April 10, 2017
OK, it’s not really a surprise. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the opener of the spring turkey season around here. The birds had just started showing up over the past week, and I was getting a little excited for Saturday morning’s action.
Then we had a series of intense storms, and suddenly, where the birds had been, there were no birds.
I can hear them, tauntingly close, but well off across a property I can’t hunt. That neighbor has chickens, guineas, and geese of all kinds, and I think the turkeys have taken up where there’s free food and safety. But hope springs, as they say, eternal (or ephemeral?). There’s still over a month of turkey season left, so we’ll see what we shall see.
In the meantime, my brother, Scott, aka the Bloodthirsty Killer, has been hard at it. I know, because I got an email from him.
I always know what I’m in for when I get an email from him, since he hardly touches a computer most of the time. If I see that particular address in the From: line, I pretty much know what I’m about to see. Something has died… and that something has either big teeth, big antlers, or a long beard.
But not content to show off his own prowess, Scott took it a step further this time with a photo from my soon-to-be nephew-in-law. Yes, this young fellow is about to join this family (he ignored the warnings), so he’s proving his worth as a provider, I suppose. Or else they’re just messing with me, knowing I’m sitting here with clean camo and unused ammo… daydreaming and drooling at the thought of some fresh turkey in the pot.
Guess I need to get after it, or folks are going to start thinking I’ve become an armchair hunter.
April 1, 2017
Ya’ll know I don’t generally go in for political discussions here, particularly politics beyond those directly affecting our outdoor lives. But I just feel like this is my damned platform, and I can use it anyway I like. Considering that I haven’t used it at all since March 6, I ought to do something with this space. So I’m going to rant.
Ya’ll caught me. It’s April 1… April Fool’s day. As tradition requires, I’ve been beating the bushes of my brain in a battle to beget a beguiling fib.
But it dawned on me yesterday that it’s hard to find as much humor in prevarication while we’re in the midst of this whole “fake news” mania. You might think that, with the intensified focus on false or misleading news, people would be getting better about believing some of the purely unbelievable bullshit that’s flying around out there. If you thought that, you’d be wrong. It’s as bad, or worse than ever. Every time I turn around, someone shares a link from a satire site or a fake news site (they’re a real thing) and it sparks an outraged response from people who think it’s real… no matter, apparently, how unreal the story may be. Often, the person who shared the story doesn’t realize (or care) that it’s untrue.
Then again, the whole science of meme theory and its collision with social media is a fascinating phenomenon to observe. For example, on Facebook, yesterday, a couple of folks jumped the gun and put up some April Fool’s jokes. In particular, Vortex Optics deserves a special mention for the video they released. Bullet Cam is an “ad” for their new collaboration with Hornady to create a bullet-mounted, digital video camera. Ostensibly, this will allow the shooter to get an immediate view of the results of their shot.
Now, a practical and logical mind would (or should) immediately recognize how unlikely this technology is. Some folks in the comments on YouTube and Facebook definitely did challenge the technology, debunking the video with “carefully considered, scientific explanations” of why the video is “fake” or (and this was even more entertaining) why they wouldn’t use these bullets because they won’t perform accurately. Others were fascinated with the idea, and did a little speculative, reverse engineering to figure out how Vortex was able to make this work. A handful, of course, commented on the obvious… the video was posted on March 31/April 1. Happy April Fool’s Day!
So it can be entertaining, but at times, it’s also infuriating… even frightening… to see how easily manipulated people can be. And yeah, I have to include myself in “people”, because I’ve stepped into the trap a time or two. It’s too easy to let a confirmation bias overwhelm our critical thinking… whether it’s an intriguing “new product” or a political smear job.
We believe because we want to believe. I thought about that as I reviewed some of my past April 1 posts and your comments, and I realized that one of the reasons they worked so well was that some of you guys really wanted to believe I’d scored an awesome hunting spot and a new rifle. You were excited for me that I was going to hunt an escaped buffalo. Some of you were thrilled to read that I was moving back to Texas, after being uprooted to North Carolina.
I toyed with that emotional connection, and leveraged it to mislead you. Today, with everything going on, I just don’t have the heart to do that to anyone.
And that’s not an April Fool’s joke.
Be well, my friends. And remember… trust, but verify.