Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


We Cannot Accept Racism Anymore

May 31, 2020


My name is Michael H. Benton. I am 58 years old, white, grew up in Glynn County Georgia, and I’m here to tell everyone this bullshit has to stop. The killing of Ahmaud Arbery (I will reserve call it a murder for now) boils down to people believing the law gives them the right to do that in the name of property, and not even their own property. Have we really devolved that far? More on that point later. For now, I do not blame minorities one damn bit for being angry as hell with this, as well as the other events in the national news. Everyone should be outraged and be angry as hell. Moreover, it’s way past time to use the right word to describe the root problem, racism.

Words matter and calling the inequity in the United States “white privilege” makes it too pretty and all too easy to dismiss. A better description is minority oppression broadly and black oppression specifically. White privilege frames it as me (a white man) getting something extra, beyond my right. That’s backwards, I see it as a minority (a black man for the sake of this argument) not getting what is his due, though it is his right, just like it’s mine. It is not privilege given to whites as much as dignity taken from blacks. Be it in the form of a lack of respect, not being considered for the job, a loan denied from a bank, having 911 called simply because you are not white, no benefit of doubt while on a jog, not getting murdered while dealing with the police… the list goes on, and on, and on. I don’t get treated with respect because I am white; blacks get treated with disrespect because they’re not, to the point of loosing life itself. That is the ugly truth. White privilege whitewashes the subject—it’s racism! Nothing less.

We end up with situations like what happened here in Glynn County and in Minnesota because basic human dignity is being denied and abhorrent behavior is accepted as normal. If you don’t respected someone, it is easy to justify their mistreatment, even if you are not the one mistreating them. When hate filled speech, or tweeter posts, are excused with “he did not mean it that way,” “you’re taking it out of context,” “he’s just saying what everyone thinks,” or any other platitude, it paves the way for ignorant people to take a step further, then further, then further from equity until young black men are dead in the street for no damn reason. You legitimize living in a racist society by making excuses for racist remarks. It is especially true if you happen to look the one making the remark. To be very clear, if you are white and overlook racist overtones and code words made by other whites, be they from men in high places, like President Trump or out of the mouth of a low miscreants like David Duke of KKK infamy, you are legitimizing racism. Remaining silent is just as bad. While you might not be an apologist for racism, but your silence gives it tacit approval.

If someone gets away with a little today, someone will try a little more tomorrow, moving the line further away from equality. Next thing you know, we’ve normalized it and come up with laws ripe for abuse, like stand your ground and citizen’s arrest, which wreak of vigilantism. Even white police officers wrongly believe “this is how you deal with people that don’t look like me,” without a second thought. As racism becomes institutionalized, it moves from overt actions, like the KKK and white pride groups marching around being stupid, to the public at large accepting “it’s just how it is, how its always been.” Racism becomes so “normal” the people unaffected as its target don’t see it until a tragic death or some other national news event happens. Then they scratch their heads asking, “how can this be?” fawning outrage until the next news cycle focus attention on something else. You want to know why riots happen, we as a society, have the attention span of a gnat. This time, we have to remain engaged. We have to end this.

I will never understand what it means to put up with the indignities minorities, and I primarily mean black Americans, endure daily. That does not mean white people, like me, cannot be called to action. We must be. Until we stand up to the racism spewed by fellow whites, it will continue. In the words of Andrew Young, “Nobody black had learned anything from the ‘Letter from the Birmingham Jail’ or from the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. That was a revelation of white people.” We really need to understand Mayor Young’s point because it’s past time we learn that revelation all over again.


Red-Tailed Hawk

January 7, 2019
Take 1/7/2019 on St Simons Island, Georiga

I really enjoy the backyard. We have lots of birds but none more intersting than the red-tailed hawks that visit. They are always up to something and unlike the golden eagles, they don’t mess my our chihuahuas.

We have several dead pines back there and the hawks take up a perch and survey the grounds for something to snatch. And they do! These guys even go after snakes.

Hawk with snake

Still, I like seeing them fly or sitting watching what is going on. They seem stately somehow.

On the look out!
Off he goes!

They are just very cool birds to watch. I know the world is worried all about conservation and I am sure on the band-wagon but I have to say we have more birds here today than when I was a kid. Big birds that is, the hawks and eagles.

Each day is a new adventure with them. This is a great place to live!


Easy as PI, wait make that pie.

March 14, 2014

Easy as PI, wait make that pie.

Today is PI Day. This is my take on it


Understanding Daylight Savings Time

March 9, 2014

earthEarly this morning (2:00AM local time), we “sprang forward” and advanced our clocks one hour.  What was 2:00 in the morning suddenly became 3:00.  Daylight Savings Time is nothing more than a cleaver shift of daylight hours to better conform to when most people are up and about.  It does not create more time of light; it simply is a better use of it for most of us.

Benjamin Franklin was one of the first proponents of such a shift in time.  Back in his day, there were very practical reasons for such thinking, even if he did write somewhat satirically about it[1].  Today, its impact is debatable but does arguably make better use of the day.

Understanding just what really takes place requires a little background.  The earth has 24 time zones.  Think about it for a moment, it also explains a day being 24 hours.  Now I know a day is not exactly 24 hours but we are not trying to set an atomic clock here, gallon chemistry will do.  Humans tend to be creatures of the day, or diurnal.  If the whole of the planet used a single time zone, in London, the sunrise could be 6:00AM on a given day but sunrise would be 11:00AM in New Your City and 2:00PM in Los Angeles on that same day. For centuries, locations around the world used a local time based on the rising and setting of the sun.  As we became world travelers, thank you Ferdinand Magellan, the need to standardize time from one place to another became increasing important. 

Now for a little bit of geometry, and you told your 8th grade teacher you would never use it!  If you think of the planet as a globe, its diameter is a circle with 360°.  When people started to think about time in relation to available daylight, they figured why not make a time zone for each hour of the day.  You do that by dividing 360° by 24 hours.  This gives each time zone 15°.  Think about it this way, when the earth rotates 15° one hour has passed.  Our time zones follow lines of meridian and bisect the North and South poles.  The middle meridian of a time zone is called a standard meridian.  The boundaries of each time zone are plus and minus 7.5° from its standard meridian.  For example, New York City has a central longitude of approximately 74° West.  That puts it 5 time zones away from Greenwich, England, which is the zero reference point.   The standard meridian is 75° West.  The -5 time zone runs from 67.5° West to 82.5° West.  That puts New York City pretty close to the middle of the time zone.  When it is midnight in New York City, it is 5:00AM in London.

That is more than enough of the nerdy stuff.  The thing to remember is each time is one hour different from the time zone next to it.  When we move clocks forward, or spring ahead as they say, we are simply saying we now set our clock to -4 time zones away from Greenwich instead of -5. This has the effect of making the sunrise and set one hour later.  When we wish to end Daylight Saving Time, we simply fall back, or return to our actual time zone of -5.

If we did not take advantage of Daylight Saving Time, during the summer months, as the length of daylight increases, the sun would rise very early, like 4:00AM early. That is not much use to most of us. Daylight Savings Time is not some big conspiracy or governmental mind control trick. It simply is a way to better use available daylight. 


[1] Franklin, Benjamin, and Nathan G. Goodman. “Letter to the Editor of the Journal of Paris, 1784.” The Ingenious Dr. Franklin: Selected Scientific Letters. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Pr., 1931. 17-22. Print.


On why I pay attention to what so-called “nuts” have to say

January 5, 2014

CopernicSystem[1]Just because we believe something true, does not  make it so.  Even a deeply held belief can  be found to be false.  Copernicus, Keller and Galileo (among others) dared to question the truth of the earth being the center of the universe.  They did not change what was true, they simply uncovered it.   Keep this in mind when you so quickly dismiss questions from some nut about what you “know” to be true.


Walking Sammy on a Rainy Day

February 3, 2013

This is Sammy, for those of you that have read my blog you will remember Sammy’s run-in with the goose last year. (Here is a link to read it: ) On days when the weather does not warrent a walk, Sammy uses his treadmill. Funny as it sounds, he really seems to like it. He goes right to it, jumps on and is ready to run!


2012 in review

December 31, 2012

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 16,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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