Connect or Disengage: Perspective on Social Media

By now most of us have developed a love/hate relationship with social media. What started out as a fun way to keep in touch with friends far & wide has somehow deteriorated into a dystopian experiment gone horribly awry, because that’s what humans too often do…we take something perfectly delightful and ruin it with greed, politics, envy, pettiness, & lack of self control. Some folks have the wherewithal to disengage completely, although oftentimes the people who leave are the ones with class, intelligence, good humor, & a moral compass. Isn’t it sad that the exact people who have something decent to offer to the medium, the ones who we really want to continue connecting with, are the ones we tend to run off??  Many that remain tread lightly because we sure don’t want to offend people who may disagree with our worldview, and God forbid we piss off the power behind the curtain that has suddenly become quite bold in censoring opposing views and using misguided algorithms to erroneously parse language deemed hurtful. 

Even considering all that, most of us choose to stay. Why?? Well, I think I may have the answer. I stumbled upon a post from an old high school acquaintance, and what she wrote pretty much hits the nail on the head, so much so that all I can do is second that emotion.

“Thank you for seeing me. I know people use Facebook for different things, and plenty of people might argue that the platform is unhealthy or biased or for ‘old people’.

I don’t love Facebook but I’d say the lot of you have provided more than half of my social need for human connection over the past decade, and moreso during this pandemic. So thank you for listening to my musings and sharing your majestic human stories with me. 

Thank you for the pictures and stories of your children, grandchildren, & dogs. Thank you for the videos of you roller skating, swimming in a river, twirling fire nunchucks, or jumping on a trampoline with your kid.  Thank you for sharing your moments of accomplishment, your railing rants, your art, your music, and your poetry. You guys are totally awesome as a digitally aggregated community that pretty much exists in my phone and my mind.” 

Can’t put it much better than that 🤷🏻‍♂️.

A few of you are friends, neighbors, & family that I see or talk to with some frequency, while many are former classmates or co-workers that I haven’t seen in person in decades. Some are acquaintances that I’ve met thru various social interactions and would enjoy getting to know better. Hell, there are atleast a half dozen people on my friends list who are dead, but it feels like as long as their Facebook page is still there they remain present in some intangibly tangible way. Regardless of how we met or how often we interact I hope you know that I’m glad for it. A year ago I expanded my social media presence to Instagram. All I do there is post memes. It’s less interactive than Facebook, but I find it oddly enjoyable. I peruse Twitter occasionally but it’s much less interesting. Ditto for Tik Tok. Sometimes I’ll run across a funny video or two, but overall it is overrated and God knows there’s little chance I will ever actually post a video myself. 

I suppose the point is that we have a choice when it comes to social media. Those that have left it in the dust have their reasons and I respect that. For those that remain, we can choose to get down into the muck and participate in meaningless arguments. We can choose to moan & whine about ‘FB Jail’, ‘fact’ checkers, community standards, and all the other associated negativity. Or, as my old classmate so eloquently states, we can be thankful for the connection, the stories, the photos, the music, the laughter, & the community. It’s up to you. 

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 4.21


A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

 

 

Social media was quite delightful when it first began, but now it kind of makes me sad. Not only is it fertile soil for all sorts of misunderstandings & arguments, but too often it proves just how willfully ignorant some people can be. When that ignorance shows itself one is left with a choice…do I call someone out on their BS (thus igniting one of those unnecessary & frustrating squabbles), or do I take the high road and let someone wallow in their obliviousness?? Either way it is unavoidable that one thinks less of that person going forward and that’s too bad.

 

 

Am I the only one who misses former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany?? Biden’s spokesperson Jen Psaki is such a downgrade. It reminds me of when Prince Charles divorced Diana and married Camilla.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I rather enjoyed a thread in a Generation X group I’d recently joined on Facebook. The question revolved around fretting about whether or not we’d ever have a Gen X President. Quite frankly such things don’t matter all that much to me…I just want the best person for the job (something we Americans have struggled with in recent decades). Some mental giant gushed about the idea of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a possible Millenial President, and it took all my powers of restraint not to post a response that likely would’ve landed me back in FB Jail. I can’t even take fans of that woman seriously. If you cannot see that she’s a total imbecile there’s very little hope for you and I’d suggest sterilization. At any rate, what occurred to me as I responsibly interacted with more sane members of the group is that we Americans tend to prefer an older President (Joe Biden is the oldest person ever elected)…especially conservatives. Wherein there are exceptions…younger folks like JFK, Clinton, & Obama…they tend to be Democrats. One could probably do an in depth analysis of the reasons, but who has time for that?? It just seems like liberals are more slavish to the cult of personality, make decisions based on emotion, choose idealism over pragmatism, & value style over substance. They like political candidates who are charismatic and good public speakers. They probably couldn’t list ten legit things accomplished by Bill Clinton, but they’ll rhapsodize about him playing saxophone on Arsenio Hall. They will never admit that they voted for Obama almost exclusively because of the color of his skin and his oratory skills despite his total lack of meaningful experience. They probably can’t name many of his accomplishments while in The White House either. Joe Biden was elected (allegedly) almost entirely because of Trump Derangement Syndrome and not because of anything he’d ever done. Conversely, Republicans nominate/elect people like the Bushes, Richard Nixon, John McCain, & Mitt Romney. I’m not sure what to make of that.

 

Sometimes something is just funny. Simple as that. Nothing sinister. No deeper meaning…just humor. Parody, dark comedy, sarcasm, satire…it’s all good. Some things might be funnier than others, and what I find amusing may be different than whatever makes you laugh, but intent matters. One might not see the humor in what another finds funny, but they should atleast be smart enough to understand that the other person meant it in good fun. I find people who take themselves & everything else so damn seriously to be quite tedious.

The 2020 Sammy Awards – Part II

Annnnnddd we’re back!! The 2020 Sammy Awards continues with some amusing comments from our host Bill Murray, and if you missed Part 1 now would be the time to catch up.

 

 

It’s time for our next award, and to do the honors it is a pleasure to welcome a jack-of-all trades. He’s best known as a rapper, but he’s also tried his hand at pro wrestling, acting, cooking tasty vittles with his pal Martha Stewart, sports commentating, and pitching all sorts of products in commercials. Please welcome to the hizhouse Snoop Dogg!! And the nominees are:

 

The Twitter Award for Best Water Cooler Topic

 

Harry & Meaghan

America’s fascination with the British Royal Family endures, except she’s not British and apparently neither are royal anymore. I have no idea how any of that works. Anyway, the younger son of Prince Charles and the late & nearly deified Princess Diana married marginally famous American actress Meaghan Markle in 2018. In 2019 they had a son. In 2020 they ditched the whole royal thing and moved to Canada then California. I don’t know. I don’t care. Whatever.

 

Hamilton

I’ve never been to New York, but if I ever make it there I’ll be sure to catch a Broadway show or two. Fortunately with technology & a plethora of entertainment options many of the best plays & musicals can be viewed from the comfort of our own living room nowadays. Hamilton has been a sensation ever since it opened in 2015, and in July 2020 a filmed performance was made available on Disney+. I watched it and found the show quite entertaining, with a plethora of catchy tunes.

 

Jeopardy GOAT

Back in January 2020 Jeopardy aired a week long battle between its three greatest champions: Ken Jennings (appeared initially in 2004, winning 74 games & $2.5 million…both are still records), Brad Rutter (after his first appearance in 2000 he came back for multiple Tournament of Champions events and ultimately won over $4 million), and James Holzhauer (won over $2.4 million in 33 games in 2019 then won that year’s Tournament of Champions). The GOAT tournament was won easily by Jennings, with Holzhauer winning just one game and Rutter being practically invisible.

 

Toilet Paper Shortage

No one knew what to expect at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were told that if we simply self-quarantined for a couple of weeks everything would be fine. That, of course, was a big fat lie, and one of the byproducts was a toilet paper shortage that is still kind of a thing 9 months later. We encounter this issue almost every winter when the local meteorologist announces a big snowstorm is coming. People rush to the grocery store and panic buy as if they’re going to be trapped in their house for weeks, and toilet paper is always at the top of the shopping list.

 

J-Lo & Shakira

2020 can be divided into two eras…pre-pandemic and mid-pandemic, with the former feeling like it belongs in a previous decade. The Super Bowl took place pre-pandemic, and the halftime show featured Jennifer Lopez & Shakira in a provocative performance that had Boomers longing for the good ol’ days of folk music & The Rat Pack. Churchy types immediately condemned the two women to the fiery pits of Hell and doused themselves in holy water just for watching it on TV. Their music isn’t really my cup o’ tea, but I wasn’t especially offended by it.

 

Murder Hornets

2020 was such a terrible year that people began wondering what might befall us next. Like the plagues described in the Biblical book of Exodus we were prepared for anything from frogs to locusts to the killing of our firstborn children. It is my understanding that murder hornets are actually real, but fortunately they didn’t swarm the United States like some sort of cheesy 70’s horror movie…yet.

 

The Last Dance

Full disclosure…I haven’t seen the 10 part documentary about the end of Michael Jordan’s dynasty with the Chicago Bulls. I have no excuse. I’ve had plenty of time to watch it but just haven’t. Someday I will though…I hear it is quite good.

 

State of the Union

On February 4, 2020 President Trump gave what we now know was his final State of the Union address. I don’t usually watch, but that night I did and, objectively speaking, thought it was a good speech. Trump isn’t the best public speaker in the world, but I thought he was quite effective. He probably introduced too many special guests during the nearly hour & a half speech and it felt a bit gimmicky, but it’s a small nit to pick. I was especially touched when he presented Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom because Rush had just announced his lung cancer diagnosis the day before. I know a lot of people had an issue with it, but since previous recipients include Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, blues legend BB King, cellist Yo Yo Ma, college basketball coach Dean Smith, actor Robert Redford, and Satan’s favorite talk show host Oprah Winfrey I see no problem with giving it to Rush Limbaugh. After the speech was over Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi famously tore up her paper copy on national television, and whether you cheered her on or thought it was a childish act showing no class likely depends on your political leanings.

 

Tiger King

Yeah, I haven’t seen it either. I guess it was on Netflix, and it spawned Halloween costumes & landed one of the people featured a gig on Dancing with the Stars. I briefly thought about checking it out, but I’m not usually one to follow the crowd.

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

Toilet Paper. Oh the memes!! One of the few silver linings in the early days of the pandemic were the parody songs & memes. Okay, I get it…toilet paper is important. But is it that important?? Why were people hoarding it?? If you run out can’t you use paper towels or notebook paper or leaves off the tree in your backyard?? Is toilet paper more valuable than food?? And why the panic buying?? Did people honestly believe that the grocery stores were ever going to shut down?? Restaurants can close. We can live without retail shops, movie theaters, & bars for a bit. But people have to eat, so there was never any reason to go crazy over toilet paper, yet people did and it was kind of hilarious.

 

To present our next award we are pleased to welcome the nation’s unlikeliest Governor. Straight from the hills of West Virginia you better follow the f#*&(@g guidelines for Gov. Jim Justice!! And the nominees are:

 

 

 

App of the Year

 

Twitter

At the moment The Manofesto hasn’t been banned, but stay tuned.

 

Facebook

It seems like more & more social media platforms are popping up, but as much as people keep threatening to ditch Facebook the truth is most haven’t and won’t until something better comes along, which hasn’t happened…yet.

 

Words with Friends

It’s like an old friend you may not talk to for awhile but you know will always be there. I might go days without playing a game…or I may have five games going at once.

 

Zoom

Seriously…had anyone even heard of Zoom before 2020?? It has apparently been a thing since 2011, but really hit its stride this past year, making working from home much easier. Just make sure you’re dressed appropriately and not doing anything naughty on camera.

 

Amazon Music

I’ve always loved music, but this past year it has really been a vital part of everyday life. No matter what kind of sadness or chaos surrounds us, no matter how lost we may feel at a particular moment in time, music can always soothe a troubled soul.

 

Instagram

I finally joined the Instagram party in August 2020. I use it strictly for funny or thought provoking memes, though I am aware there are other ways one can utilize it. There are those who use the platform quite effectively, and I envy the proficiency they display.

 

Spades Royale

I’m still playing Spades. I was especially thankful for it in 2020 when the game provided brief intervals of relaxation and centered me during a rather stressful & lonely stretch of time.

 

TikTok

Like Zoom this is something that burst on the scene in the absence of normalcy. I’ve never used it and likely never will, but any technology that can provide amusement in an increasingly unamusing world deserves kudos.

 

Pinterest

Social media has become a landmine where relationships can be destroyed & lives negatively impacted by one provocative post, but the most controversial thing you’ll find on Pinterest might be a list of banned books or a recipe that doesn’t seem particularly appetizing. It isn’t really a place I can waste hours of time, but it’s good for an occasional brief distraction.

 

FB Messenger

I actually use Messenger more than Facebook now. I’d much rather interact with people on Messenger than on the phone or even thru text.

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

Zoom. I haven’t had the pleasure of using it because my job isn’t important like that, but I am aware that it has become a valuable tool and may permanently alter how business is conducted, even post-pandemic.

 

 

We couldn’t think of a better person to present the next award than Buzz Lightyear himself. He has been tickling our funny bones for decades on TV shows like Home Improvement & Last Man Standing, and has starred in memorable movies like the Toy Story series, Galaxy Quest, and the Santa Clause trilogy. Please grunt in appreciation for Tim Allen!! And the nominees are:

 

 

 

Buzzword of the Year

 

Social Distancing

Hopefully it’s something we can stop doing in the near future, but staying home and keeping six feet apart when forced to be out in public was a defining characteristic of 2020.

 

“With an abundance of caution…”

When you hear that phrase you know some event is about to be cancelled and something you’ve been looking forward to isn’t going to happen.

 

The New Normal

I don’t like the “new normal”. I want my old normal back!!

 

Hydrochloroquine Phosphate

Did I spell it correctly?? I hope so. Apparently it’s a medication that’s been around for awhile treating other conditions and showed some promise in minimizing COVID-19, but as soon as President Trump sang its praises the media and all their leftist buddies started hating on it. After all, we wouldn’t want to screw poor Bill Gates out of the billions he’s probably going to make from a government approved vaccine.

 

Contact Tracing

I’m not sure exactly what it is or how it works, but the whole idea seems a bit creepy.

 

Essential Employees

Is it better to be considered essential and have to put your health at risk going to work, or be classified as non-essential meaning you can hole up in the safety of your home but you lose the ability to provide for yourself & your family?? Whatever one’s thoughts might be on the subject there is no denying that 2020 made it clear what is really important and who is truly responsible for making our lives better.

 

Defund the Police

It’s a stupid idea no matter how you present it. Are there bad cops out there?? Sure. But you don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. If someone wants to talk about police reform I’m all ears. Nothing is perfect and it’s a great idea to implement positive changes. However, I’m sick & tired of the hatred that has been shown toward law enforcement.

 

Flatten the Curve

When all of the craziness began last spring the goal was allegedly to calm things to the point that hospitals weren’t overwhelmed. That has been proven to be a lie, as hospitals in most places have been more than capable of handling COVID-related spikes.

 

Asymptomatic

So even if you’re not sick you may still be sick. Alrighty then.

 

PPE

Personal protective equipment. Masks, face shields, etc. Hey, if it helps that’s awesome, but Good Lord…I feel so bad for folks that have to wear that stuff for 8-12 hours every time they go to work.

 

“These unprecedented times…”

Yeah, yeah…we know. We got it. You can quit saying it everytime you want to sound self-important and reflective. None of us expected to be living thru a global pandemic.

 

Quarantine

Human beings need interaction. We are social creatures. We crave contact, whether it be a handshake, hug, high five, or the communal experience of sitting in a crowded restaurant or attending a show at a packed theater. Sure it’s nice to sit at home reading a book or mindlessly scrolling thru our phone, but someday it’s going to be glorious to be out & about again enjoying life as it is meant to be.

 

Herd Immunity

I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV, so I will refrain from offering an uninformed medical opinion. But it is interesting to ponder the idea of how things may have turned out if we’d skipped all of this panic and just let things play out like we usually do with the latest dangerous illness. Would the death toll have been much worse?? Have all of the steps we’ve taken (destroying the economy & people’s lives in the process) actually helped?? We’ll never know, will we??

 

Panic Buying

We’ve already talked about toilet paper. I remember going to the grocery store back in May of last year before I encountered my own health issues, and the bare shelves really struck me. Yes, there have been some shortages and some interruptions in the supply chain, but anyone who thought grocery stores were going to shut down and we wouldn’t have access to food or other necessities has probably watched Red Dawn too many times.

 

Distance Learning

More than ever this past year I have been confronted with the loneliness that comes with being single & childless, but I must admit that I’m glad not to have kids in school in the midst of all of this, and even happier not to be a schoolkid myself. Kudos to the parents, teachers, & students who have somehow kept things going. I know it can’t be easy.

 

Contactless Delivery

My father has been kind enough to pick up groceries that I order online while I’ve been laid up, and he commented that I spend more buying stuff than he does. It dawned on me that it is because I’m not eating out like I usually do. Having said that, I do occasionally order Chinese or a pizza, and most places offer the option of paying online and having the delivery person just leave the food at your door. It is a sign of the times…both resourceful & sad.

 

Super Spreader

As time has dragged on people have become weary of everything that has happened. They just want their lives back. So folks have begun to rebel, whether it be college students gathering for a keg party, churches ignoring protocols to worship together, or families having a birthday party or celebrating Thanksgiving. Unfortunately it only takes one contagious person to spread The Sickness to everyone they may have encountered at such an event.

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

Social Distancing. It seems like an oxymoron, and I suppose it kind of is. Last St. Patrick’s Day I went to a local restaurant for some tasty Irish vittles, and they had a popular local band there doing an acoustic set. It had been announced that the next day all bars, restaurants, & various other businesses would be closing for awhile. At the time no one knew what we might be facing, but there was a vibe there that night. I was by myself but struck up a conversation with a couple sitting next to me. I enjoy live music and became a bit verklempt because I had a feeling I might not be able to have that experience again for a bit. I enjoyed the energy in the room even if I didn’t personally know anyone. In a strange way I have felt almost lucky these past several months because I haven’t been missing anything. I’ve been laid up & unable to go anywhere, but there hasn’t been anywhere to go anyway. Someday in the not-too-distant future I will be healed and able to get back out & about, and I hope soon thereafter normalcy will return. I don’t want to stay six feet away from people. I want handshakes & hugs. I want to go to a crowded bar or the local theater just up the street and enjoy live music. I want to feel good vibes again. And when that day comes I just might weep.

 

 

 

 

Let’s take another break. Please stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of The Sammy Awards…coming soon!!

 

 

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 1.21

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

 

Facebook sure has changed in the last several months. I distinctly recall being savagely attacked by friends of a friend (well, he’s not my friend anymore…his loss) during a sociopolitical…discussion…a few years ago. I was called fat, stupid, a Nazi, and various other things by people who didn’t even know me. Where were Facebook’s “community standards” back then?? Apparently they didn’t exist. But you know what…that’s okay. I’m a grown ass man. I took a licking and kept on ticking. Flash forward to the present and I’ve been in “Facebook Jail” twice in the past few weeks, the first time for 24 hours & the second for three days. I deserved the first one and I’ll admit it, but I don’t even know what I did the second time. I’m not usually the paranoid conspiracy theory type, but I feel like I’m being targeted since my beliefs tend to lean to the right and I espouse conservative Christian values (most of the time…I’m not perfect). I am convinced that Facebook & other social media platforms are limiting free speech and exhibiting unprecedented control over the populace. They are silencing perspectives with which they do not agree, and sadly it is working. I am the administrator for two pages other than my personal page, and I don’t want those organizations to lose their platform. I stay in contact with friends & family across the country and beyond as well as utilize Facebook as an online photo album and a place to promote my blog, and I don’t want to lose those options either. So you know what?? You win Facebook. You have (mostly) silenced me. Going forward I will be even more selective about what I post and extremely careful about threads I comment on. I’ll stick to clicking the “like” button or replying with a funny GIF. It’s just not worth the hassle to go beyond that. Isn’t it ironic that a social media site is so arbitrary in the way it administers “justice” (to adults who should be able to post anything we want) that it actually persuades people to be less interactive 🤔.

 

 

I utilize my Instagram as a Meme Zone. Nothing but memes. All memes all the time (sadly even those have been “fact checked” a couple of times). Most are funny, while some are meant to make one stop & think. I ran across this one that someone else had posted, but it gave me pause. It’s a nice idea and a pleasant thought, but I don’t believe it to be true. My father told me often as a child that even though people would stop, pat me on the head, & be briefly concerned about the “poor little crippled boy”, the fact is that ten seconds later they’d forgotten all about me because everyone has their own lives and their own problems. Dad has imparted much wisdom thru the years, but that particularly sage counsel has always stuck with me more than anything else. So forgive me if I don’t believe that coworkers, classmates, random little kids & old women, or the waitstaff at my favorite restaurant love me. I don’t even think it is true in regard to my extended family. I’ve been laid up for nine months (hospital, “skilled” nursing facility, homebound), and trust me…I rarely receive phone calls, texts, emails, or instant messages from anyone outside of a select few (and damn do I appreciate those folks). I have been quite lonely & distraught. Some evenings I have simply laid here & wept. I would never take the ultimate drastic action because I cannot fathom devastating my father & sister in that way and my faith, though shaky at times, is deeply rooted. But make no mistake…certain things have run across my mind in moments of despair. Obviously I don’t feel particularly loved or lovable. I think a more accurate word would be likable. I know people like me. I have a few good qualities…a decent sense of humor, fairly intelligent, a good listener, polite (most of the time), reliable, generally honest. But lovable?? Nah. It may seem silly to some, but one of the more devastating things that has happened in the past several months is a lovely gal that I have admired from afar for awhile was briefly single but has now apparently found the love of her life, all while I was immobile & otherwise distracted. It was a pipe dream anyway…she’s completely out of my league. However, what the situation made clear to me is that I have absolutely nothing to offer a potential mate, and at a time in my life when I have way too much time to spend in my own head that realization has been heartbreaking. At any rate, I will continue to be a “nice guy” to friends, neighbors, the drive thru people at Burger King, customer service reps at local retail outlets, and anyone else I encounter…but I labor under no delusion that they love me or that I am worthy of that level of admiration.

 

 

I’m sure y’all read stories recently about Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) finishing a closing prayer on the first day of the new Congress with “amen & awoman”. Actually what he said was “And dare I ask, oh Lord, peace even in this chamber now and evermore. We ask it in the name of the monotheistic god, Brahma, and god known by many names by many different faiths. Amen and awoman.”  Okay…this is so stupid I don’t even know where to start. The word “amen”  is an Abrahamic declaration of affirmation used in Jewish, Christian, & Islamic worship as a response to a prayer. It means verily, truly, or so be it. In other words, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with gender!! Congressman Cleaver was so hellbent & determined to prove his wokeness, but instead he exposed his own mental illness. Also, in case you are wondering, Brahma is the Hindu god. Folks, I don’t have an issue with inclusiveness & all that jazz. I am a Christian, but I have friends who are Jewish and others that range from “spiritual” to “questioning”. I am not personally acquainted with any atheists or Muslims and certainly have my opinions about each, but hey, if you respect my faith I’ll respect yours. Having said that, I think there are common sense parameters, and recognizing the Hindu god in a prayer in the United States Congress or any other public arena simply isn’t normal. I’ve always known that politicians in general are corrupt, greedy, & morally ambiguous, but I’m starting to get a real sense of evil emanating from Washington DC. There’s so much more I could say, but I’m trying to remain positive and not elevate my blood pressure.

Points of Ponderation…Episode 7.17

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

 

 

Seriously…does ANYONE prefer “Top Stories” over “Most Recent” in their Facebook feed?? Anyone?? Bueller?? Bueller??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve come to the conclusion that, while I believe in the general idea of altruism, I am not very altruistic. Altruism, for those that may be unaware, is “unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others” and/or “behavior that is not beneficial to self but that benefits others”. Now, this does not mean that I am selfish…atleast I don’t think it does. I am reminded of a scene from the 1999 movie Office Space when the main character tells a couple of guys that he works with that “it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care”, only in my case I am lazy and I do theoretically care…just not enough to actually do anything. My growing perception over the past decade is that most folks don’t care at all. This has created a situation in which I am generally happiest hanging out at home with Rocco and not bothering with or being bothered by the outside world. I really love the idea, if I were wealthy enough, of faking my own death and moving to some secluded location with Rocco…just me, him, internet access, cable TV, plenty of books, & grocery delivery. In the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas Lucy tells a depressed Charlie Brown that he needs involvement, which is terrible advice. When I was a kid I didn’t dream of becoming a doctor or firefighter or even a singer or an actor, but I did ponder the idea of going into politics. To paraphrase The Godfather, I could have been Senator Mano or Governor Mano or even President Mano, holding the strings that make everybody else dance. Obviously that never happened, and for that I thank God because power & authority don’t interest me at all these days. I’ve even lost my stomach for friendly debates about politics. I was a supervisor for almost seven years at an old job that I left over a decade ago, and have no desire to be anyone’s boss ever again. I’ve spent the last four years serving as President on the board of directors of a local non-profit organization. My term is up in a couple of months and I couldn’t be more excited. I remember running for class President back in high school and losing. Perhaps that is when things began to change. I realized that so many things are just a popularity contest, and in adulthood I began to understand that a lot of situations come down to people who are a little too eager to be helpful not being able to say “no” as others con them into doing jobs no one else wants to do. No thanks. I’m content…just me, Rocco, a good book, old movies that I’ve seen a hundred times, & whatever ballgame is on. Altruism is beautiful…it’s just not my thing.

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of Ferris Bueller…..

I’m not a big fan of commercials. I typically mute the TV when they’re on. However, I really like current Domino’s ads that parody the 1986 John Hughes classic. Kudos.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 11.16

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

 

As predicted, my late night habits have changed significantly in the past year & a half. Upon David Letterman’s retirement and offthe final piece of late night television’s transformation into something I barely recognize I opined that “it is just as likely that, at long last, I will begin my own transformation into a cantankerous old geezer and be in bed way before 11:30pm. more & more often.” Now I must admit that I am rarely in bed that early. However, if I am at home and not working it has become the norm for me to enjoy the late local news and then either watch a movie or turn the TV off altogether and read a bit or do some writing. The current late night lineup is oftentimes too political for my taste or just outright tedious. Either way I’ve got better things to do with my time. Your mileage may vary and that’s okay.

 

 

facebook-147Dear Facebook: What exactly are “top” stories?? Who decides that?? More importantly, why…when a person makes it perfectly clear that they prefer the most recent stories…do you KEEP SWITCHING IT BACK?!?!?!?? I realize that using the site is free, but that doesn’t give you the right to just do whatever you feel like and ignore your customers’ wishes on even the most insignificant of issues. Get your stuff together.

 

 

I wonder if it has dawned on the GOP & its voters yet that if almost ANYONE other than trump2Donald Trump had received the nomination they’d likely be beating Hillary Clinton by a comfortable margin??

 

 

I’m onto you delivery guys…..

deliveryI’m single, live alone, & can be lazy. Therefore I probably eat out way too much, to the detriment of both my economic well-being and overall health. Drive-thrus & delivery are a godsend for guys like me. However, I have noticed a trend. Let’s say your pizza, salad, sandwich, orange chicken, or whatever kind of vittles you’ve ordered is going to cost $12-15. You hand the delivery person a $20 bill. Protocol would normally dictate that he/she begins to count out your change, at which time you either say “keep it” or return what you feel to be an appropriate tip. But I’ve run into a couple of sneaky ones who, upon being handed $20 for that $12-15 order simply ask “do you need change??”. Now I am perfectly aware that it is well within my rights to say yes and get my change back, but one of my weaknesses is that I am too nice, so the couple of times that this has occurred I’ve been caught off guard and simply say “no, that’s okay”. It is only afterward that it’s dawned on me that I’ve just given someone a freakin’ $5-8 tip for food that didn’t cost much more than that. Hey, I’m not naïve…from the delivery person’s perspective this is an ingenious ploy, and I can’t really blame them, especially when it works on suckers like me. There’s an old saying though…say it with me…”fool me once, shame on you…fool me twice, shame on me”. The sequel to that adage should be “there won’t be a third time”. Now that I’ve figured out the scam I’ll be sure to have exact change if at all possible from now on, and sadly I am likely to become far less generous with my tips. Sorry folks…I’m crazy, not stupid.

 

 

I may not watch very much late night television anymore, and most prime time shows are so tedious that I don’t even bother, but kmanallow me to recommend one newcomer. I never watched a single second of Kiefer Sutherland’s popular 24, but I have quickly become hooked on his new show Designated Survivor. Sutherland portrays a milquetoast HUD Secretary who ascends to the Oval Office after the President, Vice President, and pretty much every other high ranking government official dies when the Capitol is bombed during the State of the Union speech. I see vague traces of The West Wing, a show I loved, with added elements of intrigue & action. Who committed the heinous act of terrorism?? Why?? Who can the new President really trust?? How in the world can he rebuild the federal government from nothing?? It’s not a perfect show. There have been some missteps, like the surprising reveal of a second designated survivor as well as a Congressman who survived the explosion and a little too much preachy emphasis on anti-Muslim sentiment. Much like The West Wing the show unmistakably leans left and paints conservatism with a disdainful broad brush, but thus far it continues to build layers of conspiratorial drama. I’m not sure we’ll be talking about Designated Survivor a decade from now or even in a couple of years, but it has my attention for now.

Points of Ponderation…Episode 7.16

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

 

 

I don’t know enough to offer a solid, knowledgeable opinion about Great Britain’s exit from the European Union. My vibe is that England was once one of the world’suk superpowers for centuries before the EU ever existed and it will be just fine going forward. Europe is a continent comprised of different countries. I’m not quite sure what the particular benefits or disadvantages are of membership in the collective. To my knowledge there isn’t any such joint association in South America or Asia. The nations of North America…The United States, Canada, & Mexico…certainly run their nations independently of one another. That’s not to say that there isn’t cooperation amongst different countries on various levels, but I don’t know what the benefit is of giving up some level of sovereignty to be part of a larger community. At face value this looks like a good move by Britain. I’m not an international affairs scholar though so I could be wrong.

 

 

head-scratcher

 

 

 

It always makes me uncomfortable when guys refer to females as thick and/or juicy. She’s a woman, not a steak.

 

 

 

 

 

flood1I live in the northcentral part of West Virginia and was unaffected by recent storms and flooding. However, just flood2a couple of hours down the road it’s a whole different story. There has been a ton of property damage…roads washed out, buildings destroyed, landscapes altered. Devastating loss of life…possibly into triple digits, including small children. Folks up this way are doing what we can…donating food & supplies and sending it down to the affected areas. In the midst of a bad day one certainly doesn’t have to look far to see those that are in much worse shape.

 

 

 

Stuff I don’t care about: Taylor Swift’s latest “relationship”, what happened on Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, any “music” video by Kanye West, Shark Week, sleep2what some vacuous celebrity thinks about gun control, Johnny Football’s substance abuse issues, what any of the Kardashian/Jenners are up to, who will be the next sadomasochist to emasculate themselves daily alongside Kelly Ripa, The Olympics, The Bachelorette or any of the Real Housewives, whatever JK Rowling babbles about nowadays, Carpool Karaoke with James Corden, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even among trivialities I have standards.

 

 

 

facebook-147Consider this. From 2005-08 MySpace was the largest social media site on the interwebs. In 2006 it surpassed Google as the most visited website in America. By 2008 Facebook gained traction and left MySpace in the dust. Eight years later other sites…Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat…have come along and carved out their niche, but Facebook & Twitter aren’t going anywhere. I have no profound insight to offer on the subject, I just think it is an interesting topic to ponder.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 5.16

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

Dear Facebook…

I appreciate the “People You May Know” suggestions, but there are issues. Just because I have one or two friends in common facebook-147with someone doesn’t mean that I know that person. Perhaps we should set the bar a little higher…like maybe 10 friends in common?? Of course the flip side of that is that if I have 50 friends in common with someone the odds are that I do know them and there is a reason I’m not friends with them on Facebook. Perhaps we went to high school together and they were a popular kid that didn’t know I existed. Or maybe they were in a fraternity or sorority that I interacted with in college but I thought they were a jackass back then and have no interest in catching up two decades later. I understand that it is a complicated algorithm to perfect, but I think a billion dollar company that revolutionized social media can do better.

head-scratch2So the History Channel, A&E, and Lifetime (Television for Women) have teamed up for a remake of Roots. Seriously?? Can’t we just leave the classics alone??

I’m just gonna leave this right here…

abortion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of social media, I have a pet peeve…

screenCitizens of The Manoverse will recall that as part of the annual Sammy Awards I do an RIP section dedicated to notable individuals who have passed on during the year. It began as a parody of the In Memoriam segment of the Academy Awards but has evolved into a responsibility that I take rather seriously. Because of this I am usually able to vaguely recall when a person died. Therefore it annoys me tremendously when someone on Facebook posts an article about a celebrity death as if it just occurred recently when in reality the person passed away several years ago. Come on folks…read the articles. Don’t just blindly post something and make yourself look uninformed & oblivious.

 

 

Yep…exactly…..

MTV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been refraining from too much sociopolitical commentary lately, a) because it’s a pointless endeavor in a world that’s gone toh Hell in a handbasket, and b) I’m already on a low dosage of high blood pressure meds so I’m trying to be prudent. However, let me just say this about Harambe, a 17 year old silverback that was recently shot to death by staff at the Cincinnati Zoo. Is it sad that Harambe is dead?? Of course. Nevertheless, the powers-that-be at the zoo made the right call. A toddler had gotten into the enclosure and was in danger. Anyone with a brain would choose human life over an animal any day…or atleast I’d hope so. I know there are a bunch of animal lovers out there claiming that Harambe was actually trying to be protective of the child, and video seems to support that notion. I also know that gorillas are said to be very intelligent. However, gorillas possess strength atleast 10x that of a healthy adult human male but not the means to understand that fact. The animal may not have had any intention of harming the child but likely would have if swift action had not been taken. The shocked crowd certainly had no intention of spooking Harambe and making the situation worse yet they undoubtedly did. The choice made was the only logical choice. As far as the parents of the child are concerned, I cannot be overly critical because I am not a parent myself and also because I was not there. Word on the street is that these might not be the most stellar caregivers in the world. Dad has a pretty long rap sheet and some say that Mom was being inattentive to the child. That being said, we all know that things happen. Kids can be sneaky quick. Hopefully the parents learn a valuable lesson from all of this, and the folks in charge at the zoo will likely re-examine safety measures and try to tighten things up a bit on their end. It is a tragic end for Harambe, but it could have been so much more horrific all the way around.

 

 

Because I am here not just to entertain but to educate…

doggiesmeatcookies

For a person trying to refrain from sociopolitical commentary I suppose I’m doing a lot of it today, but something must be addressed…

obama_dr_evilI think it was bad form for President Hussein Obama to do yet another apology tour…this time in Hiroshima, Japan…right before our Memorial Day here in the United States. And people wonder why so many hate this man?? To be honest I don’t understand why anyone with better than a grade school education respects him. He’s disgusting.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 6.15

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

PopeI’m not Catholic, so I don’t get the whole Pope thing. He’s just a guy. Okay okay…he’s a preacher. I like preachers. I respect preachers. I believe that they are called into ministry and serve an important function in God’s Kingdom. However, it seems silly to me to weep in the dude’s presence or to think that touching his robe will somehow bring about a miracle. The Pope isn’t necessary for a miracle. Jesus is present anywhere & everywhere His presence is welcomed and He can make miracles happen. I won’t get into my personal opinions about the current Pope in particular, but I will say that I find the hero worship…especially by politicians & “journalists” who routinely advocate killing innocent babies, propagate racial & economic rancor, promote deviant & sinful lifestyles, and consistently ridicule The Bible & its teachings…to be more than a little bit disingenuous.

 

 

I think I would like autumn a lot more if it were followed by spring. Pumpkins, falling leaves, bonfires, flannel, hot soup, ghost fallstories, candy corn, hayrides, & apple cider are all undeniably quaint & enchanting, but the fact that they are a gateway to long, cold, snowy winter is depressing and sort of kills the mood.

 

 

Facepalm computerYou know that thing on Facebook where you “like” or “comment” on someone’s crazy status and then they message you basically saying it was a trick and now you have to post some kind of crazy status or do something wacky?? Yeah…I don’t play those kind of games because…well, I’m an adult. Your mileage may vary and that’s okay.

 

 

The resignation of John Boehner is a step in the right direction for Congress, but it’s a bit bonerlate in the game. He should have never been re-elected Speaker of the House after the last election. And I am justifiably concerned that another RINO will be chosen as his successor, which will just bring us back to the same predicament we’ve been in all along.

 

 

Oh…speaking of Facebook…..
For the love of God people…PLEASE stop posting statuses saying that “Channel 13 News” has said that we’re all going to be charged $5.99 to keep our stuff private but one can avoid the charge by copying & pasting a big paragraph full of legal mumbo jumbo. First of all, this hoax has been perpetrated a few times before. I can’t believe that people facebook-147are still dumb enough to fall for it. Secondly, Facebook’s business model has always been to make all their money from advertisers and the last time I checked Mark Zuckerberg was a billionaire so it must be working. And lastly, if/when this business model changes I am confident that we’d all be told about it well in advance thru proper channels, and one would either pay the money or leave Facebook. Do you honestly believe that simply posting a status would give you a free pass on any kind of user fee?? That’s idiotic. It’d be like going to McDonald’s and being given the choice to either pay for your meal or dance a jig on the roof of the restaurant. When you copy & paste this faux status you look like an uneducated, illiterate, ill-informed fool with absolutely zero common sense. Everyone is laughing at you. Just stop it.

 

 

I’m not scientifically inclined enough to fully understand the potential significance of water being present on Mars, but it sounds marsrather cool. Once upon a time in America we were excited about space exploration…eager to find out “what’s out there”. We walked on the moon. We sent shuttles up frequently. And then over time the populace started to get bored. People began to whine & complain about all the money being spent on the space program, in part because they were afraid of losing their free ride from the government, and also because the powers-that-be did a poor job of focusing on objectives & defining the mission to the public. Just a few decades ago this latest news from Mars would have been the lead story and cause for much buzz & excitement. America’s love for sci-fi…franchises like Star Trek & Star Wars, writers like Ray Bradbury & Robert Heinlein…was built on the foundation of a fascination with space and its mysteries. It is probably true that our nation has collectively gotten lazier & less curious, more interested in The Bachelor than The Enterprise. However, let’s not sell ourselves short. We should continue going boldly where no one has gone before & exploring strange new worlds. America needs to lead the charge…not be mildly interested spectators.

The 2013 Sammy Claus Wish List

Boys & girls, first a healthy dose of the truth. Sammy Claus has really struggled to find the Christmas spirit in 2013. There are a variety of reasons for that…..a hundred mostly insignificant things that I won’t bore the masses with. Suffice to say that I haven’t always felt the presence of God in my life lately. Now let me be clear… I have never and will never doubt the existence of God. He is real. I have just had alot of questions recently about His role in my life. As usual though it was my friend The Owl who set me on the right path by reminding me that God is in control only if we allow Him to be, and that of course is the issue…..I have not truly let God be in control of my life. That needs to change…..and it will. Maybe we’ll dive deeper into that topic some other time. Now though it is time for the 5th annual Wish List. As always I must remind you that I have no particular power to make these wishes come true and can only hope that The Jolly One himself up in The North Pole is a citizen of The Manoverse and will see fit to help things along. Enjoy…and God bless us…everyone.

_____

Obamacare ocare

repeal

_____

Jimmy Fallon fallon

much success as he takes over The Tonight Show

_____

People who “axe” a question instead of “ask” one dunce

the strength & perseverance to put away those x’s and find their s’s and k’s – I know you can do it

_____

Speaker of the House John Boehner bn

a box of tissues and some testosterone

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Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin Tomlin

a spot in the next cast of Dancing with the Stars

_____

Paula Deen deen

the last laugh

_____

Twitter & Facebook twfb

an “Are you sure you want to post this??” button and maybe a 10 minute waiting period

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NASCAR smoke

a new champion – Jimmie Johnson bores me

_____

Black Friday thanksgiving-turkey-dinner

a return to normalcy (whatever that means in regards to Black Friday) – let us have Thanksgiving back

_____

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Teo teo

a real live girlfriend

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Ben Affleck AffleckBatman

best of luck as the new Batman…seriously

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President Barack Hussein Obama & First Lady MeeShell “My Belle” Obama obama

an ounce of class

_____

Autocorrect texting

Extinction. It’s an unnecessary & faulty technology. If you don’t know how to spell you don’t need to own a smartphone.

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Alec Baldwin alec

anger management classes

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Dennis Rodman rodman

South Korean citizenship. Y’all can have him… he serves no useful purpose here.

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George Zimmerman zim

better decision making skills

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The Star Trek Franchise trek

an awesome new director now that JJ Abrams is moving on to revive Star Wars

*******************

As has become tradition I shall end with a quote from the Rankin-Bass animated classic Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town:

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p class=”MsoNormal”>“Lots of unhappiness? Maybe so. But doesn’t Santa take a little bit of that unhappiness away? Doesn’t a smile on Christmas morning scratch out a tear cried on SantaJesus764a sadder day? Not much maybe. But what would happen if we all tried to be like Santa and learned to give as only he can give…of ourselves, our talents, our love and our hearts? Maybe we could all learn Santa’s beautiful lesson and maybe there would finally be peace on Earth and good will toward men.”