An Introduction to Neal Umphred Dot Com

THIS SITE could have a better name than mine with “dot com” tacked on to it. I had considered Introduction to Ratiocinations Out of Thin Air as a title—and that would have been a great title, if a confusing title. So we’re stuck with Neal Umphred Dot Com. As someone once famous once said, “So it goes.“ 1 Either way, readers are confronted with two rather uncommon words (although alien has been used in reference to one of them): Umphred and ratiocination. The family name appears to be of Scottish origin, which explains why Laphoaig tasyed like the water of life Merriam-Webster defines ratiocination… Continue Reading An Introduction to Neal Umphred Dot Com

trolls are leaving forests and bridges for the internet

TROLLS ARE EVERYWHERE! It wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time, trolls dwelled in Scandinavian folk tales, a creature hostile to all things human. But now trolls are everywhere! They’re leaving forests and bridges and the rocks and trees of the Old World to dwell in the cybercities that encircle the globe. And now we call these new city-dwellers ‘internet trolls.’ 1 The Internet Troll is a very real creature who sows discord on internet forums such as Facebook and Reddit, along with chat rooms, the comments sections of otherwise sane news sites, and even on other people’s blogs. The Internet… Continue Reading trolls are leaving forests and bridges for the internet

and here I thought I had a person of interest look

IT WAS NICE DAY, IF BRISK. Most folks were wearing sweaters or jackets. Not me: I was standing in Half-Price Books in a black long-sleeve shirt. Looking idly ahead. I had stepped aside in the aisle to allow a few customers who were entering the store to move past me. The last customer in line was a pretty blonde. She saw me standing there, unmoving, unsmiling—and the latter is so normal for the store employees that I sometimes think that smiling is reason for termination—that she made a normal assumption. “Do you work here?” she smiled. “No,” I nodded back. “Oh! Sorry.… Continue Reading and here I thought I had a person of interest look

posting online ain’t the same as being in print

REGARDING POSTING ONLNE, in response to having the official Elvis Presley website at Graceland picking up one of my articles—which I trumpeted loudly to family and friends via Facebook and email—my friend Stephanie Locke posted a nice comment on my A Touch Of Gold site: “Good to see Umphred back in print.” Instead of simply accepting the comment, I responded with, “Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t consider being published online as being in print. In fact, I don’t even think the word publish should be used for online articles. I think I’ll write a short piece on the topic… Continue Reading posting online ain’t the same as being in print

wild wild western washington

THE CASCADE MOUNTAIN RANGE cuts a wild and wide slash through the state of Washington from top to bottom. That part of the state between the Pacific Ocean and those mountains is Western Washington; that part between the mountains and the rest of the United States is Eastern Washington. It is Western Washington that everyone thinks of when they think “Washington”: clouds and rain, Seattle and lattes, bumbershoots and grunge, and more rain. The moist air from the ocean hits the mountains and rises to form clouds, which return most of that moisture as rain, causing our side of the… Continue Reading wild wild western washington

welcoming jayce hunter messenger to this whole world (om-dot-diddit)

ON NOVEMBER 18, 2016, my wondrous daughter Ananda gave birth to my first grandchild, Jayce Hunter Messenger. Daughter and grandchild are doing well, as is new daddy Jamison Messenger. I waited a few weeks to post these photos as I wanted to give J.H. some time to recuperate from the transition. Click on either photo to scale it to your screen’s size. Astrological irony or a messenger from the Void? Jayce is a Scorpio. That sign covers those souls who transitioned between October 23 and November 21. And I have my own personal nest of Scorpions in my life. Er, that should be “nest of Scorpios.”… Continue Reading welcoming jayce hunter messenger to this whole world (om-dot-diddit)

where were the hoary hosts of hoggoth? (a review of dr. strange)

I FINALLY SAW DR. STRANGE! I say “finally” as I am one of the dying breed of guys who bought and collected Marvel comic books in the ’60s as the magic was happening. (And by the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, face facts: it was almost exclusively guys who read superhero comics at the time.) And Dr. Strange was always one of my faveravest titles! As I am not a movie reviewer, I didn’t sit through a “special screening.” We bought our overpriced tickets for a Friday matinée ($9 each, and that’s with a senior discount!) and bought our own popcorn.… Continue Reading where were the hoary hosts of hoggoth? (a review of dr. strange)

social media and all the fake news that’s fit to print

“SOCIAL MEDIA HAS SWALLOWED THE NEWS, threatening the funding of public-interest reporting and ushering in an era when everyone has their own facts. Twenty-five years after the first website went online, it is clear that we are living through a period of dizzying transition.  Now, we are caught in a series of confusing battles between opposing forces: between truth and falsehood, fact and rumor, kindness and cruelty; between the few and the many, the connected and the alienated; between an informed public and a misguided mob.” These opening paragraphs were gleaned from the bulk of an article titled “How… Continue Reading social media and all the fake news that’s fit to print