Monday, November 21, 2016

Report from The Facebook Trenches

Thoughts on Passive/Aggressive Goodness

• It’s a condition as old as civilization. Humans need a god of some kind. Even those who claim there is no god actually do still worship something, usually it comes down to idolizing the Good/Better/Best Self because, you know, humans ought to be willing to strive for a state of perfection so that the world can finally just get along and enjoy utter peace. 

•This perfectionism is simply the Good-For-Goodness-Sake Syndrome; a handy replacement for God. It dresses up in different models to suit the times. A modern term is Globalism. But, ultimately it comes down to the idyllic state of Humanism, which ironically always ignores and disregards the actual state of being human.

• Humanism is a clever manipulation tool and a crafty shape-shifter because humanists use similar and parallel language that mimmic religionists, making it difficult to discern if a reference is to a specific God-originated concept or just a generic Goodness Ideal that periodically reorders itself to mold to and therefore better serve the evolved modern culture du jour. 

• Love, love, love (love what? how? can this be more vague?) If you want to be Good, then, by golly, you must pay attention to what those who really know what good is and let them tell you how to do/be it!  Just love, damn it!

• After all, don’t you want to be seen as being GOOD? 


These are the random Monday morning thoughts bouncing around in my head inspired by little posts in The Facebook that, to me, seem to be nothing more than passive/aggressive nudges to herd me into the latest meme by using old words in new ways. That seems to be one of many hidden snares in The Facebook. Herding. Appears to me that it’s never been easier to shepherd folk into a good-for-goodness-sake state of mind as in this feel-don’t-think era.

What is problematic for me is, like a cat, I’ve never been very herdable. 

And...since I have this blog forum to speak my mind... I think I will...
Stop now if you prefer PC talk.

What started my thought ramble was a little video produced by Amazon posted as a salute to good will between two prominent religions loosely disguised as an advertisement for knee pads but there have been a number of others of a similar vein lately. I’m new to The Facebook so I haven’t learned to ignore everything yet.

First of all, let me get this off my chest, I’m really tired of businesses, that make money from selling stuff to me, feeling as though they need to also preach to me even as a cake baker is not allowed to exercise his religious/political view as he sells his product. See, I expect this to be a standard enforced on all other companies that they too remain neutral as well. Can a coffee seller refuse to sell a half-caff latte to someone wearing a t-shirt that expresses a different political view? No? Yes?

The new definition of GOOD says YES! In the new age the GOODNESS quotient adds lop-sided weight to the scale. Here’s a couple example tallies:

Coffee Barrister 10 - Cake Baker - 0
Smart Actors/Celebrities - 10 - Unsmart Non actor/celebrities - 0

The new age, the new view, says we must define, redefine, make the stream of consciousness conform to the reordering of the latest concept of

Frankly, I don’t care what the religious/ideological beliefs are of the individual or individuals behind a company. I only care about policy enforced that impacts me personally and that, along with goods and pricing, is what determines where I choose to spend hard-earned money. If I don’t like how I am treated, or if policy puts me in a compromise or danger, good products/prices or not, I don’t shop there anymore. If I don’t like being preached to or manipulated to bow to the god of political correctness, again, I don’t give them my money. How simple is that? 

That I am rapidly running out of places to shop might be of slight concern. 

Don’t you want to be GOOD as the world now defines GOOD?

Me, not so much. Thanks, I’ll stick with how my God defines good. It has been time proven after all. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This means EVERYBODY. What happened to common sense and live and let live? Oh, I forgot, it got scooped up into the redefining of Good. 

I’m way over being reminded of how I am supposed to feel now that the world is so very good and righteous to embrace everything, even those things that do not align with my core beliefs. I am willing to agree to disagree but I will not be shamed into apologizing for or denying those beliefs just to keep from being an outcast. And, most especially, if others are not also bound by the same standards I’m held to. 

Of course, the key word here is - shamed. I can be silenced by law, when/if that time comes, and, truly, being Christian nowadays makes my right to speak out less a right and more a badge of courage, but, like it or not, I will not be shamed into anything. Call me names, vilify me, do your worst to try to force me into the herd. I say, meeeow. 

I refuse to be aggressively or passively bullied. 

I believe God recently answered many prayers for those who understand that we’ve been given another chance to step up and so I made a commitment to speak out if there was something to be said. 

I don't need to be passive/aggressive because, you know, I’m not selling anything.

For Him,

(Matthew 10:28) And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  

Friday, November 18, 2016


The holidays are upon us. Don’t even think about trying to ignore it. 

Thanksgiving used to be its own celebration but now it’s mostly a warm up for the real end of year grand finale of events, shopping mania to shore up the economy, sparkle, dazzle and rich foods. Even so I still love Thanksgiving and what it used to stand for. 

My family chooses to do the whole traditional meal. I have made the roast turkey, dressing and gravy for forty-five years with only a handful of exceptions. I didn’t plan it to happen but it did work out that way. So, because I know how and I could probably do it in my sleep with one hand tied behind my back I am the official roast turkey cooker. 

Over the course of nearly a half century, one year adds unnoticed on to another, I’ve never stopped to think about how many turkeys I’ve prepared for the big meal, until this year. Sometimes you just have to pause and take inventory of time and how one meal of the same dishes can come to mean so much more than just a day on the calendar. 

Much has changed, as it does, even as the meal stays the same. Children have been born, grown up and have their own children who are grown now. Life is never static and often complex. Life altering things often happen that interfere with schedules. I’ve chatted with people about this recently who all say similar things - “well, we used to gather at mom’s house but it’s just impossible to get everyone together now...” 

Yes, life changes things and yet somehow my tribe has still managed to gather, in the best way we can, for this meal. Sometimes, take this year for example, we had to find another day on the calendar that will make it possible for as many as can to come together. Even so, not everyone will be able to come. 

While every year is different and our numbers are never the same, we do make it happen. It’s not because we love this meal, not because of the same old food, but because we love each other and we want to be able to pray over and eat the meal that has come to represent so much more than a tradition.

We are grateful for our blessings, and we want to give thanks - together. Family. 

I’ll be up early tomorrow getting the bird ready to roast. One more Thanksgiving.  A tradition worth keeping.

Whatever your traditions are, as we step into the mayhem of the season, may you be blessed abundantly - and always grateful.

For Him,

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. 
Thy will be done in earth, 
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us. 
And lead us not into temptation, 
But deliver us from evil. 
For thine is the kingdom, 
The power, and the glory, 
For ever and ever. 


Friday, November 11, 2016

Like It or Not

You probably assumed from the title of this post that I’d be calling everyone to set aside their differences and ‘just get along’, because that seems to be the trending topic on the Net and social media now that the election is over.

But no - this is not about that. 

This is my report from the trenches - my review of having experienced, first hand, The Facebook.

I know I’m not the last hold out and that there are still many who are dug in and refuse to be sucked into the vortex of what is tantamount to a giant vacuum. But I have my reasons and, being honest, I admit curiosity was the final shove that sent me, a clueless, deer-in-the-headlights innocent, into the deafening mainstream. I’ve excused myself by claiming that I am just an observer, narrow-eyed and cynical. Like a reporter assigned to a war zone.

A reporter, yes, let’s go with that for now.

A couple weeks in, I do have some observations for anyone else toying with the idea of stepping out into the wind tunnel.

1. You don’t have to ‘friend’ everyone in the world. First of all, in The Facebook vernacular, the word ‘friend’ is not defined as ‘someone who knows you and wants to do lunch with you to catch up on what’s going on in your life’. It’s a designation, a way to categorize you and include you in trending memes until you prove yourself to be unstable and not worthy to be included whereby you can be summarily ‘unfriended’. 

Being unfriended in The Facebook is simply the new normal for the vintage childhood trick of saying - if you don’t do what I want I am taking my ball and going home. So there! 

2. Once you are somewhat established with the connectivity of ‘mutual friends’ you can check on what others are posting and saying by looking at your ‘home’ or ‘feed’. This gives you a constant input and can, if you allow it to, become a full time volunteer position, i.e., job with no pay. 

Be very careful - it’s a set up. And here’s where my curiosity about the point of The Facebook is answered. Follow the money - it’s always the root of all ‘free’ things. Connectivity, people linking and liking and sharing is big business. We get to jump on the vehicle and ride for free so that cons can tell us that this product saved a marriage because her husband who left her could not believe how wrinkle free she was! 

Which brings us to point number...

3. You don’t have to click on everything, and it behooves you to figure out the patterns and formulas quickly. When a really good sounding quote, like, for example, If you believe abandoned dogs need to be rescued, like this... Or, if you think no one should be homeless, like this... pops up - think instead of feel. Shaming is such a clever tool for cons to manipulate the masses of the touchy-feely era, isn’t it?

Like it or don’t, The Facebook is, for now, the way people prefer to communicate, share, express opinion, seek validation, acceptance and connect with like-minded others. The concept is not new though. Humans are born tribal and needing these kinds of affirmations. We crave to believe that we belong and are a good and useful part of something bigger than us and so we follow, we like, we share.

Perhaps it’s not such a bad thing, ultimately it’s just another way to do what humans do, (on steroids). I, for one, am more inclined to think less is more so I am clinging to the cracks in the wall, not allowing myself to be swept away completely. For one thing, just thinking a couple dots ahead - where does this end?  

Conclusion, for all my The Facebook ‘friends’, if I don’t click on like doesn’t mean I don’t like it. It just means I choose to abstain. I’m too old to worry that others might think I don’t think animals should be rescued and that the homeless should be housed or that others might worry that I am worrying if I am liked - or not. 

For Him,


Friday, November 4, 2016

Bullies and Conmen

From day one - there has always been those who can only feel superior by shrinking up, dominating, or conning others. Though it is part and parcel of the fallen human condition, it is difficult for the normal mind to understand. 

These are those clever and determined folks who seem to have inborn instincts that guide them in how to choose their victim(s). Firstly, a bully/conman (not a gender specific term, btw) can smell gullibility on a potential mark and crafts his/her approach accordingly. Their skills are so refined they can easily wobble and weave around any and all resistance or  pointed questioning. Once captured in the bully/conman’s web of deceit all ability to ask probing questions is effectively bound up because fear sets in. 

Paralysis from fear is the bully/conman’s most powerful tool.

In a ‘feeling’ age, where critical thinking is overruled by less reliable emotions, bully/conmen are able to move more freely, unhampered. There is less resistance, for one thing, from those who are willing to believe everything at face value because otherwise one is accused of being a cynical skeptic. No one wants to be seen as cold and unfeeling in a ‘feeling’ age. Therefore more cons are possible now and as a result the feeling age morphs deeper and wider into a ‘lying age’ where discernment of truth becomes a waning skill. 

We have reached the stage where very few have been spared the experience of being duped by a bully/conman in some way or another. In the realm of politics whole demographics of people are duped daily by vague, good sounding promises and dazzlingly crafted excuses. Bully/conmen are everywhere now, questing to profit in one way or another from those who adhere to the culturally required guile and trusting nature.

Of all the many types of grifters, the bully/conman type I have spent years researching is, in many ways, the most clever and successful because he hides beneath the facade of Everyday Man. He isn’t a star and, in most cases, lives a somewhat reserved life, often as a ‘family man’.  No flash and dash, he operates better flying under the radar. In many cases he presents himself as something of a victim of cruel fate - always claiming to be on the receiving end of bad luck or malicious intent from others, effectively eliciting compassion and willingness to come to his/her aid from the very one he is targeting. 

But make no mistake, he is as dangerous as the most notorious criminal or political scam artist. In some ways even more so because his most valuable tool is not fear; it is shame. He expects that, once, or if, you are on to him, you will not take the steps necessary to out him - because you feel so dumb. How could you have let this person suck you in? How could you not see the signs? It’s embarrassing. You just want it to go away.

And so, over and over again, this kind of bully/conman does his/her thing, wrecks havoc, leaves destruction behind and then moves on, with little or no accountability. 

I have done many interviews with people who have been duped and conned in various ways. It’s become a life focus of study for me and will eventually be a book - maybe. I have found that people are willing to rant and vent and tell their stories, always varied but in many ways the same, but when push comes to shove, in the end, they fall back into the very same conclusion when pressed to take some kind of action - ‘oh, I don’t want to get involved’, or - ‘oh, it’s too much trouble to go after him’ - or her. 

I conclude what they really mean is that they just want to forget the whole thing so they don’t have to suffer the public sting and humiliation of having been fooled. Even if it means taking a financial hit or a life altering burden of financial destruction.

In every single case, regardless the differences, the one thing that is not duly noted by the victim is that, by allowing the bully/conman to go unchallenged, one is also allowing more people to be conned down the road. 

No doubt it often takes courage to take a stand and can sometimes be expensive to step up to the challenge of speaking out. Many a victim has discovered, amazingly, how the world often chooses to side with the bully/conman instead.  In some circumstances it can even be a bit dangerous. Thus, more often than not, the bully/conman gets away with his/her evil deeds because folks are already distressed and prefer to choose the less difficult path, take their lumps, lick their wounds, and count their lessons learned from having been bamboozled and then try to put it behind them. 

In effect, enabling the doer to do it again and again. 

This seems wrong on so many levels to me but I find it an uphill climb to make others see this as the inevitable result of doing nothing. A source of great frustration. 

For Him,