I’m At The Limit Of My Patience With Facebook

There’s a limit to my patience.

It’s been a little more than a year since my last blog post.  Boy, what a lazy bum, huh?

Actually, the incentive that got me here today is Facebook’s reputation for an utter lack of respect for the privacy of its users’ data. Seems to have gotten them into some serious, and well-deserved, hot water lately.

It’s still in the early stages of development as I write this, but I’m hoping the 2016 election and the collusion of the Russian government, Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign to illegally affect its outcome contribute to the downfall of the most corrupt and criminally incompetent US presidency in history.

Of course, there are a plethora of other scandals in which Donald Trump is concurrently embroiled, but every little bit helps.

(Go, Mueller, go! Go, Mueller, go!)

Anyway, while related, that isn’t why I’m writing today.

Fact is, I’m a privacy junkie. A fact that has created a conundrum for me.

Humans are social animals

On the one hand, I find the level of privacy invasion committed by social media platforms, primarily Facebook, against their users’ personal data to be despicable.  So much so that I’m inclined to completely delete my Facebook account to cut the flow of my misused data.

Is there no alternative?

On the other hand, I’m also inclined to hold my nose and accept that invasion of my privacy, because Facebook is the main point of contact I have for so many of my friends and family.  The social media phenomenon has become thoroughly ingrained in the collective psyche of the technology-dependent population of the world. So much so, that breaking free of that addiction would be painfully traumatic.

I’m torn as to whether I think that would ultimately be a good or bad thing.

The Internet would be fundamentally changed.  It would likely revert back to the form it had before the advent of social media.  A time when the Internet was used strictly as a medium for the dissemination of information and expansion of the marketplace. A marketplace that could not exploit our willingness to surrender our data privacy for the hypnotic allure of convenience. A marketplace that has shown time and again that it can’t be trusted with that access without far too many bad actors putting it to nefarious uses, as the Cambridge Analytica scandal has brought into sharp focus.

Internet troll

Trolls that skulk about the dark corners of social media would be forced to find other less easily abused outlets to anonymously spew their cowardly taunts and bullying. Else, go back to abusing themselves in their parents’ basements.

Tech-savvy youth

Our tech-savvy youth would be forced to lift their heads up from their phones and realize that there’s a real world all around them, waiting to take them back.

But that utopia will remain a fantasy unless I, and a critical mass of others, take that first step and #deletefacebook .

What to do… What to do…

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Violent Spectator Sports – Getting Our Jollies Vicariously

Modern Day Gladiators
Modern Day Gladiators?

Our love of vicarious violence

Ah, violent spectator sports. Since the dawn of civilization, people have happily paid to watch other people pummel each other with various degrees of brutality. From the gladiators of ancient Rome, fighting to the death, to modern American football, which I sneeringly like to call “handegg”, in which heavily armored men are paid piles of money to crash into each other until they’re forced to retire with debilitating concussions or worse.

What is it about violent sports that so many find almost (if not blatantly) erotic in its entertainment value and, like me, so few find repulsive?

It seems our sense of vicious animal competition has been suppressed over the centuries for the sake of the stability of a civil society. If we were allowed free expression of our competitive instincts, civilization would come crashing down around us.

Venting our need for violence

Even so, that frustrated instinctive lust for blood needs to be vented on occasion, through war. Nationalistic fervor in the populace is fairly easy to whip up by the ruling class. They just need to manufacture a bogeyman that looks different than we do.

Cruelty of war
Cruelty of war

The problem with wars in modern times, though, with instant global communication, is that too many of us come around to realize the cruelty of it. No longer is war a distant, out of sight, out of mind concept. Obliterated bodies splashed across our TV screens repulse us (the less despicable among us, anyway) into protesting the very concept of war, threatening the security of democratically elected politicians who tend toward inciting such violence.

Sports: The genteel alternative

Fortunately for those politicians, there are other avenues to vent our violent instincts. In the United States, there’s boxing, mixed martial arts, rugby, ice hockey, football, etc. In fact, many hockey fans feel cheated if at least one or two fist fights don’t break out in the course of a game. For those whose appetite for violence can’t be sated by anything less than killing, there’s always hunting.

For me, I’m content with a nice, pastoral game of baseball or golf. If I want to compete myself, I’ll go for a game of softball, darts, bowling or even chess.

Of course, being known during my childhood for being such a non-violent type, I ended up in quite a few fist fights.

Tom Brady Jersey
Tom Brady Jersey
Get it at Amazon

Still, I can’t resist a good jab

As much as I despise football, I’ll still wear the football jersey of an arch-rival of my local team, just to stick a wet finger in the ear of those friends and co-workers who beat their chests in vicarious tribalism when the Big Game is on. (Grunt, grunt!)

 

I encourage anybody who reads my posts, especially opinion posts, like this one, to comment freely.  Even if you disagree with what I have to say!  I love interacting with my readers!

Wishing a Fond Farewell to A Fine Feathered Friend

I wrote this Soapbox article in the Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper a few years ago. I forgot about it and stumbled across a link to it a few days ago.  Apologies for the corny headline. It was written by the newspaper’s headline writer.  At least now you know how that picture came to be taken.
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White Legs and me
Feeding White Legs at the Environmental Learning Center

I just heard that the most unique friend I ever had died in October.

Though I call her my friend, that relationship only went one way. You see, she was not a person. She was a golden eagle.

I volunteered at the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program for about 17 years until I left about two years ago due to some financial hardship I was having at the time.

Life as a wildlife rehab volunteer is emotionally traumatic enough with all the dying that goes on. I didn’t want to risk unloading my personal baggage on my fellow volunteers. Sadly, as it now turns out, I never went back.

Among the wonderful human friendships I developed during my time at RMRP, none compare with the relationship I had with one golden eagle.

Officially, within the program, she had no name, known simply by her case number. Unofficially, she was known by her handlers and all who knew her as “White Legs,” a name she acquired because of the characteristic white ankle feathers that many young goldens have.

Hit by a truck in Baggs, Wyo., in 1991, her injuries made her permanently disabled. Despite those injuries, she was a singularly gorgeous bird and had the right attitude, so she became one of RMRP’s educational birds.

During the 16 years I worked with her, she traveled all over Northern Colorado. She went to places as far flung as the Renaissance Festival in Larkspur, various events in Steamboat Springs; and when we weren’t preaching to the choir, she’d even make the usually futile attempt to convert cowboys at rodeos, helping them understand that raptors aren’t the livestock-killing monsters they were perceived to be.

Fort Collins Lincoln Center
Fort Collins Lincoln Center

The most moving moment I had during my years working with White Legs was at a benefit auction for RMRP held at the Fort Collins Lincoln Center.

I had taken a break from my one-hour handling shift and had been walking around the room, checking out the auction goodies. When I came back for another shift, the person I relieved told me that White Legs had been intently watching me as I made my way around the room.

I was honored to think that she saw me as such a comforting presence in a room full of scary, staring humans, whom she did not know, that she’d want to know where I was, even when I wasn’t handling her. I was a babbling idiot for the rest of the night.

That piece of happiness did not for a moment make me think that she liked me; only that she knew and trusted me.

On three occasions, she came close to breaking my wrist with those famously bone-crushing talons. Each time, as the other humans were frantically prying her toes off me, the look on her face was nothing short of pleased-with-herself satisfaction.

In hindsight after each of those “safety incidents,” I could not begrudge her a little “gotcha” moment in return for her life in captivity.

And now she’s gone, and I’m crying as I write this little retrospective of my time in her presence. I miss the great times I had while volunteering with RMRP. I miss White Legs most of all.

Got something to say about this article? I always appreciate feedback from those who read my stuff! Did you like it? Do you think I’m full of it? Let me know! I’ll respond to every comment I get, so tell me what you think. There’s a handy-dandy reply form after every article.

To avoid spam, everybody’s first comment will need to be approved before it appears in the comments. After that, it’s no holds barred, baby!

Ah, Those Wobbly First Steps!

Well, I’ve started adding content to a couple of my pages.

Not much here yet.  This is your opportunity to have your say about what Taking those first wobbly stepsyou’d like to see on this website.  No suggestion is too bizarre for me to at least consider, so fire away.

Unless I get some input from YOU, this blog will mostly contain commentary on what I’m adding to the site and an occasional rant about issues of the day.

The main focus of this website will be as an opinion page, similar to Hemant Mehta’s Friendly Atheist blog page. Trying to earn income through product reviews and affiliate links will only be a secondary goal.

I’ll focus mainly on science topics, especially astronomy, threats to the Trumpelthinskinseparation of church and state in the US, and, I’ll occasionally talk about the worst thing to happen to America… the election of Der Pumpkin Führer, Herr Donald Trump, aka Trümpelthinskin. (In case you couldn’t tell, expect me to be quite unkind.)

So hey, if you’d like to see less political ranting and A young slayer of trolls is introduced to his weapon.more of what interests you, let me know in the comments!  Look around the website to see what’s already here, like this diabolical little article and comment on it. I’m willing to take pro and con comments. Of course, trolls will be dealt with swiftly with my trusty troll machete.

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Got something to say about this article? I always appreciate feedback from those who read my stuff! Did you like it? Do you think I’m full of it? Let me know! I’ll respond to every comment I get, so tell me what you think. There’s a handy-dandy reply form after every article.

To avoid spam, everybody’s first comment will need to be approved before it appears in the comments. After that, it’s no holds barred, baby!

Learning to Walk Before I Try to Run

I finally got my first article written. Woo-hoo!  The incentive was that I fingers walkingneeded something to post to the Articles page, so it would cease to be completely barren of content.

Now, I just need to start cranking the content out on a regular basis. Gotta find the incentive for that. Making a passive income from this website is a pretty good incentive! Let’s see where it takes me, shall we?

A Journey of A Thousand Miles…

…begins with a single step.The journey begins

Well, I’ve added three menu items to my navigation menu! That’s progress, right? RIGHT? Admittedly, there isn’t any content under those menu items other than what I plan to do with them in the future. But hey, it’s tough, transitioning from a directionless cog in the Wheels of Industry to a productive member of the online community.

“Respect my authoritah!”
–Eric Cartman

Blast Off!

 

Hello, World!
Welcome to the first post of my shiny, new affiliate blog.

The plan is to make a passive income from this blog while I bloviate about Blast off!subjects which I hold dear. Unfortunately, those subjects tend toward politics and religion… Subjects which most folks consider off limits in polite company. Well, there’s the rub. I have never considered myself to be a member of polite company.

Hopefully, I will figure out how to make it worth your while to read my opinions on the issues of the day. There must be some way to make the boring entertaining! (Be sure to check out my Evil Plan, below!)

I think I’ll start off by providing a quick bio as a way of introducing myself…

First, a little bit about my working life…

Most of those years have been in the high tech manufacturing industry. I’ve been a production operator for companies such as HP, Celestica and Avago. I’ve also worked for six years as a contract technical help desk support agent at IBM for federal, state and local wildfire fighting agencies. And for something completely different, while in the throes of a midlife crisis, I quit that job and even tried OTR truck driving. Needless to say, THAT didn’t last long.

My education turned out to be part good investment, part waste of time…

I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, focusing mainly in programming. But, I learned too late, after drowning myself in over $70,000 worth of student loan debt, that the programming industry is extremely ageist. A guy in his 40s wasn’t about to get hired in most places, even if he’s a programming genius. The job market for computer geezers has not improved over the years.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

I’m also a rabid writer. Until recently, I never considered trying to make

money at it. But, as I get older, I find I’m tired of working the 9-to-5 rat race for pain in the ass bosses.

As you may have noticed, I’m a bit of a cranky, opinionated curmudgeon. I’d be ecstatic if I could find a way to make money online by writing. That dream eventually led me here, to see if the hype is true, and you really can make money with an affiliate website. . Let’s see where it takes me, shall we? Only time and patience will tell.

My Evil Plan…

This will also be where I get to impose my opinion of the news of the day upon my readership. You may or may not agree with my take on things. But hey, that’s what the comment section is for!

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Got something to say about this article? I always appreciate feedback from those who read my stuff! Did you like it? Do you think I’m full of it? Let me know! I’ll respond to every comment I get, so tell me what you think. There’s a handy-dandy reply form after every article.

To avoid spam, everybody’s first comment will need to be approved before it appears in the comments. After that, it’s no holds barred, baby!