Now twitter is doing it.

As if the mother Zucker wasn’t bad enough with obvious societal conditioning techniques built into his flakebook algorithm, now twitter is showing its hand. They too have had their user privacy issues, but twitter was always a place where you didn’t feel as controlled and manipulated. You could reach out to people the world over, and if you added them to a list, you could see everything they posted. If they were not English speaking, you could click the translate button to see what was on the minds of people in Europe, Asia, the Middle East. . . to gain a more honest global perspective than what we are offered in American media.

That ended today!

Twitter has been ramming the “New Twitter” down our throats for a while, but we had the option to revert to “Legacy Twitter” which many users did. It wasn’t an option today, and the Translate Tweet function was gone in addition to some other user niceties.

‘We can’t have American minds being contaminated by other countries.’

They are closing up the box with us in it.

This final straw will hasten my departure from anti-social media. They just keep taking away all that was good about these platforms and replacing them with more ads and user data collection. I don’t need to stick around to watch the death of social media, I’m just glad to see it go.

Top 10 things I learned in my years on facebook, or how many “friends” can I lose in one post?

FYI: There were 3001 when I posted this. LOL

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“Live and learn.”

Conservatively, I estimate I “invested” 1400 hours of my life into Facebook over the past four years which is 500 hours more than it took to produce my book. Let that sink in a moment. I have dwelled on this for some time now. It is because of this significant amount of time that I did not just delete my Facebook account when the final straw arrived. I was close though. For better or worse, there is a legacy we leave behind on Facebook for our “friends”, if not the general public. However, if you posted as I did in a willy-nilly devil-may-care sort of way, you will spend days trying to clean it all up in order to leave a “best of” collection of posts worth scrolling before saying your final farewell. Be prepared for Facebook to “limit” your profile and page(s), a.k.a. putting you in Facebook jail, when you attempt such radical changes.

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1) Some people are not who they claim to be.

I am not talking about authors writing under pen names - which is absolutely necessary to avoid harassment - I am talking about people with multiple online personas. Don’t make the mistake of PROJECTING your level of integrity or values, a.k.a. honesty, discretion, and honour onto people you meet. It will bite you every time.

You can protect yourself by using a free deep web search at: pipl.com.

If aliases appear, search each one. If you know multiple locations where they have lived, search each city by each alias. It could take a while to compile all the data, and you should prepare yourself as the results can be nothing less than staggering. Look for, and even search, relatives, known associates, and phone numbers to confirm the site has not made an error. There are pay sites starting from $2.00 that generate a full report including criminal activities. You might want to consider one of these if you are in deep with someone you met online. May your god be kind with what you find.

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2) Don’t be naïve.

If you look up naïve in the dictionary, I’m sure you will see my picture there. I viewed joining the author communities on social media as an opportunity to connect with bright, engaging, open-minded seekers of wisdom . . . kindred spirits who would share thoughts as pen pals would, only using modern technology. Overall, nothing could be farther from the truth. Yes, you will encounter a few worthwhile decent types, but in a game where we count followers in the thousands, they represent a minuscule percentage.

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3) “Haste makes waste.”

I remember being excited about making “friends” on Facebook when I first started out. So excited in fact, I would send friend requests to anyone who had the words author or writer on their profile. Back then, the prevailing theory suggested the key to success was a numbers game; the one with the biggest following would get a publishing deal. People were actually buying followers 10,000 at a time. I didn’t buy into this. I viewed social media as a popularity contest which does not translate into book sales ─ the equivalent to putting flyers in your neighbor’s mailboxes. I have yet to see data which is convincing enough to see it any other way. If I knew better, I would have cultivated relationships with influencers, readers of my genre, publishers, publicists, agents, reviewers, and bloggers ─ all the people I did not have as “friends” but who might have made a difference to the success achieved by my book. Had I known then what I know now, my friends list would look very different than it does today.

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4) Cocaine would have been a better choice.

If you are going to choose an addiction, social media is the worst possible choice. THERE IS NO HIGH, and the more time you spend on social media the less happy you become. Anyone who has read my book, knows I am anti-escapist regardless of whether the high is produced naturally or artificially. Regular cocaine users know the drug has a diminishing return. The high is never as good as the first time they tried it unless they increase the quantity used; and the more they use, the more frequent their cravings become until it affects their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no hypocrite. I let my demons out for an occasional stroll, but I pick my poisons carefully to ensure that none take charge of my life. Social media hooks us on being connected and never being alone. It is dangerous because humans must be alone in order to think, learn, and grow. Social media stagnates the mind and, Facebook at least, seems bent on depressing the populace. Endless distractions thwart creativity and productivity. If you: feel obligated to post on social media; look in regularly for comments on posts; have never turned off Messenger or notifications or your device, then you should pick different poisons for a while until you get a handle on the monkey on your back.

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5) I kept my promise.

I used my Facebook profile page as a playground where I could share multiple aspects of my personality. This allowed me a place to vent . . . and vent I did; or more correctly, am continuing to do here in what will become my last post to Facebook. Early on I promised the real me would be on display at all times to my “friends”. The people on my friends list did not get an artificial construct or watered down perfect illusion of who I am. Nope, they got the full Monte, or at least as much Monte as Facebook would allow. My inner bad boy posted what little nudity Facebook community standards would tolerate for two reasons: Firstly, I am a rebel who sees freedoms dying faster than the planet is losing species; and secondly, nothing in the world is more beautiful to me than the female form. I shared my sense of humour as well, even when I knew it might be crossing someone’s line every now and then. I also shared my philosophies, and those from others which resonated within me, in what I now see as a futile effort to awaken the sleeping oblivious sheeple. The proof is in the likes. There were next to none. Recently, I wanted to find out if I was out of Facebook jail so I posted: ‘Somebody, anybody, tell me if you can see me.’ This post got more attention than a year’s worth of meaningful posts, and at the same time, it made a sad statement on the superficiality of the average Facebook user.

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6) “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

As an author, I should have divided my time equally between Goodreads, twitter, and Facebook because Goodreads has proven itself to put your books in front of readers, and unlike Facebook, you can reach out to everyone and anyone on twitter. Time is the one thing you can never get more of and it does not allow do-overs. Spend yours wisely.

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7) Nazi hamsters! WTF?

Fuckerberg, and the Nazis in the shadows behind him, are using facebook for data collection on each and every one of us, as are most of the major corporations in Silicon Valley. The difference is Facebook knows far more about us than Google, and possibly even the makers of our devices and the companies that supply operating systems as long as they do not breach their published privacy policies which most have already been caught doing. Facebook considers EVERYTHING you share to be their property. This includes Messenger. Yup, your selfies and home-made porn videos are all sitting in a data farm somewhere and you can never truly delete them. They lured us away from My Space with the promise of something better. A promise which was never kept right from the beginning. Their endless adjustments to the algorithm, have severely limited our outreach to readers while they stayed busy categorizing and compartmentalizing us into something reminiscent of a box filled with hamsters where everyone is climbing all over each other. Good luck. I’m out.

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8) Let’s see Facebook for what it is: a societal manipulation site.

That doesn’t have the same innocuous ring to it as social media site, does it. In my time on Facebook, I have been appalled by posts in my News Feed ranging from animal cruelty to the shooting of an unarmed man by police, with a far too great number of others in between. Were they fake news as with the Trumpeter’s election campaigners who mysteriously showed up only to disappear shortly after the election? We can never know. What is clear however, is we are affected, influenced, and manipulated by what we see and hear in all forms of media. Worst of all, we become desensitized to atrocious human behavior and I believe this is NO ACCIDENT; but where they are intentionally herding the minds of the sheeple. When three billion users worldwide have been programmed to no longer give a shit about life, the world can easily fall into anarchy. On that day, the frightened sheeple will willingly turn over the last of their freedoms for safety. The single biggest difference between other forms of media and Facebook is there are no restrictions placed on what Facebook is allowed to broadcast. Facebook can do what they want with the get-out-of-jail-free-card of being a social media platform not responsible for the content created by users. There is no Editor In Chief to hold accountable for what is thrust before our eyes. Facebook’s new take on morality is not for me. It shouldn’t be for you either.

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9) Some people make it bearable.

If I look at my years on Facebook as I would my life, there are some parallels. I have a few regrets but there was also a great deal of laughter. There were a handful of people who made the time spent on Facebook almost seem worthwhile. I hope they keep in touch. There were also some standouts who stepped up when it really mattered, and they have my deepest gratitude.

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10) Facebook is what you make of it.

If you are just an individual who wants to keep tabs on people you already know in the real world, or if you want to find people you have lost touch with, then have at it while being VERY cautious of what you post or message to people. Keep your circle small and be wary of people you have not met in person when they send you a friend request. If you have the misfortune of being a writer who is following conventional wisdom, a.k.a. forced kicking and screaming into the social media spotlight as I was, then things will be tougher. Absorb and retain the previous 1800 words and I will leave you with the immortal words of my favorite Zen master: ‘Mind what you have learned; save you it can.’ – Yoda.

What Really Went Down In The Garden Of Eden?

Really?

I have to do this in the 21rst century?

Fine.

WARNING: This blog is not suitable for religious fanatics nor is it for people who do not understand and appreciate satirical witticisms.

Over 2000 YEARS have passed since the death of Christ. Had humans learned anything from his words and life, I would not have to put a warning label on a blog that was written to entertain. However, there are a great many people in the world who cling to dogmatic religious beliefs without questioning the author, translator and presenter of their chosen book of faith. That is their right. Hopefully these people are GOD fearing and do good deeds in order to have a nice afterlife. Religion is arguably better than substance abuse for escapists. Acts of religious terrorism aside, you never hear about a person drunk on religious fervour crashing into a school bus full of kids.

I have a private spiritual side to my being.

It need not be discussed.

I do not require you to believe as I do in order for you to be one of my readers.

Anyone who has read anything I have written knows I embrace satire. It is what I do. I seek to see humour and spread laughter wherever possible, and I understand not everyone gets the joke. Just the other day a neighbour down the street had an underground water pipe burst that was bubbling to the surface. I teased her by saying she had her lawnmower set too low and I was going to have to tell the owner. She did not get it. I had to explain it to her.

satire   noun   1: ridicule, irony or sarcasm in speech or writing.

I am totally throwing this out there based on distant memories from my childhood Sunday school classes. I will not fact check this ridiculous story, so if it is misquoted, SO BE IT!

“So let it be written. So let it be done.”

. . .

In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the Earth and they were good.

Next, HE created man in his own image.

After six of HIS days of hard work, HE took a day off. HE deserved it.

It does appear men were here first. We also presume men lived a very long time—nearly immortal—living pain-free in the Garden’s disease-free environment where entropy was somehow slowed way down or switched off.

So what would the life of a man be like in such Utopian conditions?

For sure there would be gambling, scotch, and cigars. The things between our legs were just used for drainage. Men would gather to play cards, drink whiskey, and smoke each evening after a day of eating a nearly vegetarian, if not vegan, diet of everything one could want; EXCEPT APPLES! We were told not to touch those, and we were good with the rules as back then, as when we talked to GOD, HE answered us. Who knows, maybe HE sat in on poker night occasionally on HIS day off. I am not certain if fish and bread were on the menu yet. Smoking and drinking did not hurt us back then.

Years—perhaps even centuries—passed this way, and we created all the various art forms and practised the ones THE MAKER had intended for us. HE enjoyed our finished works, but as time continued to roll on, you could see HE was getting bored with us. HE would not pop in as often and did not get as excited about our works as HE once did. Perhaps HE thought we would grow faster as a species and was disappointed with our progress.

We men are not as oblivious to the feelings of others as some may think.

We were concerned about this development and called a general meeting to get some ideas as to how we might shake things up for HIM. HE was a cool guy who was really smart. HE could answer any question, and we wanted HIM around.

Here was our problem at this point in history:

  1. The sculptors had sculpted everything in The Garden.
  2. The builders had built everything imaginable with the materials available in The Garden.
  3. The artists had painted everything in The Garden.
  4. The musicians had created every note and played every combination of notes.
  5. The writers had written every story of life in The Garden.

We were stumped. Not a single guy at the meeting could come up with something truly new and exciting. What would happen next would change all that. It is not clear if HE had a divine hand in these events or if they happened when HE was not paying attention.

The Adam’s rib story just does not hold water, but it is a great rib joint. The talking serpent is a little far-fetched too.

This is what may have really happened:

One day, a large flying craft that was not a bird, landed in The Garden. It was made of something not found in The Garden. We were all very curious as this NEW THING could be the answer to our concerns. Men from all over The Garden gathered to view this new thing and apply their talents to the inspiration it offered us.

After only a short time, a door opened and out came beings similar to us, but different.

They called themselves women, and explained they had come to The Garden from the neighbouring planet of Venus. They were prettier than us. They smelled better than us, and for reasons I cannot explain, suddenly we were more interested in them than poker night or our artistic pursuits.

Note to self: Ask GOD what a planet is?

The only concern we had was they came from OUTSIDE of The Garden, but so did GOD and HE was cool. They showed us many new and wonderful things. Especially nice was another thing to do with the stuff between our legs. Now our dangly parts would actually point to them, like some kind of direction-finder. They made us feel very good; even better than before.

They asked us about the apples and could not understand why we would not touch them. They were not afraid of GOD and did not seem to know HIM. They ate the apples and nothing bad happened when they did. They talked most of us into eating them too.

For some reason these women were able to get us to do just about anything they desired.

Note to self: Ask GOD why we wish to please women like we once tried to please HIM?

The answer to that one came to me all by myself. Women were easier to please than HE is, and they stick around.  They liked our works, and everything about us was new to them. They were excited by us—not bored; at least not yet.

GOD eventually stuck HIS head in, appearing tired from building universes—whatever they were—and looking to unwind with the boys, but some of our poker buddies did not show up. GOD asked why, and we told HIM all about the women and the apple tree, and I asked HIM what planets and universes were. HE stood up, and with a wave of HIS hand, threw the poker table across the room and left without answering my question.

This was upsetting to those of us who were there. We had never seen HIM angry before. We figured HE would eventually cool down and come back; after all we had been buds for centuries—whatever centuries are.

BOY, WERE WE WRONG!

HE came back as mad as ever and booted us out of The Garden. HE used a new word that day as he watched us go forth to multiply. In what sounded like a warning, these were HIS final words to us as we left:

“Be careful of MANipulation my little brothers.”

We did not know what HE meant, and we had no one to ask except the women. At least HE let us keep them.

So here is how things have gone for men ever since:

  1. We age and die way faster now.
  2. GOD has not visited since.
  3. He may be listening, but he never answers anymore.
  4. We miss him.
  5. Women can make us feel good for a short time, but we used to feel good ALL THE TIME in The Garden.
  6. We have defined the word manipulation, but we still do not see it until it is too late.
  7. We kill our fellow man now. That never used to happen. Men do this often in the name of GOD, but we know HE never wanted this.
  8. We have gone forth and multiplied so much that the planet will soon be at risk, but at least we have figured out what planets and universes are.
  9. We get drunker now than when we were in The Garden, and now we get hangovers.
  10. Scotch and cigars can kill us now, but we continue to use them.

Here is the conspiracy theory version of events:

  1. Women have been in on it from the beginning.
  2. Their arrival is nothing more than a carefully conceived plan to conquer the planet SO SLOWLY we do not notice how things are changing century to century.
  3. They got us thrown out of paradise.
  4. They have always been able to MANipulate us with sex.
  5. Initially, they followed most of our wishes.
  6. Later, they would become educated and not do as much for us.
  7. They started to get jobs and earn their own money, and did even less for us.
  8. After that, they would get to vote and did even less for us.
  9. Later they would hold public office and lead countries, and use that as a reason to do even less for us.
  10. Now they are CEO’s telling men what to do, both at work and at home.
  11. Many men are now staying at home to raise the children; a job that was once exclusively their thing.
  12. Men are no longer running everything.
  13. Soon, as women become even more powerful, they may keep the male children from attending school and making money.
  14. At that point in the not too distant future, women will have completely conquered the planet, and men will be just the workforce of the female dominated globe.

GOD help us.

We know we are a constant source of disappointment to GOD, but the worst thing is many of us no longer care.

It seems, just as with HIM, we are now a constant source of disappointment to women now as well. We try very hard, but it is never enough. Could it be that women thought we men would grow faster than we are, and they too have become disappointed with our progress?

Why does everyone seem to want more from us?

Perhaps we should call another general meeting.

It seems new things can be our undoing.

. . .

My ridiculous version of events aside, a belief system of some kind is a necessary component of good overall health.  You do not have to believe broken telephone STORIES PASSED DOWN VERBALLY FOR GENERATIONS before WRITERS applied their take on them—much as I just did. You do not have to buy in to the INTERPRETATIONS OF THE TRANSLATORS who assembled a collection of stories. If we have learned anything in the last 5000 years . . . it is not wise to put your faith in EDITORS who did, or do, the bidding of Royalty or Religious Leaders because such people usually have an ungodly agenda.

Have a good week and go to a House of Worship IF IT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER. That is why we still have them. Pray for my ruination if it helps, but don’t allow yourself to be MANipulated into giving them money you cannot afford.

If you are not into the above, make art. It is the only thing we have left to remind us of our time in paradise.