United Flight 93 may have been shot down to keep it from slamming into the White House or other target. The need to cover that up would be self-explanatory.

Moon landing hoax
I can understand why the government would need to fabricate this, but I don't believe in the hoax theories. I believe Neil Armstrong actually walked on the moon.

Sasquatch and cryptozoology
I don't believe in Big Foot or other cryptids. These are the shows I like the least because I don't see why Big Foot would be any scarier than a common grizzly bear or alligator.

UFOs, alien abduction, and Roswell
I don't believe in any of this stuff. I believe we are alone in the universe. The earth is the only world with life and intelligent life. I think SETI will yield what it already has--nothing. But I do find stories of alien visitation very entertaining and creepy.

Freemasonry, Bohemian Grove, secret societies, and the Illuminati
I am a bit on the fence with this one. I'm not sure that the world is actually run by a group known as the Illuminati. But I do know for certain that Freemasons have infiltrated and tried to undermine and destroy the Roman Catholic Church for a couple of centuries now. Skull and Bones is probably just a stupid fraternity at Yale. Meanwhile, this video from Alex Jones about Bohemian Grove is totally real. My view is that there are nefarious secret groups up to no good. The problem is that they are given more credit than they deserve.

Chemtrails and other secret biowarfare
I don't believe in the chemtrail conspiracy theory or the other theories about them poisoning the food and water supply. The reason for this is obvious. The conspiracists breathe the same air the rest of us do. They could drink their own water and eat their own food, but the air thing would be hard to get around.

This is the conspiracy theory that the government's HAARP array has the ability to control world weather patterns. I find this utterly unbelievable.

Ancient aliens, Atlantis, and advanced ancient civilizations
I don't believe in the ancient aliens because I don't believe in aliens or UFOs. But I am fascinated that there were possible advanced civilizations that existed prior to the ones we know about like ancient Egypt. I also wonder if Atlantis really did exist.

Demonic possession, exorcism, the Amityville Horror, and the occult
I believe in all of these things. Part of it comes from being Catholic and the other part comes from listening to the people talk about it. Not all stories of demonic possession are legit. But you can tell the legit from the real thing. Virtually every legit story involved people messing with things like Ouija boards and occult practices. And there are multiple witnesses who corroborate each other's stories. This is terrifying stuff.

I think Oswald was a patsy. I don't think a lone gunman assassinated President Kennedy. I think it was a conspiracy, and the Warren Commission was a way to placate the American public. I used to not believe the conspiracy theories on this, but that was before the internet. Since then, I have read and listened to many things that make me believe that Oswald was a low level CIA operative who they used as the fall guy for a conspiracy to remove JFK. I think the Dulles brothers and LBJ were behind it. It was payback for the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion and JFK's softening on communism after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Considering that JFK stole the election from Nixon and the CIA already did this sort of stuff in Latin America, they had few moral qualms about the deed especially when they thought it would avoid nuclear war. I think the truth will come out if they ever unseal the documents and evidence from the Warren Commission.

These are just some of the most popular topics on the tinfoil hat shows. They either cause me to laugh because I don't believe them. Or, I get creeped out because I do believe them. Or, they pique my curiosity. I just find this stuff more fun than listening to sports talk or endless politics.