Friday, 14 February 2014

Facebook and Your "Lifestyle"

Facebook came up this week....with an interesting change.  You see....as you registered and got an account with "FB"....you filled in this field of sex with 'male' or 'female'.  Well....up until yesterday.

The FB folks finally decided that it wasn't right, and they needed to be fair.....so they gave a custom area to the decision of sex, and now allow up around roughly forty-five choices of identification.

Naturally, a guy from Bama starts to ask questions.

You could be a person transitioning from male-to-female....female-to-male....transgender....and another thirty odd descriptions which lead you to ask what-the-hell, and then just nod your head and grasp that the world has moved on into some twilight zone-like situation.

The value of this one simple column?  Well....it's a gimmick which FB will sell that little bit of data to some political group, or candy store, or Chinese fashion company.  If you had seventeen thousand folks suddenly announce they were labeled "half-man-half-woman"....well, there's some fashion trend there waiting to be exploited.

I went into my FB account and tried to write my own custom sex identification label...."Bama- male", but it wouldn't allow me that privilege.  You see....you have to have FB approve your sex label, and just inventing something out of thin air....isn't acceptable, unless you already fit into the forty-five other labels that they invented out of thin air.  Being "Bama-male"....is not possible.  Being Mississippi-lesbian....is not possible.  Being Romulan-male-warrior is not possible.  Being Amish-male-stoic is not possible.  Even trying to be male-stuck-in-a-male-body-desiring-to-be-a-horse....is not possible.

Eventually, I think FB will get around to identifying you to cartoon characters, car models, actors or actresses, NFL players, and perhaps even Hindu Gods (there's at least three hundred of them).  It all means cash in some profit way to FB.

My advice?  If you get all serious about this kind of stuff....you might not have much in life to do.  I'd suggest a hobby or two....maybe taking up landscape work....hauling hay....or just enjoying what few good and healthy years of life that the almighty hands down to you.


Living on Numbers

Yahoo put up this graphic today.  Its an interesting detail on health insurance sign-up rates....state-by-state.

Course, you'd look and note that some states are absolute failures....like Oregon and New Mexico.  I won't guess the reasons....you'd have to be living there to really grasp that.

So I looked over at Bama.  We were in the 75-to-100 percent goal area.  It doesn't necessary mean that seventy-five percent of Bama folks signed up and things look great.  It just means there was a goal within the state of Bama....and somehow, by the grace of God.....we reached that goal of 75-to-100 percent.  Maybe they wanted a thousand folks signed up....out of six million.  Well....this part of the gimmick....wasn't explained in any detail.

I am proud of my home-state....for the obvious reason that barely twenty percent of the state's residents are internet savy, and this all occurred during the remarkable NCAA football run-up period back in November, December, and early January.  Yeah, we had a lot on our mind.

Yeah, I kinda got smart on graphics, details, and how people tell you remarkable stories with almost no validity or facts given.

So, then I gazed at those oddball states like Idaho, Colorado, North Carolina, Michigan, New York, and Rhode Island.  The graphic says....they are between 100-and-250 percent of the goal.  In real life....you can't really go past 100-percent....unless you are talking low goals assigned, or fake numbers used, or a bunch of non-existent people suddenly arrived and got into the calculation.

It's like saying that 128-percent of the residents of such-and-such county like Oprah.  Well....it'd make sense if you had 4,000 residents, and all 4,000 residents said they liked Oprah.  The minute that you said 4,800 residents of the 4,000 residents like Oprah....that begs some questions.  Are these dead residents?  Are these temporary passing-through residents?  Are these residents who sneak over to buy booze in a wet-county?  Are these fake people that a kid made up for the benefit of Professor Woody's statistics class?

You just don't know.

Is it possible that by the end of 2014....from one particular state....we will have thousand-percent of the goal achieved?  Yes.  You might get confused, and ask how a thousand-percent can occur, but the journalists would just say you didn't pay attention in high school math....and just missed that sixteen minute lecture by your substitute teacher who was dopey from sipping cough medicine all day.

So, I'm suggesting a radical thing.  Make all your goals in life small....with limited but achievable numbers involved.  As each success arrives....gauge the number....publish your statistics of success, and let everyone know that you are at 116-percent of your intended goal.  If you need to lose weight....set the goal at six pounds for the year, and when you lose thirty-two pounds over twelve months.....it'll look fabulous with the five-hundred percent weight loss.

When the wife asks you to put aside some money for Junior's education....set the goal for five dollars a week....but put in twenty.  So you can claim a four-hundred percent success rate at the end of the year with the wife.  She will be very impressed with your efforts.

Set up a successful life goal of living to at least age twenty-five....so when you reach fifty....you can boldly go around and proclaim absolute success at age fifty of two-hundred percent of the goal reached.

Yeah.....I am suggesting turning life into a bunch of numbers....mostly bogus and no value, but accurate.

We are living in a bold era, and we'd best enjoy what little boldness and success that does exist....even if it's a bogus one-hundred-percent success rate.

My Three Eras of Waiting

I've come to realize today....that I've been through three eras of waiting now.  Waiting....tends to mean that you get to some place ahead of time....then kinda wait out things....until the plane launches, the doctor calls your name, the dentist is ready, the vet will see your cat, or salesman is off his break.

As a kid, I was in the silent era.  When you arrived at some waiting room....you just sat there.  There might have been some Readers Digest, National Geographic, or NewsWeak magazine.  You'd glance through and look at wild cannibal tribes from Africa, the nutcase who spent twelve years in the Idaho wilderness, or get some visionary political chat from a guy who'd never worked a day in his life.

Waiting was simple.  You had some choices to fiddle away that thirty minutes (usually), and you'd be patient.

The second era came in the early 80's while I was in the Air Force.  Piped music came came around.  It was alway amazing to walk into a waiting area of a Air Force dentist office.....with some relaxing opera music or jazz in the background.  After a while....I'd note at some finance office that they piped rock music from the local FM station.

At some point while stationed in Louisiana.....I'd be sent weekly to a supply shop that was manned by some thirty-year old NCO....who had his local station stuck to Reverend So-and-So's 9AM gospel hour.  As I'd wait for my turn to get the weekly stock of supplies....I'd listen to the good reverend blast away at sin, deceit, the evils of alcohol, and the devil in all forms.  For a number of months, this continued....then one day....the NCO was told to get rid of his radio....too many people complaining of lectures on their moral standing.  I commented after the removal to the NCO....the devil moves around in different forms and challenges us with episodes like this.....he gave me a serious look and quietly nodded.

Around the mid-90s.....I arrived at the third era....the TV introduction.  It seemed like the natural thing.  Some squadron would buy a couple of TVs with left-over funding in the financial year, and then waiting rooms around the base suddenly had the TV running.  There would be kid's movies in the early morning running.  Around lunch would be some CNN stuff.  Late afternoon....an innocent comedy.

Folks were being entertained by TV.  I kinda noted after a while that a number of folks who had appointments in the morning (at Ramstein)....would leave out early and get to the waiting room in time to watch at least half a Oprah show.  Some folks would ask if they could put on Winnie-the-Pooh.

Over the last ten years....I've come to travel a good bit and been forced for numerous hours of waiting in airports....to watch CNN news.  Given a choice of reading a local newspaper or watching CNN.....I usually read a newspaper.

This week....we kinda feel into the next era.  I sat and read through the story.  It's a medical center of sorts....in Michigan.  The company owns a couple of these centers and hospitals.  Not a big business.....but enough to have a board and some executive decisions made.

They apparently had cable TV options piped into waiting areas, and hospital rooms of their operations.  For some reason....one of their board members got all peppy upon seeing Fox News displayed.  So they voiced up the opinion that Fox News was anti-health care.  It wasn't right to allow them on the air.  So a memo was drafted up (yeah, you can imagine this executive decision).....that Fox News was to be blocked.

Not only did the staff members kinda question this.....but customers have come to note this as well.  What generally is put on the air now?  CNN.

No one has said much yet....although it's gotten out and I'd expect some dimwit journalist to eventually stand up and ask the board person who complained about their political values.  Then, some hostile feelings and frustrations will be released.

So, I'm of the mind that we need to create a new channel....just for waiting rooms.  It'd be a farm, with farmer Bob.  He'd toss out these jobs that he has today, and in a stoic fashion....lead the viewer through a typical day....while talking to the camera.  We'd find out about horses, the need for order in a toolshed, the best way to clean a septic tank, how to avoid getting trampled upon by a bull, the best way to make distilled beverages, the remarkable health advantages of hauling hay in the midst of July, and the best way to freak out a border collie (move chairs around in the yard daily).

Maybe I'm entering the fourth era.....where I'd just like peace and quiet....waiting for some negative episode with the doctor, the transmission specialist, the tax consultant, or the dentist.  Maybe going back to the Readers Digest era would be a good thing.  Maybe just having a carving knife and a stick to whittle on....would give me some peace of mind while waiting.

My humble two cents of thought.