Lawyers, Guns and Money


I started working on a blog post about the facebook-ization of everything. That is to say status updates being actual information, something to take seriously instead of the digital hieroglyphics that they actually are. Because we all have that digital soapbox, we are instantly experts at everything, from how to run a zoo, a campaign, policy race relations and the harsh reality is that nobody knows anything, but like a dinner of hyperactive kids trying to catch their folks attention, everybody is talking, and nobody is listening.
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A horrible event like what happened in Orlando has everybody spouting and nobody reading or looking a little deeper. All the horror is deeply complex, more so than self-congratulatory tweets from Vulgar Talking Yam candidates to every moronic meme that is populating most folks facebook news feeds.

far side deer hunt
I didn’t set out to weigh into this particular subject area as it is one with more grey areas than we care to think about. About the only real conclusion that can be reached is that the system is definitely, flat out broken, and there doesn’t seem to be any get up and go make changes. Banning certain kinds of guns does slow down revenue for gun sellers, but I’m not certain that won’t keep things for finding their way. A lot of barstool philosophy has gone into this, but again no real action. I am of the mind that there should be some regulations on what someone can just show up and buy, as there doesn’t seem to be a logical use for certain weapons other that to injure as as much as rapidly as possible. For me that’s a problem. Ethical hunters wouldn’t stand by that.
But the broken system failed us. I don’t know if it is AR based weapons or another make of gun as there is a source saying that. I don’t think either are necessary for self defense or deer season, but you might disagree. A friend of mine who I have much respect for might be onto something that folks favoring AR or other gun bans are making the wrong case to support their point, not that a ban will save lives, but it would be morally incorrect to allow such things for civilian use.
If somebody wants to inflict harm, they will find methods of accomplishing that, but I agree with a few folks who posted that it shouldn’t be so easy for someone to get the guns they wish, especially when they have had documented domestic issues and caught the attention of the FBI.
Another poster mentions that “Terrorist used planes, not guns on 9/11.” We learned a little from that and made it harder for that to happen again (a work in progress, I grant you). Planes weren’t banned, it was made harder to use them as a potential weapon.

I found this article and will forward here to the three of you following my spiel: https://medium.com/@stinson/an-open-letter-to-liberal-friends-on-gun-control-c41d7a44d88b#.eexd0eglk

It’s a good read that spells things out a little more evening that a facebook post typically does.  And I didn’t know if you noticed, I’m not coming for your guns, nobody is. I mean they can have mine, but it’s up to them to refill it with water now and again.

I’m not so certain we’ve got the whole story, but we have gotten snippets that have all sides losing their minds, from ad-hoc conspiracy blusters to people who should never have a microphone placed in their faces again. And it doesn’t stop digital activists who activism stops at their enter keys.

Samantha Bee hit the nail on the head pretty good.

I’m not Orlando. I’m just a middle aged white guy who reads too much, but unlike other middle aged white straight guys, I’m not preaching about how others should feel. Nobody is in the position to do that and can you imagine how that much feel to the preachees?

But the system is fucked. I don’t know why the Vulgar Talking Yam (stolen from Esquire with respect) candidate wants the president to label the crime as that doesn’t accomplish anything other than rousing underinformed rabble. I know that if harm came to my kids in any fashion let alone the horrors of the folks in that nightclub, I couldn’t care less about the terminology being used as nothing would solve that hurt, no slogan will fix what happened. I wonder if the way to get the NRA to the table is for a bunch of folks to join and actually shift the agenda from within. Crazy, right.

I don’t blame the gun. He never should have had it.

The system is fucked. Let’s fix it.

 

 

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The Things We Choose to Care about


Wow, the world would be better if, if we weren’t so full of crap.

Is the decor of your $5 coffee cup really a problem and not for nothing, who is telling you you can’t say Merry Christmas? “Happy Holidays” isn’t anything new and I think most folks say it because there is more than one holiday going on and perhaps there isn’t a need to spend foreever checking off a never ending list of platitudes when your biggest goal is to escape the conversation. It seems to me that we are for freedom of religion until somebody actually exercises that. War on Christmas – an invented sentiment by those who aren’t paying attention to the problem of the real casualty – Thanksgiving. Donald Trump says that if he gets elected we can say Merry Christmas once more. I am sort of at a loss as to what might prevent me from saying it now…..oh, right, nothing.

I wonder at what point retailers will realize that they aren’t making any more money, it’s just coming in at different times, that midnight madness allure of shopping on Thanksgiving isn’t doing much for bottom lines and that folks see that the deals aren’t the greatest.

The things we choose to care about….

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With events unfolding in Paris, the world turns into the “forums” of every news paper page. U2 had a concert set for Saturday night to be broadcast on HBO. This was understandably cancelled as security personnel have more pressing concerns, but that didn’t stop people from posting on Facebook and Twitter griping about Bono should go on and not “ask us to give while he sits on billions.” I can understand Bono rubbing you the wrong way and all, but that is complaining for the sake of complaining. Whether you like the band or not, they are prominent enough that their picture will get taken when they lay flowers at one of the memorials, but I suppose if they hadn’t gone to do that, that would inspire digital grousing as well.

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The other thing I saw was a number of folks appointing themselves to be “social media” coaches, telling scrollers that they aren’t achieving anything by changing their profile picture with the french colors. I disagree. There is a bit of “everybody’s doing it” that goes into movements like that and I don’t believe that is necessarily a bad thing. If nothing else, it does get folks more involved. Perhaps it is in a purely passive way, but that is something. And anything that gets folks to lift a finger to being more informed even by a little is a good thing.

Anybody notice Beirut was attacked too?

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Nope, we were too concerned that Friday, the President said ISIS is contained and by Saturday morning, that wasn’t the case. Okay, he missed that putt, but what does it matter? The sound bite or lack of wouldn’t change a thing, just like nothing the candidates had to say since would raised the level of debate.

The digital age has presented us with many tools. We just shouldn’t be among them

 

 

 

 

 

 

Powering down…


I spent some time in the early 2000s as a “reboot monkey,” helping folks with their then new high speed internet connections. As jobs go, it was what it was, a way of keeping the bills paid. It popped back into my mind last evening, specifically this one guy who called and wanted to scream about all this stuff in the computer and “what your man put in the computer.” It turned out the computer was fresh out of the box and was loaded with all sorts of goodies for the new owner. The internet connection just opened the door to all these things. After he yelled at me for the requisite amount of time to feel manly,  we got things squared away, shut some things down, and he was online.

It came to mind last night as I am in day 4 of new phone ownerhood. The previous phone logged a couple of busy years and it was one of those windows I could afford to spoil me.  After 3 days of electroshock therapy from it flipping like a dead fish, and making a schmuck out of me, I was becoming one of those people, instead of periodically looking to see if it was a kid calling, it was anything and it was ridiculous and I apologize to anybody and everybody during that period. The almost ten year old reboot story came to mind and provided me with a sense of direction as I stripped the phone of the preloaded nonsense, quitting foursquare, yelp, aboutme in the process. There wasn’t anything come from it, just imagined connections, that haven’t mattered and weren’t going to, and were insulting to anybody who was actually there in the now.

So, notifications are off, as they were making me an idiot.

As they don’t matter, never mattered, all that it accomplished is that phantom buzz in your calf from where the phone was unnecessarily buzzing in your pocket. I thought I had this largely beat, having beaten my previous device into semi-silent submission, but sometimes you have to go that extra step to remember what is important and admit that you might just have an issue.

I don’t know if that stuff stems from uncertainty if you matter and getting too needy or social inept to make real connections, you take on whatever one you can get.

But as the noted philosopher Bill Murray once noted (in the climatic scene to the classic “Meatballs“), it just “doesn’t matter.” In this case, it’s the 4square check in, fb post that caused annoying buzzing.

I was asked if I got a tweet at lunch today, and it was actually good to say “No.”

Step one…

 

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As the Snow Flies


So, there might be snow in Buffalo. This really shouldn’t be news at this time of year or reason for much of anything other than trying to remember where you put your good winter gloves when you last needed them, May probably. I saw a little snow while out for a ride and the weatherdudes correctly noted that it was going to get cold (30 outside while I write this), and none of that should really be earth shattering at this time of the year. Our former mayor offered his “grab a six pack” advice and practically seems a sage now, as when the weather forecasts have “lake effect” featured in them prominently, that is apparently code for “get to the grocery store and buy as much milk as you possibly can.” I don’t believe there has been a driving ban longer than a day or two since the Blizzard of ’77. So, I’m not sure where the “Better stock up” strategy came from. Sunday could be ugly, but we all got to go to work Monday.

It’s mostly amusing as the snow is fine at this time of the year. We had a couple of whacko storms and everybody gets a little edgy. Facebook fills up either with “hey, where’s ours” complaints if we don’t get any, and grumblings if “it is really accumulating.” I promise not to take a picture  out my window as you all know what snow on ground looks like.

A cashier at the grocery store (I actually needed stuff, don’t judge) said something about it being the holy trinity of busy days: a saturday, the saturday before thanksgiving, and the saturday when the weather guys said lake effect a lot.”

It’s winter, let’s relax, breathe regular. You stay warmer that way.

Holiday Road


“ATTENTION JERKS: IT IS NOT CHRISTMAS YET. THIS IS THANKSGIVING SEASON, AND THANKSGIVING IS THE BEST, SO KNOCK OFF THE CHRISTMAS STUFF.”  — As seen on Twitter this morning. I heartily approve.

A bunch of years ago, as a young p.r./marketing huckster, I was involved in the promotion of a great book called “The Trouble with Christmas.” The author thoughtfully and respectfully pointed out some issues with the holiday and how and why he came to the point of not being a celebrant. I’m not quite of that ilk as I celebrate that day, but he had very valid point.

While it can be great, there are some pitfalls. For me, the way Christmas decor starts to snake on to the shelves prior to Halloween to this morning’s “Share and Repost” of making sure you say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, since the latter was politicially correct. It’s not, it’s been around for generations too. Nobody is assaulting the holiday. Aside from my own nurseable grudges against the tone of most “Share and Repost” things on Facebook, stuff like that imagines controversy where there really isn’t one.

I confessed a little dismay that some stores are opening at whatever o’clock on Thanksgiving Day and was told well, “people will buy.” I guess, I’m of a mind that people can and will buy when things are open, that nobody demanded more time, more excess, to the point where Thanksgiving gets reduced to a carboload for Christmas shopping that could wait until….the next morning.

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We are in such an unnecessary hurry and there is no reason for it. Stop and smell the mashed potatoes as you get a second helping. I know I will. All that pushing of the envelope I think helps foster depression as well. I used to fight a sense of have I done enough for my kids, only to realize what a stupid question that was to be torturing myself with.  So, for a few days, it’s all good. I can bypass people acting a certain way for a month, treating their fellow man the way they should the other 11 months, but is midnight on October 31st the time to crank out the carols 24/7 like two radio stations are doing, and to only play a handful of 1000s of Christmas tunes.

It can be a fun time of the year in DECEMBER, but the sprint to get there is a dizzying one.

I know some fool in pursuit of the flat screen he HAD to have will trip in a Black Friday crowd to GET that TV and will wind up part of the flooring for his troubles. Psst, the deals on those are better in January, closer to the big professional football contest.

It’s a nice season in DECEMBER, but the head start has some flaws.

A little less conversation


Back in the early portion of this decade, I spent some time as a reboot monkey, aiding patrons with their new “Hi-Speed Internet” Issues. It was a little like running a call in talk show for people complaining about things they didn’t fully understand. After a Florida hurricane, people would call after just getting electricity back wondering where the hell the internet was, and this was 2003. It always struck me as funny because almost nightly you’d get that guy to call in, that guy so empowered that he was just on the phone (and it was always a guy) that he would weave an impressive tapestry of obscenities and threats over what might or might not be happening on his computer. Basically, the dude personified Louie C.K.’s monologue about how everything is amazing, but nobody’s happy.

Almost ten years later and not only is high speed internet a standard home appliance, but it follows us around now. This all came back to me after the column in the link below. Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News is (like myself) a twitter user and being a prominent guy, he gets a wide cross section of folks interacting with him.

http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130524/SPORTS/130529595/1004

The column struck me because it addresses one guy who closed his twitter account because folks were talking at him, about some failures. It was kind of ironic, because I think those of who jump onto all these social media connections do it to learn new mediums, understand more, but ultimately to make connections. And I’m that a byproduct of all the jocks and celebrities on twitter. You want to connect, celebrate the good stuff and all.

Well, can’t really do that without expecting to hear flack about the bad stuff either. Get shelled at home and the open door that is twitter (and the rest of social media) will let you know all about that, just as much as they will for the complete game win. Whoever said “opinions are like assholes, everybody has one,” was spot on, we just have more mediums now

Couldn’t Stand the Weather


In the school of thought about Western New York weather, I like all the seasons, but this area is having a collectively weirder reaction to news of snow storms. Not to go old man on you, but when I was a boy….

I had to lampoon the last mishagas of tweets and warnings that were flying through social media today. The thanksgiving snow storm in 2000 and the “surprise storm” of 2006 have understandably made folks a little jumpy, that “we have to remember our winter driving skills,” etc. It seems like when we get a taste of winter instead of just dealing,we do tend to overreact a bit. I made a little good natured mock of that on Facebook and was busted by one of the fine weather dudes. I felt a little bad about that, but wasn’t mocking the forecasting. I was mocking how weather angst can cause people to hear a forecast on a monday, and go on a stock the shelves mission like snowmageddon is setting up over us. It’s like the old story about the professor who tells one student a short story and instructs the student to pass the story along. By the time, the story gets to the tenth student, it is a completely different story.

A couple work colleagues were teasing me because I was a little indifferent to whether or not we received a white christmas. Given I’ve seen 48 of them now, whether or not snow makes it, isn’t that big a deal as it has shown up plenty of times previously. We did get a little spoiled about 10 or 11 years ago, we did get seven feet of snow between Christmas and New Years‘s and I don’t seem to recall it slowing us down at all.

Winter rain has no soul at all so some snow would be nice for the pictures, for the snowmobilers, snowboarders that I know of among my friends. Then, like the days getting longer (screw you, mayans) be gone before January.

Now that my daughter made it home for the holidays, it can do whatever it likes as nobody has to be anywhere tomorrow. I think the consequences of some of those other storms provided just enough variants that it messed with our mojo a bit. When the School district calls a snow day, I’m fine with it as with the 2000 storm, kids were trapped on buses and some spent the night in a supermarket on the west side. Better to be safe than sorry in that regard.

Supposedly, we might get some wind and snow tomorrow. If we don’t, somebody is going to grouse about that too, like it is an affront to the area’s manhood.
Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

That said, I did get some milk at the store tonight, right before I got to the beer aisle

Sunday Papers


Some stuff that caught my attention before my ten articles were up.

Got to wonder if the CIA spy sex scandal is being greeted in papers around the world with a collective “So?” For my part, the one thing that I’ve noticed nobody talking about is the fact that the one agency that supposed to be covert, stealth, couldn’t swing a cover-up.

Special gifts? Really, Mitt, really? Not classy.

Ready to be led? John? Honestly. Wonder if the Fiscal Cliff leads to a bridge for us to be tossed over.

Ready to leave, Papa John, good grief…

Despite not much changing after the election…

 

In other news…

 

I really like the way the Toronto Blue Jays uncharacteristically took the Miami Marlins to the cleaners with the actual blockbuster trade that got announced today. The Jays might be pretty interesting in this first year of life with the Bisons. It’s great and been awhile. I do wonder what good the state of the art, eco-friendly stadium on the sight of the former Orange Bowl will be in 2013 with Triple and Double A level baseball being played in  it at major league prices. I can see the ad campaign now: “This weekend, come on down to Marlins Stadium and watch the Cardinals beat our boys like schoolyard bullies. Friday is brown paper bag mask night.”

One other baseball note from this long suffering Mets fan, nice to see R.A. Dickey pick up the Cy Young. At times, ESPN was over the top in praise during some Mets telecasts, but the guy had an awesome year, seems genuinely thrilled and thoughtful about getting the nod. It’s not a huge deal when publicists are a-plenty, but it’s just nice to see.

I seem to be on a sports theme in this collection of tidbits. I wish we denizens of Buffalo wouldn’t give a hoot when some overcompensated jock whines about his room service or view. Such blioviating really doesn’t merit a microphone, but I had to laugh when watching my former intern mentor Ed Kilgore mention that “Reggie Bush will play tomorrow nite despite spraining his mouth w/ the stupid comment about B’lo women.”

Nice one, but is anybody outside of Buffalo and Miami gonna watch?

The guys who decided the categories in SongPop were the same folks that thought Jethro Tull was the best heavy metal band at the one Grammy ceremony, as the categories are a little fuzzy. The Name that Tune game on Facebook is fun but aside from Karaoke versions of songs they couldn’t get the rights to doesn’t throw you off, some other factoids are a little disorienting. Apparently, Seattle is in part in Canada, Barry Manilow is a crooner.

“Treated” myself to a cup from Tim Horton’s the other day, and there was a very small picture of the man himself still in the place. That was pretty cool to notice since the hockey legend’s family sold the coffee/doughnut biz sometime ago. A friend checks and I never thought to look until the other day.

One last note, while the modern day NHL continues to annoy those of us who go to work on a regular basis, it was a lot of fun to see this game get replayed on tv the other night.

First time I ever heard my mom call Jerry Korab a name.

Electoral College never plays on Sportscenter


So, the elections are finally going to be done tomorrow!

That thankfully means the commercials go away. Since none and I mean none of those tell you about what a candidate might or might not do in office, it’s a sad commentary that that might be what pushes an “undecided” in one column or another.

I’m a big believer in social media (duh), but one thing that is getting to me is that there doesn’t seem to be much online respect for positions. You have your guy, I have mine, they might not be same dude, but that is actually okay. That is what is supposed to happen. I tend to steer clear of the Facebook threads that dissolve into chosen sources.

Funny how we are for freedom of speech or religion until somebody exercises them.

To that end, it was distressing for the always gawdawful Fox and Friends to bitch about the Hurricane Sandy telethon as a pro-Obama rally, when no mention of the president was made at all. The involved musicians played music and asked for help for the Red Cross. The goofs at the Fox and Friends program decided to smear it because nobody was calling them on it. Well, I’m calling them on it. I don’t know what bothers me more, that they have so much contempt for their audience that they will blatantly lie about something like that or that there are people who willingly go yeah, they’re right, where are the conservative performers? (and the answer will be not present, not organizing, not getting together, etc). Dipshidiots.

I’m not a fan of early voting. That seems to set systems up for more abuse, fraud, and law suits. If you can register, you vote. If you can’t get there Election Day, absentee vote. Done and Done.

But how can one candidate just happen to have a son who has a business involving voting machines in a swing state? That ain’t right

Hope the big loser does so gracefully. Lawsuits, motions, & manipulation in 2000 really accelerated the road to divisiveness that we trod on currently.

So, go vote, the country in our hearts in waiting. Make your choice and I’ll respect that.

And hopefully the squeaky trick or treat spot is fading…

The 400th Verse


Here it be, another imaginary milestone, significant only in that 400 posts sound a lot more official than, well, 399. A few bon mots are rattling around my brain, so here is as good place as any to unburden.

The social media consultancy business must be lucrative as more people are getting into it. Given my job, if I can get to the supermarket in 3 impromptu marketing meetings or less these days, I’m doing okay. Other people swap kid pictures by the frozen foods. I avoid the craft beer section to submarine yet another FBML discussion with the guy who thinks he can fix what’s wrong with the page I’ve made for my employer. Is he right? Dear readers, (all 4 of you), you can be the judge.

I love the forum of social media, especially working for a not-for-profit. I try to be an early adopter of these things to see if there is a value that can be appropriated to further my cause. I’ve been working on a blog for those who want to accessibility of the Facebook page. It isn’t ready yet, but those are the tip of the iceburg. In this area, attitudes are kind of quaint and more than a little snobbish. I don’t believe any one medium is the key to anything, but there is nothing wrong with having a few more low or no cost avenues for getting the word out.

While Twitter and Facebook have become great avenues for getting a message out, of carrying on a conversation with our audience. There are some other options out there I’m not sold on, yet. While launching an “app” for my employer, I heard some folks dismiss twitter. While you aren’t going to hear socratic wisdom discussed in those feeds, messages do indeed get out and notes do get passed. I mention this as I try find where exactly I feel about four square. I play along a little, to see what it can do other than help me find a couple of fellow bloggers at a Buffalo Spree function.

Like any application, you can accumulate people based on people you’ve already accumulated. For reasons passing understand, the Colorado Transportation Authority wants to follow me on Four Square. Imagine the disappointment when they’ve find out that I’ve never been there, so that might limit my ability to check in on places of interest to them.

So, it is the digital version of direct mail campaigns I guess. Considering this region has people reading their papers entirely online, some cling to the Sunday tradition (that would be me) and others still kicking it old school with daily hard copies, it is good to be able to add another club to the bag.