What’s Going On?

Four decades and Marvin Gaye’s classic is as relevant today, if not more so, as it was on it’s release in 1971.

What happened to the Hippies, the “Peace and Love” generation that was supposed to save the world? Oh, right. Hippies became Yuppies.

I’ll never forget that night. The air was electric with excitement! We had done it. We had achieved something that I never, in my lifetime, thought was achievable. The one image that sticks in my mind is the close up of Jesse Jackson with tears in his eyes. It was what Oprah would have called my “Aha Moment”. It was an instant when suddenly everything clicked into place and I got it. I understood the idea of representation. Here were people who had worked all their lives just to have a seat at the table. Their moment had come. There was a feeling that things were about to change, that everything was possible. We were dancing in the streets!

How could I have been so naive?

If anything, things got worse. I might have guessed that the first black president of the United States would face some difficulty but never in my life did I expect such a deluge of hateful, un-American, bullshit! From Donald Trump’s “Show me your birth certificate” to Mitch McConnell’s famous, “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.” to Eric Cantor’s government shutdown, no president in the history of these United States has had to put up with the level of disrespect and outright condemnation as this one has.

But this post isn’t about politics. …well, maybe not.

You don’t know how many times I’ve sat down to write something about race in America. It’s been on my mind for a very long time. But what can I, a middle aged white male, add to the conversation that hasn’t already be said by people more intelligent and better qualified than me?

When Michael Brown was shot and killed I couldn’t believe it. Another one!? It seems every time I turn on the news I see a story of a black male being killed at the hands of a police officer or, as in Trayvon Martin’s case, a representative of a neighborhood watch organization. — Seriously, why is George Zimmerman still walking the streets? Every town watch I have ever been part of forbade us from carrying guns. AND… He was told not to follow Trayvon! What the hell, man?  When the shoplifting video came out I thought, so what? Even if Michael Brown was the shoplifter in the leaked surveillance video, he did not deserve to be shot and killed. At worse, Michael made the mistake of struggling with the officer, but that is NOT reason to shoot him to death!

Of course people are angry. I’m angry! But at least I have the luxury, the privilege if you will, to turn off the news and go about my boring life.

And don’t you dare whine to me about “Well… not ALL white people“! I hate that sentence. It’s a lie! Each and every one of us is to blame. We’ve so surrounded ourselves with like minded people that we’ve forgotten that this racist bullshit still runs rampant throughout our community.

So how do we prevent this from continuing?

First,  shut up and listen. And while you’re listening, try not to take everything personally. Us white folks need to remember that it’s not always about us. Just because someone is telling you their truth doesn’t mean they are tearing you down. Unless someone is addressing you directly, they aren’t necessarily blaming you. So brush the chip off your shoulder.

Next, When talking with family and friends, don’t be afraid to stand up for what’s right. When someone says or does something offensive, tell them. Otherwise, how else are they gonna know what they’re doing is wrong?

If you still feel helpless, check out 12 Things White People Can Do Now Because Ferguson by Janee Woods

Personally, I don’t understand why people find it so difficult to treat others the way they wish to be treated. It’s such a simple concept. :\

Save the Phantom Stage! Hollywood Landmark Reportedly Slated for Oblivion

Originally posted on Nitrate Diva:

phantomUniversal Studios’ Stage 28 holds a lot of memories. Some of the most iconic American films, including The Bride of FrankensteinPsycho, and The Sting were shot there, to name only a few.

Built in 1924 for the silent Phantom of the Opera, starring Lon Chaney, the vast soundstage still houses the 90-year-old opera house set. Designed by Ben Carré, this recreation of the Paris original practically deserves its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, having appeared in movies ranging from Dracula to The Muppets.

Throughout the years, the so-called “Phantom Stage,” nicknamed for the first film made there, has earned its title in another sense. Legend has it that the soundstage is haunted. However, those ghosts might be homeless soon.

The website Inside Universal recently broke the news that the studio would close Stage 28 and probably demolish it. According to their article, “

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Google Maps Has Been Tracking Your Every Move, and There’s a Website to Prove It

adignorantium:

iPhone does it too. It’s part of theft prevention and phone recovery. (Find My Phone, Device Manager, etc.) You can opt out of these services. For Android, turn off “Location” in settings.
You can delete your location history at any time by going to the Google website provided.
Also, Location services are needed for GPS. If you use your phone for navigation, your phone will track your location.
EVERY GPS device, TomTom, Garmin, Magellan, etc., tracks and records your location. That’s why they tell you to enter a nearby intersection or landmark instead of your real address as “home”.
It’s up to consumers to decide how much of this information that are comfortable with sharing.

Originally posted on Starship Earth: The Big Picture:

Thanks to Ed Komarek at Extraterrestrial Cultural Center on Facebook.

This is slick, isn’t it? Try it!

Was there any doubt? Big Brother is EVERYWHERE. 

It’s a cool place to get a snapshot of your life, but that little anomaly the writer shares… curious indeed.

When I go to the website it shows my gmail address at the top right, but tells me I have no location history. I am EVER SO GLAD I don’t have a smart phone, and ignored all those not-so-subtle little pushes by Google to get me to provide my cell number.

The rest of you—have at ‘er! ~ BP

map2

August 15, 2014

Remember that scene in Minority Report, where Tom Cruise is on the run from the law, but is unable to avoid detection because everywhere he goes there are constant retina scans feeding his location back to a central database? That’s tomorrow. Today…

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It’s Been A Rough Week, So…

I thought I’d share a cute video by Steve J Boyle called “I Hit Send, or Modern Meltdown“. It’s a poetry reading about Steven’s first crush, post-coming-out.

Some of the language may not be appropriate for all audiences, but it’s adorably funny.

I figured a little light humor would be good thing after such an unbelievably bad week.

Enjoy!

RIP Lauren Bacall

 

I just heard that Lauren Bacall died today at age 89

In my mind, Bogart has been waiting patiently since 1957 to reunite with the love of his life, so when Betty (Lauren) showed up in Heaven it must have looked something like this scene from Dark Passage (1947).

“Reality…What A Concept” Remembering Robin Williams

The news of Robin’s death was such a shock. I’m still having a difficult time believing that it’s true.

There are people who touch our lives in such profound, undefinable ways. Robin Williams was one of them. He made us laugh, but he also made us think. He made us question things while we were laughing at them.

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Robin Williams

Like many Americans, I first saw Robin Williams in an episode of Happy Days called My Favorite Orkan. My six year old sister was madly in love with Henry Winkler’s Fonzie so we never missed an episode. So when Mork and Mindy debuted the following fall, it was naturally added to our viewing line up.

31CY4KZFFELWhile my family was gathered around the tube watching the weekly adventures of Robin and Pam Dawber, my friends and I were memorizing the jokes form the “Reality…What a Concept” LP, a live recording of Robin’s 1978 Roxy performance.

Through the years, Robin Williams has brought us nothing but happiness. News of his death was a complete shock. I still can’t believe it.

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” – Robin Williams

 Rest in peace, sir.

To Facebook or Not To Facebook

…or, Does this selfie make my ego look fat? :P

By next month I will have been on Twitter for four years. Four years of absurd puns and double entendres, interrupted by the occasional political rant. It’s so easy to get caught up in righteous indignation that sometimes I forget why I joined twitter in the first place. — For the record, I joined twitter so I could send suggestive tweets to Craig Ferguson‘s Late Late Show. To my knowledge, he’s never read any of my tweets on air. :(

Since 2010, I’ve joined Tumblr, I tried Blogspot (which I’ve neglected for almost two years), and somehow managed to acquire two G+ accounts. Though I only use one of them.

I chose twitter because it fit well with my personality. Facebook presents itself as this ever-growing community of “friends”. Twitter makes no such claims. On Twitter, people follow one another. No commitment is required. — unless you find yourself immersed in a hilarious hashtag game. ( anyone?) I’ve established some interesting connections on twitter. I’ve even gone so far as to exchange my real contact information with a few of them. But those connections are very casual and fluid. Something about Facebook scares me. For one thing, I’m a bit shy around people that I don’t know. Then there’s the difficulty I have reaching out to people. I find it nearly impossible to make the first move. It’s a wonder I’m in a relationship. — Now there’s a good story I’ll save for another time.– Just because the interactions happen online, rather than in person, doesn’t make them any easier.

So, Facebook.

I DO have a Facebook account. I created it last year after my Acer tablet crashed. My tablet was a year past warranty so contacting Acer through their website was impossible. After trolling through some of the android forums, I learned that this was a common issue with Acer’s Iconia A500. Several forum posters claimed to have had good results after contacting Acer through Facebook. So I created a Facebook account, Acer fixed my tablet, and I’ve been ignoring Facebook ever since.

But why?

Well, the short answer is privacy. I’ve tried very hard to maintain a certain degree of online anonymity. The last thing I want is to have all that disappear because of some piece of wayward information that gets leaked. Sure, if you dig far enough you will discover that my true identity is Bruce Wayne and then I will have to kill you. But, for the most part, I’m very happy being an anonymous entity.

Then there’s Facebook’s intrusiveness. We’ve all read the stories. People’s accounts have been hacked. Private information was collected and sold. Everything you post, tag, or like, every single mouse click, is tracked and sold to marketing companies. This happens on every site you visit but, for some reason, Facebook gets all the press.

Maybe it’s because of ALL THOSE DAMNED PERSONAL QUESTIONS!

God help you if you intentionally leave some information blank! Facebook does not like blank fields. They take it as a personal failure if you don;t answer some of their questions. I’m still being pestered with “You haven’t finished filling out your profile information!”, “Where did you go to high school?”, and “HEY! You forgot to tell us your blood type!”, notifications every time I log on. Okay. That last one was fake but Jeeze! Give it a rest! Maybe I don’t want to give you my mother’s maiden name. :\

There’s also the issue of time. I barely have enough time to keep up with WordPress. When I created ADignorantium.Wordpress, I promised myself that I would try to publish at least one post a week. If I can’t even do that, what makes me think I’m going to keep up with Facebook?

So here I am.

I changed my Facebook header to match my WordPress and Twitter headers. One must be consistent. Maybe that will encourage me to play around with Facebook. Who knows? Maybe I’ll like it.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, and G+, subscribe to my YouTube channel, pin me on Pintre...wait! I don’t have a Pintrest account! And oh, yeah… if you friend me on Facebook it might take me a little while to get back to you. :P