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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Stupid People And Social Media

Oops Word on Big Red Button Correct MistakeWatch out because today I’m going to rant! Sometimes I get so frustrated I can’t see straight. What in the world is wrong with people? How is it that some people are so gullible, ignorant, or so full of hate that they can possibly believe anything and everything they hear?

Before I offend anyone, if you honestly believe any of the examples I mention here… PLEASE. Don’t take my word for it. Do some research and make an informed decision on your own.

That brings me to my first point: Do you know that some people don’t know how to find answers to questions? Is there anyone out there brave enough to say they have never heard of Google, Yahoo, or even the library? Word of Mouth is great for conversation starters but a terrible way to get factual information.

Judge Judith Sheindlin (Judge Judy) says, “If it doesn’t make sense, then it’s not true.” So if something doesn’t make sense– LOOK IT UP! Don’t be afraid to question everything.

I’m not not going to tell you where to find your answers, for fear of being accused of pushing my own agenda. I will give you suggestions that might help you sort out the truth from fiction yourself.  Always, always verify through research with multiple sources. If you can’t find enough information, then by all means, be skeptical.

My second point: I do hope everyone understands the difference between Social Media and what is factual news. I realize the lines are being increasingly blurred– which is just one more reason you shouldn’t believe everything you hear or see.

The purpose of Social Media is to engage or inform others through digital and web-based methods of social interaction. The definition continues to develop as technology evolves.  Basically, it is a way to communicate up-to-the-minute activities, ideas and opinions and interact with others about those topics. It is sharing content between users.

Without interaction, social media does not exist. Sharing, commenting, responding, agreeing or disagreeing– are all important to the social media experience. It’s also a way for people to express themselves directly, without necessarily being an authority on a subject. Opinions are not facts. An interpretation is not a fact. Again, this is why I suggest researching anything important or questionable because there are many, many people sharing their opinions and interpretations out there– that doesn’t make them true.

Right-Wing, Left-Wing, Broken-Wing: They just don’t get it. If you get the majority of your “news” from Hannity or Rachael Maddow you are being ignorant. There. I said it. They are talk shows not news programs! There may be facts or current events discussed where there is some factual content; but for the most part, you are being fed opinions and speculations based on their biased agendas.

bringback#Bring Back Our Girls: one of the current idiotic discussions is criticizing Michelle Obama’s #Bring Back Our Girls tweet. It’s a perfect example of how people have no comprehension of what social media is and is not. Obama was voicing her support for the global campaign to draw attention to the 300 Nigerian girls that were kidnapped from their school and are being held hostage, with the promise to sell them into slavery. It is an awareness campaign intended to build support for action in this crisis. This type of action is being referred to as hashtag activism.

Critics are lambasting Obama, saying her tweet and Facebook post was outrageous, pointless, and embarrassing. One critic last night said that it was okay for celebrities to use hashtag activism because they are trying to get the government to act– but NOT okay for Michelle Obama, because she is the government. No one, including Obama, believes the kidnappers will see the posts and let the girls go free. That suggestion is ridiculous. The posts are part of a campaign to build support and awareness of the situation. Common sense should tell you that government action or intervention is best accepted when there is a majority of public support. In this case, the campaign is to engage, inform and build support for action, not an expectation that the campaign, itself, will put an end to the hostage situation.

To carry the idiotic behavior to new levels. Some critics have created their own disrespectful and offensive campaigns in response, such as: #Bring Back Our Country and #Bring Back Our Balls.

true-falseHealthcare: Among the many stupid, ignorance comments I’ve heard regarding the Affordable Care Act, I think I’ve finally heard the most ridiculous of all. Some people actually believe that when you sign up for healthcare (insurance) through the ACA, you get an “Obamacare card”. They believe if you get an “Obamacare card”  doctors, hospitals and pharmacies can refuse it because they don’t want to accept it.

How can anyone believe this? Is it because of misinformation or just pure hate for the ACA and the current administration? I’m not going to say that I agree that people should be forced to purchase healthcare insurance but I do believe insurance should be affordable and available to everyone that wants it.

All Chemicals are Bad: Have you heard people say, “I won’t eat anything that was treated with chemicals. I don’t care if they say it is safe, all chemicals are bad.”

All chemicals are bad? Really? All foods are chemical. Medicines– chemical. Water– chemical. Air– chemical. Our bodies are chemical compositions.

It’s important to remember that many chemicals that are vital to life are actually deadly in high doses. Many of the chemicals that are quoted in the media as being additives to the food supply– to scare you, are already found naturally in untreated, organic foods and natural resources as well.

Does that mean that all chemicals are good and that we shouldn’t question their use? Of course not. But be informed. Don’t just accept every quack doctor’s comments about what you should be afraid of, or avoid, when all they are really trying to do is push their latest book, product or agenda.

Diet soda makes you fat and the chemicals in it will kill you in the process: It must be true because it’s been said for years, right. Doctors say it and there are many articles that say it. So it’s true. No, not necessarily. If you really research the subject, you’ll see that there have been no studied direct links to chemicals such as aspartame, to serious illness or fatality. That doesn’t mean it’s harmless either.

“But I just read…” Read it again. Articles may say “studies show… ” or “a doctor at this or that school (or lab) says…” but then they don’t provide links so that you can read the study or research it yourself. (But make sure you buy their book!) One article I read recently claiming proof from a University study… did provide a link. It lends authenticity, right? Except, when you clicked on the link… it took you to Google Maps NOT a study. Most of us won’t even bother clicking on the link but would accept the statement because it appeared more information was provided.

When a doctor says, “Studies suggest…” you first questions should be: what kind of study, who and where was the study performed and who funded it? Was the study even scientific? Often, these results are quoted from unscientific polls or questionnaires. How someone feels, especially outside of a controlled environment, is not scientific proof of fact. What were the other factors that could have caused these feelings? You won’t know because it wasn’t a controlled, scientific study.

The fat issue really makes me boil. People that take their news from the headlines and don’t even bother to read below the by line are easily convinced: diet soda makes you fat. No, the actual comments doctors have made are that they fear and are concerned that diet drinks and foods give people a false sense that they can eat as much as they want… because it is a diet product; and that doing so will not affect their weight negatively.


5-Mistakes-to-avoid-in-Social-MediaAfter I started writing this, I started to feel guilty for picking on people for their ignorance. Ignorance that I don’t fully understand but that I want to compassionately change. The phrase, You can’t believe everything you hear, takes on a heightened importance in this age of the internet and technology where anyone, anywhere can publish their thoughts. Human nature makes us want to believe what we read and that everyone else is honest and above board, even though we know deep down it’s not true. Everyone has an agenda or spin.

You can’t trust news reporting anymore because they don’t thoroughly research like they used to– before releasing their findings. Anything that might boost ratings or garner an audience is considered news worthy. Whenever you see an expert trotted out on display, like at a dog and pony show– and the first question asked is, “What do you think…..” Beware. Any response from an “expert” that starts with, “I believe….”, “This suggests….” I think that…” WARNING! They are only giving an opinion. These are not factual statements, don’t accept them as truth.

Do I think people are intentionally stupid? No, I don’t. I do believe that there are many people that are so biased, for or against topics, that they willing believe anything they hear that support their own position. What’s really troubling is that some people take sides due to some affiliation or belief that may not even be directly related.

I could go on and on with more examples but I think I’ll stop here.

If social media works— then hopefully the people engaged in this misinformation, will eventually get the right information. It only works if people actively seek the truth.

First, Last and Everything In Between

I took advantage of the weather early this past week and began the arduous task of prepping the flower beds and started mulching around the trees and shrubs. This is something I really love doing, even though it takes a lot of time and effort to do it all.

I couldn’t help but think of the Frances Hodgson Burnett children’s book, The Secret Garden, which is one of my all-time favorite stories. Particularly, when Mary discovers the hidden garden and begins clearing away the brush and leaves allowing the tiny buds of spring to catch their first glimpses of sunshine. In the story, the garden symbolizes healing and rebirth. Often, when I’m doing this, I’ll find the song, A Bit of Earth (from the musical version of the book) playing over and over in my head.

I’d had cleared a good-sized area, pulled out hundreds of maple tree seedlings and was spreading mulch as Cash came sauntering over to me, sniffing around the damp soil and butting into my space. He got right in my face, grabbing my attention and looking in my eyes, he snorted and started licking my face. When he was done, I gave him a couple quick pats and rubbed his coat. Then he was off, settling nearby in a warm spot, enjoying the sun.

It was a moment.

be-happy1This wasn’t the first time this has happened. In fact, I can’t begin to count the number of times Cash or Roxie had done this over the years. No matter how often it happened, it has never ceased to touch my heart and make me smile. For that brief moment, it brings me back to reality from my daydreaming and we connect. Then off they’d go to explore.

Having lost Roxie a few months ago, these precious little moments are especially dear. I couldn’t help wondering as Cash wandered off the other day, would that be the last time? Sad? Yes. Morbid? Maybe. The point is that it was just one of those seemingly common occurrences that we don’t always appreciate or think about until they’re gone.

This started me thinking… of all the important events in our lives, we naturally tend to remember the firsts and lasts the most. First meeting, first kiss, first concert… graduating, closing night of a play or saying goodbye to someone special— What we really risk missing are all those special moments in between.

We are always in such a rush to get from Point A to Point B that we miss, or fail to appreciate, everything in between.

The in between is the journey. We experience so much in our travels and often learn so much—there can be many successes and failures along the way– it would be a shame to forget what got us to our destination.

We meet new people and sometimes instantly click. In other instances, friendships build over time. In either case, the in between becomes the history that can bind us together or eventually drive us apart.

I spent many years working with students in high school theatre, the goal, of course, is to put on a good production. Many students would prefer to skip right from audition to performance but it’s the rehearsal process that hopefully teaches them skills and develops their abilities to portray their characters convincingly. During rehearsals– the in between— Friendships and trust often develop along the way. The in between colors, not only the resulting performance but potentially the rest of their lives.

I’ve worked so much on the the technical end of productions, my in between was consumed with many hours building and painting scenery and sometimes unexpectedly, building some important friendships. You learn a lot about a person working with them side by side. There’s often a lot of laughter, stories and maybe a few tears mixed in with all those hours of hard work. In the long run, the by product of the experience can be more valuable than the impact of the performance itself. There are in between moments I remember now, quite vividly, for productions that are all but gone from my memory.

I’ve found, especially when I’m feeling stressed, how important a quiet moment of reflection can be. Stopping what you’re doing, taking a breath and taking a look around can be very cathartic. It is surprising how different everything can look in a simple, quiet moment. It’s often brought me a calming peace and sometimes a pure moment of clarity.

An unimportant, simple moment— in between— can suddenly seem like the most important moment of all.


I moved my computer out to the table on the front porch while I was writing this. Cash just came up on the porch after barking at a passing dog and his owner and has now settled down. He is laying with his head resting on his paws, eyes closed, on the welcome mat.

He’s sleeping now.

There’s a light breeze and birds are chirping noisily in the background. A relatively unimportant moment— but a moment that feels so precious and alive.

Don’t miss those moments. Those moments in between.

Embrace them, cherish them… and don’t let the rush to Point B blind you to what is really important…

This moment.