Saturday, January 13, 2018


After months of complaining to anyone who would listen and frustrations that took up way too much of my time I decided that the first big thing I would take care of in 2018 was to close my Facebook account.  There really are far too many negatives to list, even in a blog that only I read, but here are the biggies.
SECURITY.  If there is a problem with security there is no good reason to keep the program.  I first recognized that I had a security problem a few months ago when I received an email from one of my “friends.”  Since this arrived at my “private” account, an email that has not been listed on Facebook for more than a year, and that it was in fact an email and not a PM on Facebook itself was the first clue that something was very wrong.  The second fact, that this person had not updated her/his Facebook page/timeline/whatever in more than four years was the second clue.  I removed the “friend” and a few months later received another email, again on my private email.
I have updated all my security settings, privacy settings, you name it, time after time after time.  And yet, somehow, the information I had on the account years ago is accessible to whomever or whatever was attempting to infect my computer, access my accounts, steal info.  Pick one, they are all bad.
Have you ever tried to contact Facebook?  Right.  No way in hell.  The so called “help” sections are outdated, incomplete and often inaccessible.  Trying to find current suggestions on message boards is more of a waste of time than trying to figure out why the program keeps changing my settings.
PRIVACY.  I had very few “friends” and let’s be real here, the people on your Facebook page are often not people you actually know.  I made sure I did know everyone, and thus I was able to control some of the content I received.  I repeatedly had my settings to “friends only” on several of the privacy settings and I repeatedly received posts from people I did not know, did not want to know. 
THINGS YOU MIGHT LIKE ETC.  Right.  Of all the suggestions of pages I might be interested in at least 50% were of no interest to me at all.  The BOTS on Facebook seem to be set to give suggestions from friends pages, or friends of friends pages, rather than using the information from my own “likes” and browsing.  And that brings up the many friends of friends.
OBSCENE and DISTURBING content.  In short, if you have a friend or that friend has friends who frequent obscene pages, or pages that have disgusting graphics, disgusting views, are prejudiced or bigoted, you get these “suggested pages” popping up in your news feed.  It took a while for me to plow through the few friends I had to determine just where these were coming from and then advise said “friend” that some of her/his “friends” were disgusting and that I had to remove them unless they controlled the content they were receiving.
The real problem with this is of course the number of people one allows on one’s page.  Cause if a friend has 500 contacts you have 500 potential persons who have access to your Facebook page, and the privacy and security setting do not work.  Try it this way, with simple numbers.  If I have 100 friends and they have 100 friends and they have 100 friends how many people can see your page?  Right.
PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW.  Just like the content, the suggestions were totally not based on anyone I might know or want to know.  Just because one of the friends of friends has relatives in another country does not mean I know them.  I do not want to know every single person in the region where I live.  The worst problem, suggestions that are not in English. Really bad programming here. 
Finally, after setting and resetting and other issues, I had to look at why I had this frustrating program in the first place.  I don’t post every little thing I do, eat, feel, want, fear, pick a topic.  I don’t tell people I know and trust every little thing I do.  But then, my generation is not addicted to looking at a smart phone every waking moment of the day.  I had Facebook to share photos and other things with real friends, not the seemingly endless names and faces of people I will never know.
So, it is gone. It took me a week to totally remove all the content.  I removed timeline postings and photos and the next day some of them were back.  I restricted everything, defriended all the contacts and still received what should have been restricted content.  In short, you can remove it, you can close the account, but anything you have ever posted or had posted on your account is out there in internet land and you can never really remove it.

Thursday, December 21, 2017


     Today is the Winter Solstice – shortest day, longest night.  The traditional “beginning” of Winter.  It is also the Pagan Winter Celebration. Every Pagan group has its own traditional celebration, from bonfires to Yule logs.  My personal traditional is simple.  I put a candle in a window at sunset, and leave it burning for a few hours.  One candle burning in the darkness can be seen for miles.  One light shinning in the darkness can bring hope of warmth, protection from the cold, and in a symbolic sense, enlightenment from the dark aspects of our lives. May the light of this Solstice bring you peace, hope, good health and courage to face the dark.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Pale Blue Dot

     On Christmas Eve 1968, the astronauts of Apollo 8 transmitted holiday message to Earth. They were the first humans to fly to the moon, and they were the first humans to see Earth from a distance. They took this photo and our view of ourselves and our home changed forever. There is no way to express to the younger generations the full impact of seeing ourselves for the first time. They have grown up with this image - for us it was beyond expression, and for me it still is. This little "pale blue dot" as the late Carl Sagan called it is a tiny little planet in an unremarkable solar system in one arm of a somewhat average galaxy in a Universe that is so vast that we cannot even conceptualize it. Compared to the All, we are less than a speck of dust. But this little blue planet is our home. In a season that is supposed to be a time of Peace yet is so often far from that, let us remember that all of us, and all of our ancestors, belong to this little Blue Dot.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

December 7

     As I was posting the previous post I realized that today is one of the most important in the history of the U. S. of  A., the day that the United States was bombed by a foreign power, when thousands died or were wounded, when numerous ships were sunk and when we as a nation were propelled into World War II.  "A date which will live infamy" said President Roosevelt as he addressed the nation by radio.  Like most of us today, I was not born yet.
     But I do honor the many who died on that day and I respect this memorial day for what it means for me and for all of us.  I came to respect this day in 1991, 50 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when I visited the USS Arizona Memorial.  If you have not been there, and if you ever visit Honolulu, be sure to take the time to visit our most sacred memorial
     The Arizona Memorial is simple and profound.  A U. S. Navy vessel ferries visitors from land to the site of the all white structure which sits over the remains of the ship.  When you enter you see the bell, sitting alone at one side of the entrance.  Then you enter the middle portion which is open on both sides and in the middle - you can see the ship easily.  And then the last section and the wall of names of the Navy and Marine men who died, and who are still there, in that ship, just beneath the level of the water.  The memorial is, imho, the most honorable of all the memorials we, as a nation, have for the many who have died for this nation.
     The many who have died in all the wars that came after, whether declared or not - and I include everyone who died on or as a result of the attacks on September 11, 2001 - gave us the freedoms that we exercise to this day.  None are more honored, or well remembered, than the men who lie in the ruin of the U. S. S. Arizona.

When Is Art Art??

     Yesterday I wrote a post about a baker who is being sued by two gay men for discrimination, and who is claiming "artistic expression" and his rights as an AR-TEEST.  This case brought up something that I have been mulling over in my mind for some time.  What is the dividing line between art and craft?
     I ask this because in my experience there are a lot of folk out there who are talented, who have a good eye, a good sense of design and color, who can craft things like Christmas Tree ornaments and decorative items for the home and stained glass lamps and can knit and crochet lovely warm items for Winter and can make jewelry of various types.  But is all of this art?
     For me art is many things: painting, sculpture, architecture, music, great writing, etc.  But is a cake or a bracelet or a sweater art?  I don't think so.  Of course art is in the eye, ear, mind of the beholder most of the time and that line between great art and so so art is often blurry.  But when I think of an artist I think of someone who has a unique vision or style or a gift that cannot be matched or someone who can express that vision in a way that stands out from the crowd.  Many people can draw, not many are DaVinci.  Bad example probably since he was a genius.
     I have a friend who enjoys doing crafts - such as the aforementioned Christmas ornaments.  She has a good eye for color and composition, she is very sharp on what looks pretty or cute or funny.  She is skilled at making all sorts of interesting items.  But she is not an artist as such and does not consider herself to be one. She is an artistic crafts woman.  Period. 
     Years ago I knew someone who was good a soldering colored pieces of glass to make stained glass lamps.  They were colorful and good, being that they were made by someone not trained in the craft.  But the soldering was often uneven and the designs were basic puzzle pieces that fit ok.  Nice as a craft but not art.  Yet, this person claimed to be an artist and would not work as the artistic vision was explored.  This person had a reason to claim art that had nothing to do with art but more with not wanting to find and keep a job. 
     Recently I was looking for a pendant to wear on special occasions and found a web site that sells silver and gold pendants of various sizes and designs.  The crafts persons claimed copyright on some of their designs and yet every one of their designs looked familiar.  Simply stated, go to Google and put "Celtic" or "Viking" in the search for photos or art and see what comes up.  Can a crafts person copyright a design that is all over the internet?  In my humble, if you "borrow" the design no matter how good your craft is, you are not the artist of that design.
     In the age of everything about everything that is true or false or fake and all over the bloody internet calling oneself an artist leaves one open for serious criticism and, on occasion, ridicule.  Like that baker there are many out there who want us to believe their personal fantasies. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


     No, not the Russian investigation or the Russian thing or whatever.  Just me and my blog.  For the past few weeks there have been no Russians looking at my blog.  I am very happy about this for reason I've noted in earlier posts.
     I did have a spammer - that person seems to be gone also.  But something odd did occur just after I booted that one off my blog.  One day I noticed two new "followers."  I did not recognize the names, so not friends or enemies or people I might know.  Odd thing, no photos.  No info at all.  Hummmm, I thought to myself.  I thought that Google and Blogger requires some kind of info if you have an account and want to post on a blog.  Guess I was wrong.  I delete these of course.
     So now few are looking at my blog, which is the way it was in the past.  Not that I don't want anyone looking, I just don't want spammers and scammers and the Russians.  I don't want the NSA either but that one I have to accept.

The Baker vs The Gay Couple

     I am very glad that I do not have to make a decision on the case before the Supreme Court of the U. S. of A. that pits a man who makes cakes against a gay couple who wanted to buy one of those cakes.  Just looking at the arguments made by both parties has my head spinning.  Actually, that is not totally accurate.  The gay men were insulted, offended, upset and believe that this baker, who admits that he would not sell them a cake because they are gay, discriminated against them.  The courts in Colorado agreed.  After all, the baker did admit that he would not sell to them because they are gay.
     But then something else came up.  Not the bakers religious prejudices, beliefs, call them what you will, but his ARTISTIC FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.  Really?  OK, lets look at this just a minute, shall we?  This man openly admits that he has a problem with gays marrying.  He says his religion dictates that he cannot sell them a cake because of religion.  But this case is not discrimination because his cakes are works of art.  Really? 
     Did the gay men want him to put something on the cake that said "two gay men marry" or "the wedding of man 1 and man 2???  Or the Rainbow Flag maybe?  Not in any report that I have read.  So just how does selling a cake with some decoration that is not religious or about gays or anything except decoration infringe on his religious beliefs?  Boggles the mind this does.  But then, I have to admit that I know quite a few persons who do "crafts" of some kind who believe that they are artists.  I, do not.
     This man is a baker.  He makes cakes and cookies and whatever.  His designs on his baked goods are nice, pretty, whatever but they are not art.  How does he describe himself on his taxes?  As the sole owner of a pastry shop or an artistic studio?  Are all of his employees artists also?
     To be fair to this man, I do believe that any business, especially small businesses, should have the right to refuse service to anyone.  Used to be signs in store windows and restaurants - we reserve the right to refuse service.  And there are very good reasons for this.  Prejudice and religious bigotry are not good reasons.  That should be the real issue here.
     As for the two gay men - I am sorry they had to go through this type of discrimination at a time when they should have been celebrating joy with their friends and family.  There are comments all over the web stating that they should have just gone to another bakery which I assume they did.  That they chose to fight this is their right.
    But with respect to all of them, what is the real question here?