facebook is dead.  Yep, you heard it here first.  facebook is so uncool.  It’s your grandma’s social network.  facebook is trading recipes and gifs of Grumpy Cat.  How cool is that?  Cool as a Harley, right?  You have to get out of your walker or wheelchair to get on one and then ride to a KISS concert.  Maybe your live-in nurse can get you on it.  facebook is the conversion van of social networks, complete with handicapped plates.


The Essence of Cool

I’m not sure where all the cool people went.  It wasn’t back to MySpace.  SoundCloud seems pretty upscale.  Maybe Pinterest.  Probably tumblr.


twitter seems to have hung in there.  I think all the cool people went over there.  So if you want to be cool get on over to twitter where the 4 billion cool people are.  Be on the cutting edge and tweet your every fart.  You know that hash-tag thing we used to call a pound sign.  That’s where it’s at.  This year’s model, anyway.





It seems I’ve been shunned, cast into the dust bin of the blogoshphere.  This isn’t to be unexpected.  Great minds have always been unrecognized in their lifetimes and the fact that I warn you, the 50% that are below average, off the most important and mind expanding posts, for your own good I might add, just makes it harder to be heard and appreciated.

Maybe it is because so many of you have taken my advice and devoted your life to not caring about anything, always expecting the worst, and a D minus effort.  Maybe your spouse is pushing cheeseburgers under your locked bedroom door as you watch endless reruns of NCIS from your 11 season BluRay DVD collection.  Perhaps you’ve discarded your cell phone and landline and your internet connection to take yourself off the grid so the NSA cannot peep on your miserable little life.  You’ve given up that daily torture ritual you called fitness and sold your Nautilus machine and stationary bike and canceled your gym membership.  This means you’ve taken my advice to heart.  Maybe I should be glad I get so few hits and that your apathy is a testament to my persuasiveness.

I should have expected this; taken my own advice and expected the worst (for me personally).  At least you have lightened my load and I can quit doing all the heavy lifting here as you tell the friends that wonder what happened to you, why they never see you, about your new, better, lifestyle.  Perhaps this whole thing has gone viral but in a non-digital way, by old fashioned word of mouth.

I feel better now knowing that you have ceased to care that the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges never work or that another government shutdown is looming in a few months, or that the Philippines are under water .  This means I’ve done my job making your life just a little better and that in turn makes my life just a little better as well.

Keep up the D minus effort and we’ll all make it to the grave just a little bit less stressed out.


I’m Here For You


A lot of people blog because they have a big ego and think tens of thousands of people out there are going to hang on their every word.  They want people to nod their heads for every opinion they write about.  They want comments about how brilliant and how oh so right they are.  They think everyone wants to look into their private psychoses and their dreary website and affirm their useless digital scribblings.  It’s all about me, me, me…

I-love-youWell this blog is different, it’s all about you, you, you.  I’m here for you.  I’ve got your back.  What other blogger warns you off some posts while putting others out there that you know will improve your life?  Don’t some posts seem to have been written just for you personally?  Huh?  Do you think I’d sit here punching this keyboard if I didn’t feel an urgent social responsibility?  I’ve got tons of episodes of NCIS on the DVR and I could be parking my lazy ass on the divan and enjoying the best TV program ever made.  But no, I’m here trying to improve your miserable life, a complete stranger.  That’s how big I am; a giving person, a servant.


Where You’ll End Up

Oh sure I have to use tough love sometimes and point out the deficiencies in you and your world but you know it’s for your own good.  I don’t like doing it but somebody has to or you are going to end up on the trash heap of humanity.  I worry about you all the time, especially the 50% of you that are below average.  I stay up late trying to think of something that is going to stick in your little pea brain, that can pull you up from the desperate and hopeless state you are currently in.


Fairies and Rainbows

I try to temper these intense self-improvement posts with other posts of whimsy and carefree fun that will brighten your otherwise dreary day.  I add the occasional important current event because I know you haven’t touched a newspaper in years and when you did all you cared about was what the Kardashians were doing.  See these are all for your own good too.  I spend a lot of time each and every day thinking about how to get through to you and improve your life just a little.  I put all my needs aside to serve you, dear reader.


I’m Here for You!

Well I just wanted you to know that when the chips are down, like they always are for you, you can count on me.  I wanted you to know I’m making more than a D minus effort for you.  Whatever disaster comes into your world I’ll be putting all my resources into how best to deal with it and keep you from circling the drain.  Think of me as the FEMA of bloggers, but in a better way that actually arrives in time and helps the afflicted.

Remember I’m here if you need me and I’m ready to make time for you day or night.  Oh, and like I’ve told you before, lowered expectations are the key to a less than miserable life so just expect the worst and everything will be all right.



The Great Amazon Swindle prepackaged for your pleasure. Admittedly only presents one side of the story of how multinational corporations stifle and eliminate dissenting voices. Written as a poke in the eye, daring badreads or Amazon to delete it; the desperate voices of literary freedom that cried out when a corporation chose to turn a thriving social network into a mere catalog.

One negative is that this collection of dissenting voices doesn’t do enough to identify the remoras that are so eager to neck-suck Jeff Bezos and the ultimate flim-flam man Otis Chandler. We want to know who besides the coddled goodreads authors are laughing all the way to the bank.


On your marks, get set, (fill in the blank)

I joined GoodReads a couple of years ago and toyed with some other runner and fitness social networks and the whole thing got me started on thinking about the entire topic of ego-driven social networks and the strange range of behaviors they elicit from various people. I should have known from my experience in amateur radio that ego-driven social networks were going to let me down.

In 1994 I became a licensed amateur radio operator. I had always had an interest in listening to exotic broadcasts via shortwave or am radio (most of this is gone with the internet now), but I thought it might be fun to be able to actually talk on the radio, so to make a long story short I did all the things necessary and was issued an amateur radio license by the FCC in the good ol’ USA. Now I could get On The Air as they say. I wanted to talk to people all over the world about all sorts of interesting things. I was soon disabused of this fancy. All amateur radio operators wanted to talk about was their radio, or setup as it were, and how many different places they had briefly contacted. That was it. Most people just wanted to “log” me as a contact after a brief howdy-do and move on. Nobody wanted to talk about the historical aspects of Russian literature or even what the country they were in was like. Nothing. Nada. Dead boring. In my whole time when I was “active,” and this spanned years, I only had two interesting conversations and these were with missionaries in South America. Dudes that were way out in the real jungle. Joseph Conrad stuff. Cool. Needless to say I lost interest although I do renew my license every decade and could still rig up a set with a car battery and an antenna in an emergency.

So a few years later here comes the internet. Social networks. Cool places where people from all over the world could talk about stuff and really have a global society and a global conversation. Scratch that. All people wanted to talk about was recipes or how their dog just did something funny or they just got porked by their boyfriend. No Russian Literature, no sharing of the music of my country. Grandkids! Nothing interesting or mind expanding. Nada. Zilch.

Needless to say I “lost interest.” I still like seeing my nieces and nephews and how cute your cat is and how religious fanatics in Claptrap, Texas are persecuting United Way volunteers, really, but that only goes so far, and not very.

Now here comes ego-driven social networks, first mostly around fitness and running and other destructive compulsive behaviors like that. But a few start cropping up around music and video games and wow, books! Now finally I have found it, what I’m looking for, somebody who wants to converse globally about the historical development of Russian literature, and so forth: GoodReads. I put my modest reading accomplishments into the system in a flurry. I have up till now mostly kept track of this to avoid reading something twice (life is too short). I never cared about how many pages I read or how many books in a year. Sometimes I like to live more than I do read. I joined Groups I was interested in, got Friends with similar interests (from looking at their books), read the books my “Groups” were reading. Tried to start some conversations about say “the transcendent in Stephen King.” Guess what. Nada. Zilch. Almost nothing. So what did I find? The same thing I saw on Facebook: recipes, games, jokes, lists, nonsense, everything except a serious conversation about what was in a book. Even in Groups that were supposed to have topics I was exposed to things like “The Family Feud” game. Don’t you have anything better to do, like maybe read?

After a few months I figured out what the primary driver of these networks was: how many damn x’s you could do in y. In GR’s case essentially how fast you read. In my case, how much of my dreary life I devoted to reading. 85% of the population on GR only lists and rates their books. That’s it. Something you could accomplish on a spreadsheet. Few ever review anything. Fewer ever give input to any meaningful book discussion. This didn’t make reading more fun or interesting, now it seemed like a task. For the first six months I did learn a lot because I had fallen out of keeping up with my favorite genres and subjects, but after this time I had most of the primary sources locked into my search that I rarely used GR to find anything. I never read reviews before reading a book I know I want to read. I rarely look at one after I read a book. Think about it, why would you? Occasionally you can find someone who is seriously interested in a book but most of the in-depth reviewers are more interested in garnering their own shabby little accolades and not conveying any useful information. I do look at ratings sometimes but ratings are so manipulated and my tastes run so counter to the mainstream that I don’t trust the average GR rater especially if they don’t write a review.

In the end the ego-driven social network like GoodReads appeals to the compulsive introvert. Geeks you might say. People who think it is meaningful or something to be proud of when they simply finish a book. Compulsive list makers who measure their accomplishments in how long the list is or how many things they can tick off of it. This leads to the underlying problem: introverts are not going to open up with their feelings or ideas because they take any disagreement as a personal attack; even on a social network where you don’t have to look ’em in the eye. Hence, few reviews. Introverts lack the self-confidence to engage in conflict, even intellectual ones, and stating an opinion is opening a door to vulnerability.

So I only look at GR once a day maybe or more if I’m stuck in a queue. I do try to write reviews which as you can tell from this blog aren’t the most well written or insightful but I figure if I take the time to log a book I at least can dash off a 5-minute review.