ERROL CASTENS: Beware of the ‘Mars hoax’ and other myths

Folks are expected to come to Oxford next month for an event called the “Endurance Weekend.” I’d poke fun at them for voluntarily exhausting themselves in what may well be the hottest part of the North Mississippi summer, but I’m too tired from gardening to make the effort.
Ever notice that the Good Samaritan intervened in the life of an unfortunate neighbor at personal risk and at personal expense, without any government coercion or even the anticipation of reimbursement?
Closed-circuit to the reader who asked for a contact about UMMC’s Alzheimer’s research: Would you call or e-mail me again, please? I’ve lost your name and number.
Closed-circuit to anyone with an interest in Alzheimer’s and related dementias: We’re looking for a person recently diagnosed with dementia who would be willing (and whose family would be willing) to let us share with our readers some of their experience with the disease. Obviously it would take a very special person and family to allow glimpses into a difficult part of their lives, but it would be both inspiring and useful for other readers. If you’re interested or know someone who might be, please contact me.
“Beware the Mars hoax”: Got another e-mail-that-will-not-die regarding Mars’ supposedly getting so close to Earth that it will look as big as the moon. Be glad it’s not true, because if Mars came that close, it would disrupt our orbit and create massive tide shifts.
On a closely related note, Jonathon E. Stewart on video.about.com/urban legends/Spotting-E-mail-Hoaxes.htm offers these tips on how to spot an e-mail hoax: forward carefully (be suspicious); watch for emotional tugs; and do your homework. Mr. Stewart also reminds us that the word “gullible” is not even in the dictionary.
The Washington Post on Thursday referred to Arizona’s immigration law as an “increasingly divisive issue.” Recent Rasmussen polling shows that 68 percent of Americans support building the border fence, that 61 percent want a law like Arizona’s in their own state and that 68 percent oppose the creation of “sanctuary cities” that harbor illegal immigrants. Sounds more like an “increasingly unifying issue.”
When I get tied up in knots about all things politic – or bermudagrass – I try, as Maria in “The Sound of Music,” to remember some of my favorite things: gurgling mountain streams, breaking ocean waves, Debussy’s “La Mer,” the orange brilliance of butterfly weed and the fact that it’s not my day to be in charge of the universe.

Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal