One, other, or all?

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Sometimes the choices about a how you use your time and the entertainment that you consume is tough. There are so many different options these days. From the extremely varied different video streaming services, to all the music streaming platforms, to all the options for books (real, audio, digital), podcasts, and social media.

It literally is difficult to keep up with all the options. Like literally.

I like movies and TV.

I like audio books.

I like listening to music.

I like listening to a couple different podcasts.

So, the question is, how do I do it all? Do I need a schedule? How do I give them all their due audience? Seriously.

I like music to fill time while I am putzing. I like to listen to podcasts and audio books while I putz. I listen to music while I work.

I like to watch stuff, but I actually watch – I can’t just listen. That takes time.

So, how do I watch my shows and movies, listen to audio books and podcasts, and how do I listen to all the music?

Are you like me? Do you do all this stuff or do you just focus on one? How do you deal with all this entertainment and balance it, like to keep up with it?

Rarity

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I am staring at the screen and I am not sure what to write. This is a rarity. I always have something to say!

So, either I am having writer’s block, I have run out of things to Piss & Moan about, or I am dead.

Could there be another option? Probably not.

So, what’s up with this? It feels weird. I am not sure what it is or how to feel. It’s kind of like when you’re blindfolded and have to reach into something to identify and unknown, squishy and slimy substance. When you kind of know what it is, but you don’t really know what it is. That’s kinda how it feels.

I need topics! Give me topics! Drop some comments about stuff that bugs you and I will give you my take on it.

That should work.

Or flop. Probably flop.

You’ll never participate much.

That’s kinda like sitting in an empty room talking to myself. I’m talking about important stuff, but no one is listening.

OK, GO! Do it now! Really, I mean it. GO FOR IT!

Hold up

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Hold up, hold up. Wait, wait, wait! Freeze! Hit pause. Stop the presses. Slam on the brakes.

This isn’t the first time I have addressed this and I am sure it won’t be the last, but this couldn’t be any better of an example than what the music industry (and society as a whole) have in regards to a HUGE DOUBLE STANDARD.

“Kettle, you’re black.”

“Oh yeah well, Pot, you’re black too.”

Morgan Wallen has essentially been banned from radio for use of the N-word while hanging out with people he knew. Are his actions appropriate? Nope. Not in the least. Am I defending him? Nope.

What I am doing is pointing out the huge double standard that the music industry and the public have when it comes to use of the N-word. Seriously. The double standard couldn’t be any more obvious and blatant.

I am sure you are aware, or maybe you aren’t, but nearly every popular rap musician these days uses some form of the N-word IN THE LYRICS OF THEIR SONGS. The use isn’t an accidental slip, or under your breath muttering that was caught on tape – it’s intentional and calculated. Period. These songs are played on the radio (with the blatant words bleeped out), on streaming services without (and without) the words being bleeped out, in music videos (censored and not), and even on television (with the words bleeped out).

These musicians make public appearances, are celebrated by the music industry and the public, and have huge endorsement contracts with some of the most popular and recognizable names in the world. As an example, check out the lyrics of songs by Travis Scott. After looking at the lyrics, would it surprise you that he has endorsement contracts with Nike, Playstation, Fortnite, McDonalds, etc. totaling about a $100 million? Remember his NFL Superbowl halftime appearance/performance a last year? He was embraced, not ostracized. This is just one example. Just ONE example. There are so many more. The genre is full of it. Just pick someone that is popular in rap right now, or someone that was popular, and you will find lyrics that use the N-word.

So, it isn’t a secret in the industry. It’s just hypocrisy. It’s just a double standard. It’s just a “do as I say, not as I do” message from one community to another. Just plain, “It’s OK for some, but not for others.”

Yet, we have an example here where someone uses the word and there are consequences that amount to a “ten foot pole” for one guy and a whole genre of music that uses the word and it’s open arms for the artists and they can’t throw enough money at them.

I don’t get it. What am I missing?

Ad-versary

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Facebook, you are doing it to yourself. The revolt against you and your policies, oh and your very very underhanded and sneaky use of people’s data, are going to do you in. You still have an audience, but people are growing tired of being suspicious of everything you do in the background and they just want some safety and privacy from your all invasive practices.

No one wants to be bombarded by advertising. No one wants to be tracked everywhere they physically go and no one wants to be tracked where they go digitally either. So, this little deal you got going on here shouldn’t fool too many people…except that it likely will.

Perhaps Apple is actually trying to protect people and their data. Perhaps they are just making room for their own tracking and advertising. I haven’t a clue. But what I do know, is that I like the way Apple has shown that they are trying to protect people’s data. That goes a long way in trust, something Facebook doesn’t have and likely won’t have (for sure from me).

Facebook is scrambling to adjust over new alerts coming from Apple in the near future that will let people adjust how they get advertising from Facebook by opting out of tracking (or in, depending on how you view this approach). In essence, it will block tracking data so you don’t get “personalized” ads. I am all for that!

Actually, I don’t like ads at all. I’d rather not have my feed filled with ads that some company thinks I might be interested in. I could totally do without. I’d even consider paying a small fee to go ad free. But, at the same time, if I am going to pay a fee to not see ads I would also expect that I am not going to be censored for my views, thoughts, beliefs, etc.

Apple and Facebook have taken an adversarial approach to how they are going to work together and I like it. Big tech and other companies should have to fight over customers and the more people make them work for their dollars the better off we are as consumers. But we as consumers need to be smart about how we give our business to these companies in order to make them compete for it, otherwise we get all-encompassing monopolies who then dominate the marketplace and make up new rules and charge ridiculous fees because they have no one to oppose them.

I like what Apple is doing here. I hope they aren’t just trying to make space for their own scheme. But for now, I am glad to see Facebook about to take it in the nose for their privacy and data collection practices.

They actually deserve it.

You must think…

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You must think I am an idiot.

No, seriously, you must think so because you (and that is a collective “you” because there are a lot of you) seem to think I am going to be interested in your stupid money making scheme, scam, hustle, whatever. I don’t care if you’re the heir to a throne and need to dump money to hide in the US. I don’t care if you’re stranded in a foreign land and can’t get home but will double my “gift” when you return home. I don’t care if you have money to give me from some lottery I never entered as long as I pay a fee to get the money. I don’t care if your relatives are sick. I don’t care if you can’t feed your family. I don’t care if your crops or livestock died. I don’t care.

Stop following the blog.

I am not interested and I never will be – no matter how many times you change the name of the blog.

It doesn’t do any good to follow me because I won’t be following you back, not matter how good the “deal” or offer sounds.

So, if you must think I would be interested in your thing, think again.

I’m not.

Mic check

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“Testing, testing, 1…2…3…check, check,…”

I have noticed a trend. One that is a bit strange, but a trend nonetheless.

Do you all not read the blogs you follow on Fridays?

Just curious.

I have noticed over the last several months that my stats for Fridays are down from other days. As though no one is interested in reading anything, or clicking on anything.

So, I am just wondering, is it me or is it you?

Do other bloggers notice the same thing? Are your followers just not checking you out on Fridays? Are they checking out for the weekend early and ignoring your posts?

Or is it just me? *sniffs armpit…sniffs other armpit* Do I smell?

What’s the deal? Am I uninteresting on Fridays?

Am I…boring on Fridays?

What say, ye?

One man’s…

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Perspective, or point of view, makes a big difference in how you or others view something. When it really comes down to it, no one perspective is correct because everyone sees things just a little bit differently. Two people can experience the exact same thing, yet have different views about what happened, how it happened, who it happened to, and what happened afterwards.

One man’s patriot is another man’s terrorist.

When I was teaching my history classes and specifically a class on modern terrorism I used to challenge my students’ thought by giving them the phrase above. It is based on the statement, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” I have researched who may have first uttered these words, but I can’t find anything that definitively gives attribution, so I can’t give you that info. But, that isn’t really the point.

Who defines a patriot and a terrorist really comes down to perspective or interpretation. There is no one definition that can truly encompass what the words actually mean. As such, it almost always comes down to who has the power to define the people, the actions, and the result. As Michael Bhatia of Brown University puts it, “…it’s about power, authority, and legitimacy.”

Now, he is talking specifically about international terrorism in general, but I think we can apply the situation and phrase to many different historical events because there are always two sides to take a look at.

  • The leaders in Britain saw the colonists as insurrectionists, terrorists, etc. as the colonists fought to create the United States. But the colonists saw their own people as freedom fighters, patriots, etc. because they were standing up to the tyranny of England.
  • The American military saw Iraqis in Iraq as terrorists when they blew up convoys, attacked bases and outposts, and killed Americans whether they were in the military or not. But the Iraqis saw the American military as an invading occupier and those who fought against the occupier were freedom fighters and patriots.
  • The leadership in South Africa saw the South Africans fighting for their rights and freedoms as insurrectionists and terrorists, but Nelson Mandela and his followers saw themselves as a freedom fighters and patriots.
  • Fidel Castro and his followers viewed themselves as patriots and freedom fighters who liberated their island from the right wing government and imperialist international interests while the government and international community viewed him as an insurrectionist and terrorist.

These are but a few examples. The point is, those in power have the ability to define anything and anyone as they see fit. We can’t let them define situations and people so easily without a little common sense and critical thinking.

What happened at the capitol last week can be viewed in much the same way. Are we going to let the media and those in power dictate who is a patriot and who is a terrorist? The use of either word has strong connotations behind them and if not used carefully, as in just throwing them around to fit a political agenda, it could harm people and ideas, and most importantly freedoms. It could keep people from standing up and fighting for their rights when there is legitimate cause to do so.

We must be careful when defining who is a patriot and who is a terrorist, because if we aren’t then the terms can too easily be manipulated for political purposes, which in turn allows us to be manipulated for political gain.

The Ban

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The ban from Twitter heard (or not heard) round the world. An interesting case of “private” versus “public” property, business, and serving the public. Can we trust the ban from tech no matter where or who it is?

Parler, a “conservative” alternative to Facebook, is banned by Apple, Google, and Amazon. The reason, supposedly, is for the fact that there is no “moderation” of the site and the planning of the WA DC riot took place on this venue.

I have seen some of my friends talking about this stuff on social media and saying that such bans don’t violate the 1st Amendment and the Freedom of Speech because the clause specifically refers to protection from oppression of private citizens by the government. That is true.

But over the years, that protection has been expanded beyond just the government oppression of citizens and been used to protect lots of different situations where people were upset with something someone said. Protections was extended to protect what people say because of the “marketplace of ideas” concept.

So there are some real contradictions when you see a private business (whom obviously serves a wider audience than just the public or private citizen, AND us a publicly help corporation) decided who can and who can’t use their service. The issue become rather problematic when you start applying the standards to some, but not others.

A friend posted on Facebook the other day (in regards to Parler), “…They are all privately owned businesses who can do business with whomever they choose. Would you as a business owner,…, like to be ‘forced’ to do business with someone who didn’t match your companies [sic] values?…”

Apparently this justification of “freedom to do business with whomever I please” is appropriate to apply on some situations when it fits the liberal narrative, but not the conservative narrative.

A few situations come to mind:

  • Shall I be forced to create a flower arrangement or bake a cake for a same-sex union if it doesn’t fit with my company’s values?
  • Shall I be forced to pay for abortions or provide health coverage that includes the abortion pill if it doesn’t fit with my company’s values?

In the cases above, the government has forced people and companies to “serve the public” even though the people they were going to be forced to serve were clearly going to go against the company’s values. For all intents and purposes, the lawsuits filed against the owners of these companies were basically told they couldn’t discriminate against people who had different values than they did.

Isn’t that what we have going on here when we talk about banning a service that is used by people who differ in “values?”

Liberals and liberal companies discriminating against conservatives and conservative companies?

Clearly, when violence, threats of violence, or breaking the law is at the heart of the service being provided, then a company should be able to limit those who have violated “community standards.” Did the president do this? Maybe. But, did the vast majority of users on Parler do this? Likely not. We’re talking about a small portion of the community, but the whole community was punished.

The result is you appear to be silencing an entire group of people simply because you don’t agree with their perspective, their opinions, or their beliefs.

There is dangerous precedent in this.

The big deal here is that if it happens here, where else can it happen and who else or what else can they do?

Turtle

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Pull your arms, legs, and head into your shell. No cares. No worries. Oblivious to everyone and everything.

That’s the life.

I want it.

I am so exhausted from everything that has taken place over the last day…week…month…year…decade? Seriously. I am tired of all people.

Anyone else just wanna throw up your hands and just say, “Screw it! I am doing my own thing now and everyone else can bite me.”?

If only it were just so and things would be that easy.

Interacting with social media, the “news,” friends, and even family (in some cases) has been like molasses in sub-zero temps. Pointless.

Exercises in frustration. Conversations similar to running your knuckles over a cheesegrater. Needles to the eyeball. Whatever you do, you’re just tired of it all.

So, life of a turtle, not so bad. I can see why hermits become hermits. Is it possible, at this juncture, to find a remote uninhabited tropical island and just live there?

I’ll take it.

Idiocy

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I hate to say it, but America (the land that I love and still think is better than anywhere else in the world) has become the land of idiocy. Yesterday, as well as the events of the last…well, pick a time frame…either way, this stupidity has been going on for a long while. A LONG while. Yesterday, and many events over the last year, are just coming to a head of ultimate stupidity.

Let’s be clear, the events of yesterday and storming the Capitol building are unacceptable. It should have never happened and I hope that it never happens again.

History has shown us (our own history) that displeasure with the government isn’t all that unusual and leads people to do things they would not normally do. Our Founding Fathers led a rebellion against a king and a government they found to be unjust. Those who supported the king and did extreme things in their support of the king likely found some actions despicable when the “other side” did them. Those who supported the colonies and eventually a free nation likely found the “other side” despicable when they did some of the same extreme things. Heck, even during our Civil War, both sides did despicable things to each other. Vietnam era protests? Yep, still some ugly things happening even then.

The difference between now and then?

Increased, instantaneous communication. It exists now, it didn’t at any time in the past.

How does that play a part in all this? Well, it literally takes no time for a rumor, opinion, or thought to spread far and wide. In an instant “information” can be disseminated to any number of people at one time. That’s a problem. It could be a good thing, but for the most part I think we see more problems with it than we see positives for it. Why?

It eliminates the possibility for someone to evaluate information and immediately creates an emotional response. There is little time for an individual to consider the information, process it, and then evaluate a response. Instead, people have devolved into an instantaneous, emotional response. They don’t think. They let their idiocy take over.

Instead of thoughtfully considering a response, or thinking clearly about their actions, they just respond. No forethought. No consideration. No evaluation. No wait. No weighing of consequences. No evidence. No proof. No nothing. Just response.

That, folks, is a terrible thing.

Social media has killed our ability to thoughtfully consider, to evaluate response, and restrict our own actions. Instead, we feed our need of immediacy, our need of instant gratification, with regrettable words and actions. We don’t wait for facts. We don’t consider another’s point of view. We don’t tolerate those who are different from us, think different from us, or believe different than us. We just don’t. We are not better off because of this.

We are actually becoming unrecognizable.

We are no longer a bastion of freedom, tolerance, and opportunity.

We have divided ourselves into camps of this or that. We have let ourselves be divided into those camps. We are not what our Founding Fathers believed we could become. And the direction we are currently headed won’t get us there either.

This idiocy can’t continue. We are in trouble if we continue to let it happen.