12 Things Not To “Like” About Facebook

This post might offend some Facebook users so, true to my wimpy, introverted nature, I won’t post a link to this post from my personal Facebook page. After all, I don’t really harbor any latent death wishes. I will only post it on my Books page since most likely the people who have “liked” that page will forgive my rants, given that you’ve more or less volunteered for it.

Facebook was a good idea in the beginning. Now it’s pretty much tripe. I still look at it, but I rarely comment on anything, and I am not guilty of posting any of the types of things exampled below. I wouldn’t do it, because I very much believe that NOTHING any of my “friends” post about their personal religious beliefs or political sentiments will ever affect how I feel about those same subjects, so I wouldn’t think the reverse would be true.

Speaking of “friends”, that’s kind of a bump-up in the amount of affection I feel for upwards of 75% of the Facebook personalities I am currently connected to. If I were able to recognize even 10% (a generous percentage) of my Facebook friends if I met them head-on in the frozen food aisle, that would be happily surprising.  

That’s not to say I don’t have genuine friends on Facebook and I have marked them as such. But I’ve been gathering info from all the statuses and links so I can blast away at Facebook in this post.

Not all of the 12 are friend-related grievances. Some are just Facebook being what it is, a big colossal waste of time. Not to mention, every Facebook user is in mortal danger of having his or her equilibrium thrown into a spin cycle with flashing blue to pink ads or things that move.

Is that picture of the woman with beet juice on her face moving or am I having a seizure here? Damn, I knew I shouldn’t have combined that goat’s milk with the Happy Hour Sake at Ed’s Sushi Shack last night.

Here’s the list of twelve (and there are probably fifty more):

The “You’re a Winner” flashing banner. This is the blue/pink thing I was talking about. I have won a free Walmart gift card? Somehow I doubt that. And besides, I avoid Walmark like I would a mosquito wearing a West Nile Virus Alert ID bracelet.

This is not a joke! The fact that you have to say that this is “not a joke”, is a joke. What is it about this that is NOT a joke?  I am the 100,000th visitor of the day so I can claim my “prize”? Funny, I have seen that same thing before. How can I be the 100,000th visitor on one day and then again a day later? I don’t get the math here.

Girls online. Well, look at these tarty little Eastern European girls. Warning! They are VERY attracted to westernized men. I am pretty sure I listed my gender as female. I am also pretty sure these fluties would not appeal to lesbians. So assuming these two things, that NO female is interested in flirting with or dating these Eastern European girls, why would you show me this ad? Get with the program, Facebook. It’s not rocket science.

Games. Now, I’m sure there is probably a way to prevent this type of post from appearing. Some setting somewhere. But the real problem is I don’t care enough to investigate it in order to figure out where that is. Do we really have to see this stuff? No, I don’t have any space helmets! And when did we start playing Cityville? I thought we were playing Farmville! Oh wait, the Industrial Revolution must have happened.

Horoscopes. Ah. If only I cared about your Virgo horoscope. Not being a Virgo, and not even giving the teeniest of sh*ts about my own horoscope, I certainly don’t care about yours. But wait. It says “Everything you’ve been working towards is likely to be positively received… “ If only I’d been a Virgo! I hold my parents directly responsible for the misalignment of my astrological future endeavors. However, I believe the key word in the horoscope here is “likely”.

“This person supports” with the arrow pointing at the supporter’s Facebook profile pic. I think some PhotoShopping is in order. How about a little text change here. “This person supports The Ritualistic Sacrifice and Blood-letting of Small Animals.”

Challenges. The above is a nice sentiment. But I refuse to do this just because you Double Dog Dare me to. Sure, Mattel should make the Hope doll. But will they? No. Because it probably wouldn’t make economic sense. So maybe your time could be better spent by writing directly to Mattel if you feel strongly about this subject? I’m just playin’ devil’s advocate here.

Really annoying posters. Speakig of the devil. Oh my. This is offensive on so many levels. First of all, how do you know this kid feels that way? Did you ask him? Did you get his permission to use his image on this poster? Aren’t you kinda playing with fire here? What if this lovely urchin turns out to be an agnostic? He might sue you when he grows up, and you know? That would, like totally serve you right.

Requests to get you to copy and post as a status.  Another nice sentiment. And love the little heart things. The more the better! But no, I’m afraid I can’t do this. Why? Because it is phony and disingenuous? Well, that’s a start. It’s kind of like those billboards you see with the lone Bible verse on it. I always wonder who put that there, who paid for it, and what do they hope to accomplish? I feel the same about this. Of course everyone feels this way about cancer. No need to cheese it up.

Horrific political sentiments. This is further proof that some people are plain mean-spirited, nasty and will say and post anything. This is just vile. It’s stupid and insulting. Want to find a good way to get about half of your “friends” to un-friend you? Post this. The woman who did it got the old hover, unfriend, click from me. Not that she probably cares. And she was after all, not in the 10% that I would recognize in the frozen food aisle.

Unrecognizable pictures of nasty people. Who is this kindly looking gentleman? He looks like a nice man. WAIT! That’s Rush Limbaugh. No fair posting pictures that make him look like a regular guy so that nobody even recognize him. I bet someone just told him his prescription for Oxycontin is ready at Walgreen’s.

Religion-R-Us. Ta-da! The most irritating, disgusting of all — requests that you “friend” Jesus. I made this lovely collage because I couldn’t decide which image was worse. You know how Evangelicals always scoff and titter when someone spots the image of the Virgin Mary in a tortilla shell? This is right down that same religious-nuttery street. To me, this borders on sacrilege. Get your priorities straight. Don’t mix Facebook with your version of religion, whatever that is.

Well, there you have it! Twelve reasons. Do you need any more? Do you have any more?

My apologies that this post went well beyond the 800 word limit. Sometimes I just can’t shut up. 

Photo of 3D Man (sans sign text) courtesy of freedigitalprints.net

All other photos are screen shots from my personal Facebook page.

Will I Ever Be Freshly Pressed?

Will it ever happen? Will I ever be Freshly Pressed?

Alas. So far, it has not been so.

Being Freshly Pressed is a big deal to WordPress bloggers. And we all know that WordPress is the best blogging platform ever (!) with the best blogging tools ever (!!) and WordPress is, well, pretty awesome. (Will this help my chances, WordPress?)

If a blogger’s post ends up on the WordPress home page, he or she can expect high stats, lots of readers, lots of likes, lots of comments, lots of followers. In turn, if the blogger is a writer of books (like me), those readers will see my books, click on the images, buy from Amazon, and write five-star reviews. And I will live happily ever after.

I have never been, nor am I likely ever to be, Freshly Pressed. It just doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me. What am I doing wrong? Why can’t the WordPress gurus find me? Why do some bloggers become freshly pressed on their very first post?

And another thing. Occasionally (and I mean this literally – occasionally) I get a notification that a new reader is following my blog. These are so scarce that I nearly always look them up, see what they are up to. I see bloggers who have been at it for four months and have hundreds of followers already. How are they doing that? I have some piddling percentage of that number! Bah!

Enough whining.

I decided to look at each blog post that was Freshly Pressed as of Friday, July 20, to see if I could figure out what was good about it. What was it that caught the eyes of the choosers?

Here are a few of the FPd posts, and links, in case you are interested.

Can a Film Ever Truly Beat a Good Book? Basically no, says the post. If it is a really good book, one where you are drawn in by the characters and the story, a movie will usually come up a lot or a little short. Exception: The Help was almost as good in its film version as the book, but not quite. A very well-written post. 

Hey Rubiks Cube, EFF You! Okay. This is not good, not funny, filled with slight profanities which supposedly gets you bumped from the Freshly Pressed list. The formatting was strange. It had a nice picture of a Rubiks cube. I thought the original had a couple of typos but those have been corrected, if there were any. It was not long, thankfully.

Why Blogging Scares Me. OMG. This was good, the blogger is young (19) and that was apparent, which is fine. I like it a little better if you can’t discern the age or sex of the writer immediately. At least until they give away details so the reader can then figure it out. That’s just me though. The really pissable-off part is that this is the first post this individual has ever written! What?! How does it work that a first post such as this gets noticed and makes the list? I don’t get it. Not that it wasn’t good but… Really? Does this blogger know someone who is calling the Freshly Pressed shots?  It was well-written, despite a plethora of italics, bolded text and caps.

Shirley the Sheepish Feminist. This is pretty good, a post about feminism and why Jerry Seinfeld, in his new show Comedians Driving Around Getting Coffee, found  no women comics to drive around and chat with, only men. 

DIY Scratch Off Cards. Okay, who in their right mind wants to waste time making scratch-off cards?  I’m sure these cards work fine, and there were detailed instructions complete with pictures on how to make them. But why would anyone do this? In the event that I am completely missing the irony intended and also duly noting its originality (i.e. that anyone would have investigated this topic enough to write about it) I’d have to say this was very good.

Why I Watch The Newsroom. I have been told this is a very good series. I intend to watch it, so I was interested to read the review, which was good. From the comments, most think the show is excellent or were encouraged to watch by virtue of reading this post. It was a good review.

Follow the White Rabbit. I didn’t get much of this. It’s about artificial intelligence or something. I started yawning as soon as I realized this. Not into science fiction or fantasy or AI. Nice photos of billboards. Some would probably think this interesting. Alas, not me. But there’s nothing wrong with the post.

Dogs Married In $158,187.25 Wedding! Why Are You Still Single? Apparently a couple of dogs were wed and this pricey event took place in order to raise money for the Humane Society. It was just okay, not great. A picture of the bride and groom would have been funnier but this was not provided. The over-the-top craziness didn’t really work for me.

To My Son…..Finally The Phone Call. Wow. Poetry? I guess it is, short packed phrases which depict this mother’s trouble with her adult son. It was moving, yet I felt voyeuristic reading it, as if perhaps something so personal might be better left to a more private venue than the internet. And then it went FPd so even more people saw it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. 

My 15 Minutes. I suspect most of the calamities suffered during the 15 minutes before the film crew arrived might be a bit of an exaggeration in order to make this post funny. It didn’t work too well for me. Interesting concept: The writer of this blog is giving herself 1000 single days (no relationships, no dates, no sex) in order to “find herself”. That might work, but I guess if I told my husband I was going off for three years, he’d have some trouble with that.

DIY: Swimsuit Wrap. (Apparently “DIY” is big now.) Made with 1½ yards of fabric, four grommets and two chains. For some, I think this would be fine. Myself, I’m into “cover-ups” that are a little less revealing. My current cover-up is a burka. Nice post.

10 Non-fiction Books For the Novel Lover. I’ve read three, and this is a reminder that I always wanted to read Fast Food Nation. A good list.

None of these blogs rate an A+ in my opinion, although there have been FPd posts that I thought did merit that high grade. I have started following several blogs based on the post that was Freshly Pressed, and continue to enjoy every post from these fine writers. Here are three: The Write Transition, Life in the Boomer Lane, and The Byronic Man.

Photo courtesy of freedigitalprints.net

Questions About Offshoring American Jobs

Warning: Non-humorous post. The fact that I warn that this post may not be funny assumes that there are earlier posts which have been funny, which, of course, is only in the eye of the humor-beholder. 

There is one issue, well actually there are several, but this is one I’ve been thinking about for years. Outsourcing to other countries, or offshoring. Specifically, the offshoring, or elimination of American IT jobs. I do not profess to be an economic expert, nor do I have a degree in finance, but can anyone out there enlighten me as to how the practice of sending as many of our IT jobs as we can to other countries is good for our economy and ultimately for our country?

I’m just talking about IT here because it’s what affects me. Other professions currently offshored include (but are not limited to) writers, administrative assistants, tax preparers, web programmers and designers, drafters, human resources, call centers, and the biggest sinkhole of jobs, manufacturing. In 2011, 2,273,392 jobs were outsourced. 53% of the manufacturing jobs, 43% of IT jobs, 38% of R&D, and the list goes on. On and on.

My name is Peggy.

IT, in the olden days, was a niche career path where one could establish a place for him/herself in the solid, safe middle class. It took a certain amount of interest and aptitude in computers and logic, so it appealed to some but to others it seemed boring and nerdy. I always considered it a good thing that not everyone wanted to do this particular work since it was what I did, and if everyone wanted my job then there would be less opportunity for me. Selfish? Maybe. But I’m guessing most everyone feels that way about his or her chosen profession.

So we IT-ers enjoyed two-plus decades of secure cube-dwelling positions, established ourselves as professionals, bonded with those sharing our interests, bought homes, consumed things, put food on the table, planned for retirement, took vacations and saved for our kids’ educations. It wasn’t a grand lifestyle but it worked out pretty well for a lot of us.

Then came The New Millenium and the passion for money, and more money, and money no matter what, and screw your way to the top of the money making market. Do it cheap, in order to put more on the bottom line. Outsource, offshore, “right-size”. There are people who will do it for a third of the money. Get rid of the high-paid American workers. The larger the corporation, the more the push to outsource. Get your IT services cheap! Any corporation who is still paying the big bucks for foot-draggin’ Americans has some ‘splainin’ to do to its stockholders.

Aren’t we kind of paying the price for that now? Everyone complains about the current administration, how the “economy hasn’t improved” how unemployment hasn’t gone down. An aside here, isn’t the percentage of unemployment a manufactured number anyway? How do we count those who have used up their unemployment benefits and are still jobless, and unemployment-less as well? I never did get that.

If we have millions less jobs available here, how can the job market ever improve, how can the housing market improve, how can the tax base be supported? There are cities and municipalities going bankrupt now. As a matter of fact, it was the story of Scranton, Pennsylvania which prompted me to finally write this blog. Fire-fighters and policemen have had their wages slashed to minimum wage. Minimum wage? You can probably make more than that pulling Double Expresso Lattes at Starbucks. And the benefits might be better. So forget risking your life to do a job. What’s the point?

 

(Cartoon by Bennett / Chattanooga Times Free Press)

 

This is not a political blog. But what can the current administration do about this? Force corporations not to outsource? Or, convince them with straight talk and earnest pleas not to do it anymore, or at least reduce the number of jobs outsourced? I don’t know if that’s possible.

What I do know is that one of the candidates who will be on the ballot in November believes in outsourcing. He’s been accused of having done it. That’s not to say he won’t try really hard to change the way things are now, because for sure this individual has changed his mind a number of times about a number of issues. I’m just sayin’.

Interestingly, when I wanted to see if anyone out there was blogging about offshoring, I googled “blogs about offshoring”. Know what came up? Every item in the list concerned how to get offshore help to write blogs.

So I repeat my question. If there is someone out there who could tell me, or point me to an article or a book that would explain it all to me, how outsourcing helps (or at least doesn’t harm) our economy and our country, would you please comment? I surely would appreciate it.

I’ll leave you with an image. You know when you made that call to get help with your wireless internet router? This is where that call went.

The Man on The Plane

Yesterday I had to fly. Flying used to be fun, sort of exciting, but as we now know, everything has changed about the experience. Now it’s just, well, tedious. So many things to accomplish before I lay my head down. Or, in other words: Miles to go before I sleep. (I always liked that.)

There’s all the preparation to go. Don’t forget anything. Make sure there’s enough time. Count backwards. Let’s see. Flight leaves at 10:40 so let’s call that 10:30. Need an hour and a half at Tampa International Airport. (Actually, that’s a stretch, you really only need an hour, so I’m probably overcompensating by forty minutes at this point.) Allow thirty minutes for the shuttle to the airport from the rental car place. And thirty minutes to get to the rental car place.

Okay, we’re at the airport. Stand in line at the ticket counter to check two bags. Here, a slight diversion. These are bags designed to be carryons but of COURSE we can’t do that anymore because of silly rules about liquids in 4 ounce containers (thank you Mr. Shoe Bomber!) and other forbidden items which may become weapons, like nail files and miniature socket sets. Check the bags, reprint the boarding passes, show ID.

Next, stand in line to (again) show ID and boarding pass in order to get on shuttle for a one-minute whisk to the terminal. Once deposited safely terminalside, prepare for the TSA IPP (Invasion of Privacy and Patdown). Show ID and boarding pass (yet AGAIN), where a uniformed Security Specialist shines a light on your driver’s license and makes his secret little mark on your boarding pass. Take laptop out of case, disrobe and try to remember whether you need ID and boarding pass again. Try to keep track of belongings, get x-rayed, retrieve belongings, get dressed.

We are now ready to board the plane but, as usual, we’re about two hours early, having grossly over-estimated the amount of time everything will take. Play the waiting game and listen to lame pages. Will Ruth Quackenbush please pick up the nearest white courtesy telephone? Every ten minutes we are instructed that we are in an indoor clean-air facility and no smoking is permitted. And also a reminder that any unattended bags will be im-pound-ed.

Line up, get on plane. We usually board first, since I’m one of those anal people who has my right mouseclick finger poised at exactly 24 hours before boarding time so we can be part of the esteemed A Group.  The seats are three across, so if it’s a full flight, someone will be joining our cozy little party of two. It was a full flight. Okay, I’m in the middle seat, so let’s make eye contact with someone who is relatively slender and looks like he or she won’t want to make much conversation.

Woman and her husband approach, and she sits across the aisle and he sits next to me. He is a small, wiry sort of fellow with a thick crop of untended black hair. He looks a bit like he is continually on an adrenaline rush. He carries a book which is a good sign.

“Good place to sit!” he says. “More leg room here!”

“Yeah, I guess so,” say I, while I don’t believe there is any more leg room at this particular location than anywhere else.

His wife requests her “reading material” so he stands up in the aisle and proceeds to fumble in a suitcase in the overhead compartment holding up approximately forty passengers waiting to proceed to the rear of the plane where there are still empty seats remaining.

He gets to the material his wife has demanded and hands it to her and settles into his seat. He eats (rather noisily) a peach and half of an overripe banana before the plane takes off.

As we take off and are climbing to 10,000 feet where we can turn on electronic devices, he and his wife pass a small turquoise bottle filled with something that produces a pungent aroma back and forth. It smells a bit like smelling salts. What the…? It’s a bit stinky actually, and they reverently pass it back and forth and inhale deeply the fumes. Does anyone know what this is? I didn’t ask. Something for ear pressure problems? Air sickness? Maybe just good karma?

The flight attendant asks him if he’d like a complimentary juice, soft drink, tea or coffee. He orders a mixture of half cranberry juice, half diet sprite. It seemed a bit demanding to me, that he be served some sort of special refreshments. Let’s just keep it simple, shall we?

Snack? Peanuts and Ritz Mini Snack Thins (only 100 calories!) are offered.

“I’ll have four peanuts,” he says.

Four peanuts! Who says you can have four? You’re supposed to get one! What if everybody on this plane asked for four? He got his four, and later he accepted his Ritz Mini Snack Thins too. Then he proceeded to ask for two refills of his special concoction of cranberry juice and diet sprite. Clearly, here is a man who likes to take advantage of free stuff.

He read, did a crossword puzzle, and then fashioned himself a bookmark. He carefully ripped the back cover of the Southwest Spirit Magazine down about one inch, and bent the page down, flipping the magazine back and forth as he did this, elbows flailing and invading my personal space. Fold, press, run thumbnail firmly over the fold, flip, repeat. Finally he tore it off. Voila! Bookmark!

What?

When we stood up to get off the plane, waiting in perhaps the last line of the day, he said to his wife, “I did some verrrrry deep thinking during this flight.”

I think this guy might make his way into a novel somewhere down the line.

Malapropisms for a Monday Morning

A malapropism is the (usually) unintentionally humorous misuse or distortion of a word or phrase. It includes the use of a word which sounds somewhat like the one intended but very wrong in the context. This is one of the funniest vehicles to portray a character who is clueless or misinformed.

The terms malapropism and the earlier variant malaprop come from Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s 1775 play The Rivals, and in particular the character Mrs. Malaprop. Sheridan presumably named his character Mrs. Malaprop, who frequently misspoke (to great comic effect), in joking reference to the word malapropos.

The alternative term “Dogberryism” comes from the 1598 Shakespearean play Much Ado About Nothing in which the character Dogberry produces many malapropisms with humorous effect.

So the malapropism has been around for a few hundred years or so, and is still as populace as ever!

Here are some by famous (sort of) people:

  • “Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.” (Dan Quayle)
  • “We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile.” (George W. Bush)
  • “It is beyond my apprehension.” (Danny Ozark, baseball team manager)
  • “This is unparalyzed in our state’s history.” (Gib Lewis, Texas Speaker of the House)
  • “Gentlemen, get this straight once and for all—the policeman isn’t there to create disorder, the policeman is there to preserve disorder.” (Richard Daley, former Chicago mayor)
  • “He was a man of great statue.” (Thomas Menino, Boston mayor)

Ringo Starr was famous for his malapropisms which became Beatle’s songs:

  • “Tomorrow never knows”
  • “It’s Been a Hard Days Night”
  • “Eight Days a Week”

 Archie Bunker was known for malapropisms of all kinds:

  • “A witness shall not bear falsies against thy neighbor.”
  • “The hookeries and massageries…the whole world is turning into a regular Sodom and Glocca Morra.”
  • “Off-the-docks Jews.”
  • “A woman doctor is only good for women’s problems…like your groinocology.”
  • “I ain’t a man of carnival instinctuals like you.”
  • “All girls go cockeyed during pooberescency.”
  • “A menstrual show.” (minstrel)
  • “Irene Lorenzo, Queen of the Women’s Lubrication Movement.”
  • “Buy one of them battery operated transvestite radios.”
  • “In her elastic stockings, next to her very close veins.”
  • “Last will and tentacle…”
  • “Patience is a virgin.”
  • “A Polack art exhibit!” (Jackson Pollock)
  • “As youse people say, Sh-boom.” (Shalom)
  • “A kuzeeknee.” (zucchini)
  • “In closing, I’d like to say Molotov!” (Mazel Tov)

The Sopranos:

  • “He was prostate with grief.” (Tony Soprano)
  • “Create a little dysentery among the ranks.” (Christopher Moltisanti) 
  • “He could technically not have penisary contact with her volvo.” (Tony Soprano to Jennifer Melfi)
  • “There’s no stigmata connected with going to a shrink.” (Carmine Lupertazzi Jr.) 

Ricky (Robb Wells) from Trailer Park Boys has many well known malapropisms, known by fans of the show as “Rickyisms”. Here are a few:

  • “Get two birds stoned at once.”
  • “Worst case ontario.”
  • “I’m not a pessimist, I’m an optometrist.”
  • “Survival of the fitness.”
  • “Passed with flying carpets.”
  • What comes around, is all around.”
  • “It’s clear to see who makes the pants here.”
  • “Tempus fuck it.” (Tempus fugit)
  • “It doesn’t take rocket appliances…”

Of unknown origin:

  • “He had to use a fire distinguisher.”
  • “Dad says the monster is just a pigment of my imagination.”
  • “That looks like an expensive pendulum around that man’s neck.”
  • “Good punctuation means not to be late.”
  • “He’s a wolf in cheap clothing.”
  • “Michelangelo painted the Sixteenth Chapel.”
  • “My sister has extra-century perception.”
  • “’Don’t’ is a contraption.”
  • “Flying saucers are just an optical conclusion.”
  • “A rolling stone gathers no moths.”
  • “Their father was some kind of civil serpent.”
  • “The flood damage was so bad they had to evaporate the city.”
  • “Well, that was a cliff-dweller!”

As coined by various members of my family:

  • “He must be rich, he lives in a high-rise condom.”
  • “She went to an ivy-covered college.”
  • “He plays the cello in the Philharmonica.”
  • “He has to have surgery on his coroded artery.”

Got a favorite malapropism to contribute?