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Patient Zero September 16, 2017

Posted by voolavex in Social Issues, Social Media.
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“The thing I really care about is the mission, making the world open.” Mark Zuckerberg. Wired 2010.

Thus spake Zuckerberg.  And with a certain amount of youthful naiveté, he and his colleagues unleashed upon this planet something so alluring, so fascinating, so innocent that not a soul could have imagined, as did J. Robert Oppenheimer, post A-Bomb, that they had become death.

Does that sound harsh?  I don’t believe it began harshly.  Zuckerberg is a genius and has a good heart by and large – not bad attributes to possess. And because he seems to also possesses a healthier moral compass than many of his generation, I am trying to envision how he could have envisioned Facebook as anything but an asset to the world and a force for openness and harmony for the planet Earth. And I wonder if he still believes this or has suddenly realized, as the mushroom cloud of social media blotted out the sun, that he had weaponized  the world at the same time. Facebook has placed that little angel on one shoulder and that little devil on the other.  Both are multi-lingual and each ones single job is to persuade.  I think I would be harsh to characterize “social media” as a pathogen, yet it begs for this descriptor too.  Some folks catch it and others seem immune.

On this very day,  this man and his creation are being named as the villain in the Russian US 2016 election debacle.  What if it had been MySpace or another social media site?  I suspect Zuckerberg did not stop to think about the balance of good and bad on this lonely plane; anymore than Bell did when he got a dial tone.  Or a HAM Radio Operator when he first smelled the bacon.    Yet, because, as a species, we have been created with very bellicose instincts  and lots of greed, it might have been examined.  And those clubs that cavemen wielded were not for show.  And dragging women by the hair is a gender based tradition. We wage war constantly. We do not wage peace.  Religion short-cons the species to hope for peace – but it has never actually said we would get it.  But we got war; maiming, murdering, torturing, raping and pillaging.   Nobody human ever wanted to buy the world a Coke. Still, I don’t think Zuckerberg realized that the monster he had created would metastasize like those brooms and buckets in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Or the Spanish Flu. Or AIDS.

So now we have a very small whirling planet, beaten and pimped by anyone who can figure a way to get more from their own “brand”. ( FYI – a brand is a hot iron poker that burns an ID on the skin of animals (and people). You can have your logo tattooed  onto your own skin. In my mind they are very similar). Does anyone truly imagine Mark foreseeing this?  Do you think he created an algorithm for this?   Of course not.  Even J. Robert could see what he had unleashed.  I truly do not believe this was on Mark’s mind.

It’s far cry from the “Harvard Face Book” to the lethal air it has become. The air that is pumped into our lives every single second. But it is an entity of many minds and voices.  A hydra. Or even simpler, swamp scum.  We  now know about too much and now we know about too little and there is no fix either way.  Don’t blame Mark Zuckerberg.  Do not shoot the messenger.  He did not invent us.  He did not program us;  we each relied on our basest and best instincts – as we saw fit – and stirred the pot.  If anything Mark is Patient Zero. His simple idea created the plague that has engulfed the planet. But remember this.  Just like Marie Curie for example, he did not create immunity for himself and I rather think he must realize it by now.  As much as I reject the idea of “changing the course of history” his  creation has raised questions for me.

Consider an old saw, but absolutely true today.  Once the genie is out of the bottle – he truly cannot be put back.

 

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Strushie the Cat – Why It Matters July 31, 2017

Posted by voolavex in despicable, freedom, Pets, Social Issues.
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On April 26, 2017 –  Strushie the cat – a fixture at the Franklin Hotel in South Beach, Miami, Florida was killed intentionally by an employee.  There is not term for this crime. I suspect the reason is because under various circumstance animals can be killed for reasons  for which we arrest humans who kill humans.   It is however a felony. I would say generally if an annoying animal makes their home on your property and you object – calling animal control would seem the best choice.   Strushie and his several alleycat mates had been living in the Florida sunshine and being fed on the premises for years.  Strushie often sat in the lobby and was welcomed by staff and tourists alike.He was well liked and gentle.

The Franklin – touted as one of Miami’s South Beach landmarks of the Art Deco period was recently sold.  The cats went along in the deal.  The people still fed them and smiled at them and liked them.  Just an added perk to this small, boutique hotel with security ; cameras and lights and location in a sweet South Beach spot. I wonder how business is under the new ownership?

I wonder more though, why Strushie was singled out; and he was.  An aggressive employee decided – perhaps on his own – or perhaps at the behest of the new owners that Strushie was annoying.  I have heard conflicting reports.  But on or about April 26, 2017 Strushie was stalked by determined  man armed with small crossbow, who cornered him and shot two arrows through his head. The injuries did not kill Strushie who ran away and was discovered, rushed to vet and died despite valiant efforts to save his life. He was shot with malice aforethought with a very lethal weapon at close-range then hidden in a room  the killer appeared to occupy in the Franklin.  Did I mention his name?  Georgios Lollias –  one of the Franklin’s valued staff.

The crime was covered up with denials from the Franklin’s owner and excuses that the cameras were down that day and no one saw anything.   Strushie, ironically,  got the Kitty Genovese treatment.  But animal lovers are a very devoted lot.  Very devoted.  And one such person started a Care2.org  petition to get justice for Strushie online And she did.  Pressure from the public, animal groups, outraged citizens and foreigners made such a hue and cry (and in these days of social media – hueing and crying has become a daily devotion) that investigators from local law enforcement and the City of Miami  began to seek the monster who committed this crime.  And the U.S.Secret Service entered the fray because it wanted to retrieve the data from the cameras not working that day.  The crime had been captured in full color and in graphic detail.  An arrest followed.  A hearing date is being set in August.  Two months from the killing Strushie the Cat Day in Miami was officially declared in Miami on July 26, 2017.

WHY DOES THIS MATTER? Because we are learning and observing the basest side of the Mr. or Mrs. Average American citizen – what they can do  and even better, it becomes  a guide to  show how them they can do it.  I suspect Strushies occur every single day in this country alone.  And with the Internet, the Fount of all Knowledge (and free to all) you have all the secrets  Including animal cruelty.  Or how to build a bomb or sarin gas and of course how to make cute stuff with bleach bottles. Google it.  Strushie was not hit by a car or disease ridden.  He was part of a community that valued him enough to let him live his life unfettered.  Why does this matter?  Because we are all entitled to live without fear of monsters and hit men and danger and the chance to enrich our own communities.  Yet if the killing of a defenseless and harmless cat is done so easily and then covered up – the next kill or injustice or atrocity just becomes easier and  more justifiable.  This is a lesson.   This is why we should not have to fight to enjoy or cringe for any reason, color, faith, age or fur.  It creates a domino effect.  We are seeing now.  

 We are all Strushies. We matter.  I think this is something we all MUST remember.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senior? Elder? AARP? Me? June 4, 2017

Posted by voolavex in common sense, marriage, Random thoughts, Social Issues.
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I grew up in the Baby Boomer years that began in 1945/46, I went through the usual “phases” that parents like to excuse or accuse their children of entering and leaving.  I never lived anywhere long enough to actually develop phases that are memorable now.  Food oddities that came and went and too many schools and angst and I suspect it was basically just getting to being “of age” and then it simply moved forward from there.  Once I achieved “of age”, I didn’t give it much thought until recently.  Now I realize that I never got the directions on how to be “a certain age” nor the final pamphlet that covered “age”.  I am neither crochety nor am I enfeebled.  My hair is a good combination of white and mostly dark brown, I am tall and still at a fine weight for my frame.  No tweaks,  no shots, no lifts – living in the heart of Hollywood can put a smart and still looking good person in morbid fear of the “better face”.  It is not better and here you see the sad results of just why it’s not really great idea. I do have crepey skin.  Lack of exercise, DNA or too many parties of yore.  Leggings, tights and long sleeves  are all useful for this condition.  I suspect I am getting a bit of arthritis – and it runs in both sides of family and I waited for years to join the clan.  A few twinges but nothing that makes me groan or complain.  When asked about my age I am usually thrilled with the reaction, as much as I  am startled myself when I think about it.  I have two adult children and several important friends.

I was raised as a little kid by the “aunts” and my grandmother.  When I sat down recently and realized how old they were when I was born,  these role models may have brought me to where I am right now.  These were old ladies.  Two widows and a “maiden” aunt.  And their embrace of being elderly was  epic.  Steel gray hair, blue rinsed hair and touched up hair.  Housedresses – the real deal.   Corsets.  Salmony pink lace-up, hook- up and lift-up boned custom made corsets.  And yes I knew how to lace them from any early age.  Huge undies, garters, hair nets – from the dime store to contain their always permed hair.  Always.  My grandmother was the youngest of the three and she was a tad more casual but it was not a visible tad for me. Two of them wore a little lipstick and a bit of rouge – but only on occasions.  One never did.  Stocking – one wore lisle and the other two wore daytime deniers (January was when they bought them) and each one had a secret place to hide their break luck money.  The most memorable was the”budge” neatly folded bills tucked  between ample bosoms and the bank, a garter pouch of fine suede where the real money was carried.  The other two had change purses or wallets.  And they all lived to old age – two past 95.

I realized early on what I had no intention of becoming.  I might have become many things but an old lady was not one of them.  So as I sit and realize that I do in fact qualify for that term, I have no idea what I am supposed to be.  Not a clue.  I curse like a sailor, pass comment on everyone and everything, speak my mind (that can be excruciating too) and still want to know more and more about more and more.

I am vain.  I improve the landscape with cosmetics and despair of my difficult hair – but I hate to go to the hairdresser.   I wear what I have always worn – and it still keeps me au courant  style no matter what the courant of the moment is. I cannot wear stilettos. It breaks my heart. And because I am not a French woman I fail at scarves.  I must have 100+.  Lots of good jewelry I seldom wear – but no bling.  Shoes and bags need to be leather, fabric has to be grown fiber and I realize it hasn’t ever been otherwise.

So here I am, entering a phase; dazed and annoyed at things like AARP. Especially AARP.  I hate AARP.  I hate their condescending advice and presumptuous codified ads that scream “YOU ARE OLD”.  We have a wildly unruly source of information now called the Internet – so I do know how to find glasses and Depends and ear trumpets and  canes and I’ve fallen buttons. I also have a full-time husband. I hate senior communities.  I hate oldster casino trips.  Dances for the Decrepit. (or Senior Mixers as they call them or did). I do like Bingo – but not enough to seek it out.

I suspect because I have no grandchildren I can still buy myself toys and play alone.  I can frolic as others have babies and grand babies and buy memorable gifts and get photos in return.  Is it the life I imagined for myself?  The one where I didn’t get old and feeble.  Not really, but since I have no idea how to prepare for it (just as I didn’t know how to prepare for marriage, pregnancy, toothaches or nearsightedness).  I suspect I will figure it out.  But not today.

 

 

Just One Day and So Many Fools April 1, 2014

Posted by voolavex in Social Issues.
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March went out with a short squirt.  April 1st is chilly.

I imagine most cogent people have some sort of love/hate relationship with the Internet.  I do. In our 15 year romance we have spent far too much time together.  I have found and met many people I would like to know better.  I have shopped online and thus no longer cruise the shops in general (sort of sad too).  I play far too much Angry Birds. But the downside is the information and lies I find everyday.  And I have figured out that it is possible to know too much about everything because everything known is not always knowledge. (Bet you wish you had used that one Rummy).  

Having been a Luddite spin doctor in the 80’s I know the value of the media and I also know how it is manipulated and used to make or break almost anything.  Put another way – the Internet has turned this  mechanical spinning into an acid trip.   We can eliminate the word “discovery” from our reality (assuming this is one) because there is nothing unknown under the sun or if there is you will know it in a second.  If this were coming from people with any sense of proportion or vestigial dignity – it might be okay – but it is a tabloid covered world.  And we are all susceptible to it.  If you say you are not you are probably deluding yourself.  Be careful – someone with take a picture of you in this state of mind and upload it somewhere and your dilemma will soon be the object of worldwide ridicule.  Viral.

Full disclosure:  I watch TV and I like TV.  I am torn between really enjoying the dramas I like but then wondering if they are actually training films for a specific audience.  I know I will not be quite as squeamish about autopsies. “Victim or perpetrator – it seems we are being watched.”  This does not come as a shock to me but I wonder why it comes as one to so many others.  As a species we are not a very nice lot.  The Internet is a dream come true. We covet and envy and want what is usually not easily available to us.  Technology, countries, oil, money in large amounts, sex.  As the ability to “spy” gets better and better and easier and easier – we have embraced spying with a vengeance.  But, in the words of Tom Lehrer – “always be sure to call it research”.  

Do the terms beta version, beta testing, focus group slink by you so often you no longer pay attention?  Not a good idea.  We are being made part of a global family of guinea pigs.  Every time a bank or  grocer or credit card gets a swipe from your “rewards” card – believe me they first reward themselves.   None of this comes to me as a shock.  Occam’s Razor – usually the simplest answer is the right one.  If any of those aforementioned places really wanted to reward us they would give better interest rates, sell goods at much better prices and dispense with the little plastic cards.  Businesses, the governments of the world, religions, arms dealers and even nice folks are finding out things about you that you thought were secrets locked in your own head.  Wrong.  We can fight it or yield to it but we have become so delighted to have these little perks that they will continue.  We will no longer be as surprised as we once were and we will soon eliminate naiveté from the world.  It still exists so enjoy it while you can. There is a preciousness to it – it’s in the eyes of a newborn creature but it doesn’t last very long.  In a not too distant future it will vanish and as we look back and try to regain the feeling it gave us – we will realize that for the last 15 years or so – everyday has been April Fool’s Day.