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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Congressional Baseball Shooting

"Have you called 911?" asks an invisible bystander to the man who's using his phone to video the shooting today. 

"I assume people have been calling 911 already," responds the man taping the gunfire. 

And THAT is the danger we run into - too many people want to video an event instead of actually doing something to prevent it. 

At the end, he mutters as an afterthought "I hope everyone is OK." Everyone but the attacker survived it, so far...no thanks to HIM.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

12 Facebook Etiquette Rules

I have a couple people I care about that struggle with Facebook etiquette. Today I thought to google the topic and didn't come up with much that wasn't generic. Most of the advice is beginner level.

So in order to address the more genuine issues that I see people deal with, I decided to put together a little guide.

This is written with great love and respect for many of you that miss social cues in print. If you follow these simple rules, it may help you to avoid antagonizing people unnecessarily.

1. Limit your comments on a friend's post. This is difficult for people with OCD or Aspergers (and sometimes difficult for people who don't have either!) but it must be reigned in. If you post something and then another thought strikes you, it's often wiser to edit your original comment rather than create an unnecessary string.

Why? Because anyone who's liked or commented on that post will get a 'ding' on their phone or computer every time something new is liked or posted. Many people don't mind hearing when someone has something new to add, but endless 'dings' going off can be highly annoying. It also floods the feed and makes it difficult for people to follow everyone's contributions.

There are two exceptions:

1) Don't alter your comment if people have responded to it and changing the comment will change what they would've written. And 2) If there is an ongoing 'conversation' you're having with someone. But be careful that you...

2. Don't hijack a post. This means that if you suddenly get into a long public discussion with one person, it's best to take that private and use the messaging feature. Another way to hijack a post is to start talking about something else entirely, like your pet cause of the moment.

There's an exception to this: I have a couple friends who will occasionally hijack a post to run an ongoing comedic dialog between each other. It can be very entertaining and it's done for fun only - there are no vicious digs or off-color jokes. But you have to use your discretion: Maybe your ongoing discussion with someone could be of interest to other readers who aren't contributing...or maybe it isn't. If you aren't able to tell the difference, don't engage in this.

When a friend posts something, it is only OK to comment on that particular subject. For example, if someone posts a picture of their dog, it isn't OK to post something in the comments section about Donald Trump.

If you are unable to distinguish social nuances, ask someone who is more socially aware to weigh in on what's being posted.

3. Post what you want on your page but be cautious when posting on others. You may think that scatalogical joke is a hoot, but that doesn't mean you should post it on your wife's page. She may have all types of 'friends' in her list that include colleagues, children and acquaintances. Consider her audience. If in doubt, ask yourself if you would stand in a public square with a microphone at a large event and say the same thing.

4. Avoid ad hominem attacks. People may disagree with you for a variety of reasons, but none of those reasons may be that they're wicked or stupid or going to hell. Don't be accusatory in your responses.



5. In fact, when discussing controversial issues, you'll get your point across more effectively if you avoid all these:


6. If in doubt, see your 'opponent' as a beloved family member and treat them accordingly. And please note that you really shouldn't be seeing anyone as an opponent unless you're running for office.

7. Don't be quick to unfriend someone. This is seen as very insulting and is usually unnecessary.

If you have ties with each other and they irritate you, it's better to unfollow them. You can do that by gong to their profile page and look at their cover photo. At the bottom of that cover photo are 3 buttons. Click the 'following' for the option to unfollow. That means their posts won't show up in your news feed and you'll only have to see what they post if you go to their page.

If they are annoying you on your posts, you can always choose to exclude them from the posting. You do this by limiting your audience. You can choose "friends except..." and then designate whom you want to keep in the dark on this.

8. Don't post personal tirades. There are a couple different types, but they all make you look nuts.

A) The "Look at Me Look at Me" post. This is when someone posts something designed to get them attention, like "I don't want to live anymore!" or "Check out this bikini on me - is it too tight?"

B) The "I Hate This Person for a Good Reason" post. This is when you post a lot of personal information about a recent spat you had with someone, whether you name them directly or not. This only makes you look like a jerk and a little unbalanced. The exception is if the encounter was actually funny and it's not really personal. Again, if you lack the social ability to communicate this effectively, then avoid it entirely.

C) The "This is You" post. Here you post something bad, then flag your 'friend' and say publicly "This is so you, Bertha!" This doesn't mean that you can't post something bad and simply flag your friends on it. People may be interested in that post for a variety of reasons. But to specifically tell the world that your friend has that issue is uncool.

9. Don't constantly hype yourself or your products. If you sell Mary Kay, post about it very rarely. Instead, create a Mary Kay page and invite friends to join it so that they can see your specials there. It's OK to list what you do and who you work for on Facebook, though it's not necessary. Just don't use your friends and family as your client base. They will grow to resent you.

10. Don't engage in chain posts. Remember that people will hold you responsible for anything you post. An example of an unsubstantiated chain post is this meme. And any post that says you have to repost it to either get something or avoid some type of eternal damnation is also a no-no.

11. Don't attempt to introduce trends unless you are a fashionista. I recently had a friend who kept trying to introduce the little-used term 'enemedia' into all my posts so he could instantly nullify any news source that was reporting stuff he didn't like. That falls under an ad hominem attack and made him sound very childish, too. You will lose respect and ultimately lose your message while everyone ignores you because they think you're just plain silly. Perhaps you'll have a great point to make, but your attempt to denigrate others makes you look like a fool.

12. Do your best to not make it sound personal. If you are disagreeing with someone, it's best to not say "you" too often and avoid sounding accusatory. You don't want to look like you're trying too hard to pin them down - that falls into the 'sore loser/winner' category. You may be right, but you look so wrong. Here's an example:

"You did this yesterday, Tim!" as opposed to "I know some people who do this and I find it aggravating."

In summary: These rules can be encapsulated into the Golden Rule: Do to others what you want them to do to you. And if in doubt, ask a friend.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

An Answer to Dennis Prager: Why I Don't Support Trump Fully

I adore Dennis Prager. He is America's rabbi, a kind and thoughtful conservative with an ever-present twinkle in his voice as he shares his thoughts and common sense solutions across the fruited plain on a daily basis. In a column earlier this week, he attempted to explain those of us who will not fully support Trump.

Prager muses that we must not believe that America is in a civil war. He genuinely believes that we feel there isn't much of a difference between conservatives and liberals. And, to a certain extent, he is correct. Many of us have come to view them as two sides of the same coin.

Gone are the days when Ronald Reagan actually stood for something. Gone are the days that we knew where a Republican remained, firmly anchored, with few exceptions. Gone are the days that a Democrat was a mere Democrat, instead of a socialist masquerading as a Democrat, as we saw in Bernie Sanders.

And this is where I must disagree with Dennis Prager, as much as I adore him and his mensch deliberations.

Those of us who find Trump distasteful are not merely the pearl clutchers of the left. We are not the RINOs of the right. We are classic Reaganites, who find churlish behavior distasteful.

We scorn the obvious pandering to the Common Man, who is below what we should all aspire to be. Instead of a President who is a statesman, we have a President who speaks to us in 4th grade grammar, as linguists report. We have a President who is a narcissistic bully, continually self absorbed at the expense of our country. He is not anxious to live up to his promises and, frankly, we are concerned he even remembers them.

We listen to his disjointed sentences and they remind us of loved ones in early stages of dementia. We watch Melania Trump repeatedly flick his hand away and we sympathize - we would do it, too. He repulses us at a core level, and one that is not easily ignored.

We still agree that he was a better choice than HRC or Bernie. But that's not saying much. We wish we'd been given more options. We rejoice in his choice of Neil Gorsuch because we are Constitutionalists. But we shudder at his immediate withdrawal from moving the embassy to Jerusalem, as he promised he would do (repeatedly). And we tire of his groupies who will go to great lengths to excuse away every awful or pitifully stupid thing he says or does (i.e. "covfefe"). We would far rather have an honest discussion than a dishonest glossing over of the ugly facts that remain in front of us all on a daily in-your-face Twitter feed.

Something needs to be done, Mr. Prager. And hopping on the Trump bandwagon will not achieve what needs to be achieved. These issues need to be addressed. Someone needs to speak for sanity and adult values. Trump can fire many people, but he cannot fire Mike Pence. It is time for Mike Pence to stand up to him. It is time for you, Mr. Prager, to also call it for what it is. You are better than this, and you should expect better from our President, too.