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Friendship is Shipshape!

March 27, 2019

Despite being an introvert with a disdain for people (I prefer individuals), I have a lot of friends. Hundreds, no lie.

I am regularly stunned at my great fortune to have wonderful individuals in my life, and oh how the categories of friends have grown.

I have close, real-life friends, persons whom I trust, chat with, learn from, mentor, and enjoy.

I have hundreds of Internet friends, on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and the blog-o-sphere. Not all my connections on social media are really friends, but I’m surprised by how many are. What constitutes a real digital friend? Many I have never met in person; many more are people I knew as teenagers, and I’m not the same person I was then, so neither are they probably. A friend will respond to messages, I’ve decided. They reach out besides the public presence. That works for me.

I also have friends who are family. I have few family members who I don’t also count as friends, people I’d choose to be in my life even without the blood or marriage certificate.

There are faceless friends, people I follow on the Internet who may not know me, but I’m certain we’d have fun, spirited discussions if we were to meet. Real friendship? No, but I allow them to influence my life, so close enough.

Somewhere in my 30s, friendship moved from an even give-and-take to a desire to give-and-give. Being able to speak into friend’s lives or artistic endeavors is a whole ‘nother level than just warm-fuzzies friends. And since most of my friends are also give-and-give friends, I’ve been enriched by them.

Then there’s my immediate family. My kids are now adults.  There is a level of friendship beyond parent and mentor that is delightful.

Let me not forget my best friend, who wears my ring. Even in the difficult phases (generally at the beginning of a season, like empty-nest time), I’d rather argue with her than spend time with anyone else. That’s probably the most important kind of friend. And I’m glad she’s mine.

Just sayin’.


Hey! What’ya Know!

February 16, 2019

I subscribe–scratch that–follow several blogs. Some I read immediately because Bonnie is so dang funny, and others I will if I have time, like RRRROOOOOXXXXANNE (sorry, can’t think her name without the song booming through my head), but I didn’t have time the day she posted it, so I just read it.

WordPress had changed!

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Is that Kylene, who doesn’t have a song about her, but should?

Really?  I hadn’t noticed with my last blog. I know, I know, I haven’t touched this blog in a long time (it was news to me), but I maintain several other blogs, one of which I posted to… oh that was last week. My how time flies.

So I had to check, and sure enough!

OK, I have to admit, I wouldn’t have noticed if the red-light woman hadn’t said anything. The world often changes without me noticing.

There is one thing though. I’ve said it before here, I think, those little number notifications rule my life. Oh no! I got a notification on Instagram!  I don’t care about Instagram, but to wipe away that number, I have to visit.

All that to say there is a number up there. 41 is the number. When I click on it, because-numbers-must-be-banished, it’s 41 drafts. Of things I’ve already published. That 41 is a totally bogus number and IT WON’T GO AWAY!

Thank the dear Lord for Post-It notes. I hope it doesn’t leave a schmear on my monitor…

Pogo Memories

December 21, 2018

Back in the dangerous years, before the Internet could spread hysteria, there were… Pogo Sticks. A co-worker sent me a bouncing Christmas tree emoji, and my brain went to the long ago memories stored deeply in my subconscious.

My sister was a wizard on that thing. She could boing all over the place. Alas, I could not. Fragile hip and all. She had such fun with it. Probably good exercise. I would watch with envy.  Probably, if I could have pogoed, I’d have been this kid:

Today, I went looking for images, and I was pleased to see Pogo Sticks still exist. All the photos of kids now were in helmets, elbow pads, kneepads, and probably force fields. Katie happily bounced away in jeans and tee-shirt and she’s done all right.

Of course, back then you’d think no one ever got hurt. Of course they did, but we never heard about it. No Internet. No every scratch is a potential law suit and bad press for companies. Perhaps it’s for the best. It was never us who got hurt, but it could have been. If parents want to protect their kids, who am I to say they shouldn’t. I admit to not being happy when I was told my kids had to wear helmets when they road, but again, if they’d been hurt…

Then there’s these:

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Pogo Shoes. Because even nerd get sporty.

Now I’m of the age where getting out of bed can pull something. I draw the line at wearing safety pads to bed, though.


Falling Prey to an Out-Dated Paradigm

December 18, 2018

I think I’ve spoken about technology undoing old conventions or paradigms, particularly the convention of discouraging my kids from taking indiscriminate photos with their phone, or speaking on the phone for a long time. My old conventions say you take few photos to conserve film, and you don’t talk for a long time because you tie up the only phone line.

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I’ve run afoul of phone conventions again.

In the old days, if you called someone, their land-line rang. If they’re speaking on the phone, you get a busy signal. If you got no answer, no one was home (few let it ring).

I admit to getting frustrated with my wife when I call and she doesn’t answer, inevitably followed by why did I get her a cellphone?

Technology undoes us a bit. She might not have the ringer on. She might not hear it. She might not be near it.

Yet my expectations are based around landlines, which we gave up long ago.  If it rings through, she may be on the phone (no more busy signal).

Typically, this isn’t a problem because I prefer to text. But the old convention kicks in when I call.


Something else to relearn. (I still struggle with someone talking on the phone for a long time, even though in person they’d be talking a long time; I also eschew the modern need to photograph EVERYTHING).

I’m often reminded I’m a dinosaur.

Turn it Around

November 6, 2018

Roughly 50% of eligible voters in America don’t vote. Millions of eligible voters never register to vote.

Their chief reason: It won’t make a difference anyway.

Imagine if 100% of eligible voters actually cast ballots. What would happen? They could provide a landslide win to someone who had no hope of winning (like my guy for Governor). We wouldn’t be limited to two parties, either. You think non-voters actually follow parties? If they were to be activated, they’d spring for Libertarian, Constitution, Communist, Socialist, Green… not all I support, of course, but will of the people, man!

Who are the people who don’t vote?

  • The infirm elderly is a tiny percentage. Most elderly know how important voting is and if they can’t get out will make sure to get an absentee ballot.
  • Students – high school and college. This floors me. They complain about income inequality, student loan debt, rights for every made-up category they can think of… yet don’t vote.
  • People in poverty because of learned helplessness, inability to plan, or other sad reasons.
  • People too busy with their businesses to vote… ignoring that the wrong candidate in office will wreck their business.
  • Lazy people. People who don’t know how to plan. People who can’t be bothered.

Image result for vote or shut up

Most of these groups could swing the tide a different direction if they chose to vote.  Frightening as it is, the school-age vote alone could have put Bernie in the White House.

So, what can be done?

We can’t make failure to vote illegal, since free speech allows people to be as dumb as they want.

We can’t even prevent people from complaining when they’re one of the reasons there’s a problem, because free speech again.

In the instances where I’m talking to a would-be rebel, I can’t ask them if they voted and ignore them if they say “no” because I’m polite and have to love even stupid people by listening to them rant.

I have people at church I admire. I love their hearts, I love their children, I love their smiles. If they were citizens THEY WOULD VOTE. Why do people outside our country get the importance of voting while half of us can’t be bothered?

Vote. (I’m too polite to say, “Vote or SHUT UP!” so I won’t.)


I’m Wasting My Vote… Please Join Me!

October 30, 2018

You have three candy bars in front of you. Two are giant-sized and one is fun-sized. Which do you pick? Would it make a difference if the two giant candy bars had some dog poop in them? Suddenly the small candy bar looks good, right?

Now let’s look at voting. If you’re a staunch Dem or Rep, fine, vote your conscience. If you are an independent but vote R or D because you don’t want to waste your vote, you are part of the problem.

We have the same problems we did decades ago. The two-party system has failed to solve any of them. We still have people in poverty, we still have a poor healthcare and education system. The old policies don’t just fail, they’ve never worked.

The divide between both parties is now extreme. And it’s you “no vote wasted” folks who are responsible.

The last presidential election had frightening choices. Our current governor’s race has bad choices. Things drift to the extremes because they think they can get away with it. And they’re right.

Political operatives look at the vote. Sure, no independent is going to win any time soon. But how many people voted independent? How many refused to go with the status quo?

If that’s a bigger-than usual number, if it is an expanding number, the parties would adjust, change their platforms, adapt.

Stubborn and Sad

But why bother if the independents don’t vote independent? You embolden them!

My vote went for a nice Longwood pastor who made it on the ballot. He hasn’t got a hope of winning, but I can’t vote for someone who will be a bad governor espousing bad policy, or on the GOP side, no policy at all.

Independents may not ever carry a race, but scare the parties enough and they’ll give us better candidates.

Waste your vote. Good may come of it.

Tone-Deaf and Faulty Logic

October 11, 2018

Facebook has not been fun of late.  I have a mix of friends, and it seems half are saying every woman should be believed, which is patently ridiculous, but to make matters worse, I’ve had the other half mocking a woman who claims to have been assaulted.

Yes, friends, women lie. Not all, not most (on this topic), but some. And friends, mocking people is wrong. Our president was a dolt for doing so, and so are the people loudly cheering that you-know who is a liar and you-know who was confirmed.

People are not wrong that we must change the tenor of our voices to make it possible for women (and men) who have been assaulted to come forward. We have to check our first reaction and verify. And when a woman is found out to be a liar (like some claims in the past), the response should be measured and the ears of others taken into account.

We are in an ugly place where it isn’t always possible to prove something did or didn’t happen. We MUST make it easier for those who have been wounded in the worst of ways to immediately come forward. That isn’t achieved by people being tone-deaf, or others offering false promises that all will be believed.

One of the reasons I’ve abandoned both parties is because thoughtfulness has been lost (if it ever existed in the political arena). Politicians will be politicians, and at least this president will be childish, but we don’t all have to be. We don’t have to hide behind nonsensical memes that flout logic with false comparisons, we don’t have to crow and chant and shout down dissenting voices.

We can learn to listen again. We can learn to think of others as better than ourselves. We can be decent people.