Thoughts?

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Haven’t a one. Zip. Nada. Nil. Zero.

You?

I share mine, when I have them.

Seems only fair that you share yours, if you have them.

How about a trade?

I’ll tell you what I think about them once I have a thought.

Finger pointing

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There is a whole lot of finger pointing going on these days. “You did this,” or “You did that,” or “You failed to do…” is a common refrain heard across the land. It seems no one wants to be responsible for their own actions any longer. It is always someone else’s fault. It is always because of someone else’s failure. It is because of someone else’s attitude. It is because of someone else’s wealth or lack thereof.

Someone else is always to blame.

Or at least that seems to be what a majority of people believe and are trying to convince others of.

Newton’s Third Law says, “To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

In general, Newton was actually talking about physical items. Some, however, would argue that it doesn’t really apply to “life” and shouldn’t be misused that way.

I say those people are idiots.

I would posit they are saying that because they are one of those people who don’t believe in ownership of their own actions.

How about coming at it from a different angle – Every action, inaction, attitude, reaction, has a consequence. Perhaps this would be more influential coming from someone else:

A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching. — Sivananda

So, how does this apply to the topic at hand?

EVERYTHING we do or say has consequences. Those consequences are in direct correlation (almost always) to how we navigate through life. Our actions in our environment, our interactions with others in our environment will always have consequences – sometimes positive and sometimes negative. There is never not a time when this isn’t true. Sure, the result might not have immediate consequence but make no mistake, there will eventually be a consequence.

I can’t help but take a look at the news and wonder how life would be different for lots of people had they made different choices in any given situation, whether a long time ago or in the immediate time and space.

Situations?

  • Law enforcement interactions: How you react in the situation will determine how they are going to react to you. Resistance, evasion, force, weapons, or suspicious activity will generate various levels of reaction. Do you always deserve the type of reaction you are going to get? Nope. But, you have to remember that your actions likely triggered the interaction in the first place. As such, your actions will also determine how the interaction progresses and ends. I can’t help but think there are a lot of situations as of late that ended terribly for lots of people (on both side of the law) because they weren’t following the law.
  • Cheating (whether in minor things or big things): You make the choice to be dishonest or to hide something from someone. You are creating a situation that will have a consequence. Will you experience that consequence right away? Maybe, maybe not.
  • Financial decisions: Spend wisely, reap positive consequences (most typically). Spend poorly, reap negative consequences (almost always). Either choice will likely result in habits that become a cycle. The cycle, as cycles go, repeats itself over and over. If you stop pointing fingers at others on why the cycle keeps perpetuating itself and change your behavior, because really no one else is to blame, then you will get different results. Thus, an action still has a reaction – just you get to decide if it is positive or negative.
  • Weight or health management: Admittedly, there are some genetics involved here, but for the most part you are still responsible for what you do or don’t put in your body. Make good choices, reap good benefits and a healthier body. Make poor choices, reap poor health and continually cascading issues. It all starts with a choice.
  • Work ethic: Your outcomes at work are directly related to how you approach work. If you are diligent, dedicated, conscientious, motivated, and energetic then you will likely have a good work experience. If you are lazy, apathetic, unmotivated, and have attitude issues then you will likely have a hard time keeping a job.

Are there exceptions to these things? Of course! Even Newton had exceptions to his 3rd law.

BUT, you can’t make a life out of pointing fingers and always blaming someone else.

You can’t be finding or relying on the exceptions for everything. If you are always looking for the exception, you probably really are looking for excuses. And those excuses? Those are the things holding you back and keeping you from making the right decisions at the right time, because you’ve trained yourself to point fingers and not take responsibility.

I’ll end with this, and I know it is cheesy, but the whole “Don’t forget if you point a finger at someone, you still have three pointed back at you.”

It’s true. Before you blame someone else for something, you better look at the choices and decisions you made along the way that got you to where you are at that moment in time.

Exasperation

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I wonder…do you feel like me? Do you look at the world around you and just feel exhausted, exasperated even, at all the stuff doing on and the the people you see or encounter on a daily basis?

Do you throw your hands in the air because you simply don’t know what to do?

Do you shake your head in frustration, disgust, or irritation?

Do you find yourself muttering under your breath about this, that or the other thing?

Do you often mouth “W.T.F?” quietly to yourself as you ponder WTF just happened?

Do you type in your email/text/social media accounts things you want to say but then delete because it just isn’t worth the trouble?

Do you find scenarios running through your head about what you would do if you were allowed to do so (kind of like those tv/movie vignettes)?

Do you hang up the phone and then tell the person what you really want to tell them?

All of the above?

I know, this sounds like there is going to be one of those infomercial solutions…”Then you need *fill in the blank*…”

It’s not.

I just wanna know if you’re out there. If you’re out there doing the same thing I am doing.

It must sound like I am an uptight jerk. I’m not.

I just don’t tolerate stupidity well. Maybe I am allergic to it. I don’t have many allergies, but I know for sure I am allergic to this.

It’s tiring.

So, are you out there? Tell the the last thing that exasperated you. Let’s compare notes!

Virtue signals?

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You have probably noticed a weird trend on social media these days. Weird, or is it just empty virtue signaling? There is a lot of virtue signaling going on these days for quite a lot of various subjects. What do you think about people doing things or saying things just so they can appear to be better than you or others? Are you down with that? Are you doing it?

The trend of which I speak has to do with the virtue signaling of posting pictures or videos of getting the COVID vaccination. Surprisingly, people I didn’t expect to see this from are actually doing it too.

Is it that you think by letting people know you have the vaccine that they will somehow think more of you? That you are meeting with their approval? That you are better than me or someone else because you have complied with social demands to do so? Have you succumb to peer pressure and in turn now become the peer pressurer?

Do you post about when you get the flu shot?

Do you post your taking your blood pressure meds?

Do you post about your hepatitis treatments?

Do you post that you were vaccinated against the chicken pox, mumps, measles, diphtheria, rubella, or other childhood vaccinations?

Do you post about other medical issues?

Yes, getting the COVID vaccine is a personal choice, but does that mean we broadcast those medical personal choices to everyone? If not, then why are you doing so with this?

Perhaps you should check your motivations.

What virtue, exactly, are you signaling? By broadcasting it, are you signaling that you actually support the “vaccine passport” that would supposedly allow you to get into public events, other countries, and the like? Isn’t that a sort of medical discrimination? Do you support that too?

I doubt many people actually care whether you have your shot or not. It’s your choice to get it, or not. I don’t care. I don’t care about this one and I don’t care about any of the others.

Keep it to yourself. No one actually has a need to know.

Emotional blindness

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Let’s just start this whole thing by saying I am not talking about Alexithymia. I am not talking about the inability to express one’s emotions and I am not talking about a person who is “cold” and has no emotion towards something or someone. I am not talking about indifference or a lack of empathy.

I am talking about people who get so caught up in their emotions that it keeps them from rationally thinking about something or someone. I am talking about people who let their emotions dictate their response to almost everything. I am talking about people who refuse to set their emotions aside, causing them to be blind to the way they are thinking and acting. I am talking about people who are controlled nearly completely by their emotions instead of using their head.

I am sure you know what I mean.

Take a look around. Watch the news. Look at either political side. Take any controversial subject.

There are far too many people who have emotional blindness. They simply have allowed their emotions to control them and they refuse to look at the issues in a rational, logical way. They refuse to get to the root of the issue and instead allow the emotions to taint any true thought.

It’s sad. It’s irritating. It’s frustrating.

It’s the state of our world, our country, our time.

Virtual over the shoulder

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In my line of work, I do a lot of “virtual over the shoulder” looking at a client’s computer. It’s the best way to help them troubleshoot issues they have in the software and we can help them (sometimes “holding their hand”) as work through processes to get the data they need. This is, of course, with their permission.

The matter is entirely different when you haven’t explicitly authorized a computer/mobile operating system, app, or browser, to look over your shoulder virtually while you use a device. Instead they collect more and more data about what you do and where you go, all in the name of providing information and data to people who want to sell you things (or have other motivations).

I am getting more and more wary of the intrusiveness that we have allowed, mostly without a fight. We just accept it.

So, I have started looking at alternative browsers that provide more of the privacy that we should want, but moreover expect. I have used Chrome for years and years, both personally and at work. However, as more information comes to light about business practices and intrusiveness (even the “incognito” mode tracks you) it becomes harder and harder to accept.

Transitioning to something different is difficult because you inevitably are going to be asked to sacrifice something in the trade-off. Weighing all those factors becomes somewhat of a challenge since there are benefits with the varying products that are out there. The nagging question is always, “What’s the best way to go from here? Am I making the right choice?” It’s a question I haven’t been able to settle as I look at the different options.

So, what say you?

Are you on a similar journey and what are you finding? Have you taken steps to move browsers and what did you consider as you did so?

Tell me what you are considering, or considered if you have already made the move.

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.