My Battle With FaceBook

I suspect some of my readers remember that I have been having a battle with FaceBook. When I log in I get this long list of “Friend Recommendations” that are mostly very scantily clad young females with strange names. I used to “X” them out but that did no good, they would be back the next time I logged in.

I was considering just dropping Facebook but that is my only source for keeping up with some of my long ago friends. I complained to FaceBook on several occasions but never got a reply. And then I got an idea…

My profile describes me as a 70+-year-old male, what if I changed that? What I did was to now proclaim I am female and that worked! Within a couple of days the young undressed female friends recommendations stopped. Now I am getting mostly older fully clothed females as possible friends and all the ads on the right side of the page are for women’s shoes and such. If that is the price I must pay then so be it.

I know FaceBook is famous for selling their member database to anyone with enough money. I also know the erotica is big business. Maybe that is how it happened? Another possibility is that one of my current “friends” is an erotica buff with all those girls as part of his mammoth friends list. I did eliminate a few of my old high school classmates who are now MAGA folks as I was tired of their daily post about the great job their hero is doing.

Either way, I’m glad that won the battle. You can call me Ms. Walters if you want, I really don’t care 🙂

Urban vs Rural Low Skilled Jobs?

Throughout the 20th century, it was a well-known fact that good paying low skilled jobs are in large metropolitan areas. That was where the factories were, and they hired by the thousands to keep the mind-numbing assembly lines running. Today, of course, those low skilled factory jobs have been rightfully replaced by automation. Why hire a human being who gets easily distracted and makes mistakes, or simply calls in sick, when you can make a robot who is totally focused on the job 24/7?

Here is what an article in the New York Times has to say about that:

Low-skilled workers may also find opportunities in cities that don’t come in the form of higher wages. They could come from the availability of nonprofits and social services, or of training programs, or from better access to health care and public transit. And there are other ways to measure opportunity in a community, like whether it enables poor children to get ahead.

Source: New York Times

The disparity between rural and urban when it comes to low skilled jobs is just not as evident in the 21st century. But as cited above, the metro areas still have the advantage in that that is where the training programs reside. If you are in a remote rural area those just don’t exist for you.

Eventually, everyone will consider a high school diploma to mean you now have fundamental life skills and basic education to train for your chosen occupation. Maybe we need to change the term “high school” to something else that would make it clear that it is not an endpoint?

What do you think?

Optimist Or Pessimist??

It seems almost impossible to be an optimist in today’s world, especially now that a totally incompetent person leads our version of it. But these times are not the only time we have been severely challenged as a nation.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about America’s future? I’m optimistic. I say that because there have been many moments in our history when old ideas and old arrangements stopped working and people chopped them up. Those transition moments were bumpy, and it was easy to lose hope, but then people figured it out. Never underestimate the power of human ingenuity.

Source: New York Times

This quote is from David Brooks who leads the way for those of us who still claim to be optimists.

I think too many of us are still in the “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” mode when it comes to hard times. We throw up our arms in defeat. We see our country controlled by the inmates instead of the good guys. Yes, it takes courage to be an optimist now. But, courage we must have.

I admit that we have never had such an incompetent person in the Oval Office, nor have we had a more partisan ruler of the Senate but eventually times change and things return to normal if there is such a thing. We will survive these times as we have all the others. I don’t even want to think that the opposite is even possible.

Several years ago I learn that Mark Twain become an extreme pessimist in the last part of his life. During that time he wrote some utterly bitter and spiteful things that greatly tarnished his literary image. By the end of his life, he had reached a position of cosmic proportions. I now understand how that is possible but absolutely vow to never allow that to happen to me. Pessimism like can destroy life itself if left uncontrolled.

If it is a choice between Optimism and Pessimism, I will choose optimism every time.

Free Range Kids…

I am going to tell you a story about when I was growing up in the 1950s and then put a modern twist to it.

I don’t have a lot of memories prior to my eighth year of life. I vaguely remember spots here or there before then. But I do remember when we moved into our brand new $14,000 tract house in the suburbs when I was 8-years-old. There were five of us living in a 900 square foot, three bedroom, one bathroom house. Compared to where we lived prior to that this was a modern mansion.

My new suburban neighborhood was an adventure waiting to happen. We lived 4 blocks away from the Catholic school I attended so I and my two brothers walked that distance every day. There was also a gas station across the street from the school that infatuated me. I spent quite a bit of time watching them gassing up cars, checking the oil, and of course, cleaning the windshield. That gas station proved invaluable a couple of years later when I broke my collarbone trying out for the school football team and as a result, wore a very hot and itchy plaster vest through the summer. With the station hose, I blew a stream of air under the plaster vest to make things at least tolerable.

We lived eight blocks away from the drugstore with a soda fountain. It was on a busy road and we weren’t really supposed to go there but on occasion did so anyway. I always ordered the “suicide” which included squirts of a half-dozen of the flavors available.

Then there was the mushroom factory about four blocks away from home where we loved to climb the freshly delivered piles of dirt which in reality were piles of composted cow manure! We didn’t know that is what they were but that would have made it even cooler. (ha). But, there was that day when I was climbing the trees in front of the factory and fell down on a sharp wrought iron fence due to climbing out on a broken limb. They told my dad in the emergency room that the fence came within an inch of puncturing my lung! But, except for a “bragging” scar no real damage was done. That episode did make me more aware of the dangers around me. That proved to be a valuable lesson I’m sure.

I’m running out of space here but I did want to mention the lumber yard that was about 6 blocks from home. We got much of the material we needed for our adventure projects from the scrap pile there. The owner sometimes gave us small pieces of wood that he cut off customer orders and sometimes we would sneak in on our own to get them. It was kind of like a commando raid for us.

The moral of this story is that I learned to be an adventurous person from my childhood years. I learned what it was like to be out on my own. All those lessons would help shape my adult life.

I was a free range kid…

Finally getting to the point of this story, I saw something recently on the PBS Newshour that the average ten-year-old has likely never been more than two blocks away from his home unaccompanied! There is apparently too much parental fear of abduction and such now. But, the statistics just don’t bear out this fear. In reality, kids are much safer today than they were in my day.

Are we stunting our kids by keeping them homebound and not letting them be free-range as we were in my generation? Are we preventing them from the adventures of discovery? Are we stifling the future inventor and innovators? That, along with the fears should be on the minds of all parents today.

What do you think?

Dehumanizing…

To try to dehumanize someone or some group of people is the epitome of ugliness as far as I am concerned. Unfortunately, it has been used many times throughout human history. Hitler managed to successfully dehumanize the Jews in the 1930s. He then went on to kill millions of them while otherwise respectful Germans turned their back to what was happening!

Given the harsh turn of tribalism in recent times, dehumanizing others has come back to the forefront. Some now try to convince us that those coming across our southern border are all murderers, rapists, gang members, and inhuman. When in reality the vast majority are simply families with very small children trying to escape the brutality of the country they were unfortunate enough to be born in.

One of the worst examples here in the US was when Andy Jackson managed to dehumanize Native Americans. He called them savages and inhuman and bragged about killing them. When he became preisdent he went on to round them all up for a forced march that killed thousands in order to take over the land they had inhabited for centuries. What astounds me is that he is, even today, treated as a hero with the Democratic party’s Jefferson/Jackson day dinners where they celebrate Jackson as the founder of their party!

Racist dehumanization was rampant for a hundred years after the Civil War. Millions of so-called Christians joined the KKK and then went about lynching thousands of African Americans.

Historically, dehumanizing people has made us capable of atrocious acts. “They are not human so human standards don’t apply to them.” It is tragic to see so many that have fallen prey to that logic. So, I guess we should not be surprised when this happens today? But, shouldn’t we firmly stand up against those who do it? Why isn’t that happening, especially amongst those of us calling ourselves followers of Jesus?

How we can allow it to continue is a TOTAL mystery to me.