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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Facebook might have censored me

While having my morning coffee, I read a retweet from Kathy Griffin.


Buying cyanide pill now:) RT : Kim Kardashian’s paycheck at Tao on New Year’s Eve: $600,000?!


She included a link to the report, but I'm not including it here. It's easily found if you're interested. However, the better read is in the follow-up to Kathy's tweet. You can find that at Twitter if you want.


So, being one to share the news, I sent Kathy's tweet to my brother so he could share in the joy of Kim's well-paid evening. 


Then I posted a tweet myself, and I sent it by text message.


Kim Kardashian will make $600,000 New Year's Eve. I'll do it for half that price. Just need a pair of fake boobs. And butt cheeks. And hair.


After a little more coffee, I decided to send the tweet to Facebook as a status update. Again, I sent it my text message. Moments later, I received a text message from Facebook.


Sorry this message cannot be processed.


After thinking a bit, I resent the text, and received the same response. At that point, I edited the text message to read as follows.


Kim Kardashian will make $600,000 New Year's Eve. I'll do it for half that price.


That one posted to my Facebook page.


Now, we all have seen substantially racier stuff on Facebook, and I imagine that most of those posts are by the web interface or some app on a smart phone. A few might be by text message, which is what I predominately use because it's, generally, more reliable than using the Android app. 


This left me thinking the text interface has a censoring routine applied to the text content, and that routine is not so apparent on the web and app interfaces, if it exists there at all.


That or the text processor had a problem that magically cleared when I sent the third, less racy, text message. Maybe I should experiment a little, but doing so would most likely end in my Facebook account being disabled, and we all know the disaster that would be. Nations would surely crumble.

Monday, December 19, 2011

He said God would bless me

I made a chicken stew and a loaf of bread to take to Granny and Buck yesterday for lunch. As I noodled my way out of the apartment building door, a gentleman followed. He appeared Middle Eastern by descent and accent, but I'm not all that good at discerning which region, and I'm pretty sure that degree of discrimination is not all that important, at least not here. He was carrying a bag, and in the bag, I was to learn, he had a roasted chicken. He was talking to himself, and I picked up on the conversation as he started going on about arriving too early, that he should have waited until 1.

With my iron pot full on chicken stew in my left hand and the lighter loaf of bread in the right (so as to not trigger Grandpa's tennis elbow), I had paused to get my bearings, breathe the late morning air, and let my eyes adjust to the brighter light of day. I really do need to get out more.

The fellow stepped to my side to bid me a good morning, but I wasn't expecting him, and I missed part of his brief story. Okay, I was hoping to ostracize the man so I could be left in peace this Sunday morning. That was not to work. His was a gentle soul, and he asked if I had a microwave he could use to heat his chicken. I said I did, but that I was headed to my mother's house with lunch. He said God would bless me for taking care of my mother, and that his chicken only needed a couple of minutes in the microwave. After a few moments, I acquiesced. Mama and Buck's preacher would probably go overtime again anyway. He often does.

The man accompanied me to my apartment, and we shared a little halting small talk. He had the deep vibrato of a wizened Egyptian though he was only inches over five feet. His English was accented and a little clipped, leaving me to remember to avoid contractions and peculiar words. However, I really doubt my stereotypical reaction to ESL was warranted on this occasion. I suspect his English was really better than mine. In the elevator, he wanted to know about my mother. Where she lived. How old she was. Her health. He shook his head knowingly as I described her. He was not set aback as I told him that we really do not know how old she is because she has no birth certificate, and no record of her birth was made by the family.

I left my pot of stew and bag of bread in the hallway so I'd have a free hand to open the door. We entered the apartment, and put his chicken in the microwave after some brief discussion of whether or not the bag was microwaveable. It was. I punched in two minutes, as he began to tell me of the bakery that he apparently owns with his family. Shortly, I knew exactly where it was, though I've never been inside. I didn't want to tell him that his driveway was just too treacherous at that busy intersection. Perhaps I'll walk over one day.

He encouraged me to visit and get some baklava, which I do enjoy, and then he said that I should not deprive myself of good foods like that just because they might make me fat. Where did that come from? And he said it with the "just because." I resisted telling him how I used to put Lily in the backpack carrier so we could go to the mall for sticky buns. Every night. Washing them down with cold, whole, sweet milk. I still miss those trips.

The microwave sounded its alarm, he took the chicken, felt it, declared it warmed, and thanked me. We left the apartment, chatted on the ride down in the elevator, and exited the building. I bid him adieu, and he returned the farewell, reminding me that God would bless me.

Maybe I should have bought another lottery ticket that afternoon.

Hebrews 13:2 - Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

And so it ends

The last installment of the Moon Project is up. Click here to see it.

It's been a good run, and although I'm sad to see it finished, I'm also glad to see it done because it's time to do something else. This is the second time I've used a year of full moons to motivate writing, and this time was better, not so much for the additional practice, but for the collaboration. Writing in conjunction with Diana's art was an eye opening exercise.

We live in this world together. We experience many variations of the same events. We relish our individual differences. Yet, we like to think of ourselves and our responses specifically unique, different from the others. That sense of individuality, a something that is exceptionally important in the American psyche, a something that often limits our ability to function as a society, that sense is not often the unique thing we imagine. No, it's more a fabrication that we hold dear long after the reality is clear.

Putting Diana's art against my essay each month drove that clear. (Shannon's insistence that I use shorter sentences was also clarifying, and we're all better off for it, if I did find myself writing bait for her now and again.) Many people asked how we could expect there to be any connection between the art and the essay, and my response, one you've likely heard here before, was that we live in the same world. We watch the same news. We know many of the same people. It's only to be expected that we would produce similar themes each month, and we did.

Sometimes the congruence floored me. Without belaboring too many details, consider this last month. Her moon casts it's light though the branches that block our sight, our path. Meanwhile, I traveled to New Orleans and walked along Bourbon Street, distractions aplenty, as I made my way to my thinking place where, as Papa once did, I sat quietly in the chaos and reflected on how I got there. We're all on a similar path, a muddy road, and at some point, if we're a little lucky, we find that moment to wash our spirit clean.

Friday, December 9, 2011

I dream of Margaritaville

Yes, I dream of Margaritaville, and I'll probably have lunch there this weekend. However, I do not dream of Margaritaville in the metaphorical sense of wanting to go there because it's fun and exciting. I actually dream of Margaritaville. Literally. Every few weeks.

It's a wonderful snippet of a false reality. This is, likely, why I, generally, prefer my dreams to my reality.

I'm entering the men's room at the Margaritaville in New Orleans, pausing to read the door. People put stuff on the door, or at least they did. It's been several years since I stopped by to have lunch and an Incommunicado. Or two. Okay, it was three that last time, and that's all I'm going to say about that.

As I push against the door, it falls open before me. Jimmy Buffett steps out, and we bump. I say, "Well, hello, Jimmy!" He pauses, smiles, and asks, "Hello, and who might you be?" I respond without thinking, "My mama called me Jimmy, and you may too."

From one Jimmy to another. I suppose those Incummunicados have residual effects. Here's the recipe.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Denim in December

The company I work with does many things to promote good culture, some more successful than others, and all of them appreciated because it's important to try even when we don't succeed. One thing that I find particularly rewarding is Denim in December. The company adopts a couple of families in need of a little help, and the peeps pay a dollar a day to be able to wear jeans through December. (Usually, jeans only fly on Fridays.) The money goes to the families.

Here's the collection jar so far.


There's more in there than you might think. When the email went out announcing Denim in December, I responded to announce a challenge to our CEO. I challenged him to wear jeans one full business day, and if he did that, I would add an additional $100 to the jar. Bear in mind that he does not own a pair of jeans. 

Management was holding a meeting at the time, and one of the VPs read my email aloud to the rest and announced that he would match the $100. There was laughter. Another matched. And then two more. The ball was rolling. My $100 became some $400 in a matter of moments.

Perhaps there's another career waiting for me in fund raising.

The question remains as to whether or not TheMan will wear the jeans. It doesn't matter much in the sense of giving. All the money is already in the jar. If he doesn't, he will miss a big opportunity with the peeps, but that's neither here nor there.

The important thing is the money and what that money will do. I am acutely aware of what it's like to face American Christmas with children in the house and little money in the bank. I also know what it's like having an unexpected angel drop cash on my lap in December. Of course, we all know our several hundred dollars split in twain will not correct the societal ills that put us here, not even with the pile of gifts that's mounting in the background as the peeps address line items on the two wish lists. These problems run deep, and they're far bigger than most of us.

However, in about a fortnight at those two houses, we do know that children and parents will gather on a Sunday morning, and instead of downward eyes, choked apologies, and all the rest that comes with a hard candy Christmas, there will be a few more smiles, perhaps a little more laughter, and for at least a short while, we'll all hold the thought that the editor's response to Virginia was correct.


Folks, it's all on the wheel.