Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Walking a Wire

    Outside of blogging, my largest online presence is on Twitter. I signed up in 2010, but have never been terribly dedicated about it. My Twitter is for sarcastic quips, live blogging events, and the occasional hashtag game when there is an interesting one going on. It goes without saying I shamelessly self-promote my blogging endeavors, too. While I have tweeted for nearly seven years—minus the long hiatus of my Oak haven stint—I never go above 323 followers. I was fine with that. Twitter as never as serious to me as blogging and a small audience offers the freedom of catering to no one.
      But the times, they are a'changing. Beginning with the rise of Donald Trump's presidential campaign in spring 2015, his supporters began following my Twitter because I live tweeted the Republican candidates' debates. My numbers continued to go as I covered primary results, too. I might believe a small audience offers freedom, but that does not mean I would not mind adapting to a larger audience. I am certainly getting one now. My twitter has grown fro 323 followers to 3268 as of this morning with an average of 15 new followers a day. It is twitter, so I am getting a small army of fake bot accounts, but the majority are genuine followers who respond, like, and re-tweet my stuff.
      I am now fighting the urge to cater to ardent Trump supporters in order to keep the followers coming. While I am a Trump supporter, I am a snarky observer of politics, society, and pop culture as a whole. How well is my irreverent observations on those topics going o go over with laser focused Trump supporters? It is always open season on any topic, Trump included, as far as I am concerned. So how long can I maintain my lofty Twitter perch? It depends n how long I can safely walk this wire.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Social Balkanization

      One of the most important problems I want to avoid in blogging is creating an echo chamber. When you discuss your opinions on the internet, particularly on the hot political matters of the day, you wind up preaching to the choir. What is wore about blogging is you tend to gather n audience of other bloggers who are not only like minded, but have crafted similar posts from the same sources you utilized. If your intention is to preach to the choir, then that is fine. There is nothing wrong with ministering to the flock. But do not expect much growth from the free exchange of new ideas. New ideas with rarely penetrate.
      There ha been much discussion since the election about people living in political bubbles It has been mostly directed from the right toward the alleged liberal elite in major cities in the two coasts. But really, flyover country is just as much a conservative bubble. It I hypocrisy for one to point finger at the other. Tribalism is in human nature. People seek to interact with others who think the same way they do. I like to avoid this sort of insular behavior when blogging. It is one f the primary reasons I prefer to objectively look at political science as an academic field and less so as news coverage of current events.
     More to the point, the internet is not resisting the move toward creating insular environments for like minded people to safely engage in a circle jerk. You may snicker at safe zones on campus where student can be free from exposure to “offensive' speech, but you do not see much interaction between groups of differing philosophies on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. hose venues are safe zones every bit as much as those on campus except wore. Worse because they are self-inflicted.
      This social Balkanization is exactly what the powers that be in the information industry want. The mainstream media, who were almost completely in the tank for Hillary Clinton, lost out because the grassroots effort to elect Trump were successful. Trump's grassroots effort was headed by alt right online news organizations and boosted by social media. The media is rapidly losing its influence—and rightly so with its left wing bias—compared the free exchange of ideas on social media Hence the efforts by Facebook to weed out “fake news” and Twitter's banning of hate speech. With Facebook and twitter deciding what is fake news and hate speech. But of course the effort amounts to limiting conservative views, driving conservatives back to their own areas on the net and allowing no exchange of contrary ideas. 
     The effort to divide and insulate is the plan to weaken any further grassroots efforts that might dare help another anti-establishment candidate get elected. Just be aware this is happening, who is behind it, and why so you will not be complicit.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Flotsam & Jetsam #3

      Chuck Berry, one of the founders of rock and roll, died yesterday. I aw a headline saying something to the effect of “Chuck Berry Tragically Dead at 90.” Can someone who makes it to 90—well passed the Bible's allotted three score and ten—can die tragically. Maybe I am being harsh here, but the headline struck me funny. One thing not striking me funny is y belief black singers of the '50's and '60's did more to integrate America than any marches or protests. You cannot force people not to hate, but it is certainly difficult to hate something as fun s rock and roll or rhythm and blues. Change he culture and you change the country.
     At the beginning of March Madness, I tweeted my annual, 100% accurate prediction. The prediction was, as it always is, I will not fill out a bracket. I do not follow college basketball, so I have no interest in the championship tournament. Yet I am still subjected to friends griping over their brackets having been ruined by an upset. My Facebook time line was filled with such travails as I learned y beloved University of South Carolina Gamecocks unexpectedly knocked the Duke University Blue Devils out the tournament. Way to go, Gamecocks!
      We are going to look back on self-identifying as a gender as a silly fad, but the psychological damage it caused will sadly remain.
      I knew of Lorde, but could not name any of song songs if my life depended on it until I saw her perform on Saturday Night Live last week. I liked both her songs from the show. I looked up more f her songs on YouTube and liked most of them. The same for Father John misty a couple weeks back. It is tough for me to become interested in new music thee days. Whether music is generally bad thee days or I am simply at the age at which I do not like new things was not clear. Now it is nice to know there is still some good stuff out there I can appreciate.
      I do not understand the intense interest in Dallas Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo's future. He is over the hill, fragile, and never lead the team to a Super Bowl. Mayer Romo is the final piece a team like the Denver broncos or the Houston Texans need to seal the deal on a Super Bowl run, but I doubt it. Especially not with Romo's bloated salary. He would probably be wise to seek out a broadcasting career instead of chasing a long shot championship ring.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Colin Kaepernick is Kaput

     Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, has a couple problems. The first is he hates the United States. According to him, the country is abominably racist. To protest against the racist oppression, Kawprnick used his status as a black man who became wealthy playing a kid's game to conspicuously kneel during the national anthem before every game. Kaepernick's second problem is now that he is a free agent, no team wants to sign him because of his protest.
      Kaepernick saw the writing on the wall, but a bit too late. He announced near the beginning of free agent signing he was willing to now stand for the national anthem. Whether Kaepernick now understands actions have consequences changing your mind cannot always stave off is a question only he can answer.
      I am not naive. There are plenty of NFL players suiting up every week with drug arrests, domestic violence issues, and assorted other criminal problem, including murder. Michael Vick even went to jail and came back to play. The NFL will look the other way on just about any baggage a player has as long as he can play at a high level. The fact is Kaepernick is not much of a player in the first place. The anthem protest baggage is simply enough to discourage an on the fence team fro signing him. What team wants to face unnecessary fan backlash over signing a mediocre player?
     On the pus side for Kaepernick, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says all immigrants are welcome. Should Kaeprnick decide to be one of the few—maybe the only?--celebrity to actually move to Canada because of last November's election results, he will be welcomed with open arms. But would he be a good fit for the CFL? He must can the vegetarian diet his radical girlfriend forced on him. In the NFL, you cannot compete without protein meat.

I Have Returned to Vlogging

     I have returned to vlogging, but likely with my usual slack dedication

to making videos on topics rather than writing about them on Gods &

Monsters.  At least I am giving it a shot, folks.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Taxing Situation

     Rachel Maddow, a key player in the collapse of MSNBC's prime time line up, tweeted shortly before eight PM she had a copy of Donald Trump's tax returns and was set to reveal it on air. The eventual reveal—eventual meaning after a twenty minute conspiratorial rant speculating over what financial shenanigans Trump might employ to minimize hi tax bill—was underwhelming.
     The tax return was two pages from Trump's 1040 from 2005. It revealed Trump earned $150 million dollars and paid the legally required $38 million in taxes. The only thing we learned from the twelve year old 1040 was Trump earned a lot of money and paid his fair share of taxes on it. Not exactly hard-hitting journalism there.
      Even liberal commentators are playing the reveal down. There are more important issues, such as the Republican healthcare plan which is universally disliked. This translates to an admission Maddow had nothing at best and boosted Trump's credibility at worst. A $33 million tax bill when the narrative has been Trump utilizing shady accounting to pay none casts doubt on much of the unfounded criticism Trump receives. Trump' supporters are comparing Maddow's stunt to Geraldo Rivera's live opening of Al Capone's vault to find nothing some thirty years ago. The comparison is a stretch, but the point is valid. Maddow's dramatic build up was much ado about nothing.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Arnold Schwarzenegger Mulls a Senate Bid

     Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering a run for the Senate after engaging in a twitter scuffle with Donald Trump over the president's request for National Prayer Breakfast attendees to pray for Schwarzenegger because of low ratings for his Celebrity Apprentice. Schwarzenegger recently opted not to return for another turn as host. Now he is looking for something else to do as he enters his 70's.
      The good news is Schwarzenegger is the only Republican who can win in California. The bad new is Schwarzenegger is the only Republican who can win in California. Hindsight says his turn as governor was a huge disappointment. After a decent start attempting to implement conservative policies, he ran into liberal opposition and caved. He was so bad, voters decided hi successor should be 840 year old relic Jerry Brown. The more realistic view is Schwarzenegger is a man without a party. He is too liberal for Republicans and the Democrats have too deep a bench to bet it all on him.
      Schwarzenegger could be planning to run as an independent. It is a move unlikely to work. Considering the beginning of a trump feud, he might be banking on the unpopularity of Trump, who only managed about a third of the popular vote in the Golden State. But that will not be enough when you consider the baggage coming with the candidate. The biggest being the illegitimate son from his former housekeeper.
     But I say Schwarzenegger should go for it, anyway. A Senate run as a Republican will force Democrat to spend money on a Senate seat they believe is in the bag. A run as an independent might split the vote enough for him to win with a plurality. A moderate independent who caucused with Republicans would still be better than anyone the Democrats will run.
UPDATE: (March 14th) Arnold nixes a Senate bid.  Maybe he read my   post?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Translator (SNL)

      Just when I thought Saturday Night Live was going to do a skit unrelated to Donald Trump, the skit turns out to be about Donald Trump. But that was not the only surprise. As it turns out, the skit makes a mockery of liberal hypocrisy. Now does that not beat all?
      Three scientists build a device that translates pet thoughts. I will not beat the heck out of the premise so as not to spoil anything, but watch for the bonus humor when the dog decides he ha had enough of the shenanigans and rebels. Voice actor Beck Bennett and host Scarlett Johanson improvise quickly to save the day.
      A trigger warning is probably in order for the satirically impaired. Some of the jokes re risque, as well. Viewer discretion is advised.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Two Years Later

     It dawned on me late in the day it is the second anniversary of y escaping Oakhaven Nursing Center. I usually obsess over the time and development between events—I am an avid history buff, after all—but the occasion sneaked up on me. For it to do that, Oakhaven must have faded into memory or else I would have engaged in some serious ax grinding over the last few days.
      If you have been reading my blog for a decently long period of time, you will recall I ground my a so much on so many occasions one could circumcise a mosquito with the blade. I see no reason to rehash those dark times here. It is quite clear the demons lingering from y dark days there have been exorcized. But feel free to look up the relevant posts. Make sure you have plenty of time. The whole story adds up to a decent sized novella.
      What is more interesting about the anniversary slipping my mind is the frequent gossip I still hear from staff past and present. Kendra was fired after some brouhaha and wound up working with Michelle and Aysa at the ombudsman's office. Brock was transferred to another facility a few month's later. Chrystal took over Oakhaven while Wilson Senior Care searched for a replacement. They finally found one who was—I kid you not—still learning English. The new executive director did not last long, either. A bad DHEC review in 2016 probably spelled her doom. Pretty much every on the management side departed at some point. Many took job that were a step down from what their positions at Oakhaven. But jumping ship is worth the loss, I am certain.
      I still maintain many friendships from the better side of Oakhaven. Courtney is the most important, of course. We consider each other siblings. So there is no way I can consider y tie at Oakhaven a total loss. Just the part in which I was forced to deal with the incompetent boobs who recklessly ran the place. Even a six figure DHEC fine courtesy of your truly did that fix that. At least they are gone now. I hope, in some small way, I helped make their departures happen.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Small Victories

     Here is the latest hair growth tracking selfie. It will probably be the final one. Please keep the applause down to a polite golf clap. By this point, my hair has grown back enough to make my mistakenly near shun noggin an unnoticeable error. While I am inclined to believe you ought not deny any parts of your past self—learn from what you do not like—there is no sense in bringing your old self back up again and again when the lesson has been learned. The lesson here is always enunciate fr the barber.
     Adding several Ensre to my daily diet has not been as arduous as I feared it might. One of the main reasons I am so thin in the first place is I cannot force myself to eat when I am not hungry. The problem is even wore when am sick. When I fell deathly ill a few years ago, I wound up with a feeding tube, for heaven's sake. I am not sick now. Just throwing it out there to illustrate how tough it is for me to gain wait. For he last few months, I have stagnated. Eating more would be tough, but drinking calories is not that bad.
      All that to say I have gained three pounds in three weeks. Yes, the average is a pound a wk. Most people can add and drop more than that in a day. I am not most people. The rate and amount of gain suits me. Or at least it will until I hit the inevitable wall and must regroup with something else. Until then, I shall enjoy the small victories.

Friday, March 3, 2017

What Scooby Doo Taught Us

     The villains were never ghosts, but the mysteries were always