Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dilemnas of the Social Media Era

Let me start by saying that I find Facebook to be a useful and enjoyable thing. I have a modest-sized list of friends, some of them folks I met through blogs like Sadly, No! and who I think are quite possibly the brightest people running loose on the Innert00bz. On my list are old friends, some going way back to skool daze in Ottumwa, Iowa, some veterans of the rock bar days of the 80s and 90s, a few met at work, and so on and so forth.

Having spent a lot of time around the lefty political blogosphere, I tend to use my Facebook page as a blog. I post a lot of political, anti-woo, pro-rational thinking kinds of things, and various bits of political humor. What usually results is that I get a lot of brilliant, funny, well-informed comments and an enjoyable discussion. Of course, we don't all walk in lockstep, some of us are argumentative as hell, and occasionally an argument breaks out, even among people who generally have the same or similar ideals but differing ideas about how to get there. As on the blogs generally, there are hot button issues, and things occasionally get heated. This is the way I was raised, though, so it's not a big deal to me. As a child, I used to sometimes wait until all the adults were yelling at each other about some political matter on which they mostly agreed, and then slink down under the table, very gradually, then crawl under the table and out the back door, the carrots or Swiss chard having been successfully avoided.

But FB is not a blog. Most commenters are using their real names, as am I. Some of my old friends wouldn't know Crooks and Liars from Faux Noise or Max Blumenthal from Netanyahu. Some of them, may teh Flying Spaghetti Monster help us, have political views more in common with Glenn Beck than with me. As a result, all hell can break loose, frequently when I'm least expecting it.

Then there's the issue of not wanting to get in a huge-ass free-for-all fight on one of my friend's comment threads, for fear of causing a family rift that will bring trauma for my friend for many a holiday to come, or an unfriending rippling throughout a large group of friends. It can be a balancing act, and it's not necessarily good for the blood pressure.

At least I can retreat to my little Farmville paradise, or swim with the fishies, or dig for treasure. There's that.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Get Mail!

Since A's dad, known affectionately as The Old Man, passed away a year and a half ago, his mail has been coming to my address. Much of it is junk of the sort that would make Orac grind his teeth with frustration. Yesterday I received what looks like a magazine, albeit skinny, bearing this headline: "DON'T Suffer with Incontinence Anymore!!" Further investigation reveals that a certain Dr. Kenneth Woliner, M.D., guarantees that his "new formula fights the hidden causes of bladder problems and wins!" For the wee price of $27.95, you get one (1) bottle of capsules, and each of those little mothers is packed with vitamin E, marshmallow root, ginger, parsley extract, vitamin C, white oak,juniper berry, and more, hard to believe though it may be that one little capsule could contain enough of this multiplicity of ingredients to have any effect whatsoever. Now $27.95 may seem like kind of a stiff price, but if you buy the six-bottle pack it drops to $21.65! Yes! You can have SIX bottles of this Guaranteed-Or-Your-Money-Back! magic for the low low price of $129.90!

The poor old man died because he was trying to treat extremely deadly penile cancer with aloe vera and some sort of mushroom powder. I blame every single one of these lying charlatans for this. He grew up on a reservation, or rather lived on one with his grandma and aunt until he was fourteen, and was basically on his own after that. He was a smart old guy, but woefully uneducated, although somehow he managed to learn to read and write both Spanish and English and learn basic arithmetic, something many people who attend school until graduation don't master, and he was a brilliant mechanic. Still, he could be forgiven for falling for this stuff; it's easy to do that, when it's what you want to hear, when you know next to nothing about medical science, and someone in a spiffy white coat calling himself a doctor is selling you on it. But what about the growing numbers of well-educated folks who are falling for herbal remedies and fer chrissakes homeopathy - a form of woo even The Old Man found suspect! - and are refusing to vaccinate their kids or give them fluoridated water? Some sort of regulation needs to be imposed on this nonsense. It's a serious public health crisis, and growing every day.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Looks around, everything the same

Since teh Evil Facebook stole my soul, I haven't done anything with this blog in a long time. This is about to change.

Stay tuned . . .