September 11, 2011 – My Reflections & Shares

Ten years ago, I was just about a week an a half into 8th grade.

Ten years ago, I was just starting my school day, and Phy Ed was my first period class.

Ten years ago, school wasn’t canceled, but two classes dropped the day’s work so we could watch TV and see what was going on.

Ten years ago, I was a child that has no idea what any of this meant.

Ten years ago, I was big into Poke’mon.

These are just some thoughts about where I was 10 years ago today, when the attacks happened. I hadn’t really hit puberty, and wasn’t even close to having enough maturity to think like an adult about it. I didn’t even know I was gay at that point. But here I am, 10 years later and a far cry from who and where I was back then.

Looking back, September 11, 2001 was the last time I saw this nation united together. It was the last time I saw people forget their differences and work together for the greater good. Social Media was non-existent, so you couldn’t make a post on Facebook or tweet, or tumblog about it. So many things have changed and evolved since then. I certainly didn’t have a blog back then otherwise I’d give a link to it here.

I have seen that some of the far left want us to pass this day over – in respect for those who have lost a loved one on this day. I can respect that idea, but I also think this is the only day where liberal and conservatives can stop the war at home that I feel we’ve been having over the past few years. I’m still proud to honor those who sacrificed today.

I would like to take a moment to share some of the big news items that I’ve been seeing about today. Many of them are social media related, so hopefully at least one of them will give you some hope/redemption/enjoyment/solace whichever you find appropriate.

NBC’s Twitter Account Was Hacked in RE to 9/11.

3 Ways to Commemorate 9/11 By Giving Back Online.

How Digital Technology is Telling the Story of 9/11.

9/11 World Trade Center App.

Stumbleupon Remembers 9/11.

Personally the one that captured me the most was the NBC story, but I’m also a twitter nerd that way. How about you? What are your 9/11 stories?

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

What is a “Snopester?”

So many of my readers / followers have been asking me, “what is a snopester?” Though, usually with snopester spelled wrong. This post is to clear that up.

A snopester is someone who is a member of the Urban Legends Message Board (ULMB), located at snopes.com. This message board has about 1050 people who have registered AND posted at least a few times, though I have found that many people are very active posters here. I am infinitely jealous of them, though I’ve given up my dream of trying to post over 10,000 times. Heck, if I make it to 1,000 by the end of the year I’ll be astonished.

The snopes.com website was founded by Barbara and David Mikkelson, a husband and wife team who live and work in the Los Angeles area. What they began in 1995 as an expression of their shared interest in researching urban legends has since grown into what is widely regarded by folklorists, journalists, and laypersons alike as one of the World Wide Web’s essential resources. Snopes.com is routinely included in annual “Best of the Web” lists and has been the recipient of two Webby awards. The Mikkelsons have made multiple appearances as guests on national news programs such as 20/20ABC World NewsCNN Sunday Morning, and NPR’s All Things Considered, and they and their work have been profiled in numerous major news publications, including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and an April 2009 Reader’s Digest feature (“The Rumor Detectives“) published as part of that magazine’s “Your America: Inspiring People and Stories” series.

To read more of this introduction about what Snopes is, please go here. For Twitter users, please check them out here.

I discovered snopes back in 2002 when a co-worker of my mom’s brought in a printout of this Urban Legend. WARNING, some mildly graphic photos (Snopesters reading this – it’s the “Bear Hunt” legend). I have the link here, because this is the page that started my total addiction to this website. I’ve read about 90% of ALL the UL’s on the site, and at one point had this one memorized! (It’s not only my FAVORITE UL, but also my favorite ghost story)

For a more “tame” example of a UL, please go here.

As for the ULMB, it’s where Snopesters interact. Here’s the thread that should get you started. It’s your standard message board, but also in that fashion everyone gets very close. Not only do we talk about Urban Legends, but PLENTY of other things! Please feel free to browse and enjoy!

The most important thing I can say that makes me a Snopester, is requiring EVIDENCE when presented with some claim. This can be any claim from a news article, to an explanation of some event by a person who was there. The point being, there must be some piece of FACT (scientifically proven) to show that the item is not simply made up and being passed around. Photos are not counted as fact, and many times are actually what’s being disputed.

There you have it folks, the basic definition of a Snopester.

August 2014 Edited to add:

The concept of requiring non-biased evidence to support a claim made has evolved through my discovery and subscription to the Skeptoid podcast. Brian Dunning represents the level of critical thinking that I strive to achieve.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

Happy Father’s Day!

I figured this day is big enough to me that it deserves it’s own post.

Father’s day has a ton of different meanings to me. For starters, it’s my ultimate goal in life to become a father. It’s what comes beyond marriage, beyond any other experience that I will ever have. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m strongly looking forward to my own marriage down the road someday!)

But since that event is several years in the future (somewhere between 2023 and 2029), I focus on my own father and what he means.

For those who don’t know, my father is actually no longer with us, he passed away during my sophomore year of high school. It a little bit more effort than normal (Google didn’t quite catch this link!) but here is where my father is online from now on.

Offline, he is buried in the King, WI Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Mom has a spot right behind him for when her time comes, which I hope is long into the future.

Dad and I have an interesting history. Honestly, I never got to know him very well until after he died. He and I never were able to communicate very well, but the most important thing is that I got to tell him that I love him before he died. I have two older half brothers through my dad’s first marriage, one lives in Florida and one in Washington state. Both of them I miss deeply, and am hoping to reconnect with sometime in the next year or two.

I never really knew my dad in his prime. He had a brain aneurysm when I was only 2 years old, and after the surgery he was changed permanently.

He was the president of Pohlman Studios in Milwaukee, which I believe has since gone belly up. There is no website that really explains who they were, but UW Digital Collections has a nice archive for them here.

My dad was also in the military, during WWII.

This is him during those days. The caption for the source of this photo reads,

“This is a shot of my very good friend, T-4 Thomas M J Condie, taking a break after finishing a tough class. Tom was also sent to Ansco about a year after I went and, together, we formalized the School Lesson Plans. Tom went on to be a very successful commercial photographer (he did Harley Davidson ads for years {until they got really big time} as well as Westinghouse Refrigerators, Lillian Vernon catalogs and many others). Sadly, Tom died two years ago.”

The photo is very far down the source page, hence the copy and paste.

While there is some analog footage of my dad on our VHS tapes, I don’t have any snazzy Youtube videos to post, or other internet-type things to share.

I still love and miss my dad. In reference to this post, I can say that I have seen him a few times. The summer after he passed, Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban was in theaters and around the ending Sirus puts his hand on Harry’s heart and reminds him that his parents will always be with him there. I feel the same way.

In honor of today, I would like to encourage everyone to leave a memory about their father here.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie